This site is an archived version of Indymedia prior to 5th November 2012. The current site is at

ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system


As ANZAC Day 2008 approaches, it is worth considering the role the corporate media plays in maintaining public support for New Zealand's contribution to the NATO-led occupation of Afghanistan, which is over six years old. As the New Zealand Herald calls for the public to send Anzac messages to overseas troops, it's worth noting, as the following article does, how closely New Zealand's corporate media conforms to a propaganda model.

A Peace Action Wellington member has a High Court appeal on Tuesday, 29 April, for burning the NZ flag on ANZAC day last year. She was convicted of 'offensive behavior' and was fined $500 plus court costs of $130. This is in addition to the 6 hours in the cells on the day of the arrest for a charge that does not carry any term of imprisonment. A second activist was also convicted of obstruction and resisting arrest.

There is also a new web site 'Lest we forget: remembering peacemakers on ANZAC Day' at which provides information and resources marking the honourable actions of those individuals who believe war is wrong, and who have risked physical harm, their freedom and their reputations, to bring their message to others that war is never right.

ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system

The ongoing North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)-led military occupation of Afghanistan that followed the United States (US) led bombing and invasion, in the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. on September 11 2001, now receives minimal media coverage in the New Zealand media, despite our ongoing commitment to the occupation, through the continual deployment of 120 soldiers in a “Provincial Reconstruction Team” based in the Bamiyan province in central Afghanistan. As well as these soldiers there are undisclosed deployments of Special Air Service (SAS) soldiers used in covert special operations. An examination of the media coverage of our state’s involvement in what is now a deeply unpopular, oppressive and violent occupation is important in determining the nature of the media in our society. Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky in their 1988 book Manufacturing Consent put forward the hypothesis that the media in capitalist societies conform to a “propaganda model”, and they demonstrate the effects of this on media coverage of current events. This article will introduce readers to the operation of Herman and Chomsky’s propaganda model with reference to New Zealand and global media coverage of the conflict in Afghanistan and will explain how and why New Zealand media’s coverage of the occupation of Afghanistan conforms to a ‘propaganda model’, and how it works to “filter out the news fit to print, marginalize dissent, and allow the government and dominant private interests to get their messages across to the public” (2002, 2).

The first filter that Chomsky and Herman (2002, 3) identify in the propaganda model is mass media size, ownership and profit orientation. The fact that 87.2% of New Zealand’s daily press circulation is owned and controlled by two very large, foreign owned, multinational corporations (Rosenberg, 2007) must bear some relevance on how New Zealand print media covers the conflict in Afghanistan. Chomsky and Herman predicted that because the main sources, “are controlled by very wealthy people or by managers who are subject to sharp constraints by owners and other market-profit-oriented forces; and they are closely interlocked, and have important common interests, with other major corporations, banks, and government” the media should be expected to toe the elite line (2002, 14). The evidence would seem to confirm this prediction. The New Zealand Herald Assistant Editor and business journalist, Fran O’Sullivan, has close links with New Zealand’s business community and is one of the founder directors of the NZ US Council, a lobby group “funded by business and the Government, and committed to fostering and developing a strong and mutually beneficial relationship between New Zealand and the United States” (NZ US Council). In dozens of columns since September 2001, O’Sullivan has professed her support for the occupation of Afghanistan and New Zealand support for the United States led Operation Enduring Freedom. In a column (May 2006) supporting the use of New Zealand made components being used in United States cruise missile she writes, “They save soldiers' lives as well, including potentially those of New Zealand's SAS in Afghanistan.” In another article (March 2002) she describes the occupation as “bolstering the cause of freedom”. O’Sullivan also makes clear the benefits of New Zealand aligning itself with US foreign policy, “Clark's …readiness to commit to the war on terror, at least as far as the Afghanistan campaign [is]… A new platform from which to re-establish a mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries” (April 2002).

