Dr Michael Bassett

Dr Michael Bassett

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NICKY HAGER YET AGAIN.... 14 August 2014

Each election Nicky Hager produces a dirty trick in the hope of unsettling politicians and parties to the right of him, which, is just about everyone. In 2002 during the election campaign he incurred Helen Clark's wrath with a whole lot of bilge about GE modified corn, alleging the government had OKed it. Clark labeled him "a little creep". During the 2005 campaign he started a crusade against the SIS who he claimed were bugging the Maori Party. The next year he either stole, or received a stolen selection of, Don Brash's emails when he was leader of the National Party. Hager wove together an elaborate plot, accusing all sorts of people of things that just weren't true. He set out to destroy innocent people, put his opponents on trial with half-baked evidence, and found them guilty. It is the sort of activity that Stalin and his cronies undertook between the 1930s and 1950s.

Now he's at it again during this election campaign. He first threw up a smokescreen, leading people who were interested in his weird musings that he was writing about Edward Snowden and his revelations about the international security agencies. Now he has rushed out a book entitled "Dirty Politics" on the eve of another election, purporting to have discovered that a well-known blogger had been fed stuff from the National Prime Minister's Office, and that the blogger sometimes received calls from the PM.

Well, I'll be damned! What does he think parties do in the lead up to elections? They try to ensure that their message gets out to whoever can give it publicity. Helen Clark's government encouraged the Labour Party Research Bureau with assistance from several of her ministers to revive the old Labour paper "The Standard". It peddled propaganda mixed with falsehoods in the run-up to the 2008 election. As far back as the 1970s, I know for sure that Helen Clark used to ring talkback shows and speak through a sock to disguise her too easily identifiable voice. Her minister Ruth Dyson was caught red-handed in 2007 urging Labour Party functionaries in Christchurch to write to the editor of the Press to have me dropped as a columnist. Over the last few weeks you only have to read letters to newspapers to see the names of the remaining few Labour loyalists under letters that have been stirred from on high. It's what parties have done from time immemorial.

One thing stands out. The egregious Nicky Hager has quite a few left-wing journalists who are happy to peddle his stuff, although tonight on TV3 his fellow anti-Waihopai protester of yesteryear, John Campbell, seemed less certain about Hager's new book than he has been about earlier ones. But you can be certain that a host of other left-leaning journalists will find column inches to devote to Hager's nonsense. None is likely to report Hager's track record of dirty dealings, or his record of using stolen goods to make money. He knew when he received some of Brash's emails that they were stolen. He admits knowing that Cameron Slater's emails were stolen. And it's clear that once more he expects to receive book royalties from "Dirty Politics", just as he did from his earlier tissue of falsehoods, "The Hollow Men".

How does such a man now have the gall to complain about "unprecedentedly dirty politics" when he himself is a dealer in stolen goods? He seems to me to be dirtier than anyone he describes.