Monday, February 9, 2009

NZ SPYING SCANDAL - reuqest your file!

Can the SIS get any worse? First we learn about their decades-long surveillance of a peaceful activist group, now it turns out they were spying on Green MP Keith Locke, not just when he was an activist, but after he had been elected to parliament. They spied on his travel, they spied on his meetings with his constituents, and they monitored his activities in the House. Particularly, it seems, when they might affect the SIS:

The file includes clippings about his activities as an MP, including the official Hansard report of his speech in parliament proposing a bill to increase oversight of the SIS.
Because obviously, anyone who wants to stop the spies from undermining our democracy is clearly a threat to "national security".

Again, this is clear evidence that the SIS has gone too far. Rather than defending our democracy as they proclaim, they are in fact the greatest domestic threat to it. It's time we ended that threat, either by disbanding the whole organisation, or paring it back to a rump sufficient to its task (which in peaceful NZ, is probably about ten people). There is simply no place in a democracy for an organisation like the SIS, which spies on people solely on the basis of their political views.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Maire tackles the SIS for breakfast

PACIFIC peace campaigner Maire Leadbeater, author of the groundbreaking book Negligent Neighbour about New Zealand's shameful role over the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, was featured on TVNZ's chatty Breakfast show today. But behind all the light-hearted banter about a bygone era of paranoia, there are still sinister overtones for both NZ and the Asia-Pacific region. Maire was spied on by NZ's Security Intelligence Service (SIS) since the age of 10.
In a relatively new era of "transparency", security files have been handed over on request to a group of "activists and agitators". The move, as The Press noted in an editorial, recalls "a whiff of the musty battles of the cold war". After her Breakfast cameo, when she waved her hefty spook file that must have cost the taxpayers pointless zillions, Maire told Café Pacific:

While it's good that the SIS issue is being debated, the issue is more serious than just about the bad old cold war - "reds under the bed" - days. My file, in common with others, illustrates some quite intensive spying - "sources" planted in meetings, stake outs of conferences and so on.
But there is good reason to believe this undemocratic, wasteful activity is still continuing for some groups and individuals. It's possible that with the establishment of the new police Special Intelligence Branch the respective roles of police and SIS have changed a little.

Looking further afield in the Asia-Pacific region, she says:

Anti-communism is still strong in Indonesia, where the spreading of ideas and writing about Marxism-Leninism has been banned since 1967. The dictator Suharto rose to power by dint of a pogrom that wiped out at least half a million people deemed to be communists. Books are still banned if if they are deemed to be supportive of the PKI - the former Indonesian Communist Party - or if they give a "wrong" analysis of the events of 1 October 1965 and the murder of six army generals which triggered the bloodbath.
Indonesia's Criminal Code contains broad articles giving the authorities license to charge people that they consider to be subversive. For one human rights lawyer in West Papua that meant detention for 15 months and a trial for nothing more than forwarding a text message which alleged that the Indonesian Government was planning to cause harm to West Papuans. Fortunately he has just been acquitted. Those who dare to raise the banned
Morning Star flag or even depict its design on a bag or clothing run the real risk of going to jail.
West Papuans say that in the towns are villagers "intel" are always lurking and listening.
West Papuans say to us "please use your liberty to protect ours". So I guess that is one good reason why we also need to be vigilant about our own freedoms and right to meet and discuss ideas without being spied on!

Pictured: Maire Leadbeater with the Café Pacific publisher at a recent Auckland rally in support of the suffering people of Gaza. Photo: Del Abcede.

CAFCA's secretary Murray Horton - another leading activist who obtained his organisation's SIS files (and then fired off a personal request while a Press reporter was at his office to interview him) - believes New Zealand's security service has behaved in some respects much the same way as communist police states.

in other fallout from the SIS papers issue, Helen Sutch, daughter of the late leading public intellectual and civil servant Dr Bill Sutch who was at the heart of NZ's most controversial "spy" case, has condemned The Press in a letter of peddling an "urban myth" about her father. Dr Sutch was wrongly accused by the SIS in 1974 of trying to pass off NZ government information to the Soviet Union. In the high profile case that followed, he was acquitted. Helen Sutch wrote:

The Press continues to besmirch Bill Sutch
I am disappointed that The Press continues to purvey an urban myth regarding Dr W.B. Sutch. This myth, that ''the SIS caught William Ball Sutch passing material to the Soviet Union'' (editorial, Jan 29), was shown at his trial in 1975 to be false, and no evidence has emerged
since then to undermine that finding.
While editorials contain opinion, they should not misrepresent it as based on fact when it is not. Instead, please take note of the following easily verifiable facts:
  • Dr Sutch was acquitted. The SIS did not ''catch him passing material to the Soviet Union''. The transcript of Dr Sutch's trial, which has always been a public document, shows this clearly.
  • The subsequent enquiry by the then Ombudsman, Sir Guy Powles, found that the SIS had broken the law and that Dr Sutch had not.
  • Disquiet at the arbitrary and oppressive nature of the Official Secrets Act, under which Dr Sutch had been charged, and to which Sir Guy and others drew attention, led to its repeal
  • and replacement by the Official Information Act.
If The Press had been interested in the real historical significance of the release of SIS files, it could have highlighted two important developments in the years since 1975.
First is the movement away from a secret, closed bureaucratic world towards a more transparent society in which the presumption under the OIA is that all information should be
publicly available unless strong arguments to the contrary can be made.
The second development relates to the recognition that the SIS needed to be made more accountable.
Greater governance safeguards are now in place aimed at preventing the abuses of power that New Zealand has suffered in the past.
While Wolfgang Rosenberg, to whom your editorial also casually referred, may have kept his job, his career may well have been damaged, and there are many others, such as the distinguished lawyer Dick Collins, who were prevented from following their chosen careers at all.
Helen Sutch

Our SIS (like CIA/NSA/Gestapo/KGB/Stasi/Mossad) (see Dec2008!)

Not just "collected newspaper clippings" (John Key) but interfered and manipulated the lives of NZ citizens.

