Chris Berg belts Abbott too

Abbott and Brandis seem to have thought that merely mentioning the word “terrorism” would be enough to ensure their policy an easy run.

Yet no matter how real the terrorist threat, the pre-emptive surveillance of every single Australian would be an extraordinary policy in every sense of the word – way outside the bounds of proportionality, and way outside the boundaries of legitimate government action in a free country.

That’s Chris writing in The Drum.

I also enjoyed this line:

But politicians ought to try to understand the laws their departments insist they introduce.

Ouch! That’s got to hurt.

Of course, not everyone agrees with young Christopher:

Across seven decades, the IPA has made a positive contribution to the political and economic debate in Australia. However, in recent times, sections of the organisation have run a libertarian line that presents human rights as of more importance than ­national security.

Berg seems unaware that if a terrorist sets off a dirty nuclear device in, say, the Melbourne or Sydney CBD there will not be many libertarian get-togethers for quite some time. Libertarianism is a viable entity today because libertarians are protected by the security of the state in which they live.

Ah, yes. The Colonel Jessup defence – “We live in a world with walls, Son …”. When the probability of global warming is higher that the probability of a terrorist setting off a dirty nuclear bomb in time to disrupt Friday drinkies I’m happy to take my chances.

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61 Responses to Chris Berg belts Abbott too

  1. C.L.

    … sections of the organisation have run a libertarian line that presents human rights as of more importance than ­national security

    They are more important than national security.

    If a thousand people die in a terror attack, that’s tragic and our ‘intelligence’ agencies ought to do their best to prevent that from happening. More power to them in that important work.

    But measured against perpetual state surveillance and harassment of citizens, a thousand deaths is the lesser evil.

  2. C.L.

    And let’s not pretend we really give a shit about multiple horrific deaths, shall we?

    The Australian doctors performing late term abortions in any given year are worse than ISIS.

    I don’t see Catholics Abbott, Turnbull, Pyne, Joyce, Andrews or Hockey showing much concern.

  3. .

    Well said, C.L..

    Gerard Henderson as Colonel Jessup. Delusional.

  4. egg_

    Does Libertarianism prosper anywhere with a weak military?

  5. .

    Data retention doesn’t make the military stronger.

  6. thefrollickingmole

    Lets see if I can run that line another way…

    Berg seems unaware that if a terrorist sets off a dirty nuclear device in, say, the Melbourne or Sydney CBD there will not be many Pro-Refugee get-togethers for quite some time.

    Berg seems unaware that if a Swampy cripples a power station affecting, say, the Melbourne or Sydney CBD there will not be many Greenie get-togethers for quite some time.

    Anyone can justify nearly anything by screaming the most extreme outcomes as justification.

    Berg seems unaware that if a Unionist sets off a dirty Ho in, say, the Melbourne or Sydney CBD there will not be many HSU get-togethers for quite some time.

  7. Bill

    I’ve written to my MP, (Michael Danby), urging the ALP to agree to the government’s security package – and ASAP. I’ll take my chances on some civil servant noticing I occasionally read the Cat – if it reduces my family’s chances of being blown to pieces.

    I’d urge others to do the same.

  8. egg_

    Anyone can justify nearly anything by screaming the most extreme outcomes as justification.

    Agreed.
    Beware false equivalence.

  9. thefrollickingmole

    egg_

    At the risk of offending our various believers its the root of all religion..

    /desert somewhere, thousands of years ago…
    /”Billy Bob, your wife looks awful good, I might slay you and covet her ass”…

    Pre religion:”I rather you didnt”…stab..thump…gurgle…

    After religion:”Oooh I wouldnt do that if I were you, a million years of termites infesting your tallywhacker will only be the beginning of your suffering”
    “Gee thanks Bill Bob, if it wasnt for the omnipresent threat of eternal suffering I may have made a terrible mistake”
    “Dont thank me Billy Bob, thank God”…

  10. Token

    Gerard Henderson as Colonel Jessup. Delusional.

    Doesn’t it make sense to get someone from the IPA to do a talk at the Sydney Instituate on this topic? GH allows everyone to present in a civil manner and will ask questions without editorialising.

