Temporary, discriminatory and an admission of failure

The PM says that the legislation his government proposes to pass under urgency allowing for the confiscation of passports of NZ citizens in order to combat the threat of returning foreign fighters will be “tightly focused” on those traveling to the Middle East in order to join jihadist groups. That phrase “tightly focused” is code for “Muslim Internationalists” as opposed to, say, Christian or non-religious fighters joining in foreign conflicts in the Middle East or elsewhere.  So if Kiwis of Croatian descent were to return to their homeland to fight Serbs they would be free to do so and then return without risk of having their passports confiscated. The same goes for Christian Nigerians who wish to return home to fight Boko Haram as members of community self-defence organisations.  And of course Jewish Kiwis already do so by traveling to join the Israeli Defense Forces.

To say the least, this law is by its nature discriminatory and temporary unless the government proposes to make it illegal for anyone to go and fight for any cause anywhere. And that clearly is not what it has in mind.

More tellingly, passing such “tightly focused” legislation under urgency is an admission of failure.

On the one hand, it tacitly is telling us that criminal law, including all of the anti-terrorist legislation passed in the last ten years, is inadequate to deal with this particular type of suspected criminal enterprise (or better said, intended criminal enterprise). On the other hand it implicitly recognises that the combined resources of the GCSB, SIS, Immigration, Customs, NZDF, Police and other security agencies, as well as those of NZ’s main security partners, are unable to monitor the activities of the dozen or so Kiwis who may have jihadist pretensions, this despite the fact that New Zealand is an isolated and relatively small archipelago with no land borders and limited access or egress by air or sea, with a very small Muslim community from which potential jihadists are drawn.

Reading between the lines of the PM’s statement, it seems that the extension of antiterrorism laws, powers of search, surveillance, seizure and domestic intelligence collection over the last decade, much less the existence of a vast array of criminal law statutes as currently exit on the books, have had no impact on the ability of the NZ security community to detect, deter and/or monitor a small group of  young men interested in fighting abroad. Hence the need for more “tightly focused” laws that if nothing else violate the presumption of innocence and freedom of movement that presumably are basic rights in liberal democracies.

That makes me wonder two things: what good do the expanded security powers awarded the state during the last decade serve if they cannot fulfil the basic functions of detection, deterrence and monitoring? And what does that say about the competence of the agencies whose powers have been expanded given New Zealand’s geopolitical location?

The answers are simple: none and a lot.

15 thoughts on “Temporary, discriminatory and an admission of failure

  1. But of course the purpose of this new law is not to stop people joining the jihad. It is to keep the populace scared. Scared people are much easier to control.

  2. Certainly Muslim NZ’ers have much more to fear these days. It remains to be seen if the intent of the proposed legislation is to close a loophole by which NZ-Australian dual citizens could circumvent Ozzie border controls by returning to NZ. But even if that is the case, how many such people (returning jihadi OZ-NZ dual citizens) are there, and how long would they last in NZ if the bulk of their family and friends live in OZ?

  3. yeah, gosh Pablo, you just can’t print other opinion, and anyway nobody cares, except you’re pretend 36th parallel to your own imagination. You are like the Christian Trotter Pablo, a dreamer in your own land, you die, and nobody knows, maybe your daughter, get real Pablo . Yu are just to old to be stupid anymore, but you can if you like

  4. Paul:

    I take it that you do not agree with the thrust of the post. That having been said, at some point you would be very kind to send me the recipe for whatever you are on.

  5. “So if Kiwis of Croatian descent were to return to their homeland to fight Serbs they would be free to do so?”

    Blimey, the Croats are fighting the Serbs? Did I accidentally time travel back to 1994 again?

  6. Gabriel:

    The yoke of history is a terrible thing, and it lasts for more than a generation.

  7. Are you predicting another Serbo-Croat war? Do you think Croatia would be the initiator? If so, what goals would they pursue? Do you think Croatia’s EU memberhsip would complicate this?

  8. Gabriel:

    The hypothetical examples given are simply illustrative of the range of potential primordial conflicts that could draw Kiwis into foreign conflicts.

