Monday, July 16, 2007

Md. Haneef in custody - keep a balanced view

Mohammed Haneef may be innocent on being involved with terrorism but he did associate with at least two men charged with terrorist offenses in the UK and a SIM card of his was found in a burned-out vehicle used to attack an airport in Glasgow on June 30. He had sent an email to an associate saying he had to leave Australia quickly when apprehended – he didn’t mention his wife and child.

Haneef’s treatment in the Australian criminal justice system will be a lot fairer than the justice handed out to Iranian adulterer who, after being jailed for 11 years, was stoned to death last week in a village in Northern Iran. This is the type of society the terrorist scum who are being pursued see as their ideal. By way of contrast, Mr Haneef is being well fed and looked after and has made contact with his family – he has thus far been jailed for a total of 15 days. If he is innocent it will be unpleasant for him but he will get fair treatment in a civilised society.

The deranged left demanding Haneef’s immediate relief, and attacking Kevin Rudd’s support for the detention, ought to feel more sympathy instead for innocent victims of terrorism. If Haneef is innocent he will escape with a short-term inconvenience.

Imprisoning him, short-term, enables the police to search for possible links to terrorism and sends out a signal to those who seek to kill innocent civilians to pursue their hateful political ends, that they shouldn’t regard Australia as an easy target.

Update: Both the Labor leader and the Shadow Minister for Immigration, Tony Bourke support Immigration Minister Andrew’s move to revoke Haneef’s visa. According to Burke, Andrews has 'acted entirely appropriately under the Migration Act'. So he will be held in custody until he faces trial. According to the printed version of The Australian this morning (not online) Haneef was in contact with those arrested in the UK the night before the attempted bombing. It’s the mad left and some (who should know better) on the right who seem to underestