Monthly Archives: October 2013

Operation 8: Why were Maori police officers not involved?

Read the complete analysis of alleged Maori terrorism in the Urewera

Was it the old old story of ignorance, racism and paranoia as well as incompetence?

Maori police were deliberately excluded from knowing anything about Operation 8 until after the termination phase; that is the armed paramilitary operation on 15th October 2007. Superintendent Wallace Haumaha who until 2007 was the National Strategic Maori Advisor, and is now the General Manager Maori, Ethnic and Pacific Services, was deliberately excluded. His network of Police iwi liaison officers was also deliberately excluded.

Te Putatara understands from sources close to the NZ Police that Commissioner Broad himself approved the decision to exclude Superintendent Haumaha and his teams. The sources also report that Haumaha later strongly objected to his exclusion and demanded and received an apology from Broad.

It was reported that at a hui at Wainuiomata Marae in March 2008:

New Zealand’s top cop also admitted to ongoing differences of opinion with advisory staff over the decision to go ahead with the raids“.

The exclusion of NZ Police’s experts on Maori:

  • Highlights the ignorance, racism, paranoia and incompetence of the intelligence operation leading to the armed paramilitary operation.
  • Led to a deeply flawed analysis upon which the police built their terrorism narrative and convinced themselves that their terrorism scenario was the only possible scenario.
  • Culminated in a hugely over-the-top and over-hyped paramilitary operation that traumatised a whole community and families in other locations, and that is having a lasting adverse effect on children caught up and terrorised in that operation.
  • Led directly to the investigative and legal debacle that unfolded after the paramilitary operation; and
  • It was dumb.

A central principle of intelligence gathering and analysis is a thorough knowledge of the targeted persons, organisations or countries. “Know thy adversary” is a key principle. This principle is certainly understood by intelligence professional Mark Evans who since October 2007 has headed the NZ Police intelligence framework implementation and is now Director of Intelligence. Mark Evans was appointed to implement a professional Intelligence capability, a capability that did not exist before his appointment.

“The better you understand your subject the more likely you can produce material with insight”.

– Evans, R Mark (2011), Influencing decision-makers with intelligence and analytical products” p192, in Ratcliffe, JH (Ed), Strategic thinking in criminal intelligence, 2nd Edition, The Federation Press, NSW.

The principle of “know thy adversary” was certainly not understood by Commissioner Howard Broad, Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope, Assistant Commissioner (Intelligence) Jon White, Detective Inspector Bruce Good and Detective Sergeant Aaron Pascoe in the intelligence planning (if there was any) and in the intelligence gathering and analysis phases of Operation 8.

In my experience one of the most frequent traps in Intelligence analysis is to interpret information from within one’s own cultural framework and from within one’s own range of experiences.

Competent analysts are those who immerse themselves within the worldview of the target person or persons, or countries and cultures, and are thus able to reach valid conclusions based on their knowledge of the targets’ own worldview; their thinking and motivations. If the analyst does not have that background knowledge he or she must seek it out rather than reach conclusions based on just a limited understanding of the target or targets.

In my own case I spent twelve months totally immersed in the language of a target country learning everything I could about the cultures, religions, mythologies, histories, geography, politics, agriculture, industry, economy, military, police, diplomacy, and peoples of that country. Having become fluent in the language and reasonably knowledgable about most aspects of the country I became an analyst on a country desk. I still needed to keep studying and learning.

Most Pakeha have forever judged and interpreted Maori through their own linguistic and cultural lens, ignorant of the differences between us, although that has been slowly changing. There are now of course, after generations of living, learning and loving together many similarities. But significant differences remain. Many Pakeha still refuse to acknowledge the difference, or if they do, refuse to accept that there should be difference. It’s the ridiculous “one people” mantra. That is perhaps one of the main reasons for the ignorance, racism and paranoia that has plagued Maori-Pakeha relations for so long, and that has long characterised the NZ Police  approach to Maori.

New policies have been introduced by the NZ Police to try to eradicate that racism, or more probably to be seen to be trying. They include cross-cultural education at the NZ Police College and the introduction of Maori responsiveness staff and policies. However the evidence on the frontline is that it is all skin deep and that ignorance, racism and paranoia is as strong as it ever was.

On specialist knowledge Mark Evans wrote:

“Products will be better informed by involving others. A community or neighbourhood profile for example will always benefit from input of those working closest to the problems on the ground. Consultation and taking advice is essential – a computer system and its captured data only contains some of the information necessary for effective analysis”.

– R Mark Evans (2011).

In my opinion the most glaring deficiency in the NZ Police Intelligence information gathering and analysis process leading up to Operation 8 was the deliberate exclusion of the Maori responsiveness team led by Superintendent Wallace Haumaha, and the exclusion of his network of Police iwi liaison officers, from the operation. These are the NZ Police’s experts on matters Maori. The planning and direction, collection, processing, analysis and production processes of the intelligence cycle were thus deprived of the most valuable police resource available to them, and suffered greatly because of it.

It meant that the Operation 8 intelligence team and their superiors ignorantly and deliberately deprived themselves of the opportunity and necessity to “know their adversary”. Their ignorance, racism and paranoia got in the way of their professionalism.

The exclusion of the police liaison network was written about in 2008 by Mr Luke Crawford, a former police officer who served for nearly 26 years. At the time of the Operation 8 raids Sergeant Crawford was a serving police officer. He writes:

“The situation that occurred at Ruatoki would have been handled in a totally different manner had iwi liaison officers been included in the planning and execution of this operation.”

Crawford, L, “Ruatoki, the Police and Maori Responsiveness”, Chapter 4 p110 in Keenan, D, (2008), Terror in our midst? Searching for terror in Aotearoa New Zealand, Huia Publishers, Wellington.

Mr Crawford also wrote:

 “There is still a way to go before there will be full participation by iwi liaison officers and their networks in decision-making at key areas of policing, particularly at the frontline decision-making tables around the country. I know that some police leaders, particularly at the operational level, still struggle to believe that iwi liaison staff and Maori networks can be trusted to participate at these tables. This may be why decision-making around police actions at Ruatoki excluded the Maori responsiveness groups and district iwi liaison staff”.

On p106 he wrote that:

“At the strategic and governance level of policing, the Maori responsiveness team is led by Superintendent Wallace Haumaha of Te Arawa.”

Mr Crawford does not state that the operation would not have been mounted but he does confirm that the NZ Police Maori responsiveness team and iwi liaison staff members were not part of the operation.

The information that Superintendent Haumaha and his Maori officers were deliberately excluded was obtained from reliable sources close to the NZ Police. The sources also confirmed that former Commissioner Howard Broad was party to the decision to exclude Maori officers.

Mr Crawford went on to write:

“I cannot help but turn to incidents such as Ruatoki and wonder how differently things might have turned out had the staff making the decisions understood more about Tuhoe and Rua Kenana. I have always maintained that no one cares more about Tuhoe more than Tuhoe themselves. The failure to involve the wisdom of appropriate Tuhoe leaders towards what occurred at Ruatoki has proved harmful for police, as the condemnation from Tuhoe and other significant Maori leaders continues”.  p112.

Mr Crawford goes further than I, in writing that wise counsel should have been sought from within Ngai Tuhoe as well as from the iwi liaison staff.

