Showing posts with label NSA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NSA. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Australia's Familarity With Spying, Breeds Contempt Of Its Neighbors. (Updated)

As if Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) had enough regional enmity to deal with, subsequent to the Indonesia spying fiasco; Australia has managed to infuriate its relations with East Timor (Timor Leste) stemming from the CMATS negotiations surrounding maritime claims to the resource rich area of the Timor Sea. The Australian treatment of East Timor has much similarities to the unbridled exploitation of the past.

Diego Rivera - Mural of exploitation of Mexico by Spanish conquistadors, Palacio Nacional, Mexico City (1929-1945)
Australia's involvement in the 5 Eyes network has been not without controversy, but  the Australians appear to be stumbling from one diplomatic wrangle to another. Derived from issues much to their own making by the damning actions of Governments of the past, or the insensitive reactions of the present administration, to lame promises about the future. Australia is its own worst enemy.

Timor-Leste spy case: Brandis claims 'ridiculous', says ambassador

Timor-Leste ambassador Abel Guterres said attorney-general's explanation would be rejected by any 'fair-minded Australian'

Timor-Leste’s ambassador to Australia said his country was “deeply disappointed” Australian intelligence agencies had resorted to raids against the tiny nation’s lawyer and star witness in the international hearing of spying allegations and thought “fair-minded” Australians would reject the explanation given by the attorney-general, George Brandis, as ridiculous.

The Canberra lawyer Bernard Collaery, who is representing Timor-Leste in an international arbitration hearing in the Hague, has argued the raids were a deliberate effort by the Australian government to disrupt the proceedings, in which Timor-Leste alleges that in 2004 Australia improperly spied on the Timorese during negotiations on an oil and gas treaty worth billions of dollars in order to extract a commercial benefit.

Timor Leste’s prime minister, Xanana Gusmao, issued a statement on Wednesday calling on the Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, to explain himself and guarantee the safety of the witness – a former senior Australian Security Intelligence Service (Asis) officer allegedly directly involved in the bugging of the Timorese cabinet office during the sensitive negotiations of the Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea (CMAT) treaty.

"The actions taken by the Australian government are counterproductive and uncooperative," Mr Gusmao said. "Raiding the premises of a legal representative of Timor-Leste and taking such aggressive action against a key witness is unconscionable and unacceptable conduct. It is behaviour that is not worthy of a close friend and neighbour or of a great nation like Australia."
Brandis confirmed he issued the warrants for the Asis raids, but denied they were intended to interfere in the case and said the matter was an issue of national security.
Timor-Leste’s ambassador to Australia, Abel Guterres, rejected that assertion and said most Australians would also consider it ridiculous.
“Our country, Timor-Leste, which came out of 24 years of struggle and trauma, and the subsequent mayhem in 1999, do you think Timor-Leste could possibly pose a security threat to Australia,” he told Guardian Australia.
George Brandis
The explanation given by the attorney-general, George Brandis, was rejected by Timor-Leste's ambassador.( Photograph: Daniel Munoz/AAP)

“Thousands of people in Australia asked the government to help us [during the violence around the autonomy ballot in 1999] and Australia helped us … are we a security threat to Australia, I don’t think so, I think any fair-minded Australian would see this as ridiculous.”
Brandis rejected the suggestions of interference in the case, telling the Senate on Wednesday these were “wild and injudicious claims”. He said he issued the warrants on national security grounds but declined in his statement to disclose “the specific nature of the security matter concerned”.

“The search warrants were issued, on the advice and at the request of ASIO, to protect Australia’s national security,” Brandis said. He said he had instructed ASIO not to share any material gathered in Tuesday’s raids with Australia’s legal team in the Hague “under any circumstances”. Brandis said Australia respected the arbitral proceedings.

Guterres said Timor-Leste had acted “in good faith” throughout the long dispute over the negotiation, and both parties had agreed to try to resolve the issue through arbitration, “but now the whole thing has turned sour”.

He said Australia’s actions appeared designed to prevent the witness – who was due to fly to the Hague but has now had his passport cancelled – giving verbal evidence, and it was unclear what impact this would have on Timor-Leste’s case.

“It depends how the arbitration sees it if the witness cannot appear in person … but it doesn’t help our case,” he said. “Australia of all places, our ally, our neighbour, our trusted friend, is doing something that is not worthy of being an example.”

