Craig versus MacGregor today

Colin Craig will cross examine Rachel MacGregor today in the Craig v Slater defamation case. It seems odd that Craig, who MacGregor still claims sexualy harassed her, gets to question her in person in court, but according to ‘Whaleoil Staff’

Whaleoil understands Mr Craig has been handed a strict set of rules issued by the court, and if he does not stick to them, then the court will step in.

Things didn’t seem to go well for Craig in court yesterday when MacGregor gave evidence. Especially (as reported by Stuff):

Rachel MacGregor has told a court that Colin Craig threatened her by saying he’d set aside $1 million to “destroy” her.

Craig’s former press secretary claims the threat was made during a confidential Human Rights Commission mediation after she brought a sexual harassment complaint against him.

Cameron Slater’s wife Juana atkins (SB) has posted Best day in court ever! but expressing herself with a depiction of violence against Craig doesn’t seem a wise thing to do during a court case.

SBvCraig.jpg

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Fox retracts Seth Rich story

Fox News and especially Sean Hannity have pushed a story about murdered Democrat staffer Seth Rich. Kim Dotcom has been given airtime by Hannity.

Salon: Newt Gingrich and Sean Hannity keep Seth Rich conspiracies alive

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich appeared on “Fox and Friends” on Sunday morning, only to use his platform to further promulgate the previously debunked conspiracy theory that former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was assassinated because he was the source that provided Wikileaks with tens of thousands of hacked Democratic Party emails.

“We have this very strange story now of this young man who worked for the Democratic National Committee, who apparently was assassinated at 4 in the morning, having given WikiLeaks something like 53,000 emails and 17,000 attachments,” Gingrich told Fox News. “Nobody’s investigating that, and what does that tell you about what’s going on? Because it turns out, it wasn’t the Russians. It was this young guy who, I suspect, was disgusted by the corruption of the Democratic National Committee. He’s been killed, and apparently nothing serious has been done to investigative his murder. So I’d like to see how [Robert S.] Mueller [III] is going to define what his assignment is.”

Gingrich didn’t just say it could be a possibility that Rich was the Wikileaks source or that the murder may be worth some sort of further investigation, he baselessly asserted that Rich was the source — on national television — and that it effectively negated any alleged Russian involvement.

But Gingrich isn’t even the only notable person peddling this theory, it’s also being peddled by Sean Hannity, and more recently Kim Dotcom, the internet entrepreneur who founded Megaupload.

Hannity who has increasingly gone on Trump-like twitter sprees over the recent months has not been able to contain himself from spreading this theory along with the hashtag #SethRich to his nearly 2.5 million followers.

Dotcom on the other hand, has has recently inserted himself into this situation, and claimed that he has irrefutable evidence that Rich was the Wikileaks source, and will be releasing some sort of statement on Tuesday, though it’s currently not clear what that will consist of.

Hannity has been busy on Twitter.

Fox has now retracted: Statement on coverage of Seth Rich murder investigation

On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich. The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed.

We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted.

Dotcom announced this week — seemingly out of nowhere — that he would release the information on his website Tuesday, but the supposed bombshell drop that many were desperately hoping for was quite anticlimactic.

“I KNOW THAT SETH RICH WAS INVOLVED IN THE DNC LEAK,” Dotcom — who is fighting extradition charges to the U.S. from New Zealand — wrote on his site.

I know this because in late 2014 a person contacted me about helping me to start a branch of the Internet Party in the United States. He called himself Panda. I now know that Panda was Seth Rich.

Panda advised me that he was working on voter analytics tools and other technologies that the Internet Party may find helpful.

I communicated with Panda on a number of topics including corruption and the influence of corporate money in politics.

“The Rich family has reached out to me to ask that I be sensitive to their loss in my public comments. That request is entirely reasonable,” he continued. “I have consulted with my lawyers. I accept that my full statement should be provided to the authorities and I am prepared to do that so that there can be a full investigation. My lawyers will speak with the authorities regarding the proper process.”

In reality, the Rich family thanked Fox News for retracting the story, according to CNN reporter Oliver Darcy.

The Assange contradiction

Today’s ODT editorial No ‘get out of jail free’ card yet  points out the contradiction between what Julian Assange campaigns for through Wikileaks – transparency – and how he holed himself up in the Ecuadorian Embassy for seven years to avoid facing responsibilities.

Seven years have done little to diminish the defiance (arrogance?) of Australian Julian Assange.

