Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Te Qaeda and the God Squad

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  • stephen clover,

    We believe that this is the same group responsible for the 2005 Saran-wrapping of the American embassy in Paris

    Christo is a terrorist now?

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Hi Gabor

    I had a science teacher who taught us how to make napalm during a chemistry lesson back in the early 80s.

    Yup I took chemistry through Uni and so yes I know how to make Napalm. And yes the chemistry is just fine and dandy.

    But that's different from playing with it. And yes I think your social studies teacher was a loony who should at the very least not be allowed near schoolkids. Did he follow up the grenade throwing lessons with picture of schrapnel wounds from real grenades or did he want you to go home thinking grenades were fun?

    Napalm is not the same as other weapons, it is quite simply a very horrible way to kill and maim and no I do not believe it has a place in civilised society.

    from wiki

    Some of its finer selling points were explained to me by a pilot in 1966: "We sure are pleased with those backroom boys at Dow. The original product wasn’t so hot – if the gooks were quick they could scrape it off. So the boys started adding polystyrene – now it sticks like shit to a blanket. But then if the gooks jumped under water it stopped burning, so they started adding Willie Peter (WP – white phosphorus) so’s to make it burn better. It’ll even burn under water now. And just one drop is enough, it’ll keep on burning right down to the bone so they die anyway from phosphorus poisoning."

    "Napalm is the most terrible pain you can imagine," said Kim Phúc, a napalm bombing survivor known from a famous Vietnam War photograph."

    I don't know if the folks in the bush were playing with napalm but IF they were, they need re-educating as does anyone who thinks playing with this stuff is OK.

    Sorry to be so serious about this but we have a tendency to forget that some of the things that have been done to fellow humans really are unconscionable. It may sound fun in the chemistry class but in the history class it is horrifying.

    cheers
    Bart

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3221 posts Report Reply

  • Rebecca Williams,

    michael - i guess i was just trying to capture the two extremes that i or anyone else might be afraid of in the total absence of any useful info about what is actually going on. lack of knowledge does have a way of magnifying our worst / most unrealistic fears, innit?

    by the way, i totally agree with you about the gun control thing.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    I would say that they are rather more designed for explosively propelling small, hard projectiles at incredibly high speed and accuracy.

    The accuracy part may be debatable... but apart from marksmanship practice, what other intent can be inferred to the construction of a device designed to accurately propel a projectile at high speeds?
    Speaking as someone who doesn't own and hasn't owned a gun, and whose shooting experience is limited to blasting a bunch of skeet with a shotgun and and decimating some balloons with a .22 (pedant alert: yes decimating, I only got about 1 in 10 of them).

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 833 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    There are similar studies about homicides that attempt to examine the effect of guns and the conclusion is that gunshot wounds are more likely to be fatal, and people seem less inhibited about shooting than, say, stabbing. So more guns = more homicides.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2919 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Someone I know, but who shall remain nameless, made nitrogylerine in the chemistry lab at polytech many many moons ago... then panicked and tipped it down the sink. In a six floor building. She later reflected she was lucky some dear old prof didn't decide to throw his ciggie butt down the siink in the lab on the floor below - terrorist incident right there.

    When I used to do a bit of shooting with my mate I was of the opinion that the Somme would have been a safer place to be than some parts of the NZ bush during the roar.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1743 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Making things that go boom is a time honoured tradition of chem students the world over. I know of a couple of successful pyrotechnicians who carried out a couple of pranks at uni that might well have got them kicked out (at the least) if it had been pinned on them. DIY plastique blowing out windows in the student village for example.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 833 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I'm willing to bet real $ that Bomber's amazing revelations will be a complete fizz-out, much like the whole story is destined to be.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Hi Jeremy

    Making things that go boom is a time honoured tradition of chem students...

    I agree entirely. No problem with the odd bang. Although preferably with at least some thought about hazard to others. I like the odd bang as much as any chemistry graduate.

    BUT Napalm is different. It really isn't "fun". It isn't even that clever as chemistry. As I said I'm sorry to be so serious about it, but some things are just so nasty that joking doesn't help. Napalm was designed by clever folks to be a viscious and nasty a weapon as possible. There simply is no good reason to "play" with it.

    cheers
    Bart

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3221 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Agree with you totally on the napalm, there's no excuse for that stuff. A bit of nitro, or tnt however...

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 833 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Bart: I find it hard to understand regarding a substance as intrinsically evil.

    To me exploring the properties of substances to learn more about them has a purpose - the expansion of one's knowledge. We had a gunpowder demo in school chemistry, not to mention working with numerous energetic and reactive substances that are pretty nasty if not handled correctly.

