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Anti-terrorism laws - links update #12

G'day. The Senate Inquiry into the terror laws is open for business - submissions close on November 11. See here for the guide on how to make a submission. See here for the members of the committee with the job, the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee. I published the committee's unanimous report into the Government's 2002 terrorism laws at Liberalism fights back on terror laws.

Beware alarmist rubbish, says Beattie
, 07 Nov 2005, By Cynthia Banhman and AAP
One of the premiers who backed the urgent passage of anti-terrorism laws has now accused the Federal Government of "alarmist rubbish" on national security.Queensland's Peter Beattie said a push to bolster the military's powers before next year's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne was fanning unnecessary fear, and that comments by the Minister for Defence, Robert Hill, were "a load of rot". - http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/beware-alarmist-rubbish-says-beattie/2005/11/06/1131211949475.html

Police track 'terror plotters'
News.com.au November 07, 2005
EXTRA counter-terrorism police have been rushed to Sydney to take part in the 24-hour surveillance of two suspects believed to be planning an attack on Australian soil. The Australian understands a command post has been established in Sydney to monitor the men, one of whom has been linked to the outlawed terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba. - http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,17159600-2,00.html

Interview: Robert Hill
Sunday Channel 9 - 6 November 2005
As government leader in the Senate, Defence Minister Robert Hill presided over the passing of an amendment to anti-terrorism laws at a special sitting this week. The amendment will allow people to be charged if they're considering carrying out a terrorist attack, but haven't decided on specific details. The change was called for by Prime Minister Howard, after he said he received specific intelligence about a potential terrorist threat. Greens Senator Bob Brown said the PM needed to concoct a situation to divert attention from unpopular IR legislation, also introduced this week. Mr Howard said the allegation was ridiculous. Senator Hill accused Senator Brown of using the issue for his own short-term political objectives. The Defence Minister also moved a motion that was passed, that will extend an inquiry into the anti-terrorism laws until the end of the month, to give the Senate plenty of time to examine the bills. Senator Hill will discuss these and other issues with Sunday's political editor, Laurie Oakes - http://sunday.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/political_transcripts/article_1905.asp

Sydney rally

Absolute power
Sydney Morning Herald - 4 November 2005
The Prime Minister says we should trust him; the polls say we do. And now John Howard is counting on our blessing. Peter Hartcher reports. - http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/absolute-power/2005/11/04/1130823397714.html

Terrorism laws 'ridiculous', protesters told
SMH - 5 November 2005
The Government's controversial anti-terrorism laws are a threat to anyone disagreeing with Australian foreign policy, a rally to start a weekend of national protest about the laws has been told. - http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/terrorism-laws-ridiculous-protesters-told/2005/11/05/1130823432742.html

Terror plotters may stay free
SMH, 7 Nov 2005, By Cynthia Banham and Stephanie Peatling
Arrests might not follow the hurried passage of an amendment to counter-terrorism laws, the Federal Government has admitted just days after the Prime Minister justified the rush on the basis of "specific intelligence" on a terrorist threat. - http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/urgent-terror-laws-may-not-lead-to-arrests/2005/11/06/1131211949418.html

Friday forum - Turnbull and Roxon
Lateline, 4 Nov 2005, Reporter: Maxine McKew
MAXINE MCKEW: And are slapped with a control order or a sedition charge? What's the distinction there?
MALCOLM TURNBULL: There's a very big distinction. If people are out there actively promoting and urging others to engage in violence, in terrorist acts, then the Australian community expects the Government, through its law enforcement agencies, to deal with those people and protect society from them. All of us have to live with the necessary and inevitable consequences of our actions. If people are reckless enough or malicious enough to promote violence in our community, then that community, our community, must be protected from them.
MAXINE MCKEW: Let me ask you specifically - under these new laws, what happens to someone who gets up in an Australian mosque and says something like, "God grant victory to the insurgents in Iraq"? Is that seditious or is that likely to have you taken before a judge with a request for preventive detention?
MALCOLM TURNBULL: I don't want - it's rash to be giving legal opinion but let me say I don't think that would come anywhere near the provisions for preventive detention. I don't believe it would fall within the sedition provisions, unless -
MAXINE MCKEW: But it's inflammatory language. Its to say that is against Australian interests.
MALCOLM TURNBULL: The provisions for urging people to assist Australia's enemies are quite specific. However, I don't believe that would necessarily apply to just that one statement.
NICOLA ROXON: This is extraordinary. This is extraordinary from you, Malcolm, because I've been reading the papers today and apparently it's single handedly your backbench committee that has convinced Mr Ruddock and Mr Howard to see some sense in the way they've tightened a number of very welcome changes to these laws. But I know and you know the sedition provisions are really very lazily drafted. They could actually catch a whole lot of people in an unintended way - and I think without commenting on the example that Maxine gave, if after all that intensive discussion that you have already had with the Attorney-General you don't know what the intentions are, how is the public supposed to be confident what these provisions are actually... - http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2005/s1498340.htm

