This article appeared in the Marlborough Express during Cora's tour.
Spy base data use violates sovereignty, says activist
Information gleaned by the Waihopai Valley spy base is giving the United States an unfair economic advantage, says a visiting veteran activist from the Philippines.
Cora Fabros is the Asia/ Pacific Coordinator of the International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases and was in Blenheim yesterday.
She is in New Zealand as a guest of the Anti-Bases Campaign and is visiting spy bases around the country. She is also speaking about the regional and global perspective on such bases.
The Waihopai base attracted international attention on April 30 when three sickle-wielding protesters broke onto the site and deflated one of the large inflatable domes covering a radar dish.
Yesterday the base was taking no chance with security. There were three police cars inside the gate, but they pulled away when Mrs Fabros arrived. Another police car was stationed further down the valley.
Police were keen to find out if the media, who were invited to the visit, were expecting more action.
But it was just Mrs Fabros and veteran ABC member Bob Leonard who pulled up in a rented car to spend a few minutes in front of the gates.
Mr Leonard said he was hoping to take Mrs Fabros up to the inner gate, but was told by the base that in light of April's attack public access was now curtailed.
Mrs Fabros described April's attack as a "very creative" way of bringing attention to the facility.
"I really admire the courage of our friends who did this."
She said Waihopai was part of a network for the operation of military bases collecting data and information.
The base was spying on the communications of the Pacific Islands and the information was part of the pool of data used by the US.
"That to me is very deceptive and a violation of the sovereignty of independent nations.
"We are well aware of economic policies that are adopted by certain governments or policies imposed by the US on to another nation that give the US an undue advantage over an independent country because they are able to get this information without permission."
She said New Zealand, which prided itself on being nuclear free and playing a peacemaker role in the world, was providing support for the US military infrastructure.
"We are fighting a global superpower and we feel we need to highlight the issue, no matter how local people here think that it's a foreign issue. I continue to learn more about it and it's not a foreign issue."