United States NSA role in censoring British daily Guardian


This video from Britain is called Revealed: the day the Guardian destroyed Snowden hard drives under watchful eye of GCHQ.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

NSA chief knew of Snowden file destruction by Guardian in UK

Revelation contrasts markedly with White House efforts to distance itself from UK government pressure to destroy disks

James Ball

Friday 11 July 2014 11.10 BST

General Keith Alexander, the then director of the NSA, was briefed that the Guardian was prepared to make a largely symbolic act of destroying documents from Edward Snowden last July, new documents reveal.

The revelation that Alexander and Obama’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper, were advised on the Guardian‘s destruction of several hard disks and laptops contrasts markedly with public White House statements that distanced the US from the decision.

White House and NSA emails obtained by Associated Press under freedom of information legislation demonstrate how pleased Alexander and his colleagues were with the developments. At times the correspondence takes a celebratory tone, with one official describing the anticipated destruction as “good news”.

On 20 July 2013, three Guardian editors destroyed all copies of the its Snowden material held in London (video), under the supervision of two GCHQ staff following a period of intense political pressure in the UK.

The decision to destroy the UK copies of the material was taken in a climate of advancing legal threats from Cabinet Office and intelligence officials. The Guardian and its publishing partners, which included the New York Times and the not-for-profit news organisation ProPublica, held other copies of the material in the US, and continued reporting revelations from the documents.

When the Guardian revealed it had destroyed several computers a month later in August, the White House spokesman Josh Earnest initially remarked it was hard to “evaluate the propriety of what they did based on incomplete knowledge of what happened” but said it would be hard to imagine the same events occurring in the US.

“That’s very difficult to imagine a scenario in which that would be appropriate,” he concluded.

However, heavily redacted email correspondence obtained by AP reporter Jack Gillum shows senior NSA officials celebrating the destruction of the material, even before it had occurred.

An email to Alexander from Rick Ledgett, now deputy director of the NSA, has the subject line “Guardian data being destroyed”, and is dated 19 July, a day before the destruction of the files. Most is heavily redacted, but Ledgett remarks: “Good news, at least on this front.”

A day later, hours after the material was destroyed, Alexander follows up with Ledgett, asking: “Can you confirm this actually occurred?”

Later that day, Clapper emails Alexander under the same subject line, saying: “Thanks Keith … appreciate the conversation today”.

The remainder of the emails are redacted, including the subject lines in many cases, meaning it is unclear who from the British government briefed the senior NSA and White House staff on the destruction, or whether US officials had any input to the decision to encourage destruction of journalistic material.

A spokeswoman for the Guardian said the revelation of the US-UK correspondence on the destruction was disappointing.

“We’re disappointed to learn that cross-Atlantic conversations were taking place at the very highest levels of government ahead of the bizarre destruction of journalistic material that took place in the Guardian‘s basement last July,” she said. “What’s perhaps most concerning is that the disclosure of these emails appears to contradict the White House’s comments about these events last year, when they questioned the appropriateness of the UK government’s intervention.”

The GCHQ declined to respond to AP’s requests for comment on the email exchange.

Also from the Guardian today:

The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control

At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US, says whistleblower William Binney – that’s a ‘totalitarian mentality’

Emails obtained by the Associated Press show that top US intelligence officials were well aware of the British government’s plans to destroy hard drives containing evidence of massive state spying against the world’s population that were held by the Guardian newspaper last year. The emails show that US officials not only knew of the plans to destroy the material provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden while doing nothing to stop them, but also encouraged and celebrated the police state activities of the British government: here.

Thailand military dictatorship Internet censorship


This video says about itself:

28 May 2014

Anti-coup protesters in Bangkok managed to capture a Humvee of the Royal Thai Army, Wednesday. They covered the vehicle in anti-coup graffiti and threw litter on its roof.

After the army and protesters had vacated the area, police arrived to clean up the scene and tow the vehicle away.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Dutch people in Thailand warned

Saturday, May 31, 2014, 12:53 (Update: 31-05-14 , 13:42)

Dutch people in Thailand must be careful on social media with statements against the military coup, the Dutch embassy in Bangkok tweets. Nine days ago, the army took over power in politically divided Thailand.

The new rulers yesterday banned sending [so-called] provocative messages through Facebook or other social media. Offenders risk two years in prison.

On Wednesday, Facebook was already unreachable for 55 minutes.

