Advocating peace: a threat to security?
Texan teacher Scott Parkin was to deliver a workshop on
non-violentprotest when he was contacted by the Australian national
intelligenceagency - ASIO - and detained by Australian Federal
Policeon September 10th. His visa was revoked, he was put in
solitaryconfinement, and he was asked to sign a waiver of his right
to appealhis deportation.
At Scott's request, Greenpeace Australia-Pacific lawyers are
workingwith Julian Burnside, QC, and Scott's lawyers to mount
anadministrative law challenge to the planned deportation.
The government has since retracted its request for the rights
waiverand scaled back its threat of "deportation" to the less
serious"removal." But the government has yet to declare what
lawMr. Parkin has broken, and is refusing media access to
theactivist. A recent opinion poll conducted by The Age online is
currently running 82 percent infavour of Scott's right to speak for
peace in Australia.
"If all Mr Parkin has done to be assessed a security risk is
topeacefully express his opinions, then we are in serious trouble,"
saysJulian Burnside, QC.
"At a time when Australians are already deeply concerned about
the[Australian Prime Minister] Howard government's attacks on free
speech and the right to protest inthe name of fighting terrorism,
the silencing of a peace activist forthe 'crime' of satirising US
policy will only confirm many people'sworst fears," says Greenpeace
campaigns director Danny Kennedy.
"Scott's mission is to end war and violence, whether perpetrated
byterrorists or by governments. His weapons are humour and satire
and histools exposure and embarrassment."
"Peace is not terrorism. Peace is not a threat to national
security. Nodemocratic government should expel a foreign citizen
because theyoppose his political opinions," concludes Kennedy.
Scott made a statement via a Greenpeace support team which
visited him today.
He said, "To my family and friends, everyone who is supporting
me, bothin Australia and in the US, I'd like to thank you for the
overwhelmingsupport that I have received."
"I am strongly opposed to any violence and do not believe that
violencedelivers any political gain, and in fact detracts from
"I find this entire experience incomprehensible and am still
baffled asto why my visa has been cancelled and I have been
detained under thesecircumstances."
"To this date the only information that I have received is that
I havebeen assessed as "a direct or indirect risk to Australian
Parkin also said, "I am a student of mass social movements in
thetradition of Ghandi and King, and I think that these movements
haveshown us the way to achieve social change."
"We live in a world where we have seen a globalisation of war
andwar profiteering, but also the restriction and criminalisation
ofpeoples and dissent in ideas."
"I hope that when Australians visit the US that they are allowed
tovoice their critcism of government and corporate policy without
fear ofreprisal, and that they are freely allowed to participate in
September: Scott Parkin was taken by government authorities to
Melbourne airportat 6am this morning and left on a Qantas flight
for Los Angeles at10.46am. His plane is expected to land at LA
airport at around 7:00am LA time where he is expected to transfer
to adomestic flight to Houston, Texas.