Keith Locke
Waihopai protesters asked for beer money

Talk about stupidity and vindictiveness. The Government Communications Security Bureau is claiming from the Waihopai Three protesters $256.38 for the beer drunk by workers repairing the plastic dome at the spybase.   Another invoice specifies $62.93 for savouries.

The total damages claim against the three protesters is over $1 million.

The court case will be micky mouse. The GCSB will outline its case in solemn tomes. Then, asked about the purpose of their dome, the GCSB will say: “can’t tell you, it’s secret”. That is, if they send any witnesses to the court, which they didn’t do in the first court case, when the three men got off a charge of “intentional damage”.

The “not guilty” verdict was not surprising after evidence to the court from whistle-blower Katherine Gunn. In 2003, while working at the British equivalent of the GCSB, she came across memo from the US National Security Agency (NSA) calling for the worldwide interception of communications of Security Council members to get ‘insights’ into where they stood on UN resolutions authorising an invasion of Iraq. The Waihopai station, as part of the integrated system run by the NSA, would have taken part in these interceptions, even though the Clark government was opposing any such invasion.

Some New Zealanders, like Waikato lecturer Ron Smith who I debated on Morning Report on Thursday, think it is great that we are helping America gather electronic intelligence. But there are many other Kiwis who would like us to take a more independent stance.

One cover story for Waihopai, which came up during the Morning Report debate, is that it is some version of Interpol specialising in tracking down terrorists. In reality the five-nation Echelon network, of which Waihopai is a part, is tasked with spying on other governments. Nicky Hager provided chapter and verse in his book Secret Power (1996) that GCSB analysts were focussing on Japanese government communications. Fourteen years later the target is probably China.

The Waihopai Three protesters say they are not scared of another court case because it will give them another platform to talk about the base and explain why it should not be on our soil.

125 thoughts on “Waihopai protesters asked for beer money

  1. Roll on the court case, too many didn’t understand the arguments the first time round!

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  2. Communications bases for satellite and submarine are always useful if there is a ‘land base’ for such.
    President Barry is having a very hard time diverting military dollars in (ie) to such things as health care.
    Ideals are just fine, except when mentioned to billionaires.
    But ‘free beer for the workers’?
    Yes.
    Always been a good cause – will ya throw in hashish?

    On second thoughts – I’m agin’ decriminalization….will turn our black-market entrepreneurs into REAL criminals…our policing system couldn’t cope with that – mind, with the new-found poverty brought by the gst hike, I think we are about to see some ‘new’ crime rates anyway.
    Hell in a Ham-basket Honey!

    As has been mentioned by the Police Association – our servants ‘need alcohol’ – heaven forbid they should pay with their own money.

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  3. I thought these guys were already found “NOT GUILTY”.. surely that should be the end of it ?! Kia-ora

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  4. Quite right Keith. They shouldn’t have to pay for the beer – just the $1m damage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 7 (+2)

  5. That they are being asked to pay for the beer is telling – this is a purely vindictive action from a Government that doesn’t like to lose to any hairy peaceniks, be they teacher, farmer or religious man.
    I wonder if Federated Farmers will leap to the defence of ‘their man’ the way they do to the likes of Crafar.
    Hardy har!
    I predict this will go badly for the Authoritarians.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5 (+2)

  6. photonz1 so generously wishes that the balloon poppers pay for the poppin’, but forgets two things:
    1. They don’t have the money
    2. The Governments’s action will cost the ratepayers tens of thousands of dollars, all for nought!

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  7. Far cheaper for them to pay it back with their hides, 10 lashes each should do the trick. Would love to see this for those little prick kids that spray paint over fences. Call me babaric but good old public floggings are soooooo underated these days.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8 (-2)

  8. They don’t have the money

    Then bankrupt them! The consequences of bankruptcy will probably send a shiver down the spine of anyone who wishes to engage in this form of vandalism again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7 (+1)

  9. @john-ston 12:54 PM

    People who don’t have any money and don’t care about money won’t care about being bankrupted. Bankruptcy is only a deterrent if you own stuff or want to own stuff in the near future.

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  10. Interesting that those who worship those great gods, money, GDP, and the continual growth economy have no understanding of people who live by higher moral codes. The worst possible punishment in their narrow minds is to fine the Waihopai Three to render them bankrupt, it’s a bit like banning vegans from access to butcher shops. That’ll learn em!!!!!

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  11. as OliverI said – you break it you buy it- as a recompense perhaps the old dome could be given to them after they have paid for the damage they caused.

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  12. robertguyton says “2. The Governments’s action will cost the ratepayers tens of thousands of dollars, all for nought!”

    How disingenuous of you.

    You celebrate wasting a million dollars of taxpayers money, then pretend to be concerned about wasting 1% of that.

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  13. But for all we know, $315 in beer and savouries might have saved tens of thousands of dollars in construction costs if it kept the workforce happy, or kept them on-site for longer or reduced the need for people to drive back and forth to Blenheim so much. On a $1 million project it doesn’t seem too unreasonable to me to charge it up as part of the construction. I’d have thought this kind of thing was fairly normal on construction sites. Am I wrong?

    Whether it’s reasonable to try and extract $1 million from these three guys is a different thing entirely, but saying it’s stupid and vindictive because 0.3% of the bill is food and alcohol misses the point and doesn’t do the argument justice.

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  14. Photonz1-I struggle to understand the value to taxpayers for having the spy station in the first place and the Waihopai Three had a very convincing argument for why there was an unnecessary and ongoing cost to us for having it there. Their actions were to intended to protect us from being dragged into a conflict we hadn’t agreed to and try and save us from moral hypocrisy and they must have been convincing in their arguments because they weren’t prosecuted.

    Why is it important for us to have the spy station again?

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  15. “You celebrate wasting a million dollars of taxpayers money, I don’t then pretend to be concerned about wasting 1% of that I am.

    Photonz1 persists with his shrill PUNISH THEM!!
    No matter that ‘we’ won’t recover the cost of the damage, no matter that it’ll cost ‘us’ plenty to do it – PUNISH THEM!!!

    Daft!

