The war in Afghanistan, in which the NZ military is directly involved, has got dramatically worse. Simultaneously, the US is dangling a Free Trade Agreement, via the Trans Pacific Partnership as NZ’s “reward” – nothing has changed since Holyoake’s “guns for butter” catchcry of the Vietnam War years. Now it’s guns for milk.
The theme of our activities, both at the spybase and in Blenheim, is anti-war. The US says that Intelligence is the key component of all the wars that it is fighting, or planning to fight, throughout the world. The Anti-Bases Campaign (supported by the Wikileaks cables) points out that Waihopai, an important source of intelligence for the Pentagon, is New Zealand’s most important contribution to the American war machine and it means that we New Zealanders have blood on our hands.To symbolise that, our props include crosses, coffins and white masks. This is the first protest at the spybase since the March 2010 acquittal of the Ploughshares peace activists for the 2008 deflation of one of its domes. As part of our activities we will be celebrating that acquittal. The speakers, either in Blenheim and/or the spybase, are: Peter Murnane, one of the three acquitted Ploughshares peace activists; Keith Locke, Green MP; John Minto, of Global Peace and Justice Auckland; and Murray Horton of the Anti-Bases Campaign.
Waihopai, of course, is a “New Zealand” base – or so the Government says. The fact is, however, that in everything but name it is an outpost of American intelligence – paid for by the long suffering NZ taxpayer. Between $500 million and $1 billion of public money has been spent on the NZ Government Communications Security Bureau (the agency which runs Waihopai) in the 23 years of Waihopai’s operation. That money could have been much better utilised on health and education, not spying on behalf of Uncle Sam.
Nor does it do anything to protect us from terrorists or foreign agents. Just seven years ago Israeli intelligence agents were caught in Auckland, fraudulently trying to obtain fake NZ passports. They were imprisoned and deported and there was a major row with Israel. But they were caught by an Internal Affairs officer who tipped off the Police. Waihopai played no role in protecting us from these foreign criminals operating in our country.
Waihopai does not operate in the national interest of New Zealand. Waihopai must be closed.
Text from an Anti-Bases Campaign Article written for the Marlborough Express by Murray Horton the spokesperson for the Anti-Bases Campaign. the Anti-Bases Campaign has been organising protests at the Waihopai spybase since 1988.
Over on the popular Tumeke blog Bomber Bradbury has hit the nail on the head “the Government” he writes “is lying about the so called benefits from this free trade deal with America”
While Prime Minister John Key was claiming the deal would be worth “billions and billions" chief trade negotiator Mark Sinclair was acknowledging, to his US counterparts, that public expectations would need to be ‘managed’ (read manipulated) because an FTA with the US would not be an `El Dorado'.
History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce
. We need “to think more about partially privatising state owned assets” according to Professor Susan Watson and senior lecturer Chye-Ching Huang of Auckland University’s Business School's Commercial Law department.
The comments from readers of the opinion piece in today’s Herald are perhaps best summarised by a contributor signing off as MBG; “Uhhh, hello? Dial back a generation” and it sure does seem familiar - ‘deja vu all over again’ as Yog Berra would have it.
The privatising - assets stripping agenda of the ‘80’s and ‘90’s wasn’t such a success, as noted by the OECD’s 2003 economic survey “the mystery is why a country that seems close to best practice in most of the policies that are regarded as the key drivers of growth is nevertheless just an average performer”1.
Still we have been warned, privatisation is on the agenda this year and the softening up has started.