ABC raid over Afghan Files atrocities allegations ‘chilling’ for freedom of press

The Afghan Files
The Afghan Files ... How the ABC reported a "Defence leak exposing deadly secrets of Australia’s special forces" in 2017. Image: Screen shot of ABC/PMC
The Afghan Files
The Afghan Files … How the ABC reported a “Defence leak exposing deadly secrets of Australia’s special forces” in 2017. Image: Screenshot of ABC/PMC

Café Pacific blog

AN Australian police raid on public broadcaster ABC this week risks having a chilling effect on freedom of the press, its editorial director says.

Pacific Media Watch reports that police officers left the ABC’s Sydney headquarters more than eight hours after a raid began over allegations it had published classified material, according to RNZ News.

It related to a series of 2017 stories known as The Afghan Files about alleged misconduct by Australian troops in Afghanistan.

READ MORE: Why the raids on Australian media present a clear threat to democracy

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ABC editorial director Craig McMurtrie told RNZ Morning Report the message the raids sent to sources and whistleblowers who wanted to reveal things in the public interest was concerning.

“We’re concerned obviously about a chilling effect it has on freedom of the press,” he said.

The stories, by ABC investigative journalists Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, revealed allegations of unlawful killings by Australian special forces in Afghanistan and were based on hundreds of pages of secret Defence documents leaked to the ABC, reports Pacific Media Watch.

McMurtrie said the ABC believed it had acted lawfully and stood by its reporters, reports RNZ News.

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  1. The notion of press freedom and holding power to account died decades ago.

    I once offered the author of this piece to do a story on the known “facts” of the 9/11 crime which ushered in the bogus global war on terror of which the Afghan Files or Hit and Run are mere specks of red in an ocean of blood and carnage. My offer was refused.

    Everyone including the so called alternative press is a gatekeeper for some interest…

    Now deceased Michael Meacher Environment Minister in Blair’s UK Cabinet makes clear from.public sources in this September 2003 article why the War on Terror is bogus. He goes on to address the NeoCon Zionist think tank Project for a New American Century (PNAC) 2000 report Rebuilding Americas Defenses (RBA) and its prophecy about a catalysing and catastrophic event such as a new Pearl Harbour to galvanise US power and militarism – one year later 9/11…

    And still the muppets hide under their mushrooms..

    Who dares wins… no daring seen anywhere on the so called left flank

    • @ GREG.
      That was a very interesting read. Thanks for posting the link.
      And none of its contents surprises me.
      The mere fact that few mention building seven. Ever. It was the third building that simply fell over. That, in itself, must seem weird in the extreme for those who trust, and rely upon a bent U$A msm.
      Zionists, steeped in a sense of archaic entitlement will stop at literally nothing to stand alone on our planet to claim it for themselves.
      An alarming rise in global viral incidents, space tourism and now a NASA go-ahead to build moon bases?
      This from @ GREG’s link. Dated Sept 06 2003.
      “…The document also calls for the creation of “US space forces” to dominate space, and the total control of cyberspace to prevent “enemies” using the internet against the US. It also hints that the US may consider developing biological weapons “that can target specific genotypes [and] may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool”….”
      When heads of state and the CEO’s of corporations start ‘touring’ space? It’d probably be a good time to head for the hills. Or shack up with a bunker person. Or kiss your arse goodbye.
      The deeply chilling thing is the fact that ‘arseholes’ are taking over the world.
      John Walker. Arseholes. A theory.

      • Oh FFS, refusing to publish conspiracy BULLSHIT is hardly in the same vein as the State using force to intimidate the media!!!

        You two and your 9/11 conspiracy mates need to get your feet on the ground

        It’ll be fucking flying saucers next!!!

  2. We have had similar police raids here in NZ, the worst being the Tea Pot tapes raids – worse because the issue was patently trivial, and looked like John Key was just being a bit of a bitch and the cops being used to enable him.

    The Herald on Sunday and TV3 News, and maybe other news sources, were subjected to a waste of police time conducting searches when even a Hosking would have known that Key and Banks hadn’t anything much to say to each other in that place then.

    That Key’s victim sued him for defamation and settled out of court is beside the point.

    The ABC raids are chilling – and probably a waste of time anyway as the Afghanis appear to have the alleged crimes committed on their tragic soil well documented. But that may be beside the point too, and the current Australian scenario the police being used as a political tool as they seem to have been here too, several times, under the previous govt.

  3. One can only hope that the ABC were vociferous supporters of Wikileaks right to publish? If not, welcome to Julian’s world.

    • Sorry no, that is a foolish & 100% irrelevant question. Why? IMO just like the sleazy hypocrites at the graun and NYT regarding Mr Assange, there is no chance that anyone working for the ABC or News Ltd, which was raided the day before on a different alleged ‘official secrets’ matter will ever be prosecuted for anything.
      They are not the target, their sources for the two stories are who the AFP and the Oz parliament (the labor opposition have been really wishy-washy on this – Lionel Murphy is long dead, the price he paid for standing up to ASIO either long forgotten or paid quiet heed) are the targets.

      Maybe not the the old sources of these two old stories, so much as future ‘whistleblowers’.
      The bloody conflicts which both Oz and Aotearoa have been balls deep in this century, have not claimed automatic support and therefore loyalty, from citizens.

