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An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

in

Danyl Strype's reply to Bomber's blogs on the Urewera 17 comments on the media's role in whipping up fear and loathing against the arrested activists and apologising for the anti-democratic, surveillance state style behaviour of the police.

"This is a principle thing for me, you don't pick up guns, grenade launchers have no place in a functioning democracy."
- Bomber Bradbury

Kia ora Bomber,

I agree. I agree with what you and Chris Trotter and others have been saying about the inappropriateness of armed struggle in Aotearoa at this time. I agree with the distinction you make between forms of political action that damage property (nonviolent direct action) and those that harm sentient beings (eg police forces and other smaller warrior subcultures, like the gangs). I agree with your support for the use of reasonable force only in direct self defence, by independent communities under armed attack from neighbours who demand to be their government (for example Timor Leste, and the Zapatistas in the Chiapas).

I believe all of those currently in prison would also agree with you and I on each of these points. Which is why I don't believe the implied accusation that any of them were handling guns with the aim of hurting people - the accusation which forms the basis on which they are being denied bail and threatened with Terrorism Suppression Act charges.

To quote Green MP Keith Locke:
"The only political violence that has happened this week is in the precincts of parliament itself".

For generations, Maori have fought for their rights and their autonomy in staunch but nonviolent ways. With incredible patience they have abstained from the violent use of force, despite constant aggressive reinvasion of their independent communities and confiscation of their taonga, such as the recent case of the foreshore and seabed. When armed police threatened their elders and children with guns last week, Tuhoe remained stubbornly peaceful, despite all the paramilitary training, and the hatred for whitey they have supposedly been whipped into up in the bush in Urewera.

As for the greeny lefties people claim are plotting sedition with them, both Maori and pakeha; the occupiers of Waimangaroa from Save Happy Valley, the Peace Action Wellington crew, the anarchist librarian, Omar Hamed (the Harry Potter of Aotearoa activism), docospotter Rongomai Bailey and the rest of the Kotahi Te Ao video crew; they are about as threatening as the Wombles.

The police, on the other hand, have waged a campaign of home invasion, intimidation, kidnapping, and assault across the country. Not only do I have evidence of these actions, they don't even deny them. Item: activists rounded up, roughed up, denied access to lawyers, and denied bail on petty fire-arms license charges while accused rapists walk free awaiting trial.
Item: A Community House in Welly whose avacados were taken in for questioning. Item: The elderly socialist in Orkland with the terrifying trousers. Item: The permaculture consultants who organise the *ECOSHOW* for goodness sake, are they suggesting a clandestine guerrilla movement (quietly run by the very subtle and elusive Tame Iti) was running a stall at a public expo? The mind boggles.

Like Clint Rickards, the cops seem to reckon they were asking for it. As an anarchist woman speaking at the Upper Hutt Posse gig on Saturday night put it, these people are the terrorists, those they have imprisoned are the real counter-terrorists.

For the record, I don't think anyone who's been arrested has even been accused of having grenade launchers. This lazy, baseless inuendo reminds me of another farce of phantom military surplus that was played out during the Commonwealth Games in Auckland in 1990, also about a rocket launcher. That old launcher must have been playing possum, because the police searched high and low and never found one:
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/466/story.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10...

This sort of sensational tabloid media also brings to mind the 'Day of the Jackals' terror report on the NZAIF in Investigate, the rabidly neo-conservative conspiracy magazine:
http://www.thebriefingroom.com/archives/2007/10/day_of_the_jack.html

Where were the country-wide dawn raids to prevent this clear and present armed danger to public safety? Kelvyn Alp and his mates in the New Zealand Armed Intervention Force, according to Investigate, claimed to have a rocket launcher in their arsenal. It reported that one of their members was picked up with a sawn-off and military ammunition, that police knew they had fully automatic weapons, that they told police to stay out of their way or "We will go through you like a dose of salts". If this is true, why weren't the NZAIF's friends, in-laws, and various tenuously connected randoms searched for avacados and dirty undies by over-zealous cops? If not, could this story be a classic example of the sort of speculative feeding frenzy commercial media can fall into when the available facts don't support the angle their editor think will sell the most copies?

In the case of the Urewera 17, the ongoing suppression of evidence and decisions by the police and the courts, combined with the leaking of juicy titbits of fear and loathing, has driven the NZ news media into exactly just such a frenzy of speculation. One that currently has some overly excitable kiwis believing an unholy alliance of possum hunting backwoods Maori, and and militant vegan hippies, were planning a bloodbath to bring down the government. They talk about it as if it's a known and proven fact, despite being a ludicrously unlikely story.

