Activist harassed by customs


Anti-war activist Anna Samson was given the third degree by customs when she arrived back in Australia on August 22 following a work-related visit to Malaysia. This stands in contrast to APEC officials who are being escorted through customs without having to even pass through quarantine.

Samson told Green Left Weekly that she was taken aside by customs and had her bags, computer, diary and flash drive searched. "After reading my diary, they wanted to check my computer, and asked for the password. I said I'd open it as long as I could watch while they checked it. They also took away my flash drive, only returning it when I asked for it back."

Samson asked them what they were looking for, and she was surprised by the answer: "Terror-related material."

Samson was returning from a trip to Malaysia where she addressed conferences and visited some refugee groups.

"I asked them to be a little more specific, but they declined. I've been active in the Stop the War Coalition and the Stop Bush Coalition, organising a protest around APEC, but this hardly warrants this sort of invasive attention from the authorities", Samson told GLW.

"I put it down to the fact that the federal government has dished out so much money for security as part of the spurious 'war on terror', the security agencies are having to find work to do by harassing people.

"If they were really worried about the threat of a terror attack on Australia, they'd stop terrorising the people of Iraq and Afghanistan."