The NSALeaks are getting closer to New Zeland, with news that Australia uses its Asian embassies as spy-bases:
Fairfax Media has been told that signals intelligence collection takes place from embassies in Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi, Beijing and Dili, and High Commissions in Kuala Lumpur and Port Moresby, as well as other diplomatic posts.
A secret US National Security Agency document leaked by Mr Snowden and published by Germany's Der Speigel reveals the existence of a highly sensitive signals intelligence collection program conducted from sites at US embassies and consulates and from the diplomatic missions of other "Five eyes" intelligence partners including Australia, Britain and Canada.
Codenamed STATEROOM, the program involves the interception of radio, telecommunications and internet traffic.
The document explicitly states that the Australian Defence Signals Directorate operates STATEROOM facilities "at Australian diplomatic facilities".
Wiretapping is illegal in most countries (including New Zealand), so Australia's embassies are involved in pervasive, illegal activity. Its as if they were running a burglary-ring out of the back office.
As for the New Zealand angle, there are two obvious questions: are they doing this here? And are we doign it too? Have our diplomatic facilities, intended to promote friendly relations with their host countries, been suborned by "our" spies to instead poison them? Security expert Paul Buchanan certainly thinks so:
"We simply cannot discount the possibility that as a member of Five Eyes, with all of the responsibilities and rights incumbent in that arrangement, that the New Zealand embassies in certain strategic quarters of the world would not fulfil the same functions as the US embassies, the Canadian embassies, the UK embassies and high commissions and the Australians. To me it would seem farcical to think one of the five is somehow innocent and wonderful and doesn't engage in such things while the other four do."
Is this how we want to be perceived by the world? As a country which abuses diplomatic privileges to spy for the hegemon? Is this how we want to perceive ourselves, as a law-breaking US lickspittle?
If not, we have one option: vote out the GCSB. Elect parties next election who will defund, disband and destroy them. It's that simple.