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SIS, SIG, CTAG, TAU, GCSB - the spies are in the news (again!)

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What 'intelligence' organisations such as the (SIS) or the Special Investigation Group (SIG) hate the most is publicity about their own activities. To the frustration of New Zealand's spies, their work - and their outrageous mess-ups - seem to get splattered across the country's major newspapers and broadcasted all over the 6pm news every other month. After Rob Gilchrist was outed as a paid informant for the SIG and Threat Assessment Unit (TAU) for around 10 years in December 2008, it is now the SIS' turn.

Several activists and groups, including the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa, Marie Leadbeater (Indonesia Human Rights Committee), Keith Locke (Green Party MP and former member of Socialist Action League), Tim Shadbolt (now Mayor of Invercargill) and others have recently received their SIS file. What they found is quite astonishing.

Links: The CAFCA File: SIS spying on protest group for 25 years

Maire Leadbeater

Maire Leadbeater (63) is a long-time activist on peace issues. She was an early SIS target because of her Christchurch parents, Elsie and Jack Locke, who were prominent members of the New Zealand Communist Party and community activists. Elsie Locke left the Communist Party in 1956 when the Soviet Union invaded Hungary, but her husband stayed.

Leadbeater's file, which she received late last year, begins when she was 10, with a note that she delivered the Communist Party newspaper, the People's Voice, to the mother of twins in Bangor St, in central Christchurch.

The next item refers to her membership of a junior drama group that the file says was connected with the William Morris (a Fabian socialist) Group, regarded by the SIS as a front for the Communist Party. Elsie Locke performed in the group.

The file continues to track Leadbeater's life, although the SIS lost track of her when she married and took her husband's name. "They lost me for about 13 years," she said. Her file, like most of the others released, contains material from private meetings. "I find that the hardest to accept," Leadbeater said. "That small groups of people gathering together in private homes and offices should have someone planted in the meetings. It's pretty shocking really. It's potentially very bad for democracy because it makes people anxious about involving themselves in free discussion of ideas and has a big impact on trust if you have to think to yourself `one of us could be a source'."

She was surprised to find her file contains a list of every member of the Palestine Human Rights Committee. Her file contained references to the state of her parents' marriage, which the SIS thought would be strained by Elsie's departure from the party. "It's all wrong anyway," Leadbeater said. "It's unpleasant, inaccurate speculation about highly personal family issues."

The most recent item on her file is a reference to a member of the South Auckland Muslim Association who said she would be taking part in a march on September 28, 2002 Leadbeater's activities on behalf of the Fiji Coalition for Democracy, the anti-bases campaigns and the Ahmed Zaoui campaign are not mentioned in the file. "Does this mean that snooping is less or done in a different way?" she said.

Keith Locke

One of Leadbeater's siblings is Green MP Keith Locke, a former Trotskyist and member of the Socialist Action League who has also received his SIS file. He confirmed he had received his own file, which was thick, and his mother's biographer was in possession of his mother's file. He had yet to view his file and was not prepared to comment.

Tim Shadbolt

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt, who was once prominent in a number of radical movements, said he would be travelling to Wellington to uplift his file as part of a TV3 news programme. He was not sure the SIS kept a file on him, but said he would feel a bit insulted if it did not.

"It will make interesting reading. I suspect they would have got a lot more detail if they had just read my book Bullshit and Jellybeans," he said. Shadbolt said he had led at least five radical organisations, including the Radical Students Association and Auckland University Students for the Prevention of Cruelty to Politically Apathetic Humans. "If they figured out what [the latter organisation] was about, then good luck to them because we never could," he said.

Murray Horton

In November, Murray Horton, a former railway worker, applied for the file on the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (Cafca), an organisation he helped found. He received 400 documents, including a cover letter from SIS head Dr Wayne Tucker. It said the spying had stopped. The file presented a "fascinating and disturbing pattern of systematic covert state surveillance of many, many organisations and many hundreds, if not thousands, of people over decades", Horton said.

