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Waihopai Spybase Protest - January 19-21, 2007

Waihopai Spybase Protest

January 19-21, 2007

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 neigh-bours. Basically it is a foreign spybase on NZ soil and directly involves us in America's wars. Waihopai must be closed.

We invite people from around the country to join us for the weekend of anti-war protest at this spybase. Come prepared for roughing it and camping out. We've hired a marquee. We provide the food (note: we cater for vegetarians but vegans will have to bring their own). Bring sleeping bag, groundsheet, a tent, torch, water bottle, eating utensils, clothing for all weather, and $40 (or $20 unwaged) to cover costs. Absolutely no open fires.

How to find our camp. Take Highway 6 out of Blenheim (the Nelson road); cross the Wairau River bridge, take the first turn left, and then drive for approximately 15 minutes until you reach the bridge turnoff which takes you to the Department of Conservation's Onamalutu camp (right turn at sign). It is a public campsite and has some basic facilities. ABC has to pay a fixed charge per person.

ENDS

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