Home' Greymouth Star : September 2nd 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Wednesday, September 2, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1666 - Great Fire of London burns for five
days, nearly destroying the city, including St
Paul’s Cathedral, but claims few lives.
1789 - The US Treasury Department is
1796 - The September Massacres, which
killed some 1200 people, begin when an
armed band attacks prisoners being transferred
between jails in Paris in the belief that they are
1870 - Emperor Napoleon III and 83,000
French troops surrender at Sedan to encircling
German troops, deciding the Franco-German
War after six weeks.
1898 - British forces under Horatio
Kitchener defeat the Khalifa’s army at
Omdurman, Sudan. The young Winston
Churchill takes part in a cavalry charge.
1945 - Independent Vietnam Republic is
proclaimed by Ho Chi Minh, who becomes
1963 - Alabama Governor George
C Wallace prevents the racial
integration of Tuskegee High School
by encircling the building with state
1970 - The US announces cutbacks
in fighting strength in Saigon as
North Vietnamese and Vietcong
forces continue on the offensive.
1976 - Riot police battle 3000 mixed-race
and black student demonstrators in Cape
1989 - Riot police arrest more than 400 anti-
apartheid protesters in downtown Cape Town,
1996 - Muslim rebels and the Philippine
government sign a pact formally ending a 26-
year insurgency that killed more than 120,000
1998 - A Swissair jetliner crashes off Nova
Scotia, Canada, killing all 220 aboard.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Ewald von Hertzberg, Prussian statesman
(1725-1795); John Howard, English
prison reformer (1726-1798);
Hirobumi Ito, premier of Japan
(1841-1909); Jimmy Connors,
US tennis player (1952—); Keanu
Reeves, US actor (1964—); Salma
Hayek, Mexican-American actress
“ Integrity needs no rules.” — Albert Camus,
French author and philosopher (1913-1960).
“Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun
go down on your anger.” — Ephesians 4:26
One of Greymouth’s
stage hands, Mr
suffered multiple fractures this morning when
he fell 30 feet to the stage of the Regent
Theatre. In spite of a fractured spine, a
fractured right leg and left wrist, his condition
was described by the Greymouth Hospital this
afternoon as satisfactory.
It was an unhappy start for the Housewives’
Hootenanny at the theatre tonight. With Mr
J Beban, Mr Mason was climbing down from
the catwalk above the stage on an aluminium
ladder after raising the picture screen in
preparation for tonight’s show. Mr Beban was
standing in the centre of the stage when he
heard a ‘thump’ as Mr Mason hit the floor. He
later told him his hand had slipped.
Mr Mason, 58, manager of Road Ser vices
Greymouth, has been doing stage work for
many years and works in the Regent Theatre
almost every time there is a show.
Expeditions made to Jackson Bay caves have
proved very successful from a relics collection
point of view. These trips were made by Otago
University students in May and July. The old
Maori relics were principally fish hooks found
on dry rocks near the cave entrance.
All the finds are to be put on exhibition at
the Otago museum. They include 38 bone
fish hooks and other artefacts which probably
belonged to a Maori fisherman’s kitbag, two
greenstone adzes and three greenstone gouges
which were used to fashion the hooks of
human and dog bones.
Diagnostic features indicate the relics are
from the period between 1800 and 1820.
uFood for thought
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Tackling on-line abuse
team of New Zealanders is
at the forefront of the fight
against child abuse image-
trading over the internet
— a booming and secretive
pastime that has flourished
as technology gets more sophisticated.
Nestled in offices in Auckland,
Wellington and Christchurch, 14
members of the Department of Internal
Affairs’ censorship and compliance unit
have belied their bureaucratic title for
20 years as they stay a step ahead of
paedophiles plumbing the darkest depths
of the web.
These offenders — and your average
child abuse image fiend is a man aged
38 to 43 — move in the cyber shadows
as they try to avoid their secretive habit
The unit catches them in two ways,
either discovering what technology or
file-sharing site is being used and getting
enough evidence to gain a search warrant,
or posing undercover in chatrooms to lure
in porn peddlers.
National anti-spam and censorship
compliance manager Steve O’Brien and
team leader Jon Peacock have been there
since the beginning.
“In those days a lot of it was boy love
material predominantly. The area of
concern then was Auckland,” Mr O’Brien
“In a lot of cases it was commercial
operators either pushing the boundaries of
what was legally allowed or operating with
a lack of knowledge,” Mr Peacock adds.
