Still lying, Still spying

Written By: - Date published: 9:39 am, August 17th, 2009 - 25 comments
Categories: activism, police - Tags:

A media release yesterday from the Justice NOW collective! shows how both police and corporate spies are still taking a major interest in the activities of small peaceful protest groups. From the media release:

The anti-terror police are still spying on legitimate political protest, and they are still lying to the public about what they are doing despite Howard Broad’s assurances that they do not target political groups’ said Sally Darity, spokesperson for the Justice NOW! Collective.

In central Wellington, a member of the Special Investigation Group (SIG), Detective Richard Grover, was caught photographing a small animal rights protest against a restaurant serving foie gras (force-fed goose/duck liver) on 5th August 2009. When questioned by local cameraman Daryl Hunt about what he was doing, Grover initially denied any knowledge of the situation before admitting to taking photographs and hiding his camera in a grocery bag. Later that day when he was contacted at the Wellington Central Police Station and the realisation that his cover had been blown set in, he changed tact once again, this time denying even being at the protest.

Note the photograph attached proves the Detective was actually at the protest.

People need to realise that this isn’t just something that happens to those “radical fringe protesters” as seems to be a common perception on the left. The emails police informant Robert Gilchrist was sending to the police included stuff on unions, environmental groups and anti-war groups. I have caught detectives from the police counter-terrorism units taking photographs of people at large marches of varying kinds. Their focus is always on which groups / causes are most active at the current time. This means that presently they will be interested in any intelligence on the groups protesting Paula Bennett breaching the privacy of solo-mothers, as well as protests / action against the super-city.

I have very little hope that the current government will do anything to stop the police overreaction to protests (after all they refused any sort of an inquiry into my ousting of police informant Robert Gilchrist), but I very much wish Labour would wake up and realise how much of this they are responsible for. After all, with Labour in opposition, it will be many of their members who will now be being spied on for their activism.

25 comments on “Still lying, Still spying”

  1. Noko 1

    Well, duh.

    You have your freedoms, but you’re not actually meant to use them!

    Silly people.

  2. ghostwhowalks 2

    They seem to be a revival of the old Special branch.
    But the visible presence would only be the tip of the iceberg, emails, phone calls would all be tapped.
    Plus a new twist GPS locater’s can be attached to vehicles covertly to show where and how long they stay . (hint look under windscreen wipers, washers)

    • BLiP 2.1

      Don’t even need them – the new cellphones have GPS chips which can be activated remotely.

      If you’re planning direct action these days: trust no one, randomise behaviours, do not use computers or phones for mission-critical operations, and work in a cell formation. If you’re heading for a meeting, wait for the busiest traffic time of day, leave your cell phone at home, catch a bus then a taxi and have a silent comrade on your 6 o-clock and rotate positions to watch for watchers. Its also a good idea to have layers of quite distinctive clothes which can be peeled off as you go along. When organising a protest, make sure you have an anti-surveillance operation running parallel, get the operatives in place well back from the site of the protest and in plenty of time. Basic tactics, I know, but they have protected activists all over the world for many years.

      Seems a shame we have to start thinking like this in Aotearoa in response to the actions of our own police force.

      • Swampy 2.1.1

        Pray tell what is “direct action”? Is it some euphemism for doing as you please (a bit of violence helps your cause does it?)

        See, if you believe you are above the law, don’t be surprised if the law takes an interest in you.

        What’s different these days? There is a lot more crime happening, including criminal protest action. The public at large don’t want to know and don’t care. That is the best way I can think of to get the message across, we don’t want a bar of your “direct action”.

  3. Ag 3

    The rational thing to do is for such groups to spy on the police. There are obviously going to be some of the cops who dislike what is being done and let the occasional email slip. Not every cop is an authoritarian sadist.

    The police will never stop spying on protest groups so the latter ought to stop acting like victims.

    • Rex Widerstrom 3.1

      They’d stop if we ever elected a government whose PM or Police Minister had the balls to tell them to stop. And give the PCA the power to review all files held and delete those not considered to be actual terrorists. I doubt someone with a problem over pate is like to build an IED anytime soon.

      Off-topic: When will people realise it’s “change tack?! We’ve had a NZ yacht in the Americas Cup, everyone must have listened to that commentator fellow, they must have heard the phrase dozens of times… how can one change tact, unless it’s to suddenly morph into one of the crazier denizens of the right wing blog commentariat? But even that’s not changing tact, it’s just losing it altogether.

      *sigh* I’ll go lie down now.

      • lprent 3.1.1

        On the tact point. I was about to amend rocky’s post – then I realized she was quoting someone else who was staining the English language as much as the police are undermining their role in society.

        Damn-it, lost a chance to be an annoying uncle again. Waste of my lack of tact…

        • Rex Widerstrom

          Well you could have a go at her on the missing “sic”.

