The Dim-Post

March 12, 2015

Bad guys

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 7:55 am
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The justification for the expansion of the GCSB’s powers back in 2013 to give them the power to spy on New Zealanders was that there are ‘bad guys’ in our country. Terrorists. Radicals. Evil-doers who would harm innocent civilians or attack the economic infrastructure of the country to further their own deranged agenda.

What the GCSB is actually doing, we’ve learned from the Snowden leaks, is spying on New Zealanders – and everyone else – in Tuvalu, and Kiribati, and the Cook Islands, and the Antarctic research bases. And at the same time the police appear powerless to apprehend an individual or group threatening to murder babies and cripple the New Zealand economy by poisoning infant milk powder.

We’ve learned that the function of the GCSB is primarily diplomatic. It buys us good relations with the US. The value of that is obvious to Americaphiles in the New Zealand establishment and less obvious to me, but that’s what it does. What we’re seeing this week is that there’s an opportunity cost to that. Having security agencies that are devoted to carrying out US policy means they undertake tasks that are totally unrelated to our security interests while ignoring actual security threats to New Zealand like, say, radicals threatening to poison the infant milk supply unless their demands are carried out.

46 Comments »

  1. Ah, but if moslems from Tuvalu were threatening to poison the milk supply for babies they would be all over it.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 12, 2015 @ 8:01 am

  2. I believe the GCSB was justifying their powers on the grounds that *external* bad guys were threatening New Zealand.

    The 1080-in-the-milk-powder people seem pretty clearly to be New Zealanders and therefore, in the logic of NZ’s current institutions, should have been spied on by the SIS and/or Police. And, because of the changes in 2013, they could have called on the GCSB for assistance.

    It seems hard to blame this “failure” on the GCSB. (I put failure in quotes because I’m not sure we could expect even the most invasive of surveillance systems to detect an anonymous letter making unlikely threats.)

    Comment by Thomas Beagle (@thomasbeagle) — March 12, 2015 @ 8:05 am

  3. “… because I’m not sure we could expect even the most invasive of surveillance systems to detect an anonymous letter…”

    WILL NO ONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN????

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 12, 2015 @ 8:09 am

  4. Word.

    These surveillance powers are promoted, and largely accepted by the wider populace, on the basis that they will protect us against “terrorists” or the threat du jour. The problem I have with that thesis is twofold; firstly intelligence agencies down the ages are continually being “surprised” by events; the latest being the eruption of ISIS out of Syria into Iraq last year. So history doesn’t really support that argument

    Secondly, and more problematically, it fails to distinguish between the threat of what the IRA called a “spectacular” (for example 9/11, Bali, Madrid and London 2005) and a sustained campaign of attacks. The latter is something intelligence is good at identifying and assisting in nullifying. But sustained terror campaigns are driven by pre-existing internal dynamics such as the IRA in Ireland and ETA in Spain. Here in New Zealand Maori have shown no such desire for radical action (the Te Urewera raids actually demonstrate this lack of radicalism).

    The primary threats of violent action therefore remain of the lone wolf scenario similar to Sydney and Charlie Hedbro, or as Danyl points out 1080 activists.

    A final point all of those involved in Sydney and Charlie Hedbro were either on a watchlist, or “known” to agencies. And yet they were able to carry out their attacks.

    The lesson is perhaps our spooks should be better at identifying these targets rather than indiscriminately sweeping up data at the NSA’s behalf.

