SPOOKY BITS

 

-       Murray Horton

 

SIS Advertising For Spies

 

“Prime Minister and Minister in charge of the Security Intelligence Service, Helen Clark, said today that the Security Intelligence Service is advertising again for career intelligence officers.

 

“Helen Clark said that the Service had advertised for officers last year (2001), its first public advertisement in 20 years. There was a strong response, with over 850 applications, and the Service was able to fill its vacancies with high quality candidates.

 

“Helen Clark said that on 30 January 2002 extra funding had been announced for counter-terrorism activities. She said with its share of the additional funding, the SIS would be able to increase its staff numbers over time, probably to around 140. That would follow a long period of reduction, from the peak of 159 in 1982/83 to about 110 before 11 September 2001.

 

"’I welcome the decision of the Director of the SIS to advertise openly for staff. The Service needs to tap into the widest pool of available talent in order to obtain staff of the highest quality. The decision to advertise is also consistent with the greater openness about the Service, which the Director and I are pursuing.

 

"’While there will always be limits for security reasons on what can be said publicly about security intelligence work, in my view moves like this normalisation of recruitment procedures are good for the Service and are in the public interest,’ Helen Clark said’’ (press release from the Minister in Charge of the SIS, 3/5/02).

 

SIS Anti-Terrorist Hotline Still Active

 

“A hotline to report suspicious activity, set up by the SIS after the September 11 terrorist attacks, is still active as the public helps in the fight against terrorism. To the end of June (2002), there had been about 400 calls to the number. ‘Quite a number of these have been useful and we plan to keep the 0800 number. The rate of calls has decreased since it was first established’, a spokesman for the SIS said” (Press, 10/9/02). Presumably the people ringing this “Dob In A Terrorist” line are the ones frustrated that they can no longer ring the Dob In A Dole Bludger/Benefit Cheat/Solo Mother set up by the National government in the 90s.

 

John Poindexter Back At The Top Of Bush’s Spy Empire

 

John Poindexter was one of the leading National Security advisers in the Reagan Presidency (1980-88) and as such, one of the two leading figures (along with Oliver North) in the Iran-Contra scam. To quote from “Encyclopaedia Britannica” (1999 Standard Edition), this was a:

 

“US political scandal in which the National Security Council (NSC) became involved in secret weapons transactions and other activities that either were prohibited by the US Congress or violated the stated public policy of the government. In early 1985 the head of the NSC, Robert C McFarlane, undertook the sale of antitank and antiaircraft missiles to Iran in the mistaken belief that such a sale would secure the release of a number of American citizens who were being held captive in Lebanon by Shi'ite terrorist groups loyal to Iran. This and several subsequent weapon sales to Iran in 1986 directly contradicted the US government's publicly stated policy of refusing either to bargain with terrorists or to aid Iran in its war with Iraq, a policy based on the belief that Iran was a sponsor of international terrorism. A portion of the $US48 million that Iran paid for the arms was diverted by the NSC and given to the Contras, the US-backed rebels fighting to overthrow the Marxist-oriented Sandinista government of Nicaragua. The monetary transfers were undertaken by NSC staff member Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North with the approval of McFarlane's successor as head of the NSC, Rear Admiral John M Poindexter. North and his associates also raised private funds for the Contras. These activities violated the Boland Amendment, a law passed by Congress in 1984 that banned direct or indirect U.S. military aid to the Contras.

 

“The NSC's illegal activities came to light in November 1986 and aroused an immediate public uproar. Poindexter and North lost their jobs and were prosecuted, President Ronald Reagan's public image was tarnished, and the United States suffered a serious though temporary loss of credibility as an opponent of terrorism”.

 

That was then. In February 2002 it was announced that Poindexter will head a new US Intelligence agency, the Information Awareness Office (IAO). Its job will be to supply Federal officials with instant analysis on what is being written on e-mail and said on phones all over the US. Domestic espionage in other words.

