HomeНовости и политикаRelated VideosMore From: Sydney Copwatch

A.S.I.O. EYES GREEN GROUPS

4 ratings | 313 views
AUSTRALIA'S leading counter-terrorism agency has been providing intelligence to the federal government on environmental groups that campaign against coalmining. The Australia Security Intelligence Organisation's politically sensitive monitoring of the campaigners comes after Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson warned that protests at power stations and coal export terminals could have ''life-threatening'' consequences and ''major trade and investment implications''. Security officials have suggested privately that environmental activists pose greater threats to energy infrastructure than terrorists. But confirmation that ASIO has been monitoring and advising on security issues arising from such activism is likely to cause tensions between federal Labor and their parliamentary allies, the Australian Greens. Greens leader Bob Brown said yesterday it was ''intolerable that the Labor government was spying on conservation groups'' and condemned the ''deployment of ASIO as a political weapon'' against peaceful protests. ''Martin Ferguson is incorrigible. But it's not just Ferguson. It's the cabinet, it's the Labor government that's happy to use the police and ASIO against community groups, against ordinary people, on behalf of foreign-owned mining corporations,'' he said. Senator Brown said he would urgently take up the issue with the government, adding that former Labor attorney-general and civil libertarian Lionel Murphy ''would be spinning in his grave''. The Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism on Tuesday confirmed ASIO's role in advising on security issues relating to protests against coalmining when it refused to release under freedom of information a December 2010 ministerial brief on the possible disruption of energy infrastructure by protesters. The document has been wholly exempted from release because it contains sensitive information exchanged between federal, state and territory governments, and classified information derived from ''an intelligence agency document''. ASIO is exempt from freedom of information laws and is described on its website as ''the only agency in the Australian intelligence community authorised in the normal course of its duties to undertake investigations into the activities of Australian persons''. Other FOI documents confirm that Mr Ferguson pressed then attorney-general Robert McClelland in September 2009 to see whether ''the intelligence-gathering services of the Australian Federal Police'' could be used to help energy companies handle increasing activity by coalmining protesters. Mr Ferguson was particularly concerned about protests at the Hazelwood power station in Victoria, warning that ''protests such as this can lead to unlawful activity designed to directly compromise the delivery of essential services to Australians''. ''The risk of protest-related disruptions in the energy sector is likely to continue in the near future ... these disruptions pose a real threat to the reliable delivery of electricity and other essential services,'' he said. Such disruptions ''at critical times can have serious, and at times life-threatening, repercussions across the community''. Mr McClelland confirmed in reply in November 2009 that the AFP ''continually monitors the activities of issues-motivated groups and individuals who may target establishments through direct action, or action designed to disrupt or interfere with essential services''. Mr McClelland also highlighted the role of ASIO ''in intelligence gathering, analysis and advice in relation to protest activity [that] focuses on actual, or the potential for, violence''. He said that ''where warranted, ASIO advice may take the form of security intelligence reports, notification of protest action or threat assessments''. Other documents released under FOI have been heavily redacted to prevent disclosure of methods for ''preventing, detecting, investigating and dealing with illegal disruption to critical energy infrastructure'' - 12 April 2012.
Html code for embedding videos on your blog
Text Comments (3)

Would you like to comment?

Join YouTube for a free account, or sign in if you are already a member.