Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Time to move on

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Terence W,

    Russell I concur that this is the most thoughtful and informative commentary I have read on the whole saga.

    My thoughts as well – thank you Russell.

    Thanks. The response here and elsewhere has been flattering and gratifying. It's something I knew I'd write eventually, but of course it turned out I had to write it in 90 minutes on a Media7 production day. I'm most pleased that it apparently doesn't suck.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I'm most pleased that it apparently doesn't suck.

    It's called journalism, bro. And you is good at it.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2107 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    I think the idea that middle class white women *in particular* are subject to unfair bias is itself a bit prejudiced.

    As a middle class white woman, I inferred that more as a complaint about the jury being largely comprised of members of *any* one subgroup of society. But you have a point.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2092 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Ana Simkiss,

    So you would hardly ever have a basis to challenge for cause.

    My understanding is that the lawyers are allowed to know the suburb that the juror comes from, and that they couple that with the obviously observable demographic the juror appears to be in to make their decision about how likely the juror is to be sympathetic to their cause. So much depends on the kind of case that has come up, as to what kind of people will be challenged. For this case, for instance, the prosecution might see good sense in challenging off anyone Maori. In a rape case, the defence might challenge off only young women, and the prosecution might try to challenge out the old men. So the two demographics perceived as most likely to hold strong views are removed. In a burglary case, anyone from a poor neighborhood, or a rich neighborhood, is probably targeted.

    These are sweeping generalizations and might not reflect the exact decision making of either side, but what I'm saying is the broad idea. Essentially, the idea is to weed out strong viewpoints, which are likely to cause the jury to get stuck. So juries end up mostly middle aged and middle class.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    That lingering image of armed police boarding a school bus is a hard one to shake. From all the information we have there was no need for it to have happened. It's disturbing that we seem to find that an acceptable trade-off for pre-empting a bunch of incipient 'dickheads'.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3327 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    That Shearer chap needs a speech-writer who can deliver.. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16279 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to andrew gunn,

    Steve I think the difference between Scott and the defendants is that Scott hasn’t been spotted running round with guns and molotov cocktails.

    Just because he hasn't been seen doesn't mean he hasn't done it, we only have his word for that and you can't be too careful eh?.
    What the defendants were seen doing was little different to kids playing dress-up with unsafe toys.
    I have seen what insurgency and civil war looks like and this was nothing like it.
    Be careful next time you unpack your G.I. Joe combat set, the Police may not have any tea party tapes to listen to that day.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    You know, Russell, it's not the defendants in this case that are the danger to New Zealand, it's the police (and many other government department) powers for arbitrary search, surveillance, and detention based on little better than rumour and innuendo.

    We've just witnessed the trial of four political activists for associating with people who said things that weren't even illegal to say, because some other guy who wasn't even charged bought weapons that were not illegal to buy or own. Also, someone put petrol in the wrong kind of container once, which is almost like making truck bombs if you're a sufficiently credulous moron, or a policeman.

    The police leaked illegal evidence entirely out of context to poison the well, and the government retroactively allowed them to use such illegal evidence in other cases. They raided left-wing political activist groups throughout the country, including truly dangerous types like organic farmers and pacifists. They took all those people's computers and copied out all their contacts so they could spy on everyone they'd ever communicated with, just in case, and the government is still busy giving them more surveillance powers, less oversight, and more bullshit laws to charge harmless people with.

    This isn't about quelling the local terrorist threat, because there aren't any local terrorists. Not at Parihaka, not at Bastian Point, not in the Ureweras. This is about threatening and intimidating the entire political activist movement in New Zealand, again.

    That and finally getting Tame Iti on firearms charges after he dodged the last ones. Never underestimate the pettiness of the NZ justice system.

    Since Nov 2006 • 346 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to tussock,

    Never underestimate the pettiness of the NZ justice system.

    And the Crown.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

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    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to tussock,

    Also, someone put petrol in the wrong kind of container once

    please tell me you're not describing molotov cocktails

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16279 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    What the defendants were seen doing was little different to kids playing dress-up with unsafe toys.

    If anyone is genuinely interested in playing around with this type of gear (without the adverse recriminations), China North International Shooting Range offers a wide range to choose from including AK47, various kinds of pistols, rifles, machine guns, mortars, and a 40mm anti-tank rocket launcher, all for a small fee (bring your passport).

    Here's what Lindsay had to say.

    If that doesn't tick all your boxes, you could make a day of it: Beijing Target Shooting & Great Wall Day Tour

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to merc,

    The "crown" includes you, you know. Like the Levellers said, " it's what your votes condone "

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

  • DeepRed, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    Are these the Jobs we have been seeking?.

    You meant, 'ghost jobs'?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4063 posts Report Reply

  • andrew gunn,

    You will have to look far and wide to find a more striking illustration of the term "disingenuous" than the phrase "someone put petrol in the wrong kind of container once".

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2009 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to andrew gunn,

    You will have to look far and wide to find a more striking illustration of the term “disingenuous” than the phrase “someone put petrol in the wrong kind of container once”.

    I agree. It drives me nuts watching people come up with rationalisations about this.

    They didn't "put petrol in the wrong container". They made, and practiced with, molotov cocktails, for fuck's sake.

    And the bullshit talk about the Al Qaeda and IRA terrorist manuals and killing people might have been more amusing had not at least one such manual been been found in the searches.

    Again: I think these people were mostly idiots, but trying to rationalise their behaviour into into some sort of innocent haven't-we-all-done-that whoopsie is pathetic.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to tussock,

    That and finally getting Tame Iti on firearms charges after he dodged the last ones. Never underestimate the pettiness of the NZ justice system.

