‘National Security’ And Some Basic Priorities That Aren’t.

Responses to the Liberal’s ‘National Security’ agenda are interesting.

The Conversation has an article today titled ‘Abbotts national security changes are unlikely to make us safer’ and yet the opening sentance is “Prime Minister deserves the benefit of the Doubt that his intentions to further strenghthen Australia’s national security are good, well planned and most importantly justified.” The author, Clarke Jones, continues by going into how the proposed changes have the potential to exacerbate the underlying causes of violent extremism and further damage Australia’s cohesion. You can read the article here yourself. 

Clearly violence in the sense that is committed by the ‘Other’ is hot political tom yum at the moment and like tom yum leaves many people with either fire in their belly or a stomach pain. 

There are two more significant and basic issues I would suggest are more urgent food for the National plate.

  • The level of family violence within our communities

  • The level of youth unemployment

Both warrant significant government input and support rather than platitudes and lip service, cutbacks and ‘corporate buddy funding’.

Two great ABC programs on these topics have touched a nerve for me this week;

Last night’s Q&A on Family Violence, and the most recent 4 Corners report on Work Program rorting. Neither of the issues picked up by the programs are new, and in fact many Australians suffer from compassion fatigue in relation to the plethora of information that is out there on continued concerns around these issues. Both should be core business in any government ‘reform’ agenda. The victims, children, women and men who suffer as the ‘exceptional’ victims, deserve to be protected by our government who blithely make statements about our ‘protection’ being so important to them. ‘Death cults’ as so many tweeters suggested are not the priority.

When Abbott takes the stance of ‘our home is our castle’ in ‘fighting terrorism’ (somewhat of an oxymoron) or ‘shirtfronting Putin’, he embodies everything that sits underneath the endemic problem of male violence, against each other, women, children and community. Let’s face it the guy is a ‘bloke’ and likes ‘bloke speak’ he thinks it makes him ‘one of us’ and fails to see how it sets him apart. He is an embarrassment. Remember he is the ‘Minister for Women’!

Thanks Tony

I have worked extensively in the areas of sexual assault, child protection and family services. These are complex fields that require comprehensive service models and stamina from governments to persist beyond the political photo opportunity. Many of my colleagues are tired, they are angry at the government’s lack of insight and tap turning on the already pitifully low flow of funds that support agencies ongoing work. The liberal and labour shift under a neo-liberal agenda towards provision of social services from corporate enterprise rather than community networks has undermined much good work in this arena and simply depresses those who work in the field, with children, women, men, youth, families and communities.

The result of these policies? – human experience of deep suffering particularly in vulnerable ‘shadow people.’

The outcome of this bi-partisan neo-liberal agenda was painfully clear in the 4 Corners report ‘The Jobs Game’  (here) where the ABC program exposed the extent of taxpayer money stolen by many of the agencies who sit in the service sector now wrapped firmly around the unemployed. The program explored how “agencies have blossomed thanks to the privatisation of the Commonwealth Employment Service in 1998, and are thriving on contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.” The program explored how, “unemployment is now big business in Australia with some $1.3 billion spending on its welfare to work scheme.” More poignantly, it exposed the suffering of people forced to undertake useless and soul destroying ‘training’ programs and regularly spend their time and transport money to meet with people who demoralise them and provide little to assist. Clearly Jobs vs jobless is the figure that needs rebalancing, but of course that is not on their agenda, it is in fact a good thing in the world of big business that the pool of unemployed remain a source of potential cheap labour.

(For a thorough look at the economic rationalist fallacies read Bill Mitchell’s blog. His article on the Job Services debacle here)

Job Creation scheme politics-government-jobs-creation-civil-public-cgon748_low-clive-goddard.jpg

Job Creation scheme
politics-government-jobs-creation-civil-public-cgon748_low-clive-goddard.jpg

Again there are so many anecdotal tales of rort and subterfuge in this area, with some ‘providers’ being more honest than others and indeed reputable agencies choosing not to participate because it is contradictory to their values.

The program did not have a chance to explore the fudged numbers that then go to make up the government stats on under and un employed. It did not look at fair wage, it did not examine gender disproportion in wage levels, the ongoing casualisation of labour and the associated insecurities placed on the ‘less fortunate’. (Although QI touched on these power differentials in relation to male violence against women and the increased capacity of middle and upper class women to extricate themselves from situations of Family Violence)

The vulnerable are not only being exploited, but successive governments are continuing to use the people’s taxes to prioritise and implement their ill-thought policies, and worse, transnational pockets. The saddest thing about the failure to sincerely address these issues is the effects of government failure to act with foresight and forethought and to continue kneejerk responses that politicise genuine community concerns.

When government encourages and supports Big Business to spread it tenticles into basic human resources and social interventions like;

  • Our ground water sources.….

