Friday, January 11, 2008

Guns and ammunition

Richard Taylor commented on my post about terrorism; since the post was made a while ago and the comments might not be noticed and since I have nothing else to post today, I repeat it here:
If you wanted the issue of guns discussed why didn't you speak up?

There are in fact times when guns are necessary in the process of social and political change - Capitalism itself came about via many wars and revolutions - perhaps there are Tuhoe and others who are organising to use guns - perhaps not - but you have to show that such a use is ALWAYS a bad thing. Always bad to have guns?? Guns were sued to stop Hitler.

(I have in fact fired a gun - I don't like guns in general though BTW)

I agree that guns (for the most part) are bad news; but the people I saw with guns were the police - and they have had them and used them in NZ for years. Most of those protesting have a more sophisticated view than this kind of very superficial synopsis of yours; and most in general and in principal oppose guns as a primary weapon for use in a political change - but again - we heard nothing from you at the PR Bar...)

Why are the Maori - including Tuhoe so angry?

What you have said here is very witty perhaps but seems to float around and away from the subject -it is not even very clear what your point is...

That some people were planning to murder certain politicians or others - so what? maybe it will be necessary one day.

That guns are terrible? - Hmm - yes - they can be. But hands can "murder or create" (Eliot) - we don't need guns to kill...

That protest organistions attract mixed bunch(es)? - yes they do -

That Jamie Lockett's speech was quite tedious and almost meaningless? (Almost like that of an agent provocateur or an SIS agent? Or a "madman"?) Yes. It seemed so to me...but he was at least given, and took, the right to speak out, BUT


Because to do so would have been rude. The event was not a debate but a fundraiser and I was there not as a participant but as an observer.

And if my point wasn't clear, let me make it so now: what Mr Iti and friends were doing was wrong. We do not live in Nazi Germany or some police state. We live in the world's oldest democracy, where we elect our governments, where we have the rule of law as well as plenty of checks and balances. No act of political violence is necessary or justified. As citizens we have the right to elect our representatives. We do not want Mr Iti and a bunch of suburban guerillas deciding that it may be necessary to murder some of them.

I am sorry if that is not a very sophisticated view. I think there has been quite enough sophistication already. I have heard so many excuses, justifications and downright evasions when it comes to this matter. It seems to be alright to plot to kill people, although nobody seems to be able to explain what is the cause that justifies murder. Is this killing allowed so that Mr Iti can set up his own fiefdom in the Ureweras? Or is it allowable by more general reasons, because Maori have had a bad time in the past? Or is it just because of the System? Or some other sophisticated reason, such as the contradictions inherent in Late Capitalism? Do let me know. I would hate to be thought of as superficial.

Before answering, you may wish to read the essay from the Boston Review about the Red Army Faction in Germany, to which I linked a few days ago - I don't do these links just for lulz, you know; there is a purpose. You see, that bunch of middle-class fucktards who comprised the RAF not only killed innocent people but they also damaged the cause of the Left in Germany.

Anyway, enough of this. Mr Taylor has an interesting art blog and that his daughters are members of the Nudie Suits, a popular beat combo for which I have more than a little affection. So in the interests of peace, love and understanding, here is some Western Swing:


Anonymous said...

Chatting with people with whom you disagree is probably a little less 'rude' than keeping quiet, going home, and writing very critical blog posts about them on the basis of what appear to be misapprehensions.

Did you talk to the people you criticised online? If you'd actually chatted with Omar, you might have found he wasn't quite the 'dickhead' that your imagination made him out to be. And did you try some korero with any of the Tuhoe activists at the bar? A chat about Tuhoe history might help you to understand why those folk feel a tad bitter toward the New Zealand state. The October raids may not have been like Schindlers' List (though why that should be a prerequisite for criticism I don't know), but how about 19th century Tuhoe history, when 40% of the iwi died because of the actions of the New Zealand state?

The problem is Paul that you begin by assuming the very debatable point that the Urewera 14 were planning to commit terrorist acts.
Many, many observers believe otherwise. Nicky Hager has written a long study of the evidence, and finds it hard to believe that the police could think they had a case.

