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Rupert Murdoch - Hacked Documents


HELEN HANDBURY - Sister of Rupert Murdoch

Absent Justice - Helen Handbury

When the British government first learned that there may be some illegal phone hacking going on, did they conceal it? No, they did not. They were prepared to attack whoever might be responsible for this terrible conduct. However, when our politicians discovered that COT claimants, during a government-endorsed legal litigation process, were suffering from phone and fax hacking – including illegal interference in the transmission of legal arbitration documents and Senate estimate committee hearing material – this conduct was deliberately concealed, to the detriment of the claimants.

In Britain, the government acted in the best interests of the victims whose lives were seriously affected by the hacking; yet our government treated the COT cases in the most appalling manner, attacking us as criminals instead of those who used Telstra’s network to hack into our confidential legal documents.

The British Government

In 1999, while I was working on the draft of Absent Justice, I provided it to Rupert Murdoch’s sister, Helen Handbury. She was aghast at the blatant denial of natural justice that I had received. Helen twice visited my holiday camp and, after reading the draft, stated that she would have Rupert publish it. She believed he would be shocked.

While I thought that her statement to me that she should get Rupert, her brother, to publish my book was a very kind gesture, I knew due to what had transpired between her brother and Telstra concerning Telstra having to fork out 400 million dollars because Telstra could not roll-out the cabling for Rupert Murdoch and FOX that he would not become involved in my publication which was also one of criticising Telstra's poor workmanship as well as their unlawful conduct to me. 

Helen was astounded at the amount of evidence I had accumulated, proving how long I had been troubled by illegal fax hacking, as well as the discrimination I had received by those who had administered the process.

Of course, 1999 was before the hacking scandal linked to the News of the World.

Unfortunately, Helen died in 2004. Some years later, on 26 September 2012, I sent a draft of the original version of Ring for Justice to her husband, Geoff Handbury, and told him about my conversation with Helen. I asked whether he could suggest the best way for me to get a copy of the book to Rupert Murdoch.

Mr Handbury replied on 17 October 2012 in a handwritten letter (with beautiful, old-fashioned penmanship that we no longer see). However, he was then 87 years old and although highly respected for his philanthropic support of many worthwhile projects in Victoria, too much time had passed and, sadly, he wasn’t able to help. Still, I have the memory of how the sister of the biggest newspaper-owner in the world believed my “intriguing story” was certainly one that her brother should publish and I’m grateful for her comments.

Ironically, on 13 October 1993, a Telstra auditor visited Cape Bridgewater with his secretary. By 2015, the auditor had become a very senior executive within Telstra and he is now on the board of Murdoch’s Foxtel. I am sure he remembers how shocked he and his secretary were when they saw the information I presented to them in relation to my Telstra problems; they both commented that they could not believe how badly Telstra treated me for the previous five years. That five-year period was confirmed in a 9 June 1993 letter from AUSTEL (see AUSTEL’s Adverse Findings, at points 2, to 212); this 9 June 1993 letter and its suggestion that Telstra knowingly misled and deceived me during my first settlement in December 1992 shocked them the most.

I included that letter from AUSTEL in the draft of Absent Justice that I provided to Helen Handbury and I believe that was what prompted her to say I should get Rupert to publish it. The British Government pulled no punches in relation to the ongoing saga now, in 2015, three years after it first went viral across the world. But in Australia, although the government knows that not only did many COT members have their phone lines illegally bugged during their arbitration with Telstra (and, after my arbitration was over), but our faxes were ALSO being screened/intercepted by a secondary fax machine (in my case, for at least seven years before sent on to the intended destinations.

In Australia, the COTs have suffered too, just like those victims of the News of the World disaster in Britain; for instance, we couldn’t make a phone call or send a personal fax without being aware that somebody was probably listening in to those calls or intercepting those faxes., Scandrett and Associates’ prepared the Fax Interception Technical Report exhibit (see Scandrett & Associates report Open Letter File No/12 and File No/13) and Peter Hancock of Total Communications Victoria provided a sworn statement to me on 17 December 2014, stating:

“I still stand by my statutory declaration that I was able to identify that the incoming faxes provided to me for review had at some stage been received by a secondary fax machine and then retransmitted, this was done by identifying the dual time stamps on the faxes provided.” (Front Page Part One File No/14)

It is also clear from Front Page Part One File No/1File No/2-A to 2-EFile No/3File No/4 and Front Page Part One File No/5, that numerous documents faxed from my office to the arbitrators office did not reach their intended destination.