Fleming

On Thursday, police in Bangkok arrested a 42-year-old Fleming because he was said to have criticized the coup. The man, who has lived for several years in Thailand, wore a T-shirt imprinted with Peace Please.

He was released on the same day .

Suppressing

Police and soldiers are present in large numbers in the places in Bangkok where the two political camps during the last six months continuously demonstrated. There is no one to be seen.

In a shopping elsewhere in the city, police arrested a man who to a TV camera briefly showed a sign with the inscription: “elections only.”

Singer Taylor Swift has cancelled a sold-out concert in Thailand after the coup d’état: here.

Class War: Thailand’s Military Coup. Outnumbered by the country’s rural voters, Thailand’s once vibrantly democratic urban middle class has embraced an elitist, antidemocratic agenda: here.

HUNDREDS of demonstrators shouting “freedom” and “democracy” rallied briefly near a shopping mall in the heart of Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, yesterday to denounce the country’s May 22 coup: here.

The Thai military, which seized power in a coup on May 22, is consolidating its rule, clamping down on sporadic protests, arresting opponents and critics and ruling out any elections for at least 15 months: here.

An international workers’ union has declared the Thai government to be “on trial” in an impending defamation case against a British human rights defender who exposed alleged modern-day slavery in its canned fruit and fishing industry: here.

Thailand‘s military rulers say they are monitoring a new form of silent resistance to the coup – a three-fingered salute borrowed from science fiction blockbuster The Hunger Games – and will arrest those in large groups who ignore warnings to lower their arms: here.

Critics charged yesterday that Thailand’s military junta plans to make the country’s constitution less democratic: here.

Thailand’s military is promoting itself as a US ally amid escalating tensions produced by Washington’s military build-up against China: here.

Here are five ways extreme copyright rules can be used to censor the Internet (Thank goodness for @openmedia_ca!): here.

British government censors petition against militarism in Ukraine


This video from the USA, about the NATO summit in Chicago in 2012, is called War Veterans Throw Medals at NATO Summit.

A video from Wales which used to be on YouTube used to say about itself:

27 May 2014

It is less than 100 days to go until the world’s attention is on Wales. It will host the 2014 Nato Summit where more than 60 world leaders will attend. It is said to be one of the biggest events the country will be hosting, but not everyone’s pleased. Cardiff News Plus spoke to Adam Johannes, the Secretary of Stop the War Coalition in Cardiff, about Wales’ economic opportunities with this summit and why they are protesting against it.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Thursday, 29 May 2014

STOP NATO EXERCISES IN UKRAINE!

STOP The War yesterday condemned the government for blocking a petition submitted to its e-petitions website which called for an end to NATO exercises in the Ukraine.

A group of politicians, celebrities and campaigners submitted the petition on 7th May to highlight the participation of UK and US troops on Ukrainian territory in July as part of NATO’s Rapid Trident manoeuvres.

The petition stated: ‘No to Nato military exercises in Ukraine. We note with great concern that UK and US troops will participate alongside Ukrainian troops in joint military exercises on Ukrainian territory in July as part of NATO’s Rapid Trident manoeuvres.

‘Ukraine is not a member of NATO. Its participation in military exercises by a nuclear-armed alliance with a first-strike policy can only further destabilise the situation in the Ukraine, making it more difficult to achieve a political resolution to the crisis.

‘The existence since 1997 of the Rapid Trident exercises, their forerunner Peace Shield, and the associated Sea Breeze naval exercises in the Black Sea, make clear that NATO seeks to include Ukraine as part of its eastward expansion which has been taking place since the end of the Cold War.

‘We call on the UK government to urge the US and other NATO governments to cancel this July’s Rapid Trident exercise, and to give a plain and public undertaking that the UK will not participate.

‘We call on the UK government and the Welsh Assembly to make clear that NATO’s expansionist policies are adding to global instability, and urge everyone to join our protests at the 2014 NATO Summit which is due to take place in Newport, Wales, in September.’

Amongst the signatories are actors Mark Rylance and Miriam Margolyes, Caroline Lucas MP, Baroness Jenny Tonge, Jeremy Corbyn MP, and film director Ken Loach.

On 19th May the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons informed the Stop the War Coalition, the organisation behind the petition, that the Ministry of Defence was responsible for moderating petitions that dealt with the issues raised in the letter.

E-petition guidelines recommend that petitions are moderated within 7 days.

Three weeks after it was submitted, the petition remains censored. No explanation has been offered by the Ministry of Defence, despite an intervention from the Leader of the House of Commons office.