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  16. This happened to Springfield you know, cept the dome was over the town because Homer dumped a vat full of pig crap in the lake.
    Tizz true I tells ya
    EPA!EPA!!

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  17. sprout says “Their actions were to intended to protect us from being dragged into a conflict we hadn’t agreed to ”

    Remind me how giving the taxpayer a $1 million repair bill has kept us out of conflicts?

    About the only thing damaging Waihopai does is put New Zealanders in more danger by failing to pick up on terrorism chatter while it’s out of commission.

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  18. Photonz1-please explain the terrorist threat to New Zealand? Where is it likely to come from and why would New Zealand be a target? I would be really interested in your answers.

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  19. robertguyton states “Photonz1 persists with his shrill PUNISH THEM!!”

    And where have I called for punishment? (let alone in a shrill voice).

    You just make stuff up.

    I just said they should pay for whatever damage they caused – just like anybody who causes massive damage to somebody elses property.

    Paying for the damage you cause is not punishment.

    If you deliberately damage something, whether that is dairy pollution going into streams, factories polluting the air, or vandalising property for deluded reasons or no good reason at all – the people who cause the damage should pay for it.

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  20. Oops, please excuse my tenfold error. I meant to say 0.03% or thereabouts of the total bill was beer and savouries according to the quoted numbers. Actually more like 0.033% if you include the pies and mugs also noted by the Herald and divide by $1.2 million.

    It seems like a distraction from the actual issue to even bother talking about this, but I bet it gets people mad and sells a few more newspapers.

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  21. sprout asks “Photonz1-please explain the terrorist threat to New Zealand? Where is it likely to come from and why would New Zealand be a target? I would be really interested in your answers.”

    I think the threat of terrorism to NZ is low but certainly not zero. There have been hundreds of terror attacks in recent years (it’s actually hundreds per year) – Kenya, Indonesia (Jakarta and Bali), India, Pakistan, Spain, England (London, Preston, Glascow, , Morocco, Poland, Phillipines, New York, Italy, Nepal, Finland, France etc.

    This year alone there have been terror attacks dozens of countries including Canada, New York, Turkey, Russia, India, Greece, Denmark, Ireland, Thailand, UK,as well as all the usual canidadates.

    We just don’t hear about most of them. i.e. stats for December 08 show 23 terror attacks in India, Peru, Turkey, Thailand, USA, France, Zimbabwe, Israel, Russia, and several other countries. On average there is a terror attack or attempts every 1-2 days, the majority OUTSIDE of the likes of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan etc.

    There’s many reasons why we could be a target. Like many of the countries above, attacks were not directed at those countries but people, businesses or embassies from target countries.

    There’s no shortage of targets here from embassies to hotel chains, and the likes of American corporations like MacDonalds and Starbucks in every city etc.

    And while our risk is low compared to many countries, we’re a pretty soft target – our security is nothing like, say London. In fact it’s pretty slack when compared to other countries.

    But I quite like the relaxed way we can use our airports, planes, city centres, trains etc.

    And if something like Waihopai is one defence that can help us stay this way, with our relaxed lifestyle, for longer (rather than the type of security that is hugely inconvenient for everyone) – then I’m all for it.

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  22. sprout – while terrorism risk is low, we should not put our heads in the sand. Australia investigates around 80 new cases each year of people plotting terror attacks.

    There was the Holsworthy Barracks terror plot in 2009, the 2008 Benbrika Group who planed to bomb the AFL grand final, Australian Grand Prix, and the Crown Casino, and assasinate John Howard (five convicted), the Sydney Five (jailed in 2010 year for 23-28 years), the electricity grid bomb plot, Victoria Barracks, and naval base plots (resulting in 20 year conviction in 2006).

    There’s usually only two ways we ever find out about these plots (luckily all recent ones stopped from happening in Australia) – and that’s either by secretly listening in to suspects, or from the large bang at the time when people are being blown to bits.

    Better to listen in.

    The stupid attack on Waihopai was an attack on the security of all New Zealanders.

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  23. The price of freedom is vigilance.
    I’m all for spying. I wish it weren’t necessary, but in a world full of a-holes, it is.
    The alternative??

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  24. You are correct samiam, however, you have to ask also,
    “What is the price of spying”, then add up whether it is worth you personally, or your small country, being involved and to what degree.

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  25. Photonz1 says’
    “I just said they should pay for whatever damage they caused – just like anybody who causes massive damage to somebody elses property.”
    Perhaps that’s what the three ‘poppers’ believed: that the spys were causing damage to somebody elses property (elsewhere) and should pay for the damage they caused.

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  26. robert – you failed back up your claim that I was making the shrill call shrill PUNISH THEM!! PUNISH THEM!!!

    Every country eavesdrops on those who want to do them harm. You ask the price of spying. What is the price of not spying.

    Just look across the Tasman so see the list of terror plots that have been uncovered, and it’s easy to see the price of NOT spying.

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  27. True photonz1 – I was wrong, you weren’t.
    You answer my question,
    “What is the price of spying?” with,
    “What is the price of not spying?”
    Am I supposed to think that’s clever?
    (I don’t.)

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  28. Overall there is a lot to be said for both points here. The problem is that we have to be vigilant not only about the people the base is ostensibly spying on, but also about the people doing the spying. It should not be “American” data shared when and if they choose, with NZ and it should not be a couple of people who are not directly accountable to Parliament who vet the reports. For this to continue properly it demands, (as in morally requires), that there be Parliamentary oversight that includes representatives of all the parties in Parliament.

    That it could and should continue on that basis is agreeable with me. That it is “their” data and is not shared with us and our representatives are not trusted with it, that is a problem when it comes to basing rights.

    I submit Photon, that HAVING that base here contributes to the risk of terrorism here. We declare ourselves someone’s enemy by this. Perhaps that is justified, but I think it is arguable either way and I do not see great advantage either way. Greens take the path of peace and negotiation as our first choice, and stuff like declaring people terrorists and spying on other people’s comms, that is not conducive to cooperation at the negotiating table.

    Trust no one.

    BJ

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  29. bj says “I submit Photon, that HAVING that base here contributes to the risk of terrorism here”

    Posibly it is one of a long list of things that increases NZs risk, just like having Starbucks, Embassies and representatives of countries like US, UK, Israel, India etc etc, Hilton Hotels, MacDonalds etc.

