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27 February 2014

Of course it is a political cover up

Senator Conroy in Estimates

Senator Stephen Conroy's comments yesterday in a Senate Estimates committee trying to unearth some information about Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB) were spot on. Thank heaven occasionally a Labor Party parliamentarian breaks out from the usual 'let's not offend the brave Aussie soldiers' line.

We are not at war, as Conroy pointed out, so why the secrecy? What don't they want us to know? The truth perhaps?

Here is how ABC's Emma Griffiths reports the exchange between Conroy and the military head of OSB:

OSB Commander Lieutenant General Angus Campbell was asked to explain why he had placed strict controls on information about 'operational' or 'on-water' incidents.

Senator Conroy compared the level of secrecy with that surrounding SAS activities behind enemy lines during the 2003 war in Iraq.

I can absolutely understand the need for operational secrecy when you have troops operating behind enemy lines blowing up airfields and scud missiles, he said.

But what I'm intrigued by is your view that stopping a number of wooden boats with unarmed people on has the same level of secrecy requirement.

Lt Gen Campbell repeated his decision was based on 'dealing with avoiding advantage to people smugglers, manipulation of potential clientele of people smugglers, the safety of our people and the management of regional and bilateral relationships and their sensitivities'.

Senator Conroy then referenced a quote from the movie A Few Good Men, asking General Campbell: Can't we handle the truth?

He referred to Lt Gen Campbell as the character in the movie, Colonel Jessup, who utters the line: You can't handle the truth.

I mean seriously. You can't tell us the truth, Senator Conroy continued.

You can't tell the Australian public the truth because you might upset an international neighbour.

That's called a political cover-up. That's a political cover-up. You're engaged in a political cover-up.

Exactly. The whole point of this Abbott government's Orwellian Operation Sovereign Borders is to deny us information about asylum seekers. Morrison and Campbell are denying us knowledge about tow backs, the way the asylum seekers are treated when turned around, the murder of Reza Berati on Manus Island, the real circumstances of 'inadvertently' straying into Indonesian waters. This is a government of liars and lies.

Morrison for example lied about what happened on Manus Island and the murder of Reza Berati and only retracted his lies when it became clear others were reporting the truth, a truth which directly contradicted Morrison's unequivocal assertions.

Militarising the Big Brother lie of border protection provides the excuse for not providing information about the asylum seeker detention centres concentration camps. It hides the way our Government brutalises asylum seekers to placate the racists and those whose insecurity about jobs, wages and stress from overwork and so on sees them joining in the demonisation of the other in a sugar hit boost to their own self-worth. It provides a distraction from the jobs massacre and attacks on social security, the environment and public services unfolding at the hands of Abbott and Co and the bosses they rule for.

Angus Campbell as a senior defence force man is part of the ruling class and playing his role as the sock puppet to the liar in charge of Immigration, Scott Morrison. He is repeating the Morrison mantra of operational matters that stops Australians learning the truth about the concentration camps.

It is no accident the Australian Government has refused to allow the head of the Human Rights Commission to travel to the Nauru concentration camp. It is no accident journalist visas are now $8000 to go there. It is no accident the Nauru justice system is in tatters and the Australian government does nothing about it because it wants to protect its own interests. It is no accident that photographers are being detained and having their film and photos of the concentration camps destroyed. It is no accident Scott Morrison lied about the murder on Manus Island and that Angus Campbell repeats the Morrison 'operational reasons' slogan that denies us knowledge of what is going on in the concentration camps and on the high seas.

Without the work of investigative journalist Asher Wolf we would never have known that a former Sri Lankan Army commander is running the Manus Island Detention Centre where there are 30 Tamils, the very people the Sri Lankan Defence forces persecuted and persecute and the type of person they are fleeing from.

Can't we handle the truth? Clearly in the eyes of the organ grinders Abbot and Morrison and their monkey Campbell the answer is not only that we can't handle it but that we shouldn't know it at all.

'Operational matters' is an Orwellian phrase to stop us learning the truth of what our political masters like Scott Morrison and those riding shotgun with them like Angus Campbell are doing to asylum seekers.

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