No Minister

Hunting down political dissent – where does it end?

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On Saturday, after reading about a man who lost his job because of allegations by anonymous individuals published in the Dominion Post newspaper, Karl du Frense asks: Who represents the greater threat to democracy right now – Action Zealandia or the Dominion Post?

I see Stuff’s feverish witch-hunt for malignant local government election candidates has claimed a victim.

The Dominion Post reports today that Jordan Milburn, a candidate for Upper Hutt City Council, has quit his job at the Civil Aviation Authority “after allegations he had ties with neo-Nazi group Action Zealandia”

What we are seeing is political dissenters on the fringes of what is considered acceptable to the mainstream, being targeted and picked off, one by one.

Who made these allegations? According to the Dominion Post, a group calling itself Paparoa. And who is Paparoa? Good question. The paper doesn’t bother to tell us.

I found what appeared to be Paparoa’s website and it offers no clue whatsoever to the identities of the people behind it. Neither does a link to it from a UK-based website called Hope Not Hate.

All the Paparoa website reveals is that it “researches the far right in Aotearoa and works with journalists, academics and activists to counteract their hate”. No names, just an email address. A “spokesperson” for Paparoa was quoted in an earlier Dominion Post story but not identified.

I would not be surprised if the Tweeter, @Te_taipo (whose series of tweets I started with in this post) is involved with Paparoa in some way. Especially given his last tweet above, where he says he has forwarded to investigative journalists his list of people connected to VFF, another group being targeted by activists and journalists. Today, you might think that the Dominion Post is just aiming to prevent their election to local councils, but who knows if tomorrow those same candidates will have trouble keeping their employment or finding further work.

So on the basis of “allegations” by this anonymous group – a group every bit as shadowy and conspiracy-obsessed as any on the far-Right, judging by its website – the Dominion Post “outed” Milburn last week. And now it reports that he’s lost his job, the clear implication being that he was forced to quit – or the CAA felt pressured to get rid of him – because of what the Dominion Post revealed.

Is this what we’ve come to? A once-reputable newspaper hounding citizens on the basis of accusations by conspiracy theorists whom we’re supposed to regard as credible even though the paper doesn’t identify them?

What makes it even worse is the note of satisfaction in today’s Dominion Post story about Milburn losing his job. I’m surprised the headline didn’t read “Gotcha!” 

The anonymous Paparoa is most likely well known to the journalists who use their information. They have been operating for a while now, visible to those who have been paying attention. While I’m glad that more people are noticing and becoming alarmed by the tactics, it also means that it’s escalating.

Hooked on this method of destroying their political opposition, having already tasted blood the blood of their enemies, they have become emboldened as they hunt for more victims, with the likes @Te_taipo handing them those those victims on a platter. However daunting this state of affairs is to those that are aware, the worst thing we could do is stay silent. It doesn’t stop because you are quiet, and instead gathers momentum as it continues unopposed.

Capsized: Blood in the Water | Screen rant

I’ve haunted since the weekend by a colourised photo of young girl, who was photographed after being brutally bashed in the face by a prison guard in the WWII Auschwitz concentration camp. In this photo, she is wearing a red triangle, which indicates she was in the camp for political reasons.

Czeslawa Kwoka

Kwoka, who was not Jewish, was deported from the Zamosc region of southeastern Poland to Auschwitz. She arrived in the Nazi camp on December 13, 1942 along with 318 other women, including her mother, Katarzyna, who would die two months later. The 14-year-old girl was murdered on March 12, 1943 with a lethal injection into the heart.

Auschwitz color photo: ‘A 14-year-old girl, not just a statistic’ | DW

My mother was born not far from Auschwitz and by the time of the girl’s death, four months after the photo was taken, my mother was almost three years old. I tell you this to show the family connection I have to the area, even though I’ve never been there.

I can also imagine that people in that area would likely not believe that a 14 year old girl, could be murdered by an injection in heart, until had already happened. In reality, who would want to believe that could ever happen, anywhere. least of all anywhere close to where you live. Yet, it did happen. Human beings can be and have been utterly inhumane to others, especially once moral restraints are removed. If it happened there, it can happen anywhere.

So, I think about how far people have gone with regards to removing political opposition in the past, and I wonder if we have the imagination and humility to recognise the steps that take civilisations into darkness, without pridefully believing that nothing bad could ever happen here.

