Portrait of Nicky Hager – journalist or activist?

I don’t know whether this was part of planned PR of Nicky Hager or not, but Stuff has a National Portrait: Nicky Hager – investigative journalist.

His champions call him a defender of democracy and decency; his critics call him a politically-motivated smear merchant and master of PR, who stages book releases for maximum impact and trashes reputations to make money.

Hager calls himself an author or investigative journalist. Not an activist – he hates that term. And not a Labour or Green Party stooge. But certainly political, in the sense he’s motivated by morality and social issues and the need for change.

Despite his protestations many people see him as an agenda driven activist. He does investigate like a journalist, but he is well known for not giving his targets any input to his issues before publishing, which is regarded as not good journalism.

He describes himself as ‘Author and Investigative Journalist’ on his website.

“Do I have a party political agenda? Not in the slightest. Do I have social and political motivations? Of course. Why else would I spend hundreds and thousands of hours working on things? That’s why I do it.”

He may not have a consistent alliance with any one political party but he clearly tries to influence politics with his books, with his ‘Seeds of Doubt’ blind siding Labour in the run up to the 2002 election, ‘The Hollow Men’ clearly targeting Don Brash and National in 2006, and ‘Dirty Politics’ launched during the 2014 election campaign attacking National and connected bloggers couldn’t avoid being seen as political.

And his strongest supporters and his most vocal detractors largely split along political lines.

…he likes delving into subjects others would rather keep secret, from his first book Secret Power, investigating previously unknown spy agency GCSB, to the latest, Hit & Run, which alleges New Zealand SAS involvement in civilian deaths, and a Defence Force cover-up.

His books fall broadly into two categories – war (intelligence gathering being an extension of military work) and dodgy politics. The first is personal – Hager comes from a family “really shockingly influenced by the fact the world had gone to war”.

“So the work I’ve done about war … I feel like that’s my life’s work … if we don’t do that then we’re just endlessly tricked into going to the next war and making the same mistakes again.”

I don’t question this anti-war motive, and in relation to Hager’s latest book I think the the entry of the US into Afghanistan early this century with New Zealand’s subsequent involvement is highly questionable.

But I really wonder if his targeting of one relatively tiny incident and trying to discredit the New Zealand Defence Force to the extent of suggesting possible war crimes is the best way to go about change.

He tends to polarise and entrench opinion, which tends to make his work easy to fob off as extreme activism.

Similar to my political opinions I have mixed feelings. I applaud some of the things he tries to impact on, but I question the effectiveness of the way he does things. For example I thought it was good to expose the political uses and abuses of Whale Oil, but have serious concerns about the use of illegally obtained data to do it, I am very concerned about the precedent that sets.

I also think that it’s good to shine a spotlight on unjustified and futile wars like in Afghanistan, but Hager is using victims to make more victims, in this case the SAS soldiers who were involved. Of course he is trying to put the blame for the attack at the highest levels – the Prime Minister of the time John Key, but if successful there could be some serious collateral damage.

There could also be a significant matter of New Zealand needing to have a defence force which has built a very good reputation for peace keeping efforts in different parts of the world. That was primarily why they were in Afghanistan.

Unfortunately in war even if your forces are trying to do good shit can happen – Taliban forces attacked NZ troops there mainly to try to rebuild, and the usual consequence of attacks in wars are counter attacks. The reality in war is that insurgents or opposing forces cannot just be left unchallenged.

Unfortunately, despite what I believe are genuine efforts to minimise civilian casualties military mistakes will happen and sometimes people in war situations react inappropriately.

Despite a brief flirtation with the Values Party, politics never tempted him.

Values morphed into the Greens. Regardless if Hager’s claims of no political affiliations all his books have aligned with general leanings of the Greens.

Hager never considered himself a journalist until American intelligence expert Jeffrey Richelson called Secret Power a “masterpiece of investigative reporting”. He is the only New Zealander on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, but some still argue he’s not a journalist because he denies those in the gun the opportunity to respond before publishing.

That’s a common criticism.

He makes no apology for that, saying all he would get back would be spin.

I think this is a cop out response from Hager. Isn’t it the job of investigative journalists to dig beneath the spin?