An anti-fascist activist kidnapped by Ukraine’s security forces was released from state captivity yesterday: here.

British UKIP party censoring cat Twitter account


Ukitty logo

By Luke James in Britain:

UKitty? You can’t: Ukip activists shut down feline-loving Twitter rivals

Wednesday 28th May 2014

A TWITTER account ribbing Ukip was shut down today for the 13th time after being targeted by angry racists.

Left activists created the UKitty account last Saturday and have been posting photos of cute cats that also draw attention to the party’s rambling scaremongering.

But soaring popularity saw it become the latest target of Ukip activists’ attempts to shut down dissent.

They flooded Twitter with complaints in what UKitty founder Mike Dicks explained was a co-ordinated online campaign.

Mr Dicks, who works in social media, told the Star: “There’s a limit to how many complaints one user can make but Ukip supporters seem to know how to mobilise to take down an account.

“There must be some level of organisation for this to happen.”

The humourless barrage came just weeks after the Star revealed that police visited the home of a Green Party activist on the orders of Ukip councillors upset at online campaigning against them.

Mr Dicks said UKitty’s campaign remained a “lighthearted” bid to reach out to people mainstream leaders are failing to engage with.

But he explained: “Every time we got into a conversation with anyone from Ukip, to say something like ‘don’t forget the cats’, we get taken down within seconds.

“Twitter is a dangerous battleground for politics at the moment, it kind of feels quite scary.

“If they see us as a threat, people who are seriously opposed to Ukip need to worry.”

The Ukitty account was restored yesterday afternoon.

British government’s Internet censor in child abuse scandal


This video says about itself:

A Simple Question: Internet censorship in the West

10 January 2014

Despite its historic and international reputation for heralding free speech, the United Kingdom has the second strictest censorship of the internet in the European Union.

The UK has a number of laws and policies that restrict the way information can be made public, including some that make it illegal to report on information that the government or corporations are trying to keep secret.

During the London riots, David Cameron ordered the censorship of social networking sites, and his censorship plans have been applauded by China.

Western governments are attempting to put forward laws that further restrict the freedoms of internet usage such as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), Protect IP Act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

These are all argued to be internet filtering systems and policies on a national and international level that stifle the ability of internet users to discuss, question and critique and risks the internet becoming a tool of political and economic power for the ruling elite.

In this edition of the show we talk to British public about the Freedom of Information in the West and ask; why do you think Western governments engage in censorship and make it illegal for the public to share certain information?

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Cameron aide arrested over allegations relating to child abuse images

Patrick Rock resigned as deputy head of Downing Street‘s policy last month on day before arrest

Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent

Tuesday 4 March 2014

A senior aide to David Cameron resigned from Downing Street last month the day before being arrested on allegations relating to child abuse images.

Patrick Rock, who was involved in drawing up the government’s policy for the large internet firms on online pornography filters, resigned after No 10 was alerted to the allegations.

Rock was arrested at his west London flat the next morning. Officers from the National Crime Agency subsequently examined computers and offices used in Downing Street by Rock, the deputy director of No 10′s policy unit, according to the Daily Mail, which disclosed news of his arrest.

No 10 confirmed on Monday evening that Rock had been arrested. A spokesman: “On the evening of 12 February, Downing Street was first made aware of a potential offence relating to child abuse imagery. It was immediately referred to the National Crime Agency (CEOP).

“The prime minister was immediately informed and kept updated throughout. Patrick Rock was arrested at his home in the early hours of 13 February, a few hours after Downing Street had reported the matter. Subsequently, we arranged for officers to come into No 10 and have access to all IT systems and offices they considered relevant.

“This is an ongoing investigation so it would not be appropriate to comment further, but the prime minister believes that child abuse imagery is abhorrent and that anyone involved with it should be properly dealt with under the law.”

The arrest of Rock, 62, who had been tipped for a Tory peerage, will have come as a severe shock to the PM and the Tory establishment.

Cameron and Rock worked together as special advisers to Michael Howard in his time as home secretary in the mid 1990s. Rock later worked for Lord Patten alongside Cameron’s chief of staff, Ed Llewellyn, during his time as a European commissioner in Brussels.

Rock was never a member of Cameron’s innermost circle, whose members are closer to the prime minister’s age. But he was a respected and trusted figure who shared Cameron’s sense of humour.

The Daily Telegraph columnist Benedict Brogan recalled in 2011, when Rock started working in No 10, that he and Cameron repaired to the Two Chairmen pub on the day John Smith died in 1994.

