No issue is single just because they say you’re paranoid

As is the nature of teh Interwebs, one thing has lead to another. In this case, police spying on anti-Olympics campaigners in Canada to Australia’s own Maxwell Smarts. Below : Protestors face off with RCMP in order to protect Eagleridge Bluffs. Note that in January 2007, “People across the province were shocked by the 14 day jail sentence handed down to 71 year old native Elder Harriet Nahanee for peacefully protesting while inside an injunction zone at Eagleridge Bluffs. Harriet served 9 days in prison at a maximum security pre-trial facility. She had filed an appeal, but became gravely ill and died shortly after being released from prison.”

Change in activists’ tactics poses serious threat to 2010 Games: analyst
The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — Changing tactics by Canadian activists pose a serious threat to security at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, security analysts say.

The usually fragmented, single-issue groups are converging and organizing in ways never [sic] seen before in Canada, said Tom Quiggan, a former security consultant with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Where there’s usually a lull in protest activity in the years leading up to mega-events like the Olympics, the last year has seen at least 20 violent acts directly connected to the 2010 Games.

“I’m not aware of, nor have I seen in the past, this kind of organization that’s that far advanced this far ahead of the actual event,” Quiggan said.

“There is some commonality of thinking here between anarchist groups, social activists groups that happen to have a violent [sic] agenda and then I see native groups. When you see that kind of convergence coming up, it makes you a little nervous.”

As does any prospect of any real challenge, however limited, to entrenched power and privilege. Such challenges also provide a market for private security firms, subject to even less, albeit largely theoretical, legal constraint than state agencies. One of the major advantages stemming from the use of private agencies, in other words, is their not being subject to the token forms of accountability provided by government oversight.

(In Australia, one of the more notorious examples of such government action occurred on March 15, 1973, when then Attorney-General Lionel Murphy authorised a raid on the Melbourne headquarters of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. Part of the impetus for the raid was ASIO’s refusal to disclose the extent of its support for local Croatian terrorists/freedom fighters, the Ustasha. See also : Jenny Hocking, ‘The State and Terror in the New Era’, Arena magazine, No.56, December 2001–January 2002.)

The article continues:

“One private security company who has worked with [Royal Bank of Canada, a major sponsor] said company officials are well aware of the ongoing threats and are taking extra precautions as a result. “Anti-Olympic activists are taking a page from the protest efforts of animal rights groups, said Michel Juneau Katsuya, a former Canadian Security Intelligence Service agent who now runs a private intelligence firm” (Katsuya is President and CEO of The Northgate Group).

Security officials need to be a step ahead of all of them, said Quiggan.

Direct monitoring of these groups is essential to avert potential disaster, he said, and it appears right now that the security infrastructure in Canada is taking its time putting in place preventative measures to protect the Games.

Quiggan said the appointment in October of Ward Elcock, the former director of CSIS, to the post of head of Olympic Security, was a sign that things weren’t going well and someone was needed to start moving plans along.

“Two years before, a year-and-a-half before, you shouldn’t be planning, you should be doing,” he said.

“You should have sources in the field, you should have agents in the field.”

But Juneau Katsuya said its likely surveillance is already being carried out on activist groups and though the planning might not be obvious, it’s definitely underway.

The challenge, he said, comes from finding a balance.

“More security increases the budget, rather than better security,” he said.

“Better security doesn’t equal automatically more money spent.”

[David Cunningham, spokesperson for the Anti-Poverty Committee] said the change in tactics are a direct response to heavier policing and people are drawn to subversive action out of a feeling that disruption is the only thing that works to effect change.

Note that in August last year, Québec police employed a number of its members to act as agent provocateurs at a protest rally in Montreal. Police also infiltrated previous protests, including an anti-G20 rally in 2003, and an anti-APEC protest in 1997.