“The responsibility to be accurate, fair and balanced has to be dealt with in your research.”

But presuming his targets would just provide him with spin seems to contradict with being accurate, fair and balanced.

One of Hager’s biggest credibility problems is his apparent feeling of being right – hence he doesn’t see the need to seek the input of those he believes are wrong – and being infallible.

Hager and supporters have established their own spin – that he never gets things wrong. But his latest book disproves that, as did Dirty Politics.

And there are I think valid questions about imbalance by omission – how can he be balanced if he is only listening to one side of the story.

A real problem he has with ‘Hit & Run’ is he is attacking the relatively very well respected NZ Defence Force (imperfect but less imperfect than most military forces) and appearing to side with people at least associated with the Taliban, people with very strict and old fashioned religious beliefs that seriously oppress women.

Dirty Politics was his biggest earner, at about $50,000. He survives by having a mortgage-free house and living frugally.

“People seem to be touchingly unaware of how little authors earn,” Hager says.”Nobody in their right mind who is doing it for the money would be writing these books.”

His income is an interesting issue. He published Dirty Politics 3 years ago. $50,000 for three years is very frugal,and his previous books have generally about 3 years apart, earning him less.

He must clock up some expenses. He travels around the country and around the world. Perhaps he gets air fares and accommodation paid for or supplied.

Hager insists the public opprobrium rarely gets him down. And he doesn’t fear for his safety, despite Dirty Politics characters publishing his address. However, the 2014 illegal police raid on his home, in search of the source of Dirty Politics‘s hacked emails, was “quite shocking”.

That did seem a shocking, over the top and futile search. The Police stuffed up there.

I’ve had my address published online as well, seems to be a tactic of certain people.

NICKY HAGER ON…

FAILING TO APPROACH THOSE CRITICISED TO GET THEIR SIDE OF THE STORY
“I’m so comfortable with this, because the true objective of going for comment is not some ticking the box, it’s to be accurate, fair and balanced. That’s the purpose. And if the only effect of going for comment is that you don’t get any meaningful comment from them, and you don’t get any information and you just tip them off that they might want to sue you or cause you trouble, then there’s no gain from that.

I have a real problem with this attitude. He is making excuses for not doing what journalists would normally do and should normally do. It is necessary to filter out spin, but it is also a check against errors and mistaken assumptions.

Even the best journalists are not always right – in fact the best will test their findings to ensure they are as correct as possible, and that requires seeking more than one side of the story and more than one side of opinions.

The responsibility to be accurate, fair and balanced has to be dealt with in your research and what you write. And everyone who does this knows this. You can kind of be beaten up for not going for comment, but when you do go for comment, you don’t even get a comment – if you get anything, you get two sentences of spin.”

A journalist should never make presumptions like this. I find this attitude astounding for someone claiming to be a fair and balanced journalist.

This is more like the attitude of a political activist who is wilfully or fundamentally blind to opposing views and facts.


I note that Stuff has categorised this profile under ‘Politics’:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/91008472/national-portrait-nicky-hager–investigative-journalist

Leave a comment

77 Comments

  1. Missy

     /  1st April 2017

    People I know and trust who have had dealings with Hager – and questioned him on some of his work – say he is not open to ever being wrong, this is the impression I get of him, and his responses to LTGEN Keating’s rebuttal of Hit and Run only confirms this view in my opinion.

    “He does investigate like a journalist”

    Does he? I don’t think so, the majority of his work is based on stolen – or dodgily gained – information, where he then makes spurious conclusions. On the most part he cannot be challenged without the Government having to use highly classified information, and this is what he counts on, and in his mind – and those of his sycophantic followers – this makes him correct, even if he is not. If he did investigate like a journalist he (and Stephenson) would not have relied on dodgy sources in a dodgy area of Afghanistan for this book, they would have travelled to the location and seen if for themselves. There is no guarantee the pictures they used are where they say they are, or are what they say they are. If he did investigate like a journalist he would look at both sides of the issue and would question those on the other side of his books.

    His books are one-sided and agenda driven, they are not investigative journalism at all. He is an activist, regardless of what he would like to call himself.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  1st April 2017

      It may be a small errror to him that the place was a few km out, and in some circumstances it would be, but not in this one. This sort of accusation MUST be accurate.

