Terrorist Paranoia Even in ‘Nuke-Free’ New Zealand

I moved to New Zealand in August 2001 and had just got a job in a restaurant on the Viaduct. On 9/11 I walked into work and heard the news about the World Trade Towers. I was feeling rather relieved to be in remote NZ far from the madness being generated in the US. I was shocked, therefore, when one of the Kiwi waitresses confided in me with real terror in her voice that the terrorists were going to bomb Auckland next — in fact, no one was safe anywhere anymore.

I tried to explain to her that New Zealand was the last place on anyone’s radar terrorist or not, as it simply was way too remote have any practical value as a target. But she wasn’t having any of it. At the time I simply dismissed it as a foolish young girl’s irrational fear, now I realize she was just giving voice to a widely held opinion, which was acted on in 2007, when around 300 police locked down a small town in New Zealand to arrest Maori activists. Now, after five years the Urewera four have been cleared of all but a couple charges, which should also be dropped. The right thing to do would to also have a public apology from the NZ government and compensation paid, but that is probably asking the government to be more human that it could handle. More info here: Police fail against the Urewera Four.

Please check out the following video to get a look at what Tame Iti did to warrant such an overblown reaction by submedia.tv. Just a quick warning for those of you who are sensitive about swearing and justified rage at white colonialism that the following video interview expresses this while also maintaining a sense of humour and is definitely worth watching:

This week a special interview with Tame Iti, a Maori Freedom Fighter who was accused of terrorism during the most expensive trial in New Zealand’s history. Check out ‘Operation 8‘ to learn more about the 2007 terror raids.

On October 15th 2007, activists around New Zealand woke to guns in their faces. Black-clad police smashed down doors, dragging families out onto roads and detaining some without food or water. In the village of Ruatoki, helicopters hovered while locals were stopped at roadblocks. Operation 8 involved 18 months of invasive surveillance of Maori sovereignty and peace activists accused of attending terrorist training camps in the Urewera ranges – homeland of the Tuhoe people. Operation 8 asks why and how the raids took place. How did the War on Terror become a global witch-hunt of political dissenters reaching even to the South Pacific? –Operation8

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