Indonesia reviews Australian relationship amid spying fury

INDONESIA has recalled its ambassador and is reviewing all cooperation with the Australian government, over revelations Australia attempted to listen in to president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's phone calls.

Documents obtained by the ABC and Guardian Australia show that Australian intelligence attempted to listen in to Mr Yudhoyono's telephone conversations on at least one occasion, and also targeted the phones of his wife, Ani Yudhoyono, and his inner circle.

Spies also tracked activity on Mr Yudhoyono's mobile phone for 15 days in August 2009, the material - leaked by the US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden - reveals.

Indonesia's foreign minister Marty Natalegawa has called the spying unacceptable and accused Australia of violating individual privacy and human rights.

"This is an unfriendly, unbecoming act between strategic partners," Dr Natalegawa told reporters in Jakarta.

"In short, it has not been a good day in the Indonesia Australia relationship.

"We are not talking about the Cold War era. In the 21st century, the wiretapping issue should have been far behind us."

More on the latest developments at the ABC

Spy row: Abbott says all governments are snooping

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has defended Australia against claims it was spying on Indonesia's president, saying 'all governments gather information and all governments know that every other government gathers information''.

Mr Abbott said he had seen reports this morning about the fresh claims, but refused to confirm them, saying "the Australian government never comments on specific intelligence matters''.

Mr Abbott said the government used all of its resources to 'help our friends and allies', 'not to harm them'.

He said the first interest of Australia was in protecting its national interest.

Mr Abbott described Australia's relationship with Indonesia as its most important, adding that Australia would do what it needed to protect that.

His comments in Parliament come after the ABC and The Guardian revealed Australian spy agencies had listened in on the personal phone calls of the Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Spy agencies also  targeted the mobile phones of his wife, senior ministers and confidants, a top secret document from whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.

Dated November 2009,  the document names the president and nine of his inner circle as targets of the surveillance, including the vice-president, Boediono, who last week visited Australia.

Other named targets include ministers from the time who are now possible candidates in next year's Indonesian presidential election, and the first lady, Kristiani Herawati, better known as Ani Yudhoyono.

When a separate document from Snowden, a former contractor to the US's National Security Agency (NSA), showed Australia had spied on Indonesia and other countries from its embassies, the Indonesian foreign minister, Marty Natalegawa, reacted angrily and threatened to review co-operation on issues crucial to Australia such as people smuggling and terrorism.

The new leak, published by the Guardian Australia and the ABC, is likely to seriously escalate those tensions.

More on this story at The Guardian


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