COMMENT: PM Helen's response suggests she has ignored the Aziz Choudry-David Small case of 1996-99. Her display of "plausible denial" is unconvincing.

Intelligence Sources Say SIS Investigating Maori Party
By Selwyn Manning – Scoop Co-Editor [Abridged]
Thursday, 11 November 2004, 10:22 pm
Scoop Exclusive: Intelligence sources have revealed the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (SIS) has launched a major covert operation investigating the Maori Party, co-leader Tariana Turia, its members, networks and associates. Intelligence information came to light on Monday November 1st amidst speculation that political fallout from an inquiry into John Tamihere’s taxation affairs could have resulted in his resignation not only from Cabinet but also from Parliament. The later event would have forced a by-election in his Tamaki Makaurau seat...

Spies blow whistle on Operation Leaf
A group of dissident spies has launched an unprecedented attack on the SIS, saying it has misused its powers by bugging law-abiding Maori for political intelligence. The SIS's Operation Leaf, they say, has been used to find "dirt" on individuals, and intelligence about iwi divisions, finances and Treaty claims. Now they question the service's leadership and strategy.
Spies have never before broken ranks in New Zealand. Now three have done so and say they have evidence of a scandal. Their claim that the SIS has bugged "decent, law-abiding New Zealanders" has been made many times by liberal and left-wing activists. But now, for the first time, the accusation comes from within the intelligence community. Their testimony also shows disagreements about the SIS' strategy and its operation, and about its handling of major issues such as the Zaoui affair. Some also criticise the leadership of SIS director Richard Woods. This, too, is unprecedented news from inside the castle. It seems not all is well in the kingdom of secrets.
"Peter", one of the spies interviewed in an Asian capital, said he broke the SIS code of silence because he felt guilty. His work on Operation Leaf - a widespread bugging operation against Maori individuals and organisations - had been a burden on his conscience and he felt "cleansed" by speaking about it. He seemed in conflict about his role as whistle-blower. On the one hand, he remains a "loyal New Zealander" and a supporter of the service. But he says he was disgusted when told to bug ordinary people.
He offered to apologise to the Maori whose computers he had targeted. He had grown up in the area, he explained, and had friends in the Maori community. Remarkably, the people whose computers he claims to have bugged agreed to co-operate with the newspaper and not to divulge his real name. The iwi organisation allowed the newspaper to do a thorough search of its accounts and computer records. Invoices and diary entries provided a paper trail of all Peter's work on home and office computers over three years...

The claims about Operation Leaf raise acute issues of accountability. SIS operatives have been involved in infiltration of Maori gangs as part of a campaign against organised crime. But Peter says the net was spread much more widely: well beyond legitimate targets suspected of sedition. He believes there is potential for Maori groups to be manipulated...

The three spies seem cynical about SIS accountability systems. One says all attempts to call spies to account through parliamentary committees or watchdogs like New Zealand's inspector-general of security had failed. Secrecy could not co-exist with accountability...
There is also division about the orientation and leadership of the SIS, which he says is far too deferential to the larger western intelligence agencies, especially the Americans and the British...
One of the operatives says the SIS told him to start an email correspondence with Maori activist Whititera Kaihau, a leader of the Ngati Te Ata tribe of Manukau...
The spies claim that the SIS targeted politicians and those active in the Maori Party. Peter says he was told by the SIS to cultivate a Maori MP. Another intelligence source says he was told in mid-2002 that another Maori MP was a "hot target" - SIS jargon for someone being bugged. Maori Party leader Tariana Turia, interviewed by the Star-Times, could cast no light on the matter. However, she did say that in about March this year she had had trouble with the phone in her ministerial house... When allegations surfaced on the Scoop website that the Maori Party had been bugged, Richard Woods had spoken to Turia twice, once on the phone and once in person, assuring her the allegations were untrue. He also told her that he had spoken to Prime Minister Helen Clark and she had issued her statement calling the claims "laughable".
"I said, 'Well, I hope it is laughable, Richard'," Turia said. She had accepted his assurances.

