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An Abuse of Process

There’s been a lot of good discussion recently, started by John Lord, about democracy, or the lack of it in Australia, and as I was watching ‘Clarke and Dawe’ on the ABC this week I was reminded of the saying by Winston Churchill, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” Condescending, yes but at the same time, quite true.

My parents used to tell me that if I believed nothing of what I read and half of what I saw, I would not be caught out by charlatans disguised as wise men. That was good advice and also true. I’ve rarely been caught out by false claims except those of a religious nature, when I was young, but I’m immune from them now, too.

That is why I am forever sceptical of politicians and the media. Things can be said by both which can infer one thing but mean another. I used to rationalise that I was the one who didn’t understand until I discovered that politicians excel in the art of double-speak and I was just another victim whose mind was being deliberately manipulated. And I have been aware, particularly in more recent times, the media are doing it too.

AFPOn Thursday we were all shocked to hear that Australian Federal Police raids were conducted in Sydney and Brisbane and several arrests made of men suspected of having the intent to commit a terrorist act. The media reporting shocked us because of the mention of alleged beheadings being a part of the plan of those involved. Having not yet recovered from the abhorred acts by members of IS against Western journalists in Iraq, the very mention of beheadings planned by Australians in Australia was a shocking news item to have to confront.

So I watched every news story I could on this event, eager to hear what the authorities were actually saying. But I soon realised that it was what they were NOT saying that was more to the point. Not one authorised person interviewed on Thursday night suggested that a beheading was being planned. Not one. The only reference to beheadings came from the media.

There was one occasion on the 7.30 report when Leigh Sales asked AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin if his concerns about intended acts of violence included beheadings. His reply was that such acts had to be taken into account when considering all the possibilities. This was hardly a definitive statement about any particular act. He also appeared reluctant to mention the word.

mediaSo where did the idea of beheadings originate? Clearly not from the authorities. This leaves me to draw the conclusion that it was someone in the media who invented the notion of beheadings and permeated that notion on a whim, or a fanciful idea to embellish a story big enough to make it the main news item of the day. Then it went viral. It would have been the main news item of the day, anyway. No embellishment was necessary.

So what does all this have to do with democracy?

Deliberately using a means of mass communication to spread an idea that brings fear into the hearts and minds of the community is an abuse of the democratic process. To use the media to subliminally marginalise one section of the community is an abuse of process.

Little wonder that the average voter, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, doesn’t have much of an idea about what is happening in their name. And it doesn’t exude much confidence in a true democracy if their minds are so polluted with false reporting, lies, deliberate deception and where journalists and politicians are all too ready to take advantage of their weakest moments and uninformed opinions.

These moments and events mis-reported as they are, only provide more evidence, if we needed any, to the claims that democracy in Australia is paper thin and more a fantasy than a fact.

deceitChallenging the efficacy of what politicians and the media do is the duty of us all. Any discomfort that we may feel in so challenging, pales in comparison to the broader principal. To do otherwise is to approve of mediocrity in the media and an abuse of our democratic process.


61 comments

  1. DanDark

    We don’t have a meeja in Aussie, we have idiots with assumptions, if they don’t know it they then make it up on the 24 hr news cycle run…
    The meeja are complicit with this gov in demonising and vilifying anything and everything that dosnt suit their ideological bullshit, mainstream meeja pffft, just a pack of parrots for Rabbit the Hun..

  2. MarkH

    While an informed citizenry is vital to a functioning ideal of democracy we have to acknowledge the paucity of genuine political literacy on a range of issues. It seem that leaders are seen as top down providers of answers rather active community engagers that empower voters to participate in wider society. This disconnect is very real and constantly exploited in my view.

    Fertile ground for this seed to germinate re ‘alleged beheadings’. Conflating activities going on overseas with Muslims in this country to try to sell an existential local threat without so much as a question from the mainstream press. This is what political discourse has sadly come down to.

    The answer has to be community and neighbourhood based. Locally driven actions that honour humanity and values dignity as a means to ‘jam’ this kind of messaging. Will it work, maybe not, but organisations across the country are screaming out for support to try to make this happen. To address inequality and the targeting of the poor, the unemployed, the sick, students and asylum seekers.

