"If you tolerate this..."

From The Age...

AN AMERICAN environmentalist and peace activist, in Australia to talk about non-violent methods of protest, has been arrested as a security threat.

History teacher Scott Parkin, 35, was arrested by the Australian Federal Police in Melbourne on Saturday as he travelled to a workshop he was conducting on the US peace movement. Last night he was being held at the Melbourne Custody Centre.

An Immigration Department spokesman confirmed he had been arrested on "character grounds" at its request and he would be deported "as soon as practicable".

Whatever you think of his politics, this is a disgrace. It seems fairly transperant because of the government's dislike of Parkin's politics, probably with some pressure from the US. As Julian Burnside pointed out during the day, if he is a genuine security threat (which seems extremely unlikely), how did he get through in the first place, and why did it take so long to arrest him. This is not merely a question of pro- or anti- American attitudes - it is a fundamental question of free speech.

Shame, Amanda, shame.

The DIMIA 'Blokes with Beards' policy claims another victim.
The DIMIA 'Blokes with Beards' policy claims another victim.


Anonymous said…
It has nothing to do with free speech, Ari. See Migration Act section 116 and Migration Regulations Reg 2.43. The AG and Vanstone had no influence over ASIO in this matter - and neither did the US. It's absurd to think that they did. Just leftist twaddle - like saying the US response to Katrina is "racist".

What EVIDENCE do you have for what you have written? If you have none, then say so.

This guy refused to be interviewed by ASIO; he refused to explain certain comments that he had made and actions that he had taken. That being the case, like any suspected criminal who refuses to cooperate with the Police, the authorities had to act on what they had. That is their charter.

I'm sure that you would have said nothing if he was a Muslim cleric or (God forbid) a RIGHT winger.

As for the comment that he should have been denied a Visa in the first place - what is that supposed to show? You would have levelled the same criticism at the Government if it did. And if it made an error (or if it was actively misled by the activist), does that mean that nothing should now be done? Just ignore it? That's like suggesting that, because the 9/11 terrorists entered the US legally (even if they shouldn't have been permitted to do so), then those dirty right wing mongrel Yankee bastards got what they deserved.

In some cases, it really is better late than never.

Anonymous said…
Dear N,

So, refusing to be interviewed is grounds enough to be removed?

What's he suspected of? Doesn't he have the right to know what he's accused of before fronting his accusers?

What about the public? If our happy little majority government want to actually bother with winning a nice PR campagin with the left, how about actually telling us, in detail, what it is they claim he did.

I mean, I don't know about the rest of society, but I could sure do with a laugh.

Anonymous said…
He does have the right to know what he is accused of, and he has the right to challenge the cancellation of his visa. You can bet that he has a bevy of QCs and left leaning lawyers and journos working on his case right now - something that your average suspected crim in this or any other country could only dream about.

What do you mean "happy little majority government"? You would obviously prefer a minority government. That way you could really bitch about things.

And why should the government worry about winning PR campaigns, for Chrissake? Who cares? Surprisingly enough, it won the election - and you can bet your bottom dollar that if there was another election tomorrow, it would be returned with an even bigger majority. But, of course, Australians wouldn't know their arses from their elbows.

Arse, elbow, it's all much of a muchness. "Crim", activist who's never been arrested for anything worse than disturbing the peace (while dressed as a tiger - clearly a dangerous activity) - pretty much, well, the same thing, clearly.

Personally, I think I'd refuse to be interviewed by ASIO as well, and I haven't done anything wrong. Although what I'm writing on my blog is about to become an offence under the new anti-terrorism measures Howard announced last week, because speaking in support of Australia's enemies is going to be an offence I can get seven years jail for.

This Government are hell-bent on silencing opposition and suppressing dissent - any way they can. I'm pretty sure Ari - and I - would have said the same thing if this guy was a Muslim cleric. I can't imagine that the Government would have done this to a right winger. They're more likely to slap them on the back and offer them another scone, as far as I can tell.

The decision to elect a government who are "fighting terror" by taking away our rights and eroding our freedoms will be one that Australians will regret (at least on the day when they wake up and realise their arse is not actually their elbow). By then it might be too late.
Anonymous said…
Is this the same Scott Parkin who was organising protests against the Forbes business summitt?

If so he could have expected nothing else but to be deported!
Anonymous said…
Of interest is the fact that the Opposition, once briefed, dropped its support of Parkin like a hot potato.

Also of interest is the fact that Parkin was advised to apply for a writ of habeas corpus (which would have compelled the Government to show its hand), but he chose to be deported instead. This is clearly a man with much to hide.

As well, it's interesting that the US Government is obviously NOT keen to arrest him, or even interview him. He was left alone (well and truly) after his arrival back in the States. So much for the suggestion that we are doing whatever the US has asked us to do.

Anyway, still no evidence from Ari to support what he wrote, and complete nonsense from Rebekka - for whom democracy is clearly a very dirty word. She obviously prefers the alternatives. She must love George Galloway.

Complete nonsense, huh? At least I'm not too gutless to put my name to my comments.

Your statement that democracy is a dirty word to me and that I prefer the alternatives is so ludicrous I can't do anything but laugh. If you actually think that, you are obviously in need of some remedial lessons in reading comprehension. I used to earn good money as an English tutor, if you're interested.
Anonymous said…
Yes, Rebekka, complete nonsense.

I obviously struck a raw nerve with my comment regarding your views on democracy. I suggest that you reread what you wrote.

As for your intention to support Australia's enemies (your words, not mine), treachery and sedition have been offences in this country for a very long time - see the Commonwealth Crimes Act 1914.