ASIO

In Australia, ASIO has been subject to two major reviews: the first from 1974–1977, overseen by Justice Robert Hope. Not unexpectedly, it confirmed the need for a domestic spy agency, while making a series of recommendations intended to render its activities more efficient. The following year, 1978, ASIO was implicated in the Hilton bombing, prompting another review (The Protective Security Review, 1978-79), again overseen by Hope. A third review by Hope was commissioned in 1983, the Royal Commission on Australian Security and Intelligence Agencies, 1983-1984. A subsequent review in 1992, following the end of the Cold War — and therefore the extinguishment of much of the rationale for the Organisation’s existence — recommended a cut of 60 staff and a $3.81 million budget decrease. Following the 9/11 attacks, and subsequent declaration of a War on Terror by George II’s regime, the HoWARd Government oversaw a massive expansion in ASIO’s powers and budget. “We are now fighting a war against terrorism. And in this new war, our safety and security depend almost exclusively on the quality, timeliness and accuracy of our intelligence. Intelligence is no longer a contributing factor – it is the defining and central factor that contributes to military success.” ~ Attorney-General, The Hon Philip Ruddock Opening Address to the Annual Conference, Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers, 2002.

It is not possible to find an exact figure for the increased expenditure on intelligence and security by the Government since 11 September 2001, as intelligence and security responsibilities and activities fall under many categories and agencies. There is, however, no doubt that the Australian intelligence community is experiencing its most significant period of expansion since the Second World War…

ASIO’s appropriation for 2002-2003 was $85.675m. For 2003-04, this appropriation increased to $95.236m…

Since the first review in 2002, the Parliament has passed a large volume of new legislation that affects the functions and powers of Australia’s intelligence and security agencies. These laws include:

* new terrorism offences incorporated in the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995, including provisions for the listing of terrorist organisations;
* the Suppression for the Financing of Terrorism Act 2002;
* new questioning and detention powers in the ASIO Act 1979;
* amendments to the Intelligence Services Act 2001 to authorise ASIS officers to carry and use firearms; and
* new assumed identities provisions in the Crimes Act 1914

In its submission ASIO states that “(r)ecruitment remains one of the agency’s highest priorities”. At one of its lowest staffing levels in 1998, the average staffing level fell to 488. As of February 2004, ASIO’s staff level was around 763. Information supplied by ASIO states that these levels are set to grow to around 900 by June 2005…

Source : Review of administration and expenditure for ASIO, ASIS and DSD No. 3 [PDF], Parliamentary Joint Committee on ASIO, ASIS and DSD, March 7, 2005. In a seemingly inexorable fashion, this expansion has continued. Alan Ramsey, Rich pie in the sky for spies, The Australian, June 10, 2006:

ASIO’s budget, for the year beginning July 1, is $340.6 million, including $113 million for a new ASIO headquarters to be built alongside the AFP’s Anzac Park West building – fairly adjacent, ironically, to the avenue of various memorials to Australia’s 100,000 war dead. Compare the $340.6 million the Howard Government is allocating this coming year to the $55.9 million the Keating Labor government gave ASIO in 1995-96, its last year of office.

Over the Howard Government’s 11 budgets since 1996-97, ASIO’s funding by taxpayers has been: $52.6 million in 1996-97; $52 million in 1997-98; $63.3 million in 1998-99; $64.1 million in 1999-2000; $62.9 million in 2000-01; $73.8 million in 2001-02; $85.7 million in 2002-03; $95.2 million in 2003-04; $152.7 million in 2004-05; $174.8 million in 2005-06; and $340.6 million in 2006-07. Note that ASIO’s funding actually fell in the Government’s first two years of office. Note, too, how it soared once Australia joined the US and Britain in the invasion of Iraq.

According to ASIO itself, “ASIO’s budget increased to $234.8m in 2006-07, up from $181.1m in 2005-06, and is expected to grow to $423.9m by 2010-11”. Note that “In 2006-07, ASIO completed 53,387 visa security assessments and issued adverse assessments in relation to seven individuals seeking entry to Australia. This advice was based on rigorous assessments of the potential threat to Australia’s security of allowing these individuals entry.”