One thing that has not changed, though,
is the driving force behind the offending:
the thrill the people get from the material.
It is getting more depraved as
technological barriers are broken.
Now anyone with a cellphone can deal
in images of abuse — there is no need
to make a video or even risk getting film
developed by someone else.
Mr O’Brien says: “ The offender has
always wanted to operate in a protective,
safe and secure environment. When the
internet first came, the offender thought,
‘I’m operating in my own home, I’ve
pulled the blinds down and nobody can
see me. ’ It was a naive understanding.”
Mr Peacock: “Because the mechanisms
of offending are so diverse we need to
be agile enough to adapt. We need to be
flexible enough that if we need to develop
a solution we have the capability of doing
The unit ’s work has to stand up in court,
making the stage of gathering forensic
evidence important. Timing is also vital.
If the unit raids a house, sometimes
members have to move in quickly to
prevent someone from deleting their “dirty
The unit is focused on New Zealand
but is in constant contact with overseas
authorities, swapping data.
It has been behind a few major scalps,
too, such as “London John”, who was
found in a chatroom offering to broadcast
live images of him abusing his daughter in
“ We started chatting,” says another
member of the unit who caught him and
who cannot be identified.
“He was in the ‘incest room’. He
expressed an interest in sex with his
daughter and then the conversation went
from fairly mild to fairly explicit and hard-
core quite quickly.
“ We moved on to another chatroom,
which was probably safer to be able to talk
There “London John” offered to live
stream his abuse. British authorities were
alerted and arrived at his house as his
former partner was dropping off their
daughter for the weekend.
“They found out potentially he was
abusing his son as well, although that ’s not
Investigations revealed he made videos
to order, having abused his five-year-old
daughter for about 19 months.
“He was quite sadistic in the way that
he abused her as well,” says the man who
ended it. “ London John” was jailed for
nine and a half years.
The unit also helped to uncover an
international child-trafficking ring when
it came across an organiser of child sex
tours to Nepal, where an upfront fee
would get someone to a sex party where
they could pick girls aged from 10 to 17
Although the typical offender now is
middle-aged, when the unit began it came
across more young people.
“ We almost put that down to the
internet as a new area and youth were
experimenting with boundaries,” Mr
“ We found the majority of these weren’t
dedicated offenders like we find today.
They ’ve strayed into an area, we’ve caught
them and put them on the straight and
narrow. They didn’t appear before courts in
the majority of cases.”
A lot of work goes into identifying
offenders. It is not uncommon for the
unit to call in a botanist or arborist to see
where a particular plant grows or what
season it grows in.
Images or videos are closely examined
to see if there are any signs of dates or
locations from newspapers, magazines,
fashion trends, architecture, accents and
They see some horrendous stuff and
fortunately the unit ’s team gets access to
support if needed.
“ What throws us is new material because
that ’s a rich source for us, but what we’re
seeing these days is that new material is
often very sadistic, violent. It can be very
disturbing,” Mr O’Brien says.
“ We have found that text files are very
hard to deal with, if you get seven (files)
on how to rape a five-year-old, which
go into explicit detail. That can create a
longer-lasting impression than seeing a . . .
Surprisingly, some offenders are relieved
to be caught and get help.
“They know they are participating in a
really evil act — that the victims are real
children. Some want to be stopped.”
The unit is still on the heels of those who
do not. — NZME
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
Department of Internal Affairs anti-spam and censorship compliance team leader Jon Peacock, left, and national manager Steve
O’Brien in their forensic laboratory in Wellington.
Leading the battle against child porn
Not every scheme involves high-level
encryption or guarded chatrooms.
One New Plymouth man was busted
sending a VHS tape of abuse to the wrong
address when swapping objectionable
videos with others.
When his house was raided, an unsent
letter to the correct address was found
lying on a table.
“Sorry for the balls-up,” it reads.
“ I’m tossing up if I should write to that
last address that I sent your tape to or
whether I should just let it go.
“ Hopefully they aren’t stuck-up people
who have maybe put it in the hands of the
The man said he had put plenty of stuff
his pen pal would like on the latest VHS
tape and wrote a list of subjects he had for
The person who wrongly received the
tape called the authorities and the game
was up. — NZME
Tape-swapper busted through wrong address
“There’s no more rule of law,” Mahathir
Mohamad, the 90-year-old grandee who
was prime minister of Malaysia for 22
years, said. “ The only way for the people to
get back to the old system is for them to
remove this prime minister.”
