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March 24, 2008 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

Court Report: ‘Clowns’ Trial, deposed for 18-19th March, 2008

The New Zealand Police have developed a tactic of arresting protestors on charges they later drop, simply in order to waste activists’ time and energy.

On 15th October 2006, 12 anti-war protestors dressed as clowns were arrested in Wellington for clowning around outside the residence of Neal Garnett, chairman of the New Zealand Defence Industry Association (NZDIA) and organiser of the annual Defence Industry weapons conference which was held at Te Papa Tongarewa that year. Impractical bail conditions included non-association orders. However, these were successfully challenged in the High Court, in time for the protestors to work together against the weapons conference. The charges were altered several times: last year the ‘unlawful assembly’ charges were dropped and six activists took diversions, leaving only six activists to face ‘intimidation’ charges.

On 17 March this year the police prosecutors informed lawyer Michael Bott that they were withdrawing the intimidation charge. This was a major victory for Peace Action Wellington. It may well be that the charges have been withdrawn because Somali Young, who infiltrated Peace Action Wellington at the time of this protest for Thompson & Clark Private Investigations Limited, has been called as a witness by the defendants. She was part of the protest at Garnett’s house but managed not to get arrested.

So on the 18th, six defendants appeared in Wellington District Court to hear the Police request that all charges be dropped. The Judge asked “How does the Defence respond?” to which lawyers representing the accused replied “We accept the Prosecution’s request.” This prompted gales of laughter from the public gallery.

This case has taken two years (since arrests were made on 15 October 2006), and countless hours of legal time, plus convening a totally unnecessary jury – a major waste of public resources, to what effect?

The Police have in fact been using a tactic of arresting activists on spurious charges, which they know cannot be prosecuted through to conviction. This tactic is used in order to waste protestors’ time and energy, preventing legitimate protest by peace activists exercising their civil right to free speech and free assembly. Since February 2003, when 17 people were arrested and charged with “attempting to conduct a weapons inspection of the US Embassy,” there has been an escalation of this tactic.

Peace Action Wellington have been continually harassed when participating with others in peaceful, non-violent protests against the US and coalition presences in Iraq, since November 2002. Police constantly interrogate those arrested to find out “who is the leader of this protest,” (hint for the Police: in a consensus collective of anarchist-principled people, there are no leaders…) and carting activists off to the Police Station for actions as feeble as throwing water balloons.

Other groups targeted by these tactics include Wellington Animal Rights Network, Save Happy Valley, No Arms Race At Our Place (a sub-campaign of PAW aimed at removing the Weapons Conference from the Te Papa convention facilities, which succeeded last year) and the recent (2007) protest against the visit of former Australian PM John Howard, when our beloved VUWSA president Joel Cosgrove was so ignominiously ‘handcuffed by a girl’ (and a few other burly officers). September 2003 – 8 people arrested protesting the Iraq war and WTO, for ‘chalking on the footpath.’ October 2004 – About 50 people blockaded Te Papa, protesting the weapons conference.

March 2005 – About 150 protesters marched from Civic Square to the US Embassy, some remaining to set up a Peace Camp on the park opposite the US Embassy. One person was de-arrested by the crowd during the protest. Meanwhile, in Auckland, 300 marchers went down Queen St, past the ANZ to the American Consulate. Four people were arrested and charged with obstruction, but convictions did not eventuate.

October 2005 – About 70 protestors blockaded Te Papa during the Weapons Conference, and in the course of the afternoon, 20 people were arrested, the bulk while making a human chain in front of the Army’s new LAV, which then had to back up and be put away behind the playground gate. Six charges were laid, resulting in no convictions.

March 2006 – A large contingent in Wellington marched to oppose further US engagement in Iraq, and in Auckland, 200 marched along Queen St to the Consulate, without further arrests.

October 15, 2006 – 12 protestors were arrested in protest before the arms conference. Charges were changed many times before finally being dropped in March 2008.

Oct 18 2006 – The huge weapons conference protest with food, music, and clowns blockading every door in the building. The Police were so outnumbered that the conference was shut down by the protest, and eventually Te Papa closed its doors to casual visitors and school groups participating in the daily programme.

February 2007 – 3 protestors arrested outside Premier House in Thorndon, during a protest against the visit of Australian Prime Minister John Howard, with an indecent amount of force used.

October 15, 2007 17 arrests made during dawn raids of activists homes around Aotearoa, with charges laid under the TSA and Arms Act. Charges under the TSA have been dropped.

February 19, 2008 – 3 further arrests made in the Bay of Plenty, a fortnight before the original arrestees were due to appear in Court for pre-depositions hearings, leading to adjournment of proceedings until September 2008, for evidence to be assessed by the defence lawyers.


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  1. Probably at significant cost to those teachers and students involved. Why would a group of self-indulgent activists, most who do not have much of an idea of an industry that is only there to defend the freedoms we all hold so dear, besides the fact that it is perceived by them to be ‘evil’.

