First They Come For …… Just a little thought this Thursday


tree houseI’ve made jokes in the past about hiding out under the bed or going to live on a mountain to avoid whatever particular mess I’ve managed to create for myself but in this instance I’m actually starting to consider just how much space there is under that bed and if WiFi is available on top of a mountain.

Normally I don’t think of myself as a coward or even cowardly, I joke about making a run for it but it is never something I’d actually do.  In the past I’ve used avoidance to skirt around dealing with personal issues and I’m a Black Belt at DMA [Denial Marshal Arts] when it comes to my private live but when push comes to shove I stand. In fact I’m not above a little pushing and shoving myself if the circumstance warrant it but lately I’ve begun to truly know fear and what frightens me the most is that it is my own government that is scaring me so very badly.

I tremble for the future I see being painted by those who would rather leave others to starve or return them to near certain death rather than share what we have.  The most recent changes spring from the ‘increased terror level’ and the crippling fear I have is not of terrorists gaily strolling down the Queens St Mall lopping heads but our own politicians [from the left and the right] gleefully gutting our rights.  Happily chopping away at freedom of information, legal representation when charged, being held without charge, freedom of expression and the protection of the Geneva convention in regards to using force when questioning in regards to national security. [Discussion paper to the parliament to discuss new measures for national security]

martin luther kingWhen our PM comes out and declares with little or no preamble that Australians will have to deal with more security and less freedom then the ice starts to form as feel myself going into shock.  Sounds a little melodramatic you think but I’m not kidding in any way shape or form.

I’m scared silly not just for me but for future generations because no government EVER redacts legislation that keeps them in control no matter what they promise at the outset and more importantly don’t forget that, as Martin Luther King reminded us, everything that happened in Germany was legal by their laws just as what is happening here will be if we don’t resist these changes.

I’m not uncaring, I know why people are reluctant to speak out, fear and the possibility of a real threat makes any measures that ensure our safety acceptable.  But if it is a choice between what is right, what is ethical and what may ‘possibly’ provide a small measure of safety then we can’t act as cowards nor be compliant to the will of those who seek to subvert our way of life under the guise of protecting it.

There are currently eight matters up for debate in the parliament that relate directly to changes in the balance of freedom vs security and none of them are in any way appealing.  The three listed below come under the National Security Reform Bill One entered into parliament as far back as July [prior to the terror alert but not prior to the backlash from the budget]:

  1. Journalists and whistle-blowers face jail for intelligence reporting [Sydney Morning Herald]
  2. Computer hacking powers for Intelligence agencies
  3. Immunity from prosecution for uses of force [The Australian] by ASIO officers involved in ‘special intelligence operations’ [and yes that is just what it sounds like]

The next four are from the National Security Reform Bill 2 entered into parliament on September 24:

  1. Expanding detention without charges [current opinion that it isn’t an effective solution even if it were expanded]
  2. Restricting freedom of movement and association with control orders and prohibited contact orders
  3. Life imprisonment for people who fight, or even prepare to fight. overseas in a foreign country
  4. Prohibiting travel to a region, or even an entire country, unless a person can demonstrate a legitimate reason for being there.

The final change that is being addressed is in National Security Reform Bill 3

  1. Mandatory data retention of Australians web and mobile data for two years.

repressive governmentsYou think it all sounds like something out of a novel but sadly it is real life here in Australia and it is something we are going to have to fight.  The Labor Party under Shorten seems to be following meekly behind as if trying not to get left out.  The only issue they are contesting is in relation to torture!!!

Yep you heard me TORTURE as a means of intelligence gathering was actually debated in parliament for the record and it was contested hotly on both sides.  That alone makes me want to crawl into the deepest quietest hole I can find and simply make like a mole and be blind to all that is around me.

However it’s not something any of us can afford to do if there is any chance of stopping this madness before it escalates beyond retrieval and there is a very simple reason why. We cannot let the past repeat itself and whether it’s comfortable to admit or not we are heading down a path already trod and it is littered with the dead.

To finish this off I think it is fitting to close with an Australianised variation of a saying regarding how people let what happened in Germany occur prior to WWII and unless we are careful it will be our future..

first they came

 

 

 

20 thoughts on “First They Come For …… Just a little thought this Thursday

  1. Hi Jenni. There is no doubt that you have cause for concern. These initiatives that you describe are all chipping away at freedoms and the “innocent until proven guilty” premise upon which justice is built. Sigh. Many of the more viscious of these have been tried here in Canada but were deemed unconstitutional by our Supreme Court and the laws struck down. Our gov’t is still trying to rebuild terrorist legislation from the last time that happened a few years ago. They throw up restrictive laws and he Court throws them out. It has become a bit of a game – testing what is acceptable.

    Do you have any of that kind of protection in Australia where laws can be removed if deemed illegal? Along the way in life I’ve seen glimpses of a special federal strike force that exists in Canada. There is no official recognition of it and mostly it is used (or has been used)for taking out drug organizations and organized crime. They seem to operate in the gray area of the law but keep a very, very low profile – flying into where they are needed, crushing the problem and flying back out – mostly under dark. They operate on our East coast from a restricted part of a military base in Quebec. My Dad was a retired truck driver and worked for a private bus company after retirement to keep busy. He had done some gov’t work before and had a security clearance. Every now and then he would be contacted by a special mail drop to be at an unused part of the airport in the wee hours of the morning. His highway bus would be ready for him and he would meet a black jet that landed without clearance lights and load this special team. They even had one of those traffic light clickers that firetrucks use to change the traffic lights so they don’t have to stop. He would take them to where they had business and wait at a distance , then take them back to the jet when they were done.