The only conclusions that can be reached are:

  • That the deliberate exclusion of Superintendent Haumaha showed a lack of trust in Maori police, including Superintendent Haumaha, by the Police executive, and indicates an element of racism in the whole process; and therefore;
  • That the intelligence operation leading to the paramilitary operation was tainted by that mistrust, and by ignorance and racist attitudes from the very beginning.

The alternative conclusions are:

  • That the NZ Police believed that Superintendent Haumaha and his network of Maori police officers were not sufficiently professional or competent to be involved in Operation 8; or
  • That the analysts involved in Operation 8 (i.e., Detective Inspector Bruce Good and Detective Sergeant Aaron Pascoe) were already highly knowledgeable about matters Maori and about Ngai Tuhoe, and did not need or would not benefit from Superintendent Haumaha’s expertise. And that is a ridiculous and laughable proposition.

I reach these conclusions based upon a simple axiom in Intelligence work; that you always seek out and use the most expert and reliable resources available.

Mr Crawford writes:

“So I am not critical of the execution of the operation but rather I am critical of its planning, particularly in so far as a valuable resource within policing, in the form of the iwi liaison network, was not utilised. I know from the phone calls I received following the operation that many of the iwi liaison network were of a similar feeling, with many wondering why we have built up such a external network amongst Maori if they are not used on occasions such as Ruatoki”.

I go further than Luke Crawford. I am of the opinion that as Operation 8 was an intelligence led operation the Maori responsiveness team and the iwi liaison network should have been involved at a every stage stage. It should have been involved in the planning and direction (if there was any), during the collection, processing, analysis and production stages of gthe intelligence cycle, and certainly in the testing and critical evaluation of the intelligence produced.

The anlaysts involved did not even consult their own Maori colleagues to translate and interpret the small amount of Te Reo Maori they encountered. They used an outside translator/interpreter instead. If I were Superintendent Haumaha I would consider that to be a display of racist contempt.

Those Maori officers would also have been able to use their own reliable networks to gain information from a wider variety of sources than was possible without them.

I have read my way through volumes of Operation 8 interception warrants and applications for warrants. In almost every instance the police stated in their affidavits that surveillance by interception was the only viable means of obtaining the information they were seeking. Yet the most valuable intelligence resource they had available to them, Superintendent Haumaha and his team of Maori officers, was not only not used, but was deliberately excluded.

Without the inclusion of that critical resource the intelligence collection and analysis process leading to the Operation 8 raids was bound to be deeply flawed from the very beginning. One can only conclude that the ignorance, racism and paranoia that has characterised police intelligence over many decades also characterised Operation 8.

On 23rd May 2013 Radio Waatea reported:

“The commissioner of police, Peter Marshall, is defending the decision to exclude police iwi liaison officers from the planning of the 2007 Tuhoe raids.

The Independent Police Complaints Authority has slammed the way police set up blockades and detained people in the Ruatoki valley, but considered there was a case for leaving some of its most experienced Māori staff out of the loop.

“Mr Marshall says the team investigating alleged military style training camps in Te Urewera, thought it would be counter-productive to involve the liaison officers.

“Using the old adage, whether they are the poacher or the gamekeeper – they are either on one side of it or the other. They would have been compromised in terms of ‘why didn’t you give us a warning this was happening or why didn’t you tell us what was happening? So in hindsight, six years after the event, the decision was made with the best interest of those iwi liaison officers at heart,” he says.

“Mr Marshall says while he appreciates people caught up in the road blocks were traumatised, such trauma is an unavoidable part of major investigations”.

That is patronising and highly insulting to Maori police officers and shows that the present Police Commissioner is no more suited to holding the office than his predecessor.

We have it on good authority that Superintendent Haumaha did not agree with his exclusion, nor did his network of police iwi liaison officers. And we have it on good authority that Superintendent Haumaha was quite upset by his exclusion. As shown above their exclusion was a major factor leading to an unprofessional and incompetent intelligence operation.

Marshall’s excuse is just more of the spin surrounding the denials and cover-up following Operation 8. It is unfortunately just another example of the total inability of the NZ Police Executive to admit any wrong unless and until they are forced to, and to descend into denial, cover-up and spin when they have stuffed up.

And Operation 8 was a stuff up of monumental proportion. In a truly transparent and accountable democratic society the senior officers responsible would have been dismissed. And perhaps they were, eventually, by not having their contracts renewed, and perhaps that was part of the cover-up.

Links: The Operation 8 Series

Operation 8: Understanding the Intelligence process

Read the complete analysis of alleged Maori terrorism in the Urewera

And the lack of a professional intelligence process during Operation 8

Following the armed paramilitary operation at Ruatoki and elsewhere commentators were quick to attribute a variety of motivations to the operation. They included a show of force to Tuhoe who were negotiating a settlement, a police demonstration of the need for the amendment to the Terrorism Suppression Act that was in Parliament at the time, and many others. In this series of posts I take the view that it was cock-up and incompetence rather than conspiracy.

With that in mind I am examining the intelligence operation leading to the armed operation on 15th October 2007 to highlight the cock-ups and incompetence.

Intelligence analysis is a complex process previously an esoteric calling within the shadowy world of the military and security establishment depicted in the novels of Ian Fleming, John Le Carre and others. Nowadays it is a discipline researched and studied in the universities, and employed by dedicated intelligence units in a wide range of public and private organisations.

The traditional intelligence cycle involves the following steps and ensures that there is a system of checks and balances.

  • Planning and direction
  • Collection
  • Processing
  • Analysis and production
  • Dissemination

– Source CIA Website

It is not obvious that there was any formal cycle or process involving checks and balances in the intelligence leading to the Operation 8 armed paramilitary operation. There seems to have been much emphasis on collection and processing, but little emphasis on planning and direction by experienced intelligence managers, or on quality analysis.

In this post I will briefly outline the principles underpinning the intelligence process. I will also comment on the Operation 8 intelligence operation in relation to those principles.

Operation 8 was a deeply flawed intelligence led operation conducted by the Special Investigation Group (SIG) at Auckland, operating out of Harlech House in Otahuhu. The two detectives who conducted the intelligence operation and analysis were Detective Inspector Bruce Good and Detective Sergeant Aaron Pascoe. At Police Headquarters in Wellington Assistant Commissioner (Intelligence) Jon White was the senior officer in charge of Intelligence, answering to Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope and Commissioner Howard Broad.

It was deeply flawed in that it ignored either through ignorance or wilful intent the principles of intelligence analysis. After an study of the Police evidence associated with Operation 8 I reached the conclusion that it was unprofessional and incompetent.

The first factor leading to that conclusion will be described in detail in an essay on specialist knowledge, concerning the exclusion of Maori advice at all stages of Operation 8 including planning and direction, collection, processing and analysis.

Secondly, there is no indication that the Police observed any of the basic processes of intelligence analysis, specifically the reliability rating of information and sources, and the corroboration of information by alternative sources leading to quality control in the process. There is nothing at all to indicate that a professionally competent analysis process was in place. There is evidence however that a huge amount of information was vacuumed from a variety of sources including Google Search in order to support a pre-conceived conclusion; conclusion building upon conclusion lacking in quality control at each step in the process. The affidavits and warrants now available indicate that what was presented as evidence to justify Operation 8 was a mass of unprocessed or hastily processed and untested and unevaluated information.

Thirdly, there is nothing to indicate that the NZ Police made any effort to place all of their information in context (by involving their own Maori experts and others), and nothing to indicate that they made any effort to ensure the completeness of their information. Instead the impression is that they were rushing towards the dénouement of an operation with a mass of hastily and inexpertly analysed information. That was despite Commissioner Howard Broad’s later public admissions that there was no evidence at all of any immanent terrorist or criminal activity.

