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Counter-terrorism Arrow Vol 1 No 1 Contents
About borderlands Volume 1 Number 1, 2002


Counter-terrorism and (in)security: fallout
from the Bali bombing

Jude McCulloch
Deakin University


1. In the wake of the Bali bombing the Australian government has proposed a number of national security measures that pose a real danger to human security in Australia and the region. These measures include renewed and increased military and intelligence exchanges with Indonesia, and laws that allow the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) to detain people without charge or even suspicion in order to gather intelligence. In less emotional times these initiatives would be rejected as contrary to human rights concerns and Australia’s democratic traditions, which include the rule of law and due process protections. In the current climate, however, human rights and civil liberties are apt to be portrayed as unaffordable luxuries.

2. The notion that security, human rights and civil liberties cannot comfortably coexist has gained great momentum after the September 11 attack on the United States. Summing up this sentiment, the United Kingdom Home Secretary said ‘We could live in a world which is airy-fairy, libertarian, where everyone does precisely what they like and we believe the best of everybody and then they destroy us’ (Guardian November 12, 2001). Internationally, a whole raft of national security measures have been implemented or proposed post September 11 that fly in the face of civil liberties and human rights (see, for example, Thomas 2002). In more authoritarian, totalitarian or militarized states these measure have undermined any tentative moves towards democracy and resulted in an intensification of repression. In established democracies like Australia they have seen or foreshadowed a wholesale erosion of the bed rock principles of liberal democracy that in the end may signal the beginning of a post liberal era where forms of state repression move towards global convergence. In the pervasive climate of fear and insecurity after the attacks in the United States and Bali, the erosion and even total abrogation of civil liberties and human rights are promoted as the price to be paid for increased security. The reality, however, is that these measures will inevitably be counterproductive to human security and lead to greater conflict and suffering.

3. The idea that human rights and civil liberties exist only in inverse proportion to human security rests on a number of false assumptions. The first and most fundamental false assumption is that governments and security agencies view and practice national security primarily in terms of human security. In truth governments and security agencies tend to view security almost solely in terms of military strength and political order. National security measures are ineffective in preventing acts that imperil human security because they tend to be framed in the context of ‘national interest’; basically a euphemism for the dominant political and economic interests. State security measures are thus frequently targeted at individuals or groups that challenge the legitimacy of the political status quo or economic order rather than at those engaged in extreme acts of violence that imperil human security. In addition, state security measures are often themselves a source of terror and human insecurity that are far more pervasive than the terror it is purportedly countering. State security measures can also add to human insecurity by creating the type of political and social environments that nurture the growth of the type of terror they are said to be preventing.

(In)security, intelligence and surveillance

4. After the September 11 attacks on the United States governments around the world moved to increase surveillance of citizens and increase intelligence exchanges between states (Lyons 2002; While governments have promoted these moves as a reaction to terrorism, the intensification of surveillance and increased intelligence exchange are part of a longer-term trend. Many of the ‘counter terrorist’ surveillance and intelligence measures now implemented or foreshadowed were at least contemplated, if not already in the process of being implemented, before the events in the United States (see, for example, McCulloch 2002). The post Bali bombing moves to increase intelligence exchange with Indonesia are part of this continuing international trend. Increased surveillance of citizens and intelligence exchanges between states generally, and with Indonesia in particular, will not increase human security because intelligence agencies do not prioritise human security.

5. The primarily focus of security agencies in Indonesia is silencing political opposition and suppressing information, ideas and movements that are deemed by political elites not to be in the national interests. Despite lip service to notions of democracy, Indonesia remains a repressive military dominated authoritarian government that is responsible for horrendous violations of fundamental human rights. Even the tentative moves towards democracy since the fall of Suharto in 1998 in have been undermined post September 11 as the world community shifts its attention away from supporting democracy movements and human rights towards the ‘war on terror’ (see, for example, Noorsalim 2002).

6. Intelligence exchange between Australia and Indonesia could represent a danger to human security because the quid pro quo of exchange may involve Australian intelligence agencies supplying Indonesia with information about the activities of solidarity and human rights groups operating in Australia. This intelligence exchange is likely to make it difficult if not impossible for Australians involved in such work to travel safely in Indonesia. Increased cooperation between Australia and Indonesia is likely to see Australian advocates of human rights in Indonesia subject to increased scrutiny and harassment within Australia, because Indonesia may demand that Australia crack down on individuals and groups that Indonesia deems detrimental to its national interest. It is also likely to impact significantly on Indonesian human rights, democracy, labour, student and independence activists that travel to Australia to work with support networks within Australia. These people are likely to be put under surveillance in Australia by national intelligence agencies like ASIO. Information about the activities of these people will then be supplied, under enhanced exchange arrangements, to authorities in Indonesia. These people will face an increased risk of detention and repression on their return to Indonesia.