How rigorous?

“Fortress Australia”

Doyle Canning

One person to have been denied a visa was Doyle Canning. Having previously visited Australia in 2000, and participated in preparations for the S11 protests later that year, in July 2002 Canning was denied a subsequent holiday visa, on the basis of her ‘bad character’. Evidence of her essential Bad-ness was contained in a dossier complied by the Department of Immigration, Multicultural, and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA), and referred to as “Attachments A, B, and C”. In order to gain access to these documents, Canning lodged a complaint with the Commonwealth Ombudsman, but apparently DIMIA was advised that these documents could “not be divulged to any person, including the Ombudsman”.

Antonio Negri

In April 2005, Italian Marxist theorist Antonio Negri was scheduled to speak at a conference ‘Physiognomy of Origins: Multiplicities, Bodies and Radical Politics’, hosted by the Research Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (RIHSS) in Sydney. Unfortunately for him, his impending visit came to the attention of revisionist historian Keith Windschuttle, who penned an article for The Australian denouncing Negri as a terrorist. Negri was forced to withdraw from the conference due to ill-health, but University authorities cancelled funding for the conference anyway — just to be safe. (See also : ‘The Physiognomy of Civilisation’, Angela Mitropoulos, Arena magazine, No.76, April–May 2005.)

Scott Parkin

In 2005, ASIO, in close collaboration with US intelligence agencies, arranged for the deportation of peace activist Scott Parkin. Unfortunately for him, Parkin “participated in a protest in Sydney during the Forbes Global CEO conference, organising a piece of street theatre outside the Australian headquarters of Kellog Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton. Halliburton is the giant oil services company with the bulk of the contracts to rebuild Iraq, and was the focus of Scott’s anti-war activism in Houston”:

On Wednesday 7 September, shortly after arriving in Melbourne, Scott received a call, from an anonymous number, on his mobile phone. He found himself speaking to an officer from the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). She told him that ASIO wanted to speak with him about his “activities” in Australia, and asked him to attend an interview…

On the morning of Saturday 10 September, after finishing breakfast at a cafe in Sydney Road, Brunswick, Scott was apprehended by six men – a combination of immigration officials and Australian Federal Police – and told that he was being taken into “questioning detention”.

To cut a long story short, Parkin was deported on September 15, 2005. Since then, Scott and his Friends have been engaged in a legal battle with ASIO and other state authorities in order to determine the reasons for his deportation. Most recently (May 2007), ASIO has admitted that the basis for its adverse findings regarding Scott’s Good-ness was in part the product of US intelligence sources, a fact which authorities had previously denied; in November, the Federal Court ruled that ASIO must disclose documents it used to determine Parkin was Bad. Interestingly, ‘Among the documents ASIO has been ordered to release is a secret 1990 “determination” which sets out the criteria that ASIO applies when assessing security threats related to “politically motivated violence”.’

Bonus!

An ad to spook the recruits, Lara Sinclair, The Australian, April 25, 2008: “ADVERTISING for spies can be a tricky business. Even so, the faceless spooks at ASIO have denied any embarrassment after their online recruitment drive for the next generation of Maxwell Smarts was linked to a photo gallery of Tibetan supporters being manhandled by police during yesterday’s Olympic torch relay. The ad was published on The Sydney Morning Herald‘s website next to photographic coverage of the torch relay. This meant its slogan – “If you want to protect Australia, we’ll pay attention to you” – appeared next to a photo gallery and stories describing how pro-Tibet supporters were hit by “thugs”. ASIO spokesman Geoff – “we don’t give out last names” – said the ad was aimed at people with an interest in national affairs and violent persons need not apply.

See also : Terror trial reality: it’s all just for show, Warwick McFadyen, The Age, May 3, 2008

Conspiracy, a 1994 documentary film about the 1978 Sydney Hilton Hotel Bombing:

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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