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Water/Global_Trade_BG.html

Where there is a demand for the trade of water across borders, it is already well underway. The trade in bottled water is one of the fastest-growing (and least regulated) industries in the world. In the 1970s, the annual volume was 300 million gallons. By 1980, this figure had climbed to 630 million gallons, and by the end of the decade, the world was drinking two billion gallons of bottled water every year. But these numbers pale in comparison to the explosion in bottled water sales in the last five years-over 20 percent annually. In 2000 over 8 billion gallons (24 billion liters) of water was bottled and traded globally, over 90 percent of it in non-reusable plastic containers……………………

Alongside the giants of the industry, such as Perrier, Evian, Naya, Poland Spring, Clearly Canadian, La Croix and Purely Alaskan, there are literally thousands of smaller companies now in the business. As well, the big soft-drink players are entering the market en masse. PepsiCo has its Aquafina line and CocaCola has just launched the North American version of its international label, Bon Aqua, called Dasani. CocaCola predicts that its water line, which is just processed tap water and sells for more than gasoline, will surpass its soft-drink line within a decade.

More on Coke: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2005/s1463816.htm

  • Our Health and Welfare System

  • Our Energy ‘providers’

We are firmly in the grip of spin and corporate control and have to speak up.

Thank-you Auntie I was disillusioned with you, but you can still throw a curve ball. (Honourable mention to Media Watch!)

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

George Orwell

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Toe Knee interrupted me…. with more terror! So I’ve paid sarcastic attention to his detail.

The Benefit of the Doubt and the neoliberal concept of ‘exceptionalism’ and ‘the reasonable man’.

I had started a post on the above topic, found a suitable Leunig cartoon and was ensconsed when I was rudely interrupted by Toe Knee Ahh Butt’s speech today. But first a word from Michael Leunig to get you in the mood.

I was thinking about concepts like;

  • Neo-liberal lipservice to assumed values and unexplained values of ‘civilisation’.

  • “There must be something beyond slaughter and barbarism to support the existence of mankind and we must all help search for it.”(Carlos Fuentes’ last tweet)

I was reading a fabulous paper “Neoliberalising violence: of the exceptional andthe exemplary in coalescing moments” by Simon Springer 2012, and found this brilliant quote;

“I argue that the hegemony of neoliberalism positions it as an abuser, which actively facilitates the abandonment of ‘Others’ who fall outside of ‘neoliberal normativity’, a conceptual category that cuts across multiple categories of discrimination including class, race, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexuality, age and ability. I argue that the widespread banishment of ‘Others’ under neoliberalism produces a ‘state of exception’, wherein because of its inherently dialectic nature, exceptional violence is transformed into exemplary violence. This metamorphosis occurs as aversion for alterity intensifies under neoliberalism and its associated violence against ‘Others’ comes to form the rule. The purpose is to recognise that neoliberalisation – in as much as it claims a global domain– implicates all of humanity in a particular ‘moment’, a moment of abandonment wherein the social relations that afford privilege to the few and privation to the many are the very same social relations that occasion violence.” (My emphasis.)

Simon Springer 2012 Department of Geography, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

See his article in full here

Then I was interrupted…… by Toe Knee (SMH article with video and transcript here)

Toe Knee Ah...Butt's famous budgie smugglers "The Australian way of life" newmatilda.com

Toe Knee Ah…Butt’s famous budgie smugglers “The Australian way of life”
newmatilda.com

 

AHH BUTT’S FULL NATIONAL SECURITY STATEMENT. (My sarcastic, and sometimes disbelieving comments are in italics)

I want to speak to you about the threat that we face; the work done already to keep you as safe as we humanly can; and the things still needed to prevent further terrorist attacks.

Today, my colleagues and I are joined by representatives of the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Defence Force, ASIO and agencies like Crimtrac – which helps police and other law enforcement bodies share information.

The men and women in this room are on the frontline of Australia’s fight against terror. 

There is no greater responsibility – on me – on the government – than keeping you safe. (How about improving income and social protections for the poor and vulnerable?)

This is the responsibility that’s discharged by the men and women in this room.

We know that these are testing times for everyone here – and for everyone sworn to protect democratic freedoms. Conflates his government with the protection of ‘democratic freedoms’

The terrorist threat is rising at home and abroad – (On what basis is this claim made? Mad Man Monis?) and it’s becoming harder to combat. (The word ‘combat’ is in itself inflamatory and totally consistant with the Bush meme “A war on terror” that justified his [and our] illegal invasion of Iraq)

We have seen on our TV screens and in our newspapers (MSM filtered) the evidence (loose use of the term) of the new dark age (at whose direction and with what support from where?) that has settled over much of Syria and Iraq. (But berated Assad as an evil dictator when he advised back in 2012 that his country was being invaded by Foreign fundamentalist terror cells preferring to call them Freedom fighters and totally ignored the years of CIA funding and training to many of those (many who were in Camp Bucca like Bagdadi) who currently fight with IS )

We have seen the beheadings, the mass executions, the crucifixions and the sexual slavery in the name of religion. (and the ones undertaken by ‘our good friends the Saudi’s under state sanctioned terrorism).

