August 03, 2007
The Rise of the Neo-Coms
RISE OF THE NEO-COMS
The Socialists Are Back
New Zealand’s new communists wear designer jeans, frequent Ponsonby and Thorndon, are hypocrites-extraordinaire, and have far more influence than Karl Marx ever fantasised. IAN WISHART discovers the links between radical socialism and radical Islam in New Zealand
A major investigative article in this magazine exposing radical Islam’s growing stranglehold on New Zealand mosques has flushed out an unlikely bunch of bedfellows, and the return of some old favourites. As you will have seen in this month’s Letters pages, more than 150 people have now signed a hate-letter to Investigate for daring to delve into visits by Islamic terror-fundraisers to New Zealand...
But the letter is surprising for one big reason: the huge number of socialists and local “moderate” Muslims prepared to condone the most extreme form of Islamofascism: the Wahhabi Salafist strain followed by the al Qa’ida terror group.
Here’s what the signatories wrote in a preface to their letter published on the Scoop website:
“The March 2007 edition of Investigate magazine carried a lengthy article by Ian Wishart which claimed that the New Zealand Muslim community is being infected by ‘Islamic extremism’. Mr Wishart's 18-page rant is New Zealand's first full-on example of Islamophobic gutter journalism,’ said Grant Morgan, organiser of RAM Residents Action Movement.
"The most basic fact is that nobody in the New Zealand Muslim community has ever been charged with any act of 'terrorism', let alone convicted. That puts the lie to his propaganda of fear, suspicion and hate."
Morgan deliberately overlooks the Saudi men discovered in Hamilton trying to photocopy flight manuals for Boeing 757 jetliners – the same aircraft that were used in the 9/11 attacks just a few months later. Morgan also ignores the discovery that a roommate of the 9/11 hijackers at the time was later found living in New Zealand. Morgan ignores the plans for Sydney’s Lucas Heights nuclear reactor found in an Auckland house used by former members of the Afghan mujihadeen.
Most of all however, Morgan and the 160 or so “useful idiots” who signed his letter deliberately ignore that the local Muslim community have been inviting Islamic clerics with documented links to terrorism, to come to New Zealand and run youth camps and lectures.
Morgan’s letter talks of “our Muslim community” and “peaceful Muslims”, yet those same people invited guests here whose published literature, DVDs and comments include such gems as:
• “The clash of civilisations is a reality. Western culture ...is an enemy of Islam.” – Bilal Philips • “We know the Prophet Muhammed practiced it [marrying a 9 year old girl], it wasn’t abuse or exploitation” – Bilal Philips • “There is no such thing as a Muslim having a non-Muslim friend” – Khalid Yasin • “This whole delusion of the equality of women is a bunch of foolishness...there’s no such thing” – Khalid Yasin • “If you prefer the clothing of the [infidels] over the clothing of the Muslims, most of those names that’s on most of those clothings [sic] is faggots, homosexuals and lesbians” – Khalid Yasin • “Tried, convicted...punishable by death” – Khalid Yasin on the penalty for being gay • “Are you ready to die?” – essay by Siraj Wahhaj on jihad martyrdom • “The blessing of death” – essay by Siraj Wahhaj on the need for jihad • “The easy way to Paradise – how to get there” – essay by Siraj Wahhaj on the benefits of becoming an Islamic jihadi • “Kill Jews and worshippers of the Cross...as well as Hindus” – book worked on by Yahya Ibrahim • “Islam is a religion of peace” – Siraj Wahhaj talking to Western reporters
On the strength of those claims, all documented in our March article (now available online) from firebrand Wahhabi fanatics who’ve been teaching New Zealand Muslims for at least seven years, Investigate can only conclude that the list of signatories to Grant Morgan’s letter not only endorse such Islamic hatespeech, they also welcome it in New Zealand and believe local “peaceful” Muslims should bring more of these preachers out here.
In their letter, the signatories accuse Investigate of suggesting “that all Muslims adhere to the same ideas, and from this absurd generalisation he attempts to link peaceful Muslims to violent extremists.”
Investigate did not have to “attempt” to link anything: local peaceful Muslims invited the scum of Islam to New Zealand for lecture tours every year, while encouraging followers to read their books and watch their DVDs.
Are the invited guests “violent extremists”? Some were conspirators in terror plots to blow up New York landmarks. Others frequently talk of a coming battle between Islam and the West:
“It is abundantly clear that the big battle is inevitably coming,” said invited guest Yahya Ibrahim, “and that the Word of Tawheed (Islam) will be victorious without a doubt.”
Siraj Wahhaj told journalists that America and the West “will be crushed” unless they “accept the Islamic agenda”.
But no, the fact that men with opinions like these are the star attraction in peaceful New Zealand mosques is merely – according to Morgan in a Three-Wise-Monkeys impersonation – an attempt at “negative transference”.
Morgan wants “all New Zealand communities, including our Muslim sisters and brothers, to unite for peace,” but it seems that could be difficult if local Muslims take the advice of the hate preachers listed above.
According to the signatories, they are ordinary New Zealanders extending the hand of friendship to local Muslims and fighting Islamophobia on their behalf. But as you’re about to discover, many of the signatories are far from ordinary, and the groups they affiliate with are linked to support of extremist Islam in Britain as well. They are, in fact, a 21st century manifestation of an old Western foe – Soviet-style communism.
In a stunning display of dishonest hypocrisy and chutzpah, the Neo-Coms last year shot their mouths off about the Exclusive Brethren failing to list their religion on an election pamphlet, yet as you’ll see from the letter to Investigate, few of the most interesting signatories to us told anywhere near the full truth about who they are and what they represent.
Of the 163 signatures listed randomly in the letter, only two – Vaughan Gunson and Warren Brewer, declared themselves openly to be socialists. But an Investigate inquiry, coupled with revelations posted on Act party member Trevor Loudon’s blog, has shown a full 40 – at minimum, are socialists or communists, with potentially a further 20 falling into those categories as well.
Why would organisations so vocal about the apparent failure of the Brethren to be open, themselves be involved in a much larger covert exercise to disguise the political organisations they represent behind a series of entities with misleading names?
Take Grant Morgan, for instance, who organised the hate-letter. Morgan lists himself merely as “the organiser of RAM, Residents Action Movement”, which gained nearly 10% of the vote at the last Auckland Regional Council election in 2004. RAM portrays itself as standing up for the rights of Auckland residents in fighting rates hikes and the like. It arguably should be forced to stand at this year’s local body elections under its real name: Socialist Worker. RAM, you see, is merely a front organisation for the New Zealand branch of the radical British communist organisation, Socialist Worker.
Robyn Hughes, listed as the second signatory to the hate-letter, is a RAM member elected to the ARC. She just happens to be Grant Morgan’s partner, although this point, like the socialist background of both of them, is deliberately not declared.
But if you think this article is going to be an earnest hunt for “Reds under the Beds”, forget it, this hunt is hilarious in what it discloses about Neo-Coms. Did you know, for instance, that they still talk like party apparatchiks from a bad Cold War spy movie?
“I joined Socialist Worker,” David Colyer told an international socialist paper three years ago, “in 1997, my first year of university. I’d been a Marxist, in theory, for several years before that. The comrades, none of whom were students of the university, encouraged me to help build a movement.”
Did he just use the word “Comrades” in 2004?
“We want to replace the Labour Party with a new mass workers’ party, one in which...Marxists participate fully,” Colyer continued, veering onto his plans for a “broad left” newspaper, “which will include contributions from Socialist Worker [and] may well become the most important vehicle for spreading socialist ideas...We are still going to need some kind of Socialist Worker publication, around which to organise a Marxist current within the workers’ movement.”
And you thought Communism’s wombles had given up the ghost with the collapse of the Berlin Wall? Apparently not. They fever away to this very moment plotting the “revolution”.
“Here in Aotearoa,” notes a recent post on Socialist Worker’s blogsite, unityaotearoa.blogspot.com, “there are a number of events to remobilise the Anti War Movement. This Saturday will be an Anti-Imperialist St Patricks Day.”
Internationally, some members of the socialist groups organising “peace” marches have taken to wearing tinfoil hats in the hope of avoiding CIA “mindscans”. The CIA, however, takes the much simpler route of reading their online posts, some of which will have you rolling on the floor in hoots of laughter.
“If more decisive measures on global warming aren’t taken,” panted communist ARC councilor Robyn Hughes breathlessly during an Auckland protest last November, “Queen St may be under water in a generation...and then we will be swimming, not obeying road rules.”
Oh really? Even in Al Gore’s rib-tickling Inconvenient Truth it isn’t suggested that sea levels will rise by 3 to 4 metres in 25 years. Or even a hundred years. Sixty centimetres, at most, 10 centimetres more likely.
Regardless of how you rate their chances, the tinfoil hat brigade are still intent on world domination, however, with Peter Boyle – the editor of socialist magazine Links - citing “a new climate of collaboration in the international left. This is a project involving the left from the Communist Party, the Trotskyist, Maoist, ex-Social Democratic, independent left and liberation theology (‘Christian’ Marxism) traditions.”
A guest speaker at these international communist gatherings is New Zealand’s own Matt McCarten, the telegenic former advisor to the Alliance and Maori parties who’s now behind Socialist Worker and its plans to introduce a new hard left political party before the next election.
As Trevor Loudon notes:
“He began building a movement called the Workers Charter Movement, as the basis for a new mass-based political movement. The WCM was based around the Socialist Workers Organisation (and its front, the Residents Action Movement), elements of the Greens and Maori Party, the ‘Unite’ trade union, the late Bill Andersen’s Socialist Party of Aotearoa, and John Minto and Mike Treen’s Global Peace and Justice Aotearoa.”
The activities of the “comrades” wouldn’t normally be an issue, except for the fact that they have friends in high places.
Prime Minister Helen Clark, for example, has been a card-carrying member of Socialist International for most of her political career, and was a keynote speaker at Socialist International’s world conference in Wellington seven years ago. The organisation’s website lists the NZ Prime Minister as a member of its ruling “Presidium”, in the capacity as “co-chair, Asia Pacific Committee”.
Clark has appointed other key socialists to commanding positions in New Zealand’s bureaucratic infrastructure. They include Human Rights Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan, and Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres.
