Royal Commission of Inquiry into security agencies

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the country’s security agencies, in response to the Christchurch terror attacks.

RNZ:  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces details of inquiry into security services

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced details of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into security agencies after the Christchurch mosque attacks.

She said, while New Zealanders and Muslim communities were still grieving, they were also quite rightly asking questions about how the terror attack was able to take place.

The inquiry will look at what could or should have been done to prevent the attack, Ms Ardern said.

It will look at the Government Communications Security Bureau (GSCB), the Security Intelligence Service (SIS), police, Customs, Immigration and any other relevant agencies, Ms Ardern said.

The Government Communications Security Bureau (GSCB) and the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) have been criticised over an apparent lack of monitoring of right-wing extremists.

It may be that there was little or nothing that could have been done to protect against this month’s attacks, but it is good to check out the performance of the security agencies, the GCSB, the SIS and the Police. It should ensure that the chances of a repeat are lessened.

 

Full ban of ‘manifesto’ went too far according to some lawyers, not others

Some lawyers have said that the chief censors total ban of the Christchurch terrorist’s so-called manifesto went too far, but it isn’t a universal view.

Classification Office: Christchurch attack publication ‘The Great Replacement’ classified objectionable

A publication reportedly written by the terrorist behind the fatal attacks in Christchurch, has been officially classified as objectionable.

“Others have referred to this publication as a ‘manifesto’, but I consider it a crude booklet that promotes murder and terrorism. It is objectionable under New Zealand law,” says Chief Censor David Shanks.

The document, examined under the Films, Videos & Publications Classification Act 1993 (FVPCA), is deemed objectionable for a number of reasons.

“It promotes, encourages and justifies acts of murder and terrorist violence against identified groups of people, ” says Mr Shanks.

“It identifies specific places for potential attack in New Zealand, and refers to the means by which other types of attack may be carried out. It contains justifications for acts of tremendous cruelty, such as the deliberate killing of children.”

“We have dealt with terrorist promotional material before which was deliberately designed to inspire, encourage and instruct other like-minded individuals to carry out further attacks. For example we have found a number of ISIS publications to be objectionable in previous decisions. This publication falls in the same category.”

An objectionable classification for this publication is considered to be a justifiable limit on freedom of expression under the Bill of Rights Act in this case.

“There is an important distinction to be made between ‘hate speech’, which may be rejected by many right-thinking people but which is legal to express, and this type of publication, which is deliberately constructed to inspire further murder and terrorism,” says Mr Shanks.

“It crosses the line.”

It is recognised that the publication has been widely reported on over the past week, with many media outlets publishing commentary on it, and sometimes providing links to it or downloadable copies. Many New Zealanders may have read it, possibly seeking answers for why this dreadful atrocity took place.

Most people reading the publication will not be harmed by it. “Most New Zealanders who have read this will simply find it repellent. But most New Zealanders are not the target audience. It is aimed at a small group who may be receptive to its hateful, racist and violent ideology, and who may be inspired to follow the example set by its apparent author.”

It is an offence to possess or distribute an objectionable publication. People who have downloaded this document, or printed it, should destroy any copies.

Those engaged in further reporting on the Christchurch attack may be tempted to consider the use of quotes from the publication that have already been used in other media reports.

“That use of excerpts in media reports may not in itself amount to a breach of the FVPCA, but ethical considerations will certainly apply,” said Shanks.

“Real care needs to be taken around reporting on this publication, given that widespread media reporting on this material was clearly what the author was banking on, in order to spread their message.”

“We also appreciate that there will be a range of people, including reporters, researchers and academics, who will be in possession of the publication for a range of legitimate purposes, including education, analysis and in-depth reporting. Those individuals can apply for exemptions, so they can legitimately access and hold a copy.”

Information on this process can be found here.

“New Zealanders can all play a part in denying those who exhort hatred, killing and terror. If you have a copy of this publication, delete or destroy it. If you see it, report it. Do not support the murderous objectives of its author by republishing or distributing it.”

Personally I think that it should not be shared, distributed, published or linked to from here and have asked that that not be done here – although selected quotes to make specific points seems reasonable.

RNZ: Legal experts say censorship on gunman’s manifesto went too far

…the Free Speech Coalition said the manifesto could be important for society to understand a dark part of our history.

“Most New Zealanders will have no interest in reading the rants of an evil person,” coalition spokesman and constitutional lawyer Stephen Franks said.

“But there is a major debate going on right now on the causes of extremism.

“Kiwis should not be wrapped in cotton wool with their news and information censored. New Zealanders need to be able to understand the nature of evil and how it expresses itself.”

