Says it all………………………..
He is a comedian’s joy and a political cartoonist’s creative inspiration…..
BUT HE’S OUR EMBARRASSMENT!
For those who don’t know what a shirtfront is….
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.
If you didn’t see the new Chaser Media Circus on the ABC, here’s your chance. I have put my favourite from the first episode- a 1 minute ‘tubechop’ below.
Had enough of the governments blah blah where do we stand, ‘well yes but not really’ and well ‘its humanitarian’ attitude to bombing in Iraq? (And wait for it … Syria) then this explains it all in just 1 minute. (It won’t suck your meager download from Australian telco providers if you click either!)
But if you want the full 30 minute program click the link below.
Definitely not…… Xanana Gusmao…..(my last post)
Meet Ukraine’s PM, Arseniy Yatsenyuk
I just watched the last part of the recent PBS interview with The Ukrainian PM and couldn’t believe how he finished the interview with Margaret Warner……
Full PBS video interview and article in new window here
This is Margaret’s response to his bizarre answer to her question….
The hyper-kinetic Yatsenyuk, who has been nicknamed “The Rabbit” for his uncanny resemblance to the Soviet version in Winnie the Pooh, saved his best line for last — when I asked him what he thought it would take for Ukraine to prevail against the Russian bear. He leaned back and took a breath. “In my childhood, my mom told me a number of fairy tales. And the bear is a very good animal in Ukrainian fairy tales,” he mused. “But in reality, it’s better to have a bear somewhere in the zoo.”
“In a zoo?” I asked, not sure I’d heard him right. “The zoo,” he said. He needed say no more.
Well the only Bear in Russia’s Pooh land is Pooh so what the hell is he talking about! From the above ‘list’ doesn’t look like he’ll be around for long
“The goal of the terrorists is to scare us out of being ourselves.”
SECURITY = INCONVENIENCE
This ‘inconvenience’ which wasn’t discussed, would allow us to ‘live normally’ under the basic freedom of being able to “walk the streets unharmed, and sleep safely in our beds at night”. Terrorists, he said, do not want ordinary Australians to live normally, “The goal of the terrorist is to scare us out of being ourselves.” Abbott identified that we had ‘not sought involvement in what many Australians will believe is a conflict ‘far away’ but that this was ‘a conflict that had reached out to us’. It had reached out through the 60 fighting Aussies in Syria and Iraq, the 20 who had returned and the 100 (or so) supporting people in Australia He referenced the recent ‘security raids’ in Sydney and Brisbane and identified that 800 police and security services operatives undertook 30 raids and charged 1 person with ‘serious terrorist offences’. He advised that they had uncovered an ISIL plot where ‘operatives in Syria urged their contacts in Australia to plot insurgence here. He then said they had been ‘instructed’ that ‘a knife, a camera and a victim’ was all that was required to do that. Abbott said $630 million had gone to Federal Police, ASIO, ASIS, ONA, additional biometric screens at airports, and increased ‘borderforce personel’. Be nice if it went to Aboriginal Health, Public Housing, Domestic Violence and Child Protection The new counter terrorism legislation yet to be tabled is promoted as ‘centred on the problem of foreign fighters’. Abbott called the Middle East (yes all of it) a “witches brew of complexity and danger” (sorry but I think the witches brew thing is really off, there he goes speaking disparagingly about women again, any witch worth her salt would have done a better job!) The brew thing would also explain his governments approach to boats of asylum seekers. Tomorrow he’s off to the US to represent us internationally at the special session of the United Nations Security Council in New York chaired by Obama to discuss the IS issue. ‘The Conversation’ report today by Michelle Grattan (open in new window here) states that Abbott said 80 nations were effected by the issue of foreign fighters. 80 Nations effected? How? Much was made of the ‘bipartisan agreement’ between the Liberal and Labour parties on the involvement (anyone surprised?) and that leaders of both parties had recently farewelled the pre-deployment group of Australian planes and special forces to the Middle East. It is clear from ‘The Conversation’ article that Labour do however have ‘some concerns’ about the proposed legislation. “Shadow attorney general Mark Dreyfus said the opposition has not yet offered to support the legislation. AAP/Lukas Coch “Labor will await the bill and the public consultation on it before making a final decision,” he told The Conversation. But he stressed that Labor would work “co-operatively with the government”. The bill will give the foreign minister power to proscribe certain places to which people are not allowed to travel without a legitimate reason.” It will also prohibit advocacy of terrorism. Brandis said he believed the proscribed localities should be “quite narrowly described” rather than being a whole country. “A town or even a village might be the subject of such a declaration.” He denied that the provision against encouraging terrorism was focused on Islamic preachers. “This is a law of general application, it is not directed at any section of the community.” It was not about prohibiting people from engaging in political commentary or commentary about international affairs. “There is all the difference in the world between expressing opinions and urging violence.” Abbott went a bit further than Brandis’ ‘proscribed localities’ today he named that it would be “an offense to be in a designated area…..for example Raqqa” (al-Raqqa) and that Telco metadata would be able to be made available to police and security agencies. (He never mentioned travelling overseas to kill children in Palestine with the IDF!) He said it was….