Fourthly, it seems obvious that the NZ Police considered only one possible interpretation of the events they observed and then focused all their efforts on proving that interpretation or conclusion. In my opinion that in itself demonstrates a lack of intellectual ability, and an absence of a proper analytical process.

The lead investigators/analysts for Operation 8 were Detective Inspector Bruce Good and Detective Sergeant Aaron Pascoe who appear to have sworn most or all of the affidavits to obtain the surveillance, intercept, search and arrest warrants for the operation, all of which record the progress of their “intelligence” operation.

They were at the time members of the Auckland team of the NZ Police Special Investigation Group which is an intelligence unit. It is reasonable to assume in that case that Operation 8 was an intelligence led operation coordinated by Detective Inspector Good and largely conducted by Detective Sergeant Pascoe.

The intelligence process is based on tested principles and practice developed over a long period of time. In the modern world of intelligence management and analysis new strategies, models, tools and techniques are being developed and implemented as intelligence has become an academic discipline and as the innovative use of technology increases exponentially. New techniques revealed recently in the media include widespread population level electronic surveillance as well as targeted electronic surveillance, computerised data mining and correlation, and social network analysis.

The principles however are timeless. Some of them are described below.

A central principle: a thorough knowledge of the targeted persons, organisations or countries (or “know thy adversary”).

“The better you understand your subject the more likely you can produce material with insight”.

Evans, R Mark (2009), Influencing decision-makers with intelligence and analytical products” p192, in Ratcliffe, JH (Ed), Strategic thinking in criminal intelligence, 2nd Edition, The Federation Press, NSW.

Mark Evans is the intelligence professional appointed by the NZ Police to design and implement a professional intelligence capability.He has an impressive resume having worked in intelligence with British Defence, Australian Defence, the Northern Ireland Office  and Northern Ireland Police. He was appointed to the NZ Police after this Operation 8 intelligence process was complete, not long before the paramilitary operation at Ruatoki and elsewhere. He is now Director of Intelligence

Competent analysts are those who immerse themselves within the worldview of the target person or persons, or countries and cultures, and are thus able to reach valid conclusions based on their knowledge of the targets’ own worldview; their thinking and motivations. If the analyst does not have that background knowledge he or she must seek it out rather than reach conclusions based on just a limited understanding of the target or targets, or on their own worldview and experience, or lack thereof.

There is ample evidence that the NZ Police acted on incomplete knowledge of the targets of their surveillance and that they deliberately excluded those with that expertise; their Maori police officers.

Reliability of information

All collected information must be rated for reliability as intelligence, and only reliable evidence from reliable sources should be admitted to the process of collation and analysis. Information and intelligence are not necessarily the same thing, a distinction lost on the Operation 8 analysts.

Even seemingly reliable information such as video surveillance and intercepts of conversations or correspondence needs to be subjected to this process.

Do the intercepts contain the complete conversation or correspondence within the total context of the conversation or correspondence? Email and SMS conversations often consist of multiple exchanges over time and the complete context can be easily misinterpreted from analysis of only part or parts of those conversations. The selection of excerpts of those exchanges can be easily misinterpreted without the context of the full exchange.

Intercepted voice conversations can be also be incomplete as the targets move into and out of range of the recording device. Voice conversations are often linked by ongoing conversation over a period of time, and a single intercept of a single conversation, or a single excerpt of a single conversation can be misconstrued or even misrepresented out of context.

Do the targets know that they are subject to surveillance and intercept, or are they likely to know? If they are likely to know, then might they be inclined to conduct disinformation campaigns against the watchers and listeners; to feed them false and potentially damaging or embarrassing information, or even to deliberately provoke a reaction. The most effective disinformation campaigns are those that aim to feed information that the watchers and listeners expect to intercept.

This reinforces the need for information to be rated for reliability and completeness, and to be corroborated before it is accepted into the analysis process. The available evidence shows that the Operation 8 intelligence process did not include any rating of information for reliability or relevance.

This Admiralty Grading Intelligence System has been in use since about WWI. It relates specifically to HUMINT, that Intelligence obtained from human sources. There is some evidence that the information upon which Operation 8 was initially based should have been graded F6.

The Admiralty Grading Intelligence System
Reliability of Source Credibility of Source
A  Completely reliable 1  Confirmed by other sources
B  Usually reliable 2  Probably true
C  Fairly reliable 3  Possibly true
D  Not usually reliable 4  Doubtful
E  Unreliable 5  Improbable
F  Reliability cannot be judged 6  Truth cannot be judged


All collected information rated as reliable should be corroborated from at least one other reliable source before being admitted to the process. This requirement ensures quality of information. Quality of information is infinitely more important than quantity. The Operation 8 intelligence operation focused on quantity over quality.

Completeness of information

” …. focusing solely on what is known is unwise because this would lead to the intelligence picture becomoing a self-fulfilling prophecy. Therefore …. finding out more about gaps in knowledge that are recognised … is generally accepted as a core purpose of intelligence collection.”

– Oliver Higgins, “The theory and practice of intelligence collection“, in Ratcliffe, Jerry H. (Ed), 2009, “Strategic Thinking in Criminal Intelligence“, Federation Press.

In constructing scenarios and narratives from the available reliable and corroborated information analysts should be aware not only of the available information, but also of possible or probable gaps in the available information. A common failing in intelligence analysis is to assume that what is known is all there needs to be known. It is as important to know what you don’t know, as it is to know what you do know.

This aspect of the analysis will be addressed in detail in another post.

Testing and Evaluation

Information gathered from covert sources or covert collection activities (usually classified as secret) can and should be tested against open source information, which is now available in abundance. Just because information is covertly obtained does not mean it is reliable or correct.

Personal knowledge of the target persons or groups should also be built over a long period of time and brought to the testing of assumptions and conclusions during the analysis process. In the absence of personal knowledge the intelligence should be tesgted and evaluated by those who do have the in-depth knowledge of the target.

There is no evidence that any of the Operation 8 analysis was tested and evaluated.


There are rarely absolute certainties in Intelligence analysis.

The scenario or narrative that is disseminated as intelligence must always be accompanied by an explanation of the reliability of sources used, whether or not the information has been corroborated by other reliable sources, whether or not the information is complete. It should also declare the probability of error.

A very good recent example was the intelligence analysis that found Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. That process has been partially declassified and released. The intelligence officials in that case gave President Obama a qualified probability rating on their conclusion that bin Laden was where they thought he was in Pakistan, and the President was then required to make a decision based on that probability of error.

Did Commissioner Broad apply such a probability rating to his advice to the Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination (ODESC) and to Cabinet? My information says that he did not.

If the evidence supports more than one scenario or narrative, that should also be stated. Did Broad do that at ODESC and at Cabinet? My information says that he did not.


“Timeliness is always a factor. There will always be intelligence gaps (unknowns) and it is usually the case that conclusions and recommendations need to be made on incomplete data. But this needs to be set against the fact that timeliness in the dissemination of law enforcement intelligence product is almost always critical – and this will often mean exercising judgement about when to publish or report”.

– R Mark Evans (2009)

Very often action must indeed be taken based on incomplete evidence. That is always a matter of the assessment of probablity based on that incomplete evidence and an assessment of the risk of not taking action. Conversely if there is no such time constraint then time should be taken to carefully progess the gathering and analysis of intelligence and to build as complete a picture as possible.

