Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Te Qaeda and the God Squad

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  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Armed offenders squad - no presumption of innocents there.

    A name change to armed defenders would be good as it does have that or at least the absence of a presumption of guilt.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    One of the Wellington arrestees has just been released, and on hearing their name (still suppressed) I'm extremely surprised. This person is one of the nicest and most peaceful people I know. I'm not just saying that - I'm sure most people who've met them would say the same.
    Personal anecdotes don't make someone innocent, but my level of incredulity towards all of this has just rocketed.

    We certainly seem to be coming down to a choice between justifiable concern and police cock-up. From Radio NZ news:

    One of the men facing charges after last week's nationwide police raids has been released on bail.
    Rongomai Bailey, 28, is facing four charges under the Arms Act, including possession of a rifle and molotov cocktails.

    He is also alleged to have attended three so-called military-style training camps in the Ureweras.

    The judge released him on bail on condition that he not go within 30 kilometres of Ruatoki or possess any firearms or explosives, adding that there was still a chance Mr Bailey might face charges under the Terrorism Suppression Act.

    Mr Bailey had been granted interim name suppression but it lapsed at a hearing on Tuesday in Auckland District Court where his lawyer was arguing for his release on bail.

    A handful of people were in court to support Mr Bailey, including his sister and girlfriend.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    PC notes that Bailey was involved in producing the conspiracist Uncensored magazine. Which certainly doesn't make him a terrorist (because then Mikey Havoc would be a terrorist), but it does speak of a certain lack of taste.

    OTOH, there's your Steve Crow connection. Run with it!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    So just like Will Smiths "Men in Black" the intel about aliens from the Enquirer, our cops are getting theirs Terrorism intel from uncensored.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    So just like Will Smiths "Men in Black" the intel about aliens from the Enquirer, our cops are getting theirs Terrorism intel from uncensored.

    Nah, that's not really relevant. And I shouldn't inflict my own feelings about Uncensored (whose creator, Jonathan Eisen, I have regarded as basically despicable since his role in the sad story of Liam Williams-Holloway) on Bailey, who does seem like a gentle soul. The judge clearly didn't regard him as a risk either. But it does look like he made some poor choices.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Seriously though was it (in part) a justification for funding?

    The Airforce lost their strike force as they were never used from their inception to demise.

    NZ Army has SAS CTAG is set up to address domestic Terrorism which seems to in direct competition for that special band of cops (I've forgotten their name) who step beyond AOS activities & go bush.

    Here's what the Army just did in Afghanistan
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/4247921a11.html

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    it was doubtless a very hazy, very smokey, very peaceful bubble. then some numnut brought along some p.

    Get of the grass Che.

    How did you jump to the conclusion that a bunch of people who's names we mostly don't even know, are obviously on P. It's common knowledge that Tama Iti abstains from smoking dope or drinking te waipiro.

    I believe that one person out of 17 has been charged cannabis possession.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4341 posts Report Reply

  • 100 Word,

    Get of the grass Che.

    How did you jump to the conclusion that a bunch of people who's names we mostly don't even know, are obviously on P.

    He must be on the P to say something like that ;)

    Since Sep 2007 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I have just learned that one of the (still name suppressed) arrestees is someone I know. Maybe this is the same person George Darroch knows.

    Let me join the chorus of people saying "Him? Not in a million years."

    My thinking is that if the police have anything concrete, they have way over-extended their case. I can just imagine them having reached the conclusion "ZOMG! Teh TERROR!" and then wilfully misinterpreting everything else they learn in the light of that belief.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    He must be on the P to say something like that ;)

    Well maybe , The idea that, because the police have arrested people on firearms charges = must be on P, is a bit curtain twitchy.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4341 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Bomber has some comment this morning:

    Which is why the cops had better have this in the bag, so low is their credibility that anything short of a smoking gun in terms of evidence is going to be enough to restore public confidence in their actions. NZers have a default mechanism that automatically sets to the person getting pushed around, we don’t like it and it gets us defensive, which is exactly what Hone Harawira is articulating.

    Note however he doesn’t try and defend or negate the charges against those being held, which has become the tone of choice once people hear what the Police allege they have as evidence

    In other news Jamie Lockett has been bashed in prison (after talking with a cell mate of his who got out a couple of days ago, Jamie was apparently in full ‘revolution’ mode inside and wouldn’t stop talking about it), and the inability of the Police to keep one of those charged inside suggests they don’t have the evidence to keep him after he was released on bail.

