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Parkin - Federal Court decision today

Received this morning from Scott Parkin (I'll put up the court decision later today, hopefully with some further comment from Scott):

Update:  Have been talking via email this morning, he's a lovely bloke.  He just emailed to say that he'd just got an email from Melbourne to say that it's gone in his favour!

Federal Court decision today 

Today at 2.15pm. the full bench of the Federal Court will hand down an important judgment in my ongoing battle to overturn the Australian Security Intelligence Organization’s (ASIO) adverse security assessment.

In November last year, the court ordered discovery of security assessments and other documents relating to myself, Mohammad Sagar and Muhammad Faisal, the last two Iraqi asylum seekers detained on Nauru.

ASIO appealed to the Full Court, arguing that even revealing the number of documents they hold could jeopardise Australia's national security.

If the discovery order is upheld, my legal team will be able to apply for access to the adverse security assessment and other documents. This could mean that I finally find out what I am alleged to have said or done to warrant my detention and forced removal from Australia in September 2005.

But under legislation introduced by the Howard Government, the new Attorney General, Robert McClelland has the power to overrule the courts by declaring the appearance of evidence or witnesses to be prejudicial to national security.

This means Mr McClelland could come under pressure stop me, my lawyers or anyone else finding out exactly why ASIO considers a peace activist with a firm commitment to nonviolence to be a "direct or indirect threat" to Australia's national security.


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Sunday's last hurrah

This seems like a good place to post this. The final Sunday program this weekend is with children previously locked up in our detention system. All is not well with them.

US Senator Indicted

A few years ago, without knowing the Pentagon/Parkin/Houston Indymedia connection, I started leaving my missives on that site, reasoning that an active political site so close to the eye of the cyclone would have appropriate readers.  I received a shot-in-the-arm note of encouragement from the Alaskan anti-HAL mob, which is why it was so great to read this carefully phrased Time blog today about the indictment of Alaskan Senator Ted

Consider just this one: Stevens helped to create and has long protected one of the most outlandish loopholes in federal contracting law: The Alaska-Native Corporation exemption. This rule allows companies that are only nominally controlled by Alaskan tribes to earn no-bid federal contracts for work of unlimited value, even if they partner with major corporations, like the old Halliburton subsidiary KBR. The taxpayer loses spending controls and a lot of people pocket a lot of money before the benefits filter down to the impoverished members of the Alaskan native tribes.

Of course, such shennanigans could never happen in Australia, out in the uranium lands, could they?

It's no wonder they were watching Houston Indy.  Given some of the posters and connections around our little site, it wouldn't be surpising if ASIO(especially under Ruddock) were having an occasional read of Webdiary.

The two Mohammeds

Mark, one of the Mohammeds is now a resident of Australia and the other a citizen of Sweden after having their ASIO status overturned. It is hard to think of any good reason ASIO could come up with after the case of Al Haque when it was shown by the court that they illegally kidnapped and detained the lad.

Back to the peanut butter sandwiches

It still amazes me that none of the Parkin reporting in Australia has correlated that Newsweek article:

A Defense document shows that Army analysts wrote a report on the Halliburton protest and stored it in CIFA's database. It's not clear why the Pentagon considered the protest worthy of attention--although organizer Parkin had previously been arrested while demonstrating at ExxonMobil headquarters (the charges were dropped). But there are now questions about whether CIFA exceeded its authority and conducted unauthorized spying on innocent people and organizations. A Pentagon memo obtained by NEWSWEEK shows that the deputy Defense secretary now acknowledges that some TALON reports may have contained information on U.S. citizens and groups that never should have been retained. The number of reports with names of U.S. persons could be in the thousands, says a senior Pentagon official who asked not be named because of the sensitivity of the subject. 


The fact that Cheney bothered to say that the project under which army analysts recorded Parkin's peanut butter stunt was integral to US national security should give a fair clue why revelation of the basis of Parkin's adverse classification would be detrimental to Aussie national security.  It would make ASIO look like dickheads.