      Reply
  2. Chuck Bird

     /  1st April 2017

    Here is a good journalist

    Steve Braunias: Secret diary of Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11829557

    Reply
    • Chuck Bird – or is it Chuckles? Thank you for adding to my life a bit more humour, and can I also say some very to the point comment. I’d give a double tick up for the integrity of the whole post!

      Reply
  3. chrism56

     /  1st April 2017

    I don’t know if anything can be read into it, but in the print edition, the two pages before the Hager hagiography are an article entitled ” The making of a Fraudster”

    Reply
  4. I suggest another possible position. A leftist raving nutter

    Reply
  5. Nelly Smickers

     /  1st April 2017

    *Portrait of Nicky Hager* – by local artist *Spanish Bride* XD

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  1st April 2017

      I take it that someone doesn’t know what literally means, or much (anything) about Hitler.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  1st April 2017

        that someone is a member of a huge…club.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  1st April 2017

          What a damned odd club that must be.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  1st April 2017

            its one of those clubs you would be reluctant to join ..Kitty…on the basis of what kind of club…would accept someone like you..as a ..member.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  2nd April 2017

              That is old, Groucho Marx said it many decades ago. If you must try to be insulting , try to be original-and if you must be unoriginal, don’t use something so well known.

            • Blazer

               /  2nd April 2017

              @Kitty ,yes it is old,but its still….good.

  6. Gezza

     /  1st April 2017

    Good post PG.

    It reminded me of a couple of moments in two different documentaries on Afghanistan that I watched sometime last year on Aljazeera.

    One was about the Afghani Government forces & was essentially just a camera crew following the officers & men around & filming them as they patrolled an area infiltrated by the Taliban, getting sniped at here & there, and getting in to the odd firefight with them. They were poorly equipped, poorly trained, with no air, armour or, artillery support, many in the job because there was no other work or means of supporting their extended families. They lost men & had inadequate medical support for casualties.

    After being attacked they had to enter villages where the villagers had to be treated as suspects. When they were searching dwellings & interrogating the villagers it was impossible not to feel intensely sorry for both of them, but particularly the villagers. The poor folk had to suffer the constant fear of being treated by the army as suspected Taliban sympathisers who were informing on them. And when the patrol then left to return to base for safety at night, being treated by the Taliban as suspected sympathisers with the Army, informing on them.

    The second doco I remember featured a scene where an armed US patrol had entered a desolated village, & were in a dwelling, squatting on the floor with a group of Afghani males, including the headman. The US had accidentally killed a number of innocent people in the village, brothers, kids, in a recent attack.

    The deadpan, but obviously distraught faces of these bearded, bereaved, weatherbeaten farmers who had lost their family members was gut-wrenching to watch as the patrol lieutenant, who was there to acknowledge US culpability & express the remorse of their government and forces, then awkwardly explained that he was authorised to pay the relatives US$ 2,000 for each innocent victim by way of compensation. It was obviously a poor recompense for the loss of their loved ones.

    And yet, it was equally clear that the lieutenant was quite genuine in conveying his sympathy & remorse & doing his best to empathise. This is, it seems, a culturally appropriate atonement, & given the poverty of the villagers they were obliged to accept the compensation amount offered. Very poignant scene.

    Reply
  7. Blazer

     /  1st April 2017

    There is always a need for journalists of Hagers ilk.The fact that his m.o does not align with what so called ‘normal’ journalists do is irrelevant.Too many in media are into what amounts to political P.R and protecting their cosy sinecures.There is lawful recourse to those who think they are maligned in any way by his writings.The police raid on his home reflects the fear and loathing that certain politicians harbour towards unwelcome exposure of their morality and ethics.Long may he continue writing.

    Reply
    • Bill Brown

       /  1st April 2017

      “There is always a need for journalists of Hagars ilk” ……. wow. Really.

      You think he should work at the NZ Herald?

      Give me a break. The guy writes utter one sided crap.? My 5 year old makes more sense

      Reply
    • Griff

       /  1st April 2017

      Hager is the extreme left as is Wishart the extreme right
      Both are equally biased for their ideology.

