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Saturday, December 06, 2014

Korotake III

Would the Crown solicitor have appealed a discharge without conviction if the prince had been Harry Windsor instead of Korotangi Paki?  Would anyone - prince or pauper - in that circumstance have had the Crown appeal such a minor incident of lower court discretion?  Of course not.  The appeal was a reactionary measure of populist racism designed for media consumption, but the political implications are that the NZ government is opposed to and is set on undermining the Maori King movement.

Korotangi Paki, son of he Maori King Tuheitia. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Korotangi Paki, son of he Maori King Tuheitia. Photo / Brett Phibbs
The son of the Maori King now has a conviction against his name after the Crown was successful in its High Court appeal.
Korotangi Te Hokinga Mai Douglas Paki, 19, was originally discharged without conviction on charges of burglary, theft and drink driving at Auckland District Court, but Justice Mark Woolford overturned that ruling in a ruling released this afternoon.
The discharge on the dishonesty offending remained but Paki was convicted for drink driving.
However, he will face no further penalty other than the eight-month driving disqualification previously imposed.

The NZ government demonstration in this case is not that 'no-one is above the law and everyone is equal before the law' - because that is patently false if we ask ourselves what would have happened if it was John Key's son, or Prince Harry - the demonstration is that no Maori is above the law.  White people in a position of privilege however can still do whatever they please with little consequence.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Die aubtraum

Kim, :( You cost us votes in the end, mate.  There's still love and respect but love and respect with disappointment. Sometimes love and respect is stronger after enduring such a battle, I hope it is with Kim.  He has about four million reasons to be upset at the result, but the Mana Movement has only 739 - which are undergoing a recount at the moment.  I did keep saying that the party party be cray cray, but could not envisage such a catastrophic result.

I've been in apoplectic shock since election night and trying to forget a nightmare that unfolded whereby Hone lost Te Tai Tokerau in a gang-bang by the leaders of all the other parties to back Kelvin Davis, and Annette Sykes couldn't take Waiariki because some bellowing loud-mouth standing for Labour decided to split the vote against Te Ururoa making that impossible to win, meaning the whole crew on the Internet Mana list (which would have got 2 MPs) is out of the next parliament.  FFS.  

Measured against expectations this was a total epic fail, even if some advances were evident.  If Hone couldn't hold his seat - or Annette cause an upset in Waiariki - Mana was out.  A worse case scenario for Mana and a best case scenario for National.  A total epic nightmare that will last three fucking years.

All the Dirty Politics revelations and Tory corruption couldn't beat Tory scare-mongering and an incoherent and compromised Labour-led alternative.  Most people were prepared to accept National's creepy right wing nutty stuff (where Hager's exposé was relegated) because of the certainty and stability of the soporiphic John Key.  Bill English has borrowed over $50b to keep things on the unsustainable plateau, using mass immigration to prop up the pyramid as they do to get over each  slump, so the middle classes have been insulated.  Key came to the centre and won it there.  And this was despite the defections caused initially by Dirty Politics that saw some National voters go Conservative and NZ First and not come back.  It was Labour voters who put National back in - there's no getting around that. 

Status quo prevails.  Is it any wonder that the party promising the most change and the most to the left - Internet Mana - couldn't break 2%, yet the Conservatives touched 4% and Winston Peters had his best result in years getting 11 MPs.  Votes for the right - Nat/Act/UF/Con are a majority with 51.92% without adding NZF on 8.66% taking the Centre-Right to over 60%.  The left are a clear minority at this point.  Not helping over time is the growing proportion of elderly in the population which will continue a trend to swing elections to the right.  The higher turnouts in the future may be more to do with these demographic changes than engaged youth.

Mana got 24k votes last time, and got 34k this time - so an improvement. More party votes this time than the Maori Party - a watershed moment lost in all the chronic post-election grieving.  There were mistakes on the campaign - as there will be - but a major one was the ballot sheet itself.  I still can't understand how the Internet MANA list was not put next to the candidate.  What is the legality of having a candidate on a list standing as a candidate in the electorate and not being together?  If they come off that list they must be put together like the other parties, surely?  I mean, why would Internet and Mana stand candidates in anything other than the three target Maori electorates and Key's Hellensville electorate if the candidate and party were separated?  The whole reason behind running a candidate in an electorate is to drag the party up the column... and seeing how that was not how the ballots were printed, and you had to look down amongst the silly bugger parties to find it despite having a candidate standing then what the fuck was the point of that exercise? If it is acknowledged that running electorate candidates gains party votes then it must be concluded that having mis-aligned party/candidate names has cost the party votes.

