Saturday, September 26, 2015

A VERY REAL WORRY

is the news that the Malaysian, US and Australian authorities have all issued warnings of a credible terrorist threat to tourists around the Jalan Alor (Alor Street) area in Bukit Bintang in central KL.   Jalan Alor is a very popular area for its range of food stalls.   It is very unusual for the authorities to be so specific in their warnings.

In recent months the Malaysian Police Special Branch have arrested a number of people suspected of planning terrorist attacks.   More disturbing is the fact that some of those were members of the Malaysian military.

All this comes against the background of general instability in Malaysian politics both within the governing coalition and the opposition.   Nijab Razak, the PM, is under sustained attack from within his own Party for corruption with former PM Mahithir Mohamad calling for his resignation.   So far Razak has responded in the time-honoured way by sacking his Deputy Prime Minister, his Attorney-General and four other ministers.    The Opposition too has its 'difficulties'.   In June the Patakan Rakyat (the grouping of three main opposition parties) fell apart over the call by one of its constituent parties (Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party - PAS) to enforce a form of Islamic law called 'hudud' in the northern east coast State of Kelantan which it governs.  

Four days ago a new alliance was created led by Wan Azizah Ismail, wife of the former opposition leader (and Deputy Prime Minister) Anwar Ibrahim ... jailed yet again for sodomy in an ongoing saga that has split the nation.   The new alliance (called the Alliance of Hope) brings together three parties; Mr Anwar's People's Justice Party. the mainly ethnic Chinese Democratic Action Party (which grew out of Singapore's PAP) and the newly formed Parti Amanah Negara made up of defectors from PAS.    

The jury is out on both the government and the opposition but political instability is the perfect breeding ground for home-grown Islamic terrorists.

Update ... the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Noor Rashid Ibrahim has just confirmed they have arrested a Malaysian, an Indonesian and a Syrian national in a raid carried out by the Special Branch's Counter-terrorism Division near Jalan Alor.   He said those arrested, one of whom had made frequent trips to Yeman, were believed to have been planning to launch terrorist attacks in public areas of interest to Malaysians and overseas nationals. 

Of course some on the 'Left' would argue that NZL doesn't need either the SIS or the GCSB.    


8 comments:

Noel said...

"US and Australian authorities have all issued warnings of a credible terrorist threat to tourists around the Jalan Alor (Alor Street) area in Bukit Bintang in central KL"

Correct but specifically for 24 September 2015. Todays date is?????

pdm said...

Noel - do you really think terrorists care about a day here or there when planning an attack like that?

Noel said...

Dfat Aust and US State advisories for the last month haven't shown any change except for the 24th advice. It was specific information related to a possible attack at that place on that date.

PDM you statement is irrelevant hit I agree with Veteran such specific information is unusual but also comforting.

Anonymous said...

Who on the left would suggest such a thing? What those on the left, right and centre have been advocating is accountability, transparency and a traceable chain of command.

The SIS have not exactly covered themselves in glory since their inception. In fact it is the unaccountability of security services that led to Rainbow Warrior. The wink, wink,nudge,nudge who will rid me of this turbulent priest culture that is the problem.

The French put their house in order shortly after, have we?

Just a few of the SIS cock ups, many more on Wicki,

In December 2008, it was revealed that a man in Christchurch, Rob Gilchrist, had been spying on peace organisations and individuals including Greenpeace, Iraq war protestors, animal rights and climate change campaigners. Rob Gilchrist confessed to the allegations after his then partner, Rochelle Rees, found emails sent between him and Special Investigation Group (SIG) officers (SIG has a connection with the SIS). Rees found the emails while fixing Gilchrist's computer. Gilchrist was said to have passed on information via an anonymous email address to SIG officers. Gilchrist had been paid up to $600 a week by police for spying on New Zealand citizens. His SIG contacts were Detective Peter Gilroy and Detective Senior Sergeant John Sjoberg. Gilchrist was reported to have been spying for the police for at least 10 years. Gilchrist also said he was offered money by Thomson Clark Investigations to spy on the Save Happy Valley Coalition, an environmental group. The incident implied members of New Zealand political parties were spied on as part of a 'focus on terrorism threats to national security'. Rochelle Rees was a Labour party activist as well as an animal rights campaigner.[17]
In November 2009, the SIS came under criticism for asking university staff to report their colleagues or students if they were behaving suspiciously. The SIS said it was part of an effort to prevent the spread of 'weapons of mass destruction'.[18]
In July 2011, the SIS was involved in an investigation of Israeli backpackers who were in New Zealand at the time of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, in which one of the Israelis was killed. The Israelis were alleged to have been Mossad agents attempting to infiltrate the New Zealand government's computer databases and steal sensitive information. The investigation concluded that there was no evidence of a Mossad operation.[19]






