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ASIO raids Bernard Collaery? (with Brandis statement)

By johnboy 3 December 2013 46

The ABC has word of an ASIO raid here in Canberra:

A lawyer representing East Timor in its spying case against Australia says his office has been raided by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

Bernard Collaery says two agents seized electronic and paper files this afternoon from his law practice in Canberra.

He says the agents identified themselves as working for ASIO, and would not show his employees the search warrant because it related to national security.

East Timor has accused the Australia Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) of covertly recording Timorese ministers and officials during oil-and-gas negotiations in Dili in 2004.

Mr Collaery also believes that a key witness in the Timorese case – a former spy turned whistleblower – has been arrested in a separate raid in Canberra.

UPDATE: The Attorney-General has confirmed the raids but is less than convincing as to their motivations:

I confirm that today, ASIO executed search warrants at addresses in Canberra, and documents and electronic media were taken into possession. The warrants were issued by me on the grounds that the documents contained intelligence related to security matters.

I have seen reports this evening containing allegations that the warrants were issued in order to affect or impede the current arbitration between Australia and Timor-Leste at The Hague. Those allegations are wrong.

I have instructed ASIO that the material taken into possession is not under any circumstances to be communicated to those conducting those proceedings on behalf of Australia.

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46 Responses to
ASIO raids Bernard Collaery? (with Brandis statement)
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IrishPete 9:44 am 06 Dec 13

bigfeet said :

IrishPete said :

I quote: “ASSISTANT: They were filming it, explained to me that they were from ASIO and there were AFP officers there too. Gave me a notice that was obviously some sort of warrant, had bits blacked out on it so they weren’t allowed to give me a copy of it. They explained to me they were there for security reasons.”

Oh…so they did actually show a copy of the warrant after all.

Define “show”? Not being allowed to keep a copy of it, even though it had the supposedly secret bits blacked out, doesn’t cut it my book. There is no doubt a legally acceptable definition of “show” in these circumstances.

Mr Collaery and his staffer were both being interviewed, these were not written prepared statements, so their words may not have been entirely consistent with each other, and we don’t know which is more accurate. Personally I would have thought the barrister himself would be the more reliable source, given his qualifications, but he wasn’t present and there may have been some “Chinese Whispers” at work.

How is anyone supposed to challenge the legality of a warrant that they haven’t been give a copy of? Or are you suggesting that the legailty of a warrant from a politician (the Attorney General) shouldn’t be open to challenge?

I presume the blacked out bits would have been the references to Woodside, Downer, “confiscate anything that might incriminate me or my mates” and so on…

This incident is extremely reminiscent of the illegal detention of the Guardian reporter’s partner at Heathrow Airport and the confiscation of all his electronic devices, containing material that the authorities knew was already copied all over the world already anyway. It achieved nothing but intimidation but, more importantly, made intelligence agencies and police look like they are out of control, acting illegally, incompetent, heavy handed and (in the Guardian case) UK authorities are at the behest of the USA intelligence agencies. .

At this rate can we expect the ASIS whistleblower who had the late attack of conscience, to be locked up in isolation the secret cell in the basement of the new ASIO bunker, to conveniently commit suicide (like Mr Zygier in Israel)?

IP

bigfeet 6:28 am 06 Dec 13

IrishPete said :

I quote: “ASSISTANT: They were filming it, explained to me that they were from ASIO and there were AFP officers there too. Gave me a notice that was obviously some sort of warrant, had bits blacked out on it so they weren’t allowed to give me a copy of it. They explained to me they were there for security reasons.”

Oh…so they did actually show a copy of the warrant after all.

CraigT 6:08 am 06 Dec 13

IrishPete said :

I wasn’t going to make too big a deal of the fact that the current ASIO chief was the ASIS chief at the time of the bugging (and might have something to hide), and the former ASIO chief is now George Brandis’ Chief of Staff (a political position, not a public service one; and Brandis’ mate Downer has something to hide too). But since First Dog On The Moon has raised all this, I will suggest that you don’t need a tin foil hat to smell conflicts of interests here, possibly worse.

IP

They’ve now taken a bite of something that is going to prove very hard to chew.

The first rule in making a threat is to make it credible:
BRANDIS: “no lawyer can invoke the principles of lawyer-client privilege to excuse participation, whether as principal or accessory, in offences against the Commonwealth.”
http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/george-brandis-defends-asio-raids-on-lawyer-over-spy-claim-20131204-2yq98.html#ixzz2md3xlFpq

“Mr Collaery challenged Senator Brandis to make his remarks outside Parliament.”
http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/intelligence-agency-failed-to-investigate-spying-claims-lawyer-bernard-collaery-claims-20131204-2yr3m.html#ixzz2md3fBi9J

IrishPete 10:37 pm 05 Dec 13

bigfeet said :

Pork Hunt said :

How can anyone have faith in a system where they knock on your door, say they have a warrant but can’t show it to you?
What a crock of s***.

This is nothing new or sinister. A search warrant can be (and has always been able to be) issued to police (and presumably intelligence agencies from this example) completely verbally. They can be done by phone, radio, Skype, face-to-face or almost any other means.

Its just that usually the easiest way is for the police officer to present their reasons in writing to a judge and then the judge signs the authority.

But it is just as lawful if they give that authority verbally.

.

.

and from AM http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2013/s3904457.htm

I quote: “ASSISTANT: They were filming it, explained to me that they were from ASIO and there were AFP officers there too. Gave me a notice that was obviously some sort of warrant, had bits blacked out on it so they weren’t allowed to give me a copy of it. They explained to me they were there for security reasons.”

Of course she might be lying. I mean, why would she not want to be named? That’s only the prerogative of ASIO agents.

I wasn’t going to make too big a deal of the fact that the current ASIO chief was the ASIS chief at the time of the bugging (and might have something to hide), and the former ASIO chief is now George Brandis’ Chief of Staff (a political position, not a public service one; and Brandis’ mate Downer has something to hide too). But since First Dog On The Moon has raised all this, I will suggest that you don’t need a tin foil hat to smell conflicts of interests here, possibly worse.

IP

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