OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Other People's Wars

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  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    There was a similar response to the Hollow Men - which contained rather astonishing revelations about the marketing and funding of political parties, and journalists like Jane Clifton yawned and replied, 'But we ALL knew all that.'

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Thanks, Keith. Could you please indicate the reference for Espiner's interview? Not that I don't believe he said all of that. I'm sure I've seen a commercial with him in Afghanistan on a tiny boat surrounded by journalists wearing funny hats and vests, but being stuck overseas right now doesn't grant me the liberty of being up-to-date with everything coming through the kiwi media as it happens.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 434 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    There was a similar response to the Hollow Men – which contained rather astonishing revelations about the marketing and funding of political parties, and journalists like Jane Clifton yawned and replied, ’But we ALL knew all that.’

    Insiders.

    ETA: the cult of savviness.

    Nicky Hager could show that the NZDF was eating babies in Afghanistan, and the response would still be a variation of the same. The ‘game’ would be the story, and they’d score the NZDF and Government on how well they ‘handled’ the story.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Insiders.

    It reminds me of an interview I heard with Bart Ehrman, who's a biblical scholar based in the Southern US specialising in copying errors in the New Testament. And he gives talks to general audiences about translation errors and redactions and medieval additions to the gospels, and religious people in those audiences have various extreme reactions: they cry, or get angry or have crisis of faith or angrily denounce his work.

    And then he gives the same lecture to priests of any denomination - who preach at the churches attended to by the very freaked out people in his lay audience - and they shrug and say, 'Yeah yeah yeah, we learned all of that stuff at seminary. So what?'

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    More after I actually read the bloody thing.

    Feeling it. My copy arrived this afternoon and is is sitting by my keyboard staring at me. 439 pages, including 73 pages of endnotes in tightly-leaded six point type. By next week.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    izogi: Wasn't an interview. We were just throwing questions at Hager at his press conference.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 535 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I'll be interested to see how Radio NZ covers this.

    he gives the same lecture to priests of any denomination – who preach at the churches attended to by the very freaked out people in his lay audience – and they shrug and say, ‘Yeah yeah yeah, we learned all of that stuff at seminary. So what?’

    My Dad translates the Bible for fun. It's fascinating to see someone hold simultaneously a work as literal (god-given) truth, and the work of human fallibility. The capability of humans to hold simultaneously discordant ideas in their mind, and selectively discount or uphold them as needed, is almost infinite.

    In this context, the knowledge that the NZDF is acting in an aggressive capacity, well outside its stated mandate is open insider knowledge, but nobody feels like challenging the government on misleading the public. Except Nicky Hager.

    I hope he sells a lot of books, because his work otherwise gets a fraction of the recognition he's due. That said, The Hollow Men is still on two hour loan at the Health Sciences library as required reading. It has hardly faded in relevance, and remains recognised among the members of the informed public.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Press conference audio & pics.

    I assume it's in there somewhere.

    439 pages...

    Most paperbacks I've met of these proportions are fantasy blockbusters where the type is much bigger.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1096 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome, in reply to George Darroch,

    Whilst the Hollow Men is very good, I prefer the documentary. It's easier to get through and trying to persuade others to read the book is difficult.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 424 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Feeling it. My copy arrived this afternoon and is is sitting by my keyboard staring at me. 439 pages, including 73 pages of endnotes in tightly-leaded six point type. By next week.

    Dammit, I had Other Stuff To Do this weekend!

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1661 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to George Darroch,

    The Hollow Men is still on two hour loan at the Health Sciences library as required reading. It has hardly faded in relevance

    I believe someone commented recently that it's still the best guide to this year's election. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16794 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to HORansome,

    I prefer the documentary

    Didn't see the whole thing but the footage of Key meeting Brethren and Brash flat out lying about it all was compelling. But the book conveys so well the calculated approach to deceiving the public from political operators and shady funders who have escaped unpunished and might well still be doing exactly the same thing.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16794 posts Report Reply

  • stephen clover,

    but nobody feels like challenging the government on misleading the public. Except Nicky Hager.

    And me. Everytime some shit goes down, and some polly or lackey reporter trots out the "oh the SAS is there in a purely mentoring role" bs and my "I'm being lied to" radar starts screaming...

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 354 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to HORansome,

    Whilst the Hollow Men is very good, I prefer the documentary. It's easier to get through and trying to persuade others to read the book is difficult.

    Significantly, the doco made some updates on what had happened since the book was published. And there's no shortage of material for a sequel.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4365 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to HORansome,

    Whilst the Hollow Men is very good, I prefer the documentary. It's easier to get through and trying to persuade others to read the book is difficult.

    I've only just obtained a copy and started to watch it earlier this week. I had to stop as there was a very real risk I'd wake my kids such was my desire to shout! What a corrupt bunch of twatcocks! I vaguely knew Sinclair at uni, he was getting into student politics as I was getting out; I'm grateful that his behaviour entirely vindicated by almost immediate impression he was a unscrupulous prink.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I caught the end of an interview with Phil Goff on Radio NZ about half an hour ago. He was fairly non-committal about whether he was concerned about being misled, and didn't seem to want to give the story legs. This might just be my partisan interpretation, but he was hardly jumping up and down like a man on fire.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Paul Williams,

    I've only just obtained a copy and started to watch it earlier this week.

    It's the same as the one that's available online from NZ On Screen since about May, right? Because that's the one I watched and I'm assuming I've seen it.


    @Keith: Thanks for pointing out the press conference thing. It makes more sense to me now.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 434 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Paul Williams,

    desire to shout

    precisely my response to reading the book. fuckers

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16794 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Roberts,

    Espiner apparently did not consider his experience worth including in his report on the news tonight, even now the story has come up.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Roberts,

    Kiwi troops are in Afghanistan to do reconstruction and peacekeeping

    Peacekeeping is a great use of troops, but reconstruction may not be. Troops are not neutral, and once they undertake humanitarian work then the neutrality of NGO teams is thrown into question.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman,

    Isn't a major theme of the book supposed to be about how the military runs its PR and media strategies?

    Which would include what Espiner was exposed to "in Afghanistan" innit.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 214 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman, in reply to George Darroch,

    Here’s the Goff quote RNZ extracted for it’s text version:

    "I think it would be shock, horror, surprise if you didn’t have intelligence facilities designed to keep New Zealand Defence Force personnel safe in an area of deployment.”

    I’m not sure that is what Hager reports his sources as describing.

    Mr Goff says he has not seen Nicky Hager’s book.

    Me neither. But if I was Goff, (or Key) I’d be sure to do so before dismissing it.

    Edit: RNZ link: http://bit.ly/r7y1hV

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 214 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    There's only one copy of the book in this house, damnit, and I'm not the one reading it. Hope to make a more meaningful comment shortly.

    As Stephen Judd said this afternoon, "Mateparae -- credibility shot before he even began. If Jon Stephens' stories weren't enough, surely Hager's are about to seal it. Disgrace."

    To have Mateparae even on the television, having to defend himself, is below the office. As a republican, I'm a little pleased to have the Governor General's public image tarnished again. As a New Zealander, I'm not happy at all.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I'd like to know (and this is possibly within the covers) whether the NZDF was involved in misleading some ministers over the Iraq War, or merely some of them. There's a huge difference there.

    The PM, by comparison; his handwaving and 'relaxed' attitude to the whole thing is both disappointing and entirely in character.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to George Darroch,

    The PM, by comparison; his handwaving and 'relaxed' attitude to the whole thing is both disappointing and entirely in character.

    His smarmy slighting of Hagar's character in passing was exactly what you'd expect from the morally challenged too.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16794 posts Report Reply

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