The police raids against various political activist groups has resulted in several individuals appearing in court on firearms charges. As well, there has been a whole load of unsubstantiated stories about 'arms training' camps in the Urewera's which seem to involve well known Maori activist Tame Iti.

Oh, and a forty-something man, Jamie Lockett, has appeared in court who police say 'declared war on New Zealand' in communications that the police bugged.

The police described Jamie Lockett as someone who was an 'active participant in a group that had the potential to make a violent impact on New Zealand society'.

But Judge Josephine Bouchier didn't appear that impressed by the police claims and said that on the evidence before her , Lockett could not be considered to pose such a significant danger to the public that he should be in custody. So Lockett was granted bail - so clearly he is not the dangerous terrorist that the police are suggesting.

As I write this, the talkback station Radio Live are highlighting a call from 'Bob' who says he attended a training camp and that army members were also participants - of course 'Bob' could be making it all up. Already an army spokesman has said that the story is nonsense and have asked 'Bob' to get in touch with them so they can fully investigate his story. What's the bet 'Bob' doesn't?

Yes, paranoia and hysteria is in the air - most of it coming from various arms of the state.

What we do know is that the police have brought charges against several people under the Firearms Act. But, despite police claims of terrorist activity and threats to public safety, no-one has been charged under the wide-ranging Suppression of Terrorism Act.

In fact as John Minto has pointed out the police are handing this particular hot potato to the Attorney-General - he'll have to make the decision whether charges will be laid.

Yet the police have had several activist groups under active surveillance for over a year! You would of thought the police would have been able to gather evidence of 'terrorist activity' by now!

What the police have done is blur the distinction between criminal activity and legitimate political activity.

And they are a generating a climate of fear, raising the spectre of terrorism whenever individuals or groups legitimately protest against activities of the state or corporate interests.

And of real concern is that the intelligence arm of the state has been actively pursuing legitimate political protest groups for well over the year, including the bugging of telephones, e-mail interceptions and the infiltrating of groups by agents of the state.


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