Mike Hosking is a well known media personality in NZ. He gets paid to spend most of his time espousing right-wing views. In the article linked here from the Auckland Herald newspaper’s NZHerald website, he sinks the boot into Chelsea Manning as being a criminal making a profit from public speaking, as a convicted criminal.
Although that could indeed be argued, at this point in time, (a full exhoneration is likely to come in time). Strictly speaking Otto Frank (father of the famous literary heroine Anne Frank) was also a criminal, because instead of handing himself over to the Gestapo to be sent to the death camps, he “illegally” hid out in an attic room with his family in Holland during World War 2.
Later he published Anne’s diary and he probably made a bit of money from it. Sometimes people are “criminals” because the laws (or illegal administrative practices), of that place and time, are fundamentally WRONG and it takes brave people to put their necks on the chopping block and stand up for inalienable human rights. Wikileaks, using data supplied by Manning, made public the illegal and improper acts of the USA government and military.
Even at her trial, the prosecution could not show any actual real harm which her data theft had caused. That said, in NZ, Chelsea Manning is speaking ONLY in Wellington and Auckland and the cheapest seats are well over $100 each, so I won’t be going ! However a radio station reported that she hadn’t even applied for a visa to enter NZ yet, so she might not be coming here at all anyway !
Just a few weeks ago some hard-right wingers (Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern) wanted to come here and preach to their converted, but a series of decisions from various authorities effectively shut them out of the country and denied them the opportunity to speak their bullshit here. I would barely have wanted to hear what they had to say, even for free, but I think it was appalling that they were effectively prevented from having free speech in New Zealand, no matter how obnoxious and hate-filled their free speech would have been.
I certainly hope that some New Zealanders, even just a select few, actually *DO* get to hear what Chelsea Manning has to say. I expect what she says to be pleasant and mindful, and including suggestions on ways we can improve our society, military and political structures, so that we can all enjoy a safer and more positive experience, as we live on this planet sharing resources with our fellow humans and flora and fauna.
UPDATED 31 August 2018. Chelsea Manning has been granted “special direction” from NZ authorities so that a visa can be granted. (The actual Visa is expected to be granted in due course). HOWEVER there is talk that the AUSTRALIAN government may prohibit her from entering Australia (and there were numerous speaking engagements planned there). Perhaps some of those cashed-up Aussies will fly across The Ditch to hear her in Auckland or Wellington. Not sure how many the NZ planned venues could hold. The Wellington venue has a maximum capacity of about 800 people, but I do not know if they have access to all of that capacity or if some of it is pre-booked or configured in such a way as to be un-usable to Ms Manning’s organisers.
I have just checked online and several Australian venues are still seemingly offering tickets to her Australian shows (due to start this Sunday, 2 September 2018). The cheapest tickets are in Sydney at the Opera House, less than A$ 49. Melbourne and Brisbane and priced at A$ 80-something each. Whereas Auckland’s cheapest are $59 and Wellington’s cheapest are $114. Yeah mate, the closest session to me, and then still requiring air flights and overnight accomodation, is the most expensive of the lot. Sorry, but would bring the total up to several hundred NZ dollars. (Updated- the website for Wellington bookings, now also displays a “C Reserve” option for $63. I think that option was only added later. Perhaps an opportunity for more folks to attend.)
UPDATED 1 September 2018. So they have announced they’ve given up even trying to get Chelsea Manning into Australia for Sydney’s session on Sunday 2 September. What I want to know is, with *ANY* public speaking enagagement, why did the management company ONLY apply for the visa a week or two out from the engagement.
Surely they should have applied for the visa a month or more ago, in part, to allow time for various kind of appeals process. I do not know, but I suspect that although she is allowed to travel to New Zealand, I wouldn’t be surprised if she cancels her travel plans here as well, and just appears on a TV screen instead. You can call it a fancy name (“Skype”, “virtual” whatever), but NOT being in person and just being on a TV screen is utter shite, compared to a live, on-the-premises attendance in person. Might as well just sit on the sofa at home and watch Youtubes.
Really, this is a golden opportunity, which I suspect is about to be pissed away down the toilet here. She could announce several EXTRA Auckland and Wellington talks, and encourage Aussies to fly over here to hear her. Make it seem all radical and alternative like. It’s all in the presentation, make a negative seem like a positive.
UPDATED 2 September …and the main “Think Inc” website seems to be just the same, with no extra info added that I can see. Is that 2 or 3 days since any updates ? I would expect the organisers to be a bit more on-the-ball with updates, especially as they have been super tardy to begin with and these events are likely to be quite a cash-cow for them. I would have expected better. No updated information yet on whether Chelsea will even bother turning up for the talks in New Zealand, or if the organisers will just be playing a video/Skype/Youtube of her. Also how would a significant change, such as just appearances on a TV screen affect the people that paid over $200 per seat for the VIP meet-and-greet experiences ? (whether in Australia or New Zealand). Also, instead of just sitting back at home in the US-of-A chillin’, why don’t they (at time of writing this, she “could” still make the Sydney show) fly her out to Auckland already. If a special visa suddenly comes through from Australia on time, Sydney and Melbourne are just 3 hours away ? (Whereas the USA is something like 12 or 16 hours out, and far fewer scheduled flights. ) I do not claim to know all the facts and background, but it seems to me the organisers have already given up on the Australia leg of her tour and I fear New Zealand, as the poorer country cousin, will be consigned to the dustbin as an afterthought.
UPDATED 3 September. Well The official website from her promoters still seems to be without any actual updated information. The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper website reports that the talk went ahead with Ms Chelsea Manning appearing on a video-screen. Good on the Sydney Opera House organisation for offering folks refunds if requested. Several newspaper websites and ABC (Australia) have articles this morning, but they are all just re-hashes of the same thing. They give ZERO information about whether Chelsea can even be bothered to turn up for her scheduled talks here in New Zealand, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the organisers decide (or perhaps they have already decided ?) just to save the money on airfares and hotels and display her image on a big TV screen for the Wellington and Auckland speeches also. Who knows, I hope not. Especially for those people that paid between $200 and nearly $300 for a “VIP Meet-and-Greet experience”. For that kind of money a VIP Meet and Greet experience should include a dinner as well. I think a chance to chat, over a meal with Chelsea Manning, would be a fantastic experience. People point out that jailed convicted terrorist Nelson Mandela, had spent 27 years in jail, yet was released to a hero’s welcome and later became President of his country. His criminal conviction would also have prohibited him from entering Australia and New Zealand but he was granted Visa exemptions as required. Yeah I reckon a natter over dinner-time with Nelson would’ve been a fun and eye-opening experience also.
UPDATED 4 September 2018. The organisers, Thinkinc, have now updated the website, confirming that Chelsea will NOT be appearing in person at the Melbourne and Brisbane shows, but will appear on-screen only. However the article clearly describes that she will be appearing “via satellite from Auckland”, so it would seem that they are going to make use of the NZ visa granted, and will appear at Wellington and Auckland. Given that she’ll be in NZ for longer, then it’s a pity if they cannot also organise personal appearance shows in Christchurch and Dunedin also, for South Islanders.