Waihopai jury – I’m on your side.

The next tinpot “security expert”, armchair jurist or newspaper columnist who farts on about how the jury in the Waihopai sickle-slash case “got it wrong” is in for a big surprise.

I am [note to dribblejaws],” metaphorically”, not literally, going to ride my bike over to their place and slash them a new wingnut with my scythe.

The jury made a decision based on the evidence and the arguments presented. A not guilty verdict is still a verdict.

Leave it at that, but no…this is political, so the jury’s fucked and the law’s an ass. At least that’s true if you think the war in Iraq and the presence of Kiwi SAS troops in Afghanistan is a good thing.

Well I don’t. I think the jury got it right and I think that the verdict shows that ordinary New Zealanders are sick and fucking tired of the lies about “freedom” and “defending” our way of life while we [the major western powers] casually murder women and children “over there”. al Qaeda is not coming to the rugby world cup, so we should leave the Afghan people alone too.

Waihopai jury: congratulations on a sane and honourable verdict.

[Sunday morning update: I know I'm right, Michael Laws takes a reasonable stand:

12 completely mad Wellingtonians staged their own protest and found three guilty "peace" activists not guilty. Lord knows why. A protest at the food, or the rate of pay? A sick St Patrick's Day joke? Whatever the spite, it was a perverse finding. (Deluded jury lets greenies plant seeds of terrorism)

Blame the jury Michael, that's the ticket]

Seriously, I’m sick and fricken tired of fusty old generals, conservative academics, shock-jocks and grumpy editorial writers, with a penchant for shoot-em up video games, bleating on about how terrible it is that a farmer, a teacher and a monk got away with cutting down a fucking balloon and thereby exposing New Zealand’s participation in a war that most of us don’t agree with in a country most of us have never been too, for a reason most of us think is stupid.

The reason – George W Bush – is in the dustbin of history, along with most of his equally stupid ideas; the world is stuck with the problems his dick-sized ego and pea-sized brain created with the help of the neo-con monsters of Washington.

I couldn’t believe that the New Zealand media would take seriously the tired old opinions of some superannuated bombchucking nutbox of a spokesmouth for a rightwing think tank on this issue. But, nope, they duly wheeled out this sick duck:

Three activists cleared by a jury after intentionally damaging a Government spy base committed an act akin to protecting al Qaeda and the Taleban, says an American security expert.Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum Centre for Strategic and International Studies, told the Herald from Hawaii yesterday that he was disappointed but not shocked to hear of the decision of a Wellington jury to acquit the trio on charges of burglary and wilful damage at the Waihopai base near Blenheim.

“It sounds more like an episode of Boston Legal in the US, than it does a real-life drama, to be quite honest.”

Spy base attackers ‘helping al Qaeda’

No on Boston Legal the three would have been executed as traitors. Let’s check the history on that:

Sacco & Vanzetti

Julius & Ethel Rosenburg

Actually Mr Cossa, abetting the continuing production of opium in Helmand province because it is militarily the “right thing” to do is “an act akin to protecting al Qaeda and the Taleban”. We can understand this because it is totally consistent with American foreign policy ever since Vietnam and the CIA’s secret wars in Central America – the Contras arms scandal, etc.

Mr Cossa is culturally imune to such thoughts. That’s OK, he’s an American, but what about this homegrown dribbejaws:

Yesterday’s acquittal of three Saddamite thugs on charges of burglary and wilful damage at the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) base at Waihopai marks a new low in the de-objectivising of the law, says SOLO Principal Lindsay Perigo.

“This is not the Rule of Law but the Rule of Brutes, such as this trio of Catholics and Communists; this is not a case of the law being an ass. The judge who enabled this should be jailed for treason to the law he is sworn to uphold. The jury who went along with it should be jailed for morbid stupidity,” Perigo concludes.

Press Release: SOLO – Sense of Life Objectivists

Yes, this guy actually thinks he speaks for us. God help you, you twisted lunatic. “Saddamite thugs”? Take him away, lock him up, shove the key up his ass and super glue it shut.

