Monday, November 10, 2014

An inflated risk

Writing in the Dominion-Post on Saturday, Andrea vance outright accuses the Prime Minister of inflating the risk of terrorism, highlighting the way he has misled and manipulated the public about the threat. Exaggerating the number of jihad tourists, theatrically inventing a "terror-alert level" so he could cynically raise it, talking up threats to sporting events - and then hiding behind secrecy when any of this is challenged. The scepticism seems justified. Despite all of Key's fearmongering, its worth remembering that we have not had a single arrest or prosecution for joining or financing ISIS - and surely if there was real evidence that people were committing these serious crimes, the police would swoop. Likewise, Key has cancelled only two passports this year - hardly an example of a flood of kiwi jihadis.

Meanwhile, the media's examples of kiwi ISIS supporters show that we have nothing to be afraid of. Yes, both support a foreign regime which engages in crimes against humanity (one while denouncing those crimes). But that's well within the bounds of discourse of a free and democratic society (or else we'd be arresting every supporter of the US, Israel and China), and there's no indication that that support is anything beyond peaceful and political. One of them would leave New Zealand if Key wages war on ISIS? Again, that's a democratic action, not a terrorist one.

If these are Key's bogeymen, we do not need new laws. Instead, it looks like we need a Prime Minister who doesn't jump at shadows.