Australia arrests US citizen for protesting Halliburton
11 Sept. 2005
WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- A US citizen was arrested by Australian authorities yesterday after attending a series of protests against Halliburton. ###
The Department of Immigration ordered the deportation of Scott Parkin of Houston, Texas, after deciding his presence is a "national security threat."
Parkin is a teacher and non-violent peace activist who traveled to Australia in June on a 6-month visitor visa. He was arrested in Melbourne.
Australia's Green Party leader, Senator Bob Brown, wants to know who ordered Parkin's arrest. "I'd like to know whether the orders for his arrest came from the Pentagon," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "I doubt very much that they came from Australia's security services .... After all, he was cleared for a visa for this country a few months ago."
"Scott has complied with that visa completely while he's been here," Parkin's lawyer said. "There's been no wrongdoing on his part."
Australia's prime minister, John Howard, is a close ally of US President George W. Bush's war on terror and Halliburton is widely criticized over its handling of military contracts.
"Halliburton is making a killing off the devastation in Iraq," Parkin told Counterpunch in April. "They are actually the 'poster child' for war profiteering," he said.
"Scott Parkin is effectively Australia's first genuine political prisoner," protester Dan Cass told Ten Network television.
On Wednesday, Parkin refused a request from the nation's top spy agency, Australian Security Intelligence Organization, for an interview, prompting the arrest by six federal police and immigration officials.
Halliburton manages hundreds of secret defense projects in Australia. It owns Kinhill Holdings Ltd., an Australian engineering company involved in mining and minerals processing, petroleum and chemicals, and commercial and civil infrastructure.
Kinhill's former chairman, Malcom Kinnaird, is today a consultant for Halliburton's KBR subsidiary.
Kinnaird was hired in 2003 by Australia's defense minister to overhaul the country's military procurement system. Not surprisingly, Kinnaird recommended increased private sector involvement in Australia's defense forces, a recommendation that paid off for Halliburton. In 2003, it won $18 million in Australian defense contracts, up from about $2.5 million in 2000, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. In 2004, it won more than 150 defense contracts.
The Alice Springs to Darwin railroad was built by Halliburton subsidiary, KBR. Today, KBR owns 50 percent the railroad.
Halliburton in Australia: the publicly funded war profiteer