The second filter of the propaganda model, the advertising licence to do business, predicts that media competing for advertising revenue will avoid content “with serious complexities and disturbing controversies that interfere with the buying mood” and instead will favour content “that will lightly entertain” (Herman & Chomsky, 2002, 17). Bill Rosenberg in his study of the New Zealand media (2007) gives a 2006 quote from Fairfax New Zealand chief executive Joan Withers describing Fairfax, (“probably the largest publisher of New Zealand’s newspapers, magazines and sporting publications”), as being geared towards “advertising and information delivery” and finding new ways to “monetise” its content.” Monetisation of content represents the gradual colonisation of the entire media product by advertisements. The disturbing trend that Withers describes turns our media from being a condition of open democracy and a tool for informed citizenship into an extension of consumer capitalism. In another example of the gearing of media content towards advertising revenue, APN News and Media sacked the editor of New Zealand’s only left-wing current affairs magazine, the Listener, and replaced him with an editor who revitalised circulation figures, by turning the magazine into an entertainment and lifestyle magazine. Long time Listener staff writer Gordon Campbell had been critical (2003) of New Zealand’s troop deployment to Afghanistan describing the warlords that New Zealand supports as “directly undermin[ing] the political, financial and moral authority of the Karzai government that the New Zealand forces are being sent to assist.” To suit the change in content he was also fired in the move towards what Rosenberg (2007) calls “an increasingly bland lifestyle magazine”. The operation of the second filter on New Zealand’s media can clearly be seen to be squeezing out the space for critical perspectives in the media. This filtering effect can only intensify as under pressure to monetise content, and televisions drive to entertain viewers and maintain easily distracted audience levels “media [will] concentrate on war news as drama and entertainment, the goodies against the badies” (Tehranian, 2004, 237).

Reliance on government and corporate information sources makes up the third filter of the Model, as “the large bureaucracies of the powerful subsidize the mass media, and gain special access by their contribution to reducing the media's costs of acquiring the raw materials of, and producing, news” (Chomsky & Herman, 2002, 22). In New Zealand according to the Press Council (cited Rosenberg, 2007), “newspapers are not, on the whole, able to maintain their own sources of reporting major international issues.” As a result local coverage of international issues such as of Afghanistan rely heavily on US dominated international sources, or are based heavily on the only local source of information on the occupation, the New Zealand Defence Force. Out of the last twenty-five news stories presented on Radio New Zealand National covering the conflict in Afghanistan and spanning from the 14th of January 2008 to the 1st of February 2008; three of the stories relied on information from US officials, three stories relied on US government, two on the Afghan government, four on the Australian government, seven on the New Zealand Defence Force, and one on a non-governmental organisation that provides security to aid workers in Afghanistan. None carried the perspective or an interview with an ordinary Afghani. As Radio New Zealand National had in 2006 a cumulative audience of 474,700, the second largest audience share (Radio NZ), this gives a general overview of the radio coverage of the conflict in Afghanistan that New Zealanders are exposed to.

Flak is the fourth filter identified by Chomsky and Herman. Flak producers are powerful groups in society who are involved in “regularly assailing, threatening, and "correcting" the media, trying to contain any deviations from the established line” (2002, 28). The term flak has taken on new meanings in the context of the conflict of Afghanistan as media outlets that refuse to bend to US military propaganda are routinely attacked by the United States military. In an article by Herman reviewing the propaganda model (2005) he pointed to the case in Afghanistan where “a soldier even threatened to shoot Doug Struck, a Washington Post reporter who was trying to visit a just-bombed site in Afghanistan. The Pentagon didn't want anybody looking at the results of those bombings.” The situation is worse when the US military’s harassment of Arabic television network Al Jazeera is considered. As Herman (2002) describes the flak in the early stages of the invasion of Afghanistan, “There has also been a threat that the Arab dissident station Al Jazeera, with an office in Kabul, might continue to show pictures of dead and injured Afghan civilians, and that an independent commercial satellite news service might take pictures of bombed civilian sites that would best be kept under wraps. The Pentagon handled these problems efficiently. Al Jazeera's office in Kabul was bombed and destroyed.” Just as disturbingly the Afghani government in 2007 distributed “press guidelines” that stated that “no media could run information about suicide attacks of the Taliban in their news headlines, nor could they criticize the US-led coalition, and no one could air and publish news that would decrease people's morale and spirit” (Warasta, 2008).

