um yeah I think you do ....
I read my way through the bundle of released files this morning. From a historical perspective it was fascinating.
However my personal highlight (and it has nothing to do with espionage) is the inclusion of a paper Sutch wrote on the 1972 general election. Given some of the debate that's going on at the moment regarding this year's election I give you the following excerpt:
.... the Labour Party so far have not stated all of their policies mainly because it has been the practice of the National Party in the past to steal Labour Party policy when they think it might win votes for them.
Notes on the Political Situation in New Zealand 1972
One has to chuckle.
unknown law firm
So did people keep calling them wanting them to do their divorce/house conveyancing/motoring offences on a regular basis. Maybe, in between chasing non-existent Russian spies, the SIS team maintained a lucrative second career as small-town solicitors?
I think it's more a matter of Dunedin having been a small enough place that if you were in the law biz you knew everyone else and the appearance of a new law firm that didn't actually interact with any of the existing ones sort of raised a red flag (or in this case I guess an anti-red flag)
As I remember from the Helen Sutch interview that other day, she seemed to say that her father was mystified by the meetings with Rosgovorov who was very obviously nervous and that Bill Sutch was on the verge of refusing to meet with him again. I thought she implied that Dr Sutch thought the man might be wanting to defect (a lovely cold war word). And speaking of cold war words the Guy Powles document has a wonderful clip out of a cold war movie. The Solicitor General's brief for the PM said that
'The national interest would best be served by obtaining from Dr Sutch a full and frank account of his association with the Russians in order
(a) to discover what had been betrayed;
(b) to identify Dr Sutch's sources of information;
c) to identify people whom Dr Sutch might have 'talent spotted' for the Soviet Union; and
d) to identify Dr Sutch's previous handling officers in the Soviet Embassy.
Apart from the ludicrous notion that NZ had any secrets that could have been remotely interesting to the Soviet Union - where did they get these terms - 'talent spotted' and 'handling officers' if it wasn't from an Ian Fleming spy movie?
Sorry - first sentence should read 'As I remember from the Helen Sutch interview the other day.'
think the modern day equivalent of the Sutch affair are incidents like this one where a researcher was held in jail for six days for downloading an "Al Quaeda Manual".
Bad comparison. Sutch was a well-established intellectual, albeit one who was arguably at the far end of mainstream left politics. The more modern comparison would be someone with the heft of a Ranganui Walker or Gareth Morgan being found with shady-looking contacts with dodgy foreign powers.
(Not, I hasten to add, that I would characterise Walker or Morgan as being lefties, but rather than Walker as a Maori activist and Morgan as a political/economic commentator are both on their respective fringes of mainstream political thinking these days)