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James Jupp on the draft anti-terrorism bill

G'day. Everyone wants to know what the Anti-Terrorism Bill 2005 means since Jon Stanhope released it last week. Jon told Webdiary yesterday why he released it and asked the Professor of International Law at the University of NSW, Andrew Byrnes, the Professor of International Law and Human Rights at the ANU, Hilary Charlesworth, and Gabrielle McKinnon, from the Regulatory Institutions Network at the ANU, to have a look at the draft from a human right's perspective. Their report on the human rights implications is here.

Richard Refshauge SC, Director of the Department of Public Prosecutions in the ACT has given his report to Jon Stanhope on how the Bill may effect the DPP. Read his report here.

Dr James Jupp AM is Director of the Centre for Immigration and Multicultural Studies in the Research School of  Social Sciences at the Australian National University. He has looked at the draft Bill and gives his opinion here.

This piece was first published by the Democratic Audit of Australia project at the Australian National University (ANU). Webdiary thanks Democratic Audit for the right to republish this work.

The draft Anti-Terrorism Bill 2005

by James Jupp
Centre for Immigration and Multicultural Studies,
Australian National University

At the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting on 27 September 2005 draft anti-terrorism legislation drawn up by the Howard Government was provided by the Prime Minister on an 'in confidence' basis and agreed in principle by State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers.1

Last week, just before the federal parliament adjourned, the Leader of the Government in the Senate revealed that the Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee would effectively be given only about one day to review the legislation or conduct public hearings. A deadline has been set of 8 November 2005, and the legislation will not be introduced until after parliament resumes sitting on 31 October. Consequently, the ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope decided to break ranks and post the 'in confidence' draft legislation on his website, to initiate a process of public consultation over it.2

Normally important legislation is made available for extensive parliamentary scrutiny and public discussion before its passage. This certainly occurred with the ASIO Legislation Amendment (Terrorism) Act of 2003, which was much amended before being passed. But the federal government was not then in control of both houses of parliament. Limiting the current draft anti-terrorism legislation to State premiers and Territory chief ministers on the basis of confidentiality was an attempt to co-opt their support for implementation outside the formal powers of the Commonwealth. Neither the ACT Chief Minister nor anyone else has revealed their secret briefing from security agencies at the COAG meeting, which would raise quite different issues.

Much of the 107-page draft Bill is concerned with amendments to the Criminal Code 1995, from which it takes an unchanged definition of terrorism. The Bill is lengthy and complex. Its longest sections deal with detention without charge, restrictions on communication, locational monitoring and other controls on terrorist suspects (Schedule 4). These will breach several long-standing protections such as the right to consult a lawyer of the suspect's choice and to advise relatives or employers of the grounds for detention. Not only is no such advice allowed, but passing on this advice (however gained) to others will also bring penalties for them (105.31-105.38).

The draft legislation limits the period of arbitrary detention to 48 hours, but this is one area where State co-operation will allow for extensions. Stop and search legislation includes the highly controversial 'shoot to kill' power, which is allowed in special situations (105.23 (2) (b) ii). These powers are mainly to be exercised by the Federal Police with the approval of the Attorney General and by order of a judge (105.43-105.47).

Other provisions detailed at length include methods for blocking financial support to terrorist organisations or activities (Schedules 3 and 9). These are necessarily complex as they include controls on international transfers and, in some cases, donations from foreign governments. The central problem is the definition and identification of terrorist organisations. There is considerable international movement of funds for cultural, charitable and promotional causes, some of which may leak away, deliberately or not, to terrorist groups., As with the drug trade, there are very large and well disguised sums available to some terrorist groups.

