‘Extraordinary hypocrite’: UK whistleblower says HSBC chief Douglas Flint ignored fraud for years

Satu Insan - Malaysia

RT

df HSBC Group Chairman, Douglas Flint. (Reuters / Bobby Yip)

A whistleblower of HSBC fraud has denounced the bank’s chairman, Douglas Flint, as “an extraordinary hypocrite” following the financier’s suggestion that those who expose crime in Britain’s financial services sector should be rewarded and celebrated.

Flint made the comment at the launch of Britain’s Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment’s (CISI) “Speak Up” initiative launched on Tuesday. The program was set up to encourage financial services firms to adopt a policy that assists staff in reporting legislative, regulatory and company policy violations.

Calling on UK financial firms to take a more proactive approach to tackling misconduct in the workplace, Flint said firms should “encourag[e] the calling out of both good and bad behaviour” and reward and praise “those who escalate their concerns even if they are sometimes wrong”.

He welcomed the CISI’s newly launched initiative, and paid tribute to the…

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One comment on “‘Extraordinary hypocrite’: UK whistleblower says HSBC chief Douglas Flint ignored fraud for years
  1. RonMamita says:

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    Terror laws clear Senate, enabling entire Australian web to be monitored and whistleblowers to be jailed

    We Are Change
    Ben Grubb / http://www.smh.com.au
    Article Lead - wide6150364110m8jhimage.related.articleLeadwide.729x410.10m8ih.png1411691942072.jpg-420x0
    Attorney-General George Brandis praised the laws being passed. Photo: Andrew Meares

    Australian spies will soon have the power to monitor the entire Australian internet with just one warrant, and journalists and whistleblowers will face up to 10 years’ jail for disclosing classified information.

    The government’s first tranche of tougher anti-terrorism laws, which beef up the domestic spy agency ASIO’s powers, passed the Senate 44 votes for and 12 against on Thursday night with bipartisan support from Labor.

    The bill, the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014, will now be sent to the House of Representatives, where passage is all but guaranteed on Tuesday at the earliest.
    The senate votes on the bill on Thursday night.

    Anyone — including journalists, whistleblowers and bloggers — who “recklessly” discloses “information … [that] relates to a special intelligence operation” faces up to 10 years’ jail.

    Any operation can be declared “special” and doing so gives ASIO criminal and civil immunity. Many, including lawyers and academics, have said they fear the agency will abuse this power.

    Those who identify ASIO agents could also face a decade in prison under the new laws, a tenfold increase in the existing maximum penalty.

    The new laws also allow ASIO to seek just one warrant to access a limitless number of computers on a computer network when attempting to monitor a target, which lawyers, rights groups, academics and Australian media organisations condemned.

    They said this would effectively allow the entire internet to be monitored, as it is a “network of networks” and the bill doesn’t specifically define what a computer network is.

    Professor George Williams of UNSW previously warned the laws were too broad.

    Most groups that had complained about the new laws also said they feared its disclosure offences went too far, with the Australian Lawyers Alliance saying they would have “not just a chilling effect but a freezing effect” on national security reporting.

    Attorney-General George Brandis did not seek to allay their concerns on Thursday but said in a “newly dangerous age” it was vital that those protecting Australia were equipped with the powers and capabilities they needed.

    When the laws passed on Thursday night he said they were the most important reforms for Australia’s intelligence agencies since the late 1970s.

    On Wednesday afternoon, Senator Brandis confirmed that under the legislation, ASIO would be able to use just one warrant to access numerous devices on a network.

    The warrant would be issued by the director-general of ASIO or his deputy.

    “There is no arbitrary or artificial limit on the number of devices,” Senator Brandis told the senate.

    Senator Brandis did, however, say on Thursday that the new laws didn’t target journalists specifically, despite concerns from media organisations that they would be targets.

    The new laws instead targeted those who leaked classified information, like the former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, Senator Brandis said.

    “These provisions have nothing to do with the press.”

    Despite this, Senator Brandis refused to say whether reporting on cases similar to Australia’s foreign spy agency ASIS allegedly bugging East Timor’s cabinet and ASD tapping the Indonesian president and his wife’s mobile phone would result in journalists or whistleblowers being jailed.