    Comment by TerryB — March 12, 2015 @ 8:17 am

  5. Perhaps time for a good, hard and independent(?) look at the role of GSCB? Or would this be pointless in the current political climate? Paleo Martin

    Comment by paleomartin — March 12, 2015 @ 8:22 am

  6. @TerryB – your post should be printed out in 900 size font and stuck in every news room in the land. One would have to go a long way for a more succinct summation of the lie of the balderdash used to justify mass surveillance.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 12, 2015 @ 8:58 am

  7. I think your post is compelling on the face of it, but naive because it appears to assume that the geopolitical situation in the South Pacific, which arguably solidified when western and US imperial ambitions in China, didn’t happen. Even if we pretend that China couldn’t possibly have any ambitions, strategic, military or economic, in the Pacific, the example of Japan in WW2, would indicate that any neighbouring superpower, should it find it necessary, would be all over the region like a rash.
    Then it appears to equate acting upon the historically known about the strategic implications pf the region, as being as valid as being able to second-guess the unknowable, such as how the actions of a lone madman (or woman) might be predicted.
    The milk powder threat provides a compelling cause for criticising “spying on New Zealanders” because there is a threat to “murder babies”.
    So on one hand you appear to criticise the existence of the agencies involved for engaging in certain activities, which are based on an historically validated strategic concern, (apparently,notwithstanding The USA’s role in causing NZ not to to be invaded in WW2, because it’s for the USA), on the other, you appear to complain because you want to see more bang for your buck from those same agencies when it comes to second guessing some whack-job, who probably had too much to smoke one morning and thought this would be a capital prank.
    You wish the same agencies to operate a pneumatic drill, using the skills of a brain-surgeon. It’s unrealistic.

    Comment by Lee Clark — March 12, 2015 @ 9:22 am

  8. There seems to be something inconsistent about complaining that NZ spies by gathering unrestricted data abroad and then complaining about a failure to spy within to quickly solve this threat. If the original complaint, as it seemed, to be was that we shouldn’t spy willy nilly, how can one complain that spying over there willy nilly is distracting us from more effectively spying willy nilly here?

    Logically the complaint And at the same time the police appear powerless to apprehend an individual or group threatening to murder babies and cripple the New Zealand economy by poisoning infant milk powder. seems like a demand our police spy on everyone within New Zealand (to be effective) when it’s made as a comparison to spying abroad. Which calls into question the grounds for originally complaining about our spying abroad.

    Are we to take it Danyl does not object to wide spread spying on us, just that he objects to doing so for the U.S rather than our own interests?

    Comment by Fentex — March 12, 2015 @ 10:21 am

  9. Is this an argument for GCSB to spy on NZers?

    Comment by NeilM — March 12, 2015 @ 10:51 am

  10. Have you thought this through?

    The GCSB cast a wide net, they intercept telecommunications of everybody they can and apparently this generates some intelligence somehow. And within say a million people there is 1 person planning to do something they might catch them, but they probably won’t. This process offends everybody equally at a low-medium level.

    To change to them having a focus on actual likely threats will reduce the number of people being spied upon a hundredfold and so the chances of catching anyone within that group is much higher. But that group will be spied upon with a 100x more intensity. And that group will be highly offended, getting spied upon because you or one of your associates has a 1:10,000 chance of doing something isn’t welcomed.

    Which brings us to the kicker. That group will incorporate people who are actively, noisily, vocally opposed to our society, economy and/or government. People like you.

    Comment by unaha-closp — March 12, 2015 @ 11:13 am

  11. Is this an argument for GCSB to spy on NZers?

    No – it’s an argument that suggests the reasoning to extend GCSBs powers doesn’t hold water when we have an actual terrorist threat by a lone nutter who is presumably a New Zealander.
    It also makes the point that even thought the GCSB has the means and inclination to spy on NZers, no amount of electronic panty sniffing will stop a conspiracy of one.

    To whit, what is all this extended power actually relating to signals intelligence really for if it can’t actually either detect – or aid the Police in detecting – genuine domestic terror threats?

    Comment by Gregor W — March 12, 2015 @ 11:40 am

  12. Also to extend TerryB’s point, the efficacy of intelligence is generally a result of human rather than signals factors – it always has been.
    Signals will only ever provide patterns and inferences, unless you actually happen to hoover up a highly detailed plan to commit a terrorist act that is committed to an electronic format or a terrorist says on the phone “I’m going to blow up X”.
    This is why the Police have a network of informers as opposed to just wiretapping every crook in the country to see what their up to.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 12, 2015 @ 11:47 am

  13. @TerryB: “firstly intelligence agencies down the ages are continually being “surprised” by events; the latest being the eruption of ISIS out of Syria into Iraq last year. So history doesn’t really support that argument

    Trying to think objectively, though, how can we really measure this given the alleged nature of how intelligence agencies operate and the information that’s withheld? For all we know, we only hear about the instances when agencies are surprised, and yet at least in theory they might be deflecting or assisting with deflecting multiple threats which nobody hears of.

