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<nettime> Sorry... (FWD)
Patrick Lichty on Fri, 14 Feb 2003 11:17:51 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Sorry... (FWD)


This came through on another list. It makes me want to cry, or scream
out, or something -- to think that Australia has come to this under the
disgustingly oppressive Howard government. It's a bit long, but important
reading.

Betty Betty McLellan
P.O. Box 688
Townsville Q
Australia 4810
Phone: +61 (0)7 4772 6060
Fax: +61 (0)7 4772 6544
email: bettymc {AT} austarnet.com.au

From: "Ron Gray / Irene Gale"
To:
Subject: Guantanamo Bay Rules used in Australian Detention Centres
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 2003 16:41:31 +1030

Dear all, Please forward this on to your contacts - and take some action
about it!

Irene

The following is from the Victorian Greens refugee spokesperson, Pamela
Curr. It makes chilling reading. The question is whether Australia is
becoming another redneck USA, or brownshirt Germany (if, indeed, there's any
difference)?

Apols for x-posting. Please circulate widely.... Chris Chaplin Preston,
Guantanamo Bay Rules used in Australian Detention Centres
As if life in Australia's detention camps was not miserable enough,
DIMIA  (Depaqrtment of Immigration, Mulitcultural and Indigenous affairs)
have used the extensive powers available to them under the Migration act to
introduce the same rules of incarceration being employed by the United
States
on the Afghani Nationals transported to Guantanamo Bay.

Its all the way with the USA today in OZ. Not only do we have a Global/USA
Security company running the camps for the Australian Government-we now have
the same rules used on refugees/asylum seekers as are used on suspected Al
Qaida members.

Already measures in detention camps such as water cannon, tear gas,
electric batons and electric fences are far beyond that employed in our
highest security prisons and these are used on women and children !!!

Last Thursday 10 men were extracted from Port Hedland Detention Centre and
placed in the holding cells at South Hedland Police Station. The temperature
at at Sth Hedland yesterday at 9.30 am was 38 degreesC-by noon it will be
close to 50 degrees in these un-airconditioned cells which are supposed to
be
used for short-term detention.

A lawyer advised that there have been complaints made to judges resulting
inspections and condemnation of conditions. Mostly persons on charges on
vagrancy and drunkenness are held there for a few hours. There is no
internal
toilet so drunks relieve themselves in the cells. The stench of vomit and
piss is overpowering.

Di Millar (DIMIA Business Manager-title means responsible for Port Hedland
IDC) reports that the men have no right to legal support "because they
are not being charged-just held in Immigration Detention in an alternative
place of detention".
You see under the Migration Act they can be held in a hole in the ground if
DIMIA decide to designate that as "an alternative place of detention".
In NSW ?12c /?15 men are being held in Silverwater and another maximum
security prison-also an alternative place of detention.

These men have not been charged or gone before a court-under the migration
act they can go direct to jail-no crime required. Last year a young African
man was brutally gang raped in a NSW prison prior to be deported back to
Africa.

A lawyer has been turned away on two occasions denied access to assist
these men even though he has authorization from the wife of one man and from
the legal representatives in Melbourne. No phone calls from friends or
family
or lawyers are permitted. A nun has been refused access. This is the
incommunicado detention condemned under international human Rights
convention
but practiced in Guantanamo Bay and now Port Hedland Woomera Baxter and
Villawood.

The Anti -Terrorism Bill that the Coalition failed to get passed just
before Christmas would have allowed this imprisonment for all Australians.

Fortunately enough politicians baulked at relinquishing our civil
liberties to stop this draconian legislation from getting through. However
once again we see that a two tier system of rights exists in Australia today
- laws and rights for Aussies but none for refugees and asylum seekers.

Meanwhile collective punishment is being visited on every man woman and
child in the detention camps. Those who had nothing to do with the fires
are being punished even though ACM and DIMIA know that they are totally
innocent. Just one more breach of the international code on human rights.

This collective punishment has seen a lock-down on the camps.(Remember
Darryl
Williams statement on front page of Australian "there will be no
lockdown-detention centres are not prisons blah blah blah."
Meanwhile reality is No phone calls in or out; strip-searching by angry
and embittered ACM guards is being carried on the vulnerable residents in
the
camps including women and children. We have seen in the past that when there
are no ways to communicate that ACM guards have brutalized and beaten people
unmercifully. Guards assault children even with witnesses and get away with
it (Remember Kingi Kaaki Wicki tucked up in NZ despite outstanding warrants
in Australia's courts for beating a child at Woomera in front of a doctor)
so
what happens when no one is watching?

The people in Woomera were told by Management that "the party is over
for them "- what party you may ask but more importantly this is a threat to
impose even more harsh and abusive conditions. DIMIA want them all to sign
to
go back so they are now going to institute a regime in competition with what
our friends have fled from. It was always going to be like this and now it
has come and the job lot of Australians whose immunity has been built up by
a
steady onslaught of propaganda from Howard / Ruddock to any feelings of
compassion or recognition of common humanity don't care.

Where are the watchers? All away on holiday -uncontactable.
What can you do? Ring email fax demand that Incommunicado detention cease-
that people either be charged and given their day in court or released.
Demand your right to speak to your friends in the camps. The media are only
interested in fires and deaths. They only want to report people harming
themselves or shock horror harming property. So far most of their reports
are
coming direct from DIMIA media releases eg weapons cache found -scissors
"a"screw drivers amp; mobile phones!!!!

Plague ring media talkback/ radio/ write letters. We have to demand that
they report the human rights abuses of this Government. Let's go
overseas -use every contact you have to get the information on this
governments activities bouncing back from overseas and shame the
bastards. Write to Papers in London New York and most importantly ASIA.

Then dear friends if you feel as broken hearted, saddened and angry as I
do hug your children or pat your dog or whatever assists you to comfort your
spirit and strengthen your resolve in the face of overwhelming odds to fight
on. These are the ugliest and darkest of days but then if we look back and
think of those who fought against slavery another monumental abuse of human
beings-we can see that we are not the first nor last to face such odds.
Those
Australians who stood together crying out against the removal of little
children from their Indigenous Parents must have been few and lonely but
they
won in the end. We must stand beside our friends in the camps and fight with
everything we have. They need us now more than ever and we need them to
remind us our capacity to be decent heroic human beings.

Pamela Curr


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