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Howard – some advice on what questions to ask

Written By: - Date published: 11:49 am, December 16th, 2008 - 22 comments
Categories: activism, police - Tags: ,

Yesterday, Howard Broad made statements about the targets of the SIG (Special Investigation Group) to National Radio. Interview with Howard Broad on his actions.

I’ve seen some of the e-mails when Rochelle Rees discovered them. From them and his statements, I get the impression that the police commissioner is and has been kept out of the loop and fed a line of bullshit. Perhaps he should ask questions about who is doing that. But here is some help for the commissioner to get to the core of the problem.

Howard Broad said

The SIG was meant to assess threats from individuals who may or may not be members of groups.
“[People who] want to do some damage, they want to do some violent things,” he said on Radio New Zealand.
“Our job is to identify those people and do something about it.”

Unfortunately these are not the questions that people in the SIG have been asking. Rochelle has released some of the questions by a SIG handler to Rob Gilchrist.

Included in Gilchrist’s emails were questionnaires sent from the New Zealand Police, with the police identification number PG4369. The following are excerpts from those documents:

The list includes open ended questions that are about groups. I’ve pulled a few questions about groups out of Rochelles press release :-

Climate Change Groups
What is happening with climate change groups in Auckland.
Who is involved?
What actions might they be considering for the future
What specific plans are in place for Climate Day of action 07/07

Auckland Animal Action
What is the structure of AAA and who fills the key positions?
How does AAA communicate and promote demonstrations?
Do they use / have access to chat rooms etc?
Update Addresses / Ph (cell and landline) Numbers / Vehicle details of AAA members.
What is the proposed activist activity for the rest of the year?
Who is responsible for the stickers on Tegel products? *
Where is the printer / scanner / etc for the above stickers? *
What other activity is proposed against Tegel or any other chicken suppliers
?

And so on. The list of general questions about groups covered groups like the anti iraq war groups, and groups with people going to ANZCCART, Sydney and Auckland APEC, etc.

There is my favorite

Q – Information regarding the 26th November Grey Lynn festival.
Q Are there any other plans for that weekend?

What the hell? This is a favorite venue for a lot of groups doing fund raising, recruiting, and ground-level publicity about their issues. It is a fun day for all concerned. What does it have to do with national security?

These questions are clearly not looking at individuals that may be a problem, they are looking at organizations. For obvious privacy reasons Rochelle will not be releasing questions about individuals. From what I’ve seen, there are as many questions about the intentions and strategies of groups as there are about dangerous individuals.

Hopefully this will assist in asking some better questions now? Perhaps you should also look at the misuse of using the police power to charge people for harassment. In particular to obtain search warrants.

* In this particular questionnaire, these are the few questions about an individual.

22 comments on “Howard – some advice on what questions to ask”

  1. Mike 1

    So putting a sticker on a frozen chicken is a terrorist activity?

  2. Matt 2

    Do these groups advocate illegal activities? Do they have a history of engaging in illegal activities?

  3. fraser 3

    “Do these groups advocate illegal activities? Do they have a history of engaging in illegal activities?”

    rephrase that

    remember that this is the work of the SIG were talkiing about. The question should really be…

    “Do these groups advocate terrorism? Do they have a history of engaging in terrorism?

  4. Felix 4

    Only the police could use the term “activist activity” with a straight face.

  5. Ari 5

    While he’s right that it’s individuals that pose risks to societies not groups, they could have saved themselves a lot of money by building a productive relationship with activist groups instead of spying on them.

    It’s also very clear, as Lynn points out, that these questions were designed to gather information on groups, not individuals. His excuse really doesn’t fly no matter how you look at it. Either he’s an idiot who’s letting them extend past their mandate or he’s covering for the SIG, for some bizarre reason.

  6. Janet 6

    I would suspect some of the activist groups in Grey Lynn of dangerous anti-NZ activity – eg the young Nats. There are probably some anti-democratic ACT activists lurking there too.. Or those advocating violence against children such as Family First.

  7. lprent 7

    Ari: The police are a rather large and complex organisation. It is possible that this kind of activity is simply unknown to him.

    I can’t remember suppression activity on this scale prior to 2001 after the muldoon era ended. I get the impression that this is some clowns interpreting their instructions in a manner that will cause the police harm.

    If they’re after people who are dangerous that attach themselves to protest groups – well there usually aren’t any. They always find it all too boring and go off to form their own cells of one. Protest groups are only to aware that they have to move public opinion. Doing dangerous things is not the way to do it, at least not here.

