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So the GCSB has now been officially proven to have been illegally spying on New Zealanders. Anti-Bases Campaign (ABC) has been saying that ever since the Waihopai spy base was opened in 1989. But it is nice to be proven right and to have a number put on the people who were illegally spied on – 85.
But that will only be the tip of the iceberg. When the powers that be had to admit that the GCSB illegally spied on Kim Dotcom, the GCSB assured us that he was the only they’d ever done that to.
But now they admit to 84 more (are these people going to be identified and/or given an apology? They deserve compensation, in the same way that the State had to compensate Aziz Choudry for the illegal SIS break-in at his Christchurch home in 1996).
But the fact of the matter is that is what the GCSB does.
It spies on people 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
That is the real crime here. Waihopai intercepts and downloads international electronic communications sent via civilian telecommunications satellites.
Whenever ABC has asked GCSB or the Government (National or Labour) whether Waihopai intercepts international communications where one party is a New Zealander, they have refused to answer.
So, take it as read, that the GCSB and Waihopai have been routinely spying on the communications of countless New Zealanders for decades. That can just be added to the list of transgressions of this most dysfunctional, dangerous and fundamentally useless agency.
Neither the GCSB nor Waihopai operates in the national interest of New Zealand. Both must be closed. And the sooner the better.
Anti-Bases Campaign salutes those brave three Christian peace activists – Adrian Leason, Peter Murnane and Sam Land – who did actually shut down the 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 for the more than $1 million that it cost to replace the dome that they deflated.
That civil case is due back in the Court of Appeal on May 8 & 9.
We have scratched our heads as to why the GCSB persists in pursuing these three men (who all live a life of voluntary poverty).
Now we have realised that it is desperate to find the money somewhere to pay all its legal costs arising from the Dotcom bungle and which will arise from the confirmation of its systematic illegal spying. It will also have to find the money for all the redundancies when it gets shut down.
The GCSB must immediately call off its vindictive persecution of the Waihopai Domebusters and drop the case.
They 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. Today’s revelations vindicate them even further.
They deserve the thanks of all of us and an official apology.
Who are the bloody criminals now?
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