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Shipley must come clean on spy network in NZ

The Green Party is calling on Jenny Shipley, the minister in charge of the Waihopai spy base, to come clean on its activities after revelations today from senior officials that Australia is part of an international spy network.

The man who oversees Australia's security services, Inspector General of Intelligence and Security Bill Blick, is reported confirming in a BBC interview that the Australian Defence Signals Directory - sister organisation to New Zealand's GCSB - is part of the US Echelon spy network. Now that it has been admitted, US congressman are calling for an inquiry.

Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald said Mrs Shipley had continued to dismiss calls for an investigation into the Waihopai base, near Blenheim, despite mounting evidence that it was also involved in Echelon.

Echelon intercepts private telephone calls, faxes and emails and is allegedly on the look out for international terrorism.

"There is every indication Waihopai is part of the US-based network spying on private communications but we are continually faced with denials. With US congressman calling for an inquiry the issue can no longer be ignored by the Government," Mr Donald said.

"New Zealanders deserve to know who is being spied on, for what purpose and why they are paying for it out of their taxes - $20 million this financial year," he said.

Mr Donald said New Zealanders would be shocked to learn private messages containing innocuous words and phrases such as "Bugs Bunny" and "Blenheim" were reported to be among the words monitored.

Echelon has posts around the world and is controlled by the US National Security Agency at Fort Mead. Every international telephone call, fax, email or radio transmission can be listened to by powerful computers capable of voice recognition.


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