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US bombing raid on Iraqi women and children: now between 74,312 and 80,954 civilians killed since US-led invasion of Iraq in April 2003

Posted by gasweek on 17 October, 2007

A United States air strike in Iraq that killed 15 women and children had represented one of the largest losses of civilian life in a single military raid and a bloody start to the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, wrote Andrew Gully in The Canberra Times (13/10/2007, p.17).

Civilian deaths regretted: A US military spokesman had said 19 suspected insurgents and 15 women and children were killed in an oper­ation on Thursday in the Lake Tharthar region. Late last month the US military had been accused by Iraqi officials of killing 15 women and children in two air strikes south of Baghdad. Commanders had responded by saying that civilian deaths were regretted and came as “coalition forces search to rid Iraq of terrorism”.

Indiscriminate firing on civilians in Baghdad: The latest incident had come amid Iraqi outrage after a government report had found that guards from US private security firm Blackwater killed 17 civilians as they fired indis­criminately in a central Baghdad square last month.

Growing number of civilians killed: According to the latest United Nations Assist­ance Mission for Iraq report into human rights abuses in Iraq, 88 civilians had been killed in air strikes by the US military in the three months between April and June. According to the Iraqi Body Count website, which kept an indepen­dent tally of Iraqi deaths, between 74,312 and 80,954 civilians had been killed since the US-led invasion of Iraq in April 2003.

The Canberra Times, 13/10/2007, p. 17

Posted in Iraq, Security, Surveillance, Volume 2604 | Leave a Comment »

CIA’s history is of bribery, coercion and brute force: often out of control, embattled, mistrusted

Posted by gasweek on 17 October, 2007

In Tim Weiner’s account, Legacy of Ashes: History of the CIA the CIA had emerged as a tawdry creation: part elite club, founded on arrogance and insufficient geography, part quasi-criminal racket operating outside the laws of the United States, wrote Chris Petit in The Canberra Times (13/10/2007, p. 16). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in International, Public Opinion, Security, Surveillance | Leave a Comment »

Terrorism (Preventative Detention) Amendment Bill 2007 seeks to strengthen counterterrorism laws

Posted by gasweek on 12 October, 2007

Speaking on 5 September 2007 in the Western Australia Legislative Council on the Terrorism (Preventative Detention) Amendment Bill 2007, Jon Ford, Minister for Regional Development and Fisheries, said that at a special Council of Australian Governments meeting held on 27 September 2005 to consider national counterterrorism issues, state and territory leaders agreed that a strengthening of Australia’s counterterrorism laws was warranted.

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Posted in Defence, Security, Surveillance, Volume 2604, WA | Leave a Comment »

Espoused list of spymasters enlarged: ALP gives OK as Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity and Australian Crime Commission join ASIO, Department of Defence, the DFAT and AFP

Posted by gasweek on 12 October, 2007

ALP Senator Joseph Ludwig (Queensland) told the Senate on 20 September 2007 that his party approved of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment Bill 2007, which granted more agencies access to intercepted material.

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Posted in Defence, Security, Surveillance, Volume 2604 | Leave a Comment »

Every mobile phone a potential tracking device for police or ASIO; Greens dismay as law says every website address a person visits could be monitored, with no judicial oversight and no accountability

Posted by gasweek on 12 October, 2007

Greens Senator Kerry Nettle (New South Wales) told the Senate on 20 September 2007 the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment Bill 2007 opened up the prospect of communications being able to be observed in effectively real-time.

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Posted in Defence, Security, Surveillance, Volume 2604 | Leave a Comment »

CrimTrac provides direct access information on behalf of all policing jurisdictions to provide them information about telephone subscriptions

Posted by gasweek on 12 October, 2007

Since November 2004, CrimTrac had been brokering Sensis direct access information on behalf of all policing jurisdictions and other criminal enforcement agencies to provide them with pertinent information about telephone subscriptions when investigating, preventing and prosecuting criminal offences, said Senator Joseph Ludwig (Queensland) in the Federal Senate on 20 September 2007 in debate on the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment Bill 2007.