Anybody found anything in the Murdoch press about Friday?


Let's go fishing

O'Sullivan v Parkin is now available.

Mostly it's about fishing. Classically, if you are pissed off but don't have any real case, you start a fishing expedition. Make the bastards give you as many documents as possible, and hope you find something that will make your case real, and help you win it. Quite often, probably, the documents will make your case, but the courts don't like fishing, so you won't get them. You have to have something more than speculation to begin with.

Parkin, Sagar and Faisal don't have a lot more than that, but enough. They claim (and are presumably prepared to testify under oath, and be cross-examined) that they have never done anything to justify the adverse security assessments. Without access to the assessments it would be difficult, but conceivable, for them to win their cases. That is more than just fishing.

My hope is that McClelland will stay clear, for now at least. This judgement doesn't mean that Parkin et al get to see the documents yet. If it isn't appealed to the High Court, ASIO will provide a list to the judge, with reasons why none of the documents should be produced, even for the judge to read. The judge will decide he, at least, should read them to make his own judgement. Then it depends on the assessments.

If they are solid, and ASIO can make out the national security grounds, then the judge will limit access and procede and Parkin et al will have some allegations to rebut. There are established procedures for this sort of thing.

If, as is likely, the assessments are dodgy, there will be a lot of pressure on McClelland to issue his certificate. He might even, through my rose-coloured specs, decline, and let justice take its course. In the interests of National Security.

Jackman and Van Onselen

I have read Judith Brett's essay, Mungo MacCallum's book and the book about Maxine's win in Bennelong. Months ago.

I have no-idea why Van Onselen and Jackman waited so long to do these books and why they think there is some revelation in Rudd getting angry about fundamentalism and women in burkhas. Or swears.

Not too hopeful

It's pleasing that Scott Parkin is getting somewhere with his case but I'm not placing great hope in Robert McClelland at present. He is either playing a very careful game to see where the chips fall or is caving in under pressure from security services and ASIO with their lies and outright obfuscation.

His history as the senior partner in a great law firm that has consistently fought battles for the underdog and unions (including much work on Bernie Banton's asbestos case) should reassure me that he is merely playing the lawyer. ASIO, of course, cannot be trusted one inch – their capacity to manufacture a case out of thin air to destroy someone (including a campaigning MP) is infinite.

PS: my local bookseller in Kings Cross – a highly popular outlet – reports that the interest shown in Christine Jackman's book is a big fat zero. Anyone whose first press release contains the earth-shattering news that Kev swears in private should expect their tome to move quickly to the remainder baskets (or else she's forgotten where she lives). As the foul-mouthed chef Gordon Ramsey recently replied to questions along similar lines about his language to dopey journos:

Are you putting me on – I am in Australia, aren't I?

Yeah but look at this scary stuff

Obviously this one will go to the High Court as an abuse of power but in the meantime it has a chilling message for anyone in Australia who might have a thought "crime" wished on them by ASIO or the Feds.

Ruddock strikes again. Hopefully after the Haneef inquiry MacLellan has a complete review of the so-called terror laws.

On another note Christine Jackman has written a book about Rudd claiming that we will be shocked to know he doesn't like Islamic fundamentalism or women being forced to wear burkhas. Which puts him in a position aligned to almost the entire planet, I would have thought, because I sure don't like the fanatics of any description or the women being forced to wear those contraptions with the eye panels.

They caused shocking health problems - Vitamin D deficiency, kidney failure, osteoporosis, premature ageing and all sorts of shocking things my Afghan women friends are dealing with.

He also doesn't think they teach enough of the basics at school, a position my 35 year old daughter and most parents would agree with. This is somehow a side of Rudd we are supposed to not know about.

Methinks it is Jackman doing a silly beat up to sell a book that is probably not very interesting and pretty right wing.

What I wonder about the case of the two Mohammeds though is interesting because one now lives here and the other in Sweden after ASIO changed their minds so why can't they just give up the documents? Maybe because the only thing they did was appear on Dateline with Bronwyn Adcock and pan the former government.

