RIP Rik Mayall

Rik Mayall as Alan Beresford B’stard MP, with one of the clearest articulations of Tory values I’ve ever heard:

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Campaign to extradite Adriana Rivas from Australia to Chile to face criminal charges

There’s currently a campaign by Chile and Latin American solidarity activists to petition the Australian government to extradite Adriana Rivas to face criminal charges in Chile. Rivas is a former employee (1974–1978) at the infamous DINA (Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional), Chile’s secret police. The DINA was responsible for committing horrific crimes against Chileans during the Pinochet dictatorship (1973–1990), inaugurated by the US-backed coup of September 11, 1973.

“September 11 is a date marked by violence and sorrow in the minds of many around the world. For Chileans, it is doubly so, because on that day, in 1973, the country’s democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, was overthrown in a brutal military coup. What followed were years of repression, torture, forced disappearance, fear and for many Chileans, exile. This is the story of what happened in Chile, and the secret part Australia played” (The Other 9/11, SBS, September 11, 2013).

Tomorrow (Saturday, June 7) there’s a meeting to discuss the campaign at 6.30pm at Trades Hall in Melbourne.

Further reading:

Extradite Adriana Rivas – National Day of Action 24 May 2014, MelbourneProtests, May 24, 2014.
Chile hopes to extradite Sydney nanny Adriana Rivas, implicated in Pinochet-era torture allegations, ABC, March 25, 2014.
Chile seeks extradition of Pinochet-era torture, murder suspect, Lucy Carroll, The Sydney Morning Herald, January 18, 2014.
Ex-intelligence agent Adriana Rivas denies torture claims, SBS, January 17, 2014.
Australia: safe haven for state terrorists?, Federico Fuentes, Green Left Weekly, October 12, 2013.
Adriana Elcira Rivas González, Memoria Viva [Spanish-language biography].

Below is the text of the address by Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, given to the Australian federal parliament, on June 4, 2014:

========================

PETITION BY MARK DREYFUS, QC, MP, SHADOW ATTORNEY GENERAL
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES – AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT
WEDNESDAY 4 JUNE 2014

========================

I rise to present to the House a petition from more than 600 members of the Chilean community in Australia and their supporters. It has been considered by the Standing Committee on Petitions and found to be in order.

In the petition, the members of the Chilean community are urging the government to extradite Ms Adriana Rivas to Chile to face criminal charges. The charges concern her alleged involvement in violent crimes committed by the intelligence services of the Pinochet military dictatorship.

In March this year, the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent program revealed that Ms Rivas was living in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and working as a nanny. She has been in Australia since 1978, and was arrested while on a trip back to Chile in 2006. This is a unique case in that extradition is sought after criminal proceedings were fully underway. Ms Rivas fled Chile in 2010 while on bail, awaiting trial.

She is a fugitive from justice.

It is alleged in the criminal proceedings in Chile that Ms Rivas was involved in the interrogation and immensely cruel torture of at least 12 victims of the Pinochet regime by its secret police, the Direccion de Inteligencia Nacional, the DINA. It is alleged that Rivas was assistant to the head of the DINA, Manuel Contreras. A key prosecution witness told the ABC:

“… when … Rivas participated in the torture of the detainees, she beat them with sticks, she kicked them, punched them and also applied an electric current to [them] …”

Though it is the policy of all Australian governments not to comment on extradition matters, it has been publicly reported that the Chilean Supreme Court made a formal request for Ms Rivas’s extradition earlier this year.

I understand that this request has been received by the Attorney-General’s Department and is under consideration by the Commonwealth government.

It is almost impossible to overstate the seriousness of the allegations made against Ms Rivas.

Torture is an abhorrent crime. The use of torture is not just an abuse by the state of its powers. It is a denial of the humanity of the victim. The special repugnance of torture is acknowledged by global civil society. The prohibition on torture is recognised as one of only a handful of fundamental principles of international law from which there are no exceptions, no exemptions, and no derogations.