Guardian Australia understands Timor-Leste had intended to seek a form of witness protection for the former ASIS officer. The negotiation centred on boundaries to determine how the two countries would share oil and gas deposits under the Timor Sea, called the Greater Sunrise fields, worth tens of billions of dollars. Woodside Petroleum, which wanted to exploit the field, was working closely with the Howard government during the talks.
Timor-Leste alleges Australia inserted bugs in the cabinet room to listen to Timorese negotiators during the talks, under the guise of a refurbishment paid for by an Australian aid program.

Asked about the raids, Abbott said on Wednesday; "We don't interfere in cases, but we always act to ensure that our national security is being properly upheld. That's what we're doing.”
The Greens have called for a parliamentary inquiry into intelligence overreach after revelations that Australian intelligence attempted in 2009 to listen in to the mobile phone of the Indonesian president, his wife and their inner circle; and revelations this week that Australian intelligence offered to share metadata about ordinary citizens with foreign intelligence partners in 2008.
ABC news article, reported that the passport of the retired Intelligence officer cum whistle blower has been cancelled,  in an attempt to bully and throw a spanner in the works of East Timor's legal case against Australia in the Hague.
Podcast of ABC audio segment posted below.

WSWS web article provides additional coverage of the fiasco:

Australian government orders ASIO raids to suppress East Timor spying evidence

By Mike Head
4 December 2013
In a blatant attack on fundamental legal and democratic rights, the Abbott government yesterday ordered Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and Australian Federal Police (AFP) raids on the homes and offices of a lawyer and former intelligence agency whistleblower involved in an international legal challenge to Australia’s spying on the East Timor government during maritime border talks in 2004.

Bernard Collaery, the Canberra lawyer representing East Timor in its case against Australia in the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, said his office was raided just 24 hours after he left Australia to prepare the proceedings. ASIO officers spent hours searching his office, alarming two young female staff members. They seized a personal computer, USB stick, and sensitive files relating to the legal proceedings, including the affidavit of the crucial witness, a retired senior Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) official.

One of Collaery’s shocked assistants told journalists: “They were filming it, explained to me that they were from ASIO and there were AFP officers there too.” The women were shown a substantially blacked-out search warrant, and told they could not even keep a copy, supposedly for “security reasons.”

Collaery said the key witness was also detained and questioned, along with his wife, at their home. Apparently, the ex-ASIS officer was later released, but his passport was confiscated to prevent him from appearing in The Hague.

What, if any, legal grounds exist for these raids and other measures remain entirely unclear, and unspecified. Collaery commented: “I have no way of knowing the legal basis upon which these unprecedented actions [took place].”

Collaery said he had the evidence with him, and the raid would do “very little” to hinder East Timor’s case. “I can’t see what the government hopes to achieve by this aggressive action,” he said. “It can attempt to nullify the whistleblower’s evidence, but that evidence has flown—the evidence is here.”

Personally ordered by Attorney-General George Brandis, the raids are designed not only to block evidence being presented in The Hague of the illegal bugging of East Timor’s government. They send a wider threatening message to the media, the legal profession and potential whistleblowers not to release any further material exposing the intensive surveillance operations conducted by the Australian intelligence apparatus throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
These operations, which include listening posts in the Australian embassies in Dili and other Asia-Pacific capitals, are integral to the global US spying network—now exposed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden—and the Obama administration’s increasingly aggressive “pivot” to Asia to combat China.

Significantly, as the ASIO-AFP raids took place, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was preparing to fly to Indonesia in a bid to mend relations after Snowden’s revelations of US-backed Australian tapping of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s phone in 2009.
The raids followed further damning revelations, via leaked Snowden documents, of massive surveillance by the Australian intelligence agencies, directed against ordinary people in Australia, as well as people and governments across the region. (See: “Snowden document confirms US-backed mass surveillance in Australia”). They also came amid an intensifying campaign by the Abbott government and the media establishment to denounce the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Guardian Australia web site for publishing the incriminating documents.

Many unanswered questions exist about the raids. Last night, Brandis issued a terse statement declaring that he issued the search warrants to seize documents that “contained intelligence related to security matters.” Without offering any explanation, he simply branded as “wrong” allegations that his actions sought to impede East Timor’s litigation.
Collaery, however, said the raids sought to intimidate anyone else who wanted to come forward against the Australian government. He said the star witness was a former director of all technical operations at ASIS, who decided to blow the whistle because the “immoral and wrong” bugging of the East Timorese government served the interests of major oil and gas companies.

