Al-Qaeda is Back: Activists in New Zealand; U.S. Closes Embassy in Middle East and Asia

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By Athena Yenko | August 2, 2013 2:57 PM EST

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said that there are Al-Qaeda-trained activists in New Zealand, Agence France Presse reported.

Mr Key's confirmation came as a result of his defence of laws, allowing the New Zealand government's intelligence to impose spy laws that will monitor the activities of local residents.

New Zealand's intelligence service, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), is not allowed by law to spy on the country's citizens. Mr Key wants this law to be repealed, saying that spy laws are relevant for security agencies to work with the police and military.

In an interview with a commercial radio, Mr Key said that opponents were reluctant to recognise security threats due to lack of defining basis.

"In the real world, in new Zealand, there are people who have been trained in Al-Qaeda camps. (People) who operate out of New Zealand, who are in contact with people overseas, who have gone off to Yemen and other countries to train. That's the real world, the reality of what we're dealing with."

However, Mr Key's claim of Al-Qaeda-trained activists in New Zealand raised opposing views from other officials and Internet giants like Facebook and Google.

One of the strongest opponents for Mr Key's claim was Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom who was reportedly spied upon by GCSB in 2012 which led to his arrest for alleged online piracy.

He said that the Al-Qaeda being pertained to by Mr Key was most likely limited to "Kiwi kids watching 'how to make a bomb' on YouTube's terrorist channel."

"The only terrorists living in New Zealand are those who terrorised my family to impress Hollywood and the White House," Mr Dotcom tweeted.

The Green Party also accused Mr Key of "scaremongering" to create fear among individuals.

"John Key is trying to frighten the New Zealand public into submission as he pushes through his law to strip away their rights, Greens co-leader Russel Norman said.

Meanwhile, a report from NBC news said that the United States decided to close its embassies in the Middle East and parts of Asia on Sunday, Aug 4, due to threat to diplomatic posts worldwide. The threat was reportedly linked to Al-Qaeda which can happen in time of the end of Ramadan on Aug 4, 2013.

The U.S. has been "apprised of information that out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting our installations, that indicates we should institute these precautionary steps," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told NBC News. 

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