Skip to main content

Blowing the whistle on hypocrisy

MPS is no "friend" of the views espoused by Janet Albrechtson, columnist in The Australian, much less the fact that with her rigid and often extreme right-wing views the Howard Government has seen fit to add her to the already right-wing people "stacked" on to the ABC Board.

Nevertheless this week Albrechtsen in her column takes on a worthy cause and raises an issue which should be of grave concern to fair-minded people:

"MEMO TO MEMBERS OF THE HOWARD GOVERNMENT: next time you pack your bags and jump aboard a plane at one of the nation’s airports give thanks to Allan Robert Kessing. You can feel that much more secure about travelling due to his efforts to expose dangerously lax security at the nation’s airports, issues such as surveillance blind spots and airport workers with serious criminal convictions. Now, at least, you can be certain that David Hicks won’t be turning up as a baggage handler when he gets out of prison next year.

It was not always so certain. Thanks to Mr Kessing, a former Customs officer, the federal Government ordered a major review of airport safety. That review, by British aviation security expert, Sir John Wheeler confirmed that policing at our major airports was “often inadequate and dysfunctional”. His report recommended co-ordination between state and federal police, special police commanders to combat terrorism and organised crime at airports, a more rigorous system for issuing Aviation Security Identification Cards to airport employees and tougher filters to rout out those with criminal convictions. The Howard Government responded promptly, accepting all the recommendations under a $200 million package to better protect our airports from criminals and terrorists. Good news for all of us.

Except for Mr Kessing. In case you have not heard, Mr Kessing was found guilty just over a week ago of leaking the contents of two classified reports that detailed serious security lapses at our airports. Those reports, one of which was buried for two years and never made it onto the desk of a senior bureaucrat or minister, were published in The Australian. Public concern over the exposé forced the Government to commission the Wheeler Review, which in turn led to one of the biggest security upgrades of airport security. If ever there was a case of a whistleblower deserving our eternal praise, this is it. Instead, he is facing prison."


Popular posts from this blog

Big Brother alive and well in the USA in 2007

The so-called "war on terror" has shown itself up in a multitude of manifestations. The most dangerous thing has been governments using the "excuse" of the war to restrict certain civil liberties, allowing government agencies to pursue a variety of things that they would otherwise would not - and should not - be allowed to do and gathering, and retaining, a variety of information on its citizens.

The Washington Post reports on the latest incursions into civil liberties of all Americans:

"The U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials.

The personal travel records are meant to be stored for as lo…

Whatever democracy the Palestinians had is dying

Almost a desperate cry from a well-known, respected and sober moderate Palestinian.

Mustafa Barghouthi is secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. He was a candidate for the Palestinian presidency in 2005.

He writes in a piece "The Slow Death of Palestinian Democracy" on FP:

"Palestinian municipal elections were supposed to be held last week. Instead, they were canceled. A statement released by the Palestinian Authority claimed the cancellation was "in order to pave the way for a successful end to the siege on Gaza and for continued efforts at unity" between Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, and the government in the West Bank.

The cancellation of this election was an unjustified, unlawful, and unacceptable act. It damages democratic rights and makes a mockery of the interests of the Palestinian people.

But this is far more than an internal Palestinian issue. The only lasting peace between Isr…