Waihopai Ploughshares trial: events calendar

Waihopai Ploughshares trial: events calendar

19 February 2010

Below are the details of the Waihopai Ploughshares support events taking place in Wellington from Saturday, 6th to Friday, 12th March. The Waihopai Ploughshares publicity poster, which includes an outline of the support events, is available online at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/pltrial.pdf - please distribute it as widely as possible by email and in print form.

There are also specific flyers or posters available for some of the events below (see the link/s beside the event) - your help in distributing those by email, and in print form, would also be appreciated. The Waihopai Ploughshares trial begins on International Women's Day, and women's groups may be particularly interested in helping to circulate the flyer for the International Women's Day event. Thank you

Support events listings will be available at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/pltrial.htm on Saturday, 20 February - any updates or changes to the schedule will be added there as soon as they are available.

* What's on now

Waihopai Ploughshares support planning meetings: Waihopai Ploughshares support planning meetings, for everyone interested in organising around the trial, are held every Thursday, at the US Embassy, corner Fitzherbert Terrace and Murphy Street, Thorndon, Wellington (in the bus or under the gazebo in the park if raining) - shared meal and planning meeting from 6pm to 7.30pm, followed by revolutionary Bible studies. If you are unable to attend the meetings, but are interested in becoming involved, please contact the Wellington Ploughshares Support Group c/o email pma@xtra.co.nz

Waihopai spy base display at the Wellington central library: the Anti-Bases Campaign's Waihopai spy base display is currently set up in the Wellington central library entrance foyer (until Sunday, 28 February), and it will be there again from Monday, 8 March, until Sunday, 14 March. The Anti-Bases Campaign flyer is at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/abc2010fl.pdf

* Schedule of events from 6 to 12 March

Unless stated otherwise, events are in Katherine Mansfield Park, organised by Waihopai Ploughshares, contact email ploughshares08@gmail.com and Wellington Waihopai Ploughshares Support, contact c/o pma@xtra.co.nz

* Saturday, 6 March

Invitation: From 5pm, all friends of Waihopai Ploughshares are invited to be in Katherine Mansfield Park (corner Fitzherbert Terrace and Hobson Terrace, next to US Embassy) for the following six nights, to pray and remember the victims of war and reflect on NZ’s complicity in US-led wars. Please bring bedroll, sleeping bag, musical instruments and food to share. Powhiri at 5pm, shared meal at 6pm, then speakers and discussion until Taizè prayer at 9pm. Organised by Waihopai Ploughshares. The A4 poster with this invitation, and events outline, is at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/pltrial.pdf

* Sunday, 7 March

~ 10am - Mass

~ 1.30pm - The Way of Peace with the Wellington Catholic Peacemakers: We invite you to join our pilgrimage for peace, we will gather at the Suzanne Aubert Compassion Centre, 132 Tory Street, at 1.30pm.The Way of Peace will link peace-related memorials and historic sites from the Suzanne Aubert soup kitchen to eventually meeting with the supporters and members of the Waihopai Ploughshares at Katherine Mansfield Park. In the tradition of the Stations of the Cross processions and religious pilgrimages, during the Way of Peace, the Catholic Peacemakers will pause for reflection at several Wellington locations. Following a brief introduction at each memorial, participants will observe a short moment of silence, song and prayer. As we walk and stop to pause at each memorial of Peace, we may reflect on "What steps am I willing to take for Peacemaking and Justice?" "Not everyone is called to do a Ploughshares action. Not everyone is called to commit civil disobedience. But everyone is called to do something for the disarmament of the world. Everyone is called to work for the liberation of the oppressed, justice for the poor, non-violence in place in this disastrous world of violence." (Fr John Dear SJ, On the Road to Peace, November 2009). Organised by Wellington Catholic Peacemakers, contact links@actrix.co.nz An A4 flyer with the full route of the Way of Peace, details of how to get there, what to bring, and background information is at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/wcpmwalk.pdf A map of the route is at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/wcpmmap.jpg

~ 5pm - Ploughshares liturgy service

~ 9pm - Taizè prayer

* Monday, 8 March

~ 8.30am - Ploughshares supporters rally: gather at the Cenotaph, corner Bowen Street and Lambton Quay; silent procession to District Court, 43 - 49 Ballance Street, at 9 am; then vigil outside the court, the trial starts at 10am. Jointly organised by Anti-Bases Campaign, contact cafca@chch.planet.org.nz Wellington Ploughshares Support Group and Peace Movement Aotearoa, contact pma@xtra.co.nz

