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Monday, July 31, 2006

Simon Power Vs. the Internet (or a storm in a mouse pad)

Press Release: New Zealand National Party Corrections must stop inmate’s travelogue
The Corrections Department should stop a prisoner writing a website blog in which he describes life behind bars and criticises the judge who sentenced him, says National’s Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.
He is commenting on a report that a prisoner is using email to write the blog, which is against Corrections policy. He is the same prisoner who was found guilty of sedition following an axe attack on Prime Minister Helen Clark’s electorate office.
“This is ridiculous. This prisoner is being allowed to write what is basically a travelogue of life behind bars.
“It is concerning that Corrections does not seem the least bit interested in stopping him writing whatever he likes.
“What’s to stop him compromising prison security by writing about how things work in there?
“If Corrections doesn’t shut down this type of activity then the next step will be prisoners using mobile phones to take photographs and put them on the web – if it isn’t happening already.
“This sort of carry-on is hardly sending a message to people that prison is a place where you are deprived of many of your liberties.
“Corrections has a responsibility to ensure that sentences are seen to be done and some liberties denied.
“That hardly seems to be the case in this instance, and I will be asking Corrections Minister Damien O’Connor what he is doing to put a stop to this.”

trav-e-logue or
trav-e-log (noun)
A film, videotape, or piece of writing, or a lecture accompanied by pictures, video or film, about travel, especially to interesting or remote places, or about somebody’s travels in particular.

Back when Simon Power was young and hip and down with the kids, Travelogues were given daily in the seminary halls of St Peter’s College in Palmerston North. There Simon stared in wide eyed awe as black and white reels of the Orient and cannibal tribes of the South Pacific were played each Saturday before the local ‘Evict the Gypsies’ youth group. Fast forward through to the digital age and Dear Simon seems to be at a loss to cope with the realities of a world where people can use their voice freely. A view of the future that might shake the sensible haircut for Nationals poster boy of hip.

What Simon seems to have missed is that any prisoner has the right to write letters, it is just in this case Tim has access to a blog via me, this is not illegal and no crime has been committed, yet Simon wants this site shut down…

‘…Power said he would this week be asking questions of the Minister of Corrections in the House about the blog and demanding what steps were going to be taken to shut it down…”
Herald on Sunday

Here’s what I don’t get – how come a Politician like Simon Power who has made his name from convincing NZ that prison is a hotel, that criminals get tucked up in bed with a hug, that the place is effectively an adult Disneyland, how come Power gets to call for the shutting down of a voice inside our overstretched Prison system that is telling a different story to the one that Power is using to scare New Zealanders who are frightened of crime? The violent environment inside our overstretched Prisons is contributing to the problem by dehumanizing the prisoners. They come out of that environment more damaged than they went in and all we do is tsk tsk over the Sunday papers at lunch when we see the re-offence rates. Of course people need to be punished for crime, but if the environment we use to punish them only ends up warping them further we are not only being counter-productive, we are actually exasperating the problem.

Here we have Tim reporting on a violent bashing of a prisoner who was supposed to be in segregation, yet was sent into mainstream. Did the authorities do it on purpose? Was it a mistake? How can anyone think that approach of brutality will work? Is Simon Power calling for an investigation of that event? No he’s not, he’s demanding the voice that is telling a different story from the one he has scripted be silenced and shut down. It says something of the pathology of Simon Power and those angry, frightened New Zealanders that don’t care about the wider issues, that they can only grasp uncomplicated reactionary answers to complex social questions.


At 31/7/06 7:47 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Power has his priorities wrong.

He should be concentrating on banning and jamming cellphone signals -- where uncensored clandestine conversations can occur.

Not controlled censored written communications.

At 31/7/06 7:48 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeh whats the world coming to? Prisioners should be silenced and especially stroppy maori that dont know whites conquered new zealand and are thier rulers now.

At 31/7/06 8:03 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some more clarity perhaps from STUFF:

"Unless he actually does anything illegal by way of content, or sends the letters to someone he shouldn't, then we don't have a problem," Mr Matthews (Corrections CEO) said.

