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Jul 13, 2012

Why has the Right gone missing on the surveillance state?

When Labor finally unveils a genuine threat to civil rights, its usual critics have fallen silent. Why?


It took a while but Fairfax finally lumbered into action today on the remarkable proposals to dramatically expand government surveillance of Australians that are before the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, editorialising that intelligence agencies needed to explain why they want to retain Australians’ internet data, after its security specialist Dylan Welch had covered the proposals yesterday.

Yesterday the ABC also provided some detailed coverage; every specialist IT outlet had already covered the proposals in detail on Tuesday and Wednesday, after Crikey broke the proposals on Monday afternoon. A quick reprise of the proposals: the government wants to undertake some sensible housekeeping amendments relating to ASIO, the establishing legislation for which is showing some definite whiskers. But the government has also put on the table, for consideration, proposals including:

  • keeping all Australians’ telecommunications and internet data for 2 years;
  • wiretapping Twitter, Facebook and other social media;
  • allowing ASIO to plant material on people’s computers, and destroy material, and go through a third party’s computer to do so;
  • criminalise refusing to cooperate with government decryption attempts, so you could go to gaol for refusing to surrender your password;
  • freeing up ASIO agents to break the law if it helps them stay undercover; and
  • enabling non-ASIO intelligence agencies to work with ASIO to spy on Australians.

News Ltd’s papers, apart from recycling a single AAP piece today, have said nothing, a failure that is thoroughly perplexing. Here is a Labor government proposing draconian extensions to surveillance powers. What better opportunity for the bastion of “campaigning journalism” that loves nothing more than monstering Labor? There isn’t even a need to confect a target for a campaign, as News Ltd did with the BER program And yet… silence. It’s all the more bizarre given the company is in the throes of a furious campaign against the alleged threat of government regulation to freedom of speech.

If News Ltd and its dimwit spear-carriers like Janet Albrechtsen are to be believed, the proposals arising from the Convergence Review and the Finkelstein Inquiry are only one step short of Soviet re-education camps. Yet Labor wheels out a real threat to free speech far more sinister than a mere public interest test — our intelligence agencies, after all, have a sterling record of spying on journalists — and… nothing. How about the Institue of Public Affairs, who can normally be relied on to stand up free speech and attack regulatory overreach… or for that matter regulatory reach full stop? Not a squeak.

The issue was considered unworthy of the institute’s weekly round-up of left-wing outrages. How about Andrew Bolt, who if nothing else is hyper-sensitive to parliamentary threats to free speech, having been the victim of an appalling legal assault on his own? Nothing. Why has the Right gone missing on a clear and present threat to basic rights? Where’s the mistrust of government and readiness to go over the top when we actually need it in response to a clear and present danger? Is it because the issue of online freedom is somehow perceived to be one of the Left, despite its strong libertarian dimensions?

You don’t need to be of any particular political orientation to be offended about these proposals, and offended by the reasoning used to justify them. The justification used in the discussion paper, and it was one repeated by Joint Committee member Andrew Wilkie yesterday, is that our surveillance framework needs to be updated to address the move from the telecommunications to the internet era. That reasoning is, to use my favourite Greinerism, a nonsense.

The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act hasn’t been left gathering dust on the legislative shelf since before the arrival of the internet. It’s been updated regularly in the last decade – more years than not have seen an amendment to that act or an extension of ASIO’s powers in our parliament. In fact, bizarrely, it’s the very frequency with which the acts have been updated that the discussion paper insists is all the more reason for an overhaul (and expansion) of the whole régime (yes, I’ve thought and re-thought through that and I can’t understand it either). The other reason it’s a nonsense is a more subtle one that intelligence agencies and politicians neither want to understand nor will accept.

The proposals to start wiretapping social media use, store your data, control communications infrastructure and lock you up when you won’t cough up the password to your laptop or phone are classic War On The Internet measures. They seek to re-impose analog-era control structures on a world fundamentally altered by interconnectedness. In the analog world of wiretapping telecommunications (which originally was, literally, sticking an alligator clip onto a wire), citizens had virtually no means of communications except a government-controlled telephone system — recall the grand days of dictatorships shutting down phone lines to the outside world at moments of crisis?

There was no network, no connectedness for citizens, because they could never talk to more than one person at a time, making their interaction easy to monitor. That single, controllable piece of copper linking people one at a time has been replaced with a network that connects everyone to everyone else, globally, simultaneously. But governments want to still employ the copper-era control mechanism, as if nothing has changed except the technology.

