New claims today that the Timorese government has more whistleblowers ready to give evidence at an international court about Australian spying operations.
Timor says Australian intelligence officers planted listening devices in the Timor cabinet room when a multi-billion dollar oil and gas deal was brokered in 2004.
It is the treaty which flowed from that deal which Timor now wants to renegotiate.
According to The ABC:
“East Timor says the Australian Government knew it would call upon the testimony of four whistleblowers in its dispute regarding a $40 billion oil and gas treaty.”
One of the four was the head of technical services at ASIS, Australia’s overseas spy agency which allegedly carried out the bugging operation under the cover of an aid project.
Timor says the motivation for turning whistleblower is that former foreign minister Alexander Downer, who headed the Timor treaty negotiation, later did business with Woodside, the resources company which benefited from the oil and gas treaty.
The roles and identities of the other three are not known. By law, former and serving officers of ASIO, the domestic spying agency, and ASIS cannot be publicly named.
Overnight, Australia and Timor held talks in the Hague International Court of Arbitration.
ASIO officers this week seized papers from the office of a Canberra lawyer, Bernard Collaery, acting for the Timor government, and cancelled the passport of a former ASIS officer who has turned whistleblower.
Timor also questions the account of Attorney General George Brandis who said he was approached by ASIO to approve the raid on the lawyer’s offices on the grounds of a security risk.
Timor says it revealed to Australia two weeks ago that it had whistleblowers during the lead up to preliminary hearings at The Hague.
A full hearing on Timor’s espionage claims is due late net year.