Archive for the New Zealand Category

China concerned at reports of New Zealand-U.S. plan to spy on diplomats [Xinhua]

Posted in China, Internet Global Hegemony, National Security Agency / NSA, New Zealand, NSA, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on April 19, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

WELLINGTON, April 19 (Xinhua) — China on Sunday expressed concern about a report that New Zealand and United States spy agencies planned to hack into a data link between Chinese government buildings in Auckland.

The plan was revealed in documents from U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Herald on Sunday newspaper reported.

The project run by New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and the NSA appeared aimed [sic] at tapping data flowing between the Chinese Consulate and its visa office in Auckland.

The documents said the GCSB had identified the data link, and agreed to cooperate with the NSA to use the link to access China’s computer systems, said the report.

Documents appeared to show the plan was codenamed “Frostbite” by the GCSB and “Basilhayden” — also identified as fictional spy James Bond’s drink of choice — by the NSA.

The paperwork revealed the GCSB worked with the NSA’s elite hacker team — the Tailored Access Operations division — which specialized in cracking computer systems and planting spyware on computers, said the report.

A 2013 NSA document showed China at the top of a list of targets it was having monitored by the GCSB, saying the New Zealand agency gave the NSA “access to areas and countries that are difficult for the United States to access.”

But it is unknown if the plan went ahead because, as sign-off was being sought, Snowden walked out of his job with a mass of top secret documents.

The Chinese Embassy in New Zealand issued a statement Sunday, saying that China was concerned about the report and attached great importance to the cyber security issue.

“We will firmly safeguard our security interests and continue to guarantee our cyber and information security with concrete measures,” said the statement…

…Xinhua was unable to contact anyone in New Zealand Prime Minister John Key’s office for a response on Sunday…

…The opposition Green Party said Key and the government pointlessly endangered New Zealand’s relationship with its largest trading partner.

“Breaking international agreements to spy on Chinese diplomatic communications in Auckland is reckless. It would bring very little, if any, benefit to New Zealand,” Greens co-leader Russel Norman said in a statement.

“The test is, would we have spied on China on our own accord? It’s very unlikely. So why is New Zealand spying on behalf of the Americans?”

* * *

Excerpted/edited by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-04/19/c_134163487.htm
***************************

Related article, contains unsubstantiated allegations of massive Chinese state-sponsored cyber-espionage: “New Zealand Plotted Hack on China With NSA” [The Intercept] – https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/04/18/new-zealand-china-gcsb-nsa-auckland-hack/

“US faces another debacle on Pacific economic treaty” – TPP, fake free trade pact, in trouble [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, Australia, Canada, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Chile, China, China-bashing, Economic crisis & decline, Economy, Encirclement of China, EU, European Union, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Media cover-up, Mexico, New Zealand, Obama, Peru, Protectionist Trade War with China, Singapore, south Korea, U.K., US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Vietnam on April 5, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Mike Head
4 April 2015

Having suffered a decisive defeat in its efforts to block other countries from joining the new China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the US government faces mounting difficulties with regard to its most far-reaching move to dominate the Asia-Pacific region: the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

In Hawaii last month, the latest round of five-year-long TPP talks between the 12 governments involved broke up without any further agreement. For the third year in a row, the White House’s deadline for a final deal looks set to be breached in 2015.

Significantly, the main stumbling block this time was reportedly not ongoing differences between the US and Japan over auto and agricultural markets, but doubts over President Barack Obama’s capacity to get congressional approval for the pact.

Falsely presented as a “free trade” deal, the TPP is the opposite. It is aimed at creating a vast US-controlled economic bloc. In return for favoured access to the US market, which is still the largest in the world, the TPP requires its members to scrap all legal, regulatory and government impediments to American investment and corporate operations.

The TPP is an essential component of Washington’s military and strategic “pivot” to Asia, aimed at establishing unchallenged hegemony over the region, including China, which has thus far been excluded from the treaty. The “partnership” seeks to restructure every aspect of economic and social life across the Asia-Pacific in the interests of Wall Street finance capital and the largest US corporations, particularly the IT, pharmaceutical and media conglomerates.

A similar drive is underway to incorporate the European Union into a Transatlantic Trade and I nvestment Partnership (TTIP) bloc. Like the TPP, the European treaty is being negotiated behind the backs of the international working class amid tight secrecy, with hundreds of the world’s largest corporations taking part.

