An inquiry into the secret trial and jailing of the decorated former spy, Witness J, was scrapped this week after the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM) Dr James Renwick cancelled it only weeks before he retires on the 30th of June 2020.
Witness J, not to be confused with the Witness J in the George Pell matter, is the man who “After a secret trial of a secret prisoner, the sentence was delivered — you guessed it — in complete secrecy” in 2018. (Click here to read more)
I know plenty about these sorts of trials because I have personally had dozens of suppression orders issued against me including 2 super-injunctions, in frivolous defamation cases, where I could not even tell anyone there was a court case against me.
Obviously Dr Renwick decided it wouldn’t be good for possible future government appointments and his career as a barrister, at 12 Wentworth Selborne Chambers, and Adjunct Professor if he was to continue with the inquiry which was guaranteed to expose government and judicial gross incompetence and/or widespread corruption.
Dr Renwick asked for submissions which was a major mistake for him and the government if they were trying to cover it up as it would have opened the floodgate as I know there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of abuses of suppression orders in court cases every year. I can personally account for 30 or 40 of them myself with the one’s Kerry Stokes, Seven West Media, Seven Network and Capilano Honey have taken out against me.
The above picture is from Witness J’s Twitter account which is here: @WitnessJ8
The Witness J inquiry was probably the best hope to really expose how bad the abuse of suppression orders and non-publication orders by courts, the government and large companies are. The reason being is the Witness J case is at the extreme end of the abuse but there are possibly more cases like his we just don’t know about.
I was jailed in 2018 and there were suppression orders on the exact reason why I was jailed and if I had of been jailed for breaching the 2 super-injunctions against me, which I breached both times, then no one would have known that I had been jailed or why. So, it is very possible there are other people out there who have been jailed at secret trials like Witness J.
I have written about suppression orders being abused in NSW and Victoria many times and where Victoria has changed the laws at least twice in recent years to try and stop judges abusing the laws and it still hasn’t stopped them.
The Herald-Sun reported in 2019 “An overhaul of Victoria’s secretive suppression order system will be completed within the next three years.” and “Victoria is the nation’s secret state, with 1204 suppression orders issued by the courts since 2017, compared to 490 orders in New South Wales.” That will be the third time in recent years that Victoria has updated its suppression order laws. (Click here to read more)
In NSW the government just doesn’t care and turns a blind eye to the corrupt judges issuing dodgy suppression orders. I’ve had numerous dodgy suppression orders overturned that were issued for Kerry Stokes, Capilano Honey and the court itself. The question has to be asked: Why were they even issued in the first place? The only answer I can see is covering up government corruption and that money is changing hands.
In relation to Witness J, he seemed to make allegations against other staff members at the government agency he worked at, so he was stitched up.
The ABC reported in December 2019:
The ABC has been told Witness J was infuriated by the accusation that his behaviour while overseas had made him a compromise risk. He complained internally to the head of security and a departmental psychologist back in Australia.
It was an unwise decision delivered dangerously. It is understood his complaints were communicated by email and other unsecure electronic means.
Witness J immediately found himself in the crosshairs of an organisation that had been his employer for five years.
In his complaints, he accused fellow case officers of behaviour which he believed was more egregious than his own.
His employer said Witness J had breached secrecy provisions. It believed he was acting so dangerously, he was imperilling lives, national security and the very working environment of his colleagues.
According to one person, Witness J had to be “shut down”. (Click here to read more)
I asked Witness J a few questions:
1. Q: How did you become aware that the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM) had dropped the investigation?
A: I was notified in an email. I had previously made it clear to the INSLM that I intended to make both a classified and unclassified submissions, and went so far as to provide a range of codewords for them at their request.
When I was notified that, due to COVID, I could only make an unclassified submission, I replied, frustrated, that they should delay the inquiry so as to here my submissions, and that if they would not do so, I intended to make no submissions or participate in the farce of an investigation.
2. Q: Had you spoken to the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM)?
A: I spoke to Dr Renwick’s flunky Mr Mark Mooney only.
3. Q: I remember reading you still hadn’t had lawyers approved by your old employer. What is your current situation with legal representation?
A: I am currently represented by two lawyers who are also veterans of the special forces community.
Yes, Witness J had to have his lawyers approved by the people he is up against. What a scandal.
Based on the answers Witness J gave to my questions it sounds like the inquiry by Dr James Renwick was going to be pre-determined and swept under the carpet with only limited evidence taken.
Without a doubt, someone in Scott Morrison’s government would have put pressure on Dr James Renwick to stop the Witness J inquiry or cover it up as it would have been a very embarrassing for the federal government especially with other similar matters before the court.
Not only would the Witness J inquiry have been afoot but this week Witness K was in court for a secret hearing for his sentencing for blowing the whistle on the federal government spying on Timor-Leste and ripping them off $billions. That’s the matter where former Prime Minister John Howard, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer “and a consortium of largely foreign-owned petroleum companies made off with billions of a critically important national resource“.
Witness K’s lawyer Bernard Collaery has also been charged and the SMH wrote in 2018: “The spark for the incident leading to the charges was Alexander Downer’s appointment to a lucrative consultancy with Woodside (the company seeking access to the Greater Sunrise oil and gas field) when he finished as foreign affairs minister.” (Click here to read more)
The fightback by whistleblowers is in full flight with Witness J releasing a book:
The long-awaited book from Australia’s most secret prisoner reveals an astonishing story of life behind bars at Canberra’s prison. But at the same time, it reveals almost nothing about what landed “Witness J” in the sex offenders and paedophiles wing in the first place.
Witness J is a decorated former spy, a Duntroon graduate who spent 15 years posted in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq, including as an intelligence officer. In 2018, he was jailed in a trial that was so secret even its existence was not allowed to be disclosed for reasons of national security. The secrecy orders covering it are likewise secret. (Click here to read more)
Here, There are Dragons, by Witness J, with a foreword by Robert Macklin, is self-published on June 1, $14.99 paperback (at lulu.com), or $5.99 ebook (at Amazon). All profits to Beyond Blue, with AFP oversight.
The stories of Witness J, Witness K and Bernard Collaery have a long way to go and we’ll keep watching and help if we can. And others such as Australian Taxation Office whistleblower Richard Boyle and Afghan Files whistleblower David McBride are due in court again soon so Scott Morrison and the Coalition have their hands full trying to conceal government corruption.
At any stage, the Scott Morrison government could have ordered a public inquiry into the secret trial of Witness J but they have refused even though it has scandalised the government, judiciary and the legal fraternity.
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Categories: Prime Minister Scott Morrison