As to the validity that report. HOWEVER, Senator Boswell never contacted me regarding any outcome of the Senate estimate’s investigation or any other government investigation into this report, which is easily comparable to the News of the World hacking scandal.

I have not been contacted by the Federal government concerning this fax hacking/interception issue but, if such hacking had taken place in the halls of Britain’s parliament it would have been even bigger than the News of the World Murdoch hacking fiasco that led to the 2011 shutting down of that newspaper, first circulated in 1847.

In Australia though, during a government-endorsed arbitration process, with faxes traveling between claimants, their lawyers and advisors, various government officials, at least one senator and the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s office, the Telstra Corporation had so much power, even over the government-endorsed legal process, that it was able to cover up this hacking scandal.

On page 15 of The Most Dangerous Man in the World, written in 2011 by the ABC’s Four Corners journalist Andrew Fowler, Mr Fowler notes that Julian Assange was one of those who hacked into Telstra’s Lonsdale Street telephone exchange computer system in the centre of Melbourne. The covert AUSTEL draft report (see ) concerning my telephone problems and faults refers to as this same exchange where, for some seven months, Telstra forgot to program in the 055 267 telephone prefix for the Portland/Cape Bridgewater exchange.

Page 21 in the 26 November 1996 Telstra Arbitration Briefing Document for Graham (Golden Messenger) also refers to problems at the Lonsdale Street telephone exchange, stating the problems affected the service lines into Golden Messenger over an extended period. So what did Julian Assange and his friends find at the Lonsdale Street telephone exchange that prompted them to telephone Graham?

My statement to the TIO in my 20 October 1995 letter that, “This phrase has now come home to roost, (see File GS 537GS-CAV 522 to 580) reflected that I believed the advice Graham received from these hackers – that Telstra and others associated with the COT arbitrations were acting unlawfully towards the COT cases – was the truth.

Is there more to Warwick Smith and John Pinnock (the two administrators to the COT arbitrations) failing to investigate what the hackers stated they had found concerning Telstra's unethical conduct during the COT arbitrations and the arbitration project manager John Rundell warned Warwick Smith and Dr Hughes on 18 April 1995 (see Prologue Evidence File No 22-A), one month before the completion of my arbitration that  “It is unfortunate that there have been forces at work collectively beyond our reasonable control that have delayed us in undertaking our work. 

Were these forces at work more related to the hackers having stumbled on not just the ALP investigation into Telstra's unauthorised interception of the COT Cases arbitration telephone conversations and faxes but also the ALP investigation into the pedophile activities of Senator Bob Collins in his parliament house office during the time he was Minister in charges of the COT Cases ongoing telephone problems? The same Senator who committed suicide before he was the face court over these pedophile activities in parliament house Canberra?

Is this why Warwick Smith and others would not investigate what the hackers had warned Graham Schorer about because to do so would have exposed the raping of aboriginal Childen in Senator Collin's office and other places where this rape occurred? 

During a Senate estimates committee hearing on 24 June 1997, Senator Kim Carr and Senator Schacht asked Telstra’s arbitration FOI coordinator:

Senator Carr – “In terms of the cases outstanding, do you still treat people the way that Mr Smith appears to have been treated? ...”

Senator Schacht – It does seem odd if someone is collecting files. That is a matter that has nothing to do with his telecommunications business. It seems that someone thinks this is a useful thing to keep in a file that maybe at some stage can be used against him. If it is true, I do not know why you would be collecting that information.”

Senator Kim Carr then asked Telstra’s group general manager:

“Mr Ward (Telstra), we have been through this before in regard to the intelligence networks that Telstra has established. Do you use your internal intelligence networks in these COT cases? (See Senate Evidence File No/2A)

Suelette Dreyfus is an Australian-American technology journalist and researcher, and author of the 1997 book,  Underground: Hacking. Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier. The book describes the exploits of a group of Australian, American and British hackers during the late 1980s and early 1990s, among them Julian Assange, who is credited as a researcher for the book. In 2011, a new edition of the book was published, with updated chapters. Underground has been translated into seven other languages.