Perhaps the most controversial and difficult proposals are towards the end of the draft. These prohibit and punish the advocacy of terror. Unlike the United States there is no constitutional protection of free speech in Australia, which is already limited by  defamation laws and, to some extent, by laws against racial (and in some States religious) vilification. 1

Sedition and treason are ancient crimes (Crimes Act 1914) here defined as including 'bringing the Sovereign into hatred and contempt'; urging disaffection against the Constitution, the Government of the Commonwealth or either House of the Parliament; promoting 'feelings of ill-will or hostility between different groups so as to threaten the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth' (Schedule 7-4, 80.2). While there is provision for acts done in 'good faith' as opposed to 'recklessness' (80.2 and 80.3), this is a rich potential field for the suppression of opinion. If applied equitably it might catch republicans, religious fundamentalists, talk-back radio hosts, reactionary and racist politicians and journalists and who knows who else. If not applied equitably, but only to Muslims, it might quickly create a whole new army of martyrs. The power to proceed rests with the Attorney General (80.5).

Australia has not had any terrorist incidents and has no significant history of such events,. Few would deny the need to modify the law to cope with such recent developments as suicide bombing, public transport destruction or the recruitment and funding of militants both here and overseas. The role of ASIO is redefined but is already considerable under the ASIO Act 1979, as amended in 2003, as are the powers of the Department of Immigration. Some elements of the draft are ambit claims, which will disappear in the final Act. But the problems will come with how they are implemented.

If Australia's 300 000 Muslims are targeted while others are ignored this will breed justifiable resentment. Stop and search powers have been a legitimate cause for concern in Britain, France and other democracies. Trying to limit the availability of the draft, and thus to inhibit wider discussion, is not reassuring. There are bound to be serious errors in implementation (as there have been in the detention without trial of asylum seekers). These are not just of concern to 'civil libertarians' or the 'Muslim community'. Unlike  other Westminster democracies, Australia does not have a Bill of Rights (except in the ACT), making it difficult to challenge some of these proposals and their implementation.

1. http://www.coag.gov.au/meetings/270905/index.htm
2. http://www.chiefminister.act.gov.au/whats_new.asp?title=What's%20New
3. See http://democratic.audit.anu.edu.au/Papers-2005/RiceVilificationLawsSept05.pdf

Further Reading

  • Steve Lewis, 'Be candid on anti-terror act', Australian 18 October 2005.
  • Christopher Michaelson, 'Democracy wilts easily when conducted behind closed doors', Canberra Times 18 October 2005.
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re: James Jupp on the draft anti-terrorism bill

From my reading, Dr Jupp decided to focus on the 'shoot to kill' elements in part because of his interest in multicultural issues, and the threat this bill poses to people whe 'look different'. Others are focusing on issues in the realm of their expertise: human rights, or DPP's perspective. The Bill is too big and too 'new' in concept for one person, with less than a week, to analyse in total.

re: James Jupp on the draft anti-terrorism bill

Enlarging on Simon Dennis' point:

The major emphasis should be on the creepy stuff about disappearing someone without notice or serious grounds, not telling them what they are supected of, not letting them choose their own legal representation, not letting them tell others what has happened to them (during or after), and criminalising them and any others for talking about the disappearance afterwards.

Since they will not in general be able to piece their life back together afterwards without saying someone, this basically means that anyone can be disappeared on a whim ('if we had to tell you why, we'd tell you that we think that you might know someone who knows something...'), kept incommunicado for a long period of time, and that even after release, they and all their associates are likely to become permanently outlawed.

This sort of stuff is far more likely to happen than London Tube-style gangland executions, and there is still absolutely no place for it in a society which calls itself civilised.

re: James Jupp on the draft anti-terrorism bill

Just wondering why ALL the focus is on the "shoot to kill" bit ?

... That's the least of my concerns !

It's the WHOLE bill that needs to be shredded !

re: James Jupp on the draft anti-terrorism bill

From today's Australian
War of words over shoot-to-kill
Brad Norington and Samantha Maiden
October 21, 2005

[extract - my emphasis]

... The debate boils down to whether police will be allowed to use lethal force against individuals who, although not suspected of criminal offences, are still sought for preventative detention under the anti-terror laws.

