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Anti-terrorism laws - links update #8

Proposals to further strengthen Australia's counter-terrorism laws - 2005
E-Brief: Online Only issued 6 October 2005, * updated 27 October 2005
Background
On 8 September 2005, Prime Minister John Howard announced a number of proposed changes to Australia's counter-terrorism laws with the aim of enabling Australia to 'better deter, prevent, detect and prosecute acts of terrorism'. Drawing on overseas experience, particularly the London bombings in July 2005, the Prime Minister declared that the reforms 'will ensure Australia's counter-terrorism legislative regime remains at the forefront of international efforts to counter the global threat of terrorism'. - http://www.aph.gov.au/library/INTGUIDE/LAW/TerrorismLaws.htm

Artists, journalists voice anti-terrorism laws concerns
ABC Online, Australia - 31 October 2005
Forty of Australia's leading artists and journalists have met to discuss their concerns about the Federal Government's proposed anti-terrorism measures.
The group, which comprises filmmakers, documentary makers, editors, writers and journalists, met at the offices of film director Robert Connolly. - http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200510/s1494747.htm

Without answers, terror laws should be rejected (in the Age)
Tell us the how, not just the why, of new laws
Sydney Morning Herald (subscription), Australia - 31 October 2005 The Government has failed to explain in what way its anti-terrorism bill will prevent attacks, writes Hugh White.
We can all agree that terrorist attacks need to be prevented. And we can all agree civil liberties need to be protected. So deciding about the Government's proposal for extensive new detention and control powers involves striking a balance between two opposing risks. One is the possibility the new powers would be misused. The other is the danger that the Government will not be able to stop a terrorist attack without them. - http://www.smh.com.au/news/hugh-white/tell-us-the-how-not-just-the-why-of-new-laws/2005/10/30/1130607146850.html

HREOC sees police state under terrorism laws
ABC Regional Online, Australia - 31 October 2005
Federal Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) president John Von Doussa says the proposed counter-terrorism laws are the first step towards a police state.
Mr Von Doussa says the legislation gives the executive extraordinary powers to detain people without charge, but there are no means by which the application of those powers can be checked or appealed. He says the Federal Government cannot be trusted. - http://www.abc.net.au/news/items/200510/1494760.htm?act

Howard makes changes as states ask for time
Sydney Morning Herald
- 31 October 2005
Prime Minister John Howard will change new anti-terror laws in a bid to quell backbench concerns and secure state support to get the reforms into parliament this week. - http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/howard-makes-changes-as-states-ask-for-time/2005/10/31/1130720476462.html
[Also note that in the right column there are links to other stories on the legislation]

Beazley's lost it on terror laws: time to lose Beazley
The Contrarian - 31 October 2005
Kim Beazley is trying to position himself as tougher than the prime minister, a posture that simply doesn't wash with the Australian public - http://blogs.smh.com.au/thecontrarian/archives/2005/10/beazleys_lost_i_1.html

Doctors caution on terror laws
NEWS.com.au, Australia - 31 October 2005
ANTI-war demonstrators could be jailed for seven years under the Federal Government's proposed anti-terror laws, a doctors' body said today. ... - http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,17089385-29277,00.html

Details of what is in the final draft
NEWS.com.au, Australia - 31 October 2005
THE details of the final draft of the Government's controversial anti-terrorism laws are below. ASIO can detain any person for seven ... - http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,17084428-2,00.html

Jail for preachers of hate
Daily Telegraph, Australia - 31 October 2005
TERRORIST sympathisers who preach hate on the internet will be jailed for seven years under a final draft of Australia's ... - http://dailytelegraph.news.com.au/story/0,20281,17085524-5001021,00.html

Anxious media look to law, not faith, to guard reporting rights
Sydney Morning Herald - 31 October 2005
By Tom Allard. The media are deeply worried that the proposed anti-terrorism laws will infringe on the work of journalists and substantially ... - http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/anxious-media-look-to-law-not-faith-to-guard-reporting-rights/2005/10/30/1130607152223.html