Both Graham Schorer and I raised issues surrounding the many faults our businesses experienced whilst being routed through the same Lonsdale telephone exchange in our arbitrations. There is good reason to believe it was Julian Assange warning Graham Schorer (and through Graham, the COT Cases).

Both Graham and myself separately advised the TIO of what these three hackers had advised Graham; namely that we (meaning the COT cases) were being subjected to unlawful conduct, and this was supported by statements made in 18 April 1995 correspondence from the TIO-appointed arbitration project manager. The fact that we received no acknowledgement shows that the claimants’ rights were not even considered.

On 18 April 1995, the arbitration project manager stated, It is unfortunate that there have been forces at work collectively beyond our reasonable control that have delayed us in undertaking our work,” (see Arbitrator Evidence File No/17). Were these the same forces at work that the hackers had warned us of in mid-1994? The Arbitration Project Manager is saying these same forces had interferred in a legal arbitration process. What legal right did the Arbitration Resource Unit have and/or the arbitrator to allow the arbitrations to continue when the forces at work were not exposed? We the claiamnts were entitled to know that these forces were attacking the due process of law.

It is incredible that “forces at work” were allowed in the court system which was conducting our arbitrations – and under the auspices of the Victorian Supreme Court.


Absent Justice - Phone Hacking

George Close - COT Case Technical Consultant

Exhibit AS 492-A file AS-CAV 488-A to 494-E is a letter dated 26 August 1998 from George Close to the new Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. The fax header records: Fax from: — 61 74 453198 — 17:54, which was Mr Close’s residential fax number. Our Main Evidence File (see Open Letter File No/12, and File No/13) is the technical findings of both Scandrett & Associates and Peter Hancock, showing that they both agree that if the wording Fax from: followed by the numbers of the various COT faxes does not also include the correct business identification of the respective COT business then that indicates that those faxes were intercepted by a secondary fax machine and then redirected on to the intended destination.

This intercepted letter from Mr Close was copied to the offices of twelve different Government Ministers in Parliament House Canberra, raising several important questions. Since we constantly hear politicians questioning how information has been leaked from the party room, could this be because even Government offices in Parliament House are also routed through Telstra’s Fax Streaming centre? Even if those Government offices have officially organised the Fax Streaming arrangement, what could be happening to the documents that go through that system without the Government’s knowledge? Could it be that privileged, in-confidence material ‘leaks’ out of Parliament house through Telstra in this same way? Could it be that Telstra’s Fax Streaming process means that, around the country, private is not so secret?

Just to let you know, although the George Close exhibits are of poor quality (having been copied several times), the poor quality does not take away the truth that these exhibits, when viewed together, still prove our claims.

Exhibit AS 492-B file AS-CAV 488-A to 494-E, which is a report faxed by Mr Close on 16 April 1998, has the correct identification across the top of the page see 61-74-453198 — GEORGE CLOSE & ASSOC — 17:34. In simple terms, those with access to Telstra’s network were able to use ‘keywords’ so only specific faxes leaving Mr Close’s residence were intercepted. I have used these two examples because they were sent at approximately the same time in the afternoon, although months apart.

One of the two technical consultants attesting to the validity of this fax interception report emailed me on 17 December 2014, stating:

“I still stand by my statutory declaration that I was able to identify that the incoming faxes provided to me for review had at some stage been received by a secondary fax machine and then retransmitted, this was done by identifying the dual time stamps on the faxes provided.” (Front Page Part One File No/14)

We should never have been forced into such a postion when so much evidence held by the government concerning our claims were never relaesed.

It is clear from AUSTEL’s Adverse Findings, at points 2, to 212 dated 3 March 1994 would have won me my case before the arbitration process even began had it bot been concealed by the government until 21st November 2007, when I received it from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), under FOI. This is a copy of AUSTEL’s original draft findings concerning their own investigation into my claims.

