Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Your 'War On Terror' Bill : $20 Billion And Counting...

'War On Terror' Funding Quadrupled Budgets Of Australian Spy, Intelligence Agencies

Fighting "Islamic terrorists" at home has cost Australian taxpayers some $20 billion since the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York City and Washington DC, and the Bali bombings.

But the money fountain for intelligence agencies and defence contractors appears to have
peaked :

New figures show that by 2011 the Federal Government will have invested more than $17 billion in direct measures to beef up national security since the brazen al-Qaeda terrorist attacks against the US.

The national investment has an impact on everyone, from expanding CCTV camera networks to invasive airline security checks and a new army of private security guards.

An analysis of spending shows the big years were 2003-04 with an extra $1.8 billion, 2002-03 $1.3 billion and 2005-06 $1 billion.

Since 9/11, funding to the chief Australian spying agency ASIO has spiralled "a massive 514 per cent."

The 2001-2002 budget was $69 million.

The 2008-2009 is $423 million.

Most Australians have never even heard of "the shadowy overseas spy agency" ASPI. But it's funding was boosted 236 per cent.

The Australian government's "peak intelligence agency", the ONA, has had a budget increase of 441 per cent since 2001.

But those massive increases, primarily to fight "Islamic terrorism", seem almost insignificant compared to the mind-boggling vault in defence funding, post-9/11.

In 2001, the Australian government spent almost $14 billion.

The 2008 budget has rocketed to more than $22 billion. And that's with big cuts by the Rudd government.

The John Howard-implemented role for Australians in the War On Iraq has chewed up more than $2 billion, with another billion or so likely to be needed to help the hundreds of young veterans physically and mentally wounded by the war.

So how will our intelligence agencies spend all that money?

The threat of "Islamic terrorism" to the average Australian was vastly oversold, and spectacularly hyped by the Howard government and its corporate media allies.

But thanks to the mega-hype, the Australian spy agencies that spy on Australians got the funding to build surveillance networks and infrastructure that even China admires.