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New shoot to kill powers

Citizen Journalist Dale Mills specialises in police powers, especially in NSW but also, as in this piece, in the Commonwealth. His last piece for Webdiary was Australian police to use tasers. There doesn't seem any real time to make a public fuss about it, but I think the mainstream media has failed us in not informing us at all about the Defence Legislation Amendment (Aid to Civilian Authorities) Bill 2005, with its very serious implications. Thanks Dale, and please keep up the good work.

by Dale Mills

Receiving almost no corporate media coverage, a Senate committee recommended on January 31 the passage of a bill that will make it easier for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to police and shoot civilians. The powers go well beyond dealing with a terrorist threat and in important respects put the military above state criminal laws.

Some powers were given to the ADF to intervene in public order management in the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Olympics, however, the new Defence Legislation Amendment (Aid to Civilian Authorities) Bill 2005 proposes:

  • to make it easier for the ADF to be called out where there is a threat to any “designated infrastructure”;
  • expanded “shoot-to-kill” powers such that civilians could be shot for the protection of property from “damage or disruption”;
  • a “following orders” defence for soldiers who shoot civilians;
  • to give the prime minister alone the power to authorise troop call-outs where a “sudden and extraordinary emergency exists”;
  • that individual soldiers be given the power to police civilians, including requiring people to answer questions or produce documents;
  • no need to notify the public that troops have been called out; and
  • that soldiers may operate without the need to wear a name tag.

Under the proposed legislation, the federal government may use the ADF to protect “Commonwealth interests” even if the state or territory concerned opposes it. The new powers operate where there is “domestic violence”, as vague as that phrase is.

Furthermore, the ADF may:

  • shoot fleeing civilians evading detention (something not available to the ordinary police);
  • detain people without arresting them; and
  • search premises, people and vehicles without warrants (thus avoiding judicial scrutiny).

A particular concern is that the proposed laws do not require the public release of army manuals in relation to ADF rules of engagement with civilians. One submission to the parliamentary committee reviewing the laws pointed out that Greens Senator Bob Brown had previously read out extracts from the 1983 Australian Army Manual of Land Warfare, leaked to the press in 1993, with particular reference to section 543.

This section instructs military personnel to adopt courses of conduct that seem designed to cover up the killing or wounding of “dissidents”. It states, in part: “Dead and wounded dissidents, if identifiable, must be removed immediately by the police ... When being reported, dissident and own casualties are categorised merely as dead or wounded. To inhibit propaganda exploitation by the dissidents the cause of the casualties (for example, 'shot’) is not reported. A follow-up operation should be carried out to maintain the momentum of the dispersing crowd.”

The Bill is expected to become law in late February.

The bill can be found at the Parliament of Australia website)

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Shoot to kill powers.

When viewed in isolation, most of the Howard government's fascism can be seen as "oh well, that's probably necessary". But when you add it to the removal of our rights of free speech, to freedom of employment, to justice in the Industrial world and the Nazi threats of "Onus of Proof" - it takes on a very different image.

Like the death penalty, carrying a pistol is no certain protection from a criminal who intends to rob or maim. In the US there is 38 million people starving and crime is, of course, the only course for millions. Their government's answer is not to remove the cause - carry a gun and kill the result of depraved indifference.

The London "Bobby" was world renowned for not carrying a weapon and crime was less dangerous - then, some innocent visitor was murdered by undercover police. This was the knee-jerk reaction to the Tony Blair Government's "war on terrorism" - a fear and hatred policy. That so-called war is merely a sick excuse for introducing draconian measures of oppression to "move forward" into the globilisation of the planet.

I remain hopeful that our people will regain the ability to reason, because that is the only way we can hope to make wise decisions. Just one to conjecture - Bush, Blair and Howard claim that the Muslim "untermenschens" are "after us" because they want to "change our way of life" - remember? But they said, we will not allow them to do that!! However, to maintain our unchanged lifestyle we must remove liberty, freedom, the rights to expression, peaceful protest, unions and "our day in court".

Fair dinkum.

Shoot to kill the threat

Well, we wouldn't want any "terrorists" getting in the way of our sporting credentials, would we? After the rest of the world boycotts Australian wheat, we will have to make the money some other way.

I hope everyone feels safer now from the threats that Johnnie boy has been talking up. Hell, he helped to create them. You vote for it, you cop it. Nice one, Oz.

By the way, John, Peter and Phil, just keep on antagonising the Muslim community and see where it leads. I suppose if you antagonise people enough they break the law, then you can shoot them, oh sorry I meant arrest them and hold them indefinitely since this is a war. Gotta love the politiks of fear.

Love and kisses to all you lovely Libs. Enjoy the new regime.

Crikey, Chris Ellison!

Stephen Mayne in today's Crikey mail (subscription recommended) writes about our Justice Minister's views on torture:

Federal Justice Minister Chris Ellison dropped a proverbial bomb at the Law Summer School in Perth yesterday during a debate on the lofty topic of the juxtaposition of anti-terrorism laws and the rule of law.

Lord Justice Kennedy and Professor HP Lee spoke, followed by a panel discussion including John North (Law Council president), Alexandra Richards QC and Senator Ellison, among others.

Eventually the subject was raised about what courts do with evidence obtained by torture. Lord Justice Kennedy responded in terms of an English House of Lords decision. Then came the Ellison bombshell when our Justice Minister openly declared that he had a policy of not asking if information was obtained by torture – the information was paramount, not the means of it being obtained.

He went on to say that the AFP would love to be able to torture people to get information if there was a bomb attack pending and they needed to know the details.

The rather stunned audience was then told that Amrosi and some of the other Bali bombers were convicted on evidence obtained by the Indonesian police using torture, but the AFP abided by Australian law in the investigation.

Gee, thank goodness for that. And this man is a Minister of the Crown in whom we place our trust!

Reminds me about those interview methods we discussed on Webdiary a little over a year ago, and when I looked back over them what did I find? Another story of the Howard Government maintaining the "we were not aware" line like they're doing now on the wheat for weapons scandal. Of course, if you don't ask, like Ellison wouldn't, you'll take that line. But is it ethical when you know that if you did ask you'd be presented with the awkward and awful truth?

Good one Craig.

Just another example of the incompetent sycophants Howard has surrounded himself with.

People have forgotten the terrible tortures which were applied in, for example, the Spanish Inquisition. Then there was the witches, the warlocks, the political prisoners. That last one is a reminder in this day and age. The American political "suspect" prisoners of Guantanamo Bay and Howard's political prisoners called "illegal refugees" or better still "boat people". Does that include the ocean liners?

Amanda Vanstone - another incompetent Howard sycophant.  What amazes me Craig is that the more the Bush's, Blairs and Howards claim to be "moving forward" - the more we go backwards!

Howard's IR laws take us back 150 years to the Industrial Revolution in England I believe. The torturing of "suspects" is a law begging to be abused - and is. Will Bush and Howard bring back the old English tortures of tying a "suspect" to a chair and dunking them in a river until they confessed - IF they didn't confess, they drowned - IF they do confess, they burn at the stake.

And like most of the world's cruelty, even today, was religiously motivated. Fair dinkum.

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