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Speaker: Pt 2: Terrorism Charges -- What's Involved

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  • Sara Noble,

    I basically agree with all the sentiments on the page above, but the thing that truly disgusts me about this is that, as a nation, we have fallen for the smoke and mirrors of the Right's campaign of Terror.

    The Pakeha left seems pretty much in agreement that the STA and amendments are problematic, that civil liberties are underattack and that the police have overstepped the mark. We pick over the evidence and details of these issues with good reason. But all that assumes a position within the New Zealand State.

    Beyond that, and I think even more importantly, this is yet another chapter in the struggle for sovereignty and/or self determination between Maori and the Crown. Tuhoe never ceded sovereignty either by treaty or conquest; their vision is of peaceful co-existence as an independent nation within the country. There are many models for this already in existence.

    Paul Buchanon's piece was very helpful in separating out the requirements for an act of terrorism:

    1. Ideology: Tuhoe's is well established and constructive: peaceful, sovereign co-existence. NZ Government: absolute sovereign dominance.

    2. Means: Tuhoe - some guns mainly used for hunting. Life skills, bush craft and firearms safety training. NZ Government: an armed police force, high tech surveillance, guns, tasers etc

    3. Planning and execution: Tuhoe - 0, NZ government: reams of e-mail, text and telephone transcripts, co-ordination and mobilisation across multiple locations, intimidation, detention and destruction of infrastructure achieved.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Noble,

    I realise that a lot of Pakeha, and probably some Maori, would consider my points in the previous post almost silly; beyond silly.

    I clearly remember seeing "Smith's Dream" for the first time when I was 15 or so, and the terrible fear and dread at the idea of an invading force taking over the country. This is, I imagine, the on-going experience of Tuhoe in relation to the NZ State.

    My uncle taught me how to shoot, using leaves on a near-by lake for target practice. If I had a gun, I would probably consider how I might use it in defense of my home and family should we be attacked. Does that make me a terrorist?

    From what I have seen, and some of it has been at first hand, Tuhoe philosophy really is peaceful and constructive. Many of the leaders don't even smoke or drink. They walk a very precarious path with utmost sincerity and responsibility. It is the New Zealand state that brings violence, destruction and terror to their door, not the other way around.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • johnno,

    I would agree with you, Sara, apart from one thing. My colleague saw some of the police video evidence during a bail application, and came out saying the accused were in real trouble (he actually said 'they're fucked", but you get the point.) And if you come from this position, the whole house of cards starts to come down, and the police actions start to look justified.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 108 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Not wanting to stifle debate but Johnno there might be a couple of problems with heresay from closed preceedings.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • johnno,

    Michael, I had a long reply ready to go, but I think it best to leave it be given that I went into the closed court a bit later on.

    In regard to criticism of some of the tactics employed by the police, I would note that from what I have seen and read of what happened that day (from media and first hand reports, not from court proceedings), there was not a single action undertaken by the police that would differ from what I have seen them do on numerous ocassions, even as recently as last Friday in Mirimar. Armed roadblocks? Check. Detaining suspects at gunpoint? Check. Searching all vehicles leaving a cordon by armed police? Check. Photographing occupants of vehicles? Check. Searching suspects at gunpont? Check. That's just what they do, and have been doing for a good number of years. Perhaps we haven't been paying much attention.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 108 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Ah so you're in a privilaged position & I shud trust you.
    For leaking privilaged imfomation?
    Now that makes sense.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • johnno,

    Well, I don't think I leaked privileged information, but maybe you can put me right. And maybe, you just might have to accept that, because of my job, I do know a little more than you on this issue. Trust whoever you want, believe whatever you want - there's plenty of evidence of that on these pages.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 108 posts Report Reply

  • kowhai montgomery,

    there was not a single action undertaken by the police that would differ from what I have seen them do on numerous ocassions, even as recently as last Friday in Mirimar. Armed roadblocks? Check. Detaining suspects at gunpoint? Check. Searching all vehicles leaving a cordon by armed police? Check. Photographing occupants of vehicles? Check. Searching suspects at gunpont? Check.

