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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Asher Reads the Riot Act

Wellington anarchist, Asher Goldman, had several friends and colleagues arrested in the October 15th anti-terror raids-including his two Indymedia co-editors.

He's not happy at the lack of security in the anarchist movement.

From Indymedia

Where do you stand? Shutting the fuck up to not risk our freedom

In the wake of the October 15th raids, there are a few key points regarding security and dealing with the Police and media that demand restating. Too many people who should have known better ended up saying things they shouldn't have to the Police, whether directly or via the corporate media.

Soon after the raids, those being called in for questioning were reminded on Aotearoa Indymedia that "There is no such thing as a harmless conversation when it comes to police questioning." This lesson, however, was apparently not learnt.

There can be no doubt that being asked questions with a gun to your face is one of the scariest things that can happen to someone, and so I won't delve too much further into those specific situations, except to say that the main thrust of my argument still holds true - not saying anything is always a better option for the overall safety and liberty of everyone concerned.

Too many people however, when confronted by Police without firearms (whether at their houses or after being called in for questioning) still talked. Too many people talked to the media, armed with only microphones. The excuses for this have been varied, from thinking one was doing the right thing, to not thinking at all, however in all cases talking had a negative effect, whether directly or indirectly.

The Police intelligence gathering in Operation 8 had two aspects - information gathered specifically to aid in the prosecution of those individuals arrested on October 15th (and any further arrests that Police stated they wished to make), and information gathered to help in building an overall picture of the Tino Rangatiratanga, anarchist and activist movements and communities across Aotearoa with a sinister eye to the future.

Some people answered simple questions like "Do you know person X?", thinking that either the fact that they knew them didn't matter, or assuming that the Police already knew the answer was in the affirmative. In doing this, they assisted Police to further enhance their maps of who is connected to who, who works with who. Regardless of whether or not it had relevance to Operation 8 in specific instances, it certainly will help them in investigating any future activity.

When confronted by Police at your house, if they don't have a warrant, make sure they leave your property immediately. No ifs, no buts. Don't answer any questions, don't let them walk around your back yard uninterrupted, don't leave them alone unwatched until they're gone. If they have a warrant, then let them in and watch them for as long as possible (theoretically, you should be able to watch the entire search, but Police aren't exactly known for obeying the rules). While watching, make sure you don't tell them anything. Don't answer questions, don't engage in idle chit-chat. Cops aren't friendly except for when they think that will help them in finding out the answers to their questions - if they're being nice, it's not because they're nice people, it's because they want to lull you into talking. Don't fall for their trap.

If you feel like you need to answer a call for questioning, either talk to a lawyer first, or if you can get a pro bono lawyer, take one in with you. Again, don't answer anything. Don't sign anything either, there is no requirement for you to do so. Try to recall everything they ask you - it could prove useful for working out their lines of enquiry, or discovering the extent of their surveillance.

Perhaps the worst example of talking to the media during the aftermath of Operation 8was the front page story in The Press in Otautahi/Christchurch, with quotes from somebody claiming to be a friend of one of the people called in for questioning. This friend was quoted as saying things which should obviously not have been said to anyone, let alone a journalist from a large media organisation. A saying which is apt here is "If you don't know anything, don't talk about it. If you know a little, say even less."

This isn't a game. This isn't about your moral indignation that you have "nothing to hide". Operation 8 was not the usual bullshit charges of Disorderly Behaviour seen at a protest, where one could have a reasonable expectation of being found not guilty, if the charges ever reached trial.

The potential charges in Operation 8 could have resulted in some serious, long term jail time, and even the lesser Arms Act charges still carry a potential of up to four years. This isn't a game, and those talking to the Police or the media are risking the liberty of those they claim to call friends. The coercive arm of the state arrived on our doorsteps – and will potentially use the information gathered for many years to come. Inviting a cop in for a cup of tea undermines the good work you and many others have been doing, and can put waste to organising that has taken months or years of effort to do.

At the end of the day, it comes down to a simple question of where you stand. Do you stand with those fighting for justice and liberty, or with those who seek to repress it? If you stand with the former, then it should be second nature that we do not do anything to help those who stand with the latter. One of the lessons learnt since October 15th is a very simple one, one of who can be trusted, and of who breaks trust placed in them. It would do us all well to remember that.


Blogger Asher said...

Hey Trev,

You do realise the photo of me you used was taken by a neo-nazi, right? It was from a National Front demonstration outside the Labour Party conference in Welly in 2005...

You'd better watch where you source your material Trev, or people might think that you're associating with fascists, just like the ZAP cult that you're a part of back in the 1980s...

12:05 AM  
Anonymous Reid of America said...

Asher Goldman says "At the end of the day, it comes down to a simple question of where you stand. Do you stand with those fighting for justice and liberty, or with those who seek to repress it?"

No. At the end of the day it comes down to a simple question. Do you believe non-violent political change in the tradition of Gandhi and King or do you believe in violent revolution in the tradition of Che and Arafat.

You can go down the Palestinian path and be assured of failure or you can take the democratic non-violent path. You can't have it both ways.

1:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asher Goldman is NOTHING more than a HAS BEAN anarchist.He simply jumps on the current band wagon and makes out that hes the MAN.

ASHER GOLDMAN is no more important than a speck of FLY SHIT on the wall.

1:49 AM  
Blogger Heine said...

So is Asher saying he associates with Neo-Nazis, that he considers the person a Neo-Nazi or that he is friendly with them in any way?

They are one and the same anyway, I agree with Anon, Asher is a has been. If he was still as active and "hardcore" as he thinks he is, he would have been arrested with his mates.

2:59 AM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Asher-you're a smart, decent young guy, caught up in something with some pretty nasty implications.

Now is the time to re-evaluate your values and premises.

I admire your loyalty to your friends and I admire your commitment to your ideals.

But I suggest that now is the time to seriously examine whether your loyalty and commitment might be misplaced.

Is terrorism and violence seriously going to improve this country?

Are some of your friends merely misguided idealists or something more sinister?

I think there's hope for people like you and Omar, Cameron, smush, Valerie and the Baileys. Some of the others too, maybe.

Do yourself a favour. Don't dig the hole any deeper. You're young enough to change your ideas and work for a better world in a more constructive manner.

To the time, when we're working on the same side.


8:00 AM  
Blogger Asher said...

reid - I don't support non-violence all the time. I don't support violence all the time. It's all a matter of tactics and strategy, and attempting to create an artificial divide between "violent" and "non-violent" methods of dissent and resistance is a pointless excercise, when there is no reason to other than to weaken and divide a movement for social change.

heine - No, we (anarchists mostly, some socialists, some Greens, some Alliance members and some Tino Rangatiratanga activists) were having a demonstration against the Labour Party conference. The NF (during the days when they could actually muster more than 1 or 2 people) decided to try to piggyback on our demo, we yelled at them, they left, we continued our demo.

As a Jew who had many family members murdered in the Holocaust, and as someone who has been the recipient of a hit & run attempt by a local Neo-Nazi (only a few months after that photo was taken), I find the suggestion from you that I might be friends with a Neo-Nazi extremely offensive.

Trev - Where is the "terrorism and violence"? I haven't seen any from any of my friends (and I've been in court, I've seen the supressed evidence). The only terrorism and violence I've seen has been inflicted by the Police, as per usual...

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Reid of America said...

Asher said "I don't support non-violence all the time."

Violence in the context of this post is terror attacks in New Zealand. Violent terror attacks in NZ are illegitimate under any circumstances. NZ is one of the most free nations on the planet. There is no jack-boot of government oppression as you and your comrades suggest. If there was a referendum vote in NZ that asked do you want the present system of government or a anarcho-socialist revolutionary government with a bunch of sovereign Maori Bantustan's what would the result be? I guess 97% would vote for the present government, 3% for the Peoples Quasi-Republic of Aoetaroa.

The terror wannabee's didn't even fire a shot and they were busted. If they did manage an attack the whole group would have been rolled up in short order. Violence in a free country like NZ is the path to prison. The people in free nations tolerate political radicals as long as they are not violent.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trev,your comment that Asher is a smart young man is totally false.Ashers loyalty is not as he makes out to anarchism and his friends.But as a jew too isreal.Like all greasey eastern Jews, Asher is nothing more than a 2 timming scumbag.

Asher is also a certified fucked in the head Lunatic like most of his anarchist cohorts.Like for example-VALERIE MORSE-threatening to Kill George Bush if he had come here in September.oH well at least Valerie Has the Balls unlike Asher.

Trevor before you go saying Asher and friends are decent human beings.You need to be on the fascist side facing these stinken subhuman scum to see and feel what their really like.First You will feel the Hatred they have .Then you will notice a great stench from their unwashed flee ridden bodies and rags they call close.

There is no use talking or trying to reason with these SubHuman scum,you will just get shouted down or ignored.They a not interseted in any views but their own agenda.

Asher Goldman would sell his fellow anarchists and friends out if it were in the Local Jewish Interest.Besides if Asher were a true Anarchist he would have been in the thick of it and been arrested and jailed with the rest.Notice how he keeps slipping in about jews in his various writings.This should be enough to show where his true loyalty lies.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While Asher's anarcho-socialist goal is crap, he is right on the money in this post.
The police have looked the other way for helen many times in exchange for expansion of police powers. They just want to make their job easier.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

I have left the above anti Asher post on for one reason-to show why I still have some sympathy for the man.

While I completely oppose Asher's politics and don't believe for a minute that he is unaware of his friend's illegal activities, I despise such attacks.

I have seen NZ's tiny anti-semitic coterie abuse Asher in the most disgusting manner. I have even seen them abuse his dead mother.

I don't see Asher and his friends as the enemy, I see them as opponents, some of whom will see the light one day.

Asher is deluded and I believe he is mixed up with some very heavy shit-but he is still deserves respect as a human being who lives by his beliefs.

Any future abusive posts like that will be deleted.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Asher said...

Thanks for that Trev, I appreciate it (seriously). :)

6:57 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

You're welcome Asher-it was mean't sincerely.

7:11 PM  

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