More words from activist filmaker Sumner Burstyn

The following is a Twitter conversation between a member of the NZDF and Sumner Burstyn who hates on New Zealand women for their “choices” Mr Te Tai is trying to engage Ms Burstyn in a rational conversation about why her previous remarks on Baker’s death were offensive:

 He is an absolute gem – he is not trying to serve her arse to her on a platter but is debating points around New Zealand’s part in Afghanistan. Te Tai avoids personal attacks and Burstyn very quickly becomes feral. The only changes I have made is to highlight the names. The exchange speaks for itself.

Kane Te Tai
Sumner. I am offended by what you have posted about my friend Jacinda Baker. Now here’s a couple of pointers you may want to consider. We may operate under the banner of Operation Enduring Freedom but we have our own mission, one that does not include US policies and the like. We are in provincial reconstruction and that’s what we do. Period. My time spent in Afghanistan with the Provincial Reconstruction team did not involve me carrying out direct action missions against the Taliban or the Afghan people. And I am an infantryman, trained only in combat. Strange isn’t it? an infantry soldier not fighting? but that’s what we were there to do. This is how it works.

We fly over and take up one of five positions in the province. Each position is manned by a team that specialises ONLY in providing assistance to the local populace. Handing out blankets, water, radios and disarming mines. Each position does this. We do not hunt down people nor do we fire many rounds (unless we are training) I can count on one hand how many engagements our country has had with the Taliban. How many civilians have we killed in our military history. A big fat zero. We do not fight this war unless they fight us first. Only in defence. Not one NZ soldier has engaged first in any conflict in Afghanistan so don’t paint us with the same brush as the US. We aren’t them. Also the people of Bamiyan are some of our greatest friends, it is the only province where we can walk around without weapons and we did that. We helped them. We treated them as equals and we have a strong bond with them. It is one of the only places in the country that doesn’t want us to leave. And they are vocal with that to the media, it was the first place to have your fellow women being taught at schools. We built that school. The first place in the country where women can walk down the road without a burkha. The only part of the country where stoning women to death is outlawed. So don’t preach the things you heard on the news. It doesn’t apply to us. We are doing our job, we are trained better and we have a heart.

And don’t you dare paint my friends with slander. Especially Jacinda, she was a kind soul and she joined the army to heal people – friend or foe. One day when you find some bravery come back and apologise to us. I know you may not agree with the war but someone has to keep the wolves at bay. With us we will do our part by ensuring no innocent blood is shed. And if you can show me one time it has been by us in that country then I will avidly support your view. Just get your facts straight Sumner. Do your research, especially on your topic. And don’t open your mouth (or stretch your fingers) until you know what’s going on.

That is it. Digest that and if you have anything intelligent and more importantly factual then reply. If you can’t, add me and apologise – that takes more guts then pot shotting like you did.


2 hours ago Sumner Burstyn
killing is still killing.

2 hours ago Kane Te Tai
But who’s doing the killing?
Sumner, the thing is we are only in a defensive role there. We don’t go searching the countryside for Taliban, that’s not our role so we don’t do it.
I don’t know where you got your information from, but you need to stop pulling the columns from Time magazine and actually see what’s going on. From the looks of it you don’t know why we are there. And you should at least know that.
I was expecting something more intelligent from you but I guess that’s it huh? You are talking to someone who has lived and breathed Afghanistan right now. So here’s your opportunity to ask what you want, get the answers you need and the truth. I promise you that. No political bullshit, no drone-like answers stapled from the army. You will get the truth as I’ve done it, seen it. You have the stones to throw out the challenge, are you brave enough to continue?

2 hours ago Sumner Burstyn
what a load of rubbish. One man’s Taliban is anothers freedom fighter. Do you know who set up and funded the Taliban? Do you know any recent history? you are there to support NZ’s free trade with America. You’re not fighting for anything that is good or noble and you are not fighting for peace my friend, you are cannon fodder for oi.

2 hours ago Kane Te Tai
They have given us intimate knowledge about previous countries engagements, including the US CIA involvement with the Muji in the 80’s. One man’s Taliban? well you have that right. Ever seen a woman been stoned to death by Taliban supporters? That’s what we go for. Not for gold, oil, minerals.

2 hours ago Kane Te Tai
I know why I went and why my friends do. Supporting Free Trade, maybe that is a side bet for the government but the why is because the US needed to chase down Bin Laden and we knew that once the US opened a few holes then they would need people to start restabilising certain regions.

