ASIO

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Lumpen
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Nov 13 2012 12:56
ASIO
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ASIO officers were also keen to inquire broadly about the Melbourne anarchist scene, asking who the main leaders and identities were, and what they thought about violent protest.

http://www.theage.com.au/national/nothing-short-of-anarchy-20121113-29a6e.html#ixzz2C6eMawCP

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/asio-probes-link-to-bomber-20121113-29agz.html

usevalue
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Nov 15 2012 06:42

http://liberaciontotal.lahaine.org/?p=4382

Felicity's statement.

princess mob
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Nov 17 2012 05:36

An open letter to anarchists (and others) in Melbourne (and other places) who feel under attention from the state; or, “Please Don’t Talk To The Cops”

Dear comrades,

First of all: you have our solidarity. We know that feeling surveilled and monitored can be a very real trauma, and we know that those feelings don’t just disappear though the ‘correct’ political analysis or through macho bravado.

We have no interest in singling out anyone or any group for condemnation. However, these recent events, and the conversations around them, have emphasised to us the importance of creating a strong collective culture in which we refuse to speak with ASIO or the cops: not matter how innocent the circumstances might seem. Even when we’re under pressure – and we’re always under pressure – we need to be able to deal with debates and conflicts without creating unnecessary divisions between ourselves.

It’s precisely because things don’t seem to have gone too badly on this occasion when people chose to speak with ASIO that it’s important to raise a critique of ever talking to them and to point out the dangers of becoming complacent around this. It seems necessary to re-iterate why ‘don’t talk’ should be a general political principle.

We gain nothing; they gain something

There’s no information we could gain from talking to the cops that is useful to us. In the first place, it is clear that we should not an cannot trust anything they say. Beyond this, what actual good does it do us to ‘know’ that they’re monitoring this group or the other? Without being paranoid, we should always assume that they could be monitoring us, and this shouldn’t change our behaviour. Whether or not we have particular signs of attention from the state, we should organise and communicate openly in the same ways, and we should be cautious in the same ways. From this perspective, getting confirmation or information from the state does not inform our practice in any useful way.

On the other hand, the cops could always gain something from any conversation with us. They are trained to question and to gather information. The information that’s useful to them isn’t just the details of (non existent) secret plots: anything inadvertently disclosed about our relationships could be useful to them.

Collective refusal gives us more power and control

Ultimately we need to resist creating a situation in which it could be seem as normal, harmless or acceptable for individuals to talk to the police.

The state tries to sow seeds of doubt and division. A key way they do this is to try to separate us out and target us as individuals. In this way they try to get us to say contradictory things, fabricate stories, and so on. The only real way to respond to this is to always be creating a strong political foundation in which we collectively refuse to speak with police.

We would like to think that refusing to speak with police after an arrest is a principle that most comrades already understand – though it’s one that needs constant reiteration. As well as being sound legal advice, it is a political principle, because it gives us the best chance of working out a collective response to the immediacy of state repression. We think that it is just as crucial that this principle exists outside of arrest situations.

In writing this we draw from our own experience of being watched closely by the State, particularly in the period between the Melbourne G20 protest in 2006 and APEC in Sydney in 2007. We know that being approached for information by police or ASIO can be intimidating, and an individual’s circumstances can make it more intimidating.

During this period people were followed out of pubs and cornered in dark streets by police. One person was asked to give information in exchange for having serious charges dropped. In such situations a collective culture of supporting each other in outright refusing to talk keeps us all stronger and safer and prevents anyone being targeted as an individual.

While we’d hope to have a movement in which we can trust comrades never to say anything stupid or dangerous, we are stronger if we collectively don’t say anything at all. That way no one is singled out.

One thing we’ve noticed is that it’s often uni students who are approached by police for information. Choosing to refuse to be singled out helps create a culture of solidarity where people’s privileges and vulnerabilities are diffused amongst many comrades. No one should consider themselves in a position where they’re secure enough to talk with police.