After the paramilitary operation Commissioner Broad publicly admitted that he had no evidence that there was an immanent threat of violent terrorist activity. Yet he rushed ahead with a full scale anti-terrorist paramilitary operation. There is however some evidence that he might have known that the available evidence would not support a terrorism prosecution and that he authorised a vast fishing expedition across the country aimed at seizing computers from at least 50 locations, in the expectation that the net would uncover and catch a terrorist network with evidence to secure terrorism convictions.

After the armed operation and after the Solicitor General declined to allow a terrorism prosecution to proceed Broad changed his tune and said that while the police had no evidence of immanent terrorist activity he deemed it necessary to “nip it in the bud”. That was his explanation at a confidential meeting with one of the NZ Police’s district Maori advisory boards after the event.

He “nipped it in the bud” with a full-on testosterone-fuelled armed paramilitary offensive against a rural Maori community and against family homes in other places, knowing full well that there was no immanent threat.

An intellectual activity

“Poorly written [intelligence] products will often confuse facts and opinion. At best this can lead to critcism – at worst it can lead to flawed decision-making and action. The separation of facts, evidence, opinions, judgements, hypotheses, conclusions and recommendations is a critical element of the analytical tradecraft and fundamental to the generation of effective product”.

– R. Mark Evans (2009)

There is no doubt that all of the available Operation 8 paperwork was poorly written, confusing fact with assumption or opinion.

The competent analyst is a person educated to think logically and able to put aside any personal or cultural bias in the interpretation of information. There was a total lack of intellectual rigour and intellectual capability in the Operation 8 analysis. It was dumb.

As was the decision to mount the “termination” phase on 15th October 2007. There were no cool heads involved in that decision whether in the police executive, or in Cabinet.

These aspects of the Operation 8 intelligence process are explored in posts to follow. They will explore the ways in which the analysts involved in Operation 8 totally ignored all of the accepted principles and processes of intelligence analysis, presuming that they knew of them in the first place..


Links: The Operation 8 Series

Operation 8: The Incompetence of Police Intelligence

Read the complete analysis of alleged Maori terrorism in the Urewera

The Intelligence capacity of the NZ Police on and before October 15th 2007

In previous articles I have questioned the competence and professionalism of Police Intelligence in Operation 8. I will continue to do so.

Since Operation 8 the NZ Police Force has completely overhauled its Intelligence capability under the direction of R Mark Evans, an intelligence professional hired just before the Ruatoki raids were launched. He was hired to design and implement a professional intelligence framework that did not previously exist. Now that Evans has introduced his new intelligence framework police intelligence analysts are required to be formally qualified with the National Diploma in Intelligence Analysis. That is one clear indicator of the previous shortcomings of police intelligence. The diploma and other intelligence qualifications were developed in cooperation with Massey University as part of the program to create a professional intelligence capability (see a future essay “Intelligence in an Intellectual Activity“).

I draw the information for this article from:

  • Patrick F. Walsh (2011), “Intelligence and Intelligence Analysis”, Routledge UK.
  • Patrick F. Walsh (2011), “The Future of Intelligence: fusion or fragmentation”, in The Journal of the Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers, Vol 19, Number 1.

Mr Walsh is a senior lecturer (criminal intelligence) at the Australian Graduate School of Policing, Charles Sturt University, Australia. He is a Board member of the Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers (AIPIO) and is managing editor of the AIPIO Journal.

In both publications Mr Walsh draws upon interviews with Mr Mark Evans who was recruited from Northern Ireland in September 2007, one month before Operation 8, to establish and to lead a professional Intelligence framework and capability within the NZ Police. Walsh uses the development of the NZ Police Intelligence framework as a case study in his scholarly works on Intelligence.

In an interview on 10 August 2010 Mr Evans is quoted as saying on pages 117 & 118 of the first reference:

“Management had little (or isolated) knowledge of what intelligence could do for crime and crash reduction. Whilst examples of excellent intelligence products did exist, there were no minimum standards and many lacked focus and credibility with police decision-makers. There was a lack of what intelligence meant or was intended for”.

Walsh reports on page 118 that a business case for a national intelligence development project was approved by the NZ Police Executive and:

“ … in September 2007 Mark Evans was appointed (initially on secondment, later permanently) from the Police Service of Northern Ireland to lead the project. A National Intelligence Office (NIO) was quickly established and set out ‘15 project deliverables’, which formed the basis of an initial 12-month action plan. In October 2008, following extensive review and consultation, the Police Executive endorsed one ‘NZ Police Intelligence Framework’ and approved the creation of a Police National Intelligence Centre at Police National Headquarters (PNHQ) to lead its strategic development”.

Walsh reports that from October 2008 widespread changes were introduced in tasking and coordination, intelligence collection, and analysis and production. He writes in relation to analysis and production that:

“ … the new framework has resulted in some major changes to the way the NZP assesses and produces intelligence. In 2009, the NZP invested heavily in the recruitment of 14 District Managers: Intelligence (DMIs) (in addition to the 12 Districts, DMIs were also appointed for Auckland Metro and AMCOS) at Inspector level (or police employee equivalent). This has provided, for the first time, a clearly identifiable ‘professional head of intelligence’ across every district. The DMIs have mostly been selected for their change management and people skills, rather than purely technical intelligence skills. The DMIs are responsible for leading the local development of improved standards in Intelligence (including the analysis component). They will also have an important role in ‘bedding down’ much of the new intelligence doctrine arising out of the new framework. They are supported by a new Manager: Analytical Services position at the NIC that is the de facto Head of Analysis for the organisation.

“In November 2009, the Police Executive endorsed additional improvements to enhance the analytical capabilities of the NZP under the new framework, including the NZP Professional Development in Intelligence Programme (PDIP). Evans notes that: ‘The PDIP is designed to redefine the intelligence workforce (so that is more visible, flexible, competent, frontline focused and effective)”.

Walsh also reports that resources are being invested in technology to support analytical work. He concludes with a resume of the successes achieved and challenges faced in the implementation of the NZ Police Intelligence Framework.

In a discussion on the effectiveness of the New Zealand implementation of intelligence led policing Walsh writes (Ref1, p136):

“The final area where there has been some early success has been the establishment of a professional development in intelligence programme to support the development of intelligence analysis within the new framework. There may be some resistance among intelligence staff, who are used to working in familiar ways to different standards, and this will require careful management. But already the articulation and development of improved analytical training, and creating career paths for analysts, demonstrate some early successes for this framework”.

The information sourced from Mr Evans and others clearly indicates that prior to his appointment in September 2007, one month prior to Operation 8, the NZ Police did not have a professional and competent Intelligence capability. Indeed the new Intelligence Framework was not approved until October 2008, and implementation did not begin until after that date.

It also indicates that there was much room for improvement and for the setting of professional standards in the area of intelligence analysis.

Resourcing the Operation 8 intelligence process

It is obvious that considerable resources in manpower, time and technology were committed to the collection of information during Operation 8. This is evident in the number of policemen and detectives who were assigned to collection, and who provided evidence. It is also evident from the large number of technological surveillance warrants obtained and in the prosecution evidence.

What is not obvious are what resources, both in staff numbers and capability, were committed to the much more important task of analysis. However it would seem from the quality of the product of that analysis that the Auckland Special Investigation Group led by Detective Inspector Bruce Good and Detective Sergeant Aaron Pascoe was under resourced in manpower, intellect, expertise and competence.