There is no grievance here that can be addressed; there is no cause here that can be satisfied; it is the demand to submit – or die.

We have seen our fellow Australians – people born and bred to live and let live – succumb to the lure of this death cult. (and knowing the root causes of this in our own country, dissaffection, racism, ignorance, youth unemployment, and mental illth, ignore these factors and continue to cut funds to programs that address these issues.)

We have heard the exhortations of their so-called caliphate to kill all or any of the unbelievers. (A man who spent four years [or 10 months depending on which reports you read] in US sponsored incarceration in Iraq’s notorious Bucca Gitmo)

And we know that this message of the most primitive savagery is being spread through the most sophisticated technology.

By any measure, the threat to Australia is worsening. (Fueled by what and whom Toe Knee?)

The number of foreign fighters is up. (evidence?)

The number of known sympathisers and supporters of extremism is up. (evidence?)

The number of potential home grown terrorists is rising. (evidence?)

The number of serious investigations continues to increase. (figures and analysis?)

During 2014, the government consulted with our experts – many of whom are in this room today; we talked with our allies; and we worked with the opposition, to improve Australia’s preparedness for any eventuality.

Last September, the National Terrorist Threat level was lifted to high, which means a terrorist attack is likely. (on what basis?)

Critics said we were exaggerating.

But since then, we have witnessed the frenzied attack on two police officers in Melbourne and the horror of the Martin Place siege. (singular events, analysis of which does not reveal anything to support or justify the whipping up by your government of the legislative changes you have proposed and initiated)

Twenty people have been arrested and charged as a result of six counter terrorism operations conducted around Australia. (would this not have occurred without access to the new anti-terror legislation?)

That’s one third of all the terrorism-related arrests since 2001 – within the space of just six months.

The judgment to lift the Threat Level was correct. (Not a logical conclusion)

In proclaiming a caliphate, the Islam-ist death-cult has declared war on the world.

Not only has Australia suffered at the hands of terrorists – but so have Canada, France, Denmark, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Japan, Jordan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

We have seen the tactics of terrorists evolve. (On MSM and not heard any contradictory or less shock and awe media tactics)

In the decade after 9/11, our agencies disrupted elaborate conspiracies to attack our electricity supplies, the Grand Final at the MCG and the Holsworthy Army Barracks in Sydney.

Now, in addition to the larger scale, more complex plots that typified the post 9/11 world, such as the atrocities in Bali and London, sick individuals are acting on the caliphate’s instruction to seize people at random and kill them. (Not to mention the 9/11 deep state conspiracies, Bush Cheyney, Halliburten, Rumsfeld, G4S, drones, psy-ops and False Flags)

Today’s terrorism requires little more than a camera-phone, a knife and a victim. (One Bourbon, one scotch and one beer)

These lone actor attacks are not new, but they pose a unique set of problems.

All too often, alienated and unhappy people brood quietly. (How true)

Feeling persecuted and looking for meaning, they self-radicalise online. (let’s ban self radicalisation and forget dealing with the root causes of alienation)

Then they plan attacks which require little preparation, training or capability.

The short lead time from the moment they decide they are going to strike, and then actually undertake the attack, makes it hard to disrupt their activities.

Police do not have the luxury to wait and watch. 

They apply their best judgement – and they do so, fully aware that armchair critics, will find fault.

Still, police act because they have enough facts to make an informed judgement. 

Some of these raids may not result in prosecution. (let’s see how many)

But frankly, I’d rather lose a case, than lose a life. (Lawyer speak for better to be safe than sorry)

The protection of life must always rank ahead of the prospects of a successful prosecution.

The arrest of two men in Sydney earlier this month, who’d already recorded a pre-attack message, is just one example of how quickly a threat can develop. 

I should add that without our Foreign Fighters legislation, it is highly unlikely that these arrests could have been made.

This new terrorist environment is uniquely shaped by the way that extremist ideologies can now spread online.

Every single day, the Islam-ist death cult and its supporters churn out up to 100,000 social media messages in a variety of languages. 

Often, they are slick and well produced. (Perhaps even as ‘False Flags’ and Psy-ops by so-called people who hold similar values to us)

That’s the contagion that’s infecting people, grooming them for terrorism.

Already at least 110 Australians have travelled overseas to join the death cult in Iraq and Syria. 

At least 20 of them, so far, are dead.

Even if the flow of foreign fighters to Syria and Iraq stopped today, there’s an Australian cohort of hardened jihadists who are intent on radicalising and influencing others.

The number of Australians with hands-on terrorist experience is now several times larger than those who trained earlier in Afghanistan and Pakistan. (110-20 = 90 times David Hicks?)

Of that group, two-thirds became involved in terrorist activity back here in Australia. (Where does he get those figures?)