Of de Bres, Trevor Loudon records:
“While studying German at Auckland University (1965-68) de Bres became active in the Student Christian Movement. Like many Marxist groups, the SCM hid it's real emphasis behind an innocuous name. Far from being a bunch of clean cut spiritual seekers, the SCM was and is a "Christian-Marxist" organisation.
“ ‘I studied Marx, Engels and Lenin, Marcuse, Rosa Luxemburg, Frantz Fanon, and modern German writers of the revolutionary left. Students saw their hope for revolutionary change in an alliance with the working classes, through radicalised trade unions. They had nearly pulled it off in Paris in 1968,’ [said de Bres].”
De Bres, among many incarnations, once ran the CORSO ‘charity’, which was a front organisation for the Maoist Chinese brand of communism, and later joined some of his old CORSO colleagues in setting up OXFAM New Zealand.
“OXFAM NZ tends to focus its aid into countries that have active revolutionary movements,” writes Loudon. “This is not surprising as its staff, trustees and patrons include a significant proportion of socialists and Marxist-Leninists.”
It is de Bres’ Human Rights Commission, with Helen Clark, that is ramming through the “National Religious Diversity Statement” in time for a declaration at Waitangi on May 29 that New Zealand is no longer a Christian country, and that New Zealand is adopting as Government policy the highly controversial “Alliance of Civilisations” programme commanded by the United Nations.
Unlike those who value Western civilisation and its traditions based on Judeo-Christian laws and institutions, the “Alliance of Civilisations” project rules that all cultures, from Stone-Age and recently cannibalistic Papua New Guinea through to the US, are equal.
“There is no hierarchy among cultures, as each has contributed to the evolution of humanity.”
The Alliance of Civilisations, incidentally, was the brainchild of Turkey’s Islamic Party Prime Minister – whose party is currently at the centre of riots in Turkey over suspicions of a plot to turn the country into an Islamic state – and also the socialist Prime Minister of Spain, whose Socialist Workers party swept to power after the al Qa’ida Madrid bombings. Under his stewardship, Spain pulled out of Iraq and legalised gay marriage.
Unlikely bedfellows, the socialist and the Islamic conservative? Perhaps, but it reflects a fascinating development worldwide.
As the hate-letter to Investigate magazine reveals, a huge number of Neo-Coms are swinging in behind Muslim groups and individuals in a PR jihad against Investigate. But it is not just New Zealand. Socialist Worker’s sister parties in Britain and Australia are doing exactly the same thing:
“The Australian media, working hand in hand with the Howard government and the opposition Labor Party, has seized upon a sermon delivered last month by a Sydney-based Islamic cleric to escalate its hysterical campaign against Muslims,” begins one report earlier this year in a socialist publication across the ditch.
“Last Thursday, the Australian published translated excerpts from a sermon delivered by Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali last month, in which the Muslim cleric appeared to blame rape victims for their plight. ‘She is the one wearing a short dress, lifting it up, lowering it down, then a look, then a smile, then a word, then a greeting, then a chat, then a date, then a meeting, then a crime, then Long Bay Jail, then comes a merciless judge who gives you 65 years,’ he said. This was an apparent reference to the extraordinarily harsh sentence imposed on 20-year-old Bilal Skaf for gang rape convictions in Sydney six years ago.”
Pause for just a moment: the Socialist movement in Australia is describing the prison sentences handed down to a group of Lebanese men who gang-raped an Australian girl just because she was an “infidel” as “extraordinarily harsh”?
Nice to know where the tinfoil socialists really stand on women’s rights.
“There is now an inescapable necessity for all those opposed to militarism and war, and committed to the defence of democratic rights, to develop an independent political opposition to the xenophobic campaign being directed against Muslims,” the report continued.
And from Socialist Worker’s New Zealand blog:
“Even amongst revolutionary socialists, there is...Socialist Worker proudly on the side of Muslim people fighting Islamophobia in countries like Aotearoa and Britain.”
In other words, if you think the hate-letter to Investigate is anything more than part of a worldwide political stunt, think again.
NZ Labour list candidate, Anjum Rahmun of the Islamic Women’s Council, told a rally in Auckland two years ago that Muslims need to wage jihad against “those in our society who will use race and religion to divide us.”
This is the same Anjum Rahmun who signed the hate-letter, but left off the bit about being a Labour list candidate. A bigger question though is why Rahmun is not urging her fellow local Muslims to wage jihad against their guests Yahya Ibrahim, Khalid Yasin, Bilal Philips and Siraj Wahhaj for commanding that Muslims cannot be friendly with non-Muslims. If that jihad notice went out from the local “peaceful” mosques, Investigate missed it.
It is hard to work out which group is playing the role of “Useful Idiots” – the puppet of the other. Is radical Wahhabi Islam using atheistic socialists to help get a toehold in New Zealand? Or are the socialists simply taking gullible Muslims for a ride as part of their own schemes? The evidence strongly suggests the latter.
The Alliance of Civilisations document, for example, is 90% socialist ideology, and continues the aim originally spelt out by Karl Marx of abolishing national borders as part of a unified world, and encouraging greater immigration from the third world to the first.
“The solution is not to build walls around nations,” says the report. “Migrants make important contributions...Indeed, Muslim immigrants to the US, on average, have higher levels of education and are more affluent than non-Muslim Americans.
“Political, civil society and religious leadership in the West can help set the tone within which debates regarding immigration take place by speaking forcefully and publicly in defense of the rights of immigrants.
“American and European universities and research centres...should promote publications coming from the Muslim world on a range of subjects related to Islam and the Muslim world.”
The Alliance of Civilisations report, whilst stopping short of recommending outright censorship of the news, nonetheless recommends that sympathetic media outlets be identified to promote the goals of greater immigration and integration, and be encouraged to produce good-news stories about Islam whilst downplaying the negative.
“The Alliance of Civilisations should take advantage of major media, cultural and sports events for the promotion of its objectives.”
The report, due to be adopted by the New Zealand Government later this month, is a public propaganda campaign almost without precedent outside Nazi Germany. David Benson-Pope’s Ministry of Social Development is working on it, and a briefing document released this month explains some of it:
“The Waitangi Dialogue will focus on the broad themes of peace, development, security and education, and aims to develop a plan of action with proposals for practical projects in these areas. The overall emphasis of the Waitangi meeting will be on developing relations – or building bridges – between faith communities.
“High Level Symposium on the Alliance of Civilisations Report: Auckland, New Zealand, 24 May 2007 The New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark, with co-sponsorship by the government of Norway, will host a high level symposium in Auckland on 24 May 2007 to discuss the report of the Alliance of Civilisations High Level Group.
“Prime Minister Clark wishes to ensure that the report receives full consideration including in the Asia-Pacific region. The symposium, which will be by invitation only, will bring together a small group of leaders, community representatives and experts to discuss the implications of the report for the region. Norway’s involvement will bring to the event the benefit of its considerable expertise as a leader in peace and reconciliation processes.”
As the letter-writer to Investigate put it:
“Basically the Alliance of Civilisations is a UN strategy whereby the secularism of the West can accommodate Islam peacefully - the focus appears to be on reconciliation of secularism with Islam with isolation of evangelicalism. Helen Clark has recently stated that NZ is no longer a Christian country. - meaning that Evangelical Christianity no longer has a place in NZ. It will be interesting to see who attends (‘by invitation only’) the coming meetings in NZ on the AoC, which Helen states she is going to personally facilitate, and who is not going to be invited - this may tell a story in itself.”
Which brings us back to the Socialists and Muslims’ Letter of Hate. Suddenly, with the revelation that die-hard tinfoil-hat wearing communists are using Muslims as “useful idiots”, the socialist-inspired Alliance of Civilisations document starts to make sense, especially with Helen Clark listed as the Asia-Pacific chair of Socialist International on their website, www.socialistinternational.org, in its report of the 2004 Socialist International World Council meeting held in Madrid that February.
“New Zealand is hosting the first symposium on the Alliance of Civilisations’ report in the Asia-Pacific region next month,” Clark said in an April 2007 speech in Valencia attended by the Spanish Prime Minister.
“It will be followed by a meeting in our country of the regional interfaith dialogue which brings together multi- faith delegations from South East Asian and South Pacific nations.
“The Asia Pacific region is at the intersection of many of the world’s great faiths. Peace and security in our region, as throughout the world, are dependent on us breaking down the artificial barriers we human beings have built between ourselves, so that we can celebrate our common humanity.
“We applaud Spain, together with Turkey, co-sponsoring the Alliance of Civilisations initiative at the United Nations. That has led to an important report on how to overcome the distressing polarisation we have seen between the Western and Islamic worlds...I believe that New Zealand’s close involvement in the affairs of the Asia Pacific make us of much greater interest to Spain at this time.”
Little wonder then, that New Zealand socialists are moving swiftly to try and prevent Investigate’s revelations from gaining wider traction or interfering with the implementation of the Alliance of Civilisations here.
Independent media, like Investigate, who dare to expose the arrival of extremist Wahhabism in New Zealand are targeted in the hope we’ll be intimidated into backing away from publishing further details.
But don’t expect other local media to report this. Socialist groups have also managed to buy the silence of most of the New Zealand news media, by offering inducements via the Media Peace Awards. The awards were set up in 1984, at the height of anti-nuclear protests worldwide, with the aim of encouraging reporting favourable to Peace Foundation causes. The Peace Foundation is another socialist front agency (see sidebar story). For the record, Investigate magazine has never entered them, but regular entries are received each year from:
North & South
North & South’s Jenny Chamberlain took the premier award in 2006. A year earlier it was her editor Robyn Langwell. The year before that it was North & South again, with both Metro and the Listener “highly commended”.
This is not to say that winners and finalists have not done good work, but as with any “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” arrangement it is journalistically ethically questionable whether any media should take part in a Media Peace Awards requiring them to give favourable coverage to a particular socio-political view. For example, would Investigate’s expose on Wahhabi Islam win a prize?
Journalism should only be judged on its news value, not its propaganda value. The obvious answer shows how the media can be bought and paid for with a few crumbs and a pat on the head.
The Media Peace Awards encourage slanted reporting. If you see a media outlet crowing about winning a Media Peace Award, you can judge their journalistic credibility for yourself.
Indeed, the close relationship between the Peace Foundation and NZ media may explain why neither TV3 nor TVNZ picked up the rights to the internationally acclaimed Channel 4 Dispatches documentary on radical Islam infiltrating British mosques this year. The documentary features many of the same people in the Investigate article, but it is arguably possible that neither TV channel wants to mess up its chances of winning a “peace” award by screening it.
