Sunday, May 27, 2007

Spying for the public good

There is something inherently appalling in the news that an SOE hired a company to infiltrate a political group. Sure Solid Energy doesn't exactly call it that. In their words, all they did was protect themselves against risk. Although the Bill of Rights protects citizens against undue interference directly by the state, there is no law against the state delegating this repugnant task out to third parties.

It is semantic shit like this that got me horrified in Dr Bob's class back at Vic. We studied the Cave Creek mess from the 90's, the one where some DOC tree-huggers on a team building exercise built a death sled and got away with manslaughter. No-one was to blame then, either. Such is the nature of bureaucratic chains of command. The left hand is not culpable for what the right hand does, while the brain pleads the plausible deniability card of ignorance.

There's a distinct whiff of Sidney Holland sulphur in the mild protests launched by DPF and Hungry Brownlee. Brownlee's release is opposition for the sake of it:

“Those protestors have already cost taxpayers millions of dollars over spurious claims concerning supposedly endangered snails, and those costs are escalating by the day as more snails are discovered.

“But Solid Energy should be careful how it responds.

“Why can’t they tell taxpayers whether or not they are spending money for people to infiltrate the protest group?

“We need an explanation, not simply for Solid Energy to say it is unconcerned about the claims.

“They are accountable to taxpayers and need to explain.”

This 'please explain' press release is just a going through the motions thing. Solid Energy aren't wrong, they should just be more careful. ie. don't get caught next time. So, this is the same National Party who got mildly annoyed about the Mohammed cartoons and slightly peeved about the DPS expelling a press gallery journalist.

Methinks this is also the same National Party who would have no qualms at crushing unions, breaking strikes and tasering people protesting at rugby games. Beneath the thin veneer of a carey-sharey John Key gloss, lies the cold blue steel heart of corporate expediency acting on behalf of the shareholders. It's getting harder to tell the pigs from the humans.