"We are not giving police the right to kill somebody who is escaping preventative detention," Mr Howard said. "We are merely saying that if there is a risk to somebody else's life or bodily injury and there is no other way, they can use deadly force." The Prime Minister said the changes were important in allowing police to be certain about their legal position.

But, for critics, the main objection is the explicit linking of shoot-to-kill powers with preventative detention - the Government's proposed method for apprehending terror suspects or their associates.

Law Council president John North said Mr Howard's laws created "a new class of person" who police would be able to detain without sufficient evidence to charge with an offence.

"The Government should leave the laws alone because existing laws can cover the situation," Mr North said. "It currently doesn't make any difference if you pull a gun and you're Saddam Hussein or a shop-lifter. There is not much difference in how the police would respond." ...

NSW Premier Morris Iemma backed Victorian counterpart Steve Bracks and Queensland's Peter Beattie in rejecting special shoot-to-kill provisions.

He said that no new provisions were needed and none was agreed to at the recent meeting with Mr Howard.

Mr Iemma's office said last night that NSW police powers to use lethal force in self-defence were adequately set out under the state's Crimes Act and also common law.

Mr Bracks last night also insisted there was no need to duplicate in counter-terrorism laws what was already in state and commonwealth laws.

Citing section 462 of the Victorian Crimes Act, Mr Bracks's office stressed that force could be used by police to "prevent the commission, continuance or completion of an indictable offence". ...

Mr Beattie said that existing state laws covering shoot-to-killl powers were adequate.

Mr Iemma said he felt uncomfortable about giving shoot-to-kill powers to police, especially after the shooting of an innocent Brazilian man following the London bombings in July. ...

ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, who angered the Government by posting the draft laws on his website, also released further legal advice yesterday from his prosecutions office. ...

It looked at the lack of judicial oversight in the new powers to detain suspects under the detention orders without being charged with an offence.

Richard Refshauge SC, the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions, said the right to a fair trial was unlikely to be adversely affected. But he warned that greater protection of a right to legal counsel and judicial oversight was required for people held under new preventative detention orders who may not be told why they are being held. ...

However, Mr Howard defended the reforms, including "shoot-to-kill" or lethal force provisions, on the grounds they simply reflected existing provisions under the Crimes Act.

"All we are now proposing in relation to preventive detention is to replicate what already exists in Victoria and exists in the Commonwealth Crimes Act in relation to the use of force," the Prime Minister said.

re: James Jupp on the draft anti-terrorism bill

Stop this Madness!

Just recieved this e-mail ...Time for ALL Australians to "stand up" and have your "say" ... while you still can ... ( err I think you can ... well you could yesterday anyway !) ...link below


re: James Jupp on the draft anti-terrorism bill

I'm wondering whether Mr Howard's hero might be General Pinochet, the past master of disappearing people.

If you are believed to have information that you don’t actually have, you can still be held without any recourse under the proposed legislation. What a perverted monstrosity to impose on families as they apparently will not be told that their loved one is still alive.

Innocent people’s lives can be ruined as they are not legally able to say they have been taken in by ASIO goons, an impact that can lose them their job, or create huge strains on relationships. But then one can't expect anything else; Reith was prepared to let loose rotweilers on wharfies in the past - that was very un-Australian.

Clearly, Mr Howard and his band of “yes men” hold the electorate in high contempt by not keeping the electorate informed about the proposed anti-terrorist laws. We need laws to protect us from rampant politicians.

re: James Jupp on the draft anti-terrorism bill

Don't forget that since their inception the Crown police forces in Australia have been given that supposed mandate to "...shoot to kill.." under the state powers granted to them as members of the police.

Also more disturbing has been the issue of their collective use of firearms projectiles that DO NOT comply with the Hague Convention(s)and other protocols with respect to humane treatment of persons committing or about to commit "offences".

Bullets currently in use by all Australian state, territory and Federal police departments are 'Dum Dum' type projectiles designed to create the maximum wounding and incapacitative effect by massive haemorrage and nervous system damage.