The Peace Foundation, thanks to its close links with Labour, is also responsible for Ministry of Education policy on “peace studies”:
“From the outset,” records the Foundation’s website, “the Foundation concentrated on providing resources and stimulus for peace education in educational institutions, as well as servicing community groups. It also acted as a catalyst for the formation and/or maintenance of a number of groups including Students and Teachers Educating for Peace (STEP), Media Aware and the World Court Project. It also participated in a series of conferences arranged by Russell Marshall, during his term as Minister of Education from 1987-1990, and made a major contribution to the development of the Peace Studies Guidelines for schools.”
“In collaboration with the Women's International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF), and in consultation with the Curriculum Development Unit of the former Department of Education, the Foundation published a resource book for teachers at the primary/intermediate level entitled Learning Peaceful Relationships. This has become almost a standard resource and some 12,000 copies have been sold both in New Zealand and overseas.
“In 1989 the Foundation produced a pamphlet to provide all Boards of Trustee members with specific information about the implementation of peace education, when the School Charters were being drawn up. In 2000 the Foundation published Thanks not Spanks, a book designed to give parents and caregivers ideas on how to raise children with out resorting to violence.”
Peace Foundation director Marion Hancock is one of those who signed the letter against Investigate.
But perhaps the final word as to the credibility of Grant Morgan’s list should go to some of the signatories themselves. When we first received the letter via email, we doubted that Morgan had either properly obtained all the signatures or properly set out Investigate’s case when seeking comment.
Morgan refused to provide a copy of the email he had sent to prospective signatories, so we decided to ring a few signatories at random. Rosemary Arnoux, a lecturer in French at Auckland University, admitted in a hilarious phone exchange (www.investigatemagazine.com/rosemary.mp3) that she had not even read the Investigate article she was “complaining” about, until after we’d queried Morgan’s bona fides.
INVESTIGATE: I’m just double checking that you have in fact seen it?
ARNOUX: What, your article? I scanned it rapidly on my computer this morning.
INVESTIGATE: You scanned it rapidly –
ARNOUX: [interrupting] I read it fast, very fast!
INVESTIGATE: You read it –
ARNOUX: [interrupting] Oh look! [click, hangs up]
Another was Mua Strickson-Pua, who told Investigate he actually quite liked the article, but needed to be staunch.
“I had a quick browse through. Ian, I felt it wasn’t too bad, I felt it was middle of the road, but I thought I would get in behind in terms of the people who had their concerns. I said I was happy to be a co-signatory, but at the same time I thought your article wasn’t too bad!”
A similar sentiment was echoed by Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey, who said he had to take a public stand regardless of what he privately thought.
“If I was you I’d probably do it the same, but I’m not doing that I’m being the mayor of a city and I actually care about some harmony before bloody car bombs start going off in Henderson.”
Quite. But if local Muslims keep mixing with al Qa’ida terror fundraisers and local communists spoiling to “bring on the revolution”, Harvey may not get his wish.
July 31, 2007
Unholy Alliance: Islam & Socialists in NZ: May 07 issue
caption: this 15 year old Indonesian girl was almost beheaded by Islamic extremists. Her crime: being a Christian
Muslims, Marxists and NZ Migration
There’s more controversy over Investigate’s 18 page special report on Islamic terrorist sympathisers in New Zealand. IAN WISHART analyses the impact of the story, and the latest developments
One of the extremist Islamic preachers of hate who featured in the March issue of Investigate has been banned from entering Australia, despite being allowed to tour New Zealand giving lectures and inspiration to hundreds of New Zealand Muslims.
Bilal Philips, who was named as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the plot to blow up a range of New York landmarks, including the World Trade Centre, in 1993, was able to slip into and out of New Zealand because the Minister in charge of the Security Intelligence Service, Helen Clark, has failed to activate a border protection watch list of individuals with known links to terrorism.
Although the legislation was passed in 2002, following requests from the United Nations, New Zealand has not named a single individual for Customs and Immigration officers to watch for. As Investigate reported in March (see online at www.thebriefingroom.com) , that oversight has meant dozens of radical extremists, some of them – like Philips – with known links to terrorist organisations, have been able to come and go at will without the New Zealand government evening realising.
Over the past few weeks, Investigate has received a series of, largely, form letters, a selection of which you can read in our Letters pages, accusing us essentially of whipping up ‘Islamophobia’ and endangering local Muslims.
The allegations are false. Additionally, we were surprised to discover the fingerprints of diehard left-wing Marxists on the whinge campaign, as this extract from a Socialist Worker blog this month reveals:
“Our members in the Residents Action Movement (RAM) are currently working with the Muslim community to respond against the despicable Islamophobia of Ian Wishart's Investigate magazine. We have marched together for Palestine , Lebanon and Iraq, and will be united on the streets if there are any attacks on Iran. We do not look on our Muslim comrades as victims, tokens, demons or others, but our brothers and sisters in the fight for peace and global justice.”
Keep taking the pills, boys. Maybe you’ll wake up from your own self-inflicted Matrix one day. Or perhaps you should read my new book, Eve’s Bite. Then you’ll really have something to whinge about.
If you read the Socialist Worker post in full, however (http://unityaotearoa.blogspot.com/2007/04/marxist-muslim-alliance-response-to.html), you’ll find they were responding in faux indignation at suggestions from a local Muslim that Marxists are using Muslims as stooges to foment unrest in New Zealand. I say the indignation is “faux”, because socialism is blatantly atheistic in nature and hostile to religion, so it is obvious to most rational people that socialists are indeed taking Muslims for a ride, and probably having a right old laugh at their expense.
However, allow me to explain in greater detail why the Investigate scoop in March is the biggest unreported story of the year so far (although it was picked up by the Christchurch Press and Newstalk ZB’s Larry Williams):
We are told local Muslims are “moderate”. Indeed, they self-identify as “moderate” and, as one Islamic acquaintance – Imran - told me this month, the moderateness reflects the fact that New Zealand is not “joining with the US in Iraq and Afghanistan”. The local community, he says, doesn’t feel any inclination to take to the streets because it knows most New Zealanders feel equally dubious about America’s adventures.
But here’s the rub – if that is the only reason for moderation, what happens if the wider New Zealand community at some point believe a war against radical Islam is justified?
Then there’s the definition of “moderate”. People make the mistake of trying to understand Islam the same way many understand Christianity. In the West, we are familiar with the debates about whether the Bible is fundamentally true (the conservative wing of Christianity) or fundamentally mythical (the liberal wing of Christianity). In Islam, there is no such polarity: you will not find a “moderate” Muslim willing to suggest that the Qu’ran is mythical. All practicing Muslims, whether extremist or “moderate”, believe the Qu’ran is true down to its last letter. They may disagree on how the Qu’ran and its edicts can be implemented in Dar al Harb (all the countries ruled by non-Islamic governments, literally translated from Arabic as “House of War”), but there is no dispute that the Qu’ran calls for the eventual unification of the entire planet under one Islamic ruler, the new Khalifah (Caliph).
As a Christian, I share many concerns that are similar to those of Muslims. Christians and Muslims are generally socially conservative. However, as I told Imran, New Zealand’s tolerance of moderate Islam hinges to a large extent on Islam doing a much better job at self-policing against radicals. Investigate magazine praised Christchurch moderates several years ago who blew the whistle on a move by Saudi terrorist fundraisers Al Haramain group to take over the Christchurch mosque. We saw that whistleblowing as self-policing in action.
But it was stunning to find out this year that extremist clerics, bearing large wads of money from extremist Saudi Arabia, have been intimately involved in guiding and helping the New Zealand Islamic community. Extremist preachers have DVDs and books on sale here, and local mosques are working for the introduction of shari’a principles in New Zealand.
Saudi Arabia is the home of Wahhabism, the most extreme form of radical Islam and the faction that Osama bin Laden belongs to. We should be very concerned about Saudi Arabia’s influence with NZ mosques, because here’s what the Saudis teach their children in school.
Year One (Five year olds):
“Every religion other than Islam is false”
“Fill in the blanks with the appropriate words (Islam, hellfire): Every religion other than ______ is false. Whoever dies outside of Islam enters ________.”
Now, if it stopped there, I’d have little to object to. You can go into any number of Christian churches of a Sunday and hear a message about Christianity being the only true religion. I have no problems with Islam making its absolute truth claim, even if I disagree with their faith in it. However, it doesn’t stop there, and Islam’s indoctrination of children in Islamic schools gets much worse:
“True belief means...that you hate the polytheists and infidels but do not treat them unjustly.”
“Whoever obeys the Prophet and accepts the oneness of Allah cannot maintain a loyal friendship with those who oppose Allah and his Prophet, even if they are his closest relatives.”
“It is forbidden for a Muslim to be a loyal friend to someone who does not believe in Allah and his Prophet, or someone who fights the religion of Islam.”
“A Muslim, even if he lives far away, is your brother in religion. Someone who opposes Allah, even if he is your brother by family tie, is your enemy in religion.”
Year Six (Ten year olds):
“Just as Muslims were successful in the past when they came together in a sincere endeavour to evict the Christian crusaders from Palestine, so will the Arabs and Muslims emerge victorious, Allah willing, against the Jews and their allies if they stand together and fight a true jihad for Allah, for this is within Allah’s power.”
“The apes are Jews, the people of the Sabbath; while the swine are the Christians, the infidels of the communion of Jesus.”
Year Nine (13 year olds):
“The clash between this [Muslim] community (umma) and the Jews and Christians has endured, and it will continue as long as Allah wills.”
“It is part of Allah’s wisdom that the struggle between the Muslim and the Jews should continue until the hour [of judgement].”
“Muslims will triumph because they are right. He who is right is always victorious, even if most people are against him.”
[Note: at the age of 14, Muslim students are required to start learning shari’a principles in more detail. These particular textbook quotes deal with “blood money”, which is the fine payable to a victim or their surviving heirs for murder or injury]
“Blood money for a free infidel...is half of the blood money for a male Muslim, whether or not he is ‘of the book’ [Christian or Jewish] or not ‘of the book’ [pagan, atheist, etc]”
“Blood money for a woman: Half of the blood money for a man, in accordance with his religion. The blood money for a Muslim woman is half of the blood money for a male Muslim, and the blood money for an infidel woman is half of the blood money for a male infidel.”
