Monday, August 13, 2007


Military intervention is public life....anyone remember Cromwell?

Since the U.S. has been using foreign proxies for so many extra-legal “renditions” and such, lately, this one may well be coming down the pike for us. It seems like the U.S. will use it’s allies to try things things out and then, if they work, bring them on home. I’ve long figured that the Israeli border fence was a rehearsal for similar border walls here in the states. And the Brits use of surveillance cameras in public places has already been adopted. I wonder if they’ll decide that eavesdropping on public conversations is equally necessary for public safety.

Anyhow, I think this is coming. And this piece, from the Australian Trots, is worth reading in full.

World Socialist Web Site

Australian High Court radically expands scope of military power
Judges sanction “control order” on Jack Thomas
By Mike Head
13 August 2007

Australia’s High Court on August 2 upheld the constitutional validity of a “control order” imposed on a Melbourne worker, Jack Thomas, sanctioning one of the central features of the 2005 Anti-Terrorism Act.

The ruling in Thomas v Mowbray has serious implications for fundamental legal and democratic rights. In effect, by a 5 to 2 majority, the court has legitimated the police-state measures, including detention without trial, that the Howard government and its state Labor counterparts have introduced since 2002 on the pretext of protecting ordinary people from terrorism.

In doing so, Australia’s supreme court has for the first time condoned the extension of the federal government’s “defence power” under the Constitution beyond war and external threats. Members of the court said the power, which was used in World Wars I and II to rule by executive decree and round up thousands of people regarded as threats to the war effort, could be invoked to combat not only terrorism but other internal “disturbances”.

Several state Labor governments intervened in the case to defend their own identical control order provisions, which were introduced as part of the 2005 federal-state package of “anti-terrorism” laws. Their support for the Howard government’s position underscores the bipartisan nature of the assault on basic civil liberties.

Thomas was subjected to the control order last August, just a week after a three-member panel of the Victorian Court of Appeal unanimously overturned his conviction on a charge of receiving money from a terrorist group, on the grounds that he had been tortured to obtain a confession. Without any notice, let alone allowing Thomas the right to object, a federal magistrate granted the interim 12-month order in a secret “ex parte” hearing conducted on a Sunday.

Even though he has not been convicted of any offence, the order deprived Thomas of the basic freedoms of movement and communication. He must remain in his house from midnight to 5 a.m. every day, and report to police three times a week. He cannot leave Australia, use any telephone or email service not approved by the Australian Federal Police, or communicate with specified individuals. A breach of these conditions could mean imprisonment for five years.

The order—personally sought by Attorney-General Philip Ruddock—demonstrates how the “anti-terror” powers can and will be used for political purposes. In this case, the Howard government has used them to reverse the humiliating setback it suffered when the charges against Thomas were dismissed.

Control orders can be imposed without any evidence of terrorist activity. The attorney-general only has to state that the order would “substantially assist in preventing” an unspecified “terrorist act”, or that the person received training from an officially-declared “terrorist organisation”, and the order is “reasonably necessary” to protect the public from a terrorist act.


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