Surveillance and the Climate Movement: A Comparison Between Australia and North America
Dr. Peter Burdon
University of Adelaide Law School
Abstract: This presentation focuses on the way governments in Australia and North America are working with intelligence services and the private sector to spy on and infiltrate on environmental organisations that are targeting “critical infrastructure” i.e. coal mines & oil/gas developments. Current operations feature two disturbing elements: (1) environmental activists are increasingly characterised as 'terrorists'; and (2) intelligence organisations work with private security firms in what Jeffrey Monaghan and Kevin Walby describe a ‘state-corporate symbiosis’ or ‘petro-security apparatus’. After detailing examples from Canada, the United States and Australia, this paper considers the impact neoliberal rationality has had on security practices. Drawing on Wendy Brown's work I argue that protest infringing the ‘right’ of corporations to unimpeded market participation can justifiably be criminalised, rendered legally impossible and/or publicly attacked.