Apr 302014
 

STACEY KIRK/Fairfax

A New Zealander killed by a United States drone strike in Yemen has been named by an Australian newspaper as Daryl Jones.

He was identified by The Australian, which said Jones was married with children. According to those who knew him he had lived in Sydney and attended Australia’s largest mosque, the Lakemba Mosque in southwest Sydney.

Jones, who had dual New Zealand and Australian citizenship, was killed last November in a US Predator drone strike on a convoy of al Qaeda militants in Yemen. He was not the target of the strike.

Jones reportedly went by the name of “Muslim bin John” and fought under the name “Abu Suhaib al-Australi”.

The Australian said Jones had reportedly contacted his family from Dubai in May last year.

In a Facebook post about the drone deaths, a Sydney man said: “I’m told that one of the brothers being spoken about in the article is brother Daryl Jones, a convert brother who use to frequent Lakemba mosque a few years ago,” The Australian reported.

“The brother was so humble. He was soft-spoken and gentle, you could really easily get along with him.”

Another man replied: “Muslim [Daryl Jones] was one of the best Muslims I have ever known. Allah accept him as a Shaheed [martyr]. Allah aid and assist his wife and children.”

Another post, believed to be referring to the dead man, said “Daryl Jones, also known as Muslim” had gone missing in 2012.

According to the October 2012 post by the Revert Muslims Association: “He last called his family in May earlier this year from Dubai.

“He was going to fly back to New Zealand. There hasn’t been contact since.”

The Australian said it understood Jones had attracted the attention of counter-terrorism authorities while in Sydney, mainly because of the company he kept, but he was never a person of interest.

Prime Minister John Key has refused to identify him.

When the death came to light a fortnight ago Key said he had known for quite some time the then-unnamed New Zealander was in Yemen and had terrorist connections.

Key said he had been told by New Zealand intelligence agencies late last year that it was highly likely the man had been killed, though it took time for DNA testing to provide confirmation of the identity.

The man, who was born in New Zealand, had family here and they were advised some time ago that he had been killed, Key said when the news of the death broke.

The incident was the first known killing of New Zealand or Australian citizens in a US drone strike.

Australian citizen Christopher Harvard was also killed in the strike along with three other men.

More here

Apr 162014
 

Drone murder of New Zealander “justified” by Prime Minister

By John Minto / April 17, 2014
– See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/04/17/drone-murder-of-new-zealander-justified-by-prime-minister/#sthash.p0EVdkTD.dpuf
I’ve no idea what this murdered New Zealander was doing in Yemen – and I’m certain neither does John Key. The US National Security Agency has fed selective information about the strike to our GCSB which has fed selective information to the Prime Minister who has fed selective information to the hapless public of New Zealand.

Yesterday Prime Minister John Key justified the extrajudicial killing of a New Zealander in a US drone strike in Yemen with a few cynical, callous words at a stand-up press conference.

Key said he’d been briefed by our spy agencies that apparently this New Zealander was a terrorist who went to a terrorist training camp in Yemen and that Key thought these types of drone strikes were justified when dealing with “these types of people.

I’ve no idea what this murdered New Zealander was doing in Yemen – and I’m certain neither does John Key. The US National Security Agency has fed selective information about the strike to our GCSB which has fed selective information to the Prime Minister who has fed selective information to the hapless public of New Zealand.

Other media reports at the time of the drone strike in August 2013 said it took out “suspected al-Qaida operatives”. Who would know? In fact the majority of people killed in US drone strikes have been civilians.

A Human Rights Watch report released last year examined six such strikes in Yemen carried out between 2009–2013 and found that of the 82 people killed, at least 57 were civilians. Was this New Zealander just more collateral damage? We don’t know and we can’t expect the government or our spy agencies to tell us.

The HRW report also concluded that the drone strikes it examined “may have violated the laws of war because the individual attacked was not a lawful military target or the attack caused disproportionate civilian harm.”

All we do know for sure is that this New Zealander never got charged, never got a trial but that somewhere in the US a decision was made for the mass assassination of a group he was with – the kind of murderous act which has been condemned by governments and human rights groups around the world.

Here are a few critical questions for our Prime Minister.
•What evidence is there this New Zealander was a “terrorist” or was the label added after his death to justify the crime?
•How long had the GCSB been spying on him?
•Why was he allowed to travel overseas when other New Zealanders wanting to go overseas to fight in places like Syria for example have had their passports seized?
•What was he doing when he was killed?
•Why did the US launch a drone strike against him?
•If there was evidence of terrorist activity why was he not simply arrested when he returned to New Zealand or entered a third country?
•Was New Zealand informed by the US before they attacked and killed this kiwi citizen?
•If so what was the response of our spy agencies and their political master John Key?
•If New Zealand was not informed then why not?
•In aligning this country in support for US drone strikes what additional terrorist threat does that expose New Zealanders to?
•Why did the government not make the information about the killing public at the time when it occurred?
•Would the government ever have made this public if the information has not leaked out?

In typically cynical fashion Key is using this incident to bolster support for the GCSB and the massive increase in the power it was given last year to spy on us. He says it shows why we need the GCSB to spy on New Zealanders.

No it doesn’t My Key – it shows why the GCSB must be closed and why New Zealand must develop an independent foreign policy rather than one which aligns to deadly US foreign policy and increases the risk of terrorist attacks on New Zealanders.