Premiers demand more changes to anti-terrorism laws
ABC Online, Australia - 31 October 2005
If the Prime Minister was hoping to allay State and Territory concerns with his latest draft counter-terrorism laws, he'll be sorely disappointed. The Labor Premiers want more changes to the legislation, with one saying it's unlikely they'll be able to give their approval to the laws by tomorrow, as the Commonwealth had hoped. - http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2005/s1494135.htm

Anti-terrorism negotiation enters final phase
ABC Online, Australia - 31 October 2005
Prime Minister John Howard is in final negotiations with the state and territory leaders to clear up the outstanding issues over the Commonwealth's latest ... - http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200510/s1493995.htm

What you can do
Senator Bob Brown,
It is crucial that we all act now to stop these laws. You can:
    * Ring, write a letter or send a fax or email to your state premier and your local MPs to urge them to withdraw support from the laws. Make an appointment to meet them to explain your concerns.
    * Ring, write a letter or send a fax or email to your federal members of parliament in the House of Representatives and the Senate urging them to insist that the Bill is subject to proper public and parliamentary scrutiny. For federal MPs’ contact details go to: http://www. aph.gov.au
    * Call talk back radio and write to your newspapers.
http://www.bobbrown.org.au/300_campaigns_sub.php?deptItemID=30

Blog Views

Artists, journalists voice anti-terrorism laws concerns
News on Terror
Artists, journalists voice anti- terrorism laws concerns ABC Online, Australia - 2 hours ago Forty of Australia's leading artists and journalists have met to discuss their concerns about the Federal Government's proposed anti- terrorism measures - http://tnews.panoptis.com/?p=478

Constipation politics
Rank and Vile
When I started this blog my intention was to give a personal views of a 'humble' rank and file member of the ALP. I felt that in the maelstrom of political debate, the rank and filer was totally disregarded, both by the commentariat and often by the hierarchy of the party itself. - http://rankandvile.dailyflute.com/?p=251

Why we need draconian terror laws...
The View From Benambra
I've gotten sick of saying it; it should be blindingly obvious to anybody with half a brain that terrorism is really a minor threat to Australia. So it's in some ways a relief to know that the Premiers of the various states do indeed have half a brain, according to this story in Kerry Packer's The Bulletin. http://benambra.org/benambra/?q=node/450

Round up all the Muslims and exterminate them
Opinion Dominion
The title is what letter writer Vincent Zankin in last Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald  thinks is John Howard's real agenda:
"It seems Muslims are neither welcome here, nor can they be trusted, because the Government's involvement in the war on terrorism means that this country is at war with the religion of Islam" - http://opiniondominion.blogspot.com/2005/10/round-up-all-muslims-and-exterminate.html

A lesson for the infidels
ibntaymiya
On Monday, the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, Abu Bakar Bashir spoke with The Bulletin correspondent Rin Hindryati inside Cipinang prison in Jakarta, where he is being held for conspiracy over last year's Marriott Hotel bombing. The full transcript: - http://ibntaymiya1263.blogspot.com/2005/10/lesson-for-infidels.html

Our leaders lie
Antony Loewenstein
Robert Fisk examines the rhetoric of Bush, Blair, Iran...and Australia: " But for Bush, America is not anxious to withdraw from Iraq. Far from it. The United States is fighting enemies who want to establish a "totalitarian empire", he says, a "mortal danger to all humanity" which America will confro... - http://antonyloewenstein.blogspot.com/2005/10/our-leaders-lie.html

Leadership Failure - Or, Getting Fooled, Again
Flaming Horses (Melbourne Cup pun? ;-)
The Partying On The Left Are Now Partying On The Right Kim Beazley says he wants to be even tougher on terror than John Howard. Is this man Kim Beazley congenitally stupid or what? IN a dramatic reversal in the debate over anti-terror laws, Opposition.. - http://flaminghorses.blogspot.com/2005/10/leadership-failure-or-getting-fooled.html

