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U.S. activist a security threat, deported from Australia.

SYDNEY, Sept. 15 Kyodo

An American activist was deported from Australia on Thursday following an adverse security assessment by an Australian government intelligence agency.

Scott Parkin, 35, was sent off at Melbourne airport by a group of supporters protesting his detainment and deportation to the United States, a Greenpeace spokeswoman told Kyodo News.

He had been in detention in Melbourne since last Saturday after being picked up by the Australian Federal Police when his 6-month visa was cancelled for security reasons.

He is described by his supporters as a ''peace activist,'' and is a member of the Houston-based Global Awareness Collective opposing the war in Iraq.

Parkin arrived in Australia in June, and during his stay he participated in rallies against the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Sydney in early September and conducted workshops on nonviolent, direct-action protests.

The Australian government has not revealed the exact reasons for Parkin's deportation, but Chris Ellison, the minister for justice and customs, told parliament Tuesday, ''The department (of immigration) did receive an adverse security assessment relating to Mr. Parkin.''

Ellison said Parkin was not deemed a security threat by the Australian Security and Intelligence Organization at the time he applied for his visa, but ''ASIO's understanding of (Parkin's) intentions has changed while he has been in Australia.''

''ASIO is responsible, of course, for protecting the community from security threats and all forms of politically motivated violence, including violent protest,'' he said.

Bob Brown, leader of the opposition Greens Party, accused the government of Prime Minister John Howard of bowing to pressure from U.S. President George W. Bush's administration, as Parkin has also protested against Halliburton Corp., whose former CEO is now U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.

''The Howard government's use of covert police operations to arrest, harass and expel an innocent man who campaigns for peace is dangerous and threatens Australia's freedoms,'' Brown said.

Greenpeace Political Liaison Officer Helen Oakey spoke directly to Parkin on Wednesday and passed on his views to the media in a statement.

The statement quoted Parkin as telling Oakey: ''I find this entire experience incomprehensible and am still baffled as to why my visa has been cancelled.''

Greenpeace spokesman Dan Cass said in a statement Monday that Parkin's case would ''confirm many people's worst fears'' at a time when the Howard government is proposing a raft of new laws ''in the name of fighting terrorism.''

A spokesman for the opposition Labor Party said they did not oppose the deportation following a briefing given to party leader Kim Beazley by an Australian intelligence agency Tuesday.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Sep 19, 2005
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