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SIS? Or who’s spying now?

Written By: - Date published: 12:54 pm, September 13th, 2009 - 27 comments
Categories: activism, animal welfare, Spying - Tags:

Embassy fur protestEmbassy fur protest

On Thursday Animal Rights Activists did a protest outside the Norwegian Embassy against the fur trade there. This was to support the campaign in Norway, where activists have just released an investigation into 50 fur farms.

During the protest a man was observed sitting in a car across the road taking photographs of the protest with a long lensed camera. Activist John Darroch wandered across the road to return the favour and get photographs of the spy.

The spy was seemingly willing to go to extreme lengths to prevent his photograph being taken. Firstly, he put his shirt over his head to cover his face, and then he took off in his car. Darroch followed him up the road to where he had to stop at the traffic lights, and again took some photographs. The spy, driving blindly with his shirt still over his head put his foot on the accelerator, and almost ran over three pedestrians who were using the crossing. He stopped just in time, but once the pedestrians were through, he took off again while the light was still red.

A uniformed police car that was parked and observing the protest then turned on its siren and took off after the spy. The police pulled the car up around the corner, spoke to the spy for a short period and then let him go.

Now this is where the story gets interesting. It’s not at all unusual for activists to be spied on by the various intelligence and counter-terrorism police units, and by private investigation firm Thompson & Clark. So following the protest, activists did a look up on the registration of the car and found that it would return no details, not even the model number and colour of the car.

Confused as to why the plates gave no details, activists then ran the plates of a few cars also known to belong to spies. They ran cars known to be used by Thompson & Clark, the various covert police groups, and even a uniformed police car. All came back with details.

As far as is possible, the police and private investigators have been ruled out as the spy. This leaves me with the only likely conclusion that the spy was from the SIS. I’m bewildered as to what possible threat the SIS consider anti-fur protesters to be, and it certainly shows that the SIS have not changed from the cold war days where they considered anyone with a left wing ideology to be a threat to the state.

27 comments on “SIS? Or who’s spying now? ”

  1. George D 1

    I just take it for granted these days that the SIS will spy on people I know.

    And I’m not going to get upset about it.

    Because getting upset about something that isn’t going to change is just counterproductive. Helen Clark and Phil Goff actively endorsed this system, and attacked its critics. The New Zealand Labour Party won’t change things, and needless to say the Tories are happy with the status quo. In fact, they’ve set up a competition between themselves to see who can give the most of our rights away in the name of “security”.

    • alice 1.1

      yo i didn’t consent to my photo being taken in the first pic, take it down.

      IrishBill: done.

  2. Swampy 2

    They are interested in left wing activists who chain themselves to railway tracks and blow up bridges.

    • George D 2.1

      Lies. No left wing or environmental group in NZ has ever blown anything up. The opposite is true. Both of the terrorist bombings in New Zealand have been against a trade union and an environmental group, respectively. Serious questions remain about the Trades Hall bombing.

      Small scale road/railway blocking type protest is a matter for the police in most democracies, and it should be here.

      And since when did Jane Kelsey or Aziz Choudry ever do anything of the illegal? Last time Kelsey was involved in any direct kind of protest was in the 1980s. Why is it good to continue to spy on Members of Parliament (they’ve only backed down because it was so transparently outrageous).

      • George D 2.1.1

        In fact, these agencies have been caught elsewhere being responsible for such bombings – ASIO are responsible for Australia’s only domestic terrorist act: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Hilton_bombing

      • Swampy 2.1.2

        Alright then
        “They are interested in left wing / right wing activists who chain themselves to railway tracks and blow up bridges.”

        Since you claim it is just left wing activists that are targeted it is on your head to prove the National Front and other far right groups are not similarly targeted.

        The Save Happy Valley coalition concreting themselves to the sleepers in the path of a train is not a “Small scale road/railway blocking type protest”. It was a very stupid action that could have easily seen them run over and the train derailed. Incidentally a railway bridge was blown up during the 1951 waterfront strike.

