Monday, December 2, 2013

Make a submission of objection BURU'S BULLSHIT




    East Timor spying scandal: Lawyer claims ASIO trying to gag key witness

    A lawyer representing East Timor in its spying case against Australia has accused the Government of attempting to gag the key witness, a former spy turned whistleblower.

    East Timor is claiming that Australia's international spy agency used the cover of Australia's aid program to install listening bugs inside the East Timorese cabinet room so that it could spy on sensitive information during oil and gas negotiations in 2004.

    The two countries were working on a deal to share revenue from the oil and gas deposits under the Timor Sea, called The Greater Sunrise fields

    Woodside Petroleum, which wanted to exploit the field, was working hand in glove with the Australian government and senior ministers to score the best possible deal.

    Analysis by reporter Peter Lloyd
    I think we've set sail into very uncharted waters here. Never before has Timor taken someone to this arbitration panel [at The Hague]; never before has Australia been called to answer questions about spying in a forum such as this.

    And this isn't just about a treaty - this is by implication about the maritime boundary between Australia and East Timor.

    What's at stake here are issues of sovereignty; it's about billions of dollars in resources; it's about the resource sharing deal that Alexander Downer and the government of the time struck - whether that's valid.

    Listen to Peter Lloyd's report on AM

    East Timor will launch a case in The Hague on Thursday to have the treaty it signed with Australia - worth an estimated $40 billion - ripped up.

    It alleges Australia had the advantage in negotiations because of spying conducted by the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) in Dili, which it claims was ordered by then foreign minister Alexander Downer.

    Lawyer for East Timor, Bernard Colleary, says the details in these allegations have never been made public until now.

    "The director-general of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service and his deputy instructed a team of ASIS technicians to travel to East Timor in an elaborate plan, using Australian aid programs relating to the renovation and construction of the cabinet offices in Dili, East Timor, to insert listening devices into the wall, of walls to be constructed under an Australian aid program," he said.

  2. East Timor spying scandal: Lawyer claims ASIO trying to gag key witness

    Star witness has passport cancelled

    Yesterday, ASIO officers raided the Canberra office of Mr Collaery, who is currently in the Netherlands preparing for the case, and cancelled the passport for the retired spy who was expected to give evidence at The Hague.

    Mr Collaery says the star witness, who ASIO questioned last night, was "not some disaffected spy" but the former director of all technical operations at ASIS.

    He says the former ASIS operator decided to blow the whistle after learning Mr Downer had become an adviser to Woodside Petroleum in his years after politics.

    In a statement to the ABC, Mr Downer says the allegations are old and he will not comment on matters regarding national security.

    The whistleblower's affidavit is understood to refer to the alleged 2004 bugging operation as "immoral and wrong" because it served not the national interest, but the interests of big oil and gas.

    Mr Collaery says ASIS's alleged spying amounts to "insider trading".

    "If this had happened in Bridge Street, Collins Street, Wall Street, people would go to jail," he said.

    Mr Collaery has accused the Government and ASIO of being "crass" by "muzzling the oral evidence of the prime witness".

    "What do you think the tribunal [at The Hague] is going to think of it?" he told Lateline.

    Attorney-General George Brandis says he approved raids

    Last night Attorney-General George Brandis released a statement confirming he approved warrants to conduct the raid on Mr Collaery's office, but denied it was done to affect the arbitration at The Hague.

    "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," he said.

    "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."

    But Mr Collaery rejects that explanation.

    "Well so much for George Brandis's respect for Commonwealth whistle-blowing laws ... for the laws of this country. This is an unprecedented step," he said.

    Mr Collaery says the documents ASIO officers seized from his office include evidence of Australia inserting listening devices into the wall of the East Timor government's cabinet room ahead of the negotiations for the lucrative Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea (CMATS) treaty.

  3. East Timor spying scandal: Lawyer claims ASIO trying to gag key witness

    However, he says he also has the evidence with him in The Hague and the raid will do "very little" to hinder East Timor's case.

    "The evidence is here. I can't see what the Government hopes to achieve by this aggressive action," he said.