      Do we really need them?

      The extremes are allowed a voice
      It is how much weight we give their ideas that counts .

      Reply
      • I agree they should be allowed a voice.

        I think that the media are reassessing how much additional voice to give Hager after this book. At least they should be.

        Reply
        • I do not see any profit in trying to put people on a linear scale from left to right and centre as a consequence of stating their opinions. It is when they try and dress up opinion as a fact that I part company, and label their prejudices. I think this aligns with your guidance, Pete?

          Reply
      • Corky

         /  1st April 2017

        How is Wishart extreme right?

        Reply
        • trevors_elbow

           /  1st April 2017

          Because he is not of the Left… therefore by definition has to be a screaming looney far right ideologue….. : )

          Reply
  8. Nelly Smickers

     /  1st April 2017
    Reply
  9. Pete Kane

     /  1st April 2017

    Plenty of old and particularly new names turning up on this topic PG?

    Reply
  10. Oliver

     /  1st April 2017

    I think the issue is not that civilians were killed but that the NZDF failed to acknowledge that they killed civilians. The nzdf use words like courage, integrity, and honour. But they don’t live up to these values when it comes to acknowledging mistakes. That’s what needs to change. More accountability and transparency. If Hager achieves that the he would have done NZ a great service.

    Reply
    • Oh dear Oliver you are back and trying to defend the defenceless. Of course the issue is whether civilians were killed, by whom and under what circumstances. The action was witnessed by a sworn legal officer and her terms of reference must have included briefing the force commander of any matter that contravened the laws of war and the circumstances of the action. Even today, all serving and former soldiers of the NZ Army having sworn their Oath of Allegiance have been given a direct order to report to the Chief of Army (Navy or Airforce) any matter that is or could be a crime against the rules of war. This lead to such things as the admission, finally by soldiers who stupidly agreed, stupid but understandable if you have been in action, to hide the fact that a NZ soldier had been killed by his own fault in an unintentional shooting incident so his next of kin would believe he had been killed in action. It was a wrong call but eventually was reported because of the integrity and training of our soldiers.
      Hager was asked if he had a political or sociological intent behind his publishing the book and said “Yes, of course…”. He aspires to creation of a marxist-socialist society for New Zealand as evidenced by a number of his public addresses, and has a consistent anti-establishment and authority approach. I will defend his right to express his opinions, but will not permit him to elevate opinion to the status of fact. Finally, after standing up in public and saying he was a meticulous investigator and balanced because he would always where doubt existed seek comment from the subject of his publication. Then when asked whether he had sought NZDEF comment on his claims responded No, all they would do is spin their ,answer or words to that effect. Mr Hager (rhymes with Lager), or should that be Spinner? Come In, but wipe your lips first!

      Reply
      • Oliver

         /  1st April 2017

        Two servings SAS troopers made the information public. Hager is just the messenger. Keating is destroying the NZDF’s reputation by lying to everybody. Shame on him. He will be the first to go. As an ex servicemen myself I am disgusted by the DF leadership who lie and deliberately white wash facts to save their own petty careers. They are the true definition of cowards. The two SAS troopers should hold there heads high because they have done the honourable thing.

        Reply
        • chrism56

           /  1st April 2017

          No they didn’t Oliver. You are just dreaming. The information published shows it was just someone on the fringes of the army in Afghanistan

          Reply
        • Missy

           /  1st April 2017

          Oliver if Hager’s sources really are two serving SAS soldiers (which I doubt) then they should not hold their head high if they witnessed anything that could be considered a war crime and told Hager. If they witnessed anything that contravened their ROE on a raid 7 years ago they should have immediately reported it to their superiors.

          I am disgusted at the thought any NZ Soldier would cowardly go to Nicky Hager anonymously and report such a thing and not front up the the NZDF leadership. The fact that they did it this way leads me to believe they have either mislead Hager as to their position in the NZDF, or Hager has mislead the public in his book, either way I do not believe any of his sources are SAS soldiers who were present at the incident, and therefore they are unreliable sources.

          Reply
        • Oliver you apparently know something that even Hager and Stephenson don’t. do tell? They changed their stance to “persons associated with NZSAS” at last report. But honest;y Oliver you have no credibility here and we do not need your biassed views anymore.

