thoughtsonthebus

15 stops. 40 minutes. each day.

Category: the bastards!

Repost from August 2012 , as the laws passed The Senate last night.

I never wanted an older brother, but it seems I have a big brother.

by .me.

“A Discussion Paper to accompany consideration by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security of a package of national security ideas comprising proposals for telecommunications interception reform, telecommunications sector security reform and Australian intelligence community legislation reform”

Some comma’s and full-stops in there would be helpful, and I could write this entire post on the spelling, grammatical and formatting errors I found in this document.

But I’m not going to.

What I’m going to do is try and make this as least painful as possible. Like a dentist. We don’t enjoy it, but we know it’s horribly necessary.

So, I’m only going to focus on Section 4 – which is the Attorney-Generals request to adjust/modify/increase/streamline ASIO’s access to your private life.

I know what you’re thinking (well. some of you, others I wouldn’t even try to understand your minds..), but I bet you’re wondering why someone like myself gives a shit about the powers of ASIO? I have no criminal background,  no arrests or charges laid, and I’m certainly not planning on peacefully overthrowing the government any time soon ( That could change if Abbott get’s in, and i know I’m not alone there..).

I am concerned, because I suppose I am now termed a “political activist”. This means I’m  truly interested in what the government is doing. This means I care. And this means, that the government can’t spoon feed me bullshit, while I say “Please sir, can I have some more?”

So, I’m going to grab paragraphs from this document, and I’m going to make my comments against them.

Stay with me. this is important. I will translate into actual english where I can.

” Chapter 4 – Australian Intelligence Community Legislation Reform” 

(a.k.a – shit we want to change to make it easier to spy on you)

 Page 40

“Proposed reforms seek to continue the recent modernisation of security legislation to ensure the intelligence community can continue to meet the demands of government in the most effective manner”

(blah blah – it’s hard to spy on you, technology is changing, and we want to save money)

At the same time, it is important that legislation governing intelligence agencies continues to include appropriate checks and balances on the exercise of their powers. ‘

(Yes please.) 

“Ensuring these agencies remain accountable for their actions helps to maintain public confidence in and support for the crucial work of intelligence agencies.”

(However.. in a previous section, they have requested that all ASIO employee’s are provided –

“protection from criminal and civil liability for certain conduct in the course of authorised intelligence operations”

NB: The “certain conduct” is the key phrase here, and this level of conduct is signed off and authorised by only one person – the Director. This leads to potential mis-use, corruption, blackmail and lack of discussion over what is considered “appropriate”. I believe it should go to a panel. )

Page 41

Variation of a warrant.

“Currently, the ASIO Act does not specifically provide for a warrant to be varied if the circumstances justify such a variation. A new warrant is required in every instance where there is a significant change in circumstances. A variation provision may be appropriate to ensure sufficient operational flexibility while maintaining appropriate accountability.”

(ok – I can see their point. But again, the issue here is in the ambiguous wording. Key phrase here “variation”. What concerns me, is at what point does a “variation” become ” a complete change to the details of the initial warrant”. A name change? A location change? These kinds of “significant changes”  should certainly have to go back to the courts to request a new warrant. But there seems to be no parameters describing their idea of “variation”.)

Page 42

Duration of warrants.

” All warrants under the ASIO Act currently last for a maximum of six months, except for a search warrant which must be executed within 90 days. A warrant enabling a search to take place within a six month period would provide operational benefits as the exact timing of the search may depend on a range of unknown and fluid operational factors. Indeed, there have been instances where ASIO was unable to execute a search warrant within the 90 day limit for reasons beyond its control, and a new warrant would be required. . (note the .. at the end of this sentence. not my doing)

To address this, the maximum duration of a search warrant could be increased from 90 days to six months, making it consistent with the other warrant powers in the ASIO Act.”

( Questions – 3 months isn’t long enough? Why not, and what were the circumstances surrounding the above mentioned “failure” to execute within 3 months. We all know, that many many things can change in 6 months.  And they also want to have unlimited access to renew this warrant. ( they don’t say unlimited, but nor do they specify a time frame.

I need to jump forward in the document a bit, in order to show how this really effects people – let’s go to:

Page 50.

Incidental Entry

“Sections 25 and 25A of the ASIO Act currently enable an officer, in the execution of a search or computer warrant, to do any thing that is reasonably incidental to the exercise of powers under that warrant. It is not clear whether this incidental power includes entry to a third party’s premises for the purposes of executing the search or computer warrant. Additionally, it may be necessary to enter a third party premises for the purposes of installing a surveillance device. Clarification of the scope of the incidental power would assist ASIO in executing search and computer warrants.”