7. The work of Australian solidarity and human rights groups was instrumental in maintaining a tenuous margin of protection for the East Timorese against the brutality, murder and cultural genocide committed by the Indonesian military during twenty-four years of occupation. The increase suppression of these networks will inevitably add to the insecurity and suffering of many politically marginalised groups and individuals in Indonesia including labour and student activists and the populations of Aceh and West Papua.

8. ASIO, like its intelligence counterparts in Indonesia, cannot be relied upon to prioritise human security over ‘national interest’. The behaviour of ASIO during Indonesia's invasion and subsequent occupation of East Timor is illustrative. In the three years between 1975 and 1978 one third of the East Timorese population were killed or died as a result of the famine deliberately induced by the Indonesians. The Australian government was aware of the mass killings, rape, torture and brutality directed at the civilian population because Australia’s signals intelligence agency closely monitored the radio traffic of both the East Timorese guerrilla group, Fretilin, and the Indonesian army. Intelligence services listened in while an ‘act of genocide on the scale of the Nazi’s "Final Solution" occurred right on Australia’s doorstep’ (Aarons 2001: 70). While the Timorese and their supporters in Australia tried to alert the Australian public and the world to the human tragedy wrought by the Indonesian military, ASIO, the Defence Services Directorate and state police special branches tracked down and seized the radio transmitters that broadcast news between East Timor and Australia, and gathered intelligence in order to break up solidarity networks to stop the flow of information. At that time, Australia’s national interest was seen as best served by aiding and abetting the cover up of mass murder in order to ‘minimise the public impact’ of Indonesia’s aggression (Aarons 2001: 69; Kiernan 2002). In 1999 prior to the independence vote in East Timor Australian intelligence agencies became aware that widespread Indonesian military backed violence was likely after the vote. The Australian government took no steps to prevent the carnage because human security was not seen as a priority when balanced against the ‘national interest’ of maintaining cordial links with the Indonesian government (Birmingham 2001: 58-59).

9. In Australia the government intends to step up intelligence gathering and surveillance of citizens by providing ASIO with extensive new powers to detain people without charge. Under the proposals ASIO will be empowered to detain people who it believes might have information relevant to terrorism for up to seven days. Detention powers will extend to people who are not suspected of committing any offence and may apply to people as young as fourteen. Detainees can be held incommunicado and may not have the right to access to a lawyer of their choice. Under the legislation ASIO will move from being a spy agency to a secret police force with the power to ‘disappear’ citizens. Detainees will have no right to silence, and failure to answer questions or produce records or things can be punished by up to five years imprisonment. The legislation has been described by the chairman of the Parliamentary Joint Committee that considered the legislation as amongst the most draconian ever to come before parliament (Parliamentary Joint Committee on ASIO, ASIS and DSD 2002; Australian 19 June 2002: 3). The criminal law already allows for criminal conspiracy charges to be brought against anyone suspected of planning a serious criminal act, such as a bombing or hijacking.

10. By allowing non-suspects to be detained, the proposed ASIO legislation amounts to a domestic equivalent of the United States’ recently declared pre-emptive strike doctrine under which it would attack other states on the grounds of ‘anticipatory self defence’. Detention will not be based on reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing but instead suspicion of knowledge or state of mind. The effective removal of the presumption of innocence and the removal of judicial oversight of detention decisions will provide government with a powerful tool to wield against politically inconvenient or troublesome citizens.

11. The UK government passed similar legislation in the mid 1970s in response to ‘Irish’ terrorism. Research on the operation of that legislation found that it was used indiscriminately against Irish nationals and that detention and interrogation was frequently based on political belief and lawful political activity rather than any suspicion of wrongdoing linked to terrorist activity (Hillyard 1993). Malaysia and Singapore have ‘internal security acts’ similar to the one now being contemplated in Australia. These governments have been unable to resist using these acts to vilify, silence and punish political opponents (see, for example, for information about the operation of the Internal Security Act in Malaysia). If the ASIO legislation becomes law the delicate balance between state power and individual liberty will shift dangerously and permanently in favour of state power. Such a shift will inevitably tend towards criminalizing political opposition and dissent.