          Reply
          • Missy

             /  1st April 2017

            “They changed their stance to “persons associated with NZSAS” at last report. ”

            I hadn’t seen that, is that another act of pedalling back from Hager and the media then? The reports I have seen all stated the sources were serving SAS soldiers who were there. Persons associated takes on a new meaning, are they the security guards? The barmen? The cleaner? The guy at the pub down the road? (the last is a possibility as some of his ‘sources’ for Other Peoples wars was an overheard conversation in a pub)

            Reply
      • Missy

         /  1st April 2017

        “…have been given a direct order to report to the Chief of Army (Navy or Airforce) any matter that is or could be a crime against the rules of war.”

        This is a very good point that I never thought about.

        If Hager’s sources really were SAS as he alleges then they have failed in their duty to report something that could be a crime against the rules of war. And for them to wait years after the fact to anonymously tell Hager is just an act of cowardice, if they really were sure of their facts they would have reported it years ago.

        Reply
        • Precisely Missy, and that is also if Oliver is aware of the names of any NZSAS or former NZSAS soldiers who claim knowledge of the incident that implies any illegal conduct by any soldier serving then he has a duty to tha country to make that information available to the NZDEF Chief.
          In the absence of such an undertaking to do so, then it is an unsubstantiated allegation. Oliver , prove it or depart!

          Reply
        • Blazer

           /  1st April 2017

          Dear oh dear,how vituperative the femmes of the right are!Their outrage and loathing trumps anything I’ve seen from the male gender. Ruth Richardson and Margaret Thatcher must be the poster girls for the Missy and Travs of the world.My bet is they do not have children,they are just too staunch and uncompromising,bereft of tolerance,compassion and empathy for people who are not cut from the same cloth as ..them.

          Reply
          • Missy

             /  1st April 2017

            Blazer, the fact that you are not addressing the point but resorting to a personal and quite frankly sexist attack indicates you have run out of anything to defend your hero Hager.

            “Ruth Richardson and Margaret Thatcher must be the poster girls for the Missy and Travs of the world.My bet is they do not have children,”

            This is uncalled for. You would never speculate if any of the male commenters have children, so do not do that for either myself or Trav, this shows you as either bereft of arguments, or a sexist pig, I am torn as to which.

            “…they are just too staunch and uncompromising,bereft of tolerance,compassion and empathy for people who are not cut from the same cloth as ..them.”

            I am not sure how you can come to the conclusion from my comment that I am ‘staunch and uncompromising, bereft of tolerance, compassion and empathy for people who are not cut from the same cloth’ as me, you seem to be employing Hagers MO and reading something into nothing and making up your own conclusions with no basis of fact.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  1st April 2017

              it is only my personal opinion based on your posts ,which to my eye always endorse the status quo,and show a total disdain for anyone who does not conform to your idealistic paradigm of some ‘American Dream’ that has no tolerance for people that do not soak up mainstream propaganda.

            • Missy

               /  1st April 2017

              So, what has my gender – or whether I have children – have to do with your view on my political views.

              It was obvious that your ‘personal opinion’ as expressed was designed to bring into question the stereotype of a woman as being compassionate and empathetic and you found me (and Travs) lacking, so your immediate conclusion is that we don’t have children, something that you do not do for male commenters.

              Your comment was deliberately sexist trying to undermine myself and Trav based on our gender. It leads me to believe that you are a man who feels threatened by a woman who shows herself to have opinions that you disagree with, and has an argument that you cannot counter, so your default position is to undermine the arguments based on gender.

              My personal opinion based on your comment is that you are a sexist pig who is single and sits at home drinking on a Saturday night wondering why you can’t find a woman since strong minded women with an opinion threatens your manhood. (See it works both ways Blazer)

            • Blazer

               /  1st April 2017

              luv it…..it is Sat nite…I go out at 11.pm…have 3 children,am not unhappy with life…as for the rest of your feminist diatribe….and assumptions…= just how sensitive people are these days….a recent case…I met a woman in a commercial enterprise who told me she had lost 10kgs…a couple of hours later when I saw her chowing down on a ham and dripping cheese burger ,I lightheartedly(imo)said,hey be careful you may put that 10 kgs back on again….she was aghast…how dare you!that is totally inappropriate’….this is what we have come to.

