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NZ support of global intelligence system dangerous

26 August 2005

Wilkie: NZ support of global intelligence system dangerous

Australian intelligence expert Andrew Wilkie has warned that New Zealand support for a global intelligence system could have perverse results for this country.

Mr Wilkie, who resigned his job as a senior intelligence analyst for the Australian Government in the run-up to the Iraq war, is in New Zealand to warn Kiwis of the dangers of cosying up to the United States and diluting our anti-nuclear legislation. He was brought to New Zealand by the Green Party.

"New Zealand gave tacit assistance to the invasion of Iraq by continuing to operate its part of the US-UK-Canada-Australia-NZ signals intelligence system," Mr Wilkie says. "New Zealand is a fully paid-up member of this alliance, so the country is a tacit accomplice in each and every act of mischief attempted by its signals intelligence partners.

"This situation is inescapable so long as New Zealand continues to participate in a system over which it has so little control. Even its facilities on New Zealand soil are not entirely within its control because others design and build some of the equipment, and are involved in programming the computers, which manage what the sensors collect and where the information collected is eventually routed.

"Despite New Zealand involvement in the global signals intelligence system, US repayment for Wellington's refusal to officially support the invasion of Iraq was to virtually deny New Zealand all forms of US intelligence on Iraq."

Mr Donald says the Greens want an inquiry into the role the Waihopai spy base played in US-led invasion of Iraq.

"Andrew Wilkie's comments confirm what we have long suspected: that information gathered by the Waihopai spy base is automatically sent to the United States. The only justification for Waihopai would be if it were under complete New Zealand control and if it operated exclusively in New Zealand's interests.

"However, David Lange admitted in Nicky Hager's book Secret Power that, as Minister in Charge of Intelligence Services, he was not told the truth by his officials about the purpose of Waihopai. Mr Lange said, 'This raises the question of to whom those concerned saw themselves ultimately answerable'.

"New Zealanders should be very uneasy about the role Waihopai might be playing in supporting US foreign policy that we so disagree with."

ENDS

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