Home > Social Issues > A travesty of justice

A travesty of justice

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Anyone who has watched the documentary, “Operation 8: Deep in the Forest“, will hardly be surprised.

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This entire affair has been a drawn-out, needless, shambles. It has affected many people and cost huge sums of money for both taxpayers and the victims of these raids.

This was not in any sense “justice”. It was a gross mis-use of State power and a naked travesty of justice. Those responsible should be held to account and only a Commission of Inquiry with a wide terms-of-reference, can determine why this happened.

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POLICE RESPONSE: Armed police man a roadblock in Ruatoki Valley during the 2007 'terror' raids.

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The victims of these terror-raids (terror, as in causing terror to those who were raided and arrested) who were arrested – and made to waste large sums of money on legal defence and constant, pointless travel to Auckland to attend court appearances that never went anywhere – should now be compensated by the State.

This obscenity should never have happened in our country.

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+++ Updates +++

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Listen to Valerie Morse on Checkpoint

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+++ Updates +++

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STILL FIGHTING: Tame Iti, left, and Valerie Morse, seen here at an exhibition opening. Iti is still facing charges but the charges against Morse have been dropped.

Full Story

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+++ Updates +++

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Full Story

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+++ Update +++

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Full Story

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“”They are charged with the responsibility of keeping New Zealanders safe and they have a responsibility to act where they believe that people are at risk.  It’s my view that the police acted because they believed people were at risk.” ”

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No, Mr Key. The Police were not acting “because they believed people were at risk.”

The police PUT people at risk with their Gestapo/KGB/Stasi-like raids.

They were terror raids alright – and it was the police who were acting as terrorists.

Apology. Commission of Inquiry. Compensation. It’s as simple as that.

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+++ Update +++

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A further step in the right direction. Let the defendents be judged by their peers. It’s the right thing to do.

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  1. 6 September 2011 at 12:41 pm

    So four have been charged. Iti has always been an irresponsible type; the outcome will be awaited with interest. Some Maori radicals walk a narrow and tight line. There is only one State, and that is the New Zealand State. We can’t change what happened in the 19th century, just make sure that there is real justice in NZ.

    • 6 September 2011 at 9:54 pm

      What I find objectionable, Peter, is the inordinately long period of time it has taken for the State to determine this case: four years. There’s an old saying, “justice delayed is justice denied”.

      If the State had evidence against these people, they should have proceeded with a trial, by now. Instead, they’ve turned peoples’ lives upside down and seemingly for no good reason. As for “some Maori radicals walk a narrow and tight line” – not all of the Urewera 18 are Maori. But should that even matter?

      For the State to do what it did frightens me. I think it should disturb us all…

  2. scott
    7 September 2011 at 4:06 pm

    “The police PUT people at risk with their Gestapo/KGB/Stasi-like raids. ”

    That would be funny if it wasn’t so off base. I’ve been to Stasi HQ in Berlin – Lichtenberg and Runden Ecke in Leipzig. If you are SERIOUSLY comparing the NZ Police with Histories most effective and all pervasive secret police force then you have absolutely no idea.

    I’ve also been to Auschwitz and Topography of terror exhibition in Berlin (Site of former Gestapo HQ) and at the risk of invoking Godwins law – Seriously, the Gestapo – as in Amt IV Reichssicherheitshauptamt – vs the New Zealand police? Really? Do you not think that there is a bit of a gulf between them?

  3. 7 September 2011 at 4:27 pm

    scott :

    “The police PUT people at risk with their Gestapo/KGB/Stasi-like raids. ”

    That would be funny if it wasn’t so off base. I’ve been to Stasi HQ in Berlin – Lichtenberg and Runden Ecke in Leipzig. If you are SERIOUSLY comparing the NZ Police with Histories most effective and all pervasive secret police force then you have absolutely no idea.

    I’ve also been to Auschwitz and Topography of terror exhibition in Berlin (Site of former Gestapo HQ) and at the risk of invoking Godwins law – Seriously, the Gestapo – as in Amt IV Reichssicherheitshauptamt – vs the New Zealand police? Really? Do you not think that there is a bit of a gulf between them?

    Scott, in terms of extent and efficiency and goals – you’re correct. There is a gulf between the Stasi and NZ Police.

