Alf is fascinated by the extent to which trivia can trigger outrage among Greens and “peace” campaigners.
This time, the buggers are fair fuming and spluttering at finding the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) wants universities to alert the spooks to any illicit science relating to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
SIS director Dr Warren Tucker met the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (NZVCC) and sent university managers a letter and a brochure called A Guide to Weapons of Mass Destruction: Your Role in Preventing Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
So that’s it. The SIS is telling the university bosses to keep an eye open for anything suspicious.
In the case of Canterbury University’s Rod Carr, it could be a big ask. The way Alf remembers him, the bugger is visually challenged. Severely.
No matter. The point is that –
The move has outraged the Tertiary Education Union (TEU), the Green Party and a peace group which described the request as unethical.
Disarmament and Security Centre co-director Rob Green said the SIS inviting university staff to spy on their students and colleagues was thoroughly unethical and ill-advised.
“The SIS is showing signs of paranoia in order to please their United States masters, I suspect.”
There was a heap of verbal wanking from TEU president Dr Tom Ryan, too. He said …
asking university staff to report back to a spy agency would undermine the legislated autonomy of institutions, including the guarantee of academic freedom.
It could also lead to some academics being targeted because of their religion, nationality or ethnicity, he said.
The SIS pamphlet provided information and guidance for scientists, exporters and academics on how to identify proliferation-related activity and what to do should they become aware of such activity or have suspicions or concerns.
Tucker said of particular relevance to New Zealand universities was the potential application of knowledge or skills in the hard science, engineering, mathematical and medical fields to weapons programmes.
“Many technologies currently studied at advanced levels in these areas have dual-use applications relevant to weapons of mass destruction.”
Sure enough, Green Party human rights spokesman Keith Locke clambered on to the bandwagon, saying it was unlikely New Zealand universities were doing any serious research into matters that were directly related to weapons of mass destruction.
“It just seems that the SIS is really trying to make work for itself given there are no terrorists or really dangerous people in New Zealand.”
No dangerous people in New Zealand?
What sorts of people are being locked up in our top-security prisons, then?
Alf has a strong urge to have Keith Locke locked up with them.