The Meeting Place

The grim story the Government didn't want you to read

Yesterday, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) raided the house of journalist Annika Smethurst in relation to reporting that the Federal Government was considering spying on Australians.

This raid has been backed up today with a raid on the ABC offices in Sydney by the AFP over a series of 2017 stories known as The Afghan Files in which hundreds of pages of secret defence forces documents were leaked to the ABC exposing deadly secrets of Australia’s special forces.

The Afghan Files are confronting and a bad look for the Federal Government and the defence force. There's little surprise that the leaking of these documents would have angered some politicians and high-ranking defence servicemen and servicewomen.

Without the leaking of these documents, there is a likelihood that a large number of these incidents would never have seen the light of day until our invasion of Afghanistan was long forgotten.

Do you feel the whistle-blower was justified in releasing these documents to the ABC? Are you concerned with the actions of the AFP to raid journalists over whistle-blower journalism?

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Don’t start the revolution yet please. It’s always good to have some facts at the ready before jumping to conclusions.

The raid at the ABC was not unplanned and should not have “surprised” anyone at the ABC. I blame all the hype by the media as having a field day as usual...perhaps there is nothing exciting to report about Meghan or Donald.

It's understood the ABC and the AFP have been in talks about the search warrant since September last year! As far as I am aware, the ABC knew the AFP were arriving on Wednesday.

The ABC  say it stands by its journalists and will protect its sources. That’s good to know..however..a crucial point is not being discussed and that is..the police were pursuing an alleged breach of section 79 of the Crimes Act, which at the time of the article's publication related to the communication of official secrets.  Unfortunately, that legislation did not contain exemptions for journalists. Maybe, just maybe the AFP were doing their job?

The publication of stories in 2017 that accused Australia's elite special forces in Afghanistan of killing unarmed men and children is very serious. The person who leaked classified information has a lot of explaining to do. Hope he's got some good answers.

Image result for david william McBride

David William McBride, a former military lawyer and captain in Britain's elite Special Air Service, is himself a whistleblower and is at the centre of Australian Federal Police raids on the ABC's Sydney headquarters on Wednesday.

Mr McBride was arrested at Sydney Airport in September last year and was named on Wednesday alongside three ABC journalists in the AFP's search warrant, which covers a raft of documents believed to be in the possession of the national broadcaster, including handwritten and digital notes relating to the four men as well as to a range of organisations and broad topics, including "Afghanistan" and "The 7.30 Report".

McBride, former legal adviser to Australia's special forces in Afghanistan, does not dispute that he leaked material to the ABC that formed the basis of a 2017 report called "The Afghan files", which revealed allegations of serious misconduct by Australian troops in Afghanistan including potential unlawful killings of unarmed men and children.

Mr McBride was charged in September last year with theft of Commonwealth property, namely war crimes investigation files, and three counts of breaching the Defence Act. He was also charged under old secrecy provisions in the Commonwealth Crimes Act.

Mr McBride, who said in March he is "not afraid of going to jail", has been committed to stand trial on the charges in the ACT Supreme Court. He is currently on bail and if found guilty, he faces a potential lengthy prison term.

Forgot about McBride. According to the New Daily he faces 60 years in jail for espionage if convicted.

I don't understand the claim about the AFP wanting to gag journalists needlessly. John Lyons was allowed to send out tweets for seven hours without a problem!

Hi Sophie, not much to add to your informative and intelligent post. Thank you. I am glad you mentioned Section 79. I’ll go into a little more detail.

3.115   Section 79 of the Crimes Act creates a number of offences relating to the use or disclosure of official secrets. A version of s 79 formed part of the first Crimes Act in 1914 and was based on provisions of the Official Secrets Act 1911 (UK). While s 79 deals with the disclosure of defence or security information, there is also significant overlap with the general secrecy offence in s 70.

3.116   By way of background, the Criminal Code Amendment (Espionage and Related Matters) Act 2002 (Cth) repealed and replaced the espionage offences originally in pt VII of the Crimes Act. The Criminal Code Amendment (Espionage and Related Offences) Bill 2001 (Cth) was initially intended also to repeal and replace s 79 of the Crimes Act with updated provisions in the Criminal Code, although the new provisions did not exactly replicate s 79In particular, the new offence of ‘receiving certain information’ did not require the person to know or have reasonable grounds to believe that the information was communicated in contravention of the espionage or secrecy provisions.

