Shhhhh ..... Pop goes the spy base (didn't see that one coming did you boys?)
Waihopai spy base attack 'senseless' - PM
Prime Minister Helen Clark has condemned this morning's attack on the 'spy base' at Waihopai as "senseless". Three protesters have been arrested after invading the base and puncturing one of the large white domes that house two satellite dishes. Adrian Leason, Sam Land and Dominican friar Peter Murnane are due to appear in Blenheim District court this afternoon. Questioned in Auckland this morning, Helen Clark would not put an estimate on the cost of the attack but said Air Marshal Ferguson was travelling to Marlborough today to make an assessment. "Obviously it's just imposing a cost on the taxpayer having to rebuild. That's why I describe it as a senseless act of criminal vandalism". Asked if any information had been lost in the security breach, she said she never commented on security matters. "Our focus today is on the steps we're going to take to support the police with the criminal investigation and to start repairing the damage." Helen Clark said the Government had received no comment from other countries regarding the breach. Opponents of the Waihopai base argue that it is primarily feeding information to the United States in support of wars New Zealanders do not support. But the secretive Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), which operates the base, near Blenheim, rejects this. The protesters' spokesman, Manu Caddie, spoke to nzherald.co.nz from Waihopai. He said all three protesters had been arrested after cutting through three fences - one of which had razor wire - and using sickles to deflate the kevlar dome structure. Mr Caddie estimated the group could have caused $30,000 worth of damage during the protest, which was against the US-led "war on terror". "We are drawing attention to the issue, particularly in an election year and encouraging New Zealanders to have a debate about whether they want to be funding this kind of activity in their backyard," Mr Caddie said. Air Marshal Ferguson said today the security breach was of grave concern. "Naturally, this is a very serious breach and it's one of the reasons I'm here - to look at that, and initiate an inquiry into how this in fact occurred so we can put in place further preventative measures," he told Radio New Zealand Air Marshal Ferguson said it was obvious the men had penetrated three fences before deflating the dome but it was unclear how other security devices failed to detect the intrusion. Alarms did activate but CCTV footage was no help due to heavy fog, he said. The domes, made of a rubberised material, acted purely as a "waterproof jacket" to protect the antennae from adverse weather, he said. "We're trying to protect them for longevity." He said there was some protest action at the base over the weekend but it was not known if it was linked to today's attack. Mr Caddie said there were direct parallels between the Roman Empire and modern day America. He said the group, which called themselves the Ploughshares, followed Jesus' example of resisting power on an ethical basis. Mr Caddie told NZPA news agency the action took about two months to plan and the group did not really expect to succeed. "We were expecting not to get anywhere close to it." The planning involved a lot of texting, emails and phone calls, which were not intercepted, he said. "I guess it shows that the system doesn't work that well." He said the three protesters who had been arrested hoped not to go to jail, but were prepared for it. A statement by the group from their website said: "Our group, including a Dominican Priest, temporarily closed the base by padlocking the gates and proceeded to deflate one of the large domes covering two satellite dishes.
"At 6am we cut through three security fences surrounding the domes - these are armed with razor wire, infrared motion sensors and a high voltage electrified fence. "Once inside we used sickles to cut one of the two 30-metre white domes, built a shrine and knelt in prayer to remember the people killed by United States military activity." The group said that it had financed its activities through "personal savings, additional part-time employment and a small interest-free loan from one of our supporters". In its justification for the attack, the group said it was responding to the Bush administration claim that intelligence gathering was the single most important tool in the "so-called war on terror" and that Waihopai was a part of that. "This war will have no end until citizens of the world refuse to let it continue." It said that it had carried out the attack in the name of the "Prince of Peace". The website contains Christian references to the Bible. One of the protesters is Father Peter Murnane from the Dominican Priory in Auckland. Father Chris Loughnan, who lives with Father Peter, said he was unaware of any arrests. He said he was also unaware of the protest but it didn't surprise him. "It's about New Zealand's passive cooperation in war mongering. The information obtained at Waihopai is used in military intelligence," Father Chris said. Green Party foreign affairs spokesman Keith Locke said the party would be calling for a public debate and information on the cost and the purpose of the Waihopai base if it was part of the next government. Mr Locke said the US spy base effectively compromised New Zealand's independent foreign policy. He said he had previously asked the Government for a breakdown of the GCSB's budget but was refused. Mr Locke said the true cost of the spy base to New Zealanders was not known.
The intelligence game
* The secretive Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) collects "intelligence" on New Zealand's behalf, and is responsible for guarding the country's secret information.
* Its budget for the current financial year is $39.288 million and it employs about 370 staff.
* The GCSB's head office is in Wellington and it operates intelligence-gathering posts at Waihopai, in Marlborough, and at Tangimoana, near Bulls
If I had a Hammer (and a sickle)
This is how you do activism brothers and sisters, you don't creep around the mountains darkly muttering violence and train with guns - that is a place of darkness with little honour - this is activism by three heroes who are serious about none violent direct action - embarrassing authorities by provoking debate - so let's reward such brilliant activism by talking about what exactly is this US Spy Base doing and if we really say we are against this mad war in Iraq that President Bush started based on a pack of lies, if we are serious about our anger on this issue, then ask yourself, why are we supporting it by allowing spying for America and why should we allow our Government to have this eye of Morder, big brother spy base in NZ when the temptation to secretly snoop on you and me without any Judicial oversight whatsoever means any Government of the day has the leavers of facisim at their sweaty fingertips!