Oh Say Can you See? By Trevor Plumbly
You have to wonder about the Americans. They can certainly lay claim to the phrase ‘too big for their breeches’, especially when it comes to the basic laws and freedoms that their ‘allies’ enjoy. Any thinking person could be excused for believing that cultural indoctrination is more on their menu than friendly cooperation, and very few seem inclined to put up too much resistance. New Zealand certainly did resist under David Lange by adopting the ‘Nuclear Free’ stance, effectively telling them, ‘We don’t want ships with those capabilities in our harbours.’ A sharp contrast to England’s heads of state jumping on a plane every time Washington sneezed. Much good it did them: in return for that sort of loyalty they tapped the phones of everyone from the Royal Family down. The German and French leaders received the same friendly courtesy and accepted this invasion with far more grace than it deserved, but I guess that’s what makes diplomacy great.
‘Buddy Can You Spare a Crime?’
Some of you who read my piece ‘Dotcomedy’ will, I hope, be pleased to learn that Kim Dotcom is still in NZ and, indeed, still at large, despite the best efforts of the FBI. Dotcom is an interesting character: he’s not a criminal in the commonly accepted definition of the word; his crime was to short change Warner Brothers of a few million via copyright property. Yet on New Zealand soil he was arrested in a raid that owed more to a James Bond movie than the apprehension of a white collar crime suspect. What concerns me is that our government seems to find nothing disturbing about the FBI involvement in the raid itself or their continuing pressuring for breach of bail hearings for minor transgressions that could, and should, have been decided in a judge’s chambers rather than the high court. His extradition trial is not due to be heard until June next year; in the meantime, his ability to continue funding legal counsel capable of fighting at that level is under threat and a further raft of FBI inspired, frivolous charges could see him returned to jail. What sort of justice is that? And, more importantly, just how much influence do these people have over here?
The Extended Family
I can’t help having a bit of sympathy for Dotcom. The immigration department positively chortled at the prospect of the billionaire moving here, then did an about face when the Yanks started screaming; they were joined in the chorus by an ever anxious to please Justice Department. Virtually overnight, the previously fêted mogul became a target for the dregs of our society from rednecks to talkback shock jockeys, one of whom described him as ‘a fat German crook’ (yet another blow for professional journalism and a harsh reminder of how open we are to imported prejudice). Isn’t it about time we grew up? We, along with Australia, spent our formative years clinging to Britain’s apron strings, now it seems we’re transferring that dependency to America, housing the spy bases and joining them in whatever conflict they deem important. Dotcom is a New Zealand resident and as such has the right to a trial devoid of internal political influence or external harassment from a bully thousands of miles away.