Well, well, well – I spy with my 5 Eyes something beginning with 1984


Well, well, well, so Snowden WAS right during the Moment of Truth after all, and much of the criticism we made against the NZ Deep State using mass surveillance powers all turned out to be bloody true..

Edward Snowden leaked papers reveal rogue spying tool found in GCSB was likely used to hunt War on Terror targets – and spy on China

    • Edward Snowden documents from 2012 match dates in report on GCSB;
    • Spy kit was likely ‘Apparition’ used by Five Eyes partners in the War on Terror;
    • GCSB says inquiry found its geographical limits constrained how the rogue spy kit was used.

The Five Eyes spy equipment that was operating out of New Zealand’s electronic spy agency largely without its knowledge appears to be a National Security Agency tool named “Apparition” that has been used to hunt targets in the United States’ War on Terror – and to spy on China.

The Apparition system was among those disclosed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013, including how the system was used to identify internet cafes across a vast geographical area – and the identities of those who were using them to connect to the internet.

The dates of the installation at a Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) facility match with information publicly disclosed last week by the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security Brendan Horan.

While Horan revealed the existence of the rogue equipment, he did not actually name the system, what it did and who it belonged to.

The discovery of the system came in 2020 after it malfunctioned leading to Horan’s three-year-long inquiry.

In his report last week, Horan said he was concerned that an intelligence “capability” controlled by a “foreign partner” had been able to operate without seeking Beehive sign-off or without the bureau’s Minister being told of its existence or purpose.

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Horan said he was also concerned the bureau’s current leadership had no knowledge of the system until they were told in 2020 after it broke down.

…Nicky Hager continues the story…

Hager: Spy system hosted by GCSB likely to be one used in capture-kill operations

The US spy system hosted by the GCSB appears to be a controversial intelligence system used in global capture-kill operations, writes Nicky Hager.

The unidentified foreign intelligence operation discussed in a scathing report by New Zealand’s Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS) last week appears to be an intelligence system with a ghostly codename.

The IGIS report said the GCSB decision to host a foreign system from 2012-2020 was “improper” and that the GCSB “could not be sure the tasking of the capability was always in accordance with… New Zealand law”.

The Inspector-General said: “I have found some of the GCSB’s explanations about how the capability operated and was tasked to be incongruous with information in GCSB records at the time.”

But the Inspector-General could not reveal details of the system to the public because they are “highly classified”. The name and function of the foreign spy spying equipment, the identity of the “foreign partner agency” and the location of the “GCSB facility” where foreign equipment was hosted all remained secret.

The mystery spy equipment appears strongly to be a top secret US surveillance system that was installed at the GCSB’s Waihopai base at the same time as the equipment in the IGIS investigation was installed at a “GCSB facility”.

The top secret NSA spy equipment had the ghostly codename “APPARITION” and fits with all the details presented in the IGIS report.

APPARITION was owned by and controlled by the US National Security Agency – the world’s largest intelligence gathering agency and head of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance that includes the GCSB.

A NSA internal report, written after the launch of the APPARITION system in 2008, said that it “builds on the success of the GHOSTHUNTER prototype… a tool that enabled a significant number of capture-kill operations against terrorists”.

Capture-kill operations involve lethal attacks on targeted people using drones, bombs and special forces raids. Human rights organisations have documented numerous deaths of civilians during capture-kill operations – many of them “algorithmically targeted” by electronic surveillance systems such as APPARITION. They are also criticised as being “extra-judicial killings”.

This is what the IGIS report appeared to be referring to when it said the foreign capability “clearly had the potential to be used, in conjunction with other intelligence sources, to support military action against targets”. It referred to the equipment finding “remote targets” and said that GCSB staff had raised “legal and moral issues”.

The 2008 NSA report explained how APPARITION targeting is done.

