Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Peaceful protest?

Three words strike me as characterising so many of the reactions to Monday's arrest of anti-colonial, anti-industry, anti-globalisation and so-called peace protesters under firearms legislation: humbug, denial, and misinformation.
  • People in Ruatoki are bleating that the police were unnecessarily harsh on Monday, and (worse apparently) gave them "no warning" about the raids and the arrests.

    Are these people stupid? They've been prepared for years to countenance the organised thuggery and the exclusion of visitors and the training camps and the "Tuhoe Nation" crap carried out and espoused by Iti and his idiot comrades in their name -- and they've done nothing at all about it. If you're carrying out a raid then you don't warn supporters or friends of those being raided; that really would be stupid. These people aren't stupid enough not to know that - they think we are. To complain they weren't warned is just humbug, and it evades that far more basic issue of what they're prepared to allow in their own community and in their own name. If they're prepared to countenance violence in the name of the "Tuhoe Nation" or whatever other idiocy Iti's comrades dream up, then they deserve everything they get.
  • Protest groups have been issuing "messages of support" to those arrested and organising protests against the arrests, meaning we've been obliged to witness the spectacle of "peace activists" apparently in denial about the firearms that have been confiscated and the bombs and the weapon training that's been undertaken down outside Ruatoki. We've seen them make accusations of "police brutality," and admissions that no one at all has been brutalised. And we watched the likes of Francis Mountier from the Save Happy Valley Coalition get all evasive when a tame TV journalist asked her to repudiate violence and to deny all knowledge of what's been alleged about these training camps. Evasion and denial.
  • We've seen talk of terrorism appear in the press. The protest groups have been quick to object to the "label" of terrorism being used against those arrested, but so far the fact is that the "label" has been used mostly in the denial of it. But the anti-terrorism Act, raised as a bogey by the likes of protestors and commentators associated with the protestors, has not been used against any of the idiots so far arrested. Police Commissioner Howard Broad explained very carefully that the search warrants were issued under the Firearms Act, and charges so far have only been laid under the Firearms Act. Sure, the searches themselves were carried out with the intention of obtaining evidence under the anti-terrorism Act, but protestors need to get their heads around the fact that charges have only been laid so far under the Firearms Act. Their heroes were in possession of weapons that their views would say they shouldn't be.

    And like everyone else I look forward to seeing if charges are justified under the anti-terrorism Act.
  • Two of those who've raised the conspiratorial bogey that the arrests were carried out to provide backing for the forthcoming amendment to the anti-terrorism Act are John Minto and David Small, both of whom have been used by media outlets as so-called independent commentators on the whole affair. Both are in denial about the nature of the charges so far -- that these seventeen people had the means and were undertaking the training whereby to carry out something pretty nasty -- but the media who have invited them on as commentators are either in denial themselves, or else they think we're stupid. The fact is, as Trevor Loudon points out, both Minto and Small are associated with the groups from whom those arrested have been drawn. Minto is an organiser of the ironically named Global Peace and Justice, and umbrella group for at least one of those arrested; and Small is a (former?) Maoist with links to several of the "anti-everything" groups from whom protest has come. [See for example 'Socialist Academic Profile: David Small,' and 'John Minto, Communist Columnist,' and 'Who is Radical Youth?' ]

    That these two are presented as "independent commentators" tells you something about the independence of our media, doesn't it? Doesn't it?
Let me make two final reflections, one on the nature of protest, and other on the nature of force. The right to peaceful protest is important, and in a free society that right is protected. While that right is being threatened by the Electoral Finance Bill, it is not under threat either from these arrests, or from the amendments to the anti-terrorism Act. I'd like to invite those who suggest they do to turn their metaphorical guns on the real means by which protest will be squelched for one third of our lives: the Electoral Finance Bill. Opposition to that Bill is a litmus test for genuine opposition to the banning of peaceful protest.