  11. Senile Old Guy

    I’ve written to my MP, (Michael Danby), urging the ALP to agree to the government’s security package – and ASAP. I’ll take my chances on some civil servant noticing I occasionally read the Cat – if it reduces my family’s chances of being blown to pieces.

    Did you actually go and read the peace? Or just see the word “terrorist” and genuflect?

    There is virtually no evidence that this massive surveillance has reduced either crime or terrorism.

    It would, immediately on approval, be abused.

  12. Bill

    Despite hundreds of people like Sharrouf in Australia, and Australia’s involvement in both Iraq and Afghanistan, there hasn’t been a single successful attack in this country.

    You’d have to be very dim to think surveillance hasn’t worked to date SOG

  13. Senile Old Guy

    You’d have to be very dim to think surveillance hasn’t worked to date SOG

    Of course it has worked, using existing methods and laws. What the article shows, and I am saying, is that massive surveillance of the entire population has had minimal, if any, beneficial effect, especially on terrorism.

  14. egg_

    You’d have to be very dim to think surveillance hasn’t worked

    Working in Telco back in the 90s we used to occasionally get Minutes etc. from the Defence Signals Directorate.
    Surveillance happens, anyways.

  15. Biota

    CL

    But measured against perpetual state surveillance and harassment of citizens, a thousand deaths is the lesser evil

    I’m not agreeing or disagreeing, but isn’t that the same sort of argument that the CAGW crowd use- that a bit of short term suffering is acceptable for the long term good of our children’s children’s children’s…..

  16. Adam D

    Libertarianism = weak military and no law enforcement. You learn something everyday, I suppose libertarians just believe that if we don’t poke the bear it will let us camp in peace next to its cave. Dioes it not occur to these people that stopping terrorist is also protecting liberty I.e we share the same goals?

  17. Speedbox

    The fact is, to a greater or lesser extent, your internet activities are already being monitored and collated as are your physical movements via facial recognition (amongst others, been into an airport, casino, government building lately?).

    What I have always disputed is the “catch-all” that because we need to protect ourselves from terrorists, this necessarily requires even greater surveillance of the broad population. Yet to me, it beggars belief that even the dumbest terrorist is unaware of the methods to (partially or entirely) defeat Government observation of their communications and activities. And conversely, Government agencies dedicate billons of dollars and millions of hours to thwart the terrorists planned actions.

    Don’t get me wrong – the terrorists need to be stopped, but I don’t believe that the broad based data mining will have any impact other than the further generalised erosion of our privacy and the accelerated collation of information on our personal life.

    But in essence, I don’t trust the Government with this broad based information. Today we are told that the retained data will be mined to locate and act against terrorists. In the future, who will be the next target group? Political activists? Climate change deniers? Economists? (gasp)

    Seventy five years ago a group of lunatics using nothing more than paper records and collaborators, rounded up millions of Jews and shipped them off for extermination. Just imagine what the Nazis could have done with community wide data records, facial recognition software and high speed computers.

  18. Clam Chowdah

    Somewhere between Hendo’s extreme fears and Sinc’s extreme naiveté on issues like open immigration, I am sure we can find a happy medium.

  19. egg_

    But in essence, I don’t trust the Government with this broad based information. Today we are told that the retained data will be mined to locate and act against terrorists. In the future, who will be the next target group? Political activists? Climate change deniers? Economists? (gasp)

    That’s the crux – who polices the policemen?

  20. stackja

    Dreaming again. The real world does not work like Berg wants it to.

  21. lotocoti

    As far as I can tell, three months after Mohammed Durkah Jihad sets off his dirty bomb in a low value target like Melbourne, data retention will reveal his taste for lolcats.

  22. Grumbles

    Haha Adam, if we lived in a truly Libertarian society, most of us would own guns. We would be a militia, beyond the invasion of any foreign powers. Much like USA is (was?).

    If you haven’t noticed, we do have a weak military and if China was to bring say 2000 Armed soldiers into the streets of Melbourne they could easily overcome the population and have several hundred thousand hostages within a few hours… now imagine if everyone had a gun…

  23. thefrollickingmole

    lotocoti

    And the government will ban lolcats..