    To me THIS is the expression of ‘democracy’ and the answer for wider social change. Not necessarily the elected ruling elites. It’s time to put the kind of pressure on them that CAN only come from this kind of social change. Then maybe the candidates voted for will reflect how the community is made up, rather than just anointed party machine ‘hacks’ 🙂

  3. Wayne Turner

    Great article – The MSM love a trial by media,of course ONLY when it suits.Such as on Peter Slipper,Craig Thomson and these raids.Yet ignore/bury/don’t investigate cases or possible cases against Kathy Jackson,Tony Abbott,etc,etc…. Sadly pollies and the police join in with the MSM’s trial by media. What happened to “innocent until proven guilty” in this country? What about waiting for the courts to decide?

    The MSM have ruined our democracy,and sadly it would NOT matter if the majority of the public were critical thinkers and NOT just blinding following what they hear.But sadly the “masses are asses”,that are easily led,manipulated and very gullible.Hence why the MSM acts so BIASED because they know they can sway enough people to get their way,in politics.

    Poor fellow my country 🙁

  4. Kaye Makovec

    “The answer has to be community and neighbourhood based”

    And unfortunately the only way to do it may only be by Facebook, Twitter etc as many people are more likely to believe something they read there, or a meme.

    And refer friends and relatives to the independent media of course 🙂

  5. Tracie Aylmer

    I am moving interstate, but used to live in a very high Muslim community. I felt no fear living there.

    I now have fear – of this government. And solely of this government. I still have no fear of any member of the Muslim community.

  6. Wayne Turner

    Totally agree Tracie,and I still live in a very high muslim community ie: Auburn,NSW.

    Sadly,I have been scared of these Libs,the moment moron Abbott got the (mis)leader job and cut a deal with Murdoch,and of course even worse when they got in 🙁

    Can I vote the ignorant masses out to? 😉 🙁

  7. Matters Not

    So where did the idea of beheadings originate? Clearly not from the authorities

    John we have no information re the ‘off the record’ briefings given by those in authority including the politicians and their advisors. This has all the smell of ‘children overboard’.

    No one wants to set the record straight because it’s in their political interests to raise the level of terror and to keep it there.

    I suspect that there will be more developments, particularly if the issue looks like retreating.

  8. Marg1

    Well said John. The MSM and even the ABC these days has a lot to answer for. They are complicit with the government and I wouldn’t put it past media tart Tony and his cabal to create a crisis – just look at Utegate, Ashbygate, WMD, AWB wheat scandal, Tampa, Haneef, budget crisis, no cuts to pensions, education, ABC, SBS or education. Not a word by media any more about that disgraceful budget and the alienating effects it will have on our society. The LNP are just not trustworthy or ethical and would do or say anything to stay in power.

  9. Kaye Lee

    I cannot believe the number of press conferences that are being held about all this. It’s a media circus with every man and his dog being paraded before the cameras. I have heard in various reports that most of the people they rounded up have not been charged with anything yet. 800 police to round up 19 guys, one of whom got arrested because he got a phone call from a bad guy saying bad stuff. All very public, camera crews filming people being led away – loudspeakers used yelling at dawn “Come out” just so all the neighbours would go and look. And remember – this is because of a phone call and maybe some online “chatter” about targetting Tony Abbott.

    Why are the police and politicians being so very public about this if the investigation is “ongoing”? I thought we didn’t talk about “operational matters” because it telegraphed information to the criminals and put our service personnel at risk.

  10. mars08

    I have been out of the country since last Saturday… in Krabi and Kuala Lumpur. Thankfully I am physically removed from this circus.

    But even without being relentlessly bombarded with the straaayn media hysteria… two things seem very clear to me.

    Firstly is that the Australian public can’t get enough of the sensationalist reporting, fear-mongering and speculation.

    And… that Abbott and the LNP once again have total control of the news cycle. They have succeeded in blocking everything else out.

    Phony Abbott is a now a wartime leader and we are on-track for a fear-filled khaki election. I really don’t see how anything else has a chance of breaking through the jingoism and xenophobia.

    BTW…. given that I’ve been surrounded by Muslims these past few days, I’m expecting some extra “screening” when I fly back into Australia.

  11. mars08

    So where did the idea of beheadings originate? Clearly not from the authorities. This leaves me to draw the conclusion that it was someone in the media who invented the notion of beheadings and permeated that notion on a whim…

    Or maybe it was “leaked” to some tame reporters by someone in authority. What better way to get a frightened electorate to line up behind the government?

    I’d be more interested in the actual path the suspect took towards allegedly plotting the attack. Was he encouraged in any way? Did anyone steer in him in that direction. Entrapment perhaps?

