Category Archives: NEWS ITEMS


The sun peaks over the New York Times Building in New York August 14, 2013.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The sun peaks over the New York Times Building in New York August 14, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The New York Times said on Tuesday its Moscow bureau was targeted by a cyber attack this month but that there was no evidence the hackers, believed to be Russian, were successful.

“We are constantly monitoring our systems with the latest available intelligence and tools,” Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy told the newspaper. “We have seen no evidence that any of our internal systems, including our systems in the Moscow bureau, have been breached or compromised.”

Earlier on Tuesday, CNN, citing unnamed U.S. officials, reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other U.S. security agencies were investigating cyber breaches targeting reporters at the Times and other U.S. news organizations that were thought to have been carried out by hackers working for Russian intelligence.

“Investigators so far believe that Russian intelligence is likely behind the attacks and that Russian hackers are targeting news organizations as part of a broader series of hacks that also have focused on Democratic Party organizations, the officials said,” CNN reported.

The FBI declined a Reuters’ request for comment. Representatives for the U.S. Secret Service, which has a role in protecting the country from cyber crime, did not reply to a request for comment.

A government official briefed on the inquiry told the Times the FBI was looking into the attempted cyber attack but was not carrying out similar investigations at other news organizations.

The Times had not hired outside firms to investigate the attempted intrusion, contrary to the CNN report, Murphy said.

News of the cyber attack comes amid a wave of similar attacks targeting major U.S. political parties that have surfaced in recent weeks ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election.

The Democratic National Committee, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the party’s congressional fundraising committee have all been affected.

Hackers have also targeted the computer systems of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Republican Party organizations, sources have told Reuters.

A breach at the Times would not be the first time foreign hackers infiltrated a news organization. Media are frequently targeted in order to glean insights into U.S. policies or to spy on journalists.

In 2013, a group of hackers known as the Syrian Electronic Army attacked the Times and other media outlets. Chinese attackers also infiltrated the Times that year.

(Reporting by Dustin Volz, John Walcott, Mohammad Zargham and Eric Walsh in Washington, and Jessica Toonkel in New York; Writing by Susan Heavey and Eric Walsh; Editing by Frances Kerry and Peter Cooney



Henry Sapiecha


IBM to set up cyber centre in Canberra

Led by a former federal police assistant commissioner, the new centre is intended to bring together business and government to tackle security issues.

IBM-Logo-in-blue image

IBM has announced that it will create a National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in Canberra, to be headed by Kevin Zuccato, a former Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner and head of the Australian High Tech Crime Centre.

The company said the NCSC would allow access to IBM’s threat-sharing platform used by more than 2,000 businesses around the world, provide emergency response teams for security incidents, and would be partnering with its Australian Security Development Lab on the Gold Coast.

“With the establishment of the IBM National Cyber Security Centre in Canberra, we will provide a destination for government and organisations to proactively collaborate on strategy and policy,” said Kerry Purcell, IBM ANZ managing director. “The NCSC will drive a culture of innovation and openness, essential if we are to tackle this growing issue for every organisation.”

IBM did not specify the timing of the centre’s opening, nor the number of employees it would have.

The new centre will align with the federal government’s cyber strategy, IBM said, and will look to support both government and business in improving information security capabilities.

Announced in April, the AU$240 million Cyber Security Strategy had as its centrepiece the sharing of threat information between business and government, using the existing Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and new portals in capital cities.

As part of the package, the government said it would create two new roles: Minister assisting the prime minister on cyber security, and special adviser on cyber security within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet — the latter of which was filled by former e-safety commissioner Alastair MacGibbon.

In its Defence White Paper, launched in February, the Australian government said it would spend between AU$300 million and AU$400 million over the decade to the 2025-26 financial year on its Cyber Security Capability Improvement program


Henry Sapiecha


Semi-automatic weapons, ammo handled in mystery Brisbane military operation in preparation for the G20 summit


miliary personal handling semi auto weapons g20 brisbane summit  image

Semi-automatic weapons, ammo handled in mystery Brisbane military operation

BRISBANE CBD residents watched on in awe as a movie-like scene played out in front of their eyes as G20 preparations continued early this morning.

