Friday, September 16, 2005

It is Time to Speak Up

I have heard this before, but I am going to copy this post in full, via and IsThatLegal?:
And When The Came For Me...

Once again, a "what he said" reference to Eric Muller at for Is That Legal?: I Propose The Government Maintain a List of Everyone Who Eats Baba Ghanouj

Massachusetts governor (and 2008 Republican presidential candidate) Mitt Romney seeks the wiretapping of mosques.

Naturally, the Boston Globe article reporting on this charming proposal casts those alarmed by the proposal as "civil libertarians" and "immigrants' rights advocates."

Have we really reached the point where it's just "civil libertarians" who get nervous when powerful politicians propose the suspicionless wiretapping of houses of worship?

Remember this?In Germany, the Nazis first came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics, but I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me...By that time there was no one to speak up for anyone.

--Reverend Martin Niemoller

What a beautiful quote. Julian Burnside, when discussing Australia's human rights violations at the Writers' Festival recently, made a similar point. He gestured to the assembled audience and said, "By the time YOUR rights [ie solid middle class thinking kind of people] are violated, IT IS TOO LATE". I can't put it any better than that.

Australia is descending slowly but steadily into a police State. We keep tightening our immigration rules - an interesting incident this week cancelled the Visas of 8000 university students for goodness sake. Yes, it was accidental, but what is the point in this kind of behaviour?

Our High Court found in Al-Kateb v Godwin (haven't got a link) that we could detain a Stateless person indefinitely.

We now have ASIO rules which allow people to be detained for 7 days without charge. It was reported this week that John Howard was thinking about reviving the internment power? Sounds lovely. It is. This was the power the Executive had during WW2 to detain enemy nationals until the end of the war (the famous US case to deal with Japanese internment was Kormatsu, or similar).

BUT, what war? John Howard says the war on terror. The logical endpoint of this thinking is that the government would be able to detain enemy nationals until the end of the war on terror. I have never heard anything so ridiculous. Firstly, Australia is not at war. We have not had a single terrorist incident on Australian soil. We have not declared war, which is only valid when declared by the GG and Gazetted. Why not? Because the war on terror, as Burnside also said, is a war on an abstraction. We cannot possibly find a point in time that would be the end of this 'war'. In fact, we would just have people languishing in jail until the war was at an end.

By the time these pieces of law are applied against YOU, it is too late. YOU are safe and secure, reading this blog, probably without much chance of being jailed indefinitely. By the time YOU are jailed, think of the MASSIVE number of violations that have already been instigated against people who AREN'T so safe and secure. By the time that happens, we are a fascist State.

Don't think it can't happen.


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