Media, ‘Disinformation Experts’ Caught Spreading Lie to Ban Magazine in New Zealand
21st Century Wire
Listen to “Episode #450 – ‘Banned in New Zealand'” on Spreaker.
No sooner did the new year ring in, did the corporate state’s cancel culture machine kick into high gear, finding a fresh new target.
Not satisfied with regulating speech on the web, the establishment in New Zealand has set its sights on canceling print publications as well, this time for the alleged crime of spreading ‘dangerous conspiracies.’ The gears of censorship have a problem though. As tired epithets like ‘conspiracy’ continue to lose their potency, the cancelation machine is now having to resort to openly lying about content they seek to ban.
In their bid to protect the public from “harmful” speech, leading the charge was mainstream media outlet Stuff.co.nz, who dutifully alerted the public on January 3rd that they might be exposed to some dangerous text found in the periodical section of one of the country’s leading retail chains.
In his article,”Whitcoulls stocks magazine peddling mosque terror attack conspiracy,” senior reporter, Geraden Cann, explained how during a routine counter-disinformation reconnaissance mission to a local newsagent, either himself or a colleague (it’s not clear which), spied the offending publication: the latest issue of New Dawn Magazine, now targeted for removal from the store’s shelves.
According to Stuff, the article in question is a short piece located in the back of the magazine on page 70, entitled, “The Strange Story of Brenton Tarrant,” by writer T.J. Coles (see PDF of full article below), which Cann claims is “peddling a number of anti-vax conspiracies and insinuating the Christchurch mosque terror attack was a false flag operation.” The key word here is insinuating, which, according to Stuff, meets their fluid criteria for a nationwide ban.
Interestingly, the T.J. Coles article is not listed on the cover of the issue, so it’s possible what may have first triggered Stuff was the cover – an image poking fun at masks and jabs, and the well-worn “Trust The Science” mantra; or, maybe the mention of an interview with antipodean bête noire, Australian celebrity chef and “antivaxxer” and “conspiracy theorist,” Pete Evans (also targeted for cancelation by both the Australian and New Zealand media). It’s difficult to say, but the answer probably depends on which talking point garners more political outrage.
Stuff’s intrepid reporter didn’t stop there, and proceeded to travel around the city to check if any other stores had dared to stock the controversial publication. Cann was appalled to discover that, “Lambton Quay store in Wellington had copies of two issues of New Dawn magazine for sale this week. It was also spotted in another Wellington store, Johnsonville, and at New Lynn in West Auckland.”
It’s now clear that Cann’s article was the catalyst for initiating a much wider and highly organised public mobbing campaign – which was meant to target all bookstores and newsagents in New Zealand, beginning with one of the nation’s largest such retailer, Whitcoulls. This was then followed by the usual reflexive activist swarming and ‘brigading‘ on social media, first by disseminating Stuff’s hit-piece, followed by a wave of outrage from various activist accounts in New Zealand. Note the numerous replies in the Twitter thread (below), including vitriol specifically targeting Whitcoulls’ corporate PR department.
Once the Whitcoulls cancelation campaign was fully under way, activists expanded their brigading by targeting other print retailers, including another leading national chain Paper Plus, pressuring them to remove New Dawn from their stores (see tweet below).
Less than a day later on January 4th, Stuff then began taking a victory lap in a follow-up piece, again by Geraden Cann, informing the world that the “Magazine peddling mosque attack conspiracy disappears from Whitcoulls shelves,” clearly indicating they, along with their online brigade, had indeed put sufficient pressure on the bookstore chain, and as Twitter threads clearly show, berating corporate officials and branch managers for not moving fast enough to cancel New Dawn.
To complete the public mobbing circle, Stuff seems to have drafted the help of Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand and its spokesperson Abdur Razzaq who, after likely not having read the magazine, derided New Dawn, saying that it “had no meaningful information, except to confuse and raise conspiracies.”
Razzaq then went on to assure Stuff’s readership that cancelation was imminent, stating, “We have sent communications to Whitcoulls on this matter and expect them to play their part in promoting social good as an iconic New Zealand company.”
Feigning forbearance, Stuff’s Geraden Cann seemed content that even though Whitcoulls had not responded to his request for comment, that the bookstore still did ‘the right thing’ by removing all copies of the magazine:
“the magazines had in fact been removed from the shelves a Stuff reporter had visited Lambton Quay and Cuba St stores in Wellington last Tuesday…. A staff member in Johnsonville said: “That magazine was stocked by us in the past, it is no longer stocked by us and we have no further comment on that.”