    “Americans have been told that their government is keeping them safe by preventing and prosecuting terrorism inside the US,” said Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director at Human Rights Watch and one of the authors of the report. “But take a closer look and you realize that many of these people would never have committed a crime if not for law enforcement encouraging, pressuring, and sometimes paying them to commit terrorist acts.”

    http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/07/21/us-terrorism-prosecutions-often-illusion
    —–
    In the case of the “Newburgh Four,” for example, a judge said the government “came up with the crime, provided the means, and removed all relevant obstacles,” and had, in the process, made a terrorist out of a man “whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean in scope.”‘
    — from the Summary, “Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions”

    http://www.salon.com/2014/08/03/how_the_fbi_is_creating_terrorists_partner/

    —–

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/21/government-agents-directly-involved-us-terror-plots-report

    http://justsecurity.org/13106/guest-post-illusion-justice-report-radicalization-theories-counterterrorism-sting-operations/

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/07/report-us-unfairly-targeted-arabs-muslims-201472711538316390.html

    http://www.defendingdissent.org/now/faketerror/

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/07/ersatz-terrorism-cases-target-poor-mentally-ill-109191.html

  12. Christine Farmer

    I am wondering if Abbott and co. are making their run too early. Keeping the population fearful, and then thankful for the government’s efforts to keep us safe , may very well work as a re-election strategy, but can they really sustain this level of paranoia for the next two years? Are we going to have to accept ‘Fortress Australia’?

    An extraordinary co-incidence that 800 police are sent to arrest 19 men just as Abbott, with bells and whistles, is sending off 600 of the military to do goodness knows what for goodness knows how long in an area far away where we have already done enormous damage. What happened to the dreadful budget crisis that required trimming so many areas which adversely affect so many people in the lower echelons of society?

  13. mars08

    @Christine Farmer

    I think we can expect a lot more of that sort of “extraordinary co-incidence” in the next two years.

    The govt doesn’t have to maintain this level of hysteria the whole time. They just need to turn it up every now and then…

    BTW… am I the only one that suspects that many citizens WANT TO be frightened by the media. Just so they can reinforce their prejudices?

  14. John Lord

    I am not a conspiracy theorist but I really am struggling to relate to 850 men carrying out raids that result in one serious arrest. I will reserve my judgement for the moment but the timeline is worth noting: the Islamic State warns the west against taking military action; Australia announces military action; Australia raises its terror threat level to “high” on Friday with no “particular plots” in planning; a phone call is made to an Australian IS operative on Monday; 850 police conduct the biggest raid in history on Thursday.

    In the meantime who is addressing all the budget and associated problems facing our nation. Do we have a legislated Climate Change policy for example.

  15. lawrencewinder

    The one bright thing in all this concocted nonsense is that Rabbutt-the-Hun’s ability to do anything well is severely limited. So this and the war episode unfolding should have a similar quality to their disastrous budget. It is all going to be a major mess.

  16. Olivia Manor

    The AFP Assistant Commissioner said we can expect more in the next 18 months. Just in time for the next election! Tony’s Reichstag moment. I really thought this was going to happen closer to the election, but obviously by starting now with keep them afraid and terrorised, he has completely changed the course of the conversation. Does anyone remember the budget or the fact that the most contentious bills of the budget are about to be debated soon? And if passed, will inflict real terror to our most vulnerable citizens?

  17. Annie Byam

    A good article John …. but I have to say that the media and democracy have nothing whatsoever to do with one another. They should not be mentioned in the same breath.

    Having said that though, I am also reading between the lines in your article, and can only spell it out this way …. that the media is being manipulated by people ( politicians ??…. maybe ) which is most definitely against democratic principles.

    Please HAVE A LOOK AT :

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/two-takes-depression/201106/if-it-bleeds-it-leads-understanding-fear-based-media

    From the above link, one half paragraph :

    ___________

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,” News programming uses a hierarchy if it bleeds, it leads. Fear-based news programming has two aims. The first is to grab the viewer’s attention. In the news media, this is called the teaser. The second aim is to persuade the viewer that the solution for reducing the identified fear will be in the news story. If a teaser asks, “What’s in your tap water that YOU need to know about?” a viewer will likely tune in to get the up-to-date information to ensure safety. The success of fear-based news relies on presenting dramatic anecdotes in place of scientific evidence, promoting isolated events as trends, depicting categories of people as dangerous and replacing optimism with fatalistic thinking.” ,,,,,,,,,

    ___________

    “IF IT BLEEDS ….. IT LEADS.” That little mantra has been around for many many decades ….. so your parents were wise John … we SHOULD be wary of what we read ( in newspapers in particular ) … and perhaps not believe a word of it. However, the Internet also rages with information that can be found on anything at all. Woe betide a person who is not familiar with discriminating and careful search these days. They can come across some of the most undesirable crap imaginable. It can be most upsetting and fear-filled.