          Sorry rocky, just sayin’… 😛

  4. rocky 4

    Sorry Lynn, but it might take a bit of effort before you can legitimately criticise my sentence structure, spelling or grammar. Particularly when one considers how much effort it takes you at times 😉

    • Ag 4.1

      Given all that’s happened it’s rather humorous that your site is called “love pigs”.

      • rocky 4.1.1

        I prefer not to associate members of the police force with pigs. Pigs are beautiful, intelligent creatures, and police are, well, not.

  5. Helo 5

    Remember how you were spied on and didnt know it.

    Hahahhahahahaha. Cant believe you didnt pick up on it for so long. Who the fudge dates men 30yrs you senior if not for the coin anyway.

    At least you have refined your sense to picking out whats right under your nose these days.

    Truly happy days.

    • rocky 5.1

      If he’d actually been 30 years my senior (rather than less than 20), and had actually had some coin (rather than me paying all the bills), I might agree. But sadly not.

      As for picking up what’s right under my nose. Isn’t hindsight such a wonderful thing? You ever felt that?

  6. Jared 6

    Personally I don’t have a problem with the Police keeping an eye on radical groups who tend to promote anarchist behaviour in the name of their cause.

    • Lew 6.1

      Ok. How about those that don’t?

      Because the point of the post is that that’s who they’re keeping an eye on.


    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      “anarchist behaviour”? WTF is anarchist behavior?

      • rocky 6.2.1

        Exactly. While some I associate with would call themselves anarchists, many I associate with, including me, wouldn’t. And why should a particular political ideology make you a target? Surely it’s an individual or groups’ actions, rather than their beliefs, that are a potential threat?

        • Swampy

          Action is belief put into practice. (You are talking about a fairly extreme minority political ideology here. This is not the Labour Party blog, is it)

      • Pascal's bookie 6.2.2

        “WTF is anarchist behavior?”

        Y’know, moustache twirling, playing about with those black bowling ball shaped bombs with ‘bomb’ written on them, cackiling.

        Shit like that.

      • BLiP 6.2.3

        -••• -•– •–• •-• — •••• •• •- •••

  7. “after all they refused any sort of an inquiry into my ousting of police informant Robert Gilchrist”

    Were any charges laid? there seemed to be a range of suggestions thrown around at the time as to various crimes that may have been committed.

    Gotta say, I really don’t like this spying stuff (and not just cause i’m paranoid), in straight out practical terms, I avoided going to visit my local mosque last week when it was open for Islam awareness week, I assumed that there would be some kind of police presence, hiding somewhere, snapping away. And ya know, that combined with me studying philosophy and politics, and what do we have here…

  8. BLiP 8

    In the words of someone who knows:

    The police are supposed to be protecting (healthy democracy) but instead they are inhibiting it. It’s foolish of them since stomping on peaceful protest is the best way to make people more extreme and push them underground.’

    True that. The creepy part about it all is the increasing surveillance of citizens by business interests. In some respects, Broad could easily have fronted the Prime Minister and said “the police are not spying on political groups” for the simple reason that they have contracted the work out. Given the level of secrecy that surrounds the budget for this work, how would we ever know?

    The good news is that for all the techno-gadgetry and sophistry at the state’s disposal, a cautious and properly organised protest group will always win, leaving the business and official spies looking like the plonkers they are.

    All hail the Heros of Waihopai!

    • rocky 8.1

      Thanks for quoting me BLiP 🙂 But unless they were to totally contract out their spying, with the evidence to the contrary I have, Howard Broad could claim no such thing (the minor comments he did make publicly I have direct proof to the contrary).

      As for the minister, I don’t think police ministers in any previous or current government care. My ex infiltrated under the previous National Government in 1998 as part of the Threat Assessment Unit. The previous Labour Government then set up and funded the Special Investigation Group (SIG) which he was then attached to. The current National Police Minister refused to act upon all the information I released last year. John Key in fact publicly attacked my credibility on the basis that our poor PM was upset over the google-bomb I set up against him.

  9. Swampy 9

    What we do know is that many so-called “peaceful protests” are nothing of the sort. They involve physical force, like on on picket lines where they use force to try to stop people from crossing the picket or entering the premises.

    Some sort of so-called “peaceful protestors” chained themselves to railway tracks thereby putting their lives at risk but also if they had been run over by a train the driver would have been severely traumatised, what is “peaceful” about that.

  10. Swampy 10

    Where there’s smoke there’s fire. Cue faux outrage from Keith Locke et al, Sue Bradford (who was involved in any number of so called “peaceful protests”, the truth is that many of these so called “peaceful protests” get whipped up by agitators and even if they don’t, some of the people involved in there are downright nasty types well known to the police.

    I don’t do protests much but I do remember an anti-abortion march where some crazy woman turned up dressed like a witch (black pointy hat and all) to present the most vile abuse at those present. When you have got some idiot saying it is acceptable to burn the NZ flag at an Anzac Day rally in the name of “free speech” then I think that you are failing to recognise how extremist your position really is. I’ve got no problem with the police keeping an eye on some of the Tami Iti or Sue Bradford type political extremists, many of whom are already well known to them.

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