Mission accomplished. A successful modern day book burning.
The Big Lie
Unfortunately, the damage was not limited to celebratory book burning. Stuff felt the need to employ some extremely underhanded tactics to ensure their conquest was successful. Outlets engaging in defamation is not uncommon in mainstream media, especially where politics are concerned, and Stuff is no exception.
In order to destroy the reputation of New Dawn Magazine, an incredible lie was conjured up.
The level of speed and coordination in this operation is nothing short of breathtaking.
Initially, Stuff‘s Geraden Cann, along with academic Kate Hannah from the Disinformation Project, pushed out the fanciful claim that the magazine’s contents could cause readers to fall foul of the law in New Zealand:
“Kate Hannah, director of The Disinformation Project, a research group monitoring Covid-19 disinformation, said some of the commentary in New Dawn was borderline in legality.”
She said some of the commentary in New Dawn was borderline in legality, because it described the content of livestreamed video of the Christchurch shootings, as well where it had been published, which could encourage people to seek it out.
Mainstream Kiwi outlets like Bay of Plenty Times and News Talk ZB then ran with the Stuff’s fabrication, “Magazine sold in Whitcoulls could get readers in legal trouble,” and claimed that the article contained details about where to view the video of the mass shooting:
“A claim an article in a conspiracy magazine sold in Whitcoulls could cause readers to run afoul of the law. The book chain is stocking a copy of New Dawn, a magazine with anti-vax conspiracies and an article insinuating that the Christchurch Mosque attack was a false flag operation. A claim an article in a conspiracy magazine sold in Whitcoulls could cause readers to run afoul of the law. The book chain is stocking a copy of New Dawn, a magazine with anti-vax conspiracies and an article insinuating that the Christchurch Mosque attack was a false flag operation. Disinformation Project Director Kate Hannah says that while some of the articles will be harmless, the one about the mosque attack details where to find the banned livestream of the attack. She says a naive reader may choose to look it up, which would be illegal.”
This last point was in fact a lie, as no such details appear in the article.
Indeed, the New Zealand government went so far as to deem it illegal to watch or possess the livestream video of the shooting, and internet service providers even blocked access to websites showing the video.
This begs the question: did Cann or Hannah actually read the article? If they had, then they should have concluded that, “The Strange Story of Brenton Tarrant,” by T.J. Coles (PDF below) does not contain any details about where to find the location of the livestream of the 2019 Christchurch Mosque attack. The article mentions how at the time of the shooting video links were posted on forums like 8chan, but for Stuff or Kate Hannah to claim this is ‘illegal’ is laughable, not least of all because the entire global mainstream media have all reported how those links were posted on 8Chan and the like – a well-known fact is already part of the historical record. How any ‘fact-checker’ or qualified journalist would claim that by merely mentioning this fact of history, New Dawn Magazine and its writer T.J. Coles have engaged in some kind of unlawful or dangerous act, is incredible. While it may be ridiculous on their part, it is by no means accidental. Their big lie was intended to inflict maximum damage on the magazine’s brand, and see it banned nationwide, and beyond. As Australian independent journalists Ethan Nash from TOTT News aptly points out, the information in T.J. Coles Christchurch Shooting article in New Dawn is the same information which appears on the Christchurch Shooting’s official Wikipedia page.
If Cann and Hannah’s logic were correct, then millions of Wikipedia readers would be in trouble with the law in New Zealand. Of course they aren’t, but that’s not what this is about. It’s about state-sponsored media and third sector organizations like the Disinformation Project waging targeted campaigns against selected dissident voices whose crime is simply daring to ask questions and challenge the official narrative on any given story or state policy.
Checking the ‘Fact-Checkers’
Another common tactic by Establishment outlets like Stuff is to claim that independent media must be canceled, or at least regulated by state-approved agencies, is because they lack the necessary ‘fact checking’ controls which are somehow necessary for preventing potential “harm” (a completely arbitrary term) emotional or otherwise, at any point in the future. That is the core of their argument. They claim that mainstream media outlets already meet this ethical and professional standard, and have rigorous fact checking in place. But that delusional assumption does not square with reality, and everyone knows it. There are volumes of books and academic studies detailing mainstream media lies and propaganda over the ages. Many wars have been started as a result of their lies. However, after reviewing the article in question, “The Strange Story of Brenton Tarrant,” by T.J. Coles, it’s clear that the article in question does not need any “fact checking” – because all historical references are footnoted, and it merely offers a critical analysis which includes some theory, but does not posit any conclusions. It merely asks a few pertinent questions about the many known anomalies present in this mass shooting event story. The same cannot be said for those pointing the finger at New Dawn, as it’s now clear that Stuff and its senior reporter Geraden Cann did not even bother to ‘fact-check’ their own work as it pertains to this story.
