Straw man argument finds Golriz Ghahraman NOT GUILTY

Over the last week, new Green MP Golriz Ghahraman has effectively been on trial for her past role as a lawyer in war crimes tribunals. Allegations and defences swirled around her in an emotionally charged and confusing manner. Now that the dust has settled, it helps to separate the controversy into the two main charges levelled against Ghahraman.

Allegation #1: Golriz Ghahraman was wrong to defend war criminals

Bryce Edwards really annoys me with the use of this straw man argument. In all the many posts we have published on Whaleoil about Golly G we have never said that she was wrong to defend war criminals. Defending war criminals was not her crime and I am sure that Edwards knows that.

Left-wingers have called a National MP immoral for previously working for a Tobacco company that sells a legal product but right-wingers, conservatives and libertarians have not. We would never condemn her for defending a war criminal.

The first charge against Golriz Ghahraman is simply that she has worked as a defence lawyer for individuals charged with war crimes, and that this is morally wrong. […]

Nope, defending criminals is what defence lawyers do. It is not morally wrong to do a job to the best of your ability. What is morally wrong is taking photos with your genocide inciting client because he is a famous singer. It is repugnant that someone would want to not only take a photo but then show it off and brag about it on social media. It is why we have had a series of satirical photoshops of Ghahraman with similar despicable men. The idea of wanting to take a photo with someone like that is what turns people’s stomachs.

Many lawyers will no doubt line up to defend wealthy American film producer Harvey Weinstein but it is highly unlikely that any of them will pose with him for a photo so they can brag to their friends on social media that they were hanging out with him. Weinstein’s crimes in comparison to the singer Golly G defended are insignificant in comparison.

Finally, Edwards gets to “crime” that has actually upset people.

[…] Regardless of the rights or wrongs of Ghahraman’s actions, a separate allegation is that she and her party were less than upfront about her past. Some suggest there were deliberate attempts by the MP and the Greens to play down her defence role and promote the idea that she was prosecuting war criminals instead.

One of the first people to question Ghahraman’s integrity was rightwing blogger David Farrar, who pointed to what he argued was misleading information on her Green Party website biography regarding her role in the war crimes trials. He also found other publications from the Greens which gave the impression Ghahraman was prosecuting, not defending, war criminals […]

Here’s Farrar’s main point: “The issue for me isn’t that she worked as a defence lawyer for war criminals, but that all the promotional material to date has given the impression she was prosecuting in Rwanda, not defending. […]  It is that the narrative built around her has been incomplete and misleading. The Guardian article is a great example of that – makes you think she was a prosecutor in Rwanda. The Greens website states her work in Africa was putting on trial world leaders – highly misleading. Her own maiden speech glosses over her work in Rwanda”.

[…] there are also many examples of her role being portrayed inaccurately. For example, later last week, it was revealed that Green Party co-leader James Shaw, who is a long-time friend of Ghahraman’s, gave a speech earlier in the year in which he claimed the following: “Having fled Iran in 1990 as a child, Golriz is now a human rights lawyer who worked as a prosecutor at the United Nations’ tribunals for Rwanda  […]


[…] Duncan Garner of the AM Show interviewed Ghahraman about the controversy

[…] He then followed up on Saturday with a more elaborate opinion piece […] “when it counted, international war crimes prosecutor, putting dictators behind bars, sounded way better than a defender of murder, rape and pillage in a vile genocide. And what did we, the public, learn? We learned these Greens are no better than the rest of the buggers despite an at times holier than thou outlook. Truth is Ghahraman was happy to let it spread that she was a crusading international prosecutor. Sounded great, looked even better. Every now and then she’d say ‘defence’ as well; it was glossed over, or not mentioned at all”

Garner suggests Ghahraman’s defending war criminals didn’t fit very well with the Green brand, and therefore had to be de-emphasised. This is also a point made by David Farrar: “Golriz Ghahraman’s brand was the refugee who put heads of states in three continents on trial for war crimes. It was a powerful attractive brand. I believed the brand, as did almost everyone. It is a much much more sexy brand than career defence lawyer” […] “Not once before the election was anything published in a significant forum that informed people she was not a prosecutor in all three cases. Only after the election did this information appear.” And he adds argues it’s simply not credible that Ghahraman would have been unaware of the misrepresentation going on.[…]

[…] Verdict on allegation #1:Not guilty.

Verdict on allegation #2: Guilty.

-NZ Herald

On the actual “crime” that she was accused of even Bryce Edwards agrees that she is guilty. Will the Greens do anything about it? Looks like the answer is no.

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