    But I tend to agree with the sentiment that the GCSB’s apparent role of sucking up information and using it to feed the Five Eyes’ obsession of being able to archive as much info as possible about what everyone in the world might have been thinking 20 years ago, just in case we need to look it up with a sophisticated retrieval system some day, seems primarily diplomatic.

    Comment by izogi — March 12, 2015 @ 11:51 am

  14. The US has a system where every piece of mail is photographed ( as part of the computerised mail handling system -it captures the front only of the mail) and kept as a digital image- for how long its not known.

    Considering we have the same sort of mail handling equipment ( now centralised at 3 sites in Auckland, Palmerston N, Christchurch), it seems that a likley avenue is to have narrowed down the Post office or mailbox it was dropped off

    Comment by ghostwhowalksnz — March 12, 2015 @ 12:00 pm

  15. Bob Scholum, Clint Rickards, Gordon Meyer and Mike Blowers are a few examples of how the Police can easily break the law. The continued abuse within the NZ Police force also occurs within the GCSB. There have been offical complaints laid against GCSB surveillance contractors via the Wellington High Court Registra with regard to blackmail attempts and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Cheryl Gywnn is aware of these complaints yet believes rogue employees should not be held up to scrutiny, essentially GCSB employees have immunity from the law and can do what they like. Regards Woz

    Comment by Woz — March 12, 2015 @ 12:15 pm

  16. I think Danyl’s GCSB/1080 comparison is a bit of a stretch.

    But fortunately he’s not the Prime Minister, who explicitly labels it terrorism, while reminding us that terrorism must be defeated (do you see what he did there?). Also not as big a stretch as Mike Hosking on Seven Sharp, who explicitly equated the poison blackmailer with the people trying to save an ancient kauri tree (yes, really), because … I dunno, because both greenie or something. He didn’t bother explaining his logic, probably because there isn’t any.

    With this level of insightful debate from our leader and leading TV broadcaster, the Dim-Post will struggle to keep up.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — March 12, 2015 @ 12:38 pm

  17. Trying to think objectively, though, how can we really measure this given the alleged nature of how intelligence agencies operate and the information that’s withheld? For all we know, we only hear about the instances when agencies are surprised, and yet at least in theory they might be deflecting or assisting with deflecting multiple threats which nobody hears of. Izogi 13

    Because it’s the big failures we already can see. As well as ISIL’s eruption out of Syria last year, there’s also the conspicuous lack of WMD in Iraq (I’ll accept there’s some political factors at play there), 9/11 itself, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the Iraqi attack on Iran and the granddaddy of them all: the fall of the Berlin Wall. Those are serious oversights which doesn’t inspire confidence in me.

    These cockups stem from GregorW’s point “the efficacy of intelligence is generally a result of human rather than signals factors – it always has been” and it’s here I think we should be really concerned. IMO this data collection (SIGINT) is being used as a substitute for the boots on the ground (HUMINT) approach. Michael Field on National Radio expanded on the points he made in the Dom-Post last week http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/66971139/new-zealand-right-to-spy-on-pacific-island-neighbours about the need to watch what goes on in the Pacific but SIGINT isn’t a great way of doing so; eyes on the ground is far more effective. The nuances of what’s happening are literally more visible.

    But if you rely on SIGINT then you miss those signs, and you fall into the fatal pattern of looking for what you expect to see. Terrorism doesn’t work like that it will take the unexpected route because often the actors involved don’t come from the conventionally trained school. 9/11 is the perfect example of such an approach but note also it’s a one time only approach by the terrorists. That probably doesn’t matter for them because by then the damage is done.

