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CIA’s history is of bribery, coercion and brute force: often out of control, embattled, mistrusted

Posted by gasweek on 17 October, 2007

In Tim Weiner’s account, Legacy of Ashes: History of the CIA the CIA had emerged as a tawdry creation: part elite club, founded on arrogance and insufficient geography, part quasi-criminal racket operating outside the laws of the United States, wrote Chris Petit in The Canberra Times (13/10/2007, p. 16). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in International, Public Opinion, Security, Surveillance | Leave a Comment »

Snoop-troops: Wide police “terrorist” powers used to snoop on ordinary folks who question Federal Govt policies

Posted by gasweek on 19 September, 2007

Before the APEC meeting began, police and politicians repeatedly talked up the prospect of protests turning violent and boasted about how they would crack down hard, according to Brian Toohey reported The Australian Financial review (8/9/2007, p. 62). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Iraq, Law, Policy, Public Opinion, Security, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

APEC’s outcome: police and government demonstrate how far they can go to squash dissent in a free country

Posted by gasweek on 19 September, 2007

APEC was disrupting the lives of four million people for a week in the interests, we are told, of a greater good, according to Adele Horin,  in The Australian (7/9/2007, p. 29).

Australians stripped of right to march through city: “But a protest march that may dis­rupt the city for a few hours – for the legitimate purpose of expressing dissent – is deemed unacceptable,” wrote Horin. “Welcome, George Bush, to Australia, your steadfast ally in the mission to spread freedom to the darkest corners of the globe. In his style of genial naivety Bush at his first media conference mentioned one such dark corner, Burma, where demon­strators were recently detained by the military regime. It was ‘inexcusable’, he said, ‘that people who march for freedom’ are threatened by a repressive state. In NSW the police have succeeded in strip­ping people of their right to march through the city to protest against the policies of Bush, which are conservatively estimated to have led to the deaths of more than 77,000 Iraqi civilians (or 650,000 if The Lancet medical journal is right) and 3700 American soldiers.”

Protestors consistently get it right: “It is in the interests of liberal democracies to give people the widest possible opportunity to express dissent, and to protest against a government,” wrote Horin. “Australian protesters have a dis­tinguished history of getting it right. The anti-Vietnam moratoriums, the anti-Springbok rallies, and the early anti-Iraq war marches are instances where the people were right and the government wrong. Protest marches disrupt the traffic, and some people get out of hand. But the right of citizens to demonstrate their anger with government policy is a feature that distinguishes Australia from Burma, or from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.”

Greens defeat intimidation: “Police told the judge they intended to put a fence – another one – near Mar­tin Place as permitted under the new APEC Meeting (Police Powers) Act 2007, and it would present a danger to public safety if the march ended at this new fence. The judge had to agree,” Horin wrote. “Not content with targeting the Stop Bush Coalition, the police also wrote to the Greens, threatening to take them to court if they persisted in holding an event with speeches and street theatre at Martin Place. If people can eat their lunch there (it is in the designated ‘security’, but not the ‘restricted’ zone), people should have the right to make a political statement in a public place. The Greens held their line, and this time the intimidation didn’t work; the police backed down.”

Outcome predicted: “What will we get for the $330 million APEC bill?” asked Horin. “No significant progress on cli­mate change, fair trade or the elimination of poverty. But the police and government will have demonstrated just how far they can go in a free country to squash the legitimate expression of dissent.”

The Australian, 7/9/2007, p. 29

Posted in Policy, Public Opinion, Security, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

New APEC security pact grants Australia top-secret US weaponry: but 75pc think APEC, was overkill

Posted by gasweek on 19 September, 2007

US president George Bush will unveil a new security pact in Sydney this week, granting Australia preferential access to top-secret US military technology and enhancing co-operation on defence and counter-terrorism. With polling showing almost three-quarters of NSW residents believe the $300 million APEC bill is a waste of money. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Public Opinion, Security, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

APEC was where a “a lame duck president met a dead duck prime minister”: news stories and images, largely negative

Posted by gasweek on 19 September, 2007

According to Mark Day, APEC news stories and images were largely negative . He said last week’s reports from the Northern Territory featured some very angry voters, shouting at the PM as he toured a shopping mall demanding that he get his hands off territory affairs. Placards unsubtly suggested he was not welcome. As a backdrop to the news report, these images convey their own message, in the PM’s case an unwelcome one, he wrote in The Australian, (6/9/2007), p. 40. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Policy, Public Opinion, Security, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

Los Angeles Times labels APEC a “festival of fakery” and anti-Kyoto grandstanding

Posted by gasweek on 18 September, 2007

John Howard may have talked up his Sydney Declaration but a leading US newspaper has attacked the APEC climate change plan as “vague” and “useless for anything but padding a fading prime minister’s environmental resume,” reported The Australian (10/9/2007, p.9).

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Posted in China, NSW, Policy, Public Opinion, US, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

APEC media revolt: Journalists, led by Michelle Grattan, tell APEC press managers politicians don’t decide which questions to take, or from whom

Posted by gasweek on 18 September, 2007

Members of the Australian media did not have it so good. Journalists were stunned into silence on 9 September when told that John Howard would hold a press conference on the final day of APEC but “media must submit their name, name of the media organisation and the question” ahead of time, reported The Australian (10/9/2007, p.9).

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Posted in NSW, Policy, Public Opinion, Security, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

6 Sept: Terror suspect refused bail despite Supreme Court Judge criticising strip-search and shackling

Posted by gasweek on 18 September, 2007

Terror suspect Ezzit Raad has been refused bail despite a Supreme Court Judge criticising the onerous conditions in which he is being held, reported The Age (7/9/2007, p.2).

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Posted in Policy, Public Opinion, Security, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

ASIO chief Paul O’Sullivan refused entry into two venues during APEC but Osama bin Laden lookalike in fake Canadian motorcade, waved-through

Posted by gasweek on 18 September, 2007

ASIO chief Paul O’Sullivan was refused entry into two venues during APEC leaders’ week in Sydney, but an Osama bin Laden lookalike in a fake Canadian motorcade was waved through two police checkpoints, reported The Australian, (10/9/2007), p. 9.

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Posted in NSW, Public Opinion, Security, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »

Anyone who’s politically active in Aus now lives with anxiety about crossing “unknown threshold”, says Australia Institute chief

Posted by gasweek on 18 September, 2007

Anyone who was politically active in Australia, especially if they were critical of the Federal Government, must live with low-level anxiety about what might happen to them or their families if some unknown threshold was crossed, said Clive Hamilton, executive director of the Australia Institute, in The Sydney Morning Herald (7/9/2007, p.26).

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Posted in Defense, Law, Policy, Public Opinion, Security, Volume 2520 | Leave a Comment »