Friday, December 19, 2008


Over on Scoop, Selwyn manning has a perfect example of the pettiness of the spying undertaken by the police on left-wing groups and activists. In 2005, the police Special Investigation Group began an intensive and costly investigation of peace activist Harmeet Sooden. They investigated his background, his employment, his leisure and sport activities, political writings, and activist groups he was affiliated with. They acquired his immigration records, CV, driver's licence, and copies of newspaper reports about his captivity in Iraq, which occured while the investigation was going on. They did background research on groups he supported, such as the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society and Peace Movement Aotearoa. All up, they spent months looking into him, at a likely cost of tens of thousands of dollars. And they did all this in response to an unfounded complaint of tagging.

It's petty, sinister, and a gross abuse of power - a massive overreaction to a non-existent "threat". But its also a monstrous waste of police resources. If the SIG can waste months on this sort of bullshit, then clearly they don't have any real work to do. Which means we're better off disbanding them and getting them to investigate real crime, rather than engaing in politicla panty-sniffing.