Intelligence inquiry whitewashes New Zealand’s spying in the Pacific


Intelligence inquiry whitewashes New Zealand’s spying in the Pacific

John Braddock

18 July 2018

A long-running inquiry into whether the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) spied on New Zealanders visiting and working in the Pacific has confirmed the mass collection of communications data by the country’s overseas intelligence agency.

Data sourced from a satellite link was collected in order to advance New Zealand capitalism’s mercenary interests across the region. The GCSB labelled the system, “full take.”

However, according to Inspector General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn, who conducted the inquiry, there was no evidence of the spy agency acting “unlawfully.”

Under NZ law, the GCSB acts as the “external” spy organisation. Before a widely opposed amendment in 2013, it was barred from spying on NZ citizens and residents. The “internal” spy agency, the Security Intelligence Service, had that role.

Gwyn’s report, released on July 4, followed complaints from individuals and the Green Party in 2015 that when the GCSB carried out “broad sweep” mass surveillance in the Pacific, it intercepted the communications of New Zealanders.

The report’s legitimisation of the GCSB’s activities, on the narrow basis that it was deemed “legal” in relation to NZ citizens, is an absurd travesty. It confirms the analysis of the WSWS that the sham inquiry’s purpose was to contain damage to the government and wider political establishment from revelations of the GCSB’s anti-democratic activities at home and across the region.

The allegations date back to revelations by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, made public in 2015. Documents released by investigative journalist Nicky Hager showed the GCSB was engaged in wholesale spying…

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