(So.. give them extended warrants, which have unlimited renewals, and allow them into your mum’s house, local pub, local hang-out, friends house, workplace etc. to install listening devices. think about it. Unlimited access, for an indefinite amount of time, into any “third-party premises” without having to re-establish the initial reasons for the warrant.)

And then this just underneath

“Subsections 25(7), 25A(5A), 26B(4) and 26C(4) relate to the use of force when exercising a power under a warrant and when entry into a premises is authorised under the warrant. The headings to each of those subsections suggest that the powers in those subsections are limited to entry to the target premises. The provisions relating to use of force are not limited in such a way. Technical amendments may therefore be necessary to correct this drafting anomaly.”

(Drafting anomaly?? Really? Or is that those headings actually mean that the powers are limited to “target premises”, and that you would like them changed to ..well.. not specified.. but instead of specifying, you’ve instead termed it a “drafting anomaly”.. And if these subsections are limited to the target, and ASIO is using force outside of these parameters, then where are they getting the authorisation from?? Bit weird, that section.)

Going to stay on warrants for the moment..

Back to page 48

“Subsection 25A(5) currently restricts ASIO from doing anything under a computer access warrant that adds, deletes or alters data or interferes with, interrupts, or obstructs the lawful use of the target computer by other persons. This prohibition operates regardless of how minor or inconsequential the interference, interruption or obstruction may be.

To address this, section 25A could be amended so that the prohibition does not apply to activity proportionate to what is necessary to execute the warrant.”

(Can anyone say “plant information”?? )

“The ASIO Act currently contains the power to search a premises (section 25). Contained within this is the power to search a person who is at or near the premises where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person has, on his or her person, records or other things relevant to the security matter (subsection 25(4A)).
Where ASIO assess that a particular person may be carrying items of relevance to security, a search warrant relating to a particular premises must be sought. It is only on or near the premises specified in the warrant that a person may be searched. However, it is not always feasible to execute a search warrant on a person of interest while they are ‘at or near’ the premises specified in the warrant.”

(Walking past the building – subject to searching. Not at the premises. “one way, or another, we’re going to find ya”.. and search ya – and remember.. for an unlimited amount of time, without having to re-prove their case. They are also asking for adjustments to be made, to ensure they can search any and all computers attached to one network..)

Ok – now for what kinds of scenario’s/activities would you expect them to be able to execute all of the above?

Page 52

According to section 9(1A)(a), before giving an authorisation to produce intelligence on an Australian person, the responsible Minister must be satisfied that the Australian person is, or is likely to be, involved in one or more of the following activities:

  • activities that present a significant risk to a persons safety;
  • acting for, or on behalf of, a foreign power;.
  • activities that are, or any likely to be, a threat to security (for this ground the Minister must also obtain the agreement of the Attorney]General);
  • activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or the movement of goods listed from time to time in the Defence and Strategic Goods List (within the meaning of regulation 13E of the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958);
  • committing a serious crime by moving money, goods or people;

( You going to investigate banks?? I would love that, but I don’t think that’s where you are going with this..)

  • committing a serious crime by using or transferring intellectual property.
  • committing a serious crime by transmitting data or signals by means of guided and/or unguided electromagnetic energy; and
  • activities related to a contravention, or an alleged contravention, by a person of a UN sanction enforcement law.

(NB: a “serious crime” is considered anything with a jail term “over 12 months”. Not 12 months, but over.

My issue here is the wording ” is likely to be”. How is this determined? Because I am spending my time on a beautiful Saturday afternoon analysing an ASIO document, could they deem me to ultimately be “likely”  to do something. Adding to this, they also wish to include a new provision of ” involved or likely to be involved, in intelligence or counter intelligence activities”. There goes Wikileaks. And they also wish to include another section, which, if you publicly name an ASIO officer ( currently this has a jail term of 12months, thus not allowing it to be called a “serious crime”, to be added.)

There’s plenty of other dubious comments within this section, but seeing as it really is a lovely day outside, I kinda want to get amongst it. However, I am going to touch on one more section that truly concerns me, and that’s the overarching power of the Director-General of Security. As I mentioned before, I don’t believe power should sit so heavily in one persons hands. These are the terms of what he/she wants to be able to do.

Page 46

“With the enactment of broad overarching laws criminalising security related issues, many of those targets under investigation are involved in activities that breach the criminal law. Increasingly, those laws are capable of capturing the activities of persons who are associating covertly with targets, notwithstanding that their activities are for lawful intelligence collection purposes.