“We both agreed that Blair coming meant that we would be fucked,” he was quoted as saying. Brogan also wrote that Rock coined the phrase: “Cows moo, dogs bark, Labour put up taxes.”

Rock helped to draw up government policy which led to the deal with the internet giants on online filters. Under the deal, all households connected to the internet will be contacted to be asked if they would like the filters installed.

Rock faced embarrassment last year when he was photographed walking up Downing Street clutching a document outlining progress on hundreds of pledges made by the coalition. Ed Miliband said the document, which admitted that some of the 399 pledges had not been met, was an “audit of coalition broken promises“.

Patrick Rock: hard-nosed, influential member of Tory party establishment. The 62-year-old, who has been arrested over allegations relating to child abuse images, was deputy director of policy for No 10: here.

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Australian government censorship about torture


This video from Australia says about itself:

Australia deports Tamil torture victim back to Sri Lanka

2 Aug 2012

On July 26, Tamil refugee Dayan Anthony (formerly known as “Mr X” in Australia in an attempt to protect his identity from Sri Lankan authorities), was deported from Australia. He was handed over to the Sri Lankan intelligence forces – who had held Mr Anthony in custody for years, and had tortured him.

After 16 hours in custody, paraded in front of the media by his captors, he recanted all allegations of torture – despite suffering in Australia from post-traumtic stress found to be from torture, and having suffered a broken back as a result of torture.

Melbourne refugee activists and the Tamil community outline the horror of the Australian government sending a torture victim back to their oppressor – and the battle against such deportations. Get involved with http://rac-vic.org or the refugee action group in your state.

By Mike Head in Australia:

Witch-hunt against Australian ABC escalates over refugee torture allegations

8 February 2014

As evidence continues to emerge indicating that the Australian navy may have assaulted refugees, deliberately causing burns, during operations to force them back to Indonesia, the government is intensifying its witch-hunt of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) for reporting the accusations.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Wednesday demanded that the ABC apologise for broadcasting video footage of the refugees’ badly burned hands and for suggesting that the injuries supported the allegations initially made by asylum seekers to Indonesian police last month. Abbott accused the ABC for its reporting “in ways that were extremely damaging to the professionalism of our military personnel.”

Defence Minister David Johnston went further yesterday, saying he was “absolutely sick to the stomach that this iconic Australian news agency would attack the navy in the way that it has.” Describing naval personnel as “heroes,” he called for an inquiry into the ABC. At the same time he reiterated the government’s refusal to investigate the mounting evidence. In an extraordinary outburst pointing to the xenophobic nature of the government’s campaign, Johnston told the Australian newspaper that the refugees making the complaints were not “even Australian” and were “desperate people.”

The government’s campaign is aimed at defending its “Operation Sovereign Borders” policy, which is in blatant violation of refugees’ right under international law to flee persecution and oppression. More broadly, Abbott and his colleagues are attempting to bully and threaten anyone who dares call into question the use of the military to trample over fundamental legal and democratic rights.

According to the Australian’s foreign editor Greg Sheridan, the Abbott government has “internalised several lessons” from the October 2001 “children overboard” scandal, in which the previous Liberal-National government of John Howard was exposed, by leaks from sailors themselves, after it falsely claimed that refugees had thrown children into the ocean to force the navy to rescue them. The truth was that the navy, under the government’s order, had fired shots toward their boat, which sank the following day, throwing its passengers into the water (see: “Australian navy opens fire on refugee boat”).

The “children overboard” accusations, which were fully backed by the Labor Party, became a turning point in the demonisation of refugees in the lead-up to the 2001 federal election. However the lies unravelled after the election, severely discrediting Howard’s government. Sheridan said the main political lesson drawn by the Liberal Party was that “everybody started leaking” to the media—a practice that had to stop.

Backed by the corporate media, the government is creating an atmosphere of wartime-like censorship in which any criticism of the military is to be forbidden.

The government’s threats to the ABC have been directly facilitated by figures within the broadcaster itself, most notably Paul Barry, the presenter of ABC TV’s “Media Watch” program. On Monday night, Barry proclaimed that the ABC had “got it wrong” and “over-reached” by “essentially endorsing the allegations of Navy mistreatment.”