"To my knowledge there's nothing that he has done in prison that is illegal, and there's nothing in this letter that he's written that's illegal either."

Mr Matthews said prisoners were free to write about their life in prison and sometimes published books.


Commonsense may prevail after all. Why is Power bothering with this.

At 31/7/06 8:04 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sedition last month.
Censorship this month.
Camps for our own "security" next month?

At 31/7/06 8:08 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read this blog after the media information surrounding Mr Power's outburst. Having now read the prison Blog and your own comments I am left with the impression that Mr Slewyn is a Plonker, Mr Bradbury is a Plonker and yes you've guessed it Mr Power is a Plonker.

At 31/7/06 9:38 am, Blogger andrew said...

Having read both the Herald on Sunday and SST articles, and listened to the interview with Corrections CEO Barry Matthews on National Radio news, Simon Power really is making an ass of himself.

For his dedication to the cause, his Tony Ryall-esque whining, scare-mongering and typically Tory grandstanding, it gives me great satisfaction to nominate Simon Power, Member for Rangitikei, for the highly coveted award of... Wanker of the Week.

At 31/7/06 9:50 am, Anonymous T said...

of course its not illegal - Bomber you've hit the nail on the head. Notice how power attempts to link writing in prison to a failure to sufficiently suppress 'personal liberty.' I bet if the gaurds were beating Selwyn, Power would still say the prison system is a failure - its his job. He makes this a political point scoring opportunity. THe stupid thing is, prisons are prisons regardless of who is in government - and they will always be a political football - rich white folk want to know that the criminals incarcerated are treated mean, because it makes them feel better, regardless of the fact that all research can tell you - punishment and only punishment does nothing to prevent re-offending. PLus, theres this idea floating around (conventiently for polticians) that all prisoners are rapists and murderers. THey're not...

Some of the best literature available today was written in prison - Ruben Carter's Hurricane story, Mumia Abu-Jamal's journals, Malcolm X's autobiography was born in prison. Hell even Jeffrey Archer has some good stuff.


At 31/7/06 10:30 am, Blogger Lucyna said...

Unbelieveable! National are just being silly on this one. I've put up a supportive post on Sir Humphreys.

If, by some quirk, National succeeds in getting this site shut down, I'm sure many other bloggers (myself included) will post Tim's letters on their sites. They can't shut us all down.

At 31/7/06 11:06 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although we may not agree with what Tim has done is Ok, I can see the point he is trying to make and get across. I have long been a supporter in the freedom of speech whcih our Political system of Government has enacted through the NZ Bill of rights legislation. Personally I throughly enjoy reading Tims blogs

At 31/7/06 11:15 am, Anonymous DaveC said...

Power would do very well in the united states !
He would fit in very nicely with the bushites and neo-con agenda !

At 31/7/06 11:43 am, Anonymous Mad Max said...

hahahah the Maories got conquered, what a joke!

At 31/7/06 11:48 am, Anonymous Jacey said...

this whole idea is fascinating.
i personally don't see whos business it is to stop Mr Selwyn from writing his letters as a blog entry, and letting them be posted online.
freedom of speech and all that junk.
but anyway, i've had a little speed read through, and it's interesting this blog. i'll definatly add it to my favs and catch up from time to time.
keep on updating :)

At 31/7/06 11:57 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the difference between writing letters about events in prison to someone on the outside and saving the letters for a book when the prisoner is eventually freed?
It is all a question of timing. Tim is contradicting Pewer's claims by writing about the real prison, or at least the events seen through his eyes.

At 31/7/06 12:11 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Aunty Helen.
Quote: "It used to be that when you were put away, you were put away from society," she told NewstalkZB.
Tim did a bad thing, and was put away, but obviously not far wnough away.
Although what he is doing is quite legal, it somewhat negates the reason of having a prison.
As a personal feeling, I think the ability to communicate with the outside world should have stopped as soon as he went inside.
And me, a Green/Labour voter too! Ha!

At 31/7/06 12:28 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think the ability to communicate with the outside world should have stopped as soon as he went inside."
Well, in large part it has, but if it was absolute i think we'd be worse off for it - keep in mind Tim is no longer in Mt Eden, so he has been largely separated from those that would visit him, I wouldn't feel comfortable if he wasn't able to communicate in some form should the need arise.