    "It can attempt to nullify the whistleblower's evidence, but that evidence has flown - the evidence is here, it's abroad, it's ready."

    Labor, Greens say allegations are disturbing

    Labor backbencher Kelvin Thomson told ABC's AM that he is concerned by the claims Australia spied on East Timor.

    "I'm troubled by it; both by the allegation that Australian agencies were engaged in spying in East Timor in the commercial interests of a large corporation - that's a very serious allegation and I certainly want to hear more about that," he said.

    "The recent raids and the suggestion that they might be about making sure that the previous evidence doesn't come out - I think that's very unfortunate."

    Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt says it is disturbing that the Attorney-General appeared to use his powers to interfere with a lawyer and a witness.

    "Now this is a very disturbing allegation and if it's true it seems that George Brandis seems to think he's J Edgar Hoover and is able to throw warrants around like confetti," he said.

    "There needs to be a full explanation from our Attorney-General."

  4. "Mr Collaery, currently in The Hague to attend the arbitration, told The Australian that ASIO had targeted him and a former senior ASIS officer who had blown the whistle."This is the most senior ASIS officer in the relevant area (who) viewed the action as immoral and wrong and came to me for advice," Mr Collaery.....................

    ....................."This is no maverick whistleblower," Mr Collaery said. "It is a courageous retired officer disgusted with the way his organisation was going."


    "Mr Collaery said he was furious at what he called "cowardly action" by ASIO in waiting for him to leave the country, while only his senior clerk was in the office."


    Spies swoop on Canberra office by: Leo Shanahan From: The Australian December 04, 2013

    A FORMER senior officer at Australia's overseas intelligence service has been identified as East Timor's star witness in its espionage dispute with Australia, as intelligence services raided the offices of the Australian lawyer representing East Timor in the case. Lawyer Bernard Collaery told The Australian last night that Australia's domestic spy agency sent between 15 and 20 officers to raid his Canberra law practice, searching for information on the case East Timor has brought against Australia over the operation of the multi-billion-dollar gas treaty governing the Greater Sunrise fields.

    Attorney-General George Brandis last night revealed he issued the warrants for the raids, in which documents and electronic media were seized. He said the documents contained intelligence related to security matters.

    The Australian revealed in May that the East Timor government alleged the Australian Secret Intelligence Service broke into its government offices in Dili during the 2004 negotiations and bugged the Timorese cabinet room. East Timor alleges that ASIS breached international law and Timorese sovereignty under a "criminal conspiracy hatched in Canberra". It claims the operation took place under the control of former foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer.

    In the wake of the Greater Sunrise espionage claims, the Timorese government has declared the Certain Maritime Arrangements in the Timor Sea Treaty invalid and triggered compulsory arbitration.

    Mr Collaery, currently in The Hague to attend the arbitration, told The Australian that ASIO had targeted him and a former senior ASIS officer who had blown the whistle.

    "This is the most senior ASIS officer in the relevant area (who) viewed the action as immoral and wrong and came to me for advice," Mr Collaery said.

    "Our research has found they (the actions) were clearly illegal as they had no relationship with national security," Mr Collaery said.

    Mr Collaery said ASIO officers had been at the house of the former officer for many hours and seized his passport, making it impossible for him to give evidence at The Hague. The Australian understands the former intelligence officer has not been arrested.

    "This is no maverick whistleblower," Mr Collaery said. "It is a courageous retired officer disgusted with the way his organisation was going."Senator Brandis rejected reports that the raids had been conducted to "affect or impede" the current arbitration between Australia and East Timor in The Hague.

    Asked by The Australian to confirm the latest claims, ASIO responded that it had "no comment on this matter".

    Mr Collaery said he was furious at what he called "cowardly action" by ASIO in waiting for him to leave the country, while only his senior clerk was in the office.

    The Gillard government first aired very basic details of the claim by East Timor in March.