The illegal eavesdropping is now being raised by East Timor to challenge the outcome of the resulting pact, the Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea (CMATS) treaty.
In 2004, during negotiations for the treaty, the Australian government, then led by Prime Minister John Howard, economically and politically bullied the East Timorese government of Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri in order to secure the lion’s share of the vast oil and gas reserves beneath the seabed. It also ordered ASIS operatives to plant listening devices in government and prime ministerial offices in Dili, enabling Canberra to snoop on the East Timorese delegates throughout the talks.

Ultimately, the Howard government forced East Timor to shelve any resolution of a maritime border in the area for 50 years, while dividing oil and gas revenues on a 50-50 basis. The largest project, Greater Sunrise, which lies entirely in East Timor’s waters according to international maritime law, will be exhausted within 50 years, starving the tiny impoverished country of critical revenues.
A major Australian company, Woodside Petroleum, which wanted to exploit the field, worked hand in glove with the Howard government and its foreign minister, Alexander Downer, who was in charge of ASIS. Collaery said the former ASIS official decided to expose the bugging upon learning that Downer, after quitting politics, became an adviser to Woodside.

Collaery said the details in the whistleblower’s affidavit had never been made public, until now. The director-general of ASIS and his deputy “instructed a team of ASIS technicians to travel to East Timor in an elaborate plan, using Australian aid programs relating to the renovation and construction of the cabinet offices in Dili, East Timor, to insert listening devices into the wall,” he said.
The Canberra lawyer accused the government and ASIO of “muzzling the oral evidence of the prime witness.” The spying, he commented, amounted to “insider trading,” for which “people would go to jail,” if it happened in the financial markets.
Members of the former Howard government, including Downer, may have direct personal interests in suppressing this information. However, the geo-political context, bound up with the services provided by Canberra and its spy agencies to Washington, indicates that much more is at stake.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott today vehemently defended the ASIO raids, claiming that the government does not interfere in court cases, “but we always act to ensure that our national security is being properly upheld—that’s what we’re doing.” Labor’s opposition leader Bill Shorten quickly closed ranks, lining up with the government to defeat a Senate motion asking Brandis to explain the raids.

By invading a lawyer’s office, and persecuting a former ASIS official, the authorities in Canberra are demonstrating that they will stop at nothing to protect the operations of the Australian intelligence services and their US patrons.
East Timor based NGO, La'o Hamutuk has been covering the controversial negotiations between the Australian and East-Timorese Governments and their website has a wealth of background history and information, surrounding the Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea (CMATS) Treaty.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

X-Post : Geopolitics of Racism: The NSA and the 'Five Eyes' Network.

Source: Huffington Post

Posted: 11/02/2013 10:03 pm

As Edward Snowden's disclosures continue to reverberate, the racist contours of geopolitics are becoming ever clearer. According to recent reporting, the Anglo, English-speaking countries of the world, including the U.S. and its allies Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, jointly participate in a spy group called the "Five Eyes" network. Though the classic age of imperialism has long since ended, revelations from the National Security Agency (NSA) scandal suggest that whiter nations of the world continue to harbor a deep and abiding distrust of poorer nations and people of color.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

X-Post: Islands Business - Monitoring and Mapping the Pacific

Raising debates on legality and privacy

When you make a phone call, send an email or use your Facebook page, information that you send across the airwaves or through the Internet can be scooped up by Western intelligence agencies.

In the United States, there has been widespread public debate over government monitoring of telecommunications and the Internet, after a contractor working for the National Security Agency (NSA) revealed programmes that targeted domestic communications as well as foreign enemies.
Whistle blower Edward Snowden fled to Hong Kong and then Russia, leaking documents to the media which revealed surveillance programmes known as PRISM, XKeyscore and Tempora.

In the Pacific region, countries like Australia, New Zealand and France also operate signals intelligence and communications intercept programmes, which monitor diplomatic, commercial or military communications from other nations. There is growing concern that government agencies and private corporations are also gathering data from citizens at home, raising debates over legality and privacy. In recent months, this issue has been debated in New Zealand after Prime Minister John Key introduced legislation in Parliament to expand the powers of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB)—New Zealand’s communications intelligence agency.

In July, there were rallies in 11 cities around New Zealand to protest the draft legislation, which was still before Parliament at the time of writing. Australia and New Zealand collaborate in the region under the UKUSA Agreement, which shares intelligence amongst the agencies of five Western allies. The “Five Eyes” which monitor communications are the NSA and the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), supported by Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSE), New Zealand’s GCSB and the newly renamed Australian Signals Directorate (The ASD was formerly called the Defence Signals Directorate, but was rebadged in May this year when then Prime Minister Julia Gillard launched Canberra’s latest Defence White Paper).

ASD is Australia’s primary collector of signals intelligence and other electronic data, through the interception and reporting of communications like international phone calls, emails or military radios. A key task is the interception of military communications from Indonesia and other nations in the region, primarily through facilities at Shoal Bay Receiving Station, east of Darwin. Another Australian interception facility is the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station (ADSCS), located at Kojarena near Geraldton in Western Australia.

Professor Richard Tanter of the University of Melbourne, a senior research associate with the Nautilus Institute, says that the 1946 UKUSA Treaty originally focused on signals intelligence such as radio communications, but this has been expanded through the use of new technology. “It’s now clearly been expanded to include email and Internet intercepts carried out in different technological ways,” Tanter said. “In Australia, this is done at the joint defence facility at Pine Gap, near Alice Springs, the Australian Signals Directorate facility at Shoal Bay near Darwin and the Australian Defence Satellite Communication Station at Kojarena, which is part of a worldwide system of satellite communications monitoring known as Echelon.”

Tanter told ISLANDS BUSINESS that information gathered by Australian and New Zealand is now highly integrated with agencies like the US NSA and Britain’s GCHQ: “As well as downlinking data from satellites, Pine Gap is used to process as well as intercept satellite communications, to share this information with the United States and other UKUSA allies.” Tanter stated that intelligence monitoring programmes can be used to spy on allies as well as enemies. “We also know from Snowden’s revelations that these facilities were used by Australia for its bid for a seat on the UN Security Council,” Tanter said. “That would certainly have involved listening to the communications of any Pacific country that was relevant to that voting.

It certainly would be used in Australian trade negotiations with Japan and other countries. Assuming these programmes are solely military is underestimating what they’re used for now.” Last month, Australian media reported Snowden’s revelation that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd received information about Asian leaders at the 2009 G20 meeting in London, when British and American intelligence targeted leaders and officials attending the international conference. 

New Zealand bases

Over many years, New Zealand researcher Nicky Hager has documented New Zealand’s role in this UKUSA network, through the satellite communications interception station at Waihopai and radio communications interception station at Tangimoana. In the 1970s and 1980s, a key task for the GCSB was monitoring communications from the French nuclear testing programme at Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls and Russian fishing vessels that ventured south of the Equator.

Hager’s 1996 book ‘Secret Power’ detailed the wider role of Tangimoana in the islands region: “The big aerials at the station were right then monitoring nuclear-free Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Fiji and all New Zealand’s other South Pacific neighbours—everyone in the South Pacific, in fact, except for the Western intelligence allies and their territories.

Large quantities of telexes and Morse code messages sent by long-distance radio in the Pacific region were being recorded at Tangimoana and sent to the GCSB in Wellington for distribution to select public servants and to the four allied intelligence allies.” Hager also documented how the interception of satellite communications at Waihopai provides a much wider treasure trove of intelligence: “Diplomatic communications between embassies and their home capitals, all manner of government and military communications, a wide range of business communications, communications of international organisations and political organisations and the personal communications of people living throughout the Pacific.”

In the 21st century, these surveillance programmes are much more sophisticated. Recent Australian-United States ministerial (AUSMIN) meetings have extended agreements covering the new frontiers of space and cyber warfare. In 2008, AUSMIN ministers signed a Statement of Principles for a Military Satellite Communications Partnership and officials are continuing to develop a US-Australia Combined Communications Partnership.

Nic Maclellan

" In the Pacific region, countries like Australia, New Zealand and France also operate signals intelligence and communications intercept programmes, which monitor diplomatic, commercial or military communications from other nations. There is growing concern that government agencies and private corporations are also gathering data from citizens at home, raising debates over legality and privacy"
The September 2011 AUSMIN meeting in San Francisco issued a Joint Statement on Cyber Warfare, stating that the ANZUS Treaty’s provisions could also be invoked in the case of cyber-attacks. The 2011 AUSMIN communiqué declared: “Mindful of our longstanding defence relationship and the 1951 Security Treaty between Australia, New Zealand, and the United States of America (ANZUS Treaty), our governments share the view that, in the event of a cyber-attack that threatens the territorial integrity, political independence or security of either of our nations, Australia and the United States would consult together and determine appropriate options to address the threat.” Governments justify Internet and satellite monitoring programmes as a crucial element of efforts to track terrorists, cyber-criminals and potential military threats.

