Sunday, June 7, 2009

Rob Gilchrist - police informant for 'anti-terror' unit

Rob Gilchrist, a Christchurch-based man has spied on activist groups for more than 10 years. He worked for the NZ Police and was sending information to Detective Peter Gilroy and Detective Sergeant John Sjoberg. They are both members of the Special Investigation Group (SIG).

The SIG has groups in Auckland (headed by Aaron Lee Pascoe), Wellington (headed by Brian Woodcock) and Christchurch (where Gilroy and Sjoberg are based). Gilchrist, also know as balaclava, was spying on various groups including the Save Happy Valley Coalition, Peace Action Wellington, Auckland Animal Action and many other groups and individuals.

“This man has not only participated in illegal activity, including breaking and entering buildings, but has incited others to do the same, all the while, being paid by Police to report on them. The Police then use this information to make a case to a court of law in order to obtain search warrants and interception warrants and to make arrests” said Sally Darity from the Justice NOW! Collective.

“Gilchrist provided Police with information on at least three of the defendants in Operation 8 – the name for the State Terror raids of October 15th 2007. The police affidavit which was used as evidence to gain interception warrants against these people and many others is filled with ‘informant information’.”

“The ‘informant information’ is not available to the defendants. The identity of the informant is secret. This leaves the defendants in a legal black hole – defending themselves against information they do not have access to, from a person whose credibility cannot be questioned.”

“The exposing of Gilchrist as a police informant is clear evidence of the manufacture of the police case in Operation 8. The Police are desperate to justify their massive ‘anti-terrorism’ budget, so they have branded activists as terrorists. Political protests, including prayer circles outside the US Embassy, are routinely subject to heavy police surveillance. The targeting of political groups should be a wake-up call to everyone who is concerned about the exponential growth of state surveillance and police power at the expense of freedom and justice.”

This article was originally published in December 2008 on Aotearoa Indymedia