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Attack on Unite

Written By: - Date published: 9:38 am, April 17th, 2015 - 48 comments
Categories: Spying, Unions - Tags: ,

WTF? From 3 News:

Unite Union’s office robbed, trashed

The Unite Union’s Auckland offices have been robbed and ransacked in a vicious attack that some are speculating could be politically motivated.

The robbery happened on Wednesday night at the union’s Kingsland offices. … “All the files were rifled through, all of our electronic equipment was taken,” says Unite’s Joe Carolan. Filing boxes were upturned, papers thrown everywhere, and thousands of dollars’ worth of camera equipment, laptops and TVs were stolen.

48 comments on “Attack on Unite ”

  1. TheContrarian 1

    I have a source that told me they’d heard a phone conversation between John Key and Steven Joyce wherein Key said “I want those left wing bastards robbed”

  2. Ovid 2

    It should be noted this is a burglary, not a robbery (robbery involves the threat or use of violence). Still, it seems like an odd target. If it was meant to intimidate, I should think the message would be more explicit – anti-union graffiti, for example.

    • Anne 2.1

      This type of activity is nothing new as plenty of people can attest to… going back to the 1970s. Below is part of a comment I made on last night’s Daily Review following a heads up about the burglary:

      In the mid 1990s both Labour and the Alliance parties in Auckland Central had break-ins. The ACT candidate for Ak. Central was one, Rodney Hide. Not alleging he was implicated, but there’s more than an even chance a group of ACT people knew something about it.

      Back in the 1970s and early 1980s several well known Labour activists in Auckland had their homes broken into and/or papers stolen or rifled through.

      From memory David Cunliffe had his computer hard-drive stolen a few years ago.

      This is how right wing a******s operate. My pick is that it was a paid job to “teach those Unite Union types a lesson” and also to identify the personnel involved for future harassment?

      Be assured right-wing thugs have been indulging in such behaviour on and off for decades. D.P. is nothing new!

    • Pasupial 2.2

      “All the files were rifled through, all of our electronic equipment was taken,”

      I can see why the electronics would be nabbed in a burglary, not so much why common thieves would take the time to puruse (and possibly photograph) the paperwork. I’ve come to loathe the suffix; “-gate”, being applied to every issue, but this is one situation where a Watergate reference might indeed be appropriate.

      “Some people have said that when there were break-ins that were politically motivated before, that they would take the other things that robbers would like, like your money, but that the real goal was to get the information,” says Mr Carolan.

      • Anne 2.2.1

        Some people have said that when there were break-ins that were politically motivated before, that they would take the other things that robbers would like, like your money, but that the real goal was to get the information,” says Mr Carolan.

        Exactly.

        In pre-computer times, they sometimes didn’t even bother to steal anything. Knew what they were looking for and took photos – I suppose.

        Edit. And if anyone tries to refute the break-ins might not have occurred, they still left “evidence” of one kind or another they had been there.

      • marty mars 2.2.2

        I’m surprised – normally they send the fake activists in there for information first – they can wreck havoc with there ‘calls to illegal action’ all the time meanwhile they are scunging the info they need to appease their masters.

        • Murray Rawshark 2.2.2.1

          Unite may have already had a few agent provocateurs hanging round.

          In this burglary, what stands out to me is the theft of the computers. This suggests it’s not anyone official, because they would have had everything bugged anyway. I suspect there was a political/industrial motivation, but that the intent was to intimidate and frustrate Unite’s campaigns. TV3 said that poaka had taken fingerprints, but I doubt anything will come of those. Anyone remotely professional would wear gloves.

          On the other hand, when I lived across the gully from Kingsland, we got burgled heaps.

      • Phil 2.2.3

        From the 3 News article…

        Mr Carolan says he’s since spoken to people who believe the union has recently made a lot of “wealthy”, “dangerous enemies”.

        Oh, FFS. This isn’t Soprano’s.

        Unite isn’t new. They’ve been around long enough, fighting their corner consistently enough, that there aren’t going to be many new “enemies” left for them to make in New Zealand. Put another way; if you disliked Unite enough to break in for political reasons, you’ve disliked them for a long time already.

        “Some people have said that when there were break-ins that were politically motivated before, that they would take the other things that robbers would like, like your money, but that the real goal was to get the information,” says Mr Carolan.

        Contrary to popular belief and what you see in fiction, most burglaries are methodical and the perpetrators are patient. Smash-and-grab only works if you’re driving a truck through a jewelry store window.

        There is reference to movie tickets and supermarket vouchers being taken. These things tend to be filed away somewhere and it’s no surprise that burglars would systematically work through the office and look for anything, everywhere, because they know that we all store out shit in weird places.

        • Colonial Rawshark 2.2.3.1

          Oh, FFS. This isn’t Soprano’s.