Obama has resorted to blatant anti-Chinese rhetoric in a bid to overcome opposition to aspects of the TPP from sections of the Democratic and Republican congressional leaderships. In one recent interview, the US president declared: “If we don’t write the rules out there, China’s going to write the rules and the geopolitical implications of China writing the rules for trade almost inevitably means that we will be cut out or we will be deeply disadvantaged. Our businesses will be disadvantaged, our workers will be disadvantaged.”

Washington is concerned that other imperialist powers, such as Germany, Britain and Japan, could strengthen their positions in China at the expense of the US unless America “writes the rules” for world trade in the 21st century.

Global financial commentators are drawing attention to what is at stake. Under the headline, “Round two in America’s battle for Asian influence,” David Pilling wrote in the London-based Financial Times on April 1: “Washington’s attempt to lead a boycott of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank ended in farce after Britain broke ranks and other nations from Germany to South Korea fell over themselves to join. If round one was a defeat for America, round two hangs in the balance.”

Pilling noted that the TPP’s exclusion of China, on the grounds that its economy was state-owned and centrally planned, was obviously concocted. “In a peculiar display of diplomatic contortion,” he wrote, “Vietnam — a country whose economy is as centrally planned and as rigged [sic] as the best of them — is somehow considered fit for entry.”

The Financial Times Asia editor pointedly added that the TPP was “just as likely to annoy America’s allies in the region as reassure them” because of its intrusive demands, which include the dismantling of state-owned enterprises, tendering restrictions, financial regulations, data protection rules and intellectual property laws.

Washington’s aggressive drive to establish the TPP and TTIP economic blocs marks a reversal of its post-World War II role, when the ascendancy of American industry permitted it to champion the reconstruction of its Japanese and European rivals, albeit always for its own benefit, including via the expansion of markets for its exports.

Today, amid the ongoing decline of US industry, its ruling elite depends increasingly on the parasitic activities of Wall Street, the exploitation of patents by Silicon Valley, Hollywood and the drug companies, and contracts for the supply of military hardware. These rapacious interests will most directly benefit from the TPP.

Many details remain secret, but pro-TPP lobbying efforts highlight the anticipated profit bonanzas. Mireya Solis of the Brookings Institution think tank stressed advantages such as “internationalisation of financial services, protection of intellectual property and governance of the Internet economy.”

US technology firms would benefit from a ban on requiring companies to house customers’ data within a specific country. “If we’re going to serve the customer of Malaysia from, say, a data center in Singapore, the data has to be able to move back and forth between those two countries,” Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel, told the Wall Street Journal.

Central to the treaty are punitive Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS) clauses, which permit transnationals to sue governments for losses allegedly caused by official policy decisions. WikiLeaks last month published a chapter of the TPP treaty showing that firms could bypass a country’s courts to obtain damages for changes in “environmental, health or other regulatory objectives.”

Apart from the US and Japan — the two biggest partners by far — the other TPP participants are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The willingness of many of these countries to make the required concessions to the US has been undermined by Obama’s failure to secure support for a Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill so that he can sign the TPP and then have it ratified by Congress with a single “yes” or “no” vote. Without TPA, Congress could force amendments to the negotiated pact, effectively rendering the agreement void.

According to a Japan Times report: “Several negotiating partners, including Canada and Japan, have publicly stated they will not put their final negotiating positions on the table until Congress grants TPA for the Obama administration. With a presidential election looming in the United States, further delay creates a real risk of TPP being delayed until 2017.”

Much of the US congressional resistance is bound up with protectionist lobbies, based on national-based industries and their trade unions. In response, the Obama administration is ramping up a campaign that explicitly spells out the expected benefits to corporate America.

On March 30, the White House published letters from former senior economic officials, including 10 ex-commerce secretaries representing every administration, Democratic and Republican, since 1973, urging congressional leaders to give Obama TPA authority.

The commerce secretaries stated: “Once completed, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will give the United States free trade arrangements with 65 percent of global GDP and give our businesses preferential access to a large base of new potential customers.”

This demand for “preferential access” by US imperialism threatens to break up the world economy into the kind of rival blocs that preceded World War I and World War II.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/04/04/tppo-a04.html

Spotlight: Snowden files unveil U.S. attempt to control Internet [Xinhua]

Posted in Australia, Canada, Germany, Internet Global Hegemony, Iran, National Security Agency / NSA, New Zealand, U.K., US imperialism, USA on January 27, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) — The world-shocking global surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is just the beginning of the spook organization’s sprawling efforts to control the Internet, show new revelations attributed to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The NSA is “planning for wars of the future in which the Internet will play a critical role” and seeking the ability to destroy enemy infrastructure remotely, German magazine Der Spiegel revealed in a recent report, citing “top-secret documents” from Snowden’s archive it has seen exclusively.

