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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 15. 1972



Cook then asked who my Informant was regarding the contentious COCK story, adding that unless I told him he would have to remove all of my files and mail. This placed me in a very difficult position. I knew from past experience that the Police rarely keep to their verbal bargains and in fact use bargaining as a stock interrogation technique. Removal of my mail and filing system could cause obvious embarrassment to some contributors and subscribers to the magazine who believe these things to be confidential to me alone. Obviously possession of this information would place the Police and the Government in a position to investigate and suppress or harass critics who had passed information to COCK. At the same time, however, I was aware that one of my initial informants, Murray Horton, PYM organiser and Bishop of the Church of Pantheism in Christchurch would be unlikely to be embarrassed by any Police interest in him on this or any other count. I therefore told Cook his name. Cook, of course, failed to keep to his bargain, thus proving the old contention that all such bargains made with the Police are a waste of time. The following articles were thus removed from my premises:
(1)1 file of letters with replies from various COCK correspondents.
(2)Assorted unanswered and some un opened letters of a personal nature.
(3)1 card filing cabinet with all the COCK subscription cards.
(4)1 address book (personal).
(5)A file of presscuttings and confidential letters on the Seamen,'s dispute.
(6)8 negative proofs of COCK 16.
(7)A list of subscribers for addressing purposes
(8)An account book.
(9)A display card with a list of book shops for distribution purposes.

All this material was removed by the detectives without my permission for "the purposes of evidence" even thought the greater part of the material bore not the slightest relationship to the alleged criminal libel. Later that day, at 1.10 pm I went down to the Central Police Station, Waring Taylor St with a friend. There Cook showed me a warrant that had also been served on the Post Office that morning to take the mail from my postal box. He showed me a letter on his desk which had come from the box. This letter he had opened. Again it was quite irrelevant to the case in hand being a personal letter from a friend in Christchurch. During the course of a general discussion with Cook I was asked "You are a Communist aren't you?"

He seemed quite surprised when I said" No From what neighbours have told me it appears that the Police had been keeping a watch on my address for the past two weeks weeks. What could have been gained from this is hard to imagine unless one gives the terms of their investigation greater play than the narrow issue of "criminal libel". It is important to note that a month earlier Devon Biggs had also done a duty watch outside my address along with several fellow sleuths from 175 Taranaki St. I might be guessing but I'd say that someone not a million miles from Muldoom believes in Reds under the Bed.

Three Cock covers

Meanwhile, as Dan Riddiford said on June 15: "Young people may be tempted to courses of action by men and women often older than themselves - who use youths as pawns in a sinister game." and you, boys and girls, can be damn sure that COCK Robin Wheeler is being set up by the bludgers on Parliament Hill as one of those sinister child molesters from out of Desparate Dan's senile fantasies. Perhaps they think that if they can openly harass enough of the more noticeable members of the dissident community they' II be able to keep the anti-Springbok Tour protest next year within manageable proportions. Consider how much trouble the Police went to to jack up a charge of inciting a disturbance against Keith Duffield, one of New Zealand's staunchest opposers of Governmental stupidity, after the Mt John demonstration (subject of some of the the most deliberate lies and distortions on the part of the Police and the Government that I have seen in the NZ press since the 1951 Wharf lockout).

Consider the Police raid on John Milne's EARWIG headquarters a month ago with a warrant authorising a search for "illegal weapons and subversive literature"! Consider all the absurd noise over a few rotten tomatoes at an overly pompous Parliamentary opening and the frantic search on the part of the Police to find someone to convict after the newspapers and politicians had blown the wholeiincident completely out of proportion.

Consider the prolonged Police harrassment of Tim Shadbolt.

It's incredible to think that somewhere in the present Government there are people who actually think that a policy of constant harassment of dissenting New Zealanders is actually going to achieve its end of a truely "Silent" Majority, a Nation al Government re-election and whatever other doubtful benefits the likes of Sir Roy Jack and Muldoom can wish on our nation of restless sleepers.

As pne of the steps to be taken in reaching this right wing utopia I expect to be presently served with a summons to defend a charge of criminal libel.

Initially I expected difficulty in getting files and letters back, despite Det-Serg Cook's protestations that most of them would only be kept a couple of days. In the end it was impossible to find a lawyer willing or able to raise any legal flak in the time available before the weekend. On Monday I contacted Cook myself and was surprised to hear that the files and letters were available and could even be delivered to me if I wished. I collected them and found that the 8 negatives, our distribution chart, a piece of paper with the names of a few COCK sellers and a personal letter from Murray Horton dealing mainly with the Mt John demonstration were being kept as evidence.

Everything else was returned; letters all neatly opened and smoothed out no doubt after the photocopier. Anybody whose mail to COCK has been inspected will be notified and I suggest they take the steps recommended in the last paragraphs. The majority of my informants can rest assured that none of their communications were in the files taken.

I have handed an affidavit, dealing with the events of the raid with particular relation to the completely uncalled for removal of personal letters, address lists and files bearing no relationship to the particular subject of the search, to the NZ Council of Civil Liberties. Other types of action are also being considered and any suggestions will be welcomed (Phone 57475 or write Box 2538, Wellington.)

I suggest that all recent correspondents over the past year, all COCK subscribers and my friends make your displeasure at the nature of the measures taken against COCK known to the Minister of Justice Sir Roy Jack, the Minister of Police, Mr Percy Allen, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Sharp and your local Parliamentary Member.

With the poor response of the press to the news of the Police action regarding the suppression of COCK it is obvious that more personal action is demanded on the part of everyone who has helped and encouraged me over the past five years if freedom of speech is to mean much more than the right to hold shares in the Wellington Publishing Company.

Any interesting replies would of course be considered for publication. A COCK Defence Fund for the coming litigation is officially open and this time, at any rate, your letters will be answered. Another issue is in preparation. Life goes on as before. Viva la ROT!

Picture of a Cock writer