Wellington protests against the Surveillance State (part toru)
Continued from: Wellington protests against the Surveillance State (part rua)
NZ, Wellington, 27 July – The peaceful protest march had arrived at Parliament without incident, and people were in good spirits.
The way that democracy is under threat in New Zealand (see: Defence rates investigative journalists as threat), this protester had a point;
The numbers swelled on Parliament’s grassy grounds;
Protest organiser, Ariana, welcomed people and explained why the GCSB Bill (and it’s sister Bill, the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Amendment Bill) were a threat to our free, open, and democratic way of life in this country;
A simple appeal from a New Zealander to the government; please don’t spy on me;
Question – when did we arrive at a state in our affairs when we have to plead for privacy from our own government?
When you think about it, the image below is spot-on. It is more than a little pervy for the State to be spying on it’s citizens and reading all manner of intimate emails, and other electronic communications;
Young people who wanted their message seen;
The flags of Mana and The Greens, fluttering in the unseasonably warm July breeze;
Mick’s telescope, set up to peer up at the Ninth Floor of the Beehive;
Were there really on “500″ people attending, as the media (except TVNZ) claimed? Look for yourself;
Is that a statue of Lenin holding the red flag?!
And another shot of the rally numbers ;
That looks a tad more than “500″ to me. My guesstimate – between 3,000 to 5,000 people.
Green Party co-Leader addressed the rally. He said that when National MPs sneer at you, remember that they are frightened of you.
With a wry grin, and semi-seriously, Russell also suggested that everyone submit OIA requests to the GCSB asking how many had attended the rallies around the country. He said it might be fun to tie them up so they could not spy on us.
He finished of by repeating that “we should reject mass surveillance and reject this Bill“.
Billy McKee, from the Green Cross, then addressed the rally, vowing that he would lead an occupation to oppose this Bill;
Organiser, Ariana, interviewed by a TV1 News team;
Ploughshares Aotearoa Peace campaigner, Adrian Leason, who along with two other activists, entered the Waihopai spy base and deflated one of the domes, addressed the rally;
He encouraged concerned citizens everywhere to “disarm the plastic covers on the spybase” and put the facility out of operation. He said the Waihopai base spied on the United Nations, including diplomats and staff.
Adrian told the rally that Warner Bros had requested the GCSB to spy on Kim Dotcom. He said that worrying about the loss of our privacy was only “one piece of the bigger puzzle”.
His address was warmly received by the rally.
Civil liberties campaigner/Tech Liberty co-founder, Thomas Beagle, followed;
Thomas said that the GCSB bill was about “mass surveillance” and expanding the power of the State,
“It’s about spying on everyone, no matter what they’ve done, no matter what they’re going to do. This sort of mass surveillance changes the balance of power in our society away from the people and towards the state.
I believe in the right to privacy, I believe in the right to sit in my house and call my friends on the phone without the Government listening.
I believe in freedom of expression and freedom of association, for people not being scared into silence because they are being watched by Government spies.”
[Blogger's note: actual quote taken from msm.]
The next speaker was veteran peace and social justice campaigner, Valerie Morse;
Valerie read out a long list of legislation that successive governments had passed over the last decade that had, in some way, taken away some aspect of our civil liberties; increased the power of the State; or elevated the primacy of corporate power over our own rights.
She condemned the GCSB’s close links to American spy agencies, saying that we “do not need our every movement logged by the NSA“.
Valerie said that the greatest struggle was to protect our freedoms. She said,
“Enough, we will not take any more. The struggle goes on for a free society.”
It was an amazing turnout for Wellington, Valerie said; “we are winning!”
Following Valerie, CTU President, Helen Kelly addressed the rally;
Helen said that this government was becoming a bully. She said, “Don’t buy into ‘nothing to fear so have nothing to hide. We all have things we want to hide and keep to ourselves“. That was called privacy, she said.
Helen reminded the rally that this government has been abusing its power by persecuting beneficiaries and has only recently tried to access a journalist’s records in the Peter Dunne case,
“Peter Dunne – who did not want his emails read!”
Following Helen was Rimutaka Labour MP, Chris Hipkins;
Chris said that there was a fundamental principle that we all have a right to privacy. He criticised Ohariu MP, Peter Dunne as “wrong to sell his vote“.
Chris then announced the following policy statement,
“We will work to have it repealed!”
Chris’s policy pledge echoes that of Labour MP, David Cunliffe, who announced at an anti GCSB Bill public meeting in Auckland on Friday 26 July,
“The Labour Party has a proud tradition of taking on evil and inequitous legislation whether it’s apartheid or nuclear weapons or other things of that nature. Our leader has committed to a thourough review of this legislation and based upon what’ve have heard tonight, I personally, and I’m sure my caucus colleagues, will be of the view that this legislation must not, will not, and cannot stand!”
See previous blogpost: David Cunliffe announces Labour Govt will repeal GCSB Bill!! **Updated**
This is another clear indication that Labour is committed to repealing this damnable piece of legislation, should it lead the next government.
We will hold them to that promise.
In which case, what does it profit National, and it’s smile and wave leader, to pass unpopular legislation, knowing that it will not survive a change of government?
In Kiwi parlance, the Nats are on a hiding to nowhere.
Time to give it up, Mr Key.
Brief vid of Wellington street march
Source: Youtube – Chris Russell
Ironically, it is Peter Dunne who will not release his email correspondence between himself and Fairfax journalist, Andrea Vance, insisting on his privacy – or “Parliamentary privilege”, as he calls it.
Dunne insists on maintaining his privacy (whilst voting away ours). When Inquiry head, David Henry, requested Parliamentary Service access to Andrea Vance’s internal office telephone records, he was indignant,
“They went far too far. It’s now clear he didn’t have the authority to do what he claimed to do. The fact that a journalist’s records were sought without her approval is a significant impingement on her rights and freedoms.”
I hope Parliament’s air-conditioning is working properly. The stench of hypocrisy must be over-powering.
Meanwhile, from South Korea, Dear Leader Key responded to Saturday’s nationwide street marches,
“I accept there are some that will always feel a bit nervous about privacy and their own rights, but I can give you the best assurance I can that we’re very careful and cautious about what we do as a state. But in the end we do have to protect the interests in New Zealanders.”
The public though – or at least a considerable majority – do not trust Key as much as he would believe,
A 3News Reid Research poll released on Thursday night asked 1000 voters who they believed – 52 per cent said Dotcom, 34 per cent said John Key, and the rest didn’t know or didn’t care.
If I were Key, I would not be so smug and arrogant as to think that we trust him to “protect the interests in New Zealanders”.
Spying on New Zealanders is not “protecting our interests”. More likely, it suggests how much he fears us.
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 29 July 2013.
Facebook: Alastair Foster
MSN News: Kiwis don’t believe Key over Dotcom
Dominion Post: Thousands join rally against GSCB
NZ herald: Protest marches against GCSB bill across NZ
Newstalk ZB: Anti-GCSB feelings growing – Norman
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