If you are approached by police, ASIO, or anyone else after information, you should refuse to talk to them and tell other people what happened. You should tell your friends, close comrades and people you work with in collectives: but you should also make an effort to spread this information more widely – through our own channels, not through the press.

Some notes on the media

We think that we have to be very careful about dealing with the mainstream media. We don’t think that the possibility of media attention is any justification for talking with police. Whilst it seems plausible, we’re very sceptical of the idea that a newspaper article on the fact that your campaign group is under surveillance is any sort of strategy. We can imagine very few situations in which a story about anarchists – or any activists – being monitored by ASIO would be anything other than either:

1. a liberal story in which we were ‘innocent’ victims being pursued by the state, which should allow ‘democratic dissent’; or

2. a beat up which presents us as ‘terrorists’ who deserve everything we get.

What do we gain from either of these presentations?

A further note on this particular situation: it’s never ok to talk to the press about a comrade who is incommunicado, no matter how sympathetic the journo or how seemingly trivial the comment you give. It’s never ok to do anything that will help the press build a story about a comrade who is choosing stay quiet and whose situation might well be made worse by publicity.

A conclusion

We live in a world with prisons, with police, with intelligence agencies. We need to get a grip on what this means when we oppose the state. We struggle against them; they aim to undermine and crush our attempts to make a new world.

We need to learn from history. There’s a reason why ‘don’t talk to the cops’ is a fundamental principle for radical movements. We’ve made mistakes too – we’d like to be able to learn from each others’ mistakes, not make them again

- love, some comrades in Sydney

princess mob
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Nov 17 2012 05:35

Press statement from Melbourne Anarchist Club

We note with interest the reference to the 'Melbourne Anarchist Club' (MAC) in Philip Dorling's article 'Nothing short of anarchy' (The Age, November 14, 2012).

For the record, we have not been contacted by ASIO, will always refuse to provide any information to it if requested, and advise others to do the same.

The MAC exists in order to promote anarchism in Melbourne. We do so by organising public meetings, musical events, social functions and film screenings; attending public rallies and events; producing and distributing propaganda; and otherwise publicising our views.

Our aims and principles may be found on our website. In brief, they comprise a commitment to individual freedom, economic and social equality and working class solidarity. We seek to realise our aim of a classless, non-hierarchical society through education and organisation and the construction of a social movement capable of dismantling capitalism, the state and other forms of exploitation and domination.

For further information on MAC, please feel free to contact us or to attend the Club during our regular opening hours (Sunday, midday to 5pm) or by attending one of our public events.

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Nov 18 2012 13:36

MAC has been subject to some odd rumours and a graffiti attack (claimed by anonymous anarchists) suggesting that we talked to ASIO. We didn't and won't. As we said above, we also discourage others from doing so.

Rebecca, the subject of one of the articles, has posted the following in a couple of places. The version below has been posted on FB, and isn't the same as the one on this website. The main difference is an apology, which I've put in bold.

Rebecca Harrison wrote:
Some background/thoughts on all of this:

I decided to meet up with ASIO because people from Quit Coal asked me to do so. They had reason to believe that ASIO was investigating Quit Coal and people thought that meeting with ASIO was worth the risk so that we could get confirmation of this that we could then take to the media.

Turned out, they weren't at all interested in Quit Coal. I'd apparently been 'identified as someone active in the anarchist movement.' They asked me a heap of questions. I replied with a lot of 'I don't know's. Should go without saying that they didn't get any information from me that could be used against anyone.

Afterwards, some people thought it would be worth talking to a journo from Fairfax so that other people could know what was going on and we could bring some attention to the way that people in Melbourne are currently being targeted for surveillance for nothing more than holding lefty/revolutionary political views.

As you can see, though, this didn't work out as I had hoped. As usual, the mainstream media is happy to present anarchists as scary terrorists and little else.

I sincerely apologise for any harm/erosion of trust that has been caused by my actions. I'm completely open to admitting that I've messed this up. And I really hope that Felicity's campaign for justice is not negatively impacted by the scrutiny this article has resulted in. In the end, all I can really do is try to think more about the strategical lessons of this and how I can do better in the future.