The 29k disallowed votes on the basis they were not already enrolled on the day are fundamentally undemocratic - engineered not for any reason of validity or integrity or ID purpose, but to prevent the votes of mostly left supporters being counted.  It is painful to watch a person go through the special vote process when you know their vote will be discounted based on such a technicality.  It is wrong and it is not fair.  I have sat as a scrutineer and seen the special votes and as the results always show they are definitely not National or right voters, they are the marginalised and working class voters.  The middle class people with their mortgages and their late model cars and their golf club membership and their insurance policies etc. are not the sort of people turning up in their work gears on Saturday afternoon explaining how they moved flats and they did a special vote last time so it must be OK. These diligent and otherwise eligible electors are being disenfranchised. This may add another seat to the left/off the right if Election Day enrolments were allowed, so don't expect National to ever champion that.

Friday, September 19, 2014

NZ General Election 2014

Midnight very soon and the election blackout begins. Please observe.  Good luck to our peeps.  Get out and vote!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cabinet said no?

Election Day -5

Listening Greenwald on RNZ now saying the NSA(US) used GSCB(NZ) supplied bulk data.  Says Snowden was processing metadata - via xkeyscore - sent from NZ to the US.  Was this data of NZers trawled by GCSB? Ryan:  "On NZ citizens?" Greenwald: "correct."  That is going to be game MFing over for JK - he staked his reputation on it and said he would resign or something didn't he?  NZers have never been spied on in mass surveillance supposedly.  It might be ex-Key score all right.

The extraordinary last 48 hours - with the PM declassifying and releasing secret spy documents to pre-empt a "moment of truth" to expose him and his National government's collusion with the US and in Minister's roles in using the immigration department to capture Kim Dotcom for Hollywood producers - be cray.  It all be cray cray.  The moment is at 7pm tonight at the Auckland Town Hall, with Greenwald in attendance and perhaps Assange live from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.  Unprecedented.

Key was saying yesterday that yes there was a plan to have mass surveillance, but because it would cost about $8b, he personally put a stop to what the GCSB was proposing.  Key was also saying much the same thing many months ago too from my recollection, but most missed that the figure proved it had been mapped out and that it had been proposed.  

But I also heard him say that 'cabinet said no'.  It was cabinet that put a stop to it - not him exactly.  Was Key even at that cabinet meeting that said no?  Did he mean a cabinet committee, or the whole cabinet?  At what stage was this plan advanced?  To cabinet level - from what Key has said.  So HE didn't stop it.  This guy is all over the place and cannot give a straight answer on any of these spy cases.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Waiariki: Marae digi poll has Flavell losing support, Sykes up.

The Marae digi poll on the Waiariki electorate came out yesterday - for what it's worth. They are notoriously unreliable.  The landline polls are increasingly picking up older householders and skewing to the middle class establishment that still maintain a landline - missing out working class and youth populations.  It isn't worth that much - the large differences in these polls and the election results proves that.  So I'm not that surprised to find the Waiariki polling this time round out of whack:

Waiariki Electorate Vote 2014
  • Maori 50%
  • Mana 21%
  • Labour 17%
This looks definitive, decisive... until you consider the 2011 poll
Waiariki Electorate Vote 2011
  • Maori 59.3%
  • Mana 18.7%
  • Labour 8.8% [18.8%?]
In the election of 2011 the Maori Party's Te Ururoa Flavell only had an 1800 vote majority over Mana's Annette Sykes, with the Labour candidate a distant third.

If an 1800 vote majority equates to 59%/19% then what does 50%/21% work out to? is it even a majority any more to him?

Comparing the 2011 poll with this one it shows a fall - a big fall - in Flavell's support and a rise in Sykes' support.  It shows that Mana is in a better position now than it was in 2011. It shows that Mana may have picked up some of Te Ururoa's collapsing vote.  The fourth candidate may only pick up a few votes in the West of the electorate, maybe 2-3% max so should not have a major impact.  