    There’s the practical point that indiscriminate data collection runs huge diplomatic risks: I’m staggered no-one was sacked when it emerged the NSA hacked Angela Merkel’s phone. What possible intelligence gain outweighed the loss of trust of that action? We run the same risk in the Pacific.

    We should be wary of giving wide powers to the State, there’s no guarantee that the powers will be used properly or that they will be effective. And sometimes those powers are used in completely unexpected ways: ask Iceland http://www.theguardian.com/business/2008/oct/10/banking-iceland

    Comment by TerryB — March 12, 2015 @ 1:54 pm

  18. The nuances of what’s happening are literally more visible.

    Precisely this. Also, SIGINT or ELINT will never tell you if you are being bullshitted as part of a counter-intelligence exercise.

    Given that redundant, highly flexible and decentralised comms and steganography are key hallmarks of effective 4GW strategies, its arguable that all this hovering up of data is at best a waste of money and resources to support a bloated intelligence apparatus in order to stay ‘in the club’ and at worst, cynically exploiting the terrorist boogeyman for opaque and unaccountable domestic national security purposes.

    I would like to think it’s the former.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 12, 2015 @ 4:25 pm

  19. *hoovering up all of this data

    Comment by Gregor W — March 12, 2015 @ 4:25 pm

  20. In my experience people who advocate 10 80 are anti; possum, rat, stoat, weasel, goat etc. those who are agin are usually hunters protecting their larders. Mike Hoskings must think his audience is stupid.

    Comment by Knob Endt — March 12, 2015 @ 5:45 pm

  21. “the granddaddy of them all: the fall of the Berlin Wall”

    Given that the Berlin Wall happened due to a verbal gaffe during a press conference, I think intelligence agencies are off the hook for not detecting it.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 12, 2015 @ 6:34 pm

  22. Mike Hosking’s audience is stupid.

    Comment by Rob — March 12, 2015 @ 6:36 pm

  23. ^both of them.

    Comment by Knob Endt — March 12, 2015 @ 7:39 pm

  24. *please delete previous comment: accidental double post there. Thanks

    What is intelligence? Spooks, the Police, journalists and activists all collect it. In the modern computer age, almost everyone does to some extent, even if only for the purpose of checking for potential affairs on Facebook, etc.

    We now live in a surveillance society. It’s not just State practices that are problematic. The easy availability of technology, intrusive IT services, and manuals on how to intrude on others is reflected in everything from the spooky prescience of investment bank transactions to the irritating brags of hackers on Twitter reminding is that nothing on the internet is private (a kind of very general threat that chills). The Government is both trying to address the threat of leaks or incursions while keeping the system as open as possible for themselves to penetrate, often to prevent the kind of leaks that would have been prevented if the system had been designed to protect users’ privacy. A great irony.

    For me the question is not so much whether surveillance is right or wrong in itself, but what it is being used for, and how it is used. A case in point: as a sometime activist, I was aware that myself and others were being monitored: I have the technical expertise to conduct counter-surveillance (it’s not that hard; if you are really worried, take an online course). Several revelations private and personal over the past year confirmed that. But I and other said activists were passing on intelligence, or information collected on a one-to-one basis, to the Department of Labour, among other officials. The information concerned human rights abuses – serious ones. They ignored them, or possibly sent that information to be verified by the security services – how would we know. But testimony about abuses (on fishing boats, as well as in other industries where migrant labour is common) did not stem. Complaints seemed to go unactioned. Clearly, those complaints might have affected our economic competitiveness against China and other countries working in the South Pacific.

    Again, what do we spy for? To protect human rights, or to protect our economic interests, which may involve spying on human rights activists actively passing on information to the Government about abuses, which is ignored because to do so may affect economic competitiveness (as well as being embarrassing for people closely connected to the National Party).

    I have directly being told about workers being starved, beaten, raped and tortured on fishing boats which are (according to Fairfax reports last year) being monitored by the Government for trafficking offences (drugs and asylum seeking, not human trafficking according to its modern definition). So have people fingered in the Whaledump leak.

