Show me the WMD John Key? | The Jackal

16 Apr 2013

Show me the WMD John Key?

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Prime Minister John Key yesterday revealed intelligence agencies have detected attempts by hackers to steal New Zealand technology that could be used to create weapons of mass destruction.

Mr Key made the claim to reinforce the need for law changes to allow electronic eavesdropping on New Zealanders by the Government Communications Security Bureau.

While the terrorism threat in New Zealand had remained low there were people within the country with links to offshore terrorist groups.

Other threats to national security had continued to intensify, he said.

"There have been covert attempts to acquire New Zealand science and technology for programmes relating to weapons of mass destruction or weapons delivery systems ... I can't detail the success or otherwise of those incursions."

Now let's pretend that John Key's statement is for real; that there are in fact New Zealand citizens who have aided and abetted terrorist organizations... If that's the case, why hasn't anybody been arrested?

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (PDF) strictly prohibits New Zealanders funding Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), so why are the known (according to Key) perpetrators not being prosecuted?

The other question I would like answered is why do we have "science and technology for projects involving weapons of mass destruction" that could be hacked in the first place?

New Zealand is a nuclear free country, which is legislated for in the form of the Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987 (PDF). We also ratified the international Convention on Chemical Weapons in 1996, with the government passing the Chemical Weapons (Prohibition) Act 1996 (PDF), which prohibits their development, production, stockpiling and use. Later they also passed the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 (PDF), which targets people who participate in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts.

Having plans for developing chemical weapons is therefore against the law in New Zealand, as it would be seen as part of the planning or preparation process to developing these weapons. The crown and its agencies aren't exempt from the laws defined in these Acts, so should not be retaining such information online for hackers to steal.

But perhaps a more pertinent question to ask is that if New Zealanders have actually been involved in undertaking terrorist attacks as John Key claims, who are these people? As far as I'm aware there hasn't been any New Zealanders associated with so-called "terrorist" attacks since Neil Roberts tried to blow up the Wanganui computer in 1982. Roberts was the only person killed, the computer system was undamaged.

However there was also the Wellington Trades Hall bombing in 1984, which was obviously undertaken to send a message to the Trade Unions. That terrorist act unfortunately killed the building's caretaker, Ernie Abbott. The police strangely never found the perpetrator, even though the officers responsible for preventing and investigating such crimes were headquartered in the building across the street from the crime scene.

Those isolated and historic cases certainly don't justify extending the powers of the Government Communications Security Bureau.

In my opinion, surveillance on Kiwis shouldn't be increased just because the rogue agency has been found to be acting unlawfully by spying on 88 New Zealand citizens, especially when there's currently such an obvious lack of any proper oversight to ensure compliance with the law.

It's that lack of oversight that Rebecca Kitteridge highlighted in her damning report (PDF) into the GCSB's misconduct. Somebody should inform Key that saying "legislative clarification would be desirable" isn't advocating for the increase of state powers... She's simply saying that the GCSB should be aware of and adhere to the law.

So let's stop pretending Key is telling the truth... Clearly there's no terrorism threat concerning weapons of mass destruction here in New Zealand or the potential for hackers to steal information relating to such weapons... There's just a very deluded and dishonest Prime Minister trying to degrade our civil liberties and further undermine the publics right to privacy.