  5. Tony Abbott blasts ABC judgment on Indonesia spying story by: Christian Kerr From: The Australian December 04

    TONY Abbott has lashed the ABC for showing "very, very poor judgment" over its deal with The Guardian to broadcast the Indonesian spying story. The Prime Minister's criticism came as Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull delivered a veiled threat to overhaul the broadcaster, telling government MPs its operations could be modernised.

    As pressure builds within the government for reform of the national broadcaster and its funding, Mr Abbott attacked the ABC for amplifying allegations Australia tapped the phones of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and senior officials.

    "I think the ABC were guilty of poor judgment in broadcasting that material, which was obviously difficult for Australia's national security and long-term best interests," Mr Abbott said yesterday. "Why should the ABC be acting as an advertising agent for a left-wing British newspaper?" Mr Abbott pledged to "speak plainly and candidly with Australians in the hope that ABC management will see sense".

    As the ABC weathered the criticism from the Coalition, The Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger prepared to be questioned overnight by British parliament's home affairs committee over publication of the documents leaked by rogue US National Security Agency operative Edward Snowden.Earlier, Mr Turnbull told the Coalition partyroom ABC operations could be modernised, saying "old-fashioned" and "last-century work practices" were a problem for the ABC. "I've actually restructured a television network," Mr Turnbull said in reference to his work on the 1990s sale of the Ten Network.

    Mr Abbott said he had no plans to change the way the taxpayer-funded organisation operated, yet senior Coalition figures warned of a hardening of attitudes towards the broadcaster in the wake of the spying report.

    They have compared the change of view with the shift on emissions trading that led to the toppling of Mr Turnbull as Liberal leader in 2009.Coalition sources say the ABC demonstrated its hostility to the government by partnering with The Guardian over the spying story. They say support is strengthening for its charter to be withdrawn and funding stripped back under the commission of audit so it could only operate a basic radio and television.

    Mr Turnbull told the weekly partyroom meeting the ABC had committed a "shocking error of judgment" in partnering with The Guardian to publish material leaked by Snowden, now a US fugitive.

    In response to a scathing attack of the broadcaster by South Australian senator Cory Bernardi, the Communications Minister defended ABC managing director Mark Scott.

    According to those at the partyroom meeting, Mr Turnbull questioned whether the broadcaster was adhering to its obligations under law."The real question is: is the ABC adhering to its statutory charter and in particular its obligation to give fair treatment to both sides of politics?" he was reported to have said.Veterans Bronwyn Bishop and Ian Macdonald backed Senator Bernardi.

    Mrs Bishop said changing the ABC board would make no difference and the government must look at the ABC charter.

    Coalition figures said there was general agreement with Mrs Bishop's analysis. Some parliamentarians were angered at Mr Turnbull's comments that Mr Scott was a "good chief executive", sources added.

    The partyroom debate came as Mr Scott admitted the broadcaster's Indonesian spy scandal reports "caused some short-term difficulty.

    "He defended their broadcast, adding "we felt it was in the public interest".

  6. Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger defends publishing Edward Snowden leaks as police flag possible 'offences'

    The editor of Britain's Guardian newspaper has defended the decision to publish material leaked by former US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden.

    Alan Rusbridger told the UK Home Affairs Committee that The Guardian and other newspapers had provided an important public service by publishing material leaked by Snowden.

    It comes a day after ABC managing director Mark Scott similarly defended the broadcaster's decision to publish Snowden documents in conjunction with The Guardian's Australian arm revealing the extent of Australia's spying operations in Indonesia.

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday criticised the ABC's "poor judgement" over the revelations, but stopped short of saying he would take action against the public broadcaster.

    In London, Mr Rusbridger said the fact US president Barack Obama had ordered an intelligence review on the basis of the material showed that newspapers had stepped in where oversight had failed.

    He rebutted suggestions that national security or individuals had been harmed as a result of the publication.

    Mr Rusbridger said The Guardian had only published about 1 per cent of the material it has access to, but said he did not expect to be publishing much more of it.

    "We have published I think 26 documents so far out of the 58,000 we've seen, or 58,000-plus," he said.

    "So we have made very selective judgements about what to print.

    "We have published no names and we have lost control of no names."

