Wikileaks Reveals Super Injunction Blocking Reporting On Massive Australian Corruption Case Involving Leaders Of Malaysia, Indonesia & Vietnam

from the no-free-press-for-you dept

We've written about the problems of so-called super injunctions in the past (though mainly in the UK). This legal process not only keeps certain details under wraps concerning a lawsuit, but actually forbids the media from reporting on anything related to the case at all. Such a thing would be clear prior restraint and not allowed in the US, but apparently is considered legal in other parts of the world. However, Wikileaks has now revealed what appears to be a super injunction against reporting on a massive corruption case in Australia, involving the leaders of Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam, along with people at Australia's central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia:
The super-injunction invokes “national security” grounds to prevent reporting about the case, by anyone, in order to “prevent damage to Australia's international relations”. The court-issued gag order follows the secret 19 June 2014 indictment of seven senior executives from subsidiaries of Australia's central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). The case concerns allegations of multi-million dollar inducements made by agents of the RBA subsidiaries Securency and Note Printing Australia in order to secure contracts for the supply of Australian-style polymer bank notes to the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and other countries.

The suppression order lists 17 individuals, including "any current or former Prime Minister of Malaysia", “Truong Tan San, currently President of Vietnam", "Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (also known as SBY), currently President of Indonesia (since 2004)", "Megawati Sukarnoputri (also known as Mega), a former President of Indonesia (2001–2004) and current leader of the PDI-P political party" and 14 other senior officials and relatives from those countries, who specifically may not be named in connection with the corruption investigation.

The document also specifically bans the publication of the order itself as well as an affidavit affirmed last month by Australia's representative to ASEAN Gillian Bird, who has just been appointed as Australia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations. The gag order effectively blacks out the largest high-level corruption case in Australia and the region.
It's the reasoning given that's most troubling:
The purpose of these orders is to prevent damage to Australia's international relations that may be caused by the publication of material that may damage the reputations of specified individuals who are not the subject of charges in these proceedings.
It's difficult to see how that's a legitimate reason to completely hide the entire case from public view, when it appears to cover a variety of important matters of which the public should be aware. If some people may be embarrassed about this, even as they're not subject to the charges in the proceedings, then they should easily be able to explain that fact. There are lots of lawsuits that will embarrass some people (even those not directly subject to the case). But we don't hide them when they deal with everyone else. The decision to do it here really smacks of the "high court" / "low court" distinction between the treatment those in power receive vs. what those not in power do.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 30th, 2014 @ 7:18am

    Meanwhile in the Ecuadorian embassy somewhere in the world...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2014 @ 9:15am

    Yet another case of "national embarrassment" becoming "national security". I call bullshit.

     

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  3.  
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    vegetaman (profile), Jul 30th, 2014 @ 9:38am

    Damn, that almost sounds like a more blanket and catch all excuse than national security... Because of "inter-national security"!

     

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  4.  
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    Groaker (profile), Jul 30th, 2014 @ 9:38am

    Secret cases in the US

    Such cases are also reputed to occur in the US. They can be found by searching for missing docket numbers. There are secret laws, secret trials, secret convictions, and secret punishments.

    I have seen multiple references to same. I can not vouch for the integrity of the following source, but it tells a similar story to those I have seen a number of times few times.

    "After we came up with 469 missing criminal cases and 65 missing civil cases over the five-year period, we presented the intake records clerk with a list of the missing docket numbers. He entered a dozen or so in his computer and confirmed that the cases were completely sealed from the public — and were being kept off the docket.
    "The case you specified is SEALED and you are not authorized to see it," the computer on clerk Mike Darby's desk told him.
    That's because only certain docket clerks — Darby is not one of them — have access to the section of the computer system used for docketing hidden cases.
    And where do the case files of these super-secret cases go? In D.C.'s District Court, they go to what everyone in the courthouse calls "the vault," though they declined to elaborate."

    http://www.rcfp.org/browse-media-law-resources/news-media-law/news-media-and-law-winter-2 006/finding-hidden-dockets

     

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  5.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Jul 30th, 2014 @ 9:44am

    sure do hate those Super Injunuction <

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Jul 30th, 2014 @ 9:58am

    Re: Secret cases in the US

    I wonder if this has something to do with why they wanted to nail Aaron Swartz so bad...

