While America has found itself apologising to the world at large – and to some allies, such as Germany – specifically, Australia's government has decided that the “Five Eyes” spook alliance is nothing to apologise for.
On tour in Canada to line up investment and recruit allies against international climate change initiatives, prime minister Tony Abbott has described Five Eyes as “a partnership for the good of the world”.
Intelligence gathering, he said, has to “be done in a way which is decent and fair and which doesn’t betray the fundamental values that we are doing our best to uphold, but we should never ever apologise for doing what’s necessary to protect ourselves and to help our friends and that’s exactly what the Five Eyes arrangements are designed to do.”
“Obviously we have to be intelligent about our intelligence. I mean that goes without saying, but the important thing is not to be deterred from doing what is necessary to protect our citizens, our interests and our values and what is sometimes forgotten about the work of the Five Eyes is that it’s not just for the benefit of those five countries, but it is ultimately for the benefit of the wider world.”
It's hardly a surprising development to Vulture South, since the advice the Australian government is receiving – for example, in what police and intelligence services tell the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security – is that Australia needs more spying on its citizens, and that domestic intelligence gathering should be more pervasive and more intrusive. ®
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