    I mention the above story because I know that there are times, under special circumstances, when action outside the law happens. It is a dirty world and sometimes dirty things have to be done so the rest of us can sleep in safety at night. But these actions have to be the exception not the law.

    All that to say that I agree with you Jenni and I hope that cooler heads will prevail in Australia.

    Excellent post and good luck. I really can’t see Autralians agreeing to giving away their freedom..

    Liked by 2 people

    • We may not get a choice if the opposition doesn’t prevent some of this getting through the parliament and then that will mean protesting until the courts overturn the legislation. However our High Court overturned the detention of asylum seekers months ago and yet our government has made no move to change their policy or given any indication that they will comply with the High Court Ruling or that of the UN.

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      • Now that is dangerous – when a government refuses to act on a High Court ruling. We’ve never had that happen here but my understanding is that gov’t officials can be arrested and jailed for such activity. That, in and of itself, is a chilling occurrence Jenni.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes it is and one that a lot of people are worried about. What I find more worrying is the lack of protest on a larger scale about it. I think that a lot of people don’t understand the implications of such a thing and won’t understand what it can lead to before it is much too late.

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    • Thanks for the revelation. I’m sure they have such a unit here too. Too many people of “Middle Eastern” appearance are being killed by unknown people and it is all blamed on a turf war of drug gangs.

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    • Hi Paul, I have no idea if this will get to you since I believe that Jenni wrote her post on September 25, 2014 and it’s now January 13, 2016. I am pathetic with technology, so if you do hear this, I mean read this, can you email me please: alicialiley@iinet.net.au
      I’m so glad that you shared your father’s story indicating the illegalities of the World’s supposed legal and compassionate leaders (although I feel that is an oxymoron too! so I should say, Supposed Leaders!!)
      Honey, I just feel so distraught with the actions that have been legislated here in Australia – particularly with Tony Abbott as Prime Minister. [I don’t know if you have heard of Australian politics since your comment to Jenni?] It is a disgrace! So the ‘cooler heads you hoped for us certainly did not prevail in Australia.
      And I feel even more poignantly saddened as the current PM – who, when Malcolm Turnball was the Communications Minister – was really supportive of fighting Climate Change/Global Warming yet now does very little indeed!
      I have been a Climate Activist/Human Rights Supporter for about 2 decades as I passionately care for people and NATURE and the World yet the political climate is so depressing!
      I’m a feeling person, so I cannot even describe in words how poignantly I fear for the World Honey!
      Have you any solutions or advice on how to improve this World? xoxoxox

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Perfect and powerful saying. It’s been at the top of my warning repertoire ever since my student tour in Europe shortly after WWII when a German student said to me, “This will come to the U.S. someday.” OK. So it’s the US. Same thoughts. I’ve been alert ever since. — exhausting … !

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Happily chopping away at freedom of information, legal representation when charged, being held without charge, freedom of expression and the protection of the Geneva convention in regards to using force when questioning in regards to national security.”
    Dear Jeni, this is too scary for me. I could not read on. (I haven’t had breakfast yet). I have to come back to it some other time when I have calmed down a bit.
    Thank you so much for doing your bit to keep us informed. I hope you can still relax a bit in between all the disconcerting news. We want you to keep going in good health, right? Look at some of the beautiful things in life as much as possible . . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Jenni, You are dead (pardon the pun) right with your assessment of the present situation in Australia. But Australia is at stage where democracy is on its last leg. It is just a sham.
    Fascism has arrived in Australia and some people hail Tony Abbott already as a lion.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/abbott-weak-on-home-front-but-a-lion-abroad-20140925-10lelf.html

    The quote in your title was made by Pastor Martin Niemöller.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Niem%C3%B6ller

    A man who changed his way of thinking completely. He also recognised that a nation is made up by different people and if they don’t hold on to certain principles they can be all being dealt with separately. This is what the Abbott government is doing now.

    The other quote, by Martin Luther King Jr is true of course. Alkl mthe Nazi law were legal as the parties of the parliament, except the Social Democrats (SPD), handed him the emergency powers to deal with a chaotic situation in the country (1932 / 33) which was created by the goons of his own party in the first place. It won’t be long before gangs of his followers will roam the streets to control the citizens.

    You keep it up, Jenni. You are speaking for us, who can not express ourselves as well as you do.

    George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

    As you said, it is still time to change things, but with Shorten’s Labor party in tow I’m not that hopeful. Prepare your imaginary tree house for a lot of asylum seekers from your own country.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s frustrating because so many people want to ignore what is happening right in front of them. It’s scary and uncomfortable – I get that – but it’s also happening and pretending otherwise is playing into the hands of those who would prefer if we all stayed meekly quiet and compliant. That old saying about those who do not learn from the past…. well it seems humanity as a group has trouble with the concept and it may need for things to become so bad before waking themselves from their stupor. The tree house seems a fine idea but I think I just stay we’re I am and keep making a noisy pest of myself, who knows if I annoy enough people maybe some of them will listen.

      Liked by 1 person

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