Since I can’t seem to leave a comment on his site to refute John Pagani’s current foolishness on the operation 8 outcomes and ‘evidence’. That is unfortunate because I’ll put it here instead with a wider audience just to please him with a response from a lefty.
He was talking about some of the material released in court documents where the police asserted that those charged threw Molotov cocktails and fired semi-automatic weapons. He asserted
…but it’s worth a mention because of the deafening silence among other left blogs today:
Well I read it and simply didn’t think anything of it. I’ve been aware of much of the evidence for a few years now. Leaving aside the presumption of guilt that Pagani seems to think that a mere accusation by police brings, none of those things are particularly unlawful. My reply that didn’t seem to appear on his site was …
Hey John – as a lefty I think you simply had a rather sheltered and unadventurous upbringing.
I used semi automatics on the farm when I was a kid (and bolt-actions and shotguns). Making molotov cocktails would have been too easy. I used to make explosives for rocketry and for the sheer hell of making things explode. Not to mention building electric detonators to find out how it was done.
I did all that before I went into the army at 18 and started using military grade weapons and explosives. Then I did a science degree where I had even more fun.
When I looked at these reports I thought that they were too unremarkable to get wound up about. I guess you wasted your youth if you think that anything revealed was terrorism.
If they’d started accumulating ammunition stockpiles or large quantities of seed chemicals for explosives or war gases then I’d have been interested.
But feel free to make a even bigger dickhead of yourself.
Now I’m sure that some of those things I have done in my youth were probably unlawful and not particularly legal. But they simply aren’t uncommon amongst our rather adventuous population. They certainly don’t amount to terrorism, they are just simply things that I have done while investigating things.
I’ll freely admit that I have also written computer viruses, keystroke loggers, had unprotected sex, gotten into fights, massively abused people, driven a car in excess of the speed limits, hacked into other peoples systems, compounded poisons and lethal gases, and probably a multitude of other things that could be highly unlawful in the right context.
Now the difference between these being something that I would be convicted in court for and that I would is a basic legal principle that John Pagani appears to have failed to pick up on. He seems to regard the act (actus rea) as being sufficient for him to become a condemner.
But of course the intent of why actions are taken is at least as important in almost all criminal trials. This is the principle of mens rea.
For instance being a programmer means that I wrote viruses to investigate them, loggers are critical to debugging, hacked into peoples systems because they asked me to do so. I was using various weapons to cull pest populations including poisons and gases. Some of my speeding was because I was driving a ambulance in the army. Many were because I’d drunk a bit too much alcohol.
Many of these acts would have been sufficient police to charge me for. I don’t think many of them would have resulted in a conviction, provided John Pagani wasn’t on the bench.
It would appear as well as being a sheltered and unadventuous child, John also fails to have any particular grasp of basic legal principles. For instance where he says..
Molotov cocktails and semi-automatic weapons require lengthy and detailed explanations from the accused (and now acquitted) long before they require explanations from the police.
He is simply wrong and being as much of a dickhead as the police were. Talking about Valerie Morse he says
So does every other apology seeker: Were you part of the molotov throwing, semiautomatic firing group, or not? You cannot purport to be an anti war activist when you are throwing molotov cocktails.
Perhaps John Pagani should actually read some of allegations to find out how much veracity there is. The ODT has a nice clear article accessible that unlike him does not make a presumption of guilt.
For instance the basis that Aaron Pascoe laid the charge against Morse about using molotov cocktails..
He concluded the person in the film and photographs was Ms Morse because that person was wearing clothing the same as Ms Morse was seen wearing when she was observed on her way to Ruatoki.
That was the only basis for the identification because in all the images her face was concealed.
Clothes are really definitive right? Well they must be according to dickheads like John Pagani and Aaron Pascoe who appear to have similar levels of presumptive stupidity.
Photos of a person holding a pistol in various military type poses were said to be of Ms Morse.
Two pistols later seized by police were found to be unable to discharge a shot, although an attempt to modify one appeared to have been made.
Now the point is that making Molotov cocktails, using the same, and holding a disabled weapon are in themselves not illegal. It is where and why you use them that is important. Furthermore as far as I can see there was no unequivocal evidence in the accusations by the police Valerie Morse even did these non-illegal acts.
Like much of the operation 8, the accusations appear to be based largely on the interpretation and judgement of Aaron Pascoe. This is the person who appears to have authorized the unlawful video surveillance thinking that it was ‘legal’, made the applications for the search warrants on the dubious grounds of a anti-terrorism act that the solicitor general subsequently said did not apply. Eventually he has wound up, out of the hundreds of people detained and eighteen charged, with just four remaining to go before court. Quite simply to me it looks like his paranoia has wasted a awful lot of the states money and time, not to mention that of those detained, arrested and charged.
There are months of prison time, massive legal expenses to repay, and significant amounts of time hanging around in court by the discharged defendants that can (and should) be charged to Aaron Pascoe. Even the remaining defendants in my opinion are unlikely to be convicted on more than a actus rea offsense. The supreme court merely looked at the seriousness of the charges against those four. Looking at what is known of the evidence against them, I find it unlikely that they will be convicted in front of a judge and/or jury.
In my opinion, John Pagani looks like a dickhead. Perhaps he should actually go and investigate the details and legalities before he implicitly leaps to the defense of someone like Aaron Pascoe?
Update: from an e-mail I just received, it looks like John read my comment and deleted it. It appears he mostly disliked being called a dickhead. But he did seem to ignore the substance of my comment. Who’d have thought a longtime political could get wound up about being called a name?