- Date published:
9:48 pm, June 7th, 2019 - 11 comments
Categories: afghanistan, australian politics, China, Deep stuff, democracy under attack, human rights, journalism, law, Media, police, Russia, Spying, uk politics, us politics - Tags:
Australian Federal Police chief Neil Gaughan told media after raiding the ABC that “if police did not investigate the leaking of classified information, Australia would no longer be entrusted by FiveEyes partners with intelligence that saves lives.” FiveEyes didn’t save Muslim lives in Christchurch.
This episode in Australia has woken up media around the world, complaisant about the threat to Assange, to the threat to their own freedom.
The ABC had conducted an extensive inquiry into potential crimes by the Australian Special Forces in Afghanistan. The ABC’s Afghan Files stories in 2017 gave an unprecedented insight into the operations of Australia’s elite special forces, detailing incidents of troops killing unarmed men and children and concerns about a “warrior culture” among soldiers.
The police raid sought to find their sources. Coincidentally it took place shortly after the Federal election which saw the return of the conservative Liberal government. All concerned insisted there was no connection. Make of that what you will.
The Afghan files led to a Commission of Inquiry headed y former Supreme Court Judge Paul Brereton. Expected to report before the end of last year, his conclusions have still not seen the light of day.
The connection to Nicky Hager and John Stephenson’s Hit and Run and the current inquiry led by Judge Sir Terence Arnold supported by Sir Geoffrey Palmer are obvious. Having attended one of the open sessions I do not hold much hope of it being anything other than an expensive whitewash. In contrast, the High Court verdict on the police raid on Nicky’s house at least established the principle of journalistic protection.
But these issues raise wider concerns. Just to deal with one, the encroachment of the security services into all forms of government, business and society is one that concerns others as well as me.
Unstated security issues used to block Spark wanting to use Huawei’s technology, or the GCSB and SIS speculating about foreign interference in our elections even though they had no evidence of such, point to a worrying concern that other agendas are in play and are taking over.
Other signs noted by the Australians and evident in New Zealand as well are the willingness of the agencies to go public. The “we can’t tell you but we know best” has come back with a vengeance after the hammering it took over weapons of mass distraction in Iraq.
Where they are less willing to go public is when it comes to any investigation into their shortcomings. That is why in my opinion it is extremely concerning that the Inquiry into the Christchurch shootings is to be held behind closed doors.
When one looks at the activities of the so-called security services such as CIA or MI6 over the years one would have to say they have taken more lives than they have saved, and that is just the assassinations. And those are our “partners?”
I do not think that we would necessarily be any worse off without FiveEyes. In my view it is high time we had a people’s inquiry into its usefulness in the multi-polar world we are entering.