Steven Price

My book

Media Minefield


Guide to NZ Media Law

Official Information Act

Official Information Act


Bill of Rights Act

Media law resources

Feeds (RSS)


« | Main | »

Other People’s Wars

By Steven | September 1, 2011

As a few of you know, I vetted Nicky Hager’s new book, Other People’s Wars. It’s on sale now. I recommend it.

Just as I found his last book, The Hollow Men, to be an education in the dark arts of political marketing, for me this one is an education our sickening suck-up to the United States, the chilling technology of killing, and the unsettling role of PR (externally and internally) in modern NZ warfare.

The NZ Herald’s John Armstrong has written a good account of the book at short notice. I hope others bear in mind his point that:

While it is expected that attempts will be made to discredit the book and its author, the veracity of the findings of Hager’s previous investigations, which include a landmark expose of New Zealand’s security and intelligence organisations in the 1990s, has never come under serious challenge.

Armstrong leads with Hager’s suggestion that NZ’s Bamiyan camp is home to intelligence officers, probably from the CIA. It’s a significant point, but for me, not the most important thing in the book. But it’s been fascinating to see the rest of the media fall into line. Stuff even changed its initial headline to pick up on the CIA claim. Radio NZ has followed suit.

At Hager’s press conference this afternoon, TVNZ’s Guyon Espiner suggested that it wasn’t surprising to find intelligence officers in a warzone, saying that when he was there, people were open about it. To which Keith Ng has responded:

It’s jawdropping that a reporter like Espiner could have been there, known about this, and just flat out considered it not worth reporting.

I gather that Hager will be interviewed by Kim Hill on Saturday morning. Should be well worth a listen.

You can check out Hager’s own description of the book on Scoop.

[Update. Just heard John Key discussing the book on Checkpoint. He said (a) there was no evidence for Hager’s claims; and (b) he hadn’t read the book. I hope other people find that as breathtaking as I do, given that the book contains more than 1300 footnotes, most of them referring to documentary sources.]

[Second update: The line on the CIA seems to be, simultaneously, that (a) they were not there, and (b) if they were, it was obvious to everyone.

I wonder if it’s too much trouble to ask the media to put a few questions from the book:

— Is it true that our personnel were under the control of the British and American forces?

— Did we have signals officers helping to locate targets for bombing? Did one of them fix targets in Pakistan?

— Did our own review find that our reconstruction efforts were “not sustainable in any way” and we were “not an effective aid provider” (and if so, then why were these conclusions redacted from the version of the review officially released to Hager?) How is this consistent with what we’ve been told?

— Didn’t Bruce Ferguson just admit on Morning Report this morning that, in response to concerns that we were taking a role in escorting US ships for the Iraq invasion, that he fixed things up? Wasn’t this an admission that we’d crossed the line and disobeyed government instructions? How did he get away with treating that as a denial?

— Does the government deny that any of the documents cited in the book exist (and if so which)? Does it say that material from those documents has been misquoted (and if so, where)?

— Given that the military and government have in recent times (I’m thinking of Jon Stephenson’s work) denied things and have subsequently been forced to admit that they happened, why should be believe their blanket assurances now?

— Who is “supporting the troops”? The military brass defending their conduct, or a journalist who’s interviewed many of them and is expressing their concerns?

— The big underlying issue: to what extent was there in fact a desire within the top levels of our defence and foreign affairs staff to return to closer relations with the United States, and a frustration with government and public attitudes that NZ should be more independent? How did that frustration manifest itself?]

Topics: General | 35 Comments »

35 Responses to “Other People’s Wars”

  1. mattb02 Says:
    September 2nd, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I always enjoy your blog Steve, and congratulations on the book going out.

    He said (a) there was no evidence for Hager’s claims; and (b) he hadn’t read the book. I hope other people find that as breathtaking as I do

    Perhaps I misunderstand your point Steve, but your view is the PM has to personally check references before passing comment on the book’s veracity?

    I believe Armstrong’s article said reporters were asked not to discuss the US presence; if true presumably a factor in Espiner not reporting it.

  2. Steven Says:
    September 2nd, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    My point: it’s moronic to claim that there is no evidence in a book that you haven’t looked at, and that is chock-full of… evidence. You can argue against the evidence he presents, or say it’s not very good. But it’s insulting to any thinking person to just come out and say there’s none there.

    Re not discussing presence. I think that might have been Vernon Small. First response: so they were there after all and we can put aside the denials? Second: what exactly is the harm they’re suggesting might come from reporting it, especially since we’re now given to understand that it was an open secret locally? Third: Did our journalists agree to every suggestion about their reporting made by their minders? Fourth: If we’re being required to feed information to US intelligence officials, isn’t that strikingly at odds with the image of our base that was presented to us by the very jounrnalists who now seem most miffed by Hager’s expose?

  3. Steven Says:
    September 2nd, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    PS. The congratulations should go to Nicky. This is the sort of journalism we rarely see in this country.

  4. sidney Says:
    September 2nd, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Thanks to you for doing the vetting. (And, of course, the congrats go to Nicky.) The response by *some* in the media is reminiscent of responses to Wikileaks, to Nicky’s other work, etc., which reflects some of the too-cosy relationship between themselves and the establishment. I notice Nicky was referred to on TV3 News as an “activist” and a “peace activist”. He’s not allowed to be a journalist. Same isn’t true of journos who switch between PR and journalism. They get to be called “journalists” even after working in PR, sometimes for politicos, not “PR operatives”. But the MSM is pretty hostile to Nicky, perhaps because his work is the kind of work they should be doing instead of endless, tedious stories about Top Models and the latest Shock, Horror, Probe crime. Sigh. I just hope he knows that there are a lot of Kiwis who appreciate his work, and hope the avalanche of vitriol he gets won’t deter him from doing more of it. All power to him and his ‘team’.

