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THE DREYFUS CASE August 16, 2013

Posted by wmmbb in Australian Politics, Democracy.

Mark Dreyfus, Attorney-General of the Caretaker Government, has declared that neither Bradley Manning or Edward Snowden are whistle-blowers.

Dlmiter reported the comments of the Attorney-General, the chief law officer of the Government and rebuttals from other parties, but not the Coalition. The full speech is available in PDF. He asserts categorically that neither Manning or Snowden could be whistle-blowers because neither of them identified wrong doing. What should give pause, is that cognitive dissonance is also a malady of those who hold high office. Consequently, we should be giving careful, critical appraisal of our relationship with the United States, particularly the institutional structures that have been established, such as the NSA.

As Senator Ludlum observed such a conclusion “beggars belief”. He went on to say:

“If the Attorney-General believes, as he stated today, that the operation of the [NSA] PRISM surveillance system does not constitute ‘wrongdoing’ – then it bodes badly for Australia. If the Attorney-General believes Bradley Manning did not reveal ‘wrongdoing’, then what does it take before someone is permitted to blow the whistle?” asked Ludlam.

“Labor’s pursuit – with the full support of the Coalition – of greater powers to spy on Australians is a genuine threat to our civil liberties. Mr Dreyfus points out that just over 2000 convictions were achieved in 2011-12 based on evidence from telecommunications interceptions, while failing to mention that in that year law enforcement agencies – not including ASIO – made 293,501 requests for telecommunications data, without a warrant or any judicial oversight. That’s almost 300,000 warrantless requests for data, and barely more than 2000 convictions. Yet Labor seeks to increase the power to spy,.”

“It is interesting that the Attorney-General says he assumes ‘from the virtual silence from the Coalition that they approve of the Federal Labor’s current policy settings’. He’s quite right – the Coalition and Labor are in lockstep on this, and both marching in a dangerous direction.”

And it seems, the Pirate Party – whoever they may be – also gets into the act. NSW Senate candidate, Brendon Molloy observed:

Oversight with regard to the exercise of broad censorship and surveillance powers among Australia and its allies is frankly appalling,” Molloy said. “Even if the activities were strictly speaking legal, exposing bad laws for what they are, or how they have been misinterpreted and abused is a necessary function of democratic discourse. Existing oversight, despite what the Attorney-General claims, is not good enough, and it is laughable to suggest that the Americans must seek ministerial authorisation before spying on Australians. As the exposure of the PRISM program shows, the United States has a total lack of respect for compliance with any privacy expectations, be they American, Australian or any other country anywhere in the world.”

So was Bradley Manning a whistleblower? That defence was denied by the military judge, raising questions about due process, and his constitutional rights. Al Jazeera gives a comprehensive background on the Manning Case prior to the military trial decisions:

It can be observed that there is a bipartisan consensus between the major parties of questions of national security and secrecy, which might be seen as the pre-conditions for the development of a deep state, or rather and more accurately the embodiment within the American national security deep state.This enmeshment represents a profound danger to both democracy and civil liberties.And it is interesting that these issues have been brought to light by the revelations of Edward Snowden. For example, we have witnessed the head of the NSA lying to Congress. This state of affairs by its nature and operation encourages misinformation and manipulation of information encouraging, for example, the politics of fear. If we imagine that we are immune from such dangers, let us reflect, less us reflect that under the aegis of marginal seat campaigning and wedge politics, both major parties are competing to be crueler and scapegoat refugees. Mark Dreyfus presumably is equally dismissive of these implications.

(The title is reference to a late Nineteenth, early Twentieth century trial for treason in France.)



1. aboriginalpress - August 16, 2013

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