    Could you provide examples of each of these? I have a vague recollection of a few examples but if you have the time spare I would appreciate it.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Finn Higgins,

    kowhai, there was a fairly sizable manhunt on last week for Wellington's headlines-for-a-day escaped axe murderer which I'm fairly sure is what johnno is referring to. But I have an ex-cop at a desk next to me here, and asking him he's pretty much said the same thing - he has recollections of near-identical operations around Levin during the 1990s when dealing with offenders believed to be armed and dangerous: roadblocks, locking down an entire small township, armed police in black, photographs of vehicle occupants etc.

    Oh, and Michael - reporting somebody's assessment of the strength of police evidence is not the same as reporting that (suppressed) evidence - it's like the difference between somebody who's seen a pre-release screener of a film saying "It's crap" versus them actually giving you a copy of the film to watch yourself. Johnno's point is an interesting one, and I valued what he had to say.

    Nobody has to trust the veracity of what he's saying - this is the internet, after all - but it's an interesting thought experiment to consider the current situation from that perspective.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 209 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Nobody has to trust the veracity of what he's saying - this is the internet, after all - but it's an interesting thought experiment to consider the current situation from that perspective.

    The police evidence from surveillance and intercepts is copious and detailed. I do think that regardless of the outcome of any eventual trial -- and some people who've seen evidence still doubt the likelihood of those implicated actually staging anything like terrorist action -- it will be impossible to justify or dismiss the actions of at least some of those charged.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • johnno,

    Last Friday, the police used armed general duties officers to place checkpoints around Miramar Pennisula while they looked for an escaped prisoner. I was at a couple of different roadblocks (Nevay Rd, Akaroa Dr, Darlington, Waka Sts), and the police were stopping vehicles and looking inside them. AOS officers were used on the prison grounds, but there was also a car-load floating around Miramar, and they made an armed search of a property on Darlington Road (nothing found). There were AOS officers in a helicopter that was used to search the area.

    Photographs were taken at a police operation in Christchurch at Hasketts Road last year. Every driver and registration was snapped as they went throught the roadblock.

    It is a reasonably common event for armed members of the AOS to operate checkpoints and search vehicles. They also regularly action search warrants when they suspect there might be an aggressive response. For example, the AOS used tear gas and distraction devices on May 31 when carrying out search warrants in Mt Eden, South Head, and Patumahoe.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 108 posts Report Reply

  • kowhai montgomery,

    he has recollections of near-identical operations around Levin during the 1990s when dealing with offenders believed to be armed and dangerous: roadblocks, locking down an entire small township, armed police in black, photographs of vehicle occupants etc.

    I would like to know for sure if there has been locking down of entire small townships and photographing of vehicle occupants in the past. The details of how and why it was carried out are important too.
    Thank you for that though.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Noble,

    "They're fucked" doesn't mean a lot to me at this stage, except that it is very hard to win against a police force that is hell bent on demonising you.

    Remember:

    Bail hearings have much more flexible rules of evidence than prosecutions - i.e. hearsay and therefore supposition can be admissible.

    Depositions hearings only present the prosecution/police case - at that stage, if the media are allowed in, we are going to hear sensationalised versions of the worst interpretation conjurable by the police. Don't make your mind up based on that either.

    We know the police are easily capable of enormous mistakes, we know that they are occasionally capable of behaviour that at least verges on conspiracy, we know they are likely to take the dimmest view of claims and acts of Mana Tuhoe. Add it all together and we might well have a miniature version of Bush versus Iraq. I'm serious - state authority is so paranoid that hundreds of thousands are displaced and die over non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Don't take the analogy any further than that - it would be a red herring - the point is that we can be stupid and brutal in the face of things we don't understand, and the state is no exception.

    My 12 year old, who spends most of his life playing WOW, looked worried and amused yesterday saying "gosh, Pete and I talk about getting weapons and killing people all the time." Like "I'm just going down to the tavern to meet the Hoard and blow up the Alliance market." (Okay, I'm a total noob, but it was something like that. And you can't trust me anyway because I read Harry Potter and like Tinky Winky handbag and all.) What might the police might make of all the more obscure game-violence references out there?

    Innocent until proven guilty.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Noble,

    Sorry about all this 2 posts in a row nonsense but separate from the above is another very important point, which was the basis of my question earlier about Tuhoe tactics:

    I think we have to be very careful about conflating the actions of any particular individuals who have not been appointed to positions of authority within Tuhoe, or any Iwi, with the philosophy or actions of the Iwi as a whole. This is a distinction that we need to keep in mind. I don't know what evidence the police have, I don't know how it may be refuted, and I don't know how directly the actions of the Urewera 17/12 reflect any Tuhoe intentions.