            • Missy

               /  1st April 2017

              So you find it funny and amusing to denigrate and insult women? That isn’t something to be proud of, you show a complete lack of respect for them. I hope that if any of your children are girls that men show them more respect than you show other women, or maybe you treat them with as little respect as you do women in general.

            • Blazer

               /  1st April 2017

              @Missy…for gods sake ,you live in the U.K..DON’T YOU..!have you never seen 8 out of 10 cats….Mock the week,Jimmy Carr or Frankie Boyle…do you live in a bunker?

            • Missy

               /  1st April 2017

              “…your feminist diatribe…”

              Another example of you trying to undermine an argument with sexist language. You aren’t exactly doing yourself any favours Blazer, you seem to be just confirming that you are a sexist pig who has no respect for women and feels threatened with one who has an opinion.

              If I was truly a ‘feminist’ Blazer I would probably calling you a misogynist, and not just calling out your obvious lack of respect for women, your sexism, and your inappropriateness of language in the context of this argument.

            • Blazer

               /  1st April 2017

              @Missy ..thanks for ‘pulling your punches’ and just calling me a..sexist pig..instead of a ..misogynist.Oh the lady doth ..protest too ..much…chill out loosen up…life is short.

            • Missy

               /  1st April 2017

              “…you live in the U.K..DON’T YOU..!”

              No need to shout Blazer, you seem to be coming a little unhinged.

              “…have you never seen 8 out of 10 cats….Mock the week,Jimmy Carr or Frankie Boyle…do you live in a bunker?”

              What has my TV viewing habits got to do with anything Blazer? Diverting?

            • Blazer

               /  1st April 2017

              @Missy ..sorry about the caps lock.As for T.V viewing habits,they reflect society as it IS,not how some ..imagine it ..to be.The programmes and people I mention are a barometer on community mores.

            • Missy

               /  1st April 2017

              “thanks for ‘pulling your punches’ and just calling me a..sexist pig..instead of a ..misogynist.”

              No thanks necessary Blazer, I was just stating my personal opinion based on your posts.

              “Oh the lady doth ..protest too ..much”

              I am not protesting anything Blazer, just responding to your ramblings over my morning coffee.

              “…chill out loosen up…life is short.”

              So, I guess you telling me to chill out and loosen up is your way of showing tolerance,compassion and empathy for someone who is not cut from the same cloth as you.

            • Blazer

               /  1st April 2017

              @Missy…now you are slowly….getting it.

            • Missy

               /  1st April 2017

              “now you are slowly….getting it.”

              maybe, but I don’t thing you are Blazer.

            • Blazer

               /  1st April 2017

              just think…your nic ‘Missy’ reminds me of colonial elitism and sexism.I’m sure thats not why you..chose it.

            • Nelly Smickers

               /  1st April 2017

              @ Missy

              I just sitting here drying my hair and reading the little exchange between youse guys….I wouldn’t worry too much *Missy* – even I’ve been on the sharp end of a few of Blazers witty-ripostes on a few occasions XD

              Don’t know if it’s after midday in London…..but have you *checked the date* ❓ LOL!!

            • Missy

               /  2nd April 2017

              “…your nic ‘Missy’ reminds me of colonial elitism and sexism.”

              Seriously Blazer? You are an idiot, and didn’t you once think that maybe it is my name, or at least a derivative of my name? Or a nickname I have had for years?

            • Missy

               /  2nd April 2017

              Though the truth is Blazer, my name ‘Missy’ is just a short for Mistress – the feminine form of Master. 😉

            • Missy

               /  2nd April 2017

              @Nelly, Blazer’s comments are not witty-ripostes, they were personal and sexist comments designed to derail and divert an argument he was losing. What he showed with those comments are a complete lack of respect for Women, and a disdain for treating women as equals.

              It has nothing to do with the date, he did something similar the other day, Pete deleted his comment before I saw it, but if what Blazer says is true about what he wrote (and I have no reason to disbelieve him) it was a comment that was inappropriate, sexist, and demeaning in the context he said it.