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Posted in Security, Surveillance, Volume 2604 | Leave a Comment »

Greens will not support Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment Bill: “Major attack on privacy,” says Nettle

Posted by gasweek on 12 October, 2007

Senator Kerry Nettle, Greens Party, speaking in the Senate on 20 September 2007, said the Greens would not support the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment Bill 2007.

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Posted in Australia, Defence, Security, Surveillance, Volume 2604 | Leave a Comment »

Greens Senator speaks against Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment Bill 2007: “Invasion of privacy”

Posted by gasweek on 12 October, 2007

Senator Kerry Nettle, Greens Party, speaking in the Federal Senate on 20 September 2007 concerning the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment Bill 2007 described the intrusive nature of the proposed legislation.

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Posted in Defence, Security, Volume 2604 | Leave a Comment »

AT&T adds extra condition to terms and conditions it imposes upon its broadband users in US: swift cut-off possible for any email that “tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T”

Posted by gasweek on 11 October, 2007

According to John Davidson, AT&T has just added an extra condition to the terms and conditions it imposes upon its broadband users in the US, threatening the very censorship we’re talking about, reported The Australian Financial Review (9/10/2007, p.30).

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Posted in Security, Unknowns, Volume 2603 | Leave a Comment »

Attorney-General employs “extremely heavy-handed piece of legislation” meant for international spies, huge taxpayers’ funds in bid to persecute peace protesters, Dems Senator says

Posted by gasweek on 11 October, 2007

Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett (Queensland) told the Senate on 20 September 2007 it was wrong for the Government to use the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act, intended for application toward international spies, against non-violent protesters who had entered the Pine Gap facility.

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Posted in Defence, Security, US, Volume 2603 | Leave a Comment »

Telecommunications act grants law enforcement agencies enormous powers to monitor private conversations; ASIO can peruse `real time’ mobile phone data to pinpoint location of a user, without need to obtain a warrant

Posted by gasweek on 11 October, 2007

Democrats Senator Stott Despoja (South Australia) on 20 September 2007 told the Senate that the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment Bill 2007 should be amended to require agencies to obtain a warrant before using a person’s mobile phone as a tracking, tracing and monitoring device.

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Posted in Defence, Security, Volume 2603 | Leave a Comment »

Telecommunications Act rejig allows spooks to lawfully authorise disclosure of data without breaching general prohibitions on disclosure

Posted by gasweek on 11 October, 2007

ALP Senator Joseph Ludwig (Queensland), speaking on the Telecommunications (Interception and access) Amendment Bill 2007 , said the key purpose of schedule 1 in the bill was to transfer security and law enforcement provisions from parts 13, 14 and 15 of the Telecommunications Act to the TIA Act. Schedule 1, item 12 also inserted a new chapter 4, which deals with access to telecommunications data. The amendments established a regime for particular officers of ASIO or an enforcement agency to lawfully authorise the disclosure of telecommunications data without breaching the general prohibitions on the disclosure of that data that exist within existing sections 276, 277 and 278 of the Telecommunications Act.

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Posted in Defence, Security, Volume 2603 | Leave a Comment »

Greens glare at Telecommunications bill: “track and tap” bill to enable authorities to conduct real time tracking of people’s mobile phones and Internet browsing without obtaining a warrant

Posted by gasweek on 11 October, 2007

Greens Senator Kerry Nettle (New South Wales) told the Senate on 20 September 2007 that the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment Bill 2007 was a threat to privacy and civil rights.

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Posted in Defense, Security, Volume 2603 | Leave a Comment »

Three-quarters of Australians saw Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan war as making the nation more of a target for terrorists

Posted by gasweek on 11 October, 2007

According to Sandra O’Malley and Adam Bennett, a comprehensive study of public attitudes to the nation’s closest ally conducted by the Sydney University-based United States Study Centre found a continuing decline in Australians’ opinion of America, based largely on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, reported The Canberra Times (4/10/2007, p.8).

