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New anti-terror laws can target journalists

Under the ominous and foreboding black cloud of terror that looms over every Australian, the Abbott Government will be introducing new anti-terror laws. One section of this new law states; “Unauthorised disclosure of information relating to special intelligence operations” will be illegal, with the penalty be up to 10 years in prison. This particular part of the new law directly targets journalists, reports Ewan Nicholson, as it makes it illegal to publish non authorised information under the umbrella of “special intelligence operations”.

Combined with the new warrant-less snooping laws, and having pre-immunity for torturing confessions out of people, the police finally have everything at their fingertips to crackdown on the government’s biggest threat to stability and power, that being a well-informed and dissenting public. To quell the negative public reaction our Attorney general would have us believe that journalists are not being targeted at all.

He further tells us, with it seems some help from Humphrey from “Yes Minister” an explanation that made total sense without making any sense, if that makes sense to you:

The changes were to make the law consistent with provisions in the existing ASIO Act relating to warrants for terrorism offences and the Commonwealth Crimes Act for controlled operations run by the Australian Federal Police.

Wow, lucky I don’t know what it means but it doesn’t sound too scary. Perhaps he should have said:

It’s not a war but a humanitarian mission with military elements.

He reveals his magical ability of making things not a thing, just by saying it’s not a thing. I wish he could do that with my debts.

It’s difficult to see how journalist will not be targeted, Perhaps one should ask him the direct question; “Will journalist be targeted?” Fully aware they if he says:

Actually they will be, its whole point of the legislation.

. . . Then he would be targeted and pestered by them. So for Brandi that would just be a real nuisance and he has more important things to do that answers to irksome journo’s and their annoying questions. So officially, journalist won’t be targeted

Why? Because Brandi would have as believe this.

Yet he could have chosen just be honest and said:

Yes of course journalist will be targeted. Who else would possibly publish unauthorised state secrets, dummy?

He could have also reassure the worried jounos that even if their every move is being monitored, recorded and tracked that they won’t even know it’s going on. Unless, that is, they have done something they shouldn’t have and then yes, then they will know.

Like a tree falling in forest without anyone to hear it, if you don’t know they are monitoring your every interaction, then they aren’t. Like Abbott’s policy on asylum seeker, if we don’t tell you about abusive and corrupt things that are going on, then how can you have a problem with abusive and corrupt thing happening? It’s a win/win for Team Australia.

Yet despite his empty reassurances I am sure most seasoned journalist know that it will be precisely “journalist” that will be target. As this has nothing to do with sensitive information about the identity of undercover agents being handed over to an Al Qaeda cell. As this is a safe guard to screw whistle-blowers and those who dares to publish their revelations. This is Australia “Post-Edward Snowden” in damage control before the damage has begun. As what would be the point running all risks of “blowing the whistle” if you know none of it can be published? Like Edward Snowden, I am sure there many people in the public and private sector that witness wrong doings and feel a moral and civic duty to reveal this to the public. This new law ensures that sentiment can’t even be felt, let alone acted on.

Each piece of this new anti-terror law is shaped with convenient ambiguity and this part is no different. As what gets defined as “special intelligence operations” will be theirs to pick and choose. What you can be sure about is anything damming that reveals abuse and corruption by our government or the their corporate sponsors, will definitely be labelled “special intelligence operations”. We will end up like in the US, where the only person to go to jail for the CIA’s torture program is the person who blew the whistle on it.

This law also sweeps its net over anyone sharing this said information:

Recipients of an unauthorised disclosure of information” who “engage in any subsequent disclosure.” Intention to cause harm is not required and it doesn’t matter if another person read, heard, or viewed the information in question – just the act of making it available to others would be sufficient.

So you have been warned! Don’t go sharing on Facebook any unauthorised information. At the time you might not know it’s unauthorised information but you will soon work it out when they arrest you. So let’s hope for the government’s sake there isn’t any unauthorised disclosure of information imbedded in videos of cats flushing the toilet on YouTube.

This law is about bolstering the government to act as lawlessly as they choose, with cocky reassurance that anyone who points this out with actual evidence will be punished with the full force of the law.

Brandis’s effortless sneer is the perfect poster boy of this sinister and menacing piece of legislation. If Edward Snowden has been living in Australia, and the journalist he chose to break the story with was an Australian journalist his story, under these new laws it would have never seen the light of day.

All of Australia should be concerned and aware that this government is following in the footsteps of the USA . We are creating state were we are allowed to argue over who should have won X-Factor but we aren’t allowed serious dissent and question the ruling class. These laws and their implications are alarming, as they seem to point to a wider, more long-term strategy. Like they know the wrong doing they are going to do and now create laws to ensure they aren’t answerable or accountable to anyone but themselves when those future wrong doings take place. Australia needs to stand up and say this is unacceptable before we get to a point where that in of itself will be against the law.