We might suggest a similar treatment for Mr Laws, but his head’s already in place. He too is of the view that the Waihopai three are somehow in the thrall of al Qaeda:

One might describe Peter Murnane, Adrian Leason and Sam Land as misguided zealots, hippy idealists or, charitably, sincere nutters. Very possibly, all three. And you would be right. But also, you would not be wrong in describing them as terrorist familiars. Aiders, abetters and apologists for those nasty nutters dedicated to the overthrow of the West.

This just doesn’t make sense; but it’s a handy line to destroy the credibility of peace activists. And to cement his title as king of the dribblejaws, Mr Laws repeats his argument that the jurors in this case are “complete morons”. That is a dreadful accusation to make and one for which the ethically-conflicted Mayor of Whanganui has no evidence except his own febrile imaginings.

That’s the real fucktards, but what excuse can save this sensible chap?

In Saturday’s New Zealand Herald the one-star, tin badge soldier and Weeties-expert legal eagle John Roughan blathered on in the most stentorian and patrician tones like an overstuffed talking armchair:

Jury decisions can be perverse and do not set precedents we are told. But this one hurts because the senseless act of vandalism, as Helen Clark called it at the time, was a slight to the rights of all of us and the acquittal compounds it.

“Senseless”? It was premeditated and a calculated act of civil disobedience; don’t you read your own newspaper?

How the Hell is cutting through a few strands of barbed wire and pricking a balloon a “slight to the rights of all of us”?

Most of us have no idea what the Waihopai spy base is for, but Colonel Blimp Mr Roughan buys the line that it’s purpose – top secret as it is – is some how in the greater public interest.

What evidence is there for this claim? Bugger all!

And the language: Roughan describes Father Murnane and his associates as “saboteurs”:

Saboteurs do not expect to win any converts with their tactics.

Well actually, the history of “saboteurs” would tell quite a different story, but “Ragin’bull” Roughan may not have the time or patience for such “rot”.

Workers of the world untie!

Sabotage, according to the capitalists and the political socialists, is synonymous with murder, rapine,arson, theft; is illogical, vile, unethical, reactionary, destructive of society itself.

To many anarchist theorists it is the main weapon of industrial warfare, overshadowing mass solidarity, industrial formation and disciplined action. Some even go so far as to claim that sabotage can usher in the new social order. Somewhere between these two extreme views can be found the truth about sabotage.

[IWW pamphlet: "Sabotage: its History, Philosophy, & Function"]

I would urge anyone with an open mind to explore the history of sabotage.

It can be an effective weapon against injustice. Its origins lie in the French proletariat and ‘sabot’ is a wooden shoe. According to some accounts, a French weaver, angry at the poor conditions in the factory where he worked, threw his shoe into the machine and caused it to break down.

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) used sabotage, as did the Luddites. My point: all such political movements were all about making converts. Why would Murnane and his co-saboteurs be any different.

Such niceties get in the way of a foolish rant columnist’s right to say what they think. You see bluster – passionate defence of property – is what floats Mr Roughan’s boat:

The white domes that blot the landscape near Blenheim meant little to me until I picked up a newspaper that morning and saw one of them in tatters.

By what right, I wondered, could anybody assume they could do this sort of thing?

What arrogance, what conceit, what superior sense of righteousness leads someone to step outside respectful procedures of protest and public decisions and destroy an item of collective possession?

If protest is respectful it is really fucking useless!

And where is our “collective possession” of Waihopai? That’s a fiction, installed to make us feel better about global surveillance, we have no more “ownership” of Waihopai than we do over the Beehive. Just try walking in there late at night after one too many at Backbenches.

There is a legal fiction in play here – that somehow, we are the owners of “our” system and all the goods and chattels that make it up. In fact the State is owned by the ruling class – the same bunch of assholes really wealthy folk who own most of the goods and chattels as well as all the big houses in Remuera, the handful of Bentleys you see around town and most of the really big stuff that makes up the Kiwi economy.