Sedition laws need the chop, say MPs
SMH, November 5, 2005, By Louise Dodson Chief Political Correspondent
Liberal MPs are pushing the Federal Government to not proceed with the sedition provisions of both the new anti-terrorism legislation and the Crimes Act.
The backbenchers who have been pressing for changes include Petro Georgiou, George Brandis, Malcolm Turnbull and Marise Payne. - http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/sedition-laws-need-the-chop-say-mps/2005/11/04/1130823397699.html

Act of sedition from Turnbull puts Ruddock on the spot
Sydney Morning Herald - 6 November 2005
He is an articulate defender of Government positions, but on certain issues this high-profile backbencher gets up his colleagues' noses. Michelle Grattan writes. - http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/act-of-sedition-from-turnbull-puts-ruddock-on-the-spot/2005/11/06/1131211930610.html

Turnbull urges review of sedition laws
ABC online
, 5 Nov 2005
Federal Coalition backbencher Malcolm Turnbull says the sedition provisions included in the new anti-terrorism laws are archaic and need revision.
Civil libertarians, journalists and media providers have raised concerns about the provisions, which they fear could prevent criticism of the Government. - http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200511/s1498428.htm

Sedition 'unclear' in terror laws
Channel 7, 05/11/05
Sedition provisions in the federal government's anti-terrorism legislation are not ideally drafted, prominent Liberal backbencher Malcolm Turnbull says.
On Friday night, Mr Turnbull reiterated concerns on the coalition backbench about the proposed anti-terrorism laws, which former Family Court chief justice Alastair Nicholson has described as the greatest ever attack on Australia's individual liberties. - http://seven.com.au/news/nationalnews/118545

Sedition gag is no joke, say satirists
, November 7, 2005 The Federal Government may never launch a single prosecution against a comedian, satirist or commentator under its proposed sedition clause in the anti-terrorism legislation - but it still has a chilling effect on those who poke fun at our political masters.

A coalition of comedians and commentators will hold a concert in Sydney on November 13 to protest against the sedition clause - and its fears are well-founded, according to an expert in constitutional law at the University of NSW, George Williams. - http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/sedition-gag-is-no-joke-say-satirists/2005/11/06/1131211949478.html

Five years in jail for reporting the truth
The Age, November 7, 2005 Andrew Dodd
THERE'S something very odd about the Federal Government's approach to public debate. On the one hand it's spending $40 million of taxpayers' money to promote "public awareness" about its controversial industrial relations bill. On the other, it's enshrining provisions that close down discussion about its anti-terror laws. - http://www.theage.com.au/news/business/five-years-in-jail-for-reporting-the-truth/2005/11/05/1130823429811.html

Labor defends decision to back anti-terrorism laws
INSIDERS, 05/11/2005
Labor's homeland security spokesman Arch Bevis saw everything that the Prime Minister saw in relation to the potential terrorism attack and he agreed with the Prime Minister that new legislation was needed and the Senate should be recalled. - http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/content/2005/s1498537.htm

Top lawyer damns 'unfair' terror laws
The Age , November 7, 2005, By David Rood
"Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic are going to have public trials. There will be no public trials in Australia for people who are charged with so-called terrorism offences," he said. -

Plan to fast-track troops on streets
Sunday Mail, 06 Nov 05
TROOPS could be deployed on Australian streets within hours of a terror attack or threat under a new Federal Government plan to make it easier to call out the military.
Defence Minister Robert Hill yesterday revealed the plan that could see streets flooded with soldiers in a terror situation.
They would be given detention powers, the right of search and seizure and the power to shoot to kill. - http://www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,17152657%255E911,00.html

Australian Anti-Terrorist Legislation and the Colonial National ...
Al-Jazeerah.info, GA - 6 November 2005
The Howard government's new anti-terrorist  legislation, which all State Labour Premiers bar the ACT have now signed off  to, is not only draconian but totally unnecessary. There is no question in  the minds of many experts in the fields of national security and defence  that existing laws are more than adequate to address the level of threat  that Australia plausibly faces. The people of this country are being deliberately misled and influenced by a government manufactured "climate  of fear", in order to have this dangerous and undemocratic legislation  condoned and passed by the Liberal dominated senate. http://www.aljazeerah.info/Opinion%20editorials/2005%20Opinion%20Editorials/November/5o/Australian%20AntiTerrorist%20Legislation%20and%20the%20Colonial%20National%20Psyche%20By%20William%20M%20Hardiker.htm

