The world is awake to the global spying network operated by the Five Eyes of the US, UK, Australia, NZ and Canada thanks to the work of Edward Snowden and fallout of the Kim Dotcom affair. In 2013 when the NZ state passed its controversial new Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) Act, massive public protests erupted. As a result the government added in a ‘review’ of the intelligence agencies (the NZ Security Intelligence Service and the GCSB). The terms for the review are very narrow – they will not investigate any of the revelations of global spying or human rights abuses, and most importantly, they won’t consider whether or not New Zealand even needs these agencies. The Dominion Post has said the review is “hobbled before it begins” because the two reviewers are consummate insiders: former deputy prime minister Michael Cullen and government lawyer Patsy Reddy. Neither have any experience in intelligence or human rights, but both have long lucrative careers inside government. The Post said they are, “not equipped for the task.”
We know that these agencies have been involved in committing human rights abuses and violating international law. We know that the government has lied to us about the extent of the surveillance being conducted. New Zealand has been supplying information to the US that is subsequently used in drone assassinations. These agencies have been spying on our friends and neighbours in the Pacific on behalf of the US. We also know that the Government Communications Bureau has been providing intelligence to the Bangladesh Security Service, an agency that has carried out well-documented torture on political activists. We are disgusted by the use of the so-called ‘intelligence’ services for these purposes. We want to see an end to this kind of work, and a transfer of some minor functions of the SIS/GCSB to other agencies. We also want to see New Zealand leave the Five Eyes.
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