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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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Skidbladnir 10:36 pm 05 Dec 13

Oh Masquara, you ignorant fool.
Privacy isn’t about having “nothing to hide”, and nor is it about being forced to “show us everything you have and we’ll tell you if none of it is interesting yet, but we’ll keep a copy just in case”.
Privacy protection is about recognising that your personal & corporate privacy interest isn’t something subject to a value trading bargain of cost/benefit or a security harm minimisation strategy.

The metadata surrounding the listing of transaction, locations, and parties are all you want for finding the pattern in stories.
Assembling narrative and plot can be left until later, if we care.
Actual transcripts are way too detailed, and more often than not, really boring.

E.g.
She has a prepaid plan, the most popular one among her demographic.
She makes no calls before 7am on weekdays.
Friday and Saturday nights have previously been quite busy in terms of calls from friends, but recently that pattern has died off.
People her own age frequently call her on Saturday mornings for up to 25 minutes.
Most mornings she receives a call or two.
Most days she starts by sending a few SMS to friends and coworkers, sometimes receiving one or two calls when she is at Woden Interchange.

One day she calls her doctor’s office, and at 11am she calls her one of her most frequently contacted friends.
At 1130 she calls a man who, since three months earlier, has been largely contacting her after 10pm.
20 minutes later she receives an SMS while at a cafe.
Ten minutes later, she calls ACT Family Planning.

Each individual call is fairly innocuous. No one call is representative of a larger pattern.
But with a big enough constellation, you can infer enough narrative and plot without needing detail.

You might not be afraid because you aren’t (knowingly) contacting terrorists, but the good have everything to fear when their data patterns end up in the wrong hands. And its made worse if you consider that the party you provided data to were trustworthy at that point in time, but they may later share that data with parties you didn’t want informed.

Your government might not want to hurt you, but it certainly can without meaning to.

(PS: If you have nothing to hide then you’re incredibly boring. Can we all see your credit card bills just to make sure? Can we photograph you naked, own the photograph, and share it with your neighbours?)

IrishPete 10:30 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.
.

Will the Police State apologists please do some background reading before leaping to the defence of the ASIO raid?

I suggest you start with the ABC PM reports (and probably AM and World Today as well). Here’s the first one: http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2013/s3904298.htm

I quote: “BERNARD COLLAERY: The agents who effected the warrant refused to give to my senior law clerk of my practice a copy of the warrant, saying it contained national security secrets.”

That means a written warrant existed but they refused to show it. Of course, you may prefer to claim that no written warrant existed, in which case they were lying to Mr Collaery’s staff.

IP

Masquara 9:18 pm 05 Dec 13

Leaving aside the specifics of this case, I’m perfectly happy for the police to take my phone call metadata. That’s because I am not calling terrorist sympathisers, or meth dealers. If capturing metadata is keeping us safe from terrorist attacks, I have nothing to hide and I am all for it. The security agencies are not investigating the specifics of our phone calls – they aren’t interested unless the data adds up to terrorist or gang activity.

bigfeet 8:30 pm 05 Dec 13

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.

.

.

LSWCHP 7:29 pm 05 Dec 13

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***.

Correct. This is outrageous. A day of shame for this country.

I never thought I’d see the day in Australia when government goons are quite openly harassing people and confiscating property without producing a warrant, in a blatant attempt to conceal government malfeasance and cover the arses of the rich and powerful.

It’s the sort of crap you read about in tin-pot third world dictatorships, and you shake your head and say “Thank God we live in a democratic western state where this would never happen because we’re protected by the rule of law”. Not any more, it would seem.

I thought the Abbott government would be just another government, in the sense of being irrelevant to the day to day activities of ordinary people. I didn’t like a lot of their policies, and I hold Mr Abbott in low regard, but that’s as far as it went. I was prepared to put up with them because that’s how a democracy is supposed to work.

But what I feel when reading this sort of crap is profound anger. I don’t want the f*cking Gestapo knocking at my door or anybody elses at 3am, so for the first time in my life I think that I may need to join a political party, and do something to actively oppose these people. Of course, there’s every chance that actively opposing this government will increase the chances of the goons coming around, but a man’s gotta draw the line somewhere.

I must admit though, that it’s nice to have soothing and reassuring voices like Baggy on the scene to explain that everything the government does is in our best interests and for our own safety, and there could be no possible trace of corruption associated with anything they do because all politicians and all government goons are paragons of virtue who obey all laws and moral principles all of the time.

So, if you believe him, when the hard faced men in suits come to visit, just bend over forward and splay your buttocks, because their cause is righteous, and you must’ve done something, sometime, somewhere to deserve it.

Pork Hunt 5:56 pm 05 Dec 13

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***.

