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Call for Inquiry into Police Intelligence Service

12 May 2000

Media release for immediate use

Following the High Court victory by University of Canterbury lecturer Dr David Small against the Police, there has been a call for a full and open select committee inquiry into the role of the Criminal Intelligence Service (CIS) of the Police in targetting political organisations and activists.

This follows evidence that the CIS had taken an interest in Dr Small since the mid-1980s when he had written articles about Pacific independence issues. CIS officers also admitted to surveillance of GATT Watchdog organiser Aziz Choudry's house and workplace, and cooperating with the SIS in concealing SIS involvement in the bungled break-in at Mr Choudry's home which the Court of Appeal has ruled was illegal.

University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey is one of a group of individuals and organisations calling on the Justice and Electoral Select Committee to hold an inquiry into the issue. (See letter attached)

"While their operations relate partly to narcotics and vice, the CIS also monitors political activities which the Police consider may involve a breach of the criminal law."

"The events which led to the Small case and the judgement itself reinforce concerns that the CIS is collecting information on and surveilling a range of political organisations and individuals in the community because of their political beliefs."

"They also point to a mindset and operational culture which equate challenging the prevailing political and economic orthodoxy with criminal activity. This raises serious questions about New Zealanders' rights to freely express their political beliefs", she said.

"The CIS conducts similar surveillance operations to the SIS and there is strong liaison between them. Yet the CIS falls outside of the definition of intelligence agency which applies to the SIS and the GCSB. This was pointed out during the two recent amendments to the SIS legislation, but nothing was done. These latest developments reinforce those concerns', said Professor Kelsey.

"The Justice and Electoral Select Committee is already holding an inquiry into the policing of pro-Tibet demonstrations around the time of last year's APEC Summit. We are asking them to conduct a similar inquiry into the role of the CIS in targetting people on the grounds of their political beliefs, and recommend more effective accountability for how they exercise their powers," she said.

For further comment, please contact Jane Kelsey on (09) 3737599 ext.8006

The call for an inquiry into the role of the CIS is supported by: Professor Jane Kelsey; New Zealand University Students Association; Association of University Staff New Zealand Inc; Nicky Hager, Author of 'Secret Power' and 'Secrets and Lies'; Maxine Gay, President, NZ Trade Union Federation; Sukhi Turner, Mayor of Dunedin; New Zealand Council of Trade Unions; Darien Fenton, National Secretary of Service and Food Workers Union; Bruce Hansen, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church; Wolfgang Rosenberg, Former Reader in Economics, University of Canterbury; Barry Wilson, President, Auckland Council For Civil Liberties; Dr Prue Hyman, Associate Professor, Women's Studies, Victoria University; Desigin Thulkanam, Education Coordinator, Victoria University of Wellington Student's Association; John Minto, Chair of Quality Public Education Coalition; Jill Hawkey, National Coordinator, Christian World Service; Rev. Don Borrie, Porirua; Dr John Klena, Lecturer in Plant and Microbial Science, Canterbury University; Edwina Hughes, Coordinator, Peace Movement Aotearoa; Rev Dr Jim Stuart, Minister, St Andrews on the Terrace, Wellington; Hugh Price, publisher, Wellington; Murray Horton, Organiser, CAFCA and Anti-Bases Campaign; Leigh Cookson, Coordinator, GATT Watchdog; Canterbury Council for Civil Liberties; Rev Keith Taylor, Aotea Chapel, Auckland.

Alert ! Call for a Select Committee Inquiry into the Criminal Intelligence Service (12/5/2000)

GATT Watchdog on APEC SIS/Police debacle (8/5/2000)

Police guilty of political harassment (8/5/2000)

Link to the main page on the SIS and spies.

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