    How absolutely shameful of them to restrict entry to the young of New Zealand, and forbid them the opportunity to learn about our rich culture and history. As expected the protests had little effect on the ‘evil arms empire’ — all who suffered were the young, and their education.

    Those protesters should be ashamed. There was no reasons to be so extreme, there message was getting through anyway – plus there were other entrances the conference attendees could have entered by. It was obviously a media stunt.

  2. Kerry says:

    uhhh.. the point is that Police are arresting activists, who have a civil right to protest against war and weapons manufacturers, without showing any legal charge that can be successfully/legally prosecuted, thus wasting public money in the Justice system.

    Some of these arrests are merely a case of the NZ Police Strategic Response Group, a political-protest policing team, responding to US Embassy agency requests to have ‘some protesters arrested’, when nothing done is actually illegal under NZ law.

    The wider problem here is US attempts to get US law applied de facto without legal (parliamentary) ratification of that law – eg: the US Patriot Act, which is significantly different to the TSA as passed and amended by Parliament.
    There has never been any ratification of the main thrust of the Patriot Act, and the Labour Government has said that it is not congruent with the (mostly) British-derived law that we have enacted.

    Which shows what we actually have in law, unrelated to protest activity charges!

  3. Tristan Egarr says:

    Conrad – What’s wrong with a media stunt if it’s for a good cause?
    Furthermore, the police tactic of arresting people on charges that they know won’t stick is also something of a media stunt – but a stunt which causes considerable hardship and disruption to people’s lives.

    So What (and Conrad) – The “suffering” felt by the “young” at being unable to enter Te Papa for one day is nothing compared to the hardship faced by protestors whose lives are put out of kilter as specious charges hang over their heads for a year. Furthermore, if Te Papa had not allowed the arms industry to hold its meetings on their premises, they never would have had to close their doors in the first place. People who derive profit from producing weapons designed to kill civilians have no place in our national museum. The freedom to bomb the fuck out of people is not a freedom worth defending.

  4. matt the truck says:

    “How absolutely shameful of them to restrict entry to the young of New Zealand, and forbid them the opportunity to learn about our rich culture and history”

    Are you on drugs Conrad? Don’t make Te Papa out to be better than it real is. Te Papa is nothing more than a up market amusement park… To claim that it it contains rich culture and history is far-fetched.

  5. Maybe to someone who hasn’t ventured past the first floor it isn’t. But there are hidden gems, and downright blatant ones all over that place.

    Sure, I’d rather go to places to get my fill of the best NZ culture, but thats not a luxury school children can afford.

    Tristan — I think you missed my point, I wasn’t arguing against the police actions, Kerry has a reasonable point when she critiques police actions. I was angry at the actions of the Protesters themselves, there are better and more socially equitable ways to protest — They chose to do something extravagant resulting in only negative consequences.

  6. I think Valerie Morse should be made illegal. She’s fucking annoying. And Joel Cosgrove is more behated than anything else..

    Why is Kerry writing this shit? No one cares. Just like no one cares about the point her friends are trying to make. Because they’re shit at putting across whatever message it is they’re attempting to sell.

    Kerry should just be given two lines a month to say ‘my friends aren’t terrorists’, because that’s the only point she ever attempts to make. And by not terrorists, she means just gun-wielding, molotov-cocktail throwing but-otherwise-peaceful activists.

    And for the record, I like Te Papa. The earthquake house is cool, and so was the murder mystery.

  7. munchkin says:

    First of all, who really cares if these children ‘suffered’ by being denied entry to Te Papa? all it really is is a place where a one-sided view of what we think *may* have happened is presented to the public as fact. It’s not a place of education, it’s a place of indoctrination. At best, as pointed out above, it is an amusement park. Maybe one-day the children and other members of the public who couldn’t go in will learn that history isn’t history at all, it’s a collection of manufactured stories pertaining to the viewpoint that you want to establish.

    As for the police detaining protestors without reason, if they can cite a reason for doing so (even if it does come down to obeying the laws of the ever-pervasive USA), technically they’re entitled to (but they’re still being assholes) as the Bill of Rights act does not over-ride other laws – something that the government seems reluctant to fix. It wasn’t until January 1st this year that the law repealing sedition came into effect, either.

  8. munchkin says:

    Why can’t you edit comments?

    Anyway, The police are there to support the political status-quo, suppressing dissent, in whatever shape or form it tends to take on, seems to part of that. All together, this is something they tend to do quite well.

  9. I fail to see what politically deviant about restoring iconic pieces of NZ culture, and them putting them on display.

    Why does te-papa have Goldie paintings… oh it must have something to do with how the white man fucked over Maori…

    Yea, that’d be it…

  10. munchkin says:

    @ Conrad, the white people didn’t really fuck the Maori over, keep in mind that it isn’t a white mans world, the white man just stood up first.

  11. Tania says:

    Conrad, you spend way too much time writing blog posts. Yes, I realise I’m indulging in a big hot bowl of hypocrisy here but still.

