Sunday, February 28, 2010

Securing OZ

THE LONDON REVIEW BLOG has an article by Ross McKibbin, "Coercive Solutions", that discusses a White Paper created by the OZ government: The Counter-Terrorism White Paper, Securing Australia – Protecting our Community.

The Australian (Labor) government has just published a white paper (‘Securing Australia – Protecting Our Community’) which assures its readers that the terrorist threat to Australia is stronger than ever. External threats remain, of course, but are now made much worse by the dangers of homegrown terrorism, a result of the spread of jihadist propaganda among Australia’s Muslim population. The government is proposing to increase significantly the powers of the federal police – including the right to search the property of suspected ‘terrorists’ without a warrant – and to introduce further (and severe) visa tests on people coming to Australia from 10 unnamed countries.

What lies behind all this? It can’t be that the threat of terrorism has ‘increased’. That there is a threat from terrorism is undeniable, but there is also little evidence to suggest that the threat is worse now than before, or that the very wide powers the police and the intelligence services already have are not sufficient to contain it. There are several other possible explanations. One is electoral.

Everything suggests that Rudd ignores, either from conviction or opportunism, what should be the first rule of a social democratic government: treat anything coming from the intelligence services or the police with deep suspicion.

Mr. McKibbin writes for us all, when he states:

As always in English-speaking countries, the ‘solution’ to terrorism is coercive: yet more police powers; yet more restrictions on travel; yet more deportations. Coercion is presumably not always futile, and within a certain sphere legitimate. We must assume that sometimes it works. As a ‘solution’, however, it must be secondary. The fundamental problem, which Australia, like Britain and the United States, refuses to recognise, is political. It lies in Western policy towards the Middle East, and Israel and Palestine in particular, since the Second World War. Until that is admitted, coercive solutions, though not completely useless, will never be real solutions. Unfortunately there is no evidence that anyone is going to admit it. Certainly not Rudd.

Check out the details in the OZ White Paper. Tie me kangaroo down, sport . . . 

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