Journalists, researchers and academics could apply for an exemption to the ban, but that was not practical when working on tight deadlines, Mr Edgeler said.

“Given the censor says that there are groups of people that should have access, imposing a full ban seems the wrong way to go.

“It needs to be perhaps quite restricted – you have to be at least 18, you have to work for a news organisation which is subject to the New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority or the New Zealand Media Council – and [it should be that] if you do that, yes, you can have a copy.”

But a lawyer with a different view:

But human rights lawyer Michael Bott said the ban was the right move, and requiring journalists and academics to make formal applications meant any dubious fringe publications or spurious research claims could be ruled out.

“The right to free speech can be constrained when it amounts to hate speech and there is a real risk that someone such as the Christchurch terrorist could basically become a martyr in the eyes of fringe groups who could then use the manifesto as a propaganda tool.

“The potential for harm is just so huge.”

Many publications that could pose a “risk of social harm” had been censored in New Zealand before this, Mr Bott said.

He said, historically, a number of left wing publications were banned in New Zealand, but more recent bans included Danish publication The Little Red School-Book that instructed schoolchildren on sex and drug use, and books with instructions for building guns.

The manifesto was dangerous because it promotes “views that are toxic to democratic society and a culture of tolerance”.

In this case they are reasonable reasons why it should not be distributed or published.

But that could be a slippery slope. Accusations of toxic views and claims of intolerance are common in politics.

I have no interest in reading the manifesto, and see no good reason why most people would want to read it, but it should be able to be examined by researchers and journalists.

 

Jacinda Ardern – leadership by example, with some wee mistakes

Jacinda Ardern has been widely applauded throughout New Zealand and around the world for the way she has handled the terror attacks on two mosques in Christchurch on 15 March. She has deserved this praise – she claimed “I just think I’m displaying humanity”, but she has also lead by example, with most of the country following her lead.

Stuff:  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reflects on the week

“I don’t think I’m displaying leadership. I just think I’m displaying humanity.”

Leadership by example is one of the most effective forms of leadership.

“Even off the back of today, you’ve had thousands of people exposed to a faith they may not have been exposed to. It’s really a bringing together of communities. In that regard, I think we are all forever changed. In many ways, but particularly that.”

“In politics we can choose to model behaviour. That’s part of the reason I was very deliberate in choosing to not name the terrorist, and to call it terrorism. But ultimately it will be up to every individual, media outlet and politician to take responsibility for our positions and language.

Not naming the terrorist was strongly symbolic from Ardern, although many had chosen not to name him before that. I had already chosen not to name him, and have continued with that stance for now.

But the media have a responsibility to report facts, and names of murders and terrorists are basic facts, so should be recorded in public.

She was confident she reflected the values of the majority, and the public response would confirm she was right, but while “this attack was brought to us by someone who was not a citizen”, we cannot hide from the fact that the ideology also existed here.

The non-naming was reflecting an already established practice of many. Ardern was perceptive to that, and as a leader amplified what others were doing.

“I genuinely believe that all I am modelling are the values of New Zealanders. On every occasion when I’ve had an opportunity to share words, all I’ve reflected in my mind is ‘what are New Zealanders feeling right now? What are the words I’m hearing expressed around me? How do we all feel?'”

She can’t and hasn’t reflected how we all feel. There have been many feelings, emotions and reactions.  But I think there is no doubt that Ardern captured and boosted the feelings of the vast majority of New Zealanders.

“One of the things we can all do is never allow New Zealand to be an environment where any of that hostility can survive. [But] terrorism doesn’t have borders, we’ve seen that now. So we can do our bit in New Zealand but actually we need to try and play a leadership role too.”

Which she did admirably. If you read comments at Whale Oil and Kiwiblog, some on twitter and Facebook, and some here, not everyone admires how Ardern has done things. Some people will never like her regardless of what she does, that seems to be ingrained in some in politics. And some seem to resent her success at leading the country in a time of real need.

One think in particular Ardern bashers have been going about is her wearing of a scarf. I think criticisms have been misguided and in some cases way over the top. Ardern did not make it compulsory, she chose to do it herself, as did some others. I’m sure she was acting on considered advice.

I presume Ardern will have heard some of the criticisms, but she continued to wear a scarf or head covering on other occasions. She was obviously comfortable that she was in the main doing something that was appreciated by those who mattered the most, the victims of the shootings, which included the whole Muslim community. So I applaud her to sticking with her symbolic gesture.

It wasn’t a mistake to antagonise people who would have found something to feel offended about whatever she did. They are a part of ‘all New Zealanders’, but a small minority.

(It’s interesting to see the predominance of ‘New Zealand’ and ‘New Zealander’ over the past week and a bit).