POLITERAIN, NOT SO POLITE

The Spiegel disclosure highlighted an NSA project code-named “Politerain,” which is operated by digital snipers with Tailored Access Operations, the department responsible for breaking into computers.

In its job posting, the program says it is “looking for interns who want to break things.”

On the basis of hacking into third-party computers, interns are also told to formulate plans to “remotely degrade or destroy opponent computers, routers, servers and network-enabled devices by attacking the hardware.”

Politerain spies, according to the leaked documents, have various programs for specific purposes. For example, Passionatepolka can be used to “remotely brick network cards,” Berserkr to implant “persistent backdoors” and “parasitic drivers,” and Barnfire to “erase the BIOS on a brand of servers that act as a backbone to many rival governments.”

Ultimately, the goal of the internship program was “developing an attacker’s mindset,” noted the German magazine.

SPYING IS JUST “PHASE 0”

Internal NSA documents, Der Spiegel said, indicate that surveillance of the Internet is merely “Phase 0” in the U.S. digital war strategy.

The aim of the surveillance is to detect vulnerabilities in enemy systems, which is “the prerequisite for everything that follows,” the German magazine added, citing the files.

Once “stealthy implants” have been placed to infiltrate enemy systems, thus allowing “permanent accesses,” then Phase 3 has been achieved — a phase headed by the word “dominate” in the documents.

At that stage, according to the report, NSA spooks can control and destroy “at will through pre-positioned accesses” critical systems and networks, which include anything important in keeping a society running: energy, communications and transportation.

“The internal documents state that the ultimate goal is ‘real-time controlled escalation,'” said the Spiegel report.

D WEAPONS

Atomic, biological and chemical weapons are widely referred to as the ABC weapons. Now the list has been extended to D — digital weapons.

“The next major conflict will start in cyberspace,” Der Spiegel quoted one NSA presentation as saying. To that end, the U.S. government is currently undertaking a massive effort to digitally arm itself for network warfare.

“For the 2013 secret intelligence budget, the NSA projected it would need around 1 billion dollars in order to increase the strength of its computer network attack operations. The budget included an increase of some 32 million dollars for ‘unconventional solutions’ alone,” revealed the report.

The NSA aims “to use the Net to paralyze computer networks and, by doing so, potentially all the infrastructure they control, including power and water supplies, factories, airports or the flow of money,” according to the Spiegel disclosure.

Among the D weapons is malware, and several programs of that sort have emerged in recent years that a number of indicators show are attributable to the NSA and its Five Eyes alliance, which also includes Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The Spiegel report referred to Stuxnet, which was used to attack the Iranian nuclear program, and Regin, “a powerful spyware trojan that created a furor in Germany after it infected the USB stick of a high-ranking staffer to Chancellor Angela Merkel.” The latter was also used in attacks against the European Commission.

PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY

In what is called a guerilla war over data, the Snowden files show, little differentiation is made between soldiers and civilians, and any Internet user could suffer damage to his or her data or computer.

The potential damage D weapons can inflict goes well beyond the online world. For example, if U.S. spies use Barnfire to destroy or “brick” the control center of a hospital, “people who do not even own a mobile phone could be affected,” Der Spiegel noted.

While launching cyber-attacks, intelligence agencies like the NSA have adopted “plausible deniability” as their guiding principle, seeking to make it impossible to trace the sources of the attackers, the German magazine added.

“It’s a stunning approach with which the digital spies deliberately undermine the very foundations of the rule of law around the globe,” commented the magazine.

“This approach threatens to transform the Internet into a lawless zone in which superpowers and their secret services operate according to their own whims with very few ways to hold them accountable for their actions,” it added.

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2015-01/19/c_133929625.htm

Leaked documents detail NSA surveillance operations against WikiLeaks [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Australia, Canada, Internet Global Hegemony, Julian Assange, National Security Agency / NSA, New Zealand, NSA, Obama, U.K., US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Wikileaks on February 23, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Thomas Gaist
19 February 2014

Documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the US National Security Agency and British GCHQ have carried out political surveillance operations targeting WikiLeaks, its founder Julian Assange and readers of the whistle-blowing web site. In addition to the US and Britain, the operations also involved the other members “of the “Five Eyes” allied countries (New Zealand, Australia and Canada).

