Tag Archives: aboriginal theft

MORE LEAKS TO COME SOON SAYS JULIAN ASSANGE OF WIKILEAKS FAME

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on August 18, 2014 image www.intelagencies.com

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on August 18, 2014. Photo: JOHN STILLWELL

WikiLeaks is planning new releases of secret documents on controversial negotiations and intelligence agency operations, according to the anti-secrecy organisation’s Australian founder, Julian Assange.

In an interview with Fairfax Media, Mr Assange  said that while he does not expect to leave Ecuador’s London embassy any time soon, WikiLeaks very much remains in the business of publishing the secrets of diplomats and spies.

“There’ll be more publications – about large international so-called free trade deals, and about an intelligence agency,” Mr Assange said.

Over the past two years WikiLeaks has published leaked documents relating to the secret Trans Pacific Partnership trade negotiations as well as talks on the proposed multilateral agreement on Trade in Services.

In December 2014, WikiLeaks also published a leaked US Central Intelligence Agency analysis of the effectiveness of drone strikes and another CIA paper on the implications of enhanced airport security arrangements for clandestine intelligence operatives.

At that time WikiLeaks said the CIA documents were the beginning of a series of releases relating to the US espionage agency.

Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2014 image www.intelagencies.com

In a wide ranging interview Mr Assange discussed the recent establishment of a secure internet chat system to enable anonymous sources to contact WikiLeaks and the prospective reintroduction of a secure electronic drop box to facilitate the deposit of leaked documents

Mr Assange acknowledged that re-establishing a drop box had proved a challenge since the WikiLeaks submission system had been disabled when a disgruntled member left the group in late 2010.

“Given the realities of mass surveillance, and the intense focus on WikiLeaks, we knew we needed a much stronger approach,” he said.

“There have been a number of efforts to do this, by others and ourselves, but until now every one has failed the test.  Our new system has some innovation that will be visible, and a lot that is not.”

Mr Assange said that a key challenge arose from the fact that any website open to receive anonymous leaks was an “exposed front door that becomes a permanent target” for intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

One part of the solution is to embed the instructions and code for the submission system on every webpage so that potential sources would be concealed amidst the estimated 500,000 unique readers who visit the WikiLeaks website each month.

“That gives a source some cover,” Mr Assange said, “but it’s important to understand that the protection of sources requires much more than a single technological fix.”

“A combination of elements is needed – cryptologic, jurisdictional and personal security.”

Mr Assange acknowledged his physical location in Ecuador’s London embassy was “a complicating factor, but not insurmountable” in WikiLeaks operations, and pointed to the assistance given by WikiLeaks staffer Sarah Harrison to former US intelligence contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden as a demonstration of high levels of operational security.

Mr Assange said that he was hopeful that Sweden’s highest court would strike down the still current arrest warrant for him to be questioned about sexual assault allegations that were first raised in August 2010.

He has lived at Ecuador’s London embassy since June 2012 when the South American country granted him political asylum on the grounds that he is at risk of extradition to the United States to face espionage and conspiracy charges arising from the leaking of thousands of secret documents by US Army private Chelsea Manning.

In March, a US court confirmed that WikiLeaks and Mr Assange are still being targeted in a long-running investigation by the US Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation. British police are on guard outside the Ecuadorian embassy, waiting to arrest Mr Assange so he can be extradited to Sweden for questioning about the sexual assault allegations. Mr Assange denies the allegations and his lawyers have advised that he is at risk of extradition to the US from both Sweden or the United Kingdom.

Sweden’s Supreme Court confirmed this week it will hear an appeal by Mr Assange seeking to quash the arrest warrant on the grounds that prosecutors had failed to progress the case and that he has been denied access to key facts relevant to the decision to arrest him.

However, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has confirmed even if the Swedish warrant disappeared British police would still seek to arrest Mr Assange for breaking his bail conditions when he sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy.

“When my legal team asked the FCO whether they were aware of any US extradition proceedings, they refused to confirm or deny,” Mr Assange said.

“There’s also the question of US and UK investigations relating to Sarah Harrison as myself as a consequence of our assistance to Snowden,” he added.

Mr Assange said he hadn’t had any contact from Australian consular officials for more than a year. His Australian passport, currently held by British authorities, has expired. He has been advised that he must physically present himself at the Australian High Commission in London if he wishes to obtain a new passport.

