GUEST BLOG: Ross Meurant – Passing the buck

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101 Bureaucrat’s Survival.      Obfuscation and deviation.

When PM Ardern restricted Trump’s offer of assistance to, “Your moral support is all we need”, she got that right.  

When PM Ardern said that the perpetrators of the Muslim massacre were Australian, she also got that right.  

What she got wrong, in my view, was her suffix phrase: “(they were Australians) who have no right to be in New Zealand” (or words to this effect) (BBC).  

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Australians are not our enemies.  We just happened to be host to a very sick Aussie when he did his thing.

Rabid right-wing bigots and nationalists, are our enemies – and we have plenty of those here in Aotearoa.

The real question is: Why did our guardians have no idea about what was happening until it happened?

As a result of my role as second in command of Red Squad, and later, the commissioned officer in charge of police intelligence gathering i.e. C.I.S. aka spies in Auckland, there were many Kiwis who considered (and may still do) that when I entered parliament, the nation had elevated a right wing radical.

Perception however is rarely reality and I hope I have been able assuage some of that lingering sentiment via The Daily Blog: 

However, what my police career did and what my private business activities in Africa, the Middle East, Russia and North Korea has done, is to equip me to critique the security apparatus of New Zealand.  

Note:  Based on reports of Tarrant’s odyssey across the globe prior to landing in NZ, he too has been through some of the lands in which I spent several years.  But we came to different conclusions.

GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau) is charged with promoting New Zealand’s national security by collecting and analysing information of an intelligence nature.

Where were GCSB when the perpetrators flushed their garbage across the global networks;  social network ranting culminating in a manifesto and strategy for mass murder? How did GCSB miss this?

Let’s get to the point of how this massacre was able to unravel with GCSB and police on both sides of the Tasman, unaware of trouble brewing.

1 Why did not, GCSB personnel identify the perpetrator of this massacre, through his historic and contemporaneous social media activity?

2 What of undercover cops attending meetings of radicalized groups, whether in NZ or Australia?   Note: This infiltration of suspect groups was standard procedure when I was O/C C.I.S. It’s what spying is all about!

 

When Prime Minister Ardern said:

“None of those in custody had been on active security watch lists in New Zealand or Australia.  

“I have asked our agencies this morning to work swiftly on assessing whether there was any activity on social media or otherwise, that should have triggered a response,” the prime minister said.  (BBC)

The Prime minister was right onto it.  

But don’t get sidetracked by bureaucrats diving for cover and inane solutions being presented by MP’s who are not really equipped to deal with this problem.

Sidetracked examples:

The perpetrator has no criminal history in Australia or NZ.

Is this relevant?   Is this the only way police in ANZAC can identify a potential mass murder?

The gun laws are wrong, some protest?

Is this relevant?   Whether the laws require weapons to be registered or the owners of weapons to be licensed, makes little difference to what happened in CHCH.  

Guns don’t kill people.  People kill people with guns.  The current law requires people to pass a gun safety test and a psyche test.  If they pass, they can buy as many guns as they can afford.

But when a bandit wants to steal a gun from a gun owners’ residence or smash and grab a gun shop; whether the gun or the person is licensed, is irrelevant.   The end result is a gun ends up in bad hands.

 

The hard questions to be directed at they who demand more budget and more power but deliver zilch, include:

Where was the ‘value’ New Zealand are supposed to reap from our participant in the lauded anti-terror technology of Five Eyes?

Perhaps GCSB were too busy watching the rugby on their hi-tech computers to notice right wing calls to rebellion and massacre?

Perhaps GCSB were back in Tuhoe looking for the evidence of terrorism, which the Solicitor General said, did not exist?

Perhaps GCSB were petulantly sulking, from Nicky Hagar’s victory?  

Perhaps GCSB were still collecting data on Dot COM for the FBI?  

Perhaps GCSB were too busy sowing fear and loathing about Huawei, as a surrogate of America’s blatant attempt to preserve its atrophying commercial dominance in face of fast rising Chinese commercial might?