     

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  7.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 30th, 2014 @ 10:11am

    Ahem

    The purpose of these orders is to prevent damage to Australia's international relations that may be caused by the publication of material that may damage the reputations of specified individuals who are not the subject of charges in these proceedings.

    AS opposed to the damage caused by a failed cover up - which is ALWAYS bigger. (There's a name for that effect isn't there...)

     

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  8.  
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    Padpaw (profile), Jul 30th, 2014 @ 10:12am

    They don't need that in America, there they just control the media to report what they want them to or they don't get paid. What government doesn't love having complete control of their nations main stream media aka propaganda.

     

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  9.  
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    Richard (profile), Jul 30th, 2014 @ 10:13am

    Re: Ahem

    Why do governments always seem to behave like a gambling addict? Whenever they lose they just up the stakes and roll again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Groaker (profile), Jul 30th, 2014 @ 10:13am

    Re: Re: Secret cases in the US

    What makes you think that the Schwartz case is involved in this? I ask out of genuine curiousity.

    I believe that the numbers referred to only apply to the cases in the DC District, though it is likely that there would be more such instances in DC per capita than in other areas. But it has clearly been going on for quite some time.

     

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  11.  
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    Groaker (profile), Jul 30th, 2014 @ 10:19am

    For those preferring a more formal analysis of missing docket numbers, hence secret trials, convictions and punishments, see "The California Law Review."

    please note that tinyurl does not seem to work on this humongous URL, and I am unaware of any other mechanism for shortening same. So I am afraid that the interested reader must copy and paste.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=7&cad=rj a&uact=8&ved=0CFQQFjAG&url=http%3A%2F%2Fscholarship.law.berkeley.edu%2Fcgi%2Fviewcontent .cgi%3Farticle%3D1249%26context%3Dcalifornialawreview&ei=BCbZU6imCsKyyATioYHgCQ&usg=AFQjCNGr Cc-xx16ZegLL91fxwZ5IVI1kOA&sig2=-5botND3AUPW_mtCaPznKg&bvm=bv.71778758,d.aWw

     

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  12.  
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    SolkeshNaranek (profile), Jul 30th, 2014 @ 10:21am

    Now that the cat is out of the bag...

    Engage Streisand effect warp factor 9.

     

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  13.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Jul 30th, 2014 @ 10:29am

    Wow. As obnoxious as the super-injunction is, I can't help but give some props to the Australian government on this case. At least they have the good sense to put powerful bankers on trial when they commit massive crimes.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Karl, Jul 30th, 2014 @ 10:47am

    Re: Secret cases in the US - nope

    Congrats, you've discovered the juvenile justice system, where cases are sealed not to feed your tin-foil wrapped agenda, but to protect these kids from being dogged all their life for foolish youthful choices. Not all secrecy is intended to allow the gov't to steal your vital essence.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2014 @ 10:50am

    exactly why the 'right to be forgotten' was brought in in the EU! certain high ranking people have done things that are/were extremely questionable and embarrassing and those concerned want to keep their identities secret. if any ordinary person had done similar, not only would their name(s) be plastered all over the press and the tv, they would have been punished suitably as well and that would have been reported too! this is just another way of the rich and powerful being able to keep what they have been up to and how, in most cases, the ordinary people have been fucked over by them, instead of being made to pay the consequences of their actions.
    think back a few months to who was in the press over dressing in Nazi uniforms. now think of what new law has been implemented in the EU and who has just filed with Google to 'be forgotten'. i'll bet what you like that he was the main reason it happened and the guy 'who won the case' was just the figure head!

     

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  16.  
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    DogBreath, Jul 30th, 2014 @ 11:13am

    Re:

    Shortened link with TinyURL:


    http://tinyurl.com/lp6zxem

     

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  17.  
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    Groaker (profile), Jul 30th, 2014 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re: Secret cases in the US - nope

    I take it by your statement that you haven't bothered to read the first couple of paragraphs of the "California Review Article." Kindly do so before making such statements.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Groaker (profile), Jul 30th, 2014 @ 1:35pm

    Thank you for shortening the link. It is not something I do often, and it didn't seem to want to shorten anything over 256B for me.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2014 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Ahem

    Why do governments always seem to behave like a gambling addict? Whenever they lose they just up the stakes and roll again.


    Because they're playing with other people's money?