After seeing a large gathering of soldiers believed to have been armed with semi-automatic weapons, those enjoying a late Sunday night saw their purpose become apparent.

Around midnight, a convoy of vehicles carried soldiers a short distance to an underground car park at a building where their operation would soon come to life.

One inner-city road was partially blocked as a fleet of army vehicles rolled in.

Finally, about 12.45am, at least four speed boats were seen zipping along the Brisbane River before unloading crews.

Tactical Assault Group East conducts a training exercise early Monday morning at Stamford Plaza, Brisbane ahead of the G20 Leaders' Summit.image

Tactical Assault Group East conducts a training exercise early Monday morning at Stamford Plaza, Brisbane ahead of the G20 Leaders’ Summit. Photo by Sarah Keayes

At the same time, four Black Hawk choppers hovered ominously around buildings – coming within metres of some – in what appeared to be a simultaneous “attack”.

Dozens of soldiers appeared, aided by what was believed to be night vision and gas masks.

Moments earlier, loud bangs and shoutings of “get down” had been heard inside one of the nearby buildings.

After approximately half an hour, the “intruders’’ were seen being taken to a central point in the building in what seemed to be arrested-like fashion.

A chopper hovers just metres from the buildings G20 summit Brisbane image

A chopper hovers just metres from the buildings. Photo Adam Armstrong.

Tactical assault personnel on the Brisbane River during the late-night exercise. Photo by Sarah Keayes

For several hours, a large number of military dressed personnel — estimated to be about 50 — descended on an inner-city commercial carpark in what is believed to be a G20 training operation.

In plain sight of pedestrians, the personnel handled what appeared to be semi-automatic weapons, ammunition, helmets and large equipment containers.

The group were dressed in olive-coloured military style clothing with no apparent badges identifying themselves or their agency.

Some appeared to be wearing body armour.

Personnel on scene refused to provide any details of the operation or the agencies involved when asked by The Courier-Mail.

For a short period of time, a single police car was also seen parked out the front of the carpark where the operation was taking place.


When contacted by The Courier-Mail on Sunday night, spokespeople for the Australian Federal Police, Queensland Police Service and Defence Public Affairs all denied any knowledge of the operation.

The Royal Australian Air Force announced on Sunday they would conduct G20 security preparations from November 3 to 13 but not on weekends.

The RAAF said operations would involve “fighter, surveillance and support aircraft, alongside the Army Black Hawk helicopters”.


Henry Sapiecha


Wearing a burqa into parliament is ok ????

Then wearing a bike helmut or ku klux clan head garb should also be ok…!!

Perhaps coming in dress-up costume is fine too…Where does it all stop.

Ban one then ban them all. Allow one then allow all garments..???

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Is the Australian parliament turning into a circus..??

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YES-We can sell you these above & many other costumes via mail order. Enquire here…

Protesters test burqa policy

Anti-burqa protesters dressed in a motorcycle helmet, a niqab and a KKK uniform try to enter Parliament House with their faces covered.

A trio of men have attempted to enter Parliament with one wearing a Ku Klux Klan mask, and the others wearing a niqab and a motorcycle helmet as part of a protest against the burqa.

All three were forced by Parliament security to remove their facial coverings.

Three men cover their faces to protest the wearing of the burqa in public places.image

Three men cover their faces to protest the wearing of the burqa in public places. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Sergio Redegalli, Nick Folkes and Victor Waterson call their protest movement “Faceless” and oppose the burqa being worn in public spaces. They also expressed strong views against what they said was the “political ideology” of Islam which they said was “contrary” to Australian beliefs.

The Ku Klux Klan is a secretive, far-right organisation that has been responsible for violence against black Americans.

The protesters were stopped between Old Parliament House and the Parliament House forecourt and told by police that the men wearing the Ku Klux Klan hat and motorcycle helmet would be forced to remove their facial coverings but the person in the niqab would be allowed to keep theirs on.