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Posted in Australia, Defence, Security, Volume 2603 | Leave a Comment »

Greens say telephone and internet companies will be required to funnel data on phone calls, email, VOIP and web browsing in real time to the police or ASIO under Govt legislation

Posted by gasweek on 11 October, 2007

Greens Senator Kerry Nettle (New South Wales) told the Senate on 20 September 2007 that, under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment Bill 2007, telecommunication companies would have to funnel data in real time to the police or ASIO.

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Posted in Defence, NSW, Security, Volume 2603 | Leave a Comment »

Water, energy utilities get classified govt computer-modelling to plan for disasters, terror attacks

Posted by gasweek on 10 October, 2007

Banks, telecommunications carriers, energy and water utilities would be given access to classified computer modelling by the government to plan for disasters, wrote Julian Bajkowski in The Australian Financial Review (3/10/2007, p.53).

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Posted in Defence, Security, Unknowns, Volume 2603 | Leave a Comment »

Erik Prince, commander of the world’s most powerful private army – Blackwater; and how wars can make private companies very rich, very quickly

Posted by gasweek on 10 October, 2007

At 38, Erik Prince was in effect the commander of the world’s most powerful private army. He looks like Hollywood’s take on a soldier, even in civilian dress. His straight blond hair is cut army-short, with just a little length in the neat fringe. He is tanned, fit and good-looking, with sharp blue eyes and the bearing of a man in uniform.

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Posted in Afghanistan, Iraq, Security, US, Volume 2603 | Leave a Comment »

Dems Senator airs concerns after Attorney-General invokes Cold War era legislation – for first time ever – to charge “non-violent protesters” at Pine Gap demo

Posted by gasweek on 9 October, 2007

Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett (Queensland) told the Senate that the Attorney-General use of the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act to charge protesters represented an unecessary “sledgehammer approach”, after Liberal MP Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration, tabled a statement on the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap, on behalf of the Minister for Defence, Brendan Nelson.

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Posted in Australia, Defence, Security, US, Volume 2603 | Leave a Comment »

You’ve got no mail: AOL blocks emails containing references to petition circulating in opposition to changes in AOL’s email service

Posted by gasweek on 9 October, 2007

According to John Davidson in The Australian Financial Review (9/10/2007, p.30) last year AOL blocked emails that contained references to a petition that was circulating in opposition to changes in AOL’s email service. (AOL said it was a “glitch”).

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Posted in Security, Unknowns, US, Volume 2603 | Leave a Comment »

Terrorist Material Bill 2007 amends classification act so that material that “advocates the doing of a terrorist act” must be refused classification

Posted by gasweek on 9 October, 2007

Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck moved an amendment in the Senate on 20 September 2007 to alter existing legislation on classifications to restrict access to material “advocating terrorism”. The motion concerned the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (Terrorist Material) Bill 2007.

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Posted in Security, Volume 2603 | Leave a Comment »

Indefinite detention on undisclosed grounds is “the stuff of nightmares”, British judge says: US Supremem court may decide whether “war on terror” is a real war

Posted by gasweek on 9 October, 2007

The Pentagon has said it hopes eventually to put up to 80 detainees on trial for war crimes by special military commissions. Even if acquitted, they may still be held as enemy combatants for the rest of the “war”, reported The Economist (6/10/2007, p.61).

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Posted in Defence, Security, UK, US, Volume 2603 | Leave a Comment »

Eye in the sky: Tiny video cameras, small enough to fit in the palm of a hand attached to tail feathers of 18 crows

Posted by gasweek on 9 October, 2007

Tiny video cameras, small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, were attached to the tail feathers of 18 crows. With their lenses pointing out between the legs of the birds, the cameras captured colour footage of the crows foraging for food. The scientists, led by Dr Christian Rutz, from the university’s Depart­ment of Zoology, found that the birds employed a surprisingly wide range of tool materials, including sticks and grass-like stems. One crow used at least three different tools for probing loose material on the ground for about 45 minutes — a foraging technique not observed before, reported The Courier Mail (6/10/2007, p.24).