  24. topological

    The issue is not just terrorism within Australia, although this is how libertarians would like to frame the debate. We also have a moral duty to end the export of terrorism. People come to Australia, become prosperous, and then send over their money and their sons to wage jihad. If the jihadists are allowed to advance and arouse the ambitions of the muslim world, the war will come here too. Our closest neighbour is the world’s largest muslim country.

  25. The Australian doctors performing late term abortions in any given year are worse than ISIS.

    God you talk shit some times, C.L.. That’s Sarah Hyphen-Moonbat shrieking territory.

    I must have missed the Australian doctors’ foetus heads proudly displayed on Facebook.

  26. .

    Token
    #1414054, posted on August 12, 2014 at 2:39 pm
    Gerard Henderson as Colonel Jessup. Delusional.

    Doesn’t it make sense to get someone from the IPA to do a talk at the Sydney Instituate on this topic? GH allows everyone to present in a civil manner and will ask questions without editorialising.

    Right. Then he shits on everyone in his columns.

  27. Aristogeiton

    Adam D
    #1414132, posted on August 12, 2014 at 3:42 pm
    Libertarianism = weak military and no law enforcement. You learn something everyday

    You would do well not to listen to the people who willfully misrepresent Libertarianism on this forum. Not every Libertarian is an Anarcho-capitalist.

  28. Token

    Right. Then he shits on everyone in his columns.

    I do not recall that he does that. I have read the Sydney Institute quarterly and his articles and note that he makes an effort not to go hard on personally on someone who has presented. I’ve listened to the podcast of the talks for years and really note the absolute politeness he and his staff show to all presenters.

    The worst he does is fact check the books / docos and ask for corrections for statements of fact which are in error. It is morons like Fraser’s biographer and the ABC who refuse to answer his queries.

    I really do not understand the resistance to take on a critic in their own premises. I will not personal slights about bravery, but I do question the convictions of someone who does not have the confidence to do so.

  29. The issue is not just terrorism within Australia, although this is how libertarians would like to frame the debate. We also have a moral duty to end the export of terrorism.

    We don’t need the guvmint to monitor everyone’s facebook usage to do that. We have all the laws we need to do that. What will instead happen is that soft targets like you and me will have leftards in high places targeting us while wannabe terrorists wander the streets unmolested by the authorities.

  30. Aristogeiton

    Hendo is a pretty good guy.

  31. dan

    now imagine if everyone had a gun

    I don’t understand that. Everyone is quite legally entitled to own a gun, and in fact they can own multiple weapons and keep them at home. Once the Chinese have invaded I don’t think the local cop shop will be popping round to examine your ammo storage anyway.

  32. Token

    Hendo is a pretty good guy.

    I can’t guess his motives, but suggest that like Ergas he has believed the bureaucracies claims of the fact the collection as suggested is not as harmful as is suggested.

    I thought he’s a fair person, the type who can be brought around with a well structured argument.

  33. MemoryVault

    I’ll take my chances on some civil servant noticing I occasionally read the Cat – if it reduces my family’s chances of being blown to pieces.

    It won’t.
    You would accomplish a lot more to protect your family if you asked your local member to vote to repeal the current gun laws, so you could legally buy and own something useful like a Mossberg 12 gauge pump action shotgun, to protect them.

    Of course, that would require you having the gonads to use it and actually protect your family, instead of grovelling in a corner, shitting your pants, while your wife gets raped, your kids get their throats slit, and you wait for the police to arrive.

  34. Aristogeiton

    Big Government has castrated these people. They’re easy prey for some smooth-talking autocrat promising to protect them, if ony they’d give up their freedoms.

  35. topological

    We don’t need the guvmint to monitor everyone’s facebook usage to do that. We have all the laws we need to do that.

    I partially agree, although I as far as I know it is currently fully legal to take a family vacation to Iraq, behead infidels with your kids and then come back home to a heroes welcome in Lakemba, which is something Abbott is trying to change. I do think the changes to data retention laws are completely unnecessary overreach, much like the new take-no-prisoners approach to downloading Game of Thrones. That said the government drawing public attention and waking people up to these jihadis is a good thing, as is increasing funding to ASIO.