A separation between Whale Oil and Judith Collins is evident on this issue. Collins in Parliament on Wednesday:

I would like to thank the Prime Minister for the work she did on Saturday. I thought it was outstanding. I know there has been unfortunate comment on the internet about the fact that she chose to wear a scarf. I wear a scarf, and I do whenever I enter other people’s places of worship, where that is appropriate. It is a mark of respect, and I thought it was the right thing to do.

While the most prominent, Ardern is not the only politician who has shown leadership over the Christchurch terrorism. Most other Members of Parliament have also stepped up and shown leadership. Collins in that same speech:

One of the things I know is that Muslim New Zealanders have been with us since 1850. Islam is part of New Zealand, as all other religions are that are here, and those who don’t have religion, because it is something that people have as a belief system and it is part of who they are.

We are very lucky in New Zealand that with our 220 ethnicities, we have not had anything like this before. I hope that when we get to the bottom of what could be done in the future to help stop this happening again, I think that we will have a much safer and a much better community from it.

Another issue that Ardern showed leadership on was addressing our inadequate firearm laws. She ensured that we acted quickly, and she made sure she had the other party leaders working with her on making changes. Credit to all of them on that.


I think Ardern did make some mistakes in the heat of the moment. She delved into legal and procedural issues that are not her place to be.

Newshub: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern considering deporting alleged gunman

The Prime Minister is considering legal options to deport Brenton Tarrant, but says the alleged gunman will face justice in New Zealand.

“In cases where you have seen deportation, it’s generally at the conclusion of a sentence being served,” she told media. “He’s not going anywhere until he’s faced justice here”.

“Absolutely charges and the trial itself will happen in New Zealand. As for the remainder, I’m seeking advice. He will certainly face the justice system of New Zealand.”

I don’t think deportations are the Prime Minister’s call to make.

Ardern also made comments about how the trial of the terrorist might bee run to deny him publicity, and she also tried to influence the media on how they would cover the trial.

From NZ Herald:

This raised the prospect of Tarrant conducting his own defence at trial and using the high-profile prosecution to promote his beliefs, which were detailed in a manifesto before Friday’s shootings.

Speaking to media this morning, Ardern said this was “something that we need to acknowledge and do what we can to prevent the notoriety that this individual seeks”.

This is not an area she should be involved in.

“Lifting his profile was one of them. That’s something that we can absolutely deny him.”

But when it comes to the alleged gunman’s court appearances, Ardern said the media had a part to play in preventing the wider public from hearing his extremist views.

Neither this.

Asked what could be done to prevent the accused from having a platform, Ardern said this was something that was “very early on” in her thinking.

“I’ve only had beginnings of conversations – that’s something I think we really will be looking to the media around its kind of coverage.

“Of course, people will want to know what is happening with the trial. But I would hope there are ways that it could be covered without adding to the notoriety that this individual seeks.”

She should not be getting herself involved in how the police and how the courts conduct the trial. There should be a clear separation between that and politicians. At least she acknowledged this.

She said any decisions about having the trial behind closed doors was not up to her.

“That’s why, as I say, this is a conversation I think really the media can play a strong role in.”

The media will do things as they see fit – and some journalists also made statements in the heat of the moment that may be put aside when the reality of responsibility of covering the trial goes.

Ardern should play no part in either how the media covers the trial, or how the trial is conducted – that is up to the prosecution and the court, ultimately primarily the judge.

I’m sure she understands that and will back off from this.

But in general she has done a very good job of leadership and promoting humanity.

 

 

Dunedin vigil and 2 minutes silence for Christchurch terror attacks – video record

Video coverage of the Dunedin vigil on Thursday 21 March, where 15-18,000 people gathered to pay their respects to those killed in the Christchurch terror attacks on Friday 15 March 2019.

Part 1:

Part 2:

 

About a thousand people gathered at Dunedin’s Al Huda mosque in Friday 22 March 2019 for two minutes silence to remember those who fell victim to the  terror attack in Christchurch a week earlier.

Otago Daily Times coverage:

The call to prayer echoed across a packed Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin last night.

As the sun set, members of Dunedin’s Muslim community knelt in silent worship, surrounded by the flickering candles of a city united in support.

About 15,000 people have turned up to Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin tonight to pay their respects to those affected by the Christchurch terror attacks.

Close to 1000 people gathered outside Dunedin’s Al Huda mosque were welcomed with a karakia ahead of a national call to prayer and two minutes silence’ to remember those killed in one of New Zealand’s darkest days.

Dunedin’s Muslims gathered at the mosque in Clyde St for Friday prayers today, exactly one week after the Christchurch mosque shootings, in which 50 people died, while others are gathered outside.

