Tuesday, June 23, 2015

You're not allowed to call bullshit on the war on terror

Meanwhile, over the Tasman, the government is threatening to shut down their state broadcaster's leading current affairs programme, Q and A, after it allowed a man acquitted of terrorism charges to call bulshit on the government's tactics in the "war on terror":

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull says the ABC made a "grave error of judgment" by allowing former terrorism suspect Zaky Mallah to appear on its panel show Q&A.

And Prime Minister Tony Abbott has gone further in the government's criticism of the ABC program, telling the Coalition party room that Q&A was a "lefty lynch mob" and that the government would look to do something about it.


Asking a question as an audience member on Q&A on Monday night, Mr Mallah complained that under new counter-terror laws the federal government is proposing, he could have had his citizenship stripped.

Queensland Liberal and panel member Steve Ciobo was unapologetic, saying he believed the only reason Mr Mallah was acquitted of terrorism was that the terrorist offences "weren't retrospective in application", and that he would be glad to see Mr Mallah sent out of the country.

Stunning many ABC viewers, Mr Mallah then said that sort of comment was why young Muslims would feel justified in travelling to banned areas of Syria and Iraq and taking up arms with Islamic State.

"The Liberals have just justified to many Australian Muslims in the community tonight to leave and go to Syria and join ISIL because of ministers like him," he said.

But Mallah is absolutely right. Why are Australian Muslims turning to groups like ISIS? Because their own government is engaged in a campaign of repression against them. Spying, prosecutions, repressive laws, and public rhetoric from politicians all make it clear that the Australian government regards them as "the enemy". Which encourages them to fight back. As democratic political dissent by Muslims is treat as terrorism, ISIS becomes the only game in town to express that dissatisfaction.

(Its the same story in the UK, and to a lesser extent in Canada. And John Key seems to want it to happen here as well)

In the "war on terror", our governments are creating their own enemy, justifying ever-increasing powers and ever-rising budgets for the security state. But calling bullshit on that cycle? That's "supporting terrorism" and has to be banned. The stupidity is breathtaking. And it would be funny, except for the fact that our rights are being eroded by this crap.

Sadly, because politicians and spies conflate such stupidity with strength, it looks likely to get much worse before it gets better.