A side note:I couldn’t help noticing the astounding resemblance both looks, sneer and general assholeness.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of


This article was originally published as New anti-terror laws target journalist, as it aims to criminalize reporting the truth on


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  1. oldfart

    no wonder they emptied all the refugee detention centers, That’s probably where all the dissident journos are going to go or is that a secret?

  2. Chris

    Yes…..all the things my grandfathers, father & uncles fought against. We remember & glorify Gallipoli, just not why we were there in the first place!

  3. Gregory T

    My biggest fear, is that these laws will be made retrospective.

  4. DanDark

    Brandis, well what can you say about that froot loop, what a nut job it is and he with the help of his coalition nutter mates they are bringing this country to it’s knees in record time, wow who let Brandis out of the cave the knuckle dragging Neanderthal needs to be shackled and shoved back to where he came from the Dark Age..

  5. Don Winther

    Am I still living in Australia? I love this country.

  6. DanDark

    I am not sure what country this is now, it’s not Australia, it’s more akin to Egypt and Syria now where dictators rule supreme and Phony is a dictator and a fruit loop to boot..

  7. red

    Egypt or Syria? No, seems more like some bastard child of apartheid South Africa and Israel to me.

  8. randalstella

    Me understood. Proof read for sucker.
    How unlucky be ‘journalist’?

  9. abbienoiraude

    I now have a plan for my old age.
    When my pension can no longer support me, I shall send my name to all journalists so they can pass inside information to me and I will facebook/twitter/take out full page ads to tell the whole world. I shall sign my own name and my full address so that way I can then be arrested and sent to gaol for 10 years. If they wish to torture me I will make sure it won’t take much for me to organise my own demise during that activity.
    Either way I shall be ‘taken care of’ by the state and my family will be free of any responsibility to my shelter, food and health.

    I believe in Japan the homeless/poverty stricken elderly who have no family commit minor crimes to receive care in the ‘criminal system’ especially during winter.

    Looks like I could start a list of likewise elderly so journalists, public servants et al can pass on the TRUTH through us to the wider world.

  10. brickbob

    They have always had ways to spy on ordinary people on the Internet but now they can come to your house and arrest you for it,and dont think this is not their intent it is and they will. This is scary stuff.””’

  11. Richard

    This sounds like a fascist dictatorship with members of government putting themselves above the law to invade homes & torture members of the community at will. This government will no doubt shortly be ‘disappearing’ people under the claim of National Security. I’m concerned about terrorism, but I’m scared of this Government. This is not the Australia I grew up in… Thanks LNP

  12. mars08

    “As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”

    ~William O. Douglas, US Supreme Court Justice from 1939 to 1975

  13. Terry2

    This legislation is so far reaching and involves the restriction of so many implied freedoms that it is totally unacceptable for Brandis to even contemplate rushing it through in a week.

    It needs detailed Senate scrutiny with input from all sectors of the community. There is no urgency, we can already cancel peoples passports.

  14. stephentardrew

    Beelzebub and Beelzebub’s apprentice. Sort of funny but then again pretty freaky. Makes you wanna laugh and cry simultaneously.

  15. corbs2014

    Does this mean that the next time Australia decides to return a boat load of asylum seekers to those torturing them that anyone reporting the event would be at risk of imprisonment? After all we are told that “Operation Sovereign Borders” is a special intelligence operation.

  16. sam

    Australia is stuffed. It effectively lost private internet (unless you know what you’re doing)

    Those internet monitoring laws in particular, this is totaliterian state, stazi/nazi/cia sort of stuff. It stipulates an unlimited number of computers for one warrant? Why? What will qualify as a computer exactly? (yes phones/mp3 players/anything that connects to the internet) The legislation is vague as discussed in the link clearly this was drafted to be vague or by illiterate people in said areas.

    Police get said search warrant can just hook ASIO into an ISP’s router and dredge everything off it. Nothing said in the legislation about the information other than it will exist for 2 years (i guess then they burn the HDD/SSD or hope they do).

    Before you analyse the political connotations: just the procedural mechanics of this are going to result in massive privacy black holes (eg: we hear about UK loosing laptop with thousands of persons welfare or health data etc) This is multiplied exponentially beyond that. It will happen and we may never know about it too. It seems to define this wire tapping as being done by ASIO or an affiliate?And affiliate could be a contractor says the legislation. So a private company can do this as a middle man entity.

    So its flawed by design there will be abuse of this. And this is even before we get to the terrorism issue. Is there something in some UN human rights charter to stop this? Looks like violation ofhuman rights and we need the high court to stop it.

  17. John East Gippsland

    Queensland has been a police state since Newman hit his stride. The rest of the country is only now catching up. And still the 49% slumber on.

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