New Zealand: Uncle Sam’s obedient satrapy.

Waihopai: are these the goolies by which the CIA has New Zealand in its grip?

Blog. No. 108.

I am an immigrant to New Zealand. I came here with my family in 1985, determined that our three children would have a better future in New Zealand than in an England, at that time, dominated by Margaret Thatcher. Margaret was wallowing in the chauvinistic adoration brought on by her triumph over Argentinian conscripts and naval cadets in the Falklands. Now, on the home front, she was just as ardently seeking a victory, this time for social inequality by reducing government funding for education whilst indulging in an assault on the trade union movement.

The New Zealand where I arrived in 1985, was a pleasant, peaceful land of independent defiance. Under David Lange, it had opted out of the nuclear stand-off between East and West, in the maintenance of which so many Western world elites had a vested interest. Starting with David Lange’s election in 1984 and formalised in the 1987 Nuclear Free Act, NZ’s break in the solidarity of the western nuclear alliance, coincided with Gorbachev becoming Secretary General of the Communist Party of the USSR, his introduction of ‘perestroika’ and ‘glasnost’ and the defusing of East-West tension that followed and which was to be eagerly welcomed by many Europeans.

The US government was alarmed that the NZ example could be taken up by others of its less belligerent allies and the whole money-go-round, on which so much of its economy was (and still is) dependent, would come to a grinding halt. A case could even be made to argue that it was this move by David Lange’s government, and the fear of further defections from the western camp, that made Reagan accept the necessity of treating with Gorbachev for an end to the Cold War, rather than going for an all-out victory. Unsurprisingly, New Zealand, having so reduced the options open to it, became very much out of favour in Washington and Lange feared he might well go the same way as had Australia’s Goff Whitlam a decade earlier.

The initial American policy towards New Zealand was to put the country in Coventry and make as public a spectacle as possible of the punishment meted out to it. This policy was gradually phased out (though, as can be seen from the penultimate question posed to John Key, when he gave his recent presentation to the US Council on Foreign Relations, echoes of American disgruntlement remain.)

Culturally, very much a part of their out-numbered, English-speaking family of nations, it made no sense for American policy-makers to keep NZ out in the cold, when they were looking for all the help they could get in developing ways in which to fill the vacuum left by the cessation of the Cold War. Consequently, Black Sheep New Zealand has been gradually welcomed back into the American fold.

That process gathered rapid pace with the election of John Key’s National Party government in 2008. The National Party had always been ideologically inclined towards the Wall Street consensus, but had soon realised that any attempt to revoke the anti-nuclear legislation, now so deeply embedded in the New Zealand sense of identity, would have been political suicide.

Instead, successive National governments have contented themselves with supporting and giving comfort to the USA in its military, diplomatic, intelligence and economic endeavours, whenever it can. The Key government has enthusiastically supported both militarily and diplomatically, American favouritism towards Israel and Saudi Arabia and its hostility towards Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Iran and Russia.

The only region where the Key government could perhaps be viewed as being out of step with American foreign policy is in regard to Obama’s TPP and his ‘pivot to Asia’. The world domination faction in USA policy-making advocates the signing of a TPP of which China is not a member, as a weapon of containment. New Zealand, more aligned to the interests of its own and of American big-business than to America’s neo-con hawks, keenly advocates China’s inclusion in the TPP and American engagement with, rather than hostility towards New Zealand’s main trading partner.

John Key
John Key

With its Waihopai contribution to the US intelligence gathering capability New Zealand is very well integrated into the US intelligence community. If my recent Blog No. 105 is accurate, it could as a very distant possibility, transpire that so too, might be John Key.

His bio makes interesting reading. As a talented man, with an openly expressed ambition to become Prime Minister of New Zealand and beavering in the top echelons of the Wall Street lolly scramble, Key would most certainly have come to the notice of the CIA’s talent spotters. They would have been disappointed to find that Key, in contrast to the popular stereotype of the cocaine snorting, dissolutes inhabiting the Street, would appear to lead a blameless and vice-free family life. It seems most unlikely that he would have proved to be a suitable subject for their blackmail.

Fortunately for what another CIA whistle-blower, John Kiriakou, being interviewed this September on NZ National Radio, termed “the sociopaths and criminals” at the top of the CIA tree, blackmail does not appear to have been necessary to gain John Key’s full cooperation. His neo-liberal credentials are impeccable. Just as he excelled on the trading floors and in the board rooms of Wall Street, so too, he has proved supremely competent as a New Zealand politician. In accord with the best neo-liberal practice, as well demonstrated in the USA, John Key, while leading a government that expresses scant concern as the Devil overtakes NZ society’s hindermost, has pursued policies that have accelerated  the metamorphosis of what was not so long ago, an essentially egalitarian and mutually supportive society, into one of rapidly growing inequality. The New Zealand public seem hardly to have noticed, as their government has been inveigled back into full cooperation with those at the centre of American global power projection.

john-key-cartoon-garrick-tremain3To placate the American ogre so much antagonised by his banning of the US Navy’s nuclear armed and powered ships from NZ waters, David Lange had allowed the USA to install an American owned and, what he was informed, was a relatively innocuous, radio intelligence gathering station, just twenty kilometres from where this blog is being written. He almost certainly did not realise at the time how fat would prove the thick end of the wedge, of which he allowed the thin end to be inserted.