    But unlike the establishments above it also reduces risk.

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  30. robert says “Am I supposed to think that’s clever?”

    I don’t care what you think. You should try to lift your arguement above some personal point scoring competition.

    Why do you always revert to attacks on people instead of issues?

    Will this be your MO in your new council role?

    Your question sounded rhetorical, so tell me – what is the price of spying?

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  31. I’m more than happy for NZ to be the active enemy of terrorism and the known enemy of such. Rather that than its friend or just indifferent.

    I don’t consider that a price to pay any more than voting being the price of democracy.

    NZ’s obligations to protecting its citizens does not stop at our borders. London, New York and Bali all invovled NZ deaths. Our fellow citizens are potential direct targets or collateral damage all around the world and I;d like to think our government is taking a few steps to prevent that. Indiscriminate bombs don’t check passports before exploding.

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  32. We have this same debate several times a year and I’m not keen to rehearse all the arguments yet again. But I will just point out that statements like that of insider buy in completely to the meme that the West is just a helpless victim of irrational terrorists and has no choice but to protect itself. This sounds so reasonable, but only if you ignore the huge role that the US and others play in creating unrest internationally and particularly in the Middle East. We would all be more safe if we weren’t interfering in these countries to feed our oil addiction. This is the primary driver of the unrest. And before some boob says it, no it does not justify terrorism, but unless we understand the drivers, we will never respond appropriately, which is to say with a combination of police (not military) action and foreign policy that seeks to make the problems better instead of worse. There may be reasons to spy, but I am uninterested in any arguments that do not recognise and deal with the real issue of the extent to which we contribute to creating the problem in the first place.

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  33. It is arguable either way, and there are very few people out there who are terrorists without some justification, at least in their own minds.

    The notion that this is a “war on terrorism” is a very very bad one, and understanding that there are people with very legitimate grievances who feel that they have NO option except to resort to asymmetric warfare when faced with smart bombs and Raptors helps when you come to talk to them.

    “No man is evil in his own mind”… some greek I think.. but it is mostly very true, and if we expect to succeed in keeping peace then going to war with terrorism (or on drugs) is extremely stupid. The obligation of the government to protect us includes not making new enemies for us to guard against.

    Removing the injustices and inherent inequalities that foment it would be a lot wiser.

    I have no evidence whatsoever that the base reduces risk. My representatives have no idea what it collects, who it is directed at, how it is managed. It may indeed help, and I would be surprised if it did not. The problem is that there is no evidence whatsoever that it is properly used and there is no control to detect an improper use.

    BJ

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  34. bj – the whole point of spying is that it is not open and tranparent.

    If it was, it could no longer be called spying.

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  35. Valis – you say we need to look at what we do that drives people to terrorism.

    What foreign policy changes do you suggest we should have made to be nicer to France so they didn’t get angry and blow up the Rainbow Warrior?

    And what foreign policy changes should we have made to stop the trades hall bombing?

    I agree that bad foreign policy can be a strong recruitment agent for terrorists, but there’s always going to be a certain number of people who are just nutters full of hate. Extremists come in many flavours – not just islamic.

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  36. 1) It is absolutely correct for the pies and beer to be included on the bill if those were costs were incurred in the repair. otherwise, we, the taxpayer gets to pick up those charges.

    2) This court action will cost a shedload of money, just because it is a court action, and all court actions cost money.

    3) The sign of a good debt collector is that she can spot a stone when faced with one, and knows when to give up.

    The mandarins of the government who we fund clearly lack this skill, and think its more important to be right than to not profligately waste money.

    Idiots.

    There is no upside to this course of action.

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  37. “bj – the whole point of spying is that it is not open and tranparent.
    If it was, it could no longer be called spying.”
    Too black and white, your thinking photonz1.
    How about ‘overt’ spying and ‘covert’ spying.
    One is open and transparent, the other not.

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  38. dbuckley says “There is no upside to this course of action.”

    It’s blatantly obvious that there’s an upside – that people across the country know that if they deliberately damage something they will have to pay for it.

    robert – “overt spying”. That’s funny, (and an oxymoron considering the definition of spying is watching and reporting secretly).

    Overt spying is not spying – it’s just looking.

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  39. Good heavens photonz1 – you are clever!!!
    No such thing as ‘overt spying’ – crikey!

    You think it’s important to make the Waihopai three pay for the damage they did, so that ‘people across the country know …etc.’
    Oh my.
    How straightfoward your world is photonz1!
    All of those people across the country who are willing to put their futures on the line and do something they believe will save other humans from appalling deaths MUST be made to understand that they will have to pay for any damage they caused!!
    That’ll stop ‘em, those hordes of principled … naughty people!

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  40. robert – disabling a facility that picks up info on proposed terror plots is far more likely to COST lives rather than save them.

    No to mention it’s just cost the taxpayer the equivalent of 77 heart surgery operations.

    You might call them prinicpaled. I think they’re the exact oppposite. Delusional and unprincipaled – willing to put peoples lives at greater risk and cause the tax payer massive cost for no benefit.

    So how evactly does causing $1 million in damage and missing several weeks of suspicious messages SAVE lives?

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  41. What foreign policy changes do you suggest we should have made to be nicer to France so they didn’t get angry and blow up the Rainbow Warrior?

    As we weren’t being mean to France, I don’t suggest we should have done anything to be nicer.

    And what foreign policy changes should we have made to stop the trades hall bombing?

    What evidence is there that a foreign nation was involved? On the surface, it looks like an assassination that was never solved, so unlikely to be terrorism at all.

    Extremely interesting that you choose those as examples as they are not what most people here are talking about protecting ourselves from via international spying. Indeed with France, you could say our spying failed us in a huge way, as we had no forewarning. Of course, that was because our spying efforts of the Waihopai variety are not for our direct benefit, but are provided to the US who then decide what to share with us. In this case the US and UK knew what France was doing, but chose not to let us know. With friends like these, aye.

    But glad to see you include France as a terrorist state, the definition certainly needs to cover western states. And what France did here pales in comparison to the violence inflicted on populations in the Mid East by western states.

