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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Inanity of the week

Gerard Henderson, the Sydney Morning Herald's resident defender of politician's good judgement, yesterday articulated the real reasons behind increased anti-terrorism measures:

"Agree with them or not, John Howard, premiers Morris Iemma, Steve Bracks, Peter Beattie, Geoff Gallop, Mike Rann and Paul Lennon and chief ministers Jon Stanhope and Clare Martin seem considered politicians who are most unlikely to believe that terrorists hide under falafels on suburban street corners. They decided to support a toughening of Australia's counter-terrorism legislation on the basis of advice tendered by the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation and the Office of National Assessments."

Perhaps Henderson needs reminding of a few political facts. First up, politicians make decisions because they think it will be politically popular, not necessarily because they're just. Simple really, but not for our noble Gerard. Secondly, because our intelligence agencies may have told our political leaders something, doesn't make it true or accurate. Have we forgotten Iraq and WMD? Have we forgotten the recent words of former intelligence officer Lance Collins?

Henderson's innate belief in politicians's good faith is reminiscent of the commentariat during Soviet days. They weren't allowed to criticise the leaders, so they just praised the bravery and nobility of whoever needed their personality greased.

Henderson lives in a quasi-democracy and is presumably under no pressure to write anything - though the funding sources of his think-tank, the Sydney Institute, remain a mystery - and yet he still appears incapable or unwilling to presume governments lie and obfuscate.


Blogger Wombat said...

Gerard Henderson obviously lives in a bubble. One need only look to the way the Patriot Act has been applied in the US to realise that the lack of oversight and accountabiltiy that comes with these draconioan laws innevitably lead to their abbuse. Henderson obviously has never heard of Jose Padialla or Maher Arar. National Security becomes a blanket wall behind which government innptitude, cronyism and negligence reside. Whistle blowers are all but extinct.

The only people these laws serve are those in power.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 4:49:00 am  
Blogger Bernard said...

This Counterpunch article shows who the real targets of 'anti-terror' laws might end up being. Would I really be guessing wrong in saying that ultimately more innocents, environmentalists, dissidents, activists and antiwar campaigners will be harassed and repressed by this legislation than genuine terrorists?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 11:18:00 am  
Blogger Glenn Condell said...

'and yet he still appears incapable or unwilling to presume governments lie and obfuscate'

Ah but Antony, he SEEMS to be a 'considered' commentator who is 'most unlikely' to be swayed by official propaganda, and he is after all employed by Fairfax, so he can't be all that bad, can he?

There's no need for him to 'presume' anything, in fact it's counterprodcutive - he just needs to keep open the channel of doubt, the capacity for skepticism of official narratives. His problem is that he does presume, but his presumption is that the government doesn't lie to us, and even if it does, it has every right to and we should be grateful for it.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 3:14:00 pm  

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