On the basis of my long-term involvement with the Harmon Wilfred story, (see my previous blogs Nos. 90. 96, 101 & 105) having read Nicky Hager’s books on the subject and having myself worked on the outer edges of the British intelligence world, my interpretation of the situation is as follows.

Playing with the big boys was the most exciting thing that the careerists in NZ’s Secret Intelligence Service had ever been allowed to do. No doubt, officials of the NZ SIS are unaware, deliberately or otherwise, of the full extent of the CIA’s deviant sociopathy and criminality. (See my blog No. 105.  ) They can comfortably delude themselves that cooperation with that organisation’s expression of US ambition had always to be in the NZ national interest (as well as in their own) and so have come to conduct themselves as an arm of the American intelligence community. NZ politicians and senior civil servants, kept in the dark and naïve in regard to the arcane workings of the secret intelligence world, have scarcely noticed this transfer of allegiance. When the NZ SIS advises their political leaders on ‘the national interest,’ NZ politicians are ill-placed to question that advice. Should some journalists, or even possibly members of the judiciary have whispered in their ears some blandishments about ‘national security,’ patriotic duty’ and ‘the national interest,’ they too might feel bound to take heed.

Only by giving credence to the above hypothesis can I explain the extraordinary conduct of successive NZ governments in relation to Harmon and Carolyn Wilfred.

Residency-021205 DK Home sweet home...Harmon Wilfred and wife, Carolyn Dare-Wilfred, call Sumner home but are fighting a deportation order against American born, Harmon. news Martin Van Beynen
Harmon and Carolyn Wilfred

For those readers who have no time to read my previous blogs on the topic, here follows an abridged version. In my Blog No. 96. you can read a full timeline of the events leading up to the arrival of the Wilfreds in New Zealand.

In the late 1990s, Harmon was the key player involved in a CIA covert operation to unwittingly launder, outside of Congressional oversight, a $6 billion note drawn on behalf of the Guatemalan government and originally issued by the Mitsubishi Bank of Tokyo. This was the first of eleven notes assigned to the CIA to be transacted. President Bill Clinton became involved in the project and it would appear, fully intended to be one of the beneficiaries. For various reasons the operation became exposed to public view and the team involved was dispersed under circumstances, which resulted in Harmon becoming viewed as a significant threat to the political and financial ambitions of both Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Harmon and his wife, Carolyn, both then resident in Canada, were warned by a contact in Langley that they had been scheduled to commit suicide. With Harmon travelling on his American passport and Carolyn on her Canadian passport, the couple fled, initially to Hong Kong, where they stayed for six weeks, before they finally arrived in New Zealand in 2001.

The Wilfreds settled in Christchurch and had sufficient capital to establish a pioneering VOIP company, ITTelenet Ltd, which allowed them both residence in NZ on business visas. Later, as an insurance policy against further CIA retaliation, Harmon posted sufficient of his story on his website to ensure a major embarrassment should he decease under suspicious circumstances.

Three years later, Harmon forwarded his passport to the US consulate in Auckland to be renewed. The consulate seized the passport and informed Harmon that if he wanted it back, he would have to return to the US to clear up some “issues”. Faced with the option of incarceration, or worse, in the USA, or of continuing to reside in New Zealand without a valid passport, Harmon opted to throw himself on the mercy of what he believed to be, a benign New Zealand state.

As US citizens are entitled to do under their legal system, Harmon renounced his citizenship in March, 2005 and thereby, once his renunciation had been formally acknowledged by the State Department, became a stateless person resident in New Zealand. (As a stateless person without a residence permit or a passport, while he was allowed to continue as a director of the IT company that he and his wife had founded, he was unable to travel overseas in support of his company or allowed to accept any form of remuneration or take up any paid work).

Harmon, having arrived in NZ in fear of his life at the hands of a US government agency, applied for political asylum. However, the New Zealand Immigration Service, even though their own research had shown that another key member of the Mitsubishi Note team, together with wife and children, had died violent deaths at about the same time as Harmon had fled, refused to accept his application. How could a citizen of the USA, the leader of the Free World, governed by the rule of law, expect a violent death at the hands of a US government agency?!