    In Google search ( 1 page only ) … it is filled with articles, meanings, origins, etc. of this favoured mantra that applies to ALL MSM.

    Another good link was : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/melissa-schwartz/if-it-bleeds-it-leads_1_b_5407863.html

    IF our media is being manipulated ( more than ever ) …. then it is being done to perpetrate fear. Which is divisive, which is depressing, which promotes distrust of neighbours, neighbourhoods, even members of one’s own family – if it goes far enough. And THAT is the destabilising effect that a fascist Government would want.

    Do we – or do we not – have a fascist Government at the helm ?

  18. Annie Byam

    One small observation …. and I’d like to know if anyone else has ever noticed it.

    Scene …. an horrific road accident. People / police milling about, a tarpaulin over the remains …….. and … the ubiquitous SHOE. There is almost always ONE SHOE, shown at the scene. It is the ‘horror’ content. The dead person lost his / shoe. Did they ? or is it a plant to up the ante in horror at the scene.

    And inevitably, some reporter will go and ‘ follow up ‘ on a story that is unutterably distressing to say a family. ” How do you feel about this dreadful event ” will be asked ( words to that effect ). How the bloody hell does one THINK a grieving family feels. ?

    If, God forbid, anything happened in my family that was shocking and barely believable …. and if I were approached by a reporter to tell the world how I was feeling about it, I would tell them to go soak their heads … and no doubt I’d use some very very colourful language.

    I can assure you, the ‘interview’ would never go to air.

  19. corvus boreus

    Annie B,
    My answer to the last question(5:50 post) would be; no.
    They are neo-conservative ideologues who espouse lassez-faire capitalism whilst heavily subsidising crony corporations and industries.
    They are ‘libertarians’ promoting hateful bigotry against the socio-economically marginalised and ethnographic minorities, whilst legislatively repressing rational dissent against rapacious practices and social injustice.
    They are blinded to philosophical examination of ethical complexities, dealing instead in fundamentalist absolutism based upon closed-minded theology.
    They are a bunch of hate-filled, repressive, deceitful, divisive, corrupt and incompetent toads and turds.
    But until they declare a suspension of the process of semi-democratic election(or adopt the symbology of branches tied around axes), I will not name them fascist.

  20. John Kelly

    Yes, Annie. The old ‘shoe on the road’ trick. Maxwell Smart would have been proud of you.

  21. Darren

    @Christine Farmer,

    Think double dissolution in a few months if he can manage a big enough bump in the polls. We won’t have to wait 2 years.

  22. Möbius Ecko

    John and don’t forget the very revealing fact that the MSM on mass were there at every house and frontline for every raid. This is the more revealing from a very secretive government that keeps all in the dark for operational reasons. Note that at the very same time Morrison broke his own imposed operational secrecy to reveal the asylum seeker operations.

    And all this after a disastrous polling weekend in which the only area that was positive, and only marginally so, was foreign affairs.

  23. John Fraser

    <

    @Anne Byam

    "IF our media is being manipulated ( more than ever ) …. then it is being done to perpetrate fear. Which is divisive, which is depressing, which promotes distrust of neighbours, neighbourhoods, even members of one’s own family – if it goes far enough. And THAT is the destabilising effect that a fascist Government would want."

    Good statement ,although you could drop the "If" and make it a reality/personal observation ….. one that I would readily agree with.

    Same for the last paragraph ….. where the answer is a resounding yes !

  24. Craig Marriott

    I’m sure I heard Abbott mention the beheadings. He was definitely quoted as saying it by News Corp and some Fairfax media.

  25. John Kelly

    Craig, I listened very carefully to what Abbott said. I did not hear him say ‘beheadings’. If he said it on a later bulletin he would have been parroting the media. But I think a more relevant matter raised by Kaye Lee is worth following up on and that is the convenient presence of television cameramen there to film the ongoing round up. How did they know to be there other than the AFP inviting them.

  26. DanDark

    Darren I like the way you think, “think double dissolution”, but how do we double dissolute the MSN, mainstream media and the ABC that are that far up Abbots butt
    they have jumped on this confected war bandwagon supposed ” terrorist threats” by Abbott and co to take the heat off his woeful gov and their floundering policies and Smokin joes budget of death,

    Geeeee how convenient a “war on terrorism” can be for a floundering gov who needs us to look over there again, it’s getting very tiring that’s for sure their diversion tactics are ramping up now with help of mainstream media….

