Tuesday 27 November 2018

The Case Of The Problematic Professor.

Disturber Of Dragons: Were Professor Brady’s antagonists from any other nation but China the problem confronting Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters would not exist. Unfortunately the Peoples Republic of China is New Zealand’s largest trading partner after Australia. Pissing-off China could be extremely injurious to this nation’s economic health.

ANNE-MARIE BRADY presents this government with a rather large problem. Her alleged harassment by agents of Chinese national security has all the makings of a cause celebre. Were Professor Brady’s antagonists from any other nation but China the problem confronting Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters would not exist. One has only to recall Helen Clark’s response to the discovery of an active Israeli spy mission underway on New Zealand soil to appreciate the political capital to be made out of being seen to take the defence of New Zealand sovereignty seriously. Unfortunately for Ardern and Peters, however, the Peoples Republic of China is not Israel – it’s New Zealand’s largest trading partner after Australia. When Israel gets angry it cannot threaten to undermine the New Zealand economy. Pissing-off China, on the other hand, can be extremely injurious to this nation’s economic health.

The latest chapter in the Brady saga, a letter from a group of academics, journalists and activists demanding a more aggressive defence of academic freedom, can hardly have improved the PM’s mood. Her hopes of the whole matter quietly disappearing have been dashed. People want answers – not evasions.

But do “people” have any right to answers in a matter as delicate as this one? Is the public entitled to push aside all the geopolitical and economic factors impinging on their government as if they are of no importance?

Prattling on about being the “critic and conscience” of society is all very well, but when New Zealand’s universities are so dependent on the continuing inflow of international students, is it really all that wise to antagonise one of the largest contributors to this country’s educational export trade? It would be interesting to see how the nation’s vice-chancellors would react if equivalents of Anne-Marie Brady started popping up on their own campuses. Each academic activist launching equally uncompromising attacks against the Peoples Republic. How would all that criticising and conscientising affect their bottom-line I wonder?

And what about all that Chinese investment in New Zealand’s agricultural sector: all those massive milk treatment plants springing up around the provinces; how keen would the government be to see all that brought to an end? How would Shane Jones respond to the loss of so many well-paying jobs? And David Parker, how would he feel when New Zealand’s perishable exports started piling-up on China’s docks? How would Federated Farmers react to a Chinese freeze-out? Or the Dairy Workers Union, for that matter?

New Zealand lives by its agricultural exports - which is why the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement was so important when the Global Financial Crisis struck. Without it, this country would have had significantly less to come and go on. Chinese consumers saved us from the sort of vicious austerity measures that afflicted the people of the United Kingdom and Greece. The nature of the Chinese system has not changed since 2008. If we were happy then to be given access to the huge Chinese market, are we not happy now? What’s changed?

We all know the answer to that question. What has changed is that the United States is no longer prepared to see China assert its “hard” (military and economic) and “soft” (cultural and propagandistic) power unchallenged. In concert with its principal regional allies, Japan and Australia, the US is pushing back against Chinese expansion into the Pacific – once an American lake but now the location of intense great power rivalry. Try as it might (and it tried very hard under John Key and his foreign minister, Murray McCully) New Zealand is finding it increasingly difficult, in the age of Donald Trump, to keep its distance from this looming fight between the Eagle and the Dragon.

Professor Brady is an acknowledged expert on the production and delivery of Chinese soft power – its “magic weapons”. The good professor is not, however, above advancing a little soft power on her own account. Is it no more than a coincidence that she has been called upon to present her ideas to the Australian parliament during the “China Panic”? Or that her academic articles and speeches are followed closely, and receive considerable approbation, in Washington DC? That the name of Anne-Marie Brady started appearing in our news media at exactly the same moment as the rivalry between the USA and China ratcheted-up several notches – was that nothing more than serendipity?

Much has been made of President Trump’s extraordinary statement concerning America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. What made it extraordinary was its brutal honesty. For once naked American self-interest was presented to the world shorn of its hypocritical vestments. “It’s about America first”, said the President, truthfully. He then informed the world that if putting America’s interests first means turning a blind eye to cold-blooded, state-sanctioned murder, then so be it – that’s what his administration (like all its predecessors) will do.