Still, the New Zealand establishment and its frontline infantry at Stuff and the Disinformation Project, seem determined to shut down any basic (and legal) critical discourse on this topic, and feel justified in doing so. This pervasive lack of self-awareness by the mainstream media and academia is not a strong indicator of a healthy democracy. History dictates it’s quite the opposite.
If this is how the state and the media are going to operate, then we have arrived at Fahrenheit 451, the 1953 dystopian novel by American writer Ray Bradbury. It was meant to be a warning, not a handbook.
Forbidden Speech: False Flags
Even more interesting though, is the knee-jerk reaction by the state and its private-public media partners at the mere mention of false flag events. It is a historical fact that many wars and high-profile ‘terror attacks’ have featured the hidden hand of intelligence services, military, and government agencies. Such revelations often come after the fact, showing the use of deception and the misattribution of blame, by way of covert state involvement in order to control and steer what the public would normally perceive as an ‘extremist’ terrorist attack – and always to affect some political or geopolitical outcome.
One of the best examples of was the 1993 World Trade Center bombing which is widely attributed to home-grown Muslim extremists, when in fact it was the FBI who groomed and managed a ‘terror cell’ – one of their many ‘sting’ operations gone awry. Despite the FBI debacle being documented by the New York Times and others, most politicians and mainstream media routinely ignore the facts and stick to the popular “al Qaeda” narrative. In fact, most so-called ‘terror busts’ during the War on Terror era featured paid FBI informants, some of whom were the ringleaders of the radical groups. This uncomfortable truth has been documented by American author Trevor Aaronson in his best-selling book, Terror Factory, The: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism. Certainly, Operation GLADIO falls squarely into this genre of western state-sponsored terrorism. These are but a few examples. Does that mean that the 2019 Christchurch Shooting in New Zealand was also a false flag? No, it does not. That is a question for a special government inquiry, and for investigative journalists to interrogate, and it’s a process which requires questioning the official narrative of any incident or event in history. That is the essence of freedom of speech and the free press. In a truly democratic society, these should be nonnegotiables. In almost every case, revelations of actual false flag events are discovered after the fact, and only then due to the brave testimony of whistleblowers and investigative journalists – and almost never from ruling governments and their state-sponsored narrative gatekeepers. Therefore, journalists, writers, and academics must be allowed to probe these historic incidents in order to discover the truth, including writer T.J. Coles and New Dawn Magazine. This speech must be protected by our society and governments, even if those uncomfortable questions happen to offend someone. It is the legal and constitutional right of writers like T.J. Coles to objectively interrogate historic events, without fear of reprisals by the corporate state. Claims by Stuff, Kate Hannah or the government, that doing so is somehow “harmful” seems more like the mark of a very insecure and thin-skinned establishment that’s increasingly obsessed with narrative management. The visceral reaction by the New Zealand establishment to this New Dawn issue certainly looks as if they are not comfortable with people asking questions, and that maybe, just maybe, they may not be telling the whole story.
It’s understandable how Stuff and Hannah might feel confident in advancing this totalitarian approach to speech control, especially after PM Jacinda Ardern had openly declared at last year’s UN General Assembly that free speech online should be regarded as a “weapons of war,” and therefore regulated by the corporate state to prevent ‘potential harm.’ There’s that word again, harm. For the new authoritarian caste and disinformation mavens, anything goes in the righteous pursuit of harm reduction. Ardern was rightly admonished by critics for her remarks at the UN, but it would be a mistake to think that her connotation merely misunderstood. No, she was firing a salvo on behalf of a globalist technocracy which is authoritarian by nature; antithetical to constitutional rights and civil liberties, and which proven without a shadow of a doubt through the actions and words of its adherents during the ‘global pandemic’ moment. The likes of Stuff, Kate Hannah and the Disinformation Project are merely foot soldiers that globalist technocracy.
