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Old 7th December 2019, 08:30 PM   #41
psionl0
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
The problem is that, even though it appears this person was a military officer, if he was working for the ASIO or another government security service, then his transgressions would not be under Military Jurisdiction.

To put this in perspective, if this had happened in Britain, and he was working for Defence Intelligence, then that is military jurisdiction, and he would be subject to court martial. However, if he was working for MI-5* or SIS (a.k.a. MI-6*) then he was under civilian jurisdiction, and therefore tried in a civilian court.

* Yes I know MI stands for "Military Intelligence" but they are both civilian services under the authority of the Home Secretary.
None of that justifies having trials so secret that nobody even knows that a trial took place - let alone who was being tried. He might as well have been employed by the KGB if this sort of totalitarian tactic is now considered "normal".

A failure of whatever agency that employed him to vet his security clearance and make adequate provisions for potential breaches of security is not something that the legal system should fix.
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Old 7th December 2019, 08:33 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
You post all the questions, but none of the answers. Do your links have the answers?

The trial was a closely guarded secret. The whole idea was to have no answers.
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Old 8th December 2019, 04:33 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
None of that justifies having trials so secret that nobody even knows that a trial took place - let alone who was being tried. He might as well have been employed by the KGB if this sort of totalitarian tactic is now considered "normal".

A failure of whatever agency that employed him to vet his security clearance and make adequate provisions for potential breaches of security is not something that the legal system should fix.
Right, so you're happy to have such a trial in public, even if doing so means putting the lives of fellow Australians at risk.

Got it!
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Old 8th December 2019, 04:58 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Right, so you're happy to have such a trial in public, even if doing so means putting the lives of fellow Australians at risk.
No more than you want to overthrow the government by violent means and establish a communist dictatorship.

Leave the straw out of it.
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Old 8th December 2019, 06:36 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
If that is a question, it stands for Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, roughly equivalent to Britain's MI-5 (SS)

There is also ASIS (Australian Secret Intelligence Service) roughly equivalent to Britain's MI-6 (SIS)

As per the British situation, both ASIO and ASIS are under Australian civilian jurisdiction even though they have serving military personnel working for them.

ASIS is responsible to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, while ASIO is responsible to the Department of Home Affairs. Their respective Directors General aside, the identity of all ASIO and ASIS officers is classified under the Official Secrets acts.
And those are only two of Australia's intelligence agencies. There's also the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) which handles cybersecurity and several others. All of them require a certain level of secrecy. Heck, I'm applying for a new level on my own security clearance right now and I'm a nobody.
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Old 8th December 2019, 09:40 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
I'm with theprestige on this one. Your posts read like clickbait.

Clickbait.

You could have quoted a few relevant lines to give us an overview of the case without violating the MA. But no, you had to bait us into clicking on the link to the ABC website to get enough information to comment on the case. That's an imposition at best, and some of us don't want to follow links to websites full of advertising, videos playing automatically and other distractions (yes, I know this particular web page doesn't have all that - but I had to click on it to find out!).


If you think it's interesting you should say why, not just dump clickbait on us.
It's literally against the forum rules to post large amounts of text that are available elsewhere. The MA says to post an extract and a link, so that's what I did. Do you want to discuss the case?
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Old 8th December 2019, 11:30 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
No more than you want to overthrow the government by violent means and establish a communist dictatorship.

Leave the straw out of it.
Its not straw at all, its the only logical conclusion to draw from your stated position....

"None of that justifies having trials so secret that nobody even knows that a trial took place"

Its is quite clear that if you believe protection of the innocent does not justify a covert trial, then you must, by default, believe that a trial against a person who, if their identity became known, would endanger other people, should be a public one.

Me, I would rather see secret trials for such extreme cases, than the only realistic alternative to protect the innocent; i.e. termination and sanction with extreme prejudice.
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Old 9th December 2019, 12:27 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Its is quite clear that if you believe protection of the innocent does not justify a covert trial, then you must, by default, believe that a trial against a person who, if their identity became known, would endanger other people, should be a public one conducted in house.
This has already been discussed.

You apparently believe that if the agency has been incompetent in ensuring that in house trials can be conducted then it is ok for the legal system to assume the role of a secret military court.
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Old 9th December 2019, 12:58 AM   #49
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"conducted in house"

Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
This has already been discussed.
Wait!

