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A kick in the balls


Three campaigners were arrested in May for breaking into a military base at Waihopai, New Zealand/Aotearoa. The facility is officially a ‘New Zealand intelligence gathering installation’ but, according to pressure group Anti-Bases Campaign, it actually operates in the interests of the US and NATO. Two giant domes shield its satellite interception dishes, which monitor international communications by fax, phone and email and pass them on to the US National Security Agency.

The ANZAC Ploughshares campaigners successfully entered the site and used sickles to puncture one of the ‘balls’, which are made of a rubberized material to act as a ‘waterproof jacket’ protecting the antennae from adverse weather. They then knelt down to pray for all victims of war. A Ploughshares spokesperson, Manu Caddie, said that planning the incursion into the communications monitoring base involved a lot of texting, emails and phone calls, wryly concluding: ‘I guess it shows that the system doesn't work that well.’

Auckland Archdeacon Glynn Cardy lent his support to the action, saying: ‘The ANZAC Ploughshares have punctured the illusion that the war in Iraq has nothing to do with us. There is no doubt that the facility at Waihopai aids the American military, just as there is no doubt that many have and are suffering due to the continuing occupation of Iraq.’

New Internationalist issue 413 magazine cover This article is from the July 2008 issue of New Internationalist.
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