THIS JUST IN

385 Responses

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  • Steve Barnes,

    Antinomy

    Not to be confused with Antimony, Which I share my initials with, element Sb :-), and is just as relevant.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Finn Higgins,

    'Racism' is not something that can be identified in a narrative of 'facts' (the playthings of lawyers), but is a visceral experience of being that includes the sanctioned messages of popular culture, the commodification of indigeneity, the attitude of a gaze, the eloqent tightness of a smile, or the self-conscious, ham-fisted friendliness of a liberal.

    So hang on, you're even classing people being awkward in their attempts to be culturally sensitive as racism? Or the "commodification of indigeneity", which I assume means something like "people thinking stuff is hip because it comes from an indigenous culture"? If so then you're right, the word "racism" probably is irrelevant and useless. Once you're using it to describe everything from KKK lynchings to people who buy Zap Mama albums then you might as well just apply it to everybody and stop talking about whether anybody is racist at all. That would, however, seem pretty stupid given than there's actual damaging, specific racial discrimination that does exist in the world and it's nice to have a word for it that isn't so generalized as to be effectively meaningless.

    As an aside, if you consider facts to be the "plaything of lawyers" and an irrelevance to discussion then you're going to be hard pressed to ever build bridges with people who don't share your subjective perceptions, because all they can ever do is disagree with you. Facts are useful, because they are at their heart points of agreement, the seeds of a shared understanding.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 209 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    well we're bound to disagree on his one but I think the PM has it right. The terrorism laws are inappropriate for what Iti was up to but the laws which should be used have a number of failings. There's no good reason why intercepts shouldn't be able to be used with fire arm charges, if they can be used for drugs then why not for guns.

    I guess the important distinction to bear in mind when making statements like this is that drugs are largely illegal, whereas firearms, while heavily controlled, aren't illegal as long as the appropriate licenses are held (regardless of the general hysteria about firearms from many). Another issue is one of scale. Drug offences are so common as to not rate much of a mention, while any firearms related offences are generally rare enough in this country to provoke the usual hysteria and hyperbole from all sides. Should we detract from the limited resources available on the real issues (drugs, murder, sexual assaults etc), to focus more heavily on the inconsequential, and rarely occuring?

    On the subject of firearms and the "Urewera 17", I am extremely surprised that no mainstream commentator (that I can find mention of) has condemned them for being "allegedly" involved in activities around the illegal use of firearms.

    Surely the idea that activists of any stripe are involved in breaches of firearms laws should be causing some consternation amongst the wider population, not least among the accused's respective supporters?

    I fully support the right to peaceful protest, but I am concerned that no-one, especially those sectors of the community with the most to lose from this (i.e. the various organisations/causes that are seen in the media as being the supporters of the 17), have indicated any alarm about how this involvement in activities with the potential for violence might undermine all of their respective causes, and on the way in which protest is perceived from this point on.

    If I was a member of those organisations or groups, I would be roundly condemning any involvement with illegal firearms, and my support for any of the accused would very much be conditional on them being proved innocent on all charges.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    challenging yes, inflammatory no

    I just don't see anything about what Jackson and many others are saying is in anyway challenging. Jackson and Sykes are lawyers and have a penchant for cheap amateur theatrics which can beneficially to their clients and entertaining at times but it's not constructive politics.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    Well, it challenges me and inflames you then. As far as constructive politics goes, who knows? I am not an expert on politics.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    given than there's actual damaging, specific racial discrimination that does exist in the world and it's nice to have a word for it that isn't so generalized as to be effectively meaningless.

    Now I see the reference to Antinomy.

    Ok. To say that someone is of a particular race is, in itself, racist as the word is used to discriminate between perceived differences between peoples. However. There is only one race, the human race and the term "Race" is a substitution of the word "Species" In the world of Canines we differentiate with the word "Breed" but if we were to use that term in regard to humans then that would be considered racist.
    I hope that clears that up.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'd personally like to call for a moratorium on the use of the words "stormtrooper" and "ninja" with respect to the police.