The technological change is trivial compared to the social change being wrought across the world, which those who were in control in the analog era don’t understand and want to keep at bay. And the urge to keep control and monitor is coupled with an ever-stronger refusal to share information with citizens; governments want a surveillance state for everyone but themselves; they insist on their own right to operate in secrecy. The luxury of redaction is only for governments, not their citizens.

This is far less about being Left or Right than about being wrong, fundamentally wrong, about how our societies and the way we function in them are changing. It’s that change these measures are aimed at stopping and controlling.


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79 thoughts on “Why has the Right gone missing on the surveillance state?

  1. geomac62

    The two year storage requirement reminds me of the recent campaign by the copyright mob . They security people already have laws to monitor and gather data on people they suspect so why do they need wider laws on everyone ? Until there is someone or an independent department watching the watchers there should be no extension of their reach . Even then there is no justification for widening their powers . I,m not sure its about security at all because they have already have laws to do their ” job ” . Copyright ?

  2. fred bill

    it’s as thought they think terrorists (and i’m under no illusion that they actually exist in the manner the state wishes us to think) will post their intention as a facebook update. also some of the predictable partisan comments i’ve seen (even linking the greens into it) are just ridiculous, and to see andrew wilkie is having a go trumpeting this so-called “overhaul”, well lets just say the odds are stacked against them not going through.

  3. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    The two years recording of people’s internet traffic is very worrying if some of what is now legal one day becomes illegal.

    We know that Conroy (and Rudd and Gillard) were originally wanting to block all x-rated content as part of their filter.

    Imagine if one day the government not only banned downloading of such content but also possessing it. The government would then have a record of everyone who had legally viewed the content before the change of law. This could lead to it being deemed that it is reasonable to check the computer of some people to ensure that the newly banned content has been deleted or to prosecute those who have not deleted the the content.

    The Alternative Liberal Party (ALP) have made a fuss recently about “Labor values”. I suspect that one reason The Age took so long to report on this is that they don’t want to criticise Labor (and give an example of current Labor values) just before the Melbourne by-election. The story was only covered today because it had become such a major story that they had to cover it.

  4. The Pav

    Just once , I would like the intelligence industry to prove that the infringements of civol liberty has made me safer than if the pre-existing mechanisms had been left in place.

    I am more concerned about ASIO than the Taliban.

    Shame on the ALP the pary of the Murphy Raid.

  5. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    “Is it because the issue of online freedom is somehow perceived to be one of the Left, despite its strong libertarian dimensions?” Yep. That’s basically it. Free speech for me, but not for thee, says the Right.

  6. Modus Ponens

    Limited News isn’t campaigning on it because they know that the conservatives will back the proposal no questions asked.

    Greens on one side of the House, ALP and tories on the other… a reoccuring motif

  7. David Lilley

    Dear Bernard and others,

    The reason why we hear nothing from many on the right regarding free speech and human rights as laid out in your article is because they actually vehemently believe in the oppression of others’ rights; unless of course it directly affects them (e.g. Andrew Bolt). You only have to look at their track record on Assylum Seekers (or should i say Illegal Immigrants) and workers’ rights to see they don’t much care for anyone who doesn’t see the world their way. So the right will be sitting back scratching their heads as to why Labor is suddenly seeing things their way; ‘the right way’ (pun intended).

  8. Its Business Time

    OK, so what can a lay person do to stop this… Who do we need to contact or is there already an activist site that is fighting this?

  9. lindsayb

    government agents allowed to break laws with impunity, plant “evidence” on “suspects”, gain full access to your computer etc.
    Sounds like the perfect place for a crime boss to set up shop.
    Or a news journalist.

  10. Greg Jones

    The dawning must be awful for people when they wake up that this whole issue is apolitical and nothing to do with Left or Right

    Not a finger lifted by the Liberals, the deafening silence from News Ltd, even Wilkie seems to be giving in, zilch from The IPA….is this Children Of The Corn?

    Draconian security measures are a common thread throughout the whole world and something tells me that if these measures cannot be ushered in through civil, diplomatic methods and political channels, then watch for an event or a series of events of cataclysmic proportions to ensure Job Done. Create the problem provide the fix.

    In this series of articles, Bernard Keane has laid out each case point by point with great context. Tremendous piece.

  11. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    Greg Jones says that this issue is apolitical and ITS BUSINESS TIME asks what can we do?