And indeed, if the cops themselves thought there was a terrorist threat against the likes of John Key, why did they let him travel into the Ureweras with no security at the end of 2006 to meet master terrorist Tame Iti at an isolated marae?

Even if Osama bin Laden himself was training in the Ureweras, the way the Tuhoe people and the activist community were treated by the polcie was disgraceful. As the Bush regime has shown over the past few years, the cause of anti-terrorism is set back when innocent people are victimised in its name.

There's no justification at all for pointing a dozen guns at elderly people, dragging 15 year-old girls out of bed and stripsearching them, smashing up the houses of activists with nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism, and so on.

Far from celebrating terrorism, the activists who have protested against the terror raids and in support of the rights (though not necessarily all of the ideas) of the Urewera 14 have been defending the rule of law and democratic society which you invoke against them.

And it is the Labour government's decision to buy into the disastrous 'War on Terror' of the Bush regime, by adopting anti-terror laws, setting up a special police unit to monitor terrorists, aka activists, pumping more and more money into an unaccountable spy service, and committing troops to the war in Afghanistan, which set the stage for the tragicomic events of last October.

The way to defend liberal values and the rule of law is to oppose the Terrorism Suppression Act, clean out a police force infestd with rapists and racists (check the report from a couple of years ago on policing in Manukau), reign in the SIS, and get New Zealand troops out of Afghanistan, where they are bit players in Bush's attempt to prop up a government of warlords and ex-Talebanis. 10,000 civilians are reckoned to have died in the first bombing stage of the Afghanistan war alone, which our SAS troops helped to make possible with ground support. According to official figures, NATO forces are killing more people that the Taliban with their continuing bombing raids.

For true liberals, it's the guns of the New Zealand state which should be the real worry, not Tame's couple of unregistered rifles.

Paul said...

So, why did they have the guns? What were they going to do with those guns - Save Afghanistan from the ravages of the SAS or avenge acts done in the 19th Century? Who were they planning to kill? Tell me that.

Anonymous said...

This is why the rubber has to meet the road Paul. Hit the road and head for Tuhoe country and see if you can find a licensed rifle. If you can, then you'll deserve a Pulitzer. We're talking about a gun culture. Everyone down there has one. Kids learn to use them at a young age. Tame Iti's training camps wouldn't be up to much if they didn't involve some instruction in how to fire a gun.

But, crucially, instruction in the ways of the firestick was only one small part of the training camps. Also included in the curriculum was instruction in Tuhoe history, botany, first aid and herbal medicine, how to organsie a demo, and loads of other stuff. Nicky Hager has pointed out that the police deliberately gave the impression that trainees were doing nothing but laying about with guns, and thus made the camps seem much more sinister than they were.

While wholly discounting the idea that the camps might be breeding grounds for terrorism, Hager did disapprove of the way that some trainees - a very small number of the 14 arrested - were firing off hot-headed political rhetoric as well as guns. He felt that the police would have been justified in reining this in, or at least having a chat with Tame Iti. John Minto made a similar point several times in the weeks after the police raids.

Personally I think that the police should deal with some of the psychopaths in their own ranks first. I also know some right nutters in the NZ army, some of whom have served overseas. Nevertheless, Hager's is a defensible position to take. Quite possibly a lot of the people at the PR Bar agreed with him.
Pretending that there was some sort of terrorist conspiracy going on in the Ureweras is a different kettle of fish, though.

Paul said...

Of course, now I understand. Omar had a gun because he was going duck hunting in Grey Lynn. Tame Iti is just a botany teacher.

Richard said...

I will answer this at more length I didn't mean that you were necessarily wrong - I feel that you needed to speak out (it wouldn't have been rude) as it was forum (or it should have been) - this something I feel about generally - this is not an attack on you* - I have often "not spoken out" -I also have spoken out and so on..I feel you simplify the issue here but it is ameliorated for me that you mentioned my Blog so I will now (shortly) post the link to my "project" EYELIGHT - my Blog is an ongoing Art/Poetry/Text/ (BTW although it may have political and social implications
it is not primarily political or primarily anything) the project I am doing is difficult to describe and anyone "visiting" it should try to go thru all the posts (lol!) - that said I know we are all constantly flooded with such requests and there is so much online and in books etc -

