Thursday, September 29, 2005

Self Fulfilling...

With the current focus on the new terrorism laws, about to be introduced, I'm wondering if, secretly, John Howard is hoping and praying that someone, somewhere, actually does carry out an act of terrorism upon Australian soil. That way it'll justify everything he's done since he threw in with the American invasion of Iraq. Mind you, it's that self same invasion that's made Australia a target on the terrorist map, not that you can tell that to Howard.

The new laws are nothing but a travesty. I'm sure that if you enjoy having no civil rights, and really, really enjoy having all your freedom taken from you - on the strength of a phone call - then you'll get right into these new laws.

And that's what it comes down to - a phone call, a letter, an email, a blog entry (kinda like this one). Someone reports you as a possible terrorist and BANG! before you know it you're locked up for two weeks (at a minimum) without charge, without anyone knowing where you are, no information will be given out, no legal representation and interrogations around the clock. Even if you've done nothing, you'll still be tracked on a daily basis for about a year, or more, and again, there'll be nothing you can do about it. Freedom of speech has now gone completely out the window.

Let's have a look at some of the so caled 'safe-guards'.

"An application for a control order to track and limit the movement of a suspect must be agreed to by the federal Attorney-General and granted by a court. The individual would have to be notified and could challenge the order in court. "

The individual won't be notified until AFTER the order is in place. Any challenge would be refused, you can count on that. It's like the FBI and their files - if you have no file you've nothing to worry about. If you ask the FBI if you have a file, and you don't, then they'll start one - after all, you'd not ask if you had nothing to hide. In this case the AG will argue that the order was put in place for security reasons, and if the individual had nothing to hide then why would they fight it?

"A person detained under preventive detention powers would be allowed to contact a lawyer, family member and employer to "let them know they are safe but are not able to be contacted for the time being". "

I don't believe that for a second. In short you'll be able to contact someone and tell them you've been detained, but that's it. Again, no legal represenation, in fact no representation of any kind. As for safe? Well I doubt you'll be all that safe once they have you in custody. Add to that the fact that you won't be able to tell anyone exactly where you are, or even roughly where you are. They can detain you in Victoria and ship you around the country - no-one will ever know. I wonder if they'll put you back when they're done, or resort to the old standby of throwing you blindfolded out of the back door of a speeding black car as it goes around the corner in the dead of night?

"Treating a detainee inhumanely would carry a two-year jail penalty and the detainee could not be questioned other than having their identity confirmed."

Define 'inhumanely'. Your definition, mine and the authorities will all differ. And you can bet the house that they'll be asking a lot more than who you are.

I wonder when the Howard Government will be introducing Gulags? Surely that's next on the agenda. Howard wants these laws to be in place pernamently - his legacy I guess.

I'm waiting for the knock on my door.

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