rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
rchirgwin at ozemail.com.au
Thu Nov 3 18:16:25 EST 2005
Here, we agree. Nothing to add.
Craig Sanders wrote:
>Cop shows will soon be reading a new set of "rights" when they arrest
>people: "you now have the the right to disappear, to confess guilt,
>and to enforced secrecy about your case. you do not have any right to
>silence - anything you say and anything we can make up about you will be
>used against you. you're screwed."
>anyone else think that the main purpose of the new "anti-terrorist" laws
>is so that the government can grant itself the right to "disappear"
>i can accept the fact that there might, on occasion, be a need to detain
>people who are about to commit some terrorist act (although i think that
>the risk of such happening inside australia is vanishingly small*). i
>can never, under any circumstances, accept that it should be legal to do
>so secretly, and without the accused having access to friends, family,
>legal representation and/or publication of what has happened to them, or
>even the right to know what they have been accused of and to know what
>the evidence against them is.
>the new laws directly undermine the foundations of our legal system -
>the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial.
>how can you possibly get a fair trial if you don't know what you're
>accused of, and if neither you nor your lawyer are allowed to see the
>evidence against you? you can't even begin to defend yourself against
>worse, the argument that maintaining secrecy about any "preventative
>detentions" is necessary is completely bogus - if a group of people
>were planning a terrorist act, is it really credible that they wouldn't
>notice that one of their members has just disappeared? or that they wont
>tell each other what happened just because it's now illegal?
>no, of course not. that's an absurd proposition. yet said with a
>completely straight face by those pushing the new police state laws.
>the real purpose of the secrecy provisions is to prevent any reporting
>of the fact that some harmless activist has been arrested for protesting
>government policy - any witnesses are not allowed to talk about it
>with friends, family, and fellow activists and, most importantly, no
>journalist is allowed to report it in the media. it also has a chilling
>effect on free speech - who's going to want to risk 5 years gaol for
>talking about rumours that someone they know of has disappeared? avoids
>much embarassment and inconvenience for the government.
>just as the american Scott Parkin, an avowedly non-violent peace
>activist who came over here to work with PtChang (a group famed
>for teaching non-violent conflict resolution skills to activists)
>was deported and all the so-called "evidence" against him was kept
>secret, so we will see australian-born activists just disappear into
>preventative detention - and nobody will be allowed to know about it or
>talk about it or report it to the public.
>at the same time, the changes to "Sedition" laws are an attack on free
>speech and the expression of political opinions - making criticism of
>the government or government policy or actions illegal. criticise the
>government and you could find yourself "disappeared" and/or labelled
>it's not just activists who will be disappearing - our freedom, our
>democracy (flawed as it is), our way of life is also vanishing, being
>replaced by a police state. i used to wonder how the German people in
>the 1930s could be so evil as to allow the Fascists to rise to power,
>how they could allow their government to do what it did without protest.
>i don't wonder any longer - i know. they weren't evil, they were just
>powerless and tried hard to convince themselves that it wouldn't get
>much worse, that it would blow over....and by the time they realised
>that it was as bad as they feared, it was too late. and it's happening
>all around us now, not just in australia but in the whole world.
>so, what are the ramifications for a mailing list like LINK which
>discusses issues like censorship of the media? or for alternative news
>sites like leftlink or indymedia which report facts that the government
>doesn't want known?
>(*) at least for the moment. the license to persecute and disappear
>people in the new so-called "anti-terror" laws will inevitably push some
>already alienated young hotheads over the edge.
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