CLOSE THE WAIHOPAI SPYBASE NOW!
COMMENTARY ARCHIVES, 18 Mar 2010
WHAT IS THE ANTI-BASES CAMPAIGN (ABC)?
We are a Christchurch-based group with links and members all over Aotearoa/New Zealand. We concentrate on the foreign military and intelligence installations in New Zealand. There are three – the US "Deep Freeze" military base at Harewood (Christchurch Airport); and the "NZ" intelligence gathering installations at Tangimoana (Manawatu) and Waihopai (Marlborough), which are simply outposts of American Intelligence. We have specific demands on all three – that Harewood be demilitarised; and the others closed ASAP. We demand the abolition of the NZ Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), which operates Waihopai and Tangimoana. We have built up information on the whole gamut of the ongoing US-NZ military and intelligence relationship.
WHAT DOES THE ABC DO?
We engage in research, education, publication and direct action. We have run campaigns on all these three installations, concentrating on Harewood and Waihopai. Historically, we have organised actions such as the 1990 Touching the Bases Tour, in which people from New Zealand and throughout the Asia/Pacific region visited all three bases. In the past, we have sent representatives to actions in Australia, the Philippines and the US. We have hosted overseas experts here, most recently Canadian ex-spy, Mike Frost, in 2001. We actively network with a wide range of groups.
We have campaigned and made submissions on all the various pieces of legislation giving expanded powers to the spies, such as the Terrorism Suppression Act, which takes NZ in the direction of a police State; the Crimes Amendment No. 6 Act, which gives the Police, SIS and GCSB extended powers of electronic spying; the GCSB Act, which entrenches this agency; and the various SIS Amendment Acts, which extended the powers of the SIS and exempted them from any legal action which may have arisen from the Choudry case having exposed their illegal actions dating back decades. Ever since we first discovered plans to build Waihopai, back in 1987, we have campaigned against it, organising numerous non-violent direct action national demonstrations. We research all aspects of these bases, specialising in Harewood and Waihopai, and have developed an expertise in researching NZ and allied intelligence agencies. We publish Peace Researcher, an authoritative journal on these subjects, and a record of our activities. Sixty issues of Peace Researcher have been published since 1983.
• Waihopai is New Zealand’s biggest contribution to America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
• Waihopai is directly involved in the mass killings of innocent civilians, including children.
• Waihopai does not operate in the interests of NZ or our neigh¬bours.
• Waihopai is not effectively accountable to Parliament or the people. It is exempt from key provisions of the Privacy Act and Crimes Act.
• To all intents and purposes, Waihopai is a foreign spybase, working for, and providing raw intelligence directly to, the US.
• Waihopai intercepts and records your international phone calls and e-mail.
• Waihopai is a waste of taxpayers’ money. In the 20 years since it was announced, at least $500 million has been spent on the agency which runs it.
What does Waihopai actually do?
The electronic intelligence gathering base is located in the Waihopai Valley, near Blenheim. First announced in 1987, it is operated by New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), in the interests of the foreign powers grouped together in the super-secret UKUSA Agreement (which shares global electronic and signals intelligence among the Intelligence agencies of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and NZ). Its three satellite interception dishes (two shielded by giant domes) intercept a huge volume of satellite phone calls, including New Zealanders’ international calls, plus telexes, faxes, e-mail and computer data communications. It gathers this data from our Asia/Pacific neighbours, and forwards it on to the major partners in the UKUSA Agreement, specifically the US National Security Agency. Its targets include international communications involving New Zealanders. The codename for this – Echelon – has become notorious worldwide. New Zealand is an integral, albeit junior, part of a global spying network, one that is ultimately accountable only to its own constituent agencies, not governments, and certainly not to citizens.
How does Waihopai involve us in America’s wars?
Waihopai’s “Big Ears” cover a vast area of the Pacific. Although Iraq is on the other side of the world, the US military/intelligence network that is waging that war is global and depends on global facilities. In Afghanistan, the US military is heavily dependent on electronic intelligence (and mistakes in that intelligence have led to the deaths of innocent children, instead of the intended “terrorist” targets). If New Zealanders disagree with US policies and warmongering, then Waihopai is located right here to monitor our own international e-mails and phone calls and report directly to Big Brother at our expense – because we pay for Waihopai with millions of our tax dollars every year. The Bush Administration has pronounced Intelligence to be the key component of all the wars that it is fighting, or planning to fight, throughout the world. Thus, much more so than any token commitment of the SAS or a frigate, the Waihopai spybase is New Zealand’s key contribution to all these American wars.
– Waihopai does not operate in the national interests of New Zealand or our neigh¬bours.
– Basically it is a foreign spybase on NZ soil and directly involves us in America’s wars.
– Waihopai must be closed.
Box 2258, Christchurch, NZ
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