Tongan top government officials targeted by New Zealand spy agency says new report

    Tonga’s communications system has been intercepted by New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).

    Tonga is one of several countries named in media reports this week as having had their communication networks tapped by the GCSB, which then passes information on to the United States under the so-called ‘Five Eyes’ surveillance agreement.

    New Zealand investigative journalist Nicky Hager told Fairfax Media he had received leaked documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden that showed New Zealand was spying on its Pacific neighbours.

    Hagar said New Zealand wanted to serve American interests and secure its place in a US-led “club,” Fairfax Media reported.

    Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint programme quoted Tonga’s Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pōhiva as saying:

    “It means that New Zealand had breached the trust that had been established between the two countries, but if New Zealand has good reason to believe that it is important for Government to share such information with other countries it is entirely a matter for New Zealand.”

    New Zealand’s Green Party has lodged a complaint “with the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security claiming the GCSB has broken the law by spying on Kiwis holidaying, living and working in the Pacific.”

    New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said his government acted within the law.

    Government ministers and officials, government agencies, international organisations and non-government organisations’ e-mails and telephone communication from Tonga along with Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati, French Polynesia, Niue, Solomon Islands and the Cook Islands had been covertly collected by New Zealand GCSB, according to Hagar.

    They were then had been sent and fed to the Amercia’s giant NSA database according to Green Party MP Russell Norman.

    Auckland University Professor of Pacific Studies Damon Salesa told the New Zealand Herald that world leaders were increasingly interested in the Pacific because of China’s current activities in the region.

    In recent years China has become involved in several Pacific nations, offering soft loans, funding construction and building projects and competing for influence among Pacific leaders with Taiwan.

    Meanwhile, Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi told Radio New Zealand he thought it would seem strange to collect information on the scale suggested by Hagar.

    “I do not know what country would waste its resources listening to Tom, Dick, and Harry,” Mr Malielegaoi said.

    “It would be far fetched to think that a spy agency in any country would waste their resources doing that kind of thing to Samoa.”

    The main points

    • Tonga’s communications system has been intercepted by New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).
    • Tonga is one of several Pacific nations named investigative journalist Nicky Hager this week as having had their communication networks tapped by the GCSB, which then passes information on to the United States under the so-called ‘Five Eyes’ surveillance agreement.
    • Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint programme quoted Tongan Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva as saying New Zealand had breached the trust that had been established between the two countries.
    • Meanwhile, in neighbouring Samoa, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said he thought it was far fetched to think that any spy agency would put so much effort into spying on his country.

    For more information

    ‘Snowden revelations / The price of the Five Eyes club: Mass spying on friendly nations’ (Nicky Hagar and Ryan Gallagher, New Zealand Herald)

    ‘Tonga PM: Spy allegations ‘a pity’ ‘ (Radio New Zealand International)

    ‘Samoa PM says surveillance ‘waste of time’ (Radio New Zealand International)

    ‘Complaint laid over GCSB spy claims’ (Radio New Zealand) 

    ‘Snowden documents: New Zealand spying on neighbors’  (China Central Television)

    1 COMMENT

    1. Ne tāketiʻi e kau taki ʻo e puleʻanga Tongá ʻe he vaʻa sipai ʻa Nuʻu Sila ní fakatatau ʻeni ki ha līpooti foʻou kuo tuku mai.
      Naʻe kau ʻa Tonga ʻi he taha e ngaahi fonua kuo fakahingoa ʻe he mītiá he uiké ni ʻo pehē ne fakaongoongo mo alasi ʻe he vaʻa ngāue fakamataki ʻa Nuʻu SIlá ʻa ia ʻoku ʻiloa ko e GCSB ʻene sisitemi fetuʻutakí.
      Ne fakahā ʻe he faiongoongo fakatotolo ʻa Nuʻu Sila koi a ko Nicky Hager ki he Ongoongo ʻa e Fairfax Media kuó ne maʻu ha ngaahi tōkiumeni ne mama mai mei he tangata talatalameʻa fakapulipuli koi a ko Edward Snowden ʻoku hā ai ne fai ʻe Nuʻu SIlá ni ʻa e ngaahi ngāue fakamataki ʻi hono ngaahi fonua kaungāʻapi Pasifikí.
      Pehē ʻe Hagar ko e feinga ʻeni ʻa Nuʻu SIla ke fakakakato e fiemaʻu ʻa ʻAmelika pea ke fakapapauʻi foki ʻe tuʻunga ʻo Nuʻu Sila ʻi ha foʻi kalapu fakafonua ʻoku tataki ʻe ʻAmelika.
      Ne hanga foki ʻe he letio Nuʻu Silá ʻo tuku mai ha meʻa ʻa e ʻEiki Palēmia ʻo Tongá ʻo pehē ai ʻe ʻAkilisi Pōhiva kuo maumauʻi ʻe Nuʻu Sila e falala ʻa Tonga ʻi hona vaá ka ʻokapau ko ha meʻa ia ʻoku pehē pe e Nuʻu Sila ʻoku sai ke ne vahevahe atu mo e ngaahi fonua kehé pea ko e toki meʻa ia ʻa kinautolu.
      Kuo fakahū atu foki ʻe he Green Party ia ʻa Nuʻu Silá haʻanau lāunga ki he ʻInisipēkita Seniale ʻo e vaʻa maluʻi ʻa Nuʻu SIla ní ʻo nau tukuakiʻi kuo maumauʻi ʻe he GCSB ʻa e lao ʻaki ʻenau mataki he kakai Nuʻu Sila ʻoku folau ʻo ʻeveʻeva mo nofo he ngaahi fonua Pasifikí.
      Kuo pehē ʻe he Palēmia ʻo Nuʻu Silá John Key ʻoku ʻikai ha lao ia ʻe maumau he meʻa ko ʻeni ʻoku fai ai e fetūkuakí.
      Ko e ngāue fakamataki ko ʻeni ne tāketiʻi ai ʻa e kau mnisitā ʻo e ngaahi fonuá, ngaahi sino fakafofonga fakapuleʻanga, ngaahi kautaha fakavahaʻapuleʻanga mo e ngaahi kautaha ʻikai fakapuleʻanga ʻo toʻo fakapulipuli ʻenau ngaahi ʻimeilí mo e ngaahi fetuʻutaki telefoni ʻo ʻave ki he vaʻa maluʻi ʻa ʻAmeliká.
      Kuo pehē foki ʻe Palōfesa Damon Salesa ki he Ongoongo ʻa e New Zealand Herald ʻoku fakalalahi e tokanga mai ʻa e kau taki ʻo māmaní ki he Pasifikí koeʻuhi ngaahi meʻa ʻa ʻAmelika ʻoku lolotonga fai holo aí.
      Ki muí ni maí ne fakaʻatā foki ʻe Siaina ia ene ngaahi nō taimi loloa kae tā fakafoki ʻi ha ngaahi tupu ʻoku fuʻu maʻamaʻa fau, fakapaʻanga atu e ngaahi langa he ʻotu motú mo e ngaahi poloseki kehekehe pe mo feʻauhiʻauhi foki mo e kau taki ʻo Taiuaní ko hai ʻe ofi ange ki he ngaahi fonua Pasifikí.

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