          Unite isn’t new. They’ve been around long enough, fighting their corner consistently enough, that there aren’t going to be many new “enemies” left for them to make in New Zealand.

          You have to understand human motivation and human emotion. Yes you are correct in that Unite has been around for a fairly long time, but if you watch the Sopranos, you’ll realise the massive effect that a change in personnel or change in personalities can have on what happens.

          And Unite has been becoming increasingly effective. They can no longer be ignored and are now more of a target than ever.

    • alwyn 2.3

      No, no Ovid.
      It must have been a robbery. After all the original post says
      “and ransacked in a vicious attack”. This doesn’t sound like just the threat of violence. It sounds much more extreme.

      Perhaps someone who is in the know, or anyway who is a conspiracy theorist, could tell me what was “vicious” about the attack?
      Was a rubbish bin threatened with a good kicking?
      Were the paper clips thrown out the window?
      What exactly was the “viciousness” that is talked about?

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    Whatever emerges from the UNITE break in and thefts (Police forensics staff have been reasonably helpful according to Joe Carolan on FB) it cannot be disassociated from the high public profile of the union in the fast food industry. And it is real or cruel coincidence to happen the night of a public action and success.

    Surely few would seriously claim the involvement of the state forces but corporations are into union busting by all means possible. Or it could be lumpen hobbit types “we’ll show those union bastards”, but the timing is highly significant.

    These incidents involving union property and various progressive organisations continue down the years.
    –The National Distribution Union (now FIRST) had its union picket bus torched, no one found responsible
    –The Auckland Trade Union Centre Gt North Rd regularly had offices broken into in the 80s and 90s
    –Sue Moroney Labour MP was setting up an Equine workers union in the 80s but had her car broken into and all relevant files stolen which in pre digital times meant hundreds of hours of work and contacts gone and basically ended the project
    –An Auckland Unemployed Workers Rights Centre volunteer had her car broken into in 90s, money not taken but briefcase of advocacy work was

    Ernie Abbott’s murder in the Wellington Trades Hall was in a volatile public anti union period whipped up by Muldoon. When workers organisation is effective, reactionaries and business always kick back.

    • Anne 3.1

      Surely few would seriously claim the involvement of the state forces…

      Agreed. If the ‘state forces’ were involved no-one would even know there had been anyone in their home/office.

      • Stuart Munro 3.1.1

        I’m not sure – for some years the NZ state intelligence services were famous for losing a briefcase containing a penthouse and a pie – Callan they ain’t.

  4. tinfoilhat 4

    hmmmm not living up to my pseudonym I think it is very much more likely that this is the usual school holiday bored teen opportunistic burglary than anything else.

    • Karen 4.1

      Except, according to the print version of the Herald (not online for some reason), the Unite offices were broken in last time there was a major picket of McDonalds. Two coincidental break ins or intimidation? Doubt if we will ever know for sure.

    • Anne 4.2

      That’s a stupid comment tfh. If you had any knowledge and experience you would know there are some break-ins that are not random coincidence. They always occur at propitious times for the victim/victims and the organisations concerned – invariably unions and political groups advocating for social or environmental changes.

      Teenagers indeed. 🙄

      • tinfoilhat 4.2.1

        You really are a bombastic twit Anne.

        Even Joe has commented that it is most likely a random burglary, often times you let your overt hatred of all that doesn’t fit your own particular worldview lead you to some odd places.

        • Anne 4.2.1.1

          It would do you well to have some of these experiences visited upon yourself, and then you might be a better informed person about what goes on beyond your own little bubble of ignorant complacency.

          • tinfoilhat 4.2.1.1.1

            I have been burgled Anne………..oh and a very big 🙄 to you.

            • greywarshark 4.2.1.1.1.1

              You really are a Bombastic Knownothing tinfoilhat. And good for not much information. Sorry you have been burgled. Does that mean that therefore you are now okay when it happens to others, and particularly vulnerable political targets? If you want to be useful perhaps you could do some research as I have and get some boring facts, instead of being a boring fart.
              😳

            • Anne 4.2.1.1.1.2

              And were your ‘burglaries’ followed up with harassment and intimidation of a serious kind – like repeated vandalism of property and maiming of pets? I doubt it. In your case just a burglary of the random kind? Bad enough, but in the former category – as the Unite one no doubt falls – people can continue being victimised sometimes for years to come.

              • tinfoilhat

                @Anne what are you on about ?

                i didn’t know Joe kept a menagerie at the unite offices ?

                Have they been burgled before ? If so one would hope the police will get to the bottom of it, from joe’s accounts they are investigating and being quite helpful.

                • Anne

                  Oh dear… tfh has lost it. Well, in time he may find it again. Let’s hope so. 🙂

                  • greywarshark

                    @ Anne
                    But what is It? Does he know? Will we know if he knows and if he ever finds it? These are important questions, considering how important he is regarded on this blog, with his regular searching queries, and profound insights.