Now to reflect on force. The right to exercise retaliatory force in one's defence is paramount -- if one's right to life is to mean anything under law, then the right to retaliate against force initiated against us or our loved ones must be protected. That said, a primary leitmotif of a civilised society is that retaliatory force is brought under objective control. That job is the job of the police and the law courts, who -- when they're acting properly -- are acting in our name to protect peaceful individuals from those who would initiate force against us. As several recent events have shown us, Our police force is imperfect, but they're the only police force we have. With the arrests this week and what we've heard on the suspects' charge sheets in court, our trust so far in what's left of our legal system is justified. Let's hope we see justice done, and thugs removed from having the opportunity to do us harm.


  1. I say 'Well Done' to the Constabulary...out there, protecting us from these Communists!

    It is a very sad situation to see the Media is full of left wing traitors who are sympathetic to the terrorist 'enemy within'.

    As for that Minto communist...someone should have lynched him 25 years ago.
    Apart from earning the Lynching party members Knighthoods and Order[s] Of New would have sent a message to others.

  2. P.C talks about our right to bare the means to self defence. We Libertarians ought to be very wary of who it was these guys would target.
    They will target the spokespeople opposing their green agenda and promoting free market capitalism and racial equality before the law.
    That is these thugs were probably targeting Libertarians or would sooner or later, we have the right to bare arms so as to defend our lives, home, and family in the event some of these extremists actually carry out politically motivated terror attacks against us.
    This is no joke!
    Brash probably showed these guys that one day the Maori seats in Parliament will be abollished.
    These Racists have other political plans which include the overthrow of the current NZ system.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Two of those who've raised the conspiratorial bogey that the arrests were carried out to provide backing for the forthcoming amendment to the anti-terrorism Act...

    Which would require the Government to be being of superhuman Machiavellian cunning, patience and discipline... and really stupid at the same time.

    Do the math, Minty. National plus Labour/Jim Neantderton's Personality Cult looks like an overwhelming majority to me. The Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill never looked in serious danger of failing, or even being substantially changed in committee. So why put this elaborate plot in train at all?

  5. First of all Craig, the left is all about conspiracy theories. The 911 was an inside job, etc. etc.

    But I must say I have seen very little evidence so far except a few guys running around in military style clothing and buying weapons from TradeMe.

    If that stuff is a serious thread to this country...

  6. What evidence do you want to see?
    A full expose at 7 by Sainbury and Cambell before it goes to trial? Perhaps Jason Gunn could lead a tour around the camp sites?

    It's a silly and naive nation that thinks no-one hates it enough to plot against it.

    People such as this are always laughable 'cranks' until they kill a bunch of people. Ask Tim McVeigh.

  7. John Minto turned down my invitation to speak at the Libertarianz End Apartheid Convention held in 2001 on the 20th anniversary of the Springbok tour and anti apartheid protests.
    I told him the convention was hoping to stimulate public condemnation of Waitangi separatism, to which he replied he did not consider... "The assertion of a Maori identity as a form of apartheid".
    I guess then he thinks the Holocaust was just an assertion of German identity!
    Tim Wikiriwhi

  8. A guy says he's going to kill you and your family. He says he hates you. He hates how you live and he wants all your property for himself.

    He waves weapons at you. He spits at you in public. He makes threats. Then he discharges a shotgun into an object he chooses to represnt you.

    Next he buys some assault rifles, starts building bombs and practising his killing skills. All the while he says he's plotting how to get you.

    Thug? Criminal? Dangerous?

    Surely you'd act to disarm this man and put him out of harm's way?


  9. When you put it like that LGM it looks quite serious. I think people have to be put on notice that all threats of violence will be taken seriously. It all starts off as a bit of fun and games but things can spiral out of control quickly. One of the major elements of terrorism that is hard to counter is the appeal it has to young men with grudges or simply too much time on their hands. In places like the Middle East there are untold numbers of young men with little to do and few prospects who are drawn to terrorism. In New Zealand we have created a sub-culture of people with the same attitudes. It would be interesting to know how many of these arrested “activists” are on some sort of benefit.

