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vindication « Previous | |Next »
November 9, 2005

The discourse of terrorism has changed significantly in the last 24 hours with the arrest of 16 suspected terrorists in Sydney and Melbourne. The Prime Minister has been vindicated. So has Kim Beazley's unquestioning support of the Government on the matter. Both concur that the battle is about security - and a way of life. Yet the “apocalyptic anxieties” of those who claim terrorism threatens the existence of our society are not vindicated, and the secrecy of national security state is still unaccountable.

The suspected homegrown terror cells disrupted in Sydney and Melbourne yesterday were allegedly building the capacity to mount an attack -- within weeks, in the judgment of some security officials. Hmmm. The judgement is that the state was under an imminent threat of a potentially catastrophic terrorist act, and that it was thwarted by the swift action and arrest of the suspects in Melbourne and Sydney. Hmmmm again. I'm reserving my judgement at this stage. Why should the West necessarily be hostile to the Muslim religion and its values?

Will the security envelop be pushed even further now they have an operational cell now?

Martin Rowson

Yes. The judgements of those arrested have been made--they are guilty. So what has happened to the presumption of innocent until proven guilty? Is not the rule of law is being rolled back with the anti-terrorism legislation before Parliament? There should be no vindication of that.

As Michelle Grattin points out in The Age:

The operation gives flesh to the warning in ASIO's recent report about home-grown terrorism, which presents a community with the most complicated challenges. It makes both more necessary and more difficult protecting civil liberties and emphasising to the mainstream Muslim community that it is a valued and appreciated part of the Australian nation...The wider balancing act between fighting terrorism and protecting civil liberties is tricky enough. It becomes even harder in relation to the minority community.

It sure has.

Those arrested have been judged to be terrorists. What have they been charged with? Plotting to over throw the state? Plotting to bomb Australians? Planning attacks which might have killed tens or even hundreds of Australians? Possesssing explosive? Being members of a banned organization? The specifics of charges are unclear. And they still have to be proven before a court of law. So we should invoke the presumption of innocence.

Full marks to Steve Ciobo and his courage judgement that:

"a statutory bill of rights, at a time when the executive must tread more heavily in areas of individual rights, will provide the necessary counterbalance of providing and ensuring collectively that the individual remains the focus of a liberal democracy.”

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:10 PM | | Comments (0)