    There seem to be two groups of those arrested, those who were just radical and went to the camps, and those who plotted plans.

    More sparks are expected as the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill is debated in Parliament this afternoon.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    My thinking is that if the police have anything concrete, they have way over-extended their case. I can just imagine them having reached the conclusion "ZOMG! Teh TERROR!" and then wilfully misinterpreting everything else they learn in the light of that belief.

    And as I/S pointed out last week, the firearms charges seem to amount to holding someone else's gun. If Bailey and others attended "training" camps where guns and molotovs were being handled it would seem to reflect poorly on their claims to peaceability, but it hardly makes them terrorists.

    It still seems the police have alarming evidence relating to some of those arrested, but, if so, that group's looking quite small. As I said yesterday, it only take one nutter (and Lockett seems plenty crazy), but the police might just have shot themselves in the foot with the conduct of their operation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    The Molotov cocktails charges (at least to the Wellington crew) are from 13-16Sep07?
    I suppose they had to move before 5Nov07 and it got really confusing.

    Bombers been talking about grenade launchers. They're really like an oversized sawn-off shotgun & need a specific round like an oversized shotgun round to work. Incredibly simple kit but can't be mixed in with a molotov cocktail.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M203_grenade_launcher

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    From the Wiki page above

    Civilian ownership
    In the United States, M203 grenade launchers are classified as "Destructive Devices" under the National Firearms Act subject to the NFA process. M203s are not that common in the civilian NFA market because each explosive 40 mm grenade is also subject to the NFA process and its subsequent $200 tax. 37 mm flares are legal for civilian use without an NFA stamp, and 37 mm flare launchers have been built along near identical lines to the M203 launchers.


    So just use flares (are they back in now?).

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Shouldn't mental health services, rather than the Police, be dealing with this Lockett fellow?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Sonic,

    IMHO I think we all have a bit of a choice to make.

    Up until now the default position for people like Russell, Bomber etc has been "well the police must have something" well so far even the best informed speculation boils down to people running around the hills, some loose words and a, rather weakly put forward "attempt" to buy a rocket launcher.

    On the other side anyone who finds out the names of some of the people arrested says "no way in a million years is x a terrorist"

    It's not a game, people are locked in prison tonight and may spend the next two years there if they do not get bail. Lives are being ruined and friends and family living in fear.

    So it is get off the fence time.

    Which side are you on?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    IMHO I think we all have a bit of a choice to make.

    Up until now the default position for people like Russell, Bomber etc has been "well the police must have something" well so far even the best informed speculation boils down to people running around the hills, some loose words and a, rather weakly put forward "attempt" to buy a rocket launcher.

    Bomber knows a lot more than me; meaning he knows some of the police surveillance evidence, because he has been privy to conversations in the activist community. I suspect he has also gained an impression of the veracity of that evidence through those same conversations. Chris Trotter may be in the same position.

    Bomber's position seems quite reasonable: the plotting was probably bullshit talk, but the police were obliged to get involved.

    Judging by the evidence leaked to the Dom Post by one of the defence lawyers, Iti did seek to obtain a grenade launcher from an Auckland arms dealer. I can't help but take a dim view of that.

    My sense is that most of what has been leaked to the papers (discussion of simultaneous attacks, etc) will be borne out to a greater or lesser degree by the evidence. The cops wouldn't have leaked it otherwise. What the context is and how seriously it ought to be taken, I don't know. But I really fucking hate the fact that this information is being disseminated by leaks rather than placed in front of a court.

    On the other side anyone who finds out the names of some of the people arrested says "no way in a million years is x a terrorist"

    Without wanting to appear a smartarse, that line of argument doesn't usually play very well in court.

    If you haven't read Graeme's highly informative posts on the TSA, go and read them. The cops have already cleared a few hurdles. And let's not undervalue judicial process. It's what we all wanted for Zaoui after all.

    It's not a game, people are locked in prison tonight and may spend the next two years there if they do not get bail. Lives are being ruined and friends and family living in fear.

    I think it's appalling that we face the prospect of not having the facts presented for that long, not only because it's so hard on those involved, but because this will be an issue still unresolved by the next time we vote.

    So it is get off the fence time.

    Which side are you on?

    Take a "side" if you must. I'm just trying to work out what I think. It would be easier to eff and blind about state terror, I know.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    On the other side anyone who finds out the names of some of the people arrested says "no way in a million years is x a terrorist"

    Well, that's proof then. I mean, it's not as though people who are well-thought of by friends and colleagues have ever turned out to be pedophiles, or wife-beaters, or serial killers, or rapists.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Yoza,

    ""As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air -- however slight -- lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness." : William O Douglas

    Here's an alternative theory, this whole 'anti-terror' raid is little more than an attempt by the security services to see what they can get away with and an opportunity to put into practice in the real world what they have been practicing in secret for the last 1/2 dozen or so years.