  36. dan

    What I genuinely don’t understand is, one is far more likely to be killed, raped or injured by non-terrorist common criminals or even someone you know. If the laws are not sufficient to prevent ‘terrorists’ doing that, then they aren’t sufficient to prevent criminals doing that and should be changed.
    If the rule of law that we have had through our history has been deemed adequate until now I don’t really see what needs to change.

  37. MemoryVault

    The issue is not just terrorism within Australia, although this is how libertarians would like to frame the debate. We also have a moral duty to end the export of terrorism.

    Fuck me gently.
    Australia’s latest terrorism export was an underage teenage kid who blew himself up, killing several people, and injuring a lot more. He left the country and into the action using his brother’s passport.

    Let me rephrase that for you. You don’t just buy a passport like a postage stamp. You have to jump through all sorts of hoops to get one. If you want to get on a plane and leave the country you have to physically hand over your passport and a public servant is supposed to scrutinise it, and additional information, and you, and your signature, and compare it to volumes of data already on a computer. If there is the slightest doubt, you and your passport and all the other information is passed over to a superior, to double check.

    And yet, despite all this hard evidence, passport, photos, signatures, computer records and more, an underage teenage kid exported himself out of Australia and into a warzone, and killed people, using his brother’s passport. And you actually believe a gigabyte or two of metadata on his internet surfing habits, would have saved the day?

    Fuck me gently.
    We currently have an Australian maniac floating around the middle east, shooting unarmed, restrained people in the back of the head, hacking off their heads, proudly photographing one his three young sons – who he has with him – holding up a severed head, photoing it and proudly posting the pics on his Facebook page, and our authorities are actually debating whether he has actually broken any Australian laws.

    And if we had a gigabyte of metadata of his internet surfing habits, what then? Could we perhaps have arranged an “intervention” and talked him out of it?

    You people are stark raving bonkers.

  38. wreckage

    I don’t see how people going on Jihadi holidays are a new confusing thing that intel agencies need new powers to deal with. This kind of crap has gone on forever. If someone’s a suspected Jihadi ASIO can already monitor them, yeah?

    Data retention will just mean Jihadis pedophiles etc will transfer everything via mobile phone, then satellite phone, then a USB stick in the mail. Data retention is already a decade past being meaningfully useful.

  39. egg_

    We don’t need the guvmint to monitor everyone’s facebook usage to do that. We have all the laws we need to do that. What will instead happen is that soft targets like you and me will have leftards in high places targeting us while wannabe terrorists wander the streets unmolested by the authorities.

    If it’s bureaucrat driven, as suspected, and not particularly well policed, the concern is them coming up with ‘examples’ to justify their budget, etc.

  40. C.L.

    I must have missed the Australian doctors’ foetus heads proudly displayed on Facebook.

    So you’re saying the doctors who perform late term abortions are better than ISIS because they don’t post pictures of all their victims on Facebook?

    In fact, babies killed in utero are disemboweled, have their skulls crushed, are dismembered and then vacuumed out and thrown in a bin. Yes, late term abortionists are worse than ISIS.

    It’s not even close.

  41. wreckage

    I don’t see how people going on Jihadi holidays are a new confusing thing that intel agencies need new powers to deal with. This kind of crap has gone on forever. If someone’s a suspected Jihadi ASIO can already monitor them, yeah?

    Data retention will just mean Jihadis, REDACTEDophiles etc will transfer everything via mobile phone, then satellite phone, then a USB stick in the mail. Data retention is already a decade past being meaningfully useful.

  42. Clam Chowdah

    Data retention will just mean Jihadis, REDACTEDophiles etc will transfer everything via mobile phone, then satellite phone, then a USB stick in the mail. Data retention is already a decade past being meaningfully useful.

    Then why does anyone care?

  43. So you’re saying the doctors who perform late term abortions are better than ISIS because they don’t post pictures of all their victims on Facebook?

    I think the whole Facebook posting thing is indicative of a deeper malaise, C.L. In any case arguments as to the relativity of respective evils is somewhat moot.

  44. wreckage

    1. Because it’s a huge impost at the technical level for no gain. Personally, that’s my position.

    2. For the same reason they might object to the government tracking us all with radio collars but only doing anything about it if the paths start to deviate from normal.

