Wednesday, April 04, 2001 11:12 AM
Subject: Nzl - Legislative changes aiming at securing social
and political control under preparation.
Derechos Human Rights
NEW ZEALAND PREPARES LEGISLATION WHICH WOULD
VIOLATE CIVIL LIBERTIES IN
ORDER TO BE ABLE TO APPLY SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CONTROL PATTERNS.
New Zealanders often brag that their country is a
world leader. They
claim it was first to create a welfare state and give suffrage to women.
The 1984-1990 Labour Government declared the country nuclear-free,
while, according to the Economist, it simultaneously set about
"out-Thatchering Mrs Thatcher" by applying textbook neoliberal
theory on an unsuspecting New Zealand public to a degree never seen in
any other OECD country. Now, some rosy-spectacled commentators like The
Guardian's Jonathan Freedland claim that Helen Clark's Labour Party-led
government, elected in 1999, is leading the world away from the blind
faith in the private sector and market dogma that has characterised so
many social democratic governments worldwide.
Whatever the truth of such claims, when it comes to state surveillance
and its security and intelligence legislation, this wannabe "world
leader" is as meek as a lamb, doing the bidding of its Big Brothers in
the USA, the UK, Australia and Canada.
A New Zealand Parliamentary committee is considering submissions on the
first part of legislative changes necessary to give New Zealand Police
and intelligence agencies new powers to hack computers, and intercept
emails, faxes and pager messages. State surveillance agencies are
specifically exempted from the amendment's provisions, sold to the
public as a benign anti-computer hacking/electronic crime measure.
For all the local intelligence community's obsession with monitoring
"foreign-influenced" activities, a "foreign hand" lurks
latest changes. They are largely motivated by US pressure to standardise
and synchronise global methods and capabilities for intercepting
electronic communications to assist its own intelligence operations.
Together with proposed amendments to the Telecommunications Act,
requiring internet service providers and telephone companies to install
equipment and software so that their systems can be intercepted, the
proposed law change closely resembles Britain's Regulation of
Investigatory Powers Act. This compels all Internet service providers
operating in Britain to be connected to a new MI5 email interception
centre, and to hand over encryption keys so that all messages can be
read. A dedicated centre may not be built in New Zealand, but the effect
will be the same.
The government is denying links between the new law and FBI plans to
make other countries adopt its requirements for surveillance of
electronic communications. But Assistant Police Commissioner Paul
Fitzharris admits that "proposed legislative changes would bring New
Zealand into conformity with most, if not all, of the International User
Requirements" - which are virtually identical to those promoted by the
FBI since 1992. Local police say that they know of no instances where a
crime had been plotted using email, and that criminals would be cautious
about what they said online.
New Zealand intelligence agencies have been subject to unwelcome
attention recently. In 1996 Wellington activist/researcher Nicky Hager
released his internationally-acclaimed book "Secret Power". This
New Zealand's role in an integrated international electronic and signals
intelligence network, governed by the secret UKUSA intelligence
agreement between the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It
highlighted the Echelon project, involving satellite interception
spybases in these five countries automatically and continuously
searching for key words in billions of messages. New Zealand's
Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) sends raw material that
it collects directly to the NSA.
Since 1988, protest camps and demonstrations near the GCSB's Defence
Satellite Communications Unit, the Waihopai spybase in the
sparsely-populated South Island, have demanded its closure, and the
GCSB's abolition. Waihopai's function includes spying on the
international communications of South Pacific nations.
New Zealand has always obediently played a junior role in the Western
alliance, cooperating with the USA, Canada, Australia and the UK. In
1956, the NZ Security Intelligence Service (SIS) was established after
pressure from Britain, its organisation strongly influenced by MI5.
During the Cold War, like their western counterparts, New Zealand
intelligence and security agencies served to protect an ideology which
was anti-communist, anti-Soviet, and anti-Third World liberation. The
SIS conducted investigations of the anti-Vietnam War movement, and the
anti-apartheid movement which grew throughout the 1970s, peaking with
mass mobilisations throughout the country during the 1981 South African
rugby team's New Zealand tour. It spied on trade unionists, students,
academics, diplomats, political refugees, and others.
