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The Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill

Written By: - Date published: 8:16 am, December 2nd, 2014 - 34 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, john key, national, national/act government - Tags: ,

John Key has had a horrendous few weeks.  That smart cockiness that he has shown in the past when providing political comment on Labour’s latest woes has disappeared.  Andrew Little is turning out to be an exceptional opposition leader.  Passionate yet modest, thoughtful yet engaging he is starting to establish a public persona that may prove to be a winning one.

The recent John Key, the one beholden to Cameron Slater, is worlds away from that nice John Key.  This is a huge problem for National.  Nice John is so much more acceptable than chaos and mayhem John.

So yesterday nice John reappeared and promised meaningful changes to the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill.  Even though he has the power to force the bill through thanks to ACT’s vote despite its supposedly libertarian beliefs.

Recent events will no doubt have been factored into Key’s claim yesterday that he wanted a bipartisan approach to the counter terrorism bill.  He sounded very conciliatory.  He has said that National is prepared to make changes to the counter terrorism bill so that bipartisan support for the bill can be achieved.

He has gone back to his pre 2008 election Key when he did a deal with Labour to make sure that the anti smacking bill went through.  This was the John Key the electorate liked and supported, the deal maker, the non ideological Key.

It may be that part of his motivation is that some National MPs are privately expressing concern about the bill.  For the party that prides itself on personal freedom and has railed against mandatory energy efficient light bulb standards and more efficient shower heads they should be.  The provisions are draconian and being rammed through under urgency makes this worse.

The claimed urgency of the measure is dubious.  You wonder why the Bill was introduced so late.  It could have been introduced over a week ago and a week’s select committee hearing held rather than the 24 hours actually allowed.

And you have to question why a full select committee process cannot occur.  There is already power for passports to be cancelled for 12 months, the Bill extends this to three years.  And the most contentious provision, allowing 48 hour warrantless surveillance may be restricted by reducing this power to 24 hours.  But to my view the case for change has not been made out and the current system for issuing warrants can, if properly resourced, work perfectly adequately.

It should not matter if it is 48 hours or 24 hours or 10 minutes, as a matter of principle warrantless searches should not be allowed.  And after the various problems the SIS has suffered from over the past few years such as performing illegal searches and smearing the leader of the opposition during an election campaign the thought of giving them more power is really disturbing.

Key is preserving the red meat for his supporters with a promise of tougher legislation being introduced next year, even though the review of our intelligence services has not been completed.

The disturbing thing about every recent law change affecting the intelligence agencies is that they almost inevitably gives the State more power.  The process is an incremental one.  Power by power the boundaries are pushed out so that the State’s apparatus becomes more and more powerful and individual rights more proscribed.

John Key has in the past expressed libertarian ideals.  In 2007 he said this about the Electoral Finance Bill:

Here in New Zealand we often take our democratic freedoms for granted. We think they will always be there. We have a Bill of Rights which is supposed to protect our right to freedom of expression. What on earth could go wrong?

I have a different view. I believe what Thomas Jefferson said – that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. There are times when we have to stand up for our rights, and the rights of our neighbours and friends, and indeed the rights of people we totally disagree with, or else these rights will begin to erode away.

The anticipated changes present a dilemma for Labour.  Obviously they will want to claim credit for the changes and be seen to be acting in a conciliatory and responsible way.  From my civil libertarian point of view I would prefer they just said no.  Justification for the increased powers has not been established and the use of extreme urgency means that proper scrutiny of the bill has not occurred.

34 comments on “The Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill ”

  1. Murray Simmonds 1

    Its pretty clear that the “counter-terrorism” bill currently before parliament has little to do with counter-terrorism, and a lot to do with potential threats to the money-making endeavours of the 1% – the multinational directors who want unfettered access to our internal markets with no danger of disruption of, or interference with their access by popular protest movements of any kind.

