Espionage

James Ricketson’s family elated following Australian filmmaker’s royal pardon

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James Ricketson’s family has expressed joy and relief following the Australian filmmaker’s royal pardon after 15 months in a Cambodian prison on “outrageous” espionage charges. Fergus Hunter & Bevan Shields The Canberra Times Targeted by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s authoritarian government, Ricketson was sentenced in June to six years’ imprisonment. His relatives had feared the 69-year-old would not survive the harsh conditions. Ricketson has left his Phnom Penh jail and will soon be deported to Australia, possibly by Sunday. Fairfax ... Read More »

UK charges two Russians over Salisbury poisoning of Skripals

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British prosecutors have charged two Russians with the Novichok poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. A European arrest warrant has been issued, although Russia does not extradite its… DW British prosecutors announced on Wednesday they had collected sufficient evidence to charge two Russians with the attempted murder of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Authorities issued a European arrest warrant for two men named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, both aged around 40. Photographs of the ... Read More »

‘A convicted terrorist and a convicted spy’ walk into the Opera House… and get a standing ovation

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Days after it was announced that she would not be granted an Australian visa in time for her scheduled appearance in Sydney, American whistleblower Chelsea Manning has received a standing ovation after speaking at the… Maani Truu WAtoday Ms Manning, who is best known for leaking classified military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, was speaking with Australian journalist Peter Greste as part of the weekend’s Antidote Festival, albeit by virtually appearing on stage via… “A convicted terrorist and a convicted ... Read More »

Timor-Leste praises Witness K’s actions in helping resolve maritime border

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New foreign minister says the country has begun a new chapter in its relations with Australia Helen Davidson The Guardian The actions of Witness K and Bernard Collaery were a valued part of the “collective effort” that led to the historic maritime boundary treaty between Australia and Timor-Leste, the Timorese foreign minister has said. In an exclusive interview with Guardian Australia, the foreign minister of Timor-Leste, Dionísio Babo Soares, said the two nations were at a new stage of their ... Read More »

Botched CIA Communications System Helped Blow Cover of Chinese Agents

Illustration by Kotryna Zukauskaite

The number of informants executed in the debacle is higher than initially thought. Zach Dorfman FP It was considered one of the CIA’s worst failures in decades: Over a two-year period starting in late 2010, Chinese authorities systematically dismantled the agency’s network of agents across the country, executing dozens of suspected U.S. spies. But since then, a question has loomed over the entire debacle. How were the Chinese able to roll up the network? Now, nearly eight years later, it ... Read More »

Ukraine jails scientist, 84, for spying for Russia

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A Ukrainian court on Tuesday sentenced an 84-year-old scientist to 12 years in prison for passing on military information to Russia, his lawyer and the prosecutor said. KIEV – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Mekhti Logunov was arrested in August last year in Kharkiv, a city in northeast Ukraine near the front with pro-Russian separatists, according to the regional prosecutor. “He was gathering information belonging to scientific institutions that were state secrets,” notably in the military domain, the prosecutor said in a statement. Logunov’s trial ... Read More »

A short and disturbing history of Australia’s spy scandals

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Over and over, the history of intelligence services in Australia is that the only people made to suffer are those who reveal wrongdoing or incompetence. Bernard Keane Crikey We are regularly told that Australia has outstanding intelligence services and an enviable domestic security record. But, in fact, Australia’s intelligence services have long displayed incompetence and misconduct. The following list of scandals and failures of Australia’s intelligence agencies in the last 30 years illustrates an ongoing problem: the lack of adequate ... Read More »

The shaky case for prosecuting Witness K and his lawyer in the Timor-Leste spying scandal

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Much of the media commentary on the government prosecution of Witness K and his lawyer Bernard Collaery has focused on government duplicity in suppressing the trial until it had its oil and gas treaty signed with Timor-Leste. John Braithwaite The Conversation But this focus on government hypocrisy has neglected the accountability of the director of public prosecutions, Sarah McNaughton. The prosecution policy of the Commonwealth says: The decision to prosecute must not be influenced by any political advantage or disadvantage ... Read More »

Timor-Leste activists ‘shocked’ by Australia’s prosecution of spy Witness K and lawyer