Australia threatened by US state terrorism
Moreover Technologies - US sec...
By Dr Gideon Polya The Milli Gazette Online 29 October 2005 Melbourne:
After a 4 decade career as a scientist, I have almost finished researching and writing a huge book on global avoidable mortality. "State terrorism" has had massive complicity in global avoidable mortality (excess mortality) that now totals 1.3 billion since 1950. While "jihadist" and insurgent "non-state terrorists" have killed 5,000 Western civilians over the last 20 years, US state terrorism is complicit in a post-invasion avoidable mortality and under-5 infant mortality in Occupied Iraq and Afghanistan now totalling 2.1 million and 1.7 million, respectively. Please find below a summary of my informed and dispassionate assessment that AUSTRALIA IS UNDER SERIOUS THREAT FROM US STATE TERRORISM. Anyone has permission to publish this and otherwise inform all of their associates in the interests of humanity. - http://www.milligazette.com/dailyupdate/2005/20051029-terrorism.htm

The Price of Feeling Safe
Check Raise
Australia has a new proposed Anti Terrorism bill which includes such draconian measures as:
- A 14-day secret detention without arrest by security services
- Shoot-to-kill "on suspicion" powers for police
- Imprisonment and fines for revealing an individual has been the subject of an investigation - http://spaces.msn.com/members/checkraise/Blog/cns!1pIvk06Hn0HfGrTV8TVaDyFQ!11976.entry

India

'Top Pak army officials abetting terrorism'
India Monitor, UK - 31 October 2005
Pakistan may have been quick to denounce the Delhi blasts, but Indian Army and the intelligence believe that senior officials of General Pervez Musharraf's regime, especially top army men, are actively abetting terrorism. - http://indiamonitor.com/news/readNews.jsp?ni=9172

USA

Bush on the ropes
Public Opinion
In contrast Australia, where John Howard is still travelling well, President Bush is ensnarred in a political crisis and he is looking weak and on the defensive as becomes ever more mired in the swamp of scandal and investigations. - http://www.sauer-thompson.com/archives/opinion/2005/10/bush_on_the_rop.php

UK

Is Blair losing his grip?
A Working Class Hero
The Observer Focus: ministers in revolt
With his cabinet growing restless, the Prime Minister is racing to establish his legacy before his time runs out. Political editor Gaby Hinsliff reports For a modest effort to lift the veil of secrecy draped over government, it succeeded more dramatically than Number 10 expected. - http://aworkingclasshero.blogspot.com/2005/10/is-blair-losing-his-grip.html

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re: Anti-terrorism laws - links update #8

I note that Jon Stanhope’s ‘terror bill’ site has been hacked. See here.

Now, I wonder who would want to do a thing like that!?

Margo: Hi Damian. Russell Darroch supplies this cached link.

re: Anti-terrorism laws - links update #8

By the way, John Stanhope's

re: Anti-terrorism laws - links update #8

In Guarding Against Terrorists in Canberra, Tony Kevin postulated that the Prime Minister had enlisted the ADF, ASIO nd other intelligence agencies in “a terror threat display” to intimidate the state Premiers into agreeing with the legislation proposed at the COAG meeting in Canberra.

After my exchange with Tony in that thread I was interested to read Paul Daley’s article Threat Reckoning in this week’s Bulletin. Here are some excerpts:

It has passed as an historic meeting where the prospect of a huge, “home-grown”’ jihadi threat literally frightened Australia’s state and territory leaders into whole-heartedly supporting Prime Minister John Howard’s tough new anti-terrorism laws. But history has so far recorded it incorrectly. For it was politics, ahead of any new fear of a home-grown strike on Australian soil, that motivated them to back federal government proposals now widely criticised as draconian.

Australian Federal Police Chief Mick Keelty, the chief of the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation Paul O’Sullivan and Office of National Assessments chief Peter Varghese briefed the leaders on the domestic terrorism threat.

