Assessing the threat

“Don’t forget, Mr Howard, that if ever there is a terrorist attack in Australia, it is you personally who must take the lion’s share of the blame for it as a result of your rushing to support George Bush in the Iraq war.”

Former Federal President of the Liberal Party, John Valder, in a letter to John Howard.

The current terrorist hysteria proves, once and for all, that our corporate media has become an extension of the government and its various agencies. “Imminent attack foiled.” “A massive terrorist attack on Australian soil has been narrowly averted.” Maybe. Maybe not. We will never know the full truth, neither from the government nor the media. The Murdoch press is boasting of its impeccable contacts within government though I would have thought the leaking of national security matters would be a concern for the government. Not so, says the Attorney General.

The presumption of innocence and proportionality seems to have been lost in the hype. By all means, prosecute people if they pose a real threat. But don’t tell me that the Sydney Morning Herald needs to give the story five pages of coverage, as it does today. This story has a long way to run and somehow I wonder whether the initial media hysteria will have been justified. If I’m wrong, I’ll be happy to say so, but the inherent acceptance of intelligence, government and police spin shows a public and media too afraid or gutless to question “reality.”

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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