    Activism requires making a spectacle. It’s how it works – media stunts are one of the last truly effective tools we have left. You can use and abuse the ‘free press’ all you want but if the aim is to take action within a limited time frame then civil disobedience it is. It’s a shame that some people were prevented from going to Te Papa on that one particular day but I hardly consider that to be hugely “negative consequences”.

    I think I’m just drawing attention to our radically different world views here but I think hosting a weapons conference in our national museum is definitely a venture worth stopping (and inconveniencing some schoolgirls along the way). I’m sure Goldie would agree.

  12. Brunswick says:

    “This is just my opinion and clearly Salient needed space filled.”
    Could I get one of those as well?

  13. So, what the pro-arms manufacturer arguments on this thread come down to is “Oh noes! The children were blocked from entering Te Papa! Won’t someone think of the children.” Now, I could easily throw this back in your faces and say hey, what about the children of Lebanon whose limbs are torn off by landmines, cluster munitions and gun fire? But that’s actually a lame argument, just as lame as the one y’all raise.

    Sure, it’s a pity that people were blocked from a museum, whatever the quality of that museum. But let’s not get over-excited here – it’s a small inconvenience, and a small price worth paying. Perspective, people, perspective. Furthermore, it’s a bit moronic to just blame the protestors. Te Papa knew there would be protests – they happen at every one of these conferences – so if they were really concerned about people’s access, they wouldn’t have hosted the conference in the first place. Now you may respond by saying “Oh but refusing to host a conference because you don’t agree with it is unfair/a breach of rights blah blah blah,” but the fact is there are many conferences Te Papa would not hold due to the offence they would cause. This doesn’t stop such conferences from happening, it just means they have to go somewhere else, much like mister Norman Levido.

  14. On the other hand, the best argument in favour of holding the NZDIA meetings in Te Papa is that they should be transparent and open to the public, not hidden away. But this argument is poor for two reasons a) the conference can still be open and transparent when held in a less disruptive location, and b) the conference wasn’t really open when it was at Te Papa anyway.

  15. Joseph Conrad says:

    Despite all the hysteria about the “New Zealand Defence Industry Association” and how they are killing babies in Africa, what actual evidence is there that there is anything wrong with the weapons they are involved in developing, apart from the criticism that all war is bad? Tristan, i don’t think any New Zealand companies are involved in “bomb[ing] the fuck out of people.” Rakon makes crystals used in GPS systems, which are some of the best GPS crystals out so they are used in guiding bombs. That in itself has the dubious distinction of reducing collateral damage, but its worth considering what would happen if Rakon didn’t make high quality GPS systems? Perhaps lockheed martin, boeing, northrop grumman, raytheon et al would develop their own GPS crystals that were just as good, perhaps they wouldn’t be as good, but in any case NZ wouldn’t be getting those export dollars anymore. That might sound callous, but the use of crystals in bombs is a byproduct of their efficacy, rather than the other way around. Unless you are arguing from the perspective of being totally anti-war, one would have to acknowledge that bombs are always going to be present in war situations. …… Who else produces dubious products? I know there is a company which manafactures hand grenades – so what? Soldiers need hand grenades, handgrenades indeed are designed to kill people. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be making them, unless of course you can prove that the is no need for an effective infantry syle force in the modern world. Maybe there is a secret cluster bomb factory in Featherston that Aunty Helen is keeping secret from all but the most enlightened wellintonian sickness beneficiaries, but I think not. Ultimately, Te Papa probably shouldn’t have hosted the conference, not because it was ethically wrong, but because it was always likely that such a contentious event would rightly or wrongly bring disruption to the average museum goer.

  16. So what? says:

    Tristan – at no point did I identify myself as “pro-arms manufacturer”. I am pro respect for others in your immediate environment, and I have seen nothing of this from self-absorbed protestors.

    But hey, at least now we know how and why this propoganda shit was included in the magazine.

    Why am I being blocked from commenting by the “spam filter”?

  17. Kerry says:

    To Joseph Conrad:

    The Defence Industry Association Conference is hosted by the Ministry of Defence, and I personally witnessed General Jerry Mataparae, head of NZDF, exiting through a side-door during the 2006 demo.

    Guests to the conferences have included weapons distributors and manufacturers from all around the Pacific Rim, including China.

    It’s not just Rakon who maanufacture products sold at this conference. There’s a lot of technical clothing (uniforms, bomb-proof gear) made or designed in NZ. There’s also the marketing of our ‘technical experts’, such as the NZSAS engineers who’ve been stationed in Afghanistan.

    But don’t take my word for it.

    They’re very pro-active in promoting what they’re really doing.
    They consider it an honour to go places, build bridges, drive LAV tanks over them;
    and kill people who have no hope of defending themselves against a well-equipped first-world-nation armed force.

    Not in my name, ever.

    NZDF does not belong in Afghanistan, Iraq or Lebanon.

    If the USA wants to run a resource war, and subjugate a population based on a definition of Christianity that could only happen in America, then they can do that on their own tax dollars.
    Not mine.