Australia has a long tradition of work to rid our world of this terrible crime. Labor foreign minister and later parliamentary leader Doc Evatt helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The Hawke government signed and ratified the Convention Against Torture in 1985 and 1989. Under the Labor government in May 2009 Australia signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.

This is a legacy of which I am proud. I hope that the present government continues to work on the process of ratifying the optional protocol.

Though we are lucky to live in a country free of torture, Chile has not been so fortunate.

I have a close personal connection with Chile and its people. My wife was born in Chile. I have visited Chile several times, and I lived there with my family in the first half of 1995.

Some members of the Chilean community who have spoken to me about the extradition of Ms Rivas are themselves survivors of torture or political violence. All Chileans will have friends or family who have suffered in some way. A number of members of the Australian Chilean community are here in the gallery tonight, and I would like to acknowledge them and their concern about this issue.

Before the 1970s, Chile had enjoyed political stability and parliamentary democracy since the late 19th century. The wounds the country suffered in the madness after the 1973 coup, however, are still not fully healed.

The prosecution of torturers is an important part of the path forward for Chile.

I call on the Australian government to hear the concerns of those who have signed this petition. I hope the government will move swiftly to ensure that justice is done by doing everything possible to return Adriana Rivas to Chile to face the trial from which she fled. I present the petition.

The petition read as follows—

“To the Honourable The Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives

This petition of: members of the Chilean community in Australia, draws to the attention of the House the request from the Chilean government for the extradition of Mrs. Adriana Rivas. Mrs Rivas is a fugitive from justice who has been living in Australia free from prosecution.

She was arrested in 2006 and processed by the judiciary for her involvement in the aggravated kidnapping and torture of at least 12 people, none of whom survived. Mrs Rivas escaped whilst on house arrest.

We therefore ask the House to: grant the request for extradition so that Mrs. Rivas can be prosecuted for her crimes in Chile.

In memory of those that were silenced by the Pinochet dictatorship, we respectfully request that the House takes into consideration the pain and suffering inflicted upon the Chilean people.

For over forty years, families of the victims have been seeking justice for their loved ones. Mrs. Rivas like many of her cohorts, must be held accountable for her actions.

We are troubled by the fact that someone with her criminal background has been allowed to live in Australia and we seek clarification from the Australian government regarding her residency.

We encourage the House to look favourably upon our request to support the extradition process for Mrs. Rivas from 608 citizens.”

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Exit: White Power; Enter: Volksfront Australia

Two things.

First, the federal government has defunded the ‘Building Community Resilience Grants program’. Inter alia, this means the Exit White Power program has been defunded.

White Supremacist Recruitment to go Unchallenged
MEDIA RELEASE
3rd of June 2014

White supremacy groups are currently operating in Australia and attempting to recruit new members. Cuts announced in the federal budget will mean Exit, the only program focused on countering this recruitment, will be unable to continue its challenge to white supremacist ideology.

Although white supremacy groups currently attract a minority of Australians, the growth of such groups across Europe in recent years indicates the need for vigilance. Additionally the terrorist attacks by Anders Breivik in Norway in 2011 demonstrate that extremism based on white supremacist ideology has the potential to grow and result in violence unless preventative action is taken.

Exit is the only not for profit program in Australia dedicated to preventing the recruitment of individuals by far-right extremists. It works to undermine white supremacist recruitment through debunking myths and conspiracy theories and providing forums and dialogue challenging white supremacy ideology. Exit targets young people who are most at risk of extremism and in the past six months alone over 10,000 individuals across Australia have accessed Exit’s online resources.

In Australia, countering violent extremism is a long-term, ongoing challenge which governments, community groups and individuals need to work together to overcome. Exit is run by All Together Now, Australia’s only national charity that has the sole focus of addressing racism. Its work has been funded by the Attorney General Department’s Building Community Resilience Grants program since Oct 2012. The Exit project depends on government funding in order to reach individuals across Australia who are at risk of joining white supremacist groups.

The Building Community Resilience Grants program, on which Exit depends, was cut entirely by the Federal Budget released on May 13th. Without this funding, Exit’s ongoing challenge to white supremacist recruitment in Australia will be unable to continue.