But critics argue the PRISM programme in the United States or the new GCSB legislation before New Zealand’s Parliament give too much power to agencies to gather information on citizens as part of their cyber security role. They argue that sharing of data between the five Western powers allows intrusive control of citizens who are not engaged in criminal activities, without accountability to public institutions. In New Zealand, the opposition Labour Party has come out against the ‘Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill’.

A range of agencies, including the Privacy Commission, the New Zealand Law Society and the Human Rights Commission, have also raised concerns about the effect of the legislation on citizens’ privacy. The debate heated up after revelations that the GCSB had illegally monitored the phone and internet communications of New Zealand citizens, and the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) had access to the phone records of an New Zealand journalist working in Afghanistan. In July, Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff called for a delay in the passage of the legislation to allow more time for discussion on oversight provisions, but at the time of writing, the Key government was pressing ahead to pass the bill.

France’s base in New Caledonia

As well as the ANZUS allies, France also monitors satellite, internet and telecommunications from installations in the Pacific On 4 July, the French newspaper Le Monde reported on the signals intelligence programme run by the Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure (DGSE)—the French intelligence service best known in the Pacific for the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior in 1985. Electronic interception bases are maintained in 20 locations in mainland France and its overseas territories.

In the Pacific, communications are monitored by an installation in New Caledonia which came into operation in 2006. This facility is located at the French military’s naval airbase at Tontouta (New Caledonia’s international airport, outside the capital Noumea). According to Le Monde, “the secret services systematically collect the electromagnetic signals emitted by computers and telephones in France together with the digital flows between France and overseas countries, so the totality of our communications is monitored. Emails, SMS messages, phone calls, access to Facebook, Twitter and more are then stored for years.”

The long-term collection of information in these vast computer databases allows the analysis of “metadata”—the pattern of who called whom, the date, time, frequency, or location of the call. While the DGSE can legally monitor overseas traffic, the material is gathered in supercomputers at the DGSE headquarters in the Boulevard Mortier in Paris. Without appropriate legislation, it can then be accessed by domestic intelligence agencies, including the military intelligence agency Direction du renseignement militaire (DRM), domestic spy agencies, customs service and bodies concerned with money laundering.

Mapping the Pacific

Beyond communications monitoring, another key Australian intelligence agency operating in the Pacific region is the Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (DIGO), now being renamed the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation (AGO). According to the Australian Defence Department, DIGO has a key function of “obtaining geospatial and imagery intelligence to meet the operational, targeting, training and exercise requirements of the Australian Defence Force.”

For more than a decade, DIGO has been involved in programmes of geospatial mapping in Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and other Pacific countries. Working with SPC/SOPAC and government Lands Departments, DIGO has conducted mapping surveys using systems which link with Global Positioning Satellites (GPS).

 Beyond the value of creating detailed maps of rural and outer island areas that can be used by Pacific governments, these activities have military applications. DIGO notes that geospatial analysts “can derive information including maps, charts and digital topographic information to support a range of military tasks, such as battlefield analysis, employment of weapons systems and troop movements.” Richard Tanter of the University of Melbourne notes: “This terrain mapping and visual mapping is highly valued by operational military commanders, not simply in conventional warfare in Afghanistan but in counter-terrorism operations and for drone warfare.”

In August 2003, the Australian Army deployed early versions of drones known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) as part of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI). As well as providing valuable data to the ADF, the first Australian commander of the Combined Task Force in Solomon Islands Lieutenant Colonel John Frewen described them as “a potent psychological tool” in disrupting militia activity.

The five-week trial of UAVs in Solomon Islands was the first time the ADF used pilotless aircraft in an operational environment. The results of UAV operations in Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands were the basis of an expanded programme by the ADF in Iraq and Afghanistan. DIGO’s website states: “Support to military operations within DIGO also looks at the preparation of products and services for planning possible future military operations in areas where the Australian Defence Force and Australian Federal Police are not yet deployed.”

Source: Islands Business 

More info: The Guardian

Club Em Designs

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

X-Post: Gulf News -US Data Collection Programme Has Ripples Across The Pacific.

