Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not purported as fact|
Everyone has been asking me "what about the SIS?"
Well, as a result of the information published on the Net about my X-Jet
project, I've had quite a few contacts from interested parties in foreign
While many of these have been from the USA and Western Europe, some have been
from countries which are, shall we say, a not aligned with our own political
or religious beliefs.
One such contact was from an Iranian aerospace/missile company that made very
serious inquiries about investing in the development of the X-Jet technology.
On receiving this email I thought to myself "Hmmm… Iran. It's not Iraq but
it's probably not a country I'd be allowed to export military technology to
So I rang the Trade & Industry (T&I) department (now called Trade
& Enterprise) to ask. The person I spoke to didn't have an immediate
answer but said they'd check up for me.
When they returned my call I was told that there would be "no problem" in me
accepting investment dollars from Iran and sharing the results of my R&D,
even though it did have military application
The Aardvark PC-Based Digital
Entertainment Centre Project
Yes, at last, this feature
has been updated again! (31 Mar 2003)
At that stage I could have simply proceeded to strike a deal and probably
pocket a nice sum of money for myself, while enjoying the many benefits that
would flow from having a well-funded partner in the venture.
However, I still felt uneasy about the fact that this was Iran we were
talking about - surely, given the current War against Terror and the
connections that had been made by some between Iran and terrorist groups,
this would not be the right thing to do.
So, figuring that they might be interested in this communication and the
adviceI had received from T&I, I contacted the SIS who promptly arrived
on my doorstep without even asking for a map or directions. Funny that -
everyone else who visited always needed directions the first time. These
guys are good!
For obvious reasons, I'm not going to provide too much detail about my
conversations with the SIS but suffice to say they were very interested in
this company and their proposals. They also advised that, even though
T&I may have thought it was okay to export such technology, it was most
certainly not a sensible thing to do.
So there we go - I could have quite legitimately gone ahead and worked to
struck a deal with the Iranians, and - since the X-Jet information could
easily have been transferred over the Net without ringing any alarm bells,
nobody would have been any the wiser. By not worring about the "bigger
picture", I could have paid the money the IRD was hounding me for in full and
everyone would have been happy.
So, did I do the right thing?
If my current situation is anything to go by, clearly I did not. The
government obviously believes that such selfless attitudes count for nothing.
Although every citizen is expected to do "the honourable thing", there are no
points gained for actually doing so.
But the Iranian approach wasn't the only one I received. I have since had
emails from Pakistan, Lebanon, China and other countries, all of which have
sought to obtain details of the X-Jet project and some of which have involved
seemingly genuine offers of not insignificant payment for such information.
Then, just a few weeks ago, a gentleman who was definitely not of Kiwi
origin, arrived on my doorstep in the early evening. He asked many questions
about my engines and, in particular, the cruise missile project.
The most interesting thing about his visit was that he'd obviously gone to a
lot of trouble to track me down. I've only been here a matter of weeks, I'm
not in the phone book, not on the electoral role, and only a handful of
others knew my address. I can't see why any normal person would go to such
lengths just to find me. Maybe he was just an enthusiast -- I don't know.
Maybe was also from the SIS -- but I don't think so.
After at least an hour of discussion, and because I was feeling pretty crook
at the time, I invited the guy to come back and see me at another time,
arranging to meet him that weekend. He never showed - rather odd considering
all the hard work he must have done to find me in the first place and the
level of interest he had. Maybe it was because I made it clear that I wasn't
interested in the mercenary-type offers I'd already received.
Until it became very apparent that the government wasn't going to lift a
finger to help me in my battle with the IRD (and may have even been pleased
that they could get me out of their hair), I had been quite happy to provide
the SIS with whatever information they might request or that I felt might be
useful to them. Indeed, we'd already organised another meeting to discuss new
information that has come into my possession.
The SIS have said they'd still very much like to meet with me again. I'm afraid
however, that my policy has now changed. As far as I'm concerned, I am no longer
prepared to act as an unpaid worker in the service of a government that has
screwed me so badly.
The sad fact is, that even if I wished to continue assisting the SIS in this way, the
events of the past few months have effectively crippled my ability to do so.
Okay, perhaps my contributions were tiny and, in the bigger picture, of
little value - I don't know. What I do know however is that I believed I was
doing the "right thing" by putting my country's interests ahead of my own. My
I guess the most significant thing I've learnt from all this is that the
government does not run a goodwill ledger. Nothing you, I, or anyone else
does to help the country, its people, its economy, or our commitments to
intelligence partners, will earn any credit should you ever find yourself in
need of the government's help.
That is indeed a very sad state of affairs, and can only be a disincentive to
other folks like myself who normally place great store by "doing the right
thing" and considering "the greater good" when making choices and decisions
which may affect others.
As a footnote to the information I have presented so far, I'd like you to
review (perhaps again) the following information, in the context of my case:
Tomorrow I'll tell you where I go from here, what happens now to the X-Jet
IP, and I'll ask just a few key questions that really need answers.
The Final Instalment: Left with nothing but questions
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