Dec 21, 2017

Keane: no politician has the spine to stand up to Australia’s intelligence state

As the case of Witness K has made clear, if you stand up against Australia's intelligence apparatus you will be crushed, and elected officials will fall in line.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

It’s standard in an end of year piece to attempt to identify some unifying theme in the events of an arbitrarily selected period of time. Sometimes themes and commonalities really do emerge. Other times, they’re the author’s confection.

I’m going to skip that this year and write instead about a matter that illustrates something is deeply wrong — evil, even — within our government, within its most secretive areas.

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33 thoughts on “Keane: no politician has the spine to stand up to Australia’s intelligence state

  1. Frank Brank

    This is bloody terrifying! And of course if you’re not particularly worried about it, like the majority of Australians, just consider who the politician is that now sits on the top of this dark business. Your blood should be running cold.

  2. graybul

    “That’s your Australia at the end of 2017.” . . . . thank you Bernard.

  3. klewso

    How can you say NO to one of the main bodies you’re using to scare voters to voting for you (with an “Ask and you shall receive” access to the public till) – standing up to them would be like standing up to Rupert?
    It would have some “very embarrassing public repercussions”.

    1. AR

      Imagine the details that the spooks must have on anyone of interest or potential position of power.
      As demonstrated (pour effrayer les autres?) in Shanghai Sam’s case, it only needs a small drop to bring down the house on ones head.
      Don Dunstan & Whitlam found out that the government of the day is not the boss if it threatens them.

  4. garydj

    Excellent article, Bernard. Much needed comment on the security state.

  5. Richard Shortt

    “Those who fight monsters must be careful not to become monsters themselves”, said a wise man once (Nietzsche). In today’s complex and fractured world I sense many monster-fighters are at risk of this trap.

  6. paddy

    Bravo Bernard. Your work on this has been a standout.

  7. Woodstock

    Deeply disturbing. Timely and it leaves you dis-paring to think of where the body politic is heading in this country. This is bad enough on its own, however Labor has also capitulated on refugees, forays in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and I’m sure other areas then Australia is worse off all around. Decency, respect etc at this level is non existent and what it means for Australia going into 2018 disturbing.
    There has been little noise from the Gov’t or mainstream media regarding the defeat of ISIS, relative peace in Iraq, however we keep hearing of the need for increased erosion of basic freedoms.

  8. Bert Morris

    Brilliantly said Bernard. My nomination for the next Gold Walkley. I have to think you are the oustanding political journalist in Australia. My thanks for your contributions during the year. Best wishes to you and yours for Christmas and the new year.

    1. leon knight

      And so say all of us…well done indeed Bernard – just a great pity that we have no free MSM or public broadcaster to spread this vital information to the public at large.
      I am sure Labor would have the courage to do something about this frightening situation if the political price was not so horrific – thanks to that complicit MSM and knobbled ABC.

      1. Coral SeeNQ

        Thankyou Leon for your measured and accurate comment, though I feel less kind. The msm and ABC are absolutely needed for these attacks on political enemies to succeed. So your point about Labor as a potential target if it pushes back on these security agency manipulators is accurate in my view. Any intervention by Labor would be treated with the same relentless attacks that came and have never ended since attempting to help asylum seekers during the first Rudd govt. Drowned asylum seekers are to the MSM and Liberals what Hilary’s email server is to REPUBLICANS in the U.S. even out of govt they never stop attacking Hillary so vital is this mistake to their continuing power. Gillard couldn’t campaign for Kenneally because of her union background notwithstanding her towering achievements with Disability and institutional responses to child abuse and also for being our first female prime minister. The MSM and ABC are vital to the weakening of the ‘opposition’ party who may bring a different or nuanced view into govt than Murcoch and the security agencies want. The Greens have weakened the Labor Party on the left, and as such weakened the main ‘opposition’ party and I hold them in contempt, trying to portray themselves as sword holding defenders of democratic traditions. The ‘real proper left’ would have been out on the barricades over this stuff in the old days but are now co-opted by the corrupt, rich, phoney Greens with their Adani teashirts who let Bob Carr go to China and sort that out and take the heat for his associations, while they claim credit for the fight to shut down the capital for the project, and scream for an ICAC, what gammon. Labor with so many vulnerable constituencies has had to accept these attacks on their morality by journalists forever. Keane who praise one seat in the House nothing to lose Greens, because Labor ‘has to choose’ for the unsexiest of causes and constituenceis that paper sellers don’t get anywhere near as fired up about, like women over 60 that are homeless, or at risk of being, children under 16 that are homeless. Workers who work in unsafe trucks then study at night for a mid life career change because of automation, and on and on and on, who daily turn out for politicians like Hansen because they think she notices them and no one else ‘sees’ them. Hansen is also a risk to our democracy so that constituency needs to be attended to. I mean, you can’t say that stuff about hidden poverty is gunna sell you a paper. Not like an ‘intelligence’ story. This year Labor forced Turnbull to create a royal commission into the banks. The banks got found out about their money laundering for crims and terrorists because agencies who formerly did nothing were beefed up because of relentless opposition by Labor. Why hadn’t ASIO OR ASIS dropped the banks in it for laundering for terrorists which was going on for ages it seems, George B must have known and still no Royal Commission until forced by numbers on the floor. Labor were the ones that forced that hand if only through newspoll and Malcolm’s fear of it . Sam Dastyari was thrown out of parliament while the Liberal China rorters still romp the halls with their stash and likely post- parliamentary contracts with China as yet unrealized, all’s quiet on that msm front. Even though Labor has just lost a seat that may have changed the govt being dropped in it by spooks they are still copping it from msm again here. I mean ‘why’ do they ‘not’ want Labor in govt, Labor is the one copping it from the all law enforcement and security agenceis not the Greens. Evidence speaks louder than bias, actually no it doesn’t in this case. So ask yourself why Labor. Find that answer and then I’ll believe that dragon slaying Adam Bandt is going to throw his latte in ASIO’s face and save democracy ( I have noted the new ex-navy NXT senator who came in when N. Xen. left managed to say something about the ‘out of control’ security agencies during the burning of the Iranian immigrant Sam Dastyari while the Greens just took advantage). Anyway the forgotten punters will stay forgotten and come back on the radar when the far right has walked them over to their snake oil tent and put them on the government benches another win for the security agencies, unless Labor gets a chance to turn that tide back as it has just managed to do whilst under attack by the Greens here in Qld. It was a close run thing though. and the msm haven’t finished yet either, they are just getting started.

  9. klewso

    How much did Woodside pay for this “application” of our tax-payer funded “public service”?

    As for the bi-partisan cowardice to front this issue – it’s a situation that reminds me of J. Edgar Hoover’s time at the head of the FBI – during which he used “intelligence” to keep politicians in their place, and “attentive”. From certain angles Irvine resembles Hoover?
    “Dastyari over Bennelong” anyone? … And “Who needs a federal ICAC”?

    “This Xmas give ‘TERRORISM!’ – the gift that keeps on giving!”?

  10. Venise Alstergren

    The Banality of Evil comes about, largely, by small minded people being given undue authority. Malcolm Turnbull’s latest cabinet reshuffle has seen a virtual template of small minded people being promoted way beyond their capabilities. Certainly Eric Abetz encapsulates this theory. However, there are two shining examples of mindless idiocy which stand out. Barnaby Joyce-whose previous contribution to parliament included a large failure in the treasury ministry. The absolute worst of Turnbull’s actions is to have appointed Peter Dutton as overlord of Australia’s intelligence doings. Is there anything Malcolm Turnbull won’t sink to in order to hang onto power?

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