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Issue #1747      September 7, 2016

Deployment on the streets

Military shoot-to-kill

Under the pretext of “war on terrorism” the federal government plans to amend existing powers of arrest, detention and shoot-to-kill to openly deploy the military’s Special Forces to operate on the streets of Australian cities. This war-on-terrorism trigger revolves around the Lindt café siege in Sydney, riding on the post-siege investigation into NSW Police handling of the situation, by inference concluding the force’s “failure” means the need for the deployment of elite military forces among – and by extension use against – the civilian public.

Lindt café siege in Sydney’s Martin Place.

At the time of the café siege in Martin Place special forces personnel called Tactical Assault Group east (TAG East) at the Holsworthy Army Base carried out attack drills on a mock-up of the café. The “contain and negotiate” element of police strategy in siege situations is being cast as untenable and being used to reinforce the need for the use of the military on home soil.

The siege gunman, Man Haron Monis, had a police record, a history of mental illness and a relatively high public profile. He had been taken off a police watch list.

Defence Minister Marise Payne said the expansion of laws that were put in place in the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, would enforce Australian Defence Force participation in “domestic operations”.

Australia’s secret police, ASIO, is also in line to be given more powers of arrest and detention, with the scrapping of the current need for the approval of a judge for the detention and interrogation of people for a week without charge. Instead that power will be handed over to the Attorney General.

In addition, the current requirement for an independent legal authority to be present during interrogations is to be scrapped, instead replaced by the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security.

The western countries that make up the coalition of the willing in the bogus war on terrorism – a war not between nations, but a tactic riveted to a religion by government and mass media spin – are uniformly in sync. In Germany, for instance, the government has formulated plans to force citizens to stockpile food and water in case of an attack.

The population will be obliged to hold an individual supply of food for ten days in the German Interior Ministry’s “Concept for Civil Defence”. It demands that people “prepare appropriately for a development that could threaten our existence and cannot be categorically ruled out in the future.” In propaganda terms, it says a priority is the promotion of “more support of the armed forces by civilians”. The Defence Minister declared that the country is “in the crosshairs of terrorism”.

Dangerous police powers

The deepening crisis of capitalism on a worldwide scale is causing alarm in the ranks of the ruling class and those servile politicians who do the bidding of the big corporations.

The ruling classes know that the galloping world-wide poverty, the loss of jobs, the cuts to social welfare services, the attacks on working conditions and the rights of trade unions, the neglect of the environment and the sacrifice of the independence of their countries by politicians – all on the Turnbull government’s agenda – are steadily increasing worldwide resistance of the people in all countries.

The reply of the rulers is to impose ever more restrictions on the rights of the people. This is also taking place in Australia.

The refugee centres on Manus Island and Nauru and in isolated areas in Australia and their operation by private companies are essentially concentration camps.

There should be no illusions about the claimed “democratic” convictions and principles of the Australian ruling class. It is just as vicious as its counterparts overseas and will disregard all laws pertaining to peoples’ rights whenever it feels its interests are being threatened.

Australia has already adopted legislation that permits the use of the military in domestic issues.

The Sydney Olympics were used to justify legislation giving sweeping powers to the authorities to allow the Australian military to suppress domestic unrest – protest actions, strikes, pickets – euphemistically called “domestic violence”. This includes shoot-to-kill powers.

What we are witnessing in Australia – and the same process is taking place in the countries of the coalition of the willing such as the US, Britain and the countries of the EU – is the piece by piece destruction of democratic rights, won over time in struggle, from the Eureka Stockaders, trade unions, peace activists: by all who are committed to the extension of democratic rights.

These rights are now being eroded at increasing speed by today’s governments in league with the big corporations, who see mass actions as a challenge to what they regard as their sacred right to rule and exploit.

Next article – Editorial – Plebiscite already causing division

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