        There’s nothing special about being an MP that should exempt you, the point being the persons concerned were well known to the police before they entered Parliament.

      • Swampy 2.1.3

        Guilt by association. When the Save Happy Valley coalition blocked the railway tracks the ringleaders who were arrested and charged turned out to be individuals well known to the police. A bit like Sue Bradford in that line of notoriety. Or Tame Iti.

      • Swampy 2.1.4

        Association. You choose your friends, if one or more of those friends is a known “extremist” or “Subversive” then it can be easy to understand they will get special attention from the authorities.

        [there’s no such thing as guilt by association in New Zealand. It’s confined to authoritarian regimes. Something Swampy clearly wishes we had]

  3. illuminatedtiger 4

    Good they got a clear photo of the guy considering they may well be sending people in to infiltrate these groups.

  4. Bill 5

    They got to practice their shit somehow Rocky. Animal Rights is about all that happens in NZ, so….

    And anyway, I kind of like the idea that state agencies are willing to spy on most anyone who pops their head above the parapet ’cause they will have so much information that they won’t know what to do with it or, whe it cmes down to it, tell Martha from Arthur.

  5. Hilarious! Worst. Spy. Ever.

  6. I’m guessing there is nothing sinister at all and there is a logical explanation.

    I mean a couple of animal rights protesters are no big deal, and I don’t think any big spy agency would be bothered with them.

    Its probably a guy who has business interests or something.

    • John 7.1

      Hey this kind of surveillance of activists by govt agencies is routine. Check out this case where a member of a police counter terrorist unit was caught covertly photographing five anti foi gras protesters http://www.indymedia.org.nz/article/77575/still-lying-still-spying-anti-terror-pol

      Ridiculous but common.

    • rocky 7.2

      Hmmm. You sure about that Brett? See I remember having my house raided and computers, cellphone, cameras etc taken simply for participating in a peaceful anti-fur picket. I won in court, but the point is this was the Threat Assessment Unit, part of CTAG (Combined Threat Assessment Group) which the SIS is also part of.

      Then last year I found out that my boyfriend who I had lived for a year was actually an infiltrator who had been spying on myself and my friends for 10 years.

      Animal rights activists who have requested their SIS file under the privacy act have been given a neither confirm nor deny answer about whether an SIS file even exists. Supposedly they only do that for people they are still keeping an eye on.

      And of course you missed my point about the number plate. Businesses don’t have anonymous number plates.

      • Ag 7.2.1

        The logical thing to do is stop being a victim. Why not spy back? Surely, there are members of the police force and other government agencies as well as friendly political figures. It amazes me that activist groups will just stand back and let themselves be victimized by the security services without taking action to deter them.

        The New Zealand SIS is a rather small outfit, and they aren’t terribly efficient. Frankly, they’re a bunch of putzes by all accounts. They can’t have that many people working for them. What you need to do is keep taking photographs, keep publishing them on the internet, and out as many of these pricks and their silly games as you can. In fact, activists could do nothing better than outing as many members of the security services as they can.

        It’s not like they can stop you given the fact of the internet, and they can’t make a big deal out of it publicly, because they value secrecy.

        And that is their weak point. They rely on secrecy and anonymity, so deny them both.

  7. spot 8

    Probably doing nothing more than a run of the mill ‘threat assessment’ type role, of the kind you’d reasonably expect we’re obliged to undertake in relation to security of foreign nationals and embassies etc etc.

  8. BLiP 9

    Good work!! Any protest action these days requires a counter-surveilance aspect, great to see youse are on to it. That number plate issue is odd. Is it possible that Norway has sent one of its own over to have a look, I wonder, and supplied their spy with a brand new vehicle that hasn’t yet had its details entered into the system. What was the plate number?

    The driver should have been done for dangerous driving by the sounds of it.

  9. Is it possible you could post the number plate?

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