    It's getting silly and, in the case of "stormtrooper" verges on the offensive. And I'm sure the old bloke in Ruatoki was treated somewhat insensitively by the police, but was it really "like what the Nazis did to the Jews"? No it bloody wasn't.

    I'm inclining towards the view (a) that the police over-reacted in some key respects, but (b) it's past time that some of the advocates for the other side stopped ignoring the elephant in the room, especially evidence of the stockpiling of weapons, and draw an emphatic distinction between dissent and arming-up.

    The intercept evidence doesn't amount to proof of terrorism, but I strongly suspect it would not incline me to think well of several of those involved.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    This is scary. The detail of the "commando gear" that's most disturbing is the facial covering.

    Mr Williams said the interviewees, mainly women, told stories of being ordered out of bed in the early hours of October 15 by police toting guns and wearing black commando gear.

    "They were herded into either a shed or a prescribed area and all were kept under guard for a period of several hours."

    Adults were not allowed to get food or blankets for hungry, crying children, and a girl as young as 15 was subjected to "an intimate body search", Mr Williams said.

    People also told of their houses being trashed by police - including holes smashed in the ceilings - with no effort made to remedy the damage.

    Faceless men with machineguns raiding NZers houses at dawn: we HAVE stepped ove some sort of line, surely?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • David Cauchi,

    I believe racism is commonly defined as 'treating someone differently solely on the basis of race'. So stuff like

    ...classing people being awkward in their attempts to be culturally sensitive ... [and] the "commodification of indigeneity", which I assume means something like "people thinking stuff is hip because it comes from an indigenous culture"...

    is what's known as mild racism, whereas things like KKK lynchings and handing out blankets infected with the influenza virus is much more serious racism. You don't need a new word just to distinguish between degrees. It's all racism.

    The fact is that functional MRI scans have shown that we all have an inbuilt propensity to racism. This propensity can, however, be easily overcome if you are aware of it. What this means is owning up to what racism is, not hiding from it by claiming that only stuff like KKK lynchings count.

    I'd personally like to call for a moratorium on the use of the words "stormtrooper" and "ninja" with respect to the police.

    I don't approve of moratoria on words. Using emotive language for rhetorical effect has a long and honourable tradition, can be glorious when used well (even if you don't agree with what's being expressed), and gives you useful information about the person using it when used badly.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • David Cauchi,

    Oh, and what Steve said about there not really being anything as what's commonly meant by 'race' is true. I believe there are more genetic differences within an ethnic group than there are between ethnic groups.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • johnno,

    This is scary. The detail of the "commando gear" that's most disturbing is the facial covering.

    Mr Williams said the interviewees, mainly women, told stories of being ordered out of bed in the early hours of October 15 by police toting guns and wearing black commando gear.

    "They were herded into either a shed or a prescribed area and all were kept under guard for a period of several hours."

    Adults were not allowed to get food or blankets for hungry, crying children, and a girl as young as 15 was subjected to "an intimate body search", Mr Williams said.

    People also told of their houses being trashed by police - including holes smashed in the ceilings - with no effort made to remedy the damage.

    Faceless men with machineguns raiding NZers houses at dawn: we HAVE stepped ove some sort of line, surely?

    Again, I have to say that this is reasonably common police tactics. The AOS uniform is lagely based on protecting the police - the overalls are fire resistant, as are the balaclavas, the helmet is used to protect the head (obviously), the vest is used to stop bullets.

    There seems to be a deliberate attempt to play the martyr card on completely typical and normal police tactics. It'n not as if this is the first time the AOS have been seen in action. Dominating an environment is what they do. During the serving of a warrant and subsequent search, it would be quite normal for police to detain the occupants of a house. I've seen many an instance of innocent people being forced from a house and handcuffed at gunpoint. In fact on one ocassion during a search for an escaped prisoner in Palmy North, the occupants of a Tremaine Ave house were ordered from their flat, handcuffed and left on the side of the street, and then the police fired teargas cannisters into the house. The projectiles caught on the net curtains, and the house burned down. The escaped prisoner wasn't even at the house. On another ocassion, searching for a wanted bank robber, carloads of AOS officers stopped a car in Wellington, forced the elderly occupants out of the car onto the road and handcuffed them. They turned out to be British tourists, and were extremely traumatised. They subsequently sued the police, and lost.

