An international embarrassment | The Jackal

2 Aug 2013

An international embarrassment

Yesterday, the same day that a controversial GCSB amendment bill was due to be read for a second time, the Prime Minister of New Zealand announced to the nation that Al-Qaeda trained terrorists were operating in New Zealand.

The National party leader chose to announce the security threat on a breakfast radio show where he claimed that an undisclosed number of New Zealand citizens had travelled to Yemen to attend Al-Qaeda training camps.

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

He refused to give further details but, asked later in the day, said he had signed warrants for surveillance of "a small number" of people who were in Yemen.

"Some of them are still off-shore and some are in New Zealand.

"The fact someone might have a link might be the sort of reason the Government raises a warrant to observe their behaviour. It doesn't necessarily mean they've broken the law at this point."

This is obviously scaremongering in order to try and justify a huge expansion of spying legislation, legislation that despite the numerous claims by those in support of the bill will in fact mean warrantless surveillance of New Zealand citizens is available to the GCSB. The law change will mean mass surveillance of all communications can be legally undertaken.

Why is this a problem you might ask? One only has to look at a recent case where the illegal interception of communications has resulted in a serious breach of privacy. The reporter at the centre of that controversy, Andrea Vance, is "mad as hell" about her communications being intercepted and has clearly gained widespread support from other journalists.

However, instead of anybody who is actually responsible for that "cock up" being held to account, the head of Parliamentary Service, Geoff Thorn, has been made the fall guy in another blatant attempt to protect brand Key.

Today, the Otago Daily Times reported:

Mr Key later said he had signed warrants to observe people from New Zealand in Yemen and knew who they were.

"There are very specific and unique examples where we know that there is a threat or a potential threat and we have to take those responsibilities seriously," he said.

"People have trained in New Zealand and gone off to those camps and that's just the way things are.''

Mr Key would not reveal how many people were involved, or give their names.

The only cases we know the identity of New Zealand citizens who have been spied on are the Kim Dotcom case, the Jon Stephenson case and the Andrea Vance and Peter Dunne case. These people can hardly be considered radicals or terrorists to warrant such a grievous breach of their privacy.

If there is such a threat as Key claims, why haven't there been any prosecutions for terrorism? We have very specific laws in place in New Zealand to ensure those who might be aiding or undertaking terrorism are brought to justice. Nobody has ever been prosecuted under those laws, which can only mean that the internal terrorism threat to New Zealand is non-existent.

But he said some of them could be New Zealand citizens and they were already being monitored.

"There are small numbers of radicalised New Zealanders who have either gone over to those environments or returned. Some are offshore and some are in New Zealand."

Security Analyst Dr Paul Buchanan has labelled this politics of last resort while a professor at the University of Otago, Richard Jackson, said Mr Key's claims of New Zealanders working with Al-Qaeda were likely "exaggerated".

Labour leader David Shearer said Key was simply being "dumb" and that bringing up threats to national security wasn't "the type of thing you'd usually expect the prime minister to raise on breakfast radio."

Here's the crew over at MoreFM that Key announced the terrorism threat to yesterday.

That's why John Keys' statements have seen little reporting by any reputable news organizations outside of New Zealand. Of course Fox News has reported the ludicrous claim that Al-Qaeda trainees who are also New Zealand citizens are operating in this country and abroad, but that's to be expected. The rest haven't even bothered to acknowledged Keys bullshit!

After the huge uproar from Keys criticism concerning football legend David Beckham and other similar stupid incidents there is but one conclusion: The Prime Minister is making New Zealand the laughing stock of the world. He is now an international embarrassment that cannot be managed. The cost to our credibility as a nation and the resulting business issues such incompetence causes should not be underestimated. The current Prime Minister is a joke, let's not let New Zealand become one as well.