    More than half of the chapters in the current version of the PPTA have nothing to do with free trade, and everything to do with with protecting the money-making rights of American and European multinationals and corporations. They aim to achieve this by, among other things, granting these multinationals the right to sue any government that intentionally or unintentionally interferes with their money-making endeavours.

    Unintentional interference by governments, of course, would include the failure of those governments to clamp down on popular protest and dissent in the streets. The “Occupy” movements for example (especially the “Occupy Wall Street” faction) must have frightened the goonies out of the big corporations. Their response was to push for greater State control over any and all protest movements that might happen to interfere with the money-making endeavours of the top 1%.

    The Obama administration quickly forgot its promise of “Yes we can” and became instead what will go down in history as America’s “Greater-State-Surveillance” administration. This has been achieved of course by disguising the increased capacity for state surveillance of the organizers and instigators of radical protest movements as increased “counter-terrorism” surveillance. But make no mistake, its real aim is to give the State greater power to hit back at popular protest movements like “Occupy Wall Street” and anything else that might interfere with the bottom lines of the big corporations (including the fight for increased minimum wages, and unionism, for example).

    The setting up of “Five eyes” was just the beginning. Australia, Great Britain and now NZ are all falling into line with the wishes the big multinational corporations by expanding their internal state surveillance in order to enable the governments of these countries keep a lid on popular protest movements.

    Regardless of what the multinational corporations may or may not get in the Pan Pacific “Trade” Agreement they will get regardless, through the availability of increased state surveillance measures. That is because our rapidly-eroding democratic rights are steadily being usurped by Authoritarian Governments with increasingly greater powers to spy on you, me or anyone else who might not be a part of the top 1%. In short, the multinationals aim to clamp down on anyone who might want to argue, for example for a fairer economic system that benefits all, rather than an economic system to looks after the 1%.

    Key and his crony government are hell-bent on aiding the 1% in this endeavour. And the Labour party, to the extent that it agrees to jump on this particular bandwaggon, will be aiding and abetting them in that!

    • Chooky 1.1

      +100..”the Labour party, to the extent that it agrees to jump on this particular bandwaggon, will be aiding and abetting them in that!”

      i am very disappointed the Labour Party has not taken the same stance as Winston Peters and the Greens… i wont be voting Labour …imo Andrew Little is naive on this matter

      …unwarranted surveillance = surveillance without accountability” ( Orwellian …and not about terrorists but everything about eroding NZers democratic rights and economic sovereignty )

      ….no doubt Key will try and whip up some sort of threat …and he will do this by inviting enmity by sending off NZ troops to the Middle East in support of USA and friends, who created the problem the first place by economic imperialism and destabilisation

      ….and who trusts John Key and his shadow side- kick Slater ?…who trusts the SIS after Goff being setup ?…just before a General Election…and when hard questions needed to be asked by the NZ Parliament about Israelis with multiple passports in Christchurch…the issue was swept under the carpet and Goff was kept in ignorance and then made out to be a liar when he told the truth

  2. Anne 2

    Love the John Key quote. He never wrote it of course. He’s too much of an ignoramus to even know what Jefferson said let alone understand it.

    Someone should quote that Key line in the House – preferably this afternoon!

    • BassGuy 2.1

      He’s right – the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, but Jefferson wasn’t talking about the evil terrorist threat to my employer’s right to pay minimum wage.

      He was talking about the responsibility of the population to prevent tyrants extending their control.

      Jefferson was speaking about our responsibility to stop those like Key from becoming our tyrants.

      That time is now.

      • Anne 2.1.1

        He was talking about the responsibility of the population to prevent tyrants extending their control.

        Jefferson was speaking about our responsibility to stop those like Key from becoming our tyrants.

        It’s true, I know, but what this global corporate tyranny has thrown up is an extremely dangerous situation whereby innocent people around the world do have something to fear from the likes of ISIS and similar terrorist groupings. No, I haven’t fallen for the fear tactics of the Key government, but there is a threat to NZ – as elsewhere- and I think Labour has an obligation to take it into account when deliberating on how they approach this piece of legislation.