Many revere whistle-blowers such as Mr Assange. They support WikiLeaks’ goals of freedom of speech to improve transparency and reduce corruption – the same goals espoused by media organisations worldwide. Opinions differ, however, on WikiLeaks’ methods: a reliance on secret sources and leaked material, which governments have argued might put their countries and servicemen and women at risk.

The reverence of Assange diminished somewhat when he avoid facing rape accusations, and when Wikileaks campaigned against Hillary Clinton in last year’s US election.

This newspaper finds the most difficult thing to marry is Mr Assange’s professional crusade for transparency with his refusal to be held to account personally. The allegations are of a serious criminal nature. He maintains his sexual connection with the women was consensual. If he is innocent (and everyone should be assumed innocent until proven guilty) he had nothing to fear from simple questioning. If he was charged as a result, a trial in Sweden would surely have been fair and transparent and in the media spotlight.

When it comes to the “human rights” quoted by Mr Assange, there are still two women whose rights have been denied. This self-professed defender of truth and justice has sent a disturbing message to rape victims and perpetrators of sexual violence: run away and you won’t be held to account.

While he argues he has been unfairly detained, and his children deprived of a father, he could, in fact, leave the embassy at any time and start facing reality. The two former WikiLeaks volunteers had to, as did the supplier of his organisation’s best cache of information.

Assange quotes some UN agency that claimed he was illegally detained, but Assange chose to hide from Swedish justice in the Ecuadorian Embassy, and he chose to stay there to avoid that and other legal challenges.

Assange claims he was innocent of rape charges, but chose not to defend himself in the normal judicial process.

Wikileaks don’t seem to care about accusations they promote against others that avoid normal due process and justice.

Assange’s (and Wikileaks’) methods and political motives, and his supposed holding to account of authorities and politicians while going to extremes to avoid being held to account himself, is a contradiction that seriously diminishes the credibility of Wikileaks.

 

Oh Standard…

The (apparently) terrorist bombing in Manchester was a terrible thing.

Nowhere near as bad but still eye-rollingly stupid was some of the suggestions of political blame at The Standard in comments on the post Oh Manchester …

Millsy:

Starting to wonder if this was a false flag bombing. Now May can looking all defiant and prime ministerial and Corbyn can be portrayed as soft and weak on security.

Draco T Bastard:

That is the scary thought about this.

The Fairy Godmother:

Is it just a coincidence that the media were misrepresenting Jeremy Corban as supporting the IRA yesterday and now this happens. Hopefully it was.

Anne:

The timing of this event – given that Labour and Corbyn appear to have suddenly started to surge in the polls – caused me to contemplate the same possibility as The Fairy Godmother. At this point in time it would seem implausible, but it’s not a crime to entertain such a scenario.

Anne is right in a way about one thing. Stupidity isn’t a crime. And suggesting that an ISIS attack was a deliberate plot by a political party in an election campaign is very stupid.

In Vino:

Well said, Anne.
Some people are over-eagerly picking upon what they want to see as over-reactions. Their hidden agenda becomes overt.

Anne:

Thanks In Vino. I don’t think anyone here is seriously contemplating a Tory plot in order to gain more votes. But the possibility of some wrong headed right wing individuals – or an individual – trying to use the imminent election as a focal point for causing major upheavals in the name of some lunatic agenda is not an uncommon eventuality these days.

But that’s a long way from carrying out a terrorist bombing that murders many innocent people.

And it’s pathetic to target “some wrong headed right wing individuals”, considering the attempts by people and organisations like Hager, Dotcom and Wikileaks to try to cause (non-violent) major political  upheavals.

There was more, but there were also challenges to these assertions. The discussions even go Godwin:

Psycho Milt: How good at would do you have to be to notice how unlikely a false flag attack is in this case? Some people never met a conspiracy theory they didn’t like.

In Vino: I bet that is what they said straight after Hitler’s team burnt the Reichstag.

Psycho Milt: Hilarious you should call on the Reichstag fire as evidence.

In Vino: No – the false flag accusation would have been catered for in advance and laughed to scorn. You always seem ill-disposed to false flag suggestions…

Fortunately we haven’t seen terrorism in New Zealand like that impacting on various parts of Europe over the last few years.

But we do have political hate, and one of the symptoms of that are the ridiculous suggestions at The Standard.

A far more appropriate final comment (to date) at The Standard from Adam:

“Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.”

Martin Luther King 1958.

And just as importantly,

“If we do not learn to live together as friends, we will die apart as fools.”