    In terms of the sheer terror caused to men, women, and children; faced with black-garbed; heavily armed; masked individuals; threatened with firearms; doors smashed violently open; made to cower in small rooms for hours on end – there is not much difference. Terror is terror, whether at the hands of the Stasi or our own Anti Terror Police.

    Hence why I wrote,

    “The police put people at risk with their Gestapo/KGB/Stasi-LIKE raids.”

  4. scott
    7 September 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Considering the Stasi was not subject to Due Process (nor was the Gestapo) you are drawing a very long bow between the two with your similie. Being detained without trial, or the possibility of trial in Hohenshoenhausen or at Bautzen is different to being arrested on arms charges and then going through due process. Estimates are that anywhere up to 1 in 6 of the population were either in the Pay of the MfS or Inoffizieller Mitarbeiter so the entire population was under close survellance all the time. There is a story at the Stasi museum about a 30 odd year old who decided to see if he had a stasi file as he was only 8 or so when the wall came down. To his surprise, a trolley was wheeled out with his file(s) on it. Apparently, when he was 6 he was asked to draw the DDR flag at school, and he drew something that looked more like a union jack. From then on him, his family and his friends were watched. That is terror – being confronted in the mountains after ‘training’ with firearms in a paramilitary setting by black-garbed; heavily armed; masked individuals is undoubtedly terrorfying, but as evidence as the NZPolice embarking on a stasi or gestapo path is – frankly – laughable. I would suggest you tread Anna Funders book and go to the Stasi HQ to get a better feel on your comparrison because as laughable as it is, I also find it a bit sickening that you are seriously equating a) the Stasi and b) The RSHA which was responsible for the death of millions with the NZ police and then comparing the victims of those organisations with Tama Iti and his buddies who have been through due process and have the right to appeal.

  5. 7 September 2011 at 7:41 pm

    “From then on him, his family and his friends were watched. That is terror – being confronted in the mountains after ‘training’ with firearms in a paramilitary setting by black-garbed; heavily armed; masked individuals is undoubtedly terrorfying, but as evidence as the NZPolice embarking on a stasi or gestapo path is – frankly – laughable. ”

    It is hardly “laughable” to have para-military-garbed, heavily-armed individuals crashing through your house, yelling and pointing guns. These weapons were pointed at women and children as well as men. They were terrified and I cannot fathom your lack of empathy for those folk.

    “The RSHA which was responsible for the death of millions with the NZ police and then comparing the victims of those organisations with Tama Iti and his buddies who have been through due process and have the right to appeal.”

    Rubbish. What “due procress” are you talking about?! They were arrested and charged FOUR YEARS ago. That is not “due process” except in authoritarian societies.

    Your defence of the anti-terrorist squad that launched those raids is mis-guided. I wonder if you would be so accomodating if it was your family that had been terrorised by masked men with guns and forced to cower for hours in small rooms.

    Or is it acceptable because it happened to “Tama Iti and his buddies”?

  6. scott
    8 September 2011 at 1:24 pm

    “Rubbish. What “due procress” are you talking about?! They were arrested and charged FOUR YEARS ago. That is not “due process” except in authoritarian societies. ”

    And yet, here we are discussing it…curious for an authortarian state is it not? How many people in the DDR for instance were able to do the same thing? How many in the Third Reich or the occupied territories would be able to have the same conversation critising the government or the latest decsion from the volksgericht? As I beleive, the case made it up to the Supreme court which sounds awefully like due process – rather unlike being put into protective custody without charge or being carried off under the nacht und nebel decree do you not think? I also beleive that those arrested were made aware of the charges, read their rights and were entitled to legal representation – also rather unlike those held by the Gestapo or any other organ of the RSHA do you not think? I would also ask, apart from research you may have done on Wiki what do you know about the political organisation of say the Third Reich, the DDR, Austria under the fatherland party or Hungary under the Arrow Cross? The New Zealand police are not the Stasi, Gestapo, NKVD, KGB, and once again, comparing them to an organisation {RSHA] responsible for exterminating over 6 million people is frankly laughable.

