Pilger on the appauling treatment of first Australians by successive white lens governments for the sake of ‘saving’ them. Now the call is ‘fiscal savings and poor lifestyle choices’ accompanied by silence around the real MO of further pilaging the nation’s underground wealth.
Doubt whether our esteemed and celubrious PM Toe Knee Ah…Butt will be joining any dots in Turkey…..see ‘The Conversation’ article here
Photo: Armenians on a french ship.
As you may know, I am a huge fan of Jonathon Cook. A tireless sound journalist who lives in Nazareth. His insights and investigations are always read-worthy. His latest blog includes video’s of IOF home invasions that show the complete disregard for human rights towards the Palestinian families whose homes are entered and whose children are traumatised.
The senior IOF officer continues to alert his young soldiers to the need to have both hands on their weapons at all times and the disregard and abuse shown toward the Palestinian families is an offence to humanity.
Watch how young Israeli Dual Nationals are trained and what they are expected to do when they go with our governments blessing to do ‘a tour of IOF duty’.
Wonder how their experiences in maintaining an illegal occupation will radicalise and transform them.
Consider how their apartheid occupation ‘duties’ will effect them and their relationships with others in our community when they return to Australia when violations of the human rights of Palestinians is ‘just another day’s work’ for them.
As Jonathon says “what normal human instincts of compassion have to be battered into submission, what ugly instincts of tribal superiority have to be cultivated?”
Videos of Israeli raids on sleeping children
I suspect the word “occupation” – even the more precise “belligerent occupation” – fails to convey to most people the reality of daily horrors inflicted on the Palestinians. Of course, we know that occupations in general are bad and that it would be better if this particular one ended. But what does an occupation feel like if you’re a child, if you’re four or eight years old?
Here are two videos, released by B’Tselem, to remind us of what an occupation is like as lived experience rather than as an abstract concept. They document masked, armed soldiers breaking into the homes of Palestinians in Hebron in the middle of the night to force children awake, and then photograph and interrogate them. The soldiers go door to door, from one apartment to the the next, as casually as if they were coming to read the electricity meter. For the soldiers, this is just one of dozens of “jobs” they have that night terrifying families.
Behind the immediate terror of being confronted by these faceless soldiers, the children know from friends or family that there is a real danger they will be seized – maybe tonight or another night – if the military decide they are wanted. They will be taken from their parents without warning to a military prison, where they may be held for months and their family will probably be unable to visit them.
What damage does this do to the children – and what dread do the parents have to live with?
Give a thought too, even if a very secondary one, to these soldiers. What normal human instincts of compassion have to be battered into submission, what ugly instincts of tribal superiority have to be cultivated, for someone to behave the ways these soldiers – and many thousands more like them – do?
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’!
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)
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.….
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.”
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)
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.
“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!
I have not been astounded by the comments in MSM about a ‘rise in anti-semitism’ following recent events of ‘attack’ on Jewish businesses and individuals in France and Denmark. There was a Radio National program this week where concerns of just this sort were raised. I have watched the BBC program ‘Question Time’ of 5th Feb where George Galloway was accused by Jonathan Freedland editor in chief of the British Guardian newspaper . (The episode begins at 39.15 mins in the video below)
Freedland himself has questions to answer regarding pro-Zionism in his running of the newspaper raised by the respected X Guardian journalist, Jonathon Cook, Jonathan Cook wrote about this in a recent blog,
All of the panellists, including Galloway, went to great lengths to express concern about attacks on Jews. However, it was entirely predictable that none of them except Galloway noted that Muslims were in fact the group most in danger of hate speech and physical attacks in the UK.
When Galloway did so, the other panellists accused him of engaging in an “arms race”, adding that there was nothing to be gained from trying to show who was harmed more by racism. This was also a point Freedland made while ‘defending himself’ against Galloway’s post-show complaint.
Such a response is disingenuous in the extreme. Freedland and the other panellists were the ones who tried to turn this issue into an “arms race” by prioritising one group’s suffering over another’s. If they were genuinely concerned about the safety of minorities in Britain and preventing the rise of a new wave of European fascism, they would be highlighting the rise of anti-Muslim feeling at least as much as they do anti-Jewish feeling.
But in truth they do the exact opposite. The “arms race” comment was meant to shut down any debate about race-hatred towards Muslims. In fact, it is very much part of that hate speech, making the expression of concern about the safety of Muslims seem marginal or like special pleading.
