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Australia Spies On Soldiers

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    Military spying on soldiers By Cameron Stewart and Michael McKinnon July 31, 2004 http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,10296384
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 2, 2004
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      Military spying on soldiers
      By Cameron Stewart and Michael McKinnon
      July 31, 2004
      http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,10296384
      %255E601,00.html

      MILITARY police have stepped up the war against rogue soldiers in the
      ranks by eavesdropping on private telephone calls and emails, and
      using electronic tracking devices to monitor the movements of people
      and vehicles during investigations.

      The hi-tech covert surveillance, revealed in confidential defence
      documents, means military police are now catching crooked soldiers by
      employing methods similar to those used by the civilian police and by
      ASIO.

      The Howard Government is expected to further beef up the powers of
      the nation's 673 military police as part of efforts to improve the
      troubled and much-maligned military justice system.

      An Australian Defence Force-commissioned report recommending tougher
      investigatory powers for military police has been completed amid
      growing concerns about drug use and bastardisation in the ranks.

      The report by Ernst & Young, which has not yet been considered by the
      Government, coincides with a sweeping Senate inquiry into the
      effectiveness of the country's military justice regime.

      But defence documents obtained by The Weekend Australian under
      Freedom of Information laws reveal that the military police have
      already acquired a raft of Orwellian capabilities to monitor rogues
      in the ranks.

      A confidential review of the investigative capability of the military
      police, conducted by consultants Fulcrum Risk Services in June 2003,
      found that "(military police) investigation practices have become
      increasingly dependent on technology".

      "This has meant that covert electronic means of tracking people and
      vehicles (and) telephone interception to 'eavesdrop' on telephone
      conversations (both fixed and mobile), facsimiles, email exchanges
      and internet access have become standard features of high level
      investigation.

      "Of more recent origin (is) satellite technology to supplement these
      actions."

      The review concludes that more needs to be done and that the military
      police battalion will "require significant technological upgrades".

      The introduction of hi-tech investigation techniques for the military
      police follows the scathing 2001 Burchett inquiry, which found
      Australia's military police were badly equipped and poorly trained to
      investigate rogue soldiers.

      The Burchett inquiry was commissioned after a flurry of bashings
      during 1997-98 in the Sydney-based 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian
      Regiment.

      The 2003 Fulcrum review said military police had traditionally been
      poorly perceived by many regular troops, who gave them the "dark side
      treatment".

      "The Military Police Battalion occupies the same position within the
      army as Internal Affairs does in the police forces ... in current
      parlance, mate against mate.

      "This has significant consequences for leadership, as (the MP
      Battalion) is required to simultaneously give powerful support to
      field units, while ensuring that the internal police arm is not given
      the "dark side" treatment."

      The review calls for Australia's military police to eventually be
      linked to international risk management groups that have access
      to "secret-level computer technology" for clients. "They provide
      audio and visual forensic expertise and deal with exhibits and court
      proceedings on behalf of their clients, including England's
      Metropolitan Police."

      The Senate inquiry into the military justice system, which is
      expected to make its interim report in September, was set up in
      October last year amid concerns about a spate of suicides of young
      people in the ADF. These included 20-year-old trainee soldier Jeremy
      Williams, who hung himself after he was left to languish in a
      rehabilitation platoon, whose soldiers were victimised.

      Other shortcomings were revealed by the treatment of RAAF air defence
      guard Nathan Moore, who was bashed and victimised by colleagues after
      he blew the whistle on drug use at Queensland's Amberley RAAF base in
      2002.

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