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Analysis and Comment (33)

The Toronto G20 summit showed what starts out as a peaceful protest can turn into a violent clash. EPA/Sergei Ilinitsky

G20 lockdown: the challenge of balancing freedom and security

The Brisbane G20 summit is shaping up to to be Australia’s largest security operation. In recent decades, most large-scale protests in Australia have been relatively peaceful events, but the policing of…
When a mosque is spray-painted with the word ‘Evil’ following last week’s raids, it’s a sign the community is getting the wrong message from the anti-terrorism campaign. AAP/Matt Jacob

Responsible rhetoric is a crucial part of the anti-terror armoury

While Australia has rightly joined the international fight to bring down Islamic State (IS) terrorists, at home its anti-terror campaign is fuelling more problems. For example, following high-profile anti-terror…
Citing ‘the national interest’ enables Julie Bishop and her government colleagues simply to assert the need for everything from tougher security laws to supplying arms to Iraqi rebels. AAP/Lukas Coch

‘National interest’ figleaf avoids debate on wars and terror laws

“There is no such thing as the national interest,” I tell my first-year Australian foreign policy students. This tends to stop them in their tracks. After all, if there is no such thing as the national…
Australian women of different faiths gathered at Sydney’s Lakemba Mosque last month in a show of community solidarity. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Terrorists can be defeated by fighting fear with co-operation

From anarchists in the 1920s and radical leftists in the 1960s, to fringe, extreme-right Christian bombers or gunmen in the United States in recent decades, or radical Islamists such as Islamic State today…
There are now around half a million Muslim Australians, who are sometimes blamed for the actions of a tiny minority. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Mosques, Muslims and myths: overcoming fear in our suburbs

Since Australians woke to the news of yesterday morning’s counter-terrorism raids in Sydney, Brisbane and Logan, talkback radio and the TV news have filled with talk of “home-grown terrorism” and “enemies…
Tony Abbott has deployed his senior ministers, including Julie Bishop and George Brandis, to get out the government’s anti-terrorism message. AAP/Lukas Coch

First rule of fighting terrorists: don’t do their job for them

It appears that Australia might be put on a higher threat alert level. ASIO director-general David Irvine’s comments on a possible increase in the terrorism threat level (which came into force in 2003…
How will Australia respond to so-called ‘climate refugees’? AAP Image/Scott Fisher

Climate change and security: a wake-up call for Australia

The most recent IPCC report included a chapter on security – the first time this has happened. The report pointed to a range of security threats associated with climate change, including ill-health, food…
Can the US National Security Agency really record all phone calls in a single country? Flickr/Marc Wathieu

Your call is important to the NSA and they could be recording you

It was bad enough when it was revealed the US National Security Agency (NSA) wanted to hack information on smartphones but now reports this week it wants to record the phone calls of an entire country…
Security authorities face a huge challenge to detect whether documents used by air passengers are genuine. Diana Parkhouse/Flickr

The global passport security loophole: how serious is it?

The search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared close to a week ago, is yet to find any conclusive trace of the missing aircaft. But the revelation that two Iranian passengers on the flight…
A team of 30 PackBots – one shown here being used in Afghanistan – will boost security in Brazil during the World Cup. The U.S. Army/Flickr (cropped)

War robots and the 2014 World Cup – defenders off the field

High-tech robots called PackBots will be unleashed during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil to help boost security and examine suspicious objects. The Brazilian government purportedly spent US$7.2 million…
Think of the risks before scanning that QR code. Flickr/ scott_bl8ke

Why we do dumb things on smartphones

Imagine this: you’re surfing the web while out at lunch. You decide to buy concert tickets, so to save having to put your sandwich down you ask a passer-by to log in to the ticketing website for you. As…
Changes in the environment will be easier to automatically detect using new 3D mapping technology. JasonDGreat

Scanning for suspicious packages just got easier

Suspicious packages and public spaces go together like, well, like suspicious packages and public spaces. Sadly, they’re something we all know about, get warned about and, increasingly, have to worry about…
Julia Gillard has presented a coherent plan for an uncertain future. AAP/Lukas Coch

Gillard’s security strategy prepares for the known unknowns

The central problem for defence and security planners right now is uncertainty. The clarity of the Cold War is gone, new threats such as terrorism have come, and seemingly peaked, and what the rise of…
It’s time to take another look at why big corporations - rather than the police or armed forces - are responsible for our security. Seth Anderson

The G4S debacle in London is a wake-up call on outsourcing security

Stuff happens. When organising something as big as the Olympic Games some things are bound to go wrong. Sometimes the failures are simply funny. Just one day after its public unveiling in Trafalgar Square…
How is the war in Afghanistan going? With media this tightly controlled, the picture may never be clear. Special Operations Command

Truth in war: what the ADF won’t tell us about Afghanistan

Barack Obama marked the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death with a surprise visit to Kabul this week. Obama promised to “finish the job” in Afghanistan, but seven were killed in Kabul just hours…
Rudd’s commitment to Australia’s bid for a UN security council seat must continue under Bob Carr. EPA/Jason Szenes

Australia shouldn’t give up on a UN security council seat

Now we have a new foreign minister, some have suggested it’s time for Australia to give up its bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. During his time as prime minister and foreign minister…
Across Asia, climate change could cut agriculture in half by 2030. What will Australia do to help? Gabriele Quaglia

As Asia faces climate change upheaval, how will Australia respond?

AUSTRALIA IN THE ASIAN CENTURY – A series examining Australia’s role in the rapidly transforming Asian region. Delivered in partnership with the Australian government. Here, Dr Tim Stephens looks at how…
Green groups have been accused of taking their protests too far, but does this mean ASIO should spy on them? AAP Image/Greenpeace

Is Australia at risk from green terrorists?

Environmental activists and mining protesters are now being labelled as terrorists, with reports security agency ASIO is spying on conservation groups protesting at coal mines. Resources and Energy Minister…
Shooty Vikadan died in Villawood Detention Centre before the Commonwealth Ombudsman could review his case. AAP/Torsten Blackwood

Dead refugee caught in ‘legal limbo’ between government agencies

The asylum seeker who committed suicide in Villawood detention centre this week should have been interviewed by the Commonwealth Ombudsman to establish whether he should have been released into the community…
People in Libya are desperate for change and the new government will have to manage expectations carefully. AFP/Abdullah Doma

The challenges for Libya now Gaddafi is gone

The relegation of Moammar Gaddafi to the meat-locker of history is a significant exorcism of Libya’s past. Whether it would have been better for him to face trial is a moot point. It’s doubtful that too…
Julia Gillard could play a pivotal role in ensuring Asia’s security, and improve Australia’s economy in the process. AFP/Minoru Iwasaki

Australia in Asia: How to keep the peace and ensure regional security

AUSTRALIA IN ASIA: In the second of our series Nick Bisley of La Trobe University examines the responsibilities Australia must take on to ensure security in Asia. Asia’s economic powerhouses are booming…
America and Australia have made moves towards defending against online attacks. Johnson Cameraface

Last online of defence: why is ANZUS prepping for a cyber war?

How worried should we be about cyber warfare? The latest amendment to the ANZUS treaty between the US and Australia, announced at the end of last week suggests it’s a genuine threat to the national security…

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Indians rank Australia highly

Indians' ranking of Australia as a good place to do business, study or travel has risen to 8th out of 38 countries, up from…