Today’s edition of The Age contains a report on Ciaron O’Reilly’s interrogation by ASIO. Says Ciaron: “I guess my best protection is to be as loud about it as possible… That is why I am saying this has happened to me and not to keep it a secret and not to be embarrassed about it.”
This tactic appears to be working as, aside from The Age / Sydney Morning Herald [Fairfax], Crikey, Catholic News, seven.com.au, ninemsn.com.au and scoop.co.nz — as well as numerous independent media — have reported on this incident. But in a spirited display of the contempt with which he views the Australian public, and for which he has become justly famous:
A spokeswoman for federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said the minister would not discuss the nature of Mr O’Reilly’s interview.”ASIO has no interest in persons undertaking lawful protest activity, but the agency is responsible [for] protecting the Australian community from all forms of politically motivated violence, and that includes violent protest activities,” she said.
The spokeswoman said ASIO often needed to conduct interviews and follow up on leads, and had a range of questioning powers available to it.
The government’s new counter-terrorism framework was not used in this matter, she said.
Intriguiging ‘logic’, this. IF “ASIO has no interest in persons undertaking lawful protest activity”, THEN why take an interest in Ciaron? The fact that ASIO has quite demonstrably ‘taken an interest’ implies that Ciaron belongs to that category of persons ASIO deems to be ‘undertaking unlawful protest activity’. The addition of two qualifying statements from ASIO’s spokesperson adds very little to their case. The first merely — but possibly quite deliberately — confuses the categories of ‘lawful’ and ‘unlawful’ and ‘violent’ and ‘non-violent’; the second is a bland assertion of ASIO’s power (as distinct from authority).
My nuanced interpretation of events? Fuck ’em!
School of the Americas Watch
St. Patrick’s Four
“Meanwhile”, according to Crikey’s report on Ciaron’s interrogation, “Newsweek recently revealed that field reports from the Pentagon’s counter-intelligence unit show that Texas-based peace activist Scott Parkin had been under surveillance from at least June 2004.”