2016 – Loose ends

   ombudsman

Blog No 114.

2016 – Loose ends.

I am currently working on a blog discussing the function of the Ombudsman within the New Zealand constitution.

In working to end the NZ government’s persecution of Harmon and Carolyn Wilfred, https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1610/S00312/ombudsman-delays-investigation-of-department-of-immigration.htm an appeal was made by their lawyer to the Office of the Ombudsman. The outcome of this appeal, though as yet ‘provisional,’ appears to reveal a significant mismatch between the NZ public’s views of the role of its independent Ombudsman and the reality. Does the Ombudsman’s office act as a watchdog, protecting the rights of the individual from governmental abuse, or as the government’s lapdog, on its master’s instruction, yapping approval of such abuse?

The appeal is still under review and the subject of continued correspondence. It is therefore too early to go to press on what is shaping up to be a significant constitutional issue. If the outcome of the Wilfred’s appeal continues along the present lines provisionally set by the Ombudsman, it should be a matter of concern to all New Zealanders interested in the protection and development of their democracy. There will be more on this subject after Christmas.

In the meantime, with 2016 now drawing rapidly to a close, it might be appropriate to look at some of the issues covered by Khakispecs over the preceding months and give readers a chance to bring themselves up to date on those subjects they find of particular interest. I would particularly recommend the two hyperlinks contained in Section 9 on Russia. Would that the Prime Minister of New Zealand had read these before deciding to burn off Russia in support of the US coup in the Ukraine. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11359292

1. The Trump presidency.

trump-teama.) Selecting the Trump cabinet. The Secretary of State and Secretary of Defence are the major appointments still outstanding. However, most of the other key personnel are already chosen – see the second half of the below hyperlink: National Security Adviser; CIA Director; Attorney General; Chief Strategist; Chief of Staff. Their bios give an indication of where the new president’s policies will be heading.  https://www.amny.com/news/elections/trump-s-cabinet-top-appointments-elaine-chao-tom-price-seema-verma-other-final-picks-1.12625129

b.) To what extent is Trump back-pedaling on his campaign promises? Just Google ‘Trump back pedals’ to see a long list. What you say on the campaign trail and what you do in office are not necessarily the same! My particular interest is in Hillary Clintons’ immunity from prosecution. The future security of my friends and business partners, Harmon and Carolyn Wilfred, depends on Hillary being disempowered. Trump recently made public statements as to how he had no intention of pursuing the Clintons. However, there are a hundred plus FBI agents under NY Prosecutor Preet Bharara still investigating the Clinton Foundation and this Fox News report might also indicate that the Clinton’s have not got a ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card. https://insider.foxnews.com/2016/11/27/donald-trump-ambassadors-clinton-foundation-activity-abroad

2. Developments in Syria.

Trump, in marked contrast to Hillary, has expressed support for Syrian President Bashir Assad. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/us-president-elect-donald-trump-support-assad-putin-syria-remove-rebel-backing-a7413346.html This is just as well as the Assad, Hezbollah, Russia and Iran alliance is now well on the way to defeating the Turkish/Saudi/US backed jihadist groups in Syria. By the time Trump enters the Oval Office the major fighting should be over. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/11/161129040310047.html Don’t be impressed by the reliability of what the White Helmets have to say. No doubt there are many nobly motivated Syrians working in their ranks, but the organisation itself would appear to be a propaganda tool of western intelligence services and its version of events is often deliberately falsified. https://www.atimes.com/white-helmets-instrument-regime-change-syria/

3. Developments in Iraq. The Islamic State is now most defiantly (sic) doomed. Its crazed enthusiasts are either preparing to die or flee. No doubt those cancerous cells that escape the impending bloodbath will end up lodged in societies around the world. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-37702442

4. Turkey and the Kurds. Next year the discussion will be about Turkish relations with the Kurds of Syria and Iraq and the extent to which Syrian, Iraqi and to a lesser extent, Iranian Kurds are able to retain autonomy from central governments in Damascus, Baghdad and Tehran.

golan-heights5. The Israeli Peace Process. What peace process?! An announcement in the past week confirms that Israel remains intent on expanding its Lebensraum irrespective of what the international community might say. https://nsnbc.me/2016/11/29/israel-plots-largest-settlement-expansion-in-occupied-syrian-golan-since-1980/ If you think Israel has a right to the Golan Heights; here is how it came into their possession https://www.nytimes.com/1997/05/11/world/general-s-words-shed-a-new-light-on-the-golan.html The major difference between Israel’s takeover of the Golan and Russia’s of the Crimea is that, whereas Russia’s takeover was peaceable, cost no lives and  was welcomed by 99% of the Crimean population, the Israelis had to cleanse much of the Syrian population of the Golan Heights at gun-point. The other obvious difference is that the West rushed to impose sanctions on Russia, but has done nothing to dissuade Israel from its armed territorial expansion.