        It hard to believe Andrew Little has only been leader for two weeks – it feels like he’s been there forever. I, already, have absolute faith in his judgement.

  3. Tautoko Mangō Mata 3

    TPPA (not PPTA- Post Primary Teachers Assn although they have nothing to do with free trade either.)
    I say NO to unwarranted surveillance.

  4. Ashoka's Hell 4

    Funny, I wonder if you compared the Risk analysis of dying from Terrorism with the risk of dying at work in NZ.

    Yup, ya more likely to die at work in NZ.

    51 deaths /4,471,000 NZ population = 0.001% Chance of death

    51 deaths 2013 = http://www.business.govt.nz/worksafe/research/health-and-safety-data/summary-of-fatalities-2007-2013

    The statistics do not include: Fatalities ffrom maritime, aviation sectors or
    from long latency diseases caused by exposure to hazardous substances (say asbestos).

    They did’nt rush legislation through for that. Keep in fear slaves, keep working. Now see how the news does not report risk

    Great article from Big Think on Know your Risk:
    http://bigthink.com/risk-reason-and-reality/how-to-read-risk-numbers-to-know-what-the-real-risk-is

    1. Relative risk of terrorism death globally, 2013 – 61% increase from 2012

    2. Absolute risk of terrorism deaths globally, 2014 – 17,958

    3. Risk rate for terrorism deaths globally, 2014 – 0.000003 percent

    All three numbers matter. All help put the risk in perspective.

    The New York Times headline, “Deaths Linked to Terrorism Are Up 60 Percent, Study Finds” is accurate. But rarely does one single number tell the whole story for any risk. 61% increase is the relative risk, the new numbers compared to the old ones. That’s one way to look at the risk. But to put the risk in perspective you also have to know the absolute risk…the actual number of victims. The total number of terrorism victims in 2013 was 17,958. And then to put that in perspective you have to compare the number of actual victims to the total number of possible victims to get the risk rate, another important statistic. Here’s what those three calculations would look like for these new findings.

    • mickysavage 4.1

      Good analysis. The prospects of dying from terrorist activity are very small. Maybe we should concentrate on the more likely areas first.

  5. cogito 5

    Key is NZ’s #1 terrorist. Frightening.

  6. Bill 6

    Obviously they (Labour) will want to claim credit for the changes and be seen to be acting in a conciliatory and responsible way.

    Why would Labour want to claim credit for fighting a rear guard action? And why would that be viewed as being conciliatory? As for being responsible, wouldn’t it actually be irresponsible to follow your advice and ‘just say no’ when they could at least reduce the potential increase in powers in the short term, with a stated view to roll them back when they assume the role of government?

    • mickysavage 6.1

      You have summed up the dilemma of a progressive politician in opposition. Should they improve things and get credit or oppose because it is a bad idea, no matter what. Most of the time I can live with the first idea …

      • Enough is Enough 6.1.1

        I am not convinced they did improve things though.

        24 hours is as much of a breach of fundamental rights as 48 hours.

  7. shorts 7

    Would have been nice for Mr Little and party to have opposed this bill…

    • cogito 7.1

      There could well be some genuine security reasons for **parts** of this bill.

      However, as the person pushing it is Key, and he is a compulsive liar, manipulator and deceiver, anything he says, does or wants is tainted.

      • shorts 7.1.1

        I can’t see any reason for increased security at all. Not a single piece of evidence or opinion has been presented that even suggests as much

        • cogito 7.1.1.1

          I agree, but one has to accept that there can be hidden threats, and that’s why we have the Intelligence services. The problem is that Key’s management has been so utterly corrupt and inept that it is virtually impossible for people to have any faith in them.

          In that context, the fact that Labour may support the bill in an amended form does provide a little reassurance that there are actually some real reasons for it, not just ones fabricated by liar Key for his own despotic purposes.

