First they came for Maori “radicals”…
First they came for the “Maori radicals”, and I didn’t speak out, because I wasn’t maori or a “radical”…
Then they came for the alleged cyber-pirate from Germany, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a cyber-pirate or German,
Then they came for the botanists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a botanist,
Then they came for me, and no one else spoke out, because they didn’t give a shit either…
[Acknowledgement to Martin Niemöller ,1892–1984]
The raids on the Ureweras (and elsewhere in NZ on the same day); Kim Dotcom’s Coatesville mansion; and Graeme Platt’s homes all had one thing in common; a gross mis-use of para-military power in a country that has not seen such events since the Land Wars in the 1800s.
If middle-class New Zealanders believed that the Urewera terror raids (the terror being caused by black-garbed “ninja police” on a sleepy little backwater village) was a one-off exercise, then that belief was greatly misplaced.
The State attempted to depict Tame Iti and his colleagues as homegrown “terrorists”, planning some mysterious, spectacularly catastrophic, event involving catapulting a bus on to US President Bush. (I kid you not. See: Protest highlights terror raid case)
But no terrorism charges were ever laid under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, and the 18 defendents were eventually ‘whittled down’ to just four (one died awaiting trial). Those four were convicted on more mundane firearms charges.
Hardly the stuff of Al Queda operations planning mass-destruction.
Since then, we have witnessed no less extraordinary events in January this year, when more para-military “ninja-police” in vehicles and helicopters, armed with high-powered automatic weapons, raided a mansion in Coatsville.
There has never been a satisfactory explanation given as to why such a high degree of force was necessary.
Recently, on 11 October, the home of botanist Graeme Platt (71) was raided by six carloads of police and Ministry of Primary Industry officials. Evidently the police and officials were searching for a tree ?! (Terrorist trees?)
It is rapidly becoming evident that something mad and sinister is happening to our once easy-going, laid-back society.
Gone are the days of “she’ll be right, mate“. When is the last time you heard that phrase?
Now it’s more like a growing intrusion of State power.
Once upon a time, the growth of police power was justified by our politicians as the fight against drugs and organised crime.
Since the early 2000s, that justification has been redefined as the fight against “terrorism”.
This is not just about the covert monitoring of New Zealand citizens and residents. We are now witnessing the open use of raw, naked, State power, in the form of the Armed Offenders Squad and the Special Tactics Group ( formerly known as the Anti-Terrorist Squad) bursting into people’s homes.
These paramilitary forces – once used solely against drug rings or homocidal nutters with small armouries – are now being employed more and more in situations which seem hard to justify or understand.
It has been said that the raids on the Ureweras (and elsewhere in NZ, on that day) and Kim Dotcom, was carried out to impress our American cuzzies in the United States. Evidently, the boys in blue at Police National HQ wanted to show the FBI, Hollywood, White House, and anyone else who happened to be watching that we were ‘serious players’ when it came to dealing with terrorists and other assorted evil-doers.
In their eagerness to impress the Yanks, it became readily apparent that our politicians, police, and miscellaneous bureacrats have moved New Zealand to become a mini-America clone; gun-happy and willing to use over-the-top force with or without justification.
The dawn raid on a botanist’s home, by six carloads of government officials and police, in search of a damned tree, should be a clear wake-up call for all New Zealanders. The choice we face is fairly simple and clear-cut;
- We keep going the way we are; with excessive State power being used and mis-used; more surveillance in our daily lives; armed police raids on the flimsiest excuses; until none of us are safe and we end up living in a country that is unrecognisable and alien to our parents.
- We take stock of where we are with our laws and culture of State power, and declare that enough is enough.
The use of force shown in the last few years, I submit to the reader, should be sufficient to turn the stomach of all but the most ardent supporter of the fascist state. Unless New Zealanders are looking forward to living in a police State, it is my contention that, as stated in Option #2 above, enough is enough.
It should be the priority of an incoming government in 2014 (or earlier) that a full review of legislation such as the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, Surveillance Act 2012, and any similar laws, should be undertaken.
It is my contention that these two laws should be repealed forthwith, as they are abhorrent in any society that professes to respect freedom. It is further my contention that such laws serve no useful purpose except to create a mindset and culture in our Government that there is no limit to the exercise of state power through the use of force against citizens who may come to the attention of police and bureacrats.
To those people who might be fearful in ridding ourselves of these laws, it should be remembered that no one has ever been charged under terrorism legislation and that the used of armed police in dawn raids has yet to be justified.
We are simply giving the State – and it’s myriad of officials, bureacrats, police, spies, etc – the power to act with little restraint, as if they are authorities beyond public control.
Such a state of affairs, my fellow New Zealanders, is what it looks like; the germination of a police state.
In case the reader believes I am over-reacting, consider that the raid on Graeme Platt’s home was not looking for bombs, guns, subversive literature, Al Qaeda operatives, etc.
They were looking for a tree.
NZ Herald: ‘Plant Nazis’ hunt for outlawed trees
Parliament: Terrorism Suppression Act 2002
Parliament: Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill
Parliament: Search and Surveillance Act 2012
= fs =