On the basis of the evidence presented so far, like the weapons of mass distraction in Iraq, it's a myth. A myth designed to justify a NZ Police crack-down on independent political organisation in Aotearoa which Paul Buchanan has called Guantanomisation:
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0710/S00355.htm

I bet you Bomber that when the cops finally unveil their evidence to the public (which at the rate things are going could take years), middle new zealand will be horrified - by it's utter lack of substance. This will cast a distinctly unflattering light on the NZ Police, SIS, GCSB, SAS, and everyone else who's helped perpetuate, and apologise for, yet another example of the creeping erosion of democracy in Aotearoa.

This is not a right vs. left issue, as evidenced by the consensus between the Greens and Act against the TSA ammendments. This is something every kiwi who cares about basic civil liberties and democratic freedoms should be asking some hard questions of the state about. Produce some evidence, and lay some charges justifying denial of bail, or free the 17. Habeas Corpus, people, show me the body.

In the meantime, I'm going to be taking a deep breath, a step back, and thinking about what other issues are being overlooked while the state-corporate propaganda machine draws our attention to the three-ring circus it's erected via the raids and arrests. The new electoral finance bill strikes me as an example, and I see you've blogged some sharp criticism of it's current form. I hope you have been as sharp on the activism suppression ammendment bill and the Orwellian law it ammends. Now for 5 minutes of hate.

Kia hiwa raa
Danyl Strype

Related

http://tumeke.blogspot.com/2007/10/ira-styled-war-planned-target-was-nz.html#c7783532967453917961

Comments

Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

"...about what other issues are being overlooked while the state-corporate propaganda machine draws our attention to the three-ring circus it's erected..."

Good point Strypy, as important as this is, we can't let it distract us too much from our other campaigns...I'm sure they'd like that tho.

Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

""Iaccusation that any of them were handling guns with the aim of hurting people - the accusation which forms the basis on which they are being denied bail and threatened with Terrorism Suppression Act charges.""

So then they had the guns why?

"home invasion, intimidation, kidnapping, and assault across the country. Not only do I have evidence of these actions"

Would be good if you could produce it then, who got assaulted and when. And I'm guessing now every time Police execute a search warrant or arrest someone you will be up in arms about it being a home invasion and a kidnapping, or is it only thus when its your friends who are arrested.

"The elderly socialist in Orkland with the terrifying trousers."

This is the guy in Orakei whose house was searched with his consent by Police looking for a chrome pistol and a hunting knife in relation to kidnapping and extortion demands involving the head hunters? Something which has no connection at all to the argument you are attempting to make.

"I bet you Bomber that when the cops finally unveil their evidence to the public (which at the rate things are going could take years), middle new zealand will be horrified - by it's utter lack of substance. This will cast a distinctly unflattering light on the NZ Police, SIS, GCSB, SAS, and everyone else who's helped perpetuate, and apologise for, yet another example of the creeping erosion of democracy in Aotearoa."

So the Police and co just organized this whole thing to make themselves look incredibly bad and sacrifice the careers of the officers involved. I'm interested to see what evidence you have that it is just a big set-up aside from such compelling and convincing stuff as oh they belong to a peace movement they couldn't possibly be involved, or he looks like Harry Potter ergo he's innocent as well.

Its also interesting that if the Police don't actually have any evidence, exactly on what basis have all these Judges throughout the country seen fit to remand those involved in custody. Given that the Police must convince them throughly of the strength of their evidence. Did all the Judges decide to sacrifice their careers as well?

I'm sure that if it all does come out to be false as you claim, heads will role within the Police and compensation and apologies will follow. But what if the Police do have the evidence which they claim to? will you issue a public apology admitting you were wrong?

Re: Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

Who says they had any guns, mate? You've seen no evidence they had gun, because the police haven't let you see this supposed "evidence". Funny how you have created the evidence in your own mind.

If the police had any real evidence - rather than hints, guesses and extrapolations - they would have made it public and shut us all up already. Something we can all agree on is that these processes where people can be held for up to two years without bail or trial on the basis of secret evidence are an affront to every democratic liegal principle.

