Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Sutch Files

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  • Geoff Lealand,

    An interesting interview with Helen Sutch on Nine to Noon this morning (I am home marking essays, with the radio wittering in the background!). She rightly pointed that her mother Shirley Smith was a key support for Sutch at the time. She was also a damn good and socially-committed lawyer.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2283 posts Report Reply

  • James Francis,

    I heard the news on National Radio and then the interview with Kathryn Ryan. This is a slight tangent but there's one thing I found interesting. In all of the lead-ins it was "Bill Sutch, who was acquitted of dah de dah..."

    It occurred to me that, in that label, there is an eternal question, even damnation.

    We all have things that we haven't done ( and would never contemplate doing) but just imagine if we were defined by that?

    I'm not sure where this is going but it seemed to have a currency in light of the recent high profile court cases and acquittals.

    Better minds may find a way to tease this out. Mine, on the other hand, is going to have a cup of tea and a lie-down.

    St John's, Newfoundland • Since Nov 2006 • 114 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Do you have a copy of the Ombudsman's annex? It sounds like it would be interesting reading.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1627 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    One thing I found interesting about the interview was her assertion that a lot of the zeal behind the court case had to do with some Cold War spy catchers excited because they thought they'd actually caught their first spy - just imagine what would have happened if it wasn't a jury brought in off the street but a Bush-style secret intelligence court/star chamber

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2072 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    whatever happened to those kiwi terrorists the authorities arrested and held for a while without bail? When's the trial?

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1295 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    they're on tour in Europe

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2072 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Damn it Russell. I just lost a wager. I bet that you were going to lead with the obvious beatup on the "Power Crisis" that TV3 ran with last night. I thought Transpower Chief Executive Patrick Strange was more than patient with John Campbell. Was Campbell trying to get him to say "we are not worried about power supply"? The point Campbell seemed to be coming back to all the time was "Should the Gummint have acted sooner" The only "GASP" danger was the Otahuhu B plant will be shut down until the leak was fixed and while it was cool, they could inspect the steam system. FFS call a plumber and get over it.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4636 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    nice one paul, but seriously, i'm looking forward to the circus, when's the homecoming parade?

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1295 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    um - but I was serious

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2072 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    hold on there paul, i was aware tama got the showbiz bug, but are you suggesting that the whole 15-strong group were the group arrested last october?

    your taxed dollar • Since Mar 2008 • 1295 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    true - I was exaggerating a tad - the thought that our scary terrorists are now travelling doing plays in europe does kind of suggest that the whole thing was rather overblown, especially since much of the evidence was tossed out

    Does kind of smell a bit like the Sutch affair though - but a new generation of cold-war-warriorsbut instead of "we caught a spy" it's "we caught a terrorist" - spend all that time training and psyching them up to find terrorists and they'll start finding them under every rock

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2072 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Powles' report is here.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1627 posts Report Reply

  • Gabor Toth,

    We all have things that we haven't done ( and would never contemplate doing) but just imagine if we were defined by that?

    Though I am (just) old enough to remember his arrest, because of an interest in architectural history, I will always remember him first for his association with Ernst Plischke and this...

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    true - I was exaggerating a tad - the thought that our scary terrorists are now travelling doing plays in europe does kind of suggest that the whole thing was rather overblown, especially since much of the evidence was tossed out

    Er, there hasn't been any evidence "tossed out" as such, but the Solicitor General declined permission for a prosecution under the Terrorism Suppression Act. The intercept evidence gathered can't be used in prosecuting the alternative charges under the Firearms Act. It's not a judgement on the quality of that evidence.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18665 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Possibly off topic... but was the 1975 Freeman-Jays affair related to the Sutch case at all? Or just coincidence that it happened around the same time. There's not much showing from a google.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    a lot of the zeal behind the court case had to do with some Cold War spy catchers excited because they thought they'd actually caught their first spy