Friday prayers were held as usual at Dunedin’s mosque yesterday, but on the street outside about 1000 supporters stood silent.

The crowd gathered outside the Al Huda mosque to join others throughout the country in listening to an Arabic call to prayer, which was broadcast on television and radio at 1.30pm, followed by two minutes of silence.

Fifty candles, one for each person killed in the Christchurch mosque attacks last Friday were lit on the footpath outside the mosque’s gate.

In Dunedin, the Al Huda mosque, in Clyde St, quickly become the focal point for an outpouring of both grief, and a support for the city’s Muslim community, that grew as the week went on.

Don’t forget the enormity of what happened in Christchurch

It is easy to become jaded by the wall of media coverage, and it’s easy to get distracted by quibbles over the wearing of scarves, whether to shake hands or not, or whether a shop should stock a book – all trivial stuff.

But we shouldn’t forget the enormity of what happened in Christchurch. It was just one evil man, and just one (double) terrorist attack, nut it is a big deal for many people. It is the biggest atrocity by far in New Zealand in my lifetime.

50 innocent defenceless people were slaughtered – at their place of prayer, some (as reported ) in the women’s rest room. Men, women, children indiscriminately killed.

50 candles lit at the  Dunedin vigil, one for each life taken away in Christchurch
– watching those candles being lit one at a time emphasised the number affected

The attempted murder of 42 more people.

Fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, grandparents and grandchildren. A four year old girl critically injured, shot by a man with an assault rifle in a place and a country of peace. A fourteen year old boy injured, who watched his best friend and brother, and his father, gunned down.

Hundreds of people witnessed horrific scenes of callous carnage.

Thousands of people directly affected, family of the fallen, friends, members of the Muslim communities.

Millions of New Zealanders impacted by the shock, horror, grief.

This was an attack on all Kiwis, all of us here in New Zealand where we thought we were too remote for this sort of despicable act. Of course it only takes one deranged man to do this sort of damage, but it was an assault on our innocence and on our perception of immunity.

Don’t forget the enormity of what happened in Christchurch.

If you haven’t done it yet, drive or walk past a mosque if you have one in your area. All around the country many thousands of New Zealanders have paid their respects, and left flowers and messages of sympathy and good will.

Dunedin mosque a week after the Christchurch attack

One man carried out an enormously horrible act of violence.

Millions of New Zealanders rose in unity and defiance at an attempt to terrorise – an enormous reaction.

We can’t make the loss of fifty lives go away, we can’t erase what will long be remembered as a major historical event, but we learn from this and make more history.

We can all become better people for it, more understanding and accepting of differences, and united in working towards a more peaceful and more unified New Zealand community.

Each of us can only do a little, but together we can make an enormous difference.

This cartoon from The Canberra Times cartoonist Pat Campbell aptly depicts what has been happening around new Zealand over the last few days.

The US “Deserves a Leader as Good as Jacinda Ardern”

Jacinda Ardern has been widely praised around New Zealand for how she has handled the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque terror attacks – with a lot of dignity, compassion and understanding.

At the vigil in Dunedin on Thursday night the large crowd was receptive to good speeches and a series of prayers from different religious leaders.

One of the most noticeable reactions was when Otago Muslim Association chairman Mohammed Rizwan mentioned Ardern – there was an immediate buzz that quickly swelled into a round of spontaneous applause.

Ardern has also had very positive coverage from around the world. For good reason.

She has featured in a NY Times editorial:  America Deserves a Leader as Good as Jacinda Ardern

The murder of 50 Muslim worshipers in New Zealand, allegedly by a 28-year-old Australian white supremacist, will be long scrutinized for the way violent hatreds are spawned and staged on social media and the internet. But now the world should learn from the way Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, has responded to the horror.

Almost immediately after last Friday’s killings, Ms. Ardern listened to her constituents’ outrage and declared that within days her government would introduce new controls on the military-style weapons that the Christchurch shooter and many of the mass killers in the United States have used on their rampages. And she delivered.

On Thursday, Ms. Ardern announced a ban on all military-style semiautomatic and automatic weapons, parts that can be used to turn other rifles into such weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. “It’s about all of us,” she said, “it’s in the national interest and it’s about safety.”

Earlier in the week, she told Parliament that social media sites must address the ease with which the internet can be used to spew hate and images of violence. “We cannot simply sit back and accept that these platforms just exist and that what is said on them is not the responsibility of the place where they are published,” she said. “It cannot be a case of all profit, no responsibility.”

