Julian #Assange of #WikiLeaks speaks about mass surveillance in New Zealand #MoT – Transcript

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Speech given on 15th September 2014 Moment of Truth event in New Zealand
Transcript published in Twitter on 18.09.2014 http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sb3ch8?new_post=true

You might be able to hear as I speak a rather loud banging sound, but someone has acquired, it seems, the flat underneath the Embassy, and are busy tunnelling, believe it or not, right this moment. We actually tried to buy the flat underneath to expand the Embassy, but, it was blocked rather mysteriously.

So, first of all I’d like to thank Glen for an excellent presentation and I am very pleased Edward could make it, I know there were quite some difficulties actually in getting him on, technically, so I am pleased that all came into fruition finally. But, I thought, we should put things into context because a lot of detail has been to into tonight and sometimes it is hard, sometimes, it’s hard, we lose our way in seeing what sort of society that we are evolving into and how this development has come about.

First of all, New Zealand has a very important historical contribution to the understanding of the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance and mass surveillance. In fact, really, like many other things that happened in the world, New Zealanders were there first and Nicky Hager was in fact a great New Zealand journalist [clapping covers words]…secret power which exposed national security agency and GCSB activities as they were then, in the 1990’s, and subsequently, of course, Australians like me, have been taking the credit for this ground breaking work that Nicky has done.

New Zealand is part of the Five Eyes Alliance and it’s easy to become confused as to what that means. The Five Eyes Alliance is not a n alliance of nations, it is not an alliance of Christian, English speaking nations of the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australian, and United Kingdom. It is an alliance of Intelligence agencies operating within those five nations, that is often presented as if those five nations have come together and decided they want to engage in mass surveillance of the rest of the world in order to empower their citizens the most, geopolitically and in terms of terrorism and foreign intelligence. But, in fact, because as Edward and Glenn have said, there has not been informed connect by those five nations, it is insiders from within the Deep State, as we would call it in political science, collaborating with each other to maximise their own power in this equation and while once we could have considered this significant but not a crucial matter that starts to affect the structure of society, that’s no longer true.

The level of mass surveillance, as it has increased over the past 10 years, is something that is now at the level where it must inevitably affect the structure of our society domestically and the structure of our international order.

Glen and Edward and others have revealed abuse after abuse, and lies by John Key and others in that area, but, if we look at simply the scale of the activity, we now have a situation where every single person who has access to the internet, which in New Zealand is essentially every single person, is being affected. Sometimes we think, a claim about a general phenomena is a claim about the air or the sky or the nature of our universe and it is so general that we think we cannot be affected by it. It is a claim that seems there that is nothing we can do about it. You may recall that Stalin once said perhaps apocryphally: “One man’s death is a tragedy but the death of a million men is a statistic”, but, I have been one of those people. I have been, and it’s in the Edward Snowden documents, a target of the NSA, on the NSA manhunting list. WikiLeaks has been as recently as 2012 a target of GCHQ and it’s in those same documents.

Kim.com in New Zealand has been a target of GCSB, unlawfully, and no doubt most of the people presenting on this panel tonight in the run up to this presentation have been some kind of target. How do we know that we are targets? Well we are specialists in this area so we are able to understand and find out this information and see that we are individually targeted. But for people who are not specialists, they rely on information that has come out as a result of journalists and as a result of people like Edward Snowden and is spoken about in generalities. What New Zealand is doing, together with the other Five eyes nations is to attempt to create a new structure of civilisation and I don’t think that New Zealanders agreed to take part in such a radical extremist project of putting all their foreign, at least, telecommunications of New Zealanders under a mass surveillance regime which automatically collects information on every single person. I think that is an extreme, bizarre, Orwellian future that is being constructed secretly in New Zealand and so you might say, why is New Zealand doing this and can New Zealand have any influence. Well, I think New Zealand as part of the Five Eyes Alliance is seen as a junior partner in that alliance, but in fact it has an equal status to every other nation except that of the United States.

People within GCSB have become addicted to that relationship with these bigger players and so they are happy to sacrifice the rights of New Zealanders and move the society of New Zealand in a very strange direction, in exchange for membership of this international intelligence agencies club. It is a network of patronage that exists internationally and operates without proper oversight of government, even in the United States as Glen has shown, there is no proper oversight.

So, having a look at the development of the Five Eyes alliance over that long period of time, and of how governments actually behave in practice with our diplomatic cables work, I want to re-iterate what Glen has talked about specifically in relation to John Key that this is how things are done at this level. It is all back room deals about how to construct laws, the place of intelligence agencies and international alliances between intelligence agencies, it is not between countries, in the construction of those laws, how to subvert monitoring of behaviour of intelligence agencies and their functions.

New Zealand historically has shown significant will to be a more independent state. Despite its size, it is an island nation, it is able to have its own political culture and that political culture resulted for example in the banning of nuclear weapons and nuclear power warships coming to Australia [transcriber’s correction: New Zealand]. The National Security Agency attempted, was used, as a vehicle to take revenge against New Zealand to coerce New Zealand into coming back into the acceptance of nuclear power in New Zealand by cutting off the flow of information to GCSB or claims of doing that, first as some of you might remember Nicky Hager showed that in fact that secret flow and access to this ‘all boys club’ of intelligence agencies continued in the background. So, we have a bizarre example where, that, even the desire to punish New Zealand for its nuclear stance was subverted by these very intelligence agencies. So, they will subvert the democratic will in relation to mass surveillance and they will even subvert attempts by US authorities operating in a different dimension, namely end the nuclear policy, to punish the GCSB.

Covert intelligence agencies by definition are designed to operate outside proper scrutiny and outside the law and so they cannot be trusted and the people who get into bed with them in any significant way also cannot be trusted.