Peace Protesters Heading for Blenheim
Peace protesters from around New Zealand will be converging on Blenheim and the secret Waihopai satellite interception spybase on Saturday.
The Anti Bases Campaign (ABC) says Waihopai involves New Zealand in America’s wars in countries such as Afghanistan — and is part of a global network of facilities which aim at American military and economic domination of international politics.
ABC says the war in Afghanistan , in which the NZ military is directly involved (with the SAS being the most high profile component), has continued to get dramatically worse.
Simultaneously,it says, the US is pushing for a Free Trade Agreement, via the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (which the US wants to be concluded this year), as NZ’s “reward” for supplying our troops as cannon fodder and hosting the Waihopai spybase.
The theme of the Anti-Bases Campaign’s activities, both at the spybase and in Blenheim, will be anti-war.
The US says that intelligence is the key component of all the wars that it is fighting (such as Afghanistan ), or planning to fight (such as Iran ), throughout the world.
The Anti-Bases Campaign points out that Waihopai, an important source of intelligence for the Pentagon, is New Zealand ’s most important contribution to the American war machine. Much more so than any other token NZ commitments, such as the SAS.
ABC says: “Our protest is also in solidarity with the Ploughshares peace activists who deflated one of Waihopai’s domes in 2008. They were acquitted of criminal charges but this year face a civil trial for damages.
“:Waihopai, of course, is a “NZ” base – or so the Government says. But the fact is that, in everything but name, it is an outpost of American intelligence – paid for by NZ taxpayers.
“Well over $600 million of public money has been spent on the NZ Government Communications Security Bureau (the agency which runs Waihopai) in the two decades of Waihopai’s operation. The GCSB’s 2012 budget is $56 million, and another $35 million was recently spent on a new GCSB headquarters in Wellington . That money could have been much better spent on eradicating NZ’s shameful child poverty, rather than on spying on behalf of Uncle Sam.”
On Saturday, the p-eace protesters will gather in central Blenheim’s The Forum (corner of Market and High Streets) from 11 a.m., with speeches from 12 at the band rotunda in the Forum. This will be followed by a visit to the Waihopai spybase itself at 2 p.m.
Speakers, either in Blenheim and/or at the spybase, will be: Adrian Leason , one of the three acquitted Ploughshares peace activists; Steffan Browning , Blenheim’s own newly elected Green MP; John Minto , of the Mana Party; and Murray Horton of ABC.