~ 1 to 2pm - Picket and vigil, with space for those who wish to pray or stand in silence, at the GCSB Headquarters, Freyberg House, entrance via St Paul’s Square next to National Library, 58 Molesworth Street. Jointly organised by Anti-Bases Campaign, contact cafca@chch.planet.org.nz Wellington Ploughshares Support Group and Peace Movement Aotearoa, contact pma@xtra.co.nz

~ 5.30pm - Women Say NO to War and Spy Bases: Come along to the peaceful protest on International Women's Day to add your voice to the call of women around the world who are saying NO to war and YES to peace, and to mark the first day of the Waihopai Ploughshares trial. Join us at 5.30pm at the GCSB / Defence Force Headquarters, corner Aitken and Mulgrave Streets, then proceeding along Mulgrave Street to the US embassy at 6pm. Wear something pink if you can, and bring pink streamers or ribbons, photos, messages, cardboard or paper peace doves, or wool to decorate the GCSB / Defence Force HQ and US embassy fence; something to make a noise with - pot and spoon, drum, your voice - during the time of anger; flowers or candles to leave at each location during the time of mourning; and a poem or reading to share during the time of reflection .... and your own banner or placard if you wish. All women and children welcome. Organised by Peace Movement Aotearoa and Women Support Waihopai Ploughshares, contact pma@xtra.co.nz An A4 poster for this event is available at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/iwd2010.pdf

~ 9pm - Taizè prayer

* Tuesday, 9 March

~ 1 to 2pm - Picket and vigil, with space for those who wish to pray or stand in silence, at the US Embassy, Fitzherbert Terrace. Jointly organised by Anti-Bases Campaign, contact cafca@chch.planet.org.nz Wellington Ploughshares Support Group and Peace Movement Aotearoa, contact pma@xtra.co.nz

~ 5.30pm - Stations of the Cross: the Stations of the Cross is an old Christian practice of remembering how Christ died. It involves stopping at different places (usually inside a church) to remember the different moments of Christ's trial and crucifixion. The practice is also a remembrance of the political, economic, religious, judicial and imperial powers that condemned Christ to death. A group of Christians committed to social justice will lead a Stations of the Cross through the streets of Wellington to reflect on how such institutions still operate to condemn whole nations and peoples to death. The walk will stop at sites and institutions that can be used to justify war and oppression. The group will be carrying a cross and will start at 5.30pm at the District Court, then will walk via Treasury and the Reserve Bank, the Cenotaph, parliament, cathedrals, Defence / GCSB Building, to the US Embassy. At each Station there will be a short Bible reading, a reflection on the role of each institution and a song. Organised by the Wellington Ploughshares Support Group. Full deatils of this event, including the route, will be available at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/pltrial.htm soon.

~ 9pm - Taizè prayer

* Wednesday, 10 March

~ 1 to 2pm - Picket and vigil, with space for those who wish to pray or stand in silence, at the British High Commission, 44 Hill Street. Jointly organised by Anti-Bases Campaign, contact cafca@chch.planet.org.nz Wellington Waihopai Ploughshares Support and Peace Movement Aotearoa, contact pma@xtra.co.nz

~ 7pm - 'Waihopai: The Spybase, The Wars, The Trial', public meeting at St John's conference centre, corner Willis and Dixon Streets. Speakers are: Murray Horton, Anti-Bases Campaign; Moana Cole, Ploughshares; Bryan Law, Christians Against All Terrorism (Australia); and Keith Locke, Green MP; facilitated by Edwina Hughes, Peace Movement Aotearoa. Organised by Anti-Bases Campaign, contact cafca@chch.planet.org.nz An A4 poster for this event is available at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/abc2010.pdf

~ 9pm - Taizè prayer

* Thursday, 11 March

~ 1 to 2pm - Picket and vigil, with space for those who wish to pray or stand in silence, at the Australian High Commission, 72 - 76 Hobson Street. Organised by Anti-Bases Campaign, contact cafca@chch.planet.org.nz

