'The Face of Tuhoe Nation - Tame Iti'
When the story broke a couple of days ago, the first thing that came to my mind was 'Not another Muslim group?'
No its not, especially on Eid ul Fitr Day.
Yesterday I started to have doubts over the facts and evidence. Surely, a bunch of old granddads running around doing army style training. Is that such a big threat to national security?
A few other groups are doing that, Furneau Lodge some years back, Outbound and the like. If these old geezers are such a threat, the big question is;
" How capable is NZ's security arrangement? How strong is NZ Army, Navy and Airforce? Or shall I pose a question; do we have a sizeable armed force?"
If a bunch of granddads doing military style training is a security threat, the NZ had better take a look at its security arrangement. There might come a day when a few granddads with molotov cocktails and hunting rifles could take over the country.
As I joked with a Maori friend today, "I like the idea of an independent Maori nation. For a start, they can grow pot/marijuana in the backyard...just like the Taliban days in Afghanistan"
IRA-style war plan revealed
The Dominion Post | Wednesday, 17 October 2007
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IAIN McGREGOR/Waikato Times
SHOW OF SUPPORT: Supporters of Tame Iti outside the Rotorua District Court before his appearance on eight firearms related charges. Photo 1 of 3
SUSPECT: Jamie Lockett, one of several arrested in the terrorism suppression case, leaves Auckland District Court after receiving bail regarding firearms charges. Photo 2 of 3
DAVID WHITE/Sunday Star Times
FACING CHARGES: Tame Iti, who was among the people facing arms charges after police raids, is seen at a Waitangi Day ceremony at Waitangi's lower marae in 2005. Photo 3 of 3
Tame Iti was preparing to declare an IRA-style war on New Zealand in a bid to establish his long-standing dream of an independent Tuhoe nation, according to police documents.
A source close to The Dominion Post said the documents disclosed by police to legal parties for the accused showed police had been monitoring Iti's movements for 18 months, videoing and photographing his Urewera commando training camps and intercepting text messages sent by Iti to his co-conspirators.
Iti christened the group "Rama", the Maori word for enlightenment, and is alleged to have stated three months ago that he had stopped all his other activities in order to "make war on New Zealand".
The source described the movement as "comical" and "amateurish", with the group purchasing military uniforms from an Auckland army surplus store.
Numbering about 20, the participants were predominantly based in Auckland. Many were in their late teens, the youngest a 15-year-old girl.
During the training camps members were required to wear balaclavas in order to hide their identities from each other, and many of their methods were based on a "green book IRA manual".
It is understood several of the group are former New Zealand Army soldiers, some of whom fought in the Vietnam War.
Iti is alleged to have purchased shotgun ammunition from an Auckland gun shop and tried to obtain grenade launchers.
It is not clear from the documents whether he succeeded.
But a document does suggest the arms dealer was willing to obtain grenade launchers.
No mention of targets is made in the documents, but it is believed the only explosives to which the group had access were Molotov cocktails.
The group was allegedly trained in ambushes and "IRA-style attacks", with a "key camp" being held in the Ureweras last November.
Much of the police evidence is based on text messages sent between group members.
The police documents show the group had been under continuous electronic and visual surveillance.
No mention is made in the documents of which government intelligence units were involved.
Nine of the people arrested and charged after Monday's raids remain in custody following court appearances yesterday.
Jamie Beattie Lockett, 46, unemployed, of Takanini, appeared in Auckland District Court yesterday morning, and was initially granted bail.
The Crown appealed against this decision and Lockett's bail was revoked by a High Court judge later in the evening.
The Crown said police had intercepted text messages sent by Lockett, saying he was intending to launch a war on New Zealand.
"I'm training up to be a vicious, dangerous commando," one message said; another text stated "white men are going to die in this country".
Lockett, who said he was a friend of Iti, did not apply for name suppression.
He said he was not involved in any illegal activity: "I have never, ever, transported a gun or ammunition in any vehicle in New Zealand. I'm anti-ammunition and guns." He dismissed police evidence against him as "lies, weak and uninvestigated".
Four other men and a woman also appeared in Auckland District Court on firearms charges, including possession of a military-style semi-automatic weapon, an automatic rifle, Molotov cocktails and a rifle.
All five, aged between 18 and 58, successfully sought name suppression and have been remanded in custody till their next court appearance on Friday.
Iti is to appear in Rotorua District Court this morning to find out whether his application for bail has been successful.
Iti and a woman, who was granted name suppression, appeared in court yesterday charged with firearms offences.
The woman has been remanded in custody till October 29.
A man, 53, was remanded in custody in Palmerston North after appearing in court on two charges of unlawful possession of a firearm.
Arsenal fits kidnap possibility
By HANK SCHOUTEN - The Dominion Post | Wednesday, 17 October 2007
The napalm bombs, Molotov cocktails and assorted guns that allegedly sparked this week's police anti-terrorism raids could have been used to kidnap somebody or blow up government offices, says defence analyst Jim Rolfe.
If that were the case, he said there were parallels with some of the militia groups formed in the United States or with Timothy McVeigh, the 1995 Oklahoma City bomber, who built a fertiliser bomb that killed 168 people.
"When we think international terrorism, we think of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, but from what's been reported, (the latest raids appear to have) involved people with strong political views who were getting the capability to put their views into violent action," Dr Rolfe said.
"If the reports are accurate, they could have used the weapons or explosive to kidnap a politician or a judge or blow up buildings or government offices."
It was hard to draw too many conclusions as much of the evidence was still to come out.
But he was worried that the Government might have overreacted as the US, Britain and Australia had when anti-terrorism laws were used to crack down on non-terrorist criminal activity.
"There's something going on, but the question is whether they were self-deluding wannabes ... or are these the kind of people who would use violence to achieve political ends?"
He said there had been talk for years of Maori activists taking to the hills, but there was a big difference between talk and action.
"We really have to wait and see what the police evidence is to know whether the border has been crossed."
The collection of small firearms was not all that remarkable, given New Zealand's high gun-ownership rate, he said, but Molotov cocktails and napalm bombs were something quite different.
But it could not be assumed they were to blow something up.
They could be used for an attention-grabbing explosion.