2 hours ago Sumner Burstyn
oh my god, you bought it all, all the PR, all of it. that is very sad. I’m sorry for all the work your mum put into raising you – all that to die in the sands for capitalism. I suggest you block me now.

2 hours ago Kane Te Tai
You still have failed to say anything of worth. Just things you recycled off CNN after 2008. Come on Sumner! is this it? I thought you had more. You started this and this is it? Disappointing so far. If you are wondering why it’s so hard to get a foothold on this conversation (that I am keeping an open mind to) is because my view is from the ground floor. I’ve been there. I’ve walked it. I’ve shaken the hands of the people. I broken bread with the heads of villages, I’ve hauled heavy generators up steep hills to power their heaters during a minus 30 winter, I’ve watched over their kids while they’ve slept, I’ve fed them, clothed them, administered first aid to them and that’s me doing stuff all. What my friends did before and after me was far more extraordinary. I am very upset with the lack of evidence or originality you have come forward with. Nevermind.

2 hours ago Kane Te Tai
Why would I block you? there is nothing you can say that has much worth? you are going to soon play the Brainwashed card, really? we bought the PR? trust me, if there’s anyone that hates PR more – it’s soldiers. We aren’t US Marines or US Army Rangers who bought the George Bush Bullshit. We didn’t. We joined the army to travel and do things that a whole lot of kids from where we are from don’t get to do. The reality is different unfortunately, that’s life. But we never bought into anything that got forced down our throats. Because the truth is we didn’t get any. We didn’t get forced by our command to go, we fought in NZ to get there. We crawled over each other for the chance to set this injustice right. You need to see the people there, they don’t lie like you and I. You can see the truth run straight through them. You have the right to say what you want but make it real. Make it correct and accurate. Otherwise you’re just another stereotypical idiot trying to get a bite. And bite I think you are about to get. Not from me personally but from the people you think you’re speaking for.

2 hours ago Sumner Burstyn
good for you. I understand you need to hold on to whatever makes sense. But it’s hardly heroic, especially if you bothered to read more widely. you could start with War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges.

about an hour ago Kane Te Tai
Don’t start quoting Chris Hedges dude. We could be up all night talking about the Obama impact and the NDAA lawsuits as such, don’t worry I’ve done my homework. As I said, I know this inside and out. Yeah he has an opinion of worth, Capitalism exa versa and low socio-economic recruitment… that detracts from us, New Zealanders. Do you see them doing that here in NZ? No, so move on. I’ll keep you up past your bedtime about that. If you were gonna start quoting anti war script I would’ve gone with Alekzsander Solhitnetzen (pardon my spelling it’s been awhile)

about an hour ago Sumner Burstyn
I understand you are a smart guy who has fucked with his mind to make it morally acceptable to kill others who are no threat to you or me at all. Come home and turn your skills against our government. Change sides.

about an hour ago Kane Te Tai
Is that it? I just verbally bombed you and that’s it. Think it’s your bedtime. See before I embarked on me going away I read everything. Ask anyone who knows me, I ain’t no fool. I went because I am a doer – not a talker. So are my friends. We studied the material before we went. And never once did I say it was right nor did I say I had killed anyone. Why would you even start that? panic shots are what we call what you’re doing. Punching in any direction. Someone has just probed your position and instead of holding your discipline you have shown you had none and fired with your main weapon, your sections machine gun. Now i know where it is, I’m gonna pummel it. Like I did and now I’ve found you are lacking. I don’t win. We win, by win. My friends Luke, Rich, Jacinda and me.

Change sides? Hell no. And abandon the people I swore to protect. To not serve the word I swore upon when i was 17? To spit upon my dead friends? You got me wrong. Even if the whole world took your side, which they don’t, and it was just me. I’d still be here telling you to take it on out the door with you. I’m a grunt. We don’t runaway.

You have nothing to offer to me or this world. I’m done with you. I just filled you out like an application.


about an hour ago Sumner Burstyn
ok, good for you. You go onward being an obedient killer. I did not answer your verbal ‘bomb’ (interesting choice of words) as it is clear you’ve drunk the CoolAid. And all those people you are ‘helping’ would not need your help except for the games the US plays with their countries and lives. Guess you’ll be off to Iran next. I will be sad when I see your name and photo in the paper.

about an hour ago Sumner Burstyn
clearly war is a force that gives your life meaning.