Also thanks for "advertising The Nudie Suits - my two daughters are in it as you know...Dionne has worked very hard on the steel or Hawaiin guitar and Tamasin plays violin & piano (classical as well as other) and keyboards etc) Mark is a talented artist (I mean he does design and drawing etc -he did the record cover) himself and a musician also... Sweet Acres - the main or title song BTW is about the fact his mother spent so much time at a lolly factory (low wages long hours and unpleasant work - it took his mother ages to get whatever substances she had to handle off of her at the factory (this would be almost comical if it wasn't quite sad and very true also) - so the lyrics have a real force) and he as child had to wait at home for her -and lot else on the album (Sweetacres) is about working class Pt Chev...

Tam is also associated with Ed Cake!

So thanks for the "publicity" and I will get back to this site/issue (it's not all about Tama Iti BTW!)and comment again when I can.

*Of course you are speaking out on here.

Richard said...

Here is the the link to my Blog EYELIGHT - the ongoing art/literature/music (all media) project)

One of the "strands" or impulses of urgency in my work is the fact that in 1990 my son had his eye smashed out by the police - he has suffered from this psychologically and in other ways very much since then.

However that is only one thread -there are larger "issues", philosophic concepts, (I use images - my own art work and others' and
my own and others' photographs) and language and (the symbolic 'language' of symbols and colour and images etc) I want eventually to involve my own piano improvisations) I deal with ranging from postmodernism slants to modernist implications, to my own work or "takes" - all of it is adumbrated by my The Infinite Poem (begun 1992). (It is also for myself, amongst other things a learning process - as I it tobe essentail we are alsys learning inallareas e.g i am reading right now, having just read a book about Maori carving, a book about the biochemistry of life, and I am also re-reading Ulysses, and a book about the US Civil War and so on - no subject is not potentially uninteresting (I read anything and everything I can if time - once I read a book about Dust!)) I have three books of poetry published,
but the main 2 are RED (1995) and "Conversation with a Stone" published by Titus books in 2007

Richard said...

I'm in agreement BTW (in the main) with first comment here - I think your reference to Baader Meinhoff - which I have known about for years is not (very) relevant. (I am not necessarily opposed to all of their actions BTW (I'm not a great fan of Industrialists!)) - or those of the Palestinian freedom fighters). In the seventies I had long conversations with (usually left wing) Germans - but once I worked with a young German in a Wool Store who was a Nazi! (Built like a rugby player he was!)) The discussions were about the situation there - it is very complex - remember that left wing groups throughout the world are in infiltrated by Security Services (a friend of mine's father infiltrated the NZ Communist Party in the 70s) and agents provacateurs...

What is seen as "terrorism" is frequqently oragnised or abetted by the SSs in various countries...
the US took many Nazis straight into the CIA after the war.

AS did the French Foreign Legion to fight the Vietminh - but they were defeated at Dien bien Phu.

I don't support your much vaunted democracy for a nanosecond - itis really only for the rulling classes - the Bourgeosie (Big Money) - and am in favour of the working class seizing control of the state (in whatever way and at whatever cost) - a true democracy - a workers' State run from and by all the people - but this is a very complex issue - I also support Mao tse Tung and the great Chinese Revolution.

I am not necessarily opposed to violence and or war to bring it about. However such violence - war and revolution is politics by other means - is not my first choice...

You should read as widely as possible on Marxism and revolution and so on - Imperialism is what we are faced with and the War OF Terror.

Also Maori history - visit Tama iti and others. He is not a Marxist at all as far as I know - what I know of him I see a person with a lot of fire and passion.

I myself am not associated with any of the groups BTW - I am connected to Scot through our interest in literature and so on - I met Tama iti once (briefly -he was at a market where I was selling books once) and other wise only know of him through the news and some U-Tube the things.

I very much support the struggle of Maori and Tuhoe - guns or not - for independence and justice and very much oppose the fascist actions of the NZ Police.

We have obviously to beg to differ here...

Anonymous said...

'Omar had a gun because he was going duck hunting in Grey Lynn. Tame Iti is just a botany teacher.'