AUSTEL's investigation into my COT Claims was conducted under section 335 (1) of Telecommunications Act 1991 notes: Section 342 of the Act provides, in effect , that after concluding such an investigation AUSTEL must prepare and give to the Minister for Communications and the Arts a report covering -

When Geroge Close (the arbitration technical advisor to the COT Cases) visited my residence in Cape Bridgewater after learning his Buderim (Queensland) residence and his office was the conduit (the central location) to where this screening of the advice he gave the COT Cases on what documents they needed to access from Telstra under FOI detailing why this technical information was needed to support their individual arbitration claims, I showed him Open Letter File No/12File No/13Front Page Part One File No/1,Front Page Part One File No/2-A to 2-EFront Page Part One File No/4 and Front Page Part One File No/5, we discussed the effect of these intercepted/hacked faxes on the COT Cases overall submissions to the arbitrator. Mr Close later sent me an email on 5 August 2011 to assist me in exposing what the Telstra Corporation had been able to do (and get away with) during the COT arbitrations to gain an advantage over all of the COT Cases claims before the arbitrator. His eyes were full of sadness to think it was his residence and office, and the advice was given to the COT Cases from it that had caused the COT Cases so much damage (see Front Page Part One File No/26).

“I recall a discussion with Senator Ron Boswell during the late 90’s.

“He had been shown fax’s [sic] which had clear indication of change in the headers, indicating interruption in transmission by a third party or parties.

“He questioned whether it was possible that faxes to and from senators could be interrupted, read or copies.

“My response in the affirmative brought about an expression of extreme anger. Stating that if it could be proven that it occurred the offender(s) would be jailed.

“If required I am prepared to re-state this on an affidavit.”

So far, no one in Australia has even been brought to account, let alone jailed, for the terrible invasion of the COT cases’ private and business lives.

Simply put, the government played judge and jury in deciding whose lives were more important than the others. Stopping the COT Cases from recieving their requested Freedom of Information documnets jeopardised the COT arbitrations to protect the integrity of parliament house.

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How can one publish a true account of what happened during various Australian Government-endorsed arbitrations without attaching exhibits to support the facts, as we have been forced to do due to the rampant corruption within the government bureaucracy? How can the author prove that government public servants fed privileged information to the then Australian Government-owned telecommunications carrier (the defendants) but also concealed the same documentation from the claimants, their fellow Australian citizens?

Additionally, how can one tell a story so unbelievable that even the author doubts the authenticity of what they are writing until they check their records before continuing with the story? How can one expose collusion between an arbitrator, various appointed government watchdogs (umpire), and the defendants? How can one also expose that the defendants in an arbitration process (the once government-owned telecommunications carrier) used equipment connected to their network to screen faxed material leaving your office? 

Moreover, how can one expose that the defendant's advisors stored the screened material without the author's knowledge or consent before redirecting it to its intended destination, where, in some cases, the more relevant information was never forwarded? The defendants (the Telstra Corporation) were using this screened material to benefit their arbitration defence to the detriment of the claimants.

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“…your persistence to bring about improvements to Telecom’s country services. I regret that it was at such a high personal cost.”

Hon David Hawker

“Only I know from personal experience that your story is true, otherwise I would find it difficult to believe. I was amazed and impressed with the thorough, detailed work you have done in your efforts to find justice”

Sister Burke

“I am writing in reference to your article in last Friday’s Herald-Sun (2nd April 1993) about phone difficulties experienced by businesses.

I wish to confirm that I have had problems trying to contact Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp over the past 2 years.

I also experienced problems while trying to organise our family camp for September this year. On numerous occasions I have rung from both this business number 053 424 675 and also my home number and received no response – a dead line.

I rang around the end of February (1993) and twice was subjected to a piercing noise similar to a fax. I reported this incident to Telstra who got the same noise when testing.”

Cathy Lindsey

“…the very large number of persons that had been forced into an arbitration process and have been obliged to settle as a result of the sheer weight that Telstra has brought to bear on them as a consequence where they have faced financial ruin if they did not settle…”

Senator Carr

“…your persistence to bring about improvements to Telecom’s country services. I regret that it was at such a high personal cost.”

The Hon David Hawker MP

“Only I know from personal experience that your story is true, otherwise I would find it difficult to believe. I was amazed and impressed with the thorough, detailed work you have done in your efforts to find justice”

Sister Burke

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