Secondly, in happier news, Volksfront Australia is having a gathering this weekend in NSW. You may remember VF from such websites as ‘Anti Antifa Australia’ or ‘Heathen Noise’: both are run by VF leader Chris Smith.

Last year, the Southern Poverty Law Centre’s Intelligence Report (The End of Volksfront?, No.152, Winter 2013) covered the seeming end of Volksfront — in its US home as well as in those foreign countries, like Australia, where VF has (had) a presence. Why Chris & Co have responded to former leader Randal Lee Krager‘s command to disband the organisation by telling him to piss off is unknown, but since its re-emergence VF has extended from NSW to ACT, QLD and WA, placing VF in direct competition with the Hammerskins for bonehead recruits. Anyway, if you’re not going to the Mutiny farewell party on Saturday, you may wanna pop on a Viking hat and join Chris & Co to drink some mead and eat some goat.

Maybe.

Posted in Anti-fascism, State / Politics, That's Capitalism! | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ups and downs, leaps and bounds

I wrote an article for Overland on anonymity, antifascism, blogging and so on. You can read it here.

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More corporate spying on environmentalists : Whitehaven Coal & Co.

While in the UK Women deceived by undercover officers back in court to challenge police’s “delaying tactics”,* in Australia Fairfax’s Tom Allard reports that corporations have been doing what corporations do: spying on activists, in this case anti-coal mining malcontents. In April 2012, then Attorney-General Nicola Roxon stated on Q&A that “there may be people and unfortunately we do see a growing number of links across some sort of groups who are anarchist, others who meld into some religious, sometimes, and intent with committing a terrorist offence that might link in with other protest groups…”

If that mAkEs SeNsE?

The case reported on by Allard seems to conform to the general pattern of corporate spying:

    • official denial;
    • close cooperation with the state;
    • disregard for legal niceties;
    • obscuring the ultimate legal and political responsibility for the infiltration and covert surveillance through a series of private contracts with a range of agencies;
    • beaming, well-paid, lying yuppies.

Obviously, anyone involved in any form of political activism should expect to be spied upon, both by the state and corporate sector. One of the mildly disturbing aspects of this account, however, is the reaction of one of the spies when confronted by activists. “Confronted on camera”, Marnie Tisot — Professional Service Solutions’ ‘Operational Risk and HR Advisor’ and ‘a highly respected project leader with more than 10 years experience in delivering projects and services across government organisations and commercial industries’ –

… denied she was working undercover, breaking down in tears and saying she had assumed her false identity to escape the attention of a violent ex-husband. She also said she had stopped working for PSS.

However, Ms Tisot continued to use her real name once she left Maules Creek and returned quickly back to work at PSS after being detected.

Her emotional story about fleeing a violent man was also undermined by the prominent profile and photograph on the PSS website and the fact there were business cards in her name with her mobile number at the office of PSS last week. In a brief interview with Fairfax Media, Ms Tisot declined to outline what she was doing at Maules Creek but referred Fairfax to her explanation on video.

However, multiple sources familiar with the operation have confirmed to Fairfax that Ms Tisot was working as an intelligence operative for CIRM.

The construction of a plausible back-story is a crucial aspect of infiltration, as is the existence of a plausibly deniable reason for, say, adopting another name, being in a certain place at a certain time, and so on.

While Marnie appears to have closed her Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, she has written several online articles, which make for very interesting reading given her lying and spying:

    Can I Read Your Mind?
    June 29, 2011
    “Many successful people swear by their ability to read others and use ‘gut feeling’ to make decisions. But is there a hard science behind reading people, and can it be learned?”
    Relationships: Make or break businesses.
    November 7, 2012
    “According to Marnie Tisot, Transport Security Inspector at the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, relationships make or break ideas, projects and even businesses.”
    Track me if you can
    August 16, 2013
    “Employee tracking – arguably useful, always controversial. This week we are talking about tracking employees who travel, particularly to high-risk destinations. Today we see an increasing number of devices, apps and systems available to track and monitor people who travel internationally or work alone and in remote locations. So what should you think about when considering a tracking solution for your corporate travellers?”

