Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


New Zealand Stance on Drone Killings Attacked

New Zealand Stance on Drone Killings Attacked

5 June 2014

A Christchurch academic and lawyer has accused the Prime Minister of washing his hands of the killing of a New Zealander (Muslim bin John) and an Australian (Salma al Russi) in a US drone strike in Yemen.

Speaking at a public lecture in Christchurch, David Small said that the moment New Zealand intelligence agencies hand over information to a country with an active kill-first-ask-questions-later drone campaign, the New Zealand government has a responsibility to ensure that the subject of that intelligence is not subject to extra-judicial killing.

He said that the Prime Minister’s cavalier attitude to the drone killings sits very uneasily with long-held legal commitments to not allow people to be deported or extradited to situations where they risk being tortured or executed.

Dr Small noted that just months before the killings, President Obama had given a major address in which he promised that people would be killed by drones only if they posed an immediate and ongoing threat and if they could not be captured.

“Vague claims that these guys attended ‘terrorist training camps’ come nowhere near meeting that threshold”, said Dr Small. Furthermore, there is no evidence of any attempt to capture these men, even though they were in telephone contact with family in this part of the world.

Citing the Ahmed Zaoui case, the Urewera raids and the APEC break-in and bomb hoax, Dr Small said that New Zealand’s intelligence agencies have a very poor record of generating accurate intelligence and using lawful methods.

He said that claims that the men were Al Quaeda foot soldiers were sketchy and highly questionable. “Unless they are children dressed up on their way to a wedding, everyone who is killed by a US drone gets defined as a militant”, said Dr Small.

Dr Small dismissed as preposterous claims that the Christchurch mosque, which has been under surveillance since 2003, is some kind of haven for radicalism. He said that nobody he knows who knew Al Russi during his time in Christchurch considered him anything like a dangerous radical.

There is a very real chance that the deaths of these men were, at least in part, the result of New Zealand intelligence agencies having too much time on their hands and not enough terrorists to catch, he said.

Dr Small says that this new situation makes it untenable for New Zealand intelligence agencies to continue to refuse to divulge information about New Zealanders that they hold on file. Failure to disclose information that is incorrect and contributes to somebody’s death really does amount to extra-judicial killing.

David Small is a Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Canterbury and a lawyer. He has been researching in the area of national security and civil liberties since 1996, and in 2011 was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at Georgetown University in Washington DC studying the impact of the “war on terror” on low-risk states. In 1996, he caught two SIS agents illegally breaking into an activist’s home and subsequently took a successful prosecution against the Police for unlawfully searching his home.

An edited transcript of Dr Small’s lecture can be found here: http://axesofjustice.blogspot.co.nz/2014/06/drone-wars-strike-home.html

A recording can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCOneyZmiOk

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Parliament Today:

The Kids: OECD Report Shows Huge Impact Of Poverty On Education

A new report from the OECD has again highlighted the negative effects of poverty, showing that disadvantaged children in New Zealand are more than six times more likely to underachieve in maths than children from wealthier homes. More>>

ALSO:

Pacific: NZ Pledges $500,000 To Help Address Zika

“With the Zika virus now confirmed in a number of Pacific countries, New Zealand is committed to helping limit the impact and spread of the virus in the region,” says Mr McCully. “New Zealand will provide $250,000 as a contribution to the WHO to implement the Pacific Zika Action Plan, and a further $250,000 to enable countries in the region to respond rapidly if required." More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Police Commissioner 'Doesn’t Get Force Needs'

The Police Commissioner has let down the public and his own force by insisting the police have what they need despite it taking a year to solve a burglary and overwhelming number of officers saying they are under-resourced, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Pressure To Expand Our Role In Iraq

Foreign news services are being more forthcoming about what the “next 12 months” will entail – essentially, the defence ministers will be under US pressure to increase their “training” role preparatory to an assault on the city of Mosul in northern Iraq. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Restarts: Prime Minister’s Statement

Our policy agenda and legislative programme will reflect the Government’s four priorities: • to responsibly manage the Government’s finances • to build a more competitive and productive economy • to deliver better public services to New Zealanders, an • to support the rebuilding of Christchurch. More>>

ALSO:

NZEI Survey Report: Special Needs Students Missing Out

The survey revealed that around 16 percent of students were on schools’ special needs registers, but nearly 90 percent of schools’ special needs coordinators did not believe there was adequate support for students and their learning... More>>

ALSO:

Interim Report: Waitangi Tribunal On Ture Whenua Legislation

Labour on Proposed changes to Maori land rules: “To have Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson dismiss findings as ‘bizarre’ is totally disingenuous and disrespectful. What’s bizarre is Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell stubbornly pushing through this Bill before the Waitangi Tribunal has even completed its report..." More>>

ALSO:

Spy Update: Appointment Of GCSB Acting Director

GCSB Chief Legal Advisor Lisa Fong will become the Acting Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) from 15 February 2016, Minister Responsible for the GCSB Christopher Finlayson announced today. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news