The signs are ominous.

ASIO currently has over 400 high-priority counter-terrorism investigations. (Are you on their list? Am I?)

That’s more than double the number a year ago.

We are not alone in facing such challenges.

The same phenomenon is evident across Europe, in the United States and in South East Asia.

Many of those involved in anti-Western attacks in Indonesia over the last decade are now being released from prison—some neither reformed nor rehabilitated.

Australian and Indonesian agencies will continue to work closely together to tackle extremists – because it is in both our interests to do so.

In Australia and elsewhere, the threat of terrorism has become a terrible fact of life that government must do all in its power to counter.

So far, this is what we have done. (Here we go..)

Within weeks of taking office, I asked the Attorney-General to develop a government response to foreign fighters. (Excluding all those dual citizens who join the Israeli Occupation Forces to fight to protect ‘freedom’ in Israel because they’re our friends and are ‘legitimate combatants’ in the illegal war on Gaza and the Occupied Territories…Oh sorry Mr Brandis, their not occupied)

Last August, the government invested $630 million in a range of new counter-terrorism measures. (Just enough to

This funding gives our security agencies the resources they asked for to combat home-grown terrorism and to help prevent Australians participating in terrorism overseas.

The effect of these new measures has already been felt:

* Counter-Terrorism Teams now operate at all eight major international airports; (I’ll tell you later about Darwin Customs, Immigration and Border Protection)

* Sixty-two additional biometric screening gates are being fast tracked for passengers at airports to detect and deal with people leaving on false passports;

* Forty-nine extra AFP members are working in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra on the Foreign Fighter threat;

* Seven new financial analysts have been engaged to help crack down on terrorist financing; (And this later)

* A new “violent jihadist network mapping unit” in ASIO has been created to improve intelligence agencies’ understanding of the threat facing Australia;

* A Foreign Fighters Task Force has been established in the Australian Crime Commission with access to the commission’s coercive powers; and

* Last Thursday, the Attorney-General announced a series of measures designed to combat terrorist propaganda online. (Interesting must have missed that)

* We have legislated to cancel the welfare payments of individuals assessed to be a threat to security. 

This is not window dressing – as of last September, 55 of the 57 Australian extremists then fighting with terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq had been on welfare. (I wonder why?)

We have made it easier to ban terrorist organisations which promote and encourage terrorist acts. (Who are the terrorists? And who will be next? Will those who questions the nature of world events and the increasing government agenda to moniter its citizens in a ‘lowest common denominator’ inspired universally applied internet spyforce, alternative appraisals and possible government conspiracies, poorly masked neo-con capitalist agendas and acts of state terrorism be next or are they already there?)

We have strengthened the offences of training with, recruiting for and funding terrorist organisations.

We have made it easier to prosecute foreign fighters by making it illegal to travel to a declared area overseas. (And the IDF in Gaza?)

Last December, we proscribed travel to Syria’s Al Raqqa province – where the death cult is based – without a legitimate purpose. (But if someone goes to Turkey and gets in that way will you even know?)

We are now looking at listing Mosul district in Ninawa Province, in Iraq, which the death cult also controls.

And we have given ASIO the further power to request an Australian passport be suspended, pending further security assessment – that’s happened eight times so far.

This year, we will consider what further legislation is needed to combat terrorism and keep Australians safe. (That should keep you busy and the populace engrosed, forget all your failed policies and Hockey’s pitiful budget razorcuts)

But we cannot do it alone. (?)

The government is working with local communities to counter violent extremism.

I acknowledge the readiness of parents, siblings and community leaders to let the police know about people they think are falling under the death cult’s spell. (As opposed to believing your neo-con spin….can we please stop this witchworld language …..please)

Our law enforcement agencies could not operate without their help.(That’s a bit sad after all we the tax payer are funding this to the tune of an additional $630 million!)

I acknowledge the cooperation the Commonwealth enjoys with all States and Territories on counter-terrorism issues.

That cooperation was highlighted by the Martin Place siege.

Yesterday, Premier Mike Baird and I released the Martin Place Siege Joint Commonwealth – New South Wales Review.

What we learnt from that Review was that there were no major failings of intelligence or process in the lead up to Martin Place. (Except agreeing that the man was in the first instance to answer charges in Iran of embezelling money from his customers and extradition was requested….How many times has Iran requested this of its nationals and was it ever investigated here, considering extensive police checks are sought from anyone seeking asylum in Australia, oh but of course that was Iran…..and then we were paying Iranian refugee detainees $3000 to go back from Baxter IDF to Iran, but that’s another story.)

Everyone did their job as required by law. (Nuff said)

But now, there’s more to do.

It’s clear that in too many instances the threshold for action was set too high – and the only beneficiary of that was the Martin Place murderer himself.

For too long, we have given those who might be a threat to our country the benefit of the doubt. (I’m not sure what you mean Toe Knee?