…the display of what one deranged man can do with weapons designed for combat seemed to persuade a majority of New Zealanders, and a strong majority in Parliament, of the need to ban rapid-firing weapons.

That attitude stood in stark contrast to the way the National Rifle Association and its political allies in the United States have resisted any restrictions on weapons like the AR-15, the semiautomatic rifle used in several mass killings.

I have seen this point made time and again on Twitter, often highlighting the contrast between the usual ‘thoughts and prayers’  repeated after each major mass shooting in the US, followed by the NRA runing a campaign against change, and nothing changing apart from the identity of the next mass murderer.

In New Zealand, it took one mass shooting to awaken the government. In the United States, even a string of mass killings — 26 dead in a school in Newtown, Conn.; 49 in a nightclub in Orlando; 58 at a concert in Las Vegas; 17 in a school in Parkland, Fla. — has not been enough. Nor has the fact that 73 percent of Americans say that more needs to be done to curb gun violence, according to recent polling.

The ban on terrorists’ weapon of choice was only one of the areas in which Ms. Ardern showed what leadership looks like in time of crisis. In lieu of trite messages, she donned a black head scarf and led a group of politicians to visit victims’ families; speaking without a script to a school some of the victims attended, she urged the pupils to “let New Zealand be a place where there is no tolerance for racism. Ever.”

She told grieving families, “We cannot know your grief, but we can walk with you at every stage.”

In the same week Donald trump has had a running battle on Twitter with the husband of one of his advisers, and has lashed out yet again at John McCain, who is unable to respond from his grave.

After this and any such atrocity, the world’s leaders should unite in clearly condemning racism, sharing in the grief of the victims and stripping the haters of their weapons. Ms. Ardern has shown the way.

 

Ardern has been supported all the way by most of the rest of Parliament. Hopefully this cooperative approach to politics continues.

But she deserves a lot of credit herself – she has stepped up in a time of rel adversity and risk, and has got most of the country and much of the world applauding her with pride and admiration.

Also from NY Times: Why Jacinda Ardern Matters

New Zealand’s prime minister is emerging as the progressive antithesis to right-wing strongmen like Trump, Orban and Modi, whose careers thrive on illiberal, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric.

Like any political leader she has a range of challenges ahead of her, but where it as really mattered she has been impressive.

 

‘Hate will be undone, and love will redeem us’

Al Noor Mosque Imam, Gamal Fouda, speaking at Hagley Park in Christchurch today.


Last Friday I stood in this mosque and saw hatred and rage in the eyes of the terrorist who killed 50 people, wounded 48 and broke the hearts of millions around the world. Today, from the same place I look out and I see the love and compassion in the eyes of thousands of fellow New Zealanders and human beings from across the globe who fill the hearts of millions.

The terrorist tried to tear the nation apart with evil ideology. Instead we have shown that New Zealand is unbreakable. And that the world can see injustice an example of love and unity.

We are brokenhearted but we are not broken.

We are determined to not let anyone divide us.

We are determined to love one another and to support each other. This evil ideology of white supremacy did not strike us first, yet it has struck us hardest. But the solidarity in New Zealand is extraordinary.

To the families of the victims, your loved ones did not die in vain. Their blood has watered the seeds of hope. The beauty of Islam and the beauty of our unity. They were the best of us, taken from us on the best of days, in the best of places, and performing the best of actions. They are not just martyrs of Islam, but they are martyrs of this nation, New Zealand.

Our loss of you is a gain to New Zealand’s unity. Your departure is an awakening not just for our nation, but for all humanity. Your martyrdom is a new life for New Zealand and a chance of prosperity for many. Our assembly here, with all the shades of our diversity, is a testament of our giant humanity.

We are here in our hundreds and thousands, unified for one purpose. That hate will be undone, and love will redeem us.

We are told by our prophet Mohammed that you can never truly show gratitude to almighty God if you are incapable of loving your fellow man. To the people of New Zealand, thank you for your peace. Thank you for your haka. Thank you for your flowers. Thank you for your love and compassion.

To our prime minister, thank you. Thank you for your leadership. It has been a lesson for the world’s leaders. Thank you for holding our families close, and honouring us with a simple scarf. Thank you for your words and deeds of compassion. Thank you for being one with us. Thank you to the New Zealand government and to all the wonderful people who have shown us that we matter, and are not forgotten.

Thank you to our police force and frontline services. You put our lives before your own, every day. Thank you to the neighbours, for opening your doors to save us from the killer. Thank you to those who pulled over their cars to help us. Thank you to those who brought us food and helped us when we found it difficult to stand. Thank you New Zealand for teaching the world what it means to love and care.

