Aussies Arrest American for Being Anti-Halliburton


Deportation ordered for U.S. citizen who did nothing but attend rallies

While disaster pimp Joe Allbaugh helps Halliburton make more money off the very agency he relentlessly privatized, an American citizen has been arrested in Australia for attending protests against Halliburton’s war-profiteering.

Kinda makes sense, doesn’t it?

Houston teacher and peace activist Scott Parkin, who traveled to Australia in June on a six-month visitor visa, was arrested by Australian authorities for attending anti-Halliburton protests, reports Australia’s ABC News Online.

Word reached us via Halliburton Watch. ABC says Parkin is being held in a Melbourne jail and faces deportation as a “security threat.” Here’s more from the Aussie news service:

The Immigration Department has confirmed an American citizen is in custody, but has declined to comment on the case. Mr Parkin’s legal adviser, Marika Dias, says he has attended a number of protests in Australia but has done nothing wrong.

“It’s very important to note that this is not about character, this is a separate ground under the migration legislation,” she said. “He was granted a visitor’s visa [and] there were no security issues perceived at that stage.

“Scott has complied with that visa completely while he’s been here. There’s been no wrongdoing on his part.”

Dan Cass, from Greenpeace, says Mr Parkin is Australia’s first political prisoner. “The detention and expulsion of Scott Parkin is the thin edge of the wedge.”

The arrest has caused a brouhaha down in Australia, which has numerous ties to Halliburton — and thus, numerous protesters, some of whom are even in the government:

Greens leader Senator Bob Brown wants to know who ordered Mr Parkin’s deportation.

“I’d like to know whether the orders for his arrest came from the Pentagon,” he said. “I doubt very much that they came from Australia’s security services. After all, he was cleared for a visa for this country a few months ago.”

Federal Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock says he is aware of the case.

“I understand it’s a decision that’s been taken by the Minister for Immigration, and that there may be legal proceedings surrounding it,” he said. “I understand the decision was based upon a security assessment, and security assessments are not something about which I can comment in any detail.”

Parkin was probably known by the U.S. government as a “security threat” before he even left for Australia. After all, he committed the grave offense of actually being quoted as saying something negative about the company that still pays Dick Cheney. As Halliburton Watch notes:

Australia’s prime minister, John Howard, is a close ally of US President George W. Bush‘s war on terror, and Halliburton is widely criticized over its handling of military contracts.

“Halliburton is making a killing off the devastation in Iraq,” Parkin told CounterPunch in April. “They are actually the ‘poster child’ for war profiteering,” he said.

Meanwhile, Allbaugh, who helped cripple FEMA by privatizing many of its functions, designated his college roommate, Mike Brown, to succeed him. We all know that Brown has done a heck of a job.

I guess not everyone agrees with that assessment by Bush. As the Sydney Morning Herald reported a few days ago from New Orleans:

“For God’s sake, are you blind?” a woman shouted at Michael Brown, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). “You’re patting each other on the back, while people here are dying.”

The woman was not a victim of Hurricane Katrina. She was a reporter with US television network MSNBC who was so affected by the misery she had witnessed she could hold back no longer.

Hey, which Australian wrote that story? Sounds like a security threat to me. And that MSNBC reporter, too. Give me her file, while you’re at it.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 11, 2005

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