The perpetrator was given the benefit of the doubt when he applied for a visa. (Not exactly)

He was given the benefit of the doubt for residency and citizenship.(Not exactly)

He was given the benefit of the doubt at Centrelink.(Who knows what doubt they had)

He was given the benefit of the doubt when he applied for legal aid. (What doubt was he not elligible?)

And in the courts, there has been bail, when there should have been jail. (Toe Knee of the bar)

This report marks a line in the sand.

There is always a trade-off between the rights of an individual and the safety of the community. (But is this the way to ‘make us safe’?)

We will never sacrifice our freedoms in order to defend them – but we will not let our enemies exploit our decency either. (More slogans)

If Immigration and Border Protection faces a choice to let-in or keep out people with security questions over them – we should choose to keep them out. (A dangerous move, what security questions are we talking about)

If there is a choice between latitude for suspects or more powers to police and security agencies – more often, we should choose to support our agencies.

And if we can stop hate-preachers from grooming gullible young people for terrorism, we should.

We have already made a start on removing the benefit of the doubt for people who are taking advantage of us.

We’ve introduced legislation to refuse a protection visa to people who destroy evidence of their identity. (Not a bad idea when people smugglers and pimps remove documents from those seeking asylum and women interned in prostitution rackets)

And the same applies if you present a bogus document.

This Bill is currently stalled in the Senate. (Thank goodness someone’s having a closer look)

It’s reasonable. (What is? that someone’s having a closer look or the Bill? Sorry if I forgot how reasonable you are.)

It’s in our country’s interest. 

And I call on all senators to support it.

The government’s Data Retention Bill – currently being reviewed by the Parliament – is the vital next step in giving our agencies the tools they need to keep Australia safe. (Rubbish, vital next step indeed)

Access to metadata is the common element to most successful counter-terrorism investigations. 

It’s essential in fighting most major crimes, including the most abhorrent of all – crimes against children. (What about the children?….took you long enough to get the Royal Commission underway and we still lock them up in Madatory detention, ofshore so we can wash our hands of the range human rights abuses being perpetrated.)

Again, I call on Parliament to support this important legislation.

We need to give our agencies these powers to protect our community.

Today, I am releasing the Counter Terrorism review that the government commissioned last August.

The review finds that we face a new, long-term era of heightened terrorism threat, with a much more significant ‘home grown’ element.

From the SMH today….http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/tony-abbotts-speech-may-increase-muslim-feelings-of-alienation-20150223-13mnv0.html

“Second, there’s the push for stronger prohibitions on “vilifying, intimidating or inciting hatred”. For most of recent memory, the Coalition wanted to loosen such limits on free speech by watering down Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

The new move would use the criminal code instead and any new laws would obviously apply to everyone, not just Muslim preachers. Nevertheless, Mr Abbott is sending a signal to the Muslim community that six months ago the government wanted to increase free speech for the general community and now it wants to curb free speech for Muslims.

This will only increase the sense among Muslims that they are being singled out.”

Carry on Toe Knee……

While the review did not recommend major structural changes, it did recommend strengthening our counter-terrorism strategy and improving our cooperation with at-risk communities.

The government will carefully consider the findings and act as quickly as possible.

In fact, some recommendations have already been acted upon:

We will ensure returning foreign fighters are prosecuted or closely monitored using strengthened control orders.

We will appoint a National Counter Terrorism Coordinator.

We want to bring the same drive, focus and results to our counter terrorism efforts that worked so well in Operation Sovereign Borders and Operation Bring Them Home.

Over recent months, I spent many hours listening to Australians from all walks of life. (We were told by your own party you did not confer on much at all)

Clearly, people are anxious about the national security threats we face.

Many are angry because all too often the threat comes from someone who has enjoyed the hospitality and generosity of the Australian people.

When it comes to someone like the Martin Place murderer, people feel like we have been taken for mugs. (So that’s why you sacked Ruddoch?…..He was the responsible Minister at the time….doubtful)

Australian citizenship is an extraordinary privilege that should involve a solemn and lifelong commitment to Australia.

People who come to this country are free to live as they choose – provided they don’t steal that same freedom from others. (debatable)

We are one of the most diverse nations on earth – and celebrating that is at the heart of what it means to be Australian. (Blah, blah)

We are a country built on immigration and are much the richer for it. (Not after we incarcerated ‘indefinitely’, ‘boat people’) and called legitimate refugees queue jumpers)

Always, Australia will continue to welcome people who want to make this country their home. (?) 

We will help them and support them to settle in.

But this is not a one-way street. (Slogan)

Those who come here must be as open and accepting of their adopted country, as we are of them. 

Those who live here must be as tolerant of others as we are of them.