    I agree that bad foreign policy can be a strong recruitment agent for terrorists, but there’s always going to be a certain number of people who are just nutters full of hate. Extremists come in many flavours – not just islamic.

    Sure, the question is how big a threat the nutters are on their own. The West wouldn’t need the huge intelligence apparatus it has just to deal with them.

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  42. valis – don’t assume that terrorist threats come solely from Islamic extremists.

    I chose those examples, because they are the ones that have actually happened in NZ.

    valis says “Of course, that was because our spying efforts of the Waihopai variety are not for our direct benefit”

    Wrong – it was because Waihopai and the intellignece alliance didn’t exist when the Rainbow Warrior was bombed – they came came two years later. If we’d had the base and allaince two years earlier we would almost have certainly been warned.

    valis says “Sure, the question is how big a threat the nutters are on their own.”

    Bad assumption. Just over half the terror attacks around the world so far this year (just over 50) are from non-Islamic extremist groups, note – GROUPS.

    Don’t assume extremist nutters work alone. With the internet it’s easier than ever for like-minded extremist people of all types to find each other.

    Aussie uncovers 80 plots a year. Despite arguably a lower risk in NZ, it would be naive to think we don’t need to be very vigilant here.

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  43. robert says “Losing ..interest..in..debating…..photonz…….”

    Well I suggest you go away and do something more interesting if you are bored.

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  44. Photonz1- I suggest New Zealand invests more money into addressing the causes of terrorism rather than the listening in to millions of conversations to try and identify potential terrorists. Surely we become a possible target by siding with those that terrorists identify as the enemy. I contend that having a spy station within our borders, under the overview of the US, is more likely to focus negative attention on us any positive benefits it may have.

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  45. Photonz

    IF my government is permitted to spy on people in general, and I really do think it should be overall, then the elected representatives of those people do have to have oversight with respect to the spying being done.

    It astonishes me that the “Right” with all its advertised and inherent distrust of government when it comes to watching over what corporations and wealthy individuals might do, suddenly goes completely naive, stupid and trusting when someone runs the “war on terror” flag up the damned pole.

    BJ

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  46. srpout says “…rather than the listening in to millions of conversations to try and identify potential terrorists….”

    That would be really stupid.

    There’s two ways of finding out about terrorist plots. Listening in, and hearing the bomb go off.

    And it’s naive to think a change in policy would suddenly make us a safe place when we have a whole range of embassies, international companies, and threats may have nothing to do with our foreign policy anyway.

    To give up being vigilant is foolish in the extreme.

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  47. It was ridiculous they were found not guilty in the first place. They caused a million dollars of damage, paid by taxpayers.

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  48. valis – don’t assume that terrorist threats come solely from Islamic extremists.

    No where have I done that.

    I chose those examples, because they are the ones that have actually happened in NZ.

    And I pointed out that they were odd examples particularly as one wasn’t an international terrorist incident anyway.

    valis says “Of course, that was because our spying efforts of the Waihopai variety are not for our direct benefit”

    Wrong – it was because Waihopai and the intellignece alliance didn’t exist when the Rainbow Warrior was bombed – they came came two years later. If we’d had the base and allaince two years earlier we would almost have certainly been warned.

    No, the Echelon network springs from just after WWII and we have been sharing intelligence for at least that long, Waihopai or no. The US and UK did know and chose not to tell us as we were being naughty with our nuclear policy and that was our punishment.

    valis says “Sure, the question is how big a threat the nutters are on their own.”

    Bad assumption. Just over half the terror attacks around the world so far this year (just over 50) are from non-Islamic extremist groups, note – GROUPS.

    My point was that most of the larger incidents at least seem to be perpetrated by people that aren’t just crazy, but have a political motive based on real wrongs that have been committed against them.

    Aussie uncovers 80 plots a year. Despite arguably a lower risk in NZ, it would be naive to think we don’t need to be very vigilant here.

    I haven’t said we shouldn’t, but question the means and also reject the idea that that’s all there is to it.

    And it’s naive to think a change in policy would suddenly make us a safe place when we have a whole range of embassies, international companies, and threats may have nothing to do with our foreign policy anyway.

    It certainly won’t be sudden. It’s taken decades to build up the level of animosity that exists and will take some time to improve the situation. And it really needs the US to change its tune to make a real difference world-wide, which isn’t likely. Which isn’t to say what NZ does doesn’t matter.

    To give up being vigilant is foolish in the extreme.

    I’m not convinced that hosting a relay station for the US contributes to our being vigilant. It does clearly mark us as on the side of the perpetrators of the largest scale violence though. Like BJ says, the cost/benefit calculation isn’t a trivial matter.

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  49. “There’s two ways of finding out about terrorist plots. Listening in, and hearing the bomb go off.”

    so you have some kind of evidence that operations at waihopai are having some kind of effect in stopping terrorism or saving lives? I thought it was all top secret…

    “They caused a million dollars of damage, paid by taxpayers.”

    They cost wuch wore than that with no real justification of that money since we’re not actually allowed to know what they’re for…

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  50. ” completely naive, stupid and trusting when someone runs the “war on terror” flag up the damned pole.”

    They do the same when “war on drugs” is invoked, even meekly allowing the government to take effective cold remedies off the shelves. “War on taggers, boy-racers, gangs..” the ‘Right’ throw themselves on their backs and purr.

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  51. bjchip. The Intelligence and Security Committee oversees the SIS (The commitee is comprised of the PM and two of his nominees, and the leader of the oposition and one nominee).

    You say the “right” advertises it’s distrustfullness of the govt watching wealthy individuals – what are you on about.

    And it astonishes you – really? You’re actually astonished by some vague notion applied to half the country.

    It sounds like some desperate attempt to discredit half of NZ for something – I’m not sure what.

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  52. bjchip. The Intelligence and Security Committee oversees the SIS (The commitee is comprised of the PM and two of his nominees, and the leader of the oposition and one nominee).

    This “oversight” group is well-known to be token. It meets about twice a year for something like an hour, which would make it so high level as to be useless.

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  53. valis says “And I pointed out that they were odd examples particularly as one wasn’t an international terrorist incident anyway.”