  10. Angloamerican

    Some more thoughts on this subject and related issues..

    I know some gun owners who like nothing better than to go bush and let off a few rounds. Some of them go hunting, others like to shoot at targets set some distance away and yet others merely like to discharge lots and lots of bullets for the sheer fun of it. Some of these guys even have semi-automatic assault rifles. These are the people who are using their guns for fun. There is no trouble with any of it, as they go well away from everyone else and they take safety issues seriously. And that's the point. They are concerned not to hurt anyone. They take efforts to ensure their fun isn't putting others at risk or in harms way.

    In this case what starts off as fun stays that way. It doesn't develops into something other than what it is- harmless fun. That's because the people I'm referring to on this occasion are not into threatening others or hating them or training up on people-kill-skills.

    Now THAT is a group of young men larking about and having fun and games. They do not threaten anyone at all. Their interest in firearms is not based on a hatred of other people. That's a very different proposition from the one I described in my previous post.

    On the other hand there are those whose heads are filled with hate, resentment and petty jealousies. Some of them were arrested recently. Just as you've mentioned, they'd have had time on their hands. Yes, they'll mainly consist of welfare recipients of one sort or another. Totally non-productive people all, consuming the resources and wealth of others. These guys have generated a belief that they are entitled to that which belongs to others and demand more and more of it. Welfare is the "entry portal" to the addiction to other people's stuff. Violence is the means to get more of it.

    It is those who have an addiction to the cargo cult of "free" money (that is, other people's money and resources) who are attracted to violence and hatred.

    Here, yet again, is an example of the failure of central planners and socialists. The ideology and principles do not work as intended. The consequences are dire.


  11. Let us not forget Tama Iti standing with the murderer George Speight in Fiji.
    This was a clear indication to Iti's opinion about armed rebellion in the name of indigenous racism, and that he has no qualms about people being killed who stand in the way.
    It also shows the sort of evil Bainimarama is up against and the utter hypocrisy of Helen Clark who has no qualms about the NZ Police rounding up violent racists but expects Bainimarama to just let them run rampant in Fiji.

  12. Here more evidence of dangerous terrorist activity in NZ:

    Police took an old oilskin jacket, a raincoat, a polarfleece jacket and magnets that he used to hold loose change. They also took an air rifle.

    Guys, I can see your point, and the fact that Keith Locke is involved, makes me think there is something behind this, but so far we have seen no factual evidence of terrorism.

  13. PC
    I am just playing devils advocate here, but I am interested in your response.

    I read that Tuhoi never signed the treaty of Waitangi, moreover their land was confiscated without trial after the Waikato wars. Now, if this is true, can’t it be plausible argued that the current government have initiated and are continuing to initiate force against them, by stealing and occupying their property without consent and by asserting legislative authority over them when they did not voluntarily cede it as other tribes did. Presumably then a libertarian could argue that them organising a voluntary militia and stockpiling weapons is a retaliatory use of force Tuhoi are merely defending themselves against aggression

    I am troubled by this argument, and have some ideas about how a response should be made to it, but I am wondering how you respond to it.


  14. You know what guys? All this rubbish about the treaty and who signed and who didn't is completely irrelevant. Those olden-days guys are all dead and gone now. There have been several insurrections and wars since the treaty. Those nullify it. It is about as alive as the ANZUS one.

    There have been many changes and many years and many generations pass by since the time when those olden-days guys were alive and active. The governance of the country has altered, the government has changed, the legal system is different and those alive today had absolutely nothing to do with what occurred back then.

    So forget about it. Don't be worrying about what may possibly have been, mebbe couda been possible had things been done differently in 1840 or 1900 or 1922 or whatever. You weren't there. Live with what you've got now and build from there. If you want a whole heap of land, then work for it, save the money you earn and buy it. Else shut up. No more whining.

