Sunday, August 4, 2013

Behind The Shroud - Ahmed Zaoui case exposé finally on TV


By Selwyn Manning

Tonight for the first time on New Zealand television the public will be told why and how the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) got the Ahmed Zaoui case so wrong. What can we learn from those mistakes?

Should the SIS, GCSB and our intelligence aparatus undergo significant reform? This documentary explains what the government refused to reveal.

FaceTV Sky channel 83 @ 8pm.

Behind The Shroud reveals for the first time secret testimonies of witnesses who appeared before the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security’s secret hearings into the Ahmed Zaoui case.

This testimony is highly relevant today as we all debate how we as New Zealanders can all take a role in resisting gross abuses against our civil liberties and the excessive use of the state’s intelligence agency powers.

In this documentary, the witnesses explain why their information, in 2007, crushed the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service’s case against Ahmed Zaoui – a case that cost the Kiwi tax-payer in excess of $4 million.

Former Algerian spymaster Mohamed Samraoui
in Behind The Shroud. Photo: Selwyn Manning
The documentary’s primary protagonist is a man who was the Algeria military regime’s head of intelligence and counter-espionage in north Europe.

He was at the zenith of his powers during the years when Zaoui was convicted in Belgium and France and imprisoned on terrorism charges.

This man, Lieutenant-Colonel Mohamed Samraoui, currently lives under the protection of Germany.

Assassination allegation
He was also allegedly involved in the assassination of Ali Mecili on Boulevard Saint Michel in Paris. (Mecili was an adviser to an Algerian political party that opposed the military-led regime.).

Mohamed Samraoui later defected from the Algeria military regime, but took with him the knowledge of what he and its intelligence agency the DRS had been doing. After giving evidence against his former general bosses, he was arrested by Interpol but then escaped.

Today, he faces death sentences, receives frequent death threats. And, he was a secret witness in the NZ Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security’s hearings into the Zaoui case.

It was his testimony that caused the government to set Zaoui free.

The documentary also features exclusive footage and interviews with key people, including: Ahmed Zaoui, Dr Rodney Harrison, Deborah Manning, Richard McLeod, Prof. George Joffe (the UK’s authority on north Africa affairs), Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wilkie (former security intelligence advisor to the Australian prime minister), Dr Paul Buchanan (former US Pentagon security analyst), the late Graeme Hunt (historian and politics commentator), Gerry Cunneen (former New Zealand Police intelligence unit head), Hon Matt Robson (former New Zealand Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs), Keith Locke (former New Zealand Green Party Member of Parliament).

The documentary had its genesis while film maker Selwyn Manning was researching for his Master's degree in Communication Studies at Auckland University of Technology's Pacific Media Centre.

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