“The Australian Government and DFAT [Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade] like to make a big song and dance about helping Australians overseas, but the reality is they do as little as possible, especially when they don’t like someone’s politics.

“I’m probably not moving for a while yet,” he said.

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Henry Sapiecha

Cash, missing cars fail to spark criminal probe into Australian indigenous body

Federal opposition indigenous affairs spokesman Shayne Neumann says Warren Mundine has questions to answer.image www.intelagencies.com

Federal opposition indigenous affairs spokesman Shayne Neumann says Warren Mundine has questions to answer. Photo: Andrew Meares

Directors of a defunct Western Australian indigenous corporation have not been charged with any offences despite an investigation uncovering 40 suspect transactions involving hundreds of thousands of dollars and 64 missing cars.

Tony Abbott meets with Warren Mundine, during a visit to Arnhem Land in 2013.image www.intelagencies.com

Tony Abbott meets with Warren Mundine, during a visit to Arnhem Land in 2013. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

A Fairfax Media investigation has found the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations amassed evidence suggesting criminal and civil offences during a two-year probe into former directors and executives of the organisation.

But it chose not to refer material to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for review after it deemed the evidence might not be sufficient to secure convictions.

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Several of those directors who were under investigation now lead the board of the Western Australia’s Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation and control the proceeds of its multimillion-dollar mining deals, which include a contentious agreement brokered by a company part-owned by Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s top indigenous adviser, Warren Mundine.Fairfax Media revealed on Saturday how a company part-owned by Mr Mundine was used by listed miner Reward Minerals to change the Western Desert corporation’s stance on not allowing mining on a Pilbara sacred site called Lake Disappointment.

A senior Western Desert corporation executive held a secret stake in the negotiating company part-owned by Mr Mundine and lawyers for the corporation described the Reward deal as having “no validy” and mired by potential conflicts of interest.

Federal opposition indigenous affairs spokesman Shane Neumann said Mr Mundine had questions to answer about his business relationships and corporate activities. “There are issues of good governance here to be explored. Mr Mundine is a very public figure and has enormous access to government,” Mr Neumann said.Greens indigenous affairs spokeswoman Rachel Siewert said the revelations were “extremely concerning”. “If this is as bad as it looks, it’s an example of how Aboriginal organisations are being manipulated and profits ripped off when it’s fundamental for their economic development.”

Fairfax Media as obtained an email written in 2011 by a senior ORIC investigator showing 40 suspect transactions involving hundreds of thousands of dollars withdrawn by former directors and executives of the defunct Western Desert Puntukurnuparna Aboriginal Corporation had been identified.

The investigator wrote that the transactions would “likely be included in a brief of evidence … so that criminal/civil prosecutions can be considered and commenced accordingly”. A separate investigation could only find five of the 69 cars registered to the organisation.

But ORIC eventually decided not to press for charges and instead the organisation was liquidated last year by the tax office. The decision staggered the organisation’s former chief executive, Bruce Hill, who asked ORIC to investigate in 2010.

“Bottom line is innocent members have been asset stripped and the guilty not held to account,” Mr Hill said.

Those probed by ORIC include the chairman of the Western Desert land corporation’s board, Brian Samson, deputy chair Teddy Biljabu and director Bruce Booth.

Evidence obtained by ORIC during its probe included cheque butts and bank statements showing directors and executives at the defunct body withdrew huge sums without approval and purchased cars without approval.

In his February report, Pitcher Partners liquidator Bryan Hughes stated that the defunct organisation’s records were either missing or incomplete. Its former directors have refused to send Mr Hughes their records.

“I consider that poor financial control and poor strategic management were also likely factors, which contributed to the corporation’s failure,” he wrote.

Mr Hughes also identified a $409,640 transaction “which I consider may constitute a transaction voidable by a liquidator”. It is possible the transaction involved “unreasonable director related transactions”.

Directors of the defunct organisation used their influence at the Western Desert corporation to convince the Martu people to transfer $730,000 to help fund a bail out.

In a statement, ORIC said its investigation into the defunct organisation was the most extensive it had conducted. But a review of the evidence deemed it insufficient to refer to Commonwealth prosecutors.

“The decision was not a judgment that certain events had not occurred,” ORIC’s statement said.

Mr Mundine, who has declined to answer questions from Fairfax Media, recently criticised ORIC for its “kid glove” approach to regulating indigenous corporations, saying people had gotten away with “blue murder”.

Know more? admin@acbocallcentre.com

Henry Sapiecha