Martin Luther King 1963.

 

Manchester bomber identified

The Manchester bomber has been identified, and ISIS have claimed responsibility.

The bomber has been named as a 22 year old British born Libyan Salman Abedi, who comes from South Manchester (thanks Missy).

The Telegraph: Salman Abedi named as the Manchester suicide bomber – what we know about him

The suicide bomber who killed 22 people and injured dozens more at the Manchester Arena has been named as 22-year-old Salman Abedi.

Born in Manchester in 1994, the second youngest of four children his parents were Libyan refugees who came to the UK to escape the Gaddafi regime.

His parents were both born in Libya but appear to have emigrated to London before moving to the Fallowfield area of south Manchester where they have lived for at least ten years.

Abedi grew up in the Whalley Range area, just yards from the local girl’s high school, which hit the headlines in 2015 when twins and grade A pupils, Zahra and Salma Halane, who were both aspiring medical students, left their homes and moved to Isil controlled Syria.

There were unconfirmed reports in Manchester that the whole family apart from the two elder sons recently returned to Libya.

PDB says:

If true it shows the difficulty one faces in stopping terrorism when the terrorists are home grown 2nd or third generation immigrants.

It shows that terrorism is not just a Middle East problem, nor just a recent immigration problem.

Abedi was named by Greater Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins on Tuesday.

“As you would expect the police response to this across Greater Manchester has been significant as we support people to go about their daily business.

“Part of this response has seen us arrest a 23-year-old man in connection with the attack and we have also carried out two warrants, one in Whalley Range and one in Fallowfield that included a controlled explosion to enable safe entry.

“We understand that feelings are very raw right now and people are bound to be looking for answers. However, now, more than ever, it is vital that our diverse communities in Greater Manchester stand together and do not tolerate hate.”

I doubt that generating more hate has ever been a successful response to hateful crimes.

“I can confirm that the man suspected of carrying out last night’s atrocity has been named as 22-year-old Salman Abedi. However, he has not yet been formally identified and I wouldn’t wish, therefore, to comment further.

“The priority remains to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network.”

On Tuesday, it was reported that the Islamic State group had claimed responsibility for the attack.

Difficult times for Manchester and for Britain. Just like they couldn’t remove all people of Irish descent from England during the Troubles, they can’t wave a wand to erase everything Muslim from the country.

If led well the majority of people will rise together against terrorism and against hate, and stand against the divisive aims of the terrorists.

Media watch – Wednesday

24 May 2017

MediaWatch

Media Watch is a focus on New Zealand media, blogs and social media. You can post any items of interested related to media.

A primary aim here is to hold media to account in the political arena. A credible and questioning media is an essential part of a healthy democracy.

A general guideline – post opinion on or excerpts from and links to blog posts or comments of interest, whether they are praise, criticism, pointing out issues or sharing useful information.

World watch

Tuesday GMT

WorldWatch

Post news or views on anything happening of interest around the world.

Ngaro has to front up

Alfred Ngaro had to face media in Parliament for the first time since his embarrassing speech a bit over a week ago – see Should Ngaro have offered his resignation?

He also had to face perhaps his first Question Time as a Minister.

10. POTO WILLIAMS (Labour—Christchurch East) to the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Did he have any particular organisations in mind when he stated, “Do not play politics with us. If you get up on the hustings and start bagging us, then all the things you are doing are off the table. They will not happen.”; if so, which organisations was he thinking of?

Hon ALFRED NGARO (Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector): My comments were wrong. It is not the way this Government works, and I have apologised for them.

Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. That was a primary question on notice. While the Minister may regret his comments, he is still accountable for them and still needs to answer the question.

Mr SPEAKER: I agree with that. The—[Interruption] Order! No, I do not think the question has been addressed. It is very easily addressed. I think the question needs addressing. It is one the Minister has had for the last 2½ or 3 hours.

Hon ALFRED NGARO: I have apologised to the organisations that I named in my comments. They were wrong. It is not the way this Government works and I have apologised for them.

Poto Williams: Does he agree with the finding of the recent ComVoices state of the sector report: “This is a difficult time for the entire social sector … Partly this is due to social service providers not wanting to ‘rock the boat’ and jeopardise their chances of securing future finding.”; if not, in what ways does he disagree with that finding?

Hon ALFRED NGARO: I have not read those comments, but what I can say is that as the Minister I have been working and engaging with a number of the community groups, having free and frank conversations, wanting to know that we can make a difference to New Zealanders in our communities every day.

