How to regulate the Internet (vaguely)

How to fix speech on the Internet? It will take a lot more than this.

Jordan Carter (chief executive, InternetNZ) and Konstantinos Komaitis (senior director, global policy development and strategy, at the Internet Society) give some general ideas on how the Internet might be regulated to try to prevent it from being exploited by terrorists and extremists – How to regulate the internet without shackling its creativity

At its most basic, the internet is a decentralised technology, a “network of networks” that spans the globe, moving vast amounts of data and services. Its infrastructure layer is where protocols and standards determine the flow of data and enable independent networks to inter-operate voluntarily. A healthy infrastructure layer keeps opportunities open for everyone, because it is where unhindered innovation happens; where we build the technologies and the businesses of tomorrow.

The Christchurch terrorist did not put up a server to broadcast the video. Instead, he used the tools offered by the platforms most of us enjoy innocently. In other words, he did not directly use the internet’s infrastructure layer, but applications that run on top of it.

And this is exactly where the disconnect is. Most new rules and government intervention are spurred by illegal content that happen on the top layer of the internet’s infrastructure – the applications layer, where content exists and proliferates. Yet these rules would have sweeping implications for the infrastructure layers as well.

Interfering with the infrastructure layer, even unintentionally, to fix problems at the content layer creates unintended consequences that hurts everyone’s ability to communicate legitimately and use the internet safely and securely. The internet is a general-purpose network, meaning it’s not tailored to specific uses and applications. It is designed to keep networking and content separate. Current regulatory thinking on how to address terrorist, extremist and, in general, illegal content is incompatible with this basic premise.

That’s why we urge all governments working to protect their citizens from future terrorist and extremist content to focus on the layer of the internet where the harm occurs. Seeking expertise is how governments should regulate in the internet, but including only certain companies in the process could be counterproductive. All this does is cement the market power of a few big actors while excluding other, critical stakeholders.

As world and tech industry leaders gather in France for the Christchurch Call, we ask them to focus on interventions that are FIT for purpose:

Fitting – proportionate, not excessive, mindful of and minimising negative and unintended consequences, and preserving the internet’s open, global, end-to-end architecture;

Informed – based on evidence and sound data about the scale and impact of the issues and how and where it is best to tackle them, using ongoing dialogue to deepen understanding and build consensus;

Targeted – aimed at the appropriate layer of the internet and minimising the impact on the infrastructure layer, whose openness and interoperability are the source of the internet’s unbounded creativity and a rich source of future human flourishing.

That’s ok as general advice, but it provides little in the way of specific ideas on how to regulate speech and media without stifling it’s strengths.

The biggest challenge remains – how to very quickly identify and restrict hate speech and use of the Internet by extremists, without impacting on the freedom to exchange information, ideas and artistry.

Even from my own very narrow experience I know that people intent on spreading messages that many people would object to can be very determined and go to some lengths to try to work around any restrictions imposed on them.

Kiwiblog recently put in place much more monitoring and clarified what was deemed unacceptable speech, but those stated restrictions were quickly flouted, so offending comments must be being passed by people now doing the moderating.

It will require either some very smart algorithms that are able to adapt to attempts to work around them,  or a lot of monitoring and occasional intervention that would require many people all with similar levels of good judgment.

Neither approach will be perfect. I have concerns that rushing to restrict bad speech will increase impediments for acceptable speech.

 

Media and playing into the hands of terror

When terrorist acts happen it poses very difficult decisions for media, and these decisions have to be made very quickly, while other media are busy with their headlines.

It is important that media report big and important news, but they have to be careful about not giving terrorists too much of what they are primarily wanting, publicity.

Something media should be most wary of is feeding speculation, rumours and deliberate conspiracies before facts are known.

Laura Walters at Newsroom: International media drops the ball on Sri Lanka terror coverage

Analysis: Unsubstantiated claims of retaliation led some of the biggest news sites in the world. Laura Walters looks at the responsibility of media in covering an increasingly volatile tit-for-tat war of terror.

On Tuesday evening, New Zealanders’ news feeds were filled with a flood of media reports claiming the Sri Lankan bombings, which killed more than 300 people, were revenge for the Christchurch mosque attacks.

The reports added validitity and oxygen to this growing, somewhat biblical, idea of a tit-for-tat terror war.

