INDEPENDENT NEWS

Kiwis should be sceptical Re: SIS terrorism claims

Published: Tue 21 Dec 2004 10:34 AM
Kiwis should be sceptical about SIS terrorism claims
Green MP Keith Locke is sceptical of Security Intelligence Service (SIS) claims that there are active supporters of terrorism in New Zealand.
“We should take the SIS claims with a grain of salt, given their failure to come up with evidence in the Zaoui case,” Mr Locke, Green Security and Intelligence Spokesperson, said.
“It seems more likely the SIS is trying to justify its existence, because if there really were ‘several people’ in New Zealand linked to international terrorist activities, we would have seen some sign of it, or someone would have been charged.
“A greater danger is that the SIS is damaging race relations in New Zealand by unfairly casting aspersions on Muslim migrants.
Mr Locke said the SIS’s annual report illustrated that it had been looking in the wrong places for threats to New Zealand security.
“The report says nothing about the SIS’s major failure: to notice that Mossad was trying to fraudulently obtain New Zealand passports. It was left to an alert passport officer and the police to bring the Mossad agents to justice, despite one of the agents, Eli Cara, crossing the Tasman 24 times. Was the SIS too busy collaborating with Mossad to spy on poor Palestinian refugees here to notice that Mossad was the real threat to our security?
“With the SIS failing so abjectly in the only security situations coming to public attention, the Zaoui and Mossad cases, we have to treat SIS claims that New Zealanders are involved in ‘overseas programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction’ with some suspicion. Such claims may have more to do with the SIS trying to justify its growing budget than any real threat to our national security.
“Given the SIS’s poor record, it is disturbing that the four-agency Combined Threat Assessment Group, announced yesterday, will be headquartered in the SIS. Cooperation between government agencies is useful, but this new arrangement will not necessarily improve the quality of intelligence.
“Unfortunately, all four agencies involved [the SIS, the Police, Defence and the Government Communications Security Bureau] rely mainly on information from the United States, Britain and Australia. Instead of real contestability, or rigorous evaluation of information, we could find that each agency merely confirms the information the other agencies have, because it all comes essentially from the same sources.”

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