Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. [Volume 39, Number 2. 11th March 1976]
Review of CIA Meeting
Review of CIA Meeting
On Tuesday there was a forum organised by the V.U.W. Young Socialists, at which George Fyson and Alister Taylor spoke on the subject of CIA and SIS activity in New Zealand. It was attended by about fifty people.
Fyson spoke about the CIA files which, he said, "constitute the first tangible evidence of CIA activity in New Zealand." The files consist of CIA dispatches, all heavily censored, plus clippings from various newspapers, notably Socialist Action and Salient, and leaflets from anti-war protests.
Taylor began with a number of stories, some of them funny but all with sinister implications, about his own confrontations with the SIS. Most of these dated back to the late sixties and his involvement in the anti-war movement. He spoke of how on separate occasions his own office had been bugged and his correspondence intercepted and used against him.
He then outlined the history of the SIS briefly and talked about the background of their employees - "the dregs of the colonial police forces". He described the close contact that exists between the SIS and the CIA - telex links and visits by Brigadier Gilbert to the U.S. and of CIA officials here - and emphasized that "when it come to action, the two are very similar" and that "the SIS is very much an operating hand... of the CIA."
The question of tactics arose when a speaker from the floor asked Taylor if he was prepared to release the names of any CIA employees working here, as left-wing opponents of the CIA had done in Europe. Taylor replied that this tactic had been tried with SIS agents involved in the Sutch trial, and was considered to be counter-productive to the accumulation of information about these people. If they were named they would only be replaced.
The main issue, he said, was to inform the public of the dangers these organisations present, and releasing names was expensive and ineffective in this direction. When the questioner pointed out that a great deal of public interest had been aroused in Europe by the publication of the names, he answered that it was really a matter of timing.