Ask any accident emergency theatre nursing staff about what the effects of these bullets are, and the absolute butchery upon the human body.
No one one this planet can tell me that what they do is humane.

Yet they cite chapter and verse - "The American experience..." as the justification for using them on our citizens.

Not even the military (because they operate under the 'more humane' Geneva Convention) can use exposed tip bullets, hollow point and so called frangibile ballistic ammunition under the excuse they are 'protecting us'.

Again I make the comment, Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin etc all used chillingly similar methods and tactics to disarm the general populace. Then by creating 'situations' i.e Jewish Problems aka: Islamic terrorism in its latter day incarnation, they give progressively more powers to the state organs and in effect we have today a new breed of Brown Shirts, SS, and such with the proposed &(extant) terror legislation.

But can my apathetic fellow Australians see it? No, well, we are beyond that; we are educated, we are cognizant of the creeping Fascism in our midst are'nt we?

Evidently not because Herr Fuhrer Howard has been re-elected (but only on a 42% primary vote majority mind you) the two party abused system saw to it he was back in power again.

History will be the judge, but the famous person said it "For evil to flourish all it takes is for good people to do nothing..."

Those who think the 'Full Brazilian' London Tube style was a mistake had better stay at home or invest in body armour.

Coming soon to a location near to you - police ineptitude and "oops we did it again..." a'la Ronnie Levy parts 2...continued.

From Darwin.

re: James Jupp on the draft anti-terrorism bill

Andy Christie: "The major emphasis should be on the creepy stuff about disappearing someone without notice or serious grounds, not telling them what they are supected of, not letting them choose their own legal representation, not letting them tell others what has happened to them (during or after), and criminalising them and any others for talking about the disappearance afterwards."

Yep Andy, they are serious concerns and the advice requested by, and given to, Jon Stanhope from the Director of the Department of Public Prosecutions in the ACT speaks to those issues from the perspective of the DPP.

As I am not a lawyer, I had to look up the meaning of ex parte so I could understand the report's importance.

ex par·te
adv. & adj.

  1. Law. From or on one side only, with the other side absent or unrepresented: testified ex parte; an ex parte hearing.
  2. From a one-sided or strongly biased point of view.

The report from the DPP is here. It says in part:

There are two areas dealt with in the Bill where there may be some concern about the rule of law: the first is in access that a person subject to a preventative detention order has to a lawyer. Clause @105.35 emables such a person to have contact with a lawyer but only for specified purposes and those are quite limited. Despite the provisions of clause @105.46, which preserves the law relating to legal professional privilege, the Bill proposes permitting the monitoring of the content of the communication with the lawyer.

There are 2 problems I see with these provisions from my perspective.

  1. It is conceivable under the provisions in the Bill that a person will be suspected of or charged with an offence, such as sedition (or another offence, perhaps not on the in the Bill), and also be made subject to a preventative detention order. A person charged with a serious offence (sedition carries a penalty of a maximum of 7 years imprisonment) should have early access to a lawyer to obtain advice and to prepare a defence, for which evidence may be lost if not secured at an early stage. This is not, however, a specified purpose for clause @105.34. thus, the limits of legal contact in clause @105.34 might impinge on the right of a suspect or an accused person to legal assistance. This, in turn, could affect the fairness of a person's subsequent trial. I would recommend a redraft of clause @105.34 to enable proper legal assistance to be permitted.
  2. The monitoring of the content of communications with a lawyer does not necessarily destroy legal professional privilege but it has a real capacity to do so and should be permitted in only the most exceptional circumstances. If communications are monitored, then in order to ensure that the monitoring does not provide information which is, contrary to clause @105.46, consciously or unconsciously used by an investigator in relation to the investigation, I recommend that consideration be given to amending clause @105.46 to provide that the monitoring should be done by a person other than the investigator and that that person should be prohibited from communicating the content of any monitored conversations to the investigator.

The second area of concern is the opportunity to challenge the orders that may be made in respect of a person, namely control orders, preventative detention orders and prohibited contact orders.