Chomsky and Herman, writing during the Cold War described the final filter as the “ideology of anticommunism” (2002, 29). Described as a “control mechanism”, anticommunism as the dominant discourse in the media meant “issues tend to be framed in terms of a dichotomized world of Communist and anti-Communist powers, with gains and losses allocated to contesting sides, and rooting for “our side” considered an entirely legitimate news practice” (2002, 30-31). With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the demise of socialist movements in the developing world, the United States and its allies have subtly reframed the world into equally dichotomising spheres of power between the West struggling for freedom and democracy and the “terrorists” and “fundamentalists” who take many forms throughout the world and apparently hate freedom and democracy. Antiterrorism as an ideology is the primary control mechanism of the new war on terror. It silences dissent and ensures that people “conform to one line of thinking about a military operation, or in this case, a war on terrorism” (Snow, 2003, 21). Nancy Snow’s (2003, 24) account of how the only representative in the US Congress to refuse to “issue a blank check to the administration to carry out the war on terrorism” after September 11, resulted in a talk-show host labeling her a “traitor”, is an indication of how this new control mechanism works. Disturbingly, at work in media coverage of Afghanistan is a suspension of demand for evidence of terrorist abuses in the same way that anticommunism meant “demand for serious evidence in support of claims of communist abuses is suspended” (Herman & Chomsky, 2002, 30). A New Zealand Herald editorial in January 2008 calling for continued commitment to the occupation of Afghanistan described foreign troops leaving as being “a triumph for Muslim fundamentalism”. An oppositional voice, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, released a statement in December 2007, unreported in the New Zealand media, called the US-led forces as having “empowered and equipped the most traitorous, anti-democratic, misogynist and corrupt fundamentalist gangs in Afghanistan”. Antiterrorism, therefore operates to filter out all criticisms of the occupation, especially by Afghanis themselves.

The strength of the propaganda model is that it anticipates how the mass media will portray the abuses of enemy and friendly states. Chomsky and Herman in Manufacturing Consent rigorously set out a number of experiments that test their hypothesis that “A propaganda system will consistently portray people abused in enemy states as worthy victims, whereas those treated with equal or greater severity by its own government or clients will be unworthy” (2002, 37). When applying the propaganda model to the last three months of New Zealand Herald coverage of the occupation of Afghanistan, we can see that Afghani victims of the war receive scant coverage compared to that of soldiers in the NATO-led mission. Eight stories in the last three months referred to New Zealand or Australian military casualties, one to Afghan army casualties and none to Afghan civilian casualties. This coverage then glosses over the reality that of the 1, 200 civilian deaths in Afghanistan over the last year more than half have been killed by the NATO-led force (Kroeger, 2007).

With the continuing support of the New Zealand Defence Force for the neo-colonial occupations in Afghanistan, the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste and the corporate media’s continuing regurgitation and uncritical acceptance that New Zealand is playing a progressive role, the role of alternative media remains to keep people informed of the hidden realities of the “war on terror”. As ANZAC Day 2008 approaches and the media echoes the insidious calls by the New Zealand Defence Force for, “New Zealanders to show their support for our current troops” it’s worth remembering that the corporate media is a critical tool in ensuring that the US-led and New Zealand supported global system of colonialism and imperialism encounters no criticism or dissent at home.


Campbell, Gordon. 2003. Empire games. Listener, September 13-19, 18-23.

Herman, Edward, S. 2005. "They kill reporters, don't they?” Z Magazine 18 (1) Available from [01/02/08]

Herman, Edward, S. 2002. “Tragic Errors” in U.S. Military Policy. Z Magazine 15 (8) Available from [01/02/08]

Herman, Ed. and Noam Chomsky. 2002. Manufacturing Consent. New York: Pantheron Books.

Kroeger, Alix. 2007. Afghan civilian deaths alarm UN. BBC, 20th November. Available from [01/02/08]

Munshi, Shoma. 2004. US TV and the continuing ‘War on Terror’. In Media War and Terrorism; Responses from the Middle East and Asia, eds. Peter van der Veer and Shoma Munshi. New York & London: Routledge.

Murphy, Tim. 2008. Stand firm against the Taleban. New Zealand Herald 17th January.

NZ US Council. About the New Zealand United States Council, Available from [01/02/08]

O'Sullivan, Fran. 2006. Smart time for Rakon to tell the full story. New Zealand Herald, 31st May.

O'Sullivan, Fran. 2002. War tradeoff tipped for talks. New Zealand Herald, 11th March.

O’Sullivan, Fran. 2002. Free trade and naval-gazing. New Zealand Herald, 1st April.