 Source: Gulf News

Australia, New Zealand face awkward questions about cooperation

Published: 14:01 June 9, 2013

Canberra/Wellington:  Unease over a clandestine US data collection programme has rippled across the Pacific to two of Washington’s major allies, Australia and New Zealand, raising concerns about whether they have cooperated with secret electronic data mining. Both Canberra and Wellington share intelligence with the US, as well as Britain and Canada. But both Pacific neighbours now face awkward questions about a US digital surveillance programme that Washington says is aimed primarily at foreigners.
In Australia, the conservative opposition said it was “very troubled” by America’s so-called PRISM programme, which newspaper reports say is a top-secret authorisation for the US National Security Agency (NSA) to extract personal data from the computers of major Internet firms.
The opposition, poised to win September elections, said it was concerned that data stored by Australians in the computer servers of US Internet giants like Facebook and Google could be accessed by the NSA, echoing fears voiced in Europe last week over the reach of US digital surveillance in the age of cloud computing.
Australia’s influential Greens party called on the government to clarify whether Canberra’s own intelligence agencies had access to the NSA-gathered data, which according to Britain’s Guardian newspaper included search history, emails, file transfers and live chats.

“We’ll examine carefully any implications in what has emerged for the security and privacy of Australians,” Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr said in a television interview on Sunday, when asked whether Canberra had cooperated with Washington’s secret initiative. Both countries are members of the so-called ‘five eyes’ collective of major Western powers collecting and sharing signals intelligence, set up in the post-war 1940s.
Gulf News

" Both Canberra and Wellington share intelligence with the US, as well as Britain and Canada. But both Pacific neighbours now face awkward questions about a US digital surveillance programme that Washington says is aimed primarily at foreigners. "


In New Zealand, Internet file-sharing tycoon Kim Dotcom, who is fighting extradition to the US on charges of online piracy, took to Twitter on Sunday to highlight what he alleged was the role of NSA surveillance in his own case, and the cooperation of New Zealand’s spy agency.
“The New Zealand GCSB spy agency was used to spy on my family because all surveillance was available to American agencies in real time,” he tweeted, referring to the Government Communications and Security Bureau. “My case against the spy agency in New Zealand will show the degree of cooperation with the NSA.”

A New Zealand government spokeswoman declined to comment on Sunday when asked if the GCSB cooperated with the NSA programme.“We do not comment on security and intelligence matters. New Zealand’s intelligence agencies are subject to an oversight regime, which we are looking to strengthen ...”

A New Zealand watchdog in September last year found that the GCSB had illegally spied on Dotcom, founder of file-sharing site Megaupload, intercepting his personal communications ahead of a raid on his home in early 2012 by New Zealand police, who acted on a request from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. That raid was also ruled to have been invalid.
Australia’s spy and law-enforcement agencies want telecoms firms and Internet service providers to continuously collect and store personal data to boost anti-terrorism and crime-fighting capabilities - a controversial initiative that one government source said would be even more difficult to push through now, after news of the secret US surveillance of Internet firms.
The underpinning legislation has been the subject of almost three years of heated closed-door negotiations with companies most affected and last year was referred to a parliamentary intelligence oversight committee after drawing “big brother”-styled criticism from lawmakers and rights libertarians.

Australia’s government, in developing the legislation, has drawn on similar laws used in Europe since 2006, but where it has also run into legal difficulties in some EU member countries like Germany, where it was judged unconstitutional.
“I’m not sure what the legislative backing for events in the US has been. We have tried here to do ours as transparently as possible, with all the headaches that brings. This will make that worse,” a government source said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of political sensitivities.

Club Em Designs

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Document in Question.

The allegations of emails being hacked in Fiji, are being spun heavily by the Fiji media. Concerns of privacy aside, what are the facts of the issue?
Local lawyer, Graham Leung admits to be the author of a document titled " Exposing the Lie" which was circulated to a Public Relations consultant, Matt Wilson for his advice.

Interim Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had summoned the Fiji Times Publisher to address the contents and accuracy of that particular document, in relation to the recent media coverage on allegations of tax evasion, which seemingly appeared to be unfair and unbalanced.

Background on Graham Leung.

Lawyer representing, Ballu Khan regarding the allegations of financing an assassination plot and also represents former Chief Justice, Daniel Fatiaki.
Leung, the Vice-President of LAWASIA was prevented from attending a legal conference in New Zealand, according to an article published by Lawyers Weekly online. Leung was also involved in pressuring LAWASIA President, Mah Weng Kwai to resign from the newly from corruption unit known as FICAC, the resignation was reported in a Fiji Times article.

Background on Matt Wilson.

Former Fiji Times journalist and speech writer for deposed Fiji Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase. Owner of Public Relations firm, Matt Wilson Ltd, Director and Major Shareholder of Communications Fiji Ltd, according to their website.

Fiji Sun article quotes from Telecom Fiji employee regarding the legality of phone tapping.

