Tide is Turning

In 2004, Prime Minister Helen Clark and the New Zealand Labour government passed legislation declaring Crown ownership of the New Zealand foreshore and seabed. The indigenous people of Aotearoa / New Zealand - The Maaori people - having suffered the effects of land confiscation for over 150 years, recognised this legislation for what it was - land confiscation

A nationwide call to action saw 30,000 people from all over the country converging in the parliament grounds to challenge the Prime Minister to reconsider passing the legislation.

She did not. The legislation has since been described as "discriminatory" by the Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination - a UN body, and black sand mining for steel on the West Coast of the North Island seems imminent

see also:The Rush to Mine The Pacific Seabed- A Fiji Perspective.

Reports of gold in South Pacific waters are attracting prospectors to the region. Meanwhile, a South Korean company has secured mineral exploration rights in Tonga.

A report by Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Limited states that 'big-time gold prospectors are scouring the seas between Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand after reports of gold deposits in South Pacific waters'.
The report quotes New Zealand's Dominion Post newspaper as reporting that the gold rush has become hi-tech with serious players spending big money.

'At stake in the waters of New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji and around the potentially disputed continental shelf boundaries of the three are high-grade gold, copper, zinc, lead and silver'

Māori now terrorists, too?

extract form Against Freedom, written by Valerie Morse

There are many people and organisations willing to challenge the legitimacy of the state to control their lives, their working conditions and their lands. Increasingly, their struggles are interconnected by the common forces of oppression: corporate exploitation and state violence.

Māori have been challenging the political status quo for nearly 200 years. Th ey have always been cast as the enemy by the state and the media. Now, their increasing numbers and willingness to take action disturbs the delicately balanced parliamentary coalition. In 2004 a large number of Māori converged on a fundamental issue — ownership of the seabed and foreshore. A 25000-person hikoi (march) to the steps of parliament was met with a stony response from the Labour-led government. Th e government plan to extinguish customary title to this area would be realised regardless of iwi consultations or international law. Just after the passage of the legislation, applications to mine the seabed of the West Coast for both
gold and iron were received. The timing of these applications, coupled with the work in 2005 by Treasury to determine how to value the seabed and foreshore and thus include it in fi nancial statements, provided hard evidence of the government’s agenda: confi scation of land for corporate profit.

As a result of this new grievance, the Māori party was formed. This political party, led by former Labour member of Parliament
Tariana Turia, has united much of Māoridom. It is a serious challenger for all of the Māori seats in parliament that have been traditionally held by Labour. Th e rise to prominence of the Māori party and the militancy of some voices within Māoridom interested the NZSIS. In a remarkable exposé, the Sunday Star-Times alleged that Sunday Star-Times alleged that Sunday Star-Times NZSIS agents had been conducting ‘Operation Leaf,’ involving surveillance of prominent
Māori, the Māori party and other Māori organisations. When asked in one interview about the risk to national security
posed by the Māori under investigation, one NZSIS agent said that he approaches parliament.
was told that it was to help fi ght the war on terrorism. But he said he knew it was for collecting dirt on the individuals involved, noting that “the government was keen to get any useful nuggets from internal communications be-
tween Maoris … peace groups, academics, activists, politicians, gang leaders.”10 When asked about the timing of the operation — September 2003 — he said that it was not a concern because he knew that “the service could fi nd a way around”the new law prohibiting access to or tampering with computer equipment that was to take eff ect on 1 October.

A subsequent review of the matter by the inspector-general of the Security Intelligence Service could not corroborate these claims and he dismissed the entire matter as a “work of fi ction.”12 Th e sources could not be located and the editor of the Sunday Star-Times has apologised to the NZSIS and the public. Th is elaborate hoax perpetrat-
ed on a major newspaper raises some serious questions. Who would benefit from such a hoax? What were they hoping to achieve?

In an interview immediately after the inspector-general’s report, terrorism expert Dr Paul Buchanan, a lecturer at the University of Auckland, speculated that the hoax could well have been perpetrated by the NZSIS. He outlined four possible scenarios for the hoax and concluded that this was the most likely. Th e sources quoted by the newspaper were described as contract agents of the NZSIS. Dr Buchanan noted that the use of such agents is common in smaller intelligence agencies such as that of New Zealand. The newspaper had been a particularly harsh critic of the service over the handling of the Ahmed Zaoui aff air. The agency would have had strong reason to want to discredit the paper and make its editor reluctant to publish
any more negative articles about the NZSIS. The timing of the aff air and the subsequent inspector-general’s inquiry indicate that those involved were keenly aware of the political processes that would make this issue cleverly disappear before the
2005 election. Th e service’s involvement in both intelligence and counter-intelligence activities suggests that it has the capability to pull off such a caper.

It would hardly be surprising if the NZSIS did orchestrate this hoax in order to silence a newspaper that was critical of it. Intelligence agencies have conducted far more serious operations. It is also not surprising that the review by the inspector-general was a whitewash; he is unable to independently investigate the matter. He is a servant of the state and can look no further than the evidence presented by either side. Th e review process is useless in protecting the public from abuses of power by the service because it is entirely dependent on them. It seems unlikely that the truth about ‘Opera-
tion Leaf’ will ever be known.

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