The annual protest at the “US spybase” at Waihopai near Blenheim takes place this weekend. Organised by the Christchurch based, Anti Bases Campaign, a motley gathering of communists, anarchists, peaceniks, hippies and other no-hopers, will camp outside the base from Friday to Sunday and try to get themselves on TV.
This how ABC describe the Waihopai Base.
“Waihopai 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, it is operated by NZ’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 (shielded from public view by giant domes) intercept a huge volume of 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 communications involving NZers, including the interception of international phone calls. The codename for this – Echelon – has become notorious worldwide as the vast scope of its spying has become public.
NZ 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, and certainly not to citizens.”
ABC wants to “invite people from around the country to join us for the weekend of anti-war protest at this spybase. Come prepared for roughing it and camping out. We’ve hired portaloos and a marquee. We provide the food (note: we cater for vegetarians but vegans will have to bring their own). Bring sleeping bag, groundsheet, a tent, torch, water bottle, eating utensils, clothing for all weather, and $40 (or $20 unwaged) to cover costs. Absolutely no open fires.”
Clearly, Jeanette (Smokey the Bear) Fitzsimons will not be welcome this year.