– See Cook’s full post in new tab here
George Galloway wrote post his BBC experience….
…a statement of mine attacking antisemitism and the Holocaust was transformed by Freedland into a charge on my indictment for anti-Semitism……….he continues….There is and always has been anti-semitism in Britain as there has always been racism of other kinds. I am its implacable enemy and have been all my life…., But if there are, as Freedland said,around 300,000 Jews in Britain then statistically speaking the number of attacks upon Jews even if we include attacks on their properties bears no comparison to the numbers of hate attacks upon other minorities including homosexuals, black people, Asians, not to mention Muslims who have suffered many times over more such attacks than have British Jews, the main difference being there are not many police officers standing guard outside mosques. Recorded anti-semitic hate crimes constitute 0.5% of all recorded hate crimes in Britain almost the same proportion as Jews to the population as a whole. All attacks on any minorities or their property should surely be condemned equally.” (my emphasis)
The point made by Cook about the panellists accusation that George Galloway was turning this into an “arms race” is where I want to pick up. Slogans are becoming the norm, they are cheap and fuel rather than stem the problem of racial violence.
- There should be genuine concern for anyone innocently caught up in broad sweep racial and religious hatred and violence.
- There should be genuine concern and capacity for recourse when there is clearly fear mongering or MSM racial and religious bias in reporting ‘news’.
There are some interesting insights in Avnery’s post. Read Ury Avnery’s Bio here http://www.avnery-news.co.il/english/index.html
|21/02/15 (see original post http://www.avnery-news.co.il/english/index.html )|
ANTI-SEMITISM is on the rise. All over Europe it is raising its ugly head. Jews are in danger everywhere. They must make haste and come home to Israel before it is too late.
PRACTICALLY ALL the alarming incidents which have taken place in Europe recently – especially in Paris and Copenhagen – in which Jews were killed or attacked – had nothing to do with anti-Semitism.
All these outrages were conducted by young Muslims, mostly of Arab descent. They were part of the ongoing war between Israelis and Arabs that has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. They are not descended from the pogrom in Kishinev and not related to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
In theory, Arab anti-Semitism is an oxymoron, since Arabs are Semites. Indeed, Arabs may be more Semitic then Jews, because Jews have mingled for many centuries with Gentiles.
But, of course, the German publicist Wilhelm Marr, who probably invented the term Antisemitismus in 1880 (after inventing the term Semitismus seven years earlier) never met an Arab in his life. For him the only Semites were Jews, and his crusade was solely against them.
(Adolf Hitler, who took his racism seriously, applied it to all Semites. He could not stand Arabs either. Contrary to legend, he disliked the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who had fled to Germany. After meeting him once for a photo-opportunity arranged by the Nazi propaganda machine, he never agreed to meet him again.)
SO WHY do young Muslims in Europe shoot Jews, after killing cartoonists who have insulted The Prophet?
Experts say that the basic reason is their profound hatred for their host countries, in which they feel (quite rightly) that they are despised, humiliated and discriminated against. In countries like France, Belgium, Denmark and many others, their violent rage needs an outlet.
But why the Jews?
There are at least two main reasons:
The first is local. French Muslims are mostly immigrants from North Africa. During the desperate struggle for Algerian independence, almost all the Algerian Jews sided with the colonialist regime against the local freedom fighters. When all Jews and many Arabs emigrated from Algeria to France, they brought their fight with them. Since they now live side by side in the crowded ghettos around Paris and elsewhere, their mutual hatred lives on and often leads to violence.
The second reason is the ongoing Arab-Zionist conflict, which started with the mass immigration of Jews to Arab Palestine, continued with the long list of wars and is now in full bloom. Practically every Arab in the world, and most Muslims are emotionally involved in the conflict.
But what have French Jews to do with that far-away conflict? Everything.
When Binyamin Netanyahu does not miss an opportunity to declare that he represents all the Jews in the world, he makes all the world’s Jews responsible for Israeli policies and actions.
When Jewish institutions in France, the US and everywhere totally and uncritically identify with the policies and operations of Israel, such as the recent Gaza war, they turn themselves voluntarily into potential victims of revenge actions. The French Jewish leadership, CRIF, did so just now.
Neither of these reasons has anything to do with anti-Semitism.