Jacinda can’t really say “It’s about New Zealand First” – that could be misinterpreted, but if she were to say something similar in defence of her continuing silence vis-à-vis Anne-Marie Brady, then she would earn the respect of Beijing and Washington alike. With considerable relief, the advisers to both President Xi and President Trump would be able to tell their bosses: “This New Zealand prime minister, at least she knows how the game of geopolitics is played.”

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Tuesday, 27 November 2018.


peteswriteplace said...

Two air valves were interfered with in her car tyres. A problem for whom?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Given the rather tepid reaction to Mossad trying to steal New Zealand passports, and the Rainbow Warrior bombing I'm not expecting a great deal of movement here.

Hilary Taylor said...

I couldn't agree more with your penultimate paragraph re Trump & the Saudi question....that was exactly my repsonse to his handling of this, uncomfortable though it may be. As for Ardern, I would be thrilled if she would 'get real' and be frank. We can take it, we can see the dilemma, but we can also see through obfuscation and denial. Does selling our foodstuffs mean selling our souls too? Let's talk about this..

Trev1 said...

Shameful column. So much for free speech.

Unknown said...

I for one welcome our new Sino-overlords.

Clearly you do to Mr Trotter.

X2 said...

In the 1950 and 1960s many exciting futures were available to New Zeaalnd. We were a beautiful advanced country like the USA, Canada , South Africa, Chile and Coastal Angola. Why on earth would we want to be a non evolving backward agricultural nation. And that was pretty much what was thought in Nixons Washington and Heaths England. Why on earth do these old NZ veterans want to preserve NZ as some sort of backward farm. I mean despite all and far too late NZ did experience major economic and social reform in the 1980s and 1990s reform blemished by an excessive fundamentalism, failure to develop rail based modern urban and medium distance passenger rail systems and failure to close down the totally failed bastardy of the NZ psychiatric system and probably to identify the NZ reactionaries have too major causes, the primitive lifestyle of the NZ farm, which produced income in dumb ways and therefore does not support intelligent industries services and employment and the Catholic Church and also, Helen Clark (HC)
if she had any good objectives failed to smash Phil Goff, Sue Bradford, Bill English, Judith Collins and john Banks off the map. So it was just a holding not a military action.

Geoff Fischer said...

If the PRC has been harassing New Zealand citizens then it should be called to account by the New Zealand government, regardless of the importance of the trading relationship between China and New Zealand.
The New Zealand state let France off the hook for sabotage and murder and Israel for espionage, and allows its own security services to harass and conspire against the lives of New Zealand citizens, but that does not mean that China should be given license to do the same.
If, that is, China is guilty as France, Israel and the NZSIS are guilty
Yet there is no evidence of Chinese involvement in the actions that Brady alleges have taken place. The allegations are not just unproven. They are wholly unsubstantiated and baseless.
So what is going on here? Brady is not a true academic. She is a political propagandist working under the cover of "academic research" funded by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. She has close links to the NZSIS and ASIO and is actively involved in the security chiefs' campaign to force the New Zealand government to support and collaborate in the anti-China policy of the Trump administration.
The statement from 35 Canterbury University staff marks a new low for academic integrity in New Zealand . The crux of the statement ("We take very seriously the news reports that Professor Brady has been repeatedly burgled and had her
car tampered with because of her academic work regarding the influence campaigns of the People’s Republic of China.") is nothing more than a cheap political smear directed against the PRC by academic hacks whose only real interest is in their own career prospects.
There is little to suggest that New Zealanders should be worried about China. They should be more worried about a security service which is openly seeking to dictate government policy towards the PRC (and which has now taken upon itself the authority to ban New Zealand companies from doing business with China) and they should be even more worried about an elected government which lacks the courage to arrest the security chiefs' flagrant assault upon democratic process.

Tom Hunter said...

Well done Chris. Good to see that you're on the same side as David Farrar and The National Party (and Labour of course), on this issue:

Nonsense about Huawei - 2012

More nonsens about Huawei"

And now that the evil GCSB has gone against using Huawei it will be great to see you and Farrar on the same side of that particular barricade too. It's also good to see that at least one Free Trade Agreement has your support.