“Of course, the briefing was alarming enough, but the fact remained there was no specific intelligence to indicate a [specific] terrorist threat to Australia. It was clear from the briefing that the threat was based not on probability but possibility ... it is important to stress that the security chiefs did not frighten them with any sort of horror story,” an insider says.

Despite alarming media suggestions the next day that ASIO believed up to 800 “Muslim extremists” in Australia could be motivated to carry out a London-style attack, no such figure was mentioned in the briefing. Indeed, while the security chiefs said a small number of local suspects did pose a threat, they also re-affirmed that the “threat level” in Australia had not changed since 9/11.

The figure “800” is believed to be a dramatic exaggeration that has angered some intelligence insiders who maintain the correct figure of “persons of genuine interest” is perhaps 60 to 80 of whom, perhaps six or eight, are considered to be a genuine danger. They are under constant surveillance.

After the meeting some of the state and territory leaders did little to correct the misapprehension that the security briefings had sealed their support when, in fact, the truth was far more prosaic.

Politics had already well and truly convinced them.

re: Anti-terrorism laws - links update #8

Being one of the last days we can make comment on this issue given the nature of those proposed laws, the Four Corners program on Monday gave me some thoughts on why the new laws are so deliberate and focused.

Knowing that no laws will affect the dedicated terrorist, just make them avoid more situations, I wondered what role David Hicks may have played in the construction of the laws.

Mr Howard has stated clearly many times that if David Hicks were returned to Australia there is no law he could be detained under. Agree?

Well there will be won't there? Should the US case collapse against him and he does return to Australia he would be immediately detained, unable to talk about it and his father would also be muzzled would he not?

Of course we must oppose terrorism on all fronts but it seems this legislation does have specific people in mind, David Hicks being one major problem for the government if he returns.

We give Mr Howard too much credit for his approach. It's really rather simple. The collateral fear and restrictions on all Australians is coincidental to saving his government's butt(s).

re: Anti-terrorism laws - links update #8

ASIO warns of home-grown terror threat

As Prime Minister John Howard gets closer to an agreement on his anti-terror laws, ASIO has for the first time publicly outlined the threats to Australia...

re: Anti-terrorism laws - links update #8

And this morning on Seven a report from ASIO confirming a real threat from "home grown terrorists" - Australian born Muslims who promote violence against non-Muslim states (can't find anything yet on-line).

This report is made now, not two months ago, not six months ago....?

re: Anti-terrorism laws - links update #8

32 WA groups likely to express resounding "NO" to terror laws

Project SafeCom Media Release
Wednesday November 2 2005 7:45am WST
For Immediate Release
No Embargoes

More than thirty-two community groups ranging from human rights to social justice organisations, groups and alliances and peace activists, both secular and church-based, will meet in what promises to become a powerful forum at the University of Western Australia this Friday, with ALP backbencher Dr Carmen Lawrence and Greens Senator Rachel Siewert as keynote speakers.

"The planned forum is likely to become a central springboard for strongly resounding dissent with the proposed federal anti-terrorism laws for the massive number of groups, WA human rights lobby and action group Project SafeCom said this morning."

"Already anyone who shares information and communication in the course of a formal appointment in an organisation where this person is accountable to that information, cannot possibly comply with the secrecy provisions of the laws, Project SafeCom spokesman Jack H Smit commented."

"I have to say, with regret to Mr Howard, that any wish for ASIO to contact myself for any information, any planned arrest of people such as myself, will have the immediate effect that I will be obliged to brief the Project SafeCom steering committee and the wider membership."

"As an accountable executive operator and representative of my organisation, nothing I have said or no information I may or may not have received, has occurred in the course of my work and not as a private citizen. This information is not mine, but it is the property of Project SafeCom - and as such I cannot possibly comply with these made-on-the-run ridiculous secrecy provisions."