Radio NZ. Radio New Zealand Audiences. Available from [01/02/08]

Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. The US and Her Fundamentalist Stooges are the Main Human Rights Violators in Afghanistan. Available from: [01/02/08]

Rosenberg, Bill. News media ownership in New Zealand, Available from [01/02/08]

Snow, Nancy. 2003. Information War; American Propaganda, Free Speech and Opinion Control since 9/11. New York: Seven Stories Press.

Tehranian, Majid. 2004. War, Media, and Propaganda: An Epilogue. In War, Media, and Propaganda; A Global Perspective, eds. Yahya R. Kamalipour and Nancy Snow. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.

Warasta, Waheed. 2008. Freedom of Expression in Afghanistan. The Dominion, 29th January. Available from [01/02/08]


Re: ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system

Choice. Nice to see this up today.

Re: ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system

good article! all the best for the appeal in the High Court

Re: ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system

So Afghanistan is a mess- whats the solution?

Re: ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system

stealing their oil... sounds like a plan.

maybe a war in iran?

iraq strategy is a winner aii?

Re: ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system

Get the western troops out, support progressive Afghan civil society organisations like RAWA.
That would be a good start.

as Rawa says Instead of defeating Al-Qaeda, Taliban and Gulbuddini terrorists and disarming the Northern Alliance, the foreign troops are creating confusion among the people of the world. We believe that if these troops leave Afghanistan, our people will not feel any kind of vacuum but rather will become more free and come out of their current puzzlement and doubts. In such a situation, they will face the Taliban and Northern Alliance without their “national” mask, and rise to fight with these terrorist enemies. Neither the US nor any other power wants to release Afghan people from the fetters of the fundamentalists. Afghanistan’s freedom can be achieved by Afghan people themselves.

Re: ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system

From those convictions (I thought they got off totally) you can assume burning the NZ flag (your own one please) is a legal activity. Burning the NZ flag was written up as a crime and the lack of a conviction means it is a non-enforceable law.

And don't resist arrest!

Re: ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system

This is a State wake for my family and yours who died serving over seas.

They thought they were doing the best for all and came back to damn the war and all its cruelty.

They're not waving flags of patriotism, they're remebering their fallen friends and family.

I agree the victims of war, women and children (some of whom may have even fought themselves) are worthy of rememberance. And that include the raped.
As I've noted before the Canterbury unit in WWII had at least one rapist and was executed by my Grandfather. Not that he gave the orders, he was in his platoon. He was ordered to shoot the convicted rapist, which he did.

If anyone has a record of crimes & executions of NZ Troops at war it would be bloody interesting to see.

Re: ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system

Remeber Indonesia just sponsored the assination of East Timors Prez! $A900K
They want us there!

Re: ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system

There is a major inconsistency in this piece.

Gordon Campbell says NZ is supporting Warlords & RAWA are saying the Govt are Warlords.

"Long time Listener staff writer Gordon Campbell had been critical (2003) of New Zealand’s troop deployment to Afghanistan describing the warlords that New Zealand supports as “directly undermin[ing] the political, financial and moral authority of the Karzai government that the New Zealand forces are being sent to assist.”

From the Rawa link - Warlordism is Winning... Alekozai: In parliament, 65 percent [of the lawmakers] are warlords. There is no question. A few of them are ordinary Afghans or politicians.

So is Gordon wrong? By supporting a Warlord are we not supporting the Govt?

Or is it that the only structure to maintain a sense of peace are the exsiting ones and that means supporting the existing structure. After chaos and war for so many decades that means supporting warlords.

The criminal act of the Iraq invasion was followed by the chaos causing act of disbanding the police and military. Had they kept them in place Iraq would be a safer place (& yes had they not invaded...). But we must use the existing power structures to secure peace in the area.

Our area has one cop who has a bicycle to get around his vast area. Short answer, they have no security or law and little hope of a domestic remedy to it.

Spouting on from Chomsky is all good and the fundementals on the press coverage I'm sure are right.

Our engineers passed on an elemental irrigation tool thats been around for centuries but missed these guys.

I think its worth noting NZ forces have been lead by a Muslim NZ Major & we send women on partol with weapons which is quite the culture shock over there.

Re: ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system

I'm all for remembering the dead and having a wake for the people who served in the armed forces.
Just ban the politicians/military and patriotism from the day.
A post above (from a NZer serving overseas in the military) refers to the criminal invasion of Iraq. That is absolutely right and why the fuck is our military involved in it at all. why is NZ sending troops to serve on the same side as the USA which has invaded Iraq and Afhanistan. If our military must serve overseas, at least change sides and fight the agressors and invaders


Re: ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system

NZ Govt says it is not involved in the invasion of Iraq but it has more troops in the Persian Gulf than it does in Afghanistan.