In response to these reports, Emma Beals, a Kiwi independent journalist who specialises in coverage of the Middle East, ISIS and terrorsim tweeted, “This is a terrifying statement”.

Providing publicity for the terrorists and agents of the terrorists who want to drive hate and division and who are trying to escalate terror and terror wars is a difficult but essential consideration for responsible media, especially when there is so much irresponsible media around and available online now.

This reporting again raises media’s role and burden of responsibility when reporting on terror events – something that’s been a topic of much discussionin New Zealand since the Christchurch attacks. It’s an area where domestic media is still finding its feet, but news organisations have been proactive in creating internal policies, and working together to come up with reporting guidelines ahead of the shooter’s trial.

Ellis said New Zealand media did a good job at balancing the claim with the context in its coverage of the retaliation angle. With a fast-moving situation, or evolving news story, like a terror attack, it was important not to over-egg these types of claims.

“I think it behoves the media to act with a degree of greater responsibility than that,” he said.

Going forward, media outlets needed to apply constant editorial judgment when covering terror attacks, and related developments.

That’s a big editorial responsibility, but an essential requirement for media. It is most important for large media (the much maligned but essential mainstream media’ provides most of the coverage of large news events) to do this as well as possible, but at the other end of the media scale sole operator sites like this also have to consider the implications of not only what is posted, but also what is commented.

There are people who are genuinely concerned about escalations of terror and tit for tat terror and want to talk about it, but it can be challenging differentiating this from those who are deliberately trying to inflame already volatile situations, and are in effect acting as agents of terrorists.

Playing into the hands of terror

Along with the issues of prominently reporting unverified claims, there’s the knock-on effect of sending signals of a dangerous tit-for-tat terror war.

“It plants in the minds of others some sort of legitimacy in retribution and of course, there’s none,” Ellis said

“It changes the character of the events and turns them into a clash of civilisations.”

Since the minister’s comments surfaced, security and terrorism experts, including reporters like the New York Times’ reporter Rukmini Callimachi, have expressed scepticism at whether an attack of this magnitude and sophistication could have been organised in the weeks since the March 15 attack.

Massey University Centre for Defence and Security Studies teaching fellow John Battersby said he expected the planning and logistics for the Sri Lankan attacks were already in train prior to the Christchurch attack, however, the Christchurch attacks may have provided impetus to individuals or groups already determined on some terrorist act.

“As soon as the Sri Lankan news broke I wondered immediately if Christchurch featured somewhere in the calculation of the perpetrators,” he said.

On the other hand, it could all be a red-herring, “so I am allowing the possibility but will need confirmation with hard evidence”.

Battersby reiterated, like other commentators, he was sceptical about the whole attack plan and sequence being put together solely as a result of Christchurch, just as he was not convinced that Sri Lanka’s National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) fully planned and executed this without some serious outside assistance.

In times like these, it was important not to rush to judgment, and instead see what the intelligence actually said.

Likewise, when unpicking whether ISIS was behind the attack, as it unsurprisingly claimed.

This was the nuance and context missing from the initial reporting.

Some inadvertently play into the hands of terrorists (we are all at risk of this when providing coverage and forums for terrorist acts), while others, extreme activist opportunists, use terrorist acts to promote their own divisive agendas and seek publicity for themselves.

This provides a dilemma, for example on what UK extremist Katie Hopkins did in attacking Jacinda Ardern. Should her deliberately inflammatory nonsense be publicly confronted and condemned, or should it be ignored? Ignoring it is difficult of those who seeking to spread her crap have free shots with no challenge.

I considered the same issues when posting on the ongoing divisive ‘war of religion’ crap being spread at Whale Oil.

It was important media thought carefully about how to cover before playing into that plan for exposure of ideas and ambitions, and again, exercise the editorial judgment Ellis referred to.

Battersby said terrorism was now genuinely global, “where non-state actors are using the entire globe as a theatre to perpetrate their terror”.

“Extremist individuals or factions, on absolute fringes of our societies responding to each other’s provocations, by carrying out attacks on unsuspecting people at their most vulnerable times is a hideous and alarming feature of 21st Century globalised terrorism. Nations need to seriously get their heads together and confront this global risk, with a coordinated and integrated response.”

At a time like this, responsible, measured, and verified coverage is crucial.

That’s the job for large media organisations. Small ones like here need to also be responsible and measured, and try to repeat credible and verified coverage as much as possible, while still allowing relatively free discussions. That is a daily challenge.