ANTI-SEMITISM is an integral part of European culture.
Many theories have been put forward to explain this totally illogical phenomenon, which borders on a collective mental disease.
My own preferred theory is religious. All over Europe, and now also in the Americas, Christian children in their formative years hear the stories of the New Testament. They learn that a Jewish mob was shouting for the blood of Jesus, the gentle and mild preacher, while the Roman prefect, Pontius Pilatus, was desperately trying to save his life. The Roman is depicted as a humane, likeable person, while the Jews are seen as a vile, despicable mob.
This story cannot be true. Roman rulers all over the Empire used to crucify potential troublemakers. The behavior of the Jewish authorities in the story does not conform to Jewish law. But the New Testament story, written long after the death of Jesus (whose real Hebrew name was Jeshua), was aimed at the Roman audience the Christians were trying to convert, in hot competition with the Jewish missionaries.
Also, the early Christians were a small, persecuted sect in Jewish Jerusalem, and their grudge lives on to this very day.
The picture of the evil Jews crying out for the death of Jesus is unconsciously imprinted in the minds of the Christian multitudes and has inspired Jew-hatred in every new generation. The results were slaughter, mass-expulsions, inquisition, persecution in every form, pogroms, and finally the Holocaust.
THERE has never been anything like this in Muslim history.
The Prophet had some small wars with neighboring Jewish tribes, but the Koran contains strict instructions on how to deal with Jews and Christians, the People of the Book. They had to be treated fairly and were exempted from military duty in return for a poll tax. Throughout the ages there were some rare anti-Jewish (and anti-Christian) outbreaks here and there, but Jews in Muslim lands fared incomparably better than in Christian ones.
If this had not been so, there would have been no “Golden Age” of Muslim-Jewish cultural symbiosis in medieval Spain. It would have been impossible for the Muslim Ottoman empire to accept and absorb almost all the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from medieval Spain, driven out by their Catholic Majesties, Ferdinand and Isabella. The outstanding Jewish religious thinker, Moses Maimonides (the “Rambam”) could not have become the personal physician and adviser of the outstanding Muslim sultan, Salah-al-Din al-Ayubi (Saladin).
The present conflict started as a clash between two national movements, Jewish Zionism and secular Arab nationalism, and had only slight religious overtones. As my friends and I have warned many times, it is now turning into a religious conflict – a calamity with potentially grievous consequences.
Nothing to do with anti-Semitism.
SO WHY does the entire Israeli propaganda machine, including all Israeli media, insist that Europe is experiencing a catastrophic rise of anti-Semitism? In order to call upon European Jews to come to Israel (in Zionist terminology: “make Aliya”).
For a Zionist true believer, every Jew’s arrival in Israel is an ideological victory. Never mind that once in Israel, new immigrants – especially from countries like Ethiopia and Ukraine – are neglected. As I have frequently quoted: “Israelis like immigration but don’t like immigrants”.
In the wake of the recent events in Paris and Copenhagen, Binyamin Netanyahu has publicly called upon French and Danish Jews to pack up and come at once to Israel for their own safety. The prime ministers of both countries have furiously protested against these calls, which insinuate that they are unable or unwilling to protect their own citizens. I suppose that no leader likes a foreign politician to call upon his citizens to leave.
There is something grotesque in this call: as the late Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz remarked, Israel is the only place in the world where Jewish lives are in constant danger. With a war every few years and violent incidents almost every day, he had a point.
But in the wake of the dramatic events, many “French” Jews – originally from North Africa – may be induced to leave France. They may not all come to Israel. The US, French Canada and Australia offer tempting alternatives.
There are many good reasons for a Jew to come to Israel: a mild climate, the Hebrew language, living among fellow Jews, and what not. But running away from anti-Semites is not one of them.
IS THERE real anti-Semitism in Europe? I assume that there is.
In many European countries there are old and new super-nationalist groups, who try to attract the masses by hatred of the Other. Jews are the Others par excellence (along with Gypsies/Roma). An ethno-religious group dispersed in many countries, belonging and not belonging to their host countries, with foreign – and therefore sinister – beliefs and rituals. All the European nationalist movements which sprang up in the 19th and 20th centuries were more or less anti-Semitic.
Jews have always been, and still are, the ideal scapegoat for the European poor. It was the German (non-Jewish) socialist August Bebel who said that “anti-Semitism is the socialism of the stupid guys”.
