Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Australia: Tony Abbot's Enabling Bill

Fascism and 'special powers' are coming to Australia. all based on the threat from an ISIS that was given birth and succoured by the West

One thing that occurs to me that sickens me is parochialism. Australians seem to take little interest in what happens across the "Ditch" and Kiwis unconcerned by events in Australia. I don't think I have seen one single comment here expressing more than very passing concern about these events in Australia.  

These are Tony Abbot's enabling laws or Patriot Act.

It is time to learn that we are all in this together - everyone.

Glenn Greenwald

22 September, 2014

If you’re an Australian citizen, you have a greater chance of being killed by the following causes than you do by a terrorist attack: slipping in the bathtub and hitting your head; contracting a lethal intestinal illness from the next dinner you eat at a restaurant; being struck by lightning. In the post-9/11 era, there has been no terrorist attack carried out on Australian soil: not one. The attack that most affected Australians was the 2002 bombing of a nightclub in Bali which killed 88 of its citizens; that was 12 years ago.

Despite all that, Australia’s political class is in the midst of an increasingly unhinged fear-mongering orgy over terrorism. The campaign has two prongs: ISIS (needless to say: it’s now an all-purpose, global source of fear-manufacturing), and the weekend arrest of 15 people on charges that they planned to behead an unknown, random individual based on exhortations from an Australian member of ISIS.
The Australian government wasted no time at all exploiting this event to demand “broad new security powers to combat what it says is a rising threat from militant Islamists.” Even by the warped standards of the West’s 9/11 era liberty abridgments, these powers are extreme, including making it “a crime for an Australian citizen to travel to any area overseas once the government has declared it off limits.” Already pending in that country is a proposal by the attorney general to make it a criminal offense ”punishable by five years in jail for ‘any person who disclosed information relating to ‘special intelligence operations’”; the bill is clearly intended to outright criminalize WikiLeaks-and-Snowden-type reporting, and the government thus expressly refuses to exempt journalists.
This morning, Australia’s Liberal Party Prime Minister Tony Abbott (pictured above), delivered a speech to the nation’s parliament that is a perfect distillation of the key post-9/11 pathologies of western democracies. It was a master class in how politicians shamelessly exploit terrorism fears to seize greater power.
Abbott assumed the grave demeanor and resolute tone that politicians in these situations don to convince others that they’re the modern incarnation of Winston Churchill: purposeful, unyielding, and courageously ready for the fight. He depicted his fight as one of Pure Good v. Pure Evil, and vehemently denied that his nation’s 10-year support for the invasion and occupation of Iraq plays any role whatsoever in animosity toward his country in that region (perish the thought!) (“It’s our acceptance that people can live and worship in the way they choose that bothers them, not our foreign policy”). And, most impressively, he just came right out and candidly acknowledged his real purpose: to exploit the emotions surrounding the terrorist arrests to erode liberty and increase state power, telling citizens that they will die if they do not meekly acquiesce:
Regrettably, for some time to come, Australians will have to endure more security than we’re used to, and more inconvenience than we’d like.
Regrettably, for some time to come, the delicate balance between freedom and security may have to shift.
There may be more restrictions on some so that there can be more protections for others.
After all, the most basic freedom of all is the freedom to walk the streets unharmed and to sleep safe in our beds at night.
With those scary premises in place, the prime minister proceeded to rattle off a laundry list of new legal powers and restraints on freedom that he craves. It begins with “creating new offences that are harder to beat on a technicality”, which he said is “a small price to pay for saving lives.” It includes brand new crimes and detention powers (“Legislation to create new terrorist offences and to extend existing powers to monitor or to detain terror suspects will be introduced this week”). There’s also this: “it will be an offence to be in a designated area, for example Raqqa in Syria, without a good reason.”
His Christmas list also (of course) entails vastly increased spending on security (“the government committed an additional $630 million to the Australian Federal Police, Customs and Border Protection, the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service and the Office of National Assessments…biometric screening will start to be introduced at international airports within 12 months”). And the government—already a member of the sprawling Five Eyes spying alliance—will vest itself with greater surveillance powers (“as well, legislation requiring telecommunications providers to keep the metadata they already create and to continue to make it available to police and security agencies will be introduced soon”).
The ease with which terrorism is exploited by western governments—a full 13 years after 9/11—is stunning. Americans now overwhelmingly favor military action against a group which, three months ago, almost none of them even knew existed, notwithstanding clear government admissionsthat the group poses no threat to the “homeland.” When I was in New Zealand last week for a national debate over mass surveillance, the frequency with which the government and its supporters invoked the scary specter of the Muslim Terrorist to justify all of that was remarkable: It’s New Zealand. And now the Liberal Party’s prime minister in Australia barely bats an eye as he overtly squeezes every drop of fear he can to justify a wide array of new powers and spending splurges in the name of a risk that, mathematically speaking, is trivial to the average citizen.
Political leaders love nothing more than when populations are put in fear of external threats. In that regard, these western leaders share exactly the same goal as ISIS: to terrorize their nation’s citizens by grossly exaggerating its power and reach. Any museum exhibit on the degradation of western behavior in the post-9/11 era would be well-advised to put Abbott’s full speech on the wall, as it illustrates the fear-mongering games and propagandistic tactics that have led to all of that.
(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
UPDATE: A reader writes with an important clarification, supported by various media accounts:
Just one clarification on your article about the Australian ‘anti terror’ raids.
You said that 15 people were arrested. In fact, 15 people were detained under ‘preventative detention’ laws. But only one person has been charged under any terrorism related offence. A further 3 have been charged under non terrorism related offences.
This despite the fact that the ‘threat’ was so high that the raids involved over 800 police.
A grand total of one person has been charged with terrorism-related crimes—one—and that has triggered a major fear campaign and a slew of legislative demands designed to dismantle basic legal protections. It is, indeed, a microcosm of a core disease of the 9/11 era.
Along those lines, The Guardian just reported that “a sweeping suppression order will prevent reporting of controversial preventative detention orders used in last week’s counter-terrorism operations indefinitely.” That “means details of the order will remain secret until a New South Wales supreme court judge rules otherwise.” Amazingly, “the judge’s ruling is so broad that a supreme court spokesman says even his name cannot be reported.” Like the US for the weeks, months, and even years after 9/11, Australia’s political system appears completely inebriated with hysteria, fear and power-hunger completely out of proportion to the ostensible risk to be addressed.
Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Indefinite ban on reporting of counter-terrorism preventive detention order
No end date on NSW supreme court order against reporting on information about order made before counter-terrorism raids

