Sunday 21st of July 2019

a pointless and politically-motivated persecution...


The attorney general has been accused of breaching his obligations to the Senate by refusing to properly answer questions on the controversial prosecution of former spy Witness K and his lawyer Bernard Collaery.

The case against Collaery and Witness K is due to first appear in the ACT magistrates court next week, amid continuing protest over what critics see as a pointless and politically-motivated prosecution.

Collaery and Witness K are being prosecuted for their roles in helping to reveal a covert operation mounted by Australian spies against an ally, Timor-Leste, to gain a commercial advantage during sensitive oil and gas negotiations.

Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick has been one of many championing the cause of Witness K and Collaery, who face up to five years behind bars if convicted.

In early July, Patrick asked a series of detailed questions on notice in the Senate about the prosecution, which was consented to by attorney-general Christian Porter. He asked, among other things, when commonwealth prosecutors began preparing a case against Collaery and Witness K, and on whose instructions. Patrick asked which departments and agencies were consulted, and whether senior intelligence and defence figures were aware or informed of the plan.

Porter’s response this week did little more than confirm the prosecution was occurring, and that he had given his consent. “As the matter is before the court, it would not be appropriate to comment further,” the response said. “Regarding Senator Patrick’s questions relating to alleged Asis activities, it is the long-standing practice of the Australian government not to comment on the operation of our intelligence agencies.”


We should be appalled by Porter. he is unfit to be in his position.

australian espionage to rob timor leste...

The Australia–East Timor spying scandal began in 2004 when the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) planted 200 covert listening devices in the Timor-Leste Cabinet Office at Dili, to obtain information in order to ensure Australian interests held the upper hand in negotiations with Timor-Leste over the rich oil and gas fields in the Timor Gap.[1] Even though the Timor-Leste government was unaware of the espionage operation undertaken by Australia, negotiations were hostile. The first Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, Mari Alkatiri, bluntly accused the Howard Government of plundering the oil and gas in the Timor Sea, stating:

"Timor-Leste loses $1 million a day due to Australia's unlawful exploitation of resources in the disputed area. Timor-Leste cannot be deprived of its rights or territory because of a crime."

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer ironically responded:

"I think they've made a very big mistake thinking that the best way to handle this negotiation is trying to shame Australia, is mounting abuse on our country... accusing us of being bullying and rich and so on, when you consider all we're done for East Timor."

Witness K, a former senior ASIS intelligence officer who led the bugging operation, revealed in 2012 the Australian Government had accessed top-secret Cabinet discussions in Dili and exploited this during negotiations of the Timor Sea Treaty.[3] The treaty was superseded by the signing of the Treaty on Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea (CMATS) which restricted further sea claims by Timor-Leste until 2057.[4] Lead negotiator for Timor-Leste, Peter Galbraith, laid-out the motives behind the espionage by ASIS:

"What would be the most valuable thing for Australia to learn is what our bottom line is, what we were prepared to settle for. There's another thing that gives you an advantage, you know what the instructions the prime minister has given to the lead negotiator. And finally, if you're able to eavesdrop you'll know about the divisions within the East Timor delegation and there certainly were divisions, different advice being given, so you might be able to lean on one way or another in the course of the negotiations."

The espionage revealation led to Timor-Leste rejecting the treaty on the Timor Sea, and referring the matter to The Hague. In March 2014, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Australia to stop spying on East Timor.[5] The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague considered claims by Timor-Leste over the territory until early 2017, when East Timor dropped the case after the Australian Government agreed to renegotiate. In 2018, the parties signed a new agreement which split the profits 80% East Timor, 20% Australia.

Read more:–East_Timor_spying_scandal

poor fellow our country ...

I wonder when Porter will give us an update into the investigation of "Fishnets" Downer's activities on behalf of Woodside while he was Minister for Foreign Affairs?

They are all unfit to be in their positions Gus ... the basest of creatures all of them.

What kind of country could be proud of such a pissant government?

What kind of people have such little self-respect that they can tolerate such a bunch of carpetbaggers?

one of the richest countries rips off one of the poorest...

As Australia’s Foreign Minister, Senator Marise Payne, makes her first visit to the United Nations General Assembly, Senator Rex Patrick has written to all 193 country delegations to inform them of the prosecution of Witness K and his lawyer for blowing the whistle on the unconscionable and unlawful conduct by Australia’s international spying agency. In 2004 the Australian Secret Intelligence Service spied on East Timor cabinet rooms during purportedly ‘good faith’ negotiations over oil and gas revenue in the Timor Sea.

"As Australia’s Foreign Minister addresses the United Nations General Assembly, delegates need to understand that her government has permitted the persecution of the people who have revealed an illegal operation by one of the world’s richest countries to rip off one of the poorest," said Senator Patrick.