The New Zealand Police Criminal Intelligence Service (CIS) grants itself
a broad mandate to collect information on people on the basis of their
political beliefs, and views formed by police intelligence officers that
their activities may potentially involve a breach of the criminal law.
Their work in this area has much in common with political elements in
police forces elsewhere which routinely monitor, harass and criminalise
political organisers and activities. The CIS and the SIS liaise closely.
Political and technical information about "subversion" and
"counter-subversion" was routinely shared among western security and
intelligence agencies during the Cold War and no doubt continues. After
the Cold War these agencies have struggled to justify their continued
existence and budgets by constructing other threats to "security".
Targets clearly include opponents of globalisation and neo-liberal
economic policies, Maori (Indigenous Peoples) advocating the right to
self-determination, and some migrant communities. One newspaper
editorial commented: "The state religion changes from anti-communism to
free trade, but the secret priesthood can still carry on persecuting
In July 1996 two SIS officers were interrupted breaking into my house
while I was organising a conference opposed to corporate globalisation,
two days before an APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) Trade
Ministers Meeting began in Christchurch. The break-in occurred two weeks
after a law change assuring us that the SIS would not institute
surveillance of anyone engaged in lawful advocacy, protest or dissent.
The same amendment contained a controversial redefinition of security.
It added the "making of a contribution to New Zealand's international
well-being or economic well-being" to an existing "protection of New
Zealand from acts of espionage, sabotage, terrorism, and subversion,
whether or not they are directed from or intended to be committed within
Security agencies have long interpreted "subversion" to justify spying
on movements, organisations and individuals promoting social, political
and economic ideas perceived to challenge dominant social or economic
But critics of the 1996 amendment argued that the redefinition of
"security" gave the SIS a carte blanche to spy on opponents of
unregulated foreign investment and free trade, and on Maori who
challenged the policies, practices and authority of the New Zealand
government at home and in international forums like the UN. Auckland
University law professor Jane Kelsey wrote that "changes to the
definition of "security" seem designed to secure a further closure of
debate..The very essence of a democratic society is that it secures the
best possible outcome for its people through freedom of speech and a
genuine contest of ideas. It appears that the government feels unable to
sustain the status quo in the face of free and open debate, and is
attempting to intimidate and monitor those who threaten to get in its
I subsequently brought a landmark civil case against the Government,
charging the SIS with trespass and unreasonable search in breach of the
New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, maintaining that the SIS had no legal
right of entry into private property. In December 1998 the Court of
Appeal found in my favour, ruling the break-in illegal. In reply, the
then National Party Government - aided by the Labour opposition, rushed
through legislation expanding the powers of the SIS by allowing them to
enter private property, and retrospectively approved all other SIS
break-ins between 1977 and 1999.
In February 1999, the SIS paid for Dame Stella Rimington, former head of
Britain's MI5 to fly to Wellington as an expert witness to support the
proposed law change giving the SIS powers of entry. She said that
without the power to enter property to install listening devices, the
SIS could not play a full part in the international intelligence
community. Later that month, FBI director Judge Louis Freeh visited
Wellington to discuss APEC security arrangements with the SIS, Police
and the Prime Minister.
Despite public opposition, the law was passed before New Zealand's
biggest ever security operation for September 1999's APEC Summit. The
definition of "security" was meaninglessly tweaked in a cosmetic
exercise to dispel concerns about its breadth.