Security turn away protesters with facial coverings from Parliament House image
Security turn away protesters with facial coverings from Parliament House

“One of the requirements of coming into Parliament House is that the motorcycle helmet is going to have to come off, your headdress is going to have to come off and your burqa … your identity will be checked,” the security guard told the protesters.

Mr Redegalli removed his Ku Klux Klan mask to reveal a niqab underneath.  He said “so I guess this is the time to say that I’m now allowed into Parliament House am I?” “No,” responded the security guard.

“Bit of a loophole, eh?” Mr Redegalli questioned.

Protester Sergio Redegalli removes a Ku Klux Klan mask to reveal he is wearing a burqa underneath image

Protester Sergio Redegalli removes a Ku Klux Klan mask to reveal he is wearing a burqa underneath. 

The group were screened as part of the regular entry procedures and all three emerged with their facial coverings removed.

“Because we’re males so there’s a bit of sexism there. It seems you’re allowed to wear a full face covering into Parliament if you’re a Muslim woman but no other group is allowed to have that same privilege,” Mr Redegalli said.

“That’s a lot better than we thought, so that’s a fantastic thing,” he said.

Protesters at Parliament House.image

Protesters at Parliament House. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The group said they opposed the decision earlier this month to overrule a ban on the burqa being worn in the public galleries over the Parliamentary Chambers.

Speaker Bronwyn Bishop and President Stephen Parry had been asked by Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi to consider banning the religious headwear being worn in Parliament.

On Monday, Senator Bernardi said the group’s stunt highlighted “just how ridiculous it is to allow anyone wearing an identity concealing garment into Parliament House”.

“The rules should apply equally to all Australians and all visitors to Parliament house irrespective of gender or ideology,” Senator Bernardi told Fairfax Media.

Senator Bernardi has been a long time supporter of Mr Redegalli’s attempts to protest against the burqa being allowed in Western countries.

In 2011, the South Australian Liberal backed Mr Redegalli’s six-foot high ‘Say Not the Burqa’ mural, which he painted in Sydney’s Newtown.

“I happen to agree with Mr Redegalli that the burqa has no place in Australia. I consider it a security risk and a symbol of repression and Islamic fundamentalism. Many Muslims (and opinion polls suggest a vast majority of other Australians) agree with me,” he wrote in 2011.

Nationals MP George Christensen has also publicly backed a ban on the burqa in Paliament, and tweeted in response to Monday’s stunt: “Where is the left-wing outrage at these three guys being told to remove their facial coverings at Parliament House?”

The Department of Parliamentary Services said in a statement that the men’s facial coverings were “protest paraphernalia” and they were asked to remove them because protests are allowed on Federation Mall in front of Parliament but not inside the building or on the forecourt.

“The policy requiring the temporary removals of facial coverings that came into effect on 20th October 2014 enables security staff to identify a person who may be a security risk.

“The visitors were requested to remove the items obscuring their faces as the items were deemed to be protest paraphernalia,” DPS said.

The department added that motorcycle helmets had long been banned from being worn in the building.

Henry Sapiecha

This licensed Private Investigator has had sex with 60 prostitutes – Sydney’s ratepayers footing the bill

Someone's gotta do it. Fred Allen is paid to use the services of suspected brothels image

Someone’s gotta do it: Fred Allen* is paid to use the services of suspected brothels. Photo: James Brickwood

Three years ago Fred Allen* was a taxi driver working 12-hour shifts to make ends meet.

Today, he is a gun for hire, having received tens of thousands of dollars from Sydney’s metropolitan councils in exchange for crucial evidence that is presented in court to help expose and close underground parlours. In short, Mr Allen has paid sex with prostitutes and ratepayers foot the bill.

“Never in a million years would I have imagined a job like this existed, let alone me doing it,” the 60-year-old said, with a hint of a smirk. “It’s a strange world for sure.”

Mr Allen confirmed he had completed more than 60 jobs at locations across Sydney

Mr Allen confirmed he had completed more than 60 jobs at locations across Sydney. Photo: James Brickwood

When Sydney-based Lyonswood Investigations advertised for a “brothel buster investigator” in 2011, it was inundated with resumes from as far afield as Finland.

