Saturday, 10 November 2007

"Very disturbing..."

The leak to TV3 of the transcripts of police surveillance of the 'Urewera 16' highlights again the problem of discussing a serious issue without the central facts of the matter, and of who exactly has been fighting to keep the facts from public view.

It also invites speculation about what motives might be for keeping the facts hidden.

Several commenters at Tumeke! have touched on this, on something that Minto's loose coalition of anti-colonial, anti-globalisation, anti-industry and anti-life protestors seem to have overlooked -- or it seems at least that they'd sure like it be overlooked -- and it's this: Despite repeated bleating about 'hidden trials' and 'suppressed evidence' and 'secret court hearings' and the like from these protestors and their Minto and Locke and Indymedia mouthpieces (it's worth noting that two-thirds of the editors of Indymedia are one-eighth of the 'Urewera 16') it's not the police or the prosecutors who want to keep everything under wraps, it's the defendants themselves.

Let's not forget that it was not the Crown prosecutors but the defendants' own lawyers who did their level best to ensure that the media couldn't report the evidence as it appeared in the just-completed bail hearings (The Crown itself took "the unprecedented stance of supporting the media's right to photograph and cover the entire hearing, with lawyer Ross Burns saying it had come under criticism for holding some earlier hearings in private. Because of 'the real and genuine interest' in the charges, it wanted all future hearings to be held in open." [Timaru Herald, 1 Nov])

And take note that it was the defendants' own lawyers who helped to stop TV3 using the leaked surveillance transcripts in their Friday night broadcast ("Lawyers for the accused discovered after '3 News' went to air that the files had been leaked. They contacted TV3 and threatened to seek an injunction" [Dominion])

And it was the protestors themselves who packed the courtroom for the bail hearings in what seemed to me a clear attempt to ensure that the public would find it difficult to ever hear just what was going down.

One commenter at Tumeke! argues,
if the allegations against [the defendants] are just a load of rubbish like the activists and their lawyers claim then why on earth are they so scared and trying so hard to suppress the intercepted messages?

Surely the public once they see all the Police evidence will see that it is just a load of rubbish won't they?

They claim they are completely innocent and that the Police raids were unjustified, so why not let the evidence the raids were based on out into the public domain so the public can see for themselves how unjustified the raids were?
Now, I don't for a moment join in the demand that the defendants must agree to wave their dirtier laundry around in public, but if they're going to claim the moral high ground in pretending that all was peaceful and nothing at all disturbing was going down, then they can't really have it both ways, can they.


  1. These transcripts should be leaked and soon. Perhaps they could be released in Australia, from where they could soon find their way home...

    I recall this hapenning over the squidy tapes. Banned in the UK. Released in Oz. Sold to eager Brits in Piccadilly Square by entrepeneurial ANZAC backpackers.


  2. Liz Gorden makes a statement in the Press which from memory went along the lines of:
    "some people say that the law was badly drafted and that allowed these people to get off... that's nonsense if its not in law it's not a crime... The TS law defines what terrorism is and what it isn't the defendants in this case clearly didn't measure up"
    Sorry I don't have The Press but if anyone saw it they might like to comment.

  3. "if it's not on the law it's not a crime"

    And when the law is wrong itself, what then? Still no crime?



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