Over the weekend, American investigative journalist and author Jeremy Scahill was interviewed on TV3’s ‘The Nation’ programme. Jeremy Scahill is the National Security Correspondent for The Nation magazine and the author of the international bestseller ‘Blackwater’. His latest book, ‘Dirty Wars’, raises questions about America’s war on terror, including the use of drones.
In the interview with TV3’s political editor Patrick Gower, Scahill shared some pretty interesting and concerning information about the New Zealand Government and its intelligence agencies, including what the government would have known about the drone attack that killed New Zealand Daryl Jones last year.
Patrick Gower: Well let’s look at how our government might have been involved because we know from the Prime Minister that our intelligence agency – our spy agency, an agency known as the GCSB which works with the NSA – may have been involved here. You are working with the journalist (Glenn) Greenwald at the moment with those Snowden documents, what have you seen about what New Zealand might know?
Jeremy Scahill: I can’t disclose specifics on this but what I can tell you is that I have seen dozens of top secret documents that the New Zealand Government has been provided by the United States, because of the Five Eyes status of New Zealand, that indicate that New Zealand is extremely aware of the extent to which the United States is engaged in drone strikes around the world and is briefed fully on the infrastructure of that programme. And the fact is that New Zealand through signal intercepts is directly involved with what is effectively an American assassination programme. People can say ‘oh well we are just giving them intelligence on terrorists’. The fact is that the world – most countries of the world – view what the United States is doing as rogue actions.
He also had some insight the NSA’s collection of metadata:
Jeremy Scahill: … That’s basically what the NSA is doing with its allies from New Zealand, Great Britain, Australia and Canada, is they are building a network where they want to suck up all of the data. And it’s not that they are listening to everyone’s phone calls, it’s that they are storing everyone’s phone calls. So if you have one of your citizens that pops up on the radar of the Americans, you can go back to your repository of information and data.
Scahill is working closely with journalist Glenn Greenwald, who last week released Snowden documents that detail New Zealand’s involvement in the Five-Eyes spying network, including Waihopai. What’s clear from the interview with Scahill is that there’s plenty more to come about New Zealand…stay tuned!
You can watch the full video or read the transcript of the interview here.