    The CIA can stop meddling in NZ policy. Now.
    Assistant Police Commissioner John White should consider the possibility that he’s been led blindfolded into a very dark hole, by accepting training for his staff from the FBI in Virginia.

    There’ll be a Commission of Inquiry to rival the Beazley Inquiry into the actions of former Assistant Police Commissioner Clint Rickards.

    ‘Shitkicker McGee’:
    I do hope that with your total and complete lack of analysis of any of this material, you’re not studying Politics. Or Law. Or even Journalism…

    For the record, I used to like Te Papa. I worked there.
    Not something I’d do now.

  18. Tom Cruise says:

    Kerry, must everything be a conspiracy?
    Maybe the FBI are one of the best criminal investigation bureaus in the world and thats why our officers are training there. Maybe we want to forge connections with law enforcement agencies worldwide, so when a case like Yin Xue’s occurs we can enact speedy extradition and see alledged criminals tried fairly. I know that this may not fit into your conception of this ‘New Rome’, and evil empire with tentacles everywhere, but this may just be a case of what you see is what you get. For someone who is a stickler for analysis of the ‘material’ you seem awfully keen to draw the same conclusions on everything. This can’t just be a matter of upskilling staff and learning from the best in the business? No it has to be the CIA (historically antagonistis to the FBI) trying once more to infiltrate the New Zealand CIB and lead our detectives into ‘a very dark hole’.

  19. Joseph Conrad says:

    Ok Kerry, I rest my case. You are one of those people who totally disagrees with armed forces in any circumstances it seems. Nevermind the fact that in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon they have got the most comprehensive mandate possible, that of UN resolutions. I’m critical of the UN too at times, but you’re in an extreme minority in objecting to the presence of NZ soldiers in these missions – ie, yes you have the democratic right of free speech to object to this and vote/ demonstrate accordingly, and I have the democratic right to tell you that you’re a simple-minded ideologue for thinking that the world doesn’t need armed intervention in fucked up war zones. Thats democracy, if you don’t like the fact that your opinions are judged by the electorate to be ones that suck, then you can either get informed and espouse articulate well reasoned opinions that don’t fail on basic points of logic, or you can go and live in a selfish country that never intervenes on behalf of civilian populations under some socialist luddite pretext that really is a classic case of too hard, can’t be bothered. What on earth can you object to about the manafacture of bomb-proof gear and uniforms for soldiers? Naturally, you’d think the cheif of defence force staff would attend a defence industry conference, but in the tinfoil hatted parallel universe you seem to inhabit everything seems to have some sort of horrid conspiratorial sinister subtext. PS, I support these deployments, and I pay taxes. Some people don’t support things you partake in or support, yet they also pay taxes. Don’t be so bloody self-important, it makes you sound like Rodney Hide.

  20. “Nevermind the fact that in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon they have got the most comprehensive mandate possible, that of UN resolutions.”

    There is no UN Mandate supporting the invasion of Iraq, Joseph my old comrade.

  21. Kerry:

    “They’re very pro-active in promoting what they’re really doing.
    They consider it an honour to go places, build bridges, drive LAV tanks over them;
    and kill people who have no hope of defending themselves against a well-equipped first-world-nation armed force.”

    Wrong, the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan are one of the most effective fighting forces in the world. In the 1980’s they managed to defeat the Soviet Union, and they are STILL fighting the Coalition of the Willing in Afghanistan now. It’s been seven years, thats longer than world war two. Your immediate dismissal of them as poor people who cant defend themselves is empirically wrong, and in my opinion belies a certain ignorance of that conflict. The mujahadeen are armed with first rate weapons, an RPG is just as a good as a javelin missile. Remember Afghanistan = a guerrilla insurgency campaign. Tanks and Tactical bombing are essentially useless as “war enders”. Like Joseph Conrad above (who is not me btw) I also support armed intervention to stop an insurgency who are ideologues, madmen, are misogynists, tyrannical oppressors of Freedom of speech, Religion, commerce, Education, and wish to return to the days of the Taliban (Afghanistan has already seen a resurgence of the Taliban in the South). I would pay money to see that this threat to western (and Islamic) civilization is suppressed. The Taliban give nothing to Humanity.

    “If the USA wants to run a resource war, and subjugate a population based on a definition of Christianity that could only happen in America, then they can do that on their own tax dollars.
    Not mine.”

    Again wrong. The USA’s foreign policy is not determined by evangelical think tanks. It is formulated (currently) by neo-conservative think tanks — who aren’t so heavy on the god stuff. You are confusing Bush’s public justification with a first cause.

    “There’ll be a Commission of Inquiry to rival the Beazley Inquiry into the actions of former Assistant Police Commissioner Clint Rickards.”

    Why the fuck is this relevant. You aren’t going to win any arguments when you begin firing off irrelevant assumptions. He was acquired by a court of law. If thats not enough for you, meet Joel and start a revolution. Man I don’t even know why im refuting that point, it has nothing to do the issue at hand.