 

Jordan Carter on how to eliminate terrorist and violent material online

Jordan Carter, CEO of InternetNZ, has some ideas on how to help make Jacinda Ardern’s ‘Christchurch call’ work.

(I really wonder if labelling the attempt by Ardern to get social media companies to ‘eliminate’ terrorism online the ‘Christchurch call’ is a good idea. I think it is inappropriate.)

The Spinoff:  How to stop the ‘Christchurch Call’ on social media and terrorism falling flat

If we take that goal of eliminating terrorist and violent material online as a starting point, what could such a pledge look like, and what could it usefully achieve?

The scope needs to stay narrow.

“Terrorist and violent extremist content” is reasonably clear though there will be definitional questions to work through to strike the right balance in preventing the spread of such abhorrent material on the one hand, and maintaining free expression on the other. Upholding people’s rights needs to be at the core of the Call and what comes from it.

The targets need to be clear.

From the media release announcing the initiative, the focus is on “social media platforms”. I take that to mean companies like Facebook, Alphabet (through YouTube), Twitter and so on. These are big actors with significant audiences that can have a role in publishing or propagating access to the terrorist and violent extremist content the Call is aimed at. They have the highest chance of causing harm, in other words. It is a good thing the Call does not appear to target the entire Internet. This means the scale of action is probably achievable, because there are a relatively small and identifiable number of platforms of the requisite scale or reach.

But online media keeps changing so it will be difficult to set a clear target. I think that limiting ‘scale and reach’ to a small number of companies would be a problem, it would be very simple to work around. If there are worldwide rules on use of social media it would have to cover all social media to be effective.

The ask needs to be clear.

Most social media platforms have community standards that explicitly prohibit terrorist and violent extremist content, alongside many other things. If we assume for now that the standards are appropriate (a big assumption, one that needs more consideration later on), the Call’s ask needs to centre around the standards being consistently implemented and enforced by the platforms.

Working back from a “no content ever will breach these standards” approach and exploring how AI and machine tools, and human moderation, can help should be the focus of the conversation.

That’s not very clear to me.

There needs to be a sensible application of the ask.

Applying overly tight automated filtering would lead to very widespread overblocking. What if posting a Radio New Zealand story about the Sri Lanka attacks over the weekend on Facebook was automatically blocked? Imagine if a link to a donations site for the victims of the Christchurch attacks led to the same outcome? How about sharing a video of TV news reports on either story?

This is why automation is unlikely to be the whole answer. We also will need to think through carefully about how any action arising from the Call won’t give cover for problematic actions by countries with no commitment to the free, open and secure internet.

It will be extremely difficult to get consistent agreement on effective control between all social media companies and all countries. If there are variances there will be exploitation by terrorists and promoters of violence.

Success needs measuring and failure needs to have a cost.

There needs to be effective monitoring that the commitments are being met. A grand gesture followed by nothing changing isn’t an acceptable outcome. If social media platforms don’t live up to the commitments that they make, the Call can be a place where governments agree that a kind of cost can be imposed. The simplest and most logical costs would tend to be financial (e.g. a reduction in the protection such platforms have from liability for content posted on them). But as a start, the Call can help harmonise initial thinking on potential national and regional regulation around these issues.

How could cost penalties be applied fairly and effectively where there is a huge range of sizes and budgets of social media companies? A million dollars is small change for Facebook, a thousand dollars would be a big deal for me.

The discussion needs to be inclusive.

Besides governments and the social media platforms, the broader technology sector and various civil society interests should be in the room helping to discuss and finalise the Call. This is because the long history of Internet policy-making shows that you get the best outcomes when all the relevant voices are in the room. Civil society plays a crucial role in helping make sure blind spots on the part of big players like government and platforms aren’t overlooked. We can’t see a situation where governments and tech companies finalise the call, and the tech sector and civil society are only brought in on the “how to implement” stage.

I don’t know how you could get close to including all relevant voices. The Internet is huge, vast.

A Call that took account of these six thoughts would have a chance of success. To achieve change it would need one more crucial point, which is why the idea of calling countries, civil society and tech platforms together is vital.

I think it is going to take a lot more than this. It’s a huge challenge.

 

Ardern and Macron to attempt to “to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron will chair a meeting in Paris next month which will seek to “to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online”.


