Russia Today, September 15, 2014 – http://tinyurl.com/mrwqm7z | Thanks to Golden Age of Gaia.
In the first-ever gathering of the world’s leading whistleblowers, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden and journalist Glenn Greenwald joined internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom to discuss threats to privacy worldwide.
The whistleblowers came out in support of Dotcom’s campaign against unaccountable surveillance by the NZ government, at an event to promote Dotcom’s Internet party at upcoming elections.
“We share the same prosecutor,’ Assange told Dotcom, referring to attempts by authorities in Washington to extradite both men to face charges in the United States.
Assange accused the US of trying to enforce its laws worldwide. By trying to control other countries’ law enforcement systems, the US is “annexing other countries,” the whistleblower said.
The participants of the conference lashed out at the so-called “Five Eyes” alliance – the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand – with Julian Assange describing it as “not an alliance of countries but an alliance of intelligence agencies operating within those countries.”
Dotcom said the activists at the conference wanted “to close one of the Five Eyes,” referring to New Zealand, which currently is facing a fierce debate on mass surveillance with Prime Minister John Key, denying it has taken place, while whistleblowers accuse him of lying.
John Key had a war of words with Greenwald over the surveillance issue. The prime minister accused the journalist of being paid by Kim Dotcom to make his accusations, and then referred to Greenwald as a “loser.”
“If this loser is going to come to town and try and tell me, five days before an election, staying at the Dotcom mansion with all the Dotcom people and being paid by Dotcom, that he’s doing anything other than Dotcom’s bidding – please don’t insult me with that,” Key told Mike Hosking at the Newstalk ZB Breakfast.
Greenwald has denied being paid by Dotcom, and has accused Key of constantly changing his story. The journalist wrote on Twitter that he was “not going to sink to the Prime Minister’s level by name-calling.”
The whistleblowers have all protested the idea of governments engaging in “backroom deals” while drafting laws on intelligence.
Maybe people would have said OK to mass surveillance for the sake of their own protection, but they have never been asked for their opinion, Edward Snowden said, adding that such decisions “should not be made behind closed doors.”
“These are things that the public has not just the right, but the responsibility to know,” Snowden said.
The former NSA contractor reiterated his earlier claim that New Zealand’s security agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), not only carried out mass surveillance but actually “contributed to the development of XKeyscore,” a major NSA tool for snooping.
Dotcom said he was trying to fight mass surveillance politically and technologically: by participating in New Zealand’s elections and by encrypting online content.
He said both Assange and Snowden were able to join the meeting via encrypted video-conferencing software.
Snowden: If You Live in New Zealand, You’re Being Watched
Russia Today, September 15, 2014 – http://tinyurl.com/lv5e874
Edward Snowden has dismissed as “false” the New Zealand PM’s claims of no mass surveillance in the country. The whistleblower says he regularly “came across communications of New Zealanders,” when he worked as an NSA analyst.
New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) has performed mass spying, despite denials by the nation’s prime minister, John Key, the former NSA contractor says in his article, issued on Monday by the Intercept.
“Let me be clear: any statement that mass surveillance is not performed in New Zealand, or that the internet communications are not comprehensively intercepted and monitored, or that this is not intentionally and actively abetted by the GCSB, is categorically false. If you live in New Zealand, you are being watched,” Snowden wrote.
The revelation comes shortly after US journalist Glenn Greenwald claimed there was proof of mass snooping being carried out in New Zealand among the NSA files, Snowden leaked.
That was met with a harsh response from Key, who vigorously denied claims by Greenwald and described the journalist as “just another guy who wants to create a conspiracy theory.”
Key argues New Zealand looked into the possibility of what he described as “mass protection,” but has never eventually chosen that option.
Refuting the PM’s assertion, Snowden recalls his own experience as an analyst for US intelligence.
“At the NSA I routinely came across the communications of New Zealanders in my work with a mass surveillance tool we share with GCSB, called ‘XKeyscore’,” he wrote.
Classified documentation of XKeyscore was made available online in July, 2013.
Snowden now draws attention to a ‘Five Eyes Defeat’ filter in the system, which is a checkbox allowing analysts to exclude from their search results coming from the Five Eyes nations – the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
“Ask yourself: why do analysts have a checkbox on a top secret system that hides the results of mass surveillance in New Zealand if there is no mass surveillance in New Zealand?” Snowden says.
The whistleblower claims New Zealand’s intelligence operatives are not passive consumers of the information they get through XKeystore, “but also actively and directly develop mass surveillance algorithms for it.”
“The claim that it never went ahead, and that New Zealand merely ‘looked at’, but never participated in, the Five Eyes’ system of mass surveillance is false, and the GCSB’s past and continuing involvement with XKeyscore is irrefutable,” Snowden says.
Key earlier said that all of the files Snowden leaked had been stolen before New Zealand made its final decision on surveillance. He also promised to declassify some documents proving his point.
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