Noel said...

Regadless of the recent reviews and act changes that authorisation remains with a political appointed director and the PM remains a sticking point for many.

How hard can it be to vet and have a member of the judiciary attest to the Official Secrets Act?

The Veteran said...

Anon ... like it or not there has been a concerted attempt over the years to hobble both the SIS and the GCSB and while their f*****s quickly become public knowledge their success stories will mostly remain unheralded.

Noel ... it may have escaped your notice but the new SIS Director is a top lawyer having served four GGs and four PMs as Clerk of the Executive Council and Secretary of the Cabinet. She is widely acknowledged as apolitical and surely that is the Gold Standard. OTOH all members of the Judiciary are political appointees made by the GG on the recommendation of the Attorney-General (following consultation with the Chief Justice/Chief District Court Judge and Solicitor-General).

And there is oversight and transparency. The Inspector-General of intelligence (appointed by the Pm in consultation with the leader of the Opposition) provides an oversight role as does the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament made up of the PM and two members nominated by him and the Leader of the Opposition and one member nominated by him.

Anon said "who would suggest such a thing" ... in respect of my comment that some on the dark side of politics want to do away with the SIS and/or the GCSB. Look and learn lad ... two extracts from the Green Party policy .....

The Green Party believes that it may be more appropriate for the police to have responsibility for protecting New Zealand's security. We would therefore institute a select committee enquiry into whether the SIS should be abolished and its responsibilities returned to the police. - See more at: https://home.greens.org.nz/policy/security-services-policy#sthash.AOYPUJ7w.dpuf

and

The Green Party believes that New Zealand's international relations, defence and security needs are not well served by spying on private communications between our Pacific neighbours and New Zealand and therefore we will abolish the GCSB and close its two signals intelligence bases at Waihopai and Tangimoana immediately. - See more at: https://home.greens.org.nz/policy/security-services-policy#sthash.AOYPUJ7w.dpuf

slam dunk

Anonymous said...

Unlike other intelligence orginisations we seem to recruit from long serving police and military personal instead of bright uni people who would not recognise a salute from a salami. A change of name does not make it better or worse, it could be run by St Johns Ambulance and it would still be the SIS.

Please name any successful prosecutions that may give us some hope that we are getting bang for our bucks and that it is not all leaden footed coppers playing lone ranger and inventing conspiracy theories.

The Veteran said...

Anon ... you need to bring yourself up to speed. Your scenario may have been true in 1950s thru to the 1990s. In the last couple of decades much has changed. This taken from the SIS website:

Intelligence Officers - what we are looking for

There’s no predetermined view about what makes an ideal Intelligence Officer but there are a few prerequisites that you’ll need.

You will:
•be looking for a challenging and rewarding career
•have relevant skills and life experience
•have a tertiary qualification
•be a New Zealand citizen with a background that can be checked at least 15 years or from age 18 (you must be able to receive and retain throughout your career the highest level of security clearance)
•be flexible to move locations throughout your career
•hold a valid and clean full New Zealand Driver’s licence
•have no criminal record.

You will have:
•exceptional interpersonal and relationship management skills
•sound judgement, initiative and maturity
•confidence, flexibility and resilience
•excellent oral and written communication skills
•loyalty to New Zealand and pride in the country.

The days of the SIS being an easy retirement option for those exiting the military and/or the police have long gone.