The documents were posted by Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher on the Intercept in an extensive expose titled “Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance and Pressure Tactics Aimed at WikiLeaks and Its Supporters.” Among other things, they show that the agency has collected IP addresses of computers visiting the WikiLeaks site, considered classifying WikiLeaks as “a malicious foreign actor,” and placed Assange on an NSA “manhunting” list that included alleged Al Qaeda terrorists.

The leaked documents have further exposed as lies the claims of the Obama administration that the NSA police-state apparatus is directed against “terrorists.” In reality, the NSA is using its illegal and secret access to the internet backbone to monitor the internet activity of its political adversaries and anyone considered a threat to the interests of the American ruling class.

The government of the UK has played a major role in the targeting of the web site. The leaked documents contained information about a GCHQ program called ANTICRISIS GIRL. The program is revealed in a Power Point slide prepared by the British spy agency for the 2012 SIGDEV Conference, an annual symposium held by the surveillance bureaucracies of the major powers. Under ANTICRISIS GIRL, GCHQ has been collecting IP addresses of individual computers that visit the WikiLeaks site, allowing them to identify and surveil individuals who access WikiLeaks.

As the Intercept wrote, “GCHQ used its surveillance system to secretly monitor visitors to a WikiLeaks site. By exploiting its ability to tap into the fiber-optic cables that make up the backbone of the Internet, the agency confided to allies in 2012, it was able to collect the IP addresses of visitors in real time, as well as the search terms that visitors used to reach the site from search engines like Google.”

“Illustrating how far afield the NSA deviates from its self-proclaimed focus on terrorism and national security,” the Intercept wrote, “the documents reveal that the agency considered using its sweeping surveillance system against Pirate Bay, which has been accused of facilitating copyright violations. The agency also approved surveillance of the foreign ‘branches’ of hacktivist groups, mentioning Anonymous by name…”

Excerpted; full article link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/02/19/wiki-f19.html

Swedish intelligence service spying on Russia for US National Security Agency [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Australia, Canada, National Security Agency / NSA, New Zealand, NSA, Russia, Sweden, U.K., US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War on January 7, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Jordan Shilton
30 December 2013

Documents released by Edward Snowden reveal that Sweden’s National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) has been collecting large quantities of communications data from Russia, which it has passed to the American National Security Agency (NSA).

The revelations confirm that such collaboration goes back for decades.

According to one document published by public broadcaster SVT December, Stockholm signed a top-secret cooperation agreement in 1954 with the United States, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada — the so-called Five Eyes — to exchange intelligence information. This was replaced in 2004 by bilateral agreements with each country, which saw the collaboration intensify. Throughout the Cold War, FRA passed information obtained from the Soviet Union to its Western allies.

“The relationship with Sweden is protected on the top-secret level because of the country’s political neutrality [sic],” a 2006 NSA document noted.

Due to its geographic location, the FRA has access to Russian communications, including those from “high priority” targets from politics and areas of economic interest, such as the energy sector. Estimates from Russia Today put the amount of communications data from Russia that passes through Sweden at 80 percent. A recent NSA document from April 2013 states, “FRA provided NSA (with a) unique collection on high-priority Russian targets, such as leadership, internal politics.”

The cooperation between FRA and the NSA was expanded significantly in 2011, with the NSA gaining access to FRA’s network of cables. This included the ability to intercept communications from the Baltic countries through under-sea cables controlled by Sweden.

British investigative journalist Duncan Campbell gave an indication of the scale of collaboration between Sweden, the US and Britain at a European Parliament hearing on state surveillance in early September. “A new organization has joined the “Five Eyes” and is seen as the largest cooperating partner to [the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters] GCHQ outside the English-speaking countries — and that is Sweden,” he said.

A FRA spokesman accepted that the NSA had full access to data collected by Swedish intelligence, and explained how this was in the interests of the Swedish government:…

Full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/12/30/swed-d30.html

NSA Partnerships Invalidate Nordic Nations’ Neutrality [Strategic Culture Foundation]

Posted in Australia, CIA, Corporate Media Critique, France, Germany, National Security Agency / NSA, New Zealand, NSA, Obama, Russia, SCO Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Sweden, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, USSR, Wikileaks, World War II on December 22, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Wayne Madsen

December 12, 2013

The revelations that Sweden’s equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), the National Defense Radio Establishment or Försvarets radioanstalt (FRA), helped the global NSA FIVE EYES alliance to eavesdrop on Russia’s political leadership invalidates Sweden’s long-claimed military neutrality, a status that was in place from the end of the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century and which survived the Second World War…