NZ and France seek to end use of social media for acts of terrorism

New Zealand and France announced today that the two nations will bring together countries and tech companies in an attempt to bring to an end the ability to use social media to organise and promote terrorism and violent extremism, in the wake of the March 15 terrorist attacks in Christchurch New Zealand.

The meeting will take place in Paris on May 15, and will be co-chaired by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The meeting aims to see world leaders and CEOs of tech companies agree to a pledge called the ‘Christchurch Call’ to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.

The meeting will be held alongside the “Tech for Humanity” meeting of G7 Digital Ministers, of which France is the Chair, and France’s separate “Tech for Good” summit, both on 15 May. Jacinda Ardern will also meet with civil society leaders on 14 May to discuss the content of the Call.

“The March 15 terrorist attacks saw social media used in an unprecedented way as a tool to promote an act of terrorism and hate. We are asking for a show of leadership to ensure social media cannot be used again the way it was in the March 15 terrorist attack,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“We’re calling on the leaders of tech companies to join with us and help achieve our goal of eliminating violent extremism online at the Christchurch Summit in Paris.

“We all need to act, and that includes social media providers taking more responsibility for the content that is on their platforms, and taking action so that violent extremist content cannot be published and shared.

“It’s critical that technology platforms like Facebook are not perverted as a tool for terrorism, and instead become part of a global solution to countering extremism. This meeting presents an opportunity for an act of unity between governments and the tech companies.

“In the wake of the March 15 attacks New Zealanders united in common purpose to ensure such attacks never occur again. If we want to prevent violent extremist content online we need to take a global approach that involves other governments, tech companies and civil society leaders

“Social media platforms can connect people in many very positive ways, and we all want this to continue.

“But for too long, it has also been possible to use these platforms to incite extremist violence, and even to distribute images of that violence, as happened in Christchurch. This is what needs to change.”


RNZ: ‘This is about preventing violent extremism and terrorism online’

Ms Ardern told Morning Report that since the attacks, there had been a clear call for New Zealand to take on a leadership role in combating violent extremism online.

“There is a role for New Zealand to play now in ensuring we eradicate that kind of activity from social media, in particular to prevent it from ever happening again. We can’t do that alone,” she said.

“This isn’t about freedom of expression, this is about preventing violent extremism and terrorism online.

“I don’t think anyone would argue that the terrorist, on the 15th of March, had a right to livestream the murder of 50 people, and that is what this call is very specifically focussed on”.

Ms Ardern said she’s met with a number of tech CEOs, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and held meetings with executives from Microsoft, Twitter, and Google.

“When we actually distil this down, no tech company, no country, wants to see online platforms used to perpetuate violent extremism or terrorism. We all have a common starting point. It all then comes down to what it is we are each prepared to do about it.”

Technology correspondent Bill Bennett…

…said a voluntary approach was the only option for getting technology companies to sign up to a crackdown on terrorist behaviour through social media.

“They don’t see themselves as being responsible for content that’s published on their sites anyway. They see themselves as being some kind of neutral thing”.

National Leader Simon Bridges…

…questioned whether the global conversation would translate into anything meaningful.

He was cynical about why Ms Ardern was focusing on the issue.

“I think New Zealanders will say, hey, if you’re not also progressing policy, plans and actions around our housing, health, and education, why is this the big thing?

“Is it just a distraction tactic?”.

New Zealand needed to be cautious about going down a path that would see the casual erosion of freedoms, Mr Bridges said.

NZ Herald: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to lead global attempt to shutdown social media terrorism

Speaking to Newstalk ZB this morning, Ardern said she was confident all major social media companies would sign up to the Christchurch call.

“We have been working on something behind the scenes for some time now, since the 15th of March. I have also recently had calls with a handful of chief executives.”

The call, she said, would place the onus on Governments, in terms of their ability to regulate, as well as on the social media companies themselves.

“I think that’s where we need to move; this can’t just be about individual country’s [ability to] regulate because this is obviously global technology and we need to have those companies accept responsibility as well.”

She said that the principals of a free, open and secure internet would “absolutely be maintained”.

“If we want to prevent violent extremist content online we need to take a global approach that involves other governments, tech companies and civil society leaders”.

“Social media platforms can connect people in many very positive ways, and we all want this to continue.”

But she said for too long it has been possible to use social media platforms to incite extremist violence, and even to distribute images of that violence, as happened in Christchurch.