      Consequently the ptb enforcers, ie the security services along with that mob of truly incompetent arselicking bureaucrats, the Australian Federal Police aka AFP, have been tasked with shutting down leaks which could reveal the islamaphobic butchery conducted across the ME for exactly what it is.

      That means punishing those concerned citizens who had the courage to stand up to the corrupt system. The news organs which published these stories will be left alone. That, for the same reason that altho both stories are two years old, the raids weren’t conducted until two weeks after the Oz general elections.

      Elections are not a time to have a section of the citizenry pissed, there is never a good time for any careerist pol to get the tv news plus the fishwraps pissed.

      Consequently both sides played the game. In return for guarantees that no staff member would be prosecuted, ABC IT staff assisted the AFP to trawl through their entire database hunting down connections to the articles in question – plus in all likelihood, any other subject which the government enforcers were also interested in.

      They spent more than 8 hours searching and gathering data by trawling news databases, phone logs and car & cabcharge vouchers.
      Unless ABC journos have become remarkably more competent with security, I have no doubt the sources will have been blown.

      Shades of the Intercept which has managed to ‘accidentally’ give up 3 sources in the last little while. At least one of those poor buggers copped a slotting up and the other two likely eventually will also.


      The Intercept’s excuse is that they are owned by Pierre Omidyar, cryptofacsist in neolib camo, billionaire and major owner of both eBay and PayPal, he gave the Intercept $50 mill seed money at kick off and still plays a major role in editorial direction. IMO that joint is nothing more than a well funded honeypot designed to apprehend concerned citizen ‘leakers’.
      Of course the masthead bigwigs such as Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Laura Poitras play the unwitting dupe role up to the hilt but afaik Poitras is the only one who stood up to Omidyar, unfortunately too late as the 90% of the Snowden documents which remained unpublished, were turned over to the Intercept and there they will stay until hell freezes over no doubt, always ‘unpublished’.

      Airhead Ardern is up to exactly the same scam with he Macron guff.

      Google has caved following last weeks threat of an anti-trust investigation and a quick glance at

      shows the baby has gone with the bathwater, along with holocaust deniers, all manner of contrarian views have been ruthlessly suppressed. Should anyone succeed in complaining loudly enough to be heard that anti-vax, anti gm food, freedom for Palestine, etc are legitimate points of view for debate, they will be dismissed as anti-semites who deny the deaths of jews in Nazi Germany.

  4. It would appear the OZ Deep State is claiming they have to keep their secrets to impress their 5 Eyes partners.

    Apparently this means covering up war crimes and prosecuting those who reveal them, Manning, Assange etc.

    Sounds like a criminal cartel silencing witnesses by intimidaition.

  5. On a par with the cops ‘doing over’ Nicky Hager’s house.
    Very frightening laws they appear to have in Australia now around whistle blowing.

  6. Sorry. Not sorry.
    What do you do when you fly-spray the flies in the room?
    You leave the room. That, is what you do. You fucking leave the room.
    Space. Station. Tourists. View. Looking down as we die in torrid hoards? Climbing over one another trying to get that last gasp of clean air through the vent hole. That was a metaphor and will hopefully remain so.
    Is that the Bankster mantra? “Work, will set you free!” The word ‘Mortgage’ literally translates to ‘Debt until Death.’
    Where else was it written: “Arbeit macht frei”
    Just askin’?
    Here’s what you do. Crush the Banksters. They did this. They do this to us daily. Nightly. And likely in a parallel universally.
    One more thing. If it looks like an arsehole, walks like an arsehole, talks like an arsehole, smells like an arsehole, dips into your life and steals your shit like an arsehole, manipulates your politics and sells you out into debt until your death like the arseholes they are, lies, cheats and steals then blames You when YOU go off the fucking rails as the enjoy saying “I told you so” on the corrupted MSM they corrupted like the arseholes they are… Then they’re probably arseholes. And as Billy Connelly once famously said. “ Never trust a fart. “ And I think most people now know that farts come out of arseholes. And yes, sometimes with shrapnel. Beware of the common arsehole. They’re not your friends.
    RNZ. Arseholes.

  7. Sad, the world leaders do not care about human rights anymore, (or rules to protect human rights for that matter)…

    “Hong Kong’s independent legal system was protected under the laws governing the territory’s return from British to Chinese rule 22 years ago and is seen by the financial hub’s business and diplomatic communities as its strongest remaining asset amid encroachments from Beijing.

    But the city’s independence – which is supposedly guaranteed until 2047 – has been slowly eroding, particularly since Xi Jinping took over as leader of the Communist Party in 2012.”

    And in Russia

    Russian journalist Ivan Golunov ‘beaten by police in custody’

  8. This is so related to the WikiLeaks story. It’s the Deep State versus journalistic freedom. I’m surprised that the jornos weren’t branded as serial rapists by the rest of the compliant media. Why? Read this, every senior person running WikiLeaks has been branded as a sex offender.
    And the useful fools of the politically correct brigade swallow it, hook line and sinker.

  9. Since Trump’s election we’ve seen a rise in the far right, attacks on LGBTQI, and the reactionary Deep State attempting to suppress the media

    These are troubling times when a supposed Western “democracy” uses tactics from Vladimir Putin’s handbook

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