One thing an oppressive system needs is the ability to put the oppression into practice. (ikners.com A Joomla site)
You usually think of prisons, police, the army, intelligence groups and propaganda when that thought comes to mind. But very often what does the job superbly is an equally oppressive legal system. In the the recent ASIO trial in the ACT what the system can do is get the law applied in stricto sensu. That is to the last letter, in its strictest sense. So that it did not matter that the information passed on may heve been of vital concern to the Australian public, the passing of the information made out the offence.
There is an article you can read at The Jack Blog that is also an example of this. In that blog, which became extremely popular the actions of police were made known to the public. The blogger was in fact a police oficer and he was relaying information that he was directly aware of. Enter The Times, they had worked out the bloggers true identity and wanted to make that public.
What the judge appears to have said was the material in the blog was effectively out in the open and the public had a right to know who the author was because he was breaching the regulations as well. A nice piece of legal logic. But there are and will be a huge number of people who could have breached all sorts of regulations etc but who can let others know how often it is being done and by who. Many people may even feel that a public servant who has that sort of information should be able to make it public.
The legal system recognises the value of what is often called an informer. In some instances a person who wants to ‘spill the beans’ escapes any prosecution and gives the evidence. In other cases the informer pleads guilty to also being part of the offence allegedly committed by the accused and gets a reduction in penalty. But the blogger who does the same thing is not subject to the control and supervision of the system that is where the oppression starts.
You do not have to place the material on the net, telling a few friends over drinks would be enough to create the same problems. It is an example of the mayhem and madeness the system wants to avoid when the real position is being revealed in other than a controlled environment.
I wonder how long it will take for a similar case to happen here.
The ASIO trial is another example and the Federal Government was pushing for a sentence of imprisonment regardless of the value of the information put at large.
The result was..”Justice Malcolm Gray sentenced both men to 12 months’ imprisonment yesterday, with Seivers to serve six months in periodic detention and O’Ryan three months.
Seivers had been a junior member of an ASIO team in mid-2003 assigned to provide material to a Senate inquiry into the deadly bombings.
He handed three documents to O’Ryan, who sent them to The Australian newspaper in October 2004.
During his trial, he said he had taken the documents home inadvertently, while O’Ryan said he had come across them by chance while cleaning the house.
The trial heard the ASIO papers contained intelligence assessments that in the months before the October 2002 attacks, Indonesian Islamist groups were planning attacks on nightclubs frequented by Westerners, which the terrorists dubbed ”sin spots”.
It seems that what they did in the end was an act with ‘external’ consequences.
In handing down the sentences yesterday, Justice Gray said the disclosure of the information could have put at risk the confidence of other intelligence organisations in ASIO’s ability to protect sensitive information, and that Seivers would have been aware of these consequences.
What that may mean is if you work for a bank and know the bank is creating a fraudulent or even risky scheme, and you disclose that you are undermining the ability of other organisations to depend on the confidentiality of your bank’s information. That maybe far fetched, but consider the position where you have signed a document of employment saying you will not disclose confidential information. You are dead in the water which ever way you go according to the UK judge and heading for gaol ACT style. Why because you on the UK version have also acted in the manner you are disclosing and on the ACT version you would have known the effect of what you had done.
The real oppression will get into top gear if a court decides that confidential information could probably includes almost anything you may learn at the bank or wherever you work. You can dress it up, make it smell nice, comb its hair but it is still fairly naked oppression.
ikners.com A Joomla site ikners.com A Joomla site ikners.com A Joomla site