Rather more plausible than your earlier interpretation of them as some latter-day incarnation of the Bader Meinhofs. Keep working on it and you'll get even closer to what common sense told almost everybody who knew either Tame or Omar.

pain said...

Hi Richard! John here, ex-Nudie Suit bassist, currently living in Singapore. Interesting discussion. I have some very good Tuhoe friends. A little information goes a long way. There was never a plot to kill any politicians. The evry idea is laughable, especially if you have evr had any discussions with tuhoe, whose sole drive is te Mana Motuhake a Tuhoe. Ogre-creating bunker-ridden SAS 'Intelligence' has a lot to answer for here, and the ridiculous should be easily spotted for what it is. Badly judged right-wing scare tactics, no more. I strongly suggest anyone seriously interested in becoming a little more informed track down the T\TV one 'tonight' interview with Tamati Kruger, spokesperson and chief of Tuhoe (the full interview was, and hopefully still is, available for download on their website). A more resonable, intelligent leader you will not find in New Zealand. Oh, that there were more like him in other positions of leadership.

John Payne.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused.

It's probably my false consciousness in need of raising or some such blather, but you can't take up arms and then cry like a baby when people take you seriously about it.

If you do, you're not only an idiot and a posing twit, you're making a mockery of all the various revolutionaries in history who actually had a point.

Anonymous said...

Sigh. Sooner or later you'll have to check that first premise. Tame was not relaunching the IRA from the Ureweras. Take a look at his puku. How the supporters of a government which gave moral and practical support to a bombing campaign that caused at least 10,000 civilian deaths can get so...let's just say that sermons about defending liberal values sound a little forced.

Paul said...

I am glad we cleared that up: Tame Iti is a lardarse and therefore not a terrorist. Even if he were, I would not be able to comment because I am a supporter of a Government which sent some troops to Afghanistan, where the US had previously mounted an aerial bombing campaign, which caused an unknown number of civilian casualties.

With logic like that, it is no wonder the far left will never be in charge of anything.

Anonymous said...

John Payne

Glad to hear from you! I am pretty certain that no Maori are "terrorists" - here - though we run into the (problem of) the definition of this term
"terrorists". The bogeyman term when I was growing up was "communists" - China (and Russia) was (were) depicted everywhere as a terrible place peopled by monster "communists" with fangs out to get us - then Nixon the arch anti-communist, and typical Crooked-President of America, finding they couldn't smash Vietnam and then China, and knowing China's very sophisticated military strength, ICBMS etc pointed at the US!, and that they couldn't even beat the barefoot and "backward" "Viet Cong" or "gooks" as they called them - went cap in hand to China and grovelled to Mao!!) -lets be certain about this - the State in general is The Terrorist Organisation par excellence (it always has been and may even always be - see "1984" by Orwell) - its function is to terrorise the people of the world - not to rid the world of the so-called terrorism - certain (many) actions called terrorist are probably either justified or at least understandable: given the imperialist history of murder and bombing and so on throughout the world since the 1950s...

However - assassination (while done routinely by US trained agents) as a revolutionary technique or "weapon" is not a "first choice" - clearly various other means of protest and action, active militancy or other more extreme (petitions to parliament and so on are useless - people have to take direct action) need to be taken before such or any extreme actions (the use of guns or open war against the state etc) are done or initiated (and the people one is leading need to understand thoroughly why these actions are needed - if they are and so on): usually as in Palestine these are people very much in a dire situation, fighting for their land and existence and constantly being attacked, harassed, and murdered by the Israelis (backed by the US), before they sacrifice themselves to counter Israeli oppression. (This BTW is not to say I feel or thnk that Isreali people are "evil"...
or even that all police are fascist, all politicians corrupt.)

The next stage, after a great deal of a great deal of careful planning and preparation and discussions; might be for activists to go 'underground'. Is it possible, that, if many of the wrongs done to Maori are not redressed, we will see in the future a savage civil war here? This would be tragic, disastrous.

Would it ever be be necessary for people - the working people to arm themselves and indeed to "shoot it out" with the police the next time there are raids? Would this make them more reluctant to bully people? ... Such actions, which of course seem fantastic (like something from "Smith's Dream", & even seem so as I write this myself!) - but such (rather extreme!) actions or plans would need to have the full support of the people.

