Arrested after defiling Anzac commemorations

Protest at the dawn service

The dawn service in Wellington this morning, as described in the previous post, was a moving and solemn ceremony. There was only one thing that marred it: the protesters. From our vantage point all we could see were the two large banners, but the writing on them didn’t stand out. Halfway through the main speech, we heard someone blowing a horn. The banners started waving agitatedly, and there was a flash of blue flame. A scuffle broke out, and angry screams were muffled by the silent crowd. I felt sick to my stomach as I thought, this can’t be happening. No-one would burn the flag at an Anzac Day service.

And they were ignored. Former Secretary of Defense Graham Fortune carried on with his speech about honouring the memory of those who died that we might be free. He emphasized the point that Anzac troops today are engaged in humanitarian and peace-building operations in weak and failed states – exactly the “imperialist” operations that the protesters were railing against. The vast majority of people present ignored the protest completely, and Mr. Fortune just carried on regardless.
I’ll quote from Leanne’s journal:

The service was amazing, as always and very emotional. There however was one part that just about ruined the morning. There were a small group of protesters calling for New Zealand troops to return home from overseas. It was highly inappropriate and offensive to say the very least. This group blew horns in the middle of speeches and burnt a NZ flag (two people were arrested)

What a display of ignorance! ANZAC day is not a promotion of war. Anzac day is to commemorate the loss of New Zealand and Australian lives in battle fields and to acknowledge the sacrifice these men and woman gave so we could be the country we are today. These protesters had no right to act in the way they did, they claim they were using their right of ‘free speech’ – this may be so but there is a time and a place. The dawn service is basically a mass funeral and (correct me if I’m wrong) you have to obey by certain rules while in attendance. It’s just disrespectful and plain rude. Shame on you protesters! Plus this just displayed their ignorance, pure and simple. NZ troops are in
PEACEKEEPING missions overseas and are doing their best to help other countries such as East Timor, Solomon Islands and Afghanistan to provide humanitarian aid and support. What a shame ignorant people protest against that.

NZTroopsOutNow.Org and “Peace Action Wellington”

I thought the protest was disgusting, and I felt physically sick. Both my grandfathers and one great-grandfather served in the World Wars, and I place the highest value on the freedoms that they fought for. The protesters were:

  • Denigrating the fight against fascism and militarism, and introducing a sick kind of moral equivalence. Forget Bush = Hitler, they were implying that Churchill = Hitler.
  • Metaphorically pissing on the graves of over 30,000 New Zealanders. Comparable to what the Westboro Baptist Church does at funerals in the US.
  • Disturbing the peace. We were all engaged in silent, personal reflection and the interruption was an unwelcome violation of the ceremony.
  • Resisting arrest. (A 29-year old man (pictured) and a 35 year-old woman were arrested, the man shouting in a cowardly and undignified way as he was hauled off)
  • Accusing all New Zealand soldiers – ever – of being mercenary tools of the evil state.
  • Finally, they devalued freedom itself by using their freedom of speech to attack those who made it possible for them to have freedom of speech. And that freedom was not violated. Loudly disrupting the speeches and lighting a fire in a public place does not constitute free speech.

So that’s why I was so offended.

The Anzac protest was originally the idea of anarchafairy. It forms part of a campaign known as NZTroopsOutNow, run by Peace Action Wellington. Here are some quotes from his blog post of April 1 (I wish it was a joke) explaining his plans:

For the past six years, the anti-war movement has not focused specifically on New Zealand troop involvement. The New Zealand military is often deployed under the rubric of ‘peacekeeping’ missions and ‘humanitarian relief,’ despite actively facilitating military operations in these countries… The anti-war movement’s approach, till this point, has largely been limited to calls for government condemnation of US wars through the use of ad-hoc tactics. [...]
1. No New Zealand troop deployments
2. No participation in joint training or military exercises with any other military, including the United Nations
3. No support for foreign military, including the ‘war on terror’.

This is pretty extreme, even for leftists. It wasn’t so long ago that peace activists actually campaigned for more UN peacekeeping, and in favour of UN intervention in warzones. And now the United Nations itself is just another foreign military force?

This campaign involves two components: education and action. In the first instance, the purpose is to challenge the humanitarian image of the New Zealand military and explore the interests served by its actions.

The “education” part has mostly been implemented already, as shown by the website, posters around town etc. Presumably the Anzac Day protest is the first “action”:

In an effort to “bring the war home,” we want to encourage mass direct action against the New Zealand military, employing tactics that will directly stop its operation and support services, such as blockading, occupying, and sabotage. Targets for action could include military bases, transport of military equipment, recruitment efforts, display events, defence HQ, high ranking military and political officials (both NZ and from overseas), and national days of military celebration/commemoration.

My emphasis. I hope the police and the SIS are investigating this. It’s a definite security threat, and the sort of thing that could really get out of hand, especially when it comes to “sabotage” and targeting “high ranking military and political officials”.

Valerie Morse Sponges off the New Zealand Taxpayer

Valerie Morse is the leader of Peace Action Wellington, and a familiar sight at local “rent-a-mob” protests:

She is what is known in the wider world as a rent-a-protester and what is known in journalism as a rent-a-quote: she will talk and be photographed every time, naked or clothed.
But last week she would not talk about how she makes a living, or whether her pay packet consists solely of payments from organisations funded by government grants.

Check out this link, a list of peace grants from PADET, a trust originally set up using compensation given to the government by France after the Rainbow Warrior bombing:

Valerie Morse
For a Masters thesis on “Nuclear Insecurity:The Future of NZ/USA Relations And The Promotion Of Nuclear-free Policies
Amount granted: $7,500

Also note how many “peace” organizations are getting funding there, often seeming to be different groups but with very similar names. I wonder how well the use of the funds is monitored?

Morse now works at Archives New Zealand, so she is still being paid by the taxpayer.  (Morse is unemployed – I guess even Archives won’t take her.  Presumably she is still receiving our taxes).

Contemptible, disgusting ignorance

Some people in defense of these protesters have claimed that they are actually honouring the soldiers who were killed in war, by calling for peace.

This claim is false. The protesters, as is shown by blog posts and website comments they have authored, accuse New Zealand soldiers of various crimes, even murder and contributing to terrorism. How can you honour soldiers killed in war by calling them murderers?

Anarchafairy, campaign organiser: The lists of those killed always excludes “the enemy”, for they don’t really count, they are an unpeople; indeed, to humanise “the enemy” would be to expose the murderous foundations upon which the military is premised…. ANZAC day is a celebration of a murderous and violent institution… ANZAC day cannot be allowed to pass once again as if there is some sort of social consensus over New Zealand’s history of State violence

They fear offending those mercenaries of the State in attendance. They fear disrupting what is in fact a near-sacred national ritual. They, apparently, lack an ability to compare an act that merely offends with systematic and legitimised murder, armed patrols, nightly curfews, military checkpoints and all the other associated tactics of the New Zealand military.

Valeria Morse, head of Peace Action Wellington: “ANZAC Day has ceased to be a day where we commit to ‘never again’, and has instead become nothing less than a celebration of the New Zealand military and the glorification of war

“Goff’s revelations of SAS involvement in handing over Afghanis to the US military is evidence of NZ’s complicity in the subjugation of the local population there.”

“When will the Labour government realise that supporting US wars of aggression only support terrorism, not stop it? Thousands of Afghani people have been murdered in bombing raids and unprovoked assassinations since 2001″

Anonymous at Indymedia: It was pretty embarrassing for the police, and they were whispering to us to be quiet as they arrested the two, one of whom did not go very quietly.. woo! :) A few 30-40yo men came and helped tackle some of us and held one the people arrested to a fence while the police dragged at his feet. A good show of Nationalist zealotry!