With frequent economic slumps and a widening gap between the local poor and the multinational super-rich, the need for scapegoats is rising. But I do not believe that these marginal groups, even if some of them are not so marginal anymore, constitute a real anti-Semitic surge.
Be that as it may, the outrages in Paris and Copenhagen have nothing to do with anti-Semitism.
The David Hicks story is one that if you read his own book “Guantanamo- My Journey” Heinemann 2010 reads like a ‘wrong guy in the wrong place with the wrong passport’ tale. His ex US Army lawyer, Michael ‘Dan’ Mori who bravely championed the legal rights of Hicks, remains high on my list of people I respect. He now lives in Melbourne.
The timeline of events from David Hicks leaving Australia at 24 years old, on a ‘one-way ticket to Pakistan’ in 1999, through his capture by the Northern Alliance Mujahadeen in Afghanistan in December 2001, ‘sale’ to the US army for $5,000, ‘Interview’ by Australian intelligence officials aboard the USS Peleliu and transfer to Gitmo on Jan11 2002 for a 5 year period of incarceration and unfathomable torture, legal fight and eventual winning of his legal challenge to his terrorism conviction before a military court on February 19th this year can be seen here http://www.abc.net.au/news/2007-05-18/a-timeline-of-key-events/2552220
The response of our venerable leader extraordinaire?
When Toe Knee Ahh But…was asked if he thought David Hicks’s conviction should be overturned, he was reported by the ABC to have, (full article here)
“advised Australians not to “fret” about an old terrorist threat.
“This is a matter for the lawyers. I will leave it for the lawyers,” Mr Abbott said.
“If I may say so, the important thing is not to fret about an old terrorist threat, it’s to focus on the current terrorist threat which is real, which is serious.”…………
Mr Abbott said Australia “did what was needed” to help Mr Hicks.
“Let’s not forget whatever the legalities, and this was essentially a matter for an American court dealing with American law, he was up to no good on his own admission,” the Prime Minister said.
“I’m not in the business of apologising for the actions that Australian governments take to protect our country.”
I have read Hick’s book and can see nowhere that Australia “did what was needed” to help Mr Hicks, nor did I see any such thing happen over the years he was in Guantanamo. The struggle of his father Terry was heartwrenching. Even the Brits got their citizen’s home before Hicks was released. But of course we continue to lock up asylum seekers including children in ‘ofshore’ hell holes.
I have reposted below Binoy Kampmark’s recent article that clearly states Australia’s so-called ‘help’ for our citizen. And below the article Steve Earl’s song “John Walker Blues” from his 2002 album Jerusalem because this (then 20 year old) US citizen still languishes in gaol on a 20year sentence in the US following dubious ‘process’ in the US court system. I must add I don’t know this man’s ‘story’ but insights are there in Earl’s song, and Walker’s father’s story to the Guardian in 2011, here http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jul/10/john-walker-lindh-american-taliban-father
David Hicks and the Death of a Legal System
In the annals of obscene legal history, that of David Hicks, whose terrorism conviction was just quashed by the United States Court of Military Commission Review, must rank highly. It is also instructive on various levels: what is says about his treatment by the US legal system; and what it reveals about the attitudes of the Australian government.
Australians tend to demonise or sanctify their legal villains, casting a social net around them that either protects, or asphyxiates them. If one is an Irish scribbling horse thief with murderous tendencies and eccentric battle dress sense, then one is bound to get a spot in the hero’s pantheon. The book collecting, education promoting judge who sentenced him to death receives the opposite treatment: snubbed by the juggernaut of historical folklore.
Hicks, from the start, was not quite that horse thief, Ned Kelly. But he did engage in the mischief that would earn him demerit points after September 11, 2001. He travelled to Pakistan. He spent time at al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. He drank of that radicalisation soup that has gotten Europe, Australasia and the United States worried.
In the scheme of grand power politics, he found himself involved with an organisation that did not always have the official designation of terrorism – after all, elements of al Qaeda, and their hosts, the Taliban, had been recipients of US-funding during and in the aftermath of the Cold War. The Taliban’s opponents, the Northern Alliance, captured Hicks, and surrendered him to the US in late 2001.
