11.11.2013 Author: Vladimir Platov

The U.S. and Australia conduct surveillance in Asia

131031_Embassy-Bugging_VD-408x264Amid the outbreak of scandal in the past few days regarding the NSA’s total control of the European information space: from e-mail correspondences to wiretapping of political leaders and citizens of the EU, information about Washington’s espionage activities in the countries of the East rarely appear in the European media. Of course, to a certain extent, this can be explained by Europe’s preoccupation primarily with its own problems.However, the extent of illegal U.S. activity in the Asia is also quite telling and the details of it not only complement the picture exposed by the European media, but also clearly illustrate Washington’s ambitions to control the whole world under a veil of “programs to combat the international terrorist threat,” cleverly designed by U.S. intelligence agencies.

​On October 31, the Australian multimedia information company, Fairfax Media Limited,made a very detailed report on the active participation of the country’s intelligence agencies in American espionage operations in Asia.In particular, through the course of this story, convincing evidence was presented regarding the involvement of Australia’s electronic security service, Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), in the Stateroom NSA program for universal control of the information space in the countries of the East. The West German magazine, Der Spiegel, reported earlier on the details of the Stateroom program and implicated a number of state intelligence agencies cooperating with the U.S., including the UK, Canada, and Australia. In close contact with the NSA and under the cover of their diplomatic missions, employees of intelligence agencies in these countries make use of modern technology to control telephone and computer networks in foreign countries.

According to the evidence of a former Australian intelligence officer, provided by Fairfax Media Limited,this kind of work, in particular, is handled by representatives of one of the departments of Australian intelligence agencies, the ASD, in its diplomatic missions in Bangkok, New Delhi, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Port Moresby, Hanoi and several other countries.The main purpose of their work is to obtain intelligence in political,diplomatic and business spheres.Moreover, a particular emphasis is placed on the collection of intelligence information by listening to negotiations over a mobile phone network, monitoring e-mail, video conferences, and penetrating the information networks of foreign governmental and public institutions of interest to American intelligence services.

In collaboration with the Americans, the collection, accumulation and treatment of the intercepted information is most actively used by the following Australian radio control centers: the US-Australian Joint Defense Faciliity in Pine Gap near Alice Springs, and three ASD centers: the Shoal Bay Receiving Station near Darwin, Satellite Communications Station in Geraldton, Western Australia, and the HMAS Harman naval communications station around Canberra.

In addition, as was recently made known through an edition of the Sydney Morning Herald,the ASD has a fifth secret facility of electronic surveillance, the so-called “house without windows” on the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean. Accordingto former officers of the Australian Army, this ASD center is engaged in radio interception on behalf of naval forces, and particularly for naval, air and land communications of the Indonesian army.With the use of this interception center,U.S. scout planes and unmanned aerial vehicles collect intelligence near strategically important navigation routes connecting Africa and the Middle East to Southeast Asia.

Besides this, Australia is also actively involved with the NSA in the illegal control of information passing through underwater communication cables that connect the Internet in Asia and North America. About a month ago, the Japanese publication, Kyodo News, reported that in 2011, the NSA asked the Japanese government to implement joint control of the information passing through the underwater communication cables connecting Japan with other continents. However, according to Kyodo News,Tokyo refused the Americans’ offer, citing a lack of legal standards to regulate such activities.

According to evidence published by Fairfax Media Limited, the main target of U.S. espionage activities in Asia is China, where the CIA and the NSA are actively working under the cover of U.S. diplomatic missions in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Taiwan. To carry out these espionage activities in the Asian information space, the Americans make use of their own eight stations of interception and electronic control in India and Pakistan, as well as specialized groups at the U.S. embassies in Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and other countries.

Just as in Europe, the Eastern states reacted with justifiable indignation to the illegal activities of U.S. intelligence agencies and Washington’s desire to gain control of all information flows in the region. China, India,Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and several other Asian countries have already expressed to Washington their grave concern and outrage at the actions of U.S. intelligence services.And, judging by the reaction of the media in the eastern states, this wave of indignation and protest will only increase.

According to a number of Asian experts, these revelations clearly indicate the true meaning of President Obama’s declared “U.S. pivot toward Asia”: to establish full control over the region and strengthen U.S. military presence there. Washington’s actions will undoubtedly lead to a reexamination of the feasibility of continuing “strategic cooperation with the United States” by the governments and people, not only in the East, but also in other regions. 

Vladimir Platov, expert on the Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”