5 June 2019 12.05 pm
Australian Federal Police officers are raiding the ABC’s Sydney headquarters over a series of 2017 stories known as The Afghan Files.
The stories, by ABC investigative journalists Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, revealed allegations of unlawful killings and misconduct by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.
The search warrant names Oakes, Clark and ABC’s director of News Gaven Morris.
AFP officers have served the ABC legal team with a warrant and are in talks with them about how the search warrant will be executed.
“We are basically discussing a procedure we can all agree on to make this process as painless as possible,” ABC lawyer Michael Rippon said.
The raid comes one day after the AFP executed search warrants on the home of a News Corp journalistwho had reported on secret plans to allow government spying.
Australian Federal Police officers are raiding the Sydney headquarters of the ABC over reports published two years ago regarding alleged unlawful killings and misconduct by Special Forces troops in Afghanistan.
The public broadcaster’s Ultimo offices and studios, as well as three employees, are the subject of a search warrant over The Afghan Files special investigation in 2017.
The series of television and online reports was based on hundreds of pages of leaked, classified Defence Force documents shining a light on explosive claims.
Some of the documents indicated “a growing sense of unease at the highest levels of Defence about the culture of Australia’s special forces”, the report said. The leaked material also focused on at least 10 incidents involving special forces soldiers who allegedly shot and killed unarmed men and children between 2009 and 2013.
John Lyons, ABC News executive director and the heads of its investigations unit, is live-tweeting the raid, which is being carried out by six AFP officers, including IT specialists.
They have downloaded 9214 items in relation to an extremely broad warrant, including notes, emails and draft scripts, Mr Lyons said.
The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance — the union for journalists — condemned the latest “attempt to intimidate legitimate news journalism”.
“A second day of raids by the Australian Federal Police sets a disturbing pattern of assaults on Australian press freedom,” MEAA media section president Marcus Strom said.
“This is nothing short of an attack on the public’s right to know.
“These raids are about intimidating journalists and media organisations because of their truth-telling.
They are about more than hunting down whistleblowers that reveal what governments are secretly doing in our name, but also preventing the media from shining a light on the actions of government.
The Afghan Files
- #1: Leaked documents expose deadly secrets of Australian special forces
- #2: An interrogation, a shooting and no witnesses
- #3: What the documents reveal about killings of unarmed Afghans
- #4: The spy and the SAS soldier with a loaded Glock
- #5: Who is the enemy? Australia’s secretive rules of engagement
- #6: What the f*** are you doing?: Chaos over severed hands
- #7: Relations between Australia’s special forces units on ‘knife edge’