All up this is quite a favourable poll result for Annette Sykes.  It should be a big worry for Flavell, but so long as people like Slater and Farrar and the rest of the media keep misreading it then all the better for an upset based on that underestimation.  And if the door-knocking in my area is anything to go by and the extent of the negative reactions from Pakeha men to the National Party over the Dirty Politics saga is reflected across the country on polling day then there could be a major upset possible.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Judith Collins be gone

I was in Taneatua for a rendezvous when someone came up clasping their mobile phone and told me Judith Collins has just resigned.  Wow, Key finally pulled the trigger.  The roadshow was coming to Whakatane and Kim Dotcom and the entourage of Internet Party and local Mana branches were in town.  When they arrived we all rejoiced the resignation - the sacking of the Justice Minister - in Tuhoe St.

Looking at the smoking gun email that the PM used to ditch her, it looks weak - as weak as Key had been in tolerating her all this while.  Now he pulls the trigger for some bullshit innuendo in a malevolent fantasist's email.  Any votes gained by looking strong and decisive are lost three or four-fold by conceding her as a liability and the cause of disunity.  Now she is blocked from Cabinet by Key she will plot revenge from her electorate - so the drama is far from over.

The reason Key has used to get rid of her is a creation.  The revelations in the Hager book are worse from what I have read this far, but Key had trashed the whole book and everything in it so he had to generate something fresh, something he was not aware of.   Odds are the blanked name is David Farrar and it was the same David Farrar which gave Key the polling data showing Collins an electoral drag.  And then a day or so, maybe hours later, this email magically appears.  That's my hunch anyway.  Add it to Winston Peters' allegation that someone from the Collins camp approached him about a Collins-led post-Key coalition government and the PM does not lack a motivation and interest to put her down.

The worst thing about the email is not that Slater suggests former Minister Collins "is gunning for" the SFO Director, it is that a reporter at the NZ Herald was in the habit of providing emails from and about the SFO to Slater in the hope he would get a story in return based on Slater's close relationship with the former Minister.  This entails that the NZ Herald reporter was in fact giving these communications to the former Minister - just via Slater.  

Why didn't the reporter just go direct to Collins with this?  After all that is where the info will end up.  Why would a reporter want to empower a middleman the likes of Slater?  Slater is not a source he is a medium.  Why do these journalists resort to playing Slater's game?  It's all very yuck.  

I haven't even finished reading the Hager book yet, but the consorting with journalists, the manipulation of iPredict, the shadowy role of PR consultants and so on is all laid bare in that one 
email the PM has been so kind in releasing to the public.  If this is how the PM reacts from one faffing email it begs the question: what would he do of he actually read the book?!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Koretake II

The Crown is to appeal against the son of Kingi Tuheitia not being convicted - in a case where the other offenders were all let off without convictions without any name suppression - and the Crown is not to appeal against the rugby boys whose names are permanently suppressed being let off without convictions - in a case where the offenders killed someone.

This is justice New Zealand style:
a minor theft and driving charge against the son of the Maori King is appealed by the government on the grounds he should have been convicted; but a stitch-up deal to save face by the Auckland school/rugby old boys that lets a killer go loose without even a conviction is not possible to appeal according to the government law officers.

The Crown regards it as an unconscionable reneg to appeal the plea bargain they worked out (without the agreement of the parents of the deceased).  With this logic: that it would undermine the credibility of the Crown to make deals if they challenged the outcome of their own deal, the Crown Solicitor thinks they have no grounds to appeal.  You make the deal, you can't appeal.  It is the Crown deal itself that needs to be appealed by someone independent outside of the Crown - most likely a lawyer acting for the bereaved parents.

How can there be any confidence or trust in the Crown prosecutors - and the NZ Police - when they conspire to defeat the course of justice as they do?  The 'Roastbusters' rape gang is still at large without a single prosecution after eight months.  Mr Sentry Taitoko died in a South Auckland police cell on 23 February and six months later no autopsy report, no nothing - killed without consequence. No-one at the top speaks out or does anything.  A suspected killing has taken place in a police station and it is being covered up by the suspected killers - the police staff - and nothing happens, as if it didn't happen at all, as if it couldn't happen.  The NZ Police are getting away - most likely quite literally - with murder.