    Tristan –

    You make some sound arguments, but unfortunately I disagree with all of them. Much Love. <3

    The te-papa issue is best looked at through economic eyes. Banning a conference is not Pareto efficient. If Te Papa bows to (unreasoned) public pressure then all the revenue they will acquire on those days = general public. BUT if they held a conference there at the same time then the equation becomes Public $ + Conference $ which happens to = More money for Our Place.

    Why is that a good thing? More money equals better services and better facilities. I doubt anyone would contend that taking a lot of money AWAY from Te Papa is a good thing. But thats essentially what Kerry is suggesting.

  22. Whoops, made a bit of an error there Tristan my lovely

    “The United Nations has extended the mandate of the US-led multinational forces in Iraq for another year.
    The UN Security Council voted unanimously to extend the mandate.
    The US welcomed the vote as a sign of international commitment to the political transition in Iraq.”

    From the BBC

    There was no UN Security Council Mandate to _invade_ Iraq, but there have been Mandates after to support the US in security, reconstruction etc.

  23. alas, the UN has indeed fallen from its admirable stance against the invasion.
    But their subsequent collusion doesn’t mean that we can just forget this military presence entered illegally in the first place.
    Sad times when we make excuses for remaining in violent occupation, and laugh about them over a cup of coffee in conference rooms.

  24. Joseph Conrad says:

    Tristram Shandy always known for his ability to spin an old wives tale, that’s what’s so notable about Sternes book, and what its enduring fame is for. However, my 18th Century friend, I wasn’t referring to the invasion of Iraq, which I utterly disagreed with and racously protested against (if you go to the tv3 archive I’m there with all the punks outside the US embassy on 20/20). However, once the USA went in there and fucked everything over that vaguely resembled public infrastructure, I fully supported the deployment of our Engineer corps to help fix some stuff up. And yes, that was mandated by the UN, and the terms of NZ’s deployment were specifically set down as to avoid any collusion with the imperialist tactics of the US against the Iraqi people.

  25. Joseph Conrad says:

    Also Kerry, LAV’s are not tanks. If some Taleban militants were to fire an RPG at a LAV it would probably blow up. They are light armoured vehicles designed to defend soldiers from improvised attacks and ambushes in convoys, not for front line service. Good on them for being proud of what they are doing: these guys are out there doing a bloody difficult job with the very real threat of getting killed at any moment – sacrificing your own safety for the good of humanity goes further than politely drinking a latte with cows milk in it, Kerry.

  26. Kerry says:

    Tom Cruise:
    FBI trained the Police Anti-terror Unit, it was part of the $8.7 billion spent on the set-up of Operation 8.
    Nicky Hagar published that finding, a result of an OIA request, back in November ’07. And spoke to it, in at least two seminars at varied venues, one of which was hosted by PGSA.

    On NZ soil, CIA are hosted in the US Embassy, & their agents routinely call the Police at protests to arrest NZ citizens on charges which just don’t exist under NZ law.
    Most of these arrests are dropped at the Police Station, as senior officers explain to arresting officers that there is no charge to answer for the activists’ actions. Doesn’t stop the political attachés from having a go anytime there’s a political protest, however.

    “There’ll be a Commission of Inquiry to rival the Beazley Inquiry into the actions of former Assistant Police Commissioner Clint Rickards.”
    Why the fuck is this relevant. You aren’t going to win any arguments when you begin firing off irrelevant assumptions. He was acquired by a court of law. If thats not enough for you, meet Joel and start a revolution. Man I don’t even know why im refuting that point, it has nothing to do the issue at hand.

    Well, if you’d looked at the TSA act link that I posted..

    The actions of the Police Anti-terror Unit are subject to a complaint to the UN Human Rights Commission (lodged Nov 07).

    There will be an inquiry into how the arrests in the Bay of Plenty were carried out, as there were many standard operating procedures that were disregarded or contravened, including using live arms around small children, and the strip-searching of young girls without consent; the list is long and undistinguished by any reasonable framework of ethics.

    Most of the contentious part of what they did wrong relates to using tactics which are part of the USA Patriot Act, and part of CIA playbooks for this kind of investigation, but not enacted anywhere in our TSA legislation.

    Oh, and Conrad – that Pareto equation; wee problem:

    1) Te Papa is a government department, just like WINZ in some aspects – one of which is, they don’t make much money from conferences hosted by government Ministries, who just account the conference back across a contra-funding instrument to balance one government department’s use of another.
    2) School trips get in for free, too….
    Publicly funded state museum and all, required to teach children as a part of their core funding mission statement.
    Only people really doing any paying there were the International guests, and it might have been a moot point that any of them paid anything.

    Joseph, comrade;
    The point about the LAV’s was ironic – that’s all the armoured vehicles our Army has now, unveiled to huge ‘fanfare’ in Oct 2005.
    They’re useless in Afghanistan.
    Might be useful if the Army was invading the Urewera’s.

    The quote I used was from an 80’s recruiting slogan – sorry, again my SOH is running deeper into history than I referenced; it was post-Vietnam & pre-Afghanistan, to my recall.
    Possibly around the time Bougainville and Papua New Guinea were Pacific problems that NZDF were policing under UN requirements for peace-keeping deployment. I’d have to rummage for longer to be definite. Before the nuclear test-ban treaty, anyway.