But we are not yet in such an "extremis". We still have much to learn.

We are not at that dire stage.

Tuhoe and Maori are protesting - in a kind of continuation of the land wars of the 1870s - continuing and very great injustices done, and as you say, are invoking Mana Motu Hake. More self assertion and cultural revival and mana, than terrorism as such - although the racist Right see it as terrorism. To the US Govt for example if one sneezed dangerously in the street that could be deemed terrorism and result in jail or Abu Graib or electrocution or hanging - whatever - they (the Imperialists) make it up as they go along.

Will an actual guerilla war break out/politicians be assassinated (trouble is the new Prime Minister turns out to be just as bad or worse than the previous one and she/he is in fact not the cause but a symptom only of the malaise of capitalism - politicians in capitalism are basically the puppets of Big Money)) - a lot of that depends on the reasonableness or other of the Bourgeoisie in control the capitalist state.

Certainly there are many many years of struggle ahead. These maybe ideeolgical and philposphical or dialectical; a struggle of ideas - some may involve violence.

But it is no use denying that we are all terrorists as we will be perceived that way - you can be sure though that most of those in Guantanamo were/are not terrorists (however defined) - just captured and sold to the US - the purpose of Guantanamo is to terrorise the people - not to stop terrorism - the State wants - needs what it calls terrorism - indeed aids and abets it while pretending to oppose it.

It will be impossible to prove if Tama iti (for example) is a saint or a butcher - but I have no problem with his protest actions and any militancy he has invoked...
I am certainly am opposed to using the Anti-Terrorist Act in NZ - or anywhere else - because a few bankers and bean counters got wiped out in one building in NY!!

A big part of this action of the Govt to terrorise Maori is motivated by racism, hatred,love of power, and paranoia.

Al lot of the above of course is a great simplification - Marxism is a model only and so on - and I myself -while I realise there will probably never be any Utopias - want primarily to see better world, a better NZ and indeed a NZ much more free of racism, violence and inequality than is now the case.I myself am not a person who primarily believes in violence or guns (I have never owned one and don't intend to) - but there are time - extreme times - when sadly they are needed. And we as Europeans need to learn about our own history, about Maoritanga, and to learn how to value other cultures (not just Maori and European but all others we can learn about) and our own and to reduce racism and to value life and compassion for all others - given our quite large differences of class and or world views.


Psycho Milt said...

So, if we ignore all the unspeakable wank about the proletariat rising up and casting off their chains, we're still at anon's original point that we haven't yet met the first premise: that the Urewera 14 were planning terrorist acts.

Well, that's what the courts are for. I'm happy to wait til then. My money would be on Paul and Pascal's Bookie both turning out to be right, however.

Richard said...

Psycho Milt - you put it rather more poetically than I would - but yes the point you make and Comrade Dave makes is valid - except that one cant assume they were planning terrorist acts. It is matter of speculation - and as you say the courts to decide. Such pre-trial assumptions are often by racists or by the very right wing - a kind of fear or fear-hate that engenders racism and paranoia.

(The fact they owned guns is your reason for assuming this? Way before this happened I saw Tama iti fire a gun on TV (or Isaw him spit and heard he owned a gun - something like that) - so if the cops didn't know that they took a while to wake up to that fact that he owned a gun or might have... Many people own guns in rural areas - also even in the cities - BTW)

My guess is they were not (the idea is almost funny if it weren't taken so unbearably seriously by those who indulge themselves very often) - if they were planning a massive war - the next question is why and were they justified or is their position understandable (what are we all doing wrong?)

Remember though: recall: the way the police plant evidence - tamper with evidence etc - the police record is not good from their joy and elan in allegedly raping women etc to Arthur Alan Thomas to their incompetence in handling the Bain case (still unclear that is)...but it is basically a class or a philosophical position one takes.

The other big question is that of the Terrorism Act - if the guns were to be used we don't need any special US Laws to handle a criminal intent - if you like Bourgeois Law etc - there are sufficient laws on the books.

Anonymous said...

