New Report Confirms Australia Hacked Phones of Indonesian Govt Ministers!
Australia’s Federal Government spy agencies attempted to listen in on the personal phone calls of the Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and targeted the mobile phones of his wife, senior ministers and confidants, according to a top secret document from whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The document, dated November 2009, names the president and nine of his inner circle as targets of the surveillance, including the Vice President, Boediono, who last week visited Australia.
Edward Snowden is a former contractor to the US’s National Security Agency (NSA).
When allegations of spying were initially raised by Mr Snowden, the Indonesian foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa, reacted angrily and threatened to review cooperation on issues crucial to Australia such as people smuggling and terrorism.
AUSTRALIA’S RELATIONSHIP WITH INDONESIA IN TATTERS!
These startling new revelations will add considerable tension to a relationship which is already strained due to the Abbott government’s policy to “turn back” boats of asylum seekers coming to Australia.
Also named as targets for the surveillance are Dino Patti Djalal, at the time the president’s foreign affairs spokesman, and Hatta Rajasa, the Minister for Economic Affairs.
The President’s wife’s phone was also monitored.
When questioned about the earlier allegations of spying, Prime Minister Abbott said that they occurred during the administration of the former Labor government, and that Australia’s activities were not so much “spying” but more a form of “research” and that its intention would always be to use any information “for good”.
Mr Abbott has repeatedly emphasised the crucial importance of the bilateral relationship between Australia and Indonesia.
Speaking after his meeting with Boediono last week, Abbott said:
“All countries, all governments gather information. That’s hardly a surprise. It’s hardly a shock.”
“We use the information that we gather for good, including to build a stronger relationship with Indonesia and one of the things that I have offered to do today in my discussions with the Indonesian vice-president is to elevate our level of information-sharing because I want the people of Indonesia to know that everything, everything that we do is to help Indonesia as well as to help Australia.”
Asked about the spying revelations in a separate interview, Abbott said:
“To use the term spying, it’s kind of loaded language … researching maybe. Talking to people. Understanding what’s going on.”
Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa has repeatedly said that spying risks damaging the trust between the two countries, and is frustrated by Australia’s refusal to say whether it is listening into conversations between Indonesian officials.
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