To my brothers and sisters, those who are here today to perform the weekly Friday prayer, thank you for coming together once again. It is easy to feel lost after the trauma you and I experienced. But the promise of Allah made to us is true.

Thank you for anger that is restrained and your mercy that is overflowing. Thank you for your steadfastness.

Islamophobia kills. Muslims have felt its pain for years around the world.

Islamophobia is real. It is a targeted campaign to dehumanise and irrationally fear Muslims. To fear what we wear. The choice of food we eat. To fear the way we pray and the way we practise our faith.

We call on governments around the world, including New Zealand’s and its neighbouring countries, to bring an end to hate speech and the politics of fear.

The martyrdom of 50 people and the injury of 42 did not come overnight, it was the result of the anti-Muslim rhetoric of some political leaders, media agencies and others. Last week’s events are proof and evidence to the entire world that terrorism has no colour, has no race and has no religion. The rise of white supremacy and right wing extremism is a great global threat to mankind and this must end now.

I want to take this opportunity to thank my Muslim and non-Muslim brothers and sisters for attending today. And I would like also to thank our international guests who have come to our support and aid in these difficult times.

Have mercy upon us all. Oh, Allah, grant the word peace, security and prosperity. Oh, Allah, protect New Zealand and protect New Zealanders.


That’s an abridged transcript from https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/22-03-2019/hate-will-be-undone-and-love-will-redeem-us-imam-fouda-a-week-on/

Chief Censor confirms video “is an illegal, harmful and reprehensible record created to promote a terrorist cause”

As far as I know two people have been arrested and charged with distributing the video of the Christchurch mosque terrorist killings. The Chief censor has stated:

Chief Censor David Shanks has officially classified the full 17 minute video of the fatal Christchurch shootings which occurred on Friday 15 March, as objectionable.

It is illegal for anyone in New Zealand to view, possess or distribute this material in any form, including via social media platforms.

“We’re aware that for a time after the attacks, this video was widely available on social media and many New Zealanders saw it, sometimes without meaning to”.

“Its important people are now clear they should not view, download or share the video”, says Mr Shanks.

And:

“Every New Zealander should now be clear that this clip is an illegal, harmful and reprehensible record created to promote a terrorist cause. If you have a record of it, you must delete it. If you see it, you should report it. Possessing or distributing it is illegal, and only supports a criminal agenda.”

Guidance from Chief Censor

Chief Censor David Shanks is providing more guidance regarding the 17 minute video of the fatal Christchurch shootings, which has been classified objectionable.

Some members of the public and the media are now seeking clarification on what that decision means for edited clips and still images taken from the video.

There are also concerns being raised around the potential for criminal charges against people who viewed or forwarded on the video during the period that it was widely available on various forums in the hours after the attack.

“While we do not have the numbers yet, it is clear that this video was ‘pushed’ to many innocent New Zealanders by various apps. We have had reports that it also ‘auto-played’ for some people who did not even know what it was,” says Mr Shanks.

“The video will also have been likely passed on by people in the immediate aftermath, before they had any opportunity to reflect on what it was and what impact it might have on people.”

It is now clearer as to what this video is, and its legal status has been determined. Mr Shanks says it is a record of a terrorist atrocity, specifically produced for the purpose of promoting a hateful terrorist agenda. It has almost certainly been harmful to many who have viewed it, and will likely continue to cause harm.

“Enforcement around objectionable material is a primary responsibility of the Department of Internal Affairs, and I have discussed with them the need for a balanced approach to enforcement in this case.”

“I don’t think New Zealanders innocently caught up in the social media storm following these horrific events need to be concerned. The enforcement focus will likely be on those actively and maliciously involved in spreading this material, and taking actions such as deliberately distorting it to avoid blocks and detection software,” says Mr Shanks.

“Every New Zealander should now be clear that this clip is an illegal, harmful and reprehensible record created to promote a terrorist cause. If you have a record of it, you must delete it. If you see it, you should report it. Possessing or distributing it is illegal, and only supports a criminal agenda.”

In terms of excerpts or stills taken from the video, Shanks noted that the classification of the complete video set did not automatically mean that any image or short extract from it was also objectionable.

“However it is very important for people to be aware that any edited clips, screenshots or still images taken from the full video, that depict scenes of violence, injury or death, or that promote terrorism, may well also be objectionable,” says Chief Censor David Shanks.

Shanks noted that given the horrific circumstances of this attack, and the clear deliberate strategy to use media to disseminate a terrorist message, news media and all New Zealanders needed to carefully consider the impact of sharing, broadcasting or publishing any part of this video.

“New Zealand’s news organisations have needed to make ethical judgements about what images they broadcast and print, and I think there is growing awareness about the potential impacts and harms of some of this material, and the need to balance this with the public’s right to information.”

