Zaoui case needs Iraq-style inquiry, says Locke

Green MP Keith Locke says the SIS should come under the same scrutiny for the Zaoui case that its American and British counterparts are facing over the Iraq war.

The call follows accusations that SIS Director Richard Woods’ past may be a factor in the Government’s treatment of Ahmed Zaoui.

“That the head of the SIS, who signed off Mr Zaoui’s Security Risk Certificate, was previously our Ambassador to France and Algeria adds to concerns that the Zaoui case is not about an actual terrorist threat, but is really about maintaining good relations with those countries,” said Mr Locke, the Green spokesperson on Intelligence issues.

“In Britain and America the fall-out from the Iraq war has been showing us how intelligence services have been serving their governments’ agendas. This could be happening here with the Zaoui case – we simply don’t know.

“The Prime minister’s spokesperson may well be able to deny a tangible conflict of interest between Mr Woods’ previous and current roles, but the appointment of a senior diplomat to head the SIS does result in suspicions that the government’s diplomatic interests are the prime concern to the agency.

“Human rights should, instead, be central to all determinations of national security.

“Helen Clarke should follow George W Bush and Tony Blair’s example and hold an independent inquiry into whether the SIS has been operating appropriately in the Zaoui case.

“Unfortunately the government is going in the opposite direction by challenging the High Court’s declaration that the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security should take Mr Zaoui’s human rights into account.”