Trotter on Shearer’s back story back story

Chris Trotter has been doing some research about the back story of David Shearer’s back story. It is a fascinating read…and why I am linking to it…it is required reading for anyone in NZ politics and the media.

Some excerpts:

IT’S SURPRISING how little we know about David Shearer. For most of us, his sudden appearance among the contenders for Helen Clark’s vacated seat of Mt Albert was the first appearance he’d made upon the New Zealand political stage. For Mr Shearer, however, the 2009 Mt Albert By-Election was a case of third-time-lucky. He had already stood for the Labour Party twice before: the first time, in 1999, as a lowly ranked candidate on the Party List; and the second, in 2002, in the safe National seat of Whangarei.

Our ignorance of those earlier attempts is forgivable, however, because Mr Shearer has always been a political paratrooper. In contrast to the party foot soldiers who slog their way through the Big Muddy of branch meetings, canvassing exercises, billboard construction and pamphlet deliveries, rising through the ranks to fight the good fight on policy committees or the NZ Council, Mr Shearer’s preference has been to jump into parliamentary candidacies from a great height and out of a clear sky.

Chris is a good old fashioned campaigner and clearly treats with suspicion anyone parachuted in.

But Chris has also delved into the dark past of Shearer:

Such ideological agnosticism – explained away as good old Kiwi pragmatism – does, however, offer us a way into the most unusual and contradictory aspect of Mr Shearer’s entire career: his support for mercenary armies, or, as they prefer to be known these days: private military and security companies (PMSCs).

It is possible to trace this thread all the way back to Somalia in 1992 where Mr Shearer headed up the relief effort of the Save the Children Fund. It is more than likely he enjoyed a close working relationship with the United Nations Mission in Somalia and would, therefore, have been aware of their appeal to the PMSC, Defence Systems Ltd (DSL) for 7,000 Ghurkha mercenaries to protect their relief convoys. In the end DSL turned them down, but it is clear that the notion of PMSC involvement in UN protection work (as opposed to soldiers provided by UN member states) made a deep impression on Mr Shearer.

That impression was intensified by Mr Shearer’s experiences three years later as the UN’s Senior Humanitarian Advisor in the West African nation of Liberia. Just across Liberia’s northern border, in the ravaged state of Sierra Leone, the PMSC known as Executive Outcomes had been employed under contract to the Sierra Leone Government. Shearer was deeply impressed by this mercenary army’s lightning-fast defeat of the Liberian-backed forces assailing the ruling regime.

There are many more revelations about Shearer’s back story…the wonder is why no one in the media has done this sort of work on Shearer.

Could Shearer have done some work for Britain’s spies?


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