          • shorts 7.1.1.1.1

            biggest threat I see are our (current) elected officials… then there is the hidden threat of their/our corporate masters… our allies…. extremists in the middle east are a long long way down the list

          • Murray Rawshark 7.1.1.1.2

            If they’re hidden, it won’t be our bloody useless squirrels that find them. They were hopeless with the Rainbow Warrior, they sucked a kumara with Ahmed Zaoui, they illegally bugged Dotcom, and they helped Key win an election. They don’t even deserve to exist.

            Labour’s role in the loss of our rights is contemptible and disgusting. FJK and FAL too.

      • Chooky 7.1.2

        i have to admit i am more scared of Slater and his mate Key than I am of any of any so-called terrorist

    • JonL 7.2

      If they don’t, they’re dead meat to myself and many of my friends and aquaintances. Nice, has nothing to do with it!

  8. Sans Cle 8

    Lest we forget how JK lined up all his ducks, to enable himself to practice an effective autocracy in this supposed democratic NZ.

    http://www.tv3.co.nz/CAMPBELL-LIVE-Tuesday-May-20-2014/tabid/3692/articleID/99951/MCat/2908/Default.aspx

  9. Ashoka's Hell 9

    In an unprecedented move today Security Intelligence Service (SIS) Minister Chris Finlayson Head of said they will be conducting surveillance 24/7 on everyone in NZ.

    Asked why, Finlayson said, the risk of death to each NZer is 100%. We must be vigilant. He mentioned that although the majority of NZers are on shit pay, with shitty houses, shit education and/or shitty student loans with shitty job prospects, why on earth should they get off scot ‘shit’ free by being killed in a terrorist attack and not pay their taxes.

    Finlayson said it’s the FEAR FACTOR (TM) that keeps those little glistening worker sheep noses to the grind stone. I mean it is a privilege after all for them to give up their lives working so we elites can eat at posh restaurants and mince about eating mince pies all day.

    If a terrorist kills any New Zealander before their “natural time” we would miss out on a key revenue stream. Also they may get ideas above their apathetic little minds and think they can protest as well. Shitty little sheep they are.

    To show solidarity with common kiwi workers and to lead from behind, Finlayson said, he has asked SIS to conduct surveillance on himself 24/7, so he could:

    “Watch himself, watching the watch men, watch himself watching other people while watching the watcher watch.”

    Fin mentioned, while watching watches watch him he would need a James Bond 1973 Rolex 5513 watch valued at $450,000 to ensure the watches watching him would watch him wearing his posh watch while he watched them watching the watched. He said it was kinda kinky in Nanny Nat way. We don’t give a shit if you get paid sweet FA, but by God, you start thinking out of turn or being killed by terrorists, we have to do something about that!

    Somehow he wants to get the CIA involved; apparently they have some great mind torture fender bending, bender bad boy techniques he wants to utilise that will stop any opposition from gaining employment in Government or key businesses.

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    • Chooky 9.1

      lol…still laughing ….but on second thoughts, i hope this was a joke…lol

      ….make a bloody good Mr Bean in the bathroom movie

  10. Bill 10

    So it seems that unwarranted surveillance will likely be for 24 hours and specifically on terrorist matters.

    Meaning that anyone can be spied on for 24 hours for any reason and a warrant then sought to pursue fishing expedition catches on the basis of ‘information received’.

    Not good enough.

  11. sir pat 11

    i like Annes comment….”global corporate tyranny”….but would change the last word to terrorism…..they are worse than the so called Isis threat. i cannot help but think that these new powers will be used to quash anything and anyone who object in anyway to what is the established order.
    As for Shonkey watering down this effort it will be just a way to blindside us come next year with his new improved measures.
    i read many well thought out posSt here and at other blogs but i wonder does having places like this remove the instensity of conviction we used to have which would get us out on the streets and showing/telling the govt “LISTEN UP YOU PRICKS WE DO NOT WANT THIS!!! “….perhaps the electronics age is turning us into “puter protesters”?

