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Greens want Government to come clean on spy bases

Greens want Government to come clean on spy bases

The Green Party is calling for the GCSB, the SIS and other Government spy agencies to front up to Parliament instead of hiding behind the closed Statutory Intelligence and Security Committee

The call for the Government to come clean on what its spy agencies get up to was made by Greens Co-leader Rod Donald and the party’s Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Keith Locke at a protest at the Tangimoana spy base near Bulls this afternoon.

“New Zealanders deserve to know exactly what role the Tangimoana and Waihopai spy bases play in the United States’ so-called War on Terrorism,” Mr Donald says.

“On the one hand Prime Minister Helen Clark rightly refused requests for New Zealand military participation in the US invasion of Iraq, yet on the other hand she is in charge of the GCSB, which provides signals intelligence to the US military machine in Iraq and around the globe.

“Everyone knows that the GCSB is part of the Echelon Network run by the National Security Agency (NSA) - which is twice the size of the CIA - but the Government refuses to reveal what obligations it has under the secret UKUSA Agreement. Tangimoana and Waihopai symbolise what a very, very good deputy sheriff the Labour Government is to George Bush.”

The GCSB has a staff of 303 and its budget was increased from $30 to $38 million this year.

“Thanks to a law rushed through by National and Labour in the dying days of first past the post, New Zealand’s Parliament is not allowed to conduct financial reviews of the GCSB and the SIS to scrutinize how they spend public money. Nor are we allowed to initiate select committee inquiries to their covert eavesdropping activities.”

All of New Zealand’s spy agency partners - Australia, Canada, Great Britain and even the USA, are subject to greater Parliamentary scrutiny in their own countries, Mr Donald says.

The Green Party wants the Waihopai Spy Base closed down, the GSCB to be abolished and Tangimoana to also be closed if it has no useful civilian purpose, such as monitoring fishing and other vessels in New Zealand’s economic zone.

“At the very least we want those agencies open to public scrutiny, so the Government has to justify why they should be able to invade the privacy of law abiding citizens and undermine our sovereignty as an independent nation,” Mr Donald says.

ENDS

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