Sydney rally

Thousands flood streets to protest anti-terror laws Sydney Morning Herald - 6 November 2005 Controversial sedition laws in the Federal Government's new anti-terrorism legislation will be reviewed in the new year, in a conciliatory gesture to widespread concern on the Liberal backbench. - http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/thousands-flood-streets-to-protest-antiterror-laws/2005/11/05/1130823437794.html

More pictures from rally - http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m17498&date=06-nov-2005_01:08_ECT

Anti-terror laws and anti-terror wars
Green Left Weekly, Australia - 6 November 2005
The strengthening of Australia's "anti-terrorism" laws proposed by the federal government includes creating new offences for "those who communicate inciting messages ... including against Australia's forces overseas and in support of Australia's enemies". These new laws can be used to challenge our right to discuss the legitimacy of the armed resistance in Iraq and express solidarity with Iraqis who want to end the occupation. - http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2005/648/648p16.htm

Al-Qaeda informant 'a likely liar': US
SMH, November 7, 2005 - 7:54AM
A captured al-Qaeda operative who told US authorities that Iraq had trained al-Qaeda members to use unconventional weapons was identified as a probable liar months before the Bush administration began using his claims to make its case for war. - http://www.smh.com.au/news/World/AlQaeda-informant-a-likely-liar-US/2005/11/07/1131211970828.html

Report Warned Bush Team About Intelligence Doubts
NYTimes November 6, 2005
WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 — A top member of Al Qaeda in American custody was identified as a likely fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the foundation for its claims that Iraq trained Al Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons, according to newly declassified portions of a Defense Intelligence Agency document.

The document, an intelligence report from February 2002, said it was probable that the prisoner, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, “was intentionally misleading the debriefers’’ in making claims about Iraqi support for Al Qaeda’s work with illicit weapons.

The document provides the earliest and strongest indication of doubts voiced by American intelligence agencies about Mr. Libi’s credibility. Without mentioning him by name, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Colin L. Powell, then secretary of state, and other administration officials repeatedly cited Mr. Libi’s information as “credible’’ evidence that Iraq was training Al Qaeda members in the use of explosives and illicit weapons. - http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/06/politics/06intel.ready.html

Blog Views

The World We Live In
The Actual Truth
Every generation has an event that they all remember, an event that was so profoundly significant that it affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. For my generation it is undoubtable the events of September 11 2001. - http://theactualtruth.blogspot.com/2005/11/world-we-live-in.html

Trouble in Oz
Kinshasa On The Potomac
Not everyone is happy with PM Howard's decision to reveal a possible terrorist threat earlier this week. Australia security forces seem particularly upset over the Government's decision on Wednesday to seek the immediate recall of the Senate for the urgent passage of an amendment to new anti-terrorism laws and the decison to announce the threat. - http://kotp.blogspot.com/2005/11/trouble-in-oz.html

Liberty, Imprisonment and Terror: How can we...
Be Informed: Australia's Anti-Terrorism Laws
I don't think fighting terrorism and retaining civil... in order to fight terrorism. I believe that the infringements on civil liberties from anti-terrorism... raised in this debate and charts pathways for legal reforms that would protect civil liberty in Australia - http://samanthavan.blogspot.com/2005/11/liberty-imprisonment-and-terror-how.html

Democracy & Terror
Open Democracy: Current debates
Could democracy be the ultimate antidote to terrorism? In the face of violence, how should democratic values be put into action? - http://www.opendemocracy.net/conflict-terrorism/issue.jsp

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re: Anti-terrorism laws - links update #12

Irfan Yusaf, that was brilliant, mate. Hopefully you will take up full time writing as irony and humour are definitely your strong suits. We in this country need this type of comment from your faith's perspective just to keep our own home grown crazies in check (and to relieve us non-Muslims of any fear that our crazies are trying to install in us of Muslims).


re: Anti-terrorism laws - links update #12

Irfan, I love your "seditious" satire. :-)

re: Anti-terrorism laws - links update #12

Last week, the PM announced he had specific information about a terrorist threat. He wasn’t all that specific but created enough commotion to convince all his colleagues to amend the current laws by one word.

So now the law refers to “a terrorist action” instead of “the terrorist action”. Or something like that.

But where would the terrorists strike? Spencer Street Station in Melbourne? Sydney Town Hall? Capalaba Shopping Centre?

I believe I have the answer. And I should know. Trust me – I’m a Muslim! Apparently we are experts at terror. Even if we never seem to be able to get anywhere on time and are the most disorganised faith-community on the planet.

(Plus, now that Ramadan is over and we are no longer deprived of food and drink and sex between sunrise and sunset, our brains are working again!)

My hot terror tip is Byron Bay. Yes, you read it correctly. And no, I am not taking any substances at the moment.

If you believe some recently-assaulted celebrities, Byron Bay is more dangerous than Bali. Seriously.

