Waihopai protester’s cause

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Kapiti peace activist asks why NZ supports US  torturers

By Alan Tristram

The Otaki peace protester Adrian Leason explains why he’s still campaigning against the NZ spying agency the GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau).

In a special article for the Independent, Mr Leason says he’s shocked by NZ’s involvement in American spying, torture and aggression in other countries.

Last month Mr Leason,  Father Peter Murnane and Sam LandThe Waihopai 3 —  lost an appeal against a High Court judgment awarding $1.2 million in damages against them for damaging a radar dome at the Waihopai spy base in Marlborough. His article follows.

Q. Why did the GCSB cross the road?

A. Because they were never really on our side!

By Adrian Leason

If the Government Communications Security Bureau staff are not working for us, then who in the world are they working for? 

This of course is the 1 billion dollar question, as it has cost New Zealand tax payers close to this amount to build and run our part of the ‘five eyes’ spy network for the last 25 years.

Revelations about the GCSB’s primary loyalties have been coming think and fast since the Dotcom saga first appeared in Jan 2012.  What we have all discovered through this sorry tale and of illegal surveillance that in fact, in this instance, the GCSB have been working for Warner Brothers Studios and the like in relation to their complaint that Dotcom is assisting in the theft of their products;  questionable behaviour possibly, but hardly a matter of New Zealand’s national security. 

Reading the meticulously documented writings of investigative journalist Nicky Hager on the activities of the GCSB for over 20 years one can only conclude the Dotcom saga is the mere tip the proverbial ice-burg of commercial spying being done by the GCSB on behalf of so-called friendly business interests. 

GCSB’s spying on Airbus

The GCSB’s spying on Airbus on behalf of the Boeing Company and the spying on our Pacific neighbours for the benefit of US fishing interests are two additional examples that intelligence insiders have brought into the light. 

As concerning as the GCSB’S ‘bread and butter’ work might be, the recent diplomatic scandal concerning the ‘Five eyes’ spying on the German Chancellor Angela Merkel provides insight into the GCSB culture of theft. 

Clearly both friends and foes are legitimate targets in the pursuit of diplomatic or commercial advantage. 

Whistle blower and ex GCHQ employee Katherine Gunn, in the days leading up to the US lead illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 revealed that the US NSA directed the ‘Five Eyes’ network to spy on the United Nations Security Council members. 

Surely this is behaviour that undermines New Zealand’s high standing in the international community are is harmful to our national interests.

25 years of requests

For over 25 years now concerned citizens in New Zealand have been requesting information about the activities of the GCSB; the only response provided has been that the GCSB has not, does not and will never spy on New Zealanders. 

Thanks to Kim Dotcom most Kiwis now know that assertion has been a lie.

The above litany of criminal practice, as part of the day to day operations of the GCSB pales into insignificance when we consider the ultra-secretive involvement the Bureau has in war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Snowden’s mention of Waihopai

Edward Snowden has specifically mentioned the Waihopai Spybase as a key U.S. supplier of ‘real-time’ intelligence.Spying of this nature done from Waihopai, from NZ Navy ships and from the NZ Air force Orion’s is vital for the work of extrajudicial ‘special rendition’. 

This is where a person is kidnapped off the street, spirited to a third country where ‘black sites’ exist and is then tortured by U.S. interrogators and there collaborators.

We may well all feel proud that the NZ army was not sent into combat during the criminal folly that was the US illegal invasion of Iraq; a humanitarian disaster zone resulting in the deaths of 800,000 Iraqi citizens. 

NZ’s involvement in Iraq war

However, before we adopt a superior attitude, we must acknowledge that  New Zealand was strongly represented by the GCSB in the Iraq debacle. Nicky Hager writes that intelligence gathering and weapons deployment are two sides of the same coin. 

When U.S. cruise missiles killed civilians in Iraq you can be sure Waihopai was connected; either as a provider of raw intelligence, a conduit for information transfer or as a source of linguists for data translation — evidence for which includes the dozens of Arabic language experts currently employed by the GCSB. 

The Echelon spy network, or ‘five eyes,’ of which the GCSB is part, is a seamless cloak serving its creator the National Security Agency (NSA) and the foreign policy objectives and business interests of the world’s leading ‘aggressor nation’ the US of A.

Applying an everyday cost benefit analysis to the operations of the GCSB it becomes clear very quickly that an enormous sum of money has been spent against a history of 25 years of zero achievement that might benefit New Zealanders. 

Zero arrests, court cases or prosecutions in relation to the 88 Kiwis illegally spied on by the GCSB.  Zero terrorist plots exposed, zero foreign spies uncovered, zero industrial or commercial illegal spying operations against New Zealand interests intercepted. 

It would appear that the GCSB has been using the whole notion of a ‘terrorist watchdog’ as a proxy for its covert core business as an NSA sub-contractor.

Of course apologists may argue that total and permanent secrecy is essential to successful spying, but surely just a few examples of best practice after 25 years wouldn’t be too much to ask, surely 1 billion dollars gets a few publicly acknowledgable results? 

When the US illegal invasion of Iraq began in March 2003, I was living with my wife and 4 sons in an urban slum in Southeast Asia, as part of our work with a NZ NGO Christian aid and development organisation. 

On returning to NZ, I became reconnected with the NZ peace movement and campaigned against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Having engaged in all forms of legal and peaceful protest, I became compelled to become more personally involved in helping prevent the tragic loss of innocent lives in these war zones.  

Tried to put into faith into action’

As part of the so-called Waihopai 3, I belatedly and clumsily tried to put into faith into action. 

I believe in the ‘Golden Rule’ – do unto others has you would have them do unto you!  800,000 people in Iraq plus thousands more is Afghanistan have fallen under the wheels of war, if I could stop that machine, even for a day, any cost to myself would be worth it. 

I would want help for my family, if our situations were reversed.We achieved our immediate goal of upsetting the operations of the Waihopai Spybase and we went on to be acquitted of all criminal charges in a NZ court of law by a jury of our peers. 

However, what’s going on now has us and many others concerned. 

The Crown having lost in the criminal court is now suing us for money we do not have.  And indeed have already successfully sued us without even giving us a hearing.Our recent attempt to request a court hearing concerning the liability for damages has been rejected by the Appeal Court. 

It would appear that the ‘old boy’s network’ is as strong as ever.  The only course open to us now is an appeal to the Supreme Court of NZ.Maybe we’ll have our day in court yet?

Knock Knock?  Who’s there?  GCSB!  GCSB who?  I’m sorry for ‘security reasons’ I can’t give out any more information.