    And Joe, please read the fine print of any employment contract you ever sign. Even the Territorials sign-up to being put in harm’s way, no-one joins the NZDF without knowing that they might reasonably be expected to kill or be killed. As a public servant.

    I stand with my position that I wouldn’t sign that contract.

    As Tristram Shandy pointed out, the UN Resolutions prior to the invasion of Iraq were firmly against the instigation of conflict.
    The USA ignored or vetoed several Security Council resolutions in the (northern) autumn of 2002; only ratifying resolutions which were in their favour.

    Please, read some history, politics and law, all of you. Soon. Even a google search of the stuff website would’ve brought most of the above up…

    I’m grumpy now, and I’m going to bed…

  27. Von Hayek says:

    It would be interesting to find out exaclty how you know what the CIA do, and do not do.

  28. “The point about the LAV’s was ironic – that’s all the armoured vehicles our Army has now, unveiled to huge ‘fanfare’ in Oct 2005.
    They’re useless in Afghanistan.”

    Again wrong, due to a tank’s heavy weight, and their propensity to get sand caught in their engines, THEY are not good in Afghanistan. As has already been pointed out LAVs are not tanks.

    In fact LAVs have a much better chance at going through sand and scrub, they are only sparsely armored and armed, making them lighter, and capable of carrying troops. Even the British army in Helmund province (the most deadly one atm) do not use tanks. They use upgraded Half-Tracks.

    Argh, conferences do bring in money for Te-Papa, especially important ones! As ministries still need to reimburse other state owned enterprises even ministers have to pay. Maybe not for their personal attendance, but definitely in renting the space. When was the last time you got into a Te Papa exhibition free Kerry? (and not when you were under Te Papa’s employ) school trips certainly don’t.

    Also, please attack the Territorial with at least some semblance of reason. They aren’t deployed as combat soldiers. They are basically just a wing of civil defense trained rudimentary as reservists, should NZ need force of arms in a civil crisis. They are the checkpoint manners, and crowd control. Not SAS troops who go undercover to assassinate enemies. Stop turning mole hills into Mountains.

    Furthermore, What does Clint Rickards have to with the TSA, If I remember rightly he was suspended with full pay, had had his golden handshake or was only the Assistant Commissioner. You shouldn’t blame the police for only applying the law. Blame the politicians who passed it.

  29. karl bronstein says:

    “Please, read some history, politics and law, all of you.” and “then they can do that on their own tax dollars. Not mine.” are my favorite quotes from Kerry, the second one just because it implies she pays taxes.

  30. Joseph Conrad says:

    Kerry don’t tell me that I don’t know my history, law, politics. I am acutely aware of the corrupted and self serving processes which shape much of todays world. What qualifies you as a particular expert to spurn us and shout us down? Reading some books by Nicky Hager (who does make some good points) doesn’t make you an expert. You are the ones who need to check your facts, and stop conflating every piece of bomb proof clothing with the unpleasant undertones of global politics. No one says that you have to join up for the territorials and sign their contract, but its pretty bloody obvious that if you were in the army you could be expected to go overseas, and yes, kill someone: but there are strict terms of engagement – not everyone with a gun shoots babies or drops cluster bombs. Your purist view of the world would do no-one any good. I wonder how you’d like being a left wing agnostic opinionated woman in afghanistan today: you wouldn’t like it very much at all. Situations are complex, don’t paint everything as evidence of a global neocon/christian conspiracy. Oh yeah and shut up about paying your taxes.

  31. So what? says:

    Kerry – I’m still demanding an explanation for Anzac Day. Why should we give a damn about protestors who turn up to protest at what is essentially a day of mourning? Selfish idiots.

  32. matt the truck says:

    Can it be… the Anzac protesters are akin to the Westbro Church?

  33. So what? – Anzac day commemorates those fallen in all of our wars, but especially at Gallipoli. Part of commemorating these deaths involves asking why they had to die and demand that those deaths that were strategically pointless – i.e. all of our fallen at Gallipoli – never happen again. Those of us determined to ensure pointless slaughter does not happen consider protesting to be the greatest way to commemorate the lives of those who fell. Why should we have to commemorate our fallen the way you want to commemorate them?

  34. So what? says:

    Because it is akin to what the Westboro Church does – picketing what was essentially a funeral? Because those who are there are there to grieve for the fallen and to show respect? Because the veterans who are there are living out the last chance they may get to commemorate their friends who died? (And make no mistake, Tristan – some of those veterans who were there last year will not be there this year).

    It’s disrespectful and fucking abhorrent behaviour. Absolutely disgusting – show some respect!

  35. I agree with So What, but I understand your point. However, instead of picketing a memorial service for the men who selflessly fought, and died. The protesters should be picketing the respective governments of the men.

    The slaughter at Gallipoli was partly the United Kingdoms fault ya know — if you have a problem, attack it at its head, not at its heart.

