From the Sunday News
A highly-placed source said police launched last week’s anti-terror raids after recording secret video footage of splinter groups carrying out combined military-style training and talking of “wreaking havoc” throughout New Zealand in imminent attacks.
“If this got off the ground, it would have been a multi-pronged campaign launched simultaneously against a number of individuals and targets. It would have been crippling,?” the source revealed.
Sunday News has also been told by well-placed insiders that … *The dramatic raids came after a multi-agency investigation including the SIS, military and police. * A “mole” inside the alleged terror movement provided vital and startling information on weapons testing and military training.
Prime Minister Helen Clark and leading government ministers were briefed before search warrants were sought.
The surveillance and raids cost $8 million to plan and execute.
But it is the information provided by Sunday News’ source within the operation which is most shocking.
“Each different splinter group was training under the one umbrella and they were going to carry out attacks on targets and infrastructure,” said our source.
“You would have had Tuhoe carrying out attacks on their selected targets, animal rights groups targeting their lot and the so-called `peace freaks’ carrying out their acts.
“There were a number of different groups at the table. They were going to wreak havoc according to their own agendas. They were going after a broad spectrum and broad range of targets.
“There were prominent Maori who they’d call Uncle Toms including heads of government departments and those who’d used the system to get ahead.”
Our source said activist groups’ terror-attack plans were firmly in place.
“They were pretty well advanced in what they were planning to do,” he said.
“They were not of the sophistication of the IRA or Bader Meinhoff (German Red Army) but they were technologically more aware than the likes of the terrorists in Rhodesia Zebra and Zanu.”
From the Sunday Star/Times
US President George Bush was among those allegedly targeted in the threats recorded by police investigating the alleged Urewera terrorist training camps.
Prime Minister Helen Clark and National leader John Key were also discussed as potential targets by those under surveillance during the 22-month police Special Investigations Group operation.
Key has admitted he was briefed on the operation by the SIS but neither he, nor Clark, were yesterday willing to comment on the possibility they were potential targets.
Widespread public scepticism about the credibility of the threat has drawn an increasingly scathing response from Police Association president Greg O’Connor.
He said the operation had been “triggered by credible intelligence of a serious threat to New Zealand’s safety and security” and was a “reality check” for New Zealanders who dismissed the threat of homegrown terrorism as laughable.
The Sunday Star-Times understands up to a dozen of the 17 arrested during Monday’s raids across the country attended a training camp in the Urewera region last weekend.
The termination of “Operation Eight” was timed to allow participants to return home from the camp which had been under close surveillance.
Police are still working to identify others who attended one or more of the seven camps over four different sites in the Urewera bush and on the Whakatane riverbank during the surveillance period. They say more arrests are likely. Although many participants wore balaclavas, ski masks or keffiyeh scarves, others made no attempt to disguise themselves while rehearsing moves such as getting out from under pretend “enemy” fire.
The Star-Times, which broke the story on Fairfax Media’s Stuff website last Monday, understands the police have seized more than 20 guns, including AK-47s and other military-style semi-automatic rifles, as well as stab and bullet-resistant clothing, camouflage netting, bomb-making recipes and an IRA manual.
Of the 17 people arrested, about half have links with the Maori sovereignty movement, while most of the others are self-described anarchists. Intelligence staff in Wellington informed their American counterparts of the recorded threat against Bush and an intelligence source told the Star-Times the Americans agreed to leave New Zealand police to handle any investigation. Bush and his wife Laura were tipped to make a half-day visit to New Zealand at the end of the Apec summit in Sydney in September.