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Monday, December 13, 2010

Terrorist Inquiries - What to Watch Out For

The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service has issued a set of guidelines for New Zealand exporters, and academic institutions to enable them to spot suspect orders, or inquiries that may be tied to terrorist organizations.

These guidelines are equally applicable to other countries, so they may be helpful to others in these fields

From the NZSIS;

Some terrorist groups as well as countries of proliferation concern regularly attempt to obtain controlled goods, often via third parties, in the form of front companies and other intermediaries. To do this such individuals or entities may exhibit suspicious behaviour or activities, some of which are outlined below.

Exporters can assist the New Zealand Government’s counter-proliferation and counter-terrorism efforts by reporting to the NZSIS information concerning entities’ attempts to procure goods or technology that could be diverted to a WMD programmes. Examples of possible suspicious advances include the following:

* an unconvincing explanation for why the items are required, in view of the customer’s normal business or the technical sophistication of the items
* routine installation, training or maintenance services are declined
* payment by cash or offers above the ticket price
* the customer is new and you cannot substantiate the nature of their business
* excessive requirements for confidentiality about final destinations, or customers, or specifications for items
* the customer or end-user is a foreign military or government research body
* a sale being cancelled but a short time later an identical order is received under a different name
* the customer uses a generic email address rather than one related to the purported business
* reluctance to offer information about the end-use of the item
* a request that goods be transferred to a forwarding address in New Zealand or transhipment point overseas
* reluctance to provide clear answers to commercial or technical questions which are normal in routine transactions
* requests for unusual shipping, packaging or labelling arrangements
* an installation site with strict security controls
* requests for confidentiality about final destinations, customers or specifications of items
* requests for additional equipment not normally associated with a particular item purchased (e.g. large quantities of spare parts), or conversely a lack of interest in parts that are usually associated with the product being ordered
* the order itself is unusual in some way, e.g. the quantity or performance capabilities of the goods ordered significantly exceed, without satisfactory explanation, the amount or performance normally required for the stated end-use

Researchers and tertiary institutions can assist the New Zealand Government’s counter-proliferation and counter-terrorism efforts by reporting entities’ attempts to obtain knowledge, training or research access that could be diverted to WMD programmes. Suspicious advances from nationals of countries suspected of WMD proliferation could include:

* enquiries about enrolling as students for, or seeking employment on, WMD-relevant research projects or study courses
* applications for work or training in industry areas with potential WMD applications
* requests to attend conferences and seminars on sensitive topics
* requests from unknown individuals, institutions and companies for help and advice in a specific area of technology and/or technical process
* requests relating to matters on which scientists, experts, research institutes and laboratory staff etc. would not normally seek advice or information and for which unconvincing reasons or evasive explanations are given
* suspicions that the requesting party does not possess the necessary expertise or familiarity to complete a particular project or contract
* security arrangements which seem unusual, either too excessive or too lax, which demonstrate a lack of familiarity with normal practice

How you can help

In essence, please advise NZSIS if you are approached by any entity or individual you feel may not be engaged in legitimate activity, who could be contributing to the spread or acquisition of weapons of mass destruction.


Please alert you local security service, if you have reason to be suspicious about an order or inquiry. You may save lives. A clear conscience is better than money in the bank.

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