You think that the Security Services ought to have their own courts and judges? Seriously?

Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
You apparently believe that if the agency has been incompetent in ensuring that in house trials can be conducted then it is ok for the legal system to assume the role of a secret military court.
Incompetence? I said nothing about incompetence. That's your ball of wax.
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Old 9th December 2019, 10:39 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Right, so you're happy to have such a trial in public, even if doing so means putting the lives of fellow Australians at risk.

Got it!

I think it was to avoid embarrassment that everything about the trial was suppressed. There are enough details out now to



1. Explain why it was necessary to suppress certain details.
2. Tell us that a trial happened and why without putting lives in danger.
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Old 9th December 2019, 05:13 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by a_unique_person View Post
I think it was to avoid embarrassment that everything about the trial was suppressed. There are enough details out now to



1. Explain why it was necessary to suppress certain details.
2. Tell us that a trial happened and why without putting lives in danger.
Only because investigative journalists uncovered that information. If they hadn't, we'd still know nothing.

Which suggests the question - how many more people have been secretly tried and imprisoned? We don't know.
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Old 9th December 2019, 05:45 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Only because investigative journalists uncovered that information. If they hadn't, we'd still know nothing.

Which suggests the question - how many more people have been secretly tried and imprisoned? We don't know.

Indeed not.

But as I wrote before, the way this is meant to work is that we are supposed to trust the individual and collective judgements of the various people at the top of government, the judiciary and the police. We are supposed to understand that these people will make informed, educated and sincere judgements about the (extremely small) number of trials where the importance of a) safeguarding particular individuals, and/or b) protecting the national interest, supercedes the importance of the transparency and openness of justice and criminal trials.

Now, of course people are free to debate whether or not the collective of individuals who make these decisions are actually making the correct decisions or not. And people are also free to debate whether the criteria that are being used by these individuals to justify closed/secret trials are correct or appropriate. But I personally can't think of a better (or, if one is cynical, a less-bad) way in principle and in practice to approach - and hopefully solve - this problem.
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Old 9th December 2019, 05:49 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
Indeed not.

But as I wrote before, the way this is meant to work is that we are supposed to trust the individual and collective judgements of the various people at the top of government, the judiciary and the police. We are supposed to understand that these people will make informed, educated and sincere judgements about the (extremely small) number of trials where the importance of a) safeguarding particular individuals, and/or b) protecting the national interest, supercedes the importance of the transparency and openness of justice and criminal trials.

Now, of course people are free to debate whether or not the collective of individuals who make these decisions are actually making the correct decisions or not. And people are also free to debate whether the criteria that are being used by these individuals to justify closed/secret trials are correct or appropriate. But I personally can't think of a better (or, if one is cynical, a less-bad) way in principle and in practice to approach - and hopefully solve - this problem.
In this case the person ultimately responsible, I believe, is Peter Dutton, who is an evil Brussels sprout. There's literally no-one I want less to have this kind of power.
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Old 9th December 2019, 06:09 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
In this case the person ultimately responsible, I believe, is Peter Dutton, who is an evil Brussels sprout. There's literally no-one I want less to have this kind of power.

While this may be true (and I'm certainly not sufficiently conversant in Australian politics to form a reasonable opinion), one would at least hope that a) Dutton will have based his actions upon counsel from well-qualified advisers, and b) Dutton will also have received advice from senior police officers and senior members of the judiciary.

Of course, it's always distinctly possible that the one person with the ultimate power and authority in this sort of situation will countermand all the advice and recommendations given to him/her - but again, one would hope that this would be unlikely (and subject to repercussions of some variety if it did happen).

I'd also repeat that I personally can't think of a better (least-bad?) way of doing this. Provided we agree in principle that it's worth sacrificing the desired openness of justice when individuals might be placed into potential significant danger and/or where there was the genuine possibility of a serious threat to national security, there pretty much has to be a mechanism in place where a certain individual or individuals have to make judgement calls like these.
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Old 9th December 2019, 06:28 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
While this may be true (and I'm certainly not sufficiently conversant in Australian politics to form a reasonable opinion), one would at least hope that a) Dutton will have based his actions upon counsel from well-qualified advisers, and b) Dutton will also have received advice from senior police officers and senior members of the judiciary.
I absolutely guarantee that neither of those things is true. Because Dutton. He's a power-hungry despot who has spent his time in the Home Affairs ministry - a ministry that he invented - steadily eroding human rights and presiding over some of the worst crimes committed by an inhumane and heartless government.

Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
Of course, it's always distinctly possible that the one person with the ultimate power and authority in this sort of situation will countermand all the advice and recommendations given to him/her - but again, one would hope that this would be unlikely (and subject to repercussions of some variety if it did happen).
Again, Dutton is exactly the sort of evil ****** who would do that.

Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
I'd also repeat that I personally can't think of a better (least-bad?) way of doing this. Provided we agree in principle that it's worth sacrificing the desired openness of justice when individuals might be placed into potential significant danger and/or where there was the genuine possibility of a serious threat to national security, there pretty much has to be a mechanism in place where a certain individual or individuals have to make judgement calls like these.
Oh yes, in principle I agree. But there isn't just the potential to abuse that power, that power is being actively abused right now.
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Old 10th December 2019, 11:55 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
Indeed not.

But as I wrote before, the way this is meant to work is that we are supposed to trust the individual and collective judgements of the various people at the top of government, the judiciary and the police. We are supposed to understand that these people will make informed, educated and sincere judgements about the (extremely small) number of trials where the importance of a) safeguarding particular individuals, and/or b) protecting the national interest, supercedes the importance of the transparency and openness of justice and criminal trials.

Now, of course people are free to debate whether or not the collective of individuals who make these decisions are actually making the correct decisions or not. And people are also free to debate whether the criteria that are being used by these individuals to justify closed/secret trials are correct or appropriate. But I personally can't think of a better (or, if one is cynical, a less-bad) way in principle and in practice to approach - and hopefully solve - this problem.
The problem when discussing this kind of subject on a forum such as this one is that different people have different ideas as to what they believe "correct" means. I'm guessing that psion10 and I have vastly different ideas about that.
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Old 10th December 2019, 12:23 PM   #57
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Hmph. So ASIO is "Australian Security Intelligence Organisation." Why couldn't they reduce that to "AuSI" or something unique? I really hate thinking "Asynchronous input-output" could lead to someone's incarceration.
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Old 10th December 2019, 01:43 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Yalius View Post
Hmph. So ASIO is "Australian Security Intelligence Organisation." Why couldn't they reduce that to "AuSI" or something unique? I really hate thinking "Asynchronous input-output" could lead to someone's incarceration.

It's worse than that. "Asynchronous input-output" appears to be shorthand for "we love to hire drama queens!"
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Old 10th December 2019, 04:24 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Yalius View Post
Hmph. So ASIO is "Australian Security Intelligence Organisation." Why couldn't they reduce that to "AuSI" or something unique? I really hate thinking "Asynchronous input-output" could lead to someone's incarceration.
Because the Australian Government loves naming things. I currently work for the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business. But even that's going to change (again! for the third time since I've been here) soon.
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Old 10th December 2019, 04:57 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
The problem when discussing this kind of subject on a forum such as this one is that different people have different ideas as to what they believe "correct" means. I'm guessing that psion10 and I have vastly different ideas about that.


That's absolutely true of course. But my overarching point is this: if we are in agreement that

1) there may be certain trials where during the course of the trial: a) the personal safety of one or more individuals may be placed at significant risk if there is public disclosure of the trial proceedings and verdict; and/or b) national security may be jeopardised by public disclosure of the trial proceedings and verdict; and

2) the possibility of one or both of the situations outlined in (1) above occurring means that it is worth abandonning the (otherwise-desirable) practice of conducting criminal justice proceedings in full public openness and with full access to media reporting.....

.....then.....

3) ultimately someone (or some group of people, with one person making the final authoritative decision) is going to have to weigh up the position - necessarily in secret as regards the media and public - and decide whether the conditions have been met such that a trial must be held away from public/media oversight.


If the above is acceptable, then there are really two questions which must consequently be addressed:

4) Who is going to be charged with assessing these sorts of situations and making the decision on whether to order a closed trial? (And within that question, which individual makes the ultimate judgement, and who else feeds into that judgemental process?)

5) What is the methodology and set of conditions that should be assessed by the person or people in (4) above? In other words, what tests should be applied, and what are the required triggering benchmarks for the person or people in (4) to order a closed trial?