                • tinfoilhat

                  @Anne… not he but she.

                  .

                  • greywarshark

                    @ Anne
                    This is the sort of thing that brasses me off on this blog. It is easy to fall into this stupid tit for tat all the time knowing that the other person is both empty headed in sum, and empty hearted and is just filling in time and amusing himself. So I’ve fallen into the hole but I’ll try to make it the last idiot I dally with for say six months.

                    • felix

                      Don’t let it bother you greywarshark. tinfoilhat is just enjoying the time-honoured kiwi pastime of being an expert in everything that has ever even momentarily intersected with their experience.

    • Colonial Rawshark 4.3

      hmmmm not living up to my pseudonym I think it is very much more likely that this is the usual school holiday bored teen opportunistic burglary than anything else.

      You’ve been noticing a strong trend in bored Auckland teenage school pupils performing “opportunistic office burglaries”?

      You really are a fool but please don’t take us for the same.

      • tinfoilhat 4.3.1

        @CV

        “You really are a fool but please don’t take us for the same.”

        Too late !…. your numerous anti vaccination diatribes have marked you out as quite loopy.

      • greywarshark 4.3.2

        Thanks felix. I applaud your sturdy strength seen in your regular answering the onslaught of the ‘barbarians’. It takes a matador par excellence. However you probably don’t want to be rewarded with the bovine ears and tongue though. Uugh!

  5. greywarshark 5

    This is an alarming attack on Unite. There is apparently a mercenary dirty ops brigade that can be called on when required by RW to deal to workers and the less privileged of society.

    As people point out this isn’t new, and looking away back echoes the attacks on workers and unions in the USA, the UK and Germany.
    The USA:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_union_busting_in_the_United_States#Spies.2C_.22missionaries.2C.22_
    and_saboteurs
    Strike breaking and union busting, 1890s-1935
    Hiring agencies specializing in anti-union practices has been an option available to employers from the bloody strikes of the last quarter of the nineteenth century, until today.[2]
    Creative methods of union busting have been around for a long time. In 1907, Morris Friedman reported that a Pinkerton agent who had infiltrated the Western Federation of Miners managed to gain control of a strike relief fund, and attempted to exhaust that union’s treasury by awarding lavish benefits to strikers.[3] However, many attacks against unions have used brute force of one sort or another, including police action, military force, or recruiting goon squads.

    Anti-union vigilantes during the First Red Scare
    Unlike the American Federation of Labor, the Industrial Workers of the World opposed the First World War. The American Protective League (APL) was a pro-war organization formed by wealthy Chicago businessmen. At the height of its power the APL had 250,000 members in 600 cities. In 1918, documents from the APL showed that ten percent of its efforts (the largest of any category) were focused on disrupting the activities of the IWW. The APL burgled and vandalized IWW offices, and harassed IWW members. Such actions were illegal, yet were supported by the Wilson administration.[15]

    Union busting with military force….
    Pinkertons and militia at Homestead, 1892 – One of the first union busting agencies was the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, which came to public attention as the result of a shooting war between strikers and three hundred Pinkerton agents during the Homestead Strike of 1892. When the Pinkerton agents were withdrawn, militia forces were deployed. The decisive defeat of a powerful strike resulted in the destruction of the local union.
    Spies ‘Missionaries’ and Saboteurs:
    …In the 1930s, the Pinkerton Agency employed twelve hundred labor spies, and nearly one-third of them held high level positions in the targeted unions. The International Association of Machinists was damaged when Sam Brady, a veteran Pinkerton operative, held a high enough position in that union that he was able to precipitate a premature strike. All but five officers in a United Auto Workers local in Lansing, Michigan were driven out by Pinkerton agents. The five who remained were Pinkertons. At the Underwood Elliott-Fisher Company plant, the union local was so badly injured by undercover operatives that membership dropped from more than twenty five hundred to fewer than seventy-five.[18]

    General strikebreaking methods
    During the period from roughly 1910 to 1914, Robert Hoxie compiled a list of methods used by employers’ associations to attack unions. The list was published in 1921, as part of the book Trade Unionism in the United States. These methods include counter organization, inducing union leaders to support management, supporting other pro-business enterprises, refusing to work with pro-union enterprises, obtaining information on unions among others.[19]

    I tried to look for what would be available on Google about attacks on workers and unions in Nazi pre WW2, first referring to Germany, then Nazi Germany, then Europe. There was nothing there! Just information about or after WW2. I put time 1920-1939 and couldn’t get pre WW2. .
    Had better luck with – Before 1939 worker and union treatment in Europe
    More with – Before 1939 worker treatment in Germany

    Trade unions in Germany:
    http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/trade_unions_nazi_germany.htm
    Just months after Hitler was appointed Chancellor, he took the decision to end trade unions in Nazi Germany. On May 2nd, 1933, police units occupied all trade unions headquarters and union officials and leaders were arrested. The funds that belonged to the trade unions – effectively this was workers money – were confiscated.