    • Chooky 11.1

      ..good points…but I think people are just getting up to speed on the implications of this Bill….and more to come!

      ..if it does get implemented I think there will be lot of protest! ….and it wont look pretty for the Labour Party if it has supported it

    • Murray Simmonds 11.2

      Absolutely right on those points, Sir Pat. And I too wondered what Key was signalling in “the new improved measures”!

      Betcha there will be a new term bandied about before much longer – something like “Economic Terrorism”. It will apply to anyone who protests against the economic status quo. The State Terrorism Act will apply to them/us just as surely as it applies to the ISIL-inspired murderers and barbarians.

      it will particularly refer to anyone who dares to oppose the relentless march towards world economic domination by the big overseas multinationals/corporates who demand unfettered access to our internal markets. It is them, and their desire for money, more money and still more money via unrestricted access to the NZ market that this bill is all about.

  12. Little’s position is survile.

    It legitimates Key’s spying, not just for 24 hours without warrant.

    It legitimates the ‘warrants’ the SIS will pull out of its 5 eyes arse to retrospectively justify such spying.

    This after Key was on the ropes during the election and forced to admit that we are all being spied on by the NSA.

    We know the premises of the NSA spying for the ‘war on terror’.

    They are that the US defined war on terror is justified, and any critique or opposition to it as a consequence of of its global reign of terror is treason.

    In sucking up to Key Little is saying we accept every justification that the US has thrown at us since 9/11 as legitimating the sacrifice of our rights to criticise and oppose both US imperialism and its NZ lackey NACT regime.

    Little turns the Labour Party into part of US global terror machine.

    • Paul 12.1

      Accommodating the Tories does not work for the left’s principles. The Labour Party should know this by now.

      Did pandering to Thatcher’s legacy help Blair turn the UK into a fairer society and reverse neoliberalism?
      Did pandering to Bush’s legacy help Obama turn the US into a fairer society and reverse neoliberalism?

      Of course not…
      Only by following a new way, like the South Americans have, can we rid ourselves of the plague of neoliberalism.

      If they support this, it looks like Labour will support the TPPA as well.

  13. barry 13

    Little had come close to getting my vote with his recent statements. But then he goes and agrees to increasing the powers of the SIS to spy on him and his supporters (and me). The SIS is NOT Labour’s friend, and they are not good for political freedom in NZ.

    To vote for increased SIS powers (whatever crumbs National offers) is a kick in the guts for any social activists who will end up being spied on.

    Labour now abetting John Key: spying and Lying since 2008.

  14. RedBaronCV 14

    I’d like labour to vote against this. They need to put a stop to the salami slicing tactics of the Nacts. and get them to understand that “no” means “no.”

    There doesn’t look like any justification for it and if Key got out of Iraq instead of sucking up to the Yanks then the ‘no reason to do it’ dives even further. Once it’s in then it will be modified at a later date.
    Look how long Canty has gone without a regional council soon, soon yeah …

  15. philj 15

    Labour missed an opportunity to take a principled position on privacy and human rights. AL could have had JK on the ropes for a bit longer. He gave JK a breather.

  16. Sabine 16

    Hmmmm

    http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/jp3_63.pdf

    quote: Unprivileged enemy belligerents are belligerents who do not qualify for the
    distinct privileges of combatant status (e.g., combatant immunity). Examples of
    unprivileged belligerents are:

    (a) Individuals who have forfeited the protections of civilian status by joining
    or substantially supporting an enemy non-state armed group in the conduct of hostilities, and

    (b) Combatants who have forfeited the privileges of combatant status by
    engaging in spying, sabotage, or other similar acts behind enemy lines.

    —————————————————————

    “A purely military emergency could give no excuse for disregarding International
    Law. Because victory is endangered, victory must not be pursued by breaking the
    law on the grounds of necessity, because the laws of warfare are supposed to rule
    over this conflict which is always connected with need and want.”
    Trial of German War Criminals, Nuremberg, 1946

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