Sunday Star Times – next installments of Hager/Snowden

It’s the Sunday Star Times turn to publish Nicky Hagers selection of material from the Edward Snowden files.

Snowden files: NZ’s spying on the family

In the Cook Islands they hold New Zealand passports, are eligible for New Zealand social services and New Zealand is responsible for their foreign affairs. The same in Niue.

Leaked Edward Snowden documents, published for the first time today, reveal New Zealand is spying on them anyway – despite residents being New Zealanders.

Snowden files: Inside Waihopai’s domes

The Waihopai intelligence base looks oddly alien and out of place: huge white “golf ball” radomes like a moon station and silent buildings within two fences of razor wire, all dropped in the midst of vineyards and dry hills in New Zealand’s Marlborough landscape.

Documents about the Waihopai station leaked by US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the facility is as alien as is seems.

Everything inside the top secret station except the staff is foreign.

The electronic eavesdropping systems, the computer programmes that automatically index and search the captured communications, and the databases where details of a whole region’s communications are stored: they are all standardised parts of the global surveillance system run by the NSA.

Snowden files: which satellites are targeted by Waihopai?

Visitors to the Waihopai Valley can see several large satellite antenna dotted around the Waihopai operations building.

They tune in to legitimate communications satellites sitting in space above the Asia-Pacific region and intercept the huge volume of communications being relayed between the region’s countries.

This includes phone calls, data transfers by companies and banks, and all the types of private and government communications that flow across the Internet.

The GCSB has refused to say anything about which satellites and countries are being intercepted.

Secret Waihopai reports in April 2010 and March 2012, provided by Snowden, answer this question.

Andrea Vance also gives her two bobs worth in Silence on surveillance not healthy.

Nicky Hager must wonder why he bothers.

The journalist brought the Snowden documents to New Zealand in the last week, to be met with a collective shrug of shoulders. Maybe you are unmoved at the Government Communications Security Bureau spying on Pacific neighbours. Perhaps you don’t care if your emails, texts and Facebook messages are hoovered up and stored in a US data bank. Or that the GCSB is little more than an outpost of the US National Security Agency. But, with a pending significant review and a likely increase in their electronic reach, there are still a few reasons to take the leaked papers seriously.

This latest release is likely to also be met in the main a with collective shrug of shoulders.

Spies spy. Satellite tracking stations track satellites. Nicky Hager promotes controversies that most people don’t care much about. New Zealand play Afghanistan in the Cricket World Cup today and Lydia Ko is two shots off the lead going into the final round of the Singapore Open.

Here is Stuff’s current ‘Most Popular’ news.

That may change today – Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop may not hold it’s position – as New Zealand wakes up to the next instalments of the Snowden spy scandal but reading endless articles about spying is about as boring to most people as listening in to the world’s phone calls.

The simple fact is that most people would prefer not to be spied on but can’t see why anyone would bother to spy on them anyway.

That’s Nicky Hager’s problem.

UPDATE (midday Sunday): Stuff’s most popular now:

One of the Snowden stories makes it to number 10 position.

UPDATE 2 (7 pm): And as expected lightweight news and cricket took over (it looks like  Ko won’t win but too son to cover that yet anyway).

Leave a comment


  1. with my Little eye

     /  8th March 2015

    According to the Labor Party, “Secret Services should be less secret”.
    We’re hardly going to scare off terrorists with “Slightly Vague Services” though.

  2. Mike C

     /  8th March 2015

    The only people who would be worried about the GCSB spying on them, are the ones who are doing illegal stuff.

    I am not involved with terrorists or cyber space hackers, so I have nothing to hide.

    Whereas, Nicky Hager has past form doing deals with dodgy criminal characters.

    • “I am not involved with terrorists or cyber space hackers, so I have nothing to hide.”

      So why don’t you post you home address, and your bank and business details then?

      State surveillance can be used to blackmail prominent figures into following a particular course of action.

      • Mike C

         /  8th March 2015

        @Ugly. I would have to be a complete and utter nut-bar to give you all of my personal details. LOL.

        However, I am quite happy for our New Zealand Government to have my bank account numbers and my full name and address etc. In fact, the Inland Revenue Department already does 🙂

        Heck, I would be quite comfortable if the Government knew what I ate for my breakfast this morning (Bacon Eggs Toast Tomato and Fried Potatoes). LOL.

  3. David

     /  8th March 2015

    Well put Pete, the only people who should be concerned are the shareholders of media companies. Vance has OCD on this stuff and her bosses should pull her head in.

  1. The spy is falling, the spy is falling! | Your NZ

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