          • Blazer, that is a fail on sexist grounds need I say anymore. Think frst!

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  1st April 2017

              So precious people these days..ageism,sexism,racism,hate speech,….no one will be able to say anythin g if this nonsense continues.

            • Missy

               /  1st April 2017

              I am not precious, but it is all in the context of what words you use, and in this case your opinion as expressed was out of context of the argument and sexist.

              Blazer this isn’t the first time you have made a sexist and insulting comment to try and undermine one of my comments, you are showing yourself to be rather threatened by what I say, why is that? Do I threaten your alpha male view of yourself?

              You need to start using your brain and think about the context of what you say.

          • @petegeorge. Pete can you explain why we have to continue to suffer the threadjacking of blazer and the misogynist tone taken. I admire Missy her valiant efforts to counter the ad hominem, but admit ( albeit reluctantly) the incessant, unjustified, unsolicited personal attacks put me off this place.

            Reply
            • Missy

               /  2nd April 2017

              Thanks for that Trav, I agree we shouldn’t have to put up with Blazer’s unjustified personal and sexist attacks when he runs out of any argument. I have noticed it seems to be getting worse as well.

            • I don’t always get the time to closely monitor comments and I was otherwise occupied last night. I rely on to an extent on self moderation, community moderation and common sense. Sometimes I remind people of their responsibilities involved in considering the whole community more and to minimise petty personal bickering.

              Personal attacks (and that cane be perceptions by those on the receiving end) are a problem across social media and they happen here at times. I’m aware of how they can put people off commenting. Sadly that’s what some people try to do, to drive others away by attacking and harassing.

              But I also have to be careful not to jump on people and exclude them from commenting just because someone doesn’t like them or doesn’t like their views – I don’t think this was the case on this occasion but it does happen. On other blogs it is sometimes manufactured – faux offense and outrage can be used to get targets moderated or banned (it’s happened to me a number of times at The Standard).

              What has been said yesterday has been said and unless anyone has particular problems with any specific comments rather than the general perceived tone then I will leave things as they are – responses have made it clear there is disagreement and disapproval so it isn’t one sided.

              But I ask again to not get drawn into personal bickering, and especially not to start or provoke it.

              It’s important to me that as much as possible free and open discussion takes place, but ultimately I will put the good of the whole community ahead of the egos and agendas of individuals.

            • Keep this

            • Missy

               /  2nd April 2017

              I agree with your comments Pete, and I am certainly not a person who agrees with censorship and banning.

              I apologise for my part in the diverting this thread off topic, and on reflection I should not have continued to respond to Blazer past my first comment, I have no excuse except the wish to make a point after this, and his sexist and demeaning comment earlier this week.

              I also apologise to Blazer for the personal attack on him, I should never have taken my arguments to his level.

              Please do not take my comments to Trav as a criticism of your moderation, or the way you manage the blog.

      • Blazer

         /  1st April 2017

        whats going on here Col…’It was epitomised in former Defence Force chief Lt General Rhys Jones who invited the United States to exercise in New Zealand – after a long absence because of the anti-nuclear rift – without consulting the Government.’

        Reply
        • I really doubt that he would act in that sensitive area without discussing it with his Minister. What was the context of your quote, its a bit of an orphan. In the 70’s and 80’s 25 Division based in Hawaii troops regularly trained in Waiouru for cold climate training with NZ Troops. 1987 was the year Lange passed the Nuclear free NZ legislation so that gives a start time for restricted US/NZ contacts under ANZUS. Other than that I can’t help.

          Reply
  11. Alan Wilkinson

     /  1st April 2017

    Of course Hager, like all of us, deserves a voice. However, the media would get more respect for integrity if they treated his voice with more objective scrutiny rather than as clickbait and Lefty propaganda to be pushed.

    Reply
  12. As a former soldier in our Army who has done his tiny bit, I have to remind people that we were a disciplined organisation whose training is to avoid making public comments outside of the chain of command. That concept is fundamental to the integrity of units and sub-units of the Armed Forces. That is why, we have gentlemen and women in positions of command responding in polite measured ways to media and public concerns. The Army in particular is a hierarchical structure, and the buck stops at the top. If that did not have to happen, then I guess the media would be subjected to a fairly blunt response from some pretty riled soldiers.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  1st April 2017

      all very well Col,but the army is made up of human beings…who are fallible, no matter their code of conduct.