Kim F 5:55 pm 05 Dec 13

I wonder when the Indonesian phone taps started? I note in the current controversy they talk about 2009 but no mention of the “start” word!

Skidbladnir 5:41 pm 05 Dec 13

Knowns:
It has already been alleged that John Howard’s cabinet authorised ASIS to bug the East Timor cabinet.
It is further alleged that the information products received from the bugging was passed on to Woodside, impacting materially on the negotiations with East Timor.
The Cabinet Minister responsible for ASIS at the time currently works as an advisor to Woodside.
The current ASIO DG was the ASIS DG at the time.
The current Chief of Staff to Brandis was both a Dept Secretary to the Howard Government’s DFAT at the time, and has since been a DG of ASIO.
Brandis authorised removal of files while the case they support is underway…

Even to the most committed Coalition supporter remembering only the afterglow of a good time under John Howard, does this not smell strange enough to question deeply?
Or does the delusion still carry into Howard era revisionalism and an active state of denials, that nothing abusive of power could ever happen under his reign and, despite everything else indicating there’s probably s*** on the rug, that “Its only smellz”?

CraigT 3:40 pm 05 Dec 13

johnboy said :

I like this take on it:

http://t.co/oos5ap99Sj

In a nutshell, somebody *could* say that.

When you do something wrong, as the Australian government did in 2004, you have two options once you are exposwed: fess up and deal with it, or compound the offence by using taxpayer resources to try to suppress it.

This is a pretty big sh1t >> fan moment for this country, and if we’re lucky, some heads will roll and our international reputation can be repaired. This will hopefully be the final test for Abbott’s 51:50 tea-partyesque control of our Liberal Party.

CraigT 3:34 pm 05 Dec 13

pajs said :

Baggy said :

IrishPete said :

To the man on the street, or the pub test, it looks like the intelligence services are off the leash, or the leash they are being given is too long, and some daft “convention” is simply pouring petrol on the fire. Make the buggers subject to Parliamentary scrutiny, secret scrutiny if it has to be.

IP

The entire operation (due to media) will likely be subject to scrutiny from the IGIS, as well as the ANAO as well as the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (which, by the way, is largely secret). So, you have your wish already, the buggers are subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.

Sensational media reporting doesn’t help Joe at the pub have an idea of the facts of oversight. The Australian intelligence community is most certainly NOT off the leash, in any way shape or form.

I will make a suggestion though, and will retract if found wrong – I expect that not a single journalist who has written about this story has contacted IGIS, and would in fact go so far as to say that not one is even aware of her or her office.

Start retracting, I’d suggest: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australian-intelligence-watchdog-accused-of-failing-to-act-on-claims-of-east-timor-bugging-20131204-2yr45.html

I like the bit about the whistleblower having previously contacted the IGIS.

Yes,

The former senior spy who blew the whistle on alleged Australian bugging of East Timor’s government took his case to the intelligence watchdog but it did not investigate and advised him to get a lawyer if he wanted to take the matter further.

IGIS did not respond to questions on Wednesday.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/intelligence-agency-failed-to-investigate-spying-claims-lawyer-bernard-collaery-claims-20131204-2yr3m.html#ixzz2mZW03UVj

pajs 3:03 pm 05 Dec 13

Baggy said :

pajs said :

Baggy said :

IrishPete said :

To the man on the street, or the pub test, it looks like the intelligence services are off the leash, or the leash they are being given is too long, and some daft “convention” is simply pouring petrol on the fire. Make the buggers subject to Parliamentary scrutiny, secret scrutiny if it has to be.

IP

The entire operation (due to media) will likely be subject to scrutiny from the IGIS, as well as the ANAO as well as the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (which, by the way, is largely secret). So, you have your wish already, the buggers are subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.

Sensational media reporting doesn’t help Joe at the pub have an idea of the facts of oversight. The Australian intelligence community is most certainly NOT off the leash, in any way shape or form.

I will make a suggestion though, and will retract if found wrong – I expect that not a single journalist who has written about this story has contacted IGIS, and would in fact go so far as to say that not one is even aware of her or her office.

Start retracting, I’d suggest: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australian-intelligence-watchdog-accused-of-failing-to-act-on-claims-of-east-timor-bugging-20131204-2yr45.html

I like the bit about the whistleblower having previously contacted the IGIS.

The journalist did not contact her office, merely repeated Mr Collaery’s claim that the witness had done so. He did, however, claim the office is “poorly resourced” and I’ve been unable to source that, or the other claim of complaints against IGIS for failing to investigate complaints. I’d like to think a journo would at least try to check the veracity of the first claim, and that he did – but just failed to mention it in the article.

It’s unclear whether the journalist knew of IGIS before interviewing Mr Collaery.

