Monday, July 23, 2007

Hysterics everywhere: Give the Haneef issue a break

The press and the infantile, leftwing blogosphere are having a field day making conjectures that foster views of the innocence or guilt of Mohammed Haneef.

In part this might have been triggered by what seem to be failures in the methods of investigation and in the accuracy of information transmitted by the Australian Federal Police. I say ‘might’ because the more plausible conjecture, given track records, is that this case gives those on the left and in the press the opportunity to manufacture hysteria and concoct foolish, conspiracy theories.

Over the weekend it was suggested that the SIM card was not discovered in the vehicle associated with the bombing. More seriously, NewsCorp papers published an unsourced ‘police’ claim that Haneef was receiving flying lessons and was planning to bomb a Gold Coast high-rise building. The AFP have taken the extraordinary step of denying this claim and the claim that they were the source of this story. Haneef’s solicitor has thrown fuel on the fire by describing the claims as ‘extraordinary’ and protesting at a public rally.

Australia is fast becoming a nation of hysterics who rant over perceived injustices and perceived moves toward totalitarianism even when faced with a possible investigation of a threat of terrorism to our citizens. To the know-all peanuts who pursue this line: Let the AFP and the courts do their job. Have a non-adolescent level of patience and keep a sense of proportion.

Denigrating the AFP, indulging in conspiracy theories and, most importantly, trivialising the pursuit of terrorist saboteurs in Western democracies is irresponsible behaviour.

The events in Italy over the weekend, where the imam of a mosque and two aids have been arrested for training terrorists, confirm that it makes sense to be careful. Terrorism is neither a joke or an evil scheme concocted by conservative politicians faced with a difficult electoral situation. That this is true is evidenced by the support given by senior Labor Party politicians to the actions of the AFP and the Government.

If Haneef is innocent he will be released and can go (or be sent) home. A mistake will have been made in the sense that a mistake is made with any unsuccessful prosecution. If he is guilty then that will be established by the courts. Its a judical system with a presumption of innocence where the innocent get acquitted.

Haneef is not being tortured or being sent to the gulag. He was an associate of people now recognised to be terrorists and is being investigated in a reputable legal system where he will get a fair trial. Leave it at that.

18 comments:

rabee said...

Harry,

Do you still think that

"[t]he court does not know everything the minister does, the minister may not be able to release all information and the court could only have evaluated the evidence before it."

has the same relevance as it did when you first made the comment?

If it turns out that the minister had no more relevant information than the magistrate, then it seems to me that the minister politicized this case.

In my opinion, had the minister not acted so soon after the court decision to grant this fellow bail, then Australians would have been far more charitable to those investigating the case.

So if it turns out that minister had no more relevant information than the magistrate, then clearly it is the minister that was negligent. Right?

Incidentally, which blogs in the leftwing blogosphere do you have in mind?

hc said...

Rabee, I assume there are suspicions the AFP hold they are finding difficult to prove or disprove. I assume the AFP has told the PM, his senior ministers and Rudd and his senior shadow ministers what the uncertainties are.

This uncertain information may not be known to the court.

I assume this is genuine uncertainty rather than a presumption of guilt. They are going through computer files to check out a hypothesis of guilt. I think there is genuine uncertainty because all concerned have stressed the importance of retaining Haneef's presumption of innocence.

The Minister of Immigration under the Immigration Act simply has to determine whether an immigrant has violated the terms of his visa by having associated with criminals. The Minister has made the judgement that this is so that if he is aquitted of charges by the court he will be deported.

I am not naming the blogs as not interested in a fight - you know who they are. What we do need here is balance, perspective and some patience rather than an impulse to see and imagine the worst.

Don't you tire of an overcharged hysterical view of Australia that about to be overrun by authoritarian right-wingers as it chases out imaginery terrorists? It is not an accurate picture.

Sean Bedlam seanbrk@yahoo.com.au said...

So how do you explain coppers jotting down notes in Haneef's diary? Sound kosher to you?

hc said...

On being kosher. Of course not Sean but it was almost immediately detected. It looks clumsy and inept rather than corrupt.

If it was (and I doubt it) a deliberate attempt to mislead then throw the book at the officers concerned.

But I don't know the circumstances.

rabee said...

Harry, we must be reading different blogs. I've yet to read the claim that Australia is about to be overrun by authoritarian right-wingers as it chases out imaginary terrorists.

There is a suspicion that the government saw a political opportunity in taking their new terrorism laws for a tests drive in the Haneef case.

When it became apparent that this case is not going to showcase these new laws as well as they had hoped, the government decided to try their luck with wedge politics.