  7. Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger defends publishing Edward Snowden leaks as police flag possible 'offences'

    Clutching a copy of Spycatcher, Mr Rusbridger argued that not to publish the Snowden material would have been as futile as the British government's attempts in the 1980s to suppress the MI5 memoir.

    Guardian articles over the past six months have shown that the US and some of its allies, including Britain, were monitoring phone, email and social media communications on a previously unimagined scale.

    The revelations provoked diplomatic rows and stirred an international debate on civil liberties.

    Britain's security chiefs have said the leaked data had put lives at risk and the country's enemies were "rubbing their hands with glee".

    Snowden, who is believed to have downloaded between 50,000 and 200,000 classified NSA and British government documents, is living in Russia under temporary asylum.

    He has been charged in the US under the Espionage Act.

    Police looking to see if Guardian journalists 'committed offences'

    Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick, who heads London Police's specialist operations unit, told lawmakers the police were looking to see whether any offences had been committed, following the brief detention in August of a man carrying data on behalf of a Guardian journalist.

    "It appears possible once we look at the material that some people may have committed offences," Ms Dick said.

    "We need to establish whether they have or they haven't."

    Countering criticism by some lawmakers and security experts, Mr Rusbridger said more emphasis was being given to The Guardian's decision to publish the information than to the fact it had been so easily obtained in the first place.

    "We were told that 850,000 people... had access to the information that a 29-year-old in Hawaii who wasn't even employed by the American government had access [to]," he said.

    Some on the committee suggested Mr Rusbridger had committed terrorism offences and asked if he loved his country.

    "We are patriots and one of the things we are patriotic about is the nature of the democracy and the nature of a free press and the fact that one can in this country discuss and report these things," Mr Rusbridger said.

    The most aggressive line of questioning came from the Conservative MP Michael Ellis, took issue in particular with The Guardian's decision to share some of the Snowden material with the New York Times.

    "So, do you accept for me that that is an offence, a criminal offence under section 58A of the Terrorism Act 2000?"

    Mr Rusbridger replied: "You may be a lawyer Mr Ellis; I'm not."

  8. A bit of an unintelligent report spies and all.



    VIDEO: Shell Floats Prelude FLNG Hull, South Korea

    The 488-metre-long hull of Shell’s Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility has been floated out of the dry dock at the Samsung Heavy Industries yard in Geoje, South Korea, where the facility is currently under construction. Once complete, Prelude FLNG will be the largest floating facility ever built. It will unlock new energy resources offshore and produce approximately 3.6 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per annum to meet growing demand.

    “Making FLNG a reality is no simple feat,” said Matthias Bichsel, Shell Projects & Technology Director. “A project of this complexity – both in size and ingenuity – harnesses the best of engineering, design, manufacturing and supply chain expertise from around the world. Getting to this stage of construction, given that we only cut the first steel a year ago, is down to the expert team we have ensuring that the project’s critical dimensions of safety, quality, cost and schedule are delivered.”

    FLNG will allow Shell to produce natural gas at sea, turn it into liquefied natural gas and then transfer it directly to the ships that will transport it to customers. It will enable the development of gas resources ranging from clusters of smaller more remote fields to potentially larger fields via multiple facilities where, for a range of reasons, an onshore development is not viable. This can mean faster, cheaper, more flexible development and deployment strategies for resources that were previously uneconomic, or constrained by technical or other risks.

    Prelude FLNG is the first deployment of Shell’s FLNG technology and will operate in a remote basin around 475 kilometres north-east of Broome, Western Australia for around 25 years. The facility will remain onsite during all weather events, having been designed to withstand a category 5 cyclone.

    Shell is the operator of Prelude FLNG in joint venture with INPEX (17.5%), KOGAS (10%) and OPIC (5%), working with long-term strategic partners Technip and Samsung Heavy Industries (the Technip Samsung Consortium).


    Hull complete for Prelude FLNG

    Wednesday, 4 December 2013

    THE hull of Shell’s behemoth Prelude floating LNG facility has floated out of the dry dock at the Samsung Heavy Industries yard in Geoje, South Korea.

