Tuesday, 19 April 2005
A US Website, which for legal reasons cannot be named, has published videos said to be of a Sydney Lawyer doing something which we cannot for legal reasons reveal.
Other videos purport to be of a man accused of being a terrorist responsible for a series of Arson attacks in bushland around Sydney (and who cannot be named) in conference with his Lawyer, and giving instructions the nature of which we also cannot reveal.
A spokesman for the NSW Police stated "As the matters are sub judice, publication of such material within Australia so prejudicial to any criminal defense would be a grave contempt of court. But as it is, we can do nothing about it, we don't have jurisdiction. Darn that pesky Internet."
The Opposition hastily called for a Royal Commission to investigate how this material was released, and whether any criminal acts were committed in gathering it.
Prime Minister Brain then stated officially that the material consisted of declassified extracts of surveillance videos taken of terrorist suspects within the last week. He further stated that the material had been supplied "in the course of a routine query" within the US about the status of the War on Terror in Australia.
"To publish such material within Australia at this time would be an outrage" he said, "and we have taken every step within the law to prevent that from happening."
"The Opposition has accused me of being secretive. Well, in war, sometimes you have to be. But I see no reason why such matters should not be aired publically to the fullest possible extent, within the bounds of National Security, and ensuring a fair trial for anyone accused of committing a criminal offense."
"Being an Enemy Combatant is not, and I must emphasise that, not, a Criminal Offence. Enemy Combatants are not Criminals, they are the Enemy."
The Prime Minister went further, saying "The Opposition has called for a Motion of No Confidence in my Government, as is their right, and some would say their duty. There has been a campaign of scaremongering about my Governments so-called "High Handed" tactics, tactics which it would be an abomination to use in time of Peace."
"I applaud the Australians who are concerned, deeply concerned, about what they see as the worst erosion of Civil Liberties seen since the 50's. Some of the techniques we have had no option other than to use have only been adopted after much soul-searching and with grave misgivings. To violate attorney-client priviledge so egregiously in a criminal matter would rightly cause any Government to fall."
"But since we're to have such a test of Confidence, let's have all the facts that can be revealed, not just a select few. Let the House of Representatives, the People's House, judge my policies. Let the Australian people know just exactly what type of Enemy we're facing, their tactics and their futile attempt to use our criminal justice system as a weapon against us, and let the Australian people call anyone who votes against the Government to account. We're arranging a special showing of the video for Parliamentarians before the debate. They won't be able to say they don't know what we're facing. If the motion passes, every one of them will have to face the voters and defend their actions to them."
When asked when the Prime Minister would "condescend to let the rest of the Australian People see the video" he unctiously stated that the parties concerned were at this moment before a Military Tribunal where their alleged status as Enemy Combatants caught in the act of committing an offensive act against Australia would be adjudicated. "Until this time, they are entitled to the presumption of innocence, and nothing would be done to prejudice any normal Criminal prosecution."
When pressed, he stated that writs of Habeas Corpus had been issued to let the Military take custody of the prisoners from the NSW authorities, as they'd been caught in an act of war.
In closing, the Prime Minister stated that he was seeking a Bipartisan support from the Parliament to continue his current course, or, failing that, the chance to put the matter before the Electorate. "I've been copping the flack for difficult decisions in this war" he said, "If I'm wrong, the soomer I'm out the better. But if not, it's time some other elected officials got off their spotty behinds and did their bit for Australia too. We're at war, so Put Up or Shut Up."
When contacted, former Opposition leader McBattler said the Prime Minister, by revealing the video and Australia's surveillance capabilities, had "Endangered National Security for tawdry political advantage. The Parliament should throw the Bum out."
A written statement given out at the time of the PM's briefing stated "The technology that has been revealed is a matter of public record. It's not new. That we'd be willing to use it this way would be revealed anyway by the transcripts of the tribunal's deliberations."
"Besides which" a spokesman added on condition of anonymity, "they're extracts. We're not revealing everything we know, we want to bag the lot of them."