Title: Anti-terrorism laws, a gay perspective Credit: Craig Young Comment Thursday 25th November 2004 - 12:00pm1101337200 Article: 498 Rights
The New Zealand SIS has been in the news lately, given the ongoing Ahmed Zaoui case, and current allegations about surveillance of the Maori Party. This won't make me popular with Keith Locke (Greens), Nicky Hager (Corngate) and various old cronies of mine in the peace movement. However, I believe that there is a place for the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 in New Zealand foreign policy and law. That said, I also believe that there is a place for strong safeguards that prevent abuse of processes and procedures within the Security Intelligence Services. I may not agree completely with the anti-globalisation lobby, but they do have the right to free speech and peaceful and lawful protest. Indigenous rights protestors have legitimate concerns about the contentious seabed and foreshore legislation, and are entitled to protests over that issue. Most glaringly, Ahmed Zaoui's lawyers and defenders have raised important questions about abuse of due process in his specific context. As a liberal, I still believe that we need the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, and the SIS. If foreign-based organisations or networks have resorted to acts of interpersonal violence, use of explosives or firearms, or conducted religious persecution, ethnic cleansing and hate crimes, they have no place in this country. I'm sure that New Zealand Muslims are sicked and disgusted at atrocities perpetrated by those who pervert the precepts of the Prophet Mohammed and his successors, and they have not objected to proscription and surveillance if there are viable concerns that New Zealand has been used for financial transactions and arms or explosive shipments as a transit point. Let's be even-handed about this, though. I know that some might see the following proposals as 'legislative creep,' but tough. As well as radical "Islamist" organisations, there might well be armed and violent Hindu paramilitary organisations that have transgressed similarly on the Indian subcontinent. I am sure that New Zealand Hindus object strongly to their conduct, so why not proscribe them as well? Would concerns about anti-terrorism legislation be mitigated if it was applied equally and impartially? I am not saying that such organisations operate within New Zealand, however, as there is no current evidence to back up what is a moral proposition and call for neutral application. And what about fundamentalist Christian terrorists? In this case, I'm talking primarily about paramilitary US anti-abortion groups that broke away from Operation Rescue, which engaged in 'nonviolent' invasion of abortion providers in the mid-nineties. These terrorists made a "Defensive Statement of Justifiable Homicide" that advocated anti-abortion terrorism and which has led to seven fatalities thus far. Fortunately, all of the alleged perpetrators have been apprehended, although there is the small matter of the "Nuremberg Files," an anti-abortion website. Free speech is one thing, but the Nuremberg Files abused online public register data to assemble profiles and complete information resources about abortion providers that may have been used for purposes of harrassment and even assassination. Many internet service providers got scared at possible criminal liability, and refuse to host this malignant site. What does this have to do with us? One of the alleged anti-abortion terrorists also firebombed an Atlanta lesbian bar when engaged in violent activities during the Atlanta Summer Olympics. As far as I know, they haven't similarly targeted our organisations and activists. Yet. As the Bush administration and US Supreme Court agree that these paramilitary Christian Reconstructionist anti-abortion terrorist advocates deserve no legal protection, there is an excellent case for their proscription too. In this case, one of the anti-abortion terrorism suspects was found in France and extradited. This implies that there might be an international network of sympathisers. White supremacist terrorists are similar advocates of organised racist and sectarian violence against mosques, Hindu temples, migrants rights and Asian and Middle Eastern community centres, as well as refugees and asylum seekers. Thus far, they've 'limited' their violent antisocial behaviour to organised racist interpersonal violence and agitation that accentuates community tensions. However, European and American white supremacists have taken the next step and killed opponents of their evil philosophy. Amongst their victims were several customers at a Soho gay pub in London. (It might interest the government to learn that one such UK paramilitary racist organisation, Combat 18, served as bodyguards for the odious David Irving while he spoke at a European fascist rally. Proscribe these organisations too, and continue to keep Irving out of New Zealand. Incidentally, he's no Palestinian ally- he opposes 'liberal' immigration, refugee and asylum seeker policies, and one of his targets is Arab and Middle Eastern migrant communities). There are times when even a liberal and pluralist society will need to invoke sanctions against those that espouse the use of firearms, explosives, ethnic cleansing and/ sectarian, racist, homophobic or anti-abortion terrorism. Certainly, though, intelligence agency activities must be conducted on the basis of verifiable and unambiguous evidence, so as not to infringe civil liberties and human rights. They must also be applied impartially, and accompanied by stern and rigorous statements that hate crimes against law-abiding, peaceful migrant communities and political activists of whatever persuasion should never be tolerated. I suspect that some international solidarity and peace organisations won't take kindly to my above proposals. In the case of fundamentalist Christian and white supremacist terrorists, though, abortion providers, lesbian/gay community members and indigenous or migrant community members do have legitimate interests in prevention of extremist targeting, injury or death of their members. Furthermore, overseas anti-abortion terrorism suggests that online public register abuse may serve as one source of terrorist intel, and access controls are not included within current anti-terrorism legislation. Hopefully, the above proposals will never need to be seriously contemplated, but they should serve as an introduction to debate about the role of neutrally applied anti-terrorism legislation in New Zealand public policy. Recommended Reading: Selwyn Manning et al (ed) I Almost Forgot About the Moon: The Disinformation Campaign Against Ahmed Zaoui: Auckland: Multimedia: 2004. Patricia Baird-Windle: Targets of Hatred: Anti-abortion Terrorism: New York: Palgrave/St Martins Press: 2001. Nigel Copsy: Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and Its Quest for Legitimacy: Palgrave/Macmillan: London: 2004. Peter Davies and Derek Lynch: The Routledge Companion to Fascism and the Far Right: Routledge: London: 2002. Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke: Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity: New York: New York University Press: 2002. Craig Young - 25th November 2004    
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