I have reached that conclusion after reading through thousands of pages of police evidence including affidavits, applications for warrants, warrants and briefs of evidence. In my time as an iintelligence analyst, admittedly over 35 years ago, the standard of work in all of that documentation would have been totally unacceptable. Some of that work will be scrutinised in later posts.

I am sure that little of it would reach the standards required today by Mark Evans’ new police intelligence framework and by the National Diploma in Intelligence Analysis, although the much lower standard does seem to be acceptable in the everyday work of the criminal detective. The work of the detective is to investigate crime after the fact whereas the work of the intelligence analyst is to predict crime. The latter requires a much higher level of intellect and training.

It would seem also from the comments by Walsh and Evans that the intelligence capability at Police National Headquarters, under Assistant Commissioner (Intelligence) Jon White, was less than optimal.

Since October 2008 considerable training and resources have been committed to building a professional intelligence analysis capability and one can only presume that it did not exist prior to October 2008. It was certainly not evident during Operation 8 from December 2005 to 15th October 2007.

Links: The Operation 8 Series

TKR National Trust & Credit Card Usage at Te Pataka Ohanga Ltd

Maori TV recently screened an Part 1 of an expose “Feathering the Nest” (and Part 2 here) on credit card usage at Te Pataka Ohanga Ltd, a company wholly owned by Te Kohanga Reo National Trust. They have specifically targeted the credit card spending of TPO Ltd manager Lynda Tawhiwhirangi and her mother-in-law Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi who is the former long serving CEO of the Trust, now a lifetime trustee, and also a director of TPO Ltd.

For seven weeks the Trust tried to prevent the story from being screened. It has received a lot of attention in the media and by bloggers, including Morgan Godfery and Graham Cameron. No Right Turn commented on John Key’s remarks and on the different standard John Key applied to his own MPs. Predictably the Pee Party’s Cameron Slater has written a piece Dodgy Maori Ratbags on the Take. TKR National Trust has belatedly mounted a media response here (and here) that has largely been drowned out by the adverse coverage. There has been a spirited defence by Johnny Nepe Apatu on Facebook. Professor Ranginui Walker says the Board needs new blood. David Cunliffe has commented that an independent inquiry is needed. Hekia Parata and Pita Sharples met with the trustees and they have between them agreed to an independent audit. It has also been announced by TPO Ltd that a “staff member” has been suspended and an internal investigation is underway.

E hika ma, now it’s my turn.

I know a bit about Te Kohanga Reo. My marae was an early participant in the movement, I am on the board of a trust that established a kohanga reo in Hastings and my daughter has run a kohanga reo in Hawke’s Bay for decades. Most of my mokopuna and great-moko are kohanga kids. Not that I’ve been intimately involved in running a kohanga reo myself. TKR National Trust was one of my clients in the 1990s when Dame Iritana was CEO and the late Sir John Bennett was Chairman. I got to know the larger movement at close quarters. For a short time I acted as manager of TPO Ltd until they appointed a permanent manager. At that time Lynda Tawhiwhirangi was my assistant. I know a bit about the internal workings.

Ironically, in view of this present standoff between Te Kohanga Reo National Trust and the Maori Television Service, I also represented TKR National Trust on the panel that negotiated the establishment of Maori Television with Cabinet (Tau Henare and Maurice Williamson). The Trust is part of the whakapapa of MTS. Just one of life’s ever present little ironies. Dame Iritana was a staunch supporter of that kaupapa too.

Dame Iritana is also a good friend of some 25 years standing. She can be infuriating at times but she is always a staunchly supportive friend. Before she became CEO of Te Kohanga Reo National Trust she was a senior officer in the Department of Maori Affairs. We were on opposite sides then but she impressed me with her ability to set aside what divided us and to focus on creating a good relationship based on mutual respect. She has been the most fierce advocate for the Kohanga Reo Movement since it started in 1982, a force to be reckoned with, respected as a successful lobbyist and negotiator for the Movement by successive governments. Whatever the outcome of this affair she will retain my  respect and friendship and her legacy will remain.

Would that the rest of us had made a comparable contribution to Maori advancement. We would be streets ahead of where we are today. The present generation of Maori leadership and her critics would do well to emulate her selfless dedication to the cause over more than five decades. And who among us is without fault.

Now, before any of you accuse me of bias let me state right at the beginning that I do not condone the free and easy use of corporate credit cards. In my company before I (semi)retired I did not issue credit cards to my staff, not because I didn’t trust them but because I knew that there was always the temptation to use the card, fully and honestly intending to pay back the expenditure. Politicians in New Zealand and Australia have been guilty of the same indiscretions time and time again. There is sometimes also a blurred line between what is or is not a legitimate business expense. And there is also the risk of illegal or irregular use of the cards. So I never issued credit cards, except to myself of course. Well I do own the company so I can make an exception. I have also never accepted any other corporate credit cards, although they have been offered, not because I don’t trust myself but because credit card spending is so often the target of muck rakers.

And I am not offering a defence of credit card spending at TPO Ltd. I’m going to wait and see the result of the audit. It does on the surface look bad for Lynda but I’ll reserve judgement until all the facts are known. The media case against Dame Iritana looks less certain but again I’ll reserve judgement.

Whilst the media has conflated an allegation against a director and the manager of TPO Ltd into an allegation against the shareholder as well (TKR National Trust) I will again reserve judgement until the facts are known. But they are two separate entities and there is a difference in law if not in public perception. The fact that the company and the shareholder are located in the same building and share facilities and services does not alter that legal separation. The fact that the three directors of TPO Ltd are also trustees of TKR National Trust does not alter the fact that the two are separate legal entities. The Trust is subject to trust law and the company to corporate law, two separate but similar legal regimes.

The media has also confused in the public mind the $80 million public funding that is granted to the Trust itself, and the Trust’s financial management, with the financial affairs of TPO Ltd. The two are separate accounting entities and any wrongful use of TPO Ltd funds (if proven) cannot be used to infer wrongful or negligent use of Trust funds, unless and until that is also proven. I don’t expect those who are baying for blood to acknowledge the difference.

So what is Te Pataka Ohanga Ltd.

Te Pataka Ohanga Ltd was established to transact business primarily aimed at gaining wholesale or discounted prices for purchases by individual kohanga reo. These purchases included motor vehicles, fuel, whiteware, technology, playground equipment, and insurance. In my time we also managed a scheme where we contracted specialist ear, nose and throat surgeons to perform grommet operations on thousands of mokopuna to deal with a widespread glue ear problem. We maintained a register of approved wholesale or discount suppliers of almost everything a kohanga reo needed. I made myself unpopular with Maori suppliers who thought they should have been on the register simply because they were Maori, instead of because of the quality of their product or service and the size of the discount. TPO Ltd has probably saved the TKR Movement several million dollars of that public funding over the nearly 30 years that it has operated.

These business activities do not sit well inside trust law and are best performed in a company structure. I can’t recall exactly how much commission or fee TPO Ltd charged for that service but the company does need to make some income to cover staff, office and operating expenses. In my time at least it was not a highly profitable enterprise but it focused on the service and savings it could deliver to kohanga reo. I would imagine that with the shrinking of the number of kohanga reo over the decades it too has reduced its activity.

As I wrote above I’m prepared to wait for the evidence before I pass judgement on the allegations. What does intrigue me however is the background story, or lack of it.