    3. Because it won’t stop real crimes, but may well hand the government or its deniable assets excellent resources for smearing, humiliating, and harassing their opponents. If it can be done, an ALP government WILL do it.

    We’ve already had that recent scandal with the “lost” tape getting leaked. Now, say the harmless data shows you visiting depression related sites? Woah woah woah! Suicide risk! Gotta have your gun license. Schoolgirl fetish sites? REDACTEDophile! Time to face a kangaroo court, “all models are over 18″ be damned! Online order of a bong, or worse yet, tobacco seeds?

    The reasons for rejecting data retention are the same as rejecting the government making blind copies of all your mail and keeping them “just in case”; it’s an invasion of privacy nonetheless, and it’s a hugely expensive and technically fraught waste of time as well.

  45. wreckage

    having a government agent sniff my arse every morning won’t actually harm me, but it won’t achieve anything either. SO Abu asks: why object, since it’s useless? Well, maybe I don’t like pointless waste, AND I don’t want my arse sniffed!

  46. Clam Chowdah

    You sound like you might have something to hide!

    ;)

  47. topological

    MemoryVault, Wreckage, I have said repeatedly I oppose the metadata collection. I voted for Leyonhjelm and am a member of the Liberal Democrats like the rest of you. But I support the specific one law to retract the passports of jihadists on vacation. I agree that by and large we dont need new laws, theres enough out there on the public internet for ASIO to work with, but the current laws need to be enforced.

    Its hard to be rational when there are severed heads on the front page, or when my muslim school mate on fb publicly defends killing Christians as punishing “tax-dodgers” for refusing to pay their jizya like a good Dhimmi. A part of me wants to know that someone is paying attention to this, rather than just bleating on about how “the vast majority” of muslims are not extremists like Marles did on Bolt.

    Btw, this is the second time I wrote this post. The first time it mystically vanished into the ether. Weird.

  48. MemoryVault

    wreckage
    #1414391, posted on August 12, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    I don’t see how people going on Jihadi holidays are a new confusing thing that intel agencies need new powers to deal with.

    Spot on, Wreckage.
    Back in 1986-87 I had a regular weekly gig on the Ray Martin Midday Show. One week I explained how the Lebanese and Palestinians were abusing Australia’s welfare system to finance and support their fighters back in Lebanon and Palestine. Back then it was Supporting Mothers Pension, so it has been public domain knowledge for almost 30 years.

    My initial information had come from a lay preacher who ran a St Vincent DePaul outlet. He invited me to come down and watch how the women worked the system (charities, food parcels, vouchers etc), so the bulk of the welfare money remained available to finance the war effort.

    Then we followed them back to their communal house (public housing) where three or four women, plus their children, shared a house. The other allocated homes were sublet to provide additional funds for the war effort. He showed me how he had documented all of this, and handed it over to the Federal Police. They weren’t interested. That was nearly 30 years ago. Nothing has changed.

    Anybody who thinks these new laws have anything to do with terrorists, or terrorism, has one hand down the front of their pants and is playing yankmy doodle dandy. It’s all about policing copyright infringement on behalf of ARIA. That’s not opinion, it’s observable fact.

    About ten years ago the claim was pedophiles had got too smart to use the internet to obtain their material. They were going overseas, and bringing it back on hard drives and memory sticks. The authorities “needed” new laws to be able to search hard drives and memory sticks “for pedophile material”. And they got them. In the decade since, ONE person has been prosecuted for kiddie porn, and HUNDREDS have been prosecuted and/or sued for copyright breach.

  49. Disillusioned

    Enter the police state. I must admit I thought it would be Labor to go there first. The problem is that there will be so much data collected that human resources will be unable to monitor it and it will be subject to computer models. We all know how great computers models worked for global warming. Innocent people will be demonised while the terrorists go unnoticed. Make the existing laws work and use human intuition to identify suspects and then go and get a warrant to pursue the suspect.

  50. C.L.

    Enter the police state. I must admit I thought it would be Labor to go there first.

    Why? It was the Liberals that made it lawful for police to invade people’s homes with no cause to check on their guns.

