|WAIHOPAI SPYBASE PROTEST|
The public face of New Zealand’s role as an American ally is the NZ military presence in Afghanistan. But New Zealand’s most significant contribution to that, and other American wars, including the one in Iraq, is the Waihopai spybase.
Waihopai is controlled by the US, with New Zealand (including Parliament and the Prime Minister) having little or no idea what goes on there (let alone any control).
The Waihopai 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 two satellite interception dishes (shielded from public view by giant domes) intercept a huge volume of telephone calls, telexes, faxes, e-mail and computer data communications. It spies on our Asia/Pacific neighbours, and forwards the material on to the major partners in the UKUSA Agreement, specifically the US National Security Agency (NSA). Its targets are international communications involving New Zealanders, including the interception of international phone calls. The codename for this – Echelon – has become notorious worldwide as the vast scope of its spying has become public. New Zealand is an integral, albeit junior, part of a global spying network, a network that is ultimately accountable only to its own constituent agencies, not governments, and certainly not to citizens.
Waihopai does not operate in the national interests of New Zealand or our neighbours. Basically it is a foreign spybase on NZ soil and directly involves us in America’s wars. Waihopai must be closed. [...]
THEME: WAIHOPAI’S CONTRIBUTION TO BUSH’S WARS
The American war in Iraq is nearly three years old, and the one in Afghanistan (in which NZ is directly involved) is more than four years old. So our theme is once again anti-war. We will be emphasising the role that Waihopai plays in this global killing machine by using props such as coffins, crosses and masks. We will also have some other props e.g. several large balloons to visually represent the domes of the spybase. Waihopai is NZ’s key contribution to all of America’s wars, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq or anywhere else. It is basically a US spybase operating on NZ soil, a vital outpost of the American Empire. ABC will bring a limited number of placards and banners. Please bring your own, relevant to the anti-war theme, linking Waihopai to the US wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. [...]
Organised by the Anti-Bases Campaign, Box 2258, Christchurch.
Spy station a cancer, MP tells Waihopai protest
NZ Herald 21.01.06 1.00pm
Green Party MP Keith Locke told a protest rally at Waihopai, near Blenheim, today that the spy station was "a cancerous cell" eroding any moves New Zealand made to become a more independent and peaceful nation.
The Greens combined their annual Picnic for the Planet with the protest demonstration at Waihopai this year, encouraged by the publicity about the station generated by disclosures earlier this week in former prime minister David Lange's papers.
Mr Locke said the Government's silence about Waihopai and the Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) which runs it had to end. "We can't assume that our government's use of our intelligence agencies is actually in New Zealand's best security interests," he said. "The Greens don't believe it is in New Zealand's security interests to spy on France, Japan, and the UN on behalf of the American Government - as our GCSB admitted was the case in 1986 in the report discovered in the Lange papers."
Mr Locke said the Waihopai station was built in 1988, and it was logical to suggest New Zealand had expanded its intelligence gathering in recent years. "You don't have to be very smart to know that the US National Security Agency is the main body trawling through the millions of phone calls, faxes and emails the Waihopai dishes draw down from the two communications satellites over the Pacific equator," he said.