Trust me, I’m from the government

[photopress:Rollins.jpg,full,pp_empty]

Calls to the government’s National Security hotline are confidential aren’t they? Well… maybe not.

Performer Henry Rollins says that he’s been reported to the hotline for reading a suspicious book. But if the service is confidential then how does he know? Apparently someone sent him a letter:

I hope this finds you before you leave Australia as I think its something that won’t surprise you but might give you a smile when you are sitting in a hotel room. I work in one of those Government areas that deals with anti terrorism matters. A fine service is provided but unfortunately we get to read a lot of things submitted by lunatics. The Australian Government set up the National Security Hotline to report terrorists.

The person who sat next to you on the flight from New Zealand does not agree with your politics or choice of reading and so nominated you as a possible threat. As they were too cowardly or stupid to leave their details I can’t call them to discuss their idiocy with them.

It’s no surprise that innocuous activities like reading a book can get someone reported to the government’s hotline. But what ought to be a little shocking is the idea that the hotline’s "trained and experienced advisers" might think it’s ok to leak these reports back to the person who’s being reported on.

Is the letter for real? I have no idea.

And yes, Rollins has been to Afghanistan.

Update: In the comments thread Geoff Honnor is justifiably sceptical about this story:

…no-one from National Security is going to be dumb enough to embark on
illegal informal “warn-out” contact with a security hotline reportee and then leave a name and contact details for a response.

The trouble is that Kathy McCabe’s quirky Daily Telegraph story has been picked up by the Huffington Post in the United States. That’s going to have consequences. The Huffington Post is a kind of left wing Drudge Report and has a large, politically engaged readership. My guess is that this story, like the recent Leunig hoax , has another news cycle left in it. I’m not sure how this one ends.

Update 2: The tale has developed a new twist as it passes through the blogosphere. At Mind Set Central Gareth is now reporting: "Rollins then received a letter from the Australian government warning him not to read such books in future."

 

Update: 3: The "Rollins… then received a letter from the Australian government warning him not to read such books in future" addition seems to have started at Alex Jones’ Prison Planet in a piece by Paul Joseph Watson.

Just for some background, according to his website infowars.com:

Alex Jones is considered by many to be the grandfather of what has come to be known as the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Jones predicted the 9/11 attack in a July 2001 television taping when he warned that the Globalists were going to attack New York and blame it on their asset Osama bin Laden.

Uh… ok.

This entry was posted in Politics - international, Terror. Bookmark the permalink.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
9 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
15 years ago

Is the letter real?

I think we both know the answer to that. As you point out, Don, no-one from National Security is going to be dumb enough to embark on illegal informal “warn-out” contact with a security hotline reportee and then leave a name and contact details for a response. As the leaker purportedly comments to Rollins on his reporter “they were … too stupid to leave their details.” But smarter than her it seems given that Henry claims to have been able to write back.

The letter has suspiciously American cadences “A fine service is provided”, “we get to read a lot of things” “I can’t call them” – and few Americans are culturally sensitive sufficiently to work out that non-American english speakers routinely use phrasing and idiom different to their own.

What the letter does do is allow Henry to ramp us his big-dicked, bad-assed tattooed yet deeply insightful stud persona in his classic Rollinseque response. It’s showbiz.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
15 years ago

I agree with Geoff, looks like you’ve been suckered, Don.

Don Arthur
Don Arthur
15 years ago

Geoff & Jason – I agree, this doesn’t look right. That’s why it’s a little surprising to read this strap line on the news.com website:

US rocker and writer Henry Rollins was reported to the National Security hotline during his recent Australian tour because of a book he was reading on flight to Brisbane.

It starts out as an amusing bit of gossip in the Daily Telegraph’s entertainment section, but then before you know it it’s on the Huffington Post. With the internet you can’t count on a story staying in its box. Things that start out as hoaxes, jokes or satire end up as news.

How does that Rollins Band song go again?

And then
You meet me
And you whole world changes
Because everything I say is everything you’ve ever wanted to hear
So you drop all your defenses and you drop all your fears
And you trust me completely

Cameron Riley
15 years ago

I saw Henry Rollins at the Coogee Bay Hotel in about 1991(?). It would have to be the most boring concert I have been to.

Steve Edney
15 years ago

While I agree it seems most likely a hoax, how does
“we get to read a lot of things”

Don Arthur
Don Arthur
15 years ago

Steve – I don’t think we’re going to figure out the whole story just by analysing the text for ‘cadences.’

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
15 years ago

Steve,

Americans say “we get to read a lot of things” where we would say “we have the chance to read a lot of things” or even “we have to read a lot of things.” I agree that “we can’t call them” is becoming more common in Australian idiom but chucked in with the other stuff – instead of, say, “we can’t contact them” it just didn’t feel right to me. But Don’s right. Cadences aren’t the main investigatory game.

Tiny Tyrant
15 years ago

If Rollins isn’t on a list, then what the hell are the spooks doing!?!

trackback

[…] As I said in an earlier post the big news in this story isn’t that some nervous flyer would ring the National Security Hotline to report a passenger reading about militant Islam — the world is full of not very bright people who get anxious around big men with tattoos. No, what’s much more interesting is the idea that someone working on the government’s hotline has been passing on confidential information. Last month Rollins reported that he received a letter which said: […]