ARMED NEW ZEALAND POLICE SWOOP ON ADDRESSES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY - SUSPICION OF TERRORISM...
Little New Zealand down in the South Pacific, 2000 miles and three hours east of Walzing Matilda country, Australia, is hardly considered potential terrorist country. But post 9/11 anything is possible I guess.
Consider our surprise yesterday, NZ time, when our daily newspapers and television news programs indicated that terorism is not only possible here, but may actually be in the process of beginning. Hells teeth!
Armed police have swooped across the country after a 12 month investigation, arresting many people, and seizing weapons,military style eqipment,body armour, army issue knives, and terrorist training manuals during the raids which were carried out under the Firearms Act and the Terrorist Suppression Act.
They discovered what they claim were terrorist training camps.This has been denied by Maori groups who claim other reasons for the camps. A variety of groups have been caught up in the raids.
At training camps in the isolated Urewera ranges in the north east of the North Island a loose alliance of activists are accused of plotting armed attacks. But who against, is the question here?
There have been claims of political reasons for the raids - an anti-terrorism Bill is being debated by members of parliament here.
The NZ Cabinet was briefed yesterday on the police operation. The alleged military operation was taken seriously. Claims that napalm bombs were being developed and one had already been detonated,was considered deeply serious.
There were reports that a specific threat was made recently against the prime minister, Helen Clark. She wouldn't comment on threats against her or other politicians. The Diplomatic Protection Squad was connected to the security operation.
Some people claim the operation was heavy handed and over the top. Whatever the real or perceived reasons for the raids, a number of accused people will be having their day in court in the next few days in attempts to obtain bail. But what do these people want with such weapons? Guns are designed to kill. Is it a real terrorist plot, or the scene of another Peter Jackson masterpiece?
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