  36. No, it is not “akin to what the Westboro Church does”. The Church pickets individual families’ funerals against their wishes to spread messages of hate against other individuals. This is disrespectful towards the grieving, who should be allowed to choose how they commemorate their dead.

    ANZAC day, as a mass public memorial service, is an act of mourning performed by the entire nation. As such, the way we perform this commemoration is up to the entire community to decide. Some of us will use the commemoration it to articulate the pointlessness of all that death in the first place; we’ll use it to argue that we should work towards removing such killings. Others won’t like this, sure, but the ceremony belongs to us all. This is the big difference between ANZAC day and private funerals. I needn’t add that opposing war and hating on people’s sexuality are hardly comparable, either.

  37. Protesting at ANZAC Day is basically shitting on those who died and saying ‘haha, your deaths were in vain, you, the army and the government were and still are idiots’. And if that’s not a nice way to commemorate their memory, what is?

  38. PS Tristan – I can definitely see the link between Westboro Baptist Church and the ANZAC Day protest. They’re both against the war, and they’re both pushing their views about war where least wanted. If you don’t want to commemorate ANZAC Day the way the rest of the nation does, leave the memorials alone.

  39. so basically your argument boils down to “you’re not acting like me and the normal people so fuck off.” But we won’t fuck off. Sorry.

  40. So what? says:

    No. Our argument boils down to have some respect for those who are mourning/there to give respect to those who have died. Or you know, have some respect for others in general. Did your mother not teach you any manners, Tristan?

  41. Basically my argument boils down to have some fucking respect.

  42. How about having some respect for those who are butchered because of needless wars? These folk deserve respect, and we show this by making a stand against killing. So yeah, our mothers taught us to respect the living and help keep them alive; to respect those who shouldn’t have died by arguing that they shouldn’t have died. Perhaps your mother taught you that respect = not questioning those in power and refusing to stand up for youself. But this is a pretty disturbing form of “respect” and is better described as cowardice.

    So Shitkicker and So What, you can try to make yourselves feel good about your cowardice and inability to question what those in power do in your name, but I won’t let you get away with writing off this cowardice as some perverse form of “respect”. And this is why we print these articles.

  43. We, as citizens of NZ, have a right to protest what we think is wrong. Protesting about ANZAC day, is not going to do anything but make you look like an idiot. If you want to affect change, and see NZ discontinue sending combat forces overseas, protest the armed forces, protest when the govt sends troops overseas, protest about anything you want. But do not protest, burn flags, or desecrate one of the founding moments of New Zealand’s identity, by defiling ANZAC day. It is not even about respect, it is about realising that ANZAC day is something that should be celebrated, not for the loss of peoples lifes, but for the life they gave us. ANZAC day brings together people in a way that Waitangi day does not, certainly brings us together more than Christmas, Easter and Queens Birthday.

  44. matt the truck says:

    It is funny how many people say that the armed forces died for the rights for us to protest. So we we use these rights to protest, these people say “how dare you protest, these people died for your right to protest”. So in this regard, the people against the ANZAC protests are the ones who are disrespecting the people who died in wars. You guys are akin to the NAZI. Freedom to all, freedom to protest, freedom to use our voice, freedom against NAZI.

  45. Kerry says:

    To everyone who complained about ANZAC day (which is a total tangent to the article, can any of you keep on-point for five minutes?..)

    My grandfather was a WWII prisoner of war in Germany. He loathed the RSA, and wouldn’t parade on ANZAC day.
    He considered most of that palavar to be a bunch of self-serving bullshit, and pitied the miserable alcoholics who kept it up.
    He could see that it was all just propaganda for the Armed Forces, to enable them to continue to get more young men and women to throw their lives away.
    He abhorred the waste of talent that occurred in his generation.
    My pacifist principles began in my home, amongst my family.

    I have protested ANZAC day, peacefully and intelligently, many times.
    I support the actions of my friend, and sister in feminism, Valerie Morse. Unconditionally, financially, with all my skills and talents.
    Perhaps one day, some of you will have friends you care for enough to give such unconditional love and support to.

    We protest for the women and children who are the “collatoral damage” imposed by the US forces and their allies, civillians who did not engage in war, were not contracted to any armed forces, yet who have died in their hundreds of thousands; while the USA is up to a count of some four thousand military casualties, enough that US citizens are calling for the troops to be brought back from a war that they can’t win.

    details of marches held recently all over the USA, and civil rights campaigners demands’ for the troop withdrawals.

    To those of you who think I haven’t paid taxes:

    Think again.
    Grow up a couple of decades, and you may catch up with the amount of tax I’ve paid, in many and varied forms, in the course of my life.
    Get some facts before you fire off comments.
    Learn to do your own research.

    To those who query my sources:
    See last comment above.
    A good journalist does not divulge sources for sensitive information.
    Some of my sources are personal contacts of many years’ standing.