Heard the Keith Locke interview??? (National Radio, Mon 9.Feb09 -7:27am)
He explains the operations, listen carefully!
Keith Locke

A simple letter to the Director is all that is required in order to obtain information.
Write to Warren Tucker (Director of Security) stating you want your file sent to you under the Privacy Act.

Warrent Tucker
NZ Security Intelligence Service
PO Box 900

Fax: (04) 472 8209

A freephone number to report information of security concern is 0800 SIS 224 (0800 747 22)

The CAFCA File: SIS spying on protest group for 25 years

The Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA) has recently been given 400 documents (documents, not pages) spanning from the 1970s to the late 90s, by Security Intelligence Service (SIS) Director, Dr Warren Tucker.
According to Murray Horton, the secretary of CAFCA, the SIS file includes:
  • Extremely detailed reports from meetings held in private homes. Mostly these are meeting of third party groups at which CAFCA itself or its members (such as me) were discussed. Obviously the SIS had a spy or spies in those other groups.
  • Reports from year after year of CAFCA Annual General Meetings and various public meetings we organised, including making “covert” calls to one of our speakers to check out who he was and to get him to inadvertently report on the meeting for the SIS. I should stress that these were meetings on subjects like West Coast coal exports and other innocuous topics.
  • Copious analyses of articles on all manner of topics in our newsletter Foreign Control Watchdog. This went on for years.
  • Intercepted private letters.
  • In the case of myself, evidence of dealings between my former employer (the Railways) and the SIS. One report included me on a “troublemakers in the union” list and included evidence of my employer asking the SIS for any evidence that I was connected to the then Socialist Unity Party (I never was, nor any other party). Also reports of my international travels in those years.
  • SIS conclusions that CAFCA was involved in historic “terrorist” acts (we weren’t) and endless speculation as to whether we (collectively and/or individually) were “Communists” (we weren’t).
  • CAFCA was the subject of reports of various SIS Directors to various Prime Ministers.
  • CAFCA was the subject of SIS correspondence with foreign intelligence agencies. CAFCA now has received the material that the SIS sent to foreign intelligence agencies, namely 10 1970s' vintage memos sent to the CIA at the US Embassy. The accompanying letter from Warren Tucker says that they date from the "anti-nuclear ship visit period of (your) history".
  • All details identifying SIS agents or informers have been removed.
Murray Horton says that group has not released this "treasure trove" because "either through sheer naivete or malice, the CAFCA File includes extremely indiscreet and personally damaging material about named third parties, people who were not the subject of the surveillance but simply caught up in its net. A lot of it is salacious gossip, with analyses of named people’s marriage problems, drinking habits, etc, etc. Some of it is laughable – e.g. there is a report dedicated to the likely impact of feminism and different gender views on abortion on the marriages of named couples. There are also gratuitously insulting references to CAFCA leaders such as myself - “he likes the sound of his own voice and keeps interrupting the other speakers”, which we would expect from somebody sent to spy on us."

However, Horton thinks the CAFCA File is only the tip of the iceberg. "Many individual members (not including me, yet) have received their own SIS Personal Files. For example, my colleague Bill Rosenberg has received not only his one but those of both his late parents (which, in the case of his father, Wolfgang Rosenberg, went back to the 1940s). We are aware of at least one sitting MP who has received his/her SIS Personal File, as has one current senior union official. Viewed collectively, these SIS files (the CAFCA one and the personal ones) reveal a fascinating and disturbing pattern of systematic covert State surveillance of many, many organisations (the Philippines Solidarity Network being one example of another group with which I’m involved) and many hundreds, if not thousands, of people over decades. And all in complete breach of the SIS Act which expressly forbids the SIS from spying on legal protest groups."

"All of those SIS Personal Files also include the same gratuitous, personally damaging references to third parties who are not the subjects of the report but have just got swept up into it. It is up to the individuals as to whether they wish to make their SIS Personal Files available to the media."

"We believe that the NZ public and media deserve to have an unprecedented look at the secret work of our spies, to be able to evaluate the calibre of their “intelligence”, and for the public to see what is it that the SIS spends our taxes on. This is not really the stuff of newsbites; for a serious investigative journo, there’s a good long article in it." says Horton.

Apparently SIS Director Tucker confirmed to Murray Horton in writing that the spying on CAFCA has stopped. But he asks: "Where is the democracy if the powers that be exhibit an obsessive compulsion to spy on, and monitor all aspects of the lives of, legal political activists, ordinary citizens exercising their democratic rights?"

What 'intelligence' organisations such as the (SIS) or the Special Investigation Group (SIG) hate the most is publicity about their own activities. To the frustration of New Zealand's spies, their work - and their outrageous mess-ups - seem to get splattered across the country's major newspapers and broadcasted all over the 6pm news every other month. After Rob Gilchrist was outed as a paid informant for the SIG and Threat Assessment Unit (TAU) for around 10 years in December 2008, it is now the SIS' turn.

Several activists and groups, including the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa, Marie Leadbeater (Indonesia Human Rights Committee), Keith Locke (Green Party MP and former member of Socialist Action League), Tim Shadbolt (now Mayor of Invercargill) and others have recently received their SIS file. What they found is quite astonishing.

Links: The CAFCA File: SIS spying on protest group for 25 years

Maire Leadbeater

Maire Leadbeater (63) is a long-time activist on peace issues. She was an early SIS target because of her Christchurch parents, Elsie and Jack Locke, who were prominent members of the New Zealand Communist Party and community activists. Elsie Locke left the Communist Party in 1956 when the Soviet Union invaded Hungary, but her husband stayed.

Leadbeater's file, which she received late last year, begins when she was 10, with a note that she delivered the Communist Party newspaper, the People's Voice, to the mother of twins in Bangor St, in central Christchurch.

The next item refers to her membership of a junior drama group that the file says was connected with the William Morris (a Fabian socialist) Group, regarded by the SIS as a front for the Communist Party. Elsie Locke performed in the group.

The file continues to track Leadbeater's life, although the SIS lost track of her when she married and took her husband's name. "They lost me for about 13 years," she said. Her file, like most of the others released, contains material from private meetings. "I find that the hardest to accept," Leadbeater said. "That small groups of people gathering together in private homes and offices should have someone planted in the meetings. It's pretty shocking really. It's potentially very bad for democracy because it makes people anxious about involving themselves in free discussion of ideas and has a big impact on trust if you have to think to yourself `one of us could be a source'."