  9. Gabriel:

    I have tried to answer your questions with respect. But it is now clear that you are either dense or just trolling (and most likely both, since you do not comprehend basic English phrases and infer things that I did not write).

    Using European IP addresses, the name of a character in Hardy’s 1874 novel and fake email addresses suggests that you are the same fool who argued about a post I wrote about the Russian intervention in Ukraine, or if not, another fool with a bug up your rear about Eastern Europe.

    You can now crawl back under your rock.

    Update: For other readers, here are the IP addresses this troll uses: and The first is allocated to the RIPE Network Coordination Centre in Amsterdam, but the email address belongs to a hosting service n Belgium. The latter address traces to to a server run by a large IT firm in Frankfurt, Germany.

    The first IP has had the following names associated with comments: Gabriel Oak, Candy, Dubslav von Stechlin, Stepan Trofimovitch, Tenno Part, Pavel Milukovitch and Christian Weston Chandler. Names associated with the latter IP address are Gabriel Oak, Dobslav von Stechlin and Micawber. All of the email addresses associated with these names are false.

    Dubslav also commented on NZ elections, including his/her own preferences.

    If you try to access the IP severs directly, they return as non-existent (the 141 address with a statement saying that “Apache is functioning correctly”).

    The chances that these are different people are slim.

    Here is what is interesting: it appears that troll is using European “cover” servers to mask his/her identity obtainable via the real gateway for their connection. This can be done using masking anonymous applications such as Tor, which marks an IP as the identifier and multiplies the number of global IPs between it and the real gateway. Depending on the number of “hops” in the multiplier, it makes difficult reverse tracer and IP route checks.

    Although private parties use Tor, the use of “cover” or masking servers like these are normally the province of government security agencies, which would make it seem very stupid for someone working for one to engage in petty blog trolling while on the job or using a secure and “masked” interface. The obsession with Eastern European politics is a constant for Gabriel, Dubslav, Stepan, Tenno and Pavel, so one could assume that this person considers him or herself a bit of an expert on the region. This person also has an interest in NZ politics and claims to have voted in the last election. Thus it would seem that the troll is a Kiwi or has Kiwi as well as Eastern European background and/or interests.

    Although the trolling is done in a private capacity, it would be a shame if this person is employed by a NZ government agency and using work computers to do so.

  10. Pablo, a general recipe that you need is to look at the world and your own Country and is to know ordinary people, [ which I doubt that you do ] well away from the 36th parallel. The confiscation of passports is a blunt axe, and we will see what follows. I am expecting better surveillance to keep this Islam garbage violent out of our country.
    quote Pablo ” it makes me wonder two things: what good do the expanded security powers awarded the state during the last decade serve if they cannot fulfill the basic functions of detection, deterrence and monitoring? And what does that say about the competence of the agencies whose powers have been expanded given New Zealand’s geopolitical location?”
    Increased surveillance Pablo, refuse all Islam ..

  11. Good post Pablo but, boy, didn’t it get a bizzare reaction! The only coherent part of either of paul scott’s posts is the bit where he quotes you. It is hard to reconcile the name with someone who does not appear to be a native user of the English language.

  12. Blackadder:

    Paul is a known quantity around here. He may be reactionary and at times a bit weird with his remarks, but at least he comments under this own name. We have had some major quarrels in the past but I have no longer have major issues with him in spite of his oft-personal critiques.

    OTH, nitpicking trolls with reading comprehension problems who try to thread-jack, especially those who try to disguise their identities by going to lengths to mask their IP addresses, are not welcome. The one on this thread reminds me of a mediocre former grad student of a colleague of mine, whose self-regard was far greater than his intellectual abilities. When I pointed this out to him he turned to social media to attack me (anonymously of course).

  13. Pablo, other the fact they are watching you; As you know by your own interviews, the Western world is divided in what to do about the Islam.
    I would not want my son to fight in an IS War. I would want my son just to have a happy and successful life, as my daughter has .I am extremely happy that the Kobane situation has been bravely won by the Kurdish.
    The Turks did themselves no goodness by refusing to accept the Kurds need. The weakling Turks watched while the Kurds showed them how to win a war.
    Islam is a dog failure. Death in hell to Islam.

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