Drone murder of New Zealander “justified” by Prime Minister



Yesterday Prime Minister John Key justified the extrajudicial killing of a New Zealander in a US drone strike in Yemen with a few cynical, callous words at a stand-up press conference.

Key said he’d been briefed by our spy agencies that apparently this New Zealander was a terrorist who went to a terrorist training camp in Yemen and that Key thought these types of drone strikes were justified when dealing with “these types of people.

I’ve no idea what this murdered New Zealander was doing in Yemen – and I’m certain neither does John Key. The US National Security Agency has fed selective information about the strike to our GCSB which has fed selective information to the Prime Minister who has fed selective information to the hapless public of New Zealand.

Other media reports at the time of the drone strike in August 2013 said it took out “suspected al-Qaida operatives”. Who would know? In fact the majority of people killed in US drone strikes have been civilians.

Human Rights Watch report released last year examined six such strikes in Yemen carried out between 2009–2013 and found that of the 82 people killed, at least 57 were civilians. Was this New Zealander just more collateral damage? We don’t know and we can’t expect the government or our spy agencies to tell us.

The HRW report also concluded that the drone strikes it examined “may have violated the laws of war because the individual attacked was not a lawful military target or the attack caused disproportionate civilian harm.”

All we do know for sure is that this New Zealander never got charged, never got a trial but that somewhere in the US a decision was made for the mass assassination of a group he was with – the kind of murderous act which has been condemned by governments and human rights groups around the world.

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Here are a few critical questions for our Prime Minister.

  • ·         What evidence is there this New Zealander was a “terrorist” or was the label added after his death to justify the crime?
  • ·         How long had the GCSB been spying on him?
  • ·         Why was he allowed to travel overseas when other New Zealanders wanting to go overseas to fight in places like Syria for example have had their passports seized?
  • ·         What was he doing when he was killed?
  • ·         Why did the US launch a drone strike against him?
  • ·         If there was evidence of terrorist activity why was he not simply arrested when he returned to New Zealand or entered a third country?
  • ·         Was New Zealand informed by the US before they attacked and killed this kiwi citizen?
  • ·         If so what was the response of our spy agencies and their political master John Key?
  • ·         If New Zealand was not informed then why not?
  • ·         In aligning this country in support for US drone strikes what additional terrorist threat does that expose New Zealanders to?
  • ·         Why did the government not make the information about the killing public at the time when it occurred?
  • ·         Would the government ever have made this public if the information has not leaked out?

In typically cynical fashion Key is using this incident to bolster support for the GCSB and the massive increase in the power it was given last year to spy on us. He says it shows why we need the GCSB to spy on New Zealanders.

No it doesn’t My Key – it shows why the GCSB must be closed and why New Zealand must develop an independent foreign policy rather than one which aligns to deadly US foreign policy and increases the risk of terrorist attacks on New Zealanders.


  1. Will this event see Hone Harawira actually turn up to Parliament to ask some of the above questions?

    • The more important question is whether our sellout regime will ever ask these questions of Droneman Obama. Why would Hone bother asking them in parliament? Nobody there will know the answers, Key would just lean back, pull a stupid face and say how relaxed he was, and the speaker would rule that the questions had been answered. Then the real Matthew would indulge in a frenzied bout of knob flogging and compose a Whalespew post. All very predictable.

  2. This is a frightening development and basically it gives carte blanche for any government to kill anyone, anywhere, anytime, with the justification being that they were “suspected terrorists”.

    The implications of Western States carrying out extra-judicial killings is that the rule of law has been suspended and death warrants can be signed by those in power.

    What next? Anti-terrorist squads operating freely within our own borders, dragging people from their own homes in the dead of night, to be executed on the spot?

    This is fascism, and we should all be greatly concerned at where we have arrived.

    • Please – The guy lived in Australia for years… Had converted to the most stoneage, oppressive and violent religion he could find – looks for adventure in the form of fighting for a terrorist organisation and killing his own countrymen…. and it’s John Key’s fault that someone drops a missile on him? Seriously? Oh, and the GCSB too, of course.
      In the real world, that’s generally regarded as lying down with dogs – and waking up with fleas. Picking the wrong friends was what got this guy killed.
      When, if ever, have we heard the left (and this blog particularly) bleating about the abuse of both kids and women in these countries? Religiously sanctioned sexual, physical and mental abuse….Never, that’s when. Never. Shame much? Or is that the Govts fault too.
      Pick your causes… but I understand, you must lose count

      • Ross – So because you disagree with his religion, that justified his killing, without even so much as a trial?!

