Monday, 29 October 2007

"Ruatoki will not invade Auckland" - a bit of balance

I thought this rant (1) by Rawiri Taonui should be preserved for future generations. Written in the immediate aftermath of the raid, it summarises the holes in the police case, though not enough to still the worried voice in my head:

Today's evidence is equally unconvincing. Police may have legitimate prosecutions over unlicensed guns under the Firearms Act, but terrorist accusations are simple scaremongering.

Osama bin Laden does not live in the Ureweras, turbans and tataramoa (bush lawyer) simply don't mix. Ruatoki will not invade Auckland.

Who would pay for the gas? Iti's "army" appears to comprise a 53-year-old from Palmerston North, a teenage girl from Otara and a likeable but obviously nutty Pakeha anti-Pakeha from Takanini.

One warrant itemised balaclavas and camo T-shirts. There are thousands of camo thingys on TradeMe and in The Warehouse, including cool pyjamas and funky undies.

And, what do they mean by napalm? Supermarket fire-starting cubes, dirt and petrol, and glycerol mixes are standard outdoor survival fire-starting tricks.

The odd idiot makes a big one, but that's a far cry from weapons-grade bomb making.

Critics warned that police and the Crown would use the Terrorism Suppression Act to target Maori and other progressive groups when it was introduced in 2002.

Those fears were realised last week. The charges are trumped up because a new anti-terrorism bill is before parliament. (2)

The biggest head shake accompanied the last line - the Mintoist contention (3) that the raids were a sham to help the government pass revisions to the anti-terror legistlation. It is an obvious link to make, but is naive in its paranoia. With Labour and National united, the government would alsway have the numbers to pass the legislation. Suggesting that Helen Clarke would get the police to stage a series of raids to convince MPs to support the ammendments was always a laughable proposition.

If anything, the reverse would be true - the government, if it was half as devious as it is made out to be, would be doing everything possible to avoid attracting government attention to the new legislation. Any tactical shenanigans would be to distract attention from the terrorism bill, not focus MPs and the media on it. Getting Trevor Mallard to clobber Tau Henare would have done the trick: "Trev did what? Nawh! What bill are we voting for again? Who cares. Aye!"

Only, they fluffed the timing.
1 - 'Guerrillas in our midst? No!,' by Rawiri Taonui in the Sunday Star Times, 21st of October, 2007. (
2 - ibid.
3 - 'John Minto: Terrorism charges 'trumped up' for political impact,' unattributed summary of TV3 news report, 16th of October, 2007. (

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