“APPARITION is a precision geolocation capability for targeting foreign very small aperture satellite terminals (VSAT),” it said. VSAT refers to small satellite communication systems used to access the Internet in remote places away from major Internet connections. Precision geolocation means working out the exact location of a target person. VSAT is “an important target,” it said, “because VSATs are often used by Internet cafes and foreign governments in the Middle East”.

The report said the APPARITION system at Misawa – a major NSA base in northern Japan – was “currently targeting VSAT terminals believed to be servicing internet cafés used by high-value counterterrorism (CT) targets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Indonesia, as well as non-CT targets in China.”

The NSA report is dated December 2008, shortly after the first operational version of APPARITION was installed at Misawa. It said: “Plans are well advanced to install APPARITIONs… [at] FORNSAT [foreign satellite interception]… sites worldwide, including Second Party locations, in the next two years.”

“Second Party” refers to the Five Eyes intelligence allies: the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (the First Party is the United States). The IGIS report says the GCSB was approached in 2009, the following year, as a potential site for the foreign signals intelligence system.

A March 2012 internal “GCSB Update” records that an MOU had been signed between NSA and GCSB for hosting of the APPARITION equipment and that installation was planned for June 2012. The IGIS report uses almost exactly the same words. The location for the APPARITION equipment was the Waihopai satellite interception base.

The system works by combining two different types in intelligence: ground stations like Waihopai intercepting the satellites that relay the VSAT satellite communications for remote users; and “Overhead” spy satellites that locate the targets from far above the earth.

When combined, the report said, the intelligence systems could estimate the precise geolocations of VSAT Internet cafes and other target locations with an “average error of probability of only 0.07 nautical miles” (130 metres) – not actually very precise in a built-up area.

Another NSA report, called “APPARITION / GHOSTHUNTER TASKING INFO”, describes the purpose of APPARITION as “Directed Target Development”. It “provides global access for VSAT geolocation requirements initially and incorporates the use of OH [Overhead spy satellites], comsat [Waihopai-type station], SCS [secret eavesdropping units within embassies] and other access hubs.”

It said: “Requests are acknowledged by Denver and scheduled via mission planning for execution.”

The various NSA and GCSB reports quoted were part of the trove of top secret reports released by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.

The APPARITION documents do not say what the NSA used the Waihopai-based APPARITION equipment to target. However GCSB used the equipment for its own targeting as well.

Another 2012 Snowden document suggests that the Waihopai base was intercepting VSAT communications in the Pacific by targeting the NSS-9 satellite, which was located at 183 degrees east. The 2012 report discusses technology changes affecting Waihopai’s “South Pacific mission” including the “ViaSat Skylink VSAT links”, the NSS-9 satellite. It’s unclear whether this VSAT surveillance involved APPARITION.

The Waihopai station also had a system in 2012 called FALLOWHAUNT, used for collection (eavesdropping) and processing of VSAT communications. It was installed at Waihopai in November 2010. This may also be one of the surveillance systems mentioned (without naming the systems) in the IGIS report.

In 2022 the GCSB announced “Removal of Waihōpai spy base surveillance domes begins” and media reported that the “virtually obsolete” Waihopai spy domes were being dismantled.

Some people, including journalists, assumed that the Waihopai station was ceasing to be an intelligence base. However Waihopai continues to intercept a range of satellites with more modern antennas and processing equipment as part of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance.

…I was just arguing this very week, why we were suddenly hearing about China hacking us after the GCSB had been busted for allowing illegal use of our Intelligence platforms for illegal assassination programs!

And to add evidence to a critical evaluation of the GCSB and SIS, they got roasted for their use of special warrants…

Spy agency’s surveillance powers too broad, Inspector-General warns

The spy watchdog has warned the New Zealand Special Intelligence Service (NZSIS) has too much leeway to decide who it places under “highly intrusive” surveillance.

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Brendan Horsley has released a report detailing a relatively new approach the spy agency has taken towards obtaining “class” warrants, allowing them to spy on anyone who fits within a broad criteria.

