In “Out of the Inferno”, Meurant proves that the only way to tell the unvarnished truth about the country he loves – is to write fiction.
THE RED SQUAD STORY
Illustrated. Two highly-trained teams travelled around NZ during the winter of 1981. The one was the Springboks, undertaking their first Rugby tour of NZ for 15 years, and facing an itinerary of 16 matches.
The other was the elite police riot squad, the Red Escort Group, specially trained to accompany theSpringboks and ensure that law and order weremaintained.
This book is the dramatic account of the Red Squad’s experiences, vividly related by Ross Meurant, who as second in command of the group, was in a unique position to observe everything that was happening “at the sharp end”.
He reveals to the public a dimension of the tour few people experienced or even appreciated was possiblein Godzone. He tells how Red Group handled theviolence and disorder which confronted them throughout the tour; and he attacks the media’s handling of events.
Finally, he gives a revealing account of how his proud unit which carried the brunt of the violent front-line clashes for two months was made a scapegoat after its expertise was no longer needed
Harlen Press, 1982.(70.000 words: out of print)
THE SYRIAN CONNECTION
Alain Foveaux, a former New Zealand military officer, is contracted to use his knowledge of the Middle East to procure phosphate from Syria for export to New Zealand, in defiance of American sanctions.
His odyssey through a country on the brink of civil war reunites him with Valentina Golosapova, a former lover and KGB agent, now operations controller for Russian covert action in Syria.
With Russian help, the New Zealander sets up a labyrinth of bank accounts to evade the American blocks on payments to Syria, provoking aggressive initiatives by the local CIA operative.
When Syrians, Russians and Americans meet, there are brutal encounters in the field with Alain caught in the crossfire.
Wolf Publication, 2013. (75,000 words)
THE BEAT TO THE BEEHIVE
This book traces his difficult path to the Houses of Parliament & the National Party back benches, & the extraordinary progress to the rank of police inspector, after the furore he created by the publication of The Red Squad Story. From the Rainbow Warrior affair to race relations, Meurant is unrelenting in his quest for the truth.
1st edition 1988 published by Harlen Books Auckland
Harlen Press, 1988. (70,000 words: out of print)
ONE POLICE operation which escaped the attention of the media and one they still don’t know about, took place during the week of 19 September 1985. At 11.58 pm on 10 July 1985, the Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, was sunk as she lay berthed at Marsden Wharf in the Port of Auckland. Explosives laid and detonated by French military saboteurs sank the vessel killing one crew member. Alain Mafart and Dominique Prieur were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by a New Zealand Court after pleading guilty to charges of manslaughter and wilful damage.
That’s the official record, but I’m sure if anyone can prevail upon Detective Sergeant Terry Batchelor, an old mate of mine whose photo appears earlier in this book, to pen an account of what he knows, the record may read a little differently.
Terry and another colleague interviewed the two saboteurs. I recall Terry telling me how chilling Mafart’s eyes were. “He was superbly confident at all times. Cool as ice. He would always look directly at Prieur when they were together. You could feel the confidence he imparted to her. It was like a current. He was her strength.”
Terry and I have a similar attitude toward criminals. He is also a very tough and experienced detective. I can think of no one or anything which would intimidate Terry, except his own prudence. He has interviewed the best this country could produce. Mafart was something else.
“I never had a show,” said Terry. “The man controlled his environment, even while he was in prison. He was a master.” Yet Terry learned enough during his several sessions with the saboteurs, to work out who really did plant the explosives and who masterminded the plan. The operation was approved at the highest levels of French Government.
Unfortunately this French ‘master’ was lost after a clumsy deal was made with the French Government by a naïve Prime Minister by the name of Lange.
Prieur’s detention presented another problem to a French Government under threat at the polls. Her return to France from New Zealand was vital.
On Monday 16 September 1985 a submarine was sighted off the west coast of New Zealand. Another submarine sighting had been made a week earlier.
On 19 September, Inspector Ashley Edwards, Officer-in-Charge Auckland Armed Offenders and Auckland Anti-Terrorist Squad issued an interim operational order named ‘Operation Rainbow’ – dealing with the security of French prisoner, Dominique Prieur. The order, a copy of which is reproduced from the original document and displayed below, provided for security measures being adopted to ensure Prieur’s retention in custody by the New Zealand Government.
Captain Dominique PRIEUR, the female arrested in connection with the murder of the crewman of the Rainbow Warrior has been transferred from Christchurch to Ardmore Prison, situated in Petersons Road, Ardmore. (This is also the Army Corrective Centre on the road leading to the Ardmore Rifle Range.)