I think some of the things we should take from this are:

1. The dangers that come with engaging with the state and the mainstream media.

2. We should be aware that in the next couple of years there may be increased attention on anarchists and other lefty dissidents from the state and its various instruments of control.

3. We shouldn't respond to this by stopping the good work that we are doing. I'm proud to be an anarchist and to take part in anarchist organising. Part of the purpose of these approaches by ASIO is no doubt to scare people into silence. I think we should respond by being even more organised and even more vocal.

4. We should think about ways we can show solidarity to anarchists who are facing state repression. My experience with ASIO was what made me want to help organise this rally.

I think a good response to ASIO's bullshit would be a have an amazing solidarity rally to show them that they cannot intimidate people into silence.

princess mob
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Nov 18 2012 22:45
Lumpen wrote:
MAC has been subject to some odd rumours and a graffiti attack (claimed by anonymous anarchists) suggesting that we talked to ASIO. We didn't and won't. As we said above, we also discourage others from doing so.

That sucks, I'm sorry to hear of it. You'd hope that anarchists wouldn't react to state attention by attacking other anarchists based on rumours they couldn't even be bothered to check the truth of, but apparently not.

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Nov 19 2012 07:36

I imagine it was done by someone not well-disposed to us looking for an excuse. No biggie.

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ites
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Nov 19 2012 09:08
princess mob wrote:
You'd hope that anarchists wouldn't react [..] by attacking other anarchists based on rumours they couldn't even be bothered to check the truth of, but apparently not.

Given the generally cliquish and insular character of much of the anarchist milieu in Melbourne I'd be inclined to argue that it's to be expected.

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Nov 22 2012 00:07
Lumpen wrote:
MAC has been subject to some odd rumours and a graffiti attack (claimed by anonymous anarchists) suggesting that we talked to ASIO. We didn't and won't. As we said above, we also discourage others from doing so.

1. What the shit?
2. Skinheads haven't even bothered doing much of that.
3. Is that what it took to get your new paint job?

Melbourne is weird.

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Nov 22 2012 00:20

To clarify, TL are primitivist/anti-civ/'non-human animal equality' aren't they?

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Nov 22 2012 02:41
rats wrote:
1. What the shit?
2. Skinheads haven't even bothered doing much of that.
3. Is that what it took to get your new paint job?

1. In the absence of organisation, bullshit reigns freely.
2. Graffiti of that nature appears every now and then. Nazi stuff more frequently. Just a bit of local flavour.
3. Nope. Showing our support for the mighty Essendon football club.

TL? Liberacion Total? I only know of what I've read online following the press reports of the arrest and warrants. Seems like an accurate description.

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ites
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Nov 22 2012 03:09

I'm with the bassist.

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Nov 30 2012 10:14

I missed this one. A statement taking responsibility for the graffiti on MAC was published on anarchistnews.org but then taken down (I think) and Indymedia. It was also republished elsewhere. At least Disaccords noted that the charges against MAC were false.

I'll reproduce it in full here.


“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind killer.
Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.”
-Frank Herbert, Dune

Indymedia: As part of the days of solidarity with grand jury resisters in the US, on the morning of Friday 16th November we hung a banner on the Merri Parade train overpass which read “SOLIDARITY WITH GRAND JURY RESISTERS IN THE USA, ACAB”.

In addition to that and in reference to this article we wrote “DON’T TALK TO ASIO” on the front of the Melbourne Anarchist Club, and a huge “SHH! DON’T TALK TO COPS” on the Merri Creek bike path.

The silence of our comrades in the US, and refusing to snitch or give up any information to the police – despite facing lengthy prison terms for doing so – is inspirational. While across the Pacific those resisting the grand jury are holding it down, on our side of the world some supposed comrades are playing straight into the hands of the enemy.

For some of us the idea of going for coffee with an ASIO agent is unthinkable. Did you pick up the bill, or did they pay for their own lunch? Did they buy you a vegan, gluten free muffin with your soy latte? Would you have drained the pus out of their weeping boils if they had asked you to?

