Friday, November 29, 2013

More blowback

Last week we learned that Australia had been spying on Indonesia. The Indonesians are naturally furious, and have already ended co-operation over people-smuggling. Now they've gone one further and stopped co-operating on terrorism and crime as well:

National police chief Sutarman told the Indonesian parliament’s Commission I on foreign affairs that there was now no cooperation between his forces and Australia on counter-terrorism, information sharing and international crime.

Defence minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro told parliament that three joint exercises with Australian troops had been cancelled — one involving the elite Kopassus special forces troops, one in Darwin and another — a navy counter-terrorism exercise in Manado, North Sulawesi — later this month. He denied there would be any disadvantage for Indonesia over these suspensions.

“Joint exercises are important, coordinating patrols is important, but how can we do it if there is lack of trust among the crews or among the soldiers?” Mr Purnomo said.

Spies justify their powers and budgets with the claim that they keep their citizens safe. Instead, the excesses of Australia's spies are now actively endangering Australians. Time to shut them down.