Stand with Christchurch

Yesterday, Friday 15 March 2019, white supremacists committed acts of terrorism against multiple Mosques in Christchurch where people were peacefully going about their prayers. In the ensuing attacks, 49 people were murdered. Improvised explosive devices were found by Police near the scene of at least one attack.

This is NOT what Christchurch stands for. This is NOT what New Zealand stands for. We are horrified beyond belief that such utter cowardice could be perpetrated against people carrying out totally legitimate activities.

Because of that, Will New Zealand Be Right will not publish until Sunday 17 March 2019. Stay safe. Reach out to any any friends you have in ethnic communities. Give thanks to the Police for the magnificent job they are doing bringing these people to justice.


No place for Jihadi’s in New Zealand

Recently it has emerged that a New Zealander who served with what most people recognize as Islamic State, wants to come home and says that despite his activities, he is still a New Zealander. But was this really Islamic State he fought and not something masquerading as one, whilst being something entirely different?

Islamic State is not a State and nor is it Islamic. It is Daesh. The term Daesh is an Arabic term normally uttered with disgust or contempt and it refers to those who try to impose views on others that any proper discourse would take to be bigotted. It takes the most outdated parts of the Qu’ran and turns them into law. Those laws and the principles on which they were founded are completely contrary to New Zealand, New Zealand law and New Zealanders expectations.

A person who leaves New Zealand to support such an organisation is thereby saying that they no longer want to respect the laws and customs of New Zealand. They are saying that they support a type of organisation that is expressly forbidden under New Zealand terrorism laws and that they see no problems with actions that pose a potential threat to our national security.

Such a person cannot have a place in New Zealand. Should such people be allowed to live in New Zealand they would have to be subject to surveillance that under any other circumstances I think New Zealanders would disagree with, and possibly even protest.

Thus I come to the conclusion that Mark John Taylor, a New Zealander who has gone to Syria and served Daesh has no place coming back to New Zealand. Mr Taylor has committed a criminal offence in burning his New Zealand passport, as well as encouraging people to wage jihad on A.N.Z.A.C. Day. His remorse is at best, questionable – was he really naive and just being silly or did Mr Taylor really know what he was doing? My thoughts are that it is probably the latter: he knew what he was doing and why.

How Mr Taylor comes back to New Zealand is unknown. He faces a number of legal and logistical hurdles, long before he gets to the New Zealand border (airport). The first is that there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence of any kind in Syria, which means that he would have to leave the country and go probably to Israel, Lebanon, Jordan or Turkey to present at a New Zealand embassy or other diplomatic mission. Having made it that far – and assuming he was not held at the border of his country of choice – Mr Taylor will have no documentation on him since he destroyed his passport and whatever New Zealand mission he presents at will become aware of his past and might well conclude that it is not proper for them to issue him some kind of visa or other documentation allowing him to go home.

And then, even if he somehow makes it to Customs at a New Zealand airport or other border entry point, Mr Taylor will be of keen interest to the New Zealand Police and Customs. He will most probably be taken into custody whilst they establish who he is, his intentions and whether he poses a threat. He will have to answer before a court of law or other hearing as to what he was doing in Syria and be prepared for the probability of criminal charges relating to that.

So, whilst it looks like we are not going to strip him of his nationality, there probably cannot be a much harder legal road ahead if he tried. And as it is of his own making he should not expect sympathy.

Changes to terrorism control laws?

A review of the laws that govern how New Zealand deals with terrorism has been announced by the Minister for the Government Communications Security Bureau (G.C.S.B.) and the Security Intelligence Service (S.I.S.).The Minister of Justice, Andrew Little, announced the review whilst saying that the 2007 Urewera raids where Police swooped on Tuhoe. Those raids, which generated nation wide controversy were seen as a test of the Terrorism Supression Act 2002 and the more recent Counter Terrorism Act.

The Urewera raids are widely viewed as a failure. The Police handling of them was poor and nearly all of the charges laid in the aftermath wound up being dropped because they were not admissible in court.

The Police now say that they would be reluctant to use the laws if there were grounds for doing so.

I have reservations myself. On one hand the law needs to be strong enough to prove a worthwhile deterrent – the sentences for terrorist related activities I believe need to be strengthened. On the other hand it needs to respect human rights and civil rights law – detainees need to be charged with something quickly or released; property should not be able to be searched without a warrant.

I agree with the need to review the law and believe that a review clause should be inserted, with a recommendation for legislative change if the review panel deems this necessary. But to add another piece of legislation to the existing mix, is not something I believe is necessary.

The countries in New Zealand’s neighbourhood where Islamic fighters are returning in a radicalized state have a different set of problems to what we face here. Those countries – Australia exempt – do not have as strong judicial processes as we do here. Malaysia and Singapore, as well as Indonesia are predominantly Muslim countries and therefore have strong Islamic influence. The radicalization that is happening would be taking place in Mosques. Most of the Muslim population who have come to New Zealand did so to get away from war, famine and civil instability in their home countries. Some may have come as migrants.

New Zealand also does not participate in military actions going on in Middle East countries to the same extent that Australia or its allies, the United States and Britain do. Whilst these are nations that are significant friends of New Zealand, they have a more America-centric orientation in terms of geopolitical priorities. New Zealand’s are more focussed on the Southwest Pacific.

This is not to say we should ignore the Muslim population. We should not give exceptional treatment to any group and they, like any others who are deemed a hazard, should be monitored accordingly. Whilst New Zealand has mosques, Islamic fighters are only a part of the small number of people who are thought to be a concern to the Security Intelligence Service (S.I.S.). A total of 30-40 people are thought to be of interest to the S.I.S.