    The ongoing effects of global warming, the rapid depletion of unrenewable resources and the growing disparity between those who have and those who are subject to their decisions will eventually lead to a desperate underclass and a disenfranchised majority. 'Democracy' as presented by the mainstream media will become impossible to sell to an increasingly incredulous public and the only option left to the ruling elite and their business class functionaries will be to declare a state of national emergency, always framed of course as being in the name national security and in the interests of the public good.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2007 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Re: Stephen's comment nope, that was someone else. Like everyone else, I'm just waiting, hoping the idle speculation can end sometime soon.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Whatever, Yoza. I buy cock-up over conspiracy every time.

    One of the interesting things about NZ is that we all know each other, within just two or three degrees of separation. When that first unedited clip played on TV3 news, the first question on the blogs was, "Does anyone know where that house is?". And what do you know, someone did. Several people on this blog have commented that they know, personally, some of the people behind bars.

    We all know the "ruling elite" here, and their dirty little secrets, all too well. Our democracy is incredibly robust, as shown by the extent to which most of us are at least prepared to withhold judgement, and often enough deeply sceptical, of the evidence, until it has been presented in court. Sure, we would all like to know more right now. I'm strongly of the view that the police are on notice, and their case had better be bloody good. But that's evidence of the strength of government of the people, by the people, and for the people, in this country.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    t's not as though people who are well-thought of by friends and colleagues have ever turned out to be pedophiles, or wife-beaters, or serial killers, or rapists.

    Ooh, I can play that game! It's not as though the New Zealand Police Force has ever made a mistake, planted evidence, exceeded its powers, or failed to convict either.

    *cough*

    Point taken. But if you're a betting man or woman, you'll go on past form, one way or another. Your pedophiles, wife-beaters and serial killers generally turn out to have form. The person I know does not.

    Anyway, despite that, I'm not quite at the taking sides point either. Or at least, I will change sides as my understanding of what's going on changes.

    Clearly we have several distinct things in play here:
    - whether a serious crime has taken place
    - whether a serious crime might have been about to take place
    - whether police acted rightly on information about the above
    - whether civil liberties are being abused (eg, serious crimes could be afoot AND police could be abusing civil liberties to deal with it).

    And so on. It's hard to see all those different issues in isolation.

    Personally, I incline to a view, based in the information I have, and I find it a reasonable view. If I hear new information I will change it accordingly.

    What's concerning me right now is the incredible secrecy - we don't know who's detained, and we don't know why they've been refused bail - and as Russell said, the leaks in that secrecy. I don't see justice being done right now, and that tends to make me feel like it might not be.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Radio NZ interview with Rongomai Bailey and NZ Herald report on his press conference.

    On legal advice, he wouldn't discuss the firearms charges or whether he'd been to the training camps, but came across as gentle and sincere; naive even. The judge who granted him bail presumably thought something of the sort. (Even the cops who knocked on his door and arrested him seem to have been nice.)

    If all the cops have on him are photographs that possibly include him and weapons (I undersand photographs at the camps are a key part of the evidence) I hope they do the decent thing and don't make him wait two years for bugger-all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    I don't see justice being done right now, and that tends to make me feel like it might not be.

    But justice has to be seen to be done in the right place - in a court not right now in the media. The police are on the back foot in this respect because they cannot go public with all the information they have - and we should not expect them to. The publics right to know has to be tempered with the course of natural justice.

    I have enough faith in our justuce system to give them the beneift of the doubt.

    (I'd like to know just what it is that the Police have supposed to have "leaked" - have they been leaking or is that stuff all just media speculation?)

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    Campbell Live on TV3 tonite tackled the issue of the Police's right to take photos of people they've stopped at a roadblock. Lucky for the Police Talking Head someone had laid a complaint with the PCA about it, so he wasn't actually able to provide any substantive answers because ... it's before the Police Complaints Authority. Sweet, eh?

    And before anyone plays the race card and sez it was only Maori who got stopped and photographed ... this is not the first time the Police have photographed people en masse. Last time it was the (predominantly) middle class whitey

    Detectives investigating a possible drugs-related death forced all the 450-odd people at a Pakatoa Island dance party to line up and be photographed before letting them go home.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

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