13 September 2005

American peace activist detained in Australia

Scott Parkin, who was lecturing on non-violent protest in Australia, has been detained as a threat to Australia's security. Under Australia's national security laws, it's possible that he could be deported without ever knowing, specifically, why.

It's difficult to imagine what real threat — other than ideological, given the Australian government's embrace of violence in Iraq — Mr Parkin could pose to Australia. Certainly the Australian who sent me that article believes this is being done at America's behest. But it's of a piece with the Iraq belligerents justifying going to war by claiming that Iraq posed a "threat", without ever specifying what that threat was. And it uncomfortably echoes other times when people were deemed to threaten the state based on what they thought, rather than what they did.

I hope the Australian government thinks again, and backs down on this. They should just say no to America on this.

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