Theresa May announces her own War on Terrorism

So, British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced her own “War on Terrorism”. Two days after the attack on the Ariana Grande concert, we hear that the British Prime Minister has decided that Britain has its own “War on Terrorism” to wage.
My immediate reaction was, how is this going to help? If it goes the way of the American “War on Terror”, it is going end in disaster.
There is so much western Governments do not understand about terrorism, or they do understand it, but their desire to look tough in the face of danger means they break every rule in the book.
One of the most irksome is terrorists want mass media coverage, notoriety, glory – call what you may – and we hand it to them in gigabytes. We rush to cover their attention grabbing acts, to hear the politicians vow to get tough, to slam through poorly thought out knee jerk laws. In this deeply interconnected world, where an e-mail or text message can travel around the world in a matter of seconds, where I can post things on Facebook and my brothers American in-laws will see it almost immediately, it is impossible to get away from the coverage.
Yes it is dreadful. Yes we should be shocked that totally innocent people were killed and maimed, but it is time to take a stand and ask where are we going wrong – why is this not only happening, but getting more and more frequent? The commonest answers “because they hate us” are grotesquely oversimplified. Without writing a PhD on the causes of terrorism though, it is brazenly obvious that the western approach is failing or has failed. So let us have a look at why.
Those laws, those fearful reactions, that horror is precisely what the terrorists want. They want to create a climate of fear and the Government – not just the U.S. and British Governments – are rushing blindly into the trap.
Another is a complete, abject and possibly quite deliberate failure to report critically on the War on Terrorism. There is a shocking tendency to use vague generic language – I mean how often have you heard “A top/key/senior al-Qaida commander has been killed by a __________ in _________”. The vagaries are to lull the public into a false sense of progress being made; a false sense of this can be won”.
The media are supposed to be the ally of free people. They are supposed to critique the Government, report big stories such as inappropriate use of tax payer money, perjury, dodgy weapons deals such as the one between Donald Trump’s administration and Saudi Arabia and so on.
The third is the public rush to believe uncritically the politicians who espouse toughness against terrorism; who ram laws through like a medieval battering ram. We cannot win when the public cannot have a say on the very laws that are supposed to protect them (“We the people” and all that, America…).
Well, yes it can be won, but it sure ain’t gonna be won by waging aggressive wars in foreign lands your governments and the military establishments under their command know nothing about – and probably care even less.
The real ways to beat terrorism are not sexy, for the most part do not need cluster bombs, cruise missiles, or ground invasions. It certainly does not need regimes that care not a jot about humanity to be propped up by the supposed leaders of the free world, or for the clock to be continually banging past thirteen as George Orwell spins in his grave, realizing 1984 has become a manual of some grotesque sort.
The west can beat terrorism, but we are going 180º in the opposite direction to that which we should be going.

Beware the lone wolves of terrorism


That famous message to the people of Britain as they endured night after night of the Luftwaffe bombing their houses into the ground reassured many a Briton during the Blitz. It resonated again on 7 July 2005 in the London underground and bus attacks by al-Qaida inspired militants. And no doubt again as Briton deals with the aftermath of another terrorist attack, it shall be on peoples minds yet again.

As we remember the victims of the 22 March 2017 terrorist attack outside Parliament in London, British authorities will be beginning to piece together how the lone attacker in the latest attack came to be a terrorist. They will be looking to see whether he has connections to any radical groups, his background and political views. They will be wanting to hear from his family, friends and others who knew him.

People will be understandably angry and upset that this happened in their home country. They will be demanding to know what can be done and will be done to avoid it happening again in the future. I hope that they are channeling their inner anger towards remembering Britain is a democracy and that there is no winners from clamping down on liberties, except the very terrorists the country claims to be fighting. The country that stood bravely with her colonies against the force of the German war machine in the early 1940’s before America and Russia came on board has been through worse and survived.

It shall survive this too.

But when the mourning ends and people start to move on, Britain will need to remember that this was a lone wolf type attack. It was the act of a single person acting on – so far as one can currently tell – their own accord. It was not by a group or large well funded organization such as Islamic State, even if they do approve of the attack. The attacker was armed with a knife. Notably he did not appear to have guns or explosive devices, which would have caused many more deaths, and raised questions about external funding, logistics and material support. Nor was the type of attack carried out original, with several such incidents involving vehicles being deliberately driven into crowds having occurred in other countries, namely France and Germany in 2016.

The lone wolf attacker is, in many ways more dangerous, as they cannot be easily spotted. They answer to no one – whereas a sleeper cell is usually connected in some way to a larger group or other cells, thus implying a chain of command exists. The same person is more mobile. They can go where they want, and might have used their own funds to buy what they needed to carry out the attack. Unless there were suspect purchases on credit card or whatever the British equivalent of an EFTPOS card is, finding the supplier or proving that those materials might have been used, is very difficult.

It also raises a whole lot of questions about far one should go – if at all – in curbing civil liberties. Does a state of emergency get declared? Do new rules about what can be done and not done in certain places get introduced? Do we have metal detectors at all major public places? As problematic as these questions are, I would be willing to bet they will be bouncing around in the heads of law makers and debating chambers across Britain in the coming days and weeks.

Are we going to stop all lone men and women from driving cars near the British Parliament just because a lunatic, who was apparently born in Britain went mad with a knife and hurt a whole lot of people? Not necessarily, but Britain should