- “the Australian instinct to assume the best of everyone” (and send them back to where they came from)
- “to welcome newcomers” (and tow their boats back out to sea)
What bullshit! At least Shorten raised the issue of taking in more Syrian and Iraqi refugees, but that’s all he did. Lets hope they do their job with the legislation. I believe Senate crossbencher David Leyonhjelm’s concerns the ‘new’ provision was there to allow Australian Security Intelligence Organisation agents to torture suspects managed to get them to insert that it would be illegal to do so…(whoops forgot that one) Numerous Laws covering inciting or encouraging violence and terrorism already exist. You are welcome to peruse the numerous terrorism related laws at your leisure. (Austlii link here in new window) More legislation is before Parliament for strengthened anti-terrorism powers including amendments drawn up to include the parliamentary intelligence committee’s 17 recommendations for greater parliamentary and executive oversight of those additional powers. Attorney General Brandis (there is no such thing as Occupied Palestinian Territories) was reported in ‘The Conversation’ as advising that Abbott asked police and ASIO whether they needed further powers. ASIO was satisfied with the legislation the AFP wanted to expedite obtaining ‘urgent’ control orders issued by courts (to allow imposition of certain restrictions and requirements such as wearing a tracking device. AFP apply to the court for issue with AG consent. “The government wants the agency powers legislation through this fortnight and the foreign fighters legislation passed in coming weeks. Does that mean they can go back and arrest the guys they had to let go after the 800 police and security personnel raided those 30 properties and could only charge 1 man? I recall when additional Domestic Violence Legislation was introduced in NSW in the late 80’s it was clear police already had powers to arrest and charge they just chose not to, a prominent Feminist lawyer, Jocelyn Scutt said we really did not need new laws, what we needed was police to do their job. The one thing new legislation did do was raise public awareness of the issues. Perhaps this has the same ring about it but its purpose is raising the public fear. Its the Abbott government that keeps people awake at night not the thought of terrorists. Lets see if he turns on going into Syria after his US visit this week.
For good measure I have included my lyrics rendition of Jello Biafra’s Dead Kennedys song Holiday in Cambodia, just because the Abbott al-Raqqa thing made me do it!
I mean no offence to the suffering people of al-Raqqa who, by the way also sit at the edge of the Zionist territorial dream of “the Nile to the Euphrates”.
“Holiday In al-Raqqa”
So you’ve finished school
For a year or two
And you’re on the welfare trail
You got no car
Think you wont go far
If you stay you know you’ll fail
The racists hate
In this country you called yours
Your not wanted? Take a tour
The Brothers will understand
In the Caliphate Promised land
It’s time to taste what you don’t fear
Caliphate will help you here
Brace yourself, my dear………..Brace yourself my dear
It’s a holiday in al-Raqqa
It’s tough, kid, but that’s life
It’s a holiday in al-Raqqa
Don’t have to pack a wife
You’re a star, praise Allah
In your brand new car
You want everyone to act like you
Brothers by your side
On the road to paradise
Now the whole world is scared of YOU
They’ll work you hard
With a gun on your back
Get a Humvee for your wheels
And a kid for a wife
Kaffir’s head with a knife
Sell the oil from a truck, make your deals
Now you can go
where people are one
Now you can go
where they get things done
What, you need, my son….what , you need my son
Is a holiday in al-Raqqa
Where people dress in black
A holiday in al-Raqqa
Kill Kaffir or crack
Caliphate, caliphate, caliphate, [etc]
And it’s a holiday in al-Raqqa
Where your name is mud
A holiday in al-Raqqa
Where the streets all drip with blood.
See Jello’s real version below and sing along punks!