Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Ways to abuse the new Australian Terror legislation, or just abuse New Australians.

Well according to Media Watch the attorney general's staff, believe that "These offences are not designed to prevent journalists from reporting in good faith.". That's great, and guns are not designed to go off accidentally and blow the users head off, but they do. So rather than consider what the new "anti-terror" laws are supposed designed to do, let's look at what they can do. Rather than consider what a government of saints would use them for let's look at what they might do in the hands of rather more human governors, to journalists who "report in good faith" or indeed to anyone else.

The following restrictions and requirements can be implemented under section 104.4, without a trial, subject only to a judge being satisfied that "on the balance of probabilities" that the restriction "is reasonably neccesary" to prevent a terrorist act, this judgement being made solely on the basis of what the police and the AG tell the court, without the person being informed beforehand of the possibility of restrictions and without his lawyer being able to challenge these restrictions until after the judgement is made:

Fingerprint the suspect, despite the fact that clearly there is not enough evidence to arrest him or get a warrant for his fingerprints (if there was why would they police need to use the new powers?). There doesn't seem to be any mechanism for the destruction of the fingerprints once they're in the system, so presumably the cops keep them. Your fingerprints "must only be used for the purpose of ensuring compliance with the order" as though you wouldn't wear gloves when you violated it after getting your prints taken. It's good to know that the cops won't use my fingerprints to, say figure out whether I touched the gun that killed somebody, even if they think I did it. It's also good to know that Santa Claus is bringing lots of presents for being a good boy, and it's about as credible. Even assuming the cops don't use your prints on the sly (and consider we're talking New South Wales cops here, amoung others) does anyone really believe that in a year's time they won't amend this so that the cops can use the prints any way they like? After all you've got the prints right there, why bother the courts with another application since we know he's someone who might contribute to a terrorist act, maybe.

Require that a person remain at "specified premises" between specified times of the day, or on specified days. In other words they can be subject to weekend (or weekday) detention without trial. Alternatively they could be required to stay in specified premises for 23 1/2 hours a day. The "premises" could be anywhere. It doesn't even say they have to be in Australia. Hello Guantanamo. "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things" like getting sent to my room without any opportunity to give a defence.

Require that a person wear a tracking device. 'Nuff said.

Prohibit or restrict a person from "accessing or using specified forms of telecommunication", that's right your phone priveleges have been revoked. I'm feeling more and more like a teenager unjustly accused of necking with the neighbour girl with each subsection. So be a good boy, give the cops what they want, sell out who they want you to sell out, tell the lies they want you to tell, and maybe they'll let you ring your dying mother. Or maybe not. Don't fuck with the fuzz, punk. And don't try competing for someone's affections with a cop. He can shut you down faster than the SEC in Martha Stewart's kitchen. You can't neccesarily call your lawyer, but you can get in touch with him by other means, just not "specified forms of telecommunication" like the internet, mail, carrier-fucking pigeon. Well that's is to say you can get in touch with _a_ lawyer. Not neccesarily your lawyer or anyone you know with a law degree. See below.

You see they can prohibit you talking to or communicating with "specified individuals" including your lawyer, even if there is no evidence that any of these individuals ever committed, planned, funded, planed to fund or in any way contributed to a terrorist act. Of course the order must "state that the person's lawyer may attend a specified place in order to obtain a copy". That specified place could theorectically be the North Pole, the dark side of the moon or perhaps we're back to Guantanamo Bay again. I don't know where a lawyer can get the order but I know where any good one will want to stick it. In between the time you recieve the order and the time your lawyer gets to where he can get his copy presumably he has to let you rot. There's no guarantee that where they send you will be any easier to get to than where the order is lying patiently for his arrival. Nor is there any requirement for the court to actually send the letter to him let alone in a timely manner.

All this might get you down, so perhaps you should bury yourself in your work. If they let you. You see they can prohibit you from "carrying out specified activities" including those you usually use to earn a living. I'm betting after a few times when you can't do your job for a week your employer will let you go. Of course that's assuming they don't just call up missing persons after you're forbidden from going to your workplace in the first place or calling the boss.

After all this you might want to talk to somebody, a consellor, phychiatrist maybe?
Well they can make a person do that, "if a person consents"? Well if it's a requirement (and that's what they call it) how can there be an opportunity to refuse consent? This one's past my above average abilities at reason. They're logic is not like our earth logic, it's more advanced (thank you Joss Whedon for that one).

I think I've shown that despite it not being "designed" for such purposes this new law can fuck up your life something chronic on no evidence that would stand up to even a mediocre lawyers challenge. They don't need enough evidence to charge you. They don't need to show that you ever did anything bad. All they need is to be satisfied on "the balance of probabilities". One day you'll look back and remember when we were a free country, and only civil matters were decided that way.

I could write on sections other than 104.4 but I can't be bothered. That chunk of obesenity allone is more than enough to justify... well I was going to say something dramatic and revolutionary, but I don't want to spend 7 years inside or whatever it says. This legislation is loaded with ways to abuse the people for the greater glory of the government, and the AG's plan is that when they do he'll swear he didn't know they were loaded. This is makes him a very bad Attorney General if he's lying, and an abominable one if he's telling the truth.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The government acts in our interest.

Well it's there in black and white, in the Herald no less (SMH 4/10/2005), "National ID system in pipeline to prevent repeat of Rau case". Thank god. All this time I feared a national ID system would be put in place to help infringe our civil liberties but now it's being proposed to prevent a repeat of the Rau case. For those of you that either aren't Australian or have been hiding under a rock for months the Rau case involved the deportation of Cornelia Rau from Australia as an illegal immigrant although she was a legal permanent resident. Throughout the affair DIMIA (the Department of Immigration, and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, because of course being here 40 minutes and being here 40,000 years* are pretty much the same thing) acted without a hint of concern for Ms. Rau's welfare. They ignored evidence that she was mentally ill, a fact obvious to everyone but government employees and/or contractors. They made no effort to establish her true identity, merely taking the word of an obviously disturbed woman. Clearly some change is needed to prevent the stress, worry and emotional damage to Ms. Rau and her family (who had no idea where she was and suspected she might be dead in a ditch somewhere). I left this blog entry for a while and in the meantime there are reports that people were held illegally by DIMIA for SEVEN YEARS. Christ even most of the Guantanamo Bay guys will have gotten out by then.

Now if DIMIA was a private organisation they would (in between court appearances for their numerous acts of bastardry) not have acted in the humane and generous way they now propose to act. Because government cares and private businesses do not. No, private businesses are cruel and heartless and would have only pasted the phone and fax number of the police missing persons bureau on the phone and fax and made damn sure that it's employees actually checked that their detainees were illegal immigrants rather than missing persons, lest they get sued off the face of the earth. They would have only done their job in the least costly way possible consistent with getting it done.

But not our DIMIA, no they want to set up a massive and intrusive database system that doubtless be extended over the years in ways that the present ministers swear it will not be used in. All this will of course cost a fortune, which will be spent because, I repeat, the government cares. They have our interests at heart. They are concerned with our welfare. Good on you John Howard for caring enough to violate my privacy and make me feel a little less of a free man, or a man at all, with every action you and your government take.

* Low esimate.