Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Hi! We are from the government and we are here to help you!

File this one under "Orwell."
Compare and contrast our own Patriot Act with Australia's ASIO (Australia Security Intelligence Organization) Act.
I can't think of anything to add other than "It's impossible to make up stuff like this and put it on TV...We report. You decide."
Heck, maybe this website is a hoax. That would be great. But I don't think so.

About ASIO - What is ASIO?:

ASIO's main role is to gather information and produce intelligence that will enable it to warn the government about activities or situations that might endanger Australia's national security. The ASIO Act defines "security" as the protection of Australia and its people from espionage, sabotage, politically motivated violence, the promotion of communal violence, attacks on Australia's defence system, and acts of foreign interference. Some of these terms are further defined in the ASIO Act.

ASIO focuses on terrorists, people who may act violently for political reasons, and people who may clandestinely obtain sensitive government information (spies) or otherwise harm Australia's interests in order to further their own causes or the interests of foreign governments.

Australian TV also has a "Dateline" program. Here is a story detailing how the ASIO was activated to insure that a journalist didn't endanger Australian national security. When all else fails, there is nothing like a BFH (Big F***ing Hammar) to do the job.

Carmel Travers is a Sydney-based film-maker and journalist. Like many people, she keeps her personal and work records on several computers. But in September last year she received a visit from unnamed government officials who claimed they were acting in the interests of national security, and now two of her computers are in pieces.

This is what was given back to me of my computers. My son actually wants to make it into a sculpture called "Freedom of Speech," which is not a bad idea. This is the actual drive that was pounded by a crowbar.
And...there's nothing comic about this. I mean, the intent of those officers was obviously to defend our national security, but, you know...talk about taking a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. You know, I just... It's amazing.

[...]What's particularly Orwellian about this story is that Australia's intelligence agencies have sweeping new powers that can prevent any reporting of incidents like these.The new laws are designed specifically to target people who are not suspects but merely have information that might be of interest to national security. We and the people we've spoken to have had to take extensive legal advice before proceeding.

These new anti-terrorism laws hang like the sword of Damocles over anyone who becomes caught up in the world of national security. In this case, no warrants were issued under the ASIO act as everyone agreed to the cleansing. If they had resisted, they could have faced possibly five years in jail, and even talking about the fact that the cleansing had taken place would have been a crime. It raises the question of how many secret raids, destruction of research and even intimidation of witnesses may have have taken place.
Thom Cookes tells us that when the Canberra "cleansing squad" had finished its work, thrashing those computer hard drives, it presented the bemused staff at Black Inc Publishers with a customer satisfaction questionnaire.

LINK to transcript and video feed of the program.

1 comment:

Hoots said...
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