Patrick is a poor judge of Character, see also: Kiwi jihadi Mark Taylor not so ‘bumbling’ – law expert. Having lived among ISIS fighters for five years, New Zealander Mark Taylor perhaps isn’t so bumbling after all.
OPINION: I know ‘Kiwi Jihadi’ Mark John Taylor well – and the one thing I know is that he should never have been allowed to leave New Zealand.
Despite being our first home-grown terrorist – and a bumbling one at that – Taylor managed to make his way out of Hamilton and all the way to Syria, where he is now in jail.
He got out of our departure gates and to the Islamic State despite New Zealand being part of the War on Terror.
He got there despite our spies being all over him, and knowing full-well he was a terrorist sympathiser who would try and get back to a terror organisation.
He got there despite all of the taxpayers’ money we spent on anti-terror measures, and despite all of our anti-terror laws.
He got there despite the New Zealand Government giving our spies extraordinary powers to deal with terror.
He got there despite the incredible onerous security that goes with international travel.
He even got there despite a global security alert.
And he got there despite himself – the reality is that Mark Taylor has a low IQ. The reality is Mark Taylor has bumbled his way through the War on Terror, embarrassing the New Zealand Government and our international partners along the way.
When I met Taylor in Hamilton in 2011, he had already travelled to an Al-Qaeda stronghold in Pakistan; been to Yemen; had his passport stripped; spent months in an Australian detention centre; and was on a US terror ‘no fly’ watch list.
Most concerningly, he had been watching terror sympathiser videos online.
I spent several days with him filming a piece for the then-60 Minutes, and got the feeling he was a bumbling liability.
But even if he had a death wish and was just a threat to himself, he should not have been able to get there – worse still, he could have been used as a threat to others.
I remain amazed that Mark Taylor managed to get his passport back and then get to Syria.
In the end, he has shown the folly of much of the War on Terror security measures; despite the extreme reach and intrusion, they don’t work – even when they are needed.
In short, he has made all of New Zealand’s anti-terror responses look totally flawed.
What was the point? We have security screening at the airport, we still have troops in Iraq – but we allowed known terror sympathiser Mark Taylor travel to Syria.
Mark Taylor has made a total joke of the War on Terror.
Postscript: Checking my emails with Mark Taylor, I found one of the last things I wrote to him: “You need to come home and give yourself up Mark. People will help you.”
Patrick Gower is Newshub’s National Correspondent