#AceSecurityNews says that a `Secret Document’ obtained by `NYT‘ reveals that the #NSA has gathered private communications of `US‘ lawyers with their clients in the `Indonesian Government‘ involved in a `Trade Dispute with Washington”
With help from the Australians, the NSA has gathered private communications of US lawyers with their clients in the Indonesian government involved in a trade dispute with Washington, a secret document obtained by the New York Times reveals.
The document provided by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden exposes NSA activity in monitoring an American law firm at a time when it was representing the Indonesian government during its trade talks with counterparts from the US.
Titled “SUSLOC (Special US Liaison Office Canberra) Facilitates Sensitive DSD Reporting on Trade Talks” the document did not specify which trade case was being monitored by Australian intelligence through the so-called Five Eyes network that includes, Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand.
The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) offered to share with the NSA the information about monitored communications between Indonesian government officials and the unnamed US law firm, according to the February 2013 document.
“I always wonder if someone is listening, because you would have to be an idiot not to wonder in this day and age,” Duane Layton, a Mayer Brown lawyer involved in the trade talks told NYT “But I’ve never really thought I was being spied on.”
US intelligence officials have repeatedly claimed the NSA is not targeting American citizens and businesses without a warrant and not using its Five Eyes international network as a loophole.
But the new leak confirms that US firms providing services to foreign clients can never be sure they aren’t being spied on. Last year, the US States Supreme court dismissed such fears as “speculative theory” of “hypothetical future harm,” refusing to let Americans challenge a provision in a foreign intelligence law that lets the NSA conduct secret warrantless surveillance on any US citizen as long as they are suspected of conversing with any foreigner.
According to 2009 procedural guidelines for the NSA, when a US citizen becomes an intelligence target, the agency is required to adhere to rules to protect the target’s privacy, for instance removing the identity of the American or data that does not add to the intelligence probe before sharing it with other agencies.
Australians have been long cooperating with the NSA, focusing on the Asia region, mainly China and Indonesia. Last November is was revealed that they worked side by side on a large-scale joint surveillance operation on Indonesia during the 2007 UN climate change conference in Bali.
The intelligence report Australia offered to share could contain “information covered by attorney-client privilege,”the spying agency warned the NSA liaison office in Canberra. Upon receiving guidance from NSA general counsel’s office, the Australian agency has been encouraged to continue their surveillance of the talks “providing highly useful intelligence for interested US customers.”
It remains unclear who those “interested customers” might be.
The new documents reveal that Australia obtained almost 2 million encrypted master keys from the Indinesian Telkomsel mobile network, and colleagues from NSA have helped ASD decrypt them.
The Australian Defense Force public affairs office maintains that all intelligence is collected under strict legal guidance and is vital for supporting national interests, echoing the US officials’ narrative.
p style=”text-align:center;”>Meanwhile, the NSA when reached by the New York times about the new leaks “declined to answer questions.”
#AceWorldNews says Australia apologized to Indonesia on Friday for naval breaches of Indonesian territory, Reuters reported. The breaches happened as Canberra stop boats carrying would-be asylum seekers from entering its waters. Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison had been told earlier this week about the “inadvertent breaches” on multiple days and immediately informed the Indonesian navy. A formal apology would be issued by Australia’s embassy in Jakarta on Friday. Indonesia downgraded its relations with Australia in November as a result of spying allegations.
#AceWorldNews says Asylum-seekers transferred from Australia to Pacific island processing centres, including survivors of torture and trauma and unaccompanied children, are living in arbitrary detention and harsh physical conditions that do not meet international standards, the United Nations refugee agency reported today.
Two reports by the UNHCR detailed continuing concerns voiced several times over the past 15 months with the centres on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG) where Australia has sent thousands of refugees who have braved the dangerous sea crossing from Indonesia after fleeing conflict, persecution or poverty in the Middle East and Central and South Asia.
“While UNHCR understands Australia’s determination to respond robustly to the challenges of people smuggling and to dissuade people from undertaking dangerous irregular travel by sea, those responses must not neglect the compelling protection needs, safety and dignity of the individuals affected,” the agency’s Director of International Protection, Volker Türk, <“http://www.unhcr.org/52947ac86.html“>said in Geneva.
“These reports must be seen in the context of what UNHCR has observed to be a sharp deterioration, during the course of the year, in the overall quality of protection and support available to asylum-seekers and refugees who come to Australia by boat.”
The reports (available at: http://unhcr.org.au/unhcr/) called for pre-transfer assessments in Australia to consider the specific needs of vulnerable individuals, including the elderly, survivors of torture or trauma and the disabled. A realistic assessment must also be made of the actual quality of support and capacities of service providers at the centres. No children or families should be sent to PNG and unaccompanied children already there should be returned to Australia.
“In both Nauru and PNG, UNHCR was deeply troubled to observe that the current policies, operational approaches and harsh physical conditions at the centres not only do not meet international standards, but impact very profoundly on the men, women and children housed there,” UNHCR Regional Representative, Richard Towle, said on releasing the reports in Canberra, Australia’s capital.
He stressed that they do not provide a fair and efficient system for assessing refugee claims, do not provide safe and humane conditions of treatment in detention, and do not provide for adequate and timely solutions for recognised refugees.
The centres, Australia’s so-called ‘Pacific solution’ to the influx of refugees, were first opened in 2001, but closed at the end of 2007. The policy was resumed again last year.
The report on Nauru acknowledges some positive developments since UNHCR’s last visit in March but also cites significant setbacks in processing and worsening reception conditions. Despite a processing system being in place under Nauru law, only one decision has been handed down in the 14 months since the centre reopened.
In PNG no decisions at all have been finalised, the report on Manus said. While some improvements were observed since the last inspection in June, physical conditions, slow processing and lack of clarity regarding safe and sustainable solutions are likely to have a serious negative effect on the refugees’ health and welfare.
UNHCR called on all three states not to transfer children, particularly those who are unaccompanied, unless and until there has been a marked improvement in conditions in both centres.
New York, Nov 26 2013 4:00PM
- [USA] Australia’s transfer of asylum-seekers to Pacific islands faulted in UN reports (islandsbusiness.com)
- UN says work to be done at detention centres (radionz.co.nz)
- UNHCR reports harsh conditions and legal shortcomings at Pacific Island asylum centres (trust.org)
- UNHCR slams Aust asylum seeker treatment (news.com.au)
- Australia’s Pacific camps for asylum-seekers troubling: UN (channelnewsasia.com)
- UN alarmed over conditions in asylum-seeker camps in Nauru and PNG (abc.net.au)
- Detention centres inhumane: UN (theage.com.au)