Such orders are made ex parte. This is a prima facie denial of natural justice. Such applications could perhaps be justified on grounds of necessity, urgency, national security or where notice is likely to lead to the order being ineffective (such as a listening device warrant or an Anton Pillar order) but ordinarily such justification have to be made out on a case-by-case basis and are not generalised. In other circumstances an ex parte order is always liable to be set aside because there is no opportunity for opposition to be put.

It is not clear to me why there is no provision for a person to be given notice of an application at least for a control order, unless there are reasons such as mentioned above why it should be made ex parte. …

There are, of course, provisions for a person the subject of one of those orders to challenge the order and seek to have it revoked: clauses ^104.41 and @105.25. What is of concern is what information the person will have so as to make such a challenge meaningful. ...

Read the whole of the report here in pdf.

re: James Jupp on the draft anti-terrorism bill

Albie Manton, are you sure that Oz's police forces use dumdums? I thought their illegality under the Geneva conventions made them illegal for police as well. No wonder Victoria Police have such a high kill rate! Forty years ago the use of dum dums was even frowned upon in some hunting and shooting circles.

re: James Jupp on the draft anti-terrorism bill

Simon Dennis wrote: "Just wondering why ALL the focus is on the "shoot to kill" bit? ... That's the least of my concerns! It's the WHOLE bill that needs to be shredded!"

Spot on Dennis! I think the "shoot to kill" debate is a distraction. It takes attention away from the really nasty stuff - especially further restrictions the Bill imposes on free speech.

James Jupp writes: "Australia has not had any terrorist incidents and has no significant history of such events."

At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, may I point out, once again in Webdiary, the case of the 1978 Hilton bombings?

Surely Mr Jupp did not intend to confine his remarks only to those 'terrorist incidents' the contemporary mass media keep on automatic replay?

One view on the probable authorship of Australia's only officially designated terrorist act on home soil - to date - is HERE.

This case leads me to believe that our misnamed Security Services should be disbanded in entirety and those responsible for their past crimes put on trial.

Moreover, by their failure to confront the reality of our corrupt, unaccountable 'intelligence' agencies and a kleptocacy embedded deep within Australian governance, I believe the mass media and most 'leading' politicians are, in effect, "urging disaffection against the Constitution, the Government of the Commonwealth". They are encouraging the populace to tamely relinquish constitutional government in favour of a governance model better described as a police state.

I wonder, would these be grounds for mass citizens' arrests under the new terror laws, if enacted? Or were third party rights left out of these Bills? :-)

re: James Jupp on the draft anti-terrorism bill

"Few would deny the need to modify the law to cope with such recent developments as suicide bombing, public transport destruction or the recruitment and funding of militants both here and overseas."

I strongly disagree with that claim, Mr Jupp - and the implication it carries that anyone who does "deny the need to modify the law to cope with...(purportedly new terrible things)" is inherently unreasonable.

I'd prefer also to explain why I disagree, but perhaps WD could at least record my dissent?

re: James Jupp on the draft anti-terrorism bill

Simon Dennis: It's the WHOLE bill that needs to be shredded.


John Dubyah will use Shoot To Kill as a sacrificial gambit to get the bulk of this obscene bill past the gullible.

re: James Jupp on the draft anti-terrorism bill

Yes, Simon Dennis I also saw that email. What a bloody waste of time and bandwidth, have you seen who is behind this mob www.getup.org.au?

re: James Jupp on the draft anti-terrorism bill

Albie Manton, you say “because Herr Fuhrer Howard has been re-elected (but only on a 42% primary vote majority mind you) the two party abused system saw to it he was back in power again."

Well at least he is back in, can you even conceive what it would be like if Latham and his bunch of incompetents had won?

Even Barry Jones together with Faulkner realise that the Labor Party is finished, because of their faction fighting and alignment with the thugs and idiots in the Union movement.

My advice to you is to keep going to the Labor Party meetings on a regular basis till you are the last one there, and that should not be long.