    I thought the firearms charges against Iti after the flag-shooting incident were ridiculous: that was protest plain and simple. I actually value his presence as an activist and provocateur. But I’m quite surprised that everyone seems to have forgotten that he does have a conviction for assault with a blunt instrument (on a youth in his care, if I remember rightly).

    And the fact is that while he was training with weapons and recruiting others to do the same, he told his colleagues he was preparing to “make war on New Zealand”. They said a lot of that stuff to each other.

    Frankly, the best-case scenario is that he was a fucking dickhead at the time.

    And I would also point out that the New Zealand justice system has come out with basically the right decision this time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    I'd like to call attention to this though:

    The police leaked illegal evidence entirely out of context to poison the well, and the government retroactively allowed them to use such illegal evidence in other cases. They raided left-wing political activist groups throughout the country, including truly dangerous types like organic farmers and pacifists. They took all those people’s computers and copied out all their contacts so they could spy on everyone they’d ever communicated with, just in case, and the government is still busy giving them more surveillance powers, less oversight, and more bullshit laws to charge harmless people with.

    Whatever the case with Tame Iti and his close associates - and there's no way on Earth I'm going to like, respect or trust Valerie Morse either - I must admit and the best that could be said of them is that they are "copulating phallocephalloi" - but the police did use some very tenuous connections as an excuse to intimidate peace and anti-rape activists who had been irritating them for years in Wellington and elsewhere. In many cases the associations were so tenuous that they may as well have arrested Kevin Bacon (as in six degrees of-) and the "incriminating" evidence that they seized included cake knives and avocados - but of course it was the computers and the contents of their hard drives that they were really after. There was definitely a lot of payback and opportunism in the wider raids.

    I don't think that we should forget that the real crisis of 9/11 was exploited by authorities to crack down on democratic dissent, and it would be very naive to think otherwise, or to allow it. (And that's another of the very many reasons why I didn't forgive or vote for Goff and his mates last year).

    I do think that we have to make the distinction, and judge (or reserve judgment) differently.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Russell Brown,

    They made, and practiced with, molotov cocktails, for fuck’s sake.

    I do that for fun, and the entertainment & enlightenment of whanau kids- so, I’m a *terrorist* for fucks’ sake?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris,

    Also, someone put petrol in the wrong kind of container once

    Hmm, must remember that excuse if ever I get caught shoplifting. Or urinating in the sink. Or making love to my girlfriend….

    Oops – put it in the wrong container. My bad.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Scott Chris,

    I didn't realise it was a church carpark, your honour

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16279 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Islander,

    That suggests “redneck” and “things blowed up real good” to me. Not, I hasten to add, that it necessarily applies to this case in particular, but (a barrage of disclaimers may be taken as granted here?), speaking as a bookish urban liberal intellectual myself, people who like setting things on fire and blowing up things and hunting things (because they need something to eat or because they enjoy it) are a world away from urban blah blah etceteras like myself and others. I do detect (project?) a slight incomprehension and anxiety towards people who are, for want of a better term, “rednecks” (notice my delicate use of quote marks, my ironic use of stereotypes)? Oh yes.

    Anyway, there are people who like blowing things up for fun, who like fireworks displays, and just luuurve the do-it-yourself kind and the urban liberal etcetera does not always comprehend that… and there are people whose fantasies of vengeance against “the man” take identical form to redneckery and so, maybe, I might concede a little sympathy for the police then in erring on the side of caution with Iti and co – but not the Tuhoe people, let alone the peace and anti-[police] rape activists.

    Am I trying to muddy the waters? Oh yes.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Hey, I've read some of the "Green Book" (rule #1, stay off the piss and don't tell everyone you just joined the IRA. Sensible, that)

    Apart from anything else, it's a historical document. I also have the British Army's history of the conflict.

    I've never made a petrol bomb though, but imagine the time for which it's actually a restricted weapon might be a bit short lived.

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

  • Islander, in reply to Kracklite,

    My family are shooters. We use (registered & in every way legal) firearms to shoot/kill deer/goats/ etc. We also use (registered & in every way legal) shotguns to kill things like stoats/possums/magpies/starlings/weasels etc.

    When I teach whanau about the power -and danger- of explosives, I do it to emphasize those matters – and how to be safe when that stuff is going on. Annnd,
    it can be – believe! – non-destructive fun.

    Red-neckery – it is emphatically not.
    Part of living in rural/remote areas – it is very much part of our lives.

    The ‘muddying of the waters’ wasnt at all that helpful.
    And yeah, urban etceteras like yourself dont really contribute much to this paticular strand of the thread-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Islander,

    Red-neckery – it is emphatically not.

    That is due to my ironic useage of the term, I admit, as a contrast to my own direct experience – but not my indirect experience. That is, I don’t do that sort of thing, but that I know people who might be stereotyped as such do, and they do like shooting things, collecting things that shoot, using things that shoot and blowing things up and who aren’t, and wouldn’t by any stretch of the imagination have terrorist intent, but superficially, might be seen by those who don’t shoot, explode etcetera, be thought to intend to be terrorists. I perceive an urban-rural culture gap, and that gap can lead to profound incomprehension and mistakes as to motives and intentions.

    Part of living in rural/remote areas – it is very much part of our lives.

    Which is what I meant to say.

    The ‘muddying of the waters’ wasnt all that helpful.

    Sorry, I meant to say – flippantly – that the use of firearms and explosives is not in itself clear-cut as proof of evil intent

    I’ve spent too much of the day talking about diegesis and come over all postmodern. As a consequence, I can’t make a straight statement about anything.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

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