"At the time of the bugging operation, designed to gain advantage in the negotiations, 55 out of every thousand children born in East Timor died before they reached one years of age."

In 2002, in contrast to the rules-based order that Australia often advocates, Australia’s then Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, withdrew Australia from the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. The effect of this was that East Timor was rendered unable to claim its rights under international law to the maritime boundary halfway across between the two countries' coastline.

Pressure was put on the then new nation state to agree to a lesser share of the undersea revenue than was its right under international law. The Australian government engaged in a conspiracy to defraud East Timor by spying on their negotiating team.

"The whole thing was a carefully concocted and executed plan, approved by Foreign Minister Downer," said Rex. "I find the whole thing very disturbing."

"I note that senior adviser to Minister Downer when Australia withdrew itself from any international maritime boundary jurisdiction was Mr Josh Frydenberg, now Deputy Leader of Senator Payne’s party. Mr Frydenberg also served as a senior adviser to Prime Minister John Howard when the spying operation occurred back in 2004."

"I further note that when Australia was taken to an arbitral tribunal in The Hague after East Timor became aware of the illegal bugging, the Australian Government sought to fetter the international arbitration by revoking Witness K’s passport immediately prior to his planned appearance at a closed hearing. In essence, Australia thumbed its nose at international law."

"As so often happens in these matters, the heroes of the story are the ones that get prosecuted while the perpetrators get promoted. Delegates at the General Assembly need to understand the duplicity of the Australian Government as it listens to Senator Payne speak."

Senator Patrick is calling for the charges to be dropped. "The laying of these charges are, quite simply, not in the public interest and are profoundly at odds with any sense of justice."

The letter to the delegates can be found here.


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defrauding the truth under "secrecy act"...

Former attorney-general George Brandis was asked to approve the controversial prosecution of an Australian spy and his lawyer more than two years before consent was finally granted, a document obtained by the ABC has revealed.

The ex-spy, known as "Witness K", and his lawyer Bernard Collaery are facing charges under the Intelligence Services Act 2001 for allegedly conspiring to communicate secret information to Timor-Leste's government sometime between May 2008 and May 2013.

Mr Collaery is also accused of sharing information with ABC journalists about an operation which saw Australia bug Timor-Leste's cabinet room in Dili during negotiations over oil and gas reserves worth an estimated $40 billion.

There has been much speculation about why the Government has suddenly moved to prosecute Witness K and Mr Collaery, almost four-and-a-half years after ASIO raided their homes.

Some such as former Victorian premier Steve Bracks and independent MP Andrew Wilkie have questioned whether it is linked to a recent deal signed over oil and gas, something the Government has emphatically denied.

According to a letter sent to senator Rex Patrick by the current Attorney-General Christian Porter, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) sent a request for "consent to prosecute" to Mr Brandis on September 17, 2015, more than two-and-a-half years before approval was finally granted.


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para tétum...

Vist Timor for your next holiday... unless the Australian government places you in prison first...

downer should be in the dock for conspiracy

Another important courtroom contest continues in the ACT – the case of Bernard Collaery and Witness K.

Proceedings are still at the procedural stage, even though Collaery – the Canberra lawyer and former ACT attorney-general – and his former client Witness K were charged in the middle of last year with conspiracy to breach the Intelligence Services Act.

By November, the accused still had not received a brief of evidence from the Commonwealth DPP. The whole enterprise has been an extenuated overreach of government power, stretching back to 2013 when the spooks and Constable Plod raided Collaery’s chambers and Witness K’s home.

The case had Christian Porter, the government’s chief awarder of plums to his pals, warning everyone to keep shtum about the case.

Here we are in March and still no decision on whether the trial will be open to the world or a secret court affair. It is understood Collaery’s defence lawyers will be excluded from seeing evidence unless they sign bits of government paper insisting they’ll have to garrotte themselves if they tell anyone what’s going on.

Of course, all this has nothing to do with terrorism but more to do with blowing the whistle on the Howard government’s conduct in spying on Timor-Leste during the negotiations for the Greater Sunrise natural gas deposits.

The case is back before the magistrate on August 6, 7 and 8, with more argument about whether the trial should be open or shut.

Meanwhile, Collaery has finished volume one of his book on Timor-Leste. Volume two, dealing with the government spying operation, will appear after his trial is over. The government has also been issuing threatening letters to Collaery about what may or may not appear in his book.

Many observers are hoping one-time foreign minister, Lord Fishnets Downer, might do a turn in the witness box, preferably not in costume. He’s the man responsible for the overseas spying organisation that bugged the Timor-Leste ministerial offices, who later became an adviser to Woodside, the very oil and gas company that stood to benefit from the seabed negotiations. 


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