Two years ago, three men broke into the U.S. Army’s spy base in Waihopai, New Zealand, slashing one of the plastic domes with sickles, causing over $1 million damage, and rendering it disfunctional for a short period. The three men – Adrian Leason, Father Peter Murnane and Sam Land – were pacifists, and chose a means of protest which destroyed the plastic dome, without causing damage or undue risk to human life. Whereas, when the spy dome is in operation, it participates in U.S. attempts to kill and torture Iraqi and Afghan citizens. Writing in a Foreward to Nicky Hager‘s book Secret Power (2006), Former New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange claimed he previously had no idea about the role of the Waihopai spy base in U.S. torture and killings: “…it was not until I read this book that I had any idea that we had been committed to an international integrated electronic network.” The Waihopai spy base was commissioned and built while David Lange was Prime Minister.
Yesterday, the three men were acquitted on all charges!
“Our actions in disabling the spy base and stopping the flow of information helped save lives in Iraq”, said Adrian Leason.
“We damaged property at the spy base in order to save victims of war and torture. It’s all about Jesus’ command for us to treat all people as our brothers and sisters”, said Father Peter.
The acquittal of the three protestors has sent the song “Let’s Shut Down Waihopai!” by Jeff Simmonds to Number One on the New Zealand Activist charts:
Justice – which must necessarily interrupt the systems of justice that create a hegemonic or absolute injustice – has been done. So let’s keep up the momentum. Why should the Waihopai spy base continue to carry out terrorist operations in this country?
“[Corporal Apiata, who won the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan for rescuing a wounded comrade under enemy fire] was no hero compared to Sam, Adrian and Peter… They are real heroes because what they did goes against the mainstream of New Zealand public opinion and was a truly brave, inspiring and courageous action. Unfortunately Apiata is involved in a very dirty war on behalf of America and the people of Afghanistan don’t want him there. I don’t see him as a hero because people have to take personal responsibility for their actions and I am not sure he realises the real reason why he is there in Afghanistan.”
– John Minto