FRA has, ever since the days of the Cold War, been a top Third Party signals intelligence (SIGINT) partner for the NSA, even during times when Sweden’s foreign policy was aggressively neutral, such as during the term of Social Democratic Prime Minister, Olof Palme, assassinated in 1986 by what many suspect was a plot involving the CIA. The use of FRA by the United States as a secretive NSA alliance partner in a deal that was largely unknown to Sweden’s own prime minister evokes similar suspicions about the SIGINT services of two Second Party partners of the NSA. In 1975, after Australia’s Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam demanded information on NSA and CIA activities at the U.S. Pine Gap intelligence complex in Alice Springs, as well as the activities of Australia’s Defense Signals Directorate (DSD), he was deposed in a coup led by Governor General John Kerr, a CIA agent-of-influence.

Similarly, after New Zealand Labor Prime Minister David Lange inquired as to details of the intelligence relationship between New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and NSA, he was deposed in a 1989 backbencher coup engineered by U.S. intelligence.

Ever since Palme’s assassination on a Stockholm street, Sweden has been governed by a series of pro-U.S. prime ministers, in addition to other senior Cabinet ministers. Most notable among these is former Prime Minister and current Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, who has been identified by WikiLeaks as a longtime CIA asset…

…As a result of Snowden’s revelations, more details are now known about the NSA-FRA relationship. An April 18, 2013 TOP SECRET//COMINT//NOFORN [COMINT is Communications Intelligence and NOFORN [No Foreign Nationals] Information Paper with the subject heading, «NSA Intelligence Relationship with Sweden», states that «the FRA provided NSA . . . unique collection on high-priority Russian targets, such as leadership, internal politics.» The Swedish state-owned television broadcaster Sveriges Television (SVT), in reporting on the NSA documents, decided to blur out two key paragraphs: «What NSA Provides to Partner» and «What Partner Provides to NSA».

The fact that the news media, that has possessed varying numbers of classified NSA documents from Snowden has taken upon itself to redact and withhold from the public key information is emblematic of the close relationship of the global corporate press to the intelligence services of the FIVE EYES alliance and its third and fourth party partners. Such draconian censorship by the media has not been witnessed since World War II. Yet, many newspapers like The Guardian of the UK, The Washington Post, Le Monde of France, and Der Spiegel of Germany have patted themselves on the back for publishing excerpts of the classified documents against «pressure» from the NSA and Obama administration. Nothing could be more laughable as these media outlets have cooperated fully with U.S. government censors. And no media outlets have been more retentive about the Snowden leaks than have the disgustingly compliant Scandinavian press, particularly SVT and Norway’s Dagbladet newspaper…

…Today, Sweden and Finland are not as secretive about their relationships with NATO or the FIVE EYES alliance. Both countries are abandoning their traditional neutral status to integrate with a NATO that is ever more aggressive toward Russia and countries of the planned Eurasian Union and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)…

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2013/12/08/nsa-partnerships-invalidate-nordic-nations-neutrality.html

China bans NZ milk powder imports [People’s Daily]

Posted in Australia, China, Food safety, Malaysia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Vietnam on August 8, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

(China.org.cn) August 05, 2013

China has stopped the import of all New Zealand milk powder following the alert by Fonterra that an ingredient could be contaminated by a potentially deadly bacteria, New Zealand’s trade minister said on Sunday.

New Zealand authorities have triggered a global recall of up to 1,000 tons of dairy products across seven countries after dairy giant Fonterra announced tests had turned up a type of bacteria that could cause botulism.

“The authorities in China, in my opinion absolutely appropriately, have stopped all imports of New Zealand milk powders from Australia and New Zealand,” Trade Minister Tim Groser said on a TVNZ program.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries said Saturday that the tainted products include infant formula, sports drinks, protein drinks and other beverages. It said countries affected in addition to New Zealand include China, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia.

Fonterra said its customers were urgently checking their supply chains.

Fonterra is the world’s largest dairy exporter, with annual revenues of about US$16 billion.

Consumers in China and elsewhere are willing to pay a big premium for New Zealand infant formula because the country has a healthy reputation.

China’s product quality watchdog Friday issued a statement urging importers of Fonterra dairy products to immediately start recalling the products.

In 2008, six babies in China died and another 300,000 were left ill by infant formula that was tainted with melamine, an industrial chemical added to watered-down milk.

Fonterra owned a minority stake in Sanlu, the now-bankrupt Chinese company at the center of the scandal.

Article link: http://english.people.com.cn/90778/8352091.html