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Written by Lucia Maria

September 29, 2022 at 1:49 pm

Posted in New Zealand

14 Responses

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  1. In a rather desperate attempt to find a silver lining I could argue that having these assholes highlight all the VFF-associated/affiliated local body candidates means that I know who to vote for. 🙂

    Tom Hunter

    September 29, 2022 at 1:58 pm

  2. One of the jokes here of course is supplied, perhaps unwittingly, by a Man Of The Left, Chris Trotter, They Call It “Democracy” – But They’re Lying.:

    ON THE EVIDENCE to date, the turnout for this year’s local government elections will plumb new depths. Some will blame indifference, others apathy, and a courageous few will interpret the record low turnout as proof that democracy itself is failing.

    The case that democracy is failing – or has already failed – is a strong one.

    To be fair to Chris he (for once) does not damn the Council bureaucracies as “neo-liberal” creations and does not lament the lack of Left-wing ideas they’ve implemented – likely because when it comes to Public Transport, bicycle paths, Climate Change and Diversity, Inclusion and Equity I’d think it would be hard to argue that Councils, especially the big city ones, are not pushing these as hard as they can.

    But what he does lament lies at the heart of this:

    Most councillors long ago gave up being representatives of the people in favour of becoming rubber-stamps for the Council bureaucracy. Money-wise, it has proved to be a very good deal. The ordinary Auckland City Councillor stands to receive a “base remuneration” of $107,794.

    Tom Hunter

    September 29, 2022 at 2:39 pm

    • His whole piece is horrifying. If Chris’s example is based on a reality he is aware of, it’s far worse than I thought was possible.

      In a sense, though, it does justify not voting. However, I doubt that most people are aware of how pointless voting has become.

      Lucia Maria

      September 29, 2022 at 4:08 pm

  3. “Czeslawa” – Thaw was my mothers middle name.

    Porky Roebuck

    September 29, 2022 at 3:01 pm

    • Another Pole! 🙂

      Lucia Maria

      September 29, 2022 at 4:17 pm

  4. Oh how far we come in 5 years or so.
    Does anyone remember how we were all about diversity and multiculturalism?. I guess they were just seasonal catchy feel good phrases which have gone out of fashion.

    Uncoffined

    September 29, 2022 at 3:59 pm

    • Or they were Trojan horses that were discarded once they served their purpose.

      Lucia Maria

      September 29, 2022 at 4:14 pm

  5. “Money-wise, it has proved to be a very good deal. The ordinary Auckland City Councillor stands to receive a “base remuneration” of $107,794.” – OMFG – My old borough of RBWM is £8,260, less than $20,000. They are all troughing

    Whiskey&Pie

    September 29, 2022 at 5:15 pm

    • Each Auckland councillor represents about 85,000 people. It is pretty much a full time job. So in my view the salary is quite appropriate. In fact each councillor should have a local office with a full time staff member accountable to them. A lot of the work is representing their constituents. This would also help balance the influence of the Council bureaucracy, by helping in councillor research.

      waynemapp

      September 29, 2022 at 9:53 pm

      • So in my view the salary is quite appropriate… A lot of the work is representing their constituents.

        Of course, of course, of course…. scoffs oysters. Tucks shirt in over bulging stomach. Chews moustache. Takes sip of Port. Burps. Wipes mouth. Lights cigar.

        Minister, we don’t measure our success by results but by activity and the activity is considerable and productive. Those 500 people are seriously overworked. Of course, the full establishment should be 650.

        Tom Hunter

        September 29, 2022 at 11:26 pm

      • Hardly a serious comment. The usual insults, from which you can never restrain yourself. Why don’t you address the actual issue. Do you think 20 councillors is too many? Can the job, in a city of 1.7 million, be done by say 10? Do they need to be full time? If not what would they actually do? Approve the annual budget, have one monthly oversight meeting and let the officials do the rest?
        Look, I don’t know you, but I think your continual personal attacks are simply not reasonable.

        waynemapp

        September 30, 2022 at 5:40 am

      • “representing their constituents”

        Is that mappspeak for rubber stamping policies concocted by council bureaucrats?

        Example: Auckland’s Tupuna Maunga Authority, a money pit of part-Maori ideologues who waste money on demented projects like removing all exotic trees from Auckland’s volcanic cones, while incapable of ensuring basic maintenance is done – with zero pushback from wimpy councillors afraid of being called “racist”.

        Harry

        September 30, 2022 at 10:23 am

      • Gosh, how did the human race ever survive without bureaucracy and taxes then?

        Uncoffined

        September 30, 2022 at 10:40 am


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