    The Australian Greens, through Senator Scott Ludlam, put forward an amendment that would limit the number of computers ASIO can access with one warrant to 20 but it failed to gain support from Labor or the government.

    Speaking after the bill passed, Senator Ludlam told Fairfax Media he was disappointed.

    “What we’ve seen [tonight] is I think a scary, disproportionate and unnecessary expansion of coercive surveillance powers that will not make anybody any safer but that affect freedoms that have been quite hard fought for and hard won over a period of decades,” Senator Ludlam said.

    “I have very grave concerns about the direction that the Australian government seems to be suddenly taking the country.”

    Independent Senator Nick Xenophon and Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm also put forward amendments that would protect whistleblowers but these did not gain enough support either.

    The legislation, which also covers a number of other issues, addresses many of the recommendations of a joint parliamentary inquiry into Australia’s national security laws.

    After concerns were raised by Labor and Senator Leyonhjelm, the government agreed to amend the legislation to specifically rule out ASIO using torture.

    “ASIO cannot, does not and has never engaged in torture,” Senator Brandis said.

    The Palmer United Party was also successful in amending the law so anyone who exposes an undercover ASIO operative could face up to 10 years behind bars instead of one.

    “The internet poses one of the greatest threats to our existence,” Palmer United Party Senator Glen Lazarus said, speaking out against Senator Ludlam’s amendment.

    The Australian Greens voted against the bill, slamming the new measures as extreme and a “relentless expansion of powers” of the surveillance state.

    Senator Leyonhjelm and Independent Senator Nick Xenophon also opposed the legislation, as did independent Senator John Madigan.

    One of the amendments put forward by Senator Xenophon would have required ASIO’s watchdog, the IGIS, to report publicly each year on how many devices ASIO accessed.

    But Labor and the government voted against it, with Senator Brandis saying it “would not be appropriate” to report figures as it would reveal information about ASIO’s capabilities.

    The legal changes come amid growing concern over Islamic State (IS) extremists in the Middle East and terror threats at home.

    IS has ordered followers to directly target civilian Australians.

    In less than a week, police in two states launched the biggest terror raids in Australia’s history, and shot dead a known terror suspect after he stabbed two officers in Melbourne.

    A second suite of anti-terror laws targeting foreign fighters was introduced on Wednesday and will be debated next month.

    These changes have opposition support and would make it a criminal office to travel to a terrorist hot-spot without a reasonable excuse.

    A third bill enabling the collection of internet and phone metadata for a period of up to two yearsfor warantless access by law-enforcement and spy agencies will be introduced later this year.

    The post Terror laws clear Senate, enabling entire Australian web to be monitored and whistleblowers to be jailed appeared first on We Are Change.

    And another report below:

    Urged senators to reconsider their vote: Greens Senator Scott Ludlam.

    Urged senators to reconsider their vote: Greens Senator Scott Ludlam. Photo: Andrew Meares

    Controversial anti-terrorism laws expected to pass in the Senate as early as this week will give spy agency ASIO the power to monitor the entire internet, the government has confirmed.

    It comes as Greens senator Scott Ludlam urged senators to reconsider their vote on the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No.1) 2014, which is likely to pass the senate either this week or early next week.

    “I think this Parliament is being bullied to pass something in the heat of a national security crisis that we will later regret, as we regretted an earlier tranche of legislation that we passed in 2005,” Senator Scott Ludlam told Fairfax Media on Wednesday evening, before debate was due to commence.
    Confirmed there was “no arbitrary or artificial limit” on the number of computers ASIO could access under a single warrant: Attorney-General Senator George Brandis.

    Confirmed there was “no arbitrary or artificial limit” on the number of computers ASIO could access under a single warrant: Attorney-General Senator George Brandis. Photo: Andrew Meares

    The legislation has been labelled as “urgent” by Attorney-General George Brandis.

    Australian Lawyers Association president Greg Barns said the new laws would allow ASIO to conduct surveillance on “anyone, any time, anywhere”.

    “There are few, if any, limits now,” he said.