  27. DanDark

    Yep John, the assistant commissioner looks very sheepish, the other day he couldn’t even look into the camera, had too look down at his speech when he was trying to speak with authority and the reason why they are demonising Muslims now..his body language said it all, he was up their to spin the gov’s scare campaign and that’s all and he knew it..

  28. Möbius Ecko

    One of the coincidences I mentioned in another post. Brandis has drafted up anti-terrorist legislation he’s about to table. It’s much worse than suppressing the freedom of the press, his legislation makes it legal for our security forces to destroy property, physically harm (torture), rape and even murder without prosecution.

    If anyone had any doubt about how fascist like this government is and what a terrible human being Brandis is, then this legislation that would not be out of place in the worst authoritarian regimes should dispel it.

  29. stephentardrew

    Anne Byam:

    The Psychology Today article is a great read especially “watching the news can be a psychologically risky pursuit, which could undermine your mental and physical health.” Most psychologist are well aware of the implications of fear based media however there is, as usual, silence from our academic institutions because they too are captured by institutional regulations and the possibility of loosing funding for fundamental research. The problem is not where is the research but when are the facts going to be made universally accessible. Certainly not with our current bunch of greed infested media moguls.

    We actually pay our Universities to do research which is then ignored because it is not politically and ideologically palatable. No wonder we progressives think we are living in an asylum owned by the few to control the many.

  30. stephentardrew

    Mobious Ecko:

    Interested in reading the article unfortunately page not found error message keeps popping up.

  31. Annie Byam

    Mobius Ecko

    …. here is a link that most likely will work – ref. journalists facing prison etc…

    http://blog.wan-ifra.org/2014/09/19/journalists-may-face-prison-under-proposed-new-australian-anti-terror-legislation

    Admittedly, it was the first one I clicked on….. but is interesting. ….. and also begs an exact meaning of the use of the word “reckless” in reporting.

    If, as this article strongly suggests, this legislation does go ahead ( I doubt the Senate would have a bar of it ) …. it is yet another freedom that will be denied in this country. Much and all as I don’t like the MSM, or newscasts, I defend their rights to print, review and report – and leave it up to us to believe or not.

    And from here ( in part ) : https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/24679028/journos-face-jail-under-terror-laws/

    ____________

    ,,,,,,,,,, ” The coalition of media groups, which includes the ABC, News Corp Australia and commercial TV networks, fear the proposed section known as 35P will gag journalists, create uncertainty about whether a matter was a special intelligence operation and leave whistleblowers unprotected.

    “The introduction of a serious criminal offence, punishable by jail, for journalists doing their job is strongly opposed,” the media submission says.

    “This in turn also has a chilling effect on freedom of speech and freedom of the media, hindering news gathering to the detriment of Australia’s place amongst modern democracies.” ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    ____________

    I can’t see the aging Murdoch being too chuffed with any of this ? Then again, as Abbott is constantly lumped ( and rightly so ) with Murdoch as his ‘close colleague and friend’, and is roundly criticised for it – perhaps he wants to shove dear old Murdy off as well ?

    So – what’s next ? No more land lines, and the use of mobile phones between 6 and 6.15 am only each day ( barring Sundays ? ).

    The mind boggles.

  32. mars08

    The official story seems to be that the accused man got a phone call from a really bad person. There are suggestions that it was in relation to Australia’s contribution to the latest magnificent Iraq adventure. Oh really? Is that the story… apparently ISIS is in panic mode and will do anything and everything to stop the Australian deployment!! Seriously? They are THAT intimidated by our half-dozen jets? That must be because our military is so frikkin awesome!!! Go Team Australia!

    BTW… has anyone else noticed that the initials of TEAM AUSTRALIA ®” are the same as those of our beloved leader??

  33. stephentardrew

    Annie Byam:

    It is truly astonishing that these politicians can bleat out irrational magical and mythical tripe that directly damages marginalized peoples lives yet they want to sanction the truth founded upon investigative journalism.

    This is a truly appalling set of circumstances when it is the fox in the hen house who is protecting its fellow foxes in the name of national security.

    We are being led by a bunch of dysfunctional religious ideologues re-framing reality to suit their economic rationalist, greed infested agenda.

    There are few times that so urgently demand progressive rational and logical thinking. Letting the planet burn while the poor and marginalized suffer is their twisted mantra.