Year Eleven (15 year olds):
“The greeting ‘Peace be upon you’ is specifically for believers. It cannot be said to others.”
“If one comes to a place where there is a mixture of Muslims and infidels, one should offer a greeting intended for the Muslims.”
“Do not yield to them [Christians and Jews] on a narrow road, out of honour and respect.”
“Jihad in the path of Allah – which consists of battling against unbelief, oppression, injustice, and those who perpetrate it – is the summit of Islam. This religion arose through jihad and through jihad was its banner raised high. It is one of the noblest acts, which brings one closer to Allah, and one of the most magnificent acts of obedience to Allah.”
Pretty grim reading, huh? Those quotes are all taken from current school textbooks in Saudi Arabia as part of the compulsory “Islamic studies” curriculum, books smuggled out by families with children in Saudi schools and provided to the Institute of Gulf Affairs, a Washington DC think-tank headed by Saudi dissident Ali al-Ahmed. He in turn gave the textbooks to the Washington Post newspaper, to illustrate how millions of Arab children are being indoctrinated to hate the West and prepare for jihad and Armageddon.
The textbooks represent Wahhabi doctrine, and the chilling aspect of some of the emails Investigate received from NZ “moderates” was phrases like this one where they criticised us for using the phrase “Wahhabism (supposedly an "extreme" form of Islam) 20 times.”
What do they mean, “supposedly”?
If New Zealand Islamic “moderates” are questioning our suggestion that Wahhabism is “extreme” – you should be very afraid for your country.
Thankfully, the offending phrase is in a chain letter presumably drafted with the help of the communist insurgents over at Socialist Worker, so it may not yet have widespread support within NZ Islam. But that doesn’t negate the reality that it was moderates who invited the Wahhabi hatemongers here in the first place.
So here’s my take on the Islamic issue for NZ.
I believe you should have freedom to worship. I believe you should have the freedom to dress conservatively, including the hijab if you so choose. I believe you should have the right to preach Islam. I believe you should have the same individual rights as other members of the NZ community. I believe you should be free from discrimination and not treated as second class citizens.
BUT...there are some particular limits in regard to your religion. Islam is not just a religion – properly understood, it is a complete system of government and a political system that does not tolerate democracy. In that sense, I suspect I speak for many non-Muslim New Zealanders when I say that this country shall never be part of Dar al Islam [an Islamic nation under shari’a law]. If you nurse such fantasies, pack your bags and return whence you came, because you are the problem.
You have emigrated to a country which – regardless of the prattle from the New Zealand government – is founded on the Judeo-Christian democratic tradition, not an Islamic theocratic one.
If you can live with this reality, then you are welcome here as fellow New Zealanders. And if you can start policing the extremists out of your mosques and lecture halls and bookshops, then the rest of us won’t have to do it and we’ll respect you all the more for your stand.
July 13, 2007
DISRESPECT - GEORGE GALLOWAY IN NZ: Aug 07
Disgraced British MP George Galloway is pushing a pro-Islamic agenda on a visit to New Zealand.
(Story currently in print edition)
Download file May 05 Senate Report
March 09, 2007
ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN INVESTIGATE: MARCH 00
A major weakness has been discovered in New Zealand’s foreign intelligence analysis: trade officials invited a rich Asian businessman to invest here and meet the Prime Minister and top business leaders - apparently unaware that he has been publicly named by US intelligence agencies as a Chinese spy with organised crime connections. Now a photo of him meeting President Clinton at the APEC conference in Auckland is causing uproar in the US. IAN WISHART reports on the so-called "Bamboo Network":
It is a postage-stamp sized photo – a moment in time
captured on videotape at the APEC conference in
Auckland, beamed via satellite to the Fox TV news centre in Los Angeles, broadcast on Fox News across America, recorded on someone’s VCR, photographed off the screen, scanned into a computer and uploaded onto the Internet. What’s so special about the photo? Well, for a start it features Bill Clinton pressing the flesh of someone in the crowd at the APEC conference in Auckland last September, only this time it isn’t a cigar-lovin’ intern. Instead, the other face in the photo belongs to someone much more interesting: an Indonesian businessman with links to New Zealand, organised crime and Chinese Intelligence.
What’s also special about the photo? Well, the same week that Investigate began making inquiries to locate the original APEC video footage taken in New Zealand, the raw footage disappeared from TVNZ’s tape library and has not been seen since.
But it’s the man in the photo that this story is about. His name is James Riady, and to those in the know he currently heads the list of America’s Most Wanted – an alleged criminal on the run from US Justice. And that’s why the photo is at the centre of a political furore in the United States: why is President Clinton exchanging pleasantries in Auckland with a wanted man?
Funnily enough, it’s the same question asked in New Zealand back in June 1999, when Riady first turned up for a special meeting with Prime Minister Jenny Shipley.
It should have been just another unnoticed thread in the rich tapestry of New Zealand politics, but the Indonesian’s fleeting appearance in our corridors of power had all the subtle discretion of a glow-in-the-dark cat collar.
Riady heads the Lippo Group, one of Indonesia’s largest companies - but a company with heavy organised crime connections.
The New Zealand Government agency Tradenz extended the invitation for the June visit with a little-publicised announcement that Riady would receive a "red carpet" welcome in New Zealand. That welcome included a special meeting with Prime Minister Shipley, and a series of meetings with leading New Zealand business executives.
What’s extremely significant is that Riady, and his company, are at the centre of a major spying and bribery scandal that’s blown up around US President Bill Clinton.
Amazingly, New Zealand’s intelligence agencies had failed to brief Prime Minister Shipley on this point, despite a claim by to the contrary in Parliament. The closest the intelligence briefings – released to Investigate under the Official Information Act - get to the real Riady is this:
"Most important of all to the Riady family in business are relationships and networks."
As you’re about see, that comment is a dramatic understatement, and we’ll examine shortly how Lippo Group’s incursions into New Zealand and Australia could have security implications.
The latest twist in the Riady scandal comes in a letter from US Congressional investigator Dan Burton to Beth Nolan, legal Counsel to the President.
"Upon President Clinton’s return from his trip to New Zealand for the annual meeting of the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)," writes Congressman Burton, "I was dismayed to read the following report from the Wall Street Journal on September 24, 1999:
" ‘TOGETHER AGAIN: James Riady, the Indonesian businessman central to Donorgate, used an economic summit in New Zealand last week to chat with Clinton. The White House won’t talk about it, but Indonesians say Riady didn’t discuss anything "sensitive" with the President.’
"If the report is true," continues Burton, "I am concerned that the President would meet with an individual who has continued to evade questioning by the Congress and the Department of Justice about his pivotal role in the campaign finance scandal that came to light just prior to the President’s re-election in 1996.
"As you are aware, Mr Riady was recently named by John Huang as the architect of a massive scheme of illegal conduit political contributions in the United States.
"I cannot understand what purpose would be served by the President meeting with Mr Riady except to urge him to cooperate with Federal investigators.
"From his home in Indonesia, Mr Riady appears to have orchestrated a complex scheme to launder over $4 million (NZ$8 million) in illegal political contributions to Clinton/Gore ’92, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, state Democratic parties, individual candidates, and non-profit groups in 1992 and 1996."
We’ll return to Burton’s letter shortly, but first a little background context. Here’s the story the New Zealand press gallery didn’t tell you about Riady, and the story the Government didn’t know either.
To put what follows in its proper context, it pays to
first examine James Riady, and his father Mochtar,
the way New Zealand officials see them.
"The Lippo Group is one of Indonesia’s largest conglomerates in terms of market capitalisation with estimates of value putting it at having US$11 billion in assets.
"The vision of its founder Mochtar Riady is to transcend the institutional limitations placed upon organisations run in the traditional overseas Chinese pattern and adopt a modern publicly owned and professionally managed pattern of business.
The real story, shorn of its diplomatic awe, begins 22 years ago with a 1978 move by the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, BCCI, to become established in the United States.
BCCI subsequently crashed in 1991 when a multi-territorial investigation revealed its connections to organised crime, arms smugglers and intelligence agencies. Investigators have since dubbed it "the Bank of Cocaine and Conmen International".
Formed by a Pakistani businessman and marketed as "an Arab bank", BCCI used a group of American investors as a front to purchase two US banking institutions - the National Bank of Georgia, and Financial General Bank in Washington DC. Because of foreign ownership restrictions, BCCI could not appear to be the real owner of the banks.
Assisting BCCI in this subterfuge was Jackson Stephens, an Arkansas stockbroker based in Little Rock. Stephens brought in three lawyers from Little Rock’s Rose Lawfirm: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vince Foster and Joseph Giroir.
The Clinton connection - as you’ll see - continued to grow, but in the meantime Hillary Clinton and her two law partners helped Stephens, via his company Systematics Inc, to transfer control of Financial General to BCCI.
Financial General’s Washington location meant many politicians and civil servants on Capitol Hill were account holders. The intelligence benefit to BCCI and those associated with the crime bank was enormous.
In 1983, Lippo Group began its own US invasion, choosing to do so in the apparent backwater of Little Rock, Arkansas, where Bill Clinton was Governor. Lippo Finance & Investment in Little Rock brought in a former aide to President Jimmy Carter, Vernon Weaver, to chair the company and Governor Clinton acted as a character reference for Lippo boss Mochtar Riady.
In 1984, Jackson Stephens joined forces with Lippo Group to purchase stock in Arkansas’ Worthen Bank, based in Little Rock. Their buy-in coincided with the establishment of a major cocaine importation operation at nearby Mena, Arkansas, and the laundering of US$100 million a month in drug money through the local banking system and ultimately BCCI.
BCCI investor Abdullah Taha Bakhish joined Riady as a co-owner of Worthen.
By 1985, things began to get hot for Bill Clinton, but Worthen Bank came to the rescue. Clinton had authorised Arkansas state pension funds to be deposited with Worthen by a brokerage firm, but the funds lost 15% of their value as a result of bad short-term investment decisions. Although Jack Stephens wrote out a $52 million Worthen cheque and saved Clinton’s hide, it paved the way for Lippo Group to take a larger role in Worthen. Over the next few months, the Riadys increased their holding to 40% of the bank.
