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Government Australia

Australia Spied On Indonesian President 213

Posted by timothy
from the hey-neighbor dept.
mask.of.sanity writes "Australia tracked calls by Indonesia's president, documents leaked by defence contractor Edward Snowden reveal. The nation's top spy agency the Australian Signals Directorate tracked phone calls made and received on the mobile phone of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for 15 days in August 2009, and also tracked his wife and inner political circle. Indonesia was Australia's nearest and most important regional neighbour."
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Australia Spied On Indonesian President

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  • Who's on first? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Monday November 18, 2013 @01:09AM (#45452139) Homepage Journal

    "I didn't spy, YOU did!"

    "No I didn't, YOU did!"

    "Well, okay, but I didn't spy on Bob."

    Bob: "Oh yes you did!"

    "Shit. Okay. we all fucking spied."

    "yip"

    • by Penguinisto (415985) on Monday November 18, 2013 @01:19AM (#45452167) Journal

      "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!"

      "Your winnings, Sir..."

  • is, not was

  • by jrumney (197329) on Monday November 18, 2013 @01:20AM (#45452171) Homepage

    The delay in publishing this story is excessive, even by slashdot standards. Was GCHQ reluctant to release it on their tech news site while the Democracy Forum conference in Bali and CHOGM in Sri Lanka were still ongoing?

    • by simonbp (412489)

      Thanks Obama!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by bunkymag (1567407)
      While there were hints of news around this topic previously, the details that came to light are new (if unsurprising), and the story is front page news in Australia today - see for example ABC News [abc.net.au].
  • Are we surprised? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Harlequin80 (1671040) on Monday November 18, 2013 @01:20AM (#45452175)

    I would be far more surprised if Australia wasn't doing this. What's more there would be a real problem if they weren't.

    In terms of potential conflict with another sovereign state Indonesia simply has to rank highly for Australia. It is close by, has a large military, and has a history of conflicts with Australia. The risk may be very very low, but like house insurance, the risks of your house burning to the ground are low but you still take out insurance.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The interesting thing here is that Australia spied on behalf of NSA. Essentially this is the US spying by proxy. I hope that Australia got something good out of the deal because pissing of your neighbors can be pretty expensive.

      • Yes australia did. Its called Anzus. Perhaps one of the biggest treaty coupes in Australias history.

        Despite what people may think australia cannot defend itself without support. America is the ONLY logical source of that support.

        • Despite what people may think australia cannot defend itself without support. America is the ONLY logical source of that support.

          It could if it had kept a few of the nuclear weapons that the UK tested on its soil. There are rumours that this was the deal after all...

          And the US will only provide support if it is in its own interests. Not something I would want to rely on.

          • by DMJC (682799)
            Considering we control 1/3rd of the world's Uranium supply I'm actually quite pissed off that Australia does not have nuclear weapons. It would grant us a much larger voice in global affairs and we could effectively ignore the laws and rantings of the USA and Great Britain.
      • Um no...where does the source say anything about them doing it for the USA? Let me help you...NOWHERE.

    • What I want to know is HOW, and why the intelligence agencies of Brazil, Germany etc are so incompetent that they can't discover or stop it.

      I would also be very interested to know how much US tech firms are in bed with the intelligence gathering. No-one seems to be asking the important questions.

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        Because no one has ever stopped spying. People are greedy, feel cheated, or feel they know better than there government what is right and wrong. Once you compromise someone then you have control.
        The US is more into technical means. AKA sigint, comint, and photoint. Why do Germany and Brazil not stop it? They really do not want to. They get intel from the US when we see fit to share with them. If they get too nasty we shut off the tap. People need to just understand that this is just business as usual. Even

  • Nearest neighbour (Score:2, Informative)

    by SirAdelaide (1432553)

    Australia's nearest neighbour was and is Papua New Guinea. You can almost walk from Papua to Australia at low tide (if you have very long legs).

    Second nearest is Tasmania, followed by Indonesia.

    • You can almost walk from Papua to Australia at low tide (if you have very long legs).

      Or a kangaroo to ride, of course.

      • by SirAdelaide (1432553) on Monday November 18, 2013 @02:40AM (#45452407)

        That far north the kangaroos don't work properly. They tend to climb trees and then fall out instead of the usual behaviour of offering bouncy rides.

        • Re:Nearest neighbour (Score:5, Informative)

          by FunkDup (995643) on Monday November 18, 2013 @05:50AM (#45452937)

          offering bouncy rides.

          When Australia was first settled a few people did indeed try it. I remember a school teacher showing us some drawings of special saddles and other stuff that people had made for the purpose. The problem is that a roo large enough to carry a human is a powerful and aggressive animal, it puts up a hell of a fight. There were at least a couple of people that somehow managed to saddle the roo and then mount the saddle, but in both cases the roo just bashed them into a tree tree or something. The first seven people to try it were all killed. I've never heard of anyone trying it since.

          • by chihowa (366380) *

            ...the roo just bashed them into a tree tree or something.

            By a little-known variation of Poe's Law, it's hard to tell if anything an Australian writes is a typo or not (especially if you read it with an accent)!

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Australia's nearest neighbour was and is Papua New Guinea. You can almost walk from Papua to Australia at low tide (if you have very long legs).

      Second nearest is Tasmania, followed by Indonesia.

      FYI, Tasmania is still an Australian state (part of Australia as a country, not a neighbour of Australia).

    • You're both right and wrong.

      Right about Papua, wrong about Tasmania. Tasmania is part of Australia. (Or perhaps this is some Australian joke?)

    • by grcumb (781340)

      Australia's nearest neighbour was and is Papua New Guinea. You can almost walk from Papua to Australia at low tide (if you have very long legs).

      Second nearest is Tasmania, followed by Indonesia.

      You fail at geography, but you will never go thirsty at any Tasmanian pub. :-)

      ...And you might want to remember Timor Leste, which is about as close as Papua New Guinea.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Australia's nearest neighbour was and is Papua New Guinea. You can almost walk from Papua to Australia at low tide (if you have very long legs).

      Second nearest is Tasmania, followed by Indonesia.

      As much as we dont like the situation, Tasmania is still part of Australia and technically, not a neighbour.

    • You think your comment is an intelligent retort. But it is not.

      In fact it is so stupid as to boggle the mind.

      Currently AUS and Indonesia are in a semi-turf war over PPNG. Indonesia are spreading their special brand of cruelty (which includes genocide Ref: 3 East Timor) there also and have shown that war crimes and other atrocities are not below them.

    • by isorox (205688)

      Australia's nearest neighbour was and is Papua New Guinea. You can almost walk from Papua to Australia at low tide (if you have very long legs).

      Wow, I hadn't looked into it before, but there's a lot of islands in the Torres Strait, and Austrailia gets to about 2 miles from Papua New Guinea!

  • Since ancient times, governments have always spied on one another with varying effectiveness. It's just in our modern times, with the advent of the Internet, governments not only spy on each other but on as many others as they possibly can. Unlike governments of course most people don't have such deep dark secrets and their communications with one another are almost always quite boring. Would it not be nice if all the spies got bored to death by all the mundane things we have to say to one another?

  • "Was"? (Score:5, Funny)

    by macraig (621737) <mark@a@craig.gmail@com> on Monday November 18, 2013 @01:42AM (#45452241)

    Indonesia was Australia's nearest and most important regional neighbour.

    So has Australia swallowed it whole like a fratboy scarfing a goldfish and I just missed the news?

    • by jrumney (197329)

      So has Australia swallowed it whole like a fratboy scarfing a goldfish and I just missed the news?

      The other way around. Indonesia sent an army of boat people to take over from the inside. It's been widely reported in the news over the last 10 years or so, especially around election time.

    • Tony Abbott (Aussie PM) is the Australian George W Bush, so standby for 3 more years of of fratboy level leadership.
    • by phayes (202222)

      Give it a week or two & it'll show up on /.

    • by Guppy06 (410832)

      Someone in New Zealand did something and reminded everyone the country still exists.

      • by jrumney (197329)

        Except New Zealand is about 10 times the distance from Australia that Indonesia is. The only countries closer than Indonesia are Papua New Guinea, and maybe East Timor (though I think from the tip of Queensland to the border between PNG and Indonesia might be closer than East Timor to Bathurst Island)

  • Wrong reaction. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 18, 2013 @03:30AM (#45452533)

    While the most frequent reaction here is "Well, duh!" (and I must admit it was my first reaction too) that's not the point.

    The point is that my government is doing that, and I strongly disapprove of it. Your government is doing that and you (perhaps) strongly disapprove of it. If we have the luck to live in democracies, it's our fucking duty to do something about it.

    • The fact that modern democracies have these grey-shaded institutions and make use of them to spy on each other is something that we probably will have to live with, and maybe even appreciate. As long as the targets for the espionage is large centralized power centres, like government, the military or organized, violent groups. In some way I think that we need, as in Iain Banks culrure-books, someone to step in in "special circumstances." Assassination, revolt or similar should of course rather NOT be the jo

    • by mathew42 (2475458)

      The point is that my government is doing that, and I strongly disapprove of it. Your government is doing that and you (perhaps) strongly disapprove of it. If we have the luck to live in democracies, it's our fucking duty to do something about it.

      Actually, I'm not sure I disapprove of the Australian government spying on Indonesia. There are a number of issues in Indonesia that impact on Australia directly including: government stability, fundamentalist Islam, asylum seekers, human rights abuses (e.g Aceh [wikipedia.org], East Timor [wikipedia.org] and West Papua [wikipedia.org]). Having inside knowledge of the government's thoughts could prevent misteps and assist Australia in working with Indonesia using soft power.

      History (Balibo Five [wikipedia.org], live cattle exports [wikipedia.org], suggests that Australia is not as skil

    • by Solandri (704621)

      The point is that my government is doing that, and I strongly disapprove of it. Your government is doing that and you (perhaps) strongly disapprove of it. If we have the luck to live in democracies, it's our fucking duty to do something about it.

      As distasteful as I find all this spying, I suspect it's necessary. The reason everyone does it is probably simple evolution. Those who don't spy on their neighbors, end up losing negotiations and being relegated to political-economic irrelevance best case, being

  • Rich countries spy, the poor get spied on. It's just colonialism.

  • What I want to know is why did Australia NAME the country and the individual surveillance targets, then put that in a document given to a foreign country, which had their name and organization written all over it? Haven't they heard of code names?

    They could have referred to target1, target 2 etc in the country of Elbonia on paper and made it clear in conversation who was being referred to. Even if the intended targets could have been easily guessed, it would have provided some level of deniability.

    Never pu

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