The law and security agencies of the New Zealand government may have an unthinking, reflexive support from many people who will automatically align with the establishment position, but those agencies have very little claim to credibility when they can mask their poor performance with the connivance of officials, politicians and the media.  The respect held for these institutions of the Crown are the result of decades of public inertia and misplaced trust.  The shallow foundations of this loyalty are exposed by these recent events which reveal the compromised, conflicted and self-serving character of law enforcement in New Zealand.

There is no political accountability demonstrated or responsibility taken.  The Minister of Police is Anne Tolley, the Minister of Justice is Judith Collins - don't vote for these people.  Tolley has exercised no control over the NZ Police, allowing unlawful abuse, bashings and shootings to continue.  And as for Collins - who the PM has provided political immunity to despite the damaging Oravida scandal and tolerating her peculiar mode of malevolent behaviour - is so nutty she once told the NZ Herald that Ernst Rommel was the person she most admired.

The New Zealand justice system under the current administration is borderline demonic.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dirty v normal politics

I find something a bit disingenuous about Nicky Hager's style of breathless, wide-eyed pleading - and that tends to get in the way of the facts in his book and what they mean.  Holding out some imagined purity of conscience as a standard in politics - as Hager does to exaggerate the significance of his research - seems a bit strained when he's spent the last decade of his professional life working on nothing but machinations of Tory 'sleaze'.  The email trail is damaging enough without the embellishment of a tut-tutting that only a saint could deliver.  Is he the only adult in the country not to have been inoculated for what are the common maladies of politics?

To argue points - as Hager does - with hacked emails in one hand and his finger wagging with the other is not the highest moral ground either. Hager's attempt to occupy a lofty position in the heavens somewhere - when he only covers one half of the hell of the underworld below that is politics and bloggers: National and the right - is undeniably partisan.  The Hollow Men followed the same pattern.  Focus on the right, a free pass for the left.

The context of the exercise wasn't about the relationship between politicians, their staff, the media and bloggers - it is about National and National-aligned bloggers only.  It is an exposé of the political right - not of politics as such. No wonder Key was pushing this line this afternoon - it's just about the only one he can safely mention that does have some credibility.  Key's response has been belligerent and curt; but while Hager is not the best advocate for his material, his beatific repose is becoming just as annoying as Key's whiny defence.

Politics is by implication - if not by definition - a dirty game, always has been, always will be.  We call it 'playing politics' as if it were a low game.  The skills of statecraft are not different from ancient times: spies, conspiring underlings, deniability, internal battles within the administration, manipulating messages, wealthy patrons gone rogue... Ok, so now we have 'blogsters' and twitter; but essentially the game and the methods remain the same.

What Hager's would-be  readers are looking for, as are all punters, is not the unethical lapses - the tawdry grubbiness of a blogger for hire, comms staff bragging and Judith Collins being mean behind people's backs - they want to know what offences have been committed and who and how many will be arrested.  How many will go to the slammer?  After five days the answer is still zero.  No smoking guns, but some smouldering emails and a couple of warm tweets. 

Not even any resignations.  Judith Collins has gotten away with more brazen behaviour before without reprimand - as has Paula Bennett who leaked/authorised private information from beneficiaries without any consequence.  Consistency with Key's previously loose code of conduct means basically anything goes.  It is difficult to dismiss anyone with those precedents established.  The dynamics of being 32 days out from a general election means Key will be reluctant to throw any of his crew to the dogs no matter what the level of transgression.

Key is now looking like the lame duck as he takes a hit for the collective failings of his wayward team.  Key still has personal headroom as none of the dots so far join directly to him - they end down a corridor wherever Mr Ede and his masked ISP is located - but Key's own handling of the scandal is now what the focus is on.

Espiner interviewing John Key on RNZ yesterday was a moment.  Key's answer to whether or not he saw the Official Information Act request to the SIS that Slater had reverse-ordered via Ede and which was released immediately was convoluted to the point he laughed at how he didn't know what was going on.  This was nonsense.  How could he not know? Key's defence of a National staff member digital dumpster-diving into the Labour Party computer server is a poorly considered position that paints him like Nixon.