The political logic of liberal anarchists is to use the media to convince society that there are “good” anarchists and “bad” anarchists. We refuse this dichotomy. In the eyes of the state the only “good” people are the ones who are willing to keep their heads down, passively accept their slavery and quietly watch the world around them go to shit. Therefore as people who are actively opposed to domination in all its forms, we will never seek the legitimisation of the media / state. And we are proud to be their enemies.

It is crucial at all times, but especially now – during this period of increased, and targeted, repression towards anarchists in Australia and around the world – that we do not let fear and paranoia paralyse us in our struggle. That we continue the vital and dignified fight for freedom and liberated human potential, against the tyranny of alienation, exploitation, and boredom of everyday life under capitalism.

Our silence is our roar, let solidarity replace fear. Our collective rage is unshakable.

Fuck ASIO, fuck the media, fuck liberal activism.

SOLIDARITY WITH ALL THOSE WHO ARE RESISTING THE GRAND JURIES

SOLIDARITY WITH MARIO AND FELICITY

THE PASSION FOR FREEDOM IS STRONGER THAN PRISON

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Dec 2 2012 02:51

I have it on good authority that it was in fact a Peppermint tea which was consumed, and that ASIO picked up the bill.

Which brings me to my next point.
WHY DO ANARCHISTS DRINK HERBAL TEA??

BECAUSE PROPER-TEA IS THEFT.

Anyway, graffiti, shit, i bet that person is the passive-aggressive-notes housemates from hell.

*Come home to find all your property in a burning dumpster with a banner that says "That's for putting a SPECIESIST SLAUGHTERHOUSE cupcake in my VEGAN Gluten-free fridge! ACAB @"*

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Dec 2 2012 10:41
Rats wrote:
Anyway, graffiti, shit, i bet that person is the passive-aggressive-notes housemates from hell.

It does seem to be in line with that type of thinking. Oh well. For me, it's enough that they have made themselves out to be idiots, and those who know them understand they attempted to use the plight of others to push their own sectarian agenda and it has put everyone in a worse position. Generally, that type are incapable of feeling the crippling embarrassment that comes with doing something so moronic, so we'll probably see more of this kind of posing.

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Dec 4 2012 05:45
Lumpen wrote:
It does seem to be in line with that type of thinking. Oh well. For me, it's enough that they have made themselves out to be idiots, and those who know them understand they attempted to use the plight of others to push their own sectarian agenda and it has put everyone in a worse position. Generally, that type are incapable of feeling the crippling embarrassment that comes with doing something so moronic, so we'll probably see more of this kind of posing.

The funny thing about being judgmental I think is that your own arrogance and hubris tends to be exposed in the process.

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Dec 4 2012 09:26
Quote:
Generally, that type are incapable of feeling the crippling embarrassment that comes with doing something so moronic, so we'll probably see more of this kind of posing.

Right on cue

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Dec 4 2012 23:57

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Dec 5 2012 05:41
Quote:
Generally, that type are incapable of feeling the crippling embarrassment that comes with doing something so moronic, so we'll probably see more of this kind of posing.

So predictable you can set your watch by it.

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Dec 6 2012 04:19
Lugius wrote:
Quote:
Generally, that type are incapable of feeling the crippling embarrassment that comes with doing something so moronic, so we'll probably see more of this kind of posing.

So predictable you can set your watch by it.

Not my fault you can't tell the difference between predictable and eidetic.

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Dec 6 2012 04:53
ites wrote:
The funny thing about being judgmental I think is that your own arrogance and hubris tends to be exposed in the process.

roll eyes

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Dec 7 2012 04:59

Children, please, don't make me come back there!

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Dec 7 2012 15:03
Rats wrote:
Children, please, don't make me come back there!

Ha

Harrison
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Dec 7 2012 16:14

wow a communique quoting Dune? laugh out loud i suppose it might seem almost profound when considered from the standpoint of horse tranquilliser.

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Dec 19 2012 11:39
Lumpen wrote:
roll eyes

If being smug is all you have left maybe you should call it a day and move on.