~ 7 to 10pm - Celebration concert

* Friday, 12 March

~ 1 to 2pm - Picket and vigil, with space for those who wish to pray or stand in silence, at the Canadian High Commission, 125 The Terrace. Jointly organised by Anti-Bases Campaign, contact cafca@chch.planet.org.nz Wellington Ploughshares Support Group and Peace Movement Aotearoa, contact pma@xtra.co.nz


Helen Clark is currently back in the country to bask in the glow of the warm fuzzies. So it’s very timely to look critically at the continued purchase of South Island high country stations by companies linked to Canadian singer, Shania Twain, who was the poster girl of the Clark government’s policy on major land sales to foreigners. The 2005 purchase of the 25,000 ha Mototapu and Mt Soho stations by companies linked to Ms Twain and her then husband were hailed by politicians and the media as signalling a new “smart, win win” approach to the controversial subject of foreigners buying up great chunks of prime NZ land. Clark made sure that she got extensive media coverage when she attended the opening of the walking track through those stations.

This month a company linked to Shania Twain has been given Overseas Investment Office approval to buy the 8,579 ha Glencoe Station, which is near the other two stations, in Otago.

But an examination of the accounts of the Mototapu and Mt Solo Stations (“Lean earnings from Twain’s high country playground”, NBR NZ Property Investor, 16/2/10) reveals that they have been consistently running at a loss since their purchase. In the case of Soho: “It has built up $8.4 million in tax losses that may be applied against future earnings” plus “liabilities are $61 million, resulting in negative equity of $8.8 million”.

Tax losses don’t feature anywhere in the “substantial and identifiable benefit to New Zealand” that the Overseas Investment Office (and politicians and media) trumpeted in relation to these purchases. Tax losses on investment properties are a subject of major public discussion at present and the target of some of the most high profile recommendations of the Tax Working Group’s recent report on tax reform.

But we weren’t told, in 2005 or this year, that there was any suggestion that these high country station purchases were investment properties for tax loss purposes. Because where is the “substantial and identifiable benefit to New Zealand” in that? Let’s see if these properties continue to remain in their current ownership when, and if, the Government does actually toughen the law relating to tax losses on investment properties, even 25,000 ha ones.

Waihopai Spybase Display Now In Wellington City Library For Fortnight


As part of the buildup to our week (March 8-12) of activities in solidarity with the Wellington District Court trial of the Waihopai Domebusters, the Anti-Bases Campaign’s excellent Waihopai spybase display is now in the Wellington City Library for a fortnight (from today, February 15, until the 28th).

It's right by the entrance into the library (not in the foyer area).

We urge you to take the chance to have a look at it. And please encourage others to do so.

It will also be back in the Library for the actual week of the trial (from March 8-14th inclusive).

Murray Horton


The Waihopai spybase was dragged into the public spotlight on April 30, 2008 when three Ploughshares peace activists, Sam Land, Adrian Leason and Peter Murnane, penetrated its high security and deflated one of the two domes concealing its satellite dishes from the NZ public. The Anti-Bases Campaign was happy to support this non-violent direct action anti-war activity. The Domebusters’ trial is in the Wellington District Court and we invite you to join us in supporting them. See below for list of activities.

· Waihopai is New Zealand’s biggest contribution to America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
· Waihopai is directly involved in the mass killings of innocent civilians, including children.
· Waihopai does not operate in the interests of NZ or our neigh­bours.
Waihopai is not effectively accountable to Parliament or the people. It is exempt from key provisions of the Privacy Act and Crimes Act.
To all intents and purposes, Waihopai is a foreign spybase, working for, and providing raw intelligence directly to, the US.
Waihopai intercepts and records your international phone calls and e-mail.
Waihopai is a waste of taxpayers’ money. In the 20+ years since it was announced, more than $500 million has been spent on the agency which runs it.
How does Waihopai involve us in America’s wars?
The public face of New Zealand’s role as an American ally is the NZ military presence in Afghanistan. But New Zealand’s most significant contribution to that, and other American wars, including the one in Iraq, is the Waihopai electronic intelligence gathering base, located in the Waihopai Valley, near Blenheim. It is controlled by the US, with NZ (including Parliament and the Prime Minister) having little or no idea what goes on there, let alone any control.