In particular, I’m thinking here of survivors of the attack, victim’s families and friends, those in the Muslim community, those affected in Christchurch and others who have already been traumatised by the attacks last Friday,” says Mr Shanks.

“The bottom line is that even if something isn’t illegal, it may still cause harm to others and we all have a responsibility as citizens to consider that”, says Mr Shanks.

If you see footage of this nature online, report it immediately.

To report harmful content on Twitter, click here.

To report harmful content on Facebook, click here.

To report harmful content on Instagram, click here.

To report harmful content on YouTube, click here.

Any harmful content should also be reported to the Department of Internal Affairs, click here.

Golriz Ghahraman speech on the Christchurch terror attacks

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman gave a speech in Parliament yesterday on Christchurch Mosques Terror Attack—Condolence

The truth is, also, that we as politicians bear a little bit of the responsibility. There sit among us those who for years have fanned the flames of division, who have blamed migrants for the housing crisis. There sit among us those who have fanned the hysteria around the United Nations Global Compact for Migration.

Those words were written on the butt of his gun, the gun that killed little Mucad. We have pandered to gratuitous racism by shock jocks to raise our profile.

None of us are directly responsible for what happened on Friday, we are all horrified, but we are also on notice now: we have to change the way we do politics.

I think that all of us should take note of what she said, and I hope that our politicians will change how we do politics.

And that also applies to us, the people, in forums like this. We need to do better in how we discuss politics, and how we treat our politicians.

GOLRIZ GHAHRAMAN (Green): Assalam o alaikum. Our nation’s heart is broken and my heart is broken today. Five days on, as that wound is still so fresh, we find comfort in all the love—all the love—pouring across this beautiful country. I’ve felt the grief as a member of that affected community and as a Kiwi as we gathered at mosques, as we held each other at vigils, as we held our little ones a little tighter when we remembered that little three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim was one of the victims.

The city of Dunedin ran out of flowers on Saturday because they were all at the mosques. That is the New Zealand that welcomed my family and I here when we escaped oppression at the risk of torture. We had lived through a war, and I will never forget being that nine-year-old girl on the escalator at Auckland Airport with my frightened parents. We weren’t turned back. We were welcomed here. So I want to thank every single New Zealander—hundreds of thousands of people—who came out over the last three days, who stood on the right side of history for our values of inclusion and love. It matters to our communities, as we are frightened, and I will never forget that among the victims on Friday was a Syrian family—refugees like my family, who had escaped the harrowing war, the unthinkable. They found freedom here, but they died on Friday in Christchurch, New Zealand.

We owe those victims the truth: this was terrorism. It was terrorism committed by a white supremacist. It was planned at length, and gone unchecked by authorities because white supremacy was not seen as a pressing threat, even as some in the Muslim community were.

Although this man happened to have not been born in New Zealand, we do need to acknowledge the truth that his ideology does exist in pockets here. Our ethnic communities, refugees, and tangata whenua have been telling us this for years; they’ve been reporting this for years. I know it as my daily truth as a politician.

I receive all the barrage of hate online. I receive the threats: the death threats, the rape threats, and the threats of gun violence, online. Every minority in New Zealand knows this as a little bit of our truth. So now we have to pause and listen.

We can’t pretend that this was an aberration from overseas; that would be irresponsible. The truth is that this happened here, and it began with hate speech allowed to grow online. History has taught us that hate speech is a slippery slope to atrocity, and New Zealand must address that now.

The truth is, also, that we as politicians bear a little bit of the responsibility. There sit among us those who for years have fanned the flames of division, who have blamed migrants for the housing crisis. There sit among us those who have fanned the hysteria around the United Nations Global Compact for Migration. Those words were written on the butt of his gun, the gun that killed little Mucad. We have pandered to gratuitous racism by shock jocks to raise our profile. None of us are directly responsible for what happened on Friday, we are all horrified, but we are also on notice now: we have to change the way we do politics.

Our most vulnerable communities are hurt and we are scared. White supremacists want us dead. Those incredible people who poured out into those vigils are watching; they will hold us to account. The world is watching. We have to get this right.

We have to demonstrate to the rest of the world that the values of love and peace and compassion will win over hate and division. We must be brave and have those important and difficult conversations that are long overdue in our country. We must shine a light on the pockets, those shadows of racism that do exist in our country.

We must weave that incredible outpouring of love for our Muslim communities that we’ve seen over the past few days; we have to weave that into an enduring fabric of our society. We owe that to the families who lost loved ones, we owe it to little Mucad.