One of the world’s leading academics on the subject of state propaganda is British academic Dr. Piers Robinson, who recently reacted to this story on social media. He warned that, “Censorship and de-platforming continues to corrode our public sphere; see recent events with New Dawn Magazine, Unless we stand our ground and defend the critical right freedom of expression, democracy will be eclipsed.”
Who is Kate Hannah? What is the Disinformation Project?
The long-established mainstream media practice of parroting actual misinformation and outright falsehoods is nothing new, and these establishment outlets rarely, if ever, pay a price for regularly spreading untruths on an almost daily basis. Of course, none of these mainstream outlets are ever taken to task by the new legion of fact-checkers and disinformation/misinformation’ experts and agencies.
How about the so-called ‘disinformation/misinformation’ officials? It seems that in her haste to stir-up public outrage intended to get the magazine banned, ‘Disinformation Project‘ director Kate Hannah used her state-approved platform to spread the lie that the New Dawn article contained the details of the location of Tarrant’s livestream video of the mosque attack and could land readers in legal trouble. How could such an accomplished academic make such a fatal error? It’s worth asking: did she actually read the article, or was she simply going off of second and third hand information about the magazine contained in mainstream media reporting and posts on social media?
Failing that, you could just write this off as incompetence on the part of Hannah. If that is indeed the case, then this is really a good example as any of a how inept this new breed of self-styled ‘disinformation’ experts truly are. Still, they receive regular rounds of state funding, and are given a public profile to act as de facto judge, jury and executioner when policing speech and media content, but are reckless when it comes to applying basic journalistic standards themselves and their media partners. At present, no one seems to want to hold them to account.
Regardless, the big lie was amplified by Kate Hannah, which then led to the magazine effectively being pulled from the shelves across New Zealand – shelves which New Dawn Magazine has been on for decades.
Who is Kate Hannah, and is she really qualified to adjudicate free speech and public discourse? One would expect that New Zealand’s top authority for policing speech and ‘disinformation’ would have at least some experience in journalism, broadcasting, or media? Only, it turns out that Hannah, a Research Fellow at the University of Auckland, has no such experience. According to her university bio, she has MA in “19th Century American Literary Culture”, and her principal research area is the “historiography of the history of science, with a focus on the cultures and subcultures of science, gender in science history, and narrative and complexity” and “investigating novel hybrid methodologies for the history of science.” Lots of academic theory and social sciences, but nothing remotely resembling real world or industry experience in the very sector she is in charge of policing (presumably on behalf of the ruling Ardern government).
One of the recent jobs completed by Kate Hannah and the Disinformation Project was to scrape data and use web analytic tools like CrowdTangle to track and identify dissident users online, and then draw-up extensive lists of supposed undesirable accounts on social media. Hannah recently named “The Disinformation Dozen,” in almost mirror fashion to the Biden Administration’s censorship campaign with the same name – a list of social media users marked as a priority for censorship and deplatforming – supposedly for committing the crime of Covid or vaccine ‘misinformation/disinformation.’ Recent revelations from the Twitter Files from the United States show how these similar academic working groups and fact-checking organisations are actively coordinating with Big Tech firms and Government in order to dox, target, and ultimately deny peoples’ right to free speech and access to major social media platforms, namely Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.
As of today, the Disinformation Project (founded in February 2020, fortuitously, just a month before the Covid crisis) does not appear to list their source of funding on their website, or at least easily searchable on their site. So one can only assume it’s being funded through some form of public money or research grant, most likely through from Te Pūnaha Matatini (TPM), a technocracy think tank hosted by the University of Auckland, and funded through the Tertiary Education Commission. TPM describes itself as the county’s “Centre of Research Excellence for complex systems,” with “different disciplines, ways of thought, methods, and crucially, people – to define, and then solve, society’s thorny interconnected problems.” Early on in the Covid hysteria in 2020, TPM was New Zealand’s version of Imperial College, using Neil Ferguson-style computer modeling to erroneously “predict” that 83,500 residents would die without heavy-handed ‘public health’ intervention measures, like severe lockdowns. As with Ferguson, TPM’s doomsday death toll turned out to be pure science fiction. Not surprisingly, they now claim that their recommended lockdown saved all those lives. It’s important to note how governments relied on otherwise credible academic institutions, such as Imperial College and Te Pūnaha Matatini/University of Auckland, to help wage a campaign of fear against the public in order to usher in non-science-based ‘mitigation’ policies like lockdowns, mandatory masks, social distancing, medical apartheid (vaccine passports), as well as Jacinda Ardern’s ludicrous “Zero Covid” policy, when the PM ordered a national lockdown after just one positive PCR ‘case’ appeared on the state’s bio-surveillance radar. For helping to spin-up the fear, TPM was later given a $6 million dollar award by the government.
