Wikileaks gives impetus to Waihopai protest

It was good to be part of the protest outside the Waihopai spybase on Saturday. It is a bit out of the way, so the numbers involved are never that large, but they do represent the concern of many New Zealanders that the presence of the base compromises the independence of New Zealand’s foreign policy.

Even the US Embassy in Wellington admits there would be greater concern if the public knew what was really going in its intelligence relations with New Zealand. In one despatch (disclosed by Wikileaks) the US Deputy Chief of Mission David Keegan says that [then] Prime Minister Helen Clark has “been willing to address [intelligence] targets of marginal benefit to New Zealand that could do her political harm if made public.” (2 March 2007).

As I said in my speech in Blenheim at the weekend, it is technically difficult for the New Zealand government to stop the United States using Waihopai to spy on who it wants, because Waihopai is part of a global integrated system – into which the United States puts in whatever key word combinations and phone numbers it wants. As the US Embassy admits in another Wikileaks document, the sending of such intelligence gathered by the GCSB at Waihopai is “automated”. (US Charge d’Affairs David Burnett, 22 September 2005).

 

A major downside of Waihopai is that the US will be using information gathered at Waihopai for its foreign policy purposes, which are often at odds with New Zealands. If New Zealand wants good relations with all governments in the Asia/Pacific region it isn’t good to be spying on them at the behest of the United States – which is what happens at Waihopai. Thirdly, global spying on international communications is part of a larger privacy problem, whereby huge amounts of personal information is put on databases, and can be used for prejudicial purposes. Just last week British Green MP Caroline Lucas was reported to be on a domestic database of people the UK Police consider dangerous.

15 thoughts on “Wikileaks gives impetus to Waihopai protest

  1. “Do you mean the NZ govt, who recognised the KR as the legitimate govt for several years longer than Keith…”

    Or the United States government, which continued to back the Khmer Rouge as the legitimate government of Cambodia even years after they were kicked out.

    “No one knew what they were going to do when they were welcomed into power by most in the west.”

    I don’t imagine many expected a genocide on the scale that eventuated, but I think there was sufficient evidence of their intentions, not to mention considerable precedents for the atrocities commited by Marxist governments, to make backing them pretty stupid.

  2. So what? Keith didn’t agree with their policies either. No one knew what they were going to do when they were welcomed into power by most in the west.

  3. Although Valis, one could point out that the New Zealand Government’s recognition of the Khmer Rouge was more a case of “the enemy of my enemy (in this case Vietnam) is my friend” than an agreement of their policies.

  4. Yeah! It’s not like supporters of the Khmer Rouge are a danger to anyone.

    Do you mean the NZ govt, who recognised the KR as the legitimate govt for several years longer than Keith, who was among the first to disown them, or are you just being a dick again?

  5. The Khmer Rouge were communist not socialist and that was a temporary situation in reaction of Kissinger and Nixon bombing Cambodia.

    A similar situation could happen here; We now have 20% unemployment once governments start dishing austerity measures that will in turn deepen the contradiction and turn people into die hard revolutionaries. Not necessarily communist revolutionaries they could be people once considered ‘conservative’.

    This situation is already happening in France and Greece and will probably happen in the US AND HOEPFULLY TO THE REST OF THE WORLD!!!

  6. any socialist ideals are deemed dangerous. I can see why Caroline Lucas would be targeted as would anyone actively involved in Green Politics in NZ.

    Yeah! It’s not like supporters of the Khmer Rouge are a danger to anyone.

  7. I agree with bj.

    After reading the Shock Doctrine for the first time over the holidays an enemy of the US or UK is anyone who would like to limit corporate growth. Those who espouse any form of state ownership or control of assets or promote any socialist ideals are deemed dangerous. I can see why Caroline Lucas would be targeted as would anyone actively involved in Green Politics in NZ.

  8. One could add WikiLeaks also identified the US mentioning that they could spy on Maori activists under the global surveillance of terrorism (we did not accept the offer, mentioning police would do that locally).

  9. Keith

    If they published what they found, as Wikileaks does, it would be a lot more palatable.

    It isn’t the spying that is the problem, it is the secrets.

    BJ

  10. Don’t forget Keith that this cuts both ways; we can use the combined resources of the linked system to spy on people too…

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