December 16, 2008
The sordid actions of police informant Rob Gilchrist infiltrating New Zealand activist groups is yet another case of the bourgeois state ‘just doing its job’. In this blog post John Moore argues that the left should strongly condemn the police for their actions, yet those that act with howls of surprise and shock show how little understanding they have of the relationship between the state and capitalism in New Zealand. The left needs to start organizing more seriously against the coercive powers of the capitalist state, but at the same time exercising caution rather than paranoia.
Police spy Rob Gilchrist
The actions of Rob Gilchrist and the police reveal the ugly face of the capitalist state.
So far we know that Gilchrist has acted as a spy for the police for 10 years. He has informed and gathered information on organisations including Greenpeace, anti-Iraq War groups, poverty and beneficiary rights groups, animal welfare groups, GE-free groups and the Workers Party (formerly the Anti-Capitalist Alliance). The use of Gilchrist as a police spy was not an anomaly, but part of wider police intelligence programme. According to the Sunday Star Times http://tinyurl.com/684u3s
The use of an informer was part of a much wider police intelligence effort targeting community groups, using surveillance, filming of protests and seizure of computers and papers following protest arrests.
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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
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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