David Keegan, the deputy US Ambassador in 2007, wrote in a cable that Helen Clark “has been willing to address [intelligence] targets of marginal benefit to New Zealand that could do her political harm if made public.” This is diclosed in a Michael Field article in this morning’s DomPost further analysing Wikileaks documents relating to New Zealand.
It reinforces what we have always suspected, that the Waihopai spy station is used to serve the US government’s purposes, in a way the New Zealand public would object to.
The irony is that Waihopai could now be used to spy on Helen Clark in her new role as head of the UN Development Programme, because other Wikileaks documents disclose an extensive US spying operation on UN officials, including Helen Clark. I don’t think John Key would specifically authorise such spying on his predecessor, but the Waihopai could be intercepting such communications without any New Zealander knowing. New Zealand wouldn’t know the significance of all the phone number or email filters the US puts into the integrated Five Eyes system – which also includes the UK, Canada and Australia.
The Wikileaks documents also show the GCSB has spied on Fiji – either through Waihopai or some other means. I can’t see they would have got anything critical on Commodore Bainimarama. His intentions have not been particularly secret. The greater danger is that Pacific governments get upset at ‘big brother’ New Zealand spying on them. I found this when on a parliamentary delegation to New Caledonia a few years back. We were dressed down by a government leader for using Waihopai to spy on their government’s communications.