John Key should lay a complaint
John Key says Yanks not spying on him. He should lay a complaint about being left out.
John Key says that he’s allowed to wear big boy’s pants because New Zealand is a member of The Club (Five Eyes, formally known as the UKUSA Agreement), which he says means that the intelligence agencies of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand don’t spy on each other’s countries. He reckons it specifically means that the US National Security Agency (NSA) does not spy on him.
To which the Anti-Bases Campaign says – pull the other one, John, this one’s got a bug in it.
Of course the NSA spies on its “allies and friends” in Five Eyes. Why wouldn’t they? They’re spying on all their other “friends”.
ABC says it's dollars to doughnuts that NSA has been, is, and will be spying on Key. So will the other Big Brothers in Five Eyes. Indeed it is highly likely that the NSA will have subcontracted the job to one of the allied agencies to spy on the smallest of the small fry.
But don’t just take ABC’s word for it that the NSA spies on its Five Eyes allies, or that the constituent agencies are used to spy on other member countries. After all, we might be “anti-American conspiracy theorists with an axe to grind”.
No, take the word of one of the spooks who worked inside the system. And we’re not talking about Edward Snowden.
In 2001 (just after 11/9, as it turned out) ABC organised a national speaking tour by former Canadian spook turned author, Mike Frost. We did so because he had written, in 1994, an insider’s book called Spyworld: Inside The Canadian And American Intelligence Establishments.
Here are some relevant extracts from Bob Leonard’s review of it in our newsletter Peace Researcher (23, June 2001, http://www.converge.org.nz/abc/frostspy.htm).
“Mike Frost is not the first spy to spill the beans... But Frost’s is the only firsthand account (to our knowledge) of the inner workings of America’s National Security Agency (NSA) and its Canadian sibling agency just over the border, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE). Frost was an employee of the CSE for 19 years and spent plenty of time at NSA as well in training and liaison.
“Embassy collection even involves the Americans spying on the Canadians. In his many trips to College Park for NSA briefing, Frost learned of techniques for disguising antennas on the roofs of embassies. He and his colleagues quickly concluded that Canada was not immune to NSA spying. ‘The Americans don’t care who they commit espionage against, on the principle that they may get something that’s useful to their country. They routinely collect foreign intelligence against everybody’.
“In 1983, CSE was asked to spy for GCHQ at the behest of Margaret Thatcher. ‘…it seems as if Margaret Thatcher [then British Prime Minister] thinks two of the Ministers in her Cabinet are not ‘on-side’… She wants to find out if they are’. CSE carried out the intercepts: ‘We never stopped to question the morality of doing what amounted to dirty tricks for a partisan politician, for her very personal reasons, in a foreign land. After all, we weren’t spying on Canadians…that time anyway’”.
So there you have it, from the horse’s mouth. And why would Margaret Thatcher ask GCHQ to subcontract Canadian intelligence to spy for her within Britain, on her own Tory Cabinet colleagues, no less? So that British intelligence would have plausible deniability, if the spying was discovered.
Frost also revealed that Canadian intelligence spied on the US, for trade and economic reasons. He detailed how CSE bugged the car phone of the US Ambassador to Canada to find out what the US would charge China to sell it wheat. And then Canada successfully underbid the US. This was seen as a routine State aid to Canadian business.
The examples given by Frost happened decades ago, when Communists, not terrorists, were used as the justification for the spy agencies crimes and abuses, but the only things that have changed since then is that spying on allies and friends has become more extensive and systematic. It has got worse, not better.
So, John Key is kidding nobody when he reckons that NSA doesn’t spy on him. It is also guaranteed that they will be spying on NZ’s Ministers and trade officials in connection with the secret talks to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. The US will want to know things like how hard NZ really will fight to gain the “holy grail” of dairy products access to the US, and how hard NZ will fight to save Pharmac which the US drug transnational corporations want rid of.
It’s no defence to say “everyone’s doing it”. So, does that mean that the GCSB is using Waihopai to bug Obama’s mobile phone? That’s a very likely scenario, isn’t it?
New Zealand needs to close Waihopai and the GCSB, get out of the international criminal enterprise which is Five Eyes, and develop a truly independent defence and foreign policy.
ABC’s message to John Key is – you’ve spent too long away from Christchurch. Forget about Five Eyes; learn from Cantabrians and become one eyed.
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