Supporters of Scott Parkin demonsrate outside the Australian Consulate in NYC

Supporters of Scott Parkin demonsrate outside the Australian Consulate in NYC

Supporters of Scott Parkin demonsrate outside the Australian Consulate in NYC

Supporters of Scott Parkin demonsrate outside the Australian Consulate in NYC

Supporters of Scott Parkin demonsrate outside the Australian Consulate in NYC

Supporters of Scott Parkin demonsrate outside the Australian Consulate in NYC

Supporters of Scott Parkin demonsrate outside the Australian Consulate in NYC

Supporters of Scott Parkin demonsrate outside the Australian Consulate in NYC

Supporters of Scott Parkin demonsrate outside the Australian Consulate in NYC

Supporters of Scott Parkin demonsrate outside the Australian Consulate in NYC

New York, September 16, 2005. Immediately following Australian Prime Minister John Howard’s address at the United Nations on Friday, a delegation of concerned New Yorkers – including students from NYU Law School – demonstrated at the Australian Consulate and delivered a letter addressed to Prime Minister Howard expressing outrage at the deportation of American peace activist Scott Parkin.

Scott Parkin was detained last Saturday by Australian immigration authorities and held in isolation for almost a week before being deported on Thursday. Parkin, an American peace activist from Houston, has been an outspoken critic of “war profiteering” by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney’s former company Halliburton.

The letter calls upon the Australian government to reinstate Scott Parkin’s visa, and to disclose the reasons for ASIO’s determination that Scott is a “security threat”.

“This is politically motivated persecution at its most blatant”, said law student Terra Lawson-Remer. “Scott was opposed to Halliburton’s war profiteering, and the Australian government deemed him a ‘security threat’ because he was working against the agenda of Halliburton and the Howard and Bush administrations.”

The letter to the PM echoes concerns voiced by Senator Bob Brown, who told the Sydney Morning Herald last Sunday, "I think the big question here is whether it's a political arrest and deportation. It seems to have nothing to do with terrorism.” Senator Brown also voiced concerns that the request for his arrest may have come in the wake of information from Washington “because he [Scott] is an absolute thorn in the side of Dick Cheney, Halliburton and profit making deals that apply in Iraq."

“Scott is not a security threat. He is a peace activist. The only threat here is the threat to free speech posed by an ill-conceived expansion of police powers”, added Cesar Maxit, an architect originally from Houston, Texas.

The delegation of New Yorkers demanded an immediate investigation into Scott’s deportation, as well as the reinstatement of his visa.



Letter to PM John Howard:

Prime Minister John Howard
Australian Consulate
150 East 42nd Street, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10017-5612

September 15, 2005

Dear Prime Minister Howard,

The detention and deportation of Scott Parkin appears to be politically motivated persecution at its most blatant. Yesterday you committed $10 million to the UN Democracy Fund, but fundamental democratic principles appear to be under attack within Australia’s own borders.

Your government has failed to provide any convincing explanation for embarking upon what can only be considered to be a major and far-reaching assault on the rights to free speech and freedom of association.

Mr. Parkin’s arrest appears to be a dramatic illustration of the inability of the authorities to distinguish between a legitimate threat to national security and an individual whose philosophy is deemed a threat to the political preferences of the Government. Scott Parkin has been a vocal opponent of Halliburton and the invasion of Iraq – political positions at odds with the agenda of your government and the Bush administration. Scott is a peace activist, not a terrorist.

If the Government has any evidence to contradict the inevitable conclusion that Mr. Parkin has been targeted for his political beliefs, it is imperative that it be released immediately. We strongly urge an immediate investigation into Scott’s deportation, as well as the reinstatement of his visa.

Sincerely,

Bailey Williams
Katie Hausler
Jordan Fletcher
Terra Lawson-Remer
Rich Stenberg
Cesar Maxit
Han Shan
Erica Madrid
Mike Moren