  51. Disillusioned

    Why? It was the Liberals that made it lawful for police to invade people’s homes with no cause to check on their guns.

    True. Legislation that should never have been enacted as it automatically assumed a presumption of guilt. However if we follow the US model which I believe that Labor follows to a large degree metadata is needed to target minority groups in order to turn them towards the socialist view. The old maxim of ‘if you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow’. I worry that Abbott is blindly going down this road because the US has without demonstrating any benefits to justify the move.

  52. .

    But I support the specific one law to retract the passports of jihadists on vacation.

    So do we and most of the LDP. Brandis doesn’t.

    Please don’t confuse this with data retention etc.

  53. None

    Well why don’ t all the whiners re data retention go off and take out some jihadis so we don’t even have this issue? Oh and perleez. A few thousand people with guns won’t do jot against one or two strategically placed bombs. Man some of you need to catch up with the 21st century.

  54. None

    Memory Vault – yes I agree this lot game the system (and so do Indian students *cough* etc etc). But policing ARIA sounds like a conspiracy theory. In any case, aren’t all you libertarians into protecting (intellectual) property rights?

  55. None

    The only compromise I can see is that any data retention law has to be legislated to last only for one term of government i.e. 3 years.

  56. Frederic

    But I support the specific one law to retract the passports of jihadists on vacation.

    So do we and most of the LDP. Brandis doesn’t.

    Please don’t confuse this with data retention etc.

    If they are using their own passports…which should have been confiscated predeparture

  57. I am the Walrus, Koo Koo K'choo

    If someone’s a suspected Jihadi ASIO can already monitor them, yeah?

    Yeah they could. Especially as all of the suspects are Presbyterians and live in a few suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne. Surveillance wouldn’t be v. hard.

    But that’s the point. They don’t want to do this type of surveillance, for whatever reason, even though it is much more likely to give them who, what, when, where, how and why. They would rather devote many more resources to the much harder task of sifting through 23 million people’s internet records for ‘something’.

    Doesn’t that strike you as odd? The ‘terrorism’ angle doesn’t justify that choice at all.

  58. Mantaray

    Same old anti “The Establishment” guff from lots of aging Hippies now turned “Libertarian”. All those CC cameras have really got the oldsters’ knickers in a knot.

    Facts are that all manner of cops and semi-cops are out surveilling (?) 24 hours a day, and have been doing so for many decades, without me finding my arse in stir. Thirty years ago a few mates and I on our way home on foot from a party were asked by a passing cop-car what we were up to. “Walking home”, not planning a pack rape or house B+E, and that was it. Am I traumatized still, the Hipsters ask?

    When I get my Credit Card statement, FFS, the bank knows I was in Melbourne two weeks ago; at Bunnings in Albury last friday; getting petrol in Goulburn the next day and out at Sizzlers a few days later in Newcastle. Wow; they have all that Meta-Data? I am very very afraid. Maybe ASIO knows all this too; double Wow!

    I won’t go on. Get out the beads and wilted flowers you once wore in your hair Cats, and you can dream of that summer of love back in ’68. Maybe it will all return (or at least that cutie in the frilly Pocahantas skirt!) if we ignore reality long enough, eh?

  59. Frederic

    They don’t want to do this type of surveillance, for whatever reason, even though

    Rubbish

    The reality is no successful terrorist attacks for a decade here

    The cowardice shown by our population is shameful. Hundreds of thousands of people die every year from other causes. When did courage become extinct? 1945?

  60. Frederic

    ignore reality long enough, eh?

    You’re the one ignoring reality. I know I’m 800 times more likely to die falling down my staircase.

  61. Roger

    @ Frederic:
    “The reality is no successful terrorist attacks for a decade here”

    Thank God, but you ignore the attacks that have been stopped before they became attacks through good intelligence work. You watch peoples mindset change instantly the first terrorist attack is successful.
    I find it interesting that we complain about providing our defenders with this data yet ignore Google et al who freely collect it , manipulate it and use it. They target me in a specifically marketing way every single day. Google, a foreign corporate company; GOOD, Australian Security Services, our protectors; BAD.

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