Or instead we could just talk about giant Chinese corporations and their actions overseas (in concert with the PRC). Would that sort of capitalist influence make you uneasy in precisely the way it does not for Farrar, National, and the very NZ business sector that you're otherwise constantly attacking for selling out Kiwis for profit.

This is not a 1950's/60's "Red Scare" - it's actually worse than that.

This is supposedly much of what you have claimed you stand against throughout your life, but as with your pieces on WWI, you seem to be so hungup on our traditional US/UK links that you're willing to overlook anything that China does. You worry about the CIA and DC thinktanks, but what about the New Zealand China Council and the Confucius Institutes that have had such play here? What of their influence with both National and Labour politicians and our academics?

Or have a read of the China articles on the blog Croaking Cassandra. He's a former Reserve Bank economist and as such he focuses on economic matters. But the China situation has begun to worry the hell out of him, and his coverage of Ann-Marie Brady's problems started a long time before the usual, belated MSM.

As he puts it in his latest piece, Known by the company they keep - especially the two links he provides:

Perhaps Todd McClay – who repeats PRC propaganda about the Xinjiang internment – could watch it, or Simon Bridges, or Jacinda Ardern. These are New Zealanders. And that is the regime to which you – who purport to be “leaders” – give cover. Surely they can’t really believe the regime is morally worthy at all, but perhaps it might be less shameful if that were their excuse, rather than “another deal, another donation”. As Scott Morrison put it recently, in an Australian context, we have to be more than the sum of our deals.

But what the hell. Nothing will happen. China is now New Zealand's pimp.

Tom Hunter said...

@Geoff Fischer
They are wholly unsubstantiated and baseless

Brady's New Paper on China - Nov, 2017

2018 RNZ Interview of Brady with Wallace Chapman

2017 - Shameless and Shameful:

Listening to her, one gets the sense that she isn’t that comfortable in the public spotlight. Many academics aren’t. In her lecture the other day she felt the need to include a photo of her Chinese husband and her three half-Chinese children – no doubt a push back against the sort of despicable pre-election attempt to discredit her and her research tried by the then Attorney-General.

I'd have thought you and others on this blog would have had the hairs rising on the back of your necks at that latter point. A member of the NZ establishment attacking an academic.

And on the sad off-chance that you don't read any of those links, here are the key points from the last one:

- The active efforts (largely successful) of the Communist Party to get effective control of almost all Chinese language media in New Zealand (similar story in Australia) – and thus the story of the issues she is raising goes unreported in that media,

- the efforts of several former senior politicians, with roles that align their personal economic interests with those of the Chinese authorites,

- Concerns about political donations, especially from individuals/entities with close ties to the CCP, and the associated close ties between political party leaders and China.

- Chinese government interests in influencing New Zealand, both to stay quiet on issues of concern to China,

- China’s interests in Antartica,

- Confucius Institutes, funded and controlled by China, as part of New Zealand universities, complete with restrictions on what can be talked about,

- efforts to promote ethnic Chinese New Zealand citizens, with those ties to the Embassy/CCP, into electoral politics – in New Zealand’s case, both Jian Yang and Raymond Huo.

Wholly unsubstantiated and baseless?



J Bloggs said...

For decades through the cold war, New Zealand sat at the bottom of the world, blissful in its isolated ignorance about what happens to smaller countries when big powers butt heads, while European, Asian and Middle Eastern counties served as the proxy battlegrounds between the superpowers.

Now it is our turn. I don't believe we have the political, economic or social environment to be the South Pacific equivilent of a Switzerland or Sweden, and we will not be able to sit on the fence.

So the only real question is - which side do we want to be on?

Mark said...

Anne Marie Brady is a fully paid up propagandist:


“The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (or Wilson Center), located in Washington, D.C., is a United States Presidential Memorial that was established as part of the Smithsonian Institution by an act of Congress in 1968”

Her work has also been supported by the was supported by the so-called “Taiwan Foundation for Democracy”


In other words she is hardly a neutral researcher. She is a tool of ‘foreign interference’ in New Zealand’s affairs herself – in this case on behalf of the US and Taiwan – what a hypocrite.

Mark said...