    Really... the only risk to them is having their political reputation damaged.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jul 30th, 2014 @ 8:20pm

    These are quite normal ESPECIALLY from the State of Victoria where this order was allegedly created.

    Interestingly though since the order is ONLY from a Supreme court in one State it has absolutely no bearing on ANY other state's system especially when ALL communications is specifically a Federal jurisdiction.

    therefore

    "The prohibition on publication in order 1 applies throughout Australia." is basically voidable and untenable. The courts in Victoria have tried this before, the most famous one being an order stopping a TV series from airing Australia Wide. That never worked and only stopped Victorians from watching the series (Underbelly) or purchasing the DVDs within Victoria. Interestingly Victorians found a way around that stupidity by torrents etc. whodathunkit

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2014 @ 8:56pm

    Re:

    As part of the Commonwealth, I hope Canada does not have "the right" to have such Super-Injunctions, Stephen Harper controls EVERYTHING that happens since he is in a majority government, would make Abbott seem like moderate centrist(i love that meaningless term).

     

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  22.  
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    Josh, Jul 30th, 2014 @ 10:32pm

    Not like people didn't know about it anyway

    I didn't know about the "super injunction" but I'd heard about this corruption around bank note printing from people around me talking about it. Not something I paid that much attention to at the time, but news was out there, even if not in the papers and so forth.

     

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  23.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 12:49am

    Re:

    Our own media (well Fairfax at moment) is now spreading FUD about how "social media" users could now be prosecuted and extradited to Victoria if they live in other Australian States.


    http://www.smh.com.au/national/social-media-users-could-be-charged-for-sharing-wikileaks-stor y-20140730-zye0b.html


    The stupid IT BURNS!!!!

     

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  24.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 4:10am

    Perhaps if we stopped letting them get these silly orders, they might stop and consider if what they are getting involved with might go poorly.

    Secret legal proceedings, hiding facts, protecting reputations.... these are not good reasons.

    At some point perhaps they should figure out the more they try to hide by gripping it tightly the more slips from their fingers as we wonder what they are hiding and peek.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 4:50am

    Re:

    Governments tend to be a little 'slow' when it comes to adapting to changes, give them a couple of decades and they might catch on to how people are no longer limited to getting their news from a handful of sources, and can instead investigate, and fact check, things for themselves, something that makes the standard 'Hide it and lie if questioned' tactic a really bad idea, for the very reason you mentioned.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 5:02am

    Re: Re:

    That's not stupid, that's desperation, an attempt to clamp down on the story before it spreads far and wide enough to completely destroy the effectiveness of the SI, rendering it moot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 5:04am

    Re:

    Out of curiosity, what was so bad about the show that they'd try something that extreme in an attempt to block it's viewing and sale?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 5:15am

    what are the chances that this racket has something to do with establishing palm oil farms on butchered national parks? Locals have no means of seeding such ventures.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    Jingle, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 6:16am

    Re: Re:

    Because they did not want to have these criminals glorified and made out to be ok.Good show tho

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
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    Aussie Geoff (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 6:32am

    Re: Re:

    There was nothing bad about the series. The "problem" was that most of the remaining, major criminals involved in Victoria's underworld and drugs syndicates (approx 38-40 were killed) were on trial and the the court did not want the jurors to be influenced by the series.

    Of course the series distorted the facts for "dramatic" reasons anyway.

    The ban was useless. It was televised and sold everywhere else in Australia. I bought the series and mailed to my brother-in-law who lives in Melbourne. I really doubt I was the only person in Australia that did that or something similar.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Ive always laughed about Underbelly especially the later series.

    "The following dramatisation is based on truth..except for the 99% of it that isn't"

    Though you have to admit the nudity was ubiquitous in it ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    Jonathan Lam (profile), Jul 31st, 2014 @ 11:17am

    Beware of the 1.1 million bidder

    I am sure Mr. Keith's tactics is worth a million; because My data was lost in the wind after it miss the half million mark and I and my clients won't pay. Our system burned down after appeal in trial. Paulson of the Nerds and prodigy child by Obama is coming short on ethics.

    Payoff or worms would eat up your everything.....
    There is always another 1.1 million bidder; and you are on your own then.......

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Davy de Verteuil, Aug 7th, 2014 @ 9:44pm

    Aussie Corruption

    Australian gov't blanket on corruption case is to seek political& business concessions personal & probably state wise from any "country" it courts deem "guilty"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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