The Government’s New Anti-Extremism Booklet Links Greenies And “Alternative Music” To Terrorism
If you've been to an environmental protest or like Courtney Barnett, congratulations! You might be a terrorist!
Tony Abbott might not be Prime Minister anymore, but his legacy of spectacular fuck-ups lives on in policy decisions made under his leadership that are only now beginning to see the light of day. It’s like digging for buried treasure, only instead of pirate’s gold you find relics of bizarre paranoia and little nuggets of racism.
On that note, meet the government’s fancy new anti-radicalisation booklet, ‘Preventing Violent Extremism and Radicalisation in Australia‘. It’s due to be handed out at schools across the country at the beginning of the next term in a couple of weeks, all the better to teach kids about the warning signs of their friends being tempted into violent extremism and how they can best dob their classmates into ASIO.
The 32-page pamphlet has sections like ‘Violent extremism and the internet’, ‘Understanding the signs of radicalisation’ and ‘Violent extremism and the law’, and illustrates its points with appropriately bland stock imagery and fictional case studies of young people who’ve been sucked into the hellish vortex of extremist ideology, but have since managed to claw their way back to the light of being allowed to sit in the Q&A live audience.
One of those case studies is about a young girl called ‘Karen’, whose story of “radicalisation” weirdly doesn’t involve ISIS or learning how to make a pipe bomb. Instead, the dark forces pulling at Karen’s consciousness are “the alternative music scene, student politics and left-wing activism”, which eventually see her protesting logging camps and mining sites in the forest. Egad!
The inclusion of this type of thing in a booklet designed to stop kids flying overseas and signing up with fucking ISIS has understandably puzzled quite a few people who’ve ever protested an anti-environmental project, campaigned against a big mine or forestry plan, or listened to Courtney Barnett. Online radicals everywhere have rallied to Karen’s side, with #FreeKaren trending on Twitter and people finally opening up about the green activism and love of jangly guitar pop that’s been threatening this great nation for far too long.
I think my mum is trying to radicalise me… She showed me how to ‘recycle’. What should I do!? #freeKaren @vanbadham
— Alicia WanstallBurke (@alicia_j_burke) September 24, 2015
Having spoken at shark rally & been environment campaigner for nearly 30 years do I turn myself in or will they come & get me? #FreeKaren — Rachel Siewert (@SenatorSiewert) September 24, 2015
It’s all fun and games until somebody starts defending the environment. Then it’s not fun and games. Then it’s terrorism. #freekaren
— Sarah Berry (@SarahJ_Berry) September 24, 2015
At this point I should reveal two shocking truths about myself: I’ve been to an anti-mining forest camp to protest several times, and right at this very minute I’m listening to Best Coast’s killer album ‘Crazy For You’. Please call ASIO on me. Do not ignore these warning signs. This is my cry for help.
will someone pls #freekaren from this hotbed of extremism pic.twitter.com/vGgVhDGYMF
— Kate Ausburn (@kateausburn) September 24, 2015
When Karen grew up she realised direct action was bad.The only thing that could save us was direct action #FreeKaren pic.twitter.com/rbTLMP77Ch
— Nicola Paris (@peacenicsta) September 24, 2015
Let’s not forget the case study of Peter; he got into alternative music, then environmental activism, and then became a Labor MP. #freekaren
— Pearson In The Wind (@LukeLPearson) September 24, 2015
Another dollop of old-white-guy crazy can be found at the top of the section titled ‘What is radicalisation?’, which helpfully illustrates the key points of what turns someone into a potential terrorist via a photo of a beach protest against the WA government’s shark culling program. If you went to a protest because you thought the government shouldn’t be killing sharks for no reason, surprise! Here you are in a handbook about terrorism! Maybe your mum’s here, too!
It’s also worth noting that the existence of the booklet at all is pretty questionable. New South Wales Teachers’ Federation president Maurie Mulheron told the ABC the handbook was “a fairly cynical move by the Federal Government not to make anyone feel safer but to engender fear and intolerance.”
“I’m very doubtful that the Federal Government has pure motives in this area. They’ve got a track record now of trying to engender division within the community on these issues and I don’t think that what they’re proposing will make one iota of difference,” Mulheron said.
Hopefully the Australian Border Force is on its way to Mulheron’s home residence as we speak, with the intention of seizing instruments of radicalisation like his union membership card and his old Pink Floyd vinyls.