Perhaps GCSB were ensconced in Bellamys, seeking to infect the addle pated amongst our elected representatives, with harrowing projections of terrorism, as justifications for more budget and more powers?

 

Historically, NZ has bred its fair share of right- and left-wing radicals.

For example, the BXXXX Boys who bombed Air France in Downtown Auckland in protest at French nuclear testing at Mururoa in 1968 were two left wing terrorists (by modern terminology).

As a detective of Regional Crime Squad in the early seventies, Vietnam days – we had networks of informants amongst anti war groups.  This was a core component of CIB: Nurture informants – fifth columnist within groups opposed to Government policy.

But by far, the biggest threat during the period I was on Red Squad and later as inspector in charge: Criminal Intelligence Section & V.I.P. planning, came from right wing radicals around Christchurch.

I don’t recall their names but I do recall the hard data we (police) were getting consistently during the eighties about right wing cells in CHCH.  Extreme stuff. This was post ’81 Tour and passions were still intense. CHCH remained a bastion of right wing clandestine political fevour.

Paradoxically, we focused more on the left-wing groups and Maori activist who were perceived as more dangerous than vicious right-wing conservative rhetoric emanating from the South.

Perhaps this reflection identifies the Achilles heel of national security operatives?

Perhaps the personal conservative value system (and trust me – overwhelmingly cops are conservative and National party voters), of cops and spies, inhibits their ability to objectively assess information about the dangers of left or right groups?

 

As I read the history of Tarrant; perpetrator of a day of infamy in CHCH, he and his associates spent a fair bit of time in this region.   

As a result of this city’s history of radicalized right-wing groups, failure of police and GCSB to have entrenched and effective spying apparatus in that sector, is in my view one good reason why we need a review of what I say, has been a lamentable performance by any measure of national security providers.

 

 

 

Ross Meurant: 

After 21 years as a cop, Meurant resigned with the commissioned rank of inspector O/C Criminal Intelligence Section & V.I.P. Security; a nationwide profile role as a Red Squad riot group commander and an earlier reputation as a ruthless detective with a tendency to enforce the rule of police.

During 9 years as a Member of Parliament and the Executive as Under Secretary, he was accused of being an arms trader; was fired from the Executive by Jim Bolger for having a perceived conflict of interests (becoming a director of a Russian bank) and started the first political party to be registered under MMP.

After 4 years in the wilderness teaching kids to ride horse and property developing, he returned to Wellington as parliamentary adviser to Rt Hon Winston Peters where allegations of conflicted interests with roles he had with three major fishing companies and a race horse baron and later in false allegations of corruption culminating in the Scampi Enquiry.  

From 2005 Ross lived abroad pursuing commercial options in Zimbabwe, the Balkans, Czech Rep, Syria, Russia, Morocco, UAE, Iran & North Korea.  

Today in New Zealand he is trustee and managing director of NZ forestry and property assets owned by absentee Russians & Honorary Consul for Morocco.

Ross has a B.A. in politics; a Master’s in economics and law and COPs in law.       He speaks Russian, rides horses and water-skis.

He is the author of:

Two biographies:  The Red Squad Story & Beat to the Beehive.

Two novels: The Syrian Connection & Sex, Power and politics.

10 COMMENTS

  1. On the other hand we have to be mindful of overreach on behalf of State policing agencies.

    What level of thought police, justified by security, are we prepared to tolerate? How much do we/you want?

    • Richard

      If they used the resources they have – effectively – there is NO NEED FOR MORE powers and more staff and more money.

      There exist ample powers – they simply failed in their mission statement.

      I don’t say ‘spying’ is a clean business – but the outcomes suggests to me that ‘their’ focus is on left wing and Maori groups- to the virtual exclusion of right wing groups – which were hard core in my day.

      Based on comments about the otago gun club with Confederate flags et al, these signs of right wing behaviour seemed to have gone – under the radar.

  2. Being a victim of serious and violent crime that, although it can not be covered up is being covered up, I am well aware of serious failures in the NZ system of governance. Why is the obvious continuously being missed? Could it be that in New Zealand people are paid to live off of failure? Any mass murder is a heart felt tragedy. The Pike River mine and the CTV building disasters are no exception, a tear is shed for all. What is different this time is that the official response is different. Someone is responsible. Wake up citizens we should not need such horrid events to remind us of the reason for accountability. The need is obvious and we should have been honest in the first place rather than finding a piecemeal exit plan leaving no one any the wiser. Please let us move forward with due process based on the facts to deliver truth freedom and justice, please?

    • Not much to add to Ross Meurant’s call for an urgent inquiry really. GCSB is literally told what to do, there are slight differences between each Prime Minister which Ross lists some of the orders that are outside of the GCSBs mission statement in his blog under PERHAPS and so on…

      GCSB is Jacinda’s tool and she’s just going to have to sharpen that thing right up to standards. It don’t matter if you recruit your own officers or you outsource the question is the price. If there is an issue with the mission statement or completing the mission in general then the price of recruiting will go up. So the real answer to Jacinda and her cabinet is to make sure that our incomes rise so that the total GDP rises faster than the cost of recruiting decent GCSB officers.

  3. What has struck me is that, from the prime minister down, the mantra has been, “This is not who we are. We are better than this.” — emphasizing that he (I won’t dignify him by name) is Australian and therefore has absolutely nothing to do with us. This until now implicit presumption of Kiwi moral superiority has been around for (at least) the 59 years I have lived in this country, but has now finally been spelt out in large letters in public. Yet the same people will decry such irrational nationalism in other countries. The hypocrisy is glaring to anyone looking in from outside.

  4. Thank you Ross. A very suck human who happens to be Aussie has numbed the nation. The darkest day in NZ shone a light on Aus and the world. Hatred has no borders and its not exclusive. It’s laced throughout our societies globally. Your article highlights the reality within Government departments and something needs to be done.

  5. New Zealand’s Darkest day has shone a light on the hate laced within our communities domestically and globally. You have highlighted the limitations and expectations of the Government departments. I appreciate your comments Ross from one Numb Aussie

  6. Who are the Spooks in NZ and what is their Modus Operandii ?

    Who are they working for the NZ Public, the CIA, the Business Roundtable, the 1% percenters ?

    Very Spooky days in NZ Over the past 30-40 years including the Erebus Crash, Morrie Davis and Sir Robert Muldoon ?

    Lived in CHCH in the 1970’s and the White Gangs were very active, the Devil’s Henchmen, Epitharth Riders, the Harris Gang etc doubt whether their behaviour has improved ?

    • It’s quiet obvious who our spy agencies work for. They work for the governments wealthy backers. In 2013 the Crown Minerals Act was amended known as the “Anadarko” amendment banning protestors from approaching with in 500 meters of oil exportation ships. Prior to that the 2012 Search and Surveillance Act, this bill extended surveillance powers to non-enforcement agencies and I’ll quote from the General Provisions of the act:

      “law enforcement agency means any department of State, Crown entity, local authority, or other (“others, as in different or distinct from one body already mentioned”) body that employs or engages enforcement officers as part of its functions.”

      That’s my comment in brackets. That allows non-enforcement agencies such as Thomson and Clark to spy on behalf of government and effectively elevating 1080 protestors, left wing activists, poor brown people, beneficiaries, basically poor people where elevated to the level of national security threat largely as a knee-jerk reaction to a couple of failed closed court cases such as the Tuhoe Raids under Helen Clark and the Dotcom raids under John Key.

      Basically intelligence information was literally hitting them at the speed of light transmitted over the Internet and it looks as if it freaked them right out like a couple of grandparents who got call of duty for Christmas and could never get past recruit difficulty and rise to the occasion.

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