    Then I saw on Nazi German economy how to get rid of nazty unemployment statistics.
    http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/nazis_and_the_german_economy.htm
    (Don’t count women, don’t count Jewish disenfranchised, introduce compulsory military training, build factories turning out guns to arm the army so creating employment, plus employ men working on infrastructure for pocket-money living in camps as in our Depression days.)

    This is an interesting document on Britain and how it fared economically in between the two world wars and that time. It seems that lessons for NZ could be obtained from parts of it, certainly some of our problems seem to parallel theirs.
    http://eml.berkeley.edu/~eichengr/research/floudjohnsonchaptersep16-03.pdf

    In UK – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_unions_in_the_United_Kingdom

    Then an information packed piece on trade unionism in Britain. The gains we have were gained with ongoing sacrifice of time and money and required determination and guts.
    http://www.grahamstevenson.me.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=690&Itemid=52
    In 1911 Liverpool dockers were locked out in an intense struggle with the bosses and the government responded by sending 7,000 troops and even two gunboats to the port city! 25,000 troops were also mobilised against London dockers during their 1911 strike. In 1912, the first ever truly national miners strike, for a minimum wage, took place. 5,000 troops were placed in the coalfields but entire communities backed the miners’ fight for victory. Without the support of their families, especially the women, success could never have been contemplated. Support for women’s involvement in politics was not by any means confined to middle class suffragette movement, as is often suggested, nor was it merely fixed upon the need to extend the franchise! Nonetheless, this period saw an intense struggle for votes for women.

  6. Colonial Rawshark 6

    This is definitive confirmation that UNITE has been doing a great job. Keep it up!!!

  7. greywarshark 7

    Further info about worker struggles in Britain from above link of Graham Stevenson.

    No worker had the vote and only the very well off acted as representatives in Parliament. A tremendous struggle to change Britain into a democracy partially succeeded in 1832.
    But the bulk of ordinary people still had no vote. Unions began to try to win things, causing a big fight back from the masters, as the bosses were then called.Deference was expected towards the rich and powerful from the ordinary people. You had to know your place in society, or suffer the consequences.
    There were few rights and charity was the main form of social welfare.
    (We are seeing a return to this!!)

    In the disillusionment with politics that followed the realisation that the 1832 reform of voting had only favoured the well off, especially the new class that owned industrial manufacturing, workers once again turned to the notion of trades unionism.

    The first big general union, at once a federation of older trade societies and a vehicle for the organisation of the new working class, was founded in 1833 – the Grand National Consolidated Trades Union.

    As the GNCTU grew massively, the masters in Derby planned a showdown. All trades unionists were locked out of their workplaces, until they were prepared to give up their allegiance to unionism. After almost a year of starvation, the workers of Derby conceded defeat.

    Symbolic of the resistance by working people was the deportation of the Tolpuddle Martyrs in 1834 (left). Six farm labourers from the village of Tolpuddle were sentenced by a court to be sent to Australia for seven years, then a very harsh punishment, considered to be a preferable alternative to the death penalty. The excuse was that they had made an illegal oath, a binding promise.
    (I’ve been to Tolpuddle, a tiny little village. These people were held together and survived by their strong Methodist faith, which carried their belief in respect for each person and for justice and fairness.)

  8. goldbloom 9

    Not sure why they even bothered calling the police. Greyrawshark has already proved using advanced CSI techniques which utilize historical events from Germany in the 19th Century that evil corporations were indeed behind this attack. Now if we can stack the jury with impartial reasoned scholars such as Anne, a conviction will surely be secured.

    • tinfoilhat 9.1

      Even though you are right wing trolling one can’t help but LOL.

    • greywarshark 9.2

      Go for it bloom for gold. Nice work if you can get it. Of course I was supplying history background on the basis of those who don’t understand history are likely to repeat it.
      I am pleased to have provided information for someone who appears as ignorant as yourself. But you can take a donkey to water but you can’t make him drink (or perhaps, think.)

    • RedBaronCV 9.3

      Are you on a zero hours trolling contract Gbloom? – hourly pay rate above the minimum ?- would you like some representation from a union ?

  9. millsy 10

    Chaos and Mayhem strike again….

    National have been doing dirty politics right back to when they first jammed Colin Scrimegours radio show back in 1935.

  10. Popeye 11

    The authorities typically carry out these operations in such a way that nobody would have a clue they have been turned over. More likely this is a theft by idiots, or is industrial sabotage.

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