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Waihopai Spybase Protest

10 January 2001

Kia ora, below are two media releases on the Waihopai Spybase Protest, the first from the Anti Bases Campaign, the second from the Green Party.

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

19 January 2001

Green Party

MPs to use Waihopia protest to highlight e-mail snooping bill

Green MPs Keith Locke and Rod Donald will be using this year's protest against the Waihopai spy base to advance the Green campaign against a new 'email snooping' bill, currently before select committee.

Keith Locke and Rod Donald will participate in the protest activity outside the satellite communications facility near Blenheim this weekend.

"The Crimes Amendment Bill will generalise the powers of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), which runs Waihopai, to cover all other channels of electronic communication," said Mr Locke, the party's spokesperson on police and security issues.

"New Zealanders need to pay more attention to what is being done at Waihopai. What Paul Swain's bill will do is enable the police, the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) and the GCSB to intercept any email, fax or pager message.

"It will make it very difficult to New Zealanders to protect the privacy of their communications," said Mr Locke.

The Waihopai station intercepts all electronic messages passing through two satellites stationed over the Pacific. The new bill will enable the authorities to also intercept messages passing through cables, and via internet service providers, anywhere in New Zealand.

"If this new interception uses the Waihopai 'key word' system to trawl through messages, the thoughts of many innocent New Zealanders could be intercepted and transcribed, just because they happen to use the 'wrong' key words.

"At present the GCSB doesn't operate under a legislative mandate, although the government plans to change that this year. The Greens favour any legislation which enables us to better see what this security agency is up to, because we have yet to be convinced that it is anything other than a threat to the privacy of New Zealanders," said Mr Locke.

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