“This is what needs to change.”

A worthy aim, but it will be difficult to come up with an effective means of preventing the use of social media by terrorists but maintaining the freedom of use of social media generally.

And even if social media companies do put effective control mechanisms in place, it is likely that those seeking to promote and perpetuate violence online will find ways around the controls.

Fine for Ardern and Macron to be seen to be trying to do something about it, but being seen to be trying, and doing anything effective ongoing, will be a big challenge.

New Zealand and the world overwhelmingly defies aims of Christchurch terrorist

Aims of the man who killed 49 people in two Christchurch mosques included trying to divide New Zealand and the world, trying to inflate hate. His atrocities have had the opposite effect.

While there have been isolated attempts at excusing his actions, of victim blaming, and other inappropriate responses, New Zealanders have have overwhelmingly expressed disgust at the mass murder of innocent and defenceless people, and have overwhelmingly shown sympathy and empathy for the victims and their families and friends, and for the whole Muslim community throughout New Zealand.

Vigils for Christchurch mosque shooting victims held across the country

Thousands of people have gathered across New Zealand to mourn the victims of Friday’s terror attack in Christchurch.

At Deans Avenue mosque, people wanting to pay their respects laids flowers at a police cordon, as armed offenders swept the area with metal detectors on Saturday.

In Auckland, thousands of people attended at vigil at Aotea Square, with more planned across the country.

‘We love you’: mosques around world showered with flowers after Christchurch massacre

Mosques in New Zealand and around the world have been inundated with floral tributes and messages of support after a massacre in Christchurch in which 49 Muslims were killed.

The strongest response from the public was in New Zealand, which is reeling in the wake of the worst peacetime mass killing in the nation’s history.

The outpouring of support for the Muslim community was so large that outside some mosques there was nowhere for well-wishers to park. Some messages read: “We love you”, “We are one” and “Forever changed”.

In Australia, the response to the massacre was similarly heartfelt, with tributes pouring into mosques across the country.

The outpouring of support continued in America where people also left candles outside mosques.

In Britain, solidarity was also on show.

Muslim places of worship in Canada also saw tributes.

Typical around the world:

Muslims are New Zealanders, residents or citizens, like the rest of us. They were going about their lives peacefully. Many of them came to New Zealand seeing it as a place safe from awful situations overseas.

It has been reported that victims are associated with a number of countries, including Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia.

New Zealanders, have been out in force around the country and on social media showing their sympathy for those affected by the atrocities, and their solidarity with Muslims and their communities.

Rather than divide the awful events have done the opposite, they have initiated outpourings of peaceful messages, of sympathy, of love, of togetherness.

Kiwis are overwhelmingly demonstrating that, while terrorism cannot always be avoided, the effects can be negated by defying the aims of sick, murderous individuals.

A lot of credit needs to be given to people who helped victims of the shootings on and around the scenes in Christchurch on Friday. People who must have been at risk themselves helped their fellow human beings in need.

The police officers and ambulance officers had very demanding jobs to do, uncertain of the risks of the situations they were putting themselves into. Many of them deserve a lot of praise – when the going gets tough people stepped up big time.

Two police officers, aware in part at least of what had happened, aware of the likelihood the perpetrator would still be armed (he was), rammed and disable his car and apprehended him. This bravery, risking their lives, may well have saved other lives.

Give-a-Little – Victim Support Official Page: Christchurch Shooting Victims’ Fund – currently $2,836,767.17 donated.

A Muslim in Dunedin wrote:

“I live in Dunedin and we have experienced nothing but kindness respect and understanding from everyone we have come into contact with.

I have lived here for three years and have many friends who have helped me to settle here.

Everyone is devastated by this terrible tragedy and it not only deeply saddens Muslims living here but all New Zealanders.

There are people everywhere who are misguided and full of hate. We must learn to love more and hate less. 

We respect all religions and cultures and all people’s regardless of their faith or belief May Allah have mercy for the people who lost their lives.”

We must learn to tolerate more, to love each other and to promote peaceful co-existence of our wide variety of cultures, ethnicities, nationalities and religions and beliefs.

Through adversity, a day of despicable terror in Christchurch, we are becoming better people and a better nation.

We Kiwis unite for a better, more peaceful world.

Two international terrorist attacks

There have been two terrorist attacks reported over the weekend, one in Paris and the other in Indonesia.