D’oh!

* See the Police Spies Out of Lives blog, a “support group for women’s legal action against undercover policing” for moar infos.

See also : Rob Gilchrist : Saving the country economically from people who do a lot of good (…and need a shave) (December 24, 2008) | Mehmet Ersoy/Osman : Former officer hired to spy (October 17, 2008) | Eveline Lubbers’ 2012 book and site Secret Manoeuvres in the Dark: Corporate and Police Spying on Activists is a highly recommended resource. NB. NOSIC — the National Open Source Intelligence Centre — has been contracted by ASIO to engage in open source intelligence gathering, meaning monitoring Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc.

Posted in !nataS, History, State / Politics, That's Capitalism! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey supports free higher education (1987) #bustthebudget

*This Friday in Melbourne (May 30) there’s a ‘March for Medicare’ @ 5.30pm @ State Library.

See also : “If the rich are happy, who could ask for anything more?” #Budget2014 (May 14, 2014).

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Melissa Hack pleads guilty to conspiracy to murder Lin and Spit

In Las Vegas, Melissa Hack has pleaded guilty to her role in the murder of two skinheads and members of Anti-Racist Action, Lin ‘Spit’ Newborn and Dan Shersty, on July 4, 1998.

Plea deal reveals new details in 1998 slayings of anti-racism activists, Las Vegas Sun, May 23, 2014
Is ‘Polar Bear’ on ice as alleged fellow skinheads face prosecution in 1998 slayings?, Las Vegas Sun, May 15, 2014

See also : RIP Dan & Spit, July 4, 2013

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The appeal of neo-fascism in times of crisis. The experience of CasaPound Italia

Note: ‘CasaPound’ was the online handle adopted by Luke Connors, the former leader of the short-lived Patriotik Yoof Laegue — an attempt by the Australia First Party to develop a yoof cadre. I had an exchange with Luke on my blog back in 2008. See : Scrutinising the religious and political right (Alan Matheson), November 8, 2008.

The appeal of neo-fascism in times of crisis. The experience of CasaPound Italia
Pietro Castelli Gattinaraa, Caterina Froiob & Matteo Albanesec
Fascism, Vol.2, No.2, 2013
CasaPound_2013_PUBLISHED_VERSION

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Protest Australia First Party, Sydney, Saturday, May 24

Update : Sadly, it appears that Blacktown City Council is happy to provide a platform to racists, fascists and neo-Nazis. You can let Council know what you think of their decision to facilitate racial vilification via their Twitter account here and Facebook page here.

Golden Dawn pictures

On Saturday, May 24, some locals in western Sydney have organised to protest a public meeting of the Australia First Party. The meeting features the powerful oratory of Dr James Saleam, the leader of AF; Iggy Gavrilidis, the leader of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn in Australia; and Julie Head. The meeting is taking place at Doonside Community Centre, 38 Hillend Rd, Doonside, NSW 2767; (02) 9839 6000.

doonside

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Anti Antifa Australia, Chris Smith & Volksfront Australia

A number of people have contacted me today expressing concern regarding the publication on the image and video hosting website Photobucket of an album containing photos of various presumed anti-fascists. The collection has been published by ‘anti-antifa’ and promoted on Stormfront.

SmithonSFDU

For anyone who cares, ‘anti-antifa’ is the creation of a neo-Nazi skinhead named Chris Smith. Smith is the leader of a tiny grouplet called Volksfront Australia and sells sea shells by the sea shore neo-Nazi muzak via his distro ‘Heathen Noise’. Formerly based in Sydney, Smith is now in Queensland.

chrissmith

While he elected not to attend the failed rally organised by Australia First in support of Golden Dawn a few weeks ago, Smith is obviously upset at the result, and publishing photos of those who expressed opposition to the rally — along with their partners, friends and children — is seemingly his way of lashing out.

Silly bugger.

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