By Selwyn Manning – Scoop Co-Editor
Bruce Hubbard has been remanded on bail for allegedly offending the United States Embassy. Hubbard appeared in the North Shore District Court today charged with misusing a telephone. He is due to reappear on December 10.
Hubbard allegedly offended a U.S. Embassy worker, Tessa Brown, by suggesting in an email that the United States had napalmed civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, that the United States had invaded 72 countries since the end of WWII, and that there were similarities between the current U.S Bush Administration and Nazi Germany.
The Embassy subsequently made a complaint to the New Zealand Police, an investigation was initiated resulting in Hubbard’s arrest Thursday night (October 30).
Questions surround what email actually “offended” the United States Embassy. Was it an email that Hubbard sent around March 2003 when the USA invaded Iraq – an action that the United Nations deemed illegal? Or was there a subsequent email received by the Embassy in October?
Hubbard insists that an offending email that Police presented to him on his arrest, contained text and language that he did not write. Hubbard’s belief that the evidential email contained irregularities has caused suspicion.
Concerns flared among New Zealand’s peace movement over the weekend, with Global Peace and Justice Auckland stating: “It appears clear to us that the American embassy has pressured the police… to put pressure on New Zealand activists who have been so effective in mobilising public opposition in New Zealand against American foreign policy.
“We have no doubt the police intended to use this charge as a pretext to seize Bruce’s computer under the new so-called “Anti-Terrorism” laws with associated records of activist contacts. However they appear to have been “flushed out” and required to deny that was their intention,” the GPJA statement said.
Hubbard is a member of Global Peace and Justice Auckland, campaigns for a free and peaceful Palestine, is a Marxist and member of the Green Party.
Hubbard’s bail conditions effectually gag him from corresponding with the U.S. Embassy, associate with the complainant Tessa Brown, that Hubbard reside at his Manukau Rd address, and prevent him from going within 250m of Auckland’s United States Consulate General's office in the Citibank building on Customs Street (a condition that Hubbard challenged citing it would restrict him from taking part in possible protest action in the near future).