[Marxism] New Zealand: Anti-terror raids target training camps

John johnedmundson at paradise.net.nz
Tue Oct 16 14:47:56 MDT 2007

On Mon, 2007-10-15 at 00:14 -0700, Alan Bradley wrote:
> It would be interesting to know more about this...

Here's an initial response written by Daphna Whitmore. The Maori
Sovereignty people she refers to are the Tuhoi nationalists around Tame
Iti. Things are still pretty unclear, especially the link to the new
anti-terrorism legislation. As Daphna notes, no one has been charged
under the new law. The charges are all under earlier arms legislation
but the police are reserving the right to bring further charges under
the anti-terrorism laws later if they see fit. To do that, they need
higher authority. The Police don't have that discretion themselves.


On 15 October  300 capitalist police stormed homes in several cities in
the North Island. They acted as if conducting a siege against aggressive
enemy snipers. Having tipped off television stations the police smashed
their way into houses while cameras were rolling. This was a conscious
deliberate act of police intimidation. They dragged unarmedpeople out of
their beds and by the end of the day 17 people had been arrested and
were facing firearm charges. 


Police report they had been carrying out surveillance operations on a
range of activists for many months. 


Despite police  shouting “terrorists”, no one so far has been charged
under the Terrorism Suppression Act.  Nor does it seem big caches of
arms have been found. The seventeen arrestees are accused of taking part
in military-style training in the Bay of Plenty forests. Police claim to
have photographs of training camps and seized as “evidence” sleeping
bags, camouflage clothing and woolen hats from homes.  


It’s worth getting a bit of perspective on what people are accused of.
Every weekend many people gather at rifle clubs, or go pig hunting, or
run around the bush playing paintball. Let’s not forget there was a time
when the state ran such camps for males, until compulsory military
training was stopped in 1972.


Many of the arrestees are linked to anarchist, antiwar and Maori
sovereignty groups. At least one of the people arrested has mental
health problems. If the arrestees are denied bail they could face many
months in jail awaiting trial.


The spectre of “terrorism” is being used consciously by the police to
cast the activists in a particular light. The last time there was armed
struggle in New Zealand was in the 1860s, and the state is facing no
imminent threat today. One group that is armed and shooting members of
the public is  the police.


After 9/11 governments introduced repressive legislation at Washington’s
insistence. As part of the US-led imperialist bloc the New Zealand
government was more than happy to oblige. The Terrorism Suppression Act
 was widely opposed before being introduced in 2002 and drew around 150
submissions against it. 


The Act gives the Prime Minister the power to designate individuals or
groups as terrorist and to have their incomes and assets frozen. It does
the same to their supporters. Little proof is required to label someone
or an organisation terrorist under the act and jail terms of up to 14
years can be imposed.  


The police invoked the Act to put activists under surveillance and to
conduct searches. According to Dr David Small from Canterbury
University  search warrants are only legal if the police have reasonable
grounds to believe that they will find what they are searching for.
Small rightly points out that the raids look much more like a fishing


With 300 police mobilised around the country the operation also had the
whiff of a training exercise about it. The timing of the operation also
has a bad odour – coming just before parliament votes on further
draconian amendments to the Terrorism Suppression Act.


Judging by conversations in workplaces and through the media Middle New
Zealand has not been convinced by the police “terrorist” hype.  And in
the main centres activists are setting up defence committees to give
solidarity to victims of capitalist state violence.


Donations to a defence fund can be made online to 38-9000-0099726-00
GLOBAL PEACE & JUSTICE AKLD Identify donation as being for the defence
fund. Initial patrons of the fund are Jane Kelsey, John Minto, Simon
Oosterman and Mike Treen.

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