Waihopai is defending them, not me, not you, not the ordinary Joes and Josephines of Mt Roskill and the outskirts of New Zealand’s towns and cities.

But you know, the terrorists are just like the communists and the Mouth of Whanganui wants us to know just how dangerous the greenies are and just how subverted the peace movement is. To demonstrate he hauls up the Cold War and the spectre of the old Soviet Union. Once again, the Mouth’s historical knowledge is scant, but the scare-mongering is spot on:

I have little doubt that the Communist Party and its sympathisers were the strongest local supporters of all the anti-nuclear and anti-American activity of the 1980s. To undermine the resolve of a nation, and to get politicians to respond to that feigned unrest, was their ulterior aim.

And we still see that sentiment from environmental organisations whose especial target is western capitalism. That two of the Waihopai three are also card-carrying greenies is no accident. Many peaceniks have morphed into Gaia enthusiasts. They prefer all things organic. This is why they never shave and rarely wash.

Which may be the other reason why the Wellington jury acquitted them. The defendants looked like Pakeha versions of Wellington’s Blanket Man and they took pity.

Don’t you just love this man’s ability to swing and sway – all the way between quaint 1950s Red-baiting to and the hoary old “dirty hippy” mantra via the usual tirade of tired, old insults and empty bottom-burp rhetoric.

Mr Bottom Burp Laws has a one-track mind and it only goes in circles. Blame, blame, blame, blame. In this case the usual suspects and the Anglican Church, despite the fact that Peter Murnane is a Dominican Friar and in communion with the Holy See:

All the men wear unkempt beards and the women don’t shave either. Deodorant is an imperialist plot and soap a snare of the Devil. At first glance it is impossible to distinguish such types from the derelicts that haunt inner Wellington at three in the morning.

They have also begun to infect the mainstream churches. The Anglican Church has already surrendered to such nuttiness and is now only a rallying point for the politically correct. Remnants of this once great institution huddle in especial congregations wondering where it all went wrong.

Now I’m a committed and hardcore aetheist – I preach against religion! – but I can’t identify with BB’s drivel, or this statement from “outraged of Idongivafuck” the aforementioned Herald columnist:

Religious people who apply their idealism to a political cause can avoid personal responsibility. Father Murnane will feel impelled by something he believes to be outside himself, his actions will seem to him to be utterly selfless.

He may not be aware of the injury he does to people such as me,

Mr Roughan, pray tell, sir, how were you “injured”?

Did you suffer a coughing fit over the brandy and cigars when you heard about this in your cosy clubrooms? Or was it a blister after your long walk to/around Te Papa? Jump down off that lofty steed and take a look in the mirror.

Further, who are the “people such as me” (ie “you”) that you’re talking about here. It obviously isn’t people such as me (ie “me”) because I disagree with you totally.

And talk about “personal responsibility”;Father Peter Murnane Adrian Leason and Sam Land  were totally prepared to take responsibility for their action. For Christ sake (literally in their case), they waited around to be arrested. They admitted cutting the dome down; they were willing to go to jail. That is selfless, while all you can do is bleat on about how people like you were injured. Get over yourself.

What the blusterers don’t actually get is that a jury of 12 citizens decided on the balance of evidence and argument that the three heroes of Waihopai were not guilty of a crime.

My advice to all and sundry who wish this was not the case: “Get the fuck over it!”

Seriously, when was the last first time any one of you whores for Laura Norder upright members of the community and Lions Clubs got as upset over a jury that handed out a manifestly unfair sentence – one that was too harsh for the crime – at the urging of some soakofajudge well-informed magistrate –  for some petty theft, or choofing a pipe of P in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Where is your outrage, Mr Remuera Roughan when some scion or scioness of your own privileged class is allowed to go to rehab, instead of to jail.

I’ll bet the answer’s “never happens!” Do you sit around and say: “Well, she’s from a good family, if a little wild”? Sure you do, because that’s what the “right” people do.

Mr Roughan is outraged that the taxpayer is going to foot the bill for the damage that the three musketeers caused. Well who pays for the war in Iraq; who pays for the SAS in Afghanstan? We do, and did we have any say in sending them there? No.

