Thursday, 31 July 2014

A secret court suppression order? You have to be joking!

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in December 2013 there were 12.3 million Internet subscribers in Australia, of which 9.6 million connections were for home use.

In practical terms, this meant the odds on keeping secret the super-injunction imposed by court less than two months ago were slim at best.

So it should have come as no surprise that on 30 July 2014 ABC News online, SBS online, Crikey online and The Sydney Morning Herald all reported that a suppression order been released by Wikileaks.

Overseas media picked the story up and quickly parted the veil of secrecy:

The Guardian UK quotes from and gives date of the super-injunction.

MSN Malaysia News names the Australian companies, foreign countries and broad titles of foreign politicians involved, plus other details.

The Malay Mail Online states the number of heads of state and top government officials covered by the suppression order, as well as naming specific individuals in quotes. from Ireland broadly outlines the order.

The Sun Daily from Malaysia outlines the allegations, the number of persons indicted, outlines the suppression order, states the number of foreign politicians and officials covered by the order, mentions some of the politicians/officials titles.

A short Google search based on these articles revealed national/international media reports naming those since charged or other details going back as far as 2007, a still available 2011 Four Corners program on the matter now before the court, video interviews with some of the people who were in that program, a 2011 public statement by the Reserve Bank, as well as the name a journalist from The Age facing contempt of court charges in 2013 for reporting certain facts relating to the matter now before the court.

Hansard records for the Australian Parliament show that the allegations were mentioned/ debated on a number of occasions between 2009 and 2012.

The Abbott Government may wish to keep secret the current matter before the court (as it is obvious from news articles that the issue at hand had its roots back in Iraq in 1998 during the period the Howard Government was in power here) however it would be foolish of it to hope that there will not be mention in the international media of evidence coming before the court on future hearing days.

Because the court, albeit unwittingly, unleashed the Streisand Effect in its full glory and soon there will be nowhere left for the truth to be hidden.


The Guardian 30 July 2014:

Human Rights Watch in New York has been drawn to comment on the Victorian orders, with general counsel Dinah PoKempner saying:
The gag order published by WikiLeaks ... is disturbing on its face as it suggests the Australian government is suppressing reporting of a major corruption scandal to prevent diplomatic embarrassment. The embarrassment of diplomatic partners is not the same thing as a threat to national security, or to the integrity of the judicial process.

The Australian government’s attempts to protect international relations by suppressing details of a sensitive court case in Victoria appeared to have backfired, prompting Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to demand an explanation.
Apparently in response, the Australian government released an extraordinary statement late on Thursday saying that the “Indonesian President and the former president are not the subject” of court proceedings which Australian media outlets are otherwise banned from reporting.
A blanket suppression order prevents Fairfax Media and other Australian outlets reporting the contents of the Victorian Supreme Court case, an affidavit in the case, or even the suppression order itself. The order was sought to protect the reputation of international leaders.
But the order was published on international site WikiLeaks, where it can be read.
After the document was uploaded, Dr Yuhoyono insisted that Australia immediately clarify why his name had been mentioned in such a context.
"I ask that Australia issue a statement that both [former president] Megawati [Sukarnoputri]] and my names are unstained, and so they do not defame other Indonesian officials. We want to hear directly from Australia," Dr Yudhoyono said, as reported by news portal Viva.
Late on Thursday, the Department of Foreign Affairs put out a statement headlined: “Suppression orders: Securency court proceedings”, saying the case “names a large number of individuals” but that “the naming of such figures in the orders does not imply wrongdoing on their part”.

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