about an hour ago Kane Te Tai
Clearly you can’t read. You are brainwashed into thinking people in NZ uniforms are there to kill people. And even if you did see my name in the paper, which you won’t. Don’t be sad. I wouldn’t be. Because I’d get to be the person that didn’t die drink driving, or getting hit by a bus in Wellington. I’d get to be like my mates, someone who saw something shit and instead of doing what a human was programmed to do (cutting and running) they fought that feeling and took upon themselves the hard way. The way that would lead them to certain death and ultimately the right way. You have no comeback. I think you just got served. You might want to block me now

about an hour ago Sumner Burstyn
interesting that your aspirations for your self are so low. You are clearly smart

about an hour ago Kane Te Tai
Sumner, I chose this life. If there are a billion alternate universes in each one I chose to be a soldier. It is right to be one. People like me are the ones that gave you that pen in your hand to slander us with. To me that’s right. When I see you complain I am sad but happy that you can do so. So with that you have a good night. Hope you learnt something and next time read a few more books then me, it’ll be hard… but you can get there. After people like me fight in the night to make sure you can and I’d like you to exercise that right. Enjoy life. My friends can’t anymore.

Goodbye Sumner, I enjoyed our conversation. Good night

about an hour ago Sumner Burstyn
good night. I think your last comments are the most telling. If not this war, then you’d go and find another. Imagine if they had a war and no one came. Your fight and kill for your ego, don’t confuse it with service and duty.

about an hour ago Kane Te Tai
niiiiiight Sumner. You trooper you.

18 minutes ago Sumner Burstyn
given Hedges is too strong for you I would assume you’ve read this
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14 minutes ago Kane Te Tai
Yip. Read it when it first came out. And I’ve told you, I’ve read Hedges dude. I’ve read every American author from the anti vietnam war era to the present. So stop trying to one up me, I’ve learn your side of the arguement but you haven’t even tried to study my side. That is the biggest mistake of a person in your profession, you should know this. Never go into any arguement half cocked.

6 minutes ago Sumner Burstyn
so maybe it’s the heavy metals in the vaccines you have to take.

4 minutes ago Kane Te Tai
with our protocol A’s? I don’t think so. You are really scraping the barrel Summy bear.

3 minutes ago Sumner Burstyn
You are rude. you are out

Then she blocked me yay!!!

Nicky Hager’s Other People’s Wars : New Zealand in Afghanistan, Iraq and the war on terror (Craig Potton Publishing: Wellington, 2011) Reviewed by Mark P. Williams for Scoop Independent News
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  • Burger Boy & Anonymous Contributor

    Poor little blinkered, brainwashed summy Bear. I really feel sorry for it. It wont listen to rational argument, but sticks to its half-cocked, one-sided hateful rant. How it was allowed to become a documentary film-maker with such childish tunnel-vision….I’m glad it will never be allowed back into NZ

  • Chandra

    That woman makes my blood boil. Kane you did and are still doing a great job. Thanks for posting this Monique.

  • foxray

    The woman is complete arrogant and deeply ignorant. If she unable to comprehend that she has crossed a line from opinion to a personal attack on a young woman who is not alive to reply to the grossly ignorant and completely false accusation. Simply put Sumner, you’re a gutless piece of shit.

  • Gil Ho

    argh!!! She makes me sooooo angry!!! I barely consider myself a kiwi – she just makes everyone angry!!! Great job Kane – how on earth is he keeping his temper so controlled? I was foaming in my mouth when just reading her replies!

  • Sally Turner

    I think Sumner’s got a point. And I don’t know if anyone else can read but it seems like both Sumner and Kane Te Kai are taking quite low blows at each other.

    It is extremely sad that New Zealand Soldier’s lives have been taken in the Afgani war and having lost a brother at a young age myself I know how awful that is.

    However, insensitive the way Sumner initiated her argument she has a point. And for someone of her generation who would have witnessed the futility of the Vietnam War (America’s fear of communism creating a horrific blood bath) she probably feels like she has witnessed this all before.

    So good on her for putting out an anti-war sentiment. I’m sorry that people are directing their anger at her and not the war machine that caused these tragic deaths.

    • luke

      Sally, I am in the NZDF – please note that you can be anti-war without being anti-troops. People aren’t angry at Sumner for her anti-war stance, you don’t see NZDF people rattling off at Julian Assange, Nicky Haagar, John Minto et al. We are angry at Sumner for her cowardly attack on our colleagues. It was a literary IED; cowardly.