    Not odd examples. NZ examples. And typical examples of terrorism.

    As I’ve said before, over 50% of the terror attacks around then world this year are NOT from Islamic fundamentalists.

    And why would we only want to find out about terrorist plots if they are international?

    If you get blown up by a bomb, are you worried if it is from an “international” terrorist or a local one.

    If someone is intending to kill inocent people, I don’t care where they are from. I want our security services to find out – even if they are local and don’t fit with your arguement about foreign policy.

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  54. The point is that the three protesters didn’t really finish the job on Waihopi did they?

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  55. valis – one of the main thrusts of the SIS is that it should be apolitical.

    While polititians for both sides oversee it, they should never be directing who it should spy on.

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  56. valis says “And I pointed out that they were odd examples particularly as one wasn’t an international terrorist incident anyway.”

    Not odd examples. NZ examples. And typical examples of terrorism.

    You mentioned these examples in the context of Waihopai, which is a satellite down link for info that goes straight to the US and is not stored in NZ. Waihopai would not have helped us for either of those incidents. And you have yet to show why the trades hall bombing should be considered terrorism of any sort.

    As I’ve said before, over 50% of the terror attacks around then world this year are NOT from Islamic fundamentalists.

    I keep not mentioning them and you keep doing so. What’s up with that?

    And why would we only want to find out about terrorist plots if they are international?

    I never said this, only that the Waihopai context is international and we’re arguing about Waihopai.

    valis – one of the main thrusts of the SIS is that it should be apolitical.

    Of course.

    While polititians for both sides oversee it, they should never be directing who it should spy on.

    Well, I’m talking about oversight of the GCSB as they are responsible for Waihopai. And what they do and for whom should be known by more than just the GCSB. Meeting two hours per year is not enough to even pretend real oversight.

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  57. valis says “I never said this, only that the Waihopai context is international and we’re arguing about Waihopai.”

    Waihopai intercepts satelite communications of phone email etc, which are far more likely have a local connection.

    The vast majority of communication in most of the world goes by cable so Waihopai is irrelevant for communications between most of the rest of the world.

    And you presume to know that NZ gets no information from Waihopai.

    If you were in charge of protecting NZ from external and internal terrorism, what measures would you take to detect terror plots?

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  58. Photonz

    Oh… so you are happy to have government regulation of industry now? Please spare us this demonstration of hypocritical pinhead dancing.

    You have been and are, quick to respond negatively to any suggestion that government should be trusted with any responsibility or control of business or finance… yet someone waves a flag and you become blind, deaf and dumb to the potential for abuse by that same government you distrust so much.

    The “leader of the opposition” isn’t sufficient. It requires a representative of each party in parliament… because the abuse of spying on political opponents is one of the principal risks of your blind faith in arrangements that demand trust.

    Moreover, this isn’t about oversight of the SIS… it is about oversight of the take from Waihopai. Which is something that the SIS controls and then indirectly reports on to the committee, so already at one remove from the actual oversight required.

    The really funny thing is that I actually believe my fellow Americans are probably doing a pretty decent job. That doesn’t change the obligations of the government of New Zealand or the requirements and limitations that this country has to put on the use of its land for such a facility.

    There is no such fncking thing as a war on Terror. Terror is not a country or group of countries. It is a damned noun. You cannot defeat a noun. It is an unwinnable war that is in fact an invention of cynical ba5tards who are counting on knee-jerk reactions from people like you to enable them to obtain and maintain ever greater control over the population of the planet.

    …and you and your fellow righties fall for it every time. which makes it difficult (at this moment obviously impossible), for me to conceal my contempt for the putative thought processes that allow you to continue to defend such nonsense in its every particular.

    Nobody here is denying that the government has a responsibility to defend New Zealand and New Zealanders. Nobody here is denying that spying isn’t a necessary thing.

    What is at issue are the mechanics of command and control, and civilian oversight of the process, that are absolutely lacking with respect to this base on OUR soil in particular and deficient with respect to the SIS in general.

    BJ

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  59. While polititians for both sides oversee it

    What is this “BOTH” sides crap?

    Last I counted there were 5 parties in parliament. Maori, ACT, Green, Labour and National… and our faith in the cooperation and competence of the Labour party, while stronger than our faith in ACT and National, is nothing to write home about.

    BJ

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  60. Waihopai intercepts satellite communications of phone email etc, which are far more likely have a local connection.

    The nature of satellite communications and the reasons for using them make local connections far LESS likely than you seem to think. Your cellular, phone and internet comms are quite unlikely to see a satellite transponder. Usage is much more common where wires are scarce… or easily broken… or cut. Moreover, with the right equipment and knowledge bandwidth can be… “temporarily misappropriated”… in ways that are secure from local law enforcement ever detecting it.

    Waihopai has a real role in that regard… but it isn’t about local intercepts. I do believe that if NZ is mentioned by someone piggybacking a signal from Afghanistan to Iran we’ll get told about it.

    That’s why I don’t generally agree with the protests about/at Waihopai which we Greens participate in so often. The thing is though, that the base IS on our soil and as a result we have a responsibility to ensure that it IS being used the way we think it should be used. This and previous governments have abrogated that responsibility wholesale… and THAT is something to which I have to object.

    BJ

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  61. bjchip pulls something completely untrue out of the air and says

    “You have been and are, quick to respond negatively to any suggestion that government should be trusted with any responsibility or control of business or finance”

    You should stick to what people actually say instead of trying to stereotype (and getting it wrong)

    And then you say “There is no such fncking thing as a war on Terror.”
    Again, your argueing against something I’ve never said. The only people who I’ve seen use it are you and valis.

    So when you go on and on (and on) about there being no such thing, you are only debating with yourself.

    Both sides refers to the government and the opposition. Pretty simple really.

    Oh – and there’s seven parties in the current NZ Parlaiment – not five.

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  62. bj says “The nature of satellite communications and the reasons for using them make local connections far LESS likely than you seem to think”

    No – I do realise that. As I’ve said, most communication goes by cable these days. So it’s probably much simpler for them to intercept messages now.

    A few simple devices at major routing points would do it – a fraction of the cost of a major satelite dish, and intercepting many times the number of calls and emails.