If the text of Hager's book does not contain evidence of an offence, the reactions to it from John Key could prove just as damaging all the same.  Hager has let us all see under the rock and what crawls out.

UPDATE: We expect a slater to scuttle out, it is the rest of the critters that are of real interest. It's probably obvious that I haven't read the book yet. I look forward to reading it and realise my reactions would be a lot stronger had I done so. At the moment, however loathsome, Slater et al have merely met my expectations rather than exceeded them.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

China's NZ land policy

It must be a full-on barn-burner for John Key to have to call talk back radio hosts to try to put out the land sales fire.  The PM does not ring up to have a chat about education policy, or welfare initiatives, or the situation in Gaza - the PM rings up only in reaction to a crisis that can only be put out by the PM.  Have a word, sort it out, everyone back on script.

That was yesterday on Radio Live when Sean Plunket had evidently gone off the blue script due to the callers' overwhelming rejection of the foreign purchase of land.  Key's relaxed routine was pushed into pantomime and ended with his rising tone pitching higher and higher trying to allay the fears.  It was rather queer. Like the kid who thinks he's clever and duped the adults when everyone knows what he's done and the suspension of belief is because his punishment is being formulated.  

The best he could do was that if the amount of land sales was too much in the future he might limit it somehow, but in doing so he had conceded the point: something had to be done.  Key asked people to trust him on his judgement on what was too much and what was not enough.  But what answer would you expect from an international finance man who owns houses in Hawaii and so on.  

Peeling productive farmland off to Chinese front companies at 10,000 hectares a time so they can build their own various primary industry and extractive empires and cut NZ out of the equation is far beyond most people's tolerance threshold.

The PM is in a cleft stick.  Key is caught between where National's neo-liberal free trade ideology and National's conservative, bigoted, provincial base and public opinion sit - on the one prong - and the Chinese people, companies and government on the other.  

It is the China-NZ 'free' trade agreement that is casting the shadow over land sales - not the Treaty of Waitangi.  The Maori view that the land be vested back to the actual original owners - the Tangata Whenua - is not a question a Pakeha would usually entertain no matter how large it looms.  It is the concern that China will interpret NZ as having broken the FTA if land sales are prohibited.  It is a potential trade risk across all trade 'partners', but it is China that holds a FTA and high expectations of future investment and return from buying the land. 

Key can't move with populist reaction against foreign buyers without provoking diplomatic and commercial pressure from China.  There would be huge pressure internally from within the National caucus and Auckland membership to keep foreign buyers, because there would be huge pressure from their Chinese cash cows that they will close their wallets if their fellow Chinese were kept out of the property game.  The FTA was negotiated with the understanding these conditions would continue to prevail.

It is the state policy of China for their companies to buy land here - lots of it - and they have access to cheap Chinese state credit to do it.  The Chinese can afford to pay a premium to be the highest bidders - more than any NZ bidder could, or any other foreign buyer.  The Chinese are buying strategically and for the long-term.  They will start sending their people over to staff these facilities too - the Chinese insisted on labour and visa rights for their workers in the FTA.  Most people are 
aware of this general scenario that is unfolding and are opposed to it.

There is only so long a political leader can dismiss the concern.  It is clearly not in NZ interests to be run by absentee Chinese landlords.  You can hear the percentages falling off the Tories every day it is in the news - it is directly related to how high-pitched John Key's voice gets.  Pretty soon only dogs will be able to hear him.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

WW1: a century later NZ none the wiser

The NZDF commemorate the outbreak of the First World War with 100 gun salute in Wellington.  How inappropriate for that imperialist mass slaughter.  A hundred crosses, or a hundred candles, or a hundred doves, a hundred seconds of sirens, 99+1 luftballoons, or a hundred anything other than weaponry/explosions would have been fine.  But no, the creative genius of government and military demand one hundred shots from the artillery regiment.  Ghastly.

I remember my Great Uncle Snow, but he never told us any tales and his medals can't speak.