        Sorry, what was that you were saying about something “oppressive and violent”?

        Call me hopelessly naive, but I’d like to think we’re a little better than killing people simply because we don’t like their religion or politics.

      • …Had converted to the most stoneage, [sic] oppressive and violent religion he could find…

        Islam and its history of preserving and further developing classical knowledge which influenced the transition of Europe from the Dark Ages to the Renaissance – can hardly be deemed Stone Age. Ironically, perhaps, without Islam there would be no drones today.

        Extremists that warp a religion to suit their own ends aren’t representative of the faith. Those who are wise refrain from such generalisations. Those who indulge in such generalisations, counter ignorance with ignorance, extremism with extremism, and frankly create some emotive negative tribalistic “us” and “them” situation characteristic of a stereotypical “stone age” mentality.

    • I wouldn’t call taking out members of a terrorist organisation ‘fascism’, I prefer to call it ‘taking out the trash’

      • Mike – I call it murder.

        Or are simple little things like trials now old fashioned to you Righties?

        Funny, you RWNJs have always been Big on things like law and order……?????

        • I am not and have never been right wing.

          The guy chose, of his own free will, to run (and fight) with a terrorist organisation and has merely been caught up in the excitement of the situation.

          Yes, I am big on law and order. I am also big on freedom…freedom from racial violence, sexual violence and exploitation and religious persecution.

          • I’m sorry, you are NOT right wing? Really? You say some of the craziest most right wing shit on this site Mike.

            • I will say again, no, I’m not right wing. If I need to be pigeonholed I am centreist.

              If I was left wing, I would be pro personal life choices (sexual orientation, abortion, legalise marajuana etc) under the umbrella of a big government regulated and owned economy. In other words, live life day to day like an ageing hippie in a world where recycling bottle caps is more socially acceptable than financial independence and believing that ‘if they have it, I should have it too and that if I don’t have the money to buy it, it should be provided by the government for free and for it not to be provided by the state is to willingly deny me what is a fundamental human right’.

              If I was right wing I would be promoting regulated personal choices based on traditional ‘wholesome’ Christian values (anti abortion, anti gay marriage, prayer at the start of parliamentary business, keep the present flag, pro monarchy, etc), but pro freedom in business under a small government. In other words, personal choice in a low-regulation economy as long as you live life like a white middle aged prude and obey the 10 commandments. If you don’t have a job, you obviously don’t want or deserve one and your upbringing amounts to child abuse.

              I promote personal choice and freedom to live life as I want, on my own property, as long as it doesn’t encroach on the rights of others to do the same. I believe in user pays and freedom of choice followed by the full consequences of those choices, whether the consequences are financial prosperity, notoriety, low paid jobs, relationship split ups or prison. We are the masters of our own destiny. We have an inbuilt natural instinct to learn from our mistakes. It is not ‘the governments fault’. Laws are there to protect us from others (including the state), not from ourselves. This guy is running wilfully with a group of thugs that have publicly declared war on almost the entire western world. Their weapon is targeted random acts of terrorism where the victims are always innocent civilians. My stand on this is based on the protection of innocent people and their right to go about their daily lawful business. The deceased had every chance to be offered the protection of western law, but unfortunately for him, he waived that right.

    • What next? Perhaps “undesirables” can be flown off or persuaded to travel to one of these international killing fields where a drone is waiting for them. Something akin to Bush-era extraordinary rendition, with assassination instead of torture.

  3. Ross’s reasons for summary execution seem a bit flimsy …. Living in Australia & being a Muslim ? …… and where’s the proof of him being a ‘terrorist’ ?.

    As for Ross’s straw-man argument about sexual abuse ………. perhaps he could explain why the ‘right’ always starves organisations like rape crisis for funds ????

    After all thats in our own country …….. and somthing that can be easily fixed/changed.

