The Sydney Morning Herald and other papers carry reports that Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson has been using a private spy agency, the National Open Source Intelligence Centre, to supply information to the Federal Police on environmental protests and protesters, particularly against mining companies.
According to the report, the Federal Police admit they conduct “covert operations” (ie infiltration and spying) in protest groups, but only “on rare occasions”.
It’s bad enough that people well-known to be committed to non-violent protest are being spied on by police, but what is this other, non-government, private-profit organisation up to? How widely is the government using taxpayer dollars to outsource so-called security operations? Will we be told what is being done in our name, with our money?