Thursday, 25 October 2007

Political violence

The 'war on a tactic' had another casualty last night, as the New Zealand parliament amended the existing Suppression of Terrorism Amendment Act to make it easier to politicise violence.

I don't approve.

If we remove the conspiratorial rubbish from many commentators drawing connections between this amendment and recent arrests -- a coincidence that makes passing of the amendment more difficult rather than less, and a connection for which not a shred of proof has been adduced -- I'm in the unusual position of largely agreeing with quoted statements by two different parliamentary parties on the amendments.

Rodney Hide supported the original legislation in 2002 (as did I with some reservations), but he points out that removing High Court oversight of how powers are used is a step too far.

The very freedoms that we are trying to protect are being eroded... We can't defend our freedoms that we cherish by adopting fascist policies.

True. Meanwhile Keith Locke pointed out that existing criminal law is quite able to tackle domestic terrorism without any need for increased powers, and he points out too that it's iniquitous to politicise sentencing by imposing higher sentences for 'political' violence than for more 'normal' and more 'senseless' violence.
Why should someone trying to save dolphins or native snails, if they ever happen to turn violent, be subject to more years in jail than a violent gang member with no social conscience?
Fair question. (And pleasing to see Keith conceding the possibility that some of those trying to save dolphins or native snails might have turned violent. Would that others of Keith's persuasion consider the possibility.)

While it's gratifying to note these two principled stands, Labour-Lite meanwhile was trying to have it both ways, voting for an amendment that removes restraints on police and government while wringing their hands and whimpering that when anti-terrorist action is taken 'police better get it right, or else' -- hoping no one notices that it's the 'or else' that they've just voted to have removed.

So much confusion, so little sense. Much of the confusion comes from the genuine need to combat non-domestic terrorism (which is more a defence issue than a judicial one), and too from the foolishness of the appellation 'War on Terror' -- essentially a war against a tactic. Yaron Brook has been in the forefront of pointing out the foolishness of fighting a war against a tactic instead of accurately identifying your enemy, and the many advantages of accurate identification.
You don't fight a tactic. Terrorism is a tactic, and I believe we have to look at the ideological source of terrorism in order to identify the true enemy.
As he points out, the primary ideological surce of non-domestic terrorism is Islamic Totalitarianism. Several advantages accrue from defining that non-domestic threat more clearly, including being able to examine alleged domestic threat less confusedly and with considerably less fear of hyperventilating -- avoiding especially the risk of wrapping up domestic threats of violence in flawed and conspiratorial package deals that give ammuntion to those skilled at using such conspiratorial capital for their own nefarious advantage .


  1. the primary ideological surce of non-domestic terrorism is Islamic Totalitarianism

    You're a fan of the theory that Geroge Bush is an islamic fundamentalist? From my cursory scan most international terrorism is state-sponsored "non-wars", like the ones the US is fighting against drugs, terror and socialism.

    Personally I'm convinced that there is no point in stronger legislation on this sort of issue simply because of the craven behaviour that followed the last terrorist attack in NZ - (some of) the perpetrators were caught, but they were convicted and released because the state sponsoring them wanted them back. Do you really think anything different would happen if it was someone else, like Saudi Arabia (responsible for the second Sept 11 attack) or the US (responsible for the first one)?

  2. A sensible post. Fear mongering gets us nowhere.

  3. Moz

    "Saudi Arabia (responsible for the second Sept 11 attack)"

    How so?

    "...the US (responsible for the first one)".

    What attach was that one?


  4. Yes Moz seems to have his wires crossed here!

    I can list for him [if he wants] a litany of Islamic terror acts against not just the US, but the secular West, starting from when bin Laden founded al Qaeda in Afghanistan in 1988.

  5. The first 9/11 was in 1974 when a democratically elected leader in Chile was forcibly replaced with a military dictator who has since retired to the UK... demonstrating again the common support for, uh, "democracy" in both countries. Saudi Arabia funded Al Queda, the instigator of the second 9/11. In response the US invaded Iraq... obvious really.

    Barry, history started before the second world war. For example, the first suicide bombing in Palestine happened before WW1 (and, to show just how unimaginative those pesky Muslims are, it was done by Zionists).

  6. Barry, the question asked was not whether Islamists are responsible for terror attacks, but whether they're responsible for the great majority of them. I argue that they're not, that the great majority are committed by western states. Many are even well publicised by those states.

    Question: who has committed the most terrorist acts in NZ: the british govt, the NZ govt, the french govt, peace activists or maori activists? (if necessary expand your definition of terrorism to include state acts)

  7. Moz

    Seems you have a list of governments doing bad things there. That's interesting. Looks like governments are not doing as they ought to be.

    That does not excuse Islamic terrorists in the slightest.

    Democracy is an amoral failure. You should read Hoppe's book, "Democrcy the God that failed." Pretty much sums the whole sorry experiment up.


    BTW there has only been one 911. It happened when some criminals hijacked some aircraft, murdered people on-board and flew aircraft into buildings.


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