Monday, July 8, 2013

NSA Surveillance of Australia Exposed!

Yesterday journalist Glenn Greenwald posted an exclusive story in Brazil's O Globo newspaper, based on the revelations of the incredibly brave ex-NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, which included this page showing slides from NSA presentations.

The page includes four maps of special interest to Australians. The first shows the location of US bases that are part of the X-KEYSTORE program:

As Fairfax journalist Phillip Dorling notes in this must read article, the four bases in Australia include "the US Australian Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap near Alice Springs and three Australian Signals Directorate facilities: the Shoal Bay Receiving Station near Darwin, the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Facility at Geraldton and the naval communications station HMAS Harman outside Canberra."

NOTE: The NZ facility is at Waihopai near Blenheim.

The O Globo article also displays three maps which apparently show phone calls and messages gathered by the NSA's Fairview program over two days (4th & 5th March 2013). Countries with the most interceptions are shown in red, then orange, then yellow, with the least monitored nations shown in green.

US surveillance of Australia (in red) is only matched by Brazil, Colombia and Japan (perhaps some smaller nations are less visible).

NOTE: The writing on these slides is hard to read, but the first word above looks like "Total" so perhaps this is the total over the two days?

The second and third maps show Australia in yellow, again amongst the most monitored nations on earth. Why is this so? Are we not a US ally? Why are we being massively surveilled?

NOTE: Of course the percentage of mobile phone-using people in Brazil, Japan and Australia is relatively high, but there are many others on this list who exceed our per capita rate.

Another map from the O Globo page is also worth noting. This slide is from a different NSA program called Boundless Informant, details of which were previously described here:

Boundless Informant measures US gathering of metadata. In this slide, US monitoring of Australia is still as high as the Soviet Union.

Curiously, the Guardian newspaper showed another image, where Australia appears in dark green. So if this is another daily snapshot, it does not tell us the overall level of metadata surveillance (selective editing perhaps?).

Australians, you should all be very, very angry about this.

Update 1: 

Here is a map showing US bases in Australia:


And below is a map of global submarine cables, which carry phone and Internet traffic. Note that nearly all links from Asia to USA go via US allies (and NSA surveillance Client States) Australia and Japan.


Add this to the information gathering from Pine Gap and other satellite sites, and it is clear that a huge proportion of the NSA's information on Asia comes via Australia. I don't think our neighbors are going to be very happy when they find out.

It's time we Australians told our government that enough is enough! The US Government is not only spying on all of us, but also using us to spy on the entire world!

A personal note: If you value this information, please support the WikiLeaks Party at the coming Australian election.


  1. Wow! I thought NSA only cared about US citizen's traffic. Little did I know they are spying on all of us. Me, while typing this comment and you, as you read it. It really is becoming creepy as they get exposed.

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