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Monday, September 12, 2005

To Halliburton, Dick & George with love from John, Phil & Amanda

Please note the smiling face on the right. Could it be the face of a peace activist? Could it be the face of someone who constantly fights for social justice? Get real. This is the face of someone who has been arrested as a threat to Australia's national security on "character grounds". He has had his six-month tourist visa revoked after three months in Australia and is currently being held in the Melbourne Custody Centre at his own expense prior to deportation from Australia. Um - I think we're meant to be scared of him. Ooh-aah!

Bob Brown, Leader of the Greens, says that there are only two reasons for his detention. One is a breakdown in security risk assessment prior to issue of the visa or it is political persecution. Julian Burnside, one of Australia's senior barristers and advocate for asylum seekers, is reviewing the case but states it is the first time, to his knowledge, that the character assessment provisions of the Migration Act have been acted upon retrospectively. They usually come into play prospectively prior to a person being issued a visa and entering the country.

But I think I can tell you who is scared of Scott Parkin. That is Halliburton. You see, Scott Parkin lives in Houston, Texas, headquarters of Halliburton and is a constant protestor against its activities. Scott Parkin is a community organizer and has worked on environmental, economic justice and anti-war issues since 1989. He currently works with a community-based anti-empire group, Houston Global Awareness, using non-violent direct action and popular education to challenge institutions of illegitimate authority. Their most recent campaign has been to get Houston based war profiteer, Halliburton, out of Iraq. US Vice-President, Dick Cheney, is a former CEO of Halliburton and, by coincidence, Halliburton has received huge non-tendered government contracts in Iraq. Talk about friends in high places!