    Incidentally, I don't believe that making and setting fire to gelled gasoline is actually illegal in NZ if done in a controlled fashion. Scheduled explosives are controlled, but gasoline, gelled or not, isn't an explosive.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4362 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'm willing to bet real $ that Bomber's amazing revelations will be a complete fizz-out, much like the whole story is destined to be.

    But what's your benchmark for a fizz-out?

    I would expect pretty much what he indicated: a few people will have said very, very stupid things in emails, phone conversations and possibly rooms. Things amply sufficient to warrant the interest of the police and upset the middle classes. What else are all the Indymedia types telling each other (and Bomber) to keep schtum about?

    I'm guessing the rumoured threat on the Prime Minister's life will prove have been uttered, but will not have been near being actioned. Again, amply sufficient for police interest.

    We have multiple sources on the military-style training camps, including the woman who said the freedom fighters were "mad and out there" and the two young hunters threatened by them. The police presumably have evidence on the napalm charge.

    We have the Trade Me records of two of those arrested, which could turn out to be of no account, but still represent a hell of a lot of buying of guns, ammo and other military equipment, and virtually no onselling. If the police plan to demonstrate their association with a group that discussed violent action, that will look pretty bad.

    Would it be totally stupid to try and outfit your would-be militia via Trade Me? Yes. And I suspect we will come to regard some of those involved as unbelievably stupid.

    We have Jamie Lockett, who has already been shown to have said enough to make me want to know a hell of a lot more about this outfit that's giving him "life skills" training and issued him his new birth certificate.

    Worst-case scenario for the cops is that they end up with no more than the arms charges they brought most of the people in on. (This would be similar to what happened to the God Squad, if rather more serious given the weapons involved.)

    But I think they'll demonstrate most or all of what Broad, who is notably cautious, has talked about. The cops won't have spent more than a year on surveillance without capturing evidence, and I suspect that there will be recordings of, as the Dom Post's source told it yesterday, people "talking about killing people".

    The links with green and animal rights groups will come down to a couple of people (Broad said that merely being at the camps would not be considered an offence), and the Wellington raid will probably turn out to be a stinker, because it will have missed a former resident who was the target of the warrant. (I'm totally speculating there ...)

    I'm not even clear about what SoTA charges imply, so I have no real idea whether they'll be levelled. But I think there'll turn out to be enough in it to seriously embarrass quite a few people, and damage the groups involved.

    Can you honestly tell me you'd rather not know about any of the above and it's all some people's private business?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • Bob Munro,

    nothing i have read before has ever screamed 'bored cop' like an 'anti-terrorism' squad being involved in a milk poisoning incident...

    Presumably they were obliged to investigate under this:

    "(b) a serious risk to the health or safety of a population:

    The fact that no prosecution was made under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 we can speculate that the action didn’t meet the criteria of 'serious risk' but the section (b) does indicate why an investigation was undertaken in the first instance.

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 418 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Incidentally, I don't believe that making and setting fire to gelled gasoline is actually illegal in NZ if done in a controlled fashion. Scheduled explosives are controlled, but gasoline, gelled or not, isn't an explosive.

    But as I implied at extraordinary length above, "so what were youse guys doing with napalm?" may well turn out to be a fairly embarrassing question.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    __nothing i have read before has ever screamed 'bored cop' like an 'anti-terrorism' squad being involved in a milk poisoning incident...__

    Presumably they were obliged to investigate under this:

    "(b) a serious risk to the health or safety of a population:

    The fact that no prosecution was made under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 we can speculate that the action didn’t meet the criteria of 'serious risk' but the section (b) does indicate why an investigation was undertaken in the first instance.

    Yeah, I agree completely. On the face of it, the bulk poisoning of milk has overtones of both economic sabotage and a public safety risk. It was entirely appropriate for the anti-terrorism squad to become involved, and equally appropriate for it to hand the matter on once the nature of the case was established. I really can't see why that's controversial.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Melchior,

    the Wellington raid will probably turn out to be a stinker, because it will have missed a former resident who was the target of the warrant. (I'm totally speculating there ...)

    I've got a friend who lives in that house and I reckon that someone who stayed there (or stayed there regularly) who be a person of interest, but there's a lot of major activist types in and around that place. That doesn't make them terrorists of course.

    Melbourne • Since Nov 2006 • 30 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Colonel Kilgore: I love the smell of napalm in the morning, it smells like...victory.
    Captain Willard: So why did you napalm the whole village?
    Col. Kilgore: Because charlie don't surf.
    Apocalypse Now.
    Charlie don't surf and we think he should, charlie don't surf and you know that it ain't no good, charlie don't surf for his hamburger mama, charlie's going to be a napalm star.
    The Clash, Charlie Don't Surf.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    the saying 'nobody walks...' applies just as much to the innocent as the guilty - often a wrong answer in questioning or words taken out of context mean that someone who was guilty of X and was about to be charged with X (and probably deserves to be charged with X), is instead charged with the more serious offence of Y.