All New Zealand Against Colonisation
Solidarity to my flag burning sister. Kia Kaha

Re: ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system

I left the Army 2 years ago and never served in Afghanistan, but this info is freely avalible and reported in either Defense Quarterly or the Army News. Not withstanding I agree with the premis put forward about media coverage. After 9/11 everyone was passing around copies of Chomsky/Macavalli - trying to get a grip on the situation as everyone else was. W is the Prince.

Re: ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system

I wouldn't die for a flag.

I will die for a life ... but don't we all?

Or maybe not as many as should :-)

I might wear a black poppy, for all the fighters who continue to die fighting fascism. I might also wear white roses, for those who spoke out against fascist militarism. I will decide ... and to better decide, I will train with the military.

Because although the Nazis lost, the fascists won.

Maybe history is a matter of progress, and maybe its one damn thing after another ...

But I think people fight more for (and from) the past than the future.

And this is necessary, because although many evils have been defeated in the past, many have yet to be defeated in the future.

Trite but true.

If you don't fight evil, you may as well not be alive.

All people disagree on is the nature of evil.

How philosophical!! Or ethical? Or perhaps political?

There clearly needs to be training for people who want to fight evil.

This is a problem when our government is more accountable to 'evil as usual' than to promoting progress. Though its the nature of governments to value stability over sustainability. Which focuses attention on the concept of progress as both instability as well as being a directed and predestined goal.

Some might call it terror. Its certainly an existential challenge. On the other hand (IMO), if life wasn't so weird it wouldn't be worth living.

How should we evaluate such risks? Should we value the risks of social upheaval over the normal business of exploitation? How can 'normal' people evaluate their own normality?

This to me is why both the concept of stable normality and the concept of radical change are both matters of faith, and also why anarchism to me is a matter of spirit, though in the more doctrinaire forms appearing as a matter of religion .. or the secular political religions.

How then can anyone understand ANZAC day?

it can't be nationhood because Roger Douglas , Lange and cronies, and our corporate elite combined to undercut and poison the concept of a nation during the 1984 to 1987 period.

They laid the foundations for the transfer of our cultural and legal identity from a potentially autonomous nationhood of Maori and tau iwi to a branch office of Corpse International Inc.

We were heading towards nationhood, trying with some success to acknowledge the viciousnes in our heritage of colonialism, when we were sidestruck by an even more vicious, fast moving form of colonialism. This latest form of colonialism is based on the commodification of a real economy into a virtual gambling den, where financial elites and ideologies determine the lives and deaths not only of humans, but of whole ecolgies.

Such is evil. So what price or cost should be put on evil? That question is not raised in our establishment forums. Instead we are (not) asked to consider our involvement in pacifying Afghanistan.

Nothing in the occupation of Afghanistan justifies the evils which we have experienced in NZ/Aotearoa and now seemingly are happy to export. Nor do we in NZ/A seem willing to look at things the other way around, and consider whether a socialist/anarchist expeditionary force should occupy these islands, execute Roger Douglas, and bring a modicum of sustainability to these shakey isles.

I think Neil Roberts was right in saying: "We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity." Neil was re-presenting a statement from the introduction to a book, 'The Open Veins of Latin America', that detailed the horror of the predatory western european occupation and exploitation of what became Latin Americas.

Today, after continual capitalist attempts to imnpose a fascist hegemony over these nations via the US, new hope is dawning. I wish Neil could witness these events ... these events brought into being through the blood of millions and into which ocean Neil also contibuted from afar. As might we all, bearing in mind the sacrifices we remember on ANZAC day, and those yet to come.

Steve L

Re: ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system

Steve your starting your arguement on misplaced assumptions.

Who has ever asked anyone to die for their flag?

Atta Turk told his men to die for their nation. Nationalism was all the rage back then.

The notion of defending the flag is a pretty weak one. Possibly rooted in field battles of old when the flag would signal to the field forces to regroup, retreat, or advance. Beyond that it has no realivance to warfare.

And how can it be fair to rant on about Douglas & Lange in some vague connection to ANZAC Day when they are responsible for our Anti-Nuke status and exit from ANZUS.

