Category Archives: surveillance state

Perils of engaging with ‘full take’ drama ‘heroes’

The revelations about NZ’s GCSB mass, ‘full take’, surveillance of communications in Pacific countries have resulted in far less criticism of the government than Key’s decision to send troops to Iraq. This is in spite of the muddled, inadequate, contradictory responses by John Key.  And it is in spite of some mainstream and alternative media journalists/columnists criticisms of Key’s responses (see for instance, Andrea Vance, Gordon Campbell, David Fisher, Toby Manhire), and the fact that:

most of the targets are not security threats to New Zealand, as has been suggested by the Government.

Images of the likes of ‘Jihadi John’, ready made arch villain, for cowboys versus Indians style narratives, are likely to have a strong influence on many people’s political views – maybe more so than reasoned, evidence-based criticism.

Larger than life images of fictional (and fictionalised real) ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ provides the most direct means for large numbers to engage with political, social and economic issues. In the mainstream, images and related narratives of the likes of ‘Jihadi John’ may have more meaning for many Kiwis than references to faceless GCSB workers, or critics of mass surveillance.

v mask GCSB-protest-17

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The Hillary Clinton TV fictions: women and power – Madam Secretary

As I wrote in the first part of this series of posts,

Women who have political power are to some extent undermined by dominant attitudes about characteristics and values associated with male and female behaviour.  There is a fine balance that needs to be negotiated by women in, or seeking, the highest and most powerful political roles and leadership….

TV dramas inspired by Hillary Clinton’s public life have been achieving some renewed significance at a time when many are expecting her to make a second run for the US presidency.

The last post focused on The Good Wife, which was partly inspired by Hillary and Bill Clinton’s relationship, and is now looking to veer towards Hillary’s more political activities. Another such Hillary Clinton inspired dramas is Madam Secretary.


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Metiria Turei – challenging the old boys Surveillance State Club

I have written before on how, in politics, “economics”, “finance” and leadership roles have strong masculine and power associations. Men largely being given responsibilities for these high profile portfolios.  The same is true of issues of international conflict and state surveillance services.

Yesterday, NZ Labour caucus leader, Andrew Little, was deeply insulting towards the NZ Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei.  Little failed in his obligation to consult with opposition parties when selecting opposition MPs to sit on the governments Intelligence Security Committee.


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No freedom under US corporate eyes

Popular culture often reflects the concerns of many ordinary people.  There’s been a number of songs about people’s concerns about the increasing power of the surveillance state.   Increasing, US-led capabilities for mass spying threatens to invade all our privacies.

It was bad enough when Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald reported that the activities of ordinary Kiwis were being sucked into the ever watchful US state surveillance system of the NSA – also linked to NZ’s GCSB.


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