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  63. In this thread? No Photon, of course you haven’t said anything about that just now. This thread is about Waihopai and spying, not business, taxes, and personal vs corporate rights. It isn’t about protecting the environment from corporate abuse or the country from foreign ownership. Those are in other threads. I am simply drawing a contrast between the attitude here and the attitude there.

    Have you not ever on this blog objected to government regulations protecting our resources, restricting business, foreign ownership or protecting our environment??? Do I have to go back through the past posts to demonstrate that you have indeed done so? Fair warning, I already peeked, so I know I can.

    But when I say “the right” I am not just talking about you….

    I forgot to count the personality parties and yet included ACT… and it is there by the same rule. Good point. I should have said 4 or 7 and included or excluded accordingly.

    However, the committee is not actually two sided in any case, and it includes both Maori and Green representatives so I don’t actually need to concern myself so much with that. It is however, extremely restricted in its scope.

    http://theyworkforyou.co.nz/debates/2009/mar/11/intelligence_security_committee#labour_2

    (a)the Intelligence and Security Committee will examine the Estimates Vote for each intelligence and security agency (Standing Orders 243, 244, 245, and 328 are to be read and applied accordingly)

    (b)the Intelligence and Security Committee will examine the Supplementary Estimates for each intelligence and security agency (Standing Orders 243, 244, 245, and 331 are to be read and applied accordingly)

    (c)the Intelligence and Security Committee will conduct a financial review of the performance in the previous financial year and the current operations of each intelligence and security agency (Standing Orders 243, 244, 245, 334, and 335 are to be read and applied accordingly)

    …and Dr Norman’s response included this –

    it was discovered that the Intelligence and Security Committee met only once in 2005: on 14 June, for 43 minutes. It met twice in the previous year, for a total of 84 minutes.

    Which actually makes sense given the actual duties of the committee.

    HOWEVER!

    It also means that we are not monitoring the activities at Waihopai as we should be, nor exercising adequate control over our intelligence community. That this is all that our parliamentary representatives are permitted to see is appalling.

    BJ

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  64. bj claims “You have been and are, quick to respond negatively to any suggestion that government should be trusted with any responsibility or control of business or finance”

    You claim is total rubbish. You’ve taken your extreme right stereotype out of your mind and applied it to the wrong person.

    I’ve never advocated that the government shouldn’t “be trusted with any responsibility or control of business or finance”

    Complete nonsense. There’s many areas they need to take more responsibility and control.

    bjchip says “Oh… so you are happy to have government regulation of industry now? Please spare us this demonstration of hypocritical pinhead dancing.”

    More complete nonsense that you’ve made up.

    You are arguing against some stereotype in your head – not against a position I have.

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  65. photonz1 says that bj chip’s comments are ‘total rubbish’ and ‘complete nonsense’, that he’s ‘made it up’, that he has some ‘stereotype in his head’, that bj ‘pulls something untrue out of the air’.
    Photonz1 also says that to do what sprout suggests ‘would be really stupid’.
    What a polite visitor to Frogblog photonz1 is and how deserving of our respect. I for one will endeavor to treat him in a reciprocal manner.

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  66. robert – as usual – nothing to do with the issue – just an attack on the person.

    And the epitome of hypocrasy coming from someone who regularly spews forth vile comments on people rather than issues.

    But I suppose that’s your MO so what else should we expect. Attacking people always seems to take priority over takling issues for you.

    When bj makes up completely false accusations of my position, I will call them as such. Just like when you give people false positions.

    And stopping survelance on those who would like to kill innocent New Zealanders is, well, in my opinion really stupid.

    Apart from the idea of trying to reduce terrorism by changing foreign policy, which may or may not work in years and decades to come, I haven’t seen anyone here come up with a single useful idea on how to protect New Zealand from plots if we give up on survelance.

    So robert – if it was your job to stop potential terror plots and keep New Zealand safe, what concrete steps would you take?

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  67. I don’t think anyone has suggested giving up on all surveillance – just giving up on helping the USA with theirs. It seems bjchip is not the only one making up false positions…

    To stop terror plots I’d avoid invading other countries or providing support to countries that do

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  68. photonz1 – enough of your ad homs lad, get to the argument and stay there!
    No one’s interested in your witterings about the personal qualities of others.

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  69. If it were my job to stop potential terror plots against New Zealand?
    I’d look for a multitude of ways to reduce that potential to as close to zero as possible. Not being an ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’ kind of guy, I’d be looking to go to the roots of the discord that is causing the terrorists to employ their methods.
    There’s more. Have to go and graft.

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  70. Nope… Robert… I am the one who has to apologize to Photonz.

    Photonz

    Looks to me that I have indeed done you an injustice which provides a reason for the incivility. Righteous indignation is the most appropriate term, and it is recognizable enough for me to look again at much of what you post.

    You appear to be in favor of no particular regulation of foreign ownership here in NZ, and you have the social engineering arguments of the right wing memorized, but there isn’t actually an “anti-government-regulation” meme in your posts. You are an honorable person in these arguments and I WAS WRONG to lump you with right wing hypocrites. It appears that fiscal conservatism drives your positions far more than I perceived.

    That doesn’t make your position on Waihopai any more sensible.

    …but better I should acknowledge that I made this mistake and apologize.

    Not the first time I’ve misjudged a thing like this and it distresses me when I do it, but I believe firmly in being honest about it when I do.

    Sorry.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  71. I asked for ideas apart from slow working foreign policy, and there’s two answers, that are the same old same old that’s been repeated as nauseum previously.

    So still not a single concrete idea to protect NZ if someone was plotting an attack right now.

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  72. The best way of reducing our vulnerability to terrorist attacks is to adopt an attitude of principled neutrality.
    The next is to allow a political voice to those who have genuine grievances, like the Palestinians.

    Those who have a voice are less likely to resort to Terrorism.

    No level of security will stop a well equipped and planned attack in any case. The US have been lucky in that many terrorists have been pretty inept.
    The terrorists have won in that Western citizens have accepted expensive and obtrusive security measures which have dubious effectiveness on increasing security from terrorism.

    Terrorism is minor compared with sanctioned Government killing of political opponents and civilians.