In the meantime let competent people run the country, at least you will have a job if you want one.

re: James Jupp on the draft anti-terrorism bill

Well, how do you comment intelligently on the "Anti-terrorism Bill"?
I will try as follows:

1/ Statistically, I am sure the chances of me (or anyone else) being killed by a terrorist in Australia are worse than me winning the lotto. Why the Bill? For political reasons, not for safety. If the government really had our concerns at heart, they would reduce the chances of us being killed by heart attacks, cancer or a motor vehicle accident plus many other BEFORE they go to terrorist acts. Why are squillions being spent on Anti-terrorism (which isn't present in Australia)? To make THEM look good. Our money would be better spent on health and roads.

2/ Undoubtedly the greatest fear we should confront right now is ... Bird Flu. This has the potential to kill hundreds of thousands of us, whereas terrorism is a more remote possibility (chances increased immeasurably) by our "Follow the US Leader" PM. Perhaps a dozen killed?

3/ I lived through the period where the "free world" was standing against the so called dictatorial Eastern bloc, where incarceration because of beliefs, summary imprisonment and "thought police" etc were ridiculed. It seems to me that all the things that we thought were the benefits of democracy have been changed so that we will be not unlike our former "foes", while at the same time we have been told relentlessly (for what reason?) that we must NOT change our ways or lifestyles.

4/ Lastly, linked, but at a tangent to this legislation, we must see the double standards of modern western democracies. Perhaps the greatest was in the last few days, where US president Bush "admonished and threatened" Iran and Syria for supporting the Iraqi "insurgents". Wasn't this the same United States that set up the radical Islamic extremist hot houses to pour into Afghanistan against the Russians? (who were trying to protest their own borders).

5/ The double standards and sad decay of democracy in a world where politicians can be bought to ensure re-election, make me wonder whether democracy and capitalism are compatible in any way.

6/ My greatest fear is our own government(s) of both persuasions, who support this piece of legislation, whilst my least fear is being killed by a terrorist.

That is my best shot at addressing this topic.

re: James Jupp on the draft anti-terrorism bill

It has been said you can live your life one of two ways. The first is through trial & error, and the second is through other people's experiences. Lets hope other countries might learn from the UK experience ...

Britain's counter-terrorism strategy is failing, according to an assessment prepared for Tony Blair. Anti-terror policies 'failing'

re: James Jupp on the draft anti-terrorism bill

This article will give you a deeper understanding of what the dictatorship has in mind.

It is also interesting, that, "encouraging ill-feeling against Prime Minister John Howard will be illegal under the proposed anti-terorist laws, says Greens senator Bob brown". Tas Mercury 23/10. If true, there goes dissent and it will probably give that cover all people in power, including monopoly duopoly moguls.

I don't normally listen to a lot of what B Brown says, but after reading the above article on news.com, it appears that it may be open slather and will only depend on the whims of the elite.

When you think about it, they have already disarmed the populance, except for the police and criminals, so oppositon would be slight. They have monopolised the media, services and supplies of the country. They are now attempting to take over and monopolise health, education and public transport from the states. Next will be controls on movement for all to certain areas, exclusion zones and more and more selective government.

Not the brightest futures for us, as long as we continue to vote for political parties, then we will get just a steeper slide down the drain.

re: James Jupp on the draft anti-terrorism bill

I'd like to add my voice to the seditious comments that others have posted here. I don't have access to The Age or any other newspaper columns, despite trying to get heard there for many years, but I agree with the calls for revolution aired by Chas Savage in The Age recently (How's this for sedition, Oct 24, 2005).

I want to go a little further and make an explicit link between sedition and the war on terror. Two words to start: "Scott Parkin".

I support a military victory for the Taliban in Afghanistan and for the insurgents in Iraq. So too I might add do a majority of Iraqis according to a 'secret' opinion poll taken by the British commanders and reported in the Australian press today (at least in the Brisbane Courier Mail).

