Government under FiveEyes

Written By: - 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.


11 comments on “Government under FiveEyes”

  1. Anne 1

    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…

    Ha,ha,ha.ha ha…

    Yes, the similarity to the "Hit and Run" saga is compelling.

    And shades of this too:

  2. aj 2

    The state is going after truth-tellers because they don't like the criminal actions by arms of the state exposed. Simple as that. 

  3. SPC 3

    Look a little closer to home. 

    How did the GCSB know what Maklouf was going to say before his public statement? According to media reports, they sought to contact their Minister before he made any public statement. And apparently the media report is based on information from the GCSB, leaking. 

    If GCSB knew it was not a hack, did they also know that it was National Party staffer’s computer that was accessing the information by searching the Treasury site, yet not tell their Minister, or the Minister of Finance or the PM about this?

    Because they do not see it as their job to secure confidential government information? Or because they did not want to obstruct National's dirty politics but only run interference to protect National – so again, how did they know what Maklouf intended to say (and first why did they want to know?)

    Normal events would have been to inform their own Minister that Treasury asked them what happened and were told it was no hack of the government information systems, and to expect that would be what Maklouf would also do (the side issue being that Maklouf claimed he was to advised to refer the matter to the police because it was not a GCSB matter – it not being that sort of "hack").

    • Jeeves 3.1

      What if they don't like John Podesta's man in Parliament, Grant Robertson?

  4. peterlepaysan 4

    If the GCSB knew that there was no hack,  why did they have to warn anyone of anything?

    Presumably GCSB would have been unaware that Treasury was going to the police.

    A big disconnect.

    • Incognito 4.1

      I thought GCSB told Treasury it was a matter for Police.

    • SPC 4.2

      The GCSB would have a responsibility to keep their own Minister (Little) informed that they found there was no threat to government information security (there had been nothing like a hack in that sense). 

      It is National and friendly media trying to infer that therefore government knew that the Treasury Minister had misled their Minister Robertson – it's not that clear that he did that in fact. He informed Robertson that it was the GCSB view it was not a hack of government systems and thus not something they dealt with and instead the matter about access to confidential government (Treasury) information go to the police instead. The quibble is over the use of the term "hack" when referring the matter to police. 

      As to timing it does appear that Robertson and Makhlouf met before Little was informed (see Newshub timeline), but Little was informed before Robertson released his own statement calling on National not to use the information as it was confidential to the government – and police were now investigating a "hack" of the Treasury site.

      He could hardly say otherwise given Makhlouf had alredy referred it to police on that basis of being a hack (and the thing is because police could say it was not a hack they could see no cause to follow the matter up, despite confidential government information being deliberately accessed when that can be seen as an offence). 

      One could well imagine what happened when Little told Robertson, yeah na Makhlouf said that's what GCSB said, but to refer it onto the police – he still called it a hack though, just not a GCSB level concern hack. 

      • Incognito 4.2.1

        Agreed. I have just posted a number of replies to Shadrach on OM 7 June spelling it out. It won’t make a difference to their stubborn conviction though, I’m afraid.

  5. johnm 5

    As with Assange: those who commit the war crimes in the U$'$ wars of aggression backed by their own criminal complicit governments are left in peace; those who journalistically expose these crimes are harassed and even persecuted. So the rights human and civil of Australian news people do not count compared with the shadowey 5 eyes!!!??? The chief being the war criminal state of the U$.

    • johnm 5.1

      ABC raid over Afghan Files atrocities allegations ‘chilling’ for freedom of press

      AN Australian police raid on public broadcaster ABC this week risks having a chilling effect on freedom of the press, its editorial director says.

      Pacific Media Watch reports that police officers left the ABC’s Sydney headquarters more than eight hours after a raid began over allegations it had published classified material.

      It related to a series of 2017 stories known as The Afghan Files about alleged misconduct by Australian troops in Afghanistan.

      If You Care About the Future You Need to Listen to This Even if You Don't Think You Do

      "The illusion of freedom will continue for as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will take down the scenery, move the tables and chairs out of the way, then they will pull back the curtains and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater." – Frank Zappa



  6. RedbaronCV 6

    I think these raids are pretty chilling but Australia seem to have managed to pass enabling laws.

    Not that it is any better here really. Lots of examples here over the last decade of some being heavily chased by the police/ defence forces in particular while other equivalent behaviour has simply been ignored. And us taxpayers have paid out quite a few settlements but we are not permitted to know how much and I certainly haven't seen any heads rolling.

    But the current government doesn't look like it is tackling these issues either. I looked at making a submission on our privacy laws but trying to  work out what the draft legislation actually meant was beyond me so feeling a bit stupid I moved along. Then I happened to be reading a book on Obama's white house years where they talked about a deliberate policy of  making legislation around security, spying on the population etc.etc so dense and full of legal jargon that it was very difficult for any lay person to figure out exactly what was going on and thereby permitting much more intrusive legislation than most would be happy with. Are Labour simply following in Nacts footsteps and doing exactly this? Are we at risk of similar actions here?



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