    Interesting debate, but a few dots to be joined yet on the left. Started by reading Michael Field’s book on the fishing industry concurrently or consecutively with Hager’s latest, and reviewing comments about spying in the Pacific by our leaders. Do so and hopefully you will see I am making a worthwhile point.

    As for 1080, I support it’s use thanks GCSB and would never threaten children.🙂

    And, whoever said it, there is no substitute for human intelligence. We are a million different people from one day to the next. Any picture of me or you can be drawn for any purpose. We need our purposes respected, and our actions – not our thoughts, or comments made in anger – reviewed, and only when appropriate to respecting and upholding human dignity and human welfare.

    Comment by Will — March 12, 2015 @ 10:10 pm

  25. @ Knob Endt 20#

    I’m not so sure. At one time I would have agreed with you but here’s a true story that changed my mind on this:

    About 4 or 5 years ago I was headed to the Coromandel over the Christmas period and was stopped at the Kopu Bridge (this was when it was still a one way bridge) and on this particular day there were a bunch of anti 1080 protesters on either side of the bridge handing out leaflets. This in itself was innocent enough – if you have a particular bug up your arse about something, getting your point across to a lot of potentially like-minded people stuck in traffic might be a good way to go about it. However most of the crappy home-made signs they stuck up by the bridge had swastikas all over them and messages like ‘DOC are the new Nazis!’ which was plain fucking weird. The first thing I actually saw were the swastikas so my hackles were raised before I even saw that 1080 was their issue. From memory their leaflets were all about how most of the native bird life is wiped out where ever 1080 is dropped.

    Now I know it is pretty common on both sides of the blogosphere to paint your opposition as just the worst thing possible i.e. John Key = Hitler or Helen Clarke = Stalin, that’s one thing, but to have men, women and children standing on the side of the road on a blazing hot summers day and trying to muster up support from frustrated holiday makers by branding a relatively benign government department as Nazis, is something else entirely.

    These people did not look like hunters, nor did they look like like hippies gearing up for the Celtic Fair, just normal people that you would take a second glance at in the super market. Perhaps that’s what made it all the more bizarre and made the people seem all the more creepily fanatical, they genuinely believe that there is some deliberate bird holocaust being perpetrated by the government.

    In any case, when the 1080 in the milk powder story broke, this incident immediately sprang to mind and I was honestly not that surprised that a 1080 protester would threaten to poison milk powder. I would be surprised if they actually went through with it but then if someone truly believes that they are fighting to save all native bird life in NZ as we know it, maybe they would?

    Comment by Exclamation Mark — March 12, 2015 @ 10:41 pm

  26. It seems hard to blame this “failure” on the GCSB.

    That isn’t Danyl’s point. His point is that instead of spying on terrorist hotspots such as Kiribati and Tuvaluan, maybe we could use our limited resources more efficiently to apprehend domestic evil-doers.

    Comment by Ross — March 13, 2015 @ 6:39 am

  27. I was honestly not that surprised that a 1080 protester would threaten to poison milk powder.

    You are assuming that the letter-sender is a 1080 protestor.

    Comment by Ross — March 13, 2015 @ 6:53 am

  28. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11415142

    Anti-1080 campaigner Carol Sawyer said threatening babies was the “lowest of the low”.

    However, she believed the situation did raise a series of questions.

    “Why on earth have they taken from November to release the letter? … And who has access to pure 1080? It’s a highly deadly poison in its pure form, it should be kept under lock and key.”

    The pro-1080 lobby presumably has access to 1080…

    Comment by Ross — March 13, 2015 @ 7:01 am

  29. ZOMG! It’s a false flag! I bet it leads all the way back to the ninth floor! Wow, what won’t the Illuminati stoop to????

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 13, 2015 @ 7:25 am

  30. Wouldn’t it be mindblowing if those protestors had turned out to be The Exclusive Brethren?

    Comment by Lee Clark — March 13, 2015 @ 7:42 am

  31. These people did not look like hunters, nor did they look like like hippies gearing up for the Celtic Fair, just normal people that you would take a second glance at in the super market.

