- Date published:
12:30 pm, September 15th, 2014 - 14 comments
Categories: accountability, brand key, democracy under attack, election 2014, internet, Spying, telecommunications, us politics - Tags:
Even before Glenn Greenwald has produced his evidence tonight, John Key has started to front foot some of the damaging information to come. One of the things we have learned is that the GCSB had not only planned to carry out mass surveillance of New Zealanders communications, but that they had already installed the capability for so doing on the internet cable that connects New Zealand with the rest of the world.
Could this have been done without the knowledge of the people who own and manage this cable, the Southern Cross Cable Network?
The website for this company, shows that the key personnel have strong links with other telco companies, including Optus and Telecom NZ.
It’s also interesting to note that at the bottom of the list is this guy:
Frank Salley – Verizon
Frank is the currently Senior Engineer of Global Network Planning in Verizon having held various previous positions within Verizon and MCI, and has over 25 years of submarine cable experience.
And US company Verizon communications, has an interesting back story.
In May 2006, USA Today reported that Verizon, as well as AT&T and BellSouth, had given the National Security Agency landline phone records following the September 11 attacks.
The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.
The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.
The National Security Agency pays AT&T T -1%, Verizon and Sprint several hundred million dollars a year for access to 81% of all international phone calls into the US, according to a leaked inspector general’s report, which has been reported by the Washington Post, AP, and the New York Review of Books. In fact., this secret report says that “NSA maintains relationships with over 100 U.S. companies, underscoring that the U/S. has the “home-field advantage as the primary hub for worldwide communications,” the New York Review of Books reported in its August 15 issue. These secret cooperative agreements reveal that NSA pays surveillance fees to telcos and phone companies were first made public by Edward Snowden, the former NSA administrator, now resident in Russia.
This adds weight to some of the Gordon Campbell’s arguments in his latest excellent article. he argues that the GCSB, and John Key would not have been planning, and beginning to implement the tapping of the Southern Cross cable, without the say so of the the US’s NSA (National Security Agency):
Think about it. It may seem (marginally) plausible that Key should suddenly backtrack on a GCSB programme that he would surely have known about since its inception. Yet could he also in the process, significantly abridge a surveillance system seen as integral to the Five Eyes arrangement ? Logically, that seems highly unlikely. We like to think that we punch above our weight, but outpunching the NSA and unilaterally pulling the plug on a system that has been endorsed by our Five Eyes partners – such that they then wouldn’t be able to implement the system as a whole ? This would be the security intelligence version of withdrawing from the ANZUS pact. Key’s explanation simply doesn’t make sense.
Also discussed by Campbell, and many others, is the way John key (and GCSB boss Ian Fletcher) have overseen the expansion of the GCSB’s role into “economic security” and the support of multinational corporates with respect to things such as trade, the TPPA, and, in the Dotcom case, the interests of Hollywood corporations, Campbell explains:
Surely, we need an independent foreign policy and a security system that protects our own interests – and not those of the business rivals of our main trading partner? In this respect, the Trans Pacific Partnership (which pointedly excludes China) has always been a de facto defence and security pact as much as it is trade deal. Dig down one level with the TPP and you find that even conservative analysts such as Professor Jagdish Bhagwati regard the TPP as being driven by US corporate interests that bear little relation to free trade. Increasingly, the same can be said of the economic espionage activities that are now entwined with the operations of the Five Eyes arrangement.
As a refresher of some of the issues, see Andre Vance’s article of 20 August 2013, “Demystifying the GCSB bill”
The claims made today by journalist Glenn Greenwald that the Southern Cross undersea cables have been tapped into or accessed are total nonsense said the CEO Anthony Briscoe today.
The cables, which link New Zealand to Australia, the Pacific and the United States, are untouched, Mr Briscoe noted.
“I can tell you quite categorically there is no facility by the NSA, the GCSB or anyone else on the Southern Cross cable network.”
More at the link.