Friday, October 26, 2007


Scoop is an internet newspaper that I tap into quite frequently, and most particularly when there is news about of the more pressing and political kind.

So their slant on the "Terrorism Raids" of a fortnight back is at the least an interesting read - with the "conspiracy theory" filters turned on it can almost make sense.

Scoop has, however, done something that no other MSM outlets has yet given us. Thus far Scoop has given short bio's of two of the Urewera 17.

- Omar Hamed
- Rongomai Bailey

Well, certainly the first just has to be a terrorist. Look at his name for a starter!! And he is proud of the fact that he is half Palestinian!! Terrorist for sure!!

As for the second, well what can you say in favour of a MAori who has a European name!! Yeah, and he's an activist as well. Why else would he be a terrorist!!

OK, so let's take a look at the bio of the head cop in the investigation... Assistant Police Commissioner Jon White. Good cop!! He makes sure that these terrorists can't hide anywhere. Keeps us safe in our beds at night.

OK, that's the fun part over.

Go back and read those three bio's. Go to Wikipedia for Tame ITi's - he is well documented.

The Herald this morning has an outliner of a fourth - one Jamie Lockett. Of all those known of at the moment, including Iti, this guy is the one that scares me the most. He is (has been for some years) a serious loose cannon with no brakes... From the Herald -
The 46-year-old stands apart from his 15 co-accused because he does not have an underpinning philosophy.

Those who know Lockett say he is no anarchist or Maori activist: he is driven instead by a seemingly pathological dislike for police, said to have begun when an officer spat in his shoe while he was being held in custody.

It began a belligerent feud that has become so all-consuming it has left him penniless, seen him fall out with friends, and means few who know him can recall what he was like before it began.

Lockett has spent nearly all his life in Auckland's eastern suburbs, enjoying a comfortable upbringing as son of the managing director of the successful Morgan Furniture.

He was educated at Auckland Grammar before training as a mechanic, living overseas and working at the furniture company.

Not a particularly "spectacular" beginning for a man who is a serious candidate as a "terrorist". None of the expected "disadvantage" and "disenfranchise" aspects that is often promoted as most likely cause for a person becoming a terrorist. Quite the opposite in fact. And to dismiss him as "nutter" is just to simple, too glib, and dangerous.

Tame Iti, let's start with him. He is a hot-head. He does not like the government, or the police. He has been ill-used by both over the years. The people he represents have been ill-served as I have said in the previous two parts of this series. He has whakapohani'd important people, and hupe'd at them. Quite artfully too! He is the thorn in several important sides when it comes to Maori issues in general, and particularly those issues that impinge (however indirectly) on the Tuhoe people.

Iti, let us remember, occupies the same kind of space as Joe Hawke who I have mentioned previously and who was one of the organisers of the Bastion Point occupation in the 1970's. The closure of that event was another sad day in the history of Maori and government. This present government - at least as it is represented by our Police force - seems determined to repeat those mistakes.

Iti also, let us remember, is fighting the same battle that the Harawira family (led by the now rather formidable matriarch Titewhai) fought over the Raglan Golf Club. Her son, Hone, is now a member of Parliament.

So how do three such different people "qualify" as terrorists. There is much debate on just what the motive for these raids might have been. The most suasive is the connect [conspiracy warning] between the raids and the introduction to Parliament for consideration of a Bill to amend the existing, already somewhat repressive, anti-terrorism law. From Scoop's analysis -
Passed in the wake of September 11, primarily to fulfil New Zealand's obligations under international law to seek to prevent terrorism, the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 does a hell of a lot less than a lot of people seem to think.

Unlike similarly-themed laws passed in other countries it doesn't create search or arrest powers. It doesn't allow phone tapping. It doesn't allow extended periods of interrogation or lengthy periods of confinement without charge. It doesn't permit the use of secret evidence in terrorism prosecutions, or prohibit the media from discussing what's going on. Nor are there special powers to set up road blocks, or storm school buses.

In New Zealand, terrorism offences are treated the same as other offences. The same presumption of innocence, the same criminal procedure, the same suppression rules and bail laws. Applications for search or interception warrants follow the same procedure whether the offence is against the Terrorism Suppression Act, the Arms Act or the Crimes Act.

So what does it do? Mostly, it's about terrorist financing: creating consequences for people who fund terrorism, and allowing the freezing and seizing of terrorists' assets. For this purpose, it sets up a regime to designate groups and people as terrorists – so that we know whom we can't finance.

It also incorporates other obligations we have under various international conventions. To enact into NZ law obligations under the Bombings Convention (which pre-dates 9/11) it creates offences relating to terrorist bombing. Fulfilling our obligations under the Nuclear Material Convention, and the Plastic Explosives Convention, sees the creation of offences relating to the handling of unmarked plastic explosives, and the misuse or nuclear material.

The update of this law that is now before Parliament contains all of the "missing bits" -
This Bill amends the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, seeking to correct inconsistencies of that Act with New Zealand's obligations under the Charter of the United Nations and the United Nations Security Council resolutions on terrorism. It contains proposals on the designation of UN listed terrorist entities, the High Court extension of designations for those entities, the freezing of terrorists' assets, the terrorist financing offences, the offences of committing a terrorist act and participating in a terrorist group. The Bill also introduces new offences involving nuclear material.

The emphasis is where the major part of the debate is centred.

The new law gives the Prime Minister (who by "tradition" has always been responsible for the SIS and GCSB) the sole and unfettered power to declare a person or a group of persons as being "terrorist". There is remaining a right of judicial review but, given the progress [conspiracy warning] of the current secret trials - and as yet the present anti-terrorism law has not been formally invoked - it is likely that the review would be in the fact of undeclared and unchallenged evidence that would never get to the eyes of the Judge let alone any of the individuals trying to express their own views on life and politics in NZ.

To show just how draconian this could become. I mentioned Joe Hawke earlier. If the terrorist law - existing and proposed - had been available to Rob Muldoon, just how long would it have taken him to invoke its provisions against Hawke? Can anyone imagine Dame Whina Cooper as a designated terrorist? OK, so she never took part in "training camps" in the Ureweras. But Hawke was certainly described by Muldoon as "activist" in a way that would equate with "terrorist" in this new day and age.

Those of us who protested against visits by LBJ in the '60's would now be somewhat more uncertain of our right to try and keep the b***** awake all night. We would need to be, given the matters being used to judge the difference between legitimate protest and "terrorist acts". "Likely to lead to public disorder and disobedience" might not appear in so many words. With Auntie Helen the first Prime Minister in a very long time if ever, to suffer the outrage of an act of sedition. It will be very interesting indeed to see if Timothy Selwyn's name crops up among the Urewera 17.

So, I can imagine that names like Nicky Hager, Timothy Selwyn, John Campbell (remember the ambush of Auntie Helen?), Winston Peters, Hone Tamahiri, Animal Action Rescue Team (no I don't agree with their beliefs, tactics or actions, but they should have the right to protest within the limits of existing criminal law), Forest and Bird Society, Greenpeace - the list could cover every aspect of NZ life and political concern - being designated as "terrorist" or "terrorist group". The impact of a designation would remain even though subsequent judicial review might find the designation to be unjustified. It might be "safe" law in the hands of known politicians but we must also look to the future, and the possibility of future abuse of the power of this law by less scrupulous politicians.

By the time they have come to power; by the time they have abused the powers this new law contains; it will be too late.

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