"Not only that, the laws are so ridiculous that they just seem to be fabrications of a panicked mad-man, greedy and hungry for power. They are seriously in breach - just like the nasty legislation enacted in the Migration Act that has caused untold grief to thousands of people seeking rightfully protection in our country under UN Conventions - they are in breach of a multitude of commitments Australia has made up till now to International Conventions and enshrined and deeply held universal human rights notions that underpin our societies."

"These laws jeopardise the independence of the judiciary, they seriously erode the principle of someone being innocent until proven guilty and they will spiral Australia into a police state," Mr Smit said.

"Mr Howard may like that principle because it places him squarely in secret control, and some of the State premiers may nicely fall in line with the Prime Minister for their own self-serving political interests and for fear of carrying the can if any terrorist attacks happen in their State, but hundreds of thousands of Australians do not agree with these laws. In the end these laws only serve to scoop up more Federal power for Mr Howard at the cost of independence and erosion of power of the States."

"These laws should be banned from being pushed through, and they should be made fully public, and they should be subject to a lengthy Senate Inquiry. The fact that Mr Howard is in such a hurry for these laws to be passed is not related to terrorism but to the ideological greed of a prime minister who has been in power beyond his years, and beyond the measure of his honesty."

ONLINE RESOURCES:

Laws of Terror: Public Forum Friday November 4th

5.45pm to 7.45pm University of WA, Nedlands - Social Sciences Lecture Theatre

http://al.perthimc.asn.au/terrorlawforum1/index2.html

When the Terrorist Strikes...

resources for dissents with Australia's new terror legislation

http://www.safecom.org.au/terrorlaws.htm

PARTICIPATING WA GROUPS:

• People’s Health Movement
• Public Health Assoc. of Australia (WA Branch)
• Social Justice Network
• The Greens (WA)
• Australian Democrats (WA Division)
• Matrix Consulting Group
• Amnesty Australia
• WACOSS
• WA Sustainability Collaboration
• Aboriginal Legal Service
• National Tertiary Education Union (WA Division)
• Uniting Church
• Social Justice Commission
• Unions WA
• CPSU/CSAASU
• Institute of Advanced Studies, University of WA
• West Australians for Racial Equality (WARE)
• Curtin Centre for Human Rights Education
• Edmund Rice Centre for Social Justice
• Ethnic Communities Council
• Christian Centre for Social Action
• Perth Indymedia
• WA Peace Network
• The Fremantle Anti-Nuclear Group
• The Anti-Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia
• Society of Professional Social Workers
• Catholic Social Justice Council, Perth
• Refugee Rights Action Network
• Socialist Alliance
• Project SafeCom Inc.
• No War Alliance
• Medical Association for the Prevention of War
• Perth Peace Group
• Hills No War Alliance
• East/Hills Socialist Alliance
• The Gaia Foundation of WA
• Stop MAI Coalition

re: Anti-terrorism laws - links update #8

Clearly the most obvious shortcoming of the proposed new ‘Terror Laws’ is the fact that they can be used (or abused, more likely) against people who are patently not ‘terrorists’. Ordinary people who wish to strenuously dissent against the government and its policies and/or actions can, and I suggest will, be specifically targeted using these new laws. Indeed, I might even go so far as to say that they will be used more against dissenters, particularly the sedition aspects of the new laws, than against real live ‘terrorists’.

In the eyes of the average ‘Aussie’ who takes little interest in politics this means that ‘dissenters’ will eventually be slotted in the same pigeon hole as ‘terrorists’ and demonised in the same way. This, of course, is the aim of the new laws. After all, how many potential ‘terrorists’ do you know? None? How many are there in Australia? Well, that would depend on how paranoid you are but so far no one has ever been caught even planning a terrorist act let alone committing one in Australia.

On the other hand, however, how many dissenters do you know?

If the new laws were only about stopping real terrorism then fine. But we all know that it is far more than that. Worse still, once they are enacted, these laws could cause people to disappear, literally, and without any recourse for their relatives and friends to find out what’s happened to them. Will you be one of those that disappear?

Does Nacht und Nebel ring any bells?

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