12. While democracy and the space for political opposition is much more firmly entrenched in Australia than Indonesia, Australian intelligence agencies also have a history of focusing their attention on political dissent, rather than perpetrators of politically motivated violence. During the Cold War when security services perceived their role in terms of monitoring subversives their role was consistently interpreted as mandating the surveillance of those groups or individuals that held left or radical opinions. While left wing political opinions were deemed sufficient reason to warrant ASIO’s attention even violently inclined right wing groups tended to be ignored. The tendency of ASIO and its counterparts in state police forces to view dissent as a security threat has continued in their more recently developed counter-terrorism functions. According to the dominant security paradigm terrorism arises out of an excess of dissent. According to counter terrorist theory dissent is on the same continuum as terrorism with the result that counter terrorism operations are directed at a far more diffuse target than the perpetrators of politically motivated violence. Though publicly justified in terms of responding to events like bombings and hijackings, counter terrorism too often tends to focus on monitoring, containing and repressing dissent (Hocking 1993: 91; McCulloch 2001: Chapter 8).

13. While the Australian government argues that increased intelligence exchange with Indonesia and powers to our domestic intelligence agencies will assist in the ‘fight against terror’ it is misguided to assume that these measures will increase human security by decreasing the risk of terrible crimes against humanity like the Bali bombing. Intelligence agencies can fail to predict, prevent, or warn about bombings and the like because they tend to be politically driven and ideologically blinkered. ‘Intelligence agencies and national security bureaus have an especially long and undistinguished history of refusing to accept information that does not accord with their established beliefs, of suppressing such intelligence or even fabricating data that does fit more agreeably’ (Birmingham 2001: 56). In Australia, in the 1960s and 1970s, for example, the Yugoslav anti-communist Ustasha was responsible for, or the prime suspect in, a series of bombings. Although Ustasha violence was serious and persistent, ASIO was slow to treat it as a terrorist organisation because they empathised with its anti-communist outlook. ASIO allowed the Ustasha groups to flourish within the Yugoslav community while bombings were automatically attributed to communist provocateurs (Mack 1981: 220-21).

14. The same type of ideological myopia prevalent during the Cold War is now operating in the shadow of the ‘war on terror’. While the dominant security narrative ensures Islamic extremists top billing as prime suspects in the Bali bombing, a circumstantial case can be made against elements of the TNI, especially the notorious Kopassus special forces. The Kopassus have a demonstrated disregard for human life, access to explosives, and a strong antipathy towards Australia over its role in East Timor. The Kopassus have committed similar but smaller bombings previously. The secrecy and consequent lack of accountability that surrounds security forces and agencies provides a degree of cover against being caught. In addition security forces, even corrupt outfits like the Kopassus, enjoy a certain amount of authority and legitimacy that tends to militate against suspicion. This is not to suggest that the Indonesian security forces and Kopassus were involved in the Bali bombing, only that any sensible assessment of possible suspects should have included them, at least until such time as investigation excluded them. Yet, one of the Australian government’s first responses to the bombing was to propose renewing the military exchange between the Kopassus and the Australian army commando unit, the Special Air Services (SAS).

15. There is something inherently unbelievable in the notion that ‘counter-terrorist’ or security agencies would be involved in the very terrorist activity that it is their role to prevent. The political fall out that would result from confirmation of any suspicion regarding state security agencies involvement in terrorist activity means that speculation inevitably remains at the level of conspiracy theory. It is worth recounting here the circumstances of the Hilton bombing in Australia. In February 1978 a bomb exploded outside the Sydney Hilton where the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting was being held. At the time the bombing, which killed three people and injured several others, was described as Australia’s ‘baptism’ into terrorism. Suspicion immediately fell on an Indian religious sect. More than twenty years after the bombing, however, the most credible suspects remain sections of Australia’s own security services, which benefited significantly in terms of power, prestige and resources. Despite repeated calls for an official inquiry, none has taken place (Hocking 1993: 194-96; Carrington et al).

