Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Silencing the critics

For the past two months, American peace activist Scott Parkin has been in Australia, conducting teach-ins on peaceful protest methods and building activist networks. Following a protest against Halliburton - described by the BBC with wonderful understatement as "a firm with close ties to the Bush administration" - Parkin was arrested and detained by the ASIO. Now, they're deporting him. The official excuse is that Parkin is a risk to national security, but its difficult to escape the conclusion that he is being deported for his (entirely legal and peaceful) protest activity, and that the Australian government has decided that freedom of speech is not something that rich cronies of their allies should have to put up with.

Parkin is reported to hold a visa to enter New Zealand, and so may be deported here. I'd suggest that if the Australians do so, we welcome him with open arms - simply to show that we are not like them, and that we value both freedom of speech and the right to protest.

Meanwhile, Howard is also pushing for tougher "anti-terrorism" legislation, allowing detention without trial and electronic tagging of suspects. But if people like Parkin represent the Australian government and security services' idea of a "terrorist", then Australians should fight that legislation tooth and nail.


Sounds like a prime candidate for a speaking tour of NZ. Describing someone as 'banned from Australia' would probably gather a lot of interest. And hopefully a lot of embarassment for the Australian authorities.

...Apparently the Life of Brian was a huge hit in Sweeden after they advertised the film as 'Banned in Norway!'

Posted by Joe Hendren : 9/13/2005 09:24:00 PM

Scott is a fantastic person with an absolute wealth of knowledge on Halliburton and the US war industry...having met him in Sydney a couple of weeks ago, I was shocked to hear of his arrest...

Posted by Asher : 9/14/2005 04:05:00 PM