    “And we don’t have sufficient privacy protections. We have no tort of privacy, meaning we can’t sue ASIO or anyone else if they invade our privacy in a gross sense or if they use [that information] illegally. You have no course of redress.”

    So far only the Greens and Liberal Democratic Party senator David Leyonhjelm have said they will oppose the bill. Labor has said they will support it as has the Palmer United Party.

    This means the bill will pass even with cross-bench opposition.

    The legislation redefines what ASIO can access under a computer warrant.

    On Wednesday afternoon, Senator Brandis confirmed that under the legislation, ASIO would be able to use just one warrant to access numerous devices on a network.

    The warrant would be issued by the director-general of ASIO or his deputy.

    “There is no arbitrary or artificial limit on the number of devices,” Senator Brandis told the senate.

    This means that the entire Australian internet could be monitored by just one warrant if ASIO wanted to do so, according to experts and digital rights advocates including the Australian Lawyers Alliance, journalist union the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance and Electronic Frontiers Australia.

    Senator Brandis argued the warrants should not be restricted, as it was not known what powers ASIO would need in the future.

    “How can … Senator Ludlam stand in the Senate today and anticipate what the needs of ASIO will be in relation to warrant-based access [in the future],” he said.

    Senator Ludlam said it was important the concerns were addressed.

    “They have validated it,” Senator Ludlam said of the fears.

    “So any device connected to any other device on the internet in the world could be tapped into [or disrupted] by a simple warrant.”

    Senator Ludlam introduced amendments that addressed his concerns. But the government and Labor have said they will vote against them. Other concerns he and others have raised relate to the lack of whistleblower protections in the new laws, which jail those who “recklessly” disclose intelligence information.

    That would include journalists, bloggers or officials, who could be jailed for 10 years.

    Independent senator Nick Xenophon said he would support the government’s bill but had misgivings about it. It is understood he will support Senator Ludlam’s amendments, but his support is not enough to get them through Parliament.

    Rights groups have expressed concern the laws will curtail journalists’ ability to write about national security matters.

    When discussing the new legislation in the Senate’s “committee stage” process, Senator Ludlam and Senator Xenophon repeatedly asked Senator Brandis to explain how the laws would work.

    “Australia has the weakest oversight mechanisms,” Senator Xenophon said.

    “Australia lacks institutionalised review of surveillance programs.”

    The senators also raised concerns that a part of the law, which allows ASIO to delegate its powers to “affiliates”, meant those outside of ASIO, like contractors, could be delegated ASIO powers.

    “These are very serious concerns that the scrutiny committee has put to you,” Senator Ludlam told Senator Brandis.

    Senator Brandis said he had responded to the concerns in a “public” letter that was due to be tabled in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon.

    Senator Brandis refused to table his responses to the committee’s concerns earlier.

    “I found it irritating and obstructionist that he wasn’t prepared to put it to us while we were debating the bill,” Senator Ludlam told Fairfax.

    Senator Xenophon also expressed frustration.

    But Senator Brandis said his hands were tied.

    “I find it unbelievable that you would spend two hours of the committee stage of the debate on an urgent bill playing procedural games and engaging in what is starting to sound a little bit like a filibuster,” Senator Brandis said.

    Liberal senator Ian MacDonald said he did not see what the fuss was all about.

    “I am certainly one of those in Australia who is very keen to see these measures implemented, even if it does – even in a small way – [infringe on] freedoms that I previously expressed.

    “I don’t care quite frankly who listens in to my phone and certainly I don’t have anything to hide.”

    Senator Ludlam said he feared the laws were being rushed through as no one wanted a terrorist-related attack to occur on their watch.

    “I think there’s a grain of truth in that,” Senator Ludlam said.

    “I think no politician on any side – Labor, Liberal, Greens, Nationals and independents – wants to suffer a terrorist attack on their watch. And that’s particularly astute for the executive. Nobody wants to look back and say there were things that we could have done to make the community safer. So that’s right across politics. And in fact I would say that obligation is above politics.”

    Audio interview from Tuesday:

    http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/consumer-security/parliament-bullied-to-pass-national-security-laws-says-greens-senator-scott-ludlam-20140924-10lir9.html

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