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GATT Watchdog on APEC SIS/Police debacle

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“We Were Right – Again” - GATT Watchdog on APEC SIS/Police debacle.

GATT Watchdog is celebrating another victory over the Government following the High Court ruling that the July 21 1996 police search of Dr David Small’s Christchurch house was unreasonable and its award of $20,000 compensation.

The search of Dr Small’s house arose directly from him having caught SIS agents illegally breaking into the house of GATT Watchdog campaigner Aziz Choudry on 13 July 1996, during the GATT Watchdog-organised “Trading With Our Lives” conference focussing on the human cost of free trade. Mr Choudry successfully sued the SIS and settled out of court with the Crown last year.

“This chain of events (which also includes a police search of Mr Choudry’s house and a mysterious hoax bomb at the Christchurch City Council buildings days after the botched SIS break-in) took place in the context of GATT Watchdog organising activities opposed to the government’s slavish adherence to extreme policies of unrestricted free trade and foreign investment just prior to 1996’s APEC Trade Ministers Meeting”, says GATT Watchdog spokesperson Leigh Cookson.

“Presumably the National Government regarded GATT Watchdog and associates as enemies of the state.”

“We demand to know if the present government still holds to that view, and if so on what grounds”.

“From day one, GATT Watchdog correctly identified the burglars at Mr Choudry’s house as SIS agents. We have consistently been proved correct and legally vindicated in courts of law over the past four years, in spite of being officially stonewalled all the way in pursuit of the truth. Who knows what would have happened had we not nipped in the bud what was obviously a politically-motivated, secret State dirty tricks operation. The hoax bomb episode alone has all the hallmarks of classic agent provocateur tactics.”

“As if the bungled, illegal SIS operation was not bad enough, the Small case reinforces concerns that the Police’s own Criminal Intelligence Service (CIS) conducts routine information collection and surveillance of political organisations and activists.”

“And the CIS clearly equates such activism with the commission of criminal offences or a propensity to commit criminal offences. This criminalisation of dissent is outrageous and unacceptable. Who else is being spied on by the CIS because of their political views?

“Now that the international pendulum is swinging so firmly towards GATT Watchdog’s point of view on globalisation why are organisations such as ourselves still being treated as enemies of the State?” asked Ms Cookson.

Contact Leigh Cookson (GATT Watchdog) ph (03) 3662803 (w); 3812951 (h)


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