Australian military aid to Indonesia

16. Even putting aside the possibility that the Kopassus were involved in the Bali bombing, a possibility that does not seem to have been borne out by the progress of the investigation, they are indisputably a major purveyor of terror within Indonesia. This terror includes torture, rape, kidnapping, and murder (Kingsbury 2002). The exchange between the SAS and Kopassus was stopped after the violence in East Timor subsequent to the 1999 independence vote. Investigation revealed that the mass destruction, killings and deportations were the outcome of a plan by TNI generals, executed mainly by the Kopassus (Dunn cited in Birmingham 2001: 18). After these events it was impossible for the Australian Defence Forces and the Australian government to argue—as they had previously—that the military exchanges built respect for human rights amongst the Indonesian forces (see, for example, Simpson 1995).

17. The TNI, and Kopassus in particular, are currently engaged in a crackdown against self-determination supporters in West Papua. Information leaked by TNI personnel to the Papua Intelligence Service indicates that there are plans for kidnapping and assassination of 1,200 pro-independence leaders, activists and former political prisoners in West Papua. A number have already been killed. According to the Papua Intelligence Service the victim’s heads were cut off, their eyes gouged out, and their genitals cut off. President Megawati Sukarnoputri’s exortation to her military in December 2001 to ‘execute your assignments and responsibilities to the best of your ability without experiencing anxiety about violating human rights’ has obviously been taken to heart (Richards 2002). It seems that the tragedy of East Timor is about to be repeated in West Papua with the Australian government singing the same tune; denying genocide and aiding and abetting murder (Martinkus 2002).

18. Resumed Australian military aid and training to the Kopassus would effectively sanction the continuation and escalation of state sponsored terror in Indonesia. Moreover, even if, as informed commentators argue, Kopassus was not involved in the Bali bombing, they have committed bombings in the past and are capable of doing so again in the future. Australian military aid if not directly supporting the perpetrators of the Bali bombing may nevertheless contribute to the capabilities of those who might commit similar acts in the future.

Militarization of civil society

19. Apart from the suspicion that the Kopassus may be involved in the Bali bombing and incontrovertible proof that they are perpetrators of pervasive and continuing terror throughout Indonesia, the exchange with the Kopassus represents a risk to human security in Australia. The Indonesian and Australian armies have traditionally exercised very different roles in society. The Indonesian army is used continuously alongside the police as a repressive force against its own citizens and is a significant political force in its own right. In Australia, on the other hand, the military has been confined almost exclusively to engaging external enemies in times of war. Using the military as a repressive or coerce force against citizens has not been part of Australian social traditions. In a review of security arrangements undertaken in the late 1970s Justice Hope maintained that using the military against citizens was ‘[a] critical and controversial issue in the political life of the country and the civil liberties of citizens’ (Hope 1979: 142). In Australia, police operating under a philosophy of minimum force and operationally independent from the government have traditionally undertaken the task of law enforcement or internal security.

20. Since the mid 1970s counter terrorism has provided the vehicle for increasing militarisation of internal security or law enforcement in western democracies like Australia. This process has seen the distinction between the military and the police steadily eroded and the creeping militarisation of law enforcement. The strict demarcation between the police and military in Australia and the principle that military force should not be used against citizens except in exceptional circumstances began to break down in the when the army’s Special Air Services were given a role in domestic counter-terrorism in the mid 1970s. At the same time paramilitary counter-terrorist squads were set up in state police forces. These paramilitary squads include former members of the military, train with the SAS and have a range of military equipment and weapons. Although originally established as counter terrorist squads their sphere of operations has gradually been expanded to include a whole range of police operations. The influence of the squads has seen ‘counter terrorist’ tactics, which use psychological terror and extreme force as a matter of course, integrated into every day policing. Paramilitary styles of policing have resulted in unnecessary deaths, casualties and psychological injury. Moreover because counter terrorist theory tends to see political dissent as a form of terrorist activity paramilitary policing styles, involving high levels of force and coercion have been used in the policing of some political demonstrations. While police have become increasingly militarised the military are increasingly being prepared for a role in the civil sphere (McCulloch 2001).

21. The SAS domestic counter terrorist capacity has recently been greatly expanded. In addition amendments to the Defence Act passed in 2000 make it easier for the Commonwealth to call out the troops to deal with industrial and political protest. The militarisation of law enforcement and greater integration of the military into internal security suggest that it is likely that the roles of our police and military are moving away from their protective and defensive roles towards more repressive and coercive ones more similar to those practiced by their Indonesian counterparts. Proposed exchanges between our SAS and the Indonesian Kopassus would be the icing on the cake in this process. The SAS is responsible for training paramilitary police, and paramilitary police in turn train other police in their respective police forces. Do we really want our police and the sections of the military involved in internal security training with or being trained by others who have trained with a force as brutal and corrupt as the Kopassus? Writing about Australian Indonesian military exchanges in 1995, James Dunn - a one-time time Australian serviceman and defence analyst - observed that ‘officers on our side tend to become impressed with the ability of their Indonesian opposite numbers to get things done, and with the power they exercise’. (1995).

