This headline is ours; the column that follows is by author Mandy Hager
Please read it and decide what sort of a country you wnat to live in.
By Mandy Hager
Two very telling events occurred this month which raise worrying questions about our civil rights. The first is the extraordinary vitriol that poured forth after the release of my brother Nicky’s book ‘Other People’s Wars.’
The second is the Supreme Court judgement that overruled police use of unlawful video footage collected as evidence for the so-called ‘Terror Trials’, and the government’s subsequent desire to rush through legislation to allow such illegal activity by the police.
We live in a country where standing up for ourselves and supporting the underdog is touted as being very much a part of our national psyche, yet when someone like Nicky (very rightly) questions the decisions and behaviours of those at the top (in the spirit of open and transparent government) he is dumped upon by everybody from our PM and new Governor General down.
Yet they do not address the issues, merely attack the man — aided, in no small part, by a deferential lazy media far more intent on pandering to those in high places (or to their own rather obvious political agendas) than asking the hard questions and analysing the facts.
If those same people were referred to with the kind of dismissive insults they piled on Nicky, they’d be calling in their lawyers double quick.
It is a tribute to Nicky’s self control that he brushes off such petty abuse and concentrates on the facts.
Our politicians and their Chief’s of Staff would do us all a service if they actually read the book and opened a discussion about a new way forward — a way that addresses transparency, integrity, security and human rights.
Right now, their dismissal of the very worrying issues raised in the book leave their own integrity in tatters. Read the book, John Key. Show some leadership and actually do something other than selling us out or stoking your own vanity.
As one child of an Austrian to another I can’t believe that you were raised dismissing human rights and civil liberties, not with the atrocities in Austria’s tragic past. So why are you so dismissive and unprincipled now?
The second very worrying development is the government’s knee-jerk reaction to the dropping of the cases in Operation 8.
If any of you have doubts about the safety and fairness of dismissing these charges I suggest you get hold of the excellent documentary entitled ‘Operation 8’ that has been doing the rounds – it leaves no doubt as to who are the thugs here.
The fact that National and Act (and the dreadful Peter Dunn) think they have the right to step across the civil liberties of every New Zealander by passing legislation to sanction unlawful covert surveillance should have us quaking in our beds. Where does this kind of action stop?
What is most terrifying abut this case is that the majority of those caught up in the Ruatoki ‘Terror Raids’ were ordinary people merely asserting their right to protest and take a dissenting stance. It is utter lunacy to allow this type of activity to be quashed.
Where would we be now without the brave women suffragettes? The anti-nuclear protestors? The people who stood up against racism during the 1981 Springbok Tour?
Those who fought (and died) in both World Wars to uphold other’s human rights? We must protect our right to protest. We must allow diversity of points of view.
You only have to look around the world at all the war-torn countries currently in the news to see that it’s those brave enough to champion human rights who are being oppressed, tortured and killed. It’s a slippery slope from secret video surveillance and trumped-up charges to totalitarian persecution… We have to stop the rot right now.