    Reminds me of when I cast out my first demon – talk about the banality of normal. Spotted two on the bus this morning, BTW.

    Comment by Joe W — March 13, 2015 @ 8:51 am

  32. [grumble] My lengthier response from last night seems to be stuck in a mod queue. Maybe it’ll show up some day.🙂

    “In any case, when the 1080 in the milk powder story broke, this incident immediately sprang to mind and I was honestly not that surprised that a 1080 protester would threaten to poison milk powder.”

    I’m not surprised either, but the anti-1080 “campaign” is really a conglomerate of countless random people who all have their own beliefs and motivations and standards for disliking 1080, and who don’t necessarily even agree on what outcome they want. It definitely has it’s share of looneys and conspiracy theorists, but also people who are simply concerned and (more to the extreme) terrified of things like an horrific poison getting into their water supply. This isn’t a single organisation or campaign group. It’s random people who are associated with a similar cause (“1080 is bad”), and maybe encounter each other if they join the same Facebook group.

    My own stance is that the science is both trustworthy and clear that sodium fluoroacetate in the ways that it’s being used is by a large margin the best way, rihgt now at least, to approach the problems it’s being used to solve, and that those problems are ones worth solving, and that claimed risks are overstated or based on old and irrelevant data, if not unrealistic. But I think it’s a shame that people who simply disagree on that are going to be associated with the absolute nut-job who dreamed up this way of protesting, either without thinking about the likely reaction and consequences, or by knowing exactly what was likely to come of it.

    Comment by izogi — March 13, 2015 @ 9:27 am

  33. “the granddaddy of them all: the fall of the Berlin Wall”

    Given that the Berlin Wall happened due to a verbal gaffe during a press conference, I think intelligence agencies are off the hook for not detecting it.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — March 12, 2015 @ 6:34 pm

    Not really. A good intelligence agency would have been aware that the edifice was crumbling rapidly and to expect developments. The speed with which it happened took the CIA by surprise (and for that matter the KGB – Putin was in East Germany at the time and he used his impeccable German to sweettalk protestors out of ransacking a station, thereby enabling potentially incriminating records to be destroyed) http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/12/01/quiet-german (BTW this is a very good read on Merkel)

    Comment by TerryB — March 13, 2015 @ 10:00 am

  34. A good intelligence agency would have been aware that the edifice was crumbling rapidly and to expect developments.

    Interestingly, the CIAs analysis was pretty accurate but was hijacked by Robert Gates, who, under William Casey, was pretty much responsible for politicising the CIAs analysis to talk up the Soviet threat.
    Talking shit, lying to oversight committees, selectively ignoring analysis and getting it completely wrong on numerous occasions certainly didn’t do any harm to Gates’ career.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 13, 2015 @ 12:18 pm

  35. I’m not surprised either, but the anti-fossil fuel “campaign” is really a conglomerate of countless random people who all have their own beliefs and motivations and standards for disliking fossil fuel, and who don’t necessarily even agree on what outcome they want. It definitely has it’s share of looneys and conspiracy theorists, but also people who are simply concerned and (more to the extreme) terrified of things like a trace gas getting into their air supply. This isn’t a single organisation or campaign group. It’s random people who are associated with a similar cause (“fossil fuel is bad”), and maybe encounter each other if they join the same Facebook group.

    Diya see what I did there?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 13, 2015 @ 1:20 pm

  36. @ ! Exclamation mark. Just sayin in ballance of the PM jumping to ‘Eco – terrorist’ with ‘gun nut,. Whoever made this threat is mentally unwell or too immature to realise the consequences of their threats.izogi I agree there should be an ongoing examination of how we manage our ecology.

