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Government gags public servants on terrorism (Read 2433 times)
freediver
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Government gags public servants on terrorism
Jun 24th, 2007 at 7:29pm
 
The government has gagged public servants from speaking out on flaws in counter-terrorism measures. The gag is to prevent potential embarrassment, but comes at a huge cost of leaving open potential gaps in our defence.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21952746-2702,00.html

FORMER Customs officer Allan Kessing narrowly escaped a jail term yesterday when he was given a nine-month suspended prison sentence for leaking two "protected" reports on airport security that sparked a major overhaul of Australia's aviation policing.
Mr Kessing, 59, was in March found guilty by a jury of leaking the reports to The Australian in May 2005, but he maintains his innocence.

The furore created by the reports, which exposed organised crime at Sydney airport, prompted the federal Government to launch a review and ultimately spend $200million on new policing measures.

Despite support for Mr Kessing from public interest advocates and media outlets, NSW District Court judge James Bennett yesterday said he had put aside those arguments in deciding to give Mr Kessing a custodial conviction.

"This misconduct is so serious no other option could be taken," he said.

"I think it is outrageous that the charge was brought in the first place when you consider all the other leaks that go on," he said. "Two years of investigation, thousands and thousands of hours of AFP work, it's the most outrageous waste of money and resources when there's important jobs to be done. I mean, airport security is still no better than it was three years ago."

Former head of the Customs Officers Association, Bob Spanswick, himself a whistleblower who cost former federal health minister Michael McKellar his job in 1982 for a false Customs declaration on his colour television, said the association would pay the appeal costs.

"If anybody should have been in the dock today, or at least in the court, it should have been the Prime Minister and other ministers responsible for this area saying 'we're very sorry Mr Kessing', and 'we're sorry' to the court for wasting taxpayers' money in this way," former Australian Secret Intelligence Service officer Warren Reed said outside court. "They've insulted the integrity of a fine Australian public servant."

Mr Kessing said his conviction was a warning to other public servants: "They wanted a custodial sentence in order to deter other potential whistleblowers in the public service, those are the Crown's own words.".



Silencing our basic freedom

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21973855-7582,00.html

"It made me realise how the culture was changing," says Campbell, who was later forced out of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade after clashing with Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. "Howard has demanded much tighter control of government at all levels and he and his ministers do not accept any form of dissent."

Just how little dissent the Government is willing to broker has been on display this week. The conviction for contempt of two journalists on Monday follows two high-profile government-backed legal witch-hunts against public service whistleblowers.

The convictions would not have caused such alarm had the journalists or the whistleblowers jeopardised national security by revealing Australia's military secrets or disclosed information that undermined life or safety. The only injury they caused was political: the information disclosed embarrassed the Government. This, it seems, is reason to spend millions of dollars in taxpayers' money to prosecute them.



PM failing on airport security: Rudd

http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/PM-failing-on-airport-security-Rudd/2007/07/06/1183351429289.html

The Howard government has been accused of talking "loud and tough" on national security but failing to safeguard the nation's airports and planes from terrorism.

Federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd was responding to news reports that a journalist who wrote a story exposing security holes at Sydney Airport was facing criminal charges.

The photographer who worked on the story also would be charged by the Australian Federal Police, News Ltd reported.

"Six years after September 11, and two years after the Wheeler inquiry and report, and yet we still have reports of fundamental breaches of security at airports," Mr Rudd told reporters in Sydney.



Terror threat not being reduced: Rudd

http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Terror-threat-not-being-reduced-Rudd/2007/07/09/1183833389240.html

Federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd says he remains concerned that Australia has not taken some practical steps to reduce the threat of terrorist attacks.

Mr Rudd said a key question was why, six years after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US, various practical measures, like the total screening of cargo in passenger aircraft, were still not happening.



ID may be needed to buy mobiles: Ruddock

http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/ID-may-be-needed-to-buy-mobiles-Ruddock/2007/07/11/1183833577585.html

Internet cafe users and people buying mobile phones could be required to show identification under measures being considered to fight terrorism in Australia, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock says.
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« Last Edit: Jul 11th, 2007 at 8:59pm by freediver »  

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freediver
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Fake firm gets 'dirty bomb' ingredients
Reply #1 - Jul 12th, 2007 at 8:00pm
 
http://www.smh.com.au/news/World/Fake-firm-gets-dirty-bomb-ingredients/2007/07/12/1183833667141.html

Undercover investigators, working for a fake firm, obtained a licence to buy enough radioactive material to build a "dirty bomb," amid little scrutiny from US regulators, according to a government report.

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued the licence to the dummy company in just 28 days with only a cursory review, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a report.

The GAO, which set up the sting, said the NRC approved the licence after a couple of faxes and phone calls and then mailed it to the phoney company's headquarters - a drop box at a United Parcel Service location.
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mantra
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Re: Government gags public servants on terrorism
Reply #2 - Jul 13th, 2007 at 10:23am
 
This government is just one huge cover-up in incompetency.  The mistakes they have made - immigration, security and many others - yet anyone who dares breathe a word is punished and humiliated.

Who knows what they will uncover when this government is out of office.  Just recently the tax office stumbled across a huge tax scam which will be allowed to continue,  because they haven't the adequate resources and the law is flawed.  They will continue to process thousands of fraudulent BAS statements each year costing the taxpayers of Australia $5 billion a year - yet they will hound the lowliest paid worker for a $1.

Unfortunately this bit of news only made it to the media once or twice and is now buried away with all their other incompetencies.
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