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French judge to investigate Kiwi spy base

Green MP Rod Donald today said news that France has launched a judicial investigation into the ECHELON spy network, of which New Zealand is a part, is the latest manifestation of growing international concern about the eavesdropping network.

The French investigation comes at a time when the European Parliament has been hearing complaints from a number of European countries about the role of the United States controlled spy network.

New Zealand contributes to the network with an electronic interception station at Waihopai near Blenheim and a radio signals station at Tangimoana near Bulls. Waihopai now eavesdrops on every international phone call, fax and email which is transmitted by satellite to or from New Zealand and the Pacific.

"There is genuine concern among many nations about exactly what this spy alliance is up to," said Rod Donald. "It is being widely reported that the network is being used to gain a commercial advantage for nations like the United States in bidding for international contracts."

Mr Donald, who has repeatedly called for New Zealand to pull out of the top secret UKUSA agreement under which the Waihopai spy base is operated, said New Zealand's participation in the network was bad for our standing in the international community.

"In light of the ongoing concerns about this network the Greens would like the Government to review our involvement in it," he said. "As far as we can see there is absolutely nothing of any merit in it for us, rather there are enormous disadvantages."

Ends

Rod Donald MP: 025 507 183

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