Thursday, November 08, 2007

New Zealand: the "terrorist" farce nears its end

The recent New Zealand "terrorism" case in which heavily-armed police carried out out what amounted to an attack on the entire New Zealand Left has been dealt what could be a mortal wound--the Solicitor-General has found insufficient grounds to proceed with terrorism charges against any of the sixteen people held since the raids a few weeks ago. The anti-terrorist legislation, he said, is "unnecessarily complex, incoherent, and as a result almost impossible to apply to the domestic circumstances observed by the police in this case." And so, what's being blamed? Why, the legislation. If only it had been clearer, the police would have had a free hand to pound away at environmentalists, anti-war activists and Māori sovereigntists. Pity.

One Australian media source, in a questionable headline, tells us that Hone Harawira, a Māori Party MP in the New Zealand parliament, is calling for the New Zealand police commissioner's head. Not a bad idea, but it turns out he meant "resignation," this being 2007, and I hope it also means "substantial damages" paid to the Tuhoe iwi (tribe), whose members have greeted the news with both relief and anger. Utu is clearly called for.

Now the power has shifted to the Tuhoe people, whose civil rights, according to a spokesperson, were trampled upon by the police, who

detain[ed] people for hours without food or water but without formally arresting them, subject[ed] women to intimate body searches, herd[ed] people into sheds while property searchers were under way and photograph[ed] Ruatoki residents at the roadblock to the valley entrance.

"Who are the terrorists?" he asked. Good question. And we might reflect on this effort on the part of the New Zealand state to suppress dissent in that country with bogus "terrorism" charges--could the same happen here?

UPDATE: (November 9) Tame Iti and four co-accused are freed on bail. The word "terrorist" is now appearing in the NZ media safely enclosed in shudder-quotes.

No comments: