Beating Swords into Ploughshares
In April 2008 Peter was one of three Catholic Worker activists who, calling themselves ANZAC Ploughshares, broke into the US run Waihopai spy base outside Blenheim in the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. After they broke in they deflated a radome, exposing the satellite dish within. Waihopai is a ground receiving station for space-based signals and electronic “intelligence”, which is then fed into the US “Defence” (war-fighting) system. The other Catholic Workers are young organic farmers, Sam land and Adi Leason.
Just like Pine Gap in Australia, information received at Waihopai is a key weapon in US wars around the world. The intelligence is used to generate real- time battlefield information, and to discern military, economic and political targets for operational purposes. The US military calls this space-based intelligence capacity a “force multiplier” – and has been accelerating its use since 1991 and its first war against Iraq.
Peter Murnane says the information collected at Waihopai is also used to identify people for the US “extraordinary rendition” program where suspected “terrorists” are kidnapped and tortured in CIA black ops. Waihopai is part of the Echelon eavesdropping program of US intelligence.
When the ANZAC Ploughshares deflated the Waihopai dome, they not only exposed the role of that spy base in waging global war – they also showed how it’s possible for human beings to act directly and effectively against war.