James Riady was appointed to the board of directors, and helped engineer a buyout of the First National Bank of Mena, a town of 5,000 people whose only claim to fame was a secret CIA supply base for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels and the aforementioned cocaine-smuggling operation.
Worthen Bank became politically close to the future US President, and Hillary Clinton’s Rose Lawfirm. Bill Clinton banked with Worthen and steered much of Arkansas’ state business its way. Much of Mena’s billion-dollar-a-year drug money went through Worthen accounts, then on to BCCI branches in Florida and Washington DC as part of the money laundering loop.
It is around this time that another character becomes integral to the plot: Lippo Group executive John Huang. Huang travelled to Arkansas to take up a role as James Riady’s right-hand man in Little Rock.
Mochtar Riady, meanwhile, also formed a joint venture operation with Jack Stephens in Asia. Together, they purchased the Seng Heng Bank in Macau – the former Portuguese island colony close to Hong Kong that’s controlled by Triad organised crime syndicates. Macau is effectively an Oriental Las Vegas, and gambling is a primary source of government revenue. Even the recent Chinese takeover of the territory seems unlikely to dent the criminal powerbase.
Systematics Inc, the Stephens-owned software company, supplied software to Macau’s Banco Nacional Ultramarino - the state bank of the colony.
Over the next five years, the Riadys consolidated their empire. Selling out of Worthen Bank in 1987 they moved from Little Rock to Los Angeles to establish Lippo Bank LA.
The Worthen experience bit them hard: the bank had lent $80 million to entities associated with either the Riadys or Stephens. In the end, an investment firm collapsed owing Worthen $100 million, and a subsequent investigation criticised Worthen for all the inside loans to its owners.
Lippo LA came unstuck as well, and investigators there launched a criminal investigation in 1990 after discovering that a 21 year old teller had made more than 900 suspicious wire transfers to the Lippo-owned Hong Kong Chinese Bank. Each transaction totalled just under the magic US$10,000 limit which had to be reported to money-laundering investigators.
Nearly all the transfers involved false names, and were initialled by a supervisor. Despite that, investigators could find no documents indicating Lippo Bank LA’s top management knew of the practice.
US banking regulators issued three "cease and desist" orders against Lippo LA up until 1997, on the basis of sloppy management and suspicious funds transfers.
In another joint venture with Jack Stephens, the Riadys purchased the Hong Kong branch of BCCI, with James Riady and Johnny Huang relocating to run Lippo Bank Hong Kong. When Senator Al Gore visited Asia in 1989, accompanied by Huang, the trip was paid for by a Buddhist organisation, Fo Kwang Shan.
In 1991, an entity known as China Resources Company Limited began purchasing shares in Lippo’s Hong Kong Chinese Bank. The price paid for the shares was fifteen percent below the market value. US intelligence agencies have since claimed China Resources Co is a front for Chinese military intelligence.
During his relationship with Worthen bank, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton passed several pieces of legislation favourable to Lippo’s US interests. The payoff? In 1992, with the Clinton/Gore presidential campaign on the ropes over the Gennifer Flowers affair and donations drying up, Lippo Group organised for Worthen Bank to pay the Clinton campaign fund a massive US$3.5 million bailout.
But that wasn’t the worst of it.
In addition to the money channelled via the bank, James Riady and the Lippo Group were personally funding Clinton’s presidential campaign – a move that’s illegal under US laws restricting foreigners from making political donations.
In August, 1992, James Riady flew from Indonesia to Los Angeles to take part in a fundraiser for Clinton. Federal investigators piecing the jigsaw together allege Riady took a limousine ride with Governor Clinton, handing over US$100,000 and promising a further US$1 million.
So far, it appears Riady and Huang funnelled US$700,000 in illegal donations to the Clinton campaign, via Lippo Group employees and subsidiaries. Most did not live in the US.
One of the questions posed by US congressional investigators is "Why?". What did the Riadys hope to gain by funding Bill Clinton? They now believe James Riady and the Lippo Group were engineering a major espionage operation on behalf of the Chinese government, a deliberate attempt to bribe an American President, compromise US security and steal US secrets.
The operation, involving more than a hundred people, many of them Chinese, has been dubbed "the Bamboo Network" by investigators.
By January of 1993, with Clinton now President-elect, Huang and Riady arranged for another $100,000 to drop into the President’s coffers and, in February, Huang organised a meeting between Mochtar Riady and the President.
The elder Riady, whose business philosophy is quoted in New Zealand Government briefing papers as "Every network has to have its foundation laid on special, personal, human connections…what I am looking for is what my partners can offer in personal contacts and business connections", urged the new US President to reinstate China’s "most favoured nation" status. He also told Clinton to relax economic sanctions against China, imposed after the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Clinton, whose election campaign was significantly funded by the Riadys, obeyed. In June of 1993, China was given "most favoured nation" status. A week or two later, purely coincidentally, the Riadys make US$163 million in profit when China Resources Company Ltd increases its share price offer for Lippo’s Hong Kong Chinese Bank to a figure 50% above market value.
James Riady’s influence with Clinton was so great that on April 19, 1993, at the very moment the FBI was raiding the Branch Davidian religious complex at Waco Texas, killing scores of men, women and children in the process, Bill Clinton was chatting with James Riady in the Oval Office while a TV set in the background was carrying footage of the tragedy.
Clinton even had time during this national disaster to give Riady a tour of "the Situation Room" - a kind of "Bill fiddled while Waco burned" scene.
It is the beginning of a scandal that is seeing President Clinton dubbed "China’s first US President" by some commentators.
And despite the briefing papers from New Zealand trade officials who told Prime Minister Shipley that James Riady and the Lippo group shunned the cronyism surrounding Indonesia’s President Suharto, a US Congressional Investigation paints a very different picture.
"The Riady family was able to show off its close ties to President Clinton during the 1993 APEC summit in Seattle, Washington. Lippo organised a group of Indonesian businessmen to visit Little Rock, Arkansas, before the summit.
"A sister-state agreement between Arkansas and Indonesia was to be signed at a ceremony during the APEC summit, and James Riady planned to have President Clinton and President Suharto attend."
Despite reservations from White House staff, who told Riady that "the human rights controversy surrounding East Temor (sic) may be an impediment," the Congressional report notes that "Ultimately, during the 1993 APEC, President Clinton did meet with President Suharto, along with James Riady, over the objections of his staff."
Clinton met Suharto again during the G-7 summit in Tokyo in July 1993, and then sent a handwritten note to James Riady saying he’d enjoyed his visit with Suharto.
The briefing to New Zealand’s then-Prime Minister, Jenny Shipley, says "The [Lippo] group is seen as not having ties with President Suharto’s family, hence it is regarded as clean and fits in with the spirit of reform."
At the full APEC summit in 1994, hosted by Indonesia, Clinton spent more time with the Riadys, stopping only to pose in a batik shirt alongside the New Zealand Prime Minister at the time, Jim Bolger.
In 1994, US Secretary for Commerce Ron Brown visited China carrying an "unprecedented" US$5.5 billion dollars worth of trade deals. Included in the package is a $1 billion deal for an Arkansas firm, politically linked to Clinton, to expand and manage Lippo’s 725 megawatt coal-burning power plant in China’s Fujian province.
In April 1994, Clinton’s appointee to the US Justice Department, Associate Attorney-General Web Hubbell, resigned from his post amid allegations of fraud relating to his involvement with the Rose Lawfirm and the Whitewater scandal.
After meeting Hillary Clinton in mid-June, Hubbell held further discussions with Indonesian businessmen James Riady and John Huang. White House records show the two Lippo executives visited the White House every day from June 21 to June 25, 1994.
Hubbell spent much of June 23 with Riady, and four days later the disgraced politician was paid US$100,000 by the Hong Kong Chinese Bank, ostensibly to put him on the Lippo Group payroll. The bank, as investigators now know, is majority-owned by Chinese military intelligence.
The payoff didn’t save Hubbell, who was subsequently jailed.
Asked at a news conference if it wasn’t more than a little suspicious that Hubbell ended up working for Lippo, President Clinton told reporters "To the best of my recollection, I didn’t know anything about his having that job until I read about it in the press. And I can’t imagine who could have ever arranged to do something improper like that and no one around here know about it."
But less than two weeks after Lippo’s payoff to Hubbell, the Clinton administration decided to appoint John Huang as the new Assistant Secretary of the US Commerce Department. Huang’s resignation from the official payroll of the Lippo Group was marked with a US$800,000 golden parachute.
Under US law it is illegal to export high-technology material from the US. This was to enable America to maintain a military and/or commercial edge over possibly hostile nations.
But armed with an interim top-secret security clearance, courtesy of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, Huang found himself suddenly in a position to authorise technology transfers to places like Indonesia and China. Incredibly, Huang’s security clearance was issued without the routine FBI and foreign security checks.
Investigators have discovered that, on 37 separate occasions, after attending CIA briefings on encryption technology, Johnny Huang left the building a short time later and went to Lippo’s offices, where he then made long distance phone and fax calls to overseas locations.
The New York Daily News has reported that US intelligence services subsequently determined that Huang was passing classified trade information to Lippo Group headquarters in Jakarta – his former bosses.
How did Huang end up as an Assistant Secretary with a top secret clearance in the US Commerce Department? The London Times quotes one source as saying it was Hillary Clinton’s idea.
"He was not Ron Brown’s guy, and his presence caused intense conflict. Huang was carrying water for the White House."
Huang made around 70 "water deliveries" to the White House. And all the time, China’s influence in Washington was growing too. During 1994 and 1995, the Clinton administration allowed AT&T to sell its secure communications system to the Chinese Army, in a deal known as "Hua Mei". In a dramatic backfire, the Chinese reconfigured the encryption technology and re-exported it to Iraq for use in air defence systems.
President Clinton also approved the sale of surveillance system technology to China, under the aegis of a cooperation agreement between Chinese police and the US Justice Department.
Which is where Congressman Dan Burton and his
letter come in. Burton heads the powerful Com
mittee on Government Reform in the US House of Representatives, and it’s his committee that’s investigating the Donorgate/Chinagate/Riady spying scandal.
Far bigger than Monica Lewinsky or other Clintonesque diversions, there is now real evidence that China, and subsequently Iraq, have gained access to US defence, industrial and commercial secrets as a result of Riady’s allegedly corrupting influence on Clinton.
