Exclusive: They Spy with Their Little Eye, by Suzie Dawson

New Zealand is basically a branch office of US intelligence. From Suzie Dawson at consortiumnews.com:

The Five Eyes, a part of what the NSA calls internally its “global network,” have their dirty fingerprints all over the latest spying scandal engulfing New Zealand, writes exiled Kiwi journalist and activist Suzie Dawson.

NZ Spy Scandal:  Elephants In The Room;
US Used NZ Spies to Spy on Third Countries,
Including France; US Army Ready for Unrest

I’ve spent six years alternately begging major NZ journalists to investigate state-sponsored spying on activists including me, and, out of sheer necessity, reporting extensively on it myself from within the vacuum created by their inaction. So it is somewhat bemusing to now observe the belated unfolding of what ex-Member of Parliament and Greenpeace NZ Executive Director Russel Norman is describing as New Zealand’s “Watergate moment.”

In the wake of the bombshell release of a State Services Commission report into the affair, Norman wrote: “My key takeaway is that under the previous government, no one was safe from being spied on if they disagreed with government policy.”

This is a remarkable statement from Norman, who once sat on the very government committee tasked with oversight of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies. The futility of that lofty position was reflected in my 2014 piece “Glenn Greenwald and the Irrelevance of Electoral Politics“ which quoted Greenwald, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s leaks, saying of Norman:

“You had the Green Party leader here in New Zealand say in an interview that I watched that he was on the committee that oversees the GCSB [ Government Communications Security Bureau – NZ’s electronic spying agency] and yet he learned far more about what the agency does by reading our stories than he did in briefings. They really have insulated themselves from the political process and have a lot of tools to ensure that they continue to grow and their power is never questioned.”

The sands are shifting: Over a dozen government agencies including the New Zealand Police are revealed to have been engaging private intelligence firms such as the notorious Thompson and Clark Investigations Limited to spy on New Zealand citizens engaged in issue-based democratic dissent, activism in general, or who were deemed to present an economic or political ‘risk’ to the bureaucracy or the private sector in New Zealand.

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