Judging from the majority of the comments on the IPCA review of Operation 8, the Urewera raids, few people have actually read the report. The Greens are blathering on about racism, as if that has any bearing on the police raid at all. Hone Harawira apparently wants Peter Marshall, the police commissioner, to be fired, despite the fact that he had absolutely nothing to do with the raid. Labour are curiously quiet, probably hoping nobody will notice that all this occurred on their watch. Most of the right wing blogs are emphasising the fact that the raids were considered justified, even though the execution may have left much to be desired.
The people who should apologise are the previous government and, in particular Helen Clarke and Annette King”
After reading the report, I have only two observations. The first is that there can be no doubt that Tame Iti and his band of idiots were gearing up for violent activism of some sort. Had Labour not fluffed the construction of the terrorism act, making it nearly impossible to use effectively, Mr. Iti and co would have been locked away as our first home-grown terrorists. The clincher for this statement is the discovery of molotov cocktails at the camp site. There can be no other use for such things except violence, despite Mr. Iti’s strange assurances:
“There always been some training camps of that description … and I have run civil training camps. They were never an attempt to kill or create chaos in our community. That’s the basis of the police allegation.”
Civil training camps? With Molotov cocktails? What were they training for? Incendiary Morris Dancing? (Admittedly, I would pay good money to see exploding morris dancers…)
Regardless of whether you think Iti is a buffoon or a brigand, even the most clownish terrorism attempt can do substantial damage. Witness the million dollars worth of damage to the spy installation caused by three peaceniks with knives.
My other observation is that the negative aspect of the report – that the road blocks were unreasonable and unlawful – seems to have overlooked the fact that the raid was made on the basis of the Terrorism Act, however flawed that may be. The judgement of the IPCA report is entirely founded on the Local Government Act of 1974 which states that, in order to set up a road block legally, there must be public disorder, a danger to the public or an offence committed near the roadblock, none of which were deemed to have occurred (although one could argue the public danger portion). However, the Terrorism Act merely approves the use of “reasonable force” in apprehending a suspected terrorist and his “goods”. As the purpose of the road blocks was to prevent the “terrorists” and any evidence of terrorism from escaping, I would have thought the Act supported such action. Of course, the Act was drawn up with people like Al Qaeda in mind rather than oiks like Tame Iti, which is probably why it was very deficient when used for domestic purposes.
MacDoctor’s Summary: Police did a reasonable job in difficult circumstances. There were some stuff-ups and, yes, it was probably scary for the people caught in the drag net. But the people who should be apologising here are not the police, nor even Tame Iti and his ilk (although their idiocy was the reason for the raid). No, the people who should apologise are the previous government and, in particular Helen Clarke and Annette King for drafting a slipshod and highly confusing piece of legislation.