She was surprised to find her file contains a list of every member of the Palestine Human Rights Committee. Her file contained references to the state of her parents' marriage, which the SIS thought would be strained by Elsie's departure from the party. "It's all wrong anyway," Leadbeater said. "It's unpleasant, inaccurate speculation about highly personal family issues."

The most recent item on her file is a reference to a member of the South Auckland Muslim Association who said she would be taking part in a march on September 28, 2002 Leadbeater's activities on behalf of the Fiji Coalition for Democracy, the anti-bases campaigns and the Ahmed Zaoui campaign are not mentioned in the file. "Does this mean that snooping is less or done in a different way?" she said.

Keith Locke

One of Leadbeater's siblings is Green MP Keith Locke, a former Trotskyist and member of the Socialist Action League who has also received his SIS file. He confirmed he had received his own file, which was thick, and his mother's biographer was in possession of his mother's file. He had yet to view his file and was not prepared to comment.

Tim Shadbolt

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt, who was once prominent in a number of radical movements, said he would be travelling to Wellington to uplift his file as part of a TV3 news programme. He was not sure the SIS kept a file on him, but said he would feel a bit insulted if it did not.

"It will make interesting reading. I suspect they would have got a lot more detail if they had just read my book Bullshit and Jellybeans," he said. Shadbolt said he had led at least five radical organisations, including the Radical Students Association and Auckland University Students for the Prevention of Cruelty to Politically Apathetic Humans. "If they figured out what [the latter organisation] was about, then good luck to them because we never could," he said.

Murray Horton

In November, Murray Horton, a former railway worker, applied for the file on the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (Cafca), an organisation he helped found. He received 400 documents, including a cover letter from SIS head Dr Wayne Tucker. It said the spying had stopped. The file presented a "fascinating and disturbing pattern of systematic covert state surveillance of many, many organisations and many hundreds, if not thousands, of people over decades", Horton said.

The identity of agents and sources of information was deleted from the files, said an SIS spokesman said. So much for democracy, Horton said. "Our own little country has been proven to behave towards its dissidents in much the same way as the Communist police states that it used to rail against," he said.

The worst of it was that the Cafca file and others released indiscreet and personally damaging material about named third parties who were not the subject of the surveillance but simply caught up in its net, he said. "A lot of it is salacious gossip, with analyses of named people's marriage problems, drinking habits, etc, etc," Horton said.

"Some of it is laughable, like a report dedicated to the likely impact of feminism and different gender views on abortion on the marriages of named couples." One report contained this reference to Horton: "He likes the sound of his own voice and keeps interrupting the other speakers."
SIS spied on Green MP (part 3)
Keith Locke, the MP spied on by the SIS, joins us live.
File Size:2.5MB
Date: (Mon, 09 Feb 2009 07:27:00 +1300
SIS spied on Green MP (part 2)
Geoff speaks to PM John Key about the file on Keith Locke and help NZ can give to the state of Victoria.
File Size:2.1MB
Date: (Mon, 09 Feb 2009 07:22:00 +1300
SIS spied on Green MP
A declassified file shows the agency monitored MP Keith Locke, even after he became an MP.
File Size:1.2MB
Date: (Mon, 09 Feb 2009 06:42:00 +1300

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A threat to democracy

In 2003, the SIS adopted a new archives policy which saw material declassified and able to be released to the public for the first time. Since then, various people have taken the opportunity to gain copies of their records. And the results have revealed just how much of a threat to democracy the SIS is. A piece in the Dominion-Post today reveals details of their spying on CAFCA - the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa. CAFCA is a classic lobby group, issuing press releases, submitting to Parliament, organising petitions, promoting or opposing legislation, and issuing an annual "Roger Award" to highlight its cause. This is perfectly normal political activity in a democracy, and you would have to be absolutely demented to regard them as a "threat to security". So naturally the SIS spied on them for over a decade, invading the privacy of hundreds of people while doing so. And what did they find? The usual garbage:

"A lot of it is salacious gossip, with analyses of named people's marriage problems, drinking habits, etc, etc," Horton said.

"Some of it is laughable, like a report dedicated to the likely impact of feminism and different gender views on abortion on the marriages of named couples."

One report contained this reference to Horton: "He likes the sound of his own voice and keeps interrupting the other speakers."

Quelle horreur! Clearly a dangerous threat to national security!

Like the police SIG, this speaks of an organisation with not enough real work to do, which has turned its sights on ordinary political activists in order to justify its budget. By doing so, they have shown themselves to be a far greater threat to democracy than their imaginary "subversives". The scary thing is that their budget has tripled in recent years due to the "war on terror", but there is still nothing for them to do. There are no real terrorists in New Zealand, just as there were no Russian agents. Which raises the question: who are they spying on now?

The past history of the SIS shows that rather than protecting New Zealand's democracy, it has worked systematically to undermine it. That is not acceptable. The organisation should either be disbanded, or gutted back to a rump sufficient to its task (which is probably less than ten people). Either way, our democracy will be safer for it.

Chapter Two:
Hooked up to the spy network:
The UKUSA system

Ten years later, on Saturday, 15 January 1994, technicians in satellite earth stations around the Pacific were busy tuning their equipment to a new satellite. The first of the new generation of Intelsat 7 series satellites, it had been launched several weeks before, from the European Kourou air base in French Guyana, and then manoeuvred into position far out in space above the Equator at 174 degrees east, due north of New Zealand above Kiribati.

The 20 Intelsat (International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation) satellites that ring the world above the Equator carry most of the world's satellite-relayed international phone calls and messages such as faxes, e-mail and telexes. The new satellite, Intelsat 701, replaced the 10-year-old Intelsat 510 in the same position. The changeover occurred at 10 pm New Zealand time that summer evening.