  9. Shell Floats Hull for Prelude FLNG Vessel

    Royal Dutch Shell reported Tuesday that the 1,600-foot hull for its Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility has been floated out of the dry dock at Samsung Heavy Industries' yard in Geoje, South Korea.

    Once completed, the Prelude FLNG facility will be the largest floating vessel ever built - although Shell is reportedly already planning an even bigger FLNG unit.

    The Prelude FLNG project is scheduled to begin production in 2017. Located at the Prelude gas field, some 300 miles offshore Western Australia, it will extract gas from a field estimated to contain approximately three trillion cubic feet and convert it to LNG. Shell expects the project to produce around 3.6 million tons of LNG per year.

    Shell's FLNG approach will allow it to produce LNG at sea before transferring it directly to ships that will transport the LNG to customers. This will enable the development of gas resources that would be regarded as "stranded" when using traditional methods of getting these resources to market, from clusters of small remote fields to large, stranded gas fields.

    Commenting on Tuesday's announcement, Shell Projects & Technology Director Matthias Bichsel said in a company statement: "Making FLNG a reality is no simple feat. A project of this complexity – both in size and ingenuity – harnesses the best of engineering, design, manufacturing and supply chain expertise from around the world.

    "Getting to this stage of construction, given that we only cut the first steel a year ago, is down to the expert team we have ensuring that the project's critical dimensions of safety, quality, cost and schedule are delivered." Shell is the operator of Prelude FLNG in joint venture with INPEX (17.5 percent), KOGAS (10 percent) and OPIC (five percent).


    USA: DOE Approves Two LNG Export Applications

    EOS LNG and Barca LNG have won an approval from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to export LNG from a proposed floating liquefaction unit and storage tanker at the Port of Brownsville, Texas to nations with a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States.

    The two companies won each an authorization to export liquefied natural gas in a volume equivalent to approximately 584 billion cubic feet per year (Bcf/yr) of natural gas, or 1.6 Bcf per day (Bcf/d), from its proposed LNG terminal at the Port of Brownsville for a 25-year term.

    Eos said that it plans to buy natural gas at the domestic price of the Henry Hub futures and sell it internationally at the prevailing market rate.

    However, if the profitability of this model declines, Eos will maintain the option to convert the business model to an LTA model, under which individual customers who hold title to the domestic natural gas will have the right to deliver that gas to Eos terminal at the Port of Brownsville and receive LNG in return.

    LNG World News Staff, December 3, 2013

  10. Iran, Iraq Put OPEC On Notice Of Big Oil Increases

    VIENNA, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Iran and Iraq on Tuesday put OPEC on notice of substantial oil output increases to come, saying others in the producer cartel will need to give way to make room for them.

    Neither country can expect to reach those goals any time soon, but both are keen to prepare the ground for special treatment should the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries need next year to negotiate a deal to curb supplies to keep oil prices above its favoured $100 a barrel. Neither can raise output quickly enough to make waves at Wednesday's OPEC meeting - ministers confidently predict no change in the group's production cap of 30 million bpd. "This looks like jockeying for position ahead of a potential need for a need for a structured output agreement in 2014," said Bill Farren-Price of consultancy Petroleum Policy Intelligence.

    A senior Gulf delegate said next June's meeting might require OPEC to consider supply cuts. More oil from Iran and Iraq, a recovery in output from fellow OPEC member Libya and fast-rising U.S. shale oil could tip the balance.

    "Maybe we'll talk about cuts in six months from now," he said. Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Iran will take six months after sanctions are lifted to return to full oil output capacity of 4 million bpd. Zanganeh was reappointed by Iran's new reformist President Hassan Rouhani and will be responsible for rebuilding Iran's oil industry should Washington and Brussels lift sanctions in six months as part of a deal on Iran's nuclear programme.

    "In Zanganeh's favour, he's the one oil minister in Iran's post-revolutionary period to have a positive impact on increasing production capacity and took it above 4 million for a period of time. He has form," said Farren-Price.

    Iranian oilfields had not suffered technically as a result of the sanctions which have seen Iranian oil output fall by a million barrels per day to less than three million bpd, Zanganeh said.

