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Controversy sells

By Matty Clarke

Recent raids by AFP were touted as a attack on the press recently about the 2017 articles by both Newscorp and the ABC, that come from leaked documents on Tuesday. The media had a field day linking the raids to other serious incidents of restrictions of press freedoms in Australia, as well as other conspiracies about orders from Liberal politicians to silence journalists.

What the media did was blow the matter out of proportion to sell more news. When the allegations first surfaced the military took swift action launching a review. One of the key points of the investigation was that SAS were being operationally over-used in place of standard military units in an attempt to keep casualties down, but had the opposite effect which resulted in a change of strategy within the military in Afghanistan and other theatres of war.

The Australian Federal Police were referred the matter and began their own investigation as to whether their was a breach of national security and for warrants to be issued by a judge. The AFP had to have sufficient evidence that a crime had taken place.

Is it possible that the documents were stolen from the military rather than leaked by any military personal? The raids were classed as a breach of national security under the official state’s secret act, so this seems a highly logical probability. In the AFP statement they underlined the fact and the referral wasn’t just from one agency head but two, warranting a serious investigation into how the documents came into media hands.

Matty ‘The Fighting Roo’ Clarke


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  1. David

    You do not address the nature of the press interest which was that the report concerned war crimes. If it did then it was incumbent upon the chain of command to make the matter public in the form of an acknowledgement and undertaking to try the alleged culprits.

  2. Jack Cade

    The point about these two ‘raids’ is the timing. Two weeks after an election, they suddenly launch raids about two-year-old revelations. You don’t need to be a cynic to put two and two together. You don’t need to be a cynic to consider that the ‘State Police’ are thoroughly politicised.
    And I am a cynic.
    Noam Chomsky was asked recently why there were so many conspiracy theories, and he said ‘Because there are conspiracies.’

  3. Janine McMahon

    I have listened to LNP ministers, AFP Commissioner, Journalists among others today and I trust our government less today than I did yesterday.

    If 2 department heads referred to AFP for investigation under policies, procedures and legislation for government departments who did they have to report AFP referrals to and on what date did they do that? Were they also bound to report ongoing updates from AFP investigators, if not why not.

  4. mark delmege

    I remember quite vividly the campaign that was launched by friends of the SAS against disclosures. They didn’t want their people investigated and did their best to shut down public discussion. Friends of the SAS included a former senior Labor Party member from WA.
    Just as Alexander Downer didn’t want the government investigated for the disclosures of spying on East Timor during the Gas negotiations. Downer you might recall was also neck deep in the Russiagate farrago.
    ‘A spy-turned-whistle blower, known as Witness K, and his lawyer Bernard Collaery are facing criminal charges after revealing the 2004 spy operation.’ I’m not sure how that turned out. But we certainly had a right to know.
    Like Assange and Snowden the leakers are heroes not villains.

  5. mark delmege

    I have just found a Crikey article updating the illegal bugging of the Timor-Leste cabinet discussions. Put this in your browser ‘ABC missing in action on Witness K and Bernard Collaery persecution
    Bernard Keane 30/05/2019’

  6. Stephengb


    I think the following

    There are two matters, where a possible crime or series of crimes has been committed by individuals.
    The fact that there is a possibility of crime or crimes being committed must not be allowed to go undetected and unaccounted.
    The fact that government departments, government officials and officers, are involved, should not make any difference to the application of law. (It is a fundamental principle, that everyone is subject to the law – Magna Carter 1215.)
    Here we have a department head (or more) wanting to enrol the Federal police to investigate what?
    4.1 The AFP decided to raid the home of an media editor, and then the ABC, why? Is it to :-
    4.2 Find the source of leaks in their department? Or
    4.3. Two invstigate possibility of criminal acts within that department?
    4.4 Is it to find the leak and punish him her?
    Here we have one or more department heads, referring a possible criminal matter to the AFP, rightly so.
    5.1 Are we to assume that any department head, would take it upon themselves to invite investigation by the AFP without the knowledge and indeed the blessing of the relevant government minister?
    The Prime Minister and the Minister for Home Affairs, are denying any knowledge of the raids by the AFP.
    6.1 Are then going to assume that the PM and more importantly the Minister for Home Affairs, did not know about the referral to the AFP
    6.2 Are we to accept that the PM and Minister Dutton, are not fully accross the facts of the referral and indeed are not adware of the purpose of the investigation.
    6.3 Can we assume that the PM and Minister Dutton were not fully aware that the AFP would seek to investigate the News Corp editor and the ABC.
    6.4 are we going to accept that the PM and Minister Dutton do not know what the AFP hope to discover by these raids?

  7. wam

    friend or foe? let’s not be too hastie?

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