At the GCSB's station at Waihopai, near Blenheim in the north of the South Island, the radio officer staff were just as busy that evening, setting their special equipment to intercept the communications which the technicians in legitimate satellite earth stations would send and receive via the new satellite. These specially trained radio officers, who learned their skills at the Tangimoana station, usually work day shifts, but on 15 January 1994 they worked around the clock, tuning the station's receivers to the frequency bands the GCSB wanted to intercept, selecting the specific channels within each band that would yield the types of messages sought within the UKUSA network and then testing that the high-tech intelligence collection system was working smoothly. That satellite changeover was a very significant event for the Waihopai station and the GCSB. Although it would always be only a small component of the global network, this was the moment when the station came into its own.

There have been various guesses and hints over the years about what the Waihopai station was set up to monitor -- "sources" in one newspaper said foreign warship movements; a "senior Telecom executive" told another newspaper it was most likely "other countries" military communications" -- but, outside a small group of intelligence staff, no one could do more than theorise. Waihopai was established specifically to target the international satellite traffic carried by Intelsat satellites in the Pacific region and its target in the mid-1990s is the Intelsat 701 that came into service in January 1994, and is the primary satellite for the Pacific region.

Intelsat satellites carry most of the satellite traffic of interest to intelligence organisations in the South Pacific: 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. The Intelsat 7 satellites can carry an immense number of communications simultaneously. Where the previous Intelsat 5s could carry 12,000 individual phone or fax circuits at once, the Intelsat 7s can carry 90,000. All "written" messages are currently exploited by the GCSB. The other UKUSA agencies monitor phone calls as well.

The key to interception of satellite communications is powerful computers that search through these masses of messages for ones of interest. The intercept stations take in millions of messages intended for the legitimate earth stations served by the satellite and then use computers to search for pre-programmed addresses and keywords. In this way they select out manageable numbers (hundreds or thousands) of messages to be searched through and read by intelligence analysis staff.

Until the Intelsat 701 satellite replaced the older 5 series, all the communications intercepted at Waihopai could already be got from two existing UKUSA stations covering the Pacific. But, unlike their predecessors, this new generation of Intelsat 7s had more precise beams transmitting communications down to the southern hemisphere. The existing northern hemisphere-based stations were no longer able to pick up all the southern communications, which is why new stations were required.

Eleven months later, on 3 December 1994, the other old Intelsat satellite above the Pacific was replaced by Intelsat 703. Since then Waihopai and its sister station in Australia constructed at the same time have been the main source of southern hemisphere Pacific satellite communications for the UKUSA network.

Many people are vaguely aware that a lot of spying occurs, maybe even on them, but how do we judge if it is ubiquitous or not a worry at all? Is someone listening every time we pick up the telephone? Are all our Internet or fax messages being pored over continuously by shadowy figures somewhere in a windowless building? There is almost never any solid information with which to judge what is realistic concern and what is silly paranoia.

What follows explains as precisely as possible -- and for the first time in public -- how the worldwide system works, just how immense and powerful it is and what it can and cannot do. The electronic spies are not ubiquitous, but the paranoia is not unfounded.

The global system has a highly secret codename -- ECHELON. It is by far the most significant system of which the GCSB is a part, and many of the GCSB's daily operations are based around it. The intelligence agencies will be shocked to see it named and described for the first time in print. Each station in the ECHELON network has computers that automatically search through the millions of intercepted messages for ones containing pre-programmed keywords or fax, telex and e-mail addresses. For the frequencies and channels selected at a station, every word of every message is automatically searched (they do not need your specific telephone number or Internet address on the list).

All the different computers in the network are known, within the UKUSA agencies, as the ECHELON Dictionaries. Computers that can search for keywords have existed since at least the 1970s, but the ECHELON system has been designed to interconnect all these computers and allow the stations to function as components of an integrated whole. Before this, the UKUSA allies did intelligence collection operations for each other, but each agency usually processed and analysed the intercept from its own stations. Mostly, finished reports rather than raw intercept were exchanged.

Under the ECHELON system, a particular station's Dictionary computer contains not only its parent agency's chosen keywords, but also a list for each of the other four agencies. For example, the Waihopai computer has separate search lists for the NSA, GCHQ, DSD and CSE in addition to its own. So each station collects all the telephone calls, faxes, telexes, Internet messages and other electronic communications that its computers have been pre-programmed to select for all the allies and automatically sends this intelligence to them. This means that the New Zealand stations are used by the overseas agencies for their automatic collecting -- while New Zealand does not even know what is being intercepted from the New Zealand sites for the allies. In return, New Zealand gets tightly controlled access to a few parts of the system.

When analysts at the agency headquarters in Washington, Ottawa, Cheltenham and Canberra look through the mass of intercepted satellite communications produced by this system, it is only in the technical data recorded at the top of each intercept that they can see whether it was intercepted at Waihopai or at one of the other stations in the network. Likewise, GCSB staff talk of the other agencies' stations merely as the various "satellite links" into the integrated system. The GCSB computers, the stations, the headquarters operations and, indeed, the GCSB itself function almost entirely as components of this integrated system.

In addition to satellite communications, the ECHELON system covers a range of other interception activities, described later. All these operations involve collection of communications intelligence,<> as opposed to other types of signals intelligence such as electronic intelligence, which is about the technical characteristics of other countries' radar and weapon systems.

Interception of international satellite communications began in the early 1970s, only a few years after the first civilian communications satellites were launched. At this time the Intelsat satellites, located over the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, simply beamed all their messages down to the entire hemisphere within their view.

Throughout the 1970s only two stations were required to monitor all the Intelsat communications in the world: a GCHQ station in the south-west of England had two dishes, one each for the Atlantic and Indian Ocean Intelsats, and an NSA station in the western United States had a single dish covering the Pacific Intelsat.