You know, I’m very comfortable with this jury’s decision. In fact I say: “Well done!”

This jury understood the argument of the greater good and with all the evidence presented and the arguments made, they decided – in their magnificent collective wisdom – that Peter et al were “not guilty”.

A great decision for them and for humanity and for New Zealand.

Ordinary New Zealanders get the fact that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not just wars and we should not be there.

But, according to the Herald’s omniscient editorialists, the Waihopai martyrs should not have had a leg to stand on as they were nailed to the judicial cross:

Among the men’s defences was an attempt to characterise the attack as a matter of “necessity” and in the “defence of others”. More broadly, these were wrapped into a “greater good” defence, which does not, in fact, exist legally.

Well, I’m not so sure: the defence argued it was a principle of international law and I reckon it probably is. But there’s not doubt the principle of “greater good” does exist in moral and ethical terms. In this case the jury could see through the ethico-legal paradox, which – broadly speaking – is the contradiction between what the law says and what is morally or ethically defensible.

The law is not always right;  particularly when it is a law of property over human rights. Property law is the basic premise of bourgeois law. It is the law of capital and stuff over the law of human interest.

I want to return, for just a moment, to the IWW pamphlet on sabotage. While I was reading it, these few lines jumped at me off the screen:

  • The charge that sabotage is “immoral,” “unethical,” “uncivilized,” and the like, does not worry the rebellious workers so long as it is effective in inflicting injury to the employers’ profits.
  • “You are immoral” cry employers and politicians alike. Our answer is that all morals today are based upon private property. Even so-called sexual immorality is condemned while universally practiced, because it violates the principle of inheritance in property and is in defiance of customs generally accepted but seldom inquired into.
  • “You are destroying civilization” is likewise hurled against us, to which we reply in the language of the street: “We should worry!”
  • What is more civilized than to spike the guns when they are trained on our working class brothers in other countries?

And finally: here is something that all our brothers and sisters in the news media should consider:

The press is one of the greatest agencies used by the employers to keep the workers in subjection. It is dominated by the industrial masters. Sometimes the press is owned directly, sometimes through a mortgage or a secured loan. More often the subsidization of the press is accomplished through advertising patronage. But at all times the power of the capitalist press depends upon the servility of the slaves who do all the work of setting up, printing and distributing the lies of the masters. Sabotage is the most effective weapon for the stopping of newspaper attacks upon the workers and their organizations.

Postscript – Sunday 1008am:

Ah, Finlay Macdonald, reading his column today has helped wash the stink of Mr Remuera and Mr Bottom Burp off my Sunday morning.

…beating up on God-botherers these days is about as daring as sneering at political correctness or getting a cool tattoo. Not that this makes the non-believers wrong. I count myself as an atheist, and tend to think the modern world is broadly divided between the superstitious and the sane. It’s just that there’s a smugness about the fashionably faithless that’s – for want of a better term – a bit holier-than-thou.

The would-be martyrs of Waihopai might have been easily mocked, too, and probably have been in some quarters, with their dishevelled certainty and innocent fervour; Jesus freaks with conspiracy theories. But they were also a refreshing antidote to the stupid and bigoted religiosity that animates Dawkins, proof that the James K Baxter strain of authentic Christianity still lives in Godzone. The trial was miserably reported by most media, but something more than cute legal argument swayed that jury. I really thought they didn’t have a prayer, so the outcome was little short of a miracle.

[Smugly faithless or pious Christians?]

NB:

  1. I make no apologies for my language, I am outraged by the hypocrisy displayed in attacks on a jury that made an honest and thoughtful decision based on the case presented; and I am totally in sympathy with the jurors who must be feeling like the world is crashing on their heads. They were doing a job, so fucking well leave them alone you pricks.
  2. I am not an anarchist, but I believe that sabotage is a legitimate weapon of struggle for the oppressed.