The identity of agents and sources of information was deleted from the files, said an SIS spokesman said. So much for democracy, Horton said. "Our own little country has been proven to behave towards its dissidents in much the same way as the Communist police states that it used to rail against," he said.

The worst of it was that the Cafca file and others released indiscreet and personally damaging material about named third parties who were not the subject of the surveillance but simply caught up in its net, he said. "A lot of it is salacious gossip, with analyses of named people's marriage problems, drinking habits, etc, etc," Horton said.

"Some of it is laughable, like a report dedicated to the likely impact of feminism and different gender views on abortion on the marriages of named couples." One report contained this reference to Horton: "He likes the sound of his own voice and keeps interrupting the other speakers."

How to get your file

The SIS says they released 26 personal files last years. However, they have also refused to give any information to some people on the existence of a personal file or not. Write to Warren Tucker (Director of Security) stating you want your file sent to you under the Privacy Act.

Warrent Tucker
NZ Security Intelligence Service
PO Box 900
Wellington

Comments

Re: SIS, SIG, CTAG, TAU, GCSB - the spies are in the news (again

This is mostly cut and pasted from an article in the Press.

The CAFCA File: SIS spying on protest group for 25 years

The Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) has recently been given 400 documents (documents, not pages) spanning from the 1970s to the late 90s, by Security Intelligence Service (SIS) Director, Dr Warren Tucker.
According to Murray Horton, the secretary of CAFCA, the SIS file includes:

  • Extremely detailed reports from meetings held in private homes. Mostly these are meeting of third party groups at which CAFCA itself or its members (such as me) were discussed. Obviously the SIS had a spy or spies in those other groups.
  • Reports from year after year of CAFCA Annual General Meetings and various public meetings we organised, including making “covert” calls to one of our speakers to check out who he was and to get him to inadvertently report on the meeting for the SIS. I should stress that these were meetings on subjects like West Coast coal exports and other innocuous topics.
  • Copious analyses of articles on all manner of topics in our newsletter Foreign Control Watchdog. This went on for years.
  • Intercepted private letters.
  • In the case of myself, evidence of dealings between my former employer (the Railways) and the SIS. One report included me on a “troublemakers in the union” list and included evidence of my employer asking the SIS for any evidence that I was connected to the then Socialist Unity Party (I never was, nor any other party). Also reports of my international travels in those years.
  • SIS conclusions that CAFCA was involved in historic “terrorist” acts (we weren’t) and endless speculation as to whether we (collectively and/or individually) were “Communists” (we weren’t).
  • CAFCA was the subject of reports of various SIS Directors to various Prime Ministers.
  • CAFCA was the subject of SIS correspondence with foreign intelligence agencies. CAFCA now has received the material that the SIS sent to foreign intelligence agencies, namely 10 1970s' vintage memos sent to the CIA at the US Embassy. The accompanying letter from Warren Tucker says that they date from the "anti-nuclear ship visit period of (your) history".
  • All details identifying SIS agents or informers have been removed.
Murray Horton says that group has not released this "treasure trove" because "either through sheer naivete or malice, the CAFCA File includes extremely indiscreet and personally damaging material about named third parties, people who were not the subject of the surveillance but simply caught up in its net. A lot of it is salacious gossip, with analyses of named people’s marriage problems, drinking habits, etc, etc. Some of it is laughable – e.g. there is a report dedicated to the likely impact of feminism and different gender views on abortion on the marriages of named couples. There are also gratuitously insulting references to CAFCA leaders such as myself - “he likes the sound of his own voice and keeps interrupting the other speakers”, which we would expect from somebody sent to spy on us."