First announced in 1987, Waihopai is operated by New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) in the interests of the foreign Powers grouped together in the super-secret UKUSA Agreement (which shares global electronic and signals intelligence among the intelligence agencies of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and NZ). Its two satellite interception dishes intercept a huge volume of civilian telephone calls, telexes, faxes, e-mail and computer data communications. It spies on our Asia/Pacific neighbours, and forwards the material on to the major partners in the UKUSA Agreement, specifically the US National Security Agency (NSA). Its targets are international civilian communications involving New Zealanders, including the interception of international phone calls. Post- 9/11 the GCSB and Waihopai now spy further afield, to those regions where the US is waging wars. The codename for this – Echelon – has become notorious worldwide as the vast scope of its spying has become public. New Zealand is an integral, albeit junior part of a global spying network, a network that is ultimately accountable only to its own constituent agencies, not governments, not citizens.

Waihopai does not operate in the national interests of New Zealand or our neigh­bours. Basically it is a foreign spybase on NZ soil and directly involves us in America’s wars. Waihopai must be closed.


Solidarity activities will focus on: the District Court; the headquarters of the spy agency, the Government Communications Security Agency (GCSB); and the embassies/high commissions of the four other countries who, with NZ, comprise the top secret intelligence sharing UKUSA Agreement – the US, UK, Australia and Canada. Plus a public meeting; and a display about the Waihopai spybase. Please join us!

Monday March 8 – 8.30 a.m., assemble at Cenotaph, silent procession to District Court (43-49 Ballance St, off Lambton Quay) at 9 a.m. for a silent vigil. The trial starts at 10 a.m.

Monday March 8 1-2 p.m. Picket and vigil at headquarters of GCSB, Freyberg House (enter through St Paul’s Square next to National Library, 58 Molesworth St).

Tuesday March 9 1-2 p.m. picket and vigil at US Embassy, (29 Fitzherbert Terrace, corner of Murphy St. Parking on Fitzherbert Terrace; access via Hobson St).

Wednesday March 10 1- 2 p.m. picket and vigil at British High Commission (44 Hill St, off Molesworth St)

Wednesday March 10 – 7 p.m., public meeting, St Johns Church Hall (corner of Willis & Dixon Streets). “Waihopai: The Spybase; The Wars; The Trial”. Speakers: Murray Horton of Anti-Bases Campaign; Moana Cole of Ploughshares; Bryan Law, of Christians Against All Terrorism (Australia).

Thursday March 11 – 1-2 p.m. picket and vigil at Australian High Commission (72-76 Hobson St).

Friday March 12 – 1-2 p.m. picket and vigil at Canadian High Commission (125 The Terrace; Commission is on Level 11).

March 8-14 inclusive – Anti-Bases Campaign’s display on Waihopai spy base in Wellington City Library, 65 Victoria Street.

The rally at the court and the lunchtime pickets/vigils are jointly organised by the Anti-Bases Campaign, Wellington Ploughshares Support Group and Peace Movement Aotearoa. For a full list of activities, check the Peace Movement Aotearoa Website at http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/pltrial.htm

Anti-Bases Campaign, Box 2258, Christchurch cafca@chch.planet.org.nz

Wellington Ploughshares Support Group, Box 9314, Wellington pma@xtra.co.nz

Murray Horton

Waihopai Domebusters' Trial: Join The Week Of Solidarity Activities In Wellington

Wellington Friends,

We invite you to join all or some of these solidarity activities taking place in Wellington during this unprecedented trial at the Wellington District Court in the week starting Monday March 8.

If you can help with tasks such as leaflet distribution before the trial, making placards, etc, etc, please contact: Valerie Morse at red_emma@riseup.net for details of what needs doing, where and when.

Murray Horton

“Courageous” locals praised - "Blenheim Sun" Report on Waihopai Spybase Protest 27/1/10

By Richard Miller

Up to 40 banner-waving demonstrators shouted “close Waihopai down” as a protest took place on Saturday both in Blenheim and at the spy base station.

Organiser of the protest, Murray Horton of the Anti-bases Campaign, welcomed protesters from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to Blenheim where speeches and messages of support were read out before a march through the town.

Mr Horton said he was pleased with the “quite good turnout” and praised the local people that had turned up to protest.

“Local Marlburians have got to have a lot of courage to join us because in the past we have been seen as outside trouble makers,” he said.

