Sunday, November 24, 2013

Singapore, South Korea revealed as Aussie/USA Eyes spying partners

The roles played by Singapore and South Korea in helping Australia and the US tap undersea telecommunications have been revealed in documents leaked by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden

Singapore intercepts the bulk of Indonesia's international telecommunications and internet traffic, while South Korea focuses on China. New details have also been revealed about Australia's involvement in the interception of global satellite communications, including the role of the Australian Signals Directorate's Shoal Bay facility near Darwin.

Revelations of Australian espionage in Indonesia has severely strained relations between the two countries.

A secret US National Security Agency map leaked by Mr Snowden shows the US and its ''Five Eyes'' intelligence partners tap optical fibre cables at 20 locations worldwide. The interceptions involve co-operation with governments and telecommunications companies as well as covert operations.

The undersea interceptions are part of a global web that, as described in another leaked NSA document, enables the ''Five Eyes'' partners - the US, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand - to trace ''anyone, anywhere, any time'' in what is described as ''the golden age'' of signals intelligence.

The NSA map, published by Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad on Sunday, shows the US has a stranglehold on trans-Pacific communication channels with interception facilities on its west coast and in Hawaii and Guam. The map confirms that Singapore is a third party working with the ''Five Eyes'' partners. The map and other documents published by the Brazilian newspaper O Globo also reveal the integration of Australian and New Zealand signals intelligence facilities in intercepting satellite communications.

The ASD satellite interception facility at Kojarena near Geraldton in Western Australia is code-named ''STELLAR''. The New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau at Waihopai in the South Island is codenamed ''IRONSAND''. The code name for the ASD facility at Shoal Bay is not revealed. However, all three centres are listed by the NSA as ''primary [foreign satellite communications] collection operations''.

Shoal Bay has been intercepting communications from Indonesia's Palapa satellites since the mid-1970s. The leaked NSA map also shows South Korea as another interception point, with cable landings at Pusan providing access to the external communications of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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