3.117   The new provisions were criticised on the basis that they would interfere with freedom of speech and prevent public discussion of important issues of public interest. As a result, the provisions intended to replace s 79 were removed from the Bill. 

3.120   Section 79 operates as both a general and a specific secrecy provision, depending on the kind of information disclosed.

3.122   The information covered by s 79 can take the form of a ‘sketch, plan, photograph, model, cipher, note, document, or article’. ‘Article’ is defined to include ‘any thing, substance or material’; while information is broadly defined to mean ‘information of any kind whatsoever, whether true or false and whether in a material form or not, and includes (a) an opinion; and (b) a report of a conversation’. Receiving information knowing or having reasonable ground to believe, at the time when he or she receives it, that the information is communicated to him or her in contravention of s 91.1 of the Criminal Code or s 79(2)—maximum penalty seven years imprisonment.

While both offences apply to Commonwealth officers who disclose information without authority, s 79(3) extends to subsequent disclosure of information by ‘any person’. Further, s 79(4), (5) and (6) applies to conduct other than disclosure, including the unauthorised retention or receipt of information.

Most journalists  heard of sections 70 and 79 of the Crimes Act although some pretend it doesn’t exist. Section 79 makes it a crime for officials to retain, disclose or communicate a government document (or any sketch, plan, photograph, model, cipher or note) without authorisation; again with a penalty of two years imprisonment and up to seven years if the offence is carried out with "intention of prejudicing the security or defence of the Commonwealth or a part of the Queen's dominion".

Even less well known are sub-sections 79 (5) and (6) which make it a crime to receive a leaked document if the recipient knew or was reckless to the fact that the disclosure was made without authorisation. The recipient potentially faces two years imprisonment, and again seven years if they knew the disclosure was intended to be prejudicial to Australia's security or defence.

Some argue it's a very old law and changes should be made. Both the ALP and LNP had more than ample opportunity to do so but neither saw any reason to, an now with the events we are facing in the world, this law is even more relevant.  Sorry my post seems a bit jumbled, bedtime here, at least for moi!

In addition Kristina Keneally should read up on this before she opens her big mouth. 

Being so 'Woke', Kristina Keneally knows that feelings always trump facts and evidence.  Then there is her ambition and Ms Keneally is focussed on her next glittering prize.  There could be a parallel with the destruction of Don Chipps' Democrats in the making.


Thank you for that:) Frankly, I can’t see that law changing any time soon..and have to say I agree with Commissioner Gaughan that no-one should be above the law.

ABC lawyers have been in ongoing negotiations with police over their investigation into The Afghan Files for some's somewhat divisive of the ABC to show faux surprise. It's taken a while for Ita (who should know better) to make a comment and now that she has, it's not at all inspiring.

Perhaps media will learn from this ..they are at risk if they publish information the Government doesn't want them to publish. There’s a reason for this .. sensitive security documents, for example, can lose effectiveness if they become public knowledge.

I've noticed an absence of comments from some of our very sophisticated and intelligent journalists..

Pretty comprehensive reading Sophie and Ray, thanks. Can't understand why the buzz word is "raid" to some though. I looked it up and raid means, 'a rapid surprise attack on an enemy by troops, aircraft, or other armed forces.' The ABC has been pushing the limits for some time and I would not be surprised if future funding is curtailed. 

Who are you really Aviator? In fact, who are all of you, Sophie, Abe, Ray, Reagan etc. It is obvious that you are all pushing an anti ABC, pro government line. Why?

If future funding is curtailed to the ABC get ready for WAR!!!!


Why are you harassing posters robiconda????

Everyone on this forum has the right to have their own opinion without your maniacal behaviour.

Ny19, you dont think you're getting a little worked up over this? It's just an investigation, not the end of peppa pig.


ABE, I believe she means the war of the anacondas. She attacked me on the main forum yesterday. I did not respond but if she continues I shall be sending an email to YLC Admin.

What’s riling her and causing her to stampede down the main street with smoke coming out of her flared nostrils is because none of us commented in her Animal Farm inspired Marxist thread, so unable to control her far left extremist thoughts, like Napoleon, she sprinted in here for a fight  :((

As per her comment of us being "pro Government". Open your eyes and ears more than 50% of voters  are pro Government or the LNP would not be there dumbo.

