Police anti-terror squad spies on protest groups

By NICKY HAGER and ANTHONY HUBBARD - Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 14 December 2008

POLICE TEAMS set up to identify terrorism threats and risks to national security are spying on protest and community groups, including Greenpeace, animal rights and climate change campaigners, and Iraq war protesters.

Police officers from the Special Investigation Group (SIG) have carried out surveillance and used a paid informer to gather information not just about planned protests but the personal lives and sexual relationships of group members…

Wellington human rights lawyer Michael Bott said the surveillance of peaceful groups was repugnant and “has shades of Big Brother and Soviet Russia”. Surveillance of the personal lives of members of peaceful groups meant the basic right to privacy was being eroded. “It just appears fundamentally abusive and wrong.”

Auckland human rights lawyer Tim McBride said the surveillance was “outrageous in a country that goes off to the United Nations and prattles on about our proud human rights record”.

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