The most startling revelation in Glenn Greenwald’s latest book, No Place to Hide, is that our government knew about the NSA spying on communications of the Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and the then Mexican presidential aspirant [now president] Enrique Pena Nieto. NSA slides reprinted in the book show information on this outrageous spying went to “NZL” [read GCSB] so presumably the US trusted New Zealand would support it.
This revelation has blown John Key’s double game of developing friendly relations with the Brazilian and Mexican leaders, but behind their backs helping the US spy on their most secret communications. New Zealand would have been assisting this spying, as least indirectly, through passing on information on millions of phone calls passing passing through the Pacific communications satellites targeted by the Waihopai dishes. This material would then have been filtered by the NSA to pick out any calls by Brazilian and Mexican officials.
New Zealand’s Five Eyes involvement is going to lead to many other diplomatic problems with friendly governments. One country that repeatedly shows up as a target in the latest leaked NSA documents is Japan. Japan’s UN mission was being monitored by the NSA, and its technology and “trade activities” were deemed fair game. A lot of official Japanese communications must be picked up by Waihopai’s dishes, given the communications satellites Waihopai targets are geostationary over the Pacific equator near Japan. When passed on to the NSA this Japanese information would be used to serve US interests, not New Zealand’s. As one cynical NSA slide put it: “what country doesn’t want to make the world a better place – for itself.”
To rectify this unfolding diplomatic debacle for New Zealand, John Key should move quickly to apologise the Brazilian and Mexican presidents and heed the calls from parties like the Greens, Internet Party and Mana to withdraw from the Five Eyes. Continued membership is clearly not in our interest.