Tag Archives: Timor Leste

Australia/Timor Leste: Labor MP Julian Hill criticises Witness K prosecution

September 18, 2018

MP says attorney general hasn’t justified his support for action against the Timor-Leste spying whistleblower

Julian Hill

The Labor MP Julian Hill has implicitly criticised the prosecution of the former spy Witness K and his lawyer, Bernard Collaery, telling caucus colleagues the attorney general has failed to justify his decision to support the legal action.

Hill raised a number of concerns about the prosecution in the Labor caucus on Tuesday in the first major-party criticism of the controversial case, which centres around the two men blowing the whistle on Australia’s spying on Timor-Leste.

The Victorian MP asked whether the shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, could provide an update on the legal proceedings, and whether the case would be tried in open court.

According to people present at Tuesday’s meeting, Hill expressed concern about the ongoing failure of the attorney general, Christian Porter, to give reasons for supporting the prosecution.

Hill said Labor had supported a tranche of national security reforms partly on the basis that the package included a safeguard that the attorney general consent to certain prosecutions, but the attorney general had then proceeded with a prosecution without providing detailed explanation.








https://www.rtp.pt/noticias/mundo/tribunal-de-camberra-inicia-julgamento-de-delator-de-escutas-em-timor-leste_n1098522 (PORTUGUES)


Australia/Timor Leste: Witness K, Bernard Collaery case to make first court appearance

September 12, 2018

Bernard Collaery addresses the media during a press conference on the East Timor spy scandal, at Parliament House in Canberra in June.

The case of a former Australian spy and his lawyer charged with conspiring to breach intelligence laws will be held in open court, for now.

However, the spy known only as Witness K and barrister Bernard Collaery’s first appearance on the summons has been listed on Wednesday in the ACT Magistrates Court at the highly unusual time of 4.15pm.

The Canberra Times understands the government wanted to have the court closed, but court registrar Jayne Reece said at this stage the proceedings are open to the public.

Ms Reece said the matters had been listed at 4:15pm to suit the availability of Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker.

The charges against the spy and Mr Collaery come more than a decade after Witness K exposed a 2004 Australian bugging operation by the Australian Secret Intelligence Service.











Australia/Timor Leste: ‘Witness K’ lawyer Bernard Collaery got jail warning from Government over book months before being charged in Timor-Leste spy case

August 28, 2018

Bernard Collaery looks directly at the camera, with his arms crossed. He's wearing a navy blue suit and pink tie.

The lawyer who helped expose an Australian spying operation on its ally Timor-Leste was given a chilling warning by the Federal Government, just months before charges were filed against him for breaches of the Intelligence Services Act.

In a legal letter obtained by the ABC, Bernard Collaery was warned that if he disclosed secret information about the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) in his book, due to be published next year, he could face “a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment”.


The letter from the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS) warns he does not have approval to make “broader disclosures about ASIS staff members and ASIS activities, much less to the world at large”.

It points out Mr Collaery agreed to particular rules — including a “secrecy undertaking” — so that he could legally represent an Australian spy.

Mr Collaery and his client, the former intelligence agent known as Witness K, are due to face court next month over allegations not contained in the letter.

The pair is accused of conspiring to communicate secret information to the Government of Timor-Lestesome time between May 2008 and May 2013.

Mr Collaery is also accused of sharing information with ABC journalists about the 2004 operation which saw Australia bug Timor-Leste’s cabinet room during maritime boundary negotiations over oil and gas reserves worth an estimated $40 billion.

Those conversations allegedly occurred after the December 2013 raid on Mr Collaery’s office, where a legal brief was seized.







Australia/Timor Leste: Jose Ramos-Horta Criticises Prosecution Of Witness K And Bernard Collaery

August 13, 2018

Former Timor-Leste president Jose Ramos-Horta has called upon the Australian government to drop the prosecution against former Australian Secret Intelligence Services (ASIS) Agent, Witness K, and his lawyer, Bernard Collaery. Ramos-Horta joins a chorus of human rights organizations and activists to condemn the case, including Human Rights Watch and the Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (MKOTT).

On June 2, 2018, Australian MP Andrew Wilkie used Parliamentary Privilege to reveal that the pair were being prosecuted for their involvement in revealing the Australian bugging of Timor-Leste offices during negotiations of a treaty. Wilkie’s revelation, in conjunction with recent protest, raises the question; what precedent does the prosecution establish for future whistle-blowers? Is the prosecution fair? And ultimately, how does the case characterize Australia? In considering these questions, this article will first consider the historical context of the prosecution, before considering the Ramos-Horta’s arguments against the case and its broader implications.

In 2004, ASIS planted listening devices in the cabinet office of Timor-Leste to gather information concerning negotiations of the Timor Sea Treaty which determined exclusive economic zones within the Timor Gap. This area, rich in oil and natural gas worth forty billion dollars, is highly contested. At the time, the division of territory favored Australia. According to a court summons detailed in The Guardian, Witness K ‘unlawfully communicated’ this bugging to Collaery, who in turn notified several journalists.








Australia/Timor Leste: Jose Ramos-Horta calls on Australia to drop prosecution against Witness K and lawyer Bernard Collaery

Composite of two men.

Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president of East Timor Jose Ramos-Horta says charges should be dropped against two men who exposed Australia’s spying operation on the East Timor cabinet room during a lucrative oil and gas deal in 2004.

Canberra lawyer Bernard Collaery and former intelligence agent Witness K are facing prosecution on charges of breaching the Intelligence Services Act five years after details of the operation were initially reported in the media.


Mr Ramos-Horta was the foreign affairs minister for East Timor while the sensitive oil and gas negotiations were taking place in 2004 and served as president for the fledgling nation from 2007 to 2012.

“Witness K and the barrister Bernard Collaery did not commit an act of treason in a situation of war between Australia and China or Australia and North Korea,” Mr Ramos-Horta told the ABC.