This has infuriated Australians.

I for instance was not too concerned with the way this case was being handled. When the magistrate allowed bail, I thought that this is quite positive because it shows that the the new terrorism laws are subject to the usual judicial checks and balances. I was also happy with the government's claim that they welcome public scrutiny in this case.

But I was shocked when that silly minister decided to ensure continued detention by revoking Haneef's visa a few hours after the magistrate's decision.

The government took two gambles. They lost their first and tried to double up. They lost again and now they are complaining about public scrutiny.

Sir Henry said...

I am wondering why you are kicking this issue along, Harry, by reposting this as a topic.

My only conclusion is that you are being an agent provocateur. Especially as your commentary should now be more informed than it was in the original thread on July 16.

First of all, you are right, the media reporting on this has been absolutely abysmal.

On July 16 I posted on this blog here:

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=22031270&postID=6692564390715683510

saying that the SIM card concerned wasn't used in the attempted attack. Why is it news only NOW?

Go on Harry, read my post!

This means it was obvious to me, a private individual with few resources, that the original rationale for Haneef's arrest was bullshit. We then discussed this very issue.

This means that you and I Harry were way ahead of all the media outlets, the federal cabinet, Mick Keelty, the PM and the left wing blogs (most of whom came over to you blog anyway, if you recall).

The explanation we canvassed was that it could have been that the SIM card was a way of holding Naheef so he could be examined on the "secret" information that the cops had.

I no longer belive this to be the case.

Perusing the record of interview between federal police and Haneef which was published in The Australian, I have come to the considered conclusion, by way of Ockham's razor, that the federal police involved are so of such abysmally low intelligence that they are actually are a threat to us in the fight against terorrism.

Now Harry, I am not denigrading them lightly, but something must be said in defence of our country. Here is a sample. be patient and read through it:

Cop: Now you have brown coloured diary within your property.
Haneef: Yeah.
Cop:Now, you had some handwritten notes in the rear of that diary, which I'd like you to have a look at.
Haneef: Yeah.
Cop: is this your handwriting?
Haneef: No.
Cop: it's not your handwriting?
Haneef: No it is not my handwriting
Cop: Well, whose writing is it?
Haneef: I don't know. This is not my writing, definitely not.
Cop: This was in your diary.
Haneef: This is not my handwriting, that's all. Definitely not.
---------------interview suspended-------

Cop: Now as I was alluding to, or as I was going to show you, before we had the tape, police who have been looking through your diary, have found some handwritten notes in the back of your diary, okay?
Haneef: Hmmm
Cop: And one of the handwritten notes is details for Kafeel Ahmed.
Haneef: Mmmm.
Cop: Telephone numbers and what looks like an address. A couple of addresses. Now that writing in there, that's your writing...
Haneef: It's not my writing actually. That is not my writing.
Cop: The only issue is that is in your diary. Can you give me a reasonable explanation as to why.
Haneef: .... I would have written down the address down there and number probably if I needed to get into contact with them but I don't recognise that it is my writing, or it is someone else's writing.
Cop: Could you excuse me for just one second?
Haneef: Sure.
Cop (comes back): Thought that may have been the case. The person, the police officer, that's given me this, incorrectly told me that that was a copy of the diary. In fact it's not, this is what has been written by the police. So it's not your handwriting at all.

Brilliant deduction Sherlock! I say.

Now Harry, I have a conspiracy theory for you, see what you think of this.

John Howard is being set up to resign and hand over to Peter Costello.

Peter Costello has made a deal with Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch "advised" Howard to step down because he was getting too old. Howard failed to heed that advice. There was an early pro Costello headline in the Telegraph but it went nowhere because Costello is "all tip and no iceberg" and the issue died.

But now it has resurfaced again.

Howard had Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty heavied for doing no more than stating the obvious about the increased terrorist threat in Australia after our involvement in Iraq, now it is payback time. This explains the Mohammed Haneef debacle.

The Sunday Telegraph, the flagship of News right wing media that targets redneck morons that can only manage to read one newspaper a week has turned against Howard.

We are still a way off an election and clearly pressure is building up to have Howard throw in the towel before the election. This is the scenario. You heard it here first, remember that.

And here is yesterday's Sunday Tele:

Howard 'old, desperate, sneaky'
Article from: 

Exclusive By Glenn Milne

July 22, 2007 12:00am

JOHN Howard's "battlers" across the country have abandoned him, believing he is too old, desperate and sneaky.

This is the message from devastating research that will increase the pressure on the Prime Minister to quit in favour of Peter Costello.

hc said...

