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  • Writer's pictureKhalil Dewan

The Christchurch Attacks: Blight on New Zealand's Secret Service

The investigation presents evidence that New Zealand’s intelligence and law enforcement operate with a disproportional focus on the suspect Muslim communities, which has paved the way for oversight on the Far-Right and White Supremacist political violence. In their dealings with the Muslim community, numerous cases of harassment, coercion and blackmail were uncovered. While these cases put in question the operational activities of the ZSIS, they also raise questions about their overall strategic posture. The report documents 11 New Zealand-based cases of ZSIS harassment, coercion and blackmail between 2008 and 2017. The testimonies reveal violations of both International Human Rights Law and Domestic Law. A review of New Zealand’s counter-terrorism instruments reveals that a blind eye is turned to ‘other’ non-Muslim threats of violence such as White Supremacy and the Far Right. The report uncovers the inner-workings of New Zealand’s Security Intelligence Service (ZSIS), in response to two of the main terms of reference for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the attacks of March 15th, 2019. The Royal Commission must put the victims at the centre of the inquiry, to understand from a grass-roots level the impact of anti-Muslim sentiment (Islamophobia) and counter-terrorism in practice in New Zealand. This would grossly ill-inform the inquiry when attempting to understand why the ZSIS failed to prevent the massacre at Christchurch.

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