4 Responses to Waihopai jury – I’m on your side.

  1. Josh Gale says:

    All of the great progress in our societies has come through civil disobedience and the breaking of property laws. Since the bombing campaign on Afghanistan after 9/11 and the war in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Afghans and Iraqis have been killed by the ‘coalition’ of the empathically deficient. Thus far out weighing anything either the Taleban or Saddam did by a million fold. If you add these crimes against humanity to the U.S./U.K’s crimes elsewhere – Vietnam, Latin America, Iran, Africa, you name it – then what becomes clear is a track record of ruthless disregard for human life on an unprecedented scale in the history of imperialism. The question is, do people know the history? The three musketeers of Waihopai, who’ve taken a moment out of the busy life of selfish bubble consumerism came to understand this history and were rightly outraged at the human cost in terms of immense suffering and grief. They decided that it their human brothers and sisters living many miles away across the ocean didn’t deserve the violence being visited upon them and that our little nation in the south sea was – in its own multitude of ways; intelligence sharing, gathering, SAS deployments etc – supporting America, the most violent and dangerous nation on the planet. Fuck property laws, especially a dodgy spy base. Human life is more important than laws that protect the most violent militaristic nation in the world. Good on the jurors for making a decision for human life, all human life, and boo to all the people who favour property law over an effort to draw attention to the violent, immoral deaths of hundreds of thousands of non-Europeans and our our nation’s bedroom relationship with the mass-serial killer, America. In the face of the scale of death – the killing of civilians with pilotless drones, for example – we need more brave men like this who’re willing to stand up and disobey our cowardly Government. I wish I had their courage and compassion.

  2. rob says:

    well well,
    what a fantastic, cogent (and angry) piece of writing.

    I like the research, and feel the points presented more than adequately deal with the issues.

    Good on the jury for deciding the case on its merits, rather than swallowing the “majority paradigm” on the wars, which both Australia and NZ entered on the decision of the executive(s).

    Surely the decision to go to war should be presented to the people before a decision is made.

    Both countries are now involved in very suspect endeavours which are harming/killing thousands of women and children.

    Australia went into Iraq using the obviously dodgy WMD fallacy. Hans Blix couldn’t find anything, no problem, we really meant regime change. Yeah he was so bad, the Australian Wheat Board gave him 300 million dollars to buy Australian wheat.Yeah he gassed the Kurds at Halubjah – and where did he buy the missiles and anthrax he used – uncle sam – Congress blocked the sale but it was overturned on a Presidential veto by George Bush Snr.

    “Al Qaeda is evil”, and now we know the US gave Osama shitloads of weaponry while he was fighting the russians…some simple advice, don’t give religious nutbags stinger missiles.

    The polarised simplified good versus evil debate we’re presented with in the media does little to allow us to make an informed decision. Hopefully this decision will cause others to pause and think about the issues rather than just retreating to their ascribed political positions.

    We’ve now been hauled in on the coat tails of failed American foreign policy, to two wars which we should not be involved in, and I do not, for one moment buy the line that we’re the good guys defending democracy.

    If blowing up women and kids is the govt’s idea of democracy, well fuck them, I want no part of it. Maybe dispossessing people of their homes or showering suburbs with white phosphorous shells is democracy…the Israelis certainly proclaim to have god on their side, oh yeah, they’re the good guys too.

    The right to protest against illegal government decisions transcends party politics. These brave folk took a moral stance and good on them…and as for their appearance having anything to do with the issues Mr Laws, …dude the black pimp shirt open to the tummy button on google is frightening and not a good look for an elected official.

    Thanks again for a great piece Martin…you should get angry more often…

  3. [...] This unwelcome attention comes on the first business day after I published my post supporting the Waihopai three. [...]

  4. Carrol Elliott says:

    To quote John Roughan “What arrogance, what conceit, what superior sense of righteousness leads….” to any government engaging in establishment of spy domes without any consultations with the people who pay for them, let alone the people a long long way away who have never heard of en zed but are still getting the proverbial bombed out of them for Why?
    These three were judged by their peers, and bloody good ones at that from the result. This is almost good enough to enable me to read the words Catholic Church without wanting to throw up.

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