Protesters puncture dome at Waihopai spy base
From NZ Herald, 8:28AM Wednesday April 30, 2008
Protest targets spy base
Three protesters this morning invaded the 'spy base' at Waihopai and punctured one of the large white domes that house two satellite dishes.
The base's opponents argue that it is primarily feeding information to the United States in support of wars New Zealanders do not support.
But the secretive Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), which operates the base, near Blenheim, rejects this.
The protesters' spokesman, Manu Caddie, said the group had to cut through a razor wire fence before using sickles to deflate the dome.
He said the protest was against the United States led "war on terror".
Mr Caddie said at 8am that the group had not been arrested but a security guard was on the scene.
A group called Ploughshares attacked the base this morning, and deflated the dome which protects the radar dish inside.
A witness at the base said the inside dish was now visible with a lot of white canvas around it. There was no air left in the dome.
In a press release, Ploughshares said at 6am this morning three members of a Ploughshares team entered the Waihopai Spy Base and used sickles to deflate one of the two 30 metre domes covering satellite interception dishes.
"The members then built a shrine and prayed for the victims of the war with no end - the so-called 'War on Terror' led by the United States Empire which also controls the New Zealand taxpayer funded Waihopai base.''
Ploughshares is a London-based organiser for the Ploughshares movement, which delivers its disarmament message by attempting to disable warplanes and other military equipment.
The Waihopai base is operated by the Government Communications Security Bureau. It is described as a satellite communications monitoring facility, but opponents believe it is part of Echelon, the worldwide network of signals interception facilities run by the American and British intelligence agencies.
STATEMENT OF THE WAIHOPAI ANZAC PLOUGHSHARES
They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift sword against nation; and there shall be no more training for war. Isaiah 2/4
Waihopai Spy Base Penetrated
This morning, 30 April 2008, we entered the Waihopai Spy Base near Blenheim. Our group, including a Dominican Priest, temporarily closed the base by padlocking the gates and proceeded to deflate one of the large domes covering two satellite dishes.At 6am we cut through three security fences surrounding the domes - these are armed with razor wire, infrared motion sensors and a high voltage electrified fence. Once inside we used sickles to cut one of the two 30-metre white domes, built a shrine and knelt in prayer to remember the people killed by United States military activity.
We have financed our activities through personal savings, additional part-time employment and a small interest-free loan from one of our supporters.We are responding to the Bush administration's admission that intelligence gathering is the most important tool in the so-called War on Terror. This war will have no end until citizens of the world refuse to let it continue. The ECHELON spy network including Waihopai, is an important part of the US governments global spy network and we have come in the name of the Prince of Peace to close it down.The base is funded by New Zealand tax payers and located on New Zealand soil which makes New Zealand a target through our association with the UKUSA intelligence cooperation agreement.
Five years ago the Clark government opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq . Yet at the same time the Bush administration was using the National Security Agencys ECHELON system, of which Waihopai is an integral component, to spy on UN Security Council members so it could more easily swing them in favour of an invasion.There have been over 100 Ploughshares actions over the last twenty years around the world. Ploughshares direct actions are linked through the common factors of: entry to locations connected to military activity, Christian prayers and most involve some form of property destruction.