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Lose The RWC, Win A Nobel for Mindless Repression

Lose the Quarter-final, Win the Nobel for Mindless Repression

Opinion By Julie Webb-Pullman

Prime Minister Helen Clark can only be seen as a very poor loser, or very bad strategist, in this week's unleashing of unprecedented illegal detentions to top off the quarterfinal loss in the Rugby World Cup.

Even Mexico made it into the finals of their national sport whilst their Government repressed its citizens. Maybe our Prime Minister thinks the free trade deal with mini-Mex (he got way less than most of the votes) will let NZ porkies in to join those of the US through the NAFTA draft in the cat door conveniently left flapping. But to even the most bored and cynical, the Game Plan is, er, erringly the same.

Those with kaumatua hear the story and hopefully learn, those without live it – in NZ as anywhere else. As a Mexican Federal Preventive Policeman put it, arrest and imprison (diplo-speak from the country controlling the UN Council of Human Rights for beat, rape, torture, detain) at least 70% innocents - it scares the rest of the populace into thinking it could be them next time. Most importantly, flaunt your use of whatever it is you are accusing them of. Feel familiar, Ruatoki?

Get used to it - our latest Free Trade partners are way more scary than anyone you're going to find in the Ureweras!!!

Bad Cop – Good Cop – what's the difference when they're smashing down your doors, scaring the shit out of your kids, holding guns to the heads of your gran and children? As Louise Nicholas and countless others have discovered, the NZ justice system has little to do with guilt, and a lot to do with innocence.

Occasionally, a (usually male) person will be released after kiwis of conscience, commitment and courage take a stand - Thomas, Bain, Zaoui spring to mind, not to mention Mandela. They're the lucky ones.

Today there are 17 political prisoners in New Zealand jails. Some of them had the audacity to demonstrate against the weapons conference in Wellington earlier this week – whose past, if not present, delegates and sponsors have enjoyed apparent impunity from our otherwise enthusiastic police, and especially from our immigration and security forces, despite their record of peddling, promoting and purveying the means of actual and realised mass death and destruction.

The putative threat to security of the fatal 17 pales in comparison...

Whilst it is kind of reassuring that the HART of New Zealand is still beating despite so many seemingly terminal economic rationalist transplants, it threatens to flat-line unless we call in the crash-cart of public opinion.

So pull out those old National Geographics, poke them down your socks and vests, and drag your 1.7 off-spring from the couch - you're needed in the streets - again. Just don't expect to see Helen Clark or Trevor Mallard in the ranks this time round - they're neither confirming nor denying that they are Not At The Office or beating around the Bush, but it's pretty clear they are definitely out to lunch.


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