My reasoning is simple:

I do not support Islamic fundamentalism. I am an atheist who believes in complete freedom of worship and I oppose all religious fundamentalism. This includes the fundamentalism of the Zionist leadership in Israel and of the American leadership cabal around Dubya and Condy.

I support the Taliban and the insurgents in their military struggle against American imperialism and the second-tier imperialism that Australia is involved in through support for the 'axis of the willing'. How could anyone dispute this is an imperialist grab for the oil reserves of the Middle East? A recent documentary on SBS predicted that the Guinea Coast of Africa will be the next global hotspot - not because of Islamic fundamentalism but because of significant oil reserves. The Americans already have advisors there and are trying to build a base.

The war against 'terror' is a furphy. It is part of a deliberate campaign of moral panic generated by the American leadership, supported by Blair and Howard (and their loyal oppositions) and abetted by the Murdoch press in particular and the neo-con 'think tanks' in general.

The neo-cons are cynically manipulating the fear of Islamic fundamentalism through claims that the Taliban persecutes women etc. Well so do all fundamentalist religious sects, including the two biggest in the Christian world: the Catholic Church and Protestantism.

Condoleeza Rice claims to be in favour of liberating women from the hijab etc in Afghanistan, but oppresses her black sisters in the USA by denying them access to medical care, education, jobs, abortions, contraception, AIDS drugs and a life free from racism.

Women have never been liberated during wars of imperialist aggression, not even by fighting in the front line.

The history of the women's movement is a history of struggle against war and fascism too. There were always splits - as between the pacifists and revolutionaries during the early years of the 20th century and between the militants and the reformers. A section even supported the imperialist slaughter of World War One, but this did not bring them equality. It was an industrial struggle for equal pay (supported by male workers) that won rights and freedoms for women. In other words a campaign of civil and industrial disobedience - sedition if you like.

After the American defeat in Vietnam the black and women's liberation movements in the United States were confident to fight back and lots of substantial gains were made. They are all under threat now, under the guise of whittling away our freedoms in order to 'protect' them. It's no coincidence that 'intelligent design' is getting a good run at the moment, a backward step for feminists everywhere.

During the Vietnam period many of us proudly chanted for military victory to the NLF and the Viet Cong. Not because we were Stalinist fans of Ho Chi Min, but because we understood that a defeat for American imperialism in South East Asia would be a body blow to the 'heart of the beast'.

It took the US military machine 30 years to recover from this set back. But now, it is fuelled by 'oil lust' again and is attempting to regain the upper hand militarily around the world by pounding the Iraqis and the Afghans into submission.

The main enemy for us is not (as many of you already understand) militant Islamic youth with crude homemade bombs, it is the military nuclear might of the USA, Russia and increasingly China.

We have a responsibility to fight the enemy at home. This means supporting anti-war rallies and demanding that Howard bring home Australian troops.

It's a given he won't do it until the body count starts to go up (only one or two Australians have died on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and one of them was an accident).

The Americans have lost a couple of thousands of poor, mostly black conscripts and already the anti-war movement in that country is on the resurgence. Bush is in trouble on many fronts, while Howard still (for the moment) seems untouchable.

We have to mount a campaign of civil and industrial disobedience - from the bottom up. We can't rely on Labor under Beazely or any of the others. We have to rebuild extra-parliamentary action in this country in the same style as the Industrial Workers of the World (the IWW). We have to draw the links between the war on terror, attacks on our civil rights and the anti-worker IR legislation.

The Americans (and therefore the Australians) will not be leaving Iraq or Afghanistan any time soon without being put under enormous pressure. More car bombs in Baghdad and Kabul will only intensify the pressure.

This is not an attack on the individuals in uniform who are 'over there', many by choice, others because they have no choice. These people are fighting because they have been brainwashed into believing that God is on their side. How is that different to the Islamicists who praise Allah before blowing themselves up.

In a war people on both sides get killed. We cannot mourn for 'our' troops who are there to inflict casualties on the other side. In that context they are legitimate targets for those who believe their cause is just.

We have to choose sides. I have chosen. I support the insurgents.

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