    Draconian security measures,
    troops still in Afghanistan,
    no gay marriage,
    lower taxes (so less spent on government services),
    only a 5% cut of 2000 emissions by 2020,
    off-shore processing of asylum seekers,
    etc, etc

    are all policies of the Liberal and Alternative Liberal Party (ALP).

    But these are all very political issues because for each the Greens have a significantly different view.

    What can people do?

    Either accept that they are responsible for these policies and continue to vote for the major parties, or vote Green.

  12. Its Business Time

    In the Morning to you all

    Just reading the Discussion paper for the Discussion Paper for the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security “EQUIPPING AUSTRALIA AGAINST EMERGING AND EVOLVING THREATS”

    Who writes this stuff??

    “In recent years terrorism has been an enduring national security threat. The world and our region have suffered numerous major attacks. And significant terrorist plots have been foiled on our soil. ”

    “At least four planned terrorist attacks designed to achieve mass casualties on Australian soil have been thwarted by agencies since 11 September 2001.”

    Yeah, by Obama!

    These people will hide behind protecting our citizens from The Terrorists to justify a direct contravention on Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

    “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. ”

    No Agenda Indeed.

  13. Its Business Time

    MWH, there has to be something WAAAY less radical than voting for the greens. People need to write to the local MP and say no! This is not acceptable.

  14. Greg Jones


    A slight overlap of issues there Michael.

    It’s apolitical because the ALP is pushing it and the Liberals are not opposing it. It’s the deja vu of bipartisanship again, perhaps a tripartisanship if we include the MSM. Not Fairfax on this occasion, but as one poster already mentioned, only because they were embarrassed into it.

    So, if it is apolitical in that sense…what external force is driving it? Already knowing the answer to the question before asking the question can be problematic and also a health hazard.

  15. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    ITS BUSINESS TIME – Given the list of issues I wrote in my last post (and I could add more) I think it reasonable to say that it is the main parties who are radical and extremist, and in fact it is the Greens who are closest to the average of how the other OECD countries do things.

    Just admit that you are part of the problem, not just on security issues, but on all the other issues as well. And then be pleased that you get what you voted for.

  16. Owen Gary


    Problem is what proportion of the community are actually really tuned into these things instead of “My Kitchen rules” or “The Block” or whatever crapola that is put in front of them.

    9/11 done half the job so we are not far off from the next so called “Terrorist Attack” to take our civil rights & liberties away all in the name of protecting us. I wouldnt be surprised if it happened at the Olympics just to get that kind of “Wallop Exposure” or “shock & awe effect”

    Check the bottom story out on here & click on the video link someone has left to the Libor scandal which is really what this current system is a “PONZY’ controllled by the global banking system, & governed by those “elite crooks” we all know of but who’s names remain anonymous.
    It just so happens as print is dying you get talk of NBN filters & surveilance of the world community which ihas already happened but they just wanna make it official.

    Rupert Murdoch’s annus horribilis: 12 months of tabloid scandal

  17. Its Business Time

    Michael Michael Michael.. this is soo much bigger than the lackey Major and Minor Australian political parties… this is Agenda 21 stuff, BUT people can still have their voices heard by ensuring their local MP is aware that this is not on…

  18. Owen Gary

    In times shortly ahead people will be threatened just for posting remarks about our financial masters!!!

  19. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    @ IBT – My first post makes clear that I think that the so called security measures might end up being much worse than most people fear.

    But even so, I think a good case can be made that many other issues are much more important.

    Just to take two examples – our troops are dying and being badly injured in Afghanistan. And Labor’s inaction on climate change is likely to be the only thing that people remember about this time in a hundred years or so.

    @Owen Gary – you are right. Most people are sheep and will continue to support our tag-team dictatorship.

  20. The Pav

    I’ve just rung my local member to express my disquiet.

    The lady who took my call was very nice.

    My MP doesn’t believe in climate change but I hope he represents my interests on this.

    I live in hope

  21. Ronson Dalby

    9/11 was really a wet dream for “intelligence” agencies in the US, UK and Australia allowing them to get powers that would’ve been unimaginable prior to the towers coming down.

    I’m getting on now so perhaps none of this stuff will affect me but I really fear for nation that the ALP & LNP are creating for my children and grandchildren.

    I wish my father was still around. I would love to ask his opinion on today’s Australia and whether his WWII time in New Guinea and suffering for many years afterwards, and early death as a result, has to led to a country that he is proud of.