So, I’ll retract it, although there remains no evidence anywhere of a journalist contacting IGIS regarding this story.

The last sentence of the article reads: “IGIS did not respond to questions.”

Baggy 2:52 pm 05 Dec 13

pajs said :

Baggy said :

IrishPete said :

To the man on the street, or the pub test, it looks like the intelligence services are off the leash, or the leash they are being given is too long, and some daft “convention” is simply pouring petrol on the fire. Make the buggers subject to Parliamentary scrutiny, secret scrutiny if it has to be.

IP

The entire operation (due to media) will likely be subject to scrutiny from the IGIS, as well as the ANAO as well as the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (which, by the way, is largely secret). So, you have your wish already, the buggers are subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.

Sensational media reporting doesn’t help Joe at the pub have an idea of the facts of oversight. The Australian intelligence community is most certainly NOT off the leash, in any way shape or form.

I will make a suggestion though, and will retract if found wrong – I expect that not a single journalist who has written about this story has contacted IGIS, and would in fact go so far as to say that not one is even aware of her or her office.

Start retracting, I’d suggest: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australian-intelligence-watchdog-accused-of-failing-to-act-on-claims-of-east-timor-bugging-20131204-2yr45.html

I like the bit about the whistleblower having previously contacted the IGIS.

The journalist did not contact her office, merely repeated Mr Collaery’s claim that the witness had done so. He did, however, claim the office is “poorly resourced” and I’ve been unable to source that, or the other claim of complaints against IGIS for failing to investigate complaints. I’d like to think a journo would at least try to check the veracity of the first claim, and that he did – but just failed to mention it in the article.

It’s unclear whether the journalist knew of IGIS before interviewing Mr Collaery.

So, I’ll retract it, although there remains no evidence anywhere of a journalist contacting IGIS regarding this story.

gazket 2:47 pm 05 Dec 13

well it seems our spies are no better than Maxwell Smart . Someone should get the death penalty.

pajs 2:05 pm 05 Dec 13

Baggy said :

IrishPete said :

To the man on the street, or the pub test, it looks like the intelligence services are off the leash, or the leash they are being given is too long, and some daft “convention” is simply pouring petrol on the fire. Make the buggers subject to Parliamentary scrutiny, secret scrutiny if it has to be.

IP

The entire operation (due to media) will likely be subject to scrutiny from the IGIS, as well as the ANAO as well as the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (which, by the way, is largely secret). So, you have your wish already, the buggers are subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.

Sensational media reporting doesn’t help Joe at the pub have an idea of the facts of oversight. The Australian intelligence community is most certainly NOT off the leash, in any way shape or form.

I will make a suggestion though, and will retract if found wrong – I expect that not a single journalist who has written about this story has contacted IGIS, and would in fact go so far as to say that not one is even aware of her or her office.

Start retracting, I’d suggest: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australian-intelligence-watchdog-accused-of-failing-to-act-on-claims-of-east-timor-bugging-20131204-2yr45.html

I like the bit about the whistleblower having previously contacted the IGIS.

Robertson 9:47 am 05 Dec 13

Baggy said :

ScienceRules said :

You are so right, Baggy. We should be embracing the notion of the secret police raiding private Australian citizens for the “greater good”. Nor should they have to show those pesky warrants (which are after all only a left-wing trope to slow down the forces of justice).

I for one will be sleeping much more comfortably in my bed certain that the powers that be are fighting for the freedoms we used to enjoy. Neither do I feel that they have the need to trouble my little head with the details which I’m quite certain are far too complicated and secrety for my mere citizen’s brain to comprehend.

My only worry is that the account doesn’t seem to indicate if the kindly officers were armed. I certainly hope that they at least had ballistic vests and MP5s to ensure their freedom-protecting actions weren’t in any way compromised by a secretary armed with a stapler.

And thank you so much for just being there, Baggy, to reassure us all.

So you obviously don’t believe in our justice and legal system then. Good to know.

PS, a little research goes a long way.

http://www.asio.gov.au/About-ASIO/FAQs.html
Q: Do ASIO officers carry firearms?

A: ASIO officers do not carry firearms.

I believe there were 15-odd members involved in the raid, and only two of them were ASIO.

ScienceRules 9:38 am 05 Dec 13

Baggy said :

ScienceRules said :

You are so right, Baggy. We should be embracing the notion of the secret police raiding private Australian citizens for the “greater good”. Nor should they have to show those pesky warrants (which are after all only a left-wing trope to slow down the forces of justice).

I for one will be sleeping much more comfortably in my bed certain that the powers that be are fighting for the freedoms we used to enjoy. Neither do I feel that they have the need to trouble my little head with the details which I’m quite certain are far too complicated and secrety for my mere citizen’s brain to comprehend.