    These people are truly dysfunctional.

  34. Kaye Lee

    And if you want proof that this is very much a propaganda exercise, a comment by one of the many police media celebrities last night wrapped it up for me. They were very happy for the media to be there at dawn filming the raids, very happy for them to film young men being dragged off in handcuffs, very happy for journalists to be filmed standing outside houses saying this was one of the houses that was raided, but when one journalist had the gumption to ask how many of those rounded up were still in custody he said “I can’t comment on that because it is a….you guessed it….”operational matter”. It is my guess that they don’t have anything to charge them with unless they change the laws which is exactly what that toad Brandis is suggesting.

  35. Möbius Ecko

    Remember the massive brouhaha over what the Right deemed was the Labor government stifling freedom of speech and freedom of the press? Yet here we have real and wide ranging stifling of those freedoms and apart from an article or two that have been linked here, there’s hardly a whimper let alone the outcry that should be occurring.

    But far worse in Brandis’s legislation is clause 35K that allows security agencies to destroy property, torture, rape and even murder without liability.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-18/key-senator-accuses-spies-of-creating-moral-panic/5753232
    http://www.theage.com.au/comment/george-brandis-new-antiterror-law-allows-asio-to-torture-20140917-10i9hv.html
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/19/asio-torture-warning-fears-new-powers-will-allow-suspects-to-be-harmed

    Sorry I’ve lost the link to the actual clause and the context of the legislation the clause is contained in. No matter that the government is stating this legislation doesn’t allow torture or other human rights violations, 35K clearly states that security forces are not liable for any property damage, harm, rape or murder they commit in the course of their duties.

    Indeed this legislation also gets the AG off the hook as the security agency does not need to inform the AG of any violations or activities it is undertaking, thus giving the AG a convenient loophole to eschew responsibility they now have.

    This is a direct hark back to Howard’s time, who also heavily used the ignorance defence, which became known as the Sergeant Schultz or “I know nothing” defence. Incongruously those who Howard blamed for a malfeasance or stuff up were always rewarded by him.

  36. Kaye Lee

    Federal police have for the first time used extraordinary powers to detain suspects in secret without charge.

    Police confirmed late yesterday that three men scooped up in Thursday’s terrorism raids had been held under so-called Preventative Detention Orders – extreme powers that allow authorities to hold suspects for up to two weeks incommunicado.

    PDOs were introduced by the Howard government after the London bombings. The extreme powers prevent suspects from calling a lawyer or telling their families or employers what has happened to them.

    Police cannot question a suspect being held under a PDO.

    “Three men have been released from police custody this afternoon following the expiration of three Preventative Detention Orders issued under NSW legislation,” the AFP said.

    “Legal constraints prevented comment on the orders for the duration they were in place.”

    Only one man has been charged with a terrorism offence.

    Attorney-General George Brandis said the Government would accept all 17 recommendations made by the parliamentary intelligence committee, including changes that will grant immunity from criminal and civil prosecution for intelligence officers involved in operations.

    Liberal Democratic Party senator David Leyonhjelm said Section 35K of the Bill would effectively allow ASIO to torture suspects as long as it did not involve murder, serious injury or the commission of a sexual offence.

    https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/national/a/25063291/police-use-special-anti-terror-powers/

  37. Terry2

    Breaking News :

    “Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said that she was thrilled to be able to address the UN Security Council and thanked predecessors Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard for persisting in gaining a Security Council seat for Australia despite the fierce and scathing opposition of the then opposition leader Tony Abbott and, she coyly conceded, herself ”

    Just Joking !

    Have a good weekend.

  38. stephentardrew

    Mobius Ecko:

    Brandis is vile little toad willing to sell out the country to vested interests. This all leads back to power and control by an elite oligarchy of irrational ideologues who cannot find a rational way to defeat science so they simply keep shifting the goal posts. Undermine science and you undermine logical thinking and fact based evidentiary proof. This has shades of theocracy not the foundations of a true democracy.

    These people are leading our society back into the dark dungeons of social engineering and ideological god infested Christian purity.

    Undermine science then find justification for controlling the media and constraining descent. Terrorism is the cover of villains under which they deviously drive their economic rationalist agenda.

  39. Kaye Lee

    The anti-terror laws introduced by Howard were about to lapse due to a sunset clause and, as they had never been used, there were calls to allow this to happen. Brandis not only wants to keep them, he wants to beef them up. Excuse my cynicism about the timing of and publicity surrounding this event.