But first. On 13th September 2013 I commented on the mini furore around the non-appointment of a new CEO at Maori TV. That story had obviously been made public in the media by leaks from within Maori TV itself. This TKR story has also been kicked off by leaks from within TKR National Trust. So there’s another story in there somewhere – “MTV & TKR – Leaker & Leakee, Leakee & Leaker“. Sounds like a Chinese volleyball team. Maybe the Native Affairs team were also involved in the MTV leaks. Wouldn’t that make a good storyline for a Maori sitcom. A bunch of righteous Maori disguised as a Chinese volleyball team. I bet some of them are Mataatua Chinese. E Pio?

Sorry about the diversion. My wierd sense of humour often gets the better of me.

So what is the background story. I’m prepared to bet that Dame Iritana and the TKR National Trustees are the real targets of the leakers, and that TPO Ltd and Lynda Tawhiwhirangi are the means to that end. It would serve their purposes to paint any irregularities in TPO Ltd’s financial management as irregularities in the overall governance of the Trust. If that is the case they have achieved their aim through Maori TV and other media. Whether or not they are ultimately successful will depend on the independent audit and any other interventions that might or might not be triggered by that audit.

This all seems to be related to the dismissal of another friend Titoki Black as CEO of the Trust. That caused a great deal of protest from within the TKR movement especially in Mataatua and Tauranga Moana. But the Trust stood firm. The real story is that this leaking of information to Native Affairs is part of the campaign to restore Titoki as CEO, or at least to exact utu for her dismissal. The campaign is obviously supported by at least one staff member within TKR National Trust and according to trustee Tony Waho:

“Someone has gone into the trust records, we have this under investigation, and stolen credit card records. They were passed on to Maori Television who no doubt tonight [Monday 14th] are going to try to make links to dots that don’t exist”.

Folllow the whakapapa trail Tony, from TKR Trust to Native Affairs. Should be  a simple investigation.

It seems to be a fairly simple background story too and perhaps Maori TV might do a follow up to share the whole story with us. Perhaps not. But while the TPO Ltd story does involve some substantive issues as well as the obviously sensational benefits to would-be investigative journalists, the background story is by far the most intriguing. Misuse of credit cards is so commonplace it only has real news value when it involves politicians or Maori, or Maori politicians.

So. Now that the Native Affairs people have blooded themselves as investigative journalists in this small scale trial run on an easy target I’m looking forward to the full blossoming of their investigative talents as they take on the real villains, Pakeha and Maori – million dollar corporate fraudsters, crooked or hypocritical politicians, corrupt public servants, unlawful police activity against Maori, the serious erosion of democracy by governments, the blind refusal of governments to seriously tackle Maori poverty, the big stuff. Talk to Winston Peters. He knows where a lot of the skeletons are hidden.  Aim high e hoa ma, aim high.

I’m also prepared to bet that Lynda Tawhiwhirangi will be the only casualty of this trial run, if there are any casualties. But I could be wrong. Perhaps, like Winston, Native Affairs is holding back the rest of the story for a follow up revelation.

Postscript 23rd October 2013

Yesterday on Radio Waatea Tariana Turia expressed her concerns about Maori TV. Her comments were released by Waatea “Minister Turia loses heart in Maori Television“.

Following that Maori TV published an article by Maiki Sherman titled “Minister’s mis-step in Parliament“. The article is about Pita Sharples retracting and correcting a statement he made in Parliament. The attitude of the Maori Party, including Tariana Turia’s comments about Maori TV, is described. This paragraph says much about the real story:

“However the collective of Kōhanga Reo from Mataatua Tauranga-Moana stand by their decision to go public and say that if Māori protocol was followed in the case of dismissing its former CEO Titoki Black, the issues thereafter would never have been made public”.

Maori TV has now revealed that it was working with the Mataatua Tauranga-Moana group and that the dismissal of Titoki was the underlying reason for the publication of the credit card usage at TPO Ltd.

Today Julian Wilcox, head of News and Current Affairs at Maori TV spoke on Radio Waatea in defence of Native Affairs. He expresses his concern that Maori TV has become the story. He confirms that the Mataatua Tauranga whanau approached Maori TV in the first instance. It’s a small world. I knew Julian when he was head boy at Te Aute College and I was a member of the board of trustees. He was an outstanding pupil and incidentally one of the first generation of kohanga kids to graduate from Te Aute.

Postscript 20th June 2014

Maori TVs Native Affairs team has won two international awards from the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network for their investigative journalism, one of them for the programme “Feathering the Nest” about Te Kohanga Reo National Trust and Te Pataka Ohanga Ltd. See “Anatomy of a Scandal” below for the alternative story to “Feathering the Nest”.

See also

Anatomy of a Scandal – Te Kohanga Reo National Trust (12 June 2014)

Operation 8: The police raid at Parnell that got stopped in the High Court

Read the complete analysis of alleged Maori terrorism in the Urewera

We were raided at Parnell in Auckland on Monday October 15th 2007, exactly six years ago. It was part of the NZ Police’s Operation 8 “terrorist” raids at Ruatoki and elsewhere. There were raids on approximately 60 houses and premises around the country.

You can read about fifteen of those raids in a book edited by Valerie Morse, one of those raided, arrested and imprisoned that day (“The day the raids came: Stories of survival and resistance to the state terror raids“, Rebel Press, 2010). It includes the stories of the four known in the media as the “Urewera Four” who were the only ones who eventually went to trial in 2012.

Like many other raids all over the motu you didn’t read about this one in Parnell or see it on the TV. There was a good reason you didn’t see this one on TV. We took the police straight into the High Court, stopped the raid, and got a suppression order to prevent any publicity.

We had been in Tuhoe country for a few days before the raids, at my brother’s tangihanga at Tuai near Lake Waikaremoana, and got back to Auckland fairly late on the Sunday. At the time our company’s office was in Parnell and I had a small apartment downstairs from the office. I made it upstairs to the office about 9am. Some of my staff were already at their desks. It was a normal Monday morning at work.

Then I took a phone call from Wellington and was told to turn on the TV and watch a police operation in the Urewera. My caller also asked after one of my staff who had connections down there. He wasn’t at work and it didn’t take long for me to realise that he was probably one of the targets of Operation 8. Like thousands of others we watched that very public operation unfold. It seemed to me that a professional media campaign was an integral part of Operation 8 and that the police were deliberately imprinting their narrative into the public mind as part of the operation, before any other narrative could emerge. My media advisors agreed.

Just after midday three carloads of police drove up and parked outside the office. I saw them from my office window and went downstairs to meet them. They were CIB detectives and personnel from the Electronic Crimes Laboratory rather than the heavily armed faceless paramilitaries we were all watching on TV. They were led by Detective Wayne Bailey and Detective Joe Tipene, both Maori. Wayne showed me their search warrant and assured me that they were not armed. They were wearing the usual protective stab vests. I led them upstairs to the office.

The search warrant was a huge 20 page document. It listed all the items that the police were searching for including weapons, military equipment, clothing and computers. There were pages and pages of lists of things they were looking for. It was obviously an “omnibus” warrant that they were using right across the country. Most of it could not have been relevant to the raid on my office. There was no evidence at all that any of that stuff was in our building. It was a ridiculous warrant. It was also a lazy warrant and a shoddy piece of staff work, with nothing specific about what they expected to find at our location. There was this short paragraph about seizing computers.