  22. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    We live in a country where the cook on an asylum seeker’s boat is ‘jailed’ here for 18 months, even though it was probably very clear from early on that he had been tricked into becoming part of the crew.

    But that is ok because ‘people smugglers’ are so evil that they deserve such punishment.

    Yet the issue that seems to fire people up is that their internet records might be kept for two years.

  23. j.oneill

    It is curious that it has taken this latest proposed assault on our liberties to awaken some concerned comment. In the aftermath of 9/11 there was a barrage of repressive legislation passed by the Howard government, fully supported by Labor. This latest set of proposals is only a continuation of that pattern and we have only ourselves to blame. We have allowed the official myth about 9/11 to dominate the media landscape despite the overwhelming evidence that it was perpetrated by elements within the US itself. One of the major reasons for 9/11 was to provide a justification for the so-called war on terror which is nothing m ore than a naked power grab for increasingly scarce resources, the pursuit of full spectrum dominance, and the control of the. Media to prevent an alternative narrative e merging that would challenge this trend.

    And before the usual suspects accuse me of being a US hating conspiracy theorist I suggest they take the time to read official US policy papers such as the 2002 Defebce Review, or the 2000 PNAC document in which these ambitions are all set out with that combination of arrogance, hubris and ignorance that is characteristic of American foreign policy.

  24. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    @Ronson Dalby – I thought that the reason that your father fought in New Guinea was so that our flag would never change.

  25. Greg Jones

    ITS BUSINESS TIME …you are correct. These lackey and minor political parties just complete the charade for their Minders. The illusion of Left verses Right. The Minders for their part, just bank on peoples ignorance to lobby their elected politicians to something about it, and if they do, that politician representing his or her electorate will be villified, set up, or disgraced in some manner by their condutes the MSM.

  26. Greg Jones

    MWH…please stay focused on the ” immediate ” issue.

  27. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    It is almost certain that if the FBI people assigned to assist the CIA had been allowed to tell the FBI that very suspect people were entering the US (at which time the CIA stopped their surveillance) then the FBI would have known who to watch and 9/11 would not have happened.

    Conspiracy or not, 9/11 was definitely the result of a stuff up in intelligence.

  28. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    @Greg Jones – As I see it the immediate issue is that people like you continue to support the major parties.

    We all know what the Liberals did when Howard was in power. We all know that Labor is no different.

    So stop acting surprised when you get what you voted for.

  29. lindsayb

    This also dovetails quite neatly into our government’s response to the wikileaks/assange situation. The powers-that-be seem to hate us questioning their authority and exposing their moral decrepitude more than killing or stealing from each other.
    As noted above, the Greens are the only political voice raised against this agenda, with a bipartisanship normally reserved only for payrises seen from the liblabs.

  30. Greg Jones

    ( Conspiracy or not, 9/11 was definitely the result of a stuff up in intelligence. )

    That’s what they want you to think. That was plan “B ” ..more like the creme dela creme of joint CIA and Mossad intelligence operations.

    (So stop acting surprised when you get what you voted for.)

    Me surprised?..hahahaha.

  31. Its Business Time

    MWH, Oh you are so right… the Terrorists, the Terrorists… we need Hillary Clip-pity Clop Clinton to save us all…

    Quick… Better pass drone laws as well to allow autonomous drones to roam our skies and keep us all safe…

  32. The Pav

    Dear Lindsayb

    I was greatly disappointed with the PM’s response to Wikileaks ( BTW has anybody suffered except embarrassment).

    I have a theory and it does not reflect well on the ALP.

    Their instinct is to oppose but they ar scared of being seen as soft on national security by the tabloids.

    Can you imagine what Abbott’s slavering would have been if Gillard had said about Wileleaks that it was no biggies ( and so far it hasn’t been). Jone, Bolt and that rat pack would have gone mental.

    Under pressure and fighting on so many fronts she went with the flow. As a I sat disappointing. Good policy is good politics,

    I have ofetn felt that Beazley ( an essentially decent man) feel into the same trap on boat arrivals/Tampa.

    He saw how succesful Howard had been in appealing to the baser nature of the electorate and lacked the courage/commitment to hold to his & what should have been his party’s values

    Had he done so I reckon he would have been able to ride it out and would have won. The debate we now have would be totally different because he abandoned principal.

    The Right is quite good in manouvering the ALP in to these lose /lose positions and it takes more guts than has been demonstrated to date by the ALP to resist the trap.

    It makes it an unfortunate choice for us.