Barry’s pronouncement reflects the rightward evolution of a layer of erstwhile liberals, who previously opposed the harsh treatment of refugees. They fell into line with the previous former Gillard Labor government which cynically justified its ramped-up “border protection” regime as a humanitarian policy to prevent people dying while trying to reach Australia’s shores. Now these elements are lurching further to the right.

Barry previously acquired something of a reputation for exposing the machinations of the corporate media, writing books on former media proprietors, Alan Bond and James Packer. Now he has aligned himself with a witch-hunt orchestrated by the same forces.

Fairfax Media, a traditional small “l” liberal platform, also weighed in. A Sydney Morning Herald editorial on January 30 declared that “the ABC’s handling of the ‘burnt hands’ claims was at times boosterish” and “damaged Australia’s reputation in the region.”

Likewise, opposition leader Bill Shorten rushed to declare that the Labor Party supports the military, while criticising the government for making the navy’s job “tougher” by keeping its operations secret. Greens spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young took a similar line, complaining that the government’s secrecy was “tarnishing the navy’s reputation.”

The ABC already functions as a reliable conduit for the Australian corporate and political establishment. It initially declined to report the complaints of burns and torture, which first surfaced on Indonesian news sites on January 7, and were published by Agence France Presse the next day. It was only then that the ABC felt compelled to report them—accompanied by vehement denials by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison of any wrongdoing.

The ABC’s supposed “overreach” occurred on January 22, when it published video footage that it noted “appears to back asylum seekers’ claims of mistreatment by the Australian Navy.”

Following Barry’s “Media Watch” verdict, ABC managing director Mark Scott issued a grovelling statement, saying: “We regret if our reporting led anyone to mistakenly assume that the ABC supported the asylum seekers’ claims.” Head of ABC news content Gaven Morris issued an edict to staff, warning them not to “embellish” or add “any flourish” to claims of mistreatment by “Australian border protection forces.”

None of this satisfied the government or the Murdoch press, which want nothing less than the reduction of the ABC to a pure propaganda outfit, giving unquestioned backing to the military. When Abbott was asked whether the controversy had been ended with the ABC’s statement, he replied: “I wonder why sorry seems to be the hardest word for them.”

The government’s opposition to any investigation of the alleged crimes carried out by the Australian military underscores its readiness to abrogate the most basic democratic and legal rights. Behind a blanket of secrecy, what is happening in the waters off the Australian coast is that some of the most vulnerable members of the international working class are being subjected to military detention, physically abused and dumped at sea in flimsy craft.

This is a warning of the kind of reactionary political atmosphere and methods that the government and the entire media and political establishment are preparing against the working class as a whole. There is not one rule for asylum seekers and another for working people at home.

It is no accident that the other supposed “crime” committed by the ABC was to publish former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden’s documents. They reveal not just US-backed spying on the people and governments throughout the Asia-Pacific region, but also the police-state surveillance being carried out domestically, with the US and Australian intelligence networks monitoring the phones and social media activity of millions of people.

The Abbott government is drawing up far-reaching budget cuts to social spending and supporting sweeping attacks on jobs, wages and conditions. The brutal treatment of refugees is a warning of the methods that will be used in the future against the resistance of workers and youth to these attacks on living standards.

The author also recommends:

Australian government joins international witch-hunt of Edward Snowden
[3 February 2014]

In an interview with Sydney Morning Herald journalist Michael Bachelard published yesterday, Sudanese refugee Yousif Ibrahim Fasher provided a further eye-witness account detailing Australian naval personnel physically assaulting and punishing asylum seekers who were attempting to reach Australia by boat: here.

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Australian media threatened over Indonesia spying revelations


This video is called Indonesia condemns Australia’s attempt to spy on president.

By Will Morrow in Australia:

Australian public broadcaster threatened over Indonesia spying revelations

25 November 2013

A week after the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) published revelations of Australian spying on the Indonesian president, his wife and high-level government officials, the public broadcaster faces the threat of a witch-hunt similar to that waged in Britain against the Guardian. The newspaper’s offices were subjected to a police raid and its journalists threatened with arrest, after the British government denounced the publication of material leaked by former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

Last Tuesday, the ABC’s managing director Mark Scott made a previously scheduled appearance before a Senate estimates hearing.

On behalf of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government, South Australian Liberal Senator Anne Ruston used the opportunity to challenge the broadcaster’s revelations that in 2009, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), the equivalent of the NSA, illegally tapped the phones of several figures in Jakarta, including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Ruston challenged Scott as to whether it was “a reasonable thing” to publish the story, given that the documents were labelled “top secret.”

