By Alan Tristram
New Zealand’s Anti-Bases campaign says the Government’s plan to change the laws under which our spies operate is ‘one of the most outrageous attacks on democracy this country has seen.’
Murray Horton, Secretary of the Campaign, says “The Prime Minister has appointed one of his mates
as the Director of the spy agency and now appoints himself as the overseer of who the agency can spy on.
“No Prime Minister should have such powers.
“There will be no public control over who John Key decides is a political threat and no proper oversight as to who is spied on, or why they are spied on.”
‘No real public input’
Mr Horton says Murray Horton Secretary/Organiserwithout due deliberation or any chance of real public input.
And he says the Government’s actions represent one of the biggest threats to New Zealand democracy in the last 50 years.
“Key’s announced law change will effectively merge the GCSB and the SIS, plus the intelligence wings of the military and the Police, taking a decisive step towards emulating the “national security state” that already exists in the US, the biggest of the GCSB’s Big Brothers,” Mr Horton says.
“That will make it so much easier for the US intelligence agencies to direct and control their New Zealand sub-contractors to follow the Americans’ agenda.
“At least this law change strips away the pretence that the GCSB and its Waihopai spy base doesn’t spy on New Zealanders.
“The Anti-Bases Campaign has always said that it does and we were right. Whenever the spies are caught breaking their own laws, the Government hastily legalises the crime, rather than punishing the criminals. And so the spy agencies’ culture of impunity rolls on uninterrupted.”
He adds: “How ironically coincidental that this announcement comes in the same week as the Waihopai Domebusters’ Court of Appeal hearing on May 8 & 9 Anti-Bases Campaign salutes those brave three Christian peace activists — Adrian Leason, Peter Murnane and Sam Land — who did actually shut down the Waihopai spy base in 2008, albeit temporarily, and who were acquitted by a jury of ordinary New Zealanders in 2010.
“The vengeful covert State is now pursuing the three of them personally, in a civil claim for the more than $1 million that it cost to replace the dome that they deflated.
“It is the GCSB that has been proven to be the criminal, with its years of illegal spying on New Zealanders.
“By contrast, the Domebusters did us all an immense favour by shutting the place down, however briefly, and literally exposing Waihopai to the light of day. Their motivation was to prevent a crime, to shut down an organised criminal enterprise. Neither the GCSB nor Waihopai operates in the national interest of New Zealand. Both must be closed. And the sooner the better.”