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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

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!


At 30/4/08 6:49 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

again we see more ignorance from bomber

At 30/4/08 7:45 pm, Blogger Nepenthe said...

It's good to see that at least some christians are fighting for good causes, not just the right to smack children about. Someone should get these guys some medals.

At 30/4/08 8:56 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet note that these avoudly pacifist activists didn't come out in the corporate media after the terror raids slamming those caught up in the raids.
in fact their spokesperson manu caddie, held a satirical training camp himself in the aftermath. What, you say? Pacifists refusing to denounce their comrades? Bit more principled than your role in the whole thing, eh bomber?

At 30/4/08 8:59 pm, Blogger Advocatus Diaboli said...

These idiots should be charge with Terrorism and executed on the spot.
Then we won’t have to waste tax payer’s money with a court case,

At 1/5/08 12:44 am, Blogger Bomber said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1/5/08 12:44 am, Blogger Bomber said...

in fact their spokesperson manu caddie, held a satirical training camp himself in the aftermath. What, you say? Pacifists refusing to denounce their comrades? Bit more principled than your role in the whole thing, eh bomber?
could you just show me where these activists trained with semi-automatic weapons and talked about killing people? Please be detailed.

At 1/5/08 4:16 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post - time to shut down the ridiculous and grossly incompetent GCSB and SIS.

Partial list of SIS/GCSB failures:
* Rainbow Warrior
* every Fijian coup
* Solomons Islands riots
* Indonesian massacre of East Timorese after independence vote
etc etc

So of course the useless heads of the GCSB will get sacked right? It seems they relied on calling in a security firm that arrived half an hour after their 'high security' alarms went off... another vicotry for capitalist outsourcing.

Save $30m govt cash for something useful, like overseas aid for clean water projects.

And to those who say "who will protect us from the horrible terrorists", do you mean the French govt, the Fijian, or the Indonesian (our 4th largest trading partner as then-PM Jim Bolger proudly recited). Oh, you meant the Al Qaeda type...but that's the US' problem, right?

Maybe if the US govt gets the clear message that their mates won't help them run dirty little wars that murder millions in Iraq and Afghanistan, then they will start to pull their troops out.

Huge props to the Ploughshares 3 for their principled and careful actions. Vists their website or donate to their fund:
Te Wairua Maranga Trust
Westpac account number:

Kia kaha!

At 1/5/08 9:19 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

pacifist activists didn't come out in the corporate media

haha good one! Do you honestly think that the media is going to give coverage to these guys unless they pop the spy bubble and get noticed!

Those three courageous men should be given medals.

At 1/5/08 9:44 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Maybe if the US govt gets the clear message that their mates won't help them run dirty little wars that murder millions in Iraq and Afghanistan, then they will start to pull their troops out."

You can disagree with US foreign policy, but still recognise the need to prevent terrorism though? Intercepting communications has foiled a number of possible attacks in the UK & in Australia. As Salman Rushdie points out:

"It’s one thing to criticise the
way in which the American government is behaving, or the British government, and I have a lot of criticisms of that – in fact, nothing but criticisms,” he says now. “But it’s another thing to fail to see that an enemy actually exists and is extremely serious about what he wishes to do.”

At 1/5/08 9:48 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im glad we have the spy base here in case the Iraqi terrorists who did the 9/11 bombings decide to come here too!

At 1/5/08 10:01 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

GCSB should have had electric fences and turned the juice up. Taxpayer would have saved the costs of one trial.

At 1/5/08 10:29 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to hear of the exchange between Wellington and Washington after this happened.
The NZ spook boss having to explain to his US masters about how a priest and a couple of hippies popped the spy bubble.
What a crack up!

At 1/5/08 10:49 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL@anon 10.29am.

...and the priest said, "God told me to do it!" and the hippies though a new designer weed was growing under the dome!

Seriously though, one of the countries most secret and well protected sites was interfered with. This only shows us all how "secure" things are. The fact is that the security guys wouldn't believe that someone would dare walk into the site and deflate their handy work for the world to see. If all New Zealanders look at this example and want to put a case across, the government will have to listen to the people.
What about rising petrol costs, food costs and crime etc...

At 1/5/08 12:39 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can these clowns really use the word ANZAC to describe their organisation? They represent the complete opposite of the ANZACS purpose by their vandalism of a vital component of NZ and Australia's defence arrangements.

At 1/5/08 3:28 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 12:39 - they represent exactly the Anzac spirit. That is, END ALL WARS!!! and warmongers, like the good folks who waste $30m every year running a US military spy base near Blenheim.

And those who say the GCSB will save us from Al Qaeda flying jets into the Beehive...yeh, the US spy agencies did such a great job preventing it over there, right? And the GCSB has done such a great job here, right? Yeh, right!

At 1/5/08 4:01 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"they represent exactly the Anzac spirit."

No they don't.

NZ enters into military alliances to defend itself and intelligence gathering is part of this function. By interfering with this function they are subverting our defence efforts.

What warped logic did you use to come to your conclusion?

At 10/3/10 11:08 pm, Blogger Julian Pilbrow said...

it reminds me of the x-files..
what are they keeping in that big inflateable? bees infected with a virus.. bwa ha ha the druids get their revenge.


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