    What I know is that we need to cut through any hysteria and minimise the possibility of abuse of police and state power.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 127 posts Report Reply

  • Finn Higgins,

    Innocent until proven guilty.

    Quite right. But we do have a process for establishing innocence or guilt, so I'm fairly keen on letting that process run in the absence of any public proof of wrongdoing on either side.

    For the most part the public response has been fairly measured, but I think that "string 'em up!" talk on either side - whether directed at the police or the accused - merely reflects existing prejudices.

    Unfortunately there's a lot of people accusing the police of all kinds of things that are far from substantially proven, while simultaneously poo-pooing the (suppressed, but seemingly at least somewhat substantial) police evidence against the accused.

    Yes, it's a fact that the police can sometimes act in a concerted way to attempt to find evidence supporting a prior conclusion. You can't assume a police charge to equate to guilt, which is why we have courts.

    But arguing that police misconduct should be assumed in any particular case is a bit dodgy - this is again an allegation, and it has to be proven before it can be taken as fact. Ironically, attempting to accuse the police of this kind of politically-motivated prosecution without substantial evidence would leave you arguing a position not dissimilar to the one Clint Rickards has been taking.

    Oh, and Kowhai - I will ask for more specifics for you.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 209 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    "They're fucked" doesn't mean a lot to me at this stage, except that it is very hard to win against a police force that is hell bent on demonising you.

    Personally I'm not so much interested in the decision of the court when it does eventually go to trial, but what comes out in the court case in terms of what these people have been doing. I'm perfectly capable of making up my own mind by looking at evidence, and I'll want to know everything in full, not ignore stuff just because it might have been collected illegally or not eligible because it was collected for one crime but not then subsequently charged etc.

    That's because, and I'll borrow the All Blacks advert here, "that's my black jersey they're wearing". I've devoted portions of my life to issues of peace, sovereignty, and the environment. If people have abused those issues by taking them to a place that I'm not happy with then I want to be certain about what has happened, and then I guess I'm going to want to think about what work I can do to bring those issues back into the light in the proper way, because they're too important for some idiots to screw up for everyone (assuming that is the case).

    Since Nov 2006 • 6217 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Johnno - don't get me wrong I'm more than happy the cops were running around Miramar after a convicted & escaped murderer.
    But they didn't photograph anyone in Miramar did they?
    It's not like police haven't planted evidence in the past either is it?

    Finn Tame Iti just won on appeal the last nonsense charge for a cultural display (shooting the flag) that was also done by others without being charged. To me this looks like harrassment & sure I've seen no secret evidence or privi to those in the know. I don't trust rumour being spread by everyone from the PM to Johnno.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Finn Higgins,

    Michael, that's my point - I'm not telling you to trust rumours from anybody, I'm suggesting that in the absence of evidence one shouldn't pre-judge either party to be guilty of anything, or assume them incapable. You can't change your position depending on whether the accusations are being made by the police or against them.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 209 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    I'll back this guy on integrity before the boys in blue/black/DPM on this issue thanks

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4264123a11.html

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Finn Higgins,

    This is what I mean - if somebody says something with a whole lot of hyperbole mixed in that supports you views then they have "integrity" and their account should be taken as (if you'll forgive the pun) gospel.

    Example: somebody in this thread passes on their understanding of the strength of evidence in the case against the accused. Your response:

    To me this looks like harrassment & sure I've seen no secret evidence or privi to those in the know. I don't trust rumour being spread by everyone from the PM to Johnno.

    Then just a post or two later we have you responding to an article containing wild claims like...

    this is Pharaoh and the Hebrews in Egypt all over again

    ... and you're hailing his integrity? What integrity is there in mouthing off your hyperbolic opinions based on what you've previously characterised as rumours?

    Do you have any idea how incredibly biased and unreasonable you seem?

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 209 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Finn I am biased but not unreasonable.
    Biased in that there is a historical context this is being played out in and IMHO all preceeding events & established facts prior to the arrests back my POV.
    I'm not unreasonable when I accept previously established facts such as Tame Itis successful appeal but not subsequent harrassment and hysterical claims by the Police & PM.

    Relating todays events to biblical events is a justification for putting forward his POV I would think. Rather than his words it's his stand I respect.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

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