No one should live in our country while denying our values and rejecting the very idea of a free and open society. (Your neo-con view of ‘free and open’ society that is.Respect my authoritie.” …Cartman, South Park…yes I’m loosing interest)

It’s worth recalling the citizenship pledge that all of us have been encouraged to recite:

I pledge my commitment to Australia and its people; whose democratic beliefs I share; whose rights and liberties I respect; and whose laws I will uphold and obey.

This has to mean something.

Especially now that we face a home-grown threat from people who do reject our values. (perhaps you should examine the ‘home grown’ reponsibility aspect more)

Today, I am announcing that the government will look at new measures to strengthen immigration laws, as well as new options for dealing with Australian citizens who are involved in terrorism. 

We cannot allow bad people to use our good nature against us. (Your either with us or with the terrorists…Bush OR “Four legs goooood, two legs baaaad” Sheep in Animal Farm)

The government will develop amendments to the Australian Citizenship Act so that we can revoke or suspend Australian citizenship in the case of dual nationals. (Makes you wonder where Palestinians or other previously stateless peoples will sit with only one ‘nationality?)

It has long been the case that people who fight against Australia forfeit their citizenship. (Funny, I thought they were fighting Assad in Syria)

Australians who take up arms with terrorist groups, especially while Australian military personnel are engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq, have sided against their country and should be treated accordingly. (We are not there under any UN sanctioned intervention even if we call it ‘humanitarian’.)

For Australian nationals, we are examining suspending some of the privileges of citizenship for individuals involved in terrorism.

Those could include restricting the ability to leave or return to Australia, and access to consular services overseas, as well as access to welfare payments. (Hmmmnnn)

We will also clamp down on those organisations that incite religious or racial hatred.(Including Zionists?)

No-one should make excuses for Islam-ist fanatics in the Middle East or their imitators here in Australia. (Make excuses, or do you really mean ‘actively support violent jihad’… this is sounding like the BBC panel attack on George Galloway)

For a long time, successive governments have been concerned about organisations that breed hatred, and sometimes incite violence. (I’m tired of this, role of government rant)

Organisations and individuals blatantly spreading discord and division – such as Hizb ut-Tahrir – should not do so with impunity.

Today, I can confirm that the government will be taking action against hate preachers.

This includes enforcing our strengthened terrorism advocacy laws.

It includes new programmes to challenge terrorist propaganda and to provide alternative online material based on Australian values.

And it will include stronger prohibitions on vilifying, intimidating or inciting hatred.

These changes should empower community members to directly challenge terrorist propaganda.

I’ve often heard Western leaders describe Islam as a ‘religion of peace’.

I wish more Muslim leaders would say that more often, and mean it.

I have often cited Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia, who has described the Islamist death cult as ‘against God, against Islam and against our common humanity’.

In January, President al Sisi told the imams at Egypt’s al Azhar university that Islam needed a ‘religious revolution’ to sweep away centuries of false thinking. (Let’s not tbring Al Sisi into this, Pleeeese)

Everybody, including Muslim community leaders, needs to speak up clearly because, no matter what the grievance, violence against innocents must surely be a blasphemy against all religion.

I can’t promise that terrorist atrocities won’t ever again take place on Australian soil.

But let me give you this assurance:

My government will never underestimate the threat.

We will make the difficult decisions that must be taken to keep you and your family safe.

We have the best national security agencies and the best police forces in the world. 

Our agencies are working together. (No they’re not, I have that on good advice and personal knowledge, integrated activities and communcations between agencies is not part of the policy implementation of the ATLaw and the Departments involved are not actively sharing intel, this means risk problems and problems for innocents caught in the crosshairs)

All levels of government are working together.

We are doing our duty.

That is what you have a right to expect – and to demand of me and of us.

Well thankfully that’s finished. I’ll let Simon Springer have the final word. His paper (link above) is really worth a read.

Neoliberalising violence’ signifies the increasingly fantastic character of violence as our political imaginaries knowingly and unknowingly come to embrace the anomie and social disarticulation of neoliberalism’s dystopia of individualism. Within neoliberalism’s imaginative geographies of a global village, what is not spoken is the desire for a particular homogeneity, an impulse to remake the ‘Other’ in ‘our’ image, whereby the space of ‘the peculiar’, ‘the exotic’, ‘the bizarre’ is continually (re)pro-duced through the relation of the ban. As an ascendantform of sovereignty that attempts to (re)constitute classpower (Harvey 2005) and maintain hegemony through the production of a series of ongoing crises or ‘shocks’ used to pry national economies open to global markets (Klein 2007), neoliberalism exaggerates the abandonment that calls the state of exception into being. To Agamben (2005), the state of exception relies on conditions of crises, wherein individual rights may be diminished,superseded and rejected in the process of extending existing governmental power structures. Insofar as neo-liberalism isapraxis of socio-spatial transformation that proceeds as both a quantitative destruction and discreditation entailing the ‘roll-back’ of certain state functions,and a qualitative construction and consolidation, which sees the ‘roll-out’ of reconfigured economic management systems and an invasive social agenda centred on urban order, surveillance and policing, the very logic behind neoliberalism’s exigent modalities melds with the state of exception. Indeed, the state of exception ‘marks a thresh-old at which logic and praxis blur with each other and a pure violence’ is realised (Agamben 2005, 40).