Then, last May, two dozen trade unions, community organisations,
academics, religious and political leaders called for a parliamentary
inquiry into the Police CIS's role in targeting political organisations
This followed a High Court case brought by university lecturer David
Small against the Police, following police searches - purportedly for
"bomb-making equipment" of our respective homes within days of his
discovering the botched SIS break-in. In evidence, CIS officers admitted
photographing participants at a fund-raising quiz night and peaceful
demonstrations, watching my home and workplace, and monitoring
attendance at meetings on globalisation and other social justice
concerns, over a period of many years. They had actively assisted the
SIS in covering up their botched break-in. One CIS officer claimed that
Dr Small had first come to his attention in the 1980s, through writing
articles about Pacific independence issues - hardly evidence of
Maori nationalists have clearly been under surveillance. In 1997 the
houses of two Maori lawyers advocating indigenous sovereignty were
broken into at exactly the same time in different cities. The only
material disturbed in both instances were papers about constitutional
change in New Zealand already in the public domain. In 1999, the
Wellington Maori Legal Service revealed that an independent security
firm had swept its offices and found that phonecalls were being
intercepted externally. Maori lawyer and activist Annette Sykes also
discovered that her phones were being tapped and a location-tracing
device placed on her car. The Police and SIS stayed silent. Maori Legal
Service solicitor Taki Anaru said he was sure that the SIS was bugging
several Maori nationalists "because the definition of national security
is so broad these days".
New Zealand's intelligence and security agencies remain tightlipped
about their current targets and their interest in electronic
communications between activists. But a August 2000 Canadian Security
Intelligence Service report, "Anti-Globalization - A Spreading
Phenomenon" advocated "careful monitoring" of Internet
between individuals and groups opposed to globalisation "to determine
the intentions and goals of demonstrators, and to forestall unexpected
incidents." In recent years, Canadian and Australian state surveillance
operations targetting Indigenous Peoples' organisations have attracted
Behind its image as a country which bravely took on the USA over the
nuclear issue, New Zealand remains a willing junior subcontractor in the
Western Alliance's international intelligence gathering and surveillance
network. For an administration founded on colonisation and the
dispossession of Maori, and still wedded to market economic
fundamentalism, domestically, those who challenge dominant colonial and
economic orthodoxies and their overseas networks are clearly considered
fair game for surveillance.
In its bid to further expand SIS, Police and GCSB powers, Clark's
government is sidestepping some uncomfortable questions about these
agencies' roles in monitoring and managing domestic dissent. Modelled on
Blair's New Labour, (which has just enacted the draconian Terrorism Act
2000) it warmly embraces Third Way politics - aka "globalisation with a
smiley face". It seems equally committed to maintaining and extending
the national security state apparatus, and willingly complies with the
wishes of its senior intelligence partners in the US and the UK. For all
the rhetoric, it is hard to distinguish between New Zealand's largest
political parties, Labour and National, on security and intelligence
matters. Together, they have the numbers in Parliament to push the law
Many New Zealanders count sheep to get to sleep. But New Zealand's
national security state is still helping its Western Alliance buddies
count political dissidents.
[Documentation Note: "New Zealand Plays 'Follow the Leader' on spylaws",
By Aziz Choudry, 14Mar01. Posted by Znet on:
Secret Power - New Zealand's Role in the International Spy Network by
Nicky Hager Published by Craig Potton Publishing, First published 1996
EP Temporary Committee on the ECHELON interception system:
available (Draft Convention on Cyber Crime included).
Official homepage of the UK Criminal Justice and Police bill
Text of the Criminal Justice and Police Bill, as presented to the
of Commons on 18th January 2001
Global Internet Liberty Campaign - GILC
"An Appraisal of Technologies of Political Control".
Technological Options Assessment - STOA. 06jan98.
- Echelon: Development of surveillance technology and risk
of abuse of
economic information - STOA reports - PDF Files - 10/1999 - European
- Echelon pages of the Federation of American Scientists FAS
FIN DEL MENSAJE END OF MESAGGE EINDE BERICHT FIM DA MENSAGEM FINE
DEL MESSAGGIO ENDE NACHRICHT FIN DEL MENSAJE END OF MESAGGE EINDE
BERICHT FIM DA MENSAGEM FINE DEL MESSAGGIO ENDE NACHRICHT
Information is an Urgent Solidarity service edited and disseminated by
Human Rights Team. Nizkor is a member of the Peace and Justice
Derechos Human Rights (USA) and GILC (Global Internet Liberty Campaign).
PO Box 156037 - 28080 - Madrid - Espanha. Telephone: +34.91.526.7502
Fax: +34.91.526.7515 http://www.equiponizkor.org
- The content of this message is protected
Spanish Criminal Code according to Title X-Chapter I and Title
If you do not wish to receive Information messages send "unsubscribe"