Watch the secrecy

The Bush administration classifies 125 documents a minute? 9/11 has been a boon for bureaucrats and politicians keen to keep the working of government secret. A spokesman for the National Security Council offered this Orwellian response: “The Administration is proud of its record of openness.”

Secrecy within democracies is nothing new, but the “war on terror” has brought new opportunities to subvert the course of democracy. Take Karl Rove, Bush’s right hand man, and currently accused of leaking classified information to a reporter. The media has been slow in pursuing these claims. Why? A lack of fortitude in taking on the government of the day is certainly one reason.

Australia is far from immune. ASIO powers and their possible extension should cause alarm. Brian Walters SC is a barrister at the Melbourne bar and the president of Liberty Victoria and his recent comments provide ample warning:

“We should be alarmed, not merely alert, about Australia’s terror laws. They abrogate civil rights, which are our bulwark against tyranny. We are already seeing them used in what appears to be a McCarthyist witch hunt against vulnerable members of the community. We have spawned a monster, and it is only now beginning to show its menace.”

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

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