Stuff – A Private-Public Partnership
It’s important to point out that Stuff.co.nz receives large tranches of funding from the government of New Zealand, as well as tech giants like Google.
Recently, Stuff secured a large tranche of funding, supposedly “to fight misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccination” in partnership with Māori TV and the Pacific Media Network – funded through the Google News Initiative for support from its Covid-19 Vaccine Counter Misinformation Open Fund.
In addition, Stuff raked in at least $2.37 million in a New Zealand government self-described “media bailout.”
Aside from all this, like so many other media outlets, Stuff is probably surviving off of government advertising money for “public information campaigns” in support of Jacinda Ardern’s COVID-19 policies – another way in which governments have been able to control editorial shape of mainstream media outlets during the Covid pseudo pandemic.
With money comes strings, along with promises of future rounds of funding. Considering how closely the state has partnered with Big Pharma and Big Tech during the COVID crisis, the conflicts of interest should be glaringly obvious by now. For any media outlet being subsidized by this sea of public-private partnership cash, it would be impossible to not continually defend the government’s policies and its public health institutions, and in the case of Stuff – attack its critics.
Hence, any government funding for Kate Hannah’s Disinformation Project and state-funded Stuff.co.nz, should be viewed for what it really is: money to quell any public opposition to the government’s pandemic policies by monitoring, attacking and marginalising any skeptics and dissenters on social media, independent media, or ‘rogue’ medical professionals.
Hannah also worked closely with New Zealand state-funded media Stuff.co.nz with an article and video entitled, “Covid-19: ‘Multiple complaints’ over anti-vaccine doctors,” a hit-piece attacking any medical professionals in New Zealand who were asking for informed consent with the experimental mRNA vaccines, or who challenge the Ardern government’s “single source of truth” on Covid-19 and vaccine policies. Hannah and Stuff reserved their most severe attacks for popular New Zealand doctor and broadcaster, Dr.Sam Bailey, and her fellow medical colleagues at NZDSOS, who dared to question the efficacy of government’s Covid measures and for raising concerns about vaccine safety for children.
Finally, Kate Hannah claims that, “People who see and/or consume such content must understand that there are larger and more dark agendas present, particularly the Russian connections, which aim to destabilise liberal democracy.”
Well, of course. It’s those dastardly Russians, again. Hell-bent on undermining our ever so fragile democracy.
This is the definition of gaslighting, and a tragic example of how twisted the establishment’s disinformation strawman has become. They rely on a low-attention span public to take the media’s lies at face value and then parrot them to make those lies go viral, thereby fueling cancelation and censorship. That’s how this machine works.
If there is any dark agenda here, then it has to be the one which Hannah and her media partners at Stuff are working so feverishly to obfuscate: the tens of millions of people worldwide who experienced serious loss, injury or death – as a direct consequence of governments’ pandemic mitigation measures. That includes the countless thousands worldwide who have suffered adverse reactions or deaths following their mRNA injection.
Who is going to hold government, Big Pharma, and mainstream media to account for their role in imposing this debate on societies worldwide? Certainly not government, Pharma, or the mainstream media.
Which leaves us with citizen journalists and the independent media – as liberal democracy’s last line of defense against this Orwellian juggernaut.
And the mainstream media are invited to join us, if they can summon the courage.
Google: Operation Gladio
Below is a copy of “The Strange Story of Brenton Tarrant” by writer T.J. Coles which appeared in the special edition of New Dawn Magazine, Vol 16, No 6, pages 70-71 :
Author Patrick Henningsen is an American writer, accredited journalist, global affairs analyst, co-founder and executive editor of 21st Century Wire, host of the SUNDAY WIRE weekly radio show and the Patrick Henningsen Show on TNT Radio International, as well as co-host of the popular UK Column News TV program. He is also a featured writer at New Dawn Magazine. His work has appeared in a number of international publications and on TV channels globally, and over the last decade he has worked on the ground covering politics and global affairs in North America and Europe, as well as work in conflict zones in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. Patrick has an MA in International Relations from the University of Plymouth in the UK.