The English station is at Morwenstow, at the edge of high cliffs above the sea at Sharpnose Point in Cornwall. Opened in 1972-73, shortly after the introduction of new Intelsat 4 satellites, the Morwenstow station was a joint British-American venture, set up using United States-supplied computers and communications equipment, and was located only 110 kilometres from the legitimate British Telecom satellite station at Goonhilly to the south. In the 1970s the Goonhilly dishes were inclined identically towards the same Atlantic and Indian Ocean satellites.<>

The Pacific Intelsat satellite was targeted by an NSA station built on a high basalt tableland inside the 100,000-hectare United States Army Yakima Firing Centre, in Washington State in the north-west United States, 200 kilometres south-west of Seattle. Also established in the early 1970s, the Yakima Research Station initially consisted of a long operations building and the single large dish. In 1982, a visiting journalist noted that the dish was pointing west, out above the Pacific to the third of the three Intelsat positions.<>

Yakima is located between the Saddle Mountains and Rattlesnake Hills, in a desert of canyons, dunes and sheer rock cliffs, where the only vegetation is grass. The Army leases the land to ranchers who herd their cattle in the shadow of the dishes. When visited in mid-1995 the Yakima station had five dish antennae, three facing westwards over the Pacific Ocean and two, including the original large 1970s dish, facing eastwards. Besides the original operations building there were several newer buildings, the largest of them two-storey, concrete and windowless.

Two of the west-facing dishes are targeted on the main Pacific Intelsat satellites; the Yakima station has been monitoring Pacific Intelsat communications for the NSA ever since it opened. The orientation of the two east-facing dishes suggests that they may be targeted on the Atlantic Intelsats, intercepting communications relayed towards North and South America. One or both may provide the link between the station and the NSA headquarters in Washington. The fifth dish at the station is smaller than the rest and faces to the west. Given its size and orientation, it appears to be the UKUSA site for monitoring the Inmarsat-2 satellite that provides mobile satellite communications in the Pacific Ocean area. If so, this is the station that would, for example, have been monitoring Greenpeace communications during the nuclear testing protests in the waters around Moruroa Atoll in 1995.

The GCSB has had important links with the Yakima station since 1981, when the GCSB took over a special, highly secret area of intelligence analysis for the UKUSA network (see Chapter 6). Telexes intercepted using Yakima's single dish were first sorted by the Yakima computers, and then subjects allocated to New Zealand were sent to the GCSB for analysis. The Yakima station had been using Dictionary-type computers for this searching work for many years before the full ECHELON system was operating.

Between them, the Morwenstow and Yakima stations covered all Intelsat interception during the 1970s. But a new generation of Intelsat satellites launched from the late 1970s required a new configuration of spy stations. The Intelsat 4A and 5 series satellites differed from earlier ones in that they did not transmit only to the whole of the side of the world within their view; they now also had "east and west hemispheric" beams that transmitted separately.<> For example, Intelsat 510, which operated above the Pacific until its replacement in December 1994, had one "global" beam covering the whole region, but all the other transmissions went either to the east or to the west Pacific. Yakima was not within the "footprint" of any hemispheric beams covering Australasia, South East Asia and East Asia, making interception of these signals difficult or impossible.

These changes to Intelsat design meant that the UKUSA alliance required at least two new stations to maintain its global coverage. Again the GCHQ provided one and the NSA one. A new NSA station on the east coast of the United States would cover Atlantic Intelsat traffic beamed down towards North and South America (Morwenstow covered the eastern Atlantic), and a GCHQ station in Hong Kong would cover both the western hemisphere of the Pacific Intelsats and the eastern hemisphere of the Indian Ocean Intelsats.

The site chosen for the new NSA station was hidden in the forested South Fork Valley in the mountains of West Virginia, about 250 kilometres south-west from Washington DC, on the edge of the George Washington National Forest, near the small settlement of Sugar Grove. The site had been used in the 1950s and early 1960s for a failed attempt to spy on Russian radio communications and radars by means of reflections from the moon. The current satellite interception station was developed during the late 1970s, when a collection of new satellite dishes (from 10 to 45 metres in diameter) and the new windowless Raymond E. Linn Operations Building were constructed. It also incorporated a two-storey underground operations building already at the site. It started full operations about 1980.<>

Like Morwenstow and Yakima, Sugar Grove is only 100 kilometres from an international satellite communications earth station, making it easy to intercept any "spot" beams directed down to the legitimate stations. In this case it is the Etam earth station, the main link in the United States with the Intelsat satellites above the Atlantic Ocean.

The other new station, in Hong Kong, was constructed by the GCHQ also in the late 1970s. The station, which has since been dismantled, was perched above the sea on the south side of Hong Kong Island, across Stanley Bay from the British Stanley Fort military base and right next to high-rise apartments and luxury housing. In crowded Hong Kong the station's anonymity was assured simply because there are so many satellite dishes scattered over the island. What helped to give away this one was the sign, on the entrance to an exclusive housing enclave across the bay, saying that taking photographs is strictly forbidden. When one of the Indian guards on the gate was asked why it was forbidden to take photos of a housing area, he pointed across the bay and said in serious tones, "Communications facility -- very, very secret".

The Hong Kong station had several satellite dishes and buildings, including a large windowless concrete building (similar to the ones at Yakima and Sugar Grove) and a collection of administration and operations buildings running down the hill into the base from the gates. Intelsat communications intercepted at the station were seen regularly by GCSB operations staff in Wellington.<>

When visited in August 1994, the station fitted the requirements of the Intelsat monitoring network. It had one dish pointing up east towards the Pacific Intelsats, another towards the Indian Ocean Intelsats and a third, for the station's own communications, pointing up to a United States Defence Satellite Communications System satellite above the Pacific. Other dishes had perhaps already been removed. Dismantling of the station began in 1994 -- to ensure it was removed well before the 1997 changeover to Chinese control of Hong Kong -- and the station's staff left in November that year. News reports said that the antennae and equipment were being shipped to the DSD-run Shoal Bay station in Northern Australia, where they would be used for intercepting Chinese communications.

It is not known how the Hong Kong station has been replaced in the global network. One of the Australian DSD stations -- either Geraldton or Shoal Bay -- may have taken over some of its work, or it is possible that another north-east Asian UKUSA station moved into the role. For example, there were developments at the NSA's Misawa station in northern Japan in the 1980s that would fit well with the need for expanded Intelsat monitoring.<>

Throughout the 1980s a series of new dishes was also installed at the Morwenstow station, to keep up with expansion of the Intelsat network. In 1980 it still required only the two original dishes, but by the early 1990s it had nine satellite dishes: two inclined towards the two main Indian Ocean Intelsats, three towards Atlantic Ocean Intelsats, three towards positions above Europe or the Middle East and one dish covered by a radome.