Phone tapping illegal: Telecom
Last updated 3/20/2008 8:19:52 AM

Any directive to tap into personal telephone lines can only come from the President, says Telecom.

Telecommunication Fiji Limited acting chief executive officer Taito Tabaleka said the permission to tap into any person’s phone calls could only come from Ratu Josefa Iloilo.

Mr Tabaleka said the company did not receive any such order from Ratu Josefa in the recent past to tap into telephone conversations.
“Under the Telecom Act, only the President can order to have a telephone tapped and only under extreme situations like for national security reasons,’’ he said.

“Only then does TFL implement necessary equipment to satisfy the request from the President. “Under the current situation we’d like to confirm that no such order has been received.”

Mr Tabaleka however did not say whether any other organisation in the country had the necessary equipment to tap into and listen to phone conversations. He also did not say if phone conversations were safe.

The revelation came after concerns were raised over the suspected tapping of phones and lines belonging to individuals and organisations.Meanwhile, a media consultant yesterday alleged to have been threatened by a military personnel over an article he had edited.

Matt Wilson, a public affairs and media consultant, said he was threatened by someone he suspected to be from the military over professional editorial services he had provided for a draft article sent to him by Suva lawyer Graham Leung.

In a statement, Mr Wilson said the article critical of the interim regime was similar to countless others he had done in his career. “Mr Leung’s draft contained some forthright comment but I did not think it was particularly strident,’’ he said.
“I have seen more outspoken commentaries on the local situation.

It was for Mr Leung to ensure that the final version was accurate.” Mr Wilson said at about 5.40pm a caller speaking in a loud and aggressive voice demanded to speak to him.

“I asked who was calling and I thought I heard the name ‘Sota’ or ‘Sotia’,’’ he said. “He told me to be careful and to watch out, and said “we know what you are doing”. “He said “we have intercepted your letter to the Fiji Times”.

Then he put the receiver down.” “Of course, there was no letter from me to the Fiji Times. There was a draft article that I believe Mr Leung intended to send to that newspaper.”

Mr Leung had told an overseas journalist that he had also been threatened by someone from the military over that same letter.

In an article on Radio Fiji website, Fiji Times Editor has disputed the recent comments of the Interim Attorney General, regarding the article written by controversial lawyer, Graham Leung.

The excerpt of the Radio Fiji article:

‘Come out with proof’ says newspaper
Monday, March 17, 2008

The Fiji Times has questioned the Attorney-General office to come out with proof of allegations he made last Friday of articles which the newspaper states does not exist.

Fiji Times editor-in-chief Netani Rika in responding to the AG’s claims at a media conference says it’s unfair of Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum to make accusations on non-existent articles.

“To be intimidated over an issue which doesn’t even exist and which is being created by the Interim Attorney General himself I don’t think that’s fair on anyone.

“We have made a current check of our database and nothing existed there, I don’t know where he got the documents from and so it’s actually for him to say where he got the documents from and what is contained in them,” he said.

Rika adds the Attorney-General needs to support his claim against columnist James Bolavucu because as far as he’s concerned Bolavucu has been a regular contributor who lives in the United Kingdom.

On Friday, the AG also claimed that the interim government was reliably informed that Bolavucu was not corresponding from the UK but from Tamavua.

The excerpt of the Fiji Times article:

Military threatened me, Leung tells Radio NZ

Monday, March 17, 2008

SUVA lawyer Grahame Leung yesterday told Radio New Zealand he received a threatening phone call from the military this week.

Mr Leung told Radio NZ the threatening call he received was over an article he was writing for The Fiji Times, criticising the interim Government. He is representing New Zealander Ballu Khan who is charged with conspiring to kill interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama and some other interim Government members. Mr Leung could not be reached for a comment on the issue yesterday.

However, New Zealand lawyer Peter Williams, QC, who is also representing Mr Khan told Radio NZ he was worried for Mr Leung, given the number of incidents in which people had died or were beaten while in custody.

Mr Williams said there was the potential for violence, as there seemed to be a lack of control and restraint in Fiji at present. When asked yesterday if police had received any complaints from Mr Leung on the issue, assistant police spokesman Corporal Josaia Weicavu said they had not.

On Thursday last week, interim Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had summoned The Fiji Times Publisher Evan Hannah to his office.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said in a press conference the same afternoon that the meeting was to discuss the possible publication of certain articles that the Prime Minister's Office had received on Thursday afternoon. He said the PM's Office received a couple of articles from within The Fiji Times that apparently were going to be printed as an opinion piece.