"Or have a read of the China articles on the blog Croaking Cassandra. He's a former Reserve Bank economist and as such he focuses on economic matters. But the China situation has begun to worry the hell out of him, and his coverage of Ann-Marie Brady's problems started a long time before the usual, belated MSM."

What the heck? I've read some of his drivel, and it is exactly that.Comparing the economic performance of China with cities like hong Kong and Singapore and countries which had almost a century head start when it comes to industrialisation (like Japan) shows he is a buffoon. And of course he completely ignores the impact of a century of foreign invasions of China in impoverishing the place, something that only stopped with the communist victory in 1949.

And you have linked to the stories of a couple of dissidents - so what? The vast majority of Chinese, both in China and abroad, are positive about the direction China is taking.

Tom Hunter said...

Ah ha! A Sinophile. Excellent.

I noticed you missed Korea in that list. A century of colonisation and warfare, but sure, they got a head-start on China. And Japan? Yeah, they were ahead of China in industrialisation, with up until the Americans smashed it all up in 1944-45.

Ah, but I'm just teasing; you clearly know pitifully little about Hong Kong, and Singapore also.

...shows he is a buffoon

Yeah - "buffoon"s are well knowm for getting post-grad degrees and jobs with the Reserve Bank.


Christ - you're not that guy who posted on Kiwiblog a few years ago are you - "A Single Spark" I think he was labeled, or ,maybe it was a "A Single Neuron". Full-on defender of China he was. No sin not excused and he was always banging the drum about how terribly they'd been treated by those nasty colonialists with more power.

The good news is that the Chinese turfed the idiocies of Communism - though they still mutter worship to Karl to preserve that precious rule by a few at the top, but it's basically just the whole Mandate From Heaven business falling upon a giant, centralised, technocratic state, just like all the others in China's 5000 year history.

The bad news? It'll go tits up just like all the others and for much the same reasons.

Ming 2030!

sumsuch said...

I'm no' over-fond of Zi Jinpeng. Let alone the many years to remember his name. He's trying to manipulate reality with the '60 % right' left by Mao. Our ideals are the scum on the top of conquest. Those non-beneficiaries can see it better. But utterance of that makes us draw up our shawls. Economics are brutal and our ruler. But politicians can't speak it -- the real crime of Nazi Germany was being uncouth. The rule is you don't speak the brutality. Why Trump will go down.

Geoff Fischer said...

In reply to Tom Hunter:
My words "unsubstantiated and baseless" referred to the claim that the government of the PRC burgled Professor Brady's house and tampered with her vehicle. We have been provided with no evidence that this was the case. Therefore the claim is unsubstantiated and baseless.
There is no prima facie case against the PRC. I don't demand proof beyond reasonable doubt, but I do require some kind of evidence before joining in the chorus for confrontation and possibly eventual war between states.
I will condemn the PRC if it is shown to be guilty as charged, but if the allegations remain unsubstantiated I will disregard them and continue to mark Professor Brady as an unreliable and untrustworthy source.

Geoff Fischer said...

I have received an email from one of the 35 Canterbury University staff who signed the open letter in support of Professor Brady which reads:

"There is much that has not been made public.
Information in the public domain is that her office was burgled and despite many valuables, only materials holding her documents, mainly IT stuff, were stolen, and the monetary value of stolen items was negligible. The information value of those items was high, however. So it was a very peculiar burglary. Her car was, in the opinion of a mechanic and the police, sabotaged. The front tires were let down to an extent that they wouldn't appear flat, but with hard braking the tires would have detached from the rims. So this also appears mighty peculiar as well.
I don't know whether or not it has been made public that she was warned by members of the local Chinese community that she was about to be targeted by PRC agents, but that is what happened prior to the events outlined above. It may be significant that her work addresses the workings & influence of the PRC and its agents in New Zealand.
The police investigation has not been made public yet, and so I shouldn't comment, but I am aware of the results of that investigation."

The "police investigation has not been made public", yet it would appear that many people not directly involved "are aware of the results of the investigation".
It is therefore indefensible for the results of the police investigation to be any longer withheld from the general public.
The public have a right and a need to know. The government has a duty to tell them. Any further delay and it will be the Realm of New Zealand, and not the Peoples Republic of China, which has questions to answer over this affair.

sumsuch said...