    To summarise, 800 police conducted a very public raid on 25 properties. 19 young men were taken into custody. Presumably 15 of them were released soon after, 3 of them were detained incommunicado until today when they were released, and one of them was charged with receiving a phone call from a bad man in which he conspired “to commit an act that would “shock and horrify” the Australian public”.

  40. corvus boreus

    In other breaking news, IPA spokes-thing John Roskam, in response to the Foreign Minister’s gracious comments, made a public disavowal of point 5 of the IPA ‘wishlist’, saying that in light of recent events, he believed their lobbying to remove our seat on the UN Security Council was “ideologically driven, short-sighted and foolish”, and that he “apologised unreservedly” for their previous position.
    Ditto to you, Terry2.

  41. DanDark

    “Australia cannot make unilateral decisions about who will attend November’s forum in Brisbane,”treasurer says
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/20/joe-hockey-russia-attend-g20-forum-brisbane

    Well well this is interesting after how Tony came out and pounded Putin for being involved in the downing of Mh17, geee maybe it was the Ukranians who shot the plane down they have all gone quiet on that now, the focus is on Iraq now, that’s where the “Death cult” resides because tones and co came out prematurely firing accusations at Russia, how embarrassing for Tones now after his big flapping gob went to far after the downing of the plane,
    The only death cult I know is the Coalition and its budget/ doctrine of death that they are inflicting on the masses in this country,
    gee I miss the days pre Phoney Tony when we had real adults running the country, not this pack of fat gobbed Neanderthals picking and on and gobbing off at the rest of the world like they know it all….

  42. Möbius Ecko

    Sorry I misinterpreted 35K in that is doesn’t give security forces immunity from liability if they murder, cause harm, sexually assault or seriously damage property.

    Where the problem is that the framing of 35K opens a whole bunch of grey areas that aren’t currently there, which opens the door to abuse along with abrogating the AG from any responsibility for abuse or indeed the unlawful conduct of those he’s in charge of.

  43. Ishe B

    Adam Curtis great documentary “The Power of Nightmares” In 3 parts. Worth watching but it took me a while to load. Others might not have that problem. Basic message is that governments have gone from the managers of dreams to protectors from nightmares. http://thoughtmaybe.com/the-power-of-nightmares/

  44. Anne Byam

    Kaye Lee …. ref ,,,,,,,, “Liberal Democratic Party senator David Leyonhjelm said Section 35K of the Bill would effectively allow ASIO to torture suspects as long as it did not involve murder, serious injury or the commission of a sexual offence.” in your comment.

    We have to presume then, that water boarding is quite ok ? along with deliberate acts of sleep deprivation, continual restraint, stun belts etc. ….all CAN be applied ? even if the person being interrogated, has not been charged with any crime ? As long as we don’t kill them, seriously injure them, or commit sexual offences against them – everything else is open slather ?.

    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/george-brandis-new-antiterror-law-allows-asio-to-torture-20140917-10i9hv.html

    If this is permitted to be passed, we have not gone back to the Howard years …… we are returning under this draconian rabble to a time much earlier than Howard’s time in office.

    The UN Convention against Torture states ( in part ) …. “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever”[6] may be invoked to justify torture, including war, threat of war, internal political instability, public emergency, terrorist acts, violent crime, or any form of armed conflict.[7] Torture cannot be justified as a means to protect public safety or prevent emergencies.[7] Neither can it be justified by orders from superior officers or public officials.[8] ”

    Brandis is at the very least, an utter disgrace ….. and that’s putting it mildly.

    And what name shall we give to our nose thumbing evasion of International Law ? …. We will just HAVE to have a title – don’tcha think !!

  45. mars08

    John Kelly:

    Craig, I listened very carefully to what Abbott said. I did not hear him say ‘beheadings’. If he said it on a later bulletin he would have been parroting the media…

    That is EXACTLY the tactic they used in the Howard years. They did it with the “children overboard” farce and the Iraq WMD crapfest.

    First an undisclosed source “leaks” the fabricated story to the media. Then the media publish the hype. Government ministers are then free to refer to the media hysteria as fact… without being tagged as the source of the story.

    Waters successfully muddies, but hands clean!

  46. corvus boreus

    Could our chief legal officer elucidate upon what the precise definition of “serious” injury is? It seems a little vague and flexible as a protection against the abuse of citizenry.
    I can see Brandis brandishing a dentist’s drill and asking “Is it safe?”.