However, Horton thinks the CAFCA File is only the tip of the iceberg. "Many individual members (not including me, yet) have received their own SIS Personal Files. For example, my colleague Bill Rosenberg has received not only his one but those of both his late parents (which, in the case of his father, Wolfgang Rosenberg, went back to the 1940s). We are aware of at least one sitting MP who has received his/her SIS Personal File, as has one current senior union official. Viewed collectively, these SIS files (the CAFCA one and the personal ones) reveal a fascinating and disturbing pattern of systematic covert State surveillance of many, many organisations (the Philippines Solidarity Network being one example of another group with which I’m involved) and many hundreds, if not thousands, of people over decades. And all in complete breach of the SIS Act which expressly forbids the SIS from spying on legal protest groups."

"All of those SIS Personal Files also include the same gratuitous, personally damaging references to third parties who are not the subjects of the report but have just got swept up into it. It is up to the individuals as to whether they wish to make their SIS Personal Files available to the media."

"We believe that the NZ public and media deserve to have an unprecedented look at the secret work of our spies, to be able to evaluate the calibre of their “intelligence”, and for the public to see what is it that the SIS spends our taxes on. This is not really the stuff of newsbites; for a serious investigative journo, there’s a good long article in it." says Horton.

Apparently SIS Director Tucker confirmed to Murray Horton in writing that the spying on CAFCA has stopped. But he asks: "Where is the democracy if the powers that be exhibit an obsessive compulsion to spy on, and monitor all aspects of the lives of, legal political activists, ordinary citizens exercising their democratic rights?"

Re: SIS, SIG, CTAG, TAU, GCSB - the spies are in the news (again

Whats even worse than this unaccountable organisation within the society of secrets, are agents that run rogue operations for which you will never see a document released from under the privacy act. Take Operation Maple Leaf that began in the late 80s for example, that rogue operation was supposed to have been quietly terminated when media got wind of it.

Seems only the employment of the agents named in the media item about it were terminated and the operation continued for the next 20 years to be later exposed by Nicky Hagar and Selwyn Manning 2004 for which the prime minister responded saying were ficticious
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0504/S00220.htm

But we all know where that ended up...remember Operation 8? A spying operation on Maori that supposedly began in 2004 and terminated in 2007.

Since there is and has been no justification for the need to an organisation such as the SIS and SIG because there is no Al Qaeda in NZ, their only logical target and use of their time will be activists and Maori.

What there needs to be is a Royal Commission of Enquiry into the actions of the SIS and their ilk over the past 25 years to expose illegal spy operations into civilian organisations who have never posed a security risk to this country to the level that would meet the criteria of the SIS to investigate according to its charter.

Re: Re: SIS, SIG, CTAG, TAU, GCSB - the spies are in the news (a

"What there needs to be is a Royal Commission of Enquiry into the actions of the SIS and their ilk..."

Or a social revolution to get rid of the government and the nasty rich fuckers altogether ;)

Re: Re: Re: SIS, SIG, CTAG, TAU, GCSB - the spies are in the new

A social revolution in this country? I think you have more chance of the royal commission of enquiry...

Re: SIS, SIG, CTAG, TAU, GCSB - the spies are in the news (again

let's all request our files - then they'll spend the first half-year budget for the SIS on photocopying!

THEN complain to the Nat Govt about bureaucratic inefficiency ...

Re: SIS, SIG, CTAG, TAU, GCSB - the spies are in the news (again

The society of secrets basically swapped McArthiesm for Al Qaeda'ism. Its the same network with their same fears, all that is changed is that the devil is no longer Stalin of Tawa but Osama Bin Urewera.

Re: Re: SIS, SIG, CTAG, TAU, GCSB - the spies are in the news (a

"all that is changed is that the devil is no longer Stalin of Tawa but Osama Bin Urewera."

Except if your name happens to be Trevor Loudon now you have another boogy man under the bed

Re: Re: Re: SIS, SIG, CTAG, TAU, GCSB - the spies are in the new

Loudon is just proof that the game of fear breeds the same blind beliefs no matter who the perceived devil of the day is.