The institute is gazetted as a prison under the control of the justice Department. The Justice Department is responsible for the care and custody of the prisoner. The Army have supplied logistical support and extra security in the form of barbed wire, trip flares and lighting around the immediate confines of the prison.
There will be two Police members (A.O.S.) present 24 hours a day at the prison.
Intelligence suggests there is a real threat that an outside agency may attempt to free the prisoner.
To ensure the safe custody of Dominique PRIEUR.
Any unusual sighting or occurrence will be notified to Control and using the resources available, check out that sighting or incident.
In the event of an attempt being made to free the prisoner, Central Control will be advised by the Police personnel at the prison.
Using Police resources available, the area is to be cordoned and an attempt made to contain the offender(s) and/or apprehend PRIEUR.
At the same time the Duty Constable at the prison will contact the Papakura Army SAS Counter Terrorist Team who will respond. The C.T.T. are on a 2 hour standby but it is envisaged that the first C.T.T. members will arrive at Ardmore within 15 minutes.
In the event of action being required at the scene, Inspector EDWARDS is to be advised immediately. Auckland AOS/ATS are to be activated.
3.1 Group Details 3.1.1 SCENE COMMANDER Duty Inspector Otahuhu, or in his absence, Duty Inspector Central. Location : Staff assembly point, intersection Hamlin Road and Papakura Clevedon Road. Staff : Existing local Police resources. Tasks : (a) To take command and control of the scene and set up Operation (b) Take necessary action to cordon and contain offender(s) and prisoner. (c) Take necessary action and co-ordinate Police and Army action to apprehend 0ffender(s) and prisoner.
3.1.2 AOS/ATS Commander : Inspector EDWARDS; Staff : Auckland AOS/ATS.
Task : To be responsible to Scene Commander,to be deployed in the forward area as directed.
ADMINISTRATION & LOGISTICS Justice Department staff in charge at Ardmore are 2nd Officer Ian TAYLOR and 2nd Officer Graham BOOTH. COMMAND & SIGNALS Ardmore Prison : phone VHF Radio : Channel 5 C.T.T. : Direct secure line between Prison and Papakura Army S.A.S. Inspector EDWARDS : home phone A.B.EDWARDS Inspector/AOS 19 September 1985
As I was briefed, Christchurch women’s prison where Prieur was being held was considered ‘insecure’ and the belief was that Paremoremo prison, four minutes’ run from the head of an estuary on the Waitemata Harbour, and Mt Eden prison only slightly further from the harbour, were both considered vulnerable to an attack by French commandos who would be put ashore, probably by zodiac, from a French submarine (which had been sighted in and around the New Zealand coast) anchoring in the Rangitoto Channel. It would be a simple matter for commandos to ‘blow’ their way in and shoot their way out of these institutions, with nothing more than a dozen or so police to stop them. Any police who were armed with the standard issue .38-revolver would be no match for heavily armed elite troops, trained to kill.
As a precaution Prieur was moved to the military corrective establishment, 50 minutes’ run at best (even to Peter Snell) from the nearest harbour estuary, and right next door to the Papakura Army camp where New Zealand’s own elite killing group, the SAS (and even better, the Counter Terrorist Team) was stationed. The CTT are the elite of the SAS.
My task as a duty inspector for nightshift during the period the operation was on, was to visit the scene to acquaint myself with the layout and topography, and to return to the scene and take charge if the French did come ashore and the CTT/SAS got amongst them.
That night I really polished up my .38-Smith & Wesson revolver.
The question is, were the French really planning to invade to rescue their heroine? Someone clearly thought so. Any joint police/military operation in this country requires political approval from the highest of?ce in the land. Police procedures require Cabinet to be informed of any terrorist activity and the activation of the Anti Terrorist Squad.
Alternatively, any Prime Minister who allowed war games like these to be played in New Zealand without his knowledge or approval, has failed the nation as a leader.
SEX, POWER & POLITICS
This quest for the Prime Minister’s job provides an unvarnished insight to the political intrigue, mendacity and down-right dirty tricks denizens of New Zealand’s parliament stoop to when chasing the chalice of power.
Laced with extramarital sex, alcohol, parties, travel perks and abuse of allowances, the story exposes a latent culture of perfidious and licentious behaviour.
The potential omnipotence of secretaries is harnessed in this odyssey through the Hallowed Halls of Power.
Wolf Publication, 2013. (75,000 words)