Sir Henry, The debate on this issue continues across the blogs - in my view it is largely a waste of breath.

Of course I recognise your priority in making these key discoveries but the point of my comment was not to be provocative -it was to say drop it.

Allow the investigation of a very serious claim (I think the Italian discoveries show this) to continue. Stop trying to impute motives, make claims about FP incompetence, Liberal scheming etc.

I notice and tire of these hysterical perspective by the Australian left. We are about to collapse into a Nazi state where Joe Blow on the street is pulled in for being a suspected terrorist etc. It 'aint true.

BTW: According to the latest polls a switch to Costello would make no difference;

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22123951-601,00.html

That's my intuition too. Howard is the preferred Liberal leader but still looks likely to lose.

If Howard is dumped now the loss would be worse - that does not mean it will not happen.

Sir Henry said...

This is not off thread so bear with me.

In answer to your assertion, it is not what the voters want but what Mr Murdoch wants.

How else would you explain the feral attacks on Howard in the News Ltd media? There have been two, very damaging front page splashes in the Tele in the last week or so.

THUS, you will note that the situation with regard to Haneef has been exacerbated by News Limited stories not Fairfax nor the ABC, nor for that matter by the Labor Party - except for a bit of stirring yesterday by Beatty.
BTW. Howard's attack on Beatty was a bit rich, I feel, but you can't blame the PM for feeling frustrated: he can see the fix coming in - he's savvy enough. Albeit, trying to wedge the issue now is pathetic. I suppose he's desperate to try anything.

Haneef of course will be released because he is as innocent as the driven snow. He is a lovely sweet boy. And he'll probably be deported. I don't think he'd want to stay anyhow.

Australian Federal Police has been made to look ludicrous.

This episode will do nothing to help fight terrorism, quite the reverse. We'll be seen as a bunch of stumble bums and we do not have to have Peter Beattie telling us, we know it.

Howard will resign shortly, just one taint too many. He is damaged goods. That is why the federal ALP is going softly softly, they WANT Howard to fight the election, not Costello.

hc said...

Sir Henry, Something is afoot at News but don't know what.

I noticed that the front page of The Australian today is somewhat anti-Howard but it says 'Costello Can't Save Howard'.

It also in 2 articles on page 2 dumps on Rudd as 'Labor's Howard'. Then a conflict between 2 ministers page 4 over the Haneef affair and an article critising the impact of the Haneef case on relations with India and local Muslims. A moderately critical (of Howard) editorial and a scathing assessment of Rudd in terms of Tweedledum-Tweeddledee politics by Phillip the Red completes the coverage.

Its a mixed picture but definitely not as consistently pro-Howard as in days of yore.

Bring Back CL's blog said...

Harry,

Senior Government Sources ( read Minister) on Sunday are saying Haneef will be deported to India to get the whole issue out of Australia.

No Minister would make such a comment IF the man was a terrorist.

The present case is dead in the water as Faris has said.
It is all very well to be vigilant against terrorists but they are a small % of muslims and of one variety.

We do not appear to have the wherewithall to even know who they are!!

This is pathetic

Sir Henry said...

Two damaging stories in the Tele this morning (Tue, July 24) that you missed H, albeit they may not have run in the Herald Sun):

VISA TRICK AIMED TO TRAP HANEEF IN AUSTRALIA

THE Federal Government has admitted it cancelled Mohamed Haneef's visa for one reason - to keep the terror suspect in Australia.

Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile yesterday revealed the Government's motivation for acting against Haneef after he was granted bail by a Brisbane Magistrates Court.

"It was a decision that (Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews) took to ensure that the individual stayed in Australia," Mr Vaile said.

Mr Andrews made his decision knowing that Haneef's passport was surrendered as part of his
bail conditions.

The doctor was also required by the magistrate to stay away from international airports and to not apply for other travel documents.

"Sinister" reasons

Mr Vaile's frank admission caught Mr Andrews by surprise after he had spent most of last week justifying his decision on character and more more sinister "national security" and "national interest" grounds to prevent the terror suspect from "moving freely" in society.

His office referred calls to Mr Vaile.

The Law Council said if Mr Andrews' decision was made for a "proper purpose", then his aim would not have been to detain Haneef, but to deport him.

The latest revelations come as Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty was forced to deny a second media report in as many days.

Mr Keelty said a report that police had hand-written the names of terror suspects in Haneef's diary was wrong.

"Police at no time made any notations or additions to Dr Haneef's diary," he said.

On Sunday Mr Keelty was forced to deny a report that police had evidence that Haneef had targeted Gold Coast buildings.