    A party with no ethics or a party with ethics but only occaisionally the courgae to stick to them.

    The Greens have the advantage that the people they appeal to will never give thme govt so they never have to worry about losing power outright but their constituency will, usually deliver the balance of power.

  33. Greg Jones

    Many people once held out hope that the Greens could provide some relief from this nauseous
    two party conjob system, I was one. But I am afraid that Clive Palmer may have thrown something more than just a damp squid at the wall. They are looking more like controlled opposition.

  34. Owen Gary

    @Greg Jones’

    This is part & parcel of the immediate issue an SB type of distraction won’t work mate.

    I seen through the Labor/Liberal Collusion 19 years ago, they both answer to “their masters voice$$” & whilst there is this divide & conquer mentality happening in the community by the major parties, people are still fighting amongst themselves, if you yourself focus on the end game or prize you will know where all this is heading.

    There will be a major event this year & both parties will use it to dupe the community once again. The financial cartel that governs all has both parties safely in it’s back pocket. If people cant see that 9/11 was a stitch-up they are living in denial.

    Thats what all this surveillance nonsense is a deterrent against citizens that are fast waking up.

  35. Greg Jones

    @Owen Gary

    [ Libor scandal which is really what this current system is a “PONZY’ controllled by the global banking system, & governed by those “elite crooks” we all know of but who’s names remain anonymous.]

    Shssh!…don’t tell anyone.

  36. Greg Jones

    Owen? are you having a crack at me about something? I agree with you. Are you trying to tell me something? What can you tell me?

    Here is a classic example of absolute agenda driven journalism. Last night on Sky News, they interviewed some “actor “or hired hand, ( clown ) who claimed to be an employee at Heathrow Airport.

    He was heavily disguised to hide his identity ( as they always are ) prattled on about how lax security was at the airport and explained how anyone could walk a bomb through their systems and that he was very concerned that security for the Olympic games was utterly inadequate and they really needed to do something about it.

    It was a carefully scripted and dishonest conjob using scare tactics to justify even tougher security measures and inflict even more pain on travellers and create an atmosphere of fear and loathing….it was all bullshit.

  37. Greg Jones

    …oh, I just got it…Clive Palmer?…because i mention that name, all of a sudden you lump me with SB and try and pin the “Rightist “thing on me.

    FFSake! mate…leave it alone and don’t be so utterly stupid.

    Don’t you understand that sometimes even the wicked ones will throw a gem out there to suit some more obscure agenda, like when their own step out of hand. Too complex for you? I thought so.

  38. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    @Greg Jones – I did’t undersand your reference to Clive Palmer earlier, and how Palmer related to The Greens.

  39. Greg Jones

    It was the CIA thing..do you get it now?.. hello…like hellooooooo!!! So, was that an apology? It better be or like a jilted lover I am joining the Foreign Legion.;-)

  40. Venise Alstergren

    MWH: Yes, most people are sheep. Which is just the way our politicians, journalists and media owners want it to be. You don’t want to have television viewing programmed do you? On commercial television we (our company XYZ) spend squillions on arranging a collection of ads together, with artistry and finesse, then, and only then do we commission a film company to make a reality show which has to fit into the empty spaces.

    Haven’t you noticed all the empty space given to the arts and culture crowd to have their museums and art galleries? All to leave old ruined buildings just lying on a site that could be priceless for redevelopment, or for building a few more footy fields. Occasionally governments get it right as in the ripping apart a public park in order for a little bloke from England to play with his toy racing cars. Our city, Melbourne takes pride and joy in running the Grand Prix at a permanent, and hideously expensive, loss, year after year, after year. This is what the sheep want. Now who are we to quibble with this wisdom? If Australia wanted more intellectuals God would have provided them.

  41. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    I thought that it had been made clear that Palmer said that the Greens were part of a CIA plot because he knew it would get lots of press and would act as a distraction for something else. Give the guy credit – it worked.

    You are not seriously suggesting that the CIA are linked with the Greens are you?

  42. The Pav

    If they use all this security/date collection/spying etc to nail the corporate crooks ( LIBOR any one) then perhaps I could be persuaded.

    Let’s face it high echelon corporate crime/insider trading/ stock rigging/Ponzi scheme?GFC fraudsters etc are a far greater threat to our society then the Taliban or Al Queda etc.

