Police spying revelation rocks New Zealand

IntelNews has paid particular attention to domestic intelligence operations conducted against law-abiding protest activity in the so-called “war on terrorism”. The US is hardly the only Western country where intensification of government spying on protest activity has been noted in recent years. During the past few days, political life in New Zealand has been stirred by revelations that the country’s police force has for years used “paid informants to infiltrate protest groups”, including “groups such as Greenpeace, animal rights and climate change campaigners and Iraq war protesters”. The scandal erupted after activist Rochelle Rees discovered numerous emails sent to the Christchurch Police Department by her former partner, Rob Gilchrist. The emails reportedly reveal that Gilchrist “had been paid to supply information from various groups to police over several years”. Speaking today, New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, said his government would not intervene in the scandal, though it would “need to be satisfied […] that those being investigated were worthy of investigation, [that] they present a real or credible risk to the safety and security of communities, not just a group the police target because they feel like it”. The police have said that they “based their actions on a wide range of information” and that “even environmental groups could undertake quite violent behavior”. Rochelle Rees, the activist who unearthed the spying emails, said that none of the groups she was involved in were involved in any form of violence. [IA]

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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