6. The Afghan insurgency. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_in_Afghanistan_(2015%E2%80%93present) The indigenous Taliban continue their attempt to regain control of the government from which the US drove them more than fourteen years ago. And now, they are having to contend with another fruit of the USA’s Middle Eastern policy – a burgeoning Islamic State faction. Under ‘Operation Enduring freedom’ the US Air Force and Special Forces continue to dabble in as low a risk/low a cost manner as can be managed. US casualties have dropped to almost nothing https://icasualties.org/oef/Fatalities.aspx While the Americans stay in barracks or well above the ground, the grunt work is now the responsibility of hapless Afghani conscripts, victims of the continued misrule the country inherited from its western ‘allies. My best guess is that in two or ten years’ time the country will be governed under sharia law by a fairly moderate (compared to IS) Taliban-centric government and that all foreign forces will have been withdrawn.   https://thediplomat.com/2016/07/the-problem-with-afghanistans-counterinsurgency/

7. The Saudi assault on Yemen. They are still hard at it! https://www.aljazeera.com/topics/country/yemen.html

8. BREXIT. BREXIT is here to stay – though the British elites may be having regrets, President Trump fully approves of the decision. You can take your pick from this medley of latest developments https://www.independent.co.uk/topic/brexit and for a country by country look at the consequences for the EU. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38091976

The UK and its ‘special relationship’ with Washington will no longer be hampering the EU nations’ independent decision making in regard to their relations with Russia. There are now exciting opportunities for a significant reset in Russian-EU relations and for the emergence of a European defence entity, independent of US controlled NATO. https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/08/16/european-defense-union-independent-from-us-nato-reality-pipedream.html

russian-soul
The Russian Soul

9. Russia. Finally, another look at Russia and how it might respond to a widening of the Atlantic Ocean. https://renegadeinc.com/cooperative-capitalism-russian-idea/ Renegade www.renegadeinc.com is a new entrant into the blogosphere and has struck me as a source of well-informed and enlightened commentary. However, I can find little on the author, Colin McKay, other than that he is an Australian living in Russia and attempting to set up some sort of alternative banking business. I doubt that he is an expert on the Russian soul and therefore would regard this article as the impressions of an intelligent observer, rather than an offering of deep insight into the reality. What I am aware of is that the Russian culture is a determining force in international relations and very different from that of the USA. My Blog No 21 dealt with a similar subject – but this time written by a Russian. The gist of the two articles would seem to be consistent https://khakispecs.com/?p=423 and both would seem to offer the possibility of a far closer European/Russian rapport than would be welcomed in the USA.

 

Something to add? Please leave a comment in the box below

2 thoughts on “2016 – Loose ends

  1. John O. Sutter (always use middle initial) says:

    Interesting analysis. I found the concern about the New Zealand Ombudsman somewhat surprising. Of course, the Ombudsman must be beyond reproach. Democratic World Federalists would want an Ombudsman within their system of global government.

    • khakis5_wp says:

      Hi John,
      Sadly, now that the Ombudsman’s final, as opposed to ‘provisional’ ruling has been published, it is all too apparent that the NZ Ombudsman will, on occasion, perform as told to by the NZ government. I suspect that this is achieved by quoting ‘national security’ as the justification of a demand for a blind obedience, which flies in the face of the constitutional requirement for the Ombudsman’s impartial exercise of responsibility. ‘National Security,’ in this case, was probably to do with inveigling the anticipated Clinton administration into signing the TPP – even though, given the level of objection to the TPP within NZ, it could well be argued that its signing was a matter of party political, rather than of national interest.

      Of course we will never know for certain, as one of the governmentally imposed safeguards, on the establishment of an Ombudsman’s office, was that communications between government and Ombudsman’s Office should not be subject to disclosure under NZ’s freedom of information legislation. Very clever! In this simple move, the Ombudsman is converted from watchdog to lapdog. Your proposed global Ombudsman would have to be free of such restrictions.

      I intend to write a blog on this particular subject, setting out my justification for the above claim of blind obedience in the Wilfred case, just as soon as the Ombudsman has given me access to some statistical information, which, as it concerns only his office and not its interaction with government agencies, he cannot reasonably refuse.

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