The iron law of terrorism prevention

ON LINE opinion – Australia’s e-journal of social and political debate

Posted Monday, 19 October 2015

The more spooks, spies and spivs we employ to spy on our and other citizens the outcome, in terms of the safety of our citizenry, is diminished. The number of ASIO operatives employed in Australia has doubled in recent years. They have been provided with far more extensive search and control powers. We’ve had take from the poorest to meet their merest whim. They are now out of control.

We have made matters even worse by voting in authoritarian personalities such as Abbott, Dutton, Morrison, Michael Keenan (Minister for Counter Terrorism) in fact most of the Coalition’s front bench and coupling that with a servile Labor Opposition. The reason that this exacerbates the problem is that this allows the government of the day to extend the legislative reach of terrorism provisions.

It creates a surveillance society where secrecy and subterfuge are the by-words. Everyone is a threat and everyone is at risk. None are to be trusted. The East German Stasi is the ultimate example of the potential for countries to slide into a repressive panopticon.

We now have idiots, such as the afore mentioned Michael Keenan, running round the country telling anyone who will listen that if they suspect that a young person (read Muslim) is being radicalised then they should immediately ring the National Security Hotline and dob them in. Hand in hand with that you have the Australian Federal (read Feral) Police warning that they have applied for terrorism restraining orders against a 12 year old Australian citizen.

If the counter terrorism personnel in this country were even half smart they wouldn’t be crapping on about young people being “radicalised” they would have moved in and shut down our previous Prime Minister when he started mouthing off about death cults, Team Australia, Muslim leaders not being serious about peace and all the other nonsense he spouted which alienated young Muslims. We don’t need to be militarising customs and immigration and dressing the Borderfarce employees in uniforms remarkably similar to Benito Mussolini’s Black Shirts. We don’t need to be repressing asylum seekers in offshore camps.

We don’t need to threatening to close down hundreds of Aboriginal communities in remote Australia. We don’t need any of this control and denigrate nonsense.

If we want to live in a peaceful Australia where people are free to go about their lives in ways that they desire. We have to build that Australia from the ground up. What is more, we are off to a bad start. Modern Australia was founded on the slaughter, rape, genocide and dispossession of Aborigines. We need as a first step to make adequate reparation.

In addition since the Second World War we have invaded Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and God know where else whenever our colonial masters asked. We have connived with the US in the murder of well over one thousand people by drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Syria and various parts of Africa by giving the US access to Pine Gap and other surveillance bases.

In 1961 we refused to intervene in West Papua when Indonesia forcibly incorporated its people into Indonesia. The West Papuans are still trying to gain independence from their colonial overlords. In 1975, we stood by when Indonesia invaded East Timor and subsequently killed one third of the population. It took a misjudged letter from John Howard to President Habibie to set East Timor on a path to independence. But this did not stop Australian spies bugging the Timor Cabinet room to gain information that advantaged Australia in its negotiations over oil royalties in the Timor Sea.

Australian spies have scuttled boats, intended to take asylum seekers to Australia. Other boats have been sabotaged some of these may have left Indonesia and sunk en route to Australia drowning the passengers – we will never know for certain. Australian officials have paid people smugglers to return to Indonesia with their asylum seekers.

We do know that many things are done in our name which are violent and which would be illegal were you or I to carry them out but the Australian Parliament under both Labor and Coalition administrations have passed laws which mean that no penalties attach to these actions if carried out by officials acting under orders of the government of the day. There is little recognition that the Nuremberg Military Tribunals held that simply obeying orders did not absolve one of war crimes.

Those officials who handed back Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers to the Sri Lankan Navy certainly committed war crimes. Those who sabotaged boats in Indonesia may well be guilty of acts of piracy. There are other similarities between what Australian officials have done/are doing and those of terrorists.

Tony Abbott was looking around for a counter terrorism tsar he chose Moriarty totally unmindful that over a century earlier Sherlock Holmes had exposed Moriarty as a criminal mastermind. The last time a community was subjected to a military-style invasion in Australia was that of Palm Island where following the killing by police in the watch house of an Aborigine and a subsequent riot during which the police station was torched, the police paramilitary invaded pushing pregnant women, old ladies and children to the ground at gunpoint. They know that governments will ensure their excesses are overlooked either by a compliant judiciary or by legislation or by a frightened public.

It is now the turn of the Muslim community to be pushed around, mugged, harassed. Some will be fitted up with dodgy charges. The law will be modified by a supine parliament in order to change what was legal yesterday into something illegal today. If all else fails then retrospective additions will be made. Macropods will be placed in charge of special courts. Once the terrorists have been sentenced to a year or more in jail they will then be deported if they were not born in Australia.
Eventually, we will reach a stage where the two most common charges brought against people will be:

“Failing to plead guilty as charged” and
“Attempting to prove innocence.”