    “I wonder if you would be so accomodating if it was your family that had been terrorised by masked men with guns and forced to cower for hours in small rooms”

    As I am aware, no one in my family has ever gone bush with guns or have firearms charges against them. Curious that.

    Personally, I don’t give a rats what your politics or beliefs really are – what I object to is your lack of knowledge of the organisations you are comparing the police too based probably on buzz words you’ve heard in other places without even the remotest clue how those organsiations worked or what they represented. By all means, say that the 4 year delay was a travesty of justice – don’t care – BUT that does not make this country an authoritarian regime (such as Austria before Anschluss), or a dictatorship such as the DDR or Hitlers Germany. Once again, you are drawing a very long bow (and personally turning lefties like me off)

    • 8 September 2011 at 2:51 pm

      “And yet, here we are discussing it…”

      Of course we’re discussing it. The charges have just been dropped – four years after the raids. Do you not think that this warrants a discussion? Do you not think that for the State to use it’s considerable powers in such a way, is dangerous?

      As for other Authoritarian states, such as Germany. Take note that it was only because people failed to take note of the rise of National Socialism; and the slow erosion of democracy and civil rights, that they found themselves ruled by a totalitarian regime.

      “All that is necessary for Evil to succeed, is for Good Men (and women) to do nothing.”

      “As I am aware, no one in my family has ever gone bush with guns or have firearms charges against them. Curious that. “

      You seem to be equating unproven allegations with guilt. That is certainly not how our justice system works.

      As far as I’m concerned, these 11 people are innocent of wrong-doing. They have not been found guilty of anything.

      “By all means, say that the 4 year delay was a travesty of justice – don’t care – “

      You “don’t care”?

      That is an extraordinary statement to make. I doubt if you’re a “leftie” at all, Scott. I don’t know of any left-wingers or social democrats who would countenance the injustice of what we’ve seen here.

      In fact, everything you write causes me to believe that you’re a cheerleader for the Police and the State – but certainly not for those who were victimised by this event.

      You’ve probably seen this before, but let me put it to you anyway;

      “First they came for the communists,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

      Then they came for the trade unionists,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

      Then they came for the Jews,
      and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

      Then they came for me
      and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

      – Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

  7. scott
    8 September 2011 at 3:19 pm

    What i am saying is that if we were indeed living in an authoritarian state as you are alluding to this discussion would not be happening now, would it?
    Once again, could we be having this discussion in the DDR? Hitlers Germany?

    Once could also argue that had the SPD and the KPD gotten over their differences, then History could have turned out very differently in Germany, however they didn’t. So back to the Crux of the argument, the RSHA is responsible for the deaths of over 6 million people, you are equating the NZ police (with their Gestapo like actions). How many people have the NZ police placed into protective custody, with no knowledge of the charges laid against them, no right to appeal and no legal representation? Any ideas? And am I or am I not correct that over the last 4 years, this case has moved from High Court, to COA to supreme court? Am I or Am I not correct when I say that the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches are independant and that the charges have not been upheld by the Judicial branch? Do you honestly – truely believe that in an authoritarian state or a dictatorship would countenance any of those?

    You’re right – I don’t care if you believe it is a travesty of justice, because that frankly is not the point of your original post, nor is it the point I am arguing. I am arguing that despite your claims that:
    -We are not an authoritarian state or subject to a dictatorship
    -The New Zealand police do not use tactics like the RSHA/NKVD/KGB/STASI

  8. 9 September 2011 at 10:20 am

    scott :

    What i am saying is that if we were indeed living in an authoritarian state as you are alluding to this discussion would not be happening now, would it?
    Once again, could we be having this discussion in the DDR? Hitlers Germany?

    Once could also argue that had the SPD and the KPD gotten over their differences, then History could have turned out very differently in Germany, however they didn’t. So back to the Crux of the argument, the RSHA is responsible for the deaths of over 6 million people, you are equating the NZ police (with their Gestapo like actions). How many people have the NZ police placed into protective custody, with no knowledge of the charges laid against them, no right to appeal and no legal representation? Any ideas? And am I or am I not correct that over the last 4 years, this case has moved from High Court, to COA to supreme court? Am I or Am I not correct when I say that the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches are independant and that the charges have not been upheld by the Judicial branch? Do you honestly – truely believe that in an authoritarian state or a dictatorship would countenance any of those?