    I always remember my sister and I impressing this on Rochelle when she was about 15. She’d padlocked herself to the doors of a store selling factory farmed fur. When it came to sentencing at the youth court, my sister and I were in ramping up the sentence. That was because she’d been stupid enough not to check that there was another fire exit at the store and she’d padlocked herself to the only exit.

    Protesting is a perfectly acceptable part of being a citizen. Doing things that break the law (ie civil disobedience) is part of that – you take the consequences. Doing things that are dangerous to others – then you should have the book thrown at you.

    It is a pity that some clowns in the police could use some civics lessons. Perhaps they should get them from Rochelle.

  8. Do you have a link to that press release? I’d like to see the full list.

  9. Rochelle Rees 9

    15/12/2008
    Rochelle Rees releases proof Howard Broad was wrong

    Today the Police Commissioner, Howard Broad stated on Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon program that the police spying on activist groups has only been targeting individuals and not the groups themselves. These comments were repeated throughout the day to various media by both the Prime Minister John Key and the Police Minister Judith Collins.

    The intelligence documents that I discovered on Rob Gilchrist’s computer clearly prove the Police Commissioner’s statement to be untrue. Included in Gilchrist’s emails were questionaires sent from the New Zealand Police, with the police identification number PG4369. The following are excerpts from those documents:

    Climate Change Groups
    What is happening with climate change groups in Auckland.
    Who is involved?
    What actions might they be considering for the future
    What specific plans are in place for Climate Day of action 07/07

    Q – What is the structure of AAA and who fills the key positions?
    Q How does AAA comminicate and promote demonstrations?
    Q Do they use / have access to chat rooms etc?
    Q Update Addresses / Ph (cell and landline) Numbers / Vehicle details of AAA members.
    Q What is the proposed activist activity for the rest of the year?
    Q Who is responsible for the stickers on Tegel products?
    Q Where is the printer / scanner / etc for the above stickers?
    Q What other activity is proposed against Tegel or any other chicken suppliers?

    Q Are there any anti war / anti US demonstrations planned to coincide with the Turkish Prime Ministers visit? (Early December)

    Q Information regarding the 26 th November Grey Lynn festival.
    Q Are there any other plans for that weekend?

    Anti War/Anti American Groups
    What is happening within these organisations.
    What sort of numbers are now involved
    What activities or targeting do they have planned for the future

    ANZCCART
    Who from New Zealand will be looking at travelling to Melbourne for ANZCCART in early July.
    Where will they be staying and and mode of travel in Australia
    Who is their contact person in Australia

    US independence Day 04 July
    What protest activity is being organised around this event in Auckland and Wellington
    Who will be involved

    APEC Sydney September 2007
    Who will be looking at going to this event?
    Realistically who is likely to end up actually travelling?
    Where will they be staying?
    Who will their contact person be in Australia?
    What will their mode of travel be?

    Pre/Post APEC in NZ
    Is there any intell that suggests people are aware of the possibility of visits to NZ by VIP’s either side of APEC
    Are there any plans afoot for protest activity for any such VIP’s they think may be visiting.

    For further information, please contact:

    Rochelle Rees
    Email: rochelle.rees@primary.geek.nz

  10. Tane 10

    Hi Rochelle, have you passed that release on to Scoop? I’m sure they’d be keen to run it up.

  11. Matt 11

    Fear comment re the terrorism thing, but I want to know wether they advocate illegal activties and or have a history of doing so?

    [lprent: Who? I’m unsure how many groups there are that are interested in climate change. AAA doesn’t advocate illegal action. However that is not to say that individuals that belong to either may not do them.

    What? I regularly speed, frequently blaspheme, have a critical attitude about the monarchy, have indulged in under age sex (both of us were), under age drinking, have described prime ministers past and present in a way that could be construed as a threat, walked naked in front of windows, etc, etc. Before the crimes act reforms, I wore carpet slippers on the street (an interesting offense).

    Personally I’d be surprised to find a person who has not performed an illegal act.

    What are you asking?

    Thanks Lew – I forgot swearing in public.]

  12. Lew 12

    Matt: Sorry, you’ve triggered the English teacher in me:

    Fair. Whether. Activities. And/or. Also, your statement seems to mistake itself for a question.

    The answer is `yes and no’ due to the broad nature of `illegal activity’, which could be anything from swearing in public to violent insurrection. Protesters get arrested and charged (and sometimes convicted) for all sorts of things – some legitimate, others spurious. This isn’t really a black and white issue, because the SIG isn’t empowered to conduct long-term large-scale surveillance on groups or individuals unless they pose `a real or credible risk to the safety and security of communities’, in the words of the Prime Minister. That’s a much higher bar than `illegal activities’.

