19 September 2005

Beware of those Texan terrorists

The Texan-based peace activist Scott Parkin was picked up (in commemoration of 9-11?) on the mean streets of Melboune at lunchtime on September 11 while at a cafe. He was arrested by six immigration officials and Australian Federal Police (AFP), kept in detention and then flown out of the country 4 days later.

And what evil plot was this Texan native planning? Parkin was about to present a workshop about the US peace movement and about how corporatations such as Halliburton, profit from the war on Iraq. Parkin’s six-month tourist visa to Australia was cancelled (with three months remaining), on the grounds that his continuing presence in Australia was a “threat to national security.” Those who have attended Parkin's workshops in Australia say that he has never engaged in or advocated violence. Parkin's an activist with the Houston Global Awareness Collective (we need to all send these folks some money!), which campaigns against the occupation of Iraq.

Parkin admittedly has a terrible criminal record, having been arrested at a protest in the US against Exxon Mobil while dressed as a fluffy tiger. (He wasn’t charged.) On September 7, Parkin was contacted by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and asked to come in for a “voluntary” interview. Evidently, this request wasn't very voluntary, since his refusal led to him being tossed out of the land of Oz on his fluffy ear. Parkin was not arrested under anti-terror legislation or on the basis of an ASIO warrant, rather his six-month visa was cancelled without him being informed so that he ended up being arrested and fined for not having a valid visa. (I guess if you're going to visit Australia, you need to walk check in with the government every second you're there to ensure they haven't decided to toss you out.)

Some Australian politicians claim that the arrest seems to have come at the bequest of Washington.

From Borsa-Italia.Net: To visit Oz again, Parkin will have to pay a fine of A$11,700 dollars (US$9,000) that he was handed after being released from five days of detention in Melbourne. (It evidently cost money to arrest and hold somebody under false pretenses.)

Other bloggers discussing Scott Parking: Mahler's Prodigal Son, MGK and Garota.


Rolf Brandt said...

This just proves the long arm of (American) justice. The land of "peace, justice and democracy". Who was it that said not long ago "you can run, but you cannot hide" ?

Ole Blue The Heretic said...

This counry is really headed to authoritarian rule quickly, just like Iraq!

Karlo said...

It's amazing, isn't it? Some company like Halliburton becoming so powerful that it can have an American arrested even when they're overseas. And the idea that the Australian people would go along with this. I can't believe it.