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Waihopai spybase protest, Saturday 20 January

10 January 2001

Anti Bases Campaign

Waihopai spybase protest, Saturday 20 January at 2-30pm

People from all around New Zealand will be converging on the super secret Waihopai spybase, in Marlborough, on the weekend of January 19-21. There has been more than a decade of protests by the Anti-Bases Campaign (ABC) since David Lange announced, in 1987, that Waihopai was going to be built, and our demand hasn’t changed - Waihopai is not in the public interest and it must be closed.

Green MPs Rod Donald and Keith Locke will join our protest weekend. The Greens share our commitment to the closure of Waihopai and the abolition of the NZ Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) which operates it. The Labour/Alliance government has changed nothing – we still have spybases on NZ soil and NZ is still a member of secret intelligence agreements. There have been some minor changes concerning NZ spy agencies, but they are strictly cosmetic.

The shockwaves from “Secret Power”, Nicky Hager’s seminal 1996 book on NZ‘s role in the top secret UKUSA electronic intelligence sharing agreement, continue to reverberate around the world. For example, the European Parliament is holding a yearlong inquiry into Echelon. (Echelon is the code name for the project run by the UKUSA electronic spying agencies – the US, UK, Canada, Australia and NZ. A global network of satellite interception spybases automatically searches billions of civilian telecommunications messages simultaneously and continuously for key words. The GCSB collects this raw material in a fully automated process at Waihopai and sends it undigested to the US National Security Agency).

The Government has announced one impending concession – in 2001, for the first time since its creation in 1977, the GCSB will have its own Act. The ABC has pointed out, for years, the lack of any legal standing of the GCSB. We claim some of the credit for bringing these outlaws under the rule of law and Parliamentary scrutiny. But, on the other hand, the GCSB is about to get expanded electronic spying powers in the proposed Bill of Paul Swain, Associate Minister of Justice.

There will also be activity in Blenheim. SPIES’ PICNIC, SEYMOUR SQUARE, 12 NOON, Saturday January 20. We will be issuing passports for the Undemocratic Republic of UKUSA. And we will be cutting a special cake to celebrate our minor victory in getting the GCSB brought under the law.

Close the Waihopai spybase !

Murray Horton, for ABC


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