    As De Gaulle said, "Treaties, like virgins, are nice to have". Of course, his audience was well enough educated to understand what happens after you have the virgin. Because then you don't. Treaties between governments are like that...


  15. Matt.
    Sir Apirana Ngata said the confiscations were justified under the Treaty of Waitangi and also by Maori custom.
    The confiscations were designed to deter future tribal rebellion against British rule established by the Treaty of Waitangi.

  16. Interesting responses

    LGM I agree that individuals who are alive today were not around then and treaties between individuals cease when the people die. The problem is it seems to me this treaty when correctly interpreted (not interpreted via reader response theories) was an agreement between “legal persons” the crown and various Maori IWI. In this regard it’s like the US constitution which was an agreement between various states. The individuals who wrote and signed the constitution are dead but it still binds the states they represented. I bothers me that those of us who take private property and voluntary agreements seriously seem to at times be oblivious to governments violating such agreements and then taking property by force.

    Wiki, I fail to see how the treaty can justify something if Tuhoe did not sign it. If they did not cede sovereignty to the crown then there actions can hardly be a rebellion, more a defensive war against aggression. Moreover, I find your suggestion that the state can take peoples property to deter other people from future crime, to be quite puzzling for a libertarian. Surely on your own principles the state can only take property in retaliation against initiated force and it’s the existence of imitated force which I was questioning.

    My own thinking would be invoke Aquinas doctrine of perplexity secundum quid. He noted that sometimes when a person engages in wrongdoing they create a situation which they cannot lawfully get out of, either they violate some duty or they violate another. In this situation a person should do the lesser of two evils, and perform the action which is the least grave wrong. I would argue then that the state has engaged in serious wrongdoing and its continual occupation is arguably a wrong, however given the way the world is now, it would be equally wrong and unfeasible to simply cease governing certain parts of the country and protecting citizens, suppressing crime etc. Another line of argument might be to appeal to a kind of principle of de-facto government principle. That if a de facto government exists and its not grossly unjust to its citizens then its wrong to take up arms against it, because doing so is likely to make things worse.

  17. Treaties between governments do not bind individuals. Contracts between individuals bind individuals.

    The role of a government is to defend the rights of individuals (there are three such rights, liberty, possession of one's own property, pursuit of happiness) and to this end governments are granted claim to a monopoly over the use of non-emergency retributive force.

    The Treaty of Waitangi is not equivalent to or analogous to the US Constitution. The two are fundamentally different and were brought into existence for completely different reasons and within differing context.

    Finally, a question or two. Would you expect the German government to be subject to and obey the Versailles Treaty in 2007? Perhaps the Articles of the League of Three Emperors should be recognised instead?

    Or maybe once had, virgins are virgins no more!


  18. BTW the setting up of treaties (that is, agreements between rulers or governments) is not a legitimate purpose for a government anyway. It's sole purpose is the defense of individual rights.


  19. LGM

    I agree that individuals are not bound by the treaties made by their governments. But as you say governments are. And that is the issue, Tuhoe did not sign the treaty hence it can be plausibly maintained that the English crown simply annexed their land. I still find it odd that Libertarians want to trivialise this as of no consequence.

    I also agree that the US constitution is different for reasons you cite. I did not deny this. My sole point was that this treaty still binds the states involved hundreds of years after the signers have died. Hence your suggestion that “it was a long time ago” seems to not follow.

    Finally, you want to maintain that governments should not sign treaties but merely defend the rights of citizens. Unfortunately this does not solve anything after all prior to the treaty being signed Maori were not citizens of the crown. Moreover if the crown was acting ultra vires in writing the treaty and hence its invalid, then the claim of the crown that Maori ceded sovereignty to them is false, they simply annexed NZ.

