Thursday, November 24, 2005

Twatwatch Comeback - 24 November

Mr Downer said the government would be very concerned if Mr Habib had been tortured, but Egypt had denied that was the case and Australian authorities had not found any evidence to prove otherwise.

"It's hard to establish one way or another," he said.

"If we can't establish those claims there is not much more we can do.

"Probably there is not much you could do about it anyway."

Nice sentiments from our foreign minister, making sure us Ozzies are not being tortured on their way to being taken to the US, sorry, Gitmo (which is a legal quirk all by itself).

See the SMH article here

Habib was taken in Pakistan. We know this because one of our dipos reported this. He was then taken to Gitmo via Egypt. What did our government do? Nothing. Why? Because Habib was an angry muslim with some mental issues (he had AVOs against a bunch of people), that the yanks were convinced was a player in the old AQ. Therefore he did not meet the all important 'character test' to receive our diplomatic efforts on his behalf.

If Habib was such a player, why did the yanks let him go? Of course here he's still a figure of "interest". And when these lovely anti-terror laws come in ASIO won't need to sic a junior trainee to follow him around. They'll be able to monitor him from the electronic cuff they place on his leg.

F_ck me, I hope there's no one I know who gets messed with overseas and requires help from the government.

Such as Robert Jovic. See here. He's a junkie ex crim with a lengthy criminal record. He's also lived in Australia since he was two. After doing his time Ruddock sent him to live in Serbia, where his parents came from (even though Jovic was born in France). Jovic doesn't speak the language. Furthermore the Serbs have not recognised his identity and he can't get identity papers. As a result he is living on the streets near the Oz embassy.

This government does not give a shit about him. Why would they? He's someone they can cut from society because they can. Not because it was right to do. Because he has a criminal record and has a failed 'character'.


I joined Amnesty today. F_ck the government and their offensive anti-humanity platform. I'm just waiting for the day when they start staffing DIMIA with cyborgs with their emotion chips removed.


Oh whoops. I mixed up my Australian's booted overseas. That's Vivian Alvarez...


  1. Perhaps the problem with Jovic is he only spent just over 94% of his life here, not that extra 5 and a bit%. Those 2 years where he was soiling himself and needed to be hand fed, that's all that matters.

    Isn't this illegal? Rendering people stateless?

    Good for you for joining Amnesty.

  2. I concur that Jovicic was a case needing ministerial intervention. He wasn't born in Serbia and despite both his and his parents' oversight - which one can only assume is intentional, the cost/benefit of citizenship being what it is - without Australia there's no country in the world likely to take him in. Kicking him out in those circumstances is heartless.

    That said what happened to him wasn't illegal. He was here for 35 years and didn't apply for citizenship till he was 29, by which time his criminal record already barred him from obtaining it. He remained, legally, a visitor whose right to stay could be revoked.

    The system that expels foreign crooks is by and large is a good one - allowing that in any system there will be cases where circumstances mandate the intervention of a human being. Legal procedures after all are just like big machines which process humans. Most humans go through them like letters through the post, just fine. A few are odd-shaped or badly addressed and need a human to handle their case.

    In general, a person who comes to Australia, elects not to obtain citizenship, and over the years of their guest residency is convicted of a crime resulting in a sentence of 6 months' imprisonment or more, IMHO should be expelled back to their country of origin. It's just that for Jovicic there is no country of origin, not really. So here the system needs to be tempered by a merciful human hand... which seems to have been lacking.

    PS Amnesty does good work, no doubt. Sadly in recent years their good work has been marred IMHO by their political views. I'd like to see an Amnesty statement detailing human rights abuses by the USA and Australia... after detailing the human rights abuses by countries who are higher on the list of repressive nations. Global human rights is too important a cause for those seeking it to be distracted by the desire to bring down democratic leaders they don't like.

  3. RE The Amnesty political thing.

    I think Amnesty takes their stance because they are A) concerned about the path some western countries are taking that lessens respect for human rights and B) in western countries this path can be prevented by a change at the ballot box.

    It's a lot easier to galvanise outraged left leaning westerners to vote out their democractically elected governments than it is to change the minds of despots and tyrants who have little worries about what Amnesty can do to them save perhaps in applying political pressure to countries that trade with them.

    As for the Jovic case, Ruddock met frequently with so called migrant agents spruiking on behalf of people to stay in Australia. Agents that donated heavily to his and other liberal parties campaigns. As you said this is someone that needed compassion despite a run of crappy actions on their part.

    It is of course a shame they lacked the ability to kick 40k the Liberal's way for the all important five minutes of the Minister's time to read the file.

    The Liberal's management of the immigration system has been politicised by them. So they have to expect to take heat from people like Amnesty that call it for what it is. So I guess in that sense it is the pot calling the kettle black for the Liberal party to complain about Amnesty complaining about them, when the Liberals used human misery in the form of their dog whistling election posters in the 2001 election.

    Remember Ruddock getting wolf whistles at Liberal gatherings? It wasn't for his balanced humane approach to refugees and migrants. It was sending 300 million dollar naval vessels to drive away refugees who, if they take any jobs at all, it's the shitty ones like carcass boning and fruit picking us non backpacking whiteys won't touch with a dustless stick.

  4. I don't think Amnesty aims to 'bring down democratically elected leaders' they don't like: I think that they aim to avoid looking like hypocrites, and thus lose credibility. How would it look if they ignored things like Abu Graib but continued to publicise human rights abuses by, say, Uzbekistan or North Korea?

  5. That's a fair point. After-all Oz is hardly in a position to criticise other countries when we bang up 10 times the ratio of indigeneous Australians as we do whitey...

    ... mind you that's because whitey has all the money and have not been forced into a role of fringe dweller for 100's of years like our aboriginal brethren.

  6. Sarah, I think you're right - AI can't afford *not* to comment on human rights abuses in the west. HR abuses in the west make for big press, and AI can't be seen not to be taking a stand on those issues.

    OTOH I don't think they're concerned about the possibility of looking like hypocrites, particularly. They may perhaps be playing to their support base - not too many people frankly give a rat's arse about North Korea or its labour camps, but you can bet there's a ton of people interested in the Gitmo and Abu Graib cases. But that's what smart organisations do, play to their stakeholders' concerns.

    I do think AI could do more about countries like North Korea, though. Raising public awareness would solidify electoral support for government or UN initiatives which might actually achieve something.

    Good point about the disproportionate rate of aboriginal prison inmates, Harrangueman. What would you suggest? I presume you don't support maintaining the status quo. And I presume you don't support a revolving-door policy on criminals, black white or otherwise. And I presume you don't support a policy which discriminates against any group based on their colour or ethnicity. Except maybe whites, of course - those guys have it coming for what they done.

    Aboriginal poverty, health, crime rates, and education are a scandal in this country. People have been trying to fix it for *years* with various schemes. There may have been some improvement, though I'm buggered if I've seen any reportage of it. So what's the solution? Frankly, despite some years of interest in Aboriginal affairs, I don't know. But rather than being told it's my fault, I'd like to hear suggestions.


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