 

To quote the Guardian (18/2/02; “No more Mr Scrupulous Guy: How one of the two brains behind the Iran-Contra scandal this week became one of America’s most powerful men”, John Sutherland):

 

“…The IAO is one of two new offshoots of the Pentagon-based DARPA – the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (it's venerable ancestor, ARPA, invented the Internet). The other new agency is called the Information Exploitation Office. Its mission is to supply similarly instant analysis about overseas enemy targets. IEO will employ the computerised sensor networks that have proved so successful in Afghanistan. And, from now on, America - with IEO guiding its smart weaponry - will launch sneak attacks. No more Mr Nice Guy.

 

“IOA and IEO will get a big chunk of the $US48 billion of the taxpayers' money George Bush is pumping into his war on the evildoers. Never again will it be said that US Intelligence agencies went to sleep on the job - or that they were too careful about the American citizen's civil rights to do that job. No more Mr Scrupulous Guy.

 

“Poindexter is frighteningly smart and very unscrupulous. He graduated top of his class at the Naval Academy in 1958 and went on to a PhD in physics at the California Institute of Technology. He returned to uniform as America's best-educated sailor. He wasn't a desk warrior. Poindexter commanded missile destroyers. He won medals to hang alongside his academic diplomas. He is the model for Tom Clancy's hero, Jack Ryan.

 

“After the assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981, Poindexter was called in to review White House security. Reagan was impressed and appointed him a national security adviser, in 1983, with the rank of vice-admiral.

 

“At this point, things started to go wrong. He and Oliver North were found to be up to their necks in the Iran-Contra (guns for hostages) scam, which blew up in 1986. Poindexter was charged and found guilty of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and the destruction of evidence in 1990; this was overturned on appeal the following year. The case against them was that they meticulously wiped out 5,000 incriminating emails - but forgot about the back-up tapes. Even smart guys goof sometimes. Poindexter was also accused by a Costa Rican government commission of being involved in cocaine trafficking to raise funds for the contras, though this was never proved.... His excuse for his behaviour was brazen: ‘I made a very deliberate decision not to tell the President so that I could insulate him from the decision and provide some future deniability for the President if it ever leaked out’. In other words, he gave himself the right to run America's foreign policy behind the back of the Commander in Chief. Who the hell voted for John M Poindexter?

 

“Both North and Poindexter have gone on to do well. North has a radio chat programme that rivals Rush Limbaugh in Rightwing virulence. Poindexter was recruited by Syntek Technologies, a firm in bed with DARPA. His hand was back in the hi-tech cookie jar. As a company vice-president, Poindexter helped develop Genoa - an ‘intelligence mining, information harvesting’ system designed to explore (clandestinely) large computer databases. Listen in on America's electronic conversations, that is.

 

“Poindexter is, once again, one of the most powerful men in America. His job description is "crisis manager". How do you put a man with Poindexter's record back in the manager's box?…” .

 

US Too Embarrassed To Prosecute UK Peace Activist

 

Lindis Percy is an absolutely tireless campaigner against US bases in Britain, primarily (but far from exclusively) Menwith Hill. Along with her fellow activist, Anni Rainbow, she runs the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB), which produces a regular newsletter and has an excellent Website. We have long since lost count of the number of times she has been arrested for entering these bases, or protesting outside them. She has racked up serious jail time with the amount of remands in custody that she has endured, and quite often has to prioritise competing court appearances, because she has many charges against her at any one time. Sometimes it all gets too much for Uncle Sam and his loyal British servants. The following story appeared in the Guardian (29/6/02: “Embarrassed US Blocks Case Against Peace Fighter”, Richard Norton-Taylor):

 

“Criminal charges against Britain's most dogged peace campaigner who was accused of illegally entering a secret US base have been dropped because the Americans did not want embarrassing evidence to emerge.

 

“Lindis Percy, a 60-year-old health visitor, was held in custody for 11 days in March 2002 after spending over an hour inside RAF Croughton, near Northampton. Despite its official name, it is a US Air Force base used for receiving and transmitting communications from US aircraft, including nuclear bombers. Over 300 US personnel are located at the base, according to the Ministry of Defence. After she was arrested by MoD police, Ms Percy was charged with aggravated trespass. Her case was due to be heard at Northampton magistrates court this week.

 

“She said yesterday she was furious about the decision. She wanted to seize the opportunity to question US witnesses about activities at the base where a new radome ‘golf ball’ - satellite ground relay station - is being built. She said she also wanted to expose security lapses there. She said she entered the base to undertake ‘research’. She had no intention of committing any damage.