The banner was huge, and most people will have read it. Finally, this year’s ANZAC day in Wellington did not pass as if no one cared about the crimes of the New Zealand State/military.

Ana at Uriohau.blogspot.com: ANZAC Day is used both in Australia & NZ to build its settler mythology and to legitimize the presence of NZ troops around the world. War mongering Imperialism then, War mongering Imperialism Now. Troops out of the Middle East, Troops out of the Pacific Haere Atu
Fantastic protest. Solidarity love and kaha to the arrestees.

So there you have it. Contemptible, disgusting ignorance from these communists and anarchists. They accuse well over a hundred thousand Kiwi soldiers, most passed away by now and unable to defend themselves, many killed fighting for freedom, of:

  • Murder
  • State violence
  • Being mercenaries
  • Systematic and legitimised murder
  • Glorifying war
  • Subjugating locals
  • Supporting terrorism, murder and unprovoked assassination
  • Unspecified crimes
  • War-mongering imperialism.

These people make me sick. Well done police for arresting two of them so quickly, preventing it from escalating further. And thanks to the concerned citizens who helped out when they started resisting arrest. You helped save our dawn service from these thugs.

10 Responses to “ANZAC anarchists: short-sighted, ignorant”

We have a similar species in the US–”black bloc” anarchists. Even if one has a beef with any of the wars in question, one should have respect for funeral grounds. What bullshit.

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Next time you run up against these idiots throw a question or two at them. Ask them about the LRA, FARC, and the Tamil Tigers. Enlighten them on the practice of forced mutilation of family members by “conscripted” children into the LRA, the fate of a girl who attempted and was caught escaping conscription into the FARC and shivered, menstruated, defecated uncontrollably and called for her mother as a noose was slipped around her neck or the casual tossing of a grenade into a Buddhist celebration in Sri Lanka.

Better yet, don’t. Let them live their sad, ill informed illusion.

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That second example regarding the FARC seems a bit over the top and over imaginative. It is a paraphrase of a reference to an unpublished book written by an apparent FARC ex-member in which he recounts some of the horrifying atrocities he saw. The reference came about from Kaplan’s “Imperial Grunts.”

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It goes back to my post on protest as a self-indulgent form of performance art. Street theater of “resistance” indeed.

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Well said Phil.

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Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Very succinctly summed up in your first bullet points.

Anyone who thinks a solemn parade where veterans remember their long fallen friends is a celebration or a glorification of war is nothing short of completely bonkers.

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Superbly written and concise. I take comfort from the fact that most people, young or old, are aware of the obvious- war is hell, no-one wants to take part, we owe a massive debt to those who did. Thanks for your writing.

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[...] Phil at Pacific Empire, who was at the Anzac service where the Peace Action protest occurred, blogged his thoughts and explained why he believes the arrests were justified. [...]

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Can’t say I agree with the arrest personally. What they did disgusted me, but I see it as a freedom of speech issue.

Even though they are pissing all ove rthe memories of the very people who died protecting these said freedoms… arresting them when they harmed noone, harmed no property and tresspassed nowhere is crossing the line.

They deserve to be ridiculed, face discrimination for their actions etc. But they don’t deserve a criminal record… just a bad reputation and the disgust of the general public.

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Mike: I suspect both already have a rather lengthy criminal record! It seems that these anarchists are arrested and get into fights with the police almost every time they protest. Anyway, I think I’ve made a pretty good case here, at Not PC and at Section 14 as to why the arrests didn’t violate any rights to free speech. BTW, I believe they were accused of assaulting cops, and the University is considering whether to lay a trespass order.

Thanks for all the supportive comments. It’s great to be able to come home, write an angry rant and have hundreds of people read it :-)

Subadei, I could ask them about the LRA, FARC and other non-state groups. But I think I know how they would respond. After all, it is “peace” activists like them who put up posters supporting “anti-imperialist” Hezbollah during last years Lebanon war, and who publicly supported and sympathised with the Iraqi “resistance”.

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Something to say?