Counter-terrorism and terrorism: an escalating spiral of violence

22. Countries in the region, including Indonesia, have in the past used ‘anti-terrorism’ and ‘national security measures’ as a Trojan horse for state terror. At a recent conference held around the theme ‘Democracy and Security of the People in the Asian Region’ Asian groups such as Focus on the Global South, Forum Asia, and the Malaysian human rights watchdog, Suaram, called on people in Western countries to learn from their experiences. Participants expressed concern at the threat posed to the democracy and human rights by the intensified use of national security in the framework of the ‘war on terror’. The conference passed a declaration which said that past measures taken in the name of ‘national security’ or ‘anti-terrorism'

have paved the way for genocides, massacres, extra-judicial killings, disappearances torture, detention without trial and sham processes. The role of basic institutions such as an independent judiciary, prosecution and police were fundamentally undermined. People’s right to food, health, education and other basic needs were greatly reduced. People were exposed to terrible insecurity’ ( accessed 5 September 2002).

23. State terror disguised as counter terrorism is instrumental in provoking the type of violence it is said to be curtailing. Force, coercion and repression are double-edged swords: there is a thin line between making people scared and making them angry. ‘Counter-terrorism’ as a guise for state terror acts to create a sense of grievance, shared identity and cynicism about the political process that frequently turns people away from peaceful forms of political protest towards more violent expressions of dissatisfaction: ‘When words are banned hands make their move’ (leader of the banned Muslim Brotherhood speaking in 1948 after the assassination of the Egyptian Prime Minister, quoted in Ali 2002: 98). Research on the conflict in Northern Ireland found that the introduction of internment and detention without trial in 1971 was a significant factor in a shift amongst supporters of Irish nationalism away from peaceful protest towards political violence (Wright 1981).

24. If social and political problems are responded to as security problems they inevitably become security problems. Beyond this, the state violence associated with ‘counter terrorism’ may inspire revenge attacks and an escalating spiral of violence. In Northern Ireland the British military’s strategy of ‘getting the hard men created more hard men to get’ (Wright 1981). The conflict between Israel and Palestine is further grim testament to the abject failure of military solutions. Even a state as committed to national security through military action as Israel can’t fight its way out of the deadly cycle of attack and counter attack represented by suicide bombings on the one side and military occupation, assault and crackdown on the other. The formidable weight and force of the Israeli military and intelligence services is ultimately no match for the determination on the side of the Palestinians to inflict their share of the casualties. Writing about the conflict in 1992 Edward Said maintained that ‘neither Israelis nor Palestinians really have a military option against the other’ (xiii). Ten years later and thousands of casualties on, Israeli Defence Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said ‘it was time to explore a return to peacemaking because the country was running out of military options to prevent Palestinian suicide bombings’ (Age October 24 2002). The poisonous repetition of military strike and deadly counter strike means that ‘[i]n the end security and terrorism may form a single deadly system, in which they justify and legitimate each other’s actions’ (Agamben 2001).

Us and them

25. Finally, the idea that security and human rights exist in inverse relation to each other belies a society and a world view based on a division between those we consider human insiders and those we consider unworthy of human rights. Would we ever accept that ‘we’ could, would or should be protected at the costs of the breach of human rights—torture, terror, rape arbitrary detention, murder, kidnapping—if we thought we ourselves or others who we valued as unique and precious human beings would be subject to these abuses? If we felt that these abuses could be our fate or the fate of one of ‘ours’ would we feel more secure? The security human rights inversion calculation only works if we see security as something ‘we’ do to ‘them’. The security that seeks to be paid for in human rights and civil liberties is a one built on the back of the insecurity and suffering of the Other.