The really hilarious thing is this guy is saying "you don't have any evidence of innocence", when there has been ZERO EVIDENCE OF GUILT exposed yet. Obviously when you're a right-wing troll salivating at the idea of locking up dirty hippies and restless natives, your own principles of "innocent until proven guilty" go out the window. Which just proves the essential depravity and lust for punishment of the conservative mind.

Oh, and when you're a 72 year old guy with cancer and eight carloads of heavily armed cops turn up, "consent" doesn't actually mean anything.

Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

the police make mistakes all the time. So do judges. They don't lose their careers as you put it. Ross Meurant says that its all part of the job to look the other way at times. we wouldn't really know because so much information is suppressed. good on omar and rongomai for starting the process of transparency. setting an excellent example for the state to follow and understand. the terrorist laws are just another arm of the state. and until they raid you bomber you may not understand that. i hope we haven't started down the track because I agree with strypey. Most nzers would not support an armed revolution. more likely a car and monopoly revolution.

Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

As I see it, the two or three-year 'terrorist' investigation took on a life of its own, the costs accumulated to $8 million, and the police are now desperately trying to justify all the wasted time and money.
You are so right about heads rolling when the truth eventually comes out.
Regarding the 'remanded in custody' argument, will you change it when the accused are released on bail this week?

Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

Cheers for writing this Strypey. You have put into words what many over the past week have wanted to say to Bomber but haven't quite known how to write it down.

Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

"n the case of the Urewera 17, the ongoing suppression of evidence and decisions by the police and the courts,"

You seem to be horribly ignorant in regard to how the justice system works. The Police cannot release their entire case to the public or they will jeopardize any future trial unfairly and run the risk of a failed prosecution. I'm sure they would love to release it to shut-up the hysteria on sites such as this but unfortunately they chose the sensible approach. Damn them.

Its quite ironic as well that in preserving the accused rights to a fair trial that Police are being damned by the supporters of the accused.

Re: Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

So you're saying that people need to be kept in remand for two years on the basis of secret evidence to ensure their right to a fair trial? I think I can hear Kafka spinning from here.

If you want to keep the evidence secret, grant the suspects bail. That's natural justice.

Re: Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

Due process doesn't require suppressing the reasons for denying bail. They don't have to tell us what the evidence is, just that there is some.

Also they *are* obliged to release evidence to the defence, which from what I understand they have not always been doing.

Both of these are examples of how terrorism hysteria is being used to justify the compromise of even moderate liberal democratic principles.

Strypey

Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

"The police, on the other hand, have waged a campaign of home invasion, intimidation, kidnapping, and assault across the country. Not only do I have evidence of these actions, they don't even deny them. Item: activists rounded up, roughed up, denied access to lawyers, and denied bail on petty fire-arms license charges while accused rapists walk free awaiting trial"

You mean just like Rongomai Baileys account of his traumatizing arrest at the hands of those terrorist Police?

"Bailey, who was bailed yesterday, said he had been "happily' asleep with his girlfriend when the early morning knock on the door by police came.

"They were quite nice," he said.

Wearing just a towel, police allowed him to get dressed in "nice clothes" and took him away without handcuffs. "

Re: Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

Now that Marama has been released, you may find her arrest was not quite so pleasant.

Strypey

Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

"Who says they had any guns, mate? You've seen no evidence they had gun, because the police haven't let you see this supposed "evidence". Funny how you have created the evidence in your own mind."

So the AK'47's and Molotov Cocktails etc that they seized don't exist? Maybe I should go down to the local Police station and demand they let me see them.

"If the police had any real evidence - rather than hints, guesses and extrapolations - they would have made it public and shut us all up already."

Sigh, and again we have someone without a clue. If the Police engage in trial by media like you strangely seem to want them to do then the Defendants aka the people you support will not get a fair trial if it comes to that.

You can't like your friends very much.

Re: Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

You're saying, am I correct, that it is fair enough to deprive someone of liberty for up to two years on remand on the basis of secret evidence? Justice must be seen to be done. There is only justice to the extent that the people are allowed to know why citizens are being deprived of liberty. Keep the evidence secret, fine - but let the activists free on bail until you're prepared to front up in an open court.

Anyway - what AK47s and molotov cocktails? I've seen no evidence of that. Is that something you just made up yourself as well, or was it an urban legend you heard at the pub?

Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

"Anyway - what AK47s and molotov cocktails? I've seen no evidence of that. Is that something you just made up yourself as well, or was it an urban legend you heard at the pub?"