My emphasis, couldn’t have said it better thanks Simon!

First Dog on the Moon- Handy Guide to ‘anachronistic display of hereditary priviledge’ on Orstraylia Day.

Says it all………………………..

http://www.theguardian.com/profile/first-dog-on-the-moon

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/23/for-services-to-having-lots-of-money-australia-day-honours-list-announced?CMP=ema_632

First Dog on the Moon - Australia Invasion Day

Religion is not the Opium of the People it is the Crack- if it were opium we wouldn’t have to worry.

 “The figures looked more or less human. And they were engaged in religion. You could tell by the knives (it’s not murder if you do it for a god).”

— (Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)

It has been said that two subjects should be off the agenda for conversation if you want it to be pleasant – Religion and Politics. The problem I have with that is that any subject you want to talk about includes potential aspects of one or the other or both, from climate change to entertainment to child rights.

These two ‘dangerous’ subjects Religion and Politics need de-constructing and not being put in the quiet corner. From the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition through the missionary zeal of Protestants in Hawaii, Zionists who use Judaism to justify atrocities and acts of war against Palestinians and paedophile priests who continue to act under the cloak of religious righteousness, we cannot ignore the narrative of religion and politics as weapons.

I was so happy when Science took on religion in the form of Richard Dawkins, until his fervour and obsession appeared equally pious. My delight in his quest came from the very human need to feel part of something, understood and even supported. My disinterest came when I felt his sense of superiority over those he challenged- I saw little difference in the attitudes held between him and his Noscience religious detractors.

I am not a scientist and like so many who espouse religion do not have the finer points under my belt. I do recognise the current wave of world fundamentalism in religion is not new, but the MSM thrust of ignorance towards the latest wave of people we are struggling to understand is unacceptable. I say understand NOT justify or cast as the ‘other’ and vilfy all those who fit some spurious descriptive narrative.

The fallacy that religion keeps us ‘in check’ disturbs me. I was once asked a question by a Muslim man who reclaimed his religion after he had ‘gone off the rails’ and was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. He asked how I could keep from breaking the law and doing whatever I wanted if I didn’t have religion. His question begs many more. Suffice to say I don’t need a religion to tell me how to live with others.

My call goes to those of you who have no religion nor need nor want one, not to call for “freedom’ or for ‘freedom of speech’ as these crazy catch cries are used by those who laud their financial and political power over us all. My call is for those who identify as part of the human race, to continue to do so. To know there is biologically no such thing as different race but that separation, breading, and raising young children are critical factors in determining who we are. Learn about and understand how we determine the ‘other’ and why we separate and refuse to see them as ourselves given another set of parents, another time and place to be born and to break down walls not put them up.

We fear what we don’t understand. Our history brought us here, learn and challenge the apathy, comfortability and arrogance that comes with it. Read the history of the ‘other’ not just that of the victors.

We cry when bullets and heads fly, be careful not to be selective about what you mourn and to notice and speak up when the ‘other’ is being abused by us.

Palestinians demand end to UN complicity in Gaza siege

Please excuse my lack of posting. I am writing a book of shorts and will be back.

Mr Curly Is Irrelevant- Cartoon by Michael (the Magnificent) Leunig http://leunig.com.au/images/featured-prints/mr-curly-irrelevant.jpg

Until I feel more relevant, a share……….

If you’re wondering how Gaza is faring since it was pounded and further crippled by Israeli aggression, click below.

Palestinians demand end to UN complicity in Gaza siege.

And some accompanying music War Pigs- Black Sabbath (live) Paris 1970

A Research Piece and the Exposed Moral Distance of Australia’s New Anti-Terror Laws.

Mark Nolan wrote a chapter in the book, Fresh Perspectives on the ‘War on Terror’ called ‘Lay Perceptions of Terrorist Acts and Counter-Terrorism Responses: Role of Motive, Offence Construal, Siege Mentality and Human Rights’ (Canberra: ANU ePress, 2008) 85-107. Quite a title!

The chapter examines the perceptions of people towards terrorist acts and counter terrorism initiatives in Australia. Nolan’s motivation for the chapter is the phrase “exceptional law for exceptional times”. He suggests this phrase sums up the arguments of those who consider ‘much of the tradition and principle of law less relevant now and creating undue risks in the prevention or regulation of political violence.’

People like George Brandis I guess given the new terror laws.

Nolan examined public perceptions of politically motivated violence and perceptions of the counter terrorism initiatives to combat the use of such violence in Australia. Interestingly he uses constructs from professor Daniel Bar-Tal’s (Tel Aviv university) examination of siege mentality in Israel.