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Activists compare treatment of Australian spy and lawyer Bernard Collaery to acts of Suharto-led Indonesia Helen Davidson The Guardian Timor-Leste activists have condemned the Australian government over the prosecution of Witness K and lawyer Bernard Collaery for their roles in revealing the bugging of the Timor-Leste cabinet during negotiations on an oil and gas treaty. The activists from the Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (MKOTT) have joined mounting criticism of the prosecution, comparing the act to the targeting they and ... Read More »

East Timor bugging: Politicians call for AFP to investigate Australian spies’ role in 2004 operation

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Intelligence whistleblower turned independent MP Andrew Wilkie has called on the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to launch an investigation into the role the nation’s intelligence services played in the… By political reporter Matthew Doran ABC The 2004 incident led to a souring of the relationship between Canberra and East Timor, as the two nations were negotiating a deal on accessing offshore oil deposits at the time. Last month, Mr Wilkie used parliamentary privilege to reveal the Commonwealth Director of Public ... Read More »

Israeli intelligence firm targeted NGOs during Hungary’s election campaign

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - APRIL 08: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban leaves from the polling station on April 8, 2018 in Budapest, Hungary. Hungarians are going to the polls in the Parliamentary election today. (Photo by Laszlo Balogh/Getty Images)

People working for Black Cube secretly taped meetings that were then cited by Prime Minister Victor Orbán. Lili Bayer Politico The Israeli private intelligence firm Black Cube was involved in a campaign to discredit NGOs ahead of Hungary’s April election, according to a former Black Cube employee and a person with knowledge of the company’s inner workings. Between December 2017 and March 2018, Hungarian NGOs and individuals connected to American-Hungarian businessman George Soros were contacted by agents using false identities who… Israeli intelligence ... Read More »

Chinese hackers breach ANU, putting national security at risk

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China-based hackers have successfully infiltrated the IT systems at the Australian National University, potentially compromising the home of Australia’s leading national security college and key defence research… Nick McKenzie & David Wroe The Canberra Times Federal government cyber security officials have been working with the university since detecting the cyber attack, assessing the scale of any information theft and who in China could be responsible for… The ANU conducts research that has defence, strategic, scientific, technological and… Chinese hackers breach… Read More »

Witness K scandal: decision to charge Timor-Leste bugging whistleblower was ‘independent’

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Attorney general Christian Porter refuses to detail why he approved prosecution of former spy The attorney general has refused to elaborate on why he approved the prosecution of a former spy who revealed Australia had bugged Timor-Leste’s cabinet rooms, describing it as an “independent decision” of prosecutors. Paul Karp The Guardian Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has blasted the government for approving the prosecution and suggested it has leaked information to a journalist to defend its position. On Thursday Wilkie used ... Read More »

The geopolitics of telecoms: The West vs. China in the 5G race

People walk by a 5G stand at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), the world's biggest mobile fair, on February 26, 2018 in Barcelona.
the Mobile World Congress is held in Barcelona from February 26 to March 1.  / AFP PHOTO / Pau Barrena        (Photo credit should read PAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images)

China is beating the world when it comes to 5G deployment. But in the crucial battle for control over the technology’s global standards, Europe and the US are still very much in the game. Mark Scott Politico LONDON — In smoke-filled conference halls and nondescript hotels from Brussels to Busan, South Korea, a yearslong battle has been underway for control over the future of the mobile world. That fight is now coming to an end. More than 600 government officials and telecoms executives agreed in ... Read More »

Security bill will muzzle human rights activists

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In this era of so-called “fake news”, civil society plays a critical role in holding governments to account. Claire O’Rourke Brisbane Times And yet, with Labor capitulating to the government on the proposed National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill, it may soon become a crime to hold the Australian government to account on its human rights record. The truth itself would not be a defence. By joining regimes around the world in passing new, restrictive laws attempting ... Read More »

Labor and Coalition agree on espionage laws that critics fear would ‘criminalise’ journalism

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Sources say agreement struck between members of joint parliamentary committee on intelligence and security Michael McGowan The Guardian The major parties have agreed to changes to proposed foreign espionage laws that critics have warned would “criminalise” investigative journalism. The Guardian understands that, after months of negotiation, a bipartisan agreement on the controversial foreign espionage bill has been reached between members of the joint parliamentary committee on intelligence and… The recommendations of the… Labor and Coalition… Read More »