For a world without spying

This is a copy of the speech given by Julia Espinoza to the rally against the GCSB Bill opposite Aotea Square on 29 July.

Kia ora, my name is Julia and I must start with expressing my gratitude and privilege at being able to share with you, some of my story, experiences and thoughts on the illegal spying and the GCSB bill before parliament.

I was born and raised in Aotearoa and I am the daughter of two political refugees which had to flee the political unrest in Chile.

Unfortunately, I too know, first hand, what it is like to be illegally spied upon.

My father was a political activist in Chile, fighting for democracy during Pinochet’s CIA and Chicago Boys-led military coup, where more than 3000 people were killed, 80,000 imprisoned and 30,000 tortured.

I will always remember that growing up, my family were under constant surveillance from the SIS. Our phones tapped, our house watched, direct threats were made against any political involvement here in NZ and endless harassment not only on us as a family, but to our workplaces, places of study and also to our extended family.

My family has never been involved in anything illegal. But for some reason, this government was feeling somewhat threatened. Threatened by our knowledge? Or perhaps our determination to stand up and fight for what is rightfully ours.

Intelligence gathered in NZ on Chilean activists fighting the regime, was being passed back to Pinochet’s secret policemen, who were then using it to further crackdown on the movements fighting for democracy.

The international solidarity campaign to isolate the murderous Pinochet regime, was absolutely crucial to the restoration of democracy. But NZ’s government surveillance of peaceful protesters against Chilean naval ships visits to Auckland and the NZ forestry investments in Chile, helped to create a climate of fear amongst the Chilean refugee community. Who knew what was being passed back, and if you were a prominent political activist, would your family back home be jailed? Be tortured? Be killed?

The GCSB Bill, if passed, will legalise the routine surveillance of NZ citizens fighting in solidarity with human rights and democracy movements around the world. That information won’t be staying in NZ. As we all know, it will be passed onto the NSA and CIA through the Five Eyes echelon alliance, and then given to who knows what repressive regime the US government is propping up in Latin America, or Asia, or the Middle East.

Yesterday in Santiago, Chile, young men and women organising for freedom, had to worry about the information being gathered by the secret police here in Auckland. Tomorrow it could be in Suva, it could be in Saudi Arabia, it could be in China.

Should we allow intelligence gathered by the GCSB in New Zealand to be passed to cut-throat criminals by our American allies? Hell no!!

I carry very close to me, my family's experience in Chile and everyday I am grateful for the opportunities Aotearoa and its people have given me and my loved ones. But this government get’s evermore embarrassing by the day.

Once our information is out there, it is very hard to get it back.

We need to defend our civil rights.

And let’s be very clear, what John Key and his government is trying to do IS a violation of our human rights! And we MUST keep fighting!

I have a dream! That governments all around the world, will stop spying on their citizens! That one day on the green hills of Aotearoa, Kim Dotcom, Edward Snowden, Tame Iti and Bradley Manning can sit and have a korero and know that Obama, that John Key, that some wannabe James Bond somewhere isn’t listening in to them. A world without spying. That’s what we are fighting for today.

Kia kaha.


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