    In the instance of the operation in the Ureweras, where a significant number of firearms had been spotted in the surveillance, it was a very reasonably exercise to use the AOS. Its quite simple - firearms involved, use the AOS.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 111 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    Faceless men with machineguns raiding NZers houses at dawn: we HAVE stepped ove some sort of line, surely?

    Has anyone ever asked why the AOS etc wear the balaclava? Will we all be feeling a little bit silly if we leap up and down frequently, about faceless ninjas only to find out that just like the black fire-proof overalls they wear, the balaclava is simply a mandatory piece of kit for OSH reasons? Will we then leap up and demand that Health and Safety Legislation is scrapped?

    I don't know this for sure, but I suspect that the other logical alternative to the fireproof balaclava is the gas-mask (and just imagine the darth vader imagery we'd all be heartily sick seeing everywhere of if they were worn at the time).

    Also, lets not forget that Peter Williams has been retained by those complaining the loudest. His motivation is certainly not to get to find out the truth of the matter, but to present the "truth" that best suits his clients. The truth will after much wailing, pontificating and many, many bills from lawyers, be found to lie somewhere in the middle.

    The police probably did do a number of things wrong in hindsight, for which they will be roundly criticised, BUT I also suspect that quite a number of those accused will also be seen in a very different light after the legal process has run its course.

    As Russell stated, many posting should stop ignoring the elephant in room. From my perspective (neither for nor against either the police or the accused), some rather dodgy goings on have taken place, which we shouldn't be too hasty to gloss over in our rush to condemn the police.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • A S,

    Beaten to the point. D'oh!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Finn Higgins,

    I believe racism is commonly defined as 'treating someone differently solely on the basis of race'.

    You see, there we run into problems. Because, for example, it would flag things like targeted health spending or the Maori seats in Parliament as racism.

    "Racism" is a word that, generally speaking, has strong negative connotations. Few people want to be described as racist. This is a good thing, because it means that there is some consensus in existence to tackle negative actions made on the basis of race. I don't see that trying to broaden it to all distinctions in behavior towards people made on the basis of race is either semantically or politically useful.

    Plus, where did you gain that belief about common definitions? I had a look at a few dictionary definitions and they all seem to include prejudice, animosity, belief in your own superiority etc as parts of their definition, which fits more happily with the way I'd use the word.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 209 posts Report Reply

  • David Cauchi,

    I've seen many an instance of innocent people being forced from a house and handcuffed at gunpoint. In fact on one ocassion during a search for an escaped prisoner in Palmy North, the occupants of a Tremaine Ave house were ordered from their flat, handcuffed and left on the side of the street, and then the police fired teargas cannisters into the house. The projectiles caught on the net curtains, and the house burned down. The escaped prisoner wasn't even at the house. On another ocassion, searching for a wanted bank robber, carloads of AOS officers stopped a car in Wellington, forced the elderly occupants out of the car onto the road and handcuffed them. They turned out to be British tourists, and were extremely traumatised. They subsequently sued the police, and lost.

    Oh well, that's quite all right, then, if they routinely illegally detain people and wantonly destroy property while using psychological intimidation.

    This article 'What makes a terrorist' is quite interesting:

    One set of factors that I examined did consis­tently raise the likelihood that people from a given country will participate in terrorism—namely, the suppression of civil liberties and political rights, including freedom of the press, the freedom to assemble, and democratic rights. Using data from the Freedom House Index, for example, I found that countries with low levels of civil liberties are more likely to be the countries of origin of the perpetra­tors of terrorist attacks. In addition, terrorists tend to attack nearby targets. Even international terror­ism tends to be motivated by local concerns.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • David Cauchi,

    You see, there we run into problems. Because, for example, it would flag things like targeted health spending or the Maori seats in Parliament as racism.

