Downs Under #8

October 8, 2006

Hi all!  After a brief hiatus, Downs Under has returned, and will continue to be a regular feature.

AWB linked to terrorism.
The Australian Wheat Board funnelled $300m of kick-backs to Saddam Hussein’s regime a few years ago.  This has been the subject of the Cole inquiry of late, and recent revelations have linked the AWB to terrorist plotting in Iraq.  This could lead to executives of the AWB facing criminal charges.

Manager Darryl Borlase discussed an Iraqi proposal to build concrete gas chambers throughout a series of emails from around 2001. The following quotes are pretty damning:

“The bunkers will have cement walls and floors so they are actually designed for burying the Kurds — under the cement?”

“They intend to build them with fumigation capability so the mind boggles as to whether they are fumigating insects or any other pest that pisses them off.”

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has been called on by opposition spokesmen to look into criminally charging those at the AWB responsible, for breaching anti-terror laws relating to the funding of terrorist organisations.  We could quibble over whether a country’s regime constitutes a terrorist organisation, but I think we’d all agree that however one defines it, the acts described here are horrific enough to merit prosecution.

It will be most interesting to see how aggressively Ruddock pursues this, given that there have been allegations in this inquiry about complicity from senior members of the Australian government in the scandal.

Anti-Terror laws to be challenged

Jack Thomas, the first Australian to be tried under anti-terror laws in this country has this week launched a new challenge to the control orders he was placed under.

Given that his conviction was quashed, the federal court-imposed control order under which Mr Thomas was placed seem barbaric, and inherently unfair – something I have written about in previous columns.

Director of the Terrorism and Law Project at the University of NSW Andrew Lynch contends that Thomas has a strong case, especially given that he was not represented in court at the time the control order was doled out.

The test case is scheduled to proceed this December. I hope the decision goes in Mr Thomas’ favour. Otherwise, a dangerous precedent will have been set – that people can be subject to harsh punishment despite being convicted of no crime.

University Bans Books
Australia continues its march towards Orwellian dystopia.  Following the refusal of classification from the Office of Film and Literature Classification, Melbourne University has removed Defence of the Muslim Lands and Join the Caravan from its shelves, lest it face prosecution for making the banned books available for staff or students.

Ironically, both of those books are available on amazon.co.uk, and you get a discount buying both together. Shipping to Australia should take about five days.

Everyone’s favourite illiberal Liberal tyrant Philip Ruddock submitted eight books for review/reclassification.  His reason – they promoted terrorist acts. Not only is this move monumentally stupid, but it will have exactly the opposite effect from that intended.  I may even buy the books myself now, where I didn’t even know of them previously.

We’re going down a dangerous road when an institute of higher education is forced to remove controversial books from its shelves.  I hear they’re preparing the bonfires already.

Thanks for reading. If you would like to take part in TheCritique, either as a contributor or forum member, please head over to TheCritique Forums and sign up.

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