  • All computer hardware and software necessary to gain access to data or programs contained on the storage media,
  • All computer storage media including ‘floppy’ diskettes, tapes, hard drives, and other devices containing programs or data,
  • All leads/cables and peripheral equipment necessary for the proper operation of the computer system,
  • All documentation including manuals, guides and other references which provide information necessary for proper operation of the computer hardware, software and peripheral equipment.

They herded us into our boardroom and told us that’s where we were to stay while they searched the premises. Wayne Bailey was in charge of the operation and he sat with us at the boardroom table taking notes. A policewoman photographer took photos of everything, including all the Maori art on the walls and tables. She seemed especially interested in the art. Maybe she was an art lover too. Or thought we were art thieves.

It soon became obvious that they weren’t looking for any of the weapons, clothing and equipment that made up most of the warrant. The detectives were there to allow the electronic crimes people to attack our IT network and computers. The first thing they did was turn off our connection to the internet and forbade us from going anywhere near our network. I realised then that only the one short paragraph of that voluminous warrant was applicable to us. The bit about computers. The rest of the 20 page search warrant was absolute rubbish, and they knew it. It was a fishing expedition, looking for anything that might justify what they had enacted at Ruatoki and elsewhere.

I also thought that in that case the warrant might have been illegal and that whoever had obtained the warrant from the Court might have perjured himself.

The electronic crimes people were not sworn policemen and were led by a German fellow. He seemed to us quite nasty. We found out later that he had been a NZ policeman before joining the electronic crimes laboratory and that even some of his colleagues thought he was a nasty piece of work. We nicknamed him and called him “Fritz” to his face, which didn’t endear us to him at all. Fritz’s real name revealed in the Crown Indictment of 2012 was Juergan Arndt.

It came to me that this was the same Fritz who had a score to settle with one of my employees. About three years earlier Fritz had tried and failed to have my man charged with computer hacking, a benign petty offence about defacing a political website on the information super highway. My man would never do that of course. But it would be about as criminal as defacing a political billboard on any other highway but the police have convinced the parliament that it is a serious crime. It gives them something to do. So Fritz might have had another agenda apart from Operation 8 – a little bit of unfinished business.

We found out that Fritz planned to seize every computer and hard drive he could find. That would have been over twenty five computers and servers and would have put us out of business. I did my calculations and worked out that with our offsite data backups I could recreate the network but that it would cost over $70,000 and take weeks to get back into business.

In the meantime we amused ourselves poking fun at them. Part of police method is to impose themselves, physically and psychologically, on the people and situations they are dealing with. Intimidation is another way of describing it. We saw on the TV and heard later from the media and from the Tuhoe people how that tactic had been applied in extremis down there. In our case it was mild by comparison. But being who we are we were having none of it anyway.

One of my sub-contractors arrived and was directed into the boardroom. He was the only Pakeha who worked out of our office. My business manager introduced him to the detective and told him that he was a Pakeha, and to be careful because Pakeha were dangerous. He was not amused.

Then we heard loud voices coming up the stairs and recognized the voice of Te Awanui Reeder of the Nesian Mystik band (now the famous entertainer Awa). His father worked with us and was in the boardroom. I’d known Awanui since he was a small boy. When he strode into the boardroom he saw Wayne Bailey, greeted him warmly “Hey Bro” and shook his hand. Then he told us that he and Wayne were drinking buddies! Awanui then pointed to his father and told Wayne to arrest him because he was very dangerous. It was hilarious.

One of the Nesian boys was with him and they had come to get my signature on his passport application. Awanui told me that they needed a kaumatua to sign and I was it. I asked Wayne if he realised that I was the Nesian Mystik kaumatua. The look on his face was priceless. They left with my signature after much banter about us being dangerous criminals.

At some point, probably a bit later, I went to my library and got my copy of “Mihaia: The Prophet Rua Kenana And His Community At Maungapohatu”, by Judith Binney, and gave it to Detective Bailey. He said he hadn’t read it and I told him he needed to.

It went on with Detective Bailey doing his best not to laugh or even smile. Eventually he gave in and left the boardroom. He was replaced by a young Pakeha policeman in civvies. I asked him why he wasn’t wearing a stab vest and he said he’d left it at the office. I told him he’d better get one because we were dangerous criminals. He was totally confused by our lack of respect. I felt sorry for the young man.

Throughout the afternoon Detective Bailey tried to get me and my staff to give statements about what we might know about the activities of our co-worker but he met with a wall of silence and outright refusal. And he couldn’t get my people to take the raid seriously.

While all this was going on Fritz and his people were busy locating and labeling every workstation, every server, and every portable hard drive they could find, including equipment downstairs in my apartment. After I realised what they were after and how it would affect my business I tried negotiating with the detectives to get them whatever files they might be after without taking down the business, I knew they were fishing anyway and wouldn’t find anything they were looking for. They consulted by phone with their supervisor Detective Sergeant Mark Gutry and the answer was an emphatic “No”. They were seizing everything.

So I rang the lawyers.

My lawyer was one of the partners in a big law firm and he quickly found another partner to represent me. This one was a former prosecutor, was highly experienced in criminal law and was an expert in the law regarding warrants. I faxed him the warrant. He thought the warrant was probably illegal and was certainly unreasonable as defined in the legislation. He recommended that I go to the High Court to obtain an injunction and I gave him the go ahead. He obtained a hearing for that afternoon, rang Detective Sergeant Gutry to tell him that the operation should stop until the High Court decision was made, and asked me to be at the Court for a hearing at 5.00pm.

My lawyer and Mina Wharepouri who was representing the police met in chambers with Justice Helen Winklemann. Detective Sergeant Gutry and I waited in a waiting room. I gave him an earful and he left to wait somewhere else.

    Detective Inspector Mark Gutry resigned in 2014 as he was being investigated for unlawfully accessing the Police National Intelligence Application twenty times seeking information on a woman who had laid a complaint against him.

It didn’t take long for an interim injunction to be granted with a full court hearing set down for 10.00am the next day. The raid was to stop until the court heard the application. I was to have no access to my technology and a police guard was to be posted in the premises overnight to ensure that I didn’t use it. The police were ordered to produce to the court the next morning the affidavit they had used to obtain the search warrant. We were attacking the warrant.

I went back to my office. A junior lawyer from my legal firm came with me to ensure that the police complied with the terms of the injunction.

By the time we got there the detectives and Fritz and his people had left and were replaced by a uniformed sergeant and a few constables. The sergeant was setting up an overnight guard with two constables in the premises at all times. He had placed one of them in my bedroom where there was a workstation and also a portable hard drive on my work table. I went into the bedroom and started to unhook the computer. The sergeant ordered me to stop but I told him there was no way I was allowing a policeman in my bedroom overnight. I told him I was ex-army and I didn’t trust sailors or policemen. He was not amused. My young lawyer was. So I handed him the computer and the portable hard drive and told him to put it upstairs with the rest of the equipment.

I had a bit of a laugh as well. Sitting on the table next to the labeled portable hard drive was a 60GB iPod. There were no files on the hard drive but all the personal and business backups were on the iPod. Fritz the computer forensics expert hadn’t realised that an iPod is also a hard drive and hadn’t labeled it to be seized.

