While intelligence agencies were looking in all the wrong places, a conspicuous target slipped through the cracks, writes Suzie Dawson.
By Suzie Dawson
Special to Consortium News
Now that the bodies of 49 innocent human beings are lying in a Christchurch, New Zealand, morgue — gunned down by a heavily armed terrorist — New Zealand media are asking the obvious questions: why didn’t our intelligence agencies know there were xenophobic, murderous, white supremacists on the loose in Christchurch?
“Questions are being asked of the nation’s security services in the wake of a mass shooting described as ‘one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” Stuff.co.nz reports and quotes a University of Waikato professor of international law, Alexander Gillespie, as saying: ‘If it’s a cell we need to ask why weren’t they detected, because that’s why we have security services and it may be that those services have been looking under the wrong rocks.’ ”
According to the same article, in response to the terrorist attack, “A crisis meeting of national security agencies was held at Police National Headquarters in Wellington after the shooting.“
In the NZ Herald, veteran intelligence reporter David Fisher asked many pertinent questions in an opinion piece titled “Christchurch massacre – what did we miss and who missed it?”
“We need answers,” says Fisher. “The NZSIS [New Zealand’s equivalent of the FBI] – and its electronic counterpart, the Government Communications Security Bureau – have more funding than ever, and almost double the staff numbers they had six years ago. They also now have the most powerful legislation they have ever had.”
We know thanks to the findings of an inquiry by the State Services Commission last December that as many as a dozen government agencies, including the NZ Police, were too busy squandering their resources spying on NGOs such as GreenpeaceNZ; political parties such as the New Zealand Green Party and then-Internet Party aligned Mana Movement, as well as on anti-TPP protesters and activists such as myself.
As if that wasn’t egregious…