-----------------------

And...

GOVERNMENT'S NOT PERFECT BUT WE'LL WIN'

The Howard Government's good but not perfect record will see it win the next election, federal Health Minister Tony Abbott said today.

"The government has a record, it's not a perfect record but it's a good record and all Labor has is a wish list," he said.

"The Howard Government is not perfect ... but we have successfully steered Australia through all of the storms of the last 11 years."

Asked whether the Government had manipulated those storms, Mr Abbott said: "I don't think that's fair. Obviously there are various policies the Government has adopted over the years which have turned out to be electorally popular, but what's wrong with that?"

The last admission by Abbott is very damaging to the government.

This can be read as that government policy was driven by deliberately perfidious motives of electoral advantage. We knew this all along and all along Howard has denied it vehemently as has Dolly, whose favourite phrase, when accused of political expediency was "I find that incredibly offensive, if you don't mind me saying so."

Now, is this newfound candour from Tony Abbott some sort of confessional guilt about building government policy on expediency to stay in power at all costs and hang the principle?

Or is it merely self-serving mischief-making to put the boot into the now damaged Howard, so as to remake himself as a speer carrier for the next leader, namely Costello?

Adversity surte brings out the best in Liberals, Harry.

Anonymous said...

Fuzzflash sez...

HC: " We are about to collapse into a Nazi state where Joe Blow on the street is pulled in for being a suspected terrorist etc. It 'aint true."

Interesting you should mention this, Harry. Why just this morning on RN's Law Report, that dangerous radical silk, Julian Burnside, said that in Germany circa 1933, the judiciary were marginalised in the same way that your hero, Mr. Howard, has done here.

After Dr. Haneef, was granted bail by an independent officer of The Court, minister Kevin Andrews, acting completely independently of course, as he did when euthanasing the euthanasia debate, deprives a man of his liberty for politically expedient reasons.

As Sir Henry points out, Rupe, who is a very hands-on sort of a guy, has cut loose selected scribes to harry Howard . Whooping jackels with long memories. Napoleon, a very mean piggy indeed from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, liked to keep HIS dogs blooded. Just like The Rupester does.

There’s room at the top
He keeps telling them still
But first they must learn
to shill while they kill.

pommygranate said...

Harry

The AFP are not exactly covering themselves in glory. Some of their 'mistakes' look more like plain framing than errors.

That said, i agree with you that the civil libertarian crowd are way too quick to jump up and down. The game has changed and i accept we have to cut them slack - and i don't even like govt!

Sir Henry said...

Oh yes, hysterics everywhere. You look a right prat now eh Clarkie?

I could put in the Raoul Merton, but i won't because, deep down, I like you. Anyone can make a mistake...

hc said...

No mistake. The evidence was found to be flawed and the charges relying on that evidence have been dropped.

Show me where I ever claimed Haneef was guilty. I did not.

The mistake would have been to assume from the start that the claimed evidence was obviously wrong and not to investigate the matter.

Charges against innocent people are dropped and innocent people are acquitted by the courts. Its called the criminal justice system.

Shlomo said...

Harry, what would it take for you to admit (if it were ever to happen) that you were wrong? Your support of the ministers "children overboard mark 2" with Haneef was naive at best. Your face should be a darker shade of crimson!

hc said...

Schlomo, It doesn't take a lot to admit I am wrong when I am. On this occasion I was not wrong.

Anonymous said...

Harry, just signing in to see how you are coping with the ongoing hysteria, including the hysterical reaction of the government to institute an Inquiry, and the hysterical submissions by the agencies actually involved in the matter, which clearly show that ASIO and the CDPP both told the AFP there was no evidence of a threat, or to support a charge. Documents found through FOI (another sneaky tool of left wing conspiracy theorists who don't take Machiavellian governments and incompetent police at their word), show that the main actors in this farce were being programmed by the Rodent himself, your no doubt dear departed PM.

Your original post shows the shallowness of your understanding of the events and your readiness to have criticism of the events silenced is shameful. Your statement that 'if Haneef is innocent. he can go home' is indicative of the type of attitude which does lead to innocent people being locked up indefinitely by totalitarian governments. If innocent, and left unmolested by a politicised AFP and desperate Minister, why could he not return to treating the sick at the Gold Coast Hospital?

You afre correct that terrorism is not an invention of right wing governments. If you had any sense of balance, the Haneef experience would lead you to admit that it is also true that the use of the fear of terrorist threats by right wing governments to erode civil liberties and make political capital is not an invention of the left wing, who have been proven anything but infantile in this matter.