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Anthropologist Jeff Sluka is coming to Wellington

Political Anthropologist, Associate Professor Jeff Sluka, is coming to Wellington.

On Tuesday 2nd December Jeff Sluka will be the key speaker at public meeting discussing State terrorism during the 2007 ‘anti-terrorism’ raids in Ruatoki. This is the fifth in a series of meetings hosted by the October 15th Solidarity Group group.

“Jeff,” says Anna Thorby from the October 15th Solidarity Group, “was a guest speaker at the recent commemoration of the police ‘anti-terrorism’ raids at Rūātoki.” During his talk there he described the raids as ‘politically misguided, morally wrong and fundamentally counterproductive.’

Jeff Sluka is an anthropologist whose particular interest is armed national liberation movements – that is, ‘freedom fighters’ – and he’s one of the few social scientists who has actually done first-hand research with people defined as ‘terrorists’ in their natural settings.

“Jeff challenges people to think about the labels of terrorism and terrorist,” said Anna.

“After living in both west and north Belfast, Jeff has first-hand knowledge of terrorism and the terrorising of communities. At Ruatoki Jeff said that ‘aggressive police operations, like those employed during the raids in the Ureweras, conducted by paramilitary police backed by ‘special’ anti-terrorism legislation and powers, are characteristic of state terrorism and military occupation.’ Something he was used to in Northern Ireland.”

“Jeff told the gathering,” said Anna, “that as a result of the police raids of October 15, the resultant awareness and need for security consciousness made him feel ‘a bit like ‘coming home’ to the culture of terror and resistance’ – a life he experienced whilst living in Northern Ireland.”

“He makes people think about policing and counterinsurgency tactics used by the State. He highlights the inherent dangers of paramilitary policing.”

“We cannot forget about the raids that happened last year. People were terrorised and one whole community in te Urewera was locked-down by 300 police, many of those police armed with automatic weapons. Next time it could be you or your whanau targeted. Next time,” Anna said, “when the police go storming ninja-style into a community, someone could die.”

As a result of the raids last year there are now 18 people facing charges. Attempts by the police to lay charges under the TSA failed but people are still facing politically motivated charges under the Arms Act. And a new charge of participating in an organised criminal group has been laid against five of the 18.

Come and listen to Jeff Sluka at St John’s Church on Tuesday 2nd December at 6 pm. For more details about the Operation Eight Solidarity Group visit our website at: www.October15thSolidarity.info or email: info (at) October15thSolidarity.info

ENDS

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