    Comment by Knob Endt — March 13, 2015 @ 5:26 pm

  37. It’s a good possibility that the perps are of the Ted Kaczynski variety, or some other New World Order tin-foil hatter dogma. The kind of dogma that believes chemtrails, water fluoridation and vaccines are a United Nations cultural Marxist one-world government plot to chemically mind control the public. Or even the kind of dogma that thinks the Jews run the world and the Muslims are plotting to conquer Europe.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — March 13, 2015 @ 8:41 pm

  38. PS: in cases like the 1080 blackmail threat, there’s simply no substitute for good old-fashioned detective work. It worked neatly for the Rainbow Warrior bombing, and it also worked for tracking down the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — March 13, 2015 @ 8:44 pm

  39. KR, dislike of water fluoridation and vaccines are a good example of the “conglomerate of countless random people who all have their own beliefs and motivations and standards for disliking X”. All the folk I come across who are anti-flouros and vaccines, are at the hippy end of the scale of belief/worldview. They are often into aromatherapy. And most folk I know who are mindful of chemtrails think it is a visible manifestation of the CO2, and thus the rampant consumerism, that is frying the planet.
    Perhaps I should stop hanging out with hippies (hard in Wellington) or you should stop hanging out with gun nuts? Or did your stereotypical skeptic come from a Guardian article..?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 17, 2015 @ 1:21 pm

  40. Worth noting the anti-fluoridation movement had its origins in Red Scare MacCarthyism.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_fluoridation_controversy#Communist_conspiracy_theory_.281940s-1960s.29

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — March 17, 2015 @ 1:51 pm

  41. I’m proudly anti-fluoridation. Not because of communists or mind control but because it makes the water taste, figuratively, like shit.

    Comment by Phil — March 17, 2015 @ 2:18 pm

  42. “40.Worth noting the anti-fluoridation movement had its origins in Red Scare MacCarthyism”

    Worth noting that many Marxists were enthusiastic supporters of eugenics. And Thatcher was “concerned” about global warming. History is interesting, ain’t it?

    From that link: “Water fluoridation has frequently been the subject of conspiracy theories.”
    Lol: “cAGW skepticism has frequently been the subject of conspiracy theories about Big Oil funding.”

    Seriously, are you really saying that it isn’t the hippies you know that are mostly opposed to vaccines, GM foods and fluoridation?
    Most right-wingers I know are only opposed to COMPULSORY vaccination. They all vaccinate their children, regardless. A bit like how I’m for complete legalisation of pot, but wouldn’t bother with it, myself.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 17, 2015 @ 2:28 pm

  43. Clunking Fist wrote; “And most folk I know who are mindful of chemtrails think it is a visible manifestation of the CO2, and thus the rampant consumerism, that is frying the planet.”

    the only people who have tried to convince me that chemtrails are real are people who believe global warming is a hoax, and suggest that chemtrails are how the hoaxers create changes in climate to point to as evidence of global warming.

    Comment by Can of Worms, Opened — March 17, 2015 @ 8:31 pm

  44. So we’re agreed then: that all you’ve got is US data.

    1. Amanda Marcotte – what can I say? You need only look at her articles to see what her agenda is.
    2. So Glenn Beck is an idiot for believing what he reads on the internet? He’s waded into a discussion the same way castle-Huhges weighed in on global warming: without a real clue, since it’s not their area.
    3. From that article “At the same time, research is focusing on how clusters of people who don’t vaccinate their kids pose perhaps the greatest risk — a new study in Pediatrics finds that many of these clusters are in very politically liberal areas of California like “northern San Francisco and southern Marin County.””

    I guess Penn n Teller are wishy washy left wing liberals:

    Comment by Clunking Fist — March 20, 2015 @ 1:44 pm

  45. I don’t agree with absolutely every viewpoint of Penn & Teller, but at least they’re logical about it – their marijuana segment comes to mind. And in this day and age, strange bedfellows aren’t unusual when a libertarian-ish fella like Ron Paul and a wetter-than-wet liberal like Ralph Nader can sing from the same songbook on certain burning issues. Such as mass surveillance and corporate welfare.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — March 20, 2015 @ 9:46 pm


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