31 July 2007

Trust your government or you support the terrorists

Hey, great: the Australian government has good reasons for kicking Dr. Haneef out of the country, it's just that they can't tell us what they are, because they're secret. This is exactly what the Blair government said about its reasons for invading Iraq at the time.

There's something clearly outrageous about the line of reasoning the Australian government are following in addition to this comparison, however. It is that their information is not enough to secure a conviction, but that it is enough to throw the man out of the country. This means that, were an Australian citizen to have done exactly the same things that Haneef did, they would be walking around in Australia. This either implies there's a loophole in the law that needs to be fixed (and I'm pretty sure there isn't), or Haneef isn't actually that dangerous. Moreover, the implication is that it's fine for Haneef to be on the loose in his home country, but not here, which is again nonsense if he's actually a terrorist, which of course, he is not, even a little bit. As if Haneef would be able to mount terrorist operations given the amount of scrutiny he'd be under after this anyway.

17 July 2007


I've been silent on the Haneef case till now. I think two things have happened in the case which are relatively new and important.

Firstly, the use of immigration powers against Dr Haneef. It's not the first time Australia has used immigration powers against someone, but the modality is somewhat new. Scott Parkin was deported in 2005 for clearly purely political reasons. Haneef however is not being deported, but held in detention in Australia, and not pending deportation, as Parkin was briefly, but pending trial for a criminal offence, despite the fact that a magistrate granted Haneef bail. The immigration powers of the state simply gives the state the ability to detain people without proper judicial oversight, and this is extremely worrying. Of course, this power is only applicable clearly to non-citizens: although the state has imprisoned and deported citizens under immigration powers, it did not actually have the right to do so, and was only able to do so because the people concerned did not have the wherewithal to mount a legal challenge, which Haneef would.

The other point which is novel is the justification for this, namely deterrence. Since Haneef has not been found guilty, but rather is thus far only tarred by association with relatives of his who are also yet to be found guilty, it is rather unclear what is being deterred. Should we not associate with our relatives in case they turn out to be charged with crimes relating to terrorism? Even if his relatives are guilty, what would be the message? Commit terrorism and we'll come after your whole family? This kind of guilt by association goes against liberal juridical principles and invokes an older form of guilt by blood, as does the whole spectacle of these men being hounded for their ethnic origins.

16 July 2007

Australian mercenaries die in Iraq

As the panegyrics flood in for the Australians latterly dead in Iraq, one would do well to understand what these people were doing in that country. While the media refers to them as 'contractors', a word that brings to mind for Australian certain types of worker in the building trades, and while these men presumably did work according to contracts, the more apt word to describe them would be 'mercenaries'. Yes, mercenaries have children and families, but they are paid to kill, and the people they kill have children and families of their own.

9 July 2007

This is really old (last year), but I've only just seen it; a Chaser vox-pop that showcases white Australian racism. 'I'm not a racist but . . .'

This does not constitute an endorsement of the Chaser.

3 July 2007

The important resistance will be happening in the outback – though the Aboriginal people of this continent are so grotesquely outnumbered, technologically disadvantaged, and beaten down that their resistance can be easily crushed. With that in mind, bloc with Aboriginal people in Sydney to resist:

Stand up with the Aboriginal community on Saturday 14th July at
10:00am at the Block to demand:

* Stop the genocide, end Indigenous deaths in custody

* Land Rights not mining rights - no mines and no dumps

* Funding for community controlled services not cops and troops

Rally at 10:00am at the Block (next to Redfern Station) for the march

These details come from Jenny Munroe, a local Redfern activist.