  4. @ Frank . I absolutely agree . Jonky and his masters are becoming ever more emboldened . Dangerously emboldened . And the more they can see what they can get away with , the more emboldened they become . Every New Zealander should be demanding answers surrounding this awful event .
    Sadly , even though we know what’s going on we’re powerless to take those first critical steps toward reclaiming our Country back . We’ve been rendered powerless by Professor Milgram-esque psychological methodologies . Most Kiwis would jump off a cliff if a man wearing a fluro vest and holding a clip board told them to do so . Look at what happened during those critical seconds after the CTV building collapse ? Grown men and woman held back by a few other grown men brandishing the fear of authority . While people were dying , drowning and suffocating under rubble . That’s how awesomely powerful the psychology of control has become in NZ .
    Those people standing by should have clawed their way in to at least try to rescue the trapped . Even if it had meant dying or getting inured in the process . That’s being a human being . Human beings react when in danger or see danger about to present itself . Not this . This is something else entirely . We stand , gape mouthed , lost .
    We Kiwis desperately need a Leader . A dynamic , charismatic Leader to haul us all out of this malaise so as we can regain control of our Lands and our wealth . Because fuck this !
    Where’s cunliffe on this by the way ? Is he off taking the same drugs as John Campbell does ? Aunty Babble Acid ? Soft Nob Sincemilla ? He’s been too long dipping into his Reasonable Stance Stash .
    He should take an E for Gods sake . E as in Extreme ! We need a barrel chested , sleeve roller upper ! Not a Smily Face in a suit .
    I have an idea ! Why don’t all those people who loath jonky and all the people suffering under his satanic spell sue the bastard . We could organise a collection to pay a lawyer to take out civil proceedings against the little prick ?
    Is that what’s known as sedition ? I dunno . I’m no lawyer . Or an all knowing investment banker . We have an investment banker killing kiwi civilians while not breaking a sweat over it . This is Hell .

    • @ countryboy, i like the cut of your jib old boy. Agreed we need to unify arm ourselves for the inevitable kiwi spring. We all know where this traitorous scum is taking us, but remember we out number them we have them surrounded and there running out of bullets. spys are shot traitors to be hung.

  5. Can I just say, first off, that as a woman, I would just love to see each and every one of these fundamentalist groups (don’t care who their particular imaginary friend is) who seem to think that women are some sort of lesser being, wiped from the face of the earth.
    Having said that, I would have thought a trial and conviction would have come before a sentence.
    I really do not know

    • Ditto, Raegun. I have no love for Taliban either, whether they are the muslim, “christian”, or any other variety.

      But I’d like to think we still uphold the law when it comes to meting out punishment.

      Otherwise we’re no better than those barbarians who publicly executed (ie; murdered) men and women in Kabul’s stadium…

    • To RAEGUN

      Could I just say as a human being, a little introspection might help you find some balance.

      • To find what sort of balance? I cannot and will not ever, give any sort of credence to any system or belief that reduces the worth of women, and I do not like the idea of execution without trial. Then again, war as we know it, has traditionally been one country at war with another, we are now ideology v ideology, identifying the enemy is a little more difficult, isn’t it?
        I would prefer no war, but then, some things are worth fighting for or against, aren’t they?

        • So, they oppress women therefore you get to kill them?

          Your morality sounds no better developed than theirs.

          Drones are in any case as immoral as nukes. This fellow, innocent or guilty, had no more chance of hurting the drone operator than of flying to the moon.

          As with the treatment of animals, when you develop truly disproportionate and unequal force the measure of the civility of your intentions is your reluctance to use it. The US is casual in its use of violence, and probably it will pay for that a little down the road. Perhaps when drones become ubiquitous, which Amazon expects relatively soon.

        • G’day Raegun -Its a Long time…..

          It about divide and rule
          Keep the people fighting among themselves divided.

          The weak are more easily manipulated and controlled.

          Religion is a great divider.

          Brands such as “Taliban” also work well.

          Wealth and accompanying power are the real dividers.

  6. What rubbish.

    al-Qaida have declared war on the US and all its allies – so anyone working for/with/near etc al-Qaida are fair game.

    If one is stupid enough to want to work with these mentally degraded morons -then they shouldnt complain when they get killed.

    What a crappy attitude is exhibited by this stuff from the likes of Minto. Honestly – minto needs help to straighten his brain out.

    • @barry Thing is there has been no trial and no evidence presented that the person in question was in fact even associated with AQ.