It is very difficult to defend against small and single person attacks.

BBC – Paris knife attack: Suspect ‘French citizen born in Russia’s Chechnya’

The suspect in a deadly knife attack in central Paris on Saturday evening is a French citizen born in 1997 in Russia’s republic of Chechnya, sources say.

Named by media as Khamzat Asimov, he was on a French watch list of people who could pose a threat to national security, the sources said.

Police shot dead the attacker in the busy Opéra district after he killed a man and injured four other people.

The Islamic State (IS) group said it was behind the attack.

France has been on high alert following a series of attacks. More than 230 people have been killed by IS-inspired jihadists in the past three years.

Islamic terrorism has been a major problem in France.

Indonesia is predominately Muslim and has it’s own problems with terrorism – Surabaya church attacks: One family responsible, police say

A family of six, including a nine-year-old girl, were behind a wave of blasts targeting three churches in Indonesia’s second city of Surabaya, police say.

At least 13 people died in Sunday’s bombings, which the Islamic State group has claimed.

The mother and two daughters blew themselves up at one church, while the father and two sons targeted two others.

The family had recently spent time in Syria, according to the police.

The bombings are the deadliest

Police chief Tito Karnavian said the family belonged to an Indonesian IS-inspired network, Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).

There has been a rise in radical Muslim activity, in part due to the influence of ISIS.

In recent years women have become increasingly active in terrorist cells in Indonesia but this would be the first time children have been used.

Indonesia had been widely praised for its sustained anti-terrorism crackdown following the 2002 Bali bombings. It has managed a seemingly successful combination of arrests and killings, alongside a de-radicalisation program that focused on changing minds and providing alternative incomes for released terrorists.

But the rise of IS overseas has invigorated the loosely constituted jihadi networks.

There has also been rising intolerance in recent years in this once tolerant, pluralist, majority-Muslim nation, which has made minority groups increasingly uncomfortable.

Terrorism is a significant problem. Terrorist attacks get a lot of media attention these day, but are responsible for a relatively small number of deaths:

Global Death Toll of Different Causes of Death - Oxfam0

https://ourworldindata.org/terrorism

There is no easy way of preventing terrorism, nor of reducing radical religious movements.

Helen Kelly blamed Muldoonism for Trades Hall killing

Interviews of Helen Kelly in the year before she died are being edited into a movie, due out later this year.

A preview of part of that from Newshub – Revealed: Helen Kelly blamed fatal bomb attack on Sir Robert Muldoon

A new film about the late union leader Helen Kelly reveals she blamed a fatal bomb attack on anti-union hysteria whipped up by former Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon.

Ms Kelly said the frenzy led the suitcase bombing left in the building, its explosion killing caretaker Ernie Abbott.

In it, she recalls how she knew Mr Abbott well – her father Pat Kelly worked in the hall with him.

“He was just a lovely guy who lived in the hall, did his job, was a union person as well, had a little dog which everybody loved that got injured in the bombing, Patch.”

The movie is based on a series of interviews with the union leader in the year before she died – including one about the 1984 Trades Hall bombing.

There is a scene on the bomb attack, based on interview footage released to Newshub, in which Helen Kelly clearly blames it on the environment created by Muldoon, known as ‘Muldoonism’.

“Just this absolute sort of anti-Communist, anti-socialist, anti-reds under the bed hysteria which was really designed to shut down trade unions and discredit them,” she said.

“It was run by Muldoon – and it was vicious, and people were being forced to be sort of scared of trade unions and to see them as a threat,” she said.

“And it got worse and worse, and it was this sort of war of words at that stage – and then suddenly, someone put a bomb in the Trades Hall.”

It’s quite possible that intolerance and hate whipped up for political purposes at least contributed to the murder of Abbott. This was as bad as the Rainbow Warrior bombing, whether killing someone was the aim or not.

The deliberate division and attack methods of Donald Trump could also contribute to something terrible in the US happening, given the number and type of arms readily available there.

Looking back: Trades Hall bombing, 1984

Trades Hall bombing, 1984

This police poster calls for information on the Trades Hall bombing, at Vivian Street, Wellington, on 27 March 1984. A bomb left in a suitcase killed Ernie Abbott, a unionist and caretaker of the hall. At the time of the bombing Trades Hall was the headquarters of a number of trade unions. The attack came after a period of heightened industrial tensions, during which Prime Minister Robert Muldoon made frequent verbal attacks on the union movement. The bombing remains an unsolved crime, but it appears to have been the action of an isolated individual with a hatred of unions.