 

“The Crown Prosecution Service says the charges were dropped because US personnel refused to assert that Ms Percy had caused alarm or distress. The case raises serious questions about the relations between US personnel and the MoD police at what are nominally RAF, but in reality American, bases in Britain.

 

“The US and the MoD are increasingly embarrassed by the activities of Ms Percy. She is prevented by injunctions from entering five US bases here, including the large eavesdropping station at Menwith Hill, near Harrogate, North Yorkshire, which will be used in the Bush ‘Son of Star Wars’ Missile Defense Program. She is threatened by the MoD with bankruptcy proceedings for failing to pay legal costs of nearly £50,000”.

 

You can contact Anni Rainbow and Lindis Percy, Joint Co-ordinators of the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB) at:

8 Park Row, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 1HQ, England, UK; Tel/fax no: +44 (0)1943 466405 0R +44 (0)1482 702033 email: anniandlindis@caab.org.uk or caab@btclick.com Website: http://www.caab.org.uk

 

Somebody Loves Us

 

“For some years now I have received my most valuable information regards the Anzac sphere from the good offices of Murray Horton and Peace Researcher. Kiwis can be very proud to have such a diligent and knowledgeable researcher of seemingly tireless energy available to inform them of honest alternatives to the continuing corruption of power, south and north. I especially am thankful for this splendid effort from my very good neighbours from Aotearoa”.
Robert S Rodvik, Author/media analyst (Canada).

 

Death In The Family

 

The ABC committee extends our deepest sympathy to our close friend, Dennis Small (former co-editor of Peace Researcher and a regular writer for many years). His mother, Dorothy Small, died in April, aged 89, in Christchurch. Dennis had lived with his mother for a long time and in her last few years had been her fulltime caregiver, so her death (just weeks short of her 90th birthday) is a very big blow to him.

 

Dorothy Small was a remarkable woman. For 65 years (until she had a heart attack, in 1999) she taught dressmaking and sewing, in her home workshop. She was an institution in Christchurch, putting on fashion parades in her younger days. She threw herself into all sorts of volunteer work, ranging from overseas medical relief projects to alleviating the suffering of stray dogs (she was a great dog lover and there was always one at her place). It’s worth remembering that, in her day, it was most unusual for a woman to run her own business, particularly one who was singlehandedly bringing up two sons. She was immaculate in appearance and anyone meeting her for the first time would guess her age to be decades younger than what it was. She will be sorely missed, not only by Dennis and the rest of her family, but by all of us.

 

We’ve Moved To Kiwibank

 

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve closed the ABC and Peace Researcher accounts at WestpacTrust and have moved them to Kiwibank. We started off banking with the locally owned Trustbank and were amongst those involved in the vigorous protest campaign when that sold out to Australian bank Westpac, in 1996. We are now delighted to be able to put our money into a publicly owned and New Zealand owned bank. Not that Kiwibank has been without glitches (which we’ll charitably ascribe to teething troubles).

 

Talking of glitches, WestpacTrust hit us with a beauty in 2001, right in the final build up to that year’s national speaking tour by Canadian ex-spy, Mike Frost, when we were handling thousands of dollars into and out of our accounts. A cunning (and never caught) thief stole one cheque from each cheque book. All our transactions require two signatures. However s/he forged one of our signatures on each cheque and presented them at WestpacTrust, which promptly paid out. We knew nothing of this until we received the bank statements. We went to the bank to complain and were told that, as a matter of bank policy, they don’t check any cheques below a certain amount (which they refused to reveal. The thief had obviously done this before, as each cheque was for just less than $500, so you can safely assume that is the magic number). All up we were nearly $1,000 out of pocket. Fortunately WestpacTrust fairly promptly reimbursed us and apologised. We complained to the Banking Ombudsman – she backed WestpacTrust, saying all banks prefer to carry the cost of theft and fraud rather than employ the extra staff needed to verify all cheques! Reflect on that little revelation. On the other hand, Kiwibank has told us that it checks all cheques, so let’s see how we go with them.

 

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