In confinement within the Guantánamo camp system, subject to around the clock artificial light, inedible food, forced drugging, beatings and a range of other indignities, Hicks received the brunt of juridical inventiveness. The US Military Commissions, designed to specifically target non-US citizens, was born. Being neither courts-martial nor civilian courts, they amputated due process and merged the role of jury and judge. The rule on hearsay was thrown out. The commissions restricted the accused’s right to hear all the evidence. Appeals to any other court, foreign or US, would be cut. And the death penalty might well be applied.
In 2006, the US Supreme Court in Hamdan v Rumsfeld held that the Bush administration did not have the power to create such commissions without Congressional authorisation, a feature that ran foul of such instruments as the Geneva Conventions. Not to be deterred, the then Australian Prime Minister, John Howard kept insisting that “I do not want [Hicks] to come back to Australia without first facing trial in the United States.” Let the Americans do it, “because if he comes back to Australia he can’t be tried”. Hicks, in other words, was already guilty in the minds of Australia’s top officials. “Of what?” posed his military defense lawyer Michael Mori. “Howard didn’t know. How should he be tried? Howard did not know.”
Hicks became the first, and most dubious scalp, of the reconstituted commission system. Much of the account of his defence is discussed by Mori, a freshly recruited defence lawyer who was rapidly blooded in the byzantine legal labyrinth being constructed around his client. His account, discussed in In the Company of Cowards (2014) reflects, not merely on Hicks defence, but the atrophying of a legal system.
Two vital issues came up in Hicks’s attempt to seek his ultimately successful appeal. The first central legal disfigurement here lay in the pre-trial machinations that placed Hicks on the road to conceding guilt for a lesser sentence. In accepting this “Alford plea”, the hope was to insulate the entire treatment of his plight, and by implication those in similar cases, from further legal scrutiny.
On March 30, 2007, Hicks pleaded guilty to the dubious charge of providing material support “from in or about December 2000 through in or about December 2001,… to an international terrorist organisation engaged in hostilities against the United States, namely al Qaeda, which the accused knew to be such an organization that engaged, or engages in terrorism”. The rather inventive, and retrospective charges, had been brought in February 2007, with the attempted murder charge subsequently dropped.
He was then sentenced to confinement for seven years, with the question on what would count to time already served. (The latter point is important: the prosecutors were reluctant to budge on the issue, but conceded to the balance of nine months.) On May 20, 2007, Hicks returned to Australia, serving time at Adelaide’s Yatala prison, and was out by December.
What was significant in this case was that Hicks, his defense counsel and the convening authority had signed a pre-trial agreement indicating that the appellant had offered to plead guilty to the first charge provided he “voluntarily and expressly waive all rights to appeal or collaterally attack my conviction, sentence, or any other matter relating to this prosecution whether such a right to appeal or collateral attack arises under the Military Commission Act of 2006, or any other provision of the United States or Australian law.”
Then comes a good deal of legal stumbling. The review commission, after accepting it had jurisdiction over the appeal, attacked the verdict in a very specific way. The first waiver was deemed to have been made knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily. Hicks’s pre-trial agreement was deemed favourable. He was granted concessions. But failure to resubmit “his appellate waiver within 10 days after the convening authority provide notice of action invalidated his appellate waiver.”
“There is insufficient indication… that the appellant reiterated his desire to not appeal within 10 days.” In other words, Hicks had not given sufficient grounds to show that he had waived his right of appeal. “Thus we hold the waiver is invalid and unenforceable.” The result: “The findings of guilty are set aside and dismissed and the appellant’s sentence is vacated.”
The second point noted by the review commission, citing the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit case of Al Bahlul (2014) was that “it was a plain ex post facto violation” to try a person for the offense of providing material support to terrorism after the fact. It was a “prejudicial error” that required a vacation of the conviction. While Al Bahlul’s plea was different from Hicks, “those differences do not dictate a different result.” Hicks, in other words, had been bludgeoned by unlawful retrospective punishment.
In a most conspicuous way, the treatment offered to Hicks did not merely violate every sacred canon of presumed innocence, it suggested a new legal order, one stacked with ghastly, Kafka-like qualifications. In the sinister legal purgatory of Guantánamo, Hicks could suffer Washington’s own version of a disappearance, with connivance from a subservient Canberra.
