Anti-war group attacks New Zealand spy base

Other News Materials 30 April 2008 07:24 (UTC +04:00)

An international anti-war group attacked a New Zealand spy base Wednesday, claiming it was part of a United States- backed global network, the dpa reported.

Police arrested three men, alleged to be linked to a London-based group called Ploughshares, which promotes the cause of disarmament by disabling warplanes and military equipment.

In a statement, a group called Anzac Ploughshares said it cut through three metal fences at dawn to enter the base at Waihopai, near Blenheim, which is operated by New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), and used sickles to deflate one of two 30-metre high domes covering satellite interception dishes.

The statement said the three men, including a Dominican friar, "built a shrine and knelt in prayer to remember the people killed by United States military activity."

New Zealand peace groups claim that the base, set in remote farming country near the top of the South Island, is part of Echelon, a worldwide network of signals interception facilities run by US and British intelligence agencies.

The statement said the attack was in response to the administration of US President George W Bush saying that intelligence gathering was the most important tool in the war on global terrorism.

"This war will have no end until citizens of the world refuse to let it continue," the statement said.

"The Echelon spy network, including Waihopai, is an important part of the US government's global spy network, and we have come in the name of the Prince of Peace to close it down."

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, who heads the government's security agency and consistently refuses to comment on any security matters, condemned the attack as a "senseless act of vandalism." dpa db ffxnc005 aa eq ecs tra 000