    These crooks are the true terrorists yet I notice they don’t plan to bring them to book yet for the sake of Laura Norder in NSW they’re willing to jail a simpleton who hangs out with his few ( not much smarter) mates. A collective gang that would have the wit to ousmart a toilet brush and as conspirators would struggle to operate a phone

  43. Greg Jones

    Who made it clear?

    (I thought that it had been made clear that Palmer said that the Greens were part of a CIA plot because he knew it would get lots of press and would act as a distraction for something else)

    I find it interesting that you buy that.

    I said the “Greens were looking more like controlled opposition” ..nothing else.

  44. Greg Jones

    ( A collective gang that would have the wit to ousmart a toilet brush and as conspirators would struggle to operate a phone.)

    Bali, anyone?

  45. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    Palmer admitted it later on.

    I’m not sure why your are posting if you are not willing to tell us what you believe.

    People may not agree with my posts, but at least I try to make it clear what I think and why.

  46. Greg Jones

    ( Palmer admitted it later on.)

    Ok then, that settles it…smggggffft.

  47. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    If Greg Jones has ‘unconventional’ views then it would be fairly easy for him to just tell us what he believes. At least we would all know where he stands.

    But it seems that he is just playing with us. – he is another troll.

    Just when I find a thread without SB or FC we get GJ 🙁

  48. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    If Greg Jones has ‘unconventional’ views then it would be fairly easy for him to just tell us what he believes. At least we would all know where he stands.

    But it seems that he is just playing with us. – he is another troll.

    Just when I find a thread without SB or FC we get GJ.

  49. Owen Gary

    @Greg Jones,

    “Greens were looking more like controlled opposition”

    A pretty dumb statement from someone of your vastly superior intellect wouldn’t you say??

  50. Owen Gary


    The picture is becoming clearer, if you put the initials of the “general trolls” together with the new interlopers it will be a anagram that represents something dumber than the sum of all of them.

  51. AR

    Back on the topic – why Mudorc’s rags haven’t jumped up & down – I agree that it is simply that the greater control there is of the lumpen, the better for busine$$.
    However there is also the fact that when such control of data banks is centralised and linked, it’ll be so much easier to to do the controlling by the odd ‘protected’ leak.

  52. Saint Mark

    These surveillance-state proposals are getting traction because the major parties are weak, not strong. Neither is willing to have a bomb go off on their watch, and the permanent Government of career spooks warn them that unless we get rid of those old-fashioned pesky freedoms, then the pollies will take the blame if anything goes “bang”.

    Weak, cowardly politicians are the problem. I’d suggest it’s a consequence of pre-selecting party hacks, and a 24/7 hate media attacking from the Right.

  53. Greg Jones

    @Owen Gary

    I would really like for you to explain to me why that is a dumb statement. Your answer should tell me quite a bit.

  54. Greg Jones

    (something dumber than the sum of all of them.)

    Well looky here now…he’s discovered gematria. Owen, you are coming on just so peachy, honestly, you are. Yes I know you owen Gary, but hey!…what are friends forrrrr?!?!hahahahahahheheheLoL!!bwaaahhhahahahbwooooah

    (But it seems that he is just playing with us. – he is another troll.)

    oh, I can’t even be bothered answering that one, I am still thinking about the other one..booowahhhhhhahahahahehehehhahaha.

  55. Greg Jones

    [Let’s face it high echelon corporate crime/insider trading/ stock rigging/Ponzi scheme?GFC fraudsters etc are a far greater threat to our society then the Taliban or Al Queda etc.]

    Amen to that Pav.

  56. jeebus

    Because neo-conservatives have taken over the right, and their ideology is little more than authoritarian fascism.

    The only rights they care about are property rights.

    The only freedoms they care about are economic freedoms.

    The only responsibilities they care about are whatever is in their own selfish interest.

  57. Frank Campbell

    ASIO: a history littered with farce, incompetence, rank political bias. ASIO was then turbo-charged by US paranoia, thanks to 9/11.

    ASIO is much bigger and more intrusive than ever.

    Trust Gillard to (apparently) support ASIO’s new Orwellian demands.

    ASIO must be stopped. Subverted, exposed and above all ridiculed.

    Remember that Gillard instantly branded Assange a criminal.

  58. Owen Gary

    @Frank Ramble,

    I wonder if your mate Tony is going to block these proposals?

    Both parties are out to lunch on this one, but this is Conservative ideology right down to the boot straps.