    If the police are looking to build a case against certain activists, and the activist community is feeling targeted, then such behaviour becomes instantly understandable.

    RB, could you change the paragraph where it says "Scoop's photograph of the search warrant for the Wellington house suggests a similar haul." The photograph in question is actually for a house in Symonds St Auckland. Cheers!

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2120 posts Report Reply

  • Bob Munro,

    Yeah, I agree completely. On the face of it, the bulk poisoning of milk has overtones of both economic sabotage and a public safety risk. It was entirely appropriate for the anti-terrorism squad to become involved, and equally appropriate for it to hand the matter on once the nature of the case was established. I really can't see why that's controversial.

    Yes Russell I was thinking that times have really changed since 9/11 and perhaps what was once people playing silly buggers like letting off explosions for fun now have much more serious legal connotations. This is way off the topic I know but I was wondering how the introduction of the RCD rabbit virus by pissed off farmers would be handled now. Probably by full scale swoop’s on the woolsheds of the South Island high country.

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 418 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    The links with green and animal rights groups will come down to a couple of people...

    That sounds about right to me. I don't believe that there would be any major linkage, just some individuals who most likely will turn out to have psychological problems.

    But I do wish these groups would stop with the New Zealand on the verge of a fascist state bit. The bad people targeted are the ones most likely to do that.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Bell,

    As always, I have to admire the restraint that has largely being shown here and Russ's admirable efforts to both summarise the facts and predict the likely outcomes. After reading through all the comments and just want to say something that might seem obvious to the rest of you but which I feel could use re-stating:

    Whatever the aims of those who are being held, and whatever they may or may not be charged with, what we do not need is more legislation.

    If terror activities were planned or carried out by anyone; threats were made against specific or unspecified persons; or people were found to be bearing arms they do not have a right to carry, there are more than enough laws already in existence to deal with those circumstances, laws that have been argued over and massaged into legal English by more convoluted minds than our own.

    New prevention of terrorism legislation does not stand a chance of preventing terrorism any more than stopping passengers taking liquids onto planes will stop it. All it does is make it more difficult for law-abiding people to go about their business.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    New prevention of terrorism legislation does not stand a chance of preventing terrorism any more than stopping passengers taking liquids onto planes will stop it. All it does is make it more difficult for law-abiding people to go about their business.

    I think we need an explanation of precisely what the SoTA of 2002 does, how it changes things, and what effect it has on our civil liberties. Graeme, that's you I'm calling ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    <quote>As someone quite rightly put it last night....'if not one talks, everyone walks'.

    Yep, I find that pretty creepy ...</quote>

    Think of it another way: we have a right to silence in this country, and it's the job of the police, rather than the accused and co-accused, to prove the allegations.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    I think we need an explanation of precisely what the SoTA of 2002 does, how it changes things, and what effect it has on our civil liberties. Graeme, that's you I'm calling ...

    It's not so bad. It defines a "terrorist act", creates a number of offences (including recruiting for or participating in terrorist groups), and sets up a designation system allowing the government to designate groups as terrorists. Unlike foreign legislation, it creates no special powers of search and detention, so the stuff we're seeing on IndyMedia and some blogs about draconian powers is simple hysteria. Even if the police press participation charges, they'll have to do so under ordinary law, in open court, and the accused with enjoy all the normal rights of those accused under our legal system.

    The amendment bill which will get its second reading later in the week is a different story. It will amend the designation regime to give sweeping powers to the PM and remove any real right of appeal (so if Greenpeace is falsely accused of being terrorists, tough shit), remove the current exemption for lawful protest (allowing it to be classified as terrorism), and create a completely redundant general offence of "committing a terrorist act" (redundant because every terrorist act is at minimum also an act of assault, murder, manslaughter or criminal damage). The most objectionable and significant change, however, is that it will allow the use of secret evidence in terrorism trials, making one of the worst features of the Zaoui case an official part of our justice system.

    The amendment bill is a crock and should be thrown out. Unfortunately, it will probably pass by a massive margin of 111 - 10. Fundamental human rights? Justice? What are they?

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1625 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    Whatever the aims of those who are being held, and whatever they may or may not be charged with, what we do not need is more legislation.

    There is the argument that such acts would be punishable under existing criminal law anyway. But the question is, is the crime of illegal position of a fire arm the same as the illegal possession of a fire-arm for the purpose of influencing the democratic process?

    Personally I think they are different offenses and any criminal activity that is intended to pervert the democratic process should be treated more severely. The context of the actions is significant.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

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