You struck no nerve at all - other than maybe the nerve that makes me laugh. You take yourself pretty seriously, don't you, for someone who won't put their name to their comments.

If you re-read what I wrote you will note that I said I was speaking in support of Australia's enemies, not actually supporting them. Oh wait, I forgot, reading comprehension - obviously not your strong point. Easy enough to miss a titchy lil word like speaking.

Putting someone in jail because they happen to think we're on the wrong side of a war - and are willing to state it publically - should not happen in a democracy.
Anonymous said…
This is what Rebekka says on her blog:

"…The Government and the media keep telling us all Moslems are terrorists. Rather like the Nazis and the German media kept telling the Germans that the Jews were responsible for all their woes. .. I am not the first person to have seen parallels. The thought leads me to the Moslem cleric who keeps claiming al-Qaeda had nothing to do with the (murder of nearly 3,000 innocent people in the ) Twin Towers … and it was all a U.S. Government conspiracy… What if he's right? What if this is all a big excuse for the U.S. to take over the world, get all the oil, erode democracy ..? I have to say, it doesn't seem totally impossible."

Oh, I see now, she only speaks in support of Australia's enemies; she doesn't actually support them. How silly of me to miss such an obvious distinction!
Yes, very silly of you.

I stand by my words - which, in case you missed it were being used to make a point about freedom of speech and religious vilification. But I guess someone without very good reading comprehension could easily miss that.
Anonymous said…
I see. You believe that freedom of speech protected the right of the media in Nazi Germany to spread vicious antisemitic propaganda. The fact that such "freedom" contributed to an environment in which millions of Jews lost their lives is just bad luck for them.

What sort of parallels are you implying?

If you're comparing post 9/11 Australia and the USA to Nazi Germany, and suggesting that either country will soon be sending Jews or other undesirables (men, women and children) to death camps, then you had better say so.
I clearly wasn't saying anything like "freedom of speech protected the right of the media to spread vicious antisemitic propaganda".

If you'd read my post properly, you'd know exactly what sort of parallels I am implying. Your other accusations are spurious.
Anonymous said…
I did read all your posts properly. That's the problem.

You obviously agree that freedom of speech has its limits (so does HREOC, by the way). Which brings us back to Scott Parkin.

Have a good weekend.
If you did read my posts properly, and understand them, then you're deliberately misrepresenting my views. Nice.

Scott Parkin didn't advocate violence. He's in fact an advocate of non-violent resistance, like that practiced by Ghandi. Freedom of speech has limits, I agree, but those limits exist to stop people who are advocating or encouraging violence and racially-motivated hate. Advocating peace and non-violent resistance does not come anywhere near those limits. Neither does suggesting that the other side in a war might have a point. This has everything to do with free speech, whether you can see it or not.
Anonymous said…
Perhaps deporting Rebekka may raise the average IQ of the nation?
Anonymous said…
That's a pretty fair comment!

So much for English tutors.

Former English tutor, I think you'll find I said. I'll take you on in an IQ test any day.
Anonymous said…
Gosh, an unarmed person challenging combat?

Could be worse for her, what if the contest was over the amount of sweat/blister inducing labour performed? Bwahahaha.... !!!
Anonymous said…
I don't mean to be cruel, Rebekka, but your use of English is really not as good as you think it is. Your logic is faulty, and - if your posts are anything to go by - you have problems communicating exactly what you mean.

As far as your politics are concerned ... well, we won't go there. I'd like to think that you don't really feel a glow of smug satisfaction every time a group of Shi'ite women and children is blown to bits by Sunni freedom fighters in Iraq (try non-violent Ghandi-esque protest on them, Rebekka), or a bloated, disfigured body is found in a flooded and filthy abandoned house in New Orleans, but I'm not so sure.
Ari, I'm afraid your blog comments have been turned into an argument, sorry. I don't mind discussing things with people who have different views from mine, but I should have realised from the first post where whoever anonymous is already said I was talking "nonsense" that there's not a lot of point trying to actually have a discussion with someone who won't argue rationally but instead starts being personal and insulting. Obviously from that last comment there's no point continuing, so I will wait for another of your thought-provoking posts to comment again.

boy_fromOz said…
it seems to me that if you don't have the conviction to put your name to your views, they're not worth reading.

there should be a blogger function for disabling anonymous comments...
Anonymous said…
Although I am posting anonymously, I have not so far contributed to this thread. I have found it fascinating, though.

As far as Rebekka and anonymous or "N" are concerned, all I can say is that Rebekka gave as good as she got. It certainly took two to tango.

Anonymous said…
Whoever that anonymous was, the points were concise, to the point, & quite valid.

I notice that Rebekka declined to directly respond to the original points made by "anonymous".

Rather says it all....
Iain Murray said…
Deported peace activist blameless

November 1, 2005

AN AMERICAN peace activist deported from Australia on the grounds he was a threat to national security was not involved in any dangerous or violent protests in Australia, ASIO revealed yesterday.

Scott Parkin, 36, from Houston, Texas, returned to the US in September after his visitor's visa was cancelled on the grounds he posed a national security risk. He was kept in solitary confinement by Australian Federal Police in Melbourne following an adverse security assessment by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

ASIO chief Paul O'Sullivan denied his agency was pressured by the US into making the adverse assessment. Asked if Mr Parkin had been violent in Australia, Mr O'Sullivan said he had not.



Popular posts from this blog

Thanks for all the fish

A place to rest my head

The Real Bangkok Hilton