  59. geomac62

    Frank is correct about ASIO and its history of farce and political bias . Take its acceptance of advice from SriLanka about refugees that have fled from country as a prime example . It would appear that there is no thinking of the fact that SriLanka would prefer Tamils no matter what their standing remain under the boot than a chance at a new life . A prosperous Tamil might donate to an organisation that wants equal status for those left behind in the home country . It should be remembered that the hostilities kicked off after the pogrom like rampage of Tamil cities and no legal penalties for the offenders . In a similar vein a serb or was it croatian training camp was only discovered after it was basically over and that was more by the media than ASIO .

  60. freshly cut grass

    Labor has put some of the most disgraceful surveillance proposals on the table and the Libs/Nats don’t say a thing? That’s an even bigger disgrace.

    I’ll say again there both major parties are more alike than not. Their difference are amplified for ongoing commentary and debate, but their intentions for the most part are the same, just different timing and priorities listed differently.

    And I’ll say it again, we need a Ron Paul equivalent in Australia to stand up to the major parties and show them for what they are: thugs, parasites and an embarrassment.

  61. Karen

    The far Right (and Left) have always ideologically supported State surveillance and control of the populace, especially perceived ideological enemies.

    This, in my view, is why the current crop of far Right-wing journalist spear chuckers in our country are quiet on the internet surveillance proposals. And when ASIO is seen as a right-wing institution which is more concerned about tracking the activities of perceived Left wing thinkers/activists than anyone else, this issue is seen even more as a Left wing/libertarian concern.

    Of course, the hypocrisy of the Right’s position shouldn’t be lost on anyone here. Freedom from censorship, surveillance and control is seen by the Right as a privilege only to be enjoyed by the political and especially economic elites in this country.

  62. Karen

    I wouldn’t mind betting that ASIO routinely trawls through this website, if not conducts checks on its contributors.

  63. Marty


    Exactly. For all their talk about freedom, the right, especially including the ‘libertarians’ care only about defending the strong against the weak. This is what comes from drawing all parliamentarians from a political class, how many MPs were not in student politics? How many have held a job outside of political office or support? The breadth and depth of experience and philosophy from either of the two main parties is sorely lacking.

  64. Gary Johnson

    (Both parties are out to lunch on this one, but this is Conservative ideology right down to the boot straps.)

    Because both sides of Australian politics support increased surveillance laws, then it’s Sabbatean ideology, being expressed through the politics of which ever party can serve their masters and do it best and remain in office the longest.

    Draconian surveillance laws are just part of the plan in their great quest to usher in Global Governance and total control over every nation, tongue and soul on earth.

    Regardless of who is in power in Australia, America or any other Western Nation, there is an unseen government working behind the scenes to ensure the NWO blueprint is firmly overlaid on all major policy and decision making.

    As individuals, you won’t necessarily find them in the top positions, you can, but more often you find them as policy and political advisers, lobbyists, Judiciary, joint committees, steering committees, middle and high ranking bureaucrats, finance and banking, film and television, private and govt Think Tanks etc etc.

    You can connect the dots with them very easily. They may belong to different “interest ” groups and have a different fascade but in secret they are all committed to the Master Plan.

    When it comes Film and Television, it may come as no coincidence, that Hollywood takes it’s name from the ancient Druid and Pagan magic wand, known as the ” Holly”. It was made from the Holly Oak Tree and used to cast spells over people and control situations. Funny today that Hollywood is the creator and exporter of indoctrination, propaganda, and the casting of spells to influence the masses from all nations.

    This Global Master Plan is a juggernaut and it’s rolling. But it rolls ever so slowly, because if they tried to usher it in too quickly the masses would realise the nature of the situation and respond rapidly and put it down. By ushering it in slowly, they turn the screws one bit at a time and we don’t notice the tension until it’s too late.

  65. Mike Shaw

    It must have been an oversight Gary, that you did n’t include Religion, Media and Corporatocracy.

  66. Mal White

    @Gary Johnson

    When “ancient Druid and Pagan magic” enter the debate it starts to get interesting.

    If Hollywood really does cast spells, can they undo whatever they have done to our politicians in Canberra.
    You are either a very funny comedian or someone who has had one two many of those special mushrooms.

  67. Owen Gary


    As a precentage of population how many would hazard a guess are awake to this??