The three parties in the coalition discuss every issue as it happens , unlike the in deep detail manifestos of Clarke governing the next term. More honest. Only shit, the Greens should have their way all the way. Don't think Winnie's Muldoonist voters matter in the great imperium of reality. A (fucken)shouter would make this clear. The stomachs don't allow it. One in England, one in America. Christ help us.

Geoff Fischer said...

The Brady affair centers around allegations of a series of burglaries at the home of Canterbury University Professor Anne Marie Brady, and a case of malicious interference with her vehicle.
Most New Zealanders have been burgled at some time, many repeatedly. Many New Zealand political activists have been burgled in circumstances which show an intent to obtain personal and political information rather than valuables.
In some cases it has been shown that the culprits were the intelligence services of the New Zealand state, and in other cases the intelligence service was suspected even if conclusive proof was absent.
None of these cases enraged the "Intelligence Community" or the Five Eyes supporters who are urging that China be punished and Professor Brady given police protection from further Chinese attacks.
In respect of the allegation of vehicle tampering, I recall only a few cases in which intelligence services conspired to cause physical harm to a person or persons in New Zealand, and those cases have rightly caused outrage among our people, even if not among the political establishment.
So the Brady affair is different, and the difference is political. Brady's case is important because the finger is being pointed at the intelligence services of the Peoples Republic of China, rather than at the NZSIS, and because it comes at a time when the United States of America, the NZSIS and Professor Brady herself are campaigning for a global confrontation between the Anglo-American power bloc and the PRC.
That places the Chinese community, and our people as a whole, in a dangerous situation. If the PRC was behind the burglaries, it has acted with reckless disregard for our people. Whatever justification they might have for covert surveillance of Brady, it should be obvious to the PRC intelligence services that the burglaries and particularly the vehicle tampering would be playing into the hands of the Five Eyes and the SIS. The intelligence services of the PRC know that any Chinese provocation could be incendiary when the New Zealand "Security Chiefs" are trying to create a climate of caution, suspicion and fear about the Chinese community in New Zealand. In these circumstances it would be utterly inexcusable for the PRC to act as it is alleged to have acted.
Howeer we have been given no evidence to show that the PRC was responsible. No police charges have been laid in relation to the allegations. Brady and her academic supporters have told us that the outcome of the police investigation points in the direction of the PRC. They claim to have seen the police report. We are told that we must trust them.
We should not trust them for two reasons.
Firstly, because if they are telling us the truth, they would be able to show us the evidence.
Secondly, because if true, the implications of these allegations could be so damaging to the peace and prosperity of our people that we could not afford to accept them without solid and unassailable evidence.
In the absence of such evidence, we have to discount the allegations as the mischievous and malicious creations of foreign powers trying to provoke enmity between our peoples and communities.
The ball is in the court of the Canterbury University academics. Show us the evidence and we will listen to you. Urge us along a path which will cause disharmony at home and conflict abroad for reasons to which only yourselves are privy, while telling us that we must trust you implicitly will leave us questioning your motives and your integrity.

Geoff Fischer said...

One of the signatories of the Canterbury University academics' open letter on the Brady affair has now advised me that he did not intend to suggest that the PRC was in any way complicit in the burglary of Professor Brady's home, or the alleged tampering with her vehicle.
That takes the ground from under Paul Buchanan at kiwipolitico, and all those who are exploiting the Brady affair to whip up anti-Chinese sentiment.

Geoff Fischer said...

My understanding is that Brady gave the Canterbury University academics her version of a police report "in confidence". At the same time she told the police that they should not release their own report, because to do so would be an invasion of her privacy.
The academics have not seen the police report. They took Brady on trust when she told them that it pointed to involvement by the PRC, but they cannot tell us exactly what Brady told them, because they were told in confidence.
Thus Brady's version of the police report is the only one in the public domain, but it is not the actual police report and it is not the true story. She has managed to have her own account accepted in academic circles as a true rendition of the police report, and at the same time has contrived a situation in which neither the police nor the academics (let alone the general public) are able to see and compare the actual report with Brady's version of it.
So we have moved from the initial claim that "the PRC has something to answer for here" through "the police should be more forthcoming" to the point where it is Brady who must explain herself.