Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Anti-terror raids - New Zealand's Haneefgate

The police using new anti-terror legislation, the bungled raids, the defiant statements from on high, the bail granted to one of those charged being cancelled, the guilt by 'association,' and the suspicion that all this amounts to less than it should. All we need now are the drip-drip-drip leaks of false information and the final dismissal of the crown case in court, and the parallels between the Mohammed Haneef case and the current 'anti-terror' raids here will be complete.

Those who have broken the law should be punished. If some of those arrested are in possession of illegal arms or are plotting some IRA style campaign (1), then they should be dealt with according to the law. Though I'd urge the would-be seperatists to consider a different model - the IRA failled in their objectives and gave up. The Palestinians haven't managed to achieve anything by blowing themselves and Israelis up - except for strengthening the far-right in Israeli politics. ETA haven't done anything to advance Basque independence.

Some of the evidence that has emerged thus far is less than compelling. It is claimed that the supposed terrorists possessed Molotov cocktails and and napalm. I'll be interested to see how this story develops, recalling that initial reports placed Haneef's SIM card at the scene of the Glasgow bombings, when it was actually with his cousin (2) Sabeel Ahmed in Liverpool and how it was claimed he tried to leave the country with out notifying his employer, when he had done so (3). A few bottles of petrol stored in a shed might look like Molotov cocktails in the heat of a raid, but if that isn't what they are intended to be, then they aren't. As for the napalm, how was this identified? Was it stored in a contained labelled "NAPALM"? It seems unlikely. Whatever the truth, it will emerge over time, hopefully in a more open and less disingenuous manner than it did in the Haneef case.

The more worrying aspect of this is the arrest, and the (attempted) raids on people who's linkage with any para-military Maori seperatists must be weak at best. Here the parallels with Haneef are again compelling. Haneef was arrested and charged essentially because his cousin had committed a terrorist act. Now people who are campaigning for causes such as a Palestinian homeland are being arrested because they might have some vague connection with people who - it is alleged - are willing to fight for a seperate Maori state. It isn't at all surprising that the former might have attended the same meetings, rallies, and have connections with the latter. The have a common interest, but that doesn't mean a common goal.

The main difference between the current 'terror raids' and the Haneef case is that some of those detained are probably guilty of something, or the police have at least got good grounds for some of their actions. Equally, there are probably some who aren't guilty of anything, and have been detained because of a Kevin Andrews style interpretation of the term 'association.'
1 - "IRA-style war plan revealed," unattributed story on stuff.co.nz, 17th of October, 2007.(http://www.stuff.co.nz/4240093a25364.html)
2 - As described previously on lefthandpalm:
http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2007/07/big-holes-appearing-in-case-against.html
3 - As described previously on lefthandpalm: http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2007/07/haneef-did-have-leave-from-hospital.html

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