      Reply
  13. duperez

     /  1st April 2017

    Hager is excellent for us. Ostensibly he is just a person who likes to follow up on causes which interest him and write books about them.

    In reality he has a great power to generate community participation in discussing his causes and engender a mass of human reactions.

    Those reactions give ample context for the best and worst of human foibles to be demonstrated. The major spats after his publications are in some ways similar to a four year old’s tantrum in the supermarket. Right there, at the time, it is chaotic and the world is going to end. Later it is, “What the hell was that all about?”

    Some who were at the first of his episodes made up their minds he was a little shit and that view has strengthened over time.

    So as well as being just a guy who writes books he lets us expose our immaturity as a society he lets us flaunt the ease with which we welcome the next opportunity to get involved in bat-shit crazy media frenzies.

    Reply
    • Duperez, for goodness sake don’t encourage Hager, he already has a Christ complex, he is not just a guy who writes books, he has a “political and social agenda- of course” Not my words, his!

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  1st April 2017

        I don’t much like Hager, Bj, but it’s largely a visceral reaction & I’m prepared to listen to what each side has to say. There are now holes appearing everywhere in his less than rock-solid attack on the NZDF & the reliability & credibility of his sources are well open to question.

        But I also note that Lt Gen Keating basically ran the script in this document, & it is not, in my view sufficient. I want to see the ISAF report.
        http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2010/08/afg-civilian-casualties-in-baghlan-confirmed.html#more

        Reply
        • Gezza, that is fine, me too. An operation was assessed by ISAF command and the report dated 28 August 2010 that you quote says they “…conducted a full assessment of an operation on Aug. 22 in Talah wa Barfak District, Baghlan province.” Operation Burnham involving NZSAS according to Gen Keating was “…Operation Burnham), the times and date (12.30-3.45am on 22 August 2010), the location in the Tirgiran Valley”. Talah Wa Barfak is to the South West of Baghlan according to Google earth and is substantially different from the Tirgiran Valley which is North East from Kabul. I can’t resolve the differences in locations between the Two reports. Can you?

          Reply
  14. Gezza

     /  2nd April 2017

    No. Curiouser & curiouser, Bj.

    Reply
  15. I see that other place, the Oily one, is now claiming Hager is winning based on:

    “The book references a New York Times story, still online, dated two days after the raid that reports a botched mission with civilian deaths on the same night as Operation Burnham. It names the town. Naik. Not Tirgiran as the Defence Force claims.

    Awkward. Compounding this, the book draws its 13 actual readers to a UN report dated March 2011 that also references the August 2010 raids and the claims of civilian casualties. The allied forces’ investigation on the raid wasn’t released to the UN and even Keating hasn’t read it.”

    Awkwardly for the Oily one, I have actually found Tirgiran separately through Google and elsewhere have explained to get there using Google Earth. I have not found the claimed town of Naik quoted by the Oily one and Hager. In the language “Naik” means to climb or get on something higher.
    Gezza, bless his research soul, has found a public release that he provided the link for. This describes the ISAF investigation of an operation on the same day as Op Burnham, but locates the operation in a different place and notes the casualties as 13 and attributes the cause of civilian casualties to a defective sight on an Apache attack helicopter for which the US Commander apologised for the Afghani civilian casualties. No mention of NZ involvement. The point is the finding was publicly released, as evidenced by Gezza.

    Now, I know precisely where Objectives A and B are located, and even have had a Google World visit to the area. I assess the ISAF report is either a report into a separate operation or they have got their geography wrong. The latter is not an understandable mistake to have been made by the professional investigating team, so I have to conclude Hager was confused about the operation 6 years ago, and because he and Stevenson did not walk the talk and seek advice from NZDEF about the clear anomalies identified, but no, he wanted to get his sucker punch in first. Well Nicky, old bean, you stuffed up monumentally and have to take your medicine.
    Next time you pontificate to Uni students about journalistic ethics, perhaps you can use this experience as a case study?

    Reply

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