Wednesday morning when i did my perusal of the stuff website to my delight I found an article headed - 'Protesters Deflate Waihopai Dome'. I went on to read about the brave effort of the Waihopai Anzac Ploughshares activists.
This was an amazing act and the the images of the deflated dome are incredible. You can see images of the action at both www.indymedia.org.nz and http:// ploughshares.org.nz/
I think that this might be the first ploughshares action ever in New Zealand. It certainly has got the attention of the media. It is incredibly important that New Zealanders are reminded of the Spy Bases hosted on New Zealand soil. The bases are created and maintained at the expense of the New Zealand worker. We pay our taxes and these taxes are spent on spy bases we know absolutely nothing about - except that they are aiding the American war machine. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died at the hand of America, yet we as a country continue to aid them in their efforts. As the ploughshares activists point out in their statement below there is a huge descrepency between New Zealand not sending troops to iraq, when we are playing a direct hand in the war by allowing these bases on New Zealand soil.
New Zealanders need to stand up and oppose these bases. It is wrong that they are here. We have blood on our hands as long as we tolerate their existence. If you are interested in learning more about the bases and opposition to them then visit http://www.converge.org.nz/abc
The Anti Bases Campaign (ABC) is a Christchurch-based group with links and members all over Aotearoa/New Zealand. We concentrate on the foreign military and intelligence installations in New Zealand. There are three - the US "Deep Freeze" military base at Harewood (Christchurch Airport); and the "NZ" intelligence gathering installations at Tangimoana (Manawatu) and Waihopai (Marlborough), which are simply outposts of American Intelligence. We have specific demands on all three – that Harewood be demilitarised; and the others closed ASAP. We demand the abolition of the NZ Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), which operates Waihopai and Tangimoana. We have built up information on the whole gamut of the ongoing US-NZ military and intelligence relationship.
ABC puts out a regular publication - Peace Researcher. If you would let to join ABC and receive Peace Researcher email firstname.lastname@example.org
The statement below was released by the activists on the morning of their action.
STATEMENT OF THE WAIHOPAI ANZAC PLOUGHSHARES
They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift sword against nation; and there shall be no more training for war. Isaiah 2:4
Waihopai Spy Base Penetrated
This morning, 30 April 2008, we entered the Waihopai Spy Base near Blenheim.
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.
We have financed our activities through personal savings, additional part-time employment and a small interest-free loan from one of our supporters.
We are responding to the Bush administration’s admission that intelligence gathering is the most important tool in the so-called War on Terror. This war will have no end until citizens of the world refuse to let it continue. The ECHELON spy network including Waihopai, is an important part of the US government’s global spy network and we have come in the name of the Prince of Peace to close it down.
The base is funded by New Zealand tax payers and located on New Zealand soil which makes New Zealand a target through our association with the UKUSA intelligence cooperation agreement.
Five years ago the Clark government opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq. Yet at the same time the Bush administration was using the National Security Agency’s ECHELON system, of which Waihopai is an integral component, to spy on UN Security Council members so it could more easily swing them in favour of an invasion.
There have been over 100 Ploughshares actions over the last twenty years around the world. Ploughshares direct actions are linked through the common factors of: entry to locations connected to military activity, Christian prayers and most involve some form of property destruction.
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About Waihopai & ECHELON
Green MP Keith Locke quoting the Anti-Bases Campaign claims the base has cost New Zealand up to NZ$500million since 1989. The base intercepts electronic communications throughout the Pacific region including New Zealand and is often staffed by personnel from US agencies.
In 1996 researcher Nicky Hager published an expose on Waihopai and New Zealand’s strong links to the USA-led ECHELON network of six similar spy stations around the world. The United Nations launched an investigation in 2003 to claims that ECHELON had been used by the US government to eavesdrop on UN diplomats and Security Council members. A report published in 2000 showed that ECHELON had also been used by the US to gain commercial advantage for US corporations.
Information gathered at Waihopai is transferred to the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) in Wellington and fed unseen directly to Washington DC.
Messages of Support
Updates & Original Statement