Bar-Tal attempted to explain some social relationships in the Middle East in terms of the ongoing socialisation of Israeli Jews with a siege mentality or “a socialised psychological belief orientation that shapes the view of the ‘other’ especially conceptions of Palestinians perpetrating politically motivated violence.” In seige mentality, outsiders are perceived to want to harm the group, the threat is faced alone and in relative isolation from potential allies and coalitions.

The four consequences of such a mentality are,
1. negative attitudes against the world
2. intergroup mistrust
3. pressure towards intragroup conformity
4. self protection and self reliance

Perceived isolation in the face of negative attitudes ‘against the world’ brings an associated attitude towards the use of international institutions and concepts such as international human rights norms. Nolan interestingly  notes that in principle this mentality could be equally held by victims and perpetrators of politically motivated violence.

Nolan’s work included the scenario of police investigation of “a food tampering incident effecting supplies to a leading multinational hamburger food chain established in Australia.”

Two explanatory paragraphs about the incident or crime were used, one using ‘anti-corporate conditions’ for the crime and the other ‘jihadist conditions’.

1. Anti-corporate conditions
There has been no claim of responsibility yet but police report that anonymous threats have been made to restaurant owners that state; “Don’t trust the safety of any of your food supplies today. Action has been taken so that people will stop trusting the lies of multinational corporations who control our diet.

2. Jihadist conditions
There has been no claim of responsibility yet but police report that anonymous threats have been made to restaurant owners that state; “Don’t trust the safety of any of your food supplies today. Action has been taken so that infidels will be stopped in the name of Allah!”

Participants were asked to express the apparent motive of the alleged perpetrators in their own words to both instances and then to scale the extent to which that motive is the most important factor in judging the ‘blameworthiness’ of the act.

Nolan’s research was undertaken in 2005 and his study contained more extensive material that I have not included specifically because of the difference in likely readership. However some of Nolans findings are relevant to the current focus on Australia’s proposed new ‘terror laws.’

Firstly, Nolan found no link between siege mentality and the responses of his participants, primarily because his participants did not appear to have a siege mentality and did not feel ‘alone in the world due to terrorist threat’.

This is not surprising at all, given Australia shirt tales the US on most things and it’s regularly said by our government that “we share the same values”, thus one country in the world definitely sharesany sense we might have that there is a ‘terrorist threat out there’. Similarly the UK, our parent country, obviously shares this concern, given the responses of Cameron’s government. Even recently, the sense in this country appears to be one of being more buffered than most countries, despite recent raids on supposed jihadist incitement bookshops, the shooting of an 18yo who allegedly attacked police with knives following the raids and IS fighters in Iraq and Syria being identified as Australian.

The really interesting outcomes of Nolan’s work for my part is that;
1. Even people with a low terrorist siege mentality, who did not support the idea that civil rights be weakened by asserting the right to security, still believed that jihadist motives rendered the same act more blameworthy than anticorporate political and ideological motives.

2. There was an overall rejection that national security justified general treatment of suspects by police, court or correctional services inconsistency with international human rights and laws or standard criminal practice.

For Nolan the first of these two outcomes raised concerns about “possible impact on juries of evidence of the intention to advance political religious or ideological causes”. Nolan suggests “judges may need to use jury instructions to combat attitudinal bias against defendants alleged to be pursuing particular motives.”

My concern is greater than Nolan’s. Judges instructions to juries are often lost on juries in my experience in the courts (I have numerous examples in sexual assault cases where juries may be instructed in often lengthy diatribes that the time taken to report an assault is not considered a significant factor or that prior sexual history of the victim should not be given equal consideration with other facts I the case). The outcome here suggests that merely the term jihad is highly misunderstood by most non-Muslim Australians. A more relevant term would be violent jihad where the violence is what is considered as believing in jihad which literally means to struggle or strive which is not of itself violent. This omission of clear definition shows up both the research and the general understanding of the term in the Australian community.

On the second point I am relieved to think the large majority of the 123 respondents in the study maintained a moral stance supporting consistency of police courts and correctional services with respect for human rights even when ‘national security’ appears under threat, with only 4 dissenters to that position. However, we all know how difficult it is to ‘watchdog’ from the outside or whistleblow from the inside in these services.

Luckily senator David Leyonhjelm raised concerns that “beefed-up legislation includes immunities for special security operations that are so wide as to allow for certain forms of torture, including drugging, sensory bombardment and sleep deprivation. Additionally two senior legal experts who advised the Liberal Democratic Party on the legislation who spoke to Fairfax Media, “confirmed that the immunity provisions open a wide legal grey area and are broader than any such state power in the United Kingdom, Canada or New Zealand”. see here

The new laws have rightly raised concern but only in small doses (See video of parliamentary members with concerns and read SMH article here . The cross bench committee advising changes to the proposed laws has at least recommended the ridiculous 10 year ‘sunset’ clause be 2 years but……

We’re a complacent lot really.