I remember interviewing old Norm around the corner for a school project: Paschendale, battles as "stunts", death, madness, quivering flesh in the gas-filled crater, the worst scenes imaginable.  I scribbled away, hiding my mortification.  I stuck to the questions, I asked about bayonets, guns, tanks, gas, combat.  And so the horror proceeded.  A no-man's land of crater upon crater, the ocean of mud, duckboards, the big push, over the top, the barbed wire, gas masks on all the time, gas in every shell, mates torn to pieces, wholesale carnage, bombardments, the most awful conditions, wounded, a hospital of jabbering shell-shocked, cripples.  And then shipped back home to NZ with the compliments of the Empire.  I will never forget that encounter and the impression he left me with: when the war ended it had been so traumatic that they truly believed that it was the last war and that peace would be permanent, that the expectation - not just hope - would be that a rational system of sorting out disputes between powers would prevail - there would be no more war.  It was the war to end all wars - they believed that then.  The day the war ended was the happiest day ever.  A war more awful than this had never occurred or could be allowed to happen gain.  This is what I learnt from Norm.

Today NZ has its military at the disposal of the Americans, not the British, but the roll call of imperialist occupation is the same as it was a century or more ago: Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine.

The Chief of Army was on RNZ this weekend talking about 'evil' people in Afghanistan needing a military treatment and how teaching the occupied peoples English and spreading Western values was part of the NZDF mission.  Army engineers would help build things, he said, and described what was some sort of armed development agency. Letting his troops be used as an act of colonisation in a NATO drama was apparently in our interests.  Afghanistan was apparently in our neighbourhood.  There were lots of good reasons for NZ forces to be in there he said, but I never heard any from him that made any sense.  He was proud to come from a long line of soldiers which may account for what a prize fool that man was.  

In a constitutional sense only is NZ better suited to avoid a general conflagration than it was when the Premiere and the Governor rubber stamped the declaration of war from Britain a hundred years ago today; but the NZ entity of this era seems just as embroiled and beholden to the same forces of imperialism as a century ago which led to such a calamitous folly. 

I think of all the thousands of names down the halls of the Auckland War Memorial Museum and how they were sacrificed for greater European interests.  I think how conned they were to have enlisted.  Their grotesque, moronic enthusiasm.  How wrong they were to be conscripted.  How right it was for those Waikato and others who resisted that conscription.  How right the seditionists were to preach peace and neutrality despite the hostility from the warmongers.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

UN/US cease-fire deal designed to fail

Of all the appalling things caused by the Jewish state's latest Gaza incursion it is easy to overlook the compromised role of the UN and how they have been used by US/Israel to promote a cease-fire agreement that was impossible to maintain, thus giving Israel an excuse to wage another round of attacks.

From yesterday in the Washington Post:
 Israel and Hamas began observing an unconditional, 72-hour humanitarian truce Friday morning [...]
In a joint statement, Secretary of State John F. Kerry and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said both sides in the conflict are sending delegations to Cairo for negotiations aimed at reaching a lasting cease-fire.
During the 72-hour respite [...] Israel will not withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip, a demand Hamas had previously made as a prerequisite to peace talks.
“As a response to the United Nations’ request and in consideration of our people’s situation, the Palestinian resistance factions have agreed to a humanitarian and mutual calm for 72 hours, starting from 8 a.m. tomorrow, as long as the other party is committed to it,” Sami Abu Zuhri said. “All the Palestinian factions have a unified attitude toward the issue in this regard.”
Earlier Thursday, Abu Zuhri had said that Palestinian factions, including Hamas, would head to Cairo as early as Friday for peace talks if the Israelis agreed to a cease-fire.
[...] Jeffrey Feltman, the U.N. undersecretary general for political affairs, said that although Israel had made no initial public statement on the cease-fire, “we have received assurances from all parties” that they will respect the pause. It was his understanding, Feltman told CNN, that “Israeli forces will stay where they are. What we want to see happen is for all fighting between the two sides to stop” to allow humanitarian aid deliveries, the gathering and burying of bodies, and a cessation of Palestinian shelling in Israel.
Kerry said both sides had agreed that during the pause, “neither side will advance beyond its current locations.”
[...] Kerry stressed Thursday that Israel may continue what he called defensive destruction of tunnels over the next three days.
[...] Underscoring the obstacles to ending the war, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday vowed before the truce announcement to destroy the tunnel networks “with or without a cease-fire” as the Israeli military called up 16,000 more reservists to bolster its offensive in Gaza.