    When something I say is in public domain, I reference;
    for example, the public seminar by Hicky Hagar which many from the post-grad community attended.
    Nicky also spoke at Tapu Te Ranga marae, and at a speakers’ forum at an all-day event in Frank Kitts Park on Dec 1st, 2007, along with Nandor Tancos and Keith Locke, among others.

    If you are incapable of following the references, that is not my problem, but your own need to upskill in researching.
    Google isn’t the only research tool on earth, y’know!

  46. Tristan – we don’t have to burn flags to show respect. Now who’s judging others for using other means to commemorate the dead? Apparently remembering them peacefully once a year is ‘sissy’ to you.

    Matt the truck: If the dead soldiers wanted us to protest on ANZAC Day to remember them, why are all the other veterans pissed off about Valerie Morse’s actions? Or is it only the dead who can appreciate a burnt flag.

    You claim we’re ‘judging’ you for burning the national flag at a moment when dead soldiers are remembered, then attack us for choosing to remember them in a quiet, peaceful manner? Good one.

  47. Kerry:

    “My grandfather was a WWII prisoner of war in Germany. He loathed the RSA, and wouldn’t parade on ANZAC day.”

    My Grandfather was also a POW, in a Jap Camp. He went to every single parade, till he died, in 2002. He was not an alcoholic, and he was not some fool who thought it was all about propaganda. He went for the people who he knew who didn’t make it. They were is friends, comrades, and brothers is arms. He had no real choice but to fight. I find you degrading his memory completely repulsive, as repulsive as I find you.

    Has it ever occurred to you are only absorbing one side of the argument. Most of the people who are arguing against you on here do not deny that war is wrong, killing of innocents is wrong. What we do deny is that your means of protest are legitimate. They are not. Instead of protesting ANZAC day, protest at the American embassy, protest at the British embassy. For fucks sake you do not need to insult our national identity to prove some poxy point that you could easily gain media attention for in other ways.

    Maybe if you put more effort into finding other ways to protest, becoming a reasonable person who listens to both sides of the argument, and stopped hanging around a student magazine, in which you keep reinforcing how old you are, you wouldn’t need to tell everyone your problems, and you would have a life where you didn’t feel the need to be overly cynical about everything.

  48. Laura, I’m not going to stop you remembering your ancestors peacefully if that’s what you want to do. Good for you. But the day others are not allowed to shout out “killing sucks” when we as a nation remember our wars, simply because it might offend someone, will be a very sad day for our humanity. Being offended is not comparable to being blown apart by some mechanical weapon.

    I respect our war dead by arguing that they should never have had to die in the first place – our soldiers of World War One were victims of a pointless war; our soldiers of World War Two victims of a war which only had to happen because of the first one and the greedy way the world’s leaders responded to it. If we have to censor our memories of the fallen and returned by pretending that “it was all worth it” then I cannot say we are really respecting them. If you prefer the censored version, good for you – but you’ll have to get used to being offended, because many of us prefer the uncensored history.

  49. matt the trcuk says:

    “If the dead soldiers wanted us to protest on ANZAC Day to remember them, why are all the other veterans pissed off about Valerie Morse’s actions? Or is it only the dead who can appreciate a burnt flag.”

    I don’t think they care, they are dead. But I bet they would be pissed off, because they were killed in war. Yes war sucks, and that is what the protests are about. The protesters don’t want any more people dead. Is that not plain and simple.

    The war vets have every right to be pissed off, just like the protesters have every right to protest. That is what the war vets fought for (can anyone say irony). That is what a free and democratic society is meant to be about.

    If we live in a free society, then having a right to burn a flag is part of a free society. A society the war dead fought for. If they cannot burn the flag, then the war dead died in vain (instead of bring about a free society).

    Just like in the US, with their 1st Amendment, the freedom of speech and the West Bro Church protesting the war dead funerals. No matter if you disagree, which is your right, you cannot take the rights of protesters away, just cause the majority disagree. That is the point of freedom.

  50. Laura McQuillan says:

    Actually Matt, the Westboro Baptist Church has been successfully sued by the father of one of the dead soldiers for $11million after they protested at his funeral. Therefore First Amendment speech does not trump the right to a private and peaceful funeral.

  51. So what? says:

    “And this is why we print these articles.”

    No. You print them because they are written by YOUR friends about other friends of yours, not because they have anything to do with students. And calling us cowards just because we ask you to explain why you did the equivalent of protesting at a funeral? Low. Damn low.

    Kerry: If you’re not a liberal before you’re thirty you lack a heart, if you are a liberal after thirty then you lack brains I love that quote, don’t you?

  52. matty la truck says:

    Okay Laura… sweet. That’s not the point. The point is the freedom to protest. The ANZAC protesters didn’t defame anyone really. Just yelled war is bad.

    “Kerry: If you’re not a liberal before you’re thirty you lack a heart, if you are a liberal after thirty then you lack brains I love that quote, don’t you?”

    Is this something we all have to live by? Is this a hard and fasten rule?

    BTW you got it wrong… its

    If you’re not a liberal when you’re 20, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative when you’re 40, you have no head.

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