Pacifying Afghanistan is the aim and the Afghanis I've spoken to in NZ are happy about it.

Re: ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system

Well, my comment about flags, and dying for them, is slightly rhetorical. Nobody ever asked me straight out to die for a flag.
But when I was in the Territorials I was certainly expected to die for my uniform, along with (a) shooting anyone in the 'wrong' uniform and saluting anyone in a superior uniform. Very similar social mechanism. Just take the uniform, hang it from a stick, and theres the flag. So I think that in the Territorials there was a clear understanding that soldiers should die for the flag, and that this understanding has been shared by many soldiers and assumed by mnay non-combatants. The flag is a well-known symbol of patriotism and nationhood for which patriots have been expected to die.

It is not an assumption.

Actual flags are not currently used much in war, but symbolic insignia certainly are. But flags are still important, and used, in rituals of patriotism and other types of social cohesion. If you think they're not important in their usage, just try burning a NZ one in public!

Douglas and Lange made autocratic decisions that undermined the NZ project of nationhood. They betrayed NZ. They did what the people remembered as 'enemies' from WWI and WWII tried to do. It seems appropriate to remember this on ANZAC day.

Douglas and Lange were not responsible for NZ's anti-nuke stance which took us out of ANZS. The peace movement provided the crucial policy direction and grass roots mass organisation in every town and neighbourhood group across the country. This development of an anti-nuclear policy was resisted by Lange during the buildup. But once it was established he then took advantage of it. However, I dont know anything about Douglas' role in these developments. At the time he was too busy betraying his country, I think.

Perhaps you should also talk to some other Afghan people? After all, if all in Afghanistan wanted to be pacified, why the need to try to occupy the place? Or are you proposing that if all Afghan people could come and live in NZ there wouln't be a war there? There are clearly major differences amongst people in Afghanistan, as well as between the people who live there and the occupying forces. Yet you report that all the Afghan people you have talked to in NZ agree that Afghanistan needs to be 'pacified'. There seems to be a mismatch between this report and the reality in Afghanistan.

Steve L

Re: ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system

Steve your leaders in the Territorials obviously had their heads up their arses.
The flag holds a pretty low standing as many I served with wore on beanies, T-shirts, or flew openly the Maori soverignty flag.
And you don't want to w*nk on about empire when the guy holding the machine gun has the nick name "Tuhoe Trooper".
As such many guys identify with the under dog and recognise whats happen and truely believe they are doing good.

Re: ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system

Really happy to hear that:

"many I served with wore on beanies, T-shirts, or flew openly the Maori soverignty flag."

That wasnt around when I did my military stuff back then. But things can get better, sure.

I've no idea what the officers during my time in the Territorials thought. I had no contact with them. I didn't actually want any contact with them. I wanted to learn how to fire a howitzer and I wanted to learn how the system of army fellowship worked.

I was fast and accurate with howitzers, and I got a basic idea of how some army stuff worked. And I was pretty impressed. I don't slag off the NZ army, but I do think it serves dishonorable masters.

"As such many guys identify with the under dog and recognise whats happen and truely believe they are doing good."

Well, some of the people I trained with certainly were there for similar reasons to me. There were anti-apartheid activists. There were Maori activists. Even the people who were bastards could be called or told to shut it or isolated.

I agree that most people in the army are trying to do good, and are good. Much of what I'd term a 'sense of honour' has followed my engagement with the army. I do not disparage the army and its honourable fellowship. What I disagree with is what our army is used for.

I strongly criticise the deployment of our army in the projects of imperialism, such as Afghanistan. These deployments seem more a mercenary activity than any act of legitimate community defense.

I won't die for any flag, and I won't live for a lie. Yet I will risk my life for my community and also for honour. But where does honour belong?

I hope the Tuhoe troopers are training Tuhoe people. As it should be.

Steve L

Re: ANZAC Day: Occupation Afghanistan and the propaganda system

Steve we possibly served along side each other for a bit.

The Howitzer remained the Southern gun untill it was pulled from us & placed out side your local RSA.

The Maori Soverignty is visible among many RF and infantry units I served with later on.

Fostering Maori pride and identity has awoken awareness.

If Ruatoki was repeated, or a long term occpation was set up, there are some rather concerned military leaders. Loyaties have been tested.