You may remember
the controversy generated last year when US peace activist Scott Parkin
was deported amid fears he was planning to teach local activists
violent protest methods. Parkin’s lawyers were outraged that he was
sent home without being told the official reasons why, but according to
Attorney General Philip Ruddock at the time the information was
classified.

Which is why those following the case were left scratching their heads when The Australian’s
Foreign Affairs Editor Greg Sheridan went on to publish what appeared
to be a well-informed column detailing the alleged reasons Parkin was
arrested and deported.

Now, six months later, Justice Minister
Chris Ellison’s office has confirmed that the AFP is investigating the
source of Sheridan’s story. Greens media adviser Ben Oquist wrote to
the AFP after Sheridan’s front page article appeared on 22 September
last year to ask whether the leak would be investigated. And now
Ellison’s office has confirmed it is. (See here).

Back
in September Sheridan wrote: “Scott Parkin, the US peace activist
deported last week after ASIO deemed him a threat to national security,
had been planning to instruct demonstrators in tactics including
disabling police horses and springing arrested protesters from
custody… It is believed that ASIO learned that at workshops Mr Parkin
was planning to run, such tactics were going to be canvassed. Another
such tactic involves attempting to bring down police horses by throwing
marbles on the ground.”

Oquist told Crikey that it was a huge
concern if Australian intelligence agencies were becoming increasingly
politicised. “(It’s) important that our security agencies aren’t
leaking information in ways that is helpful to the government,” he
said.

Peter Fray

Ending soon: Save up to 50% on a year of Crikey

This extraordinary year is almost at an end. But we know that time waits for no one, and we won’t either. This is the time to get on board with Crikey.

For a limited time only, choose what you pay for a year of Crikey.

Save up to 50% or dig deeper so we can dig deeper.

See you in 2021.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

SAVE 50%