Federal

Jun 29, 2018

Labor stands shoulder to shoulder with Turnbull on Timor Leste cover-up

As the prosecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery shows, the establishment of a police state in Australia is a bipartisan affair.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten leave an RSL Centenary gathering in Melbourne, Monday, June 6, 2016. The RSL has called for bipartisan support for a plan to re-establish a national centre for military and veteran health. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING

Only one person has ever been jailed in relation to the CIA's torture program. Not the people who designed it. Not the torturers or managers of the "black sites" where it was carried out. Not even the people responsible for Afghan man Gul Rahman being tortured to death in Afghanistan. The person jailed for it was John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer. What did he do? He blew the whistle on the program, when the CIA was trying to cover it up and deny it existed. Kiriakou was jailed by the administration of the sainted Barack Obama.

Similarly, no one has ever been jailed -- or even subjected to disciplinary action, or censure -- for one of the most sordid moments in Australia's intelligence history, the bugging of the Timorese cabinet by ASIS at the behest of Alexander Downer. The goal of the "operation" was to benefit Australia's commercial interests and gain an advantage over a fledgling state that needed all the help it could get to become viable after decades of occupation and a violent transition to independence. Instead, we sent spies in to bug them. It's Alexander Downer's legacy from all those years as foreign minister, that and outsourcing Australia's foreign policy to the Bush White House.

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