"John Huang, Mr Riady’s political point-man in the US, kept in frequent contact with his former boss and his companies during his tenure at the Department of Commerce," writes Burton in his letter to the White House spelling out the evidence and demanding more answers.
"Mr Riady’s Oval Office meeting with President Clinton on September 13, 1995, led to Mr Huang’s hiring by the DNC where he promptly raised over US$3 million in illegal political contributions.
"After a week of meetings in the White House, James Riady paid former Justice Department official Webster Hubbell $100,000 at a time when Mr Hubbell’s cooperation in the Whitewater scandal was being sought by the Independent Counsel [Kenneth Starr]. Mr Hubbell has refused to reveal why Mr Riady paid him this money.
"Finally and most importantly, US intelligence agencies report that one of Mr Riady’s chief business partners, China Resources, is an intelligence gathering agency of the communist Chinese Government."
It is this revelation that poses a grave problem for the New Zealand Government. Intelligence briefings prepared for the then Prime Minister Jenny Shipley and released to Investigate do not reveal any link between China Resources and Chinese Intelligence. Indeed, the New Zealand briefing reads as though it could have been prepared by Chinese Intelligence, judging by its innocuous contents:
"The Lippo Group has a strategic position in China and Hong Kong with substantial investments and relationships with powerful business and government people and organisations.
"It owns 49% of the Hong Kong Chinese Bank with the remaining 51% held by China Resources (Holdings) which is a wholly-owned enterprise of China’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation."
Which raises the question: was the New Zealand Government sucked in to beginning a relationship with James Riady on the basis of flawed intelligence?
What is the ongoing implication of that if such flaws are not corrected?
And just how bad was the NZ intelligence?
While our Embassy in Jakarta waxed lyrical about
the sound business base of Lippo Group and
the Riadys, the Washington Post was more critical, pointing out that Lippo Group had to be bailed out of bankruptcy by Indonesia’s President Suharto in 1995 and there was a further $700 million restructuring in 1996.
The Post quotes an investment analyst at Deutsche Morgan Grenfell’s Jakarta branch, Lin Che Wei, as describing Lippo Group as a "carefully balanced house of cards, held up partly by the Riadys’ practice of gobbling up shares of Lippo stock to drive up the price."
"Riady is a master of this kind of game," says Lin, "He understands what investors want - a rising share price."
And what about the briefing given to Prime Minister Shipley which, if you missed it earlier, we’ll repeat:
Contrast that with these excerpts from the Washington Post investigation:
"Mochtar Riady sent the President a four page letter, urging him...to support Suharto..."
"Clinton recalls that James Riady also tried to persuade him to meet Suharto..."
"James Riady arranged for...a Little Rock lawyer and longtime friend of Clinton to spend one and a half hours with Suharto in Jakarta...An official with Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry said Riady insisted that [the lawyer] ‘had the ear of President Clinton. He said the meeting would give us special access to the White House’."
"The Riadys also promoted Hubbell at Suharto’s presidential palace as someone ‘influential with Bill Clinton’.
"After Hubbell resigned from the Justice Department amid allegations of fraud, James Riady arranged for him to tour Indonesia...Riady made sure that Hubbell, like [the lawyer] visited the former Portuguese colony of East Timor, where Indonesian security forces have been accused of widespread human rights abuses.
"Riady ‘said letting a friend of Clinton’s see Timor might help change US policy. So naturally we thought it was a good idea,’ the official said."
"In April 1993 James Riady escorted the Governor of Jakarta to the East Wing [of the White House] for a meeting on which the White House can provide no details..."
"And Riady accompanies...one of Suharto’s most influential advisers to the White House...joining them was John Huang...two months later the Indonesian Government arranged for a group of private companies to rescue Lippo during a financial crunch."
" ‘These trips helped Lippo improve their ties to the Suharto regime,’ said a former Lippo executive. ‘As a result, Suharto helped rescue them when they needed help’."
"In Jakarta, Lippo has approached the Suharto regime for almost everything from critical building permits to outright financial bailouts."
The Post reports that Riady is also involved in a string of joint ventures with Suharto’s half-brother.
We could go on, and on, about Riady’s close ties to the former Indonesian dictator, but you’ve probably absorbed the point that the message reaching our Government was a very different one from the reality.
Instead, Riady was welcomed to New Zealand with open arms by the National Government – a gesture in sharp contrast with the sentiments in the United States.
"From the above list of activities," writes Burton, " I find it inconceivable that the President of the United States would meet with James Riady for any reason. Mr Riady has thumbed his nose at the laws of the United States and Mr Clinton appears to have rewarded him.
"Doubtless, this meeting with the President will be used to personal advantage in Indonesia and China by Mr Riady. Therefore, I would like to request that the White House provide the following information and documents in regard to this matter:
A. Did President Clinton meet James Riady in New Zealand
B. Identify all individuals present during any contacts between President Clinton and James Riady in connection with the President’s travel to New Zealand.
C. Describe the substance of all contacts between President Clinton and James Riady in connection with the President’s travel to New Zealand.
D. Describe the substance of all contacts between White House officials and James Riady or his associates in connection with the President’s travel to New Zealand.
E. When did the White House first learn that James Riady would be in New Zealand during President Clinton’s trip for the APEC meeting?
1. How did the White House learn that James Riady would be in New Zealand during President Clinton’s travel there?
2. Identify all individuals involved in the request that President Clinton meet with James Riady during the President’s trip to New Zealand.
3. Was the fact that James Riady would be in New Zealand during President Clinton’s trip conveyed to the President? If so, when was this information conveyed to the President? Who conveyed this information to the President? Please describe the substance of all such communications.
4. Identify any White House officials who expressed concern over President Clinton meeting with James Riady. Please describe the substance of all such communications.
F. Provide all documents relating to James Riady, his companies, his employees, or his associates in connection with the President’s recent trip to New Zealand for the APEC meeting, including all documents relating to any meetings between President Clinton and James Riady.
G. Provide all recordings, either video or audio, of any contacts between President Clinton and James Riady, his associates, or his employees relating to the President’s trip to New Zealand for the APEC meeting.
"It is my sincere hope that if indeed President Clinton met with James Riady during his trip, that the President used the prestige of his office and his long term friendship with Mr Riady to convince Mr Riady to return to the United States and answer all of the questions posed by Congress and the Justice Department so the American public can finally learn the entire truth about Mr Riady’s role in tampering with our presidential elections.
"I am concerned, however, that the President would socialise with an individual who has mocked the laws of this country."
Intriguingly, the New Zealand media largely missed the unfolding scandal arising out of Clinton’s APEC visit. While local TV crews made much of Clinton’s meeting with the Chinese leader, Jiang Zemin, and the apparent thaw in the US/China relationship, few in the New Zealand press gallery had any idea of the real issues at the heart of the problem.
The scandal over China’s spying became so bad that some in the US publicly accused China of deliberately blowing up a rocket carrying two US commercial satellites, purely to get access to the technology.
And what of James Riady: what can he want in New
Zealand? For a start, he owns property in
Auckland, which TradeNZ identified as the Port Tower hotel. We can find no evidence of such a hotel, but there is a Park Tower Hotel which was owned by "Asian interests" up until December. But apart from his personal business interests, Riady is taking a regional political perspective as well. He was appointed as a "Roving Presidential Envoy for Australasia" by former Indonesian President Habibie, is a member of Parliament, and is a member of Indonesia’s APEC Business Advisory Council.
He also clearly knows of a number of influential New Zealand business leaders.
Government briefing documents obtained by Investigate paint a picture of what Riady wanted to achieve on his June 1999 NZ visit, prior to his later controversial appearance at APEC.
For a start, New Zealand trade officials were told to play down his connection to Lippo Group and boost his diplomatic status, despite the fact that most of his delegation were either Lippo staff or Lippo customers. Indeed, the briefing supplied by the New Zealand Embassy in Jakarta refers to Riady wanting to visit NZ "for private business purposes," and goes on to say:
"The headings to the [official] programme currently put at the forefront Riady’s position as Deputy Head of Lippo Group. We and Torry [Parantoro, Riady’s executive assistant] agreed that the emphasis should instead be given to his role as Special Envoy; this title should be transposed, upper-cased and put in bold to reflect that this is the primary hat under which he is visiting New Zealand.
"This is also the title that should be used in the first instance for formal introductions, except for his business meetings where he dons his Lippo Group hat.
"Parantoro showed us a fax he had received from the Indonesian Embassy in Wellington. This provided details of Sunday evening’s programme, including a list of journalists for the media interview and a guest list for the dinner hosted by the Indonesian Ambassador; we noted that [National MP] Pansy Wong was included, a pleasant surprise. Parantoro was pleased with the arrangements confirmed to date for the Monday [June 21], especially the call on the Prime Minister. We clarified that whereas Riady’s entourage would be able to participate in most of these calls, the meeting with the PM would be more restricted …Parantoro clearly expected this to be the case.
"We noted that we were waiting for confirmation for calls on Don McKinnon, Bill English, and Don Brash.
"Parantoro commented favourably on the agenda for Tuesday (we noted the likely addition of a call on Sir Selwyn Cushing, Brierley Investments.)
"We discussed with Parantoro opportunities to meet with the Business Roundtable and the ASEAN-NZ Business Council.
"Riady made a specific request that Doug Myers be informed of his visit and be included in his programme. However…Myers is currently in London and will not be returning to NZ until July."
The cost of Riady’s June visit was to have been met by New Zealand taxpayers, according to the documents.
"We suggested that it would be appropriate to fund all Riady’s expenses (including offering a first class airfare)."
Ultimately, however, the Indonesian businessman and alleged Chinese spy paid his own way.
The unanswered question remains open: are Riady’s activities in New Zealand and Australia purely commercial, or are they motivated also by espionage?
"In his role as the Special Presidential Envoy for Australasia," write NZ diplomats, "James Riady has been busy. On February 25 1999, Lippo Bank signed an MOU [Memorandum of Understanding] with the Australian Trade Commission to promote the economic development of eastern Indonesia.
"Under the MOU, cooperation programmes between Indonesian and Australian businessmen will be conducted using the Bank Lippo’s networks. Australia will provide training and guidance for Bank Lippo employees.
"In October 1998 James made a visit to Australia to promote relations and dialogue between the two nations. There he met with Victorian chief minister Jeff Kennett, New South Wales Premier Bob Carr and addressed an Austrade seminar. He was also scheduled to meet with the Prime Minister, John Howard."