    And that, my freinds, is about all there is to this story. Russ, can you enlighten me as to why you think there is anything other than mild historic interest in this?
    I am still supprised you didn't go with the TV3 Beatup, it had me shouting at the TV, but that is not at all uncommon these days.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4636 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I think the modern day equivalent of the Sutch affair are incidents like this one where a researcher was held in jail for six days for downloading an "Al Quaeda Manual". Or, closer to home, the student pilot thrown out of NZ (and jailed in Saudi Arabia) because he briefly shared a room with one of the September 2001 hijackers.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4413 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    I will always remember him first for his association with Ernst Plischke

    I saw the great Plischke exhibition at the Wellington City Gallery a few years back. I can say I was enamoured and amazed by some of his designs, which would seem quite contemporary now.
    Apparently his design for a christchurch house (an L shape opening onto an internal courtyard and not addressing the street) caused an outrage at the time. The idea of having big windows to catch the sun would barely raise an eyebrow now. Sutch was clearly flirting with dangerous ideas for the time, however! I'd love to see the house (actually I tried to find it one visit to wellington).

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 683 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    closer to home, the student pilot thrown out of NZ (and jailed in Saudi Arabia) because he briefly shared a room with one of the September 2001 hijackers.

    When the proposed immigration bill goes through, things like this will be par for the course.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2130 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    While to me it has always seemed Bill Sutch was probably one of the good guys you do have to wonder just what he was doing meeting a Russion (KGB spy) in rather strange circumstances

    I await the opening of the appropriate KGB file

    He was a very clever man, who knew it and that can lead to strange outcomes but I have always thought of him as a NZ patriot so as I say I look forward to the Russian files being opened

    As for the SIS what a bunch of plonkers, nothing will ever change my thoughts on those fools

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 532 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Back in the 80s the SIS seemed to be a bunch of rank amateurs - I remember when they opened a Dunedin office - shock horror there were Russian fishing boats stopping for R&R - they had a phone number on the phone book, but no address - someone noticed an unknown law firm, and sat outside while someone else called the number, of course the phone rang .... later they came back and took photos .... the office was completely paralyzed up by a student with a camera

    One sat next to me in Muldoon's election appearance at the town hall just after the '81 tour - he tried to fit in but the bomber command handlebar mustache kind of gave him away ....

    BTW the russian sailors were a hoot - they hung out in groups of 3-4, one always looked like he was the political minder - they bought a lot of 2nd hand sewing machines and vodka - I remember one Sat afternoon in the Cook listening to Sam Hunt and Gary McCormack making their pleas to bring down the state and 3 very drunken russian sailors wanking to know where the music was - definitely not interested in the whole bringing down the state thing - there was probably a guy in the back somewhere with a handlebar mustache and a bad attempt at a hippie shirt

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2072 posts Report Reply

  • Eddie Clark,

    James, the house you're talking about is on the corner of Karori Rd and Flers St in Wellington. I grew up 3 minutes down the road from it, and due to its uninterest with the street outlook - its actually quite ugly to look at from the outside. The only time I ever saw the inside was at that exhibition at the city gallery, and I could finally see what all the fuss is about!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 270 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Apparently his design for a christchurch house (an L shape opening onto an internal courtyard and not addressing the street) caused an outrage at the time. The idea of having big windows to catch the sun would barely raise an eyebrow now. Sutch was clearly flirting with dangerous ideas for the time,

    I saw an article in a recent(April/May)Home magazine re Plishke and realised it was very simlar to what I grew up in. My Dad was a draughtsman at the time,and he hung out with a few Architects and in the 50's Plishke did our house .It was all glass except for concrete block walls at the end and if memory serves me right, concrete block was innovative for domestic housing at that time.It was a great piece of modern architecture.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5972 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Plischke not Plishke!

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5972 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    ...very drunken russian sailors wanking to know where the music was - definitely not interested in the whole bringing down the state thing...

    I think we have a winner in 'Typo of the Month' contest.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 802 posts Report Reply

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