    Your examples are often referred to as 'racism' by those who oppose them and as 'positive discrimination' by those who support them. Both sides acknowledge there's discrimination solely on the basis of race. It's just that some argue that these cases are okay because they address negative discrimination.

    Plus, where did you gain that belief about common definitions? I had a look at a few dictionary definitions and they all seem to include prejudice, animosity, belief in your own superiority etc as parts of their definition, which fits more happily with the way I'd use the word.

    I'm not sure where I got that belief. Things that I've read, no doubt.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    It's getting silly and, in the case of "stormtrooper" verges on the offensive. And I'm sure the old bloke in Ruatoki was treated somewhat insensitively by the police, but was it really "like what the Nazis did to the Jews"? No it bloody wasn't.

    Aye. That's hyperbolic.

    I'm inclining towards the view (a) that the police over-reacted in some key respects, but (b) it's past time that some of the advocates for the other side stopped ignoring the elephant in the room, especially evidence of the stockpiling of weapons, and draw an emphatic distinction between dissent and arming-up.

    This is just my impression, mind, and just by way of speculation, but anyway... I think part of the problem here is that while a few people may have been stockpiling weapons (which hasn't been proven), a much larger group who definitely haven't been stockpiling guns feel unjustly accused of terrorism, subject to harassment in the form of search and seizure, and so on. And that larger group are in turn members of communities who already have bad relations with the police for one reason and another.

    As and when concrete evidence of plans to commit acts of terror emerge those annoyed people may change their tune, but right now they're really pissed off with being tarred as terrorists and having their doors kicked in.

    So to abuse your metaphor, they don't think there are any elephants, and they have other animals in the living room that are annoying them much more right now.

    I honestly honestly think that the word "terrorism" itself is poisoning our debate all around.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • commie mutant traitor,

    especially evidence of the stockpiling of weapons

    What exactly did this stockpile consist of? How many unlicensed weapons were confiscated, and from how many different locations?

    Since Nov 2007 • 22 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    What exactly did this stockpile consist of? How many unlicensed weapons were confiscated, and from how many different locations?

    I'm kind of curious about this myself - I've heard varying reports; one of which claimed the police had only found 3 rifles, while early media reports described huge caches of military weapons, napalm bombs and molotov cocktails. The Herald on Sunday alternately had the police finding a grenade launcher - which sounds extremely scary - and a 'grenade launcher capable of firing flares - which sounds a bit like a flare gun and doesn't sound very scary at all.

    Can anyone point me towards any reliable breakdown of what the police found or is this information not yet in the public domain?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Finn Higgins,

    'grenade launcher capable of firing flares - which sounds a bit like a flare gun and doesn't sound very scary at all.

    Aren't they essentially the same thing, differentiated mainly by the ammunition used?

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 209 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    Can anyone point me towards any reliable breakdown of what the police found or is this information not yet in the public domain?

    I don't think this information is available, which is part of the problem. Maybe this is because it is before the court?

    I honestly honestly think that the word "terrorism" itself is poisoning our debate all around.

    I have to agree with that.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Aren't they essentially the same thing, differentiated mainly by the ammunition used?

    Yep.

    Popular in US survivalist circles, in part because below a certain calibre they don't qualify as firearms.

    Wouldn't seem to be much good for hunting, though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    - and a 'grenade launcher capable of firing flares -

    Apparently Tame Iti's partner had a car, that was capable of carrying all kinds of stuff, WMD's, Terrorists and very disturbing things. She also had a cellphone capable of sending messages to enemies of the state. The police, thank god, impound them both. We can all sleep safely now, including the Elephant.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Popular in US survivalist circles, in part because below a certain calibre they don't qualify as firearms.

    Wouldn't seem to be much good for hunting, though.

    I had a boyfriend once (a lot of my worst stories start like this) who constantly carried a 'thermite grenade launcher' around in his pocket. It was totally useless for hunting. Also completely useless for over-throwing the state. Not that that was something Christ's boys tended to be into anyway.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

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