Scott was also told to explain exactly when the ABC received the documents from the Guardian, which decided to jointly publish the ASD spying documents. This followed allegations issued by several right-wing media commentators that the ABC waited until the former Labor government lost office in the September 7 election before releasing the material. Scott denied this, stating that the NSA leaks were published within days of the ABC receiving them.

The next day, former Liberal Foreign Minister Alexander Downer furiously denounced the ABC and the Guardian in an op-ed in the Murdoch-owned Australian. He approvingly quoted the head of Britain’s MI6 spy agency saying that Al Qaeda was “lapping up” the Snowden revelations.

The British intelligence chief’s comments were particularly ominous given that the accusations fell under the extremely broad category of “assisting terrorism,” which the Obama administration claims provides it with the authority to illegally detain and assassinate any person. In an attempt to intimidate and criminalise all forms of political dissent, the White House orchestrated the sentencing of whistleblower Chelsea (Bradley) Manning to 35 years in jail for the release of WikiLeaks cables and Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, and is seeking similar or worse sentences for Snowden and WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange.

Abbott has pointedly refused to issue a public apology or explanation for the spying operations on the Indonesian president. In a carefully-worded statement to parliament last Tuesday, Abbott made it clear that he regarded the ABC-Guardian publications as the problem, not the spying itself. He declared that he “sincerely regret[s] any embarrassment that recent media reports have caused him [Yudhoyono].”

Right-wing media figures in the Murdoch press and other corporate stables have backed the government and urged it to go further. In the Fairfax-owned Australian Financial Review last Friday, Chris Joye denounced the leaking of “lawful communications intercepts programs, which we’ve been undertaking for 70 years” and suggested that the ABC violated Section 79 of the anti-democratic Australian Crimes Act, under which individuals face up to seven years’ imprisonment for publishing official secrets.

Andrew Bolt, radio “shock jock” and blogger with the Murdoch Herald Sun, responded to Joye’s article with the question: “Should Mark Scott and the Guardian Australia’s Katherine Viner not then be charged?… The media, not Abbott, have now damaged our relationship with Indonesia by revealing news against the national interest about activities that were in the national interest.”

The Australian’s Chris Kenny argued the ABC and the Guardian “breached national security for no good end,” while Rita Panahi for the Herald Sun declared that the public broadcaster was “unnecessarily antagonising the Indonesians” and demonstrated a “callous disregard” for the effect of its stories. Fairfax Media’s Miranda Devine declared that “the ABC recklessly provided cover for the Guardian on a story that has damaged Australia,” adding: “If the Abbott government can’t see that the ABC needs reining in now, it never will.”

West Australian Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi called for the ABC to be stripped of a government contract for the Australian Network international television broadcasting service. This demand was enthusiastically welcomed by the Murdoch press, which previously denounced the former Labor government for denying the contract to the part-Murdoch owned Sky News. Bernardi told the Australian: “Given the ABC’s preparedness to publish stolen top-secret documents that impact upon our national security, one needs to question whether they are a suitable organisation to be operating an important diplomatic outreach.”

The ABC responded to the government-media campaign with craven pleas that it had taken into account considerations of the “national interest” and “national security.” Head of policy Alan Sunderland insisted in comments to Crikey that the ABC “always needs to balance the need to publish and broadcast in the public interest with a range of other considerations, including national security.” Managing director Scott told the Senate committee that he had cleared the documents with “appropriate authorities” and redacted some of them in accordance with these authorities’ demands.

The threats against the ABC are intended to intimidate editors and publishers from releasing further documents detailing the criminal operations of the Australian state internationally. The furore over the Indonesian spying affair expresses the Australian ruling elite’s acute concern over the implications of the Snowden leaks for Australian imperialism, both domestically and internationally.

Indonesian President Yudhoyono recalled the country’s ambassador to Australia and formally suspended military and intelligence cooperation between the two countries. The diplomatic tensions have damaged the strategy of US and Australian imperialism to encircle China militarily as part of the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia. Indonesia is vital to these plans due to its possession of key naval shipping lanes that the Obama administration has identified as “choke points” for cutting off Chinese access to raw materials in the event of a war.

At the same time, the Australian ruling elite is acutely aware of the hostility within the Australian population to the electronic surveillance revelations and the widespread support for Snowden and other whistleblowers. Snowden revealed that Australia, as part of the “Five Eyes” alliance with the US, plays an integral role in the Washington-led illegal spying on ordinary people around the world.