Trailer – Behind The Shroud.
The documentary feature film Behind The Shroud is scheduled to broadcast for the first time on New Zealand television on FaceTV and Sky channel 83 on Monday August 5 at 8pm.
Behind The Shroud was researched and directed by me and was produced over a seven year period.
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.
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.
Behind The Shroud analyses why after years of the New Zealand Government stating Zaoui was a risk to the nation’s security, he was suddenly set free.
The public was never told why the Government changed its tune, it was never informed on why Zaoui was finally considered to be no threat, and neither the Government nor the SIS ever fronted to explain exactly why the SIS got this case wrong.
The public deserves to know why the Government wrongfully imprisoned in solitary confinement a man who asked for our protection against an authoritative regime that sought to execute him.
The public deserves to know why the Government planned to deport Zaoui – all-the-while knowing the Algeria regime had sentenced him to death three times on information that was finally found to be bogus.
Is this the New Zealand we wish for? Is it acceptable for our intelligence agencies to soak up any disinformation that is served up to them and to package and present this ‘intel’ as fact to our Executive Wing?
Finally, this documentary explains what the Government refused to reveal.
To secure this information, I travelled to north Europe to check the back-story of the documentary’s primary protagonist – a man who was the Algeria military regime’s head of intelligence and counter-espionage in Germany. 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 who currently lives under the protection of Germany was also allegedly involved in the assassination of Ali Mecili on St Michelle Boulevard in Paris. (Mecili was an advisor to an Algerian political party that opposed the military-led regime.).
This investigation certainly introduced me to the more sinister elements of our world where murder, smoke-and-mirrors, corruption and counter-terrorism are used by governments to enforce a continuum of their version of power.
This man had defected from the Algeria intelligence agency the DRS. Today, he faces death sentences, receives frequent death threats. It seems Algeria wants him dead, he believes because he possesses secrets that his former generals want silenced, for betraying his country’s rulers. Others want him dead for being the mastermind behind Algeria’s black flag operations in north Europe. This man was arrested by Interpol in 2007, and escaped.
In Germany, Algeria’s once top man in Europe agreed to speak on camera. After 14 hours of on camera questioning, this man, Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Samroui, revealed what he told New Zealand’s Inspector General of Intelligence and Security Justice Paul Neazor when he appeared at New Zealand’s secret hearings in 2007.
In preparing this documentary for broadcast, I kept asking myself: have our intelligence agencies learnt from their mistakes? Considering the Kim Dotcom case (see Rudderless Within The Great Game), it concerns me to realise they probably have not.
Specifically, Behind The Shroud reveals information that has been cloaked in official secrecy. It takes the viewer on a journey into that shadowy world of spies and espionage through interviews with key players in the great game, as mentioned above, this includes Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Samraoui but also includes other former spies like Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wilkie (who is now an independent MP in the Australian Federal Parliament.
Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Samraoui reveals in this documentary how Zaoui was a victim of a black flag operation choreographed by the Algerian intelligence service (the DRS). He explains in detail why Algeria set its spies and agents against Zaoui, why it decided not to assassinate him, why it constructed a back-story of fiction that north European governments used to convict Zaoui. Samraoui also explains how New Zealand’s SIS failed to unpick this information, but rather accepted the disinformation that he himself had helped to create.
The documentary also engages in a thought provoking critique of New Zealand’s intelligence apparatus and examines how western nations can learn from their external assessment failures to ensure they are not used as instruments of third party oppressive regimes.
The documentary considers:
- What can New Zealand do to ensure our intelligence agencies seek and work for the truth, and in our interests?
Should New Zealand’s intelligence services undergo a full royal commission of inquiry to ensure they work for New Zealanders and not against them?
Will calls for expanded oversight ensure the intelligence agencies work in our interest?
Should the New Zealand Police replace the SIS and conduct all investigation into such matters where criminality not politics is the test on whether to investigate?
Behind The Shroud includes: interviews with Ahmed Zaoui; and previously unreleased information and footage of the Ahmed Zaoui defence team – Dr Rodney Harrison, Deborah Manning, Richard McLeod – people who took on the establishment and won.
This documentary features: Two secret witnesses Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Samraoui and 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.
Now, my hope is you all find this story as fascinating to watch as it was to produce. It is not an easy documentary to watch. It is full of detail and it is disturbing, intriguing, and very real. It is clearly an independent production as opposed to a Hollywood big budget splash.
That aside, my hope is we all learn from it, but ultimately that the lessons generated from its findings underscore why we must preserve the independence of our Pacific Islands state and empower us to create a better New Zealand.
A big thanks to Jim Blackman and his team at FaceTV and Sky TV too for having the courage to broadcast this documentary at a time when we all need to share its message.