NRT: Our fearmongering Prime Minister

Written By: - Date published: 10:53 am, April 4th, 2016 - 11 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability, john key, Spying - Tags: , , , ,

I/S at No Right Turn writes:

Our fearmongering Prime Minister

Last month we learned that John Key had lied to Parliament and the New Zealand public over the “jihadi brides”, letting us all think that they left from New Zealand (and that therefore there was a dangerous level of radicalisation going on here) when in fact they had all been living in Australia. But it turns out that its worse than that: according to a written parliamentary question (answer as-yet unpublished), he had known this since May and received repeated briefings on the issue. Which makes it look like deliberate fearmongering by the Prime Minister and his head of the SIS – carried out at a time when the spy agencies were under review and demanding more powers.

This sort of shit is why we cannot trust our spies, or the Ministers who “oversee” them: because they misuse classified information for political gain and to advance themselves. Muldoon did it, leaking SIS information on his political opponents. And now Key is doing it too.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Radio New Zealand this morning, Key doubles down, and tries to pretend that the question of where these supposed women were supposedly radicalised is irrelevant. In fact, its the only thing which might potentially be of security concern. And if its not happening in New Zealand, then its simply not our problem. Worse, he then repeatedly states that the real issue is whether they return to New Zealand – a line repeated by Gerry Brownlee in his robot act last month – which again suggests that passport cancellation powers are intended to be an extra-judicial power of exile (a punishment banned in international as well as New Zealand law) rather than to prevent (alleged) terrorists from travelling.

11 comments on “NRT: Our fearmongering Prime Minister”

  1. saveNZ 1


    When you look at Ahmed Zaoui case and how international intelligence which was unsubstantiated and used to imprison him and call him a terrorist.
    Today with the hysterical scaremongering, Zaoui, would have been deported and killed.

    “Security Intelligence Service chief Rebecca Kitteridge has apologised to Kim Dotcom for the behaviour of her spies, who swapped emails about the internet entrepreneur’s weight and wife while mocking his chances of getting New Zealand residency.
    Ms Kitteridge’s apology is the second Dotcom has secured from the intelligence agencies. The Government Communications Security Bureau had to say sorry in 2012 after it was caught carrying out illegal surveillance.”

    And making Phil Goff look like a liar before the election…
    “I was never ‘briefed’ by the SIS. When asked to explain, Warren Tucker says he ‘flicked’ over the issue during a regular meeting with me but ‘didn’t dwell on it’. He says he probably suggested to me that it was not significant. That is not a briefing or a discussion.

    “As Minister of Foreign Affairs during the Mossad incident in 2004, I would have had a keen interest in any new allegations and remembered any briefing clearly.

    “I will not stand by and have my credibility questioned over this issue.”

    Goff called on Prime Minister John Key and the SIS to release all the documentation they had about the investigation into the Israelis “and give a full and frank account of what happened to New Zealanders”.

    However, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English said he believed Tucker over Goff.

    “If you were given the choice, I think a senior civil servant who has advised the previous prime minister and a current prime minister on issues of national security, man of integrity, I’d believe him.”

    Goff had gone “too far” in questioning Tucker’s integrity, English said.

    “I think that tells us a lot more about Mr Goff and what he’s preoccupied with, than it does about Mr Tucker.”

    Matters of national security had always been treated as bi-partisan and Goff was showing desperation in his behaviour and seemed to be “pretty wound up” about it.”

    Personally I would like a much more transparent debate on who is spying on the spies and what happens when they F-up?

  2. aerobubble 2

    I’m guessing Key never ran a business so would not understand the need of an owner to invest more money into a going cncern to boost its ability to compete. Well that, or Key is a politician and likes to draw attentionto investing in kiwibank.

  3. Ad 3

    The big one from Key was commented on by Fran O’Sullivan, in which Key proposes fear of terrorism as a comparative advantage for millionaires to hunker down here.

    The comparative advantage of fear.

    Imagine if Auckland got bombed and Cameron popped in for a conference and told all our millionaires to shift over where it’s safer.

    Milk. Real estate. And fear.
    He’s a klutz.