My only worry is that the account doesn’t seem to indicate if the kindly officers were armed. I certainly hope that they at least had ballistic vests and MP5s to ensure their freedom-protecting actions weren’t in any way compromised by a secretary armed with a stapler.

And thank you so much for just being there, Baggy, to reassure us all.

So you obviously don’t believe in our justice and legal system then. Good to know.

PS, a little research goes a long way.

http://www.asio.gov.au/About-ASIO/FAQs.html
Q: Do ASIO officers carry firearms?

A: ASIO officers do not carry firearms.

And you obviously don’t believe in sarcasm.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcasm

P.S. A little self-awareness goes a long way.

Jim Jones 9:37 am 05 Dec 13

Baggy said :

ScienceRules said :

You are so right, Baggy. We should be embracing the notion of the secret police raiding private Australian citizens for the “greater good”. Nor should they have to show those pesky warrants (which are after all only a left-wing trope to slow down the forces of justice).

I for one will be sleeping much more comfortably in my bed certain that the powers that be are fighting for the freedoms we used to enjoy. Neither do I feel that they have the need to trouble my little head with the details which I’m quite certain are far too complicated and secrety for my mere citizen’s brain to comprehend.

My only worry is that the account doesn’t seem to indicate if the kindly officers were armed. I certainly hope that they at least had ballistic vests and MP5s to ensure their freedom-protecting actions weren’t in any way compromised by a secretary armed with a stapler.

And thank you so much for just being there, Baggy, to reassure us all.

So you obviously don’t believe in our justice and legal system then. Good to know.

PS, a little research goes a long way.

http://www.asio.gov.au/About-ASIO/FAQs.html
Q: Do ASIO officers carry firearms?

A: ASIO officers do not carry firearms.

Yep. We should totally never question anything that happens regarding ASIO or police or the judiciary or whatever because, you know, doing so would *obvoiusly* mean that you don’t believe in our justice or legal system at all.

bigfeet 9:35 am 05 Dec 13

Deref said :

bigfeet said :

The oversight is there and it is thorough and extremely competent.

😀 Post of the month!

I had misgivings when typing that sentence due to ‘oversight’ being a homonym. But I was in a hurry and typing on an annoying phone so I let it ride.

I knew someone would make comment on it!

Baggy 9:21 am 05 Dec 13

ScienceRules said :

You are so right, Baggy. We should be embracing the notion of the secret police raiding private Australian citizens for the “greater good”. Nor should they have to show those pesky warrants (which are after all only a left-wing trope to slow down the forces of justice).

I for one will be sleeping much more comfortably in my bed certain that the powers that be are fighting for the freedoms we used to enjoy. Neither do I feel that they have the need to trouble my little head with the details which I’m quite certain are far too complicated and secrety for my mere citizen’s brain to comprehend.

My only worry is that the account doesn’t seem to indicate if the kindly officers were armed. I certainly hope that they at least had ballistic vests and MP5s to ensure their freedom-protecting actions weren’t in any way compromised by a secretary armed with a stapler.

And thank you so much for just being there, Baggy, to reassure us all.

So you obviously don’t believe in our justice and legal system then. Good to know.

PS, a little research goes a long way.

http://www.asio.gov.au/About-ASIO/FAQs.html
Q: Do ASIO officers carry firearms?

A: ASIO officers do not carry firearms.

Robertson 9:15 am 05 Dec 13

Baggy said :

But I do know that the Chinese have taken a very strong interest in developing a relationship with Timor-Leste, and that given the relationship includes military hardware there is a possible connection there. More likely, the connection is something we’re simply not privy to, and with good reason.

It’s the Woodside connection. Duh.
They wanted an advantage in the negotiations, so they used ASIS for commercial espionage.

On the other hand, if we are worried about Timor becoming too chummy with China then we can either,
– buddy up with the Timorese who, thanks to the likes of Peter Cosgrove, are huge fans of Australia already.
or,
– piss them off, rip them off, and treat them with contempt, as DFAT have been doing for years following Gareth Gareth’s immoral example (IOW, standard DFAT operating procedure since the rot set in after WW2 under Burton and Evatt), leaving them no option but to look to China.

Either way you look at it, our intelligence services are being misused through either corruption or incompetence.

Bruce Schneier appears to be a step ahead of them:
” the NSA has to assume that all of its operations will become public, probably sooner than it would like. It has to start taking that into account when weighing the costs and benefits of those operations. And it now has to be just as cautious about new eavesdropping operations ”
https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/10/the_nsas_new_ri.html

Costs and benefits.

We are paying a very high cost right now for
– the unknown but dubious benefits that may have arisen from bugging the Indonesian president’s phone
– a financial benefit to Woodside petroleum (and anybody it pays money to) arising from bugging the Timorese cabinet.

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