  68. Madonna

    First thanks for your article Bernard.
    Interesting perspectives here drawn from your own scope of knowledge, opinions and expertise.
    The feeling I get from the above comments basically stems from a lack of (? trust) in the government and agencies to do the right thing.
    This perception runs counterproductive according to your values, based on what you perceive to be true for you here and now.
    All are valid points. Decisions which impact on our sense of freedom need to be questioned.
    Consider there may be other variables to add to the conversation.
    What if there was a terrorist attack affecting you or your loved ones directly (? fear).
    Would your views remain the same, or would they evolve to form a new or alternative perspective and understanding?
    Factor into the equation ASIO do have Intel outside the public arena.
    If these laws become statutory they also apply to Politicians, is that comforting?
    The extension of surveillance laws is a very topical debate.
    Will Australians who oppose these new proposals actually become proactive in preventing their implementation?
    Or like one comment remain sheep – where only sport sparks interest.

  69. PeterY

    I am always perplexed about why parties in a democracy would even think about doing this. Labor isn’t the first or last. Don’t they ask themselves the question, “What will our opponents do with these powers when they win an election?” Do they trust each other enough to believe they wouldn’t do anything reprehensible? I doubt it; the whole thing smacks of stupidity masquerading as cunning.

  70. Mike Shaw

    Just read on the SMH that Crikey has been hacked. Is it true? Can anyone here throw some light on it?

  71. purcell kate

    I guess it’s true Mike….

    Which begs the question – could not the govt. site also get hacked?

  72. Owen Gary

    As Greg correctly points out above, we are seeing diminishing freedoms worldwide as the NWO slowly puts it’s plans into place, quite obvious really but not many people want to acknowledge this & play a denial game because they fear it.

    Surveillance of every man woman & child on the planet & our so called leaders are happy to play along with this??

    the thing to remember here is they fear us more by risking the adoption of these Draconian measures. How many times have we seen a group raided & accused of terrorist activities on the box, are they really terrorists or just a group of people trying to hold on to our rights by resisting these (laws)?

    I’m surprised the public haven’t publicly arrested our pollies under the statute in the Magna Carta that is the right of “Lawful Rebellion” in the face of oppression & the principle to what our democracy was founded on.

    I wonder how much further down this track we travel before there is a reaction??

  73. fractious


    The technological change is trivial compared to the social change being wrought across the world, which those who were in control in the analog era don’t understand and want to keep at bay.

    That’s the nub of it here, in the US and elsewhere – the interweb (and especially those networks that spread short snippets of critical info very very quickly to a huge international audience) scares the willies out of those government organisations and their multinational employers who want to control it, for whatever reason (political, economic). Even though I will not join Farcebook or Tw@tter, I readily acknowledge their utility and political power.

    And the urge to keep control and monitor is coupled with an ever-stronger refusal to share information with citizens; governments want a surveillance state for everyone but themselves; they insist on their own right to operate in secrecy. The luxury of redaction is only for governments, not their citizens.

    Nearly but not quite. It’s not simply governments but additionally (and more importantly) the Big Business interests that either run them (so-called “developing nations”) or dictate their policies (OECD nations and their so-called “democratically elected governments”). IOW follow the money.

  74. Owen Gary

    Why has my earlier post been moderated Bernard??

  75. AR

    St Mark, Madonna & others – Hilton bomb anyone? Long known to have been a black ops gone wrong (it was not “live” but the garbage truck compactor ignited the detonator, which did what detonators are meant to do, set off the main charge.
    It was one of the main reasons NSW Speshal Branch, as repellent a bunch of drunks, crooks & incompetents as could be found in a single space, was disbanded.
    Unfortunately, their entire data base was passed to Keelty’s Keystone cops, the AFP.

  76. Greg Jones

    **Owen Gary -I wouldnt be surprised if it happened at the Olympics just to get that kind of “Wallop Exposure” or “shock & awe effect”**

    I thought it was too obvious to mention, except that there has been an unusual amount of hype
    on the blogisphere which makes me suspicious for one of their classic false alarms, but it could certainly be on the cards.

  77. fractious

    “Why has my earlier post been moderated Bernard??”


  78. Hamis Hill

    Why does Gary Johnson have to be on drugs to mention Hollywood and mind-control?
    As for the casting of spells, the word “Glamour” usually associated with Hollywood is not an English word. It is a Scottish word indicating that those so affected are under a “spell”.
    William Sargant in his book “Battle For The Mind” explains how that religious group peddling the paranoia about druids and such are quite capable of casting their own “Spells”.
    An interesting book, published at the beginning of the Cold War in response to to “Brainwashed” POWs returned from the Korean War. Subsequently suspressed, but in need of wider reading now that said Cold War is over. What no-one interested?

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