State snooping on activists

December 15, 2008

Yesterday Rob Gilchrist, who had moved in activist circles for many years, was outed as a spy in a feature article in the Sunday Star Times. Ironically Gilchrist was sprung by his girlfriend who discovered suspicious emails while helping him sort out some computer issues.

Gilchrist had spent a decade spying on an assortment of protest and activist groups, including the Workers Party. As far as we are aware he was forwarding to the police WP discussion emails for around 10 months in 2003-2004. He was taken off the party discussion group on 1 March 2004.

We reprint below an article on the expansion of the state’s snooping powers from The Spark 9 February 2005.

Civil rights fast disappearing

-Daphna Whitmore

Allegations in 2004 that the Secret Intelligence Service have been spying on political figures, including Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia, have been met with loud denials from the Prime Minister. As much as Ms Clark would like the public to think the allegations are preposterous it wouldn’t be the first time the SIS has gone beyond its extensive powers.

In 1996 an SIS agent was caught carrying out an illegal break-in and burglary of the home of political activist Aziz Choudry. A court later awarded Mr Choudry compensation for the illegal actions of the SIS. The government then promptly passed a law to legalise such break-ins, giving the SIS further powers to carryout home invasions. It was one of many instances in recent years where civil rights have been abolished in the name of “national security”.

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Low productivity - situate the blame with the bosses

December 15, 2008

Philip Ferguson The Spark December 2005

One of the big myths perpetrated by bosses is that big profits are needed in order for companies to reinvest in expanding production and therefore hiring more workers and increasing pay. More ‘freedom’ for employers was one of the big slogans of the ‘new right’ economic reforms of the fourth Labour government and its National successor.

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