Poto Williams: When he stated: “On the one hand, we are working together and on the other hand too. If people are criticising, we just need to be mindful of that type of relationship.”, what in particular did he believe that people needed to be mindful of?

Hon ALFRED NGARO: Part of working in the community means that others will have different points of view and we may disagree, and that is appropriate. However, we are all working towards the same goal of helping people in our communities.

Poto Williams: Why did he say what he said?

Hon ALFRED NGARO: My comments were wrong. They are not the way this Government is working, and I apologise for them.

Chris Hipkins: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Minister may, as I have indicated earlier, regret what he said but he did say them and he, therefore, should be able to answer questions on them. The question was why he said it.

Mr SPEAKER: I agreed with that in the first case, when it was a primary question put down on notice. As for the supplementary question, on this occasion, when I consider what was asked in the question and the Minister’s attempt to address it, I think he has addressed that question.

Poto Williams: Why did the Minister say sorry to the Prime Minister but not apologise to the community and voluntary sector?

Hon ALFRED NGARO: I have made apologies to those whom I spoke about. I have also spoken to a number inside the community as well. What I have to say to the member is that I have been humbled by the spirit of generosity that has been given to me, because most people have said that this has been out of character. I have worked very hard over a number of years with those communities as well.

Explosions, deaths at Manchester concert

There was at least one explosion at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. There have been multiple deaths and injuries reported.

Current summary (BBC):

  • Greater Manchester Police say there have been number of fatalities
  • People are urged to stay away from the area around Manchester Arena
  • Rail lines blocked at nearby Manchester Victoria station
  • Ariana Grande concert was evacuated
  • A spokesman for the singer confirms she is unharmed

Guardian: Manchester Arena: police confirm fatalities after explosion at Ariana Grande concert

Police in Manchester have responded to a “serious incident” at the city’s arena, amid unconfirmed reports online of an explosion.

Greater Manchester police warned people to stay away from Manchester Arena while they dealt with the issue. Officers did not release any further details on what has happened. A concert by Ariana Grande was being staged at the time.

UPDATE:

Here is the full update from Greater Manchester chief constable Ian Hopkins:

I can confirm the details of events tonight that we currently know. At around 10.33pm last night we received reports of an explosion at the Manchester Arena in the city centre. It was at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande concert.

Currently we have 19 people confirmed to have died and around 50 people injured.

The injured are being treated at six hospitals across Greater Manchester. My thoughts are with all those who have been affected and we are doing all we can to support them.

Officers from GMP and emergency services are working at the scene and are supporting those affected. We are coordinating the response from GMP headquarters.

An emergency number is available for those who are concerned about loved ones or anyone who may have been in the area. It is 0161 856 9400.

We are currently treating this as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise. We are working closely with the national counter-terrorism policing network and UK intelligence partners.

This is clearly a concerning time for people but we are doing all we can, working with local and national agencies to support those affected and gather information about what has happened tonight. As you will understand, we are still receiving information and updates, so will provide more details when we have a clearer picture.

MacGregor claims Craig threatened her

In the Craig v Slater defamation case today Rachel MacGregor has alleged that Colin Craig threatened to ‘destroy” her.

Yesterday things too a turn for the worse for Slater. Today it looks bad for Craig – but there will be more to come which could swing either way.

Stuff: Colin Craig threatened to ‘destroy’ Rachel MacGregor, court told

Rachel MacGregor has told a court that Colin Craig threatened her by saying he’d set aside $1 million to “destroy” her.

MacGregor said that during the mediation, “Colin was adamantly saying he treated me like a sister”.

“Colin was just saying, ‘yeah well I’d kiss my sister, I’d do what I said in the letter to my sister. Me and my lawyer thought it was absurd.

“The only other thing I remember, was that he said he set aside a million dollars and that he was going to destroy me.”

The sexual harassment complaint had been withdrawn as a result of their settlement agreement, but Henry asked MacGregor whether she had withdrawn the allegations.

“There is no way I have ever withdrawn my allegations,” MacGregor said.

“To this day my allegations stand concrete strong. I withdrew my complaint because I had no longer time or energy to deal with this very weird man. I withdrew the complaint because I couldn’t afford to deal with him any more.”

Henry asked MacGregor how she felt when Craig breached the confidentiality of their settlement agreement by speaking publicly about her at a press conference in June 2015.

“I was mortified. He was trying to make me out to be crazy. He was trying to fudge the facts.”

It will be up to Craig to try to deal with this in cross examination.