He described Blenheim as a “military” town with RNZAF Base Woodbourne and Waihopai spy base, operated by the Government Communication Security Bureau (GCSB), on its doorstep.

The base was an outpost of American intelligence and should be shut down, he said.

Mr Horton said the base claimed it did not spy on domestic communications but he believed local people in Blenheim were at risk if they were making international calls.

“If you ring up relatives in the UK and utter certain key words like bomb, security or terrorist for example you could activate certain key words operated by US intelligence.”

He described the almost completely automated system as a “vaccum cleaner of the skies” and said that the vast majority of the information gathered went to the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) in Wellington and to America.

Green MP Keith Locke said the base was “a huge waste of money.”

He said Waihopai and the processing of intercepted communications took up “most of the $54 million budgeted this financial year for the operations of the GCSB.” In the past decade GCSB funding had gone up from $21 million to its present figure, he said.

Political activist John Minto said New Zealand’s most decorated living soldier Willie Apiata was “no hero” compared to three peace activists who attacked Marlborough’s Waihopai spy base.

“The real heroes of Afghanistan are the three Kiwis who popped the dome two years ago,” he said. Mr Minto said that Corporal Apiata, who won the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan in 2007, “was no hero compared to Sam, Adrian and Peter.”

Sam Land, Adrian Leason and Peter Murane from the Anzac Plougshares group will stand trial in Wellington on March 8 accused of causing $1 million worth of damage to the Waihopai base in April 2008.

When protesters arrived at Waihopai in the afternoon, they were refused entry through the outer gate to the base and had to remain some distance away. They shouted anti-base, anti-war and anti-American slogans and popped white balloons to show solidarity with the group that attacked the base two years ago.

A Blenheim police spokesman said there was no trouble caused by the protest which passed off peacefully in line with other protests the group had made over the past years.

CLOSE IT DOWN: Activist John Minto speaking at the protest at the Waihopai spy base in Marlborough on Saturday.

ANT1-AMERICAN: Protesters say the Waihopai spy base is “an outpost of American intelligence.”


Luis Jalandoni is the International Representative of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF), a post that he has held since 1977, and since 1994 he has been the Chairperson of the NDF’s Negotiating Panel for peace talks with the Government of the Philippines. The NDF is the coalition of several underground groups, including the Communist Party of the Philippines and its New People’s Army, which has been waging a war of liberation throughout the Philippines for more than 40 years, making it one of the longest running armed struggles in the world. The country desperately needs peace with justice and security, so resolving this people’s war is central to that.

Luis (who previously toured New Zealand in 1987) has accepted our invitation to undertake a national speaking tour late in 2010 (November is the proposed month). His tour is being collectively organised and hosted by PSNA, Auckland Philippines Solidarity and Wellington Kiwi Pinoy. His topic will be: Justice And Liberation: The Road To Peace In The Philippines. We will put together a national network of people to organise and host him in several cities and towns in both islands. Luis will be accompanied by his wife Coni Ledesma, who will also be speaking. She is a member of the NDF Negotiating Panel for peace talks; and is the International Spokesperson of MAKIBAKA, a revolutionary women’s group which belongs to the NDF. This is the first time we’ve had two speakers together, let alone such high powered ones.

Luis and Coni are both veteran leading figures in the Philippine revolutionary Left. He was a Catholic priest in the 1960s and she was a nun. Both were founders of Christians for National Liberation, a member group of the NDF. When Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972, both went underground. They were both arrested and spent time as political prisoners. They left the clergy, and got married in 1974. They have lived in The Netherlands since 1976; they were the first Filipinos to apply for and receive political asylum there. They hold Dutch passports and travel extensively as NDF representatives.

We are appealing for funds. PSNA will underwrite the tour, but we definitely need financial help because we are hosting two people. The amount needed is at least $10,000. Two international fares from Europe will be the biggest cost. We will keep their domestic travel costs as cheap as possible (all accommodation will be in private homes). Please make cheques to PSNA, Box 2450, Christchurch, with a note saying that it is for the Jalandoni tour. Or, we will supply our bank account details upon request.

Luis Jalandoni’s tour presents a unique opportunity to hear firsthand about a four decades long war, and accompanying peace process, in our own backyard that is almost totally unknown to New Zealanders. Please help make this exciting tour possible.