Australia’s political authorities continue that line, trumpeting a view that validates outsourcing torture, detention and confinement of its own citizens. (They can’t even be patriotically indecent enough to inflict cruelties on their own people.) Showing a continuing tendency to ignore evidence placed before him, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was resolute about the quashed sentence. “David Hicks was up to no good and I’m not in the business of apologising for the actions the Australian government takes to protect our country.” (The statement would better read “inaction” in the name of Australian security.)
Others have preferred to ignore the procedure as a trifle. Commercial radio stations such as Sydney’s 2UE suggested that the quashing of terrorism convictions did not imply he was a “saint”. “He may be legally innocent, but not absolved of the guilt he did [sic].” Guilt has many shades, and such arguments fittingly ignore the one critical issue in all of this: that of the law. In the realms of such debate, a sober middle ground is nigh impossible.
The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, proved surprisingly qualified in his statements. “There is no doubt on one hand David Hicks was probably foolish to get caught up in that Afghanistan conflict, but clearly there has been an injustice done to him” (The Daily Telegraph, Feb 19).
The troubling feature of the findings by the review commission is that, at its heart, little is made of the plea bargain system itself. Nor is the entire military commission process examined in its crude corrosion of judicial protections. The conviction was quashed because it violated a procedural requirement, and a judicial requirement. Invalidating a badly understood waiver is one thing; invalidating the entire process of how he was dealt with, quite another. We can at least take heart from the fact that the judges were aware of ex-post facto nastiness.
For that reason, the fate of Hicks remains the greatest affirmation of fiendish legal inventiveness, the sort of cleverness that threw the law book out in favour of gossip, arbitrariness and political judgment. It is one the US legal system has, and continues, to pay dearly for. The Australian citizen, on the other hand, can always rely on his or her own government to surrender liberties at the drop of the judicial hat, an anaemic form of patriotism if ever there was one. Washington, right or wrong, will have its day.
Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yesterday, Al Manaar, a Lebanese online news agency reported on 14 year old Malak al-Khatab ‘detained’ on her way home from school in Occupied Ramallah by the IOF on December 31st 2014. See here.
The report is also on WAFA the Palestinian News Agency here
“A 14-year-old Palestinian girl has become the youngest prisoner in Israeli jails after an Israeli court sentenced her to two months in jail and a fine of 6,000 Israeli shekels (roughly $1,500), a Palestinian NGO said Sunday.”
The Ramallah-based Ahrar Centre for Prisoners’ Studies and Human Rights reportedly advised Al-Manar news that Malak was “the youngest of around 280 Palestinian children in Israeli jails.” (Al-Manar)
On Wednesday 21st Jan she was convicted, her father Ali said of “throwing stones at occupation forces, blocking a main road in the West Bank and possessing a knife.” He said Malak was “brought to the court with her hands and feet in handcuffs” and “when the judge read out the verdict, I looked at Malak and she was wiping off her tears as she shivered from cold,”.
Malak’s detention was extended several times and she spent around 23 days awaiting her ruling. At the time, the lawyer defending her was trying to reduce the fine, Malak’s father earlier told WAFA. …. She is now serving her sentence in Hasharon detention centre with another three female prisoners who are, according to her father, taking care of Malak and emotionally supporting her.
Her prison? Hasharon……
A human rights organization warned of the “catastrophic and unbearable” situation of Palestinian female prisoners in the Israeli Hasharon detention center. The Prisoners’ Center for Studies said the Israeli prison administration has been abusing the Palestinian female captives held in Hasharon. (see here )
For a look at the prison and Press TV video (October 2014) on treatment of female prisoners see here.
The ‘Civilised’ Israeli Occupation, detention of children and International law
1. Detention a last resort for minors
Lawyer Ayed Abu Qutesh – even though the International law allows the detention of minors, it should be always the last decision that any court or state takes. All concerned parties should try to find other alternatives to the detention and actual imprisonment of children, such as fines and suspended imprisonment.
Lawyer Jawad Bolous – “the Israeli occupation’s policy of arresting minors contradicts with all international laws regarding minors. It starts at the very moment of arrest where soldiers forget that they are arresting a minor, treating the children in a very barbaric way. The minors go through detention until the ruling, while Israel ignores the grave consequences of this detention on their lives.”
2. Family Visitation
Malak’s family wasn’t able to visit her at the detention center, and only saw her at the court on January 11 for the first time after her arrest (on the 31st Dec) . Her father said then that she looked distressed and scared. This lack of access in Israeli gaols is commonplace, many detainees are illegally shipped outside the Occupied areas to prisons to prevent this access.