The Morwenstow, Yakima, Sugar Grove and Hong Kong stations were able to provide worldwide interception of the international communications carried by Intelsat throughout the 1980s. The arrangement within the UKUSA alliance was that, while the NSA and GCHQ ran the four stations, each of the five allies (including the GCSB) had responsibility for analysing some particular types of the traffic intercepted at these stations.

Then, in the late 1980s, another phase of development occurred. It may have been prompted by approaching closure of the Hong Kong station, but a more likely explanation is that, as we have seen, technological advances in the target Intelsat satellites again required expansion of the network.

Two UKUSA countries were available to provide southern hemisphere coverage: Australia and New Zealand. One of the new southern hemisphere stations would be the GCSB's Waihopai station and the other would be at Geraldton in West Australia. (Both stations are described in detail later.) The new stations were operating by 1994 when the new Intelsat 7s began to be introduced. Waihopai had opened in 1989, with a single dish, initially covering one of the older generation of Intelsat satellites.

The positioning of the Geraldton station on Australia's extreme west coast was clearly to allow it to cover the Indian Ocean Intelsats (they all lie within 60 degrees of the station, which allows good reception). Geraldton opened in 1993, with four dishes, covering the two main Indian Ocean Intelsats (at 60 degrees and 63 degrees) and possibly a new Asia-Pacific Intelsat introduced in 1992. It also covers the second of the two Pacific Intelsats, Intelsat 703.

The logic of the system suggests that, at the same time as the Waihopai and Geraldton stations were added to the network, a seventh, as yet undiscovered, station may have been installed in the South Atlantic. This station, probably located on Ascension Island, would complete the 1990s network by intercepting the Atlantic Intelsats' southern hemisphere communications.<>

New GCSB operations staff attend training sessions that cover the ECHELON system, showing how the GCSB fits into the system and including maps showing the network of UKUSA stations around the world. The sessions include briefings on the Intelsat and the maritime Inmarsat satellites -- their locations, how they work, what kinds of communications they carry and the technical aspects of their vulnerability to spying. This is because these are primary targets for the UKUSA alliance in the Pacific.

But the interception of communications relayed by Intelsat and Inmarsat is only one component of the global spying network co-ordinated by the ECHELON system. Other elements include: radio listening posts, including the GCSB's Tangimoana station; interception stations targeted on other types of communications satellites; overhead signals intelligence collectors (spy satellites) like those controlled from the Pine Gap facility in Australia; and secret facilities that tap directly into land-based telecommunications networks.

What Waihopai, Morwenstow and the other stations do for satellite communications, another whole network of intercept stations like Tangimoana, developed since the 1940s, does for radio.

There are several dozen radio interception stations run by the UKUSA allies and located throughout the world. Many developed in the early years of the Cold War and, before satellite communications became widespread in the 1980s, were the main ground signals intelligence stations targeting Soviet communications. Some stations were also used against regional targets. In the Pacific, for example, ones with New Zealand staff were used to target groups and governments opposed by Britain and the United States through a series of conflicts and wars in South East Asia.

A recent new radio interception station is the Australian DSD station near Bamaga in northern Queensland, at the tip of Cape York. It was set up in 1988 particularly to monitor radio communications associated with the conflict between Papua New Guinea and the secessionist movement in Bougainville.<> GCSB staff are also aware of Australian intercept staff posted in the early 1990s to the recently opened Tindal Air Force base in northern Australia, suggesting that an even newer -- as yet undisclosed -- DSD intercept station may have been established there.

Most of this network of stations target long-range high frequency (HF) radio. A powerful HF radio transmitter can transmit right around the world, which is why HF radio has been a major means of international communications and is still widely used by military forces and by ships and aircraft. Other stations target short-range communications -- very high frequency and ultra high frequency radio (VHF and UHF) -- which, among other things, are used extensively for tactical military communications within a country.

There is a wide variety of these radio interception operations. Some are very large, with hundreds of staff; others are small -- a few staff hidden inside a foreign embassy bristling with radio aerials on the roof; others (like the Bamaga station) are unstaffed, with the signals automatically relayed to other stations. Because of the peculiarities of radio waves, sometimes stations far from the target can pick up communications that closer ones cannot.

Each station in this network -- including the GCSB's Tangimoana station -- has a Dictionary computer like those in the satellite intercept stations. These search and select from the communications intercepted, in particular radio telexes, which are still widely used, and make these available to the UKUSA allies through the ECHELON system.

The UKUSA network of HF stations in the Pacific includes the GCSB's Tangimoana station (and before it one at Waiouru), five or more DSD stations in Australia, a CSE station in British Columbia, and NSA stations in Hawaii, Alaska, California, Japan, Guam, Kwajalein and the Philippines. The NSA is currently contracting its network of overseas HF stations as part of post-Cold War rationalisation. This contraction process includes, in Britain, the closure of the major Chicksands and Edzell stations.

The next component of the ECHELON system covers interception of a range of satellite communications not carried by Intelsat. In addition to the six or so UKUSA stations targeting Intelsat satellites, there are another five or more stations targeting Russian and other regional communications satellites. These stations are located in Britain, Australia, Canada, Germany and Japan. All of these stations are part of the ECHELON Dictionary system. It appears that the GCHQ's Morwenstow station, as well as monitoring Intelsat, also targets some regional communications satellites.

United States spy satellites, designed to intercept communications from orbit above the earth, are also likely to be connected into the ECHELON system. These satellites either move in orbits that criss-cross the earth or, like the Intelsats, sit above the Equator in geostationary orbit. They have antennae that can scoop up very large quantities of radio communications from the areas below.

The main ground stations for these satellites, where they feed back the information they have gathered into the global network, are Pine Gap, run by the CIA near Alice Springs in central Australia, and the NSA-directed Menwith Hill and Bad Aibling stations, in England and Germany respectively.<> These satellites can intercept microwave trunk lines and short-range communications such as military radios and walkie-talkies. Both of these transmit only line of sight and so, unlike HF radio, cannot be intercepted from faraway ground stations.