    • Well Barry, you certainly bought into the BS. That’s right, hordes of mentally degraded AQ morons are gathering in deserts around the world planning to attack the US mainland with their antiquated rifles. Not sure but think they are also planning on swimming there! The USA had just better watch out! They have everything to fear from these lunatic jihadists and their GPS guided camels.

    • Barry – “fair game”?

      What about RWNJs? Are you guys “fair game” as well? I think right wingers were very BIG on law and order? But not when it suits your prejudices huh?

    • I suppose you will be right up their first in line when they tell you that a chip in your wrist will help identify you from an illegal immigrant in a 20 years ahead NZ where drones will circle on our soil.

      Good boy. Now, the real question is, do you want fries with that?

    • Barry
      Do you know anything about al-Qaida.

      Or it just what the public are fed with the US propaganda.

      The US has worked with al-Qaida just as they worked with Bin Laden, Saddam, Gaddaffi and many other so called badies.

      Then largest terror organisation is undoubtedly the USA.

      Drones alone are credited with a million deaths.

  7. ” – they shouldnt complain when they get killed.” Love the ‘logic’ of your argument. Ah, ha ,ha, ha ,ha, ha, huh? @ Barry

  8. The rule of John Key’s game is: You are with us, or you are against us. It is the same one George W. Bush used when starting the “war on terror”, after 911.

    So whether the drone victim was a New Zealander or anybody else, to Key that is irrelevant. Under Key loyalty to the US is paramount, that is in security, military and defence matters.

    Human rights and the rule of law, and other such standards, they are not that much relevant, as Bush proved, and as even Obama has proved. We still have Guantanamo holding many accused that do not get tried before “normal” courts, some I believe have not even been properly charged.

    This is all part of the agenda, push ahead relentlessly, and leave the concerned by the wayside, or let the tanks roll over them.

    It is also called political strategy, a bit like blitzkrieg on all fronts. The media have no conscience and do not ask many questions, as their staff are reminded where bread and butter come from. Shut up, move on, don’t make a drama, we are at war!

    One New Zealander less, as he belonged to the wrong side.

  9. I do not think the questions should be for the Parliament, what is the point?

    We should address our questions directly to our ultimate head of state, President Barack Hussein Obama. John Key is an intermediary, a messenger and a colonial head of state at best, he is a sellout not a Prime Minister of a sovereign nation.

    In fact anyone who agreed on the GCSB bill should be investigated and possibly jailed for anti-NZ activities. This is no joke, we have been sitting silently as if nothing happened when they have bloody legalized spying on a national scale for handover to a foreign intelligence collective.

  10. Mr bin John went off to join a war against the West, and the West duly shot him. This is an inherent problem with going off to join wars – it involves live ammunition and intent to kill. I recommend not going off to join wars against extremely well-armed people, as the consequences can be fatal.

  11. As usual the victim is always connected to some mythical high up Al Qaeda commander….. wait a minute……. that same Al Qaeda who the Muricans are arming, funding, and giving logistical support to!

  12. The high number of civilian deaths in this drone war can be attributed to the heavy use of electronic intelligence in determining a target. Therefore cheap lazy intelligence gathering, no field agents on the ground to verify the status of the prospective target.

    A good neoliberal strategy; cut costs, outsource, minimal or no transparency and deny and lie if something goes wrong. Civilians killed – oh, they were terrorists (thinking, if not now probably later). Sections of the earth relegated to killing fields where anyone’s fair game.

    And for the government to use this to justify recent GCSB legislation is complete nonsense. Here it’s likely we’re either so decent or so laid-back to ever resort to militancy, those so inclined would be such an extraordinarily small number as to be regarded negligible. Such fear mongering is a sign our leaders aren’t leadership material.

    As for John “I don’t give an eff” Key: Oh, I’m comfortable with that. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

  13. its the same old MO response to clear themselves of the irritating questions and avoid un necessary scrutiny -there fore anyone killed by a drone who is not A) a child b) a baby c) a animal d) a wedding cake is actually a terrorist

  14. The New Zealander could have been a kidnapped Yemen tourist similar to Mary Quin from New Plymouth. But of course a UAV drone can’t determine if someone has been kidnapped from 6000 feet or even if they are a terrorist that’s just speculation.

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