    You’re right – I don’t care if you believe it is a travesty of justice, because that frankly is not the point of your original post, nor is it the point I am arguing. I am arguing that despite your claims that:
    -We are not an authoritarian state or subject to a dictatorship
    -The New Zealand police do not use tactics like the RSHA/NKVD/KGB/STASI

    Whether we’d be having this discussion in the DDR or Nazi Germany is an academic irrelevancy and side-tracking the real issue into some bizarre a cademic discussion. I have no intention of ‘going there’.

    My concern – which you have stated you do not share – is the (a) travesty of justice caused by a four year delay in bring this matter to a judicial conclusion (b) the unnecessary force used by anti-terrorist police in the Ureweras, against innocent women, children, and other men; the implication that this was “terrorism”.

    “… don’t care if you believe it is a travesty of justice, because that frankly is not the point of your original post, nor is it the point I am arguing.”

    Really? You should take time to read my articles more carefully before commenting then. I clearly stated;

    “This was not in any sense “justice”. It was a gross mis-use of State power and a naked travesty of justice.”

    That is entirely the point of my piece. If you want to turn this into some academic discussion of the levels of brutality between authoritarian regimes and police tactics, then your values are at polar opposite to mine.

    I think it’s quite clear that you don’t care how the “terror raids” affected innocent people. I find that incredibly sad.

  9. scott
    9 September 2011 at 10:57 am

    “The police PUT people at risk with their Gestapo/KGB/Stasi-like raids. ”

    That is the issue – as I said, I don’t actually care if *you* believe it is a travesty of justice. What I care about is the fact that you are trying to emotionalise the debate by stating that the tactics used by the New Zealand Police are akin to those used by the Stasi, KGB, NKVD or RSHA. If you don’t want an academic debate then you probably shouldn’t invoke the names of secret police organisations operating under a completey aegis and Raison d’être for purposes of comparrison. So, once again

    (a) travesty of justice caused by a four year delay in bring this matter to a judicial conclusion

    The matter however has been brought to a judicial conclusion has it not? Would this have happened in Nazi Germany? DDR? Stalins Russia? Highly unlikely don’t you think? So probably not compelling evidence for Stasi/RSHA/NKVD/KGB like tactics (considering those organisations more often than not acted as judge jury and executioner). Oddly enough, no one has been held in custody for the period of four years either – they were still free to move around and conduct their everyday lives.

    (b) the unnecessary force used by anti-terrorist police in the Ureweras, against innocent women, children, and other men; the implication that this was “terrorism”.

    Any evidence of this? And what exactly was Tama Iti doing in the Ureweras? As far as we know, the police were acting on evidence available available at the time as they do.

  10. 9 September 2011 at 2:39 pm

    You keep going on about organisations, acronyms, history, etc. I think we’ve established that you care more about your interest in Eastern European matters than your fellow New Zealanders’ civil rights.

    As I pointed out to you, it matters not one whit whether a jackboot kicking in your front door, or a gun pointed at your head belongs to a Stasi, Gestapo, or NZ anti-terrorist police. The object of terror is the boot and loaded gun pointed at your head.

    As for what Tama Iti was doing in the Urewera’s – it’s not illegal to be in the Ureweras.

    “…the police were acting on evidence available available at the time as they do.”

    Any such “evidence” – if it exists – has not been tested in a Court of law. Therefore, it is difficult to give it any value or credence.

    By the way, lecturing me on Eastern European affairs is a bit rich. My family hails from Eastern Europe; I have lived in an Eastern European country; and I’ve had some small matter of experience in Eastern European politics.

  11. scott
    12 September 2011 at 9:46 am

    “As I pointed out to you, it matters not one whit whether a jackboot kicking in your front door, or a gun pointed at your head belongs to a Stasi, Gestapo, or NZ anti-terrorist police. The object of terror is the boot and loaded gun pointed at your head.”

    Except here, the charge is then subject to due process, in the kind of state with the kind of secret police force you are claiming that we are living under, that would not happen now, would it? You might have lived in Eastern Europe, but I tend to think that makes your lack of understanding of your own analogy even worse.

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