“I won’t agree to any proposal that will not enable the Israeli military to complete this important task for the sake of Israel’s security,” Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv.
Do you see the inherent problem with this ceasefire agreement? And why it cannot possibly work?

While both sides are not to advance beyond their positions the fact is Palestinians have forces in tunnels underneath and behind Israeli lines and the Israelis say they will not stop destroying the tunnels.  Israel going into tunnels or destroying tunnels is advancing from their present positions and is a violation of the cease-fire... Except that John Kerry (according to the Washington Post above) reckons that is OK. It's not OK, it is a contradiction.

What happens when the IDF attacks a tunnel during this so-called cease-fire? As Bibi has vowed to do. The Hamas forces would have every right to defend themselves wouldn't they. Under John Kerry's logic the Israelis are free to attack the tunnels during the cease-fire but if the Hamas forces in the tunnels fight back they are breaking the cease-fire. You see what a sick joke this agreement is and why it is impossible to observe. It is an American deal, an Israeli-American deal. The UN is sanctioning a faulty agreement which demonstrates how faulty and compromised the UN is.

So I was not really surprised to wake up to this news... NY Times:
[...] two Israeli soldiers were killed and the militants apparently escaped with a third.
Israel said the attack, from under a house near the southern border town of Rafah, took place at 9:20 a.m., soon after the 8 a.m. onset of the temporary truce secured by the Obama administration and the United Nations, whose leaders squarely blamed the breakdown on Hamas.

Hamas’s account was confused. One leader was quoted claiming credit for the abduction, then backtracked. Others contended that the clash unfolded at 7 a.m., before the cease-fire, although Palestinian reports of fighting near Rafah came three hours later. And one said that in any case, the Hamas gunmen acted only to counter “Zionist incursions.”
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman, said the Givati force had been working to decommission a tunnel under a home inside Gaza more than an hour into the cease-fire when at least two Palestinians emerged from another shaft. “One came out shooting after the other one blew himself up,” Colonel Lerner said.
Israel sent text messages to area residents to remain in their homes as forces rushed farther into Rafah, bombarding it from the ground and air to block the captors’ escape.

Safa, a Gaza-based news agency that has run a live blog during the war, first reported artillery fire in Rafah at 9:55 a.m. The Health Ministry spokesman announced new fatalities there at 10:10 a.m. The Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, issued a statement hours later, denying that the clash occurred after the cease-fire.
The escalation was strong and sustained, with reports in Rafah of airstrikes and heavy artillery shelling past midnight, as Israel’s top ministers met for hours to consider next steps. Colonel Lerner said the operation “now has three components, not two: it’s rockets, tunnels and an abduction now.”

The NY Times report is just so virrulently pro-Zionist I had to take chunks of propaganda out of those quotes. But what the IDF is saying is that they were in an operation against tunnelling at the time. And not surprisingly the group in the tunnel (which could have become cut-off) were only left with two options given they were under attack: either they defend themselves, or they attempt to surrender (which would have been dangerous). The terms of the cease-fire are just ridiculous. Trying to blame Hamas for this inevitable "violation" is spurious. And yet that is what John Kerry and his Korean side-kick are doing: using the impossible and contradictory terms of an American deal as the standard to which they hold the Palestinians.

NY Times:
Both Mr. Kerry and Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the United Nations, demanded an immediate and unconditional release of the Israeli officer. Mr. Ban described the attack as “a grave violation of the cease-fire” that called “into question the credibility of Hamas’s assurances to the United Nations.”

On the contrary, Mr Ban, the agreement itself calls into question the credibility of the United Nations. To see the UN collude like this with the Americans so that Israel can scorch-earth a refugee camp and kill hundreds more civilians is disgraceful.

So the UN is all about negotiation until it comes to an Israeli POW in which case there is no negotiation at all! Hamas is supposed to surrender their prisoner immediately and unconditionally. When the negotiated release of a single Israeli POW (Gilad Shalit) was able to be traded for a thousand Palestinian POWs such a proposition is fanciful. The UN is not neutral in this conflict, they are behaving as agents for the US and Israel.