23 September, 2014

A sweeping suppression order will prevent reporting of controversial preventive detention orders used in last week’s counter-terrorism operations indefinitely.
A non-publication order preventing disclosure of any information about the use of the lock-up powers means details of the order will remain secret until a New South Wales supreme court judge rules otherwise.
The judge’s ruling is so broad that a supreme court spokesman says even his name cannot be reported.
NSW police, Australian federal police and Asio officers took part in major operations across NSW and Queensland last Thursday. There were 15 people detained in the raids. One man was charged with a terrorism offence and another man was charged with an offence related to possessing a firearm.
On Friday the Australian federal police revealed they had obtained preventive detention orders for three men before the counter-terrorism raids, in the first instance the anti-terrorism powers have been used since the Howard government introduced them over a decade ago.
But what amounts to an order that indefinitely prohibits reporting on the details of the orders, and even the reasons supporting them, will remain in place until a further order is made by the supreme court.
A judge granted the preventive detention orders in the supreme court last Wednesday before the raids. A broad non-publication order remains in place over the orders.
The judge ruling on the non-publication order said: “The names of the parties to the proceedings, the evidence in the proceedings, including the oral evidence, the affidavit of the plaintiff (sworn 17/9/14) and the judgment delivered on 17/9/14 are not to be published to any person except as required to comply with any provisions of the Terrorism (Police Powers) Act 2002.”
A spokeswoman for the supreme court said “the order remains in place until further order of the court”.
The ruling is unusual because it does not have a date of expiry that would allow details to be reported. Under the Court Suppression and Non-Publication Orders Act a judge would need to assign an end date or future event that would signal an end date to a non-publication order.
But the 2002 anti-terrorism act, under which preventive detention orders can be made, has no such requirement, effectively allowing indefinite suppression orders to be made.
NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge has repeatedly raised concerns about closed-door proceedings in the supreme court, where matters are heard only before a judge and prosecutors or police.
There’s nobody usually opposing these orders when they’re made. This is an ongoing critique we have of these preventative detention regimes, and it’s a feature of other anti-terrorism regimes.”
That’s why we need a public interest monitor to be able to test these claims and the evidence, so that the court can make an informed decision.”
He added that “at the minimum we should be insisting on redacted version of the reasons being provided so that we can understand the policy considerations around making these preventative detention orders.”
On Monday the attorney-general, George Brandis, also signalled the federal government would seek to renew the preventive detention order and control order regime, despite their sparing use over the past decade. The laws were due to expire next year, but the government plans to introduce legislation to retain them until 2025.
Dr Lesley Lynch, the secretary of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, called on the federal government to allow the “extraordinary power” to lapse as scheduled.
It is disturbing that the government has made a decision, on the run, to extend the sunset clauses for the Asio extraordinary counter-terrorism powers for another 10 years,” Lynch said.
These powers breach longstanding rights and freedoms hard won over centuries. That’s why parliament determined they were ‘extraordinary’ and only enacted them for a short term – initially three years.”

Brandis said the government would seek to retain the controversial orders in the second tranche of national security legislation scheduled to be brought to parliament on Wednesday.

Let's pray John Key doesn't follow Abbott and declare a crusade against ISIS

Isis instructs followers to kill Australians and other 'disbelievers'
Terrorist group’s online threat calls for the death of both soldiers and civilians in Australia, France, Canada and the US

The Islamic State flag.

