Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Deflating Waihopai

That's got to be an embarrassment for the government: protestors got inside their most secret defence location - the GCSB's spy base at Waihopai - and attacked it with sickles, deflating one of the domes. They've been arrested, of course, and will likely face charges for criminal damage. Meanwhile, down in the sewer, the mouth-breathers are already calling for them to be prosecuted for terrorism. Fortunately for our democracy, they are likely to be disappointed.

According to s5 of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002, in order to be considered terrorism, an act must be intended to cause certain specified outcomes, carried out in order to advance a religious, political or ideological agenda, and with the specific purpose of inducing terror in the population or compelling action or inaction from the government or an international organisation. But even if we grant that it meets the last two tests (though that immediately gets us into murky water because the purpose of any protest is to compel a government), Ploughshares' actions did not cause any of the outcomes, and certainly weren't intended to. No-one died. No-one was injured. There was no risk to the health and safety of a population. And even if we consider a spy base to be a vital infrastructure facility, disrupting it was not likely to endanger human life except by the most tendentious and conspiratorial reasoning (which I'm sure the sewer will proceed to engage in. Remember, opposing the US war on terror doesn't just make you a Traitor To Western Civilisation; it makes you guilty of the death of every American footsoldier, and the murderer of untold millions in some possible Terrorist Apocalypse!).

Ploughshares are no more terrorists than Tim Selwyn. While driven by a political purpose, their actions are simply trespassing and criminal damage, and they should be prosecuted as such.