    Asked whether he expected others in OPEC to make room for Iran's return he said: "This is the tradition. When a member country after some difficulties returns to the market, other members accept to make room for them." "The member countries who produced more during the past years. I think they will understand they should make room for Iran."

    Both Saudi Arabia and Iraq have raised output in the past two years since sanctions were imposed on Tehran but Baghdad will argue that it should be a special case given many years lost to sanctions and war under former President Saddam Hussein. Cautious Iran Budget Zanganeh said he hoped Iran would lift exports in 2014 from current levels of around 1.2 million bpd. But Tehran is not betting on making much headway next year.

    Rouhani's first draft budget for 2014 estimates oil exports at 1.1 million bpd, Iranian oil ministry website Shana said, indicating Tehran sees no major recovery in sales next year.

    Rouhani is scheduled to present the draft budget for the next Iranian year - beginning March 21 - to parliament on Wednesday.

    Iraq reckons it can hit 4 million bpd next year in what would be the country's biggest annual oil supply increase since the fall of Saddam a decade ago. Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said Baghdad planned to lift exports to 3.4 million barrels daily, including 400,000 bpd from the semi-autonomous Kurdistan regional government KRG).

    With domestic consumption running at about 700,000 bpd that would take total Iraqi supply above 4 million bpd, up from just below 3 million bpd now. That scale of such a production increase would raise the pressure on others in OPEC, chiefly Saudi Arabia, to curb supply to prevent oil prices falling.

    But industry experts and oil company executives working on Iraqi oilfield development say a 4 million bpd output target looks very optimistic for next year because of infrastructure constraints and security issues.

  11. Russia: Putin Approves LNG Exports for Novatek and Rosneft

    Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed a new law which has opened the liquefied natural gas exporting market to Novatek and Rosneft. Until now, only Gazprom was granted to export LNG from Russia.

    According to the new law, only companies in which the government holds at least 50% interest, or those who have plans to develop LNG projects in Russia, will be allowed to independently export LNG.

    Russia currently has one LNG export terminal located on the Sakhalin Island.


    Premier Clark: Japan is Critical Partner in Development of B.C. Gas Industry

    On the final leg of Jobs and Trade Mission 2013, B.C. Premier Christy Clark signed two agreements, fortifying relationships to increase investments for natural gas development in B.C.

    “As the world’s largest importer of liquefied natural gas, Japan is a critical partner in the development of B.C.’s natural gas industry,” said Premier Clark. “We’re here to leverage our competitive advantages and make sure B.C. is top of mind for LNG investment.”

    Premier Clark signed a new three-year memorandum of energy co-operation and development with Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshimitsu Motegi to expand co-operation and strengthen energy-related business opportunities.

    The memorandum provides a framework for areas of co-operation, including: accelerated investments into LNG exploration and development, industrial co-operation of related industries through business matching opportunities, timely and effective infrastructure construction and environmental assessment processes, and information sharing on energy policies and technologies.

    Also in Tokyo, Premier Clark renewed a memorandum of understanding on mutual co-operation with the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation to work together and share information on natural gas activities.

    Since the MOU was first signed in May 2012, the Government of British Columbia and JOGMEC have worked closely together as JOGMEC and its partners pursue natural gas projects in B.C. In particular, the Province provides support for JOGMEC as it considers the feasibility of a gas-to-liquids project in B.C.

    To further LNG investment in Asia, Minister of International Trade Teresa Wat will be opening the B.C.-Guangdong LNG Seminar. The South China region is one the largest consumers of LNG in the country and this seminar allows natural gas shareholders to explore LNG investment opportunities in B.C.

  12. Timor-Leste spy case: George Brandis likened to FBI chief J Edgar Hoover

    Greens want attorney general to explain why he approved raids on lawyer and witness, calling it an abuse of his executive power

    The Greens say the attorney general, George Brandis, needs to explain his decision to authorise raids by the intelligence services in the past 24 hours, branding his conduct analogous to the controversial Federal Bureau of Investigation chief, J Edgar Hoover.