  5. christopher mitson Says:
    September 8th, 2011 at 12:30 am

    Mr Key is a very busy man so it’s not surprising he hasn’t read Nicky Hager’s book. He’s been busy for a long time – so busy he apparently can’t remember which side he was on during the 1981 Springbook Tour. You get that with busy people – I mean, postwar, how many Germans could remember how they voted in the elections which brought Adolf to power?

  6. DMPK Says:
    October 6th, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here|Read More|Read More Infos here|There you can find 30038 additional Infos|Informations to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  7. AME Says:
    October 7th, 2017 at 4:44 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Read More Infos here|There you can find 17794 additional Infos|Infos to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  8. friv Says:
    October 14th, 2017 at 9:09 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on|Find More|Find More Infos here|There you will find 86479 additional Infos|Informations on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  9. engineering.uodiyala.edu.iq Says:
    November 5th, 2017 at 6:14 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More here|Find More|Read More Infos here|Here you can find 60952 more Infos|Infos on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  10. cpns 2018 aceh pidie Says:
    November 21st, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on|Find More|Find More Informations here|Here you will find 52839 additional Informations|Infos on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  11. make money with a iphone Says:
    November 25th, 2017 at 7:44 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Find More Informations here|There you can find 60487 more Informations|Infos on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  12. arab Qanoon Says:
    December 21st, 2017 at 3:13 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More here|Find More|Find More Infos here|There you can find 43459 additional Infos|Infos to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  13. eng X Says:
    December 26th, 2017 at 9:10 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on|Find More|Read More Informations here|Here you can find 68804 additional Informations|Informations on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  14. iraqi Seo Says:
    December 26th, 2017 at 11:37 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More here|Find More|Read More Informations here|Here you can find 47842 more Informations|Informations to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  15. GVK biosciences Says:
    January 4th, 2018 at 6:21 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Read More Infos here|There you can find 1316 additional Infos|Informations to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  16. Aws law Diyala Says:
    January 9th, 2018 at 9:46 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Read More Infos here|There you can find 58853 additional Infos|Infos on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  17. http://wiki.umiz.at/index.php/Google_adwords_money_back_guarantee Says:
    February 10th, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Read More Informations here|Here you can find 88048 more Informations|Informations on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  18. ppc help Says:
    February 11th, 2018 at 8:17 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here|Read More|Read More Informations here|There you can find 44969 additional Informations|Informations to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  19. green coffee Says:
    February 24th, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More here|Find More|Read More Infos here|There you will find 3287 additional Infos|Infos to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  20. 루비게임 엘리트게임 루비게임주소 Says:
    March 15th, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Read More Informations here|There you will find 32937 additional Informations|Informations to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  21. Tree of Innovation Marketing Solutions Says:
    March 28th, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More here|Find More|Read More Informations here|Here you will find 53433 additional Informations|Infos on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  22. satta king Says:
    April 1st, 2018 at 2:15 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here|Read More|Read More Infos here|Here you can find 77199 additional Infos|Informations on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  23. testabol propionate 100 Says:
    May 5th, 2018 at 9:19 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on|Find More|Read More Infos here|Here you can find 83995 more Infos|Infos on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  24. forex signals Says:
    May 20th, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on|Find More|Find More Infos here|There you will find 28140 additional Infos|Informations to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  25. Predrag Says:
    May 29th, 2018 at 3:35 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Find More Informations here|There you can find 80031 additional Informations|Informations on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  26. horoscope by renstrom Says:
    June 3rd, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Find More Infos here|There you will find 10952 additional Infos|Infos to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  27. Online Casino Reviews Says:
    June 3rd, 2018 at 11:58 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Find More Informations here|There you will find 43818 more Informations|Informations to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  28. telefoonhoesjes Says:
    June 10th, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More here|Find More|Find More Informations here|There you will find 2133 additional Informations|Infos to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  29. h col Says:
    June 11th, 2018 at 9:20 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More here|Find More|Find More Infos here|There you will find 80895 additional Infos|Informations on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  30. sheffieldphotographer Says:
    June 26th, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here|Read More|Read More Informations here|Here you will find 80171 additional Informations|Infos on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  31. cheap online viagra Says:
    July 5th, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on|Find More|Read More Infos here|Here you will find 16059 more Infos|Infos to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  32. new casinos nz Says:
    July 9th, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on|Read More|Read More Informations here|There you can find 22711 more Informations|Informations to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  33. best casino bitcoin Says:
    July 14th, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More here|Read More|Read More Infos here|Here you will find 95157 more Infos|Infos on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  34. 토토사이트 Says:
    July 16th, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on|Find More|Read More Infos here|There you can find 25729 additional Infos|Infos to that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

  35. http://bitcoinsportsbook.info Says:
    July 17th, 2018 at 1:19 am

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on|Find More|Find More Informations here|Here you can find 57646 additional Informations|Informations on that Topic: medialawjournal.co.nz/?p=498 […]

Comments

You must be logged in to post a comment.