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  73. I see that this got even further out of hand while I drafted that response.

    Photonz isn’t “right” but was not making the arguments I thought he/she was over the past several months. Any incivility he/she has offered as a result of my error is accepted as having been provoked.

    BJ

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  74. bj – no worries – I think we all jump to conclusions sometimes.

    I try to take a pragmatic and practical stance which sometimes aligns with policies on the right and sometimes on the left.

    In fact I think the whole right/left labels are way too simplistic to apply to the human race.

    Economically, I like many of the policies of the current govt, but I was against many National policies in the Shipley era, pro the early Clark years, anti in later years.

    I’ve backed more govt intervention for things like the Green Party idea of national standards for rental housing. And protecting places like New Chums beach, more protection for waterways etc.

    I don’t have an ideology on govt intervention – I think it needs to be looked at on a case by case basis. The outcome is the important thing – “left wing” ideas probably work best for some things and “right wing” for others.

    I think we should pick the best ideas from across the spectrum – not rule things out simply because they come from the “wrong” end.

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  75. Dang bj – your mea culpa has spoiled my fun (a little).
    Things haven’t got out of hand – photonz1 loves it when I rib him.
    You graciously excused his incivility but you’re too kind.

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  76. Kerry says “Photo. I do not think anyone, anywhere could stop a well planned attack.
    The ways in which it could be done are almost infinite.”

    I agree it seems almost impossible.

    But Australia investigate 80 new plots every year – thats one and a half a week – and they’ve been successful at stopping them so far, and had many convictions.

    UK as well have stopped many attacks because of survelance.

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  77. bj – don’t worry about it – a mere aberation. You have a long pedigree of thoughtful input.

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  78. Photo. My understanding is that the detection of terrorists in Australia and the UK has been after reporting by moderate members of the communities involved. The surveillance that resulted in convictions was the normal sort allowed by judicial warrant with due cause.

    Spy agencies are notorious for exaggerating their effectiveness.

    I am very uncomfortable about random surveillance by Governments that uses terrorism or national security as an excuse. It tends to be used to limit legitimate dissent. The recent shut down of Wiki leaks in the UK and Australia shows what can happen.

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  79. Kerry – a agree with much of what you say at 11.49.

    However you say “The best way of reducing our vulnerability to terrorist attacks is to adopt an attitude of principled neutrality.”

    While the idea of principaled neutrality sounds good, it might not be disimilar to the saying “evil prospers when good people do nothing”.

    Which brings up a couple of questions – is it even principaled to be neutral when things like the Rwanda genocide are going on?

    And if it would make much difference when there have been attacks on people simply because they look like westerners, or only because they
    happen to be the same nationality as someone who drew a cartoon.

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  80. photonz1:

    dbuckley says “There is no upside to this course of action.”

    It’s blatantly obvious that there’s an upside – that people across the country know that if they deliberately damage something they will have to pay for it.

    Quoting myself:

    3) The sign of a good debt collector is that she can spot a stone when faced with one, and knows when to give up

    There is no realistic possibility of the million odd repair bill being repaid, so throwing away good money after bad is not smart.

    There is no deterrent effect from this action.

    The whole thing is going from laughable to embarrassing to a profligate waste of taxpayer money.

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  81. dbuckley says “There is no deterrent effect from this action.”

    Of course there is.

    Facing losing everything you own would be a huge deterent to the vast majority of people.

    You show fake concern over wasting taxpayer money after showing no concern about the million dollar repair bill taxpayers had to pay.

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  82. There is no realistic possibility of the million odd repair bill being repaid, so throwing away good money after bad is not smart.

    There is no deterrent effect from this action.

    Really? a million bucks is a lot of money.

    Quite frankly people that smash things to get their way seem more than a little pathetic.

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  83. That’s exactly my point guys.

    We’ve lost a million, its gone.

    There is no realistic prospect of getting even a fraction of that back, assuming the case succeeds (which it may well do; see OJ Simpson), and the case will cost hundreds of thousands more.

    Those dome destroyers just don’t have the lifestyle to support the payback.

    I doubt the lifestyle of the destroyers will even pay the court costs once they are bankrupted. Then three years later the bankrupted destroyers get a clean start.

    I still just see a big hole we are pouring money into. As Gordon Brown once noted, when you are in a hole, its time to stop digging.,

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  84. So we should enable “principled vandalism” then?
    If I really feel strongly about something it is ok for me to go smash the property of someone else and have state sanctioned protection to exercise my rights?

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  85. Photo. That is why I added principled. We should speak up against injustice, genocide and killing of civilians whenever it occurs. Even if it is done by so called allies.

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  86. Kerry says “Photo. That is why I added principled. We should speak up against injustice, genocide and killing of civilians whenever it occurs. Even if it is done by so called allies”

    I agree – but that’s not a neutral position.

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  87. “So we should enable “principled vandalism” then?”

    Not launching an appeal of the first court decision and enabling vandalism is not the same thing

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  88. Photonz1 says,
    “Facing losing everything you own would be a huge deterent to the vast majority of people.”

    It is. They were. It wasn’t.

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  89. Will the Government recoup the million dollar loss from the three?
    Nope.
    Will the Government spend tens of thousands more of our taxes on trying (and failing) to recover those costs?
    Yep.
    Will other passionate people of the ilk of the three be deterred by the Government’s failed efforts?
    Nope. Probably encouraged, especially if they fail.
    I smell martyrdom. Is that going to quell the passion in the hearts of men and women like the farmer, the teacher and the religious man?
    Nope!

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  90. Shunda – it’s already enabled. If you do want to go out and smash someone elses property, you can chance your arm, as they did. There was every possibility they would lose their case and they seem to have borne that in mind and seem prepared.
    Have you ever considered the reason for the ‘loophole’?
    Could there be a valid reason for it, do you think?
    Remember, Jesus did some bustin’ of his own.
    Was he justified in tippin’ tables?

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  91. robert says “It is.” “It wasn’t.”

    Make up your mind.

    If you wanted to stop people being killed in Iraq you’d think the sensible thing would be do something that actually made a difference in a positive way – not something that causes NZ taxpayers a million dollar loss (equal to 77 heart surgeries) and makes no difference to people in Iraq.