The final element of the ECHELON system are facilities that tap directly into land-based telecommunications systems, completing a near total coverage of the world's communications. Besides satellite and radio, the other main method of transmitting large quantities of public, business and government communications is a combination of undersea cables across the oceans and microwave networks over land. Heavy cables, laid across the seabed between countries, account for a large proportion of the world's international communications. After they emerge from the water and join land-based microwave networks, they are very vulnerable to interception.

The microwave networks are made up of chains of microwave towers relaying messages from hilltop to hilltop (always in line of sight) across the countryside. These networks shunt large quantities of communications across a country. Intercepting them gives access to international undersea communications (once they surface) and to international communication trunk lines across continents. They are also an obvious target for large-scale interception of domestic communications.

Because the facilities required to intercept radio and satellite communications -- large aerials and dishes -- are difficult to hide for too long, that network is reasonably well documented. But all that is required to intercept land-based communication networks is a building situated along the microwave route or a hidden cable running underground from the legitimate network. For this reason the worldwide network of facilities to intercept these communications is still mostly undocumented.

Microwave communications are intercepted in two ways: by ground stations, located near to and tapping into the microwave routes, and by satellites. Because of the curvature of the earth, a signals intelligence satellite out in space can even be directly in the line of a microwave transmission. Although it sounds technically very difficult, microwave interception from space by United States spy satellites does occur. <>

A 1994 expos of the Canadian UKUSA agency called Spyworld,<> co-authored by a previous staff member, Mike Frost, gave the first insights into how much microwave interception is done. It described UKUSA "embassy collection" operations, where sophisticated receivers and processors are secretly transported to their countries' overseas embassies in diplomatic bags and used to monitor all manner of communications in the foreign capitals.

Since most countries' microwave networks converge on the capital city, embassy buildings are an ideal site for microwave interception. Protected by diplomatic privilege, embassies allow the interception to occur from right within the target country.<> Frost said the operations particularly target microwave communications, but also other communications including car telephones and short-range radio transmissions.

According to Frost, Canadian embassy collection began in 1971 following pressure from the NSA. The NSA provided the equipment (on indefinite loan), trained the staff, told them what types of transmissions to look for on particular frequencies and at particular times of day and gave them a search list of NSA keywords. All the intelligence collected was sent to the NSA for analysis. The Canadian embassy collection was requested by the NSA to fill gaps in the United States and British embassy collection operations, which were still occurring in many capitals around the world when Frost left the CSE in 1990.

Separate sources in Australia have revealed that the DSD also engages in embassy collection. Leaks in the 1980s described installation of "extraordinarily sophisticated intercept equipment, known as Reprieve in Australia's High Commission in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea and in the embassies in Indonesia and Thailand. The operations are said to take a whole room of the embassy buildings and to be able to listen to local telephone calls at will.<> There is good reason to assume that these operations, too, were prompted by and supported with equipment and technical advice from the NSA and GCHQ.

Of course, when the microwave route is across one of the UKUSA countries' territory it is much easier to arrange interception. For example, it is likely that there is a GCHQ operation intercepting, and feeding through Dictionary computers, all the trans-Atlantic undersea cable communications that come ashore in Cornwall.

There are also definitely United States and possibly Canadian facilities for this type of interception. By far the most important of these is the NSA-directed Menwith Hill station in Britain. With its 22 satellite terminals and over 2 hectares of buildings, Menwith Hill is undoubtedly the largest station in the UKUSA network. In 1992 some 1200 United States personnel were based there.<> British researcher Duncan Campbell has described how Menwith Hill taps directly into the British Telecom microwave network, which has actually been designed with several major microwave links converging on an isolated tower connected underground into the station.<> The station also intercepts satellite and radio communications and is a ground station for the electronic eavesdropping satellites. Each of Menwith Hill's powerful interception and processing systems presumably has its own Dictionary computers connected into the ECHELON system.

Menwith Hill, sitting in northern England, several thousand kilometres from the Persian Gulf, was awarded the NSA's Station of the Year prize for 1991 following its role in the Gulf War. It is a station which affects people throughout the world.

In the early 1980s James Bamford uncovered some information about a worldwide NSA computer system codenamed Platform which, he wrote, "will tie together fifty-two separate computer systems used throughout the world. Focal point, or Òhost environmentÓ, for the massive network will be the NSA headquarters at Fort Meade. Among those included in Platform will be the British SIGINT organisation, GCHQ. <>

There is little doubt that Platform is the system that links all the major UKUSA station computers in the ECHELON system. Because it involves computer-to-computer communications, the GCSB and perhaps DSD were only able to be integrated into the system in the 1990s when the intelligence and military organisations in the two countries changed over to new computer-based communications systems.

The worldwide developments, of which construction of the Waihopai station was part, were co-ordinated by the NSA as Project P415. Although most of the details remained hidden, the existence of this highly secret project targeting civilian communications was publicised in August 1988 in an article by Duncan Campbell. He described how the UKUSA countries were "soon to embark on a massive, billion-dollar expansion of their global electronic surveillance system', with "new stations and monitoring centres ... to be built around the world and a chain of new satellites launched'.

The satellite interception stations reported to be involved in P415 included the NSA's Menwith Hill station, the GCHQ's Morwenstow and Hong Kong stations and the Waihopai and Geraldton stations in the South Pacific. Other countries involved, presumably via the NSA, were said to be Japan, West Germany and, surprisingly, the People's Republic of China.

"Both new and existing surveillance systems are highly computerised," Campbell explained. "They rely on near total interception of international commercial and satellite communications in order to locate the telephone and other target messages of target individuals....<>

There were two components to the P415 development, the first being the new stations required to maintain worldwide interception. More striking, though, was the expansion of the NSA's ECHELON system, which now links all the Dictionary computers of all the participating countries.

The ECHELON system has created an awesome spying capacity for the United States, allowing it to monitor continuously most of the world's communications. It is an important component of its power and influence in the post-Cold War world order, and advances in computer processing technology continue to increase this capacity.