    L

  13. fraser 13

    matt

    some do. some dont – and all to varying degrees. and all different according to which faction of which group youre talking about.

    sorry – but that probably doesnt help much 🙂

    but to round up, most of the groups (your greenpeaces and safes etc) dont mind a bit of civil disobedience (which isnt necessarily a crime in and of itself) but would not be into actions that go anywhere near, close to what could be considered a major crime, let alone terrorism.

    of course its been along while since my young shouty days – so i could be a bit out of date on the info

    ps – you used “fear” – its probably a typo – but still a good unintentional pun

  14. Felix 14

    …available for public speaking, debates, lectures, symposiums and media comment … to suit any audience from children through to university level.

    Amazingly, this is from matt’s site where he promotes himself as a professional communicator.

  15. Lew 15

    Lynn: Thanks Lew – I forgot swearing in public.

    A particular favourite of mine. My dear old dad was once arrested after he replied to a constable’s request that he not swear in public with `what, can’t I even speak the Queen’s fuckin’ English now?’

    L

  16. QoT 16

    Well, come on, guys. I’m sure we can all agree that Grey Lynn is a simmering hotbed of Islamofascist zealotry.

    Rochelle – love your work.

  17. QoT 17

    Oh man, I love it when my comments end up in moderation because it’s hard to filter for sarcastic rhetoric.

    [lprent: 🙂 The alternate choices are worse. I wonder what part of the trap caught that one – oh the F word]

  18. “Lew

    Lynn: Thanks Lew – I forgot swearing in public.

    A particular favourite of mine”

    I was shocked and angry when I found out my brother had taken diversion on that charge rather than taking it to court.

    My personal favorite offense is keeping a television video recording for an unreasonably long period of time.

  19. Ari 19

    Ari: The police are a rather large and complex organisation. It is possible that this kind of activity is simply unknown to him.

    Right, that was meant to be covered under the first option. 🙂 I can completely understand that it’s possible for special counter-terrorism groups to evade adequate oversight.

    Which means that someone was an idiot, or at least not doing their job adequately… 😉

    If they’re after people who are dangerous that attach themselves to protest groups – well there usually aren’t any. They always find it all too boring and go off to form their own cells of one. Protest groups are only to aware that they have to move public opinion. Doing dangerous things is not the way to do it, at least not here.

    If we accept his explanation at face value, (I don’t) then it would still make no sense what they’re doing. It’s much better to make it clear to protest-groups that if they adequately self-police and refer people to help or the police if they’re getting really extreme, then they can have a win-win relationship where the police understand and respect their right to protest and try and protect them as much as possible while doing so.

    Of course, it’s clear that they’ve not given half a shit about free and fair right to protest given the sorts of trivial charges they’ve been laying. I’m just musing on how things should be- you know, where the police respect that peaceful protest groups that actually trust the police and can turn in people who go too far are a good thing.

    Rochelle: Keep it up. 😀

  20. Fear comment re the terrorism thing, but I want to know wether they advocate illegal activties and or have a history of doing so?

    Here’sa concrete example: one of the groups spied on by the police was the Worker’s Party, which contested the list in this year’s elections. One of its members (actually, I’m not even sure if he still is) had previously been unsuccessfully prosecuted for burning a New Zealand flag.

    I think it would be fair to say that a surveillance operation aimed at preventing that sort of offending isn’t just an affront to democracy, but a complete waste of police resources.

  21. Carol 21

    And it seems that Gilchrsit infiltrated the Green Party, attempting to spy on their activities:

    http://tvnz.co.nz/politics-news/greens-furious-over-gilchrist-infiltration-2423075

    Locke says that former MP Nandor Tanczos’ secretary Rayna Fahey called the party after the story about Gilchrist’s activities broke.

    It doesn’t really say how close he got to GP restricted information, but:

    Fahey told the Green Party that Gilchrist had befriended her and had been “keen” to visit the office and asked a lot of questions.

    This happened in 2005, some time around the election.

    and

    Locke says Gilchrist had also been on a Green Party database getting access to information about policy and activities.

    While it was not private it was questionable that police should use it surreptitiously.

  22. Graeme 22

    One of its members (actually, I’m not even sure if he still is) had previously been unsuccessfully prosecuted for burning a New Zealand flag.

    He was their candidate in Christchurch East.

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