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Posted in Security, Unknowns, Volume 2603 | Leave a Comment »

Facebook, MySpace could become targets of new fed government bill blocking access to overseas sites blacklisted by federal police commissioner; blanket IP bans lack subtlety

Posted by gasweek on 5 October, 2007

Popular networking websites such as Facebook could become inadvertent targets of a new federal government bill blocking access to overseas sites blacklisted by the federal police commissioner, reported The Australian (25/9/2007, p.6). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Australia, Defense, Gas, Security, Unknowns, Volume 2603 | Leave a Comment »

Jury of 15 to sit on trial of nine men caught in Australia’s biggest anti-terrorism sweep: conspiring “to do acts in preparation of a terrorist act”

Posted by gasweek on 4 October, 2007

NSW was expected to pass legislation allowing an expanded jury of 15 to sit on the trial of nine men caught in Australia’s biggest anti-terrorism sweep, wrote Michael Pelly in The Australian (24/9/2007, p.3).

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Posted in Defense, NSW, Security, Volume 2602 | Leave a Comment »

6 September: Israel air-raid on Syria, hit Syrian facility, near Turkish border; joint operation with US on unknown target?

Posted by gasweek on 3 October, 2007

Israel’s decision to attack Syria earlier this month came after Israel shared intelligence with President George Bush indicating that North Korean nuclear personnel were in Syria, according to US Government sources, reported The Age (22/9/2007, p. 17). Unlike Israel’s destruction of an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, Israel made no announcement of the recent raid and imposed strict censorship on reporting by the Israeli media.

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Posted in Israel, Security, Syria, Volume 2602 | Leave a Comment »

Great Wall of Sydney can be seen for five kilometres around the CBD at 2.8 metres high with 5 tonnes of concrete footings

Posted by gasweek on 2 October, 2007

The Great Wall of Sydney could be seen for five kilometres around the CBD according to Deirdre Macken of The Australian Financial Review (18/8/2007, p. 27).

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Posted in Australia, Defense, NSW, Security, Volume 2602 | Leave a Comment »

Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews’ defiance in face of Federal Court’s decision an example of unfortunate attitude many Australian politicians have subscribed to over past decade

Posted by gasweek on 2 October, 2007

According to Greg Barns, a member of the Tasmanian Independent Bar, Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews just doesn’t get it, reported The Australian (24/8/07, p. 37).

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Posted in Defense, Security, Tasmania, Volume 2602 | Leave a Comment »

Squads of heavily armed, anti-terror police now targeting Aus dissent, claims Australia Institute chief

Posted by gasweek on 2 October, 2007

In a recent ‘Quarterly Essay’, David Marr told the disturbing story of the treatment of a number of young men in Sydney who were arrested for events that occurred at the G20 demonstration in Melbourne last year, wrote Clive Hamilton, executive director of the Australia Institute, in The Sydney Morning Herald (7/92007, p.27).

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Posted in Australia, Defense, NSW, Security, Volume 2602 | Leave a Comment »

Danger of return to 1950s, when ASIO watched anyone regarded as vaguely left-wing, warns Australia Institute chief

Posted by gasweek on 2 October, 2007

We were in danger of returning to the dark days of the 1950s and ’60s when ASIO, armed with excessive powers, carried out surveillance of anyone regarded as vaguely left-wing, including peace groups, anti-war activists and women’s groups, wrote Clive Hamilton, executive director of the Australia Institute, in The Sydney Morning Herald (7/9/2007, p.27).

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Posted in Australia, Defense, Security, Volume 2602 | Leave a Comment »

Alleged German terrorists call UK numbers; months of surveillance leads to raids

Posted by gasweek on 2 October, 2007

Terrorists planning a massacre in Germany on the anniversary of the 11 September 11, 2001 attacks, phoned Brit­ish contacts as they plotted, reported The Mercury (7/9/2007, p. 16).

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Posted in Defense, Security, Volume 2602 | Leave a Comment »