The Blog of Karwalski

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Month: July, 2012

FOI Release: No ‘official’ communication between AG and MasterCard regarding WikiLeaks blockade

A follow up to my blog in April, What is the connection between MasterCard, ALP and the WikiLeaks Banking Blockade

Last month I sent a freedom of information request to the Attorney-General Department, I used specific details and a small time-frame to ensure it would get knocked back for being not specific enough.

The following were my requests.

Please send me the date and time of any meetings involving both the Attorney-General the Hon Robert McClelland (including his department staff) and Mastercard Australia’s Vice President David Masters which were scheduled between the dates of November 27 2010 to December 31 2010.

Please send me the minutes of any meetings in which Julian Assange or WikiLeaks were discussed by any parties including both the Attorney-General the Hon Robert McClelland (including his department staff) and Mastercard Australia’s Vice President David Masters which were scheduled between the dates of November 27 2010 to December 31 2010.

Please send me any email, or other electronic messages in which Julian Assange or WikiLeaks were discussed by any parties including both the Attorney-General the Hon Robert McClelland (including his department staff) and Mastercard Australia’s Vice President David Masters which were scheduled between the dates of November 27 2010 to December 31 2010.

Please send me any mailed letters in which Julian Assange or WikiLeaks were discussed by any parties including both the Attorney-General the Hon Robert McClelland (including his department staff) and Mastercard Australia’s Vice President David Masters which were scheduled between the dates of November 27 2010 to December 31 2010.

Please send me any facsimiles in which Julian Assange or WikiLeaks were discussed by any parties including both the Attorney-General the Hon Robert McClelland (including his department staff) and Mastercard Australia’s Vice President David Masters which were scheduled between the dates of November 27 2010 to December 31 2010.

Today I received their decision on my FOI request, as follows;

I am, pursuant to arrangements approved by the Secretary of this Department under section 23(1) of the Act, authorised to make decisions on behalf of this Department, in relation to this matter.
Having made extensive searches and enquiries within the Department, I have been unable to locate any documents that are revelant to your request. I am obliged, therefore, to refuse your request under section 24A of the Act. That section allows an agency to refuse a request if all reasonable steps have been taken to locate the documents sought and it is satisfied that the documents either do not exist or cannot be found. On this occassion, I am satisfies that all reasonable steps have been taken to locate documents, and that this Department is not in possession of any documents which fall within the scope of your request.

The decision was made by Leatah Coutts, Assistant Director, Freedom of Information & Privacy Section, Office of Corporate Counsel, Attorney Generals Department.

The decision would indicate no official communications or meeting were scheduled between the pair, however this does not rule out any possibilities of private meetings or phone calls between the pair.

I grabbed a small section of hay and ran a magnet over it in hope of finding the needle.. Not going to give up on this one, just start using more inventive ways of locating the needle in the haystack.

… And hope my MasterCard still works when I go to buy the groceries…

Australian National Security or Out of Control Spy Agency

I have not been watching very closely, but I did pick-up the joint-parliament committees on the calendar on the aph.gov.au website a few months ago, and spotted the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security had a scheduled meeting. I knew nothing more of it and made a brief mention of it in a question to the PM on ABC’s Q&A TV series in regards to oversight and transparency. Little was I aware (like most Australians) of the major reforms they are proposing to national security. I am no expert in the field, but I do call on all experts to read the papers put forward by the committee and make a submission as soon as possible! The deadline for submissions is Monday August 6th (thats 4 weeks from the date of this post).

Discussion papers can be found here – http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=pjcis/nsl2012/index.htm

On the 8th June 2012 (for the 11th of June episode of ABC’s Q&A with Julia Gillard) although not aired on national TV, I asked the following in a video question;

Prime minister Gillard, My question is regarding freedom of information and the intellegence agency, ASIO. Jokingly someone recently told me that ASIO probably has a file on me. I laughed it off at first, but the curious person I am, I did some digging, and sure enough discovered that in plain english in the FAQ Section of the ASIO website that not only is the agency exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, they are also exempt from the Privacy Act, meaning they can obtain citizens private information from any agency or organisation without them knowing or having the oppertunity to dispute. Weather I be a Assylum Seeker, WikiLeaks supporter, Anti-coal activist or everyday citizen, A system with no proper oversight or transparency is deplorable. And before you answer that Inspector General you appointed has oversight, recent senate committes and upcoming submissions show quite the oposite. How can every day Australians be given a fair-go, when your ‘spy agency’ is out of control?

You can watch the video on ABCs website (poor quality audio) http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/video-questions.htm#id=3e4bc5d8-9585-4ca1-9131-8c0e944bec1d