For once, I’m at a loss for words.
This is what the readers of the Sydney Morning Herald had to say about it:
War on terrorism morphs into a war on dissent
There are security concerns about Scott Parkin, such that it takes six immigration officers to nab him mid-cappuccino in a Melbourne cafe ("Outcry over plan to deport activist as a security threat", Herald, September 12).
A history teacher from Houston, Texas, is involved in non-violent action like street theatre (dressing up as Halliburton executives with their snouts in troughs). What is his weaponry? Artline markers on butcher’s paper hanging on a wall, filled with ideas of engagement and dialogue. He has given workshops on non-violent methods of suggesting there might be moral dimensions to the behaviour of governments and corporations.
Against him the US Government (and then, naturally, our own) invoke security so they don’t have to explain anything to us. This is how they use the powers they have now, and yet Howard and Ruddock ask us to trust them to give them more.
The war on terrorism has extended to a war on dissent.
Paul Wilson Annandale
When an American peace activist who speaks out against George Bush’s policies is detained for being a "threat to national security" we can see just how the new terrorism legislation will work.
Pip Denton Guildford
So non-violence is now a threat to national security in this war on terrorism. Even Orwell would be impressed by that one.
Justin Whelan Petersham
The arrest of American peace activist Scott Parkin has set my alarm bells ringing. I’ve voted Liberal all my life, but now I think I’m going to have to vote for someone else. Although the Libs are good for the economy, I’d rather have less prosperity than live in a police state.
No amount of prosperity can compensate for the democratic freedoms that the Liberals are taking away. This is the beginning of a very nasty downhill slide. This is the sort of thing that doesn’t happen in Western democracies. This is the sort of thing that only happens in morally and politically corrupt Third World countries. And now it’s happening here.
Look out, Mr Howard, we Australians love our freedom, and when you start taking it away from us we’ll remove you from government.
Lau Guerreiro Oxford Falls
How much lower can this Government sink? Seeking to deport a bloke for promoting peace!
Jim Iveson Hornsby Heights
The continuing wisdom of the Howard Government never ceases to amaze. With the impending deportation of Scott Parkin, it appears to have identified a greater threat to Australia than terrorism: peace.
Margaret Van Heekeren Bathurst
Think about it. Three months ago Scott Parkin was given a visa. Now it seems he is such a threat to our national security that he has been picked up by John Howard’s storm-troopers, who usually nab kids from primary school, and interned. If Parkin was a terrorist he would have had enough time to wreak havoc and leave. This is real "keystone cops" stuff.
Any Howard Government acquiescence to the US in this matter would be the biggest threat to our national security. For ASIO’s benefit, John Howard lives at Kirribilli.
Greg Loder Springwood
In reply to G. Borthwick (Letters, September 12), should there be a terrorism attack in Australia, I shall certainly blame Mr Howard; not for doing too little, but for doing too much to invite terrorism.
Lisa Penlington Artarmon
The plight of Scott Parkin should serve as a warning. If the Howard Government’s enhanced counter-terrorism proposals become law, anyone imprudent enough to have a letter published in the Herald commenting on John Howard’s integrity deficiency, or George Bush’s military pursuit of America’s oil supply on Halliburton’s behalf, could reasonably expect a visit by the boys from ASIO.
Richard Keyes Enfield
First they came for the peace activists and I did not speak out because I was not a peace activist.
Andrew Worssam Bondi
How ironic. The gagging of peace activist Scott Parkin effectively silences any robust debate, which is a fundamental tenet of democracy. The Federal Government has succumbed to those tactics abhorrent to the notion of freedom.
Diane Dennis Hazelbrook
"Blessed are the peacemakers" for they shall be deported … even with a valid visa.
Denise Woods Forbes
It’s reassuring to see peace activists are to be deported. Next I propose vegetarians, blondes, Volvo drivers and anyone with garlic on their breath.
Bruce Spence Balmain
Being a dual US/Aus citizen has its ups and downs. I’m a lot more accustomed to the sensation of being embarrassed by the actions of the US government.
The deportation of Parkin for protesting against Halliburton is an embarrassment and shame all Australians will bear.
UPDATE: Parkin receives $11,700 bill for his incarceration and unexplained deportation.
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