3. Standards of due process
According to the Defence for Children International Palestine (DCI-Palestine), “Israel is the only state to automatically and systematically prosecute children in military courts that lack basic standards of due process.”
It said in a report on the arrest of minors by Israel that “Around 500 – 700 Palestinian children, some as young as 12, are arrested, detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military detention system each year. The majority of Palestinian child detainees are charged with throwing stones.’
While Palestinian children endure such conduct, no Israeli children come into contact with the military court system, proving the amount of discrimination in the Israeli system.
4. Institutionalised ill-treatment
WAFA quotes a UNICEF report that concludes- ill treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system appears ‘widespread, systematic and institutionalized’. “On average 700 Palestinian children a year, appear before Israel’s military court,” According to the report, children detainees are treated harshly in most cases. It mentions binding hands and eyes, signing documents in Hebrew, physical and verbal abuse, night arrests, threats, strip searches and solitary confinement to name a few.
5. Not harsh enough says Israeli cabinet
Israel’s cabinet’s recent decision to back a law change allowing harsher sentences of up to 20 years for stone throwers after the recent tensions in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Ahmed Melhelm wrote for Al Monitor last year (see here) on Israeli torture of child prisoners…. he raised the following;
- The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah)- request to Israel’s Attorney General to halt the physical and psychological abuse practiced against Palestinian children during arrest and interrogation, documenting dozens of cases of torture inside prisons.
- Defense for Children International (DCI)- “The occupation forces arrest and try about 700 children annually. The monthly average of Palestinian children held in Israeli military detention during 2013 was 199.”
- Salah al-Hammouri, researcher with the Conscience Foundation for Human Rights in Jerusalem – “The psychological effects of the interrogation are clearly visible on the children that come out of prison, and this is reflected by the fact that they appear older than their true age. They react in unexpected ways — sometimes violently — and many of them refuse to go back to school.”
- Khodr Rasras, clinical psychologist, Center for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Victims of Torture, “There are immediate effects that are apparent on a child who has been detained, such as a sense of loneliness and isolation from his peers. [The child] seems older than his true age, and has a personality resembling that of an adult, in addition to fear and sadness inside the prison, because he is far from his parents. This creates a psychological state of unease and distress that accompanies [the child] for some time.”… “A very small group [of these prisoners] are afflicted with mental illnesses such as depression.” and “Erasing the psychological and physical effects of torture that appear on children after their release requires effort and time for psychological rehabilitation.”
In December 2014 Al Akhbar reported
“According to a report by The Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, dozens of video recorded testimonies of children arrested during the first months of 2014, pointing out that 75 percent of the detained children are subjected to physical torture and 25 percent faced military trials.
Israeli forces detained at least four Palestinian children, aged 13 to 16, last month for allegedly throwing stones at Israeli cars, and attempted to detain two Palestinian children, a two-year-old and a nine-year old, on suspicion of throwing stones.”
We know this is wrong, numerous reports and representations fall on deaf ears, Israel continues to put on the mask of the civilised. Guess what Israel and your bastions of caring sensitive hasbara supporters………………WE DON”T BELIEVE YOU!
In my e-mails this morning……………….
After 16 years of unjust imprisonment in US jails all of the Miami Five
are now free and at home with their families in Cuba. On Wednesday
17 December, Cuba and the United States announced that a prisoner
exchange would take place which would see Antonio, Gerardo and
Ramon released and back home in Cuba.
Rob Miller, CSC Director said: “This is the right thing to do. It is truly
wonderful news for the Five, their families, all those who have
campaigned to see this day and above all for the Cuban people.
We now hope that this will see the end of 50 years of the failed policy
of aggression and blockade and the beginning of a new era of friendly
relations between two countries and two peoples.”
In addition to the release of the remaining members of the Miami Five
President Raul Castro and Barack Obama announced the beginning of
normalisation of Cuba-US relations.
“We have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations, but this does not
mean that the main issue has been resolved, the blockade that
generates economic losses and humanitarian problems in our country
must stop,” said Raul Castro.
The Cuba Solidarity Campaign thanks the thousands of supporters
in Britain and the world who have campaigned tirelessly for the
release of the Five and an end of the blockade.