Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill made it clear in an interview with TV3s The Nation this weekend that the New Zealand government and its security agency the GCSB was complicit in the targeted assassination of New Zealand citizen Daryl Jones in Yemen last year.
Jones was killed in a US drone strike along with several other “suspected” al-Qaida members.
Scahill said, based on documents released by Edward Snowden which he has seen, that John Key’s government has serious questions to answer over Jones’s murder. He says our government and GCSB would have known about Jones and provided information to the US National Security Agency which contributed his extra-judicial killing.
Scahill describes our government involvement as “pretty scandalous”.
That’s an understatement.
It would be nice to think that when a New Zealander is murdered overseas by agents of a foreign government our Prime Minister would be outraged and demand an explanation.
Instead John Key issued a few cynical, callous, words at a media conference earlier this year and justified Jones’s murder.
Jones was a suspected member of al-Qaida and that was enough for Key who refused initially to even name the victim – a way of dehumanising Jones and helping reduce any public backlash.
It was good to learn from Scahill that the human rights organisation Reprieve is now conducting an investigation of the killing. They are doing the job the New Zealand government has refused to do.
A previous 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 Daryl Jones just more collateral damage? We don’t know and our government couldn’t care less.
In an earlier blogpost I raised several questions about Jones’s assassination and Scahill’s interview makes it even more important they are answered by the government.
- 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?
So come on John Key – time to front up!
New Zealand has no place involved in US wars and targeted assassinations which put our safety and security at risk.
We need an independent foreign policy rather than one which tags along with the biggest schoolyard bully as it murders anyone in its way – including New Zealanders.
The GCSB has to be closed down we must withdraw from the so-called “five eyes” spy network which exists to promote US global dominance rather than the interests of New Zealand.