  • Monique Angel

    No they are not “both”, taking low blows at each other, Sally. Kane is quite rational and Burstyn goes feral. And frankily Sally, I think it is awful that you think it was just a silly “anti-war”. sentiment so it was “worth it”. Read again. Burstyn said Baker had no moral compass and implied this medic – deserved to die”. do you agree with those words?
    Are you aware that in non-democratic nations, especially those governed by communism, civilians die by the thousands? Perhaaps we should be grateful to the u.S.
    It sounds like you’ve been swallowing lot of green propaganda to me.
    A good place to recover from this is by distrusting anything that comes out of an ex UN worker’s mouth.

    • exrnrn

      Summer’s quote to Kane “Come home and turn your skills against our government. Change sides.” can actually be considered subversive. it would appear that she is asking a New Zealand serviceman to come home and act against the government of New Zealand.That I am pretty sure is still illegal. In fact I think it may have been moved to part of the anti terrorism laws.

  • Starwind

    In the name of Peace

    I think what foreign militaries fail to comprehend is ‘understanding Taliban’ and what they stand for. Forget what you are told, what started the U.S occupations in the first place, September 11 2001. Millions of US citizens are calling for boycott of Afghanistan/Iraq. Again, THINK, U.S said the reason is WMD’s in Afghanistan, then Iraq, then bringing democracy, so as an individual, what do you make of this? Too many lives are lost for the corporates, and it’s not their sons and daughters, it’s ordinary civilians, both in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The reason for going in was WMD, have they been found? Still Building 7 fell down, not hit by any planes, no bodies found after Flight 93 crash, all the unanswered questions. And you pay the consequences.

    Islam is a very strong religion, stoning of woman for infidelity is no different to an abusive man who hits his wife, or a father who breaks a young child’s leg. Truth is, religion-based society favours men over females. This cannot be justified by civilisation standards, no human can civilised the next thinking he is better. Terrorism? What about Batman killings in a cinema, loss of lives. Norway 2011, so that is not terrorism? One man’s truth is not necessatily for the next.

    For whatever classified reasons U.S is in foreign lands, NZ and other countries who failed to say NO to US are stuck as Peace-Keepers (not offensive) or rebuilding forces, unfortunately, consider the Islam ‘extremism’ propaganda and all hidden information to normal TV viewers, all foreign military personnel in Islam land is considered a threat by rebels. And guess who is going to rebuild these countries into ‘democracies’ or rather westernisation? Yes … civil engineering, energy companies, you name it, these counties are just a new market. THINK.

    Seeing as you are in the military, is it worth losing your life? When you consider the unknown? War is unneccessary loss of valuable life. RIP to all military, civilians, foreign and local who have lost their lives since September 11 2001.

    If there were armies to SAVE DOLPHINS, RHINOS, ARCTIC, to stop ASSETS SALES, I would join the army.

  • Sylvia Person

    Kane you are an honourable man and an ‘Officer and a Gentleman’ for upholding the names of our fallen soldiers-against a rather narrowminded woman who clearly would not be able to serve in our Defence force as it requires skills, suchas thinking outside the square, the ability to not personlise information and to treat all humankind with dignity and respect. The later, Summer Burstyn does not afford her fellow human, instead she uses a tradition which one would be familiar with in persons such a Hitler and the Taliban and that is to bully, coerce and insist at all costs her view and only her view is right! One would need to afford her forgiveness, in keeping with the best practise of our defence force of not allowing ones personal feelings to become involved in ones decision making process. As a true professional such as yourself I thank you for upholding the traditions of the Defence Force and watching out for ones team members.

  • Mine Host

    Sumner Burstyn could do something positive for the world:
    Go to Afghanistan.
    Stand in front of a New Zealand soldier.
    Save an Anzac life.
    Get killed by bullets aimed at an Anzac soldier.

    It curdles my blood that this things walks the streets in peace, while far better people are serving overseas.

    • Starwind

      Im just an activist …

      But what’s good about going to Afghanistan/Iraq? Didn’t U.S tell the whole world (us) that there’s a terror threat to everyone coz Saddam Hussein has WMD? Wake up people!

      When was the last time you heard anything about WMD? How many times do you hear about young lives killed in the line of un-known duty? Respect the fallen, and Sumner didn’t but, going on sending more troops and adverts on TVNZ, is that respect to all the fallen soldiers? Stand up against John Key, one question to be asked is how is helping U.S helping NZ?

      Yes, you are correct, far better people are under Jihad threat daily for what valuable reason? Peace-keeping has its costs, and are unfair. All foreign forces in Arab lands are viewed as threats, hence U.S modifies its technology, for example vehicle bomb detectors. If the guys who can go online and express their anger on a civilian, why not stand up against NZDF, the employer to improve working conditions. Due to the poor technology, NZ forces are targetted, is that not a worry, and it makes sense. Taliban is funded by Al-Qaeda, they have intelligence strategies.

