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Is Waihopai spying on Japan's whalers?

16 January 2006

Is Waihopai spying on Japan's whalers?

How a spy report came to be released with David Lange's papers should not get in the way of a serious public debate over its contents, Green Party Security and Intelligence Spokesperson Keith Locke says.

Duty Minister Jim Anderton has described the release of the Government Security Communications Bureau report as a "blunder". The paper confirmed that during the mid-80s New Zealand was spying on France, Japan, several Pacific countries and the United Nations. The Green Party is calling for an inquiry into the GSCB to establish whether the spying is still happening today.

"Surely spying on Europe and Japan is not in the interests of the Clark Government's foreign policy," Mr Locke says.

"Is New Zealand intercepting Japanese communications with their whaling fleet? Is New Zealand keeping tabs on European countries that have opted out of the Iraq war? Without a definitive answer on the GCSB's current activities, these are questions those countries will now be legitimately asking themselves.

"We don't believe it to be in New Zealand's national interest to be part of US operations to spy on countries like France and Japan. It undermines the generally friendly relations we have with them. It also binds us to the more aggressive foreign policy of the Bush Administration, from which the Labour-led Government has, publicly at least, tried to distance itself.

"It is especially worrying if New Zealand is still part of US-led spying on UN communications. It was established after the invasion of Iraq that the US had been spying on Kofi Annan. There was also a leaked early-2003 memo from National Security Agency head, Frank Koza, requiring the NSA to 'mount' a 'surge' of interceptions against those members of the UN Security Council who were vacillating over whether to vote to endorse a US-led invasion of Iraq. Was New Zealand part of that recent spying operation?

"The Waihopai spy base has been built since this 1986 report. It is part of the National Security Agency-run Echelon system, and has enabled New Zealand to feed into the NSA's information gathered from all the phone calls, faxes and emails that pass through two communications satellites over the Pacific equator. Unless something has changed in the relations between the NSA and the GCSB since 1986, New Zealand is therefore probably providing the NSA with a lot more information than it was then.

"An inquiry is needed because 'trust us' assurances from governments in the intelligence area often hide nefarious activities, as the American public recently discovered when it was revealed that the NSA has been illegally spying on US citizens. Is Waihopai being used to spy on Americans, by feeding intercepts from the Pacific satellites through to the NSA? Has it been spying on the communications of New Zealand citizens?

"An investigation into the roles of both the Tangimoana listening station near Palmerston North, referred to in the Lange documents, and Waihopai is urgently needed."

Mr Locke says he will be participating in a demonstration, organised by the Anti-Bases Campaign, outside Waihopai this coming Saturday, 21 January.

ENDS

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