The two pieces of legislation that ‘policed’ dissent were: The "Suppression of Communism Act, Act No 44 of 1950" and the "Terrorism Act of 1967."
The "Suppression of Communism Act" made it illegal to be a "communist", or to be influenced by its ideals. Communism was defined very broadly and stretched over any area that the state needed to police. Anything that was deemed to be an act against apartheid was labeled "communism" by the state.
The "Terrorism Act of 1967" came to be the critical piece of legislation that enabled the racist regime to seek out liberation activists inside the country, detain them indefinitely, torture and even kill them, and do so without a charge.
If the "Terrorism Act" sounds like the "US Patriot Act" it is no coincidence. Both pieces of legislation emanate from racist settler states that utilize paranoia and extreme vigilance as a means toward state security.
It is hardly, therefore, a surprise that the "US Patriot Act" provides for wide search and seizure measures, detention without charge or trial, torture, surveillance of citizens without much judicial overview.
It is against this backdrop that my suspicions rose when I read that the well-known Maori activist, Tame Iti (pictured), and others were arrested in dramatic raids across New Zealand on Monday.
New Zealand authorities say that the raids were aimed at stemming a "terrorist plot" which involved Indigenous and environmental activists who were known to be conducting live ammunition training on the North Island.
News24 reported today that documents were released by authorities that show a war was being planned.
The news report states that:
... "The messages, intercepted by police, were said to include 'White men are going to die in this country (and) I'm declaring war on this country very soon.'
Lockett was described in court as an active participant in a group that had the potential to make a violent impact on New Zealand society.
Prominent Maori activist Tame Iti was also preparing to declare war, according to police documents reported in the Dominion Post newspaper.
The documents, disclosed by police to lawyers for the accused, showed authorities had been monitoring Iti for 18 months, videoing his training camps and intercepting text messages, the newspaper quoted a source as saying.
Iti was said to have stated three months ago that he had stopped all his other activities 'to make war on New Zealand'.
The source described the movement as 'comical' and 'amateurish' with the group buying military uniforms from an army surplus store.
Police Association president Greg O'Connor said the operation was 'triggered by credible intelligence of a serious threat to New Zealand's safety and security. ... "
What is 'comical' to me is how similarly the Other is policed in racist settler states. Frantz Fanon in his "Wretched of the Earth" wrote tellingly about the paranoid need to keep the Native under an ever watchful eye.
The draconian measures in New Zealand may be the first time that authorities have used the excuse of "terrorism" to justify the draconian suppression of Indigenous people but it is hardly a new measure in kind.
The suppression of liberation activists is always carried under the assumption of terrorism. And in this era the "terrorist" is anyone who stands against imperial racism and its interests.
South Africa, the US, and New Zealand, are all cut from the same imperial cloth. It should, therefore, hardly come as a surprise that they would 'police' liberation activists, and any other 'suspects', with similar measures and reasoning.
At stake throughout the project of imperial racism, is the always paranoid and fragile reality of whiteness.
For more information see: Ana's post Terrorism Smear "Strike to the Heart of Indigenous Rights" and her updated coverage.
Also see:"Suppression of Terrorism or Oppression of Tangata Whenua" by Leonie Pihama.