He analysed the three warrants issued to the NZSIS in 2022 and 2023 for surveillance of suspected terrorists and violent extremists.

Before the law was changed in 2017, the NZSIS was required to seek individual warrants to place people under close surveillance, which meant any decision to place a specific person under surveillance would be signed off by “external authorities”.

The Intelligence and Security Act however allowed the agency to use its most intrusive techniques against anyone fitting the class definition.

Horsley said he was concerned the new approach gave the agency too much discretion to target individuals “under maximum surveillance without anyone outside the NZSIS having seen the case for it”.

“Using class warrants to avoid individual applications might be convenient but in my view it is not a proper application of the warrant regime,” he said.

…so the intelligence apparatus has enormous power and seem to be using it without any oversight whatsofucking ever!

One narrative is that we have incompetent clowns running the Intelligence Apparatus.

Another narrative however suggests an organisation that pretends to be incompetent and bungling when in fact there is a terrible glint of Deep State fascism at play…

Reports indicate that this operation commenced in the period 2008 to 2013 while John Key was Prime Minister of New Zealand and he may or may not have had knowledge of it. The whole operation was designed so that responsibility could not be traced to the senior officials in the GCSB or any minister of government, though that does not mean that they were all in ignorance as they claim. In fact it is a virtual certainty that they had informally been made aware, and chose to retain the benefit of (barely) plausible deniability. However the circumstances are not specifically linked to John Key problem or the National Party government.

Move forward to 2017 and we have the “Security Chiefs memo” to Jacinda Ardern (not covered in the New Zealand media but leaked to the “Financial Times” of London) which set to dictate the foreign and certain domestic policies of the new government.

This amounted to a policy coup by the SIS, GCSB and Military Intelligence which met with astonishing success.

Then in 2022 the SIS managed to place its former head Rebecca Kitteridge at the Head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

So in the space of six years the SIS has managed to put itself in the driver’s seat of the New Zealand political system. That is an impressive achievement which is rather an odds with the “Penthouse and a pie” image cultivated by a section of the left. I don’t know of any other western “democracy” where the security services have achieved such a degree of influence and control over the political system

…Geoff Fisher from The Republican is right, the manner in which the SIS and GCSB have manoeuvred themselves into positions of power inside the Civilian Democracy of NZ is astounding.

Who is running then agenda here and why are we hearing about a 3 year old hack right after the GCSB were caught deceiving the Political representatives of NZ and allowing a foreign Nation to use our platforms illegally for illegal abuses of power.

The mask is a bungling agency that doesn’t do paper trails, the reality is something far more sinister.


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  1. I predict a few new commenter names on this issue of the spooks overstepping, some of those weasels from Pipitea House won’t be able to resist…

  2. “The dates of the installation at a Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) facility match with information publicly disclosed last week by the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security Brendan HORAN.”

    My observations are that –
    -I’m glad to see former weatherman and NZFirst politician and later independent politician, has advanced to the position of Inspector General of IGIS, overseeing the secret service.
    -You are probably meaning Brendan HORSLEY.
    -Why does the Inspector General not reveal classified information about the Waihopai equipment, when it is so obviously in the public interest to know? If he came across a secret service plan to assasinate the PM, would he also consider this classified, or would it be sufficiently in the public interest to divulge?
    -The obvious answer would be to replace Brendan with Nicky (https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/on-the-inside/512851/hager-spy-system-hosted-by-gcsb-likely-to-be-one-used-in-capture-kill-operations)
    -In fact this has all come to light because National wasn’t the govt in between 2017 and 2020 when the said equipment ended up breaking down. If it had been National, I’m sure they would have got their US friends to keep the equipment in shipshape working order, but that damn 2017 election stuffed things up.

  3. Once said of the GCSB-‘The only government department that really listens to you.’ and now we have the NZA listening in on the GCSB. It’s now six eyes.


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