For example, under Part 5.3 of the Criminal Code, it is an offence to intentionally provide training to or receive training from a terrorist organisation where the person is reckless as to whether the organisation is a terrorist organisation. Therefore, if an ASIO officer or human source is tasked to collect covert intelligence in relation to a terrorist organisation, they may be open to criminal liability under the Criminal Code if, in the course of collecting the relevant intelligence, they receive training from that organisation.

An authorised intelligence operations scheme would significantly assist covert intelligence operations that require undercover ASIO officers or human sources to gain and maintain access to highly sensitive information concerning serious threats to Australia and its citizens. A scheme similar to the controlled operations scheme under the Crimes Act 1914 could be developed to apply to ASIO officers and human sources operating under the ASIO Act, with appropriate modifications and safeguards that recognise the scheme would operate in the context of covert intelligence gathering investigations or operations.
Should an authorised intelligence operations regime be pursued, it will be critical that it achieves an appropriate balance between operational flexibility and appropriate oversight and accountability. Key features that may contribute to such could include:

  • the Director]General of Security to issue authorised intelligence operation certificates which would provide protection from criminal and civil liability for specified conduct for a specified period (such as 12 months) 

( One persons say so. This DG could be manipulated, or manipulate these codes for personal/political use )

  • oversight and inspection by the Inspector]General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), including notifying the IGIS once an authorised intelligence operation has been approved by the Director]General

(Again.. One person’s authority and oversight )

  • specifying conduct which cannot be authorised (eg, intentionally inducing a person to commit a criminal offence that the person would not otherwise have intended to commit and conduct that is likely to cause the death of or serious injury to a person or involves the commission of a sexual offence against any person), and

(that’s ok. But the opposite isn’t, where by they specify what they are able to do AND not get charged for it.)

  • independent review of the operation, effectiveness and implications of any such scheme, which could be conducted five years after the schemes commencement.

( Five years later? Bit fuckin late by then)

So, in summary, this whole section of the document is way too ambiguous, not specific enough, and allows too much power into the hands of one person. I for one, do not believe this is a way to ‘secure the country’ – I believe it is a way to grow the police state we are seeing increase day by day. Add these above issues, with the new legislation just passed allowing unlimited access to all of our internet history, and you can see we have some real problems heading our way.

Glad you made it to the end. I know it’s full on, and I’ve had to read it 2,3,4 times in order to get my head around it. I’m just worried that these ongoing, unlimited powers will be used against good people who just want to protest against what our government is doing to us, and not just be used against criminals who really need to be held accountable. Just the fact that I’ve mentioned the word ASIO in this document will ‘ping’ their systems to review my blog.

Comments welcome, and please correct me if I’ve read in error. I’m more than willing to discuss this, and my opinions – as we know, everyone has an opinion – and this is mine.

A Genetically Modified Opinion

For the record:
My personal stance on genetically modified food is that i don’t agree with GM food being used within food without the producers being forced by law to label these products appropriately. If Kellogs is forced to show the nutritional benefit of their corn flakes, on the front of the pack, in an easy-to-read % of BMI table so I can choose whether or not there is too much sugar, or salt, or other products according to my, or my families, dietary needs and wants, then why aren’t GM producers forced to show the level of GM food found within that packet. I want to know what’s in my food, so I can make an informed decision to purchase that product, or not.

I know why: And that is because the very companies that are making money selling you products with non-labelled GM products, are paying bajillions* of dollars in the form of lobbying fees to ensure that laws aren’t passed.  Surely, if their products didn’t have a level of toxicity or some health effects residing in them, it wouldn’t be a problem. You don’t see fruit companies going ” NOO… I don’t want to tell them it’s 100% fruit, they might find out it’s good for them..” ( here’s a mainstream website talking about it..http://www.forbes.com/sites/amywestervelt/2012/08/22/monsanto-dupont-spending-millions-to-oppose-californias-gmo-labeling-law/ )

The reason for my desire is a) transparency b) knowledge and c) i do not believe that studies of the effects of GM are significant enough to truly tell me if this is going to be harmful to my body long term. Smokers didn’t die of lung cancer in the first year of tobacco being mass-produced. It’s the same situation. Adjustments are being made to the genetic layer of food, on a mass level. And this is being done, mainly for profit. Don’t get me wrong, i’m sure the original scientists truly wanted to end world hunger, and who the fuck doesn’t. But once this science gets a share-price, then that is when to be truly concerned, because for business ( and I work and speak with high-level execs and CEO’s) it’s short-term WIN to short-term WIN.

They don’t care. Think they give a shit? You’re buying their products, the share-price is going up, everyone’s making commission, buying their wives gifts, sending their kids to good schools. Would you give it up? It’s nice having money, and the stability it brings, so they don’t want to jeopardise that.