[Sayed-Khaiyum] said the interim Government believed the articles contained factual inaccuracies, was highly emotive and discussed matters that were in court.

The Fiji Times editor-in-chief Netani Rika said Mr Sayed-Khaiyum had done himself, the media and country a great disservice by trying to create a situation that did not exist.

Mr Rika said perhaps Mr Sayed-Khaiyum should make known everything that he said to the publisher during their meeting.

Leung ratchets up his paranoia by another notch stating in a Fiji Village article that his emails are being hacked and phones tapped. That allegation was also covered by Radio Fiji article. The excerpt:

Leung believes ‘phone’s being tapped’
Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Suva lawyer Graham Leung believes his phone lines could be tapped. Leung had reportedly claimed he was being threatened last week for an article, which a local daily never published.

Speaking to Radio Australia, he says an overseas journalist had told him his phone was giving a lot of echo during the course of an interview.

“You can call it if you like a sixth sense, I do feel that my communication has been intercepted”.

Pacific Beat had asked the Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum if there’s email hacking or phone tapping activity going on. “Absolutely, I have never authorized anybody to tap phones or hack into emails.

“The point is its unfortunate it appears to me that if a certain group of people in Fiji makes an allegation, suddenly it becomes the truth and not the allegation,” he said.

Fiji Times article amplifies Leung's anger over the claims of hacked emails.

The excerpt:

Breach angers lawyer Leung

Thursday, March 20, 2008

SUVA lawyer Graham Leung is almost certain his office computers have been hacked after a series of electronic correspondence were intercepted by parties other than the intended recipient.

He said several weeks ago, an email by one of his colleagues (at Howards Lawyers) to someone in New Zealand was leaked.

"A list of cases that were sent to me from my New Zealand lawyer who I am assisting with the Chief Justice's case before a Tribunal, found its way into the hands of third parties unconnected with the case," said Mr Leung.

"The final evidence was when a media consultant whom I emailed a draft copy of an article I am researching, received a phone call last Friday about the same time as I did and was told 'Be careful, watch out. We know what you are doing. We have intercepted a letter to The Fiji Times'."

He confirmed yesterday the number recorded on the caller ID of his land telephone line was from the Queen Elizabeth Barracks 3385222 - although the caller did not identify himself.

Calls to the military's media cell yesterday afternoon were unanswered.

At a press conference last week, interim Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the Prime Minister's Office received a couple of articles that were written as an opinion piece and was to be published by this newspaper. This is the same article Mr Leung was compiling but which had not been released to The Fiji Times.

Mr Leung said with the availability of modern satellites, spying on people thousands of miles away and computer hacking would be quite easy.

But, he said, his article that was in the interim Government's possession, could not be said to be stolen as there were no laws to criminalise hacking or unauthorised interference with computers and receipt of this information.

"But in many countries, the person or persons who hacked my computer would have committed a crime by what they did," he said.

"In any event, my legal right to privacy has been violated. I can't understand the fuss about the article. Like any other citizen, I have a right to freedom of conscience and expression. I am entitled to enjoy those rights because they are in the Constitution," he said.

Perhaps Leung should realize, that everyone's electronic communications are routinely sucked up by global intercepts.
These electronic intercepts are done globally and vacuums up tera bytes of data in the program known as Echelon, which actually makes Leung's unfounded allegations appear dwarfish in comparison.

The super network of electron filters is run by NSA and the organization is perhaps the biggest consumer of resources in all of America's Government agencies.

One thing is for sure, the proposed retroactive immunity for Telecom companies was rejected in the Democratic controlled House, according to a New York Times article. The US President has vowed to veto any legislation that omits Telecom immunity.

An interesting letter appears in the Fiji Times Voice of the People column in response to an earlier Fiji Times article regarding the allegations of local lawyer, Graham Leung.

The excerpt of the Letter:

Biased Report

Your article about Mr Leung's report of military harassment to Radio New Zealand is in itself a patently biased piece of reporting.

Mr Leung's report is just that it is nothing more than a claim, yet you jump from that to report instances of abuse in custody which Mr Leung is not and then go on to refer to the Attorney-General's attempts to pre-empt the publication of inaccurate and possibly contemptuous articles.

There is nothing of substance in the article whatsoever.

Mr Leung does not state what threats were made to him, the Attorney-General does not disclose the nature of the articles he is concerned about. Yet you seem to link all these nebulous events to create a web of political unrest and violence that doesn't exist and which defies logic.

K. Madigan
Hong Kong

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