I think we're being duped, this is how the "raid" really took place. The media is feeding us fake information. 

Image result for security forces raid animated gif

WHAT?? You’re kidding mate. All we got was pics of men in suits drinking coffee, eating sandwiches and watching TV.

Image result for AFP being given coffee and cake at the ABC studios

I wouldnt take much notice of an LNP voter who, while waiting in line to vote, had a biblical vision of sorts from the Mother Mary who urged him to vote Labor. Truth is he thought he had to pick the winner and believed the polls.

It is a difficult balance between freedom of speech while acting to silence the voices of misinformation.

From the posts above it seems yet more of media frenzy.

There are some knobs at the ABC who should be members of Actors Equity, 'AFP raid etc.'.

Ben Fordham is rushing to claim faux notoriety for being 'of interest' (in his view LOL) to the AFP. 

Where is that 'Human Headline?  He is usually jumping to get his noggin on the front page.  Have others like Waleed stolen his crown?

The news is not what it once was. More importance is now placed on how it is presented.  Ben Fordham appears to be positioning himself as number one suspect with the cockiness of having a waterproof alibi   LOL Funny to watch.


Enthusiastic agreement among the media that they should have immunity and not be subject to the laws and penalties like ordinary folk, or their victims for that matter (and lets not pretend that the media are ever concerned about the informant/target after they have done with them!). 

Most here should recall having heard it all so many times before.

Who the hell do the media think they are that they should be entitled to receive and sort through stolen information and assets and decide in their view what confidence, privacy and security condition is fair game and is OK to be breached by them?

Again, most here would easily be able to cite apparent lapses in due diligence, ethics and principles where the media are concerned.  They should first attend to their own faults.  But even then, why should they be immune from laws that are intended to apply to ALL citizens?


The democratically elected representatives, local, State and federal, have passed the laws and the parliaments have a very broad scope and powers where accountability is concerned.

LJ, the number of offenders could be quite high. A top secret doc messaged to another phone could be seen as interfering with evidence under the revised metadata laws. Again, many appear to be not interested in getting to the facts for some reason?


Was the ABC’s so called “raid” without rhyme or reason? First up, it wasn’t a raid, it was a search warrant and like all warrants have to be applied for and gain approval from a judge. ABC are funded by the people of this country and are not above the law. If they have complied with the law then there is nothing to worry about. Surmising by even the outraged journalists is ludicrous, no one knows why this investigation eventuated except the people at the top, BUT, if information was illegally obtained which, puts other people at risk, the idiots that leaked the information deserve to face the full force of the law. That’s what the investigation is about - to FIND OUT. It may all be a storm in a teacup - who knows?

To say the only reason Australia has not suffered a major terrorist attack as we have seen in the UK, France and America is because of work these agencies have done in stopping them before they started, is no exaggeration. We can’t have our cake and eat it, there is a price to pay for national security and I am not going to quibble over that. Right now, data collection is being carried out from a wide variety of sources. Not many have heard about Five Eyes partners, google it. The UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia  have been  storing  private information for decades. If Australia does not play its part, what will happen is, information will dry up from some sources and our national security can suffer very badly.

Although I support the notion that whistleblowers should be protected, that should be only in certain circumstances. Blowing the whistle on workplace wrongdoing is a far cry from blowing the whistle on something you think you know that affects national security and you consider in the public’s interest.

"whistle blower" seems to have come to be an honoured term. A definition would likely include their divulging of matters they have agreed not to divulge.

While they may accommodate or facilitate whistleblowers, the likes of Julian Assange are not whistleblowers they are journalists opening information to free evaluation.

On the one hand I have no reservation at all in strongly supporting the free press as championed by Julian Assange and others. Those who release information they have agreed not to need to be assessed very differently. It would often be fair to put the acts of the true whistleblowers before the courts for testing. Sometimes they expose acts of government or others in power which are themselves illegal under the countries laws. No prior agreement can outlaw disclosure of information of that ilk. Where a court finds that disclosures reveal machinations which are not consipiculously illegal then whistleblowers should know that they will be brought to heel and potentially as traitors.

If, then, it is fair to let the courts decide, then it is also acceptable that police forces seek to test legality.