Mahathir has been openly criticising the
current prime minister, Najib Razak, for
the past year although they both belong
to the same political party, the United
Malays National Organisation (UMNO).
What made it special this time was that he
said it at a two-day mass demonstration in
the centre of Kuala Lumpur.
Mass demonstrations are normally
attacked and dispersed by the police in
Malaysia despite its formally democratic
system, but this time the police remained
peaceful. There were the usual disputes
about how many people were there, with
the organisers claiming 300,000 and the
police saying 20,000, but the important
thing was that Mahathir showed up and
gave it his support.
There is certainly good reason to
demand Najib Razak’s resignation as
prime minister. In July the Wall Street
Journal published a report that
$700 million had been transferred into
his personal bank accounts in 2013 by the
deeply indebted 1MDB State investment
fund, which he created in 2009 shortly
after becoming prime minister. He
remains chairman of the fund’s board of
advisers even today.
At first Najib just denied it all. He fired
his deputy prime minister, Muhyiddin
Yassin, for criticising his handing of the
affair, and also the Attorney-General,
Abdul Gani Patail, who was leading
the investigation into the scandal. Then,
when it became impossible to deny that
the money had appeared in his accounts,
his advisers began claiming that it had
come not from 1MDB but as a “political
donation” from unnamed Middle Eastern
Whether it was really looted from the
1MDB investment fund or just given
to Najib by a “wealthy Arab family”, its
purpose was clear. It was not to enrich
Najib personally. It was to swing the
outcome of the 2013 election, which
Najib’s party was in danger of losing.
In a normal democracy, accepting
the better part of a billion dollars from
foreigners to win an election would
be just as serious a crime as stealing it
from a national investment fund, but
Malaysia is not a normal democracy. It
has been effectively a single-party State
since independence in 1957, because the
great majority of ethnic Malays vote for
UMNO and its allies in order to retain
their special privileges in the country.
Malays, who are almost all Muslims,
were the original population in most
of the country and still account for
60% of its people. However, large-scale
immigration by Chinese and Indians
in the 19th century shifted the balance:
Chinese Malaysians now account for
about a quarter of the population, and
people of Indian descent for about one-
Moreover, it is the Chinese who
dominate the country economically, a fact
that led to the bloody race riots of 1969.
Since then, Malays have enjoyed cheaper
housing, priority in government jobs and
business licenses, and in practice (though
no longer in theory) better access to
university courses, in order to help them
catch up economically with the Chinese
and Indian populations.
The policy has had some success: average
household incomes have converged, with
Malay families going from about 40% of
Chinese family earnings in 1970 to about
70% in 2009. Most Malays nevertheless
feel this institutionalised favouritism
is still necessary, and vote UMNO to
protect it — while a majority of Chinese
and Indian Malaysians undoubtedly feel
that half a century of extra privileges for
Malays is enough.
That is why the great majority of
protesters at last weekend’s demonstration
in Kuala Lumpur were ethnically Chinese
or Indian. Najib’s financial misdeeds
provided a justification for the protest, and
even many Malays want to see the back of
Najib, but the Malays stayed away because
they detect a deeper agenda in the protest
Matters are further complicated by the
fact that all Malays are Muslims whereas
practically nobody else is. Mahathir
was exploiting the demo in order to
further his campaign to unseat Najib
in an internal conflict within UMNO,
but he certainly does not want to end
the Malay-Muslim domination of the
country ’s politics or dismantle Malay
“ What is 20,000 (demonstrators)? We
can gather hundreds of thousands,” Najib
said after the demonstration. “ The rest
of the Malaysian population is with the
Or at least most Malays are, especially in
rural areas, and that is probably enough for
him to ride out this crisis unless Malaysia’s
economic situation worsens.
The Malaysian economy has slowed
down dramatically since Chinese demand
for imports and the price of oil both began
to collapse. Malaysia’s currency, the ringgit,
is in free-fall. If it gets bad enough, Najib
will have to go.
Whatever the injustices involved, it ’s
probably better for everybody that the
ethnic can of worms stays firmly closed
for a while yet, so UMNO should be
thinking hard about a successor who will
be acceptable to everybody.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
Malaysia’s Najib in trouble
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak waves a Malaysian national flag during
National Day celebrations in Kuala Lumpur.
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