Monday, 21 March 2016

The government lies yet again

John Key LIES about Jihadi brides

An uncharacteristically strong-worded editorial from the Dom Post

Editorial: The public were misled by the fiction about Kiwi jihadi brides

SIS director Rebecca Kitteridge talks about the increase in New Zealand 'Jihadi Brides' . FAIRFAXNZ

21 March, 2016

Editorial:The jihadi brides affair is extremely damaging for the Government. It raises serious questions about the accuracy of claims made by John Key, SIS boss Rebecca Kitteridge and Security Intelligence Minister Chris Finlayson.

Kitteridge told MPs in December that there had been a rise in the number of New Zealand women travelling to Syria and Iraq. Key referred to them as "jihadi brides".

This clearly left the impression that the women were leaving from this country. Now it has become clear that they left from Australia.

But Key and Kitteridge did nothing to correct the false impression they left. It is nonsense to say, as Finlayson does, that the women's point of departure is "irrelevant".

The security threat from women based #here is plainly greater than that from New Zealand citizens in Australia. The politicians and the spy boss know this very well. But it obviously suited their purposes to leave the false impression. After all, they were trying to warn New Zealand about the enemy within, not the enemy in Australia.

If Labour ministers had made these misleading statements, Key and Finlayson would be howling for their blood. The affair is also very damaging for Kitteridge. She made her reputation as the new broom, the straight-talking official whose report on the GCSB was described by Key as "fairly damning".

Kitteridge's report recommended many changes, including a far tougher regime of internal accountability. She also recommended a radical reform of the office and powers of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, the spy services' watchdog.

In this case Kitteridge is hoist by her own petard. She has championed accountability – but failed to set the record straight on a serious issue of national security.

The matter is so serious, in fact, that the new Inspector-General, Cheryl Gwyn, should investigate.

Chris Finlayson, finally, has shown he is not fit to be an intelligence minister. He says what matters is that the jihadi brides are New Zealanders and they might return to this country. It certainly matters that they might come back here.

But misleading the public about where they come from matters just as much.

Finlayson reacts to the charges with his characteristic blend of bluster and contempt. #He won't say sorry because "you just don't go around handing out apologies willy nilly".

Public confidence in the spy services has been badly shaken by the scandals and shambles of the last few years. Finlayson's arrogance compounds the problem, rather than solving it.

He shows politicians will use misleading and inflammatory language about security and then refuse to do anything when caught out. This affair comes just as the Government is about to take up Sir Michael Cullen's recommendations giving great new powers to the spies.

Why should we trust those new powers to the likes of Key, Kitteridge and Finlayson?

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