Fiona: I raised the matter with Claude earlier this evening, Marilyn, but haven't heard back from him yet.

Parkin hussain haneef.

Will now betray my absolute ignorance of that majestic edifice that is at the core of our discourse.

How is it that they can get right with Parkin and miss it so completely with Hussain?

Eliminating the niceties and technicalities are we not considering basically the same issue in both cases - the ability to find against someone without presentation of relevant evidence?

If the evidence can't be presented because of so-called security issues, or any other bogus excuse you can think of, then no evidence presented surely means dismissal of the issue.

No doubt the legal narrowists will come with their usual million and one excuses, ranging from the fact that it was a hearing not a trial, through to the fact of the hearing being held in a green room facing west rather than a cream facing south, but isn't the main question the most thoroughness of the defence of justice over expediency? That is, in preference to having a system so corrupted that Quixotic delirium tremens encouraged by the Murdoch press becomes the sole driver for court cases with nutters permitted the continuance of pursuit of delusory phantoms and sinister tyrants showcasing of ideological will o' the wisps at the expense of real people living in the real world.

What wankers some of these scum are!

Ain't the law wonderful!

I wondered about this too, Paul. As far as I can see, it is all to do with the niceties and technicalities.

The underlying issue in the Parkin and Hussain cases is pretty much the same - whether they are entitled to access to the "intelligence" information that the executive has used in making its decisions. The difference is that Parkin and the Mohammads are directly contesting the executive decision. In Hussain's case the contest is not directly with the executive decision, but with the AAT's review of it. This gets it tangled up with law relating to the AAT, restricting the grounds for appeal and bringing a whole string of precedents into the picture that are not relevant to Parkin.

On the precedents, the judges were probably entitled to find the other way if they had wanted to, so the composition of the court may have had something to do with it, too.

Apparently it had been open at the AAT for Hussain to directly contest the executive decision, but this was not (or not sufficiently) done at the time. If it had been, the case would have been much more into the Parkin territory.

The Haneef case was different. It was about whether a "character test" was actually about character, or simply a mechanical procedure to arrive at a result where the label was irrelevant. It was also about whether Andrews had competently discharged his duty, and unsurprisingly found he had not.

Not this High Court

The judgement that Marilyn and Richard Ackland are referring to is at Hussain v Minister for Foreign Affairs. I doubt there is any point in appealing it to this High Court.

The basic question is the extent a judge, in this case presiding over an AAT review, can do non-judicial things. In this case, accept Ruddock's certificate dictating the behaviour of the tribunal. Precedents set in 1996 have been eroded/ignored since. If this got to the current High Court, Kirby might have company in respectful dissent, but that would be it.

life and death

It's the same sort of eyewash they used against Dr. Haneef. Had the courts upheld these antics, they would have left the system wide open for governments, through security agencies, to continue to just bundle off anyone they didn't like without the need for justification or explanation of any sort.

In short, a dictatorship.

Dr Haneef showed where this could end up, as an innocent bystander hoiked of the street to be the unknowing participant, as bunny, for a crude election stunt. No explanation required on the grounds that it was "security related"; not the slightest concern for the welfare of the unsuspecting Dupe.

History has the precedent in the Nazis use of a such a dupe to explain the Reichstag fire of the thirties.

Scott's event was a prototype for the later astoundingly overt and blatant Haneef antics. Like the people blackballed during the McCarthy '50s these sorts of people became casualties of a tense fight that could have seen Democracy irreversibly Overboard.

In both countries, the follies of the early noughties which were based on the incited child's night terrors of a bogus "war on terrorism" (who were the "terrorists..."? ) to mask political opportunism and military aggression, are now being not only repudiated, but by even the hand picked judicial conservatives appointed by the likes of hoWARd and Bush.

Goodbye Gitmo, goodbye Keelty, with any luck, but a queasy feeling to remain for a long time.

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