The Veteran writes at No Minister:
The story so far … Selwyn Clarke, 88 yo ratbag Maori activist and ‘war’ veteran had his War Disability Pension cut off after a warrant was issued for his arrest following his failure to attend Court on charges relating to the illegal occupation by Ngati Kahu of the Kaitaia Airport in September last year. The occupation saw the abandonment of scheduled passenger service flights as well as medical flights into and out of the Far North.
Clarke claimed his ‘kaupapa’ did not allow him to recognise the authority of the Courts. He received backing from Winston Peters who called for the reinstatement of his pension saying that the law under which he was arrested was highly questionable.
Let’s deal with that claim first of all. Peters is supposed to be a lawyer. He should know the place to test the law is in the Courts and just why he would choose to go into bat for a serial protester who by his own admission has no respect for the law quite beggars belief.
But, as they say, there’s more. Clarke claims to have served with 28 Maori Battalion. There are five Clarke’s listed on the Battalion nominal roll … none of them Selwyn Clarke and all dead. Further, there are seven Karaka’s (Maori for Clarke) listed … none of them with the forenames Haki Herewini (Clarke’s Maori forenames) and again, all dead.
There is however evidence that he enlisted late in the war sailing to the Middle-East with the 15th Reinforcements. That would have seen him on-board a ship when VE Day was announced. The 15th Reinforcements landed in Egypt, were processed through to Italy to join the Division in time for them to be sent home. The only ‘action’ they saw would have been in Cairo or in some Italian Taverna.
The water gets muddier. Clarke also claims he served as a Military Policeman and that would have seen him a member of the Divisional Provost Company and not 28 Battalion. I am inclined to believe this as my sources from within Maoridom tell me that Clarke was shunned by members of 28 Battalion when he tried to gatecrash on their gatherings.
But it gets better. Clarke would have it that he first enlisted (at age 13 or 15 … changing story) under an assumed name (not revealed) where he served with 28 Battalion in the western desert in the 1941-43 campaign. He claims one of his tasks was to escort prisoners through minefields and further, that his platoon commander (unnamed) shot prisoners and that this continually haunts him. Now clearly Clarke is not the sharpest knife in the drawer or else he would have realized that he was admitting to being an accessory to a war crime as defined in the London Charter (the Nuremburg Laws) of 1945.
If the story is correct then Clarke may get to know more about arrest warrants. There is no statute of limitations for war crimes.
If the story is incorrect then Clarke has bought dishonor to 28 Battalion and to an unnamed officer, now dead, with false allegations of war crimes.
I don’t think Mr Clarke has a lot of credibility.
So, there it is, Selwyn Clarke, either and by his own admission an accessory to a war crime (the murder of POWs) or a liar about his service with 28 Battalion.
Whatever, he has no credibility at all and Winston Peters has made a huge mistake in aligning himself with him.
More may come out on this.