Citizens targeted by SIS
The SIS has been involved in a widespread and probably unlawful campaign to infiltrate and bug Maori organisations, three spies have told the Sunday Star-Times. They provided a detailed description of a top-secret programme called Operation Leaf, a major SIS campaign targeting a variety of Maori organisations and individuals over several years...
The Star-Times' six-week investigation of the spy claims has taken us to Australia and Asia, where the men were interviewed. Their allegations suggest the SIS is going well beyond its statutory role which allows it to spy on New Zealanders when the country's security is at stake through terrorism, espionage, sabotage and attempts to overthrow the government by force.
A week ago, when hints of the SIS Maori spying story leaked to the Scoop news website, Prime Minister Helen Clark responded that "any rational reading" of the NZSIS Act showed the suggestion was "laughable". She pointed out the act prohibited the SIS from carrying out surveillance of anyone "engaged in lawful advocacy, protest or dissent". When told this newspaper had carried out an extended investigation, she declined an interview, saying through a spokesperson that she never commented on security matters...
Clark is the minister in charge of the SIS and signs all interception warrants. However, the operations described in Leaf appear to have used surveillance techniques that did not require formal warrants and therefore reporting to the minister and parliament. It is not clear that Clark would have been informed of the existence or the scale of Operation Leaf.
One of the three operatives spoken to by the Star-Times says he was directed to win the confidence of senior people in the Maori community and to gain access to and bug their computers. Over about three years he covertly collected "thousands of pages of documents" from the computers and passed them to his SIS "handler" - a woman called "Margaret".
The operation targeted groups and individuals, from known radicals and people with criminal records to respected regional leaders, iwi organisations and Maori politicians...
Until October 1, 2003, SIS operatives could covertly access other people's computer systems without obtaining a SIS interception warrant. It is not clear whether warrants were obtained for the Leaf operations after that date.
The Operation Leaf spies say they were instructed to profile Maori leaders and gather intelligence on their internal iwi business, negotiations with government, Waitangi claim processes, inter-tribal communications and more - as well as keeping an eye out for "dirt".
They were not told whether the intelligence they gathered was passed to the government or how it was used.

PM says paper's spy story 'a work of fiction'
NZ Herald  22.11.2004
Prime Minister Helen Clark has labelled as a "work of fiction" a newspaper story alleging the Security Intelligence Service improperly spied on Maori organisations and individuals. She said in Chile at the Apec summit that SIS director Richard Woods had told her the articles published in yesterday's Sunday Star-Times were fiction...
The Sunday Star-Times said the spies had claimed the Maori Party was also a target, confirming an earlier report on news website Scoop. Mrs Turia, who had not believed the earlier Scoop report, said yesterday that she was stunned by the revelations. She would take legal advice today about the legislation governing SIS activity, and would also discuss the issue with other Maori leaders...
Meanwhile, Green list MP Keith Locke backed the call for an inquiry, saying the allegations showed the SIS was going way beyond its legal mandate and was engaged in "political harassment". "The SIS has no justification in spying on Maori organisations whose only crime is to disagree with Government policies."
Auckland Council for Civil Liberties president Barry Wilson said parliamentary oversight of the SIS was inadequate. Parliament's intelligence and security committee was simply a "rubber stamp" for the SIS's activities, he said...

Maori Party calls on Inspector General to investigate SIS activities
Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party
Scoop 22 November 2004
‘I have today, written to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Retired Judge, Hon. Paul Neazor, to ask him to initiate an immediate inquiry into the allegations made about the activities of the Security Intelligence Service’, co-leader of the Maori Party, Tariana Turia, said today.
‘There are too many serious questions left unanswered. New Zealanders take for granted that our freedom to live in an open democracy is a basic standard of living for our nation’ said Mrs Turia.
‘These latest allegations suggest that ordinary New Zealanders, Maori New Zealanders, are having their basic human rights infringed upon’.
‘The Prime Minister’s response that the allegations are a ‘work of fiction’, or ‘laughable’, is not sufficient to allay the concerns of every-day, decent law-abiding citizens, that they too, will not run the risk of coming under SIS surveillance if they join the Maori Party, or happen to belong to an Iwi that opposes a Government that legitimises theft’ said Mrs Turia.

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