Next year, I travel to Indonesia as part of a DFAT-sponsored exchange program. We may well be visiting Bali. I have seen photos of Bali beaches and clubs.

I’ve also seen photos of Byron Bay beaches and clubs. And seriously, I can’t tell much difference. But appearances aren’t the only similarities.

Apparently, a number of tourists have recently been attacked in Bali. Quite a few. Although no bombs have gone off yet, quite a few tourists have also been attacked in Byron Bay.

Also, Byron is packed with tourists from across the world. Kiwis, Swedes, Brazilians and many more. Just like Bali.

And it seems Rex Hunt isn’t the only person who has been attacked by disgruntled local “radical youth”.

The Herald-Sun and other newspapers have reported parents feeling reluctant to send their ex-Year 12 kiddies up for the traditional Schoolies retreat. And on Friday, Michael McDonald from the Byron Shire Echo wrote to online gossip sheet “Crikey”:

“So yes, tourists and young women should be cautious late at night – paradise is not all it's made out to be.”

Thanks, Michael!

Getting back to Ramadan, it is traditional to give gifts at the end of Ramadan. I bought a nice DVD as a gift for certain friend of the female persuasion to celebrate “Hari Raya” (what they call the end of Ramadan in Malaysia and Indonesia). I was thinking of surprising her by delivering it in person on my long drive from Sydney to visiting a mate in Brisbane.

There’s just a few obstacles. My ears are still ringing from the last time we spoke on the phone. Knowing my luck with women, she’s probably still fuming. But there is one other slight problem.

She’s in Byron Bay.

If she freaks out at my surprise visit, it might turn out to be more than just a case of local kids chasing me out of town after delivering a black eye or two. She might call the police or that hotline located on her anti-terror fridge magnet (presuming she has memorised it).

She might even call ASIO. In which case, I might just have to call lawyer Stephen Hopper.

So there you have it. My hot terror tip. Watch out for an over-weight clean-shaven Indian-looking bloke with freckles wearing a Wallabies jersey standing up on the hill near the lighthouse and holding a DVD and a card saying “Selamat Hari Raya” (Happy End-of-Ramadan Feast).

You’ll recognise him by the pretty lass standing over him smacking him over the head and screaming at him something sounding like the All-Black Haka.

In which case maybe I should be the one calling the police.

But a word to all those friendly ASIO people out there - don’t freak out if you notice the extra padding under the jersey. It isn’t bombs strapped to me. It’s just layers of evidence of too many kebabs and too little exercise!

re: Anti-terrorism laws - links update #12

Regarding the Senate inquiry, would a campaign to encourage as many concerned people as possible to lodge submissions be in order?

re: Anti-terrorism laws - links update #12

Damian Lataan, continuing our discussion on update #5, now that the "rhetoric" is progressing to outright incitement, do you still think that Iran's threats are "empty rhetoric"?

See here.

re: Anti-terrorism laws - links update #12

Just wondering if Howard has actually defined "terrorism" or "terrorist" or "freedom fighter" for that matter.

Exactly where is the point you cease to be a "freedom fighter" and become a "terrorist", al la Nelson Mandela for example? If so can someone point me to the definition/s, explanations etc

I would hate to think I may be one, or become one!

Margo: 'Terrorist act', under the 2002 changes to the law passed after substantial amendments under pressure from small l Liberals backed by Labor - see Liberalism fights back on terror laws - is as follows:

terrorist act means an action or threat of action where:

(a) the action falls within subsection (2) and does not fall within subsection (2A); and

(b) the action is done or the threat is made with the intention of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause; and

(c) the action is done or the threat is made with the intention of:

(i) coercing, or influencing by intimidation, the government of the Commonwealth or a State, Territory or foreign country, or of part of a State, Territory or foreign country; or

(ii) intimidating the public or a section of the public.

(2) Action falls within this subsection if it:

(a) causes serious harm that is physical harm to a person; or

(b) causes serious damage to property; or

(ba) causes a person's death; or

(c) endangers a person's life, other than the life of the person taking the action; or

(d) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public; or

(e) seriously interferes with, seriously disrupts, or destroys, an electronic system including, but not limited to:

(i) an information system; or
(ii) a telecommunications system; or
(iii) a financial system; or
(iv) a system used for the delivery of essential government services; or
(v) a system used for, or by, an essential public utility; or
(vi) a system used for, or by, a transport system.

(2A) Action falls within this subsection if it:

(a) is advocacy, protest, dissent or industrial action; and

(b) is not intended:

(i) to cause serious harm that is physical harm to a person; or
(ii) to cause a person's death; or
(iii) to endanger the life of a person, other than the person taking the action; or
(iv) to create a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public.

re: Anti-terrorism laws - links update #12

A reminder, folks:

Submissions to the Senate Inquiry close tomorrow (Friday = Armistice Day or Dismissal Day, depending).

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