When it comes to question 4, I would argue that the only people capable of being the one with the final authority would either be a) the trial judge, b) the most senior member of the judiciary, c) the member of government with responsibility for home affairs, or d) the leader of government. Liberal democracies tend to believe that it should be a democratically-accountable figure who makes this sort of decision, which rules out the judiciary in a country such as Australia. So it's no surprise that in Australia, it's the Minister for Home Affairs who appears to have made the ultimate decision. As I understand it, there's no information publicly available about the way in which this sort of decision is made in Aus (i.e. who informs and advises the minister, and to what extent is the minister required to act upon the advice given).


As I said, I truly can't think of a better - or "less bad" - way of approaching this sort of thing. It gets dicey if there's a clueless or impartial moron in the senior governmental position of Home Minister of course, but perhaps that a price to pay with democracy. As an associated observation, just imagine what kind of power the elected President of the United States has at his/her disposal, and realise the person currently occupying that position......
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Old 10th December 2019, 05:43 PM   #61
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Really tried to read the article, but got bored when I realised he was in the easy wing, for just 6 months and then released.
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Old 10th December 2019, 05:52 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Really tried to read the article, but got bored when I realised he was in the easy wing, for just 6 months and then released.
Okay, understandable in a way, but the prison security and the length of the sentence aren't really the point. The point is lack of transparency in a system that should be transparent.
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Old 10th December 2019, 10:05 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
That's absolutely true of course. But my overarching point is this: if we are in agreement that

1) there may be certain trials where during the course of the trial: a) the personal safety of one or more individuals may be placed at significant risk if there is public disclosure of the trial proceedings and verdict; and/or b) national security may be jeopardised by public disclosure of the trial proceedings and verdict


; and

Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
2) the possibility of one or both of the situations outlined in (1) above occurring means that it is worth abandonning the (otherwise-desirable) practice of conducting criminal justice proceedings in full public openness and with full access to media reporting.....




.....then.....

Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
3) ultimately someone (or some group of people, with one person making the final authoritative decision) is going to have to weigh up the position - necessarily in secret as regards the media and public - and decide whether the conditions have been met such that a trial must be held away from public/media oversight.


Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
If the above is acceptable, then there are really two questions which must consequently be addressed:

4) Who is going to be charged with assessing these sorts of situations and making the decision on whether to order a closed trial? (And within that question, which individual makes the ultimate judgement, and who else feeds into that judgemental process?)
The Chief Justice (or in your case, the Lord Chief Justice of England & Wales)

Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
5) What is the methodology and set of conditions that should be assessed by the person or people in (4) above? In other words, what tests should be applied, and what are the required triggering benchmarks for the person or people in (4) to order a closed trial?
Both the prosecution and the defence petition the Chief Justice, presenting their own cases for whether the trial should be held in secret.
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Old 10th December 2019, 10:57 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Okay, understandable in a way, but the prison security and the length of the sentence aren't really the point. The point is lack of transparency in a system that should be transparent.

That is the issue.
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Old 12th December 2019, 02:28 AM   #65
Sceptic-PK
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Quote:
Justice Burns said that on November 19, 2018, he had agreed, at the request of the parties to the proceeding, to make "consent orders" under the National Security (Criminal and Civil Proceedings) Act 2004, closing the court to the public "during the taking of evidence and submissions".
Is this stating that the defence was also supportive of a secret trial?
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Old 15th December 2019, 09:55 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by Sceptic-PK View Post
Is this stating that the defence was also supportive of a secret trial?
I expect they would have to have been.
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Old 18th December 2019, 08:02 PM   #67
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Attorney-General says Witness J secret trial was unprecedented, but not everyone is convinced

Quote:
Australia's most senior legal officer has said the secret "Witness J" trial and prosecution is "unique in my experience".

But was that not good enough for Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick, who argued Australians "cannot permit the Attorney-General to be the judge of his own cause".

Attorney-General Christian Porter issued a statement in response to questions on the matter from Senator Patrick, noting "I am not aware of any other similar cases".

The statement included more detail than had been provided before but did not reveal the specific nature of the offences, nor of the information dubbed "highly sensitive" to national security.

"The information was of a kind that could endanger the lives or safety of others," Mr Porter said.

"This risk remains."
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