However, as important and valid as that may be, unfortunately, the knee-jerk reaction to posting ANYTHING about Monsanto ( I haven’t even started on their business practises..) and genetically modified food seems to open this OMG CONSPIRACY RUN behaviour – when in fact, I think you may sympathise with me ‘cos you’re my friendly readers, I make a good fuckin point, and this shit is important.

I’m still Katie. I’m damn smart, and am not wearing tin foil.
xx

nb :

Definition of bajillion in English

bajillion

Pronunciation: /bəˈdʒɪljən/

number

informal, chiefly North American

  • an extremely large number (used for emphasis):I’ve still got a bajillion things to do

Origin:

1990s: fanciful formation on the pattern of billion and million

Illegal Eviction of The Farmers

I’m so sad. But so proud of them. xxx

For every NAB Customer in Australia , please read. For every NAB Director in Australia, be aware.

During yesterday’s eviction of The Priestly’s, Chris Priestly bravely read out this letter to the NAB representative they sent, Mr Peter Mair.

You may have heard of Peter Mair, or you may have not. But a recent article shows he believes pensioners are hoarding $100 notes under their beds in order to rort the pension. Obviously a kind, and generous guy – who also used to be a Reserve Bank Official..

So why is an ex-RBA official, attending the eviction of just 2 normal farmers, 9 hours North-West of Sydney? hmm Interesting indeed. And not a question I actually have an answer to.

( Edit: After some diligent research, turns out there are two creepy bankers called Peter Mair. The one that attended the eviction, is not the same as the one who thinks Pensioners are rorting, but to be honest, the eviction Peter Mair looks even more sinister..)

A video of Chris reading this out will be available as soon as those wonderful citizen journalists and occupy activists return from supporting the Priestly’s. But in the meantime, have a read of it for yourself.

It’s a doozy 😀  I can’t wait to see the video xx

Chris Priestley to NAB Chairman and Directors 1 Feb 2013

Banking Code of Practice Updated.

So, they’ve been busy, while we’ve been busy.

They’re changing the terms, getting on TV and Radio and in the papers to show you how *ethical, and transparent the Banks really are.

Of course. The Banks really are good people right. Or not people. Corporations..

Hell, even the head of the Australian Bankers Association, Mr Münchenberg said in his press release:
“Banks are committed to acting fairly, responsibly and transparently – the revised Code reinforces these industry values.”

“For example, banks are committed to working with customers who may be experiencing financial hardship. There are times when any one of us can suffer a setback that means we can no longer meet our financial obligations, like paying the mortgage or credit card bill. This can happen because our working hours have been reduced or we’ve even lost our job, because of unexpected illness, because a relationship breaks down, or for a host of other reasons. It’s at times like these that banks can help people get through their financial difficulties and back on their feet.”

Yep. That’s why you helped the Priestly’s when their father lay dying in hospital, right?

Yep. That’s why you helped them to sow a new crop after the floods had subsided, right?

Yep. That’s why you responded in writing, and officially investigated every one of the 9 complaints she submitted to the Banks, and then the Ombudsman, and then the CCMC, right?

Oh.. what? You didn’t do any of those things? You didn’t investigate their complaints? Even though, their first complaint was made before ANY of the preceedings against them took place.?

hmm. I find that a bit.. misleading. I find that a bit.. fraudulent.

I wonder what the Priestly’s have got to say about that? Well.. no, they can’t get the internet at the moment, because you evicted them yesterday. I’ve tried to call them a few times today, but the phone kept dropping out. The house is boarded up. The locks have been changed. You’ve even entombed Chris’  thongs in there – you wouldn’t let him go in and get them. Because, you know.. The thongs are yours now. Hope they fit..

Good thing I’ve got copies of the most recent letters they sent the Chairman of the NAB, this week. And hey, get a load of that – they were also personally copied to you, Mr Münchenberg.

Seeing as I can’t get in touch with them to find out what’s going on, perhaps it’s time for you to come forth with an explanation, Mr Münchenberg.

Speak soon??  Once you’ve finished getting your hair and make-up fixed for the Business Show, that is.

Priestley to NAB Chairman Chaney 30 Jan 2013 (1)

Priestley to NAB Chairman Chaney 26 Jan 2013

(Official Press Release from the Australian Banking Association. 

http://www.bankers.asn.au/Media/Media-Releases/Media-Release-2013/Improved-Code-of-Banking-Practice )

Direct contact details for the ABA

f you could also tweet these out, the bottom of the ABA Press Release has these details. You know.. just fyi.

Iain McDonald
P&L Corporate Communications (?)
Phone: 02 9231 5411
Mobile: 0488 390 151 
Twitter: @austbankers