  47. mars08

    corvus boreus:

    Could our chief legal officer elucidate upon what the precise definition of “serious” injury is? It seems a little vague…

    Oh why do you care? As long as you’ve done nothing “wrong”, you have nothing to fear. Right?

  48. DanDark

    “As long as you’ve done no “wrong” you have nothing to fear”
    That’s a quote from the ditzy Ms Ley off Q&A

  49. mars08

    DanDark… that was my attempt at sarcasm. Had never heard of Ms Ley until you mentioned her… then I went and had a look in Google. Oh Jeayzzzuzzz! It’s a younger Mirabella clone!!

  50. DanDark

    Ohhhh noooo shit, not mirabella, the attack dog, with her bright red lipsticked pouted lips,
    ohhhh god I had forgotten about that little nightmare of a woman till now, thanks Mars OMG I won’t sleep tonight, I will have to check under my bed, and behind the shower screen tonight to make sure that monster mirabella isn’t hiding in there waiting to attack the sleeping innocent 🙂

  51. rikda

    I see Julie Bishop is trying to drum up some Arab support for ground troops.
    I mean this sort of logic from a country’s leaders is astonishing.
    Where does one start. Iraq got flogged in ’92 by George senior over Kuwait.
    Iraq got flogged by George Jnr, & for the last 10 years for being neighbours of Kuwait & the UAE whose citizens flew the planes into the tower.
    Frankly, I mean if Julie thinks the Saudi’s are stirred by the decapitation of that poor journalist she should know that from the time of his kidnap to his death, the Saudi’s decapitated over 100 people without much ado so, no, I can’t see any sympathy for Iraqi’s coming from that quarter..

  52. Terry2

    It has been suggested that Scott Morrison wants to move from Immigration to Defence but he wants the namby pamby title changed to ‘Ministry for War & Really Hurting People’

  53. corvus boreus

    Dan Dark,
    Beware of Sophie when you visit the little tiled rooms with the extensive plumbing.
    Through controlling the submarines, she rules the sewers and drains.
    She will return to become Speaker of the House by special appointment.
    Bwarharhar!

  54. mars08

    rikda:

    I see Julie Bishop is trying to drum up some Arab support for ground troops.
    I mean this sort of logic from a country’s leaders is astonishing.
    Where does one start. Iraq got flogged in ’92 by George senior over Kuwait.
    Iraq got flogged by George Jnr, & for the last 10 years for being neighbours of Kuwait…

    It’s amazing how few people understand the horrible conditions in Iraq during the 1990’s. There WAS NO GAP in the suffering of the Iraqi people after 1991 until today. The US and Great Britain (with others) ensured that Iraqi society was driven into the dust. Several UN officials quit over the cruel and inhumane sanctions.

    QUOTE:

    In 1998, the UN carried out a nationwide survey of health and nutrition. It found that mortality rates among children under five in central and southern Iraq had doubled from the previous decade. That would suggest 500,000 excess deaths of children by 1998. Excess deaths of children continue at the rate of 5,000 a month. UNICEF estimated in 2002 that 70 per cent of child deaths in Iraq result from diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections. This is the result—as foretold accurately by US intelligence in 1991—of the breakdown of systems to provide clean water, sanitation, and electrical power. Adults too, particularly the elderly and other vulnerable sections, have succumbed. The overall toll, of all ages, was put at 1.2 million in a 1997 UNICEF report.

    The evidence of the effect of the sanctions came from the most authoritative sources. Denis Halliday, UN humanitarian coordinator in Iraq from 1997 to 1998, resigned in protest against the operation of the sanctions, which he termed deliberate “genocide”. He was replaced by Hans von Sponeck, who resigned in 2000, on the same grounds. Jutta Burghardt, director of the UN World Food Programme operation in Iraq, also resigned, saying that “I fully support what Mr von Sponeck was saying.”

    There is no room for doubt that genocide was conscious US policy. On May 12 1996, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was asked by Lesley Stahl of CBS television: “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that’s more than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” Albright replied: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price, we think the price is worth it.”
    http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2003/05/10/16098561.php

  55. mars08

    Ah jeeez!! So it’s “Operation Hammerhead”. Seriously? Why not just call it Operation Massive Engorged Appendage and be done with it? Just seems that these manly, beefy names are a way of overcompensating for something…

  56. corvus boreus

    ‘Hammerhead’ is both a species of predatory/scavenging shark, and a(passé) colloquialism for a heroin addict.

  57. mars08

    The name also throbs with virility… or am I saying more about myself than I probably should….?

  58. Pingback: A dangerous media assumption – TruthInNewsMedia

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