The Tribune (NZ) - - CONVERSATIONS -

I amap­palled by the rec­om­men­da­tions made in the newly-re­leased In­tel­li­gence Agen­cies review. The au­thors have pro­posed over­throw­ing a ba­sic tenet of spy op­er­a­tions in this coun­try and paved the way for a mas­sive ex­pan­sion in sur­veil­lance of NZ cit­i­zens. I be­lieve by un­leash­ing the GCSB to spy on Ki­wis is one more step on the road to a po­lice state

It ap­pears that pre­vi­ous re­stric­tions on do­mes­tic spy­ing by the Gov­ern­ment Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Se­cu­rity Bureau (GCSB) are to be re­moved; the ba­sic demo­cratic pro­tec­tion against the spies turn­ing their cut­ting edge mass sur­veil­lance ma­chin­ery on do­mes­tic life is to be elim­i­nated. The re­port jus­ti­fies the in­creas­ing power of the agen­cies by propos­ing more trans­parency and over­sight

Iron­i­cally, Sir Michael Cullen, the key au­thor of the re­port, is the man who ex­em­pli­fies the in­ad­e­quacy of try­ing to mon­i­tor these or­gan­i­sa­tions as he was the per­son who, when he was in Gov­ern­ment, con­tin­u­ally gave false as­sur­ances deny­ing il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity in the past

The glar­ing de­fi­ciency in the review is the com­plete lack of con­sid­er­a­tion of the ac­tiv­i­ties of the Five Eyes sys­tem which are the ma­jor part of the GCSB ac­tiv­i­ties. The su­per-se­cret group car­ries out op­er­a­tions de­signed to give Washington the means to ma­nip­u­late po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and diplo­matic ac­tiv­i­ties around the world

NZ’s part in this is truly de­spi­ca­ble and rep­re­hen­si­ble. Any sug­ges­tion that over­sight by a hand­ful of Kiwi com­mis­sion­ers will re­veal the truth about the op­er­a­tions be­ing car­ried out by Five Eyes is laugh­able. Why does New Zealand, in­stead, not fol­low the ex­am­ple of Canada, one of our four Big Broth­ers in Five Eyes? Canada has sus­pended shar­ing Cana­di­ans’ meta­data with its Five Eyes part­ners un­til it is sat­is­fied about safe­guards

I be­lieve NZ can only re­store its rep­u­ta­tion in the world by clos­ing down the Wai­hopai spy base and pulling out of the Five Eyes sys­tem. NZ also needs to close down the SIS and trans­fer its func­tions to the Po­lice who (the­o­ret­i­cally at least) have to jus­tify their ac­tions in a court of law

Dion Martin Palmer­ston North

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