  4. ianmac 4

    I read No Right Turn every day. Cuts to the chase and alerts to the big issues.
    “Key doubles down, and tries to pretend that the question of where these supposed women were supposedly radicalised is irrelevant.” Key really struggled with the hard questions. Unused to it of course.

  5. It should be noted that Mr. Key introduced the phrase “Jihadi brides” in his questioning of SIS Director Kitteridge during her appearance before the parliamentary select committee on intelligence and security late last year. Although her response followed his line, she did not make the claims directly or use that phrase. For her troubles she has now been thrown under the bus by her responsibility-dodging minister.

    Even so, the issue of people traveling on NZ passports to fight in extremist causes is bound to be of concern to authorities because of what it can potentially do in terms of freedom of travel and the like for all Kiwi passport holders. That is precisely why Key has stuck to the line about passports, although there again he is fear-mongering by bringing up the prospect of returning “jihadi brides.” First it was returning foreign fighters, for which legislation was rammed through to prevent them from doing so. Now it is the presumed (not verified) “brides.” The hard fact is that neither represents a significant threat to NZ, should they indeed manage to make it back home from the killing fields of the ME. So then and now Mr. Key engaged in scurrilous and unsubstantiated fear-mongering, except that he initially lied by omission and now is just dissembling.

    Anyway, at the time of the select committee hearings and the initial brouhaha about “jihadi brides” I penned my skepticism over at Kiwipolitico:

    • Anne 5.1

      Mr. Key introduced the phrase “Jihadi brides” in his questioning of SIS Director Kitteridge during her appearance before the parliamentary select committee on intelligence and security late last year. Although her response followed his line, she did not make the claims directly or use that phrase. For her troubles she has now been thrown under the bus by her responsibility-dodging minister.

      Precisely. I think we should be careful about castigating Rebecca Kitteridge too much on this matter. My impression is: she was caught off-guard by Key’s “Jihadi Brides” jibe (and that is what it was) but felt duty bound to appear to support his contention as he is after-all ‘the prime minister’. She was briefly questioned on the subject outside the select committee room and I had the impression she was furious at having been dropped in it like that. She refused to discuss the matter further.

      Rob Muldoon used to do the same sort of thing. He would demand information from the SIS on some pretext or another, then HE would release it for public consumption when it suited his political purposes.

      • greywarshark 5.1.1

        That reads like the technique that odious man McCarthy used in the USA post WW2. Speaking in their official political place, is the grandly named Senate? he would start rumours, blow up some outdated false or irrelevant information and whip up concern. The good thing is that he died early.

    • The Other Mike 5.2

      Thank you Paul for your cogent comment and the perceptive comment at Kiwipolitico. With your background you seem to see the REAL picture and always have the ‘smartest man in the room’ observation.

      Increased surveillance has already started. Harassment of journalists and anyone questioning the official line started ages ago. Paper thin tissue reasons for increasing monitoring the population is typical of a totalitarian government.

      Which we already have.

  6. Gristle 6

    Detailed reports have been made of Australian ex-SAS squads (not individuals) operating in Yemin. Stories I have heard in the pub include ex-soldiers from NZ and also in ME territories far wider than just Yemin in there as “consultants.”

    When does a consultant become a mercenary become a foreign fighter? What monitoring is occurring in regard to these New Zealanders? Just remember that the Foriegn Fighters Act was pushed through to cover people fighting overseas, and not under the NZ flag.

    • Good point, but the legislation only refers to designated terrorist entities (i.e. not our allies).
      More broadly, Libya is the place to look at when it comes to “our guys.” And I suspect that it is not just ex NZDF/NZSAS who are there.

  7. Visubversa 7

    Is any NZ woman travelling to Iraq or Syria likely to be stigmatised as a “Jihadi Bride” ? Is there an age limit? A religious test? I work with a bunch of Iraqi Christians who came here as skilled migrants after the American invasion. They have daughters who are NZ citizens – as they are. Are their daughters travelling to visit relatives still in Iraq likely to end up on a “Jihadi Bride” list?

    Sounds like crock – designed to stirr up fear and cover for additional Government spying on NZ citizens.

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