    Brandis on Tuesday approved warrants for agents of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (Asio) to raid the office of a Canberra lawyer, Bernard Collaery, who is at the centre of an espionage case involving Australia and East Timor in 2004.

    The passport of a key witness and whistleblower in the case, a senior retired officer of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (Asis), was also confiscated during the raids. The former Asis official was detained and searched.

    The attorney general has denied the raids were carried out with the intention of disrupting proceedings in the high-stakes espionage case about to get under way in The Hague.

    The Greens moved in the Senate on Wednesday to suspend the standing orders in an effort to force the attorney general to make a comprehensive statement explaining why his conduct was not an abuse of executive power.

    The Coalition rejected the suspension motion, arguing that national security matters needed to remain above partisanship.

    Labor also rejected the motion, but Senate leader Penny Wong suggested that Brandis should make a statement to bring clarity to events of the past 24 hours, given they had attracted significant public interest.

    This view was contradicted in the debate by the veteran Labor senator John Faulkner, who told the chamber that he wasn’t certain what Brandis could add, at least immediately, to a media statement issued on Tuesday night given his national security responsibilities and the protocols they entail.

    Brandis could make a statement at any time and the Senate would give him leave. Compulsion was unhelpful, Faulkner reasoned during the suspension debate.

    The South Australian independent senator Nick Xenophon backed the suspension motion but said he saw no bad faith on the part of Brandis. He branded the Greens’ comparison of the attorney general to J Edgar Hoover “unhelpful”.

    Xenophon said rhetorical overstatements did not advance the cause of measured public debate on intelligence over reach – a debate he said was now very much needed.

    The Labor leader, Bill Shorten, told a press conference that he was seeking a private briefing from the government about the Asio raids – but he declined to give “personal opinions” about the case.

    Asked whether it was appropriate for Australian intelligence agencies to gather evidence in order to benefit commercial negotiations – as is alleged in the Timor case – Shorten dead batted. The intelligence services should “be used to promote the national interest consistent with their legislative remit”, he said.

    Before the suspension debate, the Greens deputy leader, Adam Bandt, argued that there needed to be a “full explanation from our attorney general” about the Asio raids and the confiscation of the whistleblower’s passport.

    Bandt said if the activity was a disruption tactic, as alleged by the Canberra lawyer Bernard Colleary, who is representing Timor at The Hague: “George Brandis seems to think he's J Edgar Hoover and is able to throw warrants around like confetti.”

    East Timor claims that in 2004 Australia used its international surveillance agency, Asis, to bug the cabinet room during negotiations on a lucrative oil and gas treaty in 2004.

  13. Timor-Leste spy case: George Brandis likened to FBI chief J Edgar Hoover

    The spying case will be launched in The Hague on Thursday. East Timor is seeking to have the energy treaty overturned.

    Colleary was in the Netherlands when the search warrants were executed on his Canberra law firm. He is seeking witness protection for the former Asis whistleblower, who is the star witness in the case.

    Colleary told the ABC’s Lateline program that Australia’s alleged espionage in Timor was analogous to insider trading.

    “If this had happened in Bridge street, Collins street, Wall street, people would go to jail,” he declared.

    The lawyer said the conduct by the Australian government in terms of the raids and the confiscation of the whistleblower’s passport was “crass” and designed to disrupt the proceedings.

    “What do you think the tribunal is going to think of it?” Colleary said.

    On Tuesday night, Brandis issued the following statement confirming he’d issued the warrants and denying the claim of disruption: “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.”

  14. From the Australian :

    "Mr Collaery told The Australian that "threats" by Senator Brandis ignored the duty of Commonwealth officers to come forward if they suspect illegal activity.

    He said the witness, identified as a former senior ASIS officer, was given clearance by the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security to seek legal advice from him.

    Mr Collaery claimed the Gillard government had failed to keep the arbitration process confidential.

    "We set about a prudent course of warning the government of the unlawful activity and suggesting confidential talks. We were stonewalled.