NOTE:

Golriz has been a controversial MP. I have been critical of her at times, I think especially early in her first term she struggled to work out how to do things – as almost all new MPs do, but her struggles were more on show through social media than most.

But I think what she said here ins important and worth taking notice of.

I don’t want people dredging over what has happened. I want comments to focus on what Golriz says here.

I will have no tolerance for personal or political attacks or general criticisms, name calling, dissing, dragging up past stuff, diversions, religion bashing, sexism, racism, any other ism.

Comments that I deem inappropriate on this thread may be deleted in whole.

 

An attempt to excuse and defend the Christchurch terrorist

Tipene commented on “Attempts so far to mitigate the possibility of retaliation that are doomed to fail:”

* A feminist PM adopting a headscarf within the context of a religion that holds women to be second-class citizens, closely followed by an invitation this Friday for NZ women, descendants of the suffragettes no less, to do the same.

Petty outrage at the scarf wearing. It is common to dress as per what people think is appropriate for occasions. Ardern didn’t cover herself anywhere near completely.

Her gesture has been widely praised, and I know women who wouldn’t have done the same thing and won’t do it on Friday, which is their choice.

I think trying to shame Ardern for what she wore is as bad as trying to force someone to wear something they don’t want to wear, if that is what actually happens (from what I’ve seen Muslim women in New Zealand choose what they wear).

* The Speaker of the House inviting a prayer in Arabic in Parliament to Allah, which is the same speaker who eliminated a Christian prayer from Parliament.

Petty again. It was a one off, followed by the parliamentary prayer in Te Reo, and then repeated in English. The new standard prayer still mentions ‘Almighty God’ and INCLUDES ‘we pray for guidance’. I think it is appropriate not to be religion specific, given that many religions are followed freely in New Zealand, and many people (close to most) are not religious.

* Police arresting people for exercising their sovereign right to watch an online video.

There is no ‘sovereign right’ to watch whatever you like – and they didn’t just watch the video, they shared an offensive video illegally (allegedly). I think it’s fair to question the degree of the police response. See Philip Arps charged with sharing live stream of Christchurch mosque massacre – “two charges of distributing a livestream on March 16 of the murder of multiple victims at the Deans Ave mosque, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the publication is objectionable”.

“Police would like to remind people that it may be an offence to distribute or possess an objectionable publication under the Films Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993.”

I note you don’t condemn a horrible video, but claim some right to watch it. I think that is reprehensible given the content and the intent of the video.

* People being fired from their jobs for watching an online video, when there is no legal precedent in employment law for companies to do so.

I call bullshit on that. I’m sure people have been in trouble for watching illegal or inappropriate material at work, like porn.

If I did anything illegal at work, like watch an illegal video (and aa video that most people find highly objectionable), I would breach my terms of employment.

* NZ media organisations scrubbing their online content of any article deemed offensive to Islam.

I call bullshit on that.

Some content deemed inappropriate has been removed, which is not surprising given the circumstances, and should be generally applauded.

* Radio commentators apologizing and tugging their forelocks for writing a critique on Islamic practices in NZ as they apply to the use of ratepayer funded facilities.

A hundred people being shot and fifty people being murdered has prompted many people to reconsider past actions and attitudes. As they should have.

A small number of people instead choose to, in effect, support the killer and the killings, at least tacitly. As Tipene appears to me to be doing.

* Passing laws designed to significantly disarm a law abiding, gun owning population.

Bullshit again. It has long been widely agreed that our firearms are not fit for purpose. There has been no indication that laws will ‘significantly disarm’  anyone.

From what I have seen the Christchurch killer used illegal weapons. Most people will support making more difficult to posses illegal weapons (not Tipene apparently).

Banning military style semi automatic weapons will harm no one, and will reduce the chances that such weapons of cause major harm.

* Shutting down and suppressing free speech and open discourse on the events that have unfolded, and censoring discussion (including a variety of viewpoints) on same.

There are always limitations to ‘free speech’. Any publisher has the right to limit what there platform is used for.

Leading up to 2017, Canada adopted a number of the above measures, eventually adopting M103 in the Canadian House of Commons (look it up if interested).

I suspect that is where we are heading as well.

Not that it will make one blind bit of difference to the outcome, in my opinion.

You have made no attempt to condemn the killing of fifty people.

Instead, you have supported (with false and outlandish claims) what the killer did. You are in effect defending this act of terrorism, or at least defending things that made it possible.

I think this was a disgraceful defence of a horrible act from you Tipene. You appear to be supporting one of the most terrible things to happen in New Zealand, and appear to me to be willing more if not worse to happen as a result.

I have chosen to publish your comment in full to show how misguided, irresponsible and reprehensible it is.