But while all applicants were willing to engage in paid, undercover sex, the agency’s managing director Lachlan Jarvis confirmed Fred was the only suitable candidate for the niche role. “He had his private investigator’s license, his oral and written English was excellent, he was willing to appear in court if needed … and he was single.”

Mr Allen’s maiden mission involved an undercover visit to an unlicensed brothel reportedly masquerading as a massage clinic. “I had never been to a brothel in my life so I was feeling quite nervous and apprehensive,” he recalled.

“I didn’t know what to expect. I reminded myself that this was a legal job exposing illegal activities. As far as first days at work go, I enjoyed myself.”

Since then, a core group of approximately 10 Sydney councils have called on his services. “The drill is always the same, he explained. “An email arrives in my inbox providing the name, address and description of the premises. I then head in, get the information required and file a written report to the office, which is forwarded to the council.”

Mr Allen confirmed he had completed more than 60 jobs at various locations across Sydney. In nearly every case, the establishments were “clean and comfortable” environments staffed almost exclusively by Asian girls who were in Australia to “study English”. Sexual services were given in all but three of the businesses he has visited, he said.

“The jobs flow in, on average, once every three weeks. If it spreads out that way, it’s perfect,” he said.

“But there are occasions when they all arrive at once. For instance, I was given three jobs to complete, for the same council, in the same week … and I’m not as young as I used to be.”

While Mr Allen said he enjoys the thrill of going undercover, he doesn’t believe there’s a book in his adventures.

“I’d like to recount a series of hair-raising adventures and humorous anecdotes but, the truth is, it’s all pretty run of the mill,” he said. “I’m hired as your regular, everyday customer who walks in, requests a service, pays the money, and then leaves with a smile. I’ve never had a knife drawn on me or anything.

“I can assure you, it’s far safer than being a taxi driver. It’s better paid too.”

Though their paths have never crossed, he is aware of one other agent like him in Sydney. Far from feeling threatened, he is “heartened” by the likelihood of there being more. “It would be nice to meet them one day,” he said.

To date, he has only shared his secret with one other person: “I told one of my mates … he was a bit incredulous and a bit envious, too.”

While Mr Allen acknowledges his work is not the sort of job you want everyone knowing about, he has grappled with the idea of coming clean with his two adults sons.

“I’m in a quandary,” he said. “I’ve considered sitting them down and telling them. Alternatively, when I kick the bucket, they’ll go through my paperwork and discover for themselves.

“Either way, I hope they have a good chuckle.”

* not his real name

Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday 29 July 2014

 aust gov logo white on black

Extended submission deadline for inquiry into the National Security Legislation
Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014

The closing date for submissions to the Parliamentary inquiry into the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014 has been extended to Wednesday, 6 August 2014.

The closing date was extended by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security in order to give interested parties more time to make a contribution to the inquiry.

The Bill implements many of the bipartisan recommendations made by the Committee in Chapter 4 of its 2013 Report of the Inquiry into Potential Reforms of Australia’s National Security Legislation. Chapter 4 included 22 recommendations on reforms to legislation governing the Australian Intelligence Community, including the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 and Intelligence Services Act 2001.

The Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill states it will enhance the capability of intelligence agencies by:

  • Modernising ASIO’s statutory employment framework,
  • Modernising and streamlining ASIO’s warrant-based intelligence collection powers,
  • Strengthening ASIO’s capability to conduct covert intelligence operations, with appropriate safeguards and oversight,
  • Clarifying and improving the statutory framework for ASIO’s co-operative and information-sharing activities,
  • Enhancing the capabilities of IS Act agencies,
  • Improving protection of intelligence-related information, and
  • Renaming of Defence agencies to better reflect their roles.

Public hearings on the Bill will be held during August. The Committee intends to report by 8 September 2014 in order that the House may consider the Bill in the Spring sittings.

Further information about the inquiry, including how to make a submission, can be accessed via the Committee’s website at A submission received from the Attorney-General’s Department is now available at this website. The Bill and Explanatory Memorandum can be accessed via

Henry Sapiecha



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