Friday 14th of June 2024

when elected criminals use the law to run the government...


"They should go to jail for that."

It's hardly surprising the tsar of Australia's omni-security department would take such a dim view about leaks of classified information to journalists, and the fate that awaits public servants distributing the nation's secrets to the media.

But it's a sobering thought.

Home Affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo sat within the wood panelled walls of Federal Parliament's committee rooms on Wednesday, before an inquiry into the balance between press freedom and national security.

The contempt he holds for the individual who gave News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst a classified briefing discussing changes to the powers of the nation's foreign listening post, the Australian Signals Directorate, was palpable.

"Secondly, it was designed to play into a Canberra game about which agency is asking other agencies to expand its powers and remits," he said.


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spooks posing as journalists?!!!?...

Australia’s domestic spy agency ASIO has warned the media cannot be exempted from national security laws because there is evidence hostile foreign spies are posing as journalists.

In a classified submission to the press freedom inquiry on Wednesday, the spy agency is understood to have given examples of this activity, including spies trying to recruit Australian journalists and hiding in plain sight as media operatives.

ASIO deputy director-general Heather Cook told a parliamentary inquiry into press freedom that exemptions for journalism could open the door to protection for spies.

“I’d like to make a few comments about our knowledge and awareness of how the profession of journalism can be used nefariously by foreign intelligence services,” she said.

“We know from decades of operational and investigative work that foreign intelligence actors, hostile to Australia’s interests, deliberately structure their activities to take advantage of vulnerabilities in our laws.

“These foreign intelligence actors seek to exploit vulnerabilities in our legal system in order to harm Australia’s security and to recruit individuals who can assist them in their goals.

“In Australia today, journalism is being used as a cover by foreign intelligence actors, and there’s a long history of this worldwide.”

ASIO said the reality of spies posing as journalists or seeking information from media organisations was “not new, novel or exaggerated”.

“Australian journalists have self-reported to ASIO that foreign intelligence actors have sought to recruit them in order to gain access to privileged information or to senior officials,” Ms Cook said.

ASIO said broad exemptions for the media and journalists would invite exploitation by foreign intelligence actors and may increase the intelligence threat faced by Australian journalists.


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WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH FROM THE SCUMMO GOVERNMENT!!! What a lame excuse to stop information about the inept crap of this government being made public!

a secrecy web that hampers press freedom...

Two separate cities; two very different groups of witnesses; two very different concepts of the world.

Federal Parliament's Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security held public hearings in Sydney and Canberra this week as part of its inquiry into the "impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on press freedom".

The inquiry has come about in the wake of controversy over police raids — or execution of search warrants depending on your perspective — on journalists in Canberra and Sydney in June, and the continuing prospect that journalists employed by News Corp and the ABC may end up in jail.

The Government asked the committee to consider, "whether any and, if so, what changes could be made to procedures and thresholds for the exercise of those powers in relation to journalists and media organisations to better balance the need for press freedom with the need for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to investigate serious offending and obtain intelligence on security threats".

In Sydney, on Tuesday, the committee heard from a range of news and journalism organisations, and in Canberra, on Wednesday, it heard from intelligence and security organisations, including the Australian Federal Police, the Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).


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secrecy is about sending journalists to prison..



Image from Media Watch...


The Managing director of the ABC confirmed that many whistleblowers have retreated from giving stories to the press. Government: yippee! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. The victimisation of journalists (and of their whistleblowers) was all about preventing the government's ugly shit being further exposed to the public. Press freedom? There is more press freedom in Russia than in Australia... apart from Alan Jones who let's loose with no understanding of zip... And "they shall be replaced"...

aussie pollies connected to the fossil fuel industry...

Australian politicians and bureaucrats with links to fossil fuel and resource extraction industries. Edited by Simone Marsh based on research compiled by Adam Lucas with the assistance of Joel Rosenzveig Holland



Simone Marsh was an environment specialist and regulator of mining activities in both public and private sectors for over a decade. In 2010 she was called in to draft sections of the Queensland Coordinator-General’s EIS evaluation report for the world’s first onshore unconventional gas to LNG projects. After becoming a whistleblower, she has investigated and reported on political appointments, donations, lobbying and other events surrounding the project approvals and the resultant socio-economic and environmental impacts.


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compliments from the unpublic servant, for killing journalism...

Senior public servant Mike Pezzullo telephoned AFP Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan to compliment him on the police raid on the home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst.

Key points:
  • The phone call has led senator Rex Patrick to question the judgment of Mr Pezzullo
  • The documents were obtained under Freedom of Information
  • Mr Pezzullo said it was inaccurate to conflate professional compliments to colleagues with "a supposed attitude to press freedom"


Newly released documents revealed that in an email sent to staff on the evening of the raid, Mr Gaughan said:

"Good work by all involved. I also received a call this evening from the Sec DHA [Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs, Mr Pezzullo] who is fully supportive of the actions of the AFP and ask [sic] me to pass on my [sic] thanks to the team involved.

"Well done — tomorrow is another day." 

The phone call has led South Australian senator Rex Patrick, who obtained the documents, to question the judgment of Mr Pezzullo.

The documents, obtained under Freedom of Information, shed more light on the June 4 raid on the home of Smethurst and the raid the following day on the ABC's Sydney headquarters — which the documents showed the AFP named Operations Woolf and Klasies, respectively.

"The contents of the released documents confirm a lack of judgment at the highest levels of Home Affairs where national strategy and security policy is set," Senator Patrick told the ABC.

"After the raid on Ms Smethurst, alarm bells immediately started ringing for the media, the public, and indeed across government.

"Yet the Secretary of Home Affairs appears to have been blind to public concerns, expressing satisfaction with the raids."

Approached this week by the ABC, Mr Pezzullo confirmed he had made the call to Mr Gaughan.


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treated like common criminals for telling the truth...

a victory for news corp...

The warrant used by Australian Federal Police officers to search the home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst last year has been thrown out by the High Court, but police will be allowed to keep the materials they seized in the raid.

Key points:
  • The court found the warrant used to search Ms Smethurst's home was not correctly issued
  • The saga sparked concerns over press freedom, but the court did not rule on that issue
  • Ms Smethurst's reports examined plans to expand spying powers


The court unanimously ruled the warrant was invalid but was split on whether police should be forced to hand back what they took.

Ms Smethurst's home was raided after the Sunday Telegraph published a story she wrote on plans to expand the powers of the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).

The story included images of a document created by the ASD marked "secret" and "top secret", leading the AFP to argue Ms Smethurst and the Sunday Telegraph had broken the law by publishing them.

More than a year after the story went to print, the AFP obtained a search warrant for a range of general items belonging to Ms Smethurst and an order she provide her phone password.

The raid sparked a national debate about press freedom, which intensified when AFP officers searched the ABC's Sydney headquarters over a different story the same week.

The High Court unanimously found the warrant was invalid as it misstated the relevant law and failed to specify the offence being investigated.

As a result, the court did not consider whether the raid had an impact on freedom of political communication.

The court ordered the AFP pay the costs of Ms Smethurst and News Corp.


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Note: The ABC was not so lucky...