I attended the "Talk on Terror" seminar organised by Stephen Turner of the University of Auckland's English Department in mid-December. My thoughts were pretty much identical to Paul's. There were a number of eloquent and thought-provoking speakers on the history of Tuhoe's grievances (including the sociology dept's rather brilliant Tracy MacIntosh) and Turner himself riffing on the "culture of fear" that the media benefits from creating.
But the "Other" which the asssembled post-modernists should have recognised had been banished from the room was any discussion of why a bunch of white counter-culture activists wanted or needed guns (and silencers!) in the middle of Auckland or Wellington.
I didn't address the forum, but did speak with a number of Tuhoe about my concern (including designated spokesmen, and locals up for the court hearing in the preceding weeks). Their response on the subject of Morse, Hamed, Lockett et al was one of disavowal - along the lines of "you'll have to ask them that. They're not Tuhoe."
But they were integral to the events in Ruatoki; without them and Tame Iti, who has likewise remained silent about his involvement with them, there would have been no raids. It's perfectly reasonable to pose the question "why did they need guns in cities?"
If the only answer they have is a fantasy of violent revolution, that's no legitimate answer at all.

Anonymous said...

'why a bunch of white counter-culture activists wanted or needed guns (and silencers!) in the middle of Auckland or Wellington'

How many guns were found in those cities? Zilch.

Anonymous said...

The police claimed they had evidence the "activists"/botany students were attempting to obtain firearms for their inner city residences. None of the individuals in question have denied it when asked directly. Why not?
(the answer I anticipate is "why should they have to?" If this were a matter for a court of law, that would be a valid query. Instead, it is the court of public opinion which the "activists" and spokepeople like Minto were so eager to originally obtain a summary judgment in.)
The dispute, remember, is about whether the raid targets were treated "fairly" and are justified in their self-pity and indignation. They've provided no reasons to believe they are.

Matthew R. X. Dentith said...


The targets of the raids were not just the seventeen arrested but also the people searched at gunpoint in Ruatoki. These people are deserving of sympathy and it is interesting that people are focussing on a few at the expense of the many; yes, some of the arrested terror suspects had access to guns, but the unarrested masses of Ruatoki. People just want to to forget that, don't they. That's not comfortable information and humans like to avoid such thoughts.


You're not treating this subject in a sophisticated fashion, are you? You're assuming there was a threat and the police were justified in their actions when it seems that the evidence indicates otherwise (if the evidence were actually public I might remove the 'seems' from that sentence). I have to say I feel sympathy for the people who are claiming you're just being a shill for your party of choice (a sympathy borne of the fact that I think Labour's abhorrent treatment of Maori in the last few years has been influential in making me decide not to vote for them in the next election).

But enough of that. You're going to be on campus, I presume, this year for doctoral work and thus, if this be true, we should meet up, being 'intellectuals' and all.

Russell Brown said...

You're not treating this subject in a sophisticated fashion, are you? You're assuming there was a threat and the police were justified in their actions when it seems that the evidence indicates otherwise (if the evidence were actually public I might remove the 'seems' from that sentence).

You're making quite come assumptions there yourself.

Having seen some of the evidence I am in absolutely no doubt that it "indicates" it was appropriate for the police to become involved with these people.

It may well wash up that the action in Ruatoki was excessive, but I think people currently trying to imply that there was nothing to worry about will be severely embarrassed when what evidence is admissable is finally presented.

The worst thing is, I think you know that too.

Matthew R. X. Dentith said...

Don't worry Russell, I don't think thst at all. I'll eat humble pie if I have to at some future date but, for the time being, I'll assume innocence until it is proven that these people are guilty, thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

"If you'd actually chatted with Omar, you might have found he wasn't quite the 'dickhead' that your imagination made him out to be."

And you may have found out that there weren't any weapons at his place.

Anonymous said...

"Having seen some of the evidence I am in absolutely no doubt that it "indicates" it was appropriate for the police to become involved with these people."

What you probably saw was gathered intelligence. 90% of that affidavit is inadmissible in court.

Ask yourself this question Russell, had you seen the police affidavit into the arrest of David Bain, what chances would there have been of you coming to any other conclusion that they did. Affidavits are written in that manner. They lead to search warrants and arrests, but not always to convictions that can stick.