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New Zealand has an oft-used law that allows police to seize the property and assets of anyone who they "think" may have obtained those assets/property as the results of criminal activities.
Yes, that's right... the threshold for seizure is very low. They don't have to prove your guilt in a court of law, they don't even have to charge you with a crime -- they can simply take your stuff on a hunch.
What's more, they've even set themselves fiscal targets for the value of such seizures and boast about it in stories like this one.
So you might think that any government which believes nobody should benefit from the proceeds of a crime would ensure that they also live by this mantra.
Yet, if recent reports are to be believed, that's far from the case.
That's right, our governments have been directly benefitting from the proceeds of rather hideous crimes that are not only a breach of our own laws but also a blatant violation of international human rights.
I'm talking about this story which ran in the media this week.
It seems that those who would pass laws allowing the police to take people's property on a mere suspicion of a crime have little difficulty in being the beneficiaries of the proceeds of crimes such as kidnap and torture.
Now it might be easy to say "yeah, but these people being kidnapped and tortured are terrorists or terrorist sympathisers so it doesn't matter".
If we believe that human rights are inalienable then we can't simply say "these people's rights don't matter". And one only has to ask people like Arthur Allan Thomas about how wrong the authorities can get things when accusing and classifying people as "guilty" and therefore deserving of losing their rights.
Mr Thomas was released from jail and compensated for his lost freedom -- but you can't "untorture" someone can you?
To be fair, the present Labour government seems to have taken the stance that information obtained by way of torture is unacceptable -- but clearly the government before them had no such scruples, morals or respect for human rights.
To be honest, I really think we should reconsider our "very close ties" to a superpower that openly and blatantly engages in practices such as state kidnapping and torture. Guilt by association is always a risk in such cases.
On a slightly different note... I have become increasingly aware that the progression of my Parkinson's is having an effect on my personality and my outlook on life. It's kind of worrying and forces me to increasingly stop and think twice before I speak or write.
I find myself becoming less and less tolerant of fools, idiocy and hypocrisy. That makes it very hard to determine whether such things are becoming a greater problem in the modern world, or whether it's just that my perspective is (despite my best efforts), inexorably changing due to this progression.
It's a real bastard of a thing to have to deal with... but there are no options.
So I call on readers to put me in my place if I seem to be going OTT or if my perspectives seem to be out of line with reality.
Now to the forums with you.. where you can feel free to criticise either myself or governments that are drenched in hypocrisy!
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