United Nations conventions have it that the condition of statelessness is an affront to individual human rights and that it is incumbent on any state to ensure that statelessness among its residents should be rectified with minimum delay. Despite repeated requests for citizenship, for a residence permit or even a travel document, the NZ government has consistently refused to make any move to regularise Harmon’s status. Instead it has repeatedly sent officials round to his door and threatened, to his wife’s despair, to deport him ‘within the week.’

However, no longer having any home country to which to return, Harmon refuses to consent to his deportation. Forcefully and illegally renditioning him back to his country of birth, would create an enormous scandal that would draw most unwelcome attention to the financial maneuverings of the CIA and the Clintons. Thus Harmon has remained in limbo for the past twelve or so years, imprisoned in his gilded cage and unable to travel overseas. About three years ago, he placed his case in the hands of the NZ Ombudsman; the Ombudsman, as yet, has been unable to extract any concessions from the government.

dare-logoCarolyn Dare Wilfred is one of three siblings who have inherited shares in Dare Foods Ltd., a large (approx. C$400 million turnover) privately owned Canadian company. Given that Harmon is unable to earn his living while remaining stateless, the couple decided that she should sell her shares in the family business.

Despite a shareholders’ agreement that allowed her to sell the shares, her brothers blocked the sale, hoping to buy the shares at a much reduced valuation. If nothing can be resolved beforehand, the result of this family dispute is scheduled for resolution in court in early 2017. To pay the legal fees involved over the three years it has taken to get her case to court, the Wilfreds were forced to sell out of ITTelenet.voip_acquisition-dts_ittelnet

In mid-2015, Carolyn, no longer a director in ITTelenet, allowed the business visa, under which she was living with her husband, to expire in lieu of a fresh application for residency under the NZ government’s new scheme designed to encourage overseas investment in NZ start-ups and SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises.) Called the ‘Investor Plus’ scheme it made provision for any overseas resident, willing to invest NZ $10 million or more in one or several NZ businesses, to have permanent residence in NZ. In the initial year, before taking up residence, they should be allowed multiple entry visas while they sought suitable businesses in which to invest.

Carolyn, already having lined up several worthy NZ businesses in which she was happy to invest, immediately applied for residency under this scheme. She was told that she would have to make her application under the Investor Plus scheme from an overseas location. As a Canadian citizen with no criminal record of any kind against her name and knowing that in any case, there was a long-standing visa waiver agreement between New Zealand and Canada, she duly left the country for a short visit to her daughter in Canada. Within twenty-four hours of her flying out of Christchurch International Airport, in September 2015, the NZ Immigration Service issued an all ports ban on her re-entry into New Zealand. Carolyn’s lawyer protested and was initially told it was an administrative error that would be soon rectified. Twelve months later, it still hasn’t been.

The Canadian government has said that the incident is none of their concern and is a matter for Mrs Wilfred to take up with the NZ government. All other avenues having failed, the Wilfreds’ New Zealand lawyer has taken up the matter with the Ombudsman on the basis of the violation of Carolyn and Harmon’s human rights. In July this year, the Ombudsman formally requested an explanation from the NZ Immigration Service. Such requests have to be acted upon within three weeks. The Ombudsman duly received the reply on time. The Ombudsman then informed Carolyn’s lawyer that it would take 4 -6 weeks to evaluate that reply and refused in the meantime to let the lawyer have sight of the government’s reply. After six weeks the lawyer again prompted the Ombudsman’s office for the response, only to be told that a further six weeks were required before the Ombudsman’s office could evaluate its reply.

Carolyn holds out little hope that when and if the Government’s reply to the Ombudsman is made known, it will in any way alleviate her position. It seems that the New Zealand government, despite the lip-service it pays to prioritising the interests of New Zealand businesses, and despite such prioritising being clearly in accord with their neo-liberal ideology, has, in Carolyn’s instance, found a more pressing priority.

Carolyn’s case has all the potential for and appearance of a rapidly brewing media and parliamentary storm. It makes for excessively bad PR to be seen to be forcefully, and perhaps permanently, separating a loving and long-married couple, neither of whom has any record of criminality, and both of whom can demonstrate the value they will provide to the economy. Why is the New Zealand government prepared to risk spending so much political capital (of which this article is just one example) over such an apparently ancient and time-expired case?

The only answer that I can come up with, relates to advice given to John Key and his cabinet by the NZ SIS at the behest of the CIA. We have seen in my previous Blog No 105, the extent to which Hillary Clinton is a protégé (and would be puppet) of the CIA should she win the coming election. Has New Zealand been told in no uncertain terms that nothing must be allowed to interfere with that process on which so many fortunes hang?

That still leaves the question as to why choose this time to force this matter to a crisis point by so guilefully and cruelly separating a couple who were living peacefully in Christchurch, at the bottom of the world and well out of the way of American politics? In such strange and inexplicable circumstances wild Paranoia can creep in and far-fetched theories be entertained. Could the idea be to give the couple cause to give public expression to their despair and depression, thereby providing cover for their possible suicide!



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