There was another plainclothes policeman there. We hadn’t seen him earlier. He was big and intimidating. He asked my quite petite lawyer what she was doing there and she let him know she wasn’t intimidated at all. He then took an intimidating stance in front of me and asked me who I was. I looked at the nametag on his chest “Phil Le Compte” and said that’s a Hawke’s Bay family isn’t it. Taken aback he asked me how I knew that. I told him I went to school with a Le Compte and he asked me who that was. He was even more aback when I told him it was Alan Le Compte because it was his father. I said something uncomplimentary about father and son and he left.

You won’t see Phil Le Compte mentioned anywhere else in connection with Operation 8. Detective Sergeant Le Compte was at the time with AMCOS (Auckland Metro Crime and Operations Support) based in Harlech House with the Auckland SIG (Special Investigation Group) which was the lead agency in Operation 8. Le Compte did have a role in Operation 8 and that will be explored in a later article.

The next morning at 8.15 I got a call from the lawyer to say that the police wanted to negotiate an agreement before the full court hearing. They claimed that they didn’t have enough time to redact (blackout) confidential parts of the affidavit before they had to produce it in court. They had about 16 hours to do that between the hearing on 15th October and the full hearing on 16th October, so that was no excuse at all. It was bullshit. I knew then that they absolutely did not want that affidavit to be scrutinized by a high court judge lest the warrant be struck down. That was the same warrant that they were using all over the country and that would have been disastrous for Operation 8 (from their point of view).

My reaction to their raid had obviously taken them completely by surprise and they were scrambling to contain the situation.

Emotionally I was inclined to ignore them and to go straight to court. I was in the right sort of mood to take them to the cleaners regardless of the cost. But logic and reason prevailed as I had a business to protect and staff and their whanau to think of. So we went into conference at 9am at the High Court. My lawyer and I sat down with Detective Sergeant Gutry and his lawyer Mina Wharepouri. The two lawyers had already drawn up an agreement which we signed. Under the agreement:

  • They would not remove any of my computers and drives except for the one computer on my staff member’s desk; the staff member they had already arrested and imprisoned.
  • That computer was to be returned to my office within 72 hours (the police usually keep seized computers for months or even years).
  • The electronic crimes people would be permitted to inspect my file server, under my supervision, to locate and remove any files relevant to Operation 8, specifically files related to an encrypted online chatgroup called AoCafe (I knew that there would be none).
  • The police would facilitate contact with my man in prison so that I could obtain any passwords I might need.

We went into court to wait for the judge.

A feisty woman lawyer walked in for another case entirely. She looked around and remarked that the only criminals she could see were my lawyers, given the outrageous fees they charge. She was right in a way because High Court injunctions don’t come cheap and you have to be prepared to pay whatever it costs to stand up for your rights. Justice doesn’t come cheap.

We sat there twiddling our thumbs waiting for the judge. I told my lawyer I had his waiata ready. Then I asked Mina if his clients were going to sing his waiata. They were not amused. No sense of humour the cops.

It was Justice Winklemann again. She endorsed the agreement we had negotiated. Mina Wharepouri declared in court that the police had no interest whatsoever in me personally. We applied for blanket suppression of anything and everything that would indicate the identity of me or my business, and the location of my business, and it was granted by the judge. That was it.

In writing this piece I have unilaterally lifted that suppression order.

My lawyer remarked to me that it was rare indeed for anyone to bring a police operation to a grinding halt.

Back at the office Detectives Wayne and Joe were back and were very friendly. They seemed quite relieved that things had turned out as they had. Couple of good Maori those two. Then a new more senior contractor from electronic crimes arrived. He was businesslike and courteous and we got on with it. He found five files that he thought might have had some bearing on the case. I knew they wouldn’t and was quite happy for him to copy them. He restored our internet connection and we were in business again. We chatted and established that his father and I had both been majors in the Army and had worked together for a couple of years.

Wayne and Joe came over to hongi and they all left. My man was still behind bars of course.

My lawyer suggested that we ask the police to pay $2,000 towards my legal fees. I would have preferred to sue them for the lot but they would have contested that and it would have cost me a small fortune to recoup a tiny fortune. That same day the police agreed to pay the $2,000. Strategically it was a good move as it was an admission of some sort of liability.

That was almost that. We had some trouble with journalist Jonathon Marshall who was working for the Sunday Star Times. He was trying to get around the suppression order and was hassling me over the phone and had appeared at my office and tried to intimidate my business manager. A phone call from my lawyers to his editor put a stop to his shenanigans, before I got to him with a big stick.

We got the seized computer back from the police within the 72 hour timeline. I was a bit suspicious that they might have loaded it with a bug or two. We took it apart and didn’t find anything but just to be sure we cleaned the hard disks and got rid of it. We donated it to a needy community group!

Over the next few weeks a few right wing bloggers tried to get around the suppression order by mentioning that my man had been employed as an IT manager and inserting links to my company website. So we wrote a script, a small programme, that intercepted any traffic coming to my webserver from those blogsites, and diverted the requests to a spoof website. That website was pretending to be by one of the worst of the bloggers and it was lampooning him mercilessly. Some kind person had conveniently built it right at the time we needed it. We thought that was an elegant strategy.

After we had settled down and got the business back on track we had time to reflect on a few incidents leading up to the raid on 15th October 2007.

Our office cleaner usually arrived at about midnight. One night she disturbed someone in the office, near the computer server room, and whoever it was fled down the stairs and out the door. Which we realised in hindsight was a bit strange because our office was locked and alarmed. Whoever it was would have had to disable the alarm without setting it off. On reflection we thought it was probably the police and they had probably used a warrant to force our security company to disable the alarm for them. Whoever it was would have found that our server room was locked and alarmed as well.

In the week leading up to the raid my sister (who was my business manager) had noticed two suits sitting in a car in our carpark. She used to arrive at work very early and go for a walk. They were there when she arrived about 6am. They were still there when she got back from her walk. She challenged them and they left. However her red car was the one that spent most time in the carpark and we are now fairly sure it was bugged with a GPS locator.

In the few days before the raids when we went to my brother’s tangihanga at Tuai in Tuhoe country she came with me in a rental car. Her daughter and son-in-law drove her red car to Tuai and back. On the way back to Auckland on Sunday 14th October they followed us in the red car. Along the way they were stopped for no reason at all by a police patrol. They were questioned and explained that they were following their mother in her car. The police let them carry on. They thought it was strange at the time.

So we were also under police surveillance leading up to the raids.

I readily acknowledge that our experience was mild compared to others at Ruatoki and elsewhere. We for instance did not have rifles or submachine guns poked in our faces and pointed at the heads of our families. Ours was a minor episode in the whole shocking saga.

But this story is the starting point for a full analysis of Operation 8 in future articles. As a retired army officer and a former intelligence analyst I was very interested in the intelligence analysis that led to the “termination” phase of Operation 8. I then started to collect as much information as I could to analyse the intelligence operation behind Operation 8. I followed the case through the courts to the High Court criminal hearing in 2012 and thence to the Court of Appeal. I did some work for the defence team at the trial.

I early on came to the conclusion that the police operation was incompetent and unprofessional. I concluded that the detectives involved were total amateurs in the field of Intelligence and that their incompetence, and the incompetence of their superiors, had led to a debacle from which they scrambled to extricate themselves. They had the the help of a very professional and strategically canny prosecution lawyer, Mr Ross Burns. The courts have also established that the police had knowingly acted unlawfully in obtaining and executing warrants during the intelligence operation.

This series of articles will describe in detail all of that. And Te Putatara will raise a series of questions that have never before been asked, and certainly not answered.

Links: The Operation 8 Series