by Allanah Leahy – EM TV Online
Intelligence leaked by American IT specialist and whistle blower Edward Snowden, has revealed that New Zealand has been spying electronically on its Pacific Island neighbours, as well as Indonesia, since 2009.
It was revealed that since 2009, New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau, based at Waihopai, took full action in intercepting and collating intelligence across the Asia Pacific.
The data collected is then, reportedly, provided to the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA). The controversial XKeyscore tool, which gathers the ‘widest-reaching’ collection of online data, inclusive of emails, social media activity and browsing history, was allegedly used to collect intelligence.
Pacific leaders from Samoa and Tonga have expressed disbelief and disappointment over the surveillance.
Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Malielegaoi described the notion of Samoa being spied on as ‘ridiculous’, and Tonga Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva declaring a breach of trust with Tonga and New Zealand.
News of the surveillance broke on Wednesday through a collaboration between the New Zealand Herald and The Intercept, an online news publication that also publishes documents released by Edward Snowden.
The data was allegedly shared with members of the “Five Eyes” network, which include the US, Australia, Britain and Canada, as part of a global surveillance operation, according to the documents.
Although Papua New Guinea was not included in the list of Pacific countries under surveillance, a 2013 Power point released by Snowden in 2013 detailed the extensive number of XKeyscore sites in full operation around the globe.