      Now forget Sumner, focus on the safety of peace-keeping forces, improve defensive technology. Honour the fallen, and save the future of the living.


    • DirtyDogg4

      With all due respect mate. NZ isnt in Afghanistan for the WMDs or Bin Laden. Were not here to help the US. We are there help rebuild the province that we operate in. It’s as simple as that and nothing to do with religion.
      We volunteer to go to Afghanistan (we arent in Iraq) to let them have a lot of the freedoms are luxuries we enjoy. NZ is helping install a solar plant in Bamian which will be the first large scale power supply for this province.
      Also NZ forces are being targeted because our province is the furthest along in Transition. It has nothing to do with our equipment which is good.

    • Starwind

      My last post was deleted because it states: Wars bring profit. I asked a question, if NZDF would have gone to Afghanistan before U.S decided Saddam Hussein has WMD’s. If NZDF is so keen on rebuilding, wouldn’t it be better rebuilding in Haiti or Christchurch? I think you know the answer, there is more profit to be made in new markets like Afghanistan. I bet the company installing the Solar Plant is no non-profit organisation.

      Jihad views any foreign forces as a threat to Islam, regardless of the rank, if you are in a uniform, they see you no better to U.S Military. Doesn’t it explain why NZ forces are targetted, coz as you mentioned you are in a farther province and you are vulnerable.

      Occupation in any form in Afghanistan cannot be morally justified. The CEO of that Solar Company wouldn’t set foot there, but guess who represent his profit strategies? Just like Oil/Banks are moving in, all this equals to PROFIT. And they wouldn’t be able to do it without troops fighting those who fight for their land. Imagine any country invading New Zealand because they had WMD’s, and after all the destruction, your mom would be forced to buy exported food, or electricity from foreign companies. NOW get the phrase, Another man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.


      Come home!

  • Richard K

    One wonders what kind of mindless idiot would absorb the anti-capitalist tripe from a terror apologist like Chris Hedges lock, stock and barrel. Now we know.

    As a Canadian, I apologize for this Burstyn person – we aren`t all like that.

  • Monique Angel

    Hey there Richard. I can’t wait for the chance to visit Canada as I’ve met many lovely Canadians over the years. Have updated with my very Kiwi response; hopefully humour is the one factor that dissipates stupidity and anger. And God bless all the world’s peacekeeping forces.

  • Starlight

    And she is still at it…

    This is more about notoriety for her than anything else…If she were truely sorry, she would lay low for a while and let this all blow over but noooooo.

    The fact that there is a quote from Marx on her blogspot site explains a lot…

  • Starwind

    Mahatma Gandhi – First they ignore you, then they fight you, then you win.

    Last post regarding profits made though wars … deleted. Learn to live with the truth, and set the soldiers free. These are dads, sons, brothers, sisters, daughters, mothers, friends. Why hide information that could enlighten their participation in all of this? The time for peace in the planet is not far, out with military approaches!!!

    Deleting my posts which evokes thoughtfulness is ‘fighting me’. Well read the next step, WE WIN! Bring the troops home!!!


    • Monique Angel

      I haven’t deleted anything of yours, dickhead. I think you may have played around with the delete function yourself.

    • Starwind

      Wow thank you. Hope you feel really happy about yourself and what your being means to others.

      You could have been smart, like you appear, and replied like ‘you must be mistaken, I did not delete your post’. Then I would have replied ‘I apologise for the mistake’. This is standard human interaction.

      You are sounding like another Sumner, people who fail to think before they say something, even when it makes sense, your approach and choice of words can degrade you. I forgive you even if you don’t see anything worng with calling someone you don’t know ‘dickhead’ …

      This is directed to only you as an individual and your choice of words.

      Peace to you.

  • Penchino

    How can anyone ignore Natos and their USA boss’s atrocities across the middle east and the world. While I admire some of the NZDF peaceful and practical intentions, the very act of supporting the allies and being on the ground legitimizes this unjust bloodbath. These wars are based on profit and resource control, at all costs. We shouldn’t be over there, it’s only for political gains with the USA economy.

  • Adam

    I actually felt a bit sorry for Summy Bear in that exchange. She’s supposed to be a journalist. It wouldn’t hurt her to read a wider selection of books to avoid the appearance of being misinformed. Well, I’m off to drop a Sumner Burstyn out of my Barbara. Ciao 4 now.

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