The Speech

As the speech itself acknowledges, a single speech can’t resolve things.  But it is impossible to overstate how significant it would be if the vision President Obama expresses and aspires to in this speech is successful.  The text of the speech is here, or here for translations into 14 other languages.  It is worth taking…

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Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty 40 years on

This week saw the fortieth anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). One thing that has often perplexed me is how much the public anxiety about the proliferation of nuclear and other armaments has diminished over the last twenty years. The end of the Cold War could explain some of it, but given the repeated references…

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Terrorists score a big win against democratic values in the USA, while Australia’s Muslims are right to be anxious

The case of a Canadian citizen, Maher Arar, who was secretly sent by the USA government to Syria where he was “interrogated, tortured and held in degrading and inhumane conditions for 10 months after being falsely accused of terrorist ties” has not received a great deal of coverage in the Australian media. However, it is…

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Fighting Words from the Law Reform Commission

The debate about sedition laws was featured on my old blog in November last year. Readers may remember that the Senate Committee that examined the legislation recommended that the section updating sedition provisions be deleted from the latest ‘anti-terror’ laws being rushed through Parliament. The government didn’t agree with that recommendation and used their Senate…

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September 11 – 5 years on

There are retrospectives and introspectives all over the internet and the mainstream media marking the fifth anniversary of the attacks on New York’s World Trade Centre. The Open Democracy site has a good series of pieces asking a range of people the simple question – “what have we learned”?

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Honour Bound

Last night I attended the formal premiere of a theatrical production called “Honour Bound”, which deals with David Hicks’ incarceration in Guantanamo Bay. The show is running for the next 5 weeks at the Sydney Opera House. The show was certainly interesting and thought-provoking. It goes for just over an hour, painting a picture through…

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Sedition – then and now

I always find it interesting to discover historical debates that resonate – and often help illuminate – with the debates of today. I discovered an example of this in a fascinating piece in this week’s New York Times that gives an insight into the use of sedition laws in the past.

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Can I look at your Google?

Google searches, library requests, emails, SMS, car trips, voice messages, phone conversations, etc can all be mointored and recorded. Does it make us safer? There has been a lot of commentary (such as at Road to Surfdom, the Currency Lad and Larvatus Prodeo) on the recent revelation that US President George Bush authorised widespread secret…

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