Willheim, Ernst: The saga of Bernard Collaery and Witness K continues

Ernst Willheim

The saga of Bernard Collaery and Witness K continues‘, Pearls and Irritations, 28 August 2019 updated

Extensive notes for a speech given to the Australian Institute of International Affairs, Canberra, 27 August.

[The speech] is about Australian commercial espionage,

-Using Australia’s overseas intelligence agency ASIS to place listening devices in the walls of the cabinet office of Australia’s neighbour, Timor Leste, in the course of bilateral treaty negotiations

-seizing the passport of a witness to prevent the witness giving damning evidence against Australia in an international arbitration

-using Australia’s domestic intelligence agency ASIO to raid the offices of the solicitor acting for Timor Leste and seize the Timor Leste brief

-and now there is every indication of a secret trial

It is also about Australia’s unwillingness to accept a rules based order, by

-withdrawing from the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice

-obstructing international arbitration proceedings

-objecting to compulsory conciliation proceedings.

And for good measure I will touch on some important constitutional principles,

-the fundamental importance of openness in judicial proceedings and

-and the constitutional principle of freedom of political communications.

Willheim provided input to the Four Corners program on the Witness K affair. Also relevant is Anthony Whealy in Nine Newspapers and Clinton Fernandes in Crikey. Willheim has also written on the history of ASIO and the treatment of John Burton, accused of being a communist.

Update 2 December 2019: More from Willheim on the Witness K-Collaery case, plus another secret trial in an ACT court.

Updated 18 October 2019: Willheim unsuccessfully applied to be an amicus curiae in the case.

Update 10 November 2019: Apparent censorship of volume of official war history on the East Timor intervention.

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