One more thing. In protection of freedom of speech, it should maintained as legal for registered journalists to conceal their sources regardless of whether those sources are operating legally or not.


Hey Banjo, 

In the words of David McBride - “I take this responsibility seriously. It matters. A society that takes the lives of its most dedicated and idealistic youth recklessly or cynically is a society doomed to fail.”  That makes me angry, because he proves to be the "reckless" one. This guy is not a whistleblower, he’s a traitor and as for him bleating he did the right thing no, he did not. Now he’s saying the ABC published a “different” story to the one he wanted published and did not relate to the papers he provided. Is he now attacking the ABC? This gets even more interesting because McBride says he tried to get Chris Masters to do the story but Masters was not willing to take it on, he then went to the ABC.

the problem is not with the journalists as I see it but with having someone who has a high level security rating divulging secrets.  if our allies cannot trust us they will stop giving us high level information and I dont blame them.  we have to have absolute trust between all parties.

Well put Banjo .... in full agreement

2019 – From the "whistleblower".

Fifty-nine years ago today, my father, Dr William McBride, "discovered" that the drug thalidomide was causing birth defects. A relatively junior gynaecologist in his thirties with a young family, the long weekend gave him an opportunity to do the necessary thinking and draw the fateful conclusions.

As a former army officer who released classified documents to journalists, today I face a very different set of circumstances on a June long weekend. I will soon be facing trial in the ACT Supreme Court for charges relating to this act.

I did two tours of Afghanistan for Australia. Each was hard in its own way, but equally they were also the best things I have done in my life. It was my second deployment, this time as legal officer with the Special Forces, those who sacrifice most for our country. The point came where there was no doubt in my mind that a line had been crossed, and lives were being cynically wasted. My duty was to "stand and be counted" and I did.

A judge will decide my fate, and as a "true believer" in the rule of law, I willingly submit myself to that fate. How could I not, as it is the very same rule of law from which I claim my unenviable but inevitable duty. Whatever they decide, I believe that I did my duty.

Full story.

By David McBride, the former military lawyer and captain in Britain's elite Special Air Service and the whistleblower at the centre of Australian Federal Police raids on the ABC's Sydney headquarters on Wednesday.


Quote Sophie: "Mr McBride was charged in September last year with theft of Commonwealth property, namely war crimes investigation files, and three counts of breaching the Defence Act. He was also charged under old secrecy provisions in the Commonwealth Crimes Act."

Did you not read Sophie's post further up the page????

YES ... but my post refers to his response published in the Fairfax media TODAY as per link provided.


Thanks for the up to date link.



ALso when Dr William McBride, discovered this about thalidomide it took the government of the day  --   Robert Menzies -- 12 months or more to inform the public and have it taken off the market and so continued to cause even more devastation for so many.

What a shame we did not have a whistle blower then.

Thanks for that info RnR very interesting

Thanks for that RnR. I was not aware of the relationship of the McBrides until your  post.

You dont suppose young David has been looking all his life to blow the whistle left to him by his father? Whichever way it is presented the guy is a traitor.

Thanks for that RnR. I was not aware of the relationship of the McBrides until your  post.

You dont suppose young David has been looking all his life to blow the whistle left to him by his father? Whichever way it is presented the guy is a traitor.

I see Ita Buttrose has met with the PM regarding the raids, as we are calling them on the ABC. Morrison appointed her himself. I have wondered why because I believe she hasn't got the stamina to bring the ABC up to scratch. There needs to be some overhauling and my personal opinion is, she is not the one to do it. 

Likewise Aviator, I hope we are wrong. The ABC is a fine institution...generally, and a necessary one. If it would get back to its original ideals, telling it as it happens without fear or favour, especially without the underlying taint of of reporters with populist beliefs thinking they are reliable political opnion makers it would continue its relevance for the next 90 years.

Come to think of it, there should be a big ABC birthday party fairly soon

Yes I hhave been awaiting to see what became of Ita's little Chat?


All I heard was that Ita Butrose said 

"We've had a very constructive meeting — it was very productive,"

.... not sure what all that means ??? 

Thanks Suze, still feeling like us mere motals are being treated like fools and being told NOTHING -- of what we have every right to know

she probably said "Scomo..what a pickle we are in ...what should we do!?"

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