Nowhere in the intelligence briefing for the New Zealand Prime Minister is James Riady’s relationship with Bill Clinton, or alleged activity as a Chinese spy, disclosed.
Nick Arathimos, the TradeNZ official who organised the June 1999 visit, told Investigate he was aware of Riady’s background. When questioned over his involvement with BCCI and with a bank that was laundering drug cartel money through Arkansas, however, Arathimos was clearly taken by surprise, saying he was not aware of these allegations.
Yet, in answer to a question in Parliament on July 21, Deputy Prime Minister Wyatt Creech said "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade was fully aware of the issues surrounding his relationship with President Clinton. Furthermore the Ministry did not, and does not, consider that a visit by the President of Indonesia’s special envoy raised any issues of a security nature."
The then Opposition leader, Helen Clark, asked a follow-up question:
"Before the Prime Minister met Mr Riady, was she also aware of a draft report submitted by Republicans on a Senate committee in America that alleges Mr Riady and his father both have "a long term relationship with a Chinese intelligence agency". If so, would that have made a difference?"
"Obviously I do not know the answer to the detail in the question," replied Creech, "but what I can say is that this person visited New Zealand as a special envoy of the President of Indonesia, and it was in that capacity that the special envoy visited the Prime Minister."
"How big was the cheque?" interjected one Labour MP, implying Riady’s political donation largesse may have rubbed off on National prior to the election.
Is it possible that Lippo Group may be trying to place itself in a position to steal New Zealand trade secrets or technology on behalf of the Chinese or Indonesia? There is no evidence one way or the other, but given the company’s involvement with Chinese intelligence it would be naïve to assume Lippo would not be interested if an opportunity arose.
After news of Lippo’s Chinese espionage first broke in a Los Angeles Times story three years ago, ongoing investigations have revealed Chinese interests associated with the Riadys have allegedly stolen not only trade, but also critical defence information including nuclear secrets.
Chinese spies have also been uncovered in Canada.
Arrested and questioned by federal and congressional investigators, Riady’s right-hand-man Johnny Huang has coughed to his boss’ involvement, but pleaded the 5th Amendment – the right not to self-incriminate – nearly two thousand times since interrogation began.
Riady has refused to return to the US for questioning or to clear his name. Instead, he remains based at his Jakarta estate where he lives in a southern-US style plantation manor, three stories tall with massive "Greco-Roman columns", sited amidst a Lippo golf course. The home also has a helipad and a lake, and the entire property is ringed by a moat.
Is James Riady an appropriate person for the New Zealand Government to be promoting as someone to do business with? Despite the revelations, TradeNZ official Nick Arathimos claims yes, effectively saying he’s the best of a bad bunch in Indonesia.
"You can come up with a lot worse. His companies in Indonesia are among the better organised, relying less on cronyism with Suharto. James Riady will continue to be a key player in Indonesia because of his existing interests.
"If he were to invest in New Zealand, he would have to abide by our laws and regulations."
Which is just as well, because as many critics of our investment regime have pointed out, New Zealand is the laughing stock of the Western world for having some of the most lax controls on money-laundering and inside trading on the planet.
At the end of the day, however, one could question why we bothered to invite someone of Riady’s background to New Zealand in the first place. The argument that ‘he’s the best of a bad bunch’ could equally apply to one of the less violent members of Colombia’s Cali drug cartel.
If the intelligence briefing provided to Shipley was drawn only from trade diplomats, then somebody should probably be caned for not calling in the External Assessment Bureau, and if our foreign spy agency was consulted then the Government could probably save a few million dollars by sacking the spooks and simply purchasing a subscription to the Washington Post or the Los Angeles Times.
As for the Riadys, Indonesians wouldn’t be surprised if it was a quest for world domination that they were really undertaking. The Lippo logo is everywhere in the troubled Asian powerhouse, with its interests in banks, factories and shops, hospitals and housing developments.
"In Jakarta," wrote the Washington Post, "locals joke that Lippo stands for Lama-Lama Indonesia Pun Punya Oe, meaning: In the long run, even Indonesia will be mine."
ABOVE: BCCI frontman Jackson Stephens has close ties to both Clinton and US Presidential hopeful George W Bush
March 06, 2007
PC THINK POLICE INVESTIGATE: APR 03
Political-correctness, just a mild nerdy aberration or the new face of socialist mind control? HAMISH CARNACHAN talks to British expert Frank Ellis
Cricket is a simple game. The object is to score more runs than your opposition. There is no grey area. The game has been around for centuries yet it has remained largely unchanged. The rules are clearly recorded in black and white in the hallowed halls of Lords, where the game originated. On the rare occasions that the laws are amended, it is generally to cover an ambiguity, like the underarm ball, and requires little more than the inclusion of a minor clause.
Part of the reason the sport has become ingrained in the New Zealand psyche is possibly because of its uncluttered simplicity – indeed, it must be so because history shows we’re not that good at it.
And the recent revival of cricket in this country may also have had something to do with the fact that sport is one topic people can still talk about candidly. Some subjects are simply no longer discussed in polite company today.
These days it seems you have to be particularly careful what you say and a growing list of issues can’t be discussed in certain circles. You can’t joke about the poor driving habits of immigrants; nor can you chat about Maori and crime or the preferential treatment of indigenous peoples; and associating sexual orientation with the spread of STDs is certainly a social faux pas.
The old laughs we used to enjoy about a short person being vertically challenged and the balding man being follicly-impaired are no longer tolerated either. None of the characters on Shortland Street smoke and those who enjoy the odd drink are portrayed as having an alcohol dependency problem.
It goes on. Nowadays, Pacific Islanders can refer to themselves as the product of a tropical palm tree but "Palagis" are vilified for coining the same turn of phrase. Seventh generation New Zealanders still can’t find a box to tick on their census form that they feel comfortable with – European/Pakeha? Manuhiri? Every government department is now subtitled with its Maori language equivalent, despite the fact that the number of fluent speakers registers nothing more than an insignificant blip on the demographic chart.
Even if you think you might be statistically correct, poking fun at minorities is clearly no longer tolerated in today’s New Zealand. That may not be such a bad thing, especially if you happen to be among those being ridiculed. But when seemingly legitimate public debate or concern is stifled for fear of being branded racist, homophobic, or even redneck, to name a few of the trendy new phrases, some commentators say a dangerous precedent is being set.
When New Zealand First leader Winston Peters late last year attacked the government’s immigration policy over migrants’ nationalities, Labour immediately labelled his party "racist". Then, Peters accused the government of being "mad" for allegedly allowing people into this country under a "homosexual family member" category. Again, Labour jumped on the defensive, saying he had moved from attacking foreigners, to bashing gays.
And the woeful plight of Maori in New Zealand society is a debate that has all but been snuffed out today too. Few dare to query, yet alone criticise, what statistics clearly show as Maori under-achievement. But now, even Maori who slate their own are condemned.
This was clearly illustrated in last month’s outburst when Dame Kiri Te Kanawa pointed out that Maori in Australia seemed to be doing a lot better than Maori in New Zealand, and suggested that a change in attitude might make a difference. The inference was that Maori in Australia are different because they have to work.
Back in New Zealand, Maori attacked her for being "out of touch", and said she had clearly been living overseas for too long. Even Labour advised that important Maori role models, such as Dame Kiri, should encourage, not criticise, Maori.
Peters, who most will acknowledge as one person not afraid of speaking his mind, said in a recently presented speech that New Zealand has now become the home of the politically correct (PC) state of mind – "one of the worst curses that can be inflicted on any nation."
Peters isn’t the only public figure to cry foul of a seemingly concerted push by the Labour Government to push New Zealand down a PC path. Newstalk ZB host Leighton Smith has been outspoken on the issue and talkback shows around the country run hot whenever the subject is broached.
Bill English has also taken a swing at PC. In his first political speech of the year the National Party leader asserted that, "the culture of cringing political correctness must end".
So what exactly is this PC business about and why are there a growing num-ber of vocal critics con-centrating their efforts on putting a halt to it? Quite simply, many see the political correctness movement as a serious danger. In fact, PC is worse than a curse, it is a cancer that slowly, but surely, eats away at society and all established societal values, warns a visiting expert on the subject.
Dr Frank Ellis, a lecturer in Russian studies at the University of Leeds in England, has written a number of essays on political correctness and has published widely on matters involving the Soviet Union and Marxism. His books include From Glasnost to the Internet: Russia’s New Infosphere, The MacPherson Report: Antiracist Hysteria and the Sovietisation of the United Kingdom, and he is currently writing a manuscript on Soviet war-literature.
Before taking up an academic career Ellis was a professional soldier serving in the parachute regiment in the Special Air Service. To some it may seem a peculiar transition to go from one of the world’s elite military units into academia, however, for Ellis, his army background made it a logical step.
During his last few years in the service he worked as a military analyst and Russian and German interpreter in West Berlin, working under the auspices of the Four Power Agreement – the WWII pact whereby France, Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union administered Berlin.
Ellis’s brief during that time ranged from some "very sensitive" work to understanding the Soviet military stationed in East Germany, which would have provided the main armed force to attack NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) in the event of a war. This role brought him into contact with a large number of senior Soviet officers and diplomats – an experience he describes as "fascinating".
Having the Russian speaking background, courtesy of the British army’s interpreter school, Ellis says he reached a stage in his life where he wanted to saturate himself in Russian. Essentially that meant a university application so after leaving the army he obtained his first degree and then went on to complete a doctorate.
Ellis first stumbled across the term ‘political correctness’ whilst he was building up what has become an extensive knowledge of socialist Russia. But before diving into this communist link, what exactly does the term PC mean?
"Political correctness is intended as a term of orthodoxy with regard to certain issues," Ellis explains. "It is inextricably linked with multiculturalism and a whole range of ‘isms that go with it such as feminism, antiracism, environmentalism, attitudes towards homosexuality and so on."
To that extent, Ellis suggests political correctness means adopting a position on any one of those issues that is consistent with the various orthodoxies on those subjects.
"For example, feminism has adopted over the years a hostile approach to the nuclear family. It regards the nuclear family as a prison, which ensnares and traps women, and does not allow them to develop their full potential. That would be a politically correct position to take on that issue. A politically incorrect position to take on that issue would be to say, ‘that’s complete nonsense – all societies everywhere have demonstrated marriage and the nuclear family and we are dealing with one of the fundamental building blocks of all societies wherever you find them," he says.
