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GCHQ – The UK’s spy centre

Er is een diplomatieke ruzie uitgebroken over beweringen dat Groot-Brittannië buitenlandse regeringen bespioneerde die in 20 de G2009-bijeenkomsten in Londen bijwoonden.

Turkey’s foreign ministry demanded answers over reports its delegates had computers monitored and phones tracked.

South Africa condemned the alleged “abuse of privacy” and a senior Russian politician said it was a “scandal”.

Premier David Cameron wil geen commentaar geven op de beweringen, die gebaseerd zouden zijn op lekken door een voormalige IT-contractant.

It comes as the G8 summit of eight of the world’s leaders gets under way in Northern Ireland.

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Alle landen die de G8-top bijwoonden, woonden ook de bijeenkomsten van 2009 bij, die naar verluidt het doelwit waren van Britse inlichtingendiensten.

The claims, reported by the Guardian newspaper, are that GCHQ – Britain’s electronic eavesdropping agency – spied on foreign politicians and officials attending two G20 summit meetings in April and September 2009.

UK intelligence agencies set up internet cafes specifically to enable them to read the emails of those taking part in the summit, the paper quoted the leaked documents supplied by Edward Snowden – a former contractor to the US National Security Agency.

Het beweerde dat de operatie was goedgekeurd op een hoog niveau in de regering van de toenmalige premier Gordon Brown en dat de verkregen inlichtingen aan de ministers waren doorgegeven.

De Turkse, Zuid-Afrikaanse en Russische afgevaardigden zouden tot de doelwitten behoren.

In a statement, Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “The claims published in today’s edition of the Guardian that phone conversations of our Minister of Finance Mehmet Simsek and his delegation were tapped during their visit to the United Kingdom in 2009, on the occasion of the G20 meeting, are alarming.

“If there is even the slightest truth to any of these claims contained in this news report, this will evidently constitute a scandal, primarily for the country concerned.

“In an environment where mutual trust, respect and transparency should be essential for international co-operation, such act by an allied country would clearly be deemed unacceptable, should the news report turn out to be true.

“The British authorities are expected to present an official and satisfactory explanation on this issue. As a matter of fact, necessary diplomatic initiatives have been taken in this regard.”

The South African government said it had noted reports of alleged attempts campaign to access its computers “with concern”.

“We do not yet have the full benefit of details reported on but in principle we would condemn the abuse of privacy and basic human rights particularly if it emanates from those who claim to be democrats,” it said.

“We have solid, strong and cordial relations with the United Kingdom and would call on their government to investigate this matter fully.”

The Guardian beweerde ook dat GCHQ rapporten ontving van een Amerikaanse poging om te luisteren naar een oproep die via de satelliet naar Moskou werd gedaan door de toenmalige Russische president Dmitri Medvedev.

The allegation prompted Alexei Pushkov, the chief of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of the Russian parliament, to write on Twitter: “It’s a scandal… The US denies it, but we can’t trust them”

The UK Foreign Office (FCO) confirmed Turkey had raised the claims with Britain’s ambassador to the country, Sir David Reddaway.

A spokeswoman said: “In line with longstanding practice we do not comment on intelligence matters.

“We can confirm that the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has raised this issue with the ambassador.”

Op de vraag of hij kon garanderen dat er tijdens de G8-top geen soortgelijke operatie plaatsvond, antwoordde Cameron dat hij nooit commentaar gaf op veiligheids- en inlichtingenkwesties.

 

Anna van Densky

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