It’s one of the more disgraceful, and criminally underreported, examples of the current government’s war on whistleblowers (and one entirely supported by Labor): the harassment of Witness K, the former ASIS agent who revealed ASIS’ illegal bugging of the East Timorese government in 2004 for the benefit of Australian resources companies.
Later today, Witness K’s actions will be recognised at the Blueprint Prize for Free Speech awards in London. K, who, as a former ASIS agent, cannot be identified, will be acknowledged by the committee along with three other individuals “who displayed great bravery and integrity in revealing a truth for the greater public good”. The award committee says:
“In 2004, Witness K refused to be involved in an ASIS operation to ‘bug’ the cabinet rooms of Timor Leste during negotiations for a proposed oil and gas treaty between Timor Leste and Australia. Witness K determined that the operation’s main purpose was one of commercial espionage not a matter of national security. When Timor Leste commenced international arbitration proceedings against Australia in The Hague to have the oil and gas treaty overturned, Witness K was prepared to attend as a key witness for Timor Leste.