While the term PC has been around in our society for some years now, and political debate over it has been highlighted in the media over recent months, the earliest reference Ellis has been able to discover goes back more than 80 years - to the Soviet Union in 1921.
At that time the notion of political correctness became an important tool for Lenin who was trying to consolidate his control over his party, and used it to impose orthodoxy on almost every facet of society – education, politics, literature, law, ideology and even citizens’ reading habits.
"You can see that where it comes from it has rather unpleasant origins in view of Lenin’s contribution to the twentieth century."
That is precisely why we should be concerned about PC appearing in our society, says Ellis, because it directly threatens civil liberties.
He made this connection in 1997 when the incoming British Labour Government set up an inquiry to look at how the police conducted their investigation into the murder of a black teenager in London in 1993. No convictions were ever brought for the crime and the Labour party argued that the police did not pursue the inquiry as sufficiently as they should have done because the victim was black.
The inquest, headed by retired Scottish Judge William MacPherson, concluded that the British police force, specifically the metropolitan police in London, was institutionally racist. Subsequently, some 70 recommendations were made in the report in order to change police operational activities.
"In my opinion, many of these recommendations are a direct assault on many British freedoms. One of the most draconian of these was the proposal to consider the prosecution of racist incidences otherwise done in a public place. That, really, is referring to the privacy of your own home and the only way that can be policed is by bugging people’s houses."
And herein lies the link to socialism, according to Ellis. A totalitarian state is one in which every aspect of social and political life is controlled by the state. Although the British government did not accept all the recommendations, Ellis concludes that the MacPherson report represented a form of "Sovietisation" of Britain – a step whereby too much power was being handed over to the government.
One of the recommendations in the report, which has since been ruled an operational requirement, redefines how the British police judge a "racist incident". It states that a racist incident is any incident that is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.
"Straight away, from that definition, you have a charter for lots of malicious people to make all kinds of false accusations. The most innocent, offhand, remark in the work place could be used as the basis of a police investigation into you. It’s quite threatening," says Ellis.
The MacPherson report also made reference to the importance of introducing multiculturalism into public sector institutions, bureaucracies and the police force. Underlying this push is the assumption that multiculturalism is desirable. Ellis says there are some good aspects of having a diverse society with different ethnic groups, but he believes that this theory does not stand up to critical scrutiny.
"Historically there is plenty of evidence that shows multicultural societies have certain fault lines in them and when the conditions are right they can tear themselves to pieces. The most recent examples are Yugoslavia and Rwanda. I think we’re entitled to be suspicious about claims that diversity is the same as good inner strength."
While few would suggest that New Zealand is anywhere near such internal turmoil, some argue that there is already a strong sense of inequality that stems from a view that Maori are receiving preferential treatment to non-Maori.
Ellis suggests divisiveness is a key product of a politically correct, multicultural environment.
That is what prompted Bill English to indicate, earlier in the year, that his party might withdraw its support for Maori seats in Parliament. This move is in line with National’s premise of one standard of citizenship for all New Zealanders, and the party’s opposition to policies that give Maori special treatment, creating segregation.
In the same speech, English criticised a "taniwha clause" in the Local Government Act legislating that every decision made by local councils has to take into account the special relationship Maori have with land, air, water and other ‘toanga’.
He said the Government was risking throwing away gains by continuing down the path of division.
From a foreign perspective, Ellis suggests that those behind the politically correct movement have given up Marxism and conceded the economic side to the capitalists. However, he says they now seek to advance their agenda by concentrating on the commanding heights of culture, essentially "the universities; the public sector bureaucracies; the social services; the judiciary and the legal system, and also the media."
"Over the last 20 years they’ve done this very successfully," he says.
Winston Peters would probably agree with Ellis on that stance. He recently attacked the University of Otago’s new policy, whereby students can write assessments and exams in Maori, as "absurd political correctness".
He called the university’s plan, intended to encourage the use of Maori language, a waste of time and money.
In his New Year speech English acknowledged that speaking out on issues, like those also raised by Peters, risked being labelled a racist or a Maori-basher by the beehive. According to Ellis, this is one of the most "insidious" aspects of political correctness – the way in which advocates pull out "hate words" to scare their critics. He says this ploy creates a "wall of silence" behind which they "advance their agenda".
Tariana Turia’s highly publicised "holocaust" reference to the treatment of Maori people by Pakeha colonisation would arguably make many people wonder if Ellis has hit the nail on the head.
But he goes further, saying proponents of political correctness turn the world into language and culture by controlling the words we use - by defining the limits of acceptability of the meanings of certain words and ideas that we use.
"The term institutional racism strikes me as being very nebulous and deeply threatening because calling someone a racist is like calling someone a witch in seventeenth century Massachusetts. It inspires fear and dread and loathing and otherwise sensible people collapse and wilt when you accuse them of being a racist. The onus is never on the accuser to prove it. The onus is always on the accused to show that he is not. It overturns the presumption of innocent until proven guilty.
"Today there are various words to replace words that are now deemed unacceptable. People think there is something wrong with this – why it’s wrong to use this word in a way which we have always used it – but they are unable to articulate a response to why it is wrong. They are vulnerable to being outmanoeuvred by the people who concern themselves with this sort of thing in universities.
"Going back to the fear thing, human beings, even in western democracies don’t like standing out. Many people don’t like being made to feel as if they are the only person who holds certain views regarded as odd or strange. This is a measure of the achievement of these people in that views, which 20 years ago were regarded as quite normal and reasonable, are now regarded as bizarre and on the verge of making you a neo-Nazi."
Ellis says taking away freedom of speech is yet another example of how the PC set infringes on citizens’ civil rights and why political correctness should not be taken lightly, yet alone tolerated.
"All societies, that I have ever studied, that imposed censorship have ultimately collapsed. We are talking here about a form of intellectual censorship. Certain things need to be said sometimes and certain problems need to be faced up to. One of the problems we have to face up to in Britain is that immigration, legal and illegal is a major issue. It is causing terrible problems and is starting to cause a very extreme right-wing backlash.
"All societies and countries are occupied within certain physical infrastructure constraints. There is no doubt in my mind that Britain has reached those limits now. Our national health service simply cannot cope. The infrastructure in the southeast of England in London can’t cope. We have a massive housing crisis.
"Also there are problems in the way we do things. Not all cultures do things in the same way. Here you have a source for friction. How do you solve that friction? One way is to start killing your neighbours. The other way is to give extra power to the judiciary and the public sector bureaucracies to police our lives. So the more people you let in from different cultures or backgrounds, the more complicated a society becomes and the greater the need is for public sector bureaucracies to interfere in our lives."
The February 2003 issue of Investigate highlighted a growing concern about the Attorney General’s capacity to stack the bench of the new Supreme Court with judges sympathetic to Labour’s social and political agenda.
"Despite having failed to get any electoral endorsement from the public, [Margaret] Wilson nonetheless finds herself, as an un-elected MMP member, very much the power behind Clark’s throne," growls one commentator in the ‘Power Games’ article.
New Zealanders should take this as a warning that the ballot box is being bypassed, says Ellis. He also warns that when the PC proponents have stamped their mark on the judiciary, bureaucracies, the civil service, the universities, the public sector, and so on, then voting could almost be seen as a "meaningless gesture".
So how do supposedly ‘democratic’ societies relinquish power to their political leaders and let them get away with pushing their own agendas?
"When people are comfortable and prosperous they’re prepared to concede to feminists and all the rest of them – let them get on with their silly, stupid games. In times of economic hardship though, they are more likely to say, ‘I’m not letting my tax dollars go to fund whole-food feminist collectives, no chance. You want to play those games then you fund them with your own money and good luck to you.’ In times of economic downturn I think people are far more likely to object," says Ellis.
If he is right, then presumably, when the economy starts to falter, voters would put an end to what National calls "TPK (Te Puni Kokiri Maori development ministry) officials [driving] around the country writing out cheques at will…grants for break-dancing and family reunions".
To date almost 2500 grants, ranging in value from $500 to over $100,000, have been handed out under the Labour Government’s programme formerly known as Closing the Gaps. New Zealand also has numerous other policies that now parallel the Americans’ Affirmative Action dictum – a means of rectifying the wrongs of their past.
Ellis believes that if the PC movement is allowed to role on unchecked then race relations will collapse and he highlights the United States as an example of where racial tolerance, primarily between blacks and whites, is probably as bad now and perhaps even worse than it was during the 1960s.
For some time American universities have had strict quotas that set aside places for black students. Now though, several students are filing lawsuits against some higher education institutions because, though they have high enough marks, they are being denied a place in their chosen university because the quotas have been met for white students.
Affirmative Action was never supposed to be a permanent institution, but speaking from his experience of lecturing in the US, Ellis says it has now become deeply rooted in the American cultural sphere.
He says Affirmative Action is intellectually incoherent and fundamentally immoral - it persecutes talented, hardworking people and all admission processes for universities should be absolutely colour-blind.
In some instances it has backfired because, he says, particularly successful and hardworking black individuals are automatically suspected of being Affirmative Action beneficiaries.
This is exactly the type of divisiveness and inequality that some in this country, most vocally English and Peters, are trying to advise New Zealanders about. And though Ellis has an unapologetic right-wing (some would argue hard-line) stance, the warnings he brings from overseas appear to fly in the face of this government’s current direction.
Even the Governor General, Dame Silvia Cartwright, drifted into political territory in her last Waitangi Day speech. She advised New Zealanders not to try to become "one people…because we do not need to be".
"What we need to do is live together and play together as fellow human beings, recognising that we are a nation of a variety of races."
That is certainly a cordial notion but some critics wonder how we are supposed to "play together" when the playing field is not particularly even. Just ask Martin Crowe. He retired battered and bruised after commenting that not many Maori play cricket because they don’t have the temperament for the game. It was a bit naive of him to think he could play such a straight shot these days and not consider that the delivery would jag back so viciously.
Apparently, we were told in the ensuing row, it is the fault of the Pakeha for not making the game more attractive and accessible to Maori.
No, it just isn’t cricket anymore. Some say that Team PC have not only changed the rules, but they’ve doctored the ball too.