At 31/7/06 1:10 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with a prisoner having a rant on some Blog. Its probably good for him and therefore good for everyone.

I have to say I'm somewhat surprised that people are allowed online in jail....While not in this case, there is certainly an opportunity to abuse the priviledge.... Undesirables could be planning the next great escape with their people on the outside from behind prison walls!..It sounds like a potential security risk thats for sure.

I'm currently on home detention and I know that being sent to jail would have been totally counter-productive..for me and for society. I wonder how many first time offenders there are like me who werent so lucky.

Anyone who gets convicted of a victimless crime and sentenced to 2 years and under should just be put on home detention straight away.

Home detention still acheives the same result for society, but allows for a positive sentence plan.

At 31/7/06 1:28 pm, Anonymous Peter said...

Here’s what I don’t get – how come a Politician like Simon Power ... call for the shutting down of a voice inside our overstretched Prison system?

Easy, you said it yourself. Simon Power doesn't want people to know the reality of prison life in NZ. That way a) no embarrassing questions about its effectiveness or management get asked and b) he can keep telling everyone that prison is a holiday where crims are treated with kid gloves.

At 31/7/06 3:46 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hv 2 things 2 say bout dis
1: I think that Mr Power has a point that if you do somthing bad that you should have to suffer, and why should you have the privleges like underfloor heating, sky tv and Internet? But so we arnet getting confussed about prison can you tell use what it is really like ?
2. I know that if you go to prison it can be hard on you, your friends and family, because my great uncle went to jail and we all thought that was bad for him and it was hard onh us to hear that one of our family had been a doof and went to jail, that was on the news.

I hope you understand what i am saying and please dont be a doof again!!!!!!!!

At 31/7/06 11:25 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are an idiot mate. you crooks are not in there for rehab you are there because we dont want you walking our streets and sharing our freedom. we dont want you moving in next door. if we wanted you lot fixed up we would send you to a hospital for treatment.

At 1/8/06 11:04 am, Anonymous bomber said...

............................................................................................................Pentagon Keeping Close Eye on Soldier's Web Posts
July 30, 2006 2:30 p.m. EST
Nicole King - All Headline News Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. (AHN) - The Pentagon is keeping a close eye on what troops are posting on the Web. Special attention is being paid to video that shows the aftermath of combat.

Civilian contractors often keep track of the videos for the Pentagon. The U.S. Central Command has a team that reads blogs and responds to what it considers inaccuracies about the war.

Military officials say they're concerned that the videos and images are used by the enemy to portray soldiers as barbaric and warmongers, and that some images may compromise security.

Sites such as YouTube and Ogrish.com have numerous clips posted from soldiers. Some show the aftermath of suicide bombings and gunfights between coalition forces and insurgents.

At 1/8/06 5:21 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, there is nothing wrong with "writing letters" but how those letters end up on internet? is the dude using Corrections Department computer and Networks? are they also provide him with adsl? or he is using wireless PDA in prison, go figure?

At 1/8/06 5:37 pm, Blogger bomber said...

................................Sigh - ok Anon - I appreciate you have just walked in on the discussion - but for the Thousandth time - Tim writes his blog to me in his letters, I type the blog onto the site - Prisoners DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THE INTERNET! There seems to be this misperception that Prisoners have broadband laptops inside - THEY DO NOT - but it does say something about the wide spread misconceptions that Prisons are hotels.

At 1/8/06 6:04 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amigo, OK, are the screws censoring Tim's letters or they smuggled out of prison?

At 2/8/06 9:23 am, Anonymous bomber said...

................................................He just puts his blog in with his letters that he sends me - although I haven't had a letter from him since this situation blew up - so maybe they have banned him from writing letters - I am trying to find out

At 2/8/06 12:37 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letters are not read or censured -where does this idea come from.

Crims bring their mail to the wing office in the morning - it is supposed to be unsealed so that it can be seen there is nothing inside.

It is then sealed UNREAD and sent out.

If they say it is checked and censured they are LYING.


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