Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa slammed Australia over another surveillance revelation on Indonesia, conducted this time in cooperation with the United States government, calling it “excessive”.
Marty blasted the Australian government for going too far in a joint spying operation on Indonesia during a trade dispute with the US and offering to share back room information with the US, as revealed by the International New York Times on Sunday.
In the Times piece, based on a top-secret 2013 document provided by former US National Security Agency (NSA) system analyst Edward Snowden, the Australian Signals Directorate assisted the surveillance of trade disputes between the US and Indonesia over exports of clove cigarettes and shrimp in recent years.
Marty said that he was not sure how snooping on a trade spat could relate to security.
“I have come across statements that Australia collects intelligence to save Australian lives, the lives of other people and to promote Australian values,” Marty said.
“Those are well understood as a general outlook, but I must say I find it mind-boggling: How can I reconcile discussions about shrimp and the impact on Australian security.”
… “Neighbors like Indonesia and Australia should be looking out for each other, not turning against each other,” Marty said.
“We should be listening to one another — not listening in on one another. And I think that it is very important to find the distinction between the two,” he said.