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Analysis and Comment (22)

Attorney-General George Brandis has introduced laws that cast a blanket of secrecy over the use and potential abuse of sweeping national security powers. AAP/Lukas Coch

National security gags on media force us to trust state will do no wrong

It has been said that the line between good investigative reporting and inappropriate journalistic prying is never clearly drawn. Journalists usually complain long and hard when governments intervene to…
So broad is the amendment bill’s definition of computer that a warrant could arguably give ASIO access to all computers connected via the internet. AAP/Dan Peled

Sweeping security law would have computer users surrender privacy

Parliament is about to consider a range of changes to Australia’s security laws introduced by the Abbott government during its last sitting. The most controversial measures in the National Security Legislation…
Tony Abbott has deployed his senior ministers, including Julie Bishop and George Brandis, to get out the government’s anti-terrorism message. AAP/Lukas Coch

First rule of fighting terrorists: don’t do their job for them

It appears that Australia might be put on a higher threat alert level. ASIO director-general David Irvine’s comments on a possible increase in the terrorism threat level (which came into force in 2003…
Retiring, but not shy: outgoing ASIO Director-General David Irvine has warned Australia may need to lift its terrorism alert level. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

What raising Australia’s terrorism alert to high would mean for you

Why does Australia have a terrorism alert system? And what does it mean if the alert level is increased? The National Terrorism Public Alert System is a way of communicating to the public what the current…
Journalists face long jail terms for reporting information relating to ‘special intelligence operations’, as declared by ASIO, under the government’s proposed reforms. AAP/Lukas Coch

National security bills compound existing threats to media freedom

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) will publish its report on the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014 (Cth) sometime during this sitting of parliament…
The importance of public awareness of national security changes at the legislative stage is crucial as, once in force, these schemes are often shrouded in secrecy. AAP/Lukas Coch

National security bill gives ASIO more powers and a tighter gag

The Abbott government has unveiled the first in what is expected to be a suite of reforms aimed at strengthening Australia’s national security. The bill introduced into the Senate yesterday by attorney-general…
The role of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) has long been subject to political debate and controversy. AAP/Andrew Brownbill

Persons of Interest revives Cold War politics and the ASIO debate

The screening of the documentary series Persons of Interest on SBS, in which former targets of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) surveillance examine their files, has prompted some…
Recent revelations of Australia’s intelligence practices have brought oversight issues into sharp focus. What mechanisms are there to hold these agencies to account? AAP/Dan Peled

Intelligence oversight and accountability: who watches the watchers?

The recent revelations of alleged telephone interception of Indonesian politicians, espionage in East Timor and raids in Canberra have raised more questions than they have answered about Australia’s intelligence…
For the Australian Signals Directorate – as with all organisations in the spying business – the secret of success is in keeping your success secret. AAP/Lukas Coch

Protecting secrets: inside Australia’s mysterious spy agency

Much like in the movie Casablanca, there is much huffing and shaking of heads about activities of the nation’s electronic spy agency, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), after allegations emerged…
The aftermath of the Bali bombing in 2002 that killed dozens of Australians. Do our intelligence services need further investment to prevent such tragedies from occurring again? AAP/Dean Lewins

Not so smart: the Coalition intelligence review repeats old mistakes

The Coalition has promised it will “rebuild” Australia’s frontline national security agencies if it wins government at the upcoming election. Shadow attorney general spokesman George Brandis has laid out…
Chinese intelligence operatives have allegedly hacked into ASIO servers: is this the new world of cyber espionage in action? EPA/Diego Azubel

Welcome to the strange new world of cyber espionage

Chinese intelligence operatives are said to have obtained the floor plans of ASIO’s new Canberra headquarters. And at the same time, having been badly burned when Australian “tradesmen” installed bugs…
Another High Court challenge to the Gillard government’s indefinite detention of ‘legal black hole’ refugees has experts calling for alternatives. AAP/Jeremy Piper

As a High Court challenge looms, are there alternatives to Australia’s indefinite detention policy?

The Gillard government is facing another High Court challenge to its indefinite detention of the 55 refugees to have received adverse security assessments from ASIO. These continuing legal troubles, along…
Asylum seeker detainees at an immigration facility in Broadmeadows have staged a hunger strike this week. AAP Image

Refugees and hunger strikes: the need to appeal ASIO assessments

27 men detained in Broadmeadows’ Melbourne Immigration Transit Centre (MITA) ended their hunger strike on Wednesday evening. This group of 25 Tamils and two Burmese Rohingyas had gone ten days without…
Melbourne man Ben Zygier died in a top security Israeli jail cell. Numerous questions remain about his arrest, detention and death. AAP/Julian Smith

Ben Zygier: the silence surrounding Prisoner X

When Melbourne man Ben Zygier, an alleged agent of Mossad, or perhaps a double agent, died in December 2010, his end was barely perceptible. He had been held anonymously in solitary confinement at a high-security…
British-born Muslim convert Jack Roche leaves jail after having served over four years in prison for threatening to blow up the Israeli embassy in Canberra in 2004. AAP/Bohdan Warchomij

The potential for far-right terrorism in Australia

As we approach the tenth anniversary of the Bali bombings, public discussions of terrorism are likely to focus on the jihadist threat. Australian governments have been correct to consider jihadism the…
Attorney General Nicola Roxon appears to be in two minds over proposals to widen intelligence gathering powers. AAP/Lukas Koch

If Nicola Roxon doesn’t believe in her own policy, why should we?

Earlier this month the Hon Nicola Roxon asked the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) to conduct an inquiry into the Government’s proposals for a major revamp of Australia’s…
Green groups have been accused of taking their protests too far, but does this mean ASIO should spy on them? AAP Image/Greenpeace

Is Australia at risk from green terrorists?

Environmental activists and mining protesters are now being labelled as terrorists, with reports security agency ASIO is spying on conservation groups protesting at coal mines. Resources and Energy Minister…
The Australian government faces a difficult task in balancing relationships with China and the US. EPA/Minoru Iwasaki/Pool

What the Huawei case tells us about the Australia, US, China nexus

The recommendation by intelligence agency ASIO that Chinese telecommunications company Huawei be banned from tendering in the National Broadband Network because of cyber security concerns, raises serious…
Shooty Vikadan died in Villawood Detention Centre before the Commonwealth Ombudsman could review his case. AAP/Torsten Blackwood

Dead refugee caught in ‘legal limbo’ between government agencies

The asylum seeker who committed suicide in Villawood detention centre this week should have been interviewed by the Commonwealth Ombudsman to establish whether he should have been released into the community…

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