    And the people who defend such a waste of money for no gain are the same ones that complain there is not enough money for health, welfare, education etc.

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  92. My mind is not un-made Photonz1.

    “Facing losing everything you own would be a huge deterent to the vast majority of people.”

    It is (a huge deterrent to the vast majority of people)
    They were (facing losing everthing)
    It wasn’t (a deterrent to them)

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  93. I think we need to send spy-sheep, fitted with surveillance, out into the world.

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  94. samiam says “I think we need to send spy-sheep, fitted with surveillance, out into the world.”

    Ahhh – at last an innovative idea – using sheep for intelligence.

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  95. Let us be very clear here.

    One of the significant problems with Waihopai is not that it “causes people to be killed” in Oobleckistan or somewhere else. It is that we here are forced to argue about who is being spied on and what is being discovered without ANY knowledge of our own or ANY oversight by OUR trusted elected representatives. There is a basic abdication of responsibility involved here and our government has been working hard to avoid taking responsibility for anything for a lot longer than THIS government has been in power.

    One might even say that avoiding responsibility is one of the primary jobs of government.

    The citizens of the country however, are entitled to something more than that when it comes to allowing a foreign power to set up shop in our back yard.

    If making that point without doing a million dollars worth of damage is possible I am sure that the alternative course of action would have been contemplated instead. If it is NOT possible, and I submit that it has not been for at least the past decade due to the aforementioned refusal to take responsibility, then it is the duty, not the right, of citizens to make the point anyway.

    Because we have a responsibility to know what is being done in our name.

    You have been handed a black box by person C which siphons information from persons A,E,I,O and U to person C. You have no knowledge of the motives of person C, the identities of the people whose information is being obtained or what information is actually obtained. Person C assures you that it is necessary. A,E,I,O and U regard this as a hostile act and some prepare to object in more palpable ways.

    Do you agree with person C that this is necessary and justified? You clearly DO NOT KNOW!

    Better to do the right thing than the easy thing. The status-quo is the easy thing, and upsetting it appears to be really quite difficult. Popping the domes is civil disobedience to make a point, and we shouldn’t be surprised that it becomes necessary when government is so …. successful… at avoiding its actual responsibilities.

    BJ

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  96. bj says “One of the significant problems with Waihopai is not that it “causes people to be killed” in Oobleckistan or somewhere else.”

    Well that’s the basis of their defense blown out of the water then.

    They claimed it was done to save lives.

    If Waihopai doesn’t cause poeple to be killed, they should have been found guilty.

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  97. BJ presents an argument I think most Kiwis can accept, what is the dome used for? and who is using it? Why didn’t Labour shut it down?

    Slashing the thing is not an argument, it is just silly vandalism.

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  98. No Photonz… the problem is that WE DON’T KNOW.

    THEY clearly believe that it does cause people to be killed, and we can’t prove that it does or doesn’t, and our elected representatives and exalted government can’t tell us that either. Which means that the basis of their defense is perfectly sound. They have reasonable doubt on their side… and there is not a single person in this country (at least who is a citizen of this country) who can with certainty tell us otherwise.

    As far as convicting them of anything at all, that is fatal.

    BJ

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  99. Shunda

    Not silly. Not if it gets it discussed and the problem attended to.

    BJ

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  100. Bear in mind at all times, that I actually think that the folks running the dome are doing a fairly righteous job and aren’t acting against our interests in general.

    The problem here is that I don’t know that and NO NEW ZEALANDER KNOWS IT EITHER.

    BJ

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  101. bj says “THEY clearly believe that it does cause people to be killed”

    So they cause a million dollars of damage to the NZ taxpayer, on the off chance that maybe it does something bad, but they don’t really know.

    bj – the problem you are argueing against is not the reason given for the vandalism.

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  102. “And the people who defend such a waste of money for no gain”
    .
    are you talking about the damage or the facility itself?

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  103. “So they cause a million dollars of damage to the NZ taxpayer, on the off chance that maybe it does something bad, but they don’t really know.”
    .
    what exactly might be happening there that is so secret we are not allowed to know about it and yet is not bad for someone somewhere?
    .
    clearly this facility is ‘stopping’ ‘terrorists’ somewhere in the world. who are they? who are they threatening? is our complicity in spying on them making us a target? all these questions cannot be answered and yet you say that the million dollar repair bill is the waste of taxpayer money? how about the actual cost of maintaining the facility? how can we do a cost benefit analysis when there are no specified or quantified benefits (beyond some brownie points with the americans)?

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  104. “All of those people across the country who are willing to put their futures on the line and do something they believe will save other humans from appalling deaths ”

    by popping a balloon? brave men give them a medal!

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  105. “Well that’s the basis of their defense blown out of the water then.”

    Wrong photonz1 – their defence was that they believed that to be so.
    No wonder you are so off track with your comments here – you’ve not grasped the issue at all.

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  106. Well we can all rest assured that there aren’t to many domes in good oll nu zillind.
    I would quite like one though, any one know a good dome store?
    I will be using eco/priest/farmer proof Kevlar.

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  107. Photonz

    The problem I am arguing against makes it impossible to say whether this IS vandalism.

    BJ

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  108. robert says “Wrong photonz1 – their defence was that they believed that to be so”

    They can beleive Waihopai was killing little green men on the moon. It doesn’t mean they are right, or sane.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 (+2)

  109. That’s what you fail to understand photonz1 – it didn’t matter to the jury, they simply had to decide whether the three genuinely believed it to be so. They did, and found them not guilty. You may well believe that they were wrong in their belief but that matters not a jot.
    Justice is blind old chap.

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  110. They can believe Waihopai was killing little green men on the moon. It doesn’t mean they are right, or sane.

    Perfectly sane as there is no evidence that Waihopai is not involved available to any New Zealander, and ample evidence that the USA kills people (war in Afghanistan).

    When presented with a complete LACK of evidence of something one has to doubt, and doubt is very much a legal defense.

    BJ

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  111. John – I don’t know how the rules work here but I do know that in the USA the lawyers select for idiocy and they have a broad selection to choose from. :-)

    BJ

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