With the announcement that Labour had secured a warrantless spy window of “only” 24 hours I thought the time has come to give the idjits of Labour a piece of my mind! So here goes:
Dear Andrew and Labour leaders,
I just read that you think you have achieved something really cool in halving the warrantless spy period to only 24 hours pushed through under urgency by the National party under leadership of a man who has shown to be absolutely unreliable where it concerns SIS or GCSB information.
Here is why you should reconsider and bow your head in shame for even thinking that this is a good idea.
I grew up in the aftermath of the second world war. Holland at the time was a safe country to grow up in and like New Zealand a bastions of citizen protections such as free health care, education and a back up system that ensured that people did not go bankrupt when they fell ill. A bit like New Zealand before Labour betrayed its constituents in the eighties. But I digress.
I grew up during the cold war in a country where you could rely on not being spied on unless there where such serious indication the police was able to convince a judge there was reason enough to issue a warrant.
Our situation was very unlike the situation in East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Hungary and Russia.
Over there you could rely on one thing. The police was spying on everybody and they could do so without impunity because they did not need a warrant from a hard to convince judge. They could also plant evidence force your neighbours to spy on you and make witness statements against you to use in kangaroo court hearings. In Russia alone this lead to the deaths of some 4-6 million people who died in forced labour camps for maybe once calling Stalin an asshole overheard by the wrong person.
As a 15 year old I visited Czechoslovakia for an Easter Holiday and we stayed in the “bach” of a well known political activist. the year was 1970, two years after the period we now know as the Prague Spring.
The lady who invited us as friends of friends warned us not to speak openly about politics and to be very careful when approached by strangers about swapping hard western currencies for the local one. Everybody could be a state agent and we could never rely on our privacy being respected.
I remember going into the local café with my family for a meal and I can, to this day, remember the paranoid silence that met us when we opened the door and stayed with us during our meal even when we started to speak our native tongue. Such was the fear of the local people in a small village 40 km away from the Prague the Czechoslovakian Capital at the time.
I saw the blackened area where Jan Pallach burned himself to death to protest the Russian invasion. I saw the white bullet holes in the walls of the blackened buildings of the King Wenceslas square and found out what it means to be spied on when we were stopped at the border going home after the Holiday. We were forced to get out of our car and wait for at least half an hour (and we were lucky because our host had warned us about underground currency dealers and talking politics in public places) knee deep in snow while my father was forced to take everything out of the car to be inspected by armed border guards trying to find anything illegal in there such as a political refugee for example.
I have no doubt that our host was spied on for her political activism and that as a result we had been spied on as well.
You see this is what always happens if you give a government the freedom to spy on its citizens. If you exclude the one arm of government which serves as a regulating body as a preventative to unrestrained political power over it’s citizens.
It doesn’t matter if it’s only 24 hours or 48 hours. If you so much as permit the police to spy on citizens for one minute without a third party making sure that the law and privacy guarantees are met you can rest assured that the political powers that be will use that to instil fear and intimidation in their citizenry.
They will use it to silence their political opponents and to silence people who dissent and speak out their opposition. They will use it to plant evidence on people they want to disgrace or arrest and they will use it to steal from and destroy people who oppose them.
You say but there are scary Muslim terrorists under our beds we need to be protected from?
Stalin used the same arguments to abuse the powers of the Russian secret service (The name KGB still strikes fear in the hearts of many Russians as does the name Stasi in the East Germans) and the police against people who had nothing to do with any terrorist organisation but who just happened to disagree with Stalin’s policies.
If you allow one group in your society to be used to bring in warrantless spying you allow all of us to be abused in the same way.
The right to privacy was hard won and for you as a party in the opposition to even contemplate agreeing to warrantless spying by the police is a crime of treason against NZ’s population of a magnitude you can’t even begin to comprehend if what is being suggested about you voting for an extension of the anti terror laws is true.
I don’t hold much hope for NZ’s political system as a whole. People who read my blog know that I think that NZers in general are a passive, ignorant people who put their trust in psychopaths like John Key just because he made a cool $ 50 million in a psychopathic environment like Wall street.
Don’t prove me right by going along with this craziness. Warn our government that if they progress with this terribly scary extension of state powers Labour will rescind them at their earliest convenience and that they will arrest those instrumental in the biggest set back towards a neofeudal system this country has ever seen or bear the consequences in the next election or sooner when you find out that really it was you and the other political leaders in the opposition who were the real target of the these law changes.