A purely political piece which is emotive and without reasoned thought - Comments in red by me John Bolton
By JR Hennessy
Updated Fri at 3:01pmFri 28 Aug 2015, 3:01pm
Photo: Demonstrators gather outside Flinders Street Station in Melbourne's CBD. (ABC News: Jean Edwards)
A paramilitary our firebrigade is paramilitary, our police forces are paramilitary the use of this word is an emotocon calculated to enfear the reader into thinking that martial law is being imposed operation against visa fraud in the Melbourne CBD would have been a massive overreach can anyone tell me what is meant by “overreach” I think it simply means that the article writer would not have done it.. At least Melbourne sent the message that it wouldn't put up with it, writes JR Hennessy.
In 2010, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer passed the most restrictive illegal immigration countermeasures the state had ever seen, requiring all immigrants to carry their documentation on them at all times, and compelling police to check the immigration status of anyone they reasonably believed might be in the United States illegally.
The law incurred significant backlash, with critics pointing out - quite rightly - that it did little but encourage racial profiling.
The Arizona law is only falling down because there is insufficient manpower in their immigration branch to answer all of the referrals to them by the Police
Today, the newly formed gung-ho gung-ho? What is that word used for? Australian Border Force (ABF) released a statement that seemed to suggest seemed to suggest is a romance with the truth Australia would be following Arizona's lead. It was announced that the ABF would be partnering with Victorian Police in Melbourne to crack down on visa fraud, with officers being sent to various locations across the CBD this Friday and Saturday night and speaking with "any individual we cross paths with".
The notion of random visa and identification checks wasn't raised explicitly that’s right. In fact it wasn’t raised at all - but what else were they going to be asking people about? Surely this wouldn't be just a friendly stop-and-chat about the importance of visa compliance. ABF Victoria commander Don Smith seemed to say as much when he said of the operation: "You need to be aware of the conditions of your visa. If you commit visa fraud you should know it's only a matter of time before you're caught." And what would be wrong with that?
But after immediate and overwhelming social media backlash against the initial press release, The quick reaction of the “protest against anything the government does brigade” was an impressive display of something – It is difficult to imagine it was not financed in some way by some interested party. the ABF issued a clarification: the agents would not be stopping people at random, as per their original claim, but would be checking the visa statuses of people referred to them by police. With that in mind, the target seemed to have shifted to perpetrators of petty crime in the Melbourne CBD - a narrow field which seemed undeserving of paramilitary involvement.
Whether this was a backdown or the plan all along is unclear.
And then, to add a finishing touch to the debacle, it was announced by Victoria Police that the entire operation had been cancelled.
It's a good thing too. Even in its toned down form the ABF's Melbourne operation seemed like an extraordinary overreach from an organisation already pushing the boundaries of its legal purview. And this was to be instituted without any obvious legislative oversight. Even the United States, with its own myriad problems with police abuse, seems to innately understand the need for solid lawmaking when it comes to mandating this kind of intrusion into people's lives. In Australia, illiberal security operations are announced in scant detail as part of a rote press release. Hooray for us. I don’t understand this meaningless babble
The whole farce points to the absurdity of Australia's current national security apparatus, which since its baffling rebrand in July has operated as much as an exercise in barrel-chested posturing as an actual protector of national safety. Let’s forget about the 23 terrorist arrests in 9 months and the hundreds of Jihadi’s who are stuck here in Australia but want to fight western democracy. That is just all pretend threat to this guy.
What exactly was the ABF hoping to eradicate by having uniformed officers parade around Melbourne checking people's visas? Unlike previous immigration officials, Border Force officers are kitted out in full military-style uniforms, permitted to carry firearms, and allowed to detain people. The claim that the operation was intended to promote "a secure and cohesive society" seems particularly contrived when the solution was to be a paramilitary force striding defiantly around Melbourne.
Parading around – just an insult. Millitary style uniforms – like other law enforcement officers you mean? Permitted to carry firearms – not surprised with international exhortations to kill any Australian in any way possible and already anti-terrorist squad officers stabbed. A secure and cohesive society – Yes . consisting of those who are here legally and will abide by our Australian Laws.
It also raised the ugly question of who exactly the ABF was going to be targeting in their campaign against visa fraud. Only those without visas of course. Australians of a broad range of ethnicities posted photos of themselves with their Australian passports on Twitter in defiance of what they saw as a steadily encroaching system of racial profiling in our national security enforcement. Their fears were likely well-founded - after all, we've not heard much from the Government on the issue of visa over stayers from Great Britain and the United States as threats to Australian security. Perhaps that is because none of them have attacked us here or overseas? For the ABF to make so much noise about boat people, foreign fighters and Islamic extremism and then claim that their operation in Melbourne was to be subject to police oversight is a hard pill to swallow. Not just oversight - The police were only ever going to refer to the ABF those that they had some reason to suspect were illegally present in our country - Please state the problem with that.
It's easy to dismiss this kind of militant affectation as the death rattle of a desperate administration who have only national security to prop up their fading credibility in the eyes of the electorate. There is not a jot of a suggestion except by this conspiracy theorist that the Government had any “hands on” this operation. But there's more here - we're looking at the downward bend of a long arc toward a more authoritarian character in Australian law enforcement. I enthusiastically support law enforcement of every breach of Australian Law – marriage of 9 year olds, female genital mutilation, inciting Jihad in children and youth – racial discrimination by the promoting of the death of the whole Jewish people, sexual discrimination against gays by simply killing them – to name but a few. There is definitely room for more authoritarian law enforcement of these basic human rights laws in Australia.
The old adage about the trade-off between security and liberty wilts in the face of this eminently Australian manifestation of the security state. At least Melbourne sent the message that it wouldn't put up with this macho vision of border security. Melbourne did not send any message – the semi professional protest against government brigade, who can have the spare time to turn out on 12 hours notice were the only ones on the streets.
There is a trade off when security matters.
And to finish off. Have I missed something?
Is there a reason why it is not a good idea to check visa's of people who come to Police Attention?
Australian National Security - I just checked - is on High which is designated as "Terrorist Attack Likely." http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/…/NationalTerrorismPubli…
Is there a reason why our security officers would not be focused on a target group?
Can someone tell me what I missed about what is wrong with getting a "profile" on who that target group is?
I think I might start by checking first - regardless of racial appearance, everyone who wore the "Islam style beard" who wore the "Islam style funny hat" and the "Islam style gown" and I would probably leave out "girls in bikinis"
I would think they fit the profile if they changed their names to or were named by their parents after an Islamic warlord or Caliph- Muhommed, or Taraq or Waleed.
Of course not everyone who fits the same description as virtually every other one of the 23 terrorists already arrested here in just 9 months is a terrorist.
But can someone tell why that would not be a good place to start looking?