Courtesy of New Zealand Police – Nga Pirihimana O Aotearoa

 

Vehicle attack in Melbourne

A number of people have been injured in a vehicle attack outside a Melbourne railway station. The attacker has been named as Saeed Noori, who “has a history of mental illness and drug abuse”.

The incident is not being treated as a terror investigation “at this time”, with police saying they believed it was “quarantined to a singular incident” rather than part of a larger plot.

Saying that won’t stop another outcry over the threats of terrorism and the collective blaming and bashing of people with names and appearances and backgrounds that give cause for concern (some genuine concerns, and a lot of over the top and unfair blanket blaming).

When it comes to international events Melbourne is close to home for us here. Like many in New Zealand I have relations now living in Melbourne.

news.com.au: ‘Deliberate act’: Car mows down pedestrians outside Melbourne’s Flinders St station

THE man arrested after a four-wheel-drive mowed down pedestrians in Melbourne has a history of mental illness and drug abuse, police said.

THE man who deliberately drove a four-wheel drive into a Melbourne crowd injuring 19 people is a 32-year-old with a history of drug use and mental illness, police say.

The Australian citizen of Afghan descent was driving alone when he crashed a white Suzuki SUV into pedestrians at high speed outside Flinders St Station on Thursday about 4.45pm.

He in in police custody in hospital as police continue their “fluid investigation” into what they allege was a “deliberate act”.

The man has been named as Saeed Noori by the Herald Sun, citing police sources.

Speaking on Thursday, Victoria Police acting chief commissioner Shane Patton said the driver was known to police for “historical assault matters” but was not on bail.

Mr Patton said the man had a “history of drug use as well as mental health issues”.

“We understand that he is on a mental health plan and receiving treatment for a mental illness,” he said. “We’re working to clarify that.”

The incident is not being treated as a terror investigation “at this time”, despite being supported by counter-terrorism teams. Mr Patton said police believed it was “quarantined to a singular incident” rather than part of a larger plot.

Mosque attack in Egypt

The blight of terrorism continues.

Independent:  Egypt mosque attack: Death toll rises to 235, the deadliest terrorist atrocity in the country’s modern history

The death toll in a militant attack on a mosque in Egypt’s north Sinai region has risen to 235, Egyptian state television reported, quoting the public prosecutor.

Militants targeted members of Egypt’s security forces attending Friday prayers at the Al Rawdah mosque in Bir al-Abed, near Arish city.

They opened fire from four off-road vehicles on worshippers inside the mosque during the sermon, blocking off escape routes from the area by blowing up cars and leaving the burning wrecks blocking the roads, three police officers on the scene said.

Resident Ashraf el-Hefny said many of the victims were workers at a nearby salt firm who had come for Friday services at the mosque, which had contained some 300 worshippers.

Targeting innocent people at prayer is a crap sort of thing to do.

President Sissi condemned the extremist attack on a mosque in the troubled Sinai Peninsula, calling it “criminal” and “cowardly” and expressing condolences to the victims and their families.

Cowards.

Charged with possessing Isis propaganda, child sex abuse videos

This sounds like someone who may have some wide ranging problems.

NZH: NZ man charged with possessing Isis propaganda, ‘terrorist’s handbook’

A 19-year-old Dannevirke man appeared in the Palmerston North District Court yesterday after being charged with possessing terrorism propaganda.

Jordayne Evan Thomas Madams faces 10 charges of possessing objectionable material consisting of child sex abuse videos and images, and terrorism material.

He made no plea when he appeared in court and a police spokesperson said he was due to appear in court on December 7 – where he would be required to enter a plea.

According to court documents, that included a text file of The Terrorist’s Handbook, which gives instructions on how to assemble bombs and explosives, as well as Isis beheading videos.

It was also alleged Madams had videos showing Isis, a jihadist militant group predominantly operating in Syria, executing a captured soldier with a machinegun and carrying out a beheading.

The child sex abuse material involved photos and videos of preteen and teenage boys and girls in suggestive poses or taking part in sex acts, according to court documents.

No indication of whether he was a terrorism risk, or was just someone who, allegedly, was attracted to gross and illegal material.