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Is NZ inadvertently spying on the UN?


Is NZ inadvertently spying on the UN?

Green MP Keith Locke wants Helen Clark, as Minister in Charge of the SIS, to reassure New Zealand that we have not been inadvertently helping Britain or the US to spy on the United Nations.

"We need guarantees that information about the UN which passes through the Waihopai satellite interception station is not being captured and forwarded to British and US intelligence partners," said Mr Locke, the party's Spokesperson on Intelligence issues.

"It would be a major contradiction for a government committed to multilateralism to be assisting anyone to spy on the UN.

"There is no doubt that communications from UN ambassadors and officials would be among the millions of phone calls, faxes and emails being drawn down to Waihopai from two international communications satellites over the Pacific.

"It is also not in doubt that the US National Security Agency and the British Government Communications Headquarters use information intercepted by Waihopai. The Echelon electronic intelligence network allows collective processing of data collected by satellite interception stations in the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Messages containing 'key words' and phone numbers the US and Britain uploads into Waihopai's system are automatically forwarded back to them.

"The question is whether those combinations of key words and phone numbers are being used to intercept UN-related communications, including what is most in the news today - Kofi Annan's conversations.

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"New Zealand's naivety in intelligence matters is possibly being exploited by the US or Britain. Certainly the SIS accusations against Ahmed Zaoui, already disproven by the Refugee Status Appeals Authority, show a quite unjustified trust in the integrity of other Western intelligence agencies.

"Given the international storm over the spying on Kofi Annan, we need some answers.

"So far the government has put a blanket of secrecy over the operations at Waihopai. It is not even mentioned in this year's annual report of the Government Communications Security Bureau. This is not good enough," said Mr Locke.

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