"The Star-Times, which broke the story on Fairfax Media's Stuff website last Monday, understands the police have seized more than 20 guns, including AK-47s and other military-style semi-automatic rifles, as well as stab and bullet-resistant clothing, camouflage netting, bomb-making recipes and an IRA manual."

"Iti has been charged with eight counts relating to possessing firearms and Molotov cocktails and is due to reappear in court today."

"Four people have appeared in Wellington District Court on possession charges involving semi-automatic weapons and Molotov cocktails, and were granted name suppression."

"This included six people in Auckland, five men and one women, who appeared in the Auckland District Court this afternoon on a mix of firearms charges, including possession of a military-style semi-automatic weapon, an automatic rifle, molotov cocktails and a rifle."

You should really read a bit more.

Re: Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

Wonderful! So... stuff that some cop told Megan Jones is now evidence, to your mind? Considering that the cops don't have the balls to put this on the record, but instead decided to "leak" it to a friendly journalist in the hopes of stirring up a witchhunt? In your case, it obviously worked, but when not even Fran O'Sullivan is buying it, even the most blinkered identifier with state power should begin to question. It's not the lefties you should be getting onto - it's your own good buddies like Fran and Audrey Young. Are you going to be demanding "apologies" from them as well?

And you still refuse to answer - why should people be held for two years without bail or trial on the basis of secret evidence? Reveal the evidence or grant bail.

Re: Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

Also - "possession" only means that they had to be seen handling a firearm at some stage in the past, you clown. It doesn't mean they had one on them - in fact, most of the arrestees are being pinged for THE SAME FIREARM (i.e. passing it amongst themselves).

Re: Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

This is a good example of the speculative media feeding frenzy I was criticizing. It's also a perfect example of the 'trial by media' that is supposedly being avoided by closed courts. Media reports from open court hearings might constitute evidence, unreferenced media claims don't.

Strypey

Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

Great article Strypey, thanks! It really does make sense, and gives us another way of understanding this issue. Our minds are what we have to protect here, as much as anything else.

George

Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

Damn good article Danyl - fine piece. You've helped to expose the ugliness of some of the mindframes that are such a part of present day NZ. At times like this it all starts crawling out of the woodwork. The Righteous will judge the wicked!! After all corruption, manipulation, hypocrisy and violence can never be found in the state, the government, the government's numerous agencies or the media.

BUT I commend all you wonderful activists, agitators, idealists - our social conscience that keep us from becoming unquestioning automatons, slaves to the state. Yes, I thank you all - you demonstrate brotherhood, compassion and concern. Values that appear to be disappearing more and more from our increasingly "state" run society.

Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

Thanks for this article, Danyl.
The dinosaur rednecks just can't stop themselves rushing to pass judgement on this case.
I hope most of NZ society has moved on from that era.

Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

Thanks for putting this up, Danyl.
Thanks for being able to coherently express what so many of us have been incoherently seething and cursing about.

Kia kaha tatou o te whanau Kotahi te Ao, taku arohanui ki Maarama, me aku hoa, he wahine toa i te whare o nga pirihimana.
Ka whaiwahi tonu matou, ake ake ake.
na Keri

Re: An Open Letter to Bomber about the Dawn Raids

Namaste Danyl!

"neo-conservative conspiracy magazine"

I thought that the *neo-cons* are supposed to be the conspirators! Anyway, However one's political bent, it does not imply that one cannot see falsity at all, nor conspire oneself.

Actually, conspiracy is an inherent aspect of any archical socio-economy; there is secrecy to hide conspiracy. As examples:

Download videos of 911 and investigate them frame-by-frame, look closely at what they really show, and then try to seriously accept their showing real planes rather than cartoons, etc, or that a real aluminium plane can *blend* into a steel framed building without any destruction to itself, or that there were really at least three different routes by "flight 175", etc, etc. Look at image of "Osama" as confessor to 911 and compare to the real Osama - different cephalic morphology, thus a fake, an actor. And look at image of the captured "Saddam" - also different cephalic morphology plus wrong teeth - also a fake, an actor.

See, f.ex., <http://melbourne.indymedia.org/news/2006/03/107756.php > '2nd Renaissance part 12' and see evidence that the second Bali bomb was a mini-nuke (a WMD that the US has).

In fact, should one bother to look closely at established "history", and present "history" in the making (2007-10-15, f. ex.), then one must be prepared to find conspiracy after conspiracy - who is Oceania's enemy today Winston?

Freedom is the absence of all authority - within+without. Self-systemization. Satya.

E lumiya si o murro them,
The Gyppo.