  20. I want the Hagia Sophia back!
    Since we NZers are so sympathetic to history and possess the patience of constipated elephants I'd like to record my desire for Turkey, formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, to restore Constantinople, Istanbul, and Byzantium.

    I'd also like back my ancestral lands in the north of Scotland that the cursed MacDonalds forced my forebears from and into careers as mercenaries.

    I also want the damnned English to apologize for the destruction and appropriation of catholic property in the UK, particularly the see of Westminster and York. Also, the anti-Catholic penal laws and exclusion from civic life until 1839.

    And Malthus, I'd like an apology for Malthus and the other prats who exacerbated the Irish famine and diaspora.

    What? No-one cares?

  21. MandM

    Stated again, the Treaty does not bind any individual. Actually, it does not bind anyone. It is obsolete and is a document of historical interest only- that and nothing more. These days people can't even agree on what it said or meant.

    History demonstrates the Treaty was extinguished some time ago. Among other reasons, as previously indicated, there have been wars and insurrections and uprisings and changes in governance (of style, substance, type and legality) since that time. The parties have altered and at different times various parties have made it clear they no longer abide by or are subject to the strictures of the document.

    I mentioned de Gaulle, as he understood the nature of treaties between governments. But if you are keen to apply obsolete documents in the absence of context, then among other things you should consider that you are denying Individual Rights in favour of expressions of government power. That necessarily WILL lead to doing wrong.


    BTW you've accepted the point that treaties between governments do not bind individuals. Once you've understood the import of that all you need realise is that the present trouble in the BoP is caused by a government taking on a role for which it is not qualified or justified.

    Take a look at that BoP outfit. Here is a somewhat isolated community with a substantial content of subsidised bludgers and parasites paid to exist by government. You have a group of "leaders" and "activists" paid by government (with stolen money) to undertake such "services" as "educate" the young, do "social work", to receive "instruction", to merely live and fester etc. etc. Yet these unproductive creatures, paid to exist as they do, are the very ones who are building fictitious grievences into a new national socialism. Yup, here come the new Nazis (at least the old ones had better dress sense). And make no mistake about it, they'll be as violent as they please- govt appeasement or not.

    Attempting to rationalise an old document into a means of appeasement (OK guys, here is a new pile of compensation cargo for you, please be good now we've given you all this great stuff, and here, have some more welfare while we're at it) is going to work about as well as appeasment usually does. That is, not at all.

    It is not a solution to give violent people resources, wealth and legitimacy simply because they can manufacture a grievance and are potentially capable of violence. All you've achieved is to make them wealthy, well-resouced violent people with a taste for yet more of what is not theirs. Besides, they like the violence aspect.

    Anyway, these turkeys have no legitimate grievance with anybody. All their lives they have been given free healthcare, education, social services and even livelyhood- everthing handed out to them for nothing.

    If they want land or authority or respect they need to earn it. That takes productive work, not parasitism.


    It'll be interesting to see how long the jail terms are or whether these thugs get off lightly or scot free.

    Will NZers realise what they have allowed the government to generate throughout the country or will the recent occurances in the BoP be NZ's equivalent to the Munich Beer Hall Putzch?


  22. MandM

    Final point.

    The source problem is government involving itself in activities that it is neither qualified to undertake nor legitimate for it to do. It is not going to be possible to solve grievances by utilising yet more government intervention and appeasements. Government IS the problem or, at the very least, it is causal (as outlined in the previous post). You can not solve anything by acting as the government has been doing, stealing from one group to give part of the loot to another group. All that does is manufacture yet more problems. One does not solve anything by employing government actions of the past (eg, your "annexations") as an excuse to commit wrongs in the present time.

    The approach to take is to withdraw ALL government interventions and "services" except for the defense of those precious three rights I already mentioned. Now clearly that is going to lead to a lot of hardship in the short term for some people, but that is no reason not to do it.

    "Government is crime."- The Godfather.

    Excellent quote. Wish that it were not so.


  23. Greg B

    Quite right!



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