26. Human rights and civil liberties are being hastily tossed on the pyre of the ‘war on terror’ which is rhetorically fuelled by the binary of good versus evil, ‘with us or against us’, against the ‘enemies of freedom’ (President Bush, release/20010920-8). Many have alluded to the difficulty of defining terror and the contradictory, myopic and hypocritical way the term is used. The key to understanding the slippery nature of the term ‘terrorism’ is understanding that it does not describe a category of behavior but represents instead a political construct. This is not to say that there aren’t categories of human behaviour that don’t create terror on an individual or mass scale. Clearly events like September 11, 2001 in the United States and the Bali bombing on October 12, 2002 are terrible crimes that wrought widespread terror amongst its immediate victims, their families and friends and the wider community that share a portion of the burden of grief. But there are other acts that wreak terror, death and devastation that are not defined as terrorism or even crimes.

27. The military invasion of Afghanistan in the wake of September 11 brought terror and death to many thousands of innocent civilians but is not defined as an act of terrorism. United States sponsored state terrorism has left hundreds of thousands dead and traumatized across Central and South America, South Africa, South East Asia to name just a few cases (Chomsky 2002: 66-71). Princeton university historian, Arno Mayer, wrote shortly after the September 11 attacks that ‘Since 1947 America has been the chief and pioneering perpetrator of "preemptive" state terror, exclusively in the Third World and therefore widely disassembled. Besides the unexceptional subversion and overthrow of governments in competition with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, Washington has resorted to political assassinations, surrounding death squads, and unseemly freedom fighters (e.g. Bin Laden). It masterminded the killing of Lumumba and Allende: it unsuccessfully tried to put to death Castro, Khadafi, and Saddam Hussein . . . and vetoed all efforts to rein in not only Israel’s violation of international agreements and UN resolutions but also its practice of pre-emptive state terror (quoted in Burchill 2002: 12).

28. The struggle over defining terrorism and labeling terrorists is not an equal one. Commentators, scholars and the media tend to adopt the categories of terrorism and counter-terrorism promoted by government with the result that state terrorism — murder, police violence, sexual assault, torture, illegal arrests and detention, and legal arrest and detention based on political activity, ethnicity, race or class background (in other words kidnapping or hostage-taking) — are ignored altogether or at least permitted to masquerade as ‘counter-terrorism’ (Herman 1993: 56). In other words, violence committed in the name of protecting the state, the country, or its leaders is generally held up to a different measure. ‘The term counterterrorism may be used to legitimate extraordinary sanctions directed toward offending parties; sanctions that might otherwise be rejected by many’ (Perude: ix 1989). At base ‘terrorism is the violence they commit against us – whoever we happen to be . . . And sine the powerful determine what counts as History, what passes through the filters is the terrorism of the weak against the strong and their clients’ (Chomsky 2002: 71)


29. If repression, coercion and the militarisation of civil society were the price we must pay for security, many might agree that, though costly it is worth the price. The reality however, is that there is no repressive, coercive or military solution to the problem of human security or terrorism that is not ultimately counterproductive.

30. Military superiority ensures only a victorious rush into our own graves. Military success can be a harbinger of greater insecurity even for the victors. After Israel’s victory in the 1967 Israeli/Arab war, Isaac Deutscher wrote that ‘victory is worse for Israel than a defeat. Far from giving Israel a higher degree of security, it has rendered it much more insecure. If Arab revenge and extermination is what the Israelis feared, they have behaved as if they were bent on turning a bogey into an actual menace’ (1967: 325).

31. If human rights and security are viewed as a zero-sum game we all lose. Human security coexists most happily and abundantly in the company of justice, not fear and force. ‘Lasting security is inextricably linked with the promotion of justice. When human rights are denied, justice is postponed; and when justice is postponed, security is always threatened’ (Booth 1999: 9). It is important in these emotionally charged times to think beyond the immediate crisis. Even in the context of the fear and insecurity naturally felt after terrible events like Bali and the September 11 attacks, we need to resist wagering the political freedoms of future generations on the benevolence of governments to come. As Anthony Burke argues, ‘[s]ecurity has been central to the construction of powerful images of national identity and otherness, and central to their use in bitter political conflicts which were too often resolved in violent and anti-democratic ways’ (2001: xxi). In the same way that we have a duty to future generations to preserve the physical environment we also have a duty to maintain the democratic space within our own society, because ultimately the only way to minimize threats to human security is to maintain and enhance human rights.

Dr Jude McCulloch is a Senior Lecturer in Police Studies at Deakin University and the author of Blue Army: Paramilitary Policing in Australia (Melbourne University Press, 2001). Email:


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