Friday, November 13, 2015

Gagging the gulags

Australia claims it did nothing wrong when it stormed the Christmas Island gulag. If that's the case, though, why have they taken away everybody's phones?

Immigration detainees on Christmas Island have had their mobile phones confiscated, restricting their ability to contact family, lawyers and journalists.

All detainees at the island's detention centre were stripped of their phones following three days of rioting sparked by the death of Iranian Kurd asylum seeker Fazel Chegeni.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection confirmed phones had been seized for "security reasons" after Australian Federal Police and guards brought the centre under control on Tuesday.

"Following the disturbance mobile telephones and other personal belongings were removed from detainees temporarily for security reasons," a spokesman said.

The spokesman would not say if or when the phones would be returned.

Pretty obviously, Australia is afraid of what these people will say, both about the riot, and their treatment. And so they're gagging them. They've already done this with refugees, and now they're doing it to transportees - many of whom have done absolutely nothing wrong and have never been convicted of any crime (remember, half the detainees are being transported for "poor character" - which seems to mean "having brown skin". Australia really is a racist shithole).

Our government should be speaking up about this. It should have people on the ground to vigorously represent for the interests of our citizens and protect them from abuse, and it should be speaking out loudly about Australia's racist and unfair deportation policy. As for the rest of us, we should take Peter Dunne's advice and vote with our feet and our wallets: don't visit Australia and don't buy Australian until it starts behaving like a civilised country again.