23 September, 2014

The Islamic State (Isis) has called for members to take retribution against the coalition of countries heading to northern Iraq and Syria to fight them, specifically instructing members to kill – without question and by any means necessary – civilians and soldiers in countries including Australia, France, Canada and the US.

A lengthy video address and a written English translation attributed to Abu Muhammad al-Adnani was released on Monday, which called for “muwahhidīn in Europe, America, Australia, and Canada” and across the world to defend the Islamic state against the “dozens of nations...gathered against it”.

If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be,” said al-Adnani.

Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict. Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling. Both of them are disbelievers.”

The speech is the first release from al-Adnani since his June declaration of the establishment of a caliphate and that Isis would be known as Islamic State.

In Monday’s speech he specifically addressed the coalition of nations now seeking to defeat Isis and congratulated followers for the fear the group has created across the world.

Why have the nations of disbelief entrenched together against you? What threat do you pose to the distant place of Australia for it to send its legions towards you?”

Last week Australia committed a 600-strong military force to the US-led coalition of more than 40 countries and airstrike campaign against Isis. While prime minister Tony Abbott said there would be no boots on the ground in Iraq, he left open the possibility that the mission could extend into combat operations.

Mocking Barack Obama’s air strike campaign, al-Adnani criticised the US and allies for ignoring the deaths of Muslim people in Syria and around the world, until Isis appeared “to defend them.”

America and the crusaders started shedding crocodile tears for the sake of a few hundred rāfidī (shiite) and nusayrī criminal soldiers that the Islamic State had taken as prisoners of war and then executed. The hearts of America and its allies were broken by the Islamic State when it cut off the rotten heads of some agents, spies, and apostates.”

In recent months Isis extremists have killed a number of western journalists and aid workers, filming the act and posting it online.

Monash University professor Greg Barton said the release is “significant” and speaks to a shift in Isis’s operations.

Until now the group has waged a “careful, long-term military campaign” focused on consolidating strength in Iraq and the Syrian civil war.

Al-Adnani doesn’t make these official statements very often,” Barton told Guardian Australia.

They’re lengthy, they’re very eloquent, they’re couched very much as fatwa. They’re not just a normal press release, they’re an inspiring call to join together in action, and they have the sort of tone of religious authority.”

Barton said the speech indicated that Isis appeared to be trying to go in the same direction as al-Qaida in encouraging home grown extremism.

This is the first official statement that now is the time for their foreign fighter community, their support base and and anyone who’s listening to them to take on not just the military coalition in Iraq and Syria but also also where they come from, at their source,” he said.

The release comes just days after the largest counter-terrorism raids in Australian history, with police arresting 15 individuals over an alleged plot to commit an act of terror.

While it was not clear if the accused were members of Isis, Barton said al-Adnani’s release showed that the group is seeking to recruit people from across the world, but in a formalised way. Adnani said “claimants” had entered the ranks of Isis and so it would be necessary to “purify the ranks”.

I think [Isis] is a quite hierarchical structure, it has a very military ethos,” said Barton.

This is a very formal thing, but they are of course hoping to pick people up who are otherwise not yet connected to them but acting in their name. They want to both tap into their support network but also encourage anyone to seize the opportunity and respond.”

Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop said on Tuesday morning “no one is safe” in the presence of Isis.

Our agencies are treating this threat as genuine and it’s quite apparent [Isis] is prepared to take on anyone who doesn’t share their views,” she told ABC radio.

The defence minister, David Johnston, is currently in Iraq and has met with the Iraqi prime minister and senior government officials in Baghdad.

It’s in Australia’s best interests that we stand ready with the world – now in a coalition of more than 40 nations – to help the new Iraqi government to disrupt and degrade the [Isis] death cult and to regain control over its own country,” he said in a statement.

The federal government is in talks this week looking at amendments to proposed counter-terrorism laws. Abbott signalled on Monday that there would be increased pressure on Australian citizens and that some freedoms would have to be curtailed to ensure people’s safety.

The delicate balance between freedom and security may have to shift,” he said. There may be more restrictions on some, so that there can be more protection for others.”

The White House declined to comment on the video.

Excerpt from Islamic State regarding Australia

O (supporters) in Europe, America, Australia and Canada ... you who consider yourselves from amongst its soldiers and patrons. Do not let this battle pass you by wherever you may be. You must strike the soldiers, patrons and troops ... Strike their police, security and intelligence members, as well as their treacherous agents. Destroy their beds. Embitter their lives for them and busy them with themselves.

If you can kill a disbelieving American or European especially the spiteful and filthy French or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be.

Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict. Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military.”

The Guardian is running live updates on this HERE

Foreign fighters bill to be introduced to parliament – politics live

The second national security bill is to be introduced to parliament as the prime minister flies to New York. All the developments in Canberra, live

The Prime Minister Tony Abbott leaves RAAF Fairbairn in Canberra bound for New York on Tuesday evening. Photograph by Mike Bowers for Guardian Australia #politicslive

Live updates HERE

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