    "Secrecy cannot bind knowledge of unlawful conduct,""


    "Australia stuck to its 50 per cent (effectively 20 per cent) offer for the next 18 months, but as tension reached a climax in June 2001, at a meeting in Parliament House in Canberra, Downer asked Ramos-Horta to step outside. In the corridor, Downer said he would agree to East Timor's demand for a 90 per cent share, but the settlement would cover only one of the areas of the 1989 Indonesia-Australia Timor Gap Treaty.

    East Timor was forced to make significant concessions. What became known as the Timor Sea Treaty dropped the northern and southern zones of the Zone of Co-operation with Indonesia and excluded potentially richer resources to the east and west of the treaty area. East Timor got a 90 per cent share of the revenue from the treaty area, but only 18 per cent of Greater Sunrise. The deal was meant to be an interim arrangement. It had been negotiated by UNTAET, and the treaty said explicitly that it would cease to exist when a permanent maritime boundary was agreed between the two countries. But Australia hoped the treaty would be the final settlement in the Timor Sea."


    "Australia's aggressive conduct in the dispute also created a big opportunity for China and other regional powers to form close and potentially lucrative links with a country that should be Australia's best friend. "


    "MORE than 15,000 secret Australian intelligence reports may have been stolen by rogue US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in what the Coalition government is now describing as the most damaging blow dealt to Australian intelligence in the nation's history.

    The spy scandal has not led to reduced intelligence sharing with the US, but Australian agencies have expressed concern directly to their American counterparts about the severe damage caused to Australia's national security interests by the Snowden leaks."


  15. From The Age :

    "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.

    Lawyer and former ACT attorney-general Bernard Collaery - whose office was raided on Monday by ASIO along with the home of the former Australian Secret Intelligence Service officer - revealed the unsuccessful attempt to get an official inquiry, as East Timor's Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao lambasted the Australian government.

    The Inspector General of Intelligence and Security oversees the intelligence community but is poorly resourced and has been criticised for not following up many complaints.

    ''The witness saw the IGIS about his concerns,'' Mr Collaery said. IGIS did not launch an investigation, but ''he received official permission to see a lawyer about his grievances''.

    The former spy headed the operation to bug the East Timorese government offices during negotiations on the $40 billion Timor Sea oil and gas fields in 2004. According to Mr Collaery, it was done under cover of an aid project.

    The alleged eavesdropping enraged East Timor, which declared the treaty invalid and is seeking arbitration in The Hague, accusing Australia of multiple breaches of international law, including the Vienna conventions on diplomacy and treaties."


    Senator Brandis also suggested Mr Collaery risked breaking the law and wasn't covered by lawyer-client privilege.

    Mr Collaery challenged Senator Brandis to make his remarks outside Parliament. He said Senator Brandis was trying to intimidate him.

    The ex-ASIS agent became aggrieved after he found out that former foreign minister Alexander Downer began working as a consultant to resources giant Woodside after leaving Parliament.

    Woodside had the rights to develop the Timor Gap reserves, and it was Mr Downer who allegedly ordered the eavesdropping.

    Mr Downer declined to comment directly on the allegations of espionage, but railed against the ingratitude of the East Timorese government.

    ''John Howard, I and other members of the Howard government, and the Australian taxpayers and its military, made a huge, huge effort for the Timorese people,'' he told Fairfax Media.

    ''We gave them 90 per cent of the [royalty] revenue from the joint development area [for oil and gas in the Timor Sea]. That's nearly all of it. So thank-you very much.''

    (from above : "East Timor got a 90 per cent share of the revenue from the treaty area, but only 18 per cent of Greater Sunrise.")


    WITH ALL THOSE SNOWDEN FILES - "MORE than 15,000 secret Australian intelligence reports"

    AND ".......accusing Australia of multiple breaches of international law, including the Vienna conventions on diplomacy and treaties."


    It would have to be very likely that this case will drag up the Woodside / Private Armies / ASIO - ASIS spies etc. that were all employed in the corrupt process to steal JPP from it's rightful TO's.


    Interesting Times never seem to stop these days.

    Oh for those sleepy old days north of the parallel.