The NSA pushed for the creation of the system and has the supreme position within it. It has subsidised the allies by providing the sophisticated computer programmes used in the system, it undertakes the bulk of the interception operations and, in return, it can be assumed to have full access to all the allies' capabilities.

Since the ECHELON system was extended to cover New Zealand in the late 1980s, the GCSB's Waihopai and Tangimoana stations -- and indeed all the British, Canadian and Australian stations too -- can be seen as elements of a United States system and as serving that system. The GCSB stations provide some information for New Zealand government agencies, but the primary logic of these stations is as parts of the global network.

On 2 December 1987, when Prime Minister David Lange announced plans to build the Waihopai station, he issued a press statement explaining that the station would provide greater independence in intelligence matters: "For years there has been concern about our dependence on others for intelligence -- being hooked up to the network of others and all that implies. This government is committed to standing on its own two feet."

Lange believed the statement. Even as Prime Minister, no one had told him about the ECHELON Dictionary system and the way that the Waihopai station would fit into it. The government was not being told the truth by officials about New Zealand's most important intelligence facility and was not being told at all about ECHELON, New Zealand's most important tie into the United States intelligence system. The Waihopai station could hardly have been more "hooked up to the network of others", and to all that is implied by that connection.

1. The generally accepted definition of communications intelligence is "technical and intelligence information derived from foreign communications by someone other than the intended recipient. It does not include foreign press, propaganda or public broadcasts." It generally refers to external intelligence and so does not usually include governments spying on their own people.

2. Duncan Campbell, The Unsinkable Aircraft Carrier, Michael Joseph Ltd, London, 1984, p.167.

3. Rick Anderson, Seattle Times, 19 September 1982, p.1.

4. M. Long, World Satellite Almanac, second edition, Howard W. Sams & Company, Indianapolis, 1987, pp. 206-208, 457-460.

5. James Bamford, The Puzzle Palace, Sidgwick & Guildford, London, 1983, pp.167-171.

6. The station may not have been initially targeted on Intelsat. Some photos of the station taken by Des Ball in June 1983 show the two interception dishes facing directly skywards, meaning either that they were temporarily not being used or that they were targeted at that time on satellites above East Asia (in the early 1980s there were no Intelsats there).

7. A US$29 million project codenamed LADYLOVE at the station, for completion in mid-1982, involved an "interim deployment" construction of one dish and a "new operational electronic system" housed initially in equipment vans. A US$21 million "major new collection and processing complex with associated antenna systems" followed in 1987.

8. Ascension Island is a 20-square kilometre British territory, situated halfway between Brazil and Angola in the middle of the South Atlantic. It has a major radio interception station with joint GCHQ/NSA staffing, a base for US anti-submarine Orion aircraft, six separate radar and optical tracking stations for US strategic missile tests and its large US-built airfield was the main support base for the Falklands War (Richelson and Ball, The Ties that Bind, Allen & Unwin, Boston, 1985, pp. 194, 201 and 220; Duncan Campbell, New Statesman, "Report reveals island base, 21 May 1985).

9. Mary Louise O'Callaghan, Melbourne Age, "PNG to investigate Australian spy claim", 26 November 1991, p.1.

10. For a full description of these "overhead" systems, see Jeffrey T. Richelson, The US Intelligence Community, Ballinger, Cambridge, 1989.

11. Information from Jeffrey Richelson.

12. Mike Frost and Michel Gratton, Spyworld, 1994, Doubleday, Toronto. The book describes in detail how and where these operations occurred.

13. Mike Frost helped to arrange a series of these operations, including investigating the microwave routes through some cities while assessing the suitability of the local Canadian embassy.

14. Brian Toohey and Marion Wilkinson, The Book of Leaks, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1987, p.139.

15. Archie Hamilton, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Written Answers to Questions, British Parliament record for 9 June 1992, p.97.

16. Duncan Campbell, op. cit., p.168.

17. James Bamford, op. cit., p.102. Internal Menwith Hill station papers from the early 1990s still referred to a computer-based communications system called Platform.

18. Duncan Campbell, New Statesman, "They've got it taped', 12 August 1988, pp.10-12.

Captions Chapter 2


1. The Waihopai station - part of a super-secret global system called ECHELON - automatically intercepts satellite communications for the foreign allies. The Labour government that approved the station was not told about these links. (Photo: Marlborough Express)


2. One of two dishes at a British spy station in Cornwall that between them intercepted all Atlantic and Indian Ocean satellite phone and telex until the early 1980s. (Photo: Duncan Campbell)


3. Six UKUSA stations target the Intelsat satellites used to relay most satellite phone calls, internet, e-mail, faxes and telexes around the world. They are part of a network of secret stations and spy satellites which, between them, intercept most of the communications on the planet.


4. The controversial Pine Gap base in central Australia is a major ground station for United States electronic spy satellites. It has kept expanding after the Cold War; today there are 12 "golf balls". It plays a key roll in United States military strategies.


5. Canada's Leitrim station, just north of Ottawa, appears to be used to intercept Latin American satellites.

With apologies to North Korea because she shouldn’t be insulted by being compared with New Zealand!

NZ Dollar, ANZ Bank, Spies, Assassins, Phone Tapping, Attempted Murder and the Military Regime with a Civilian Face

In reply to a message by a NZ Journalist, TERRES

A colleague who lived in NZ and who has done some research on the “cloak and dagger” operations worldwide, believes a considerable number of “spies” [other than the obvious operatives from the US, UK, Canada and Australia] freely [with the full knowledge and consent of NZ govt.] operate in New Zealand. [He also informs me that he has inadvertently met a few of them in Nelson and in the Golden Bay area.] The operatives, he asserts, include Israeli, German, Italian, Danish … agents and former MI personnel from SA and Zimbabwe. [He has not disclosed the specific details.]

The worst culprits are by far New Zealand’s own “Canadian-trained” SS-like SIS agents [see links below,] my colleague contends, who occupy all the managerial and top positions within the government branches [e.g., NZ "Trade and Enterprise"] effectively transforming a civilian form of government into a “crypto-military fascist police state,” or an outright military regime with a civilian face like China or North Korea.

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