Monday September 20 2004 14:30pm WST
For Immediate Release
The case of the threatened deportation or forced immigration detention of Nanup resident, retired US intelligence officer Robert Downey, is yet another example of a fanatic pursuit by the Australian Department of Immigration, DIMIA, of 'excluding where it can' - and it comes just a week after DIMIA travelled in secret to Nauru, even a secret to its closest ally, long-time refugee advocate and migration agent Ms Marion Le of Canberra."
"The case was reported by the West Australian today (20/9, page 3, Fight to call Australia home, by Carmelo Amalfi), but what has also become clear through Project SafeCom contacts in the town, is that the entire community barracks for the resident, with almost everyone having written submissions to the Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone."
"During its Nauru visit of a week ago, DIMIA staff clearly embarked on a concerted effort of intimidation of asylum seekers from Iran and Iraq, supposedly in an effort to have them sign repatriation papers, clearly contrary to UNHCR advice, even suggesting to them that 'binding of hands' may be a method used, for Iranians - while no forced repatriation agreement with Iran exists."
"There was a time that DIMIA, also the Compliance Branch, was an ENABLER for both Australian immigrants and refugees. Now, especially after Howard's exclusion regime of refugees, the DIMIA Compliance Branch plays 'Border Protection Bullies and Lock-em-up Gods'."
"While we may well say we demand answers from the Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone, as thousands of refugee advocates around the country well know now, Vanstone will issue nothing more than non-specific statements in reply to media queries. Her spin is not sufficient where the lives of Australian residents are disrupted beyond reasonable queries."
"This is the time we also want answers from the ALP about its plans to scrutinize senior DIMIA staff and how the public servants in DIMIA are exercising a covert-aggressive policy of policing, and how they in the carrying out of their duties have become politicized lapdogs sponsoring the current government's immigration policies."
"It is clear, that the Howard government has politicized DIMIA, and the compliance branch "should be raided" by an incoming government: it seeks to destroy the lives of many immigrants, as it only knows one method: to aggressively police, incarcerate and deport where-ever it deems its tactics can be practiced on innocent people."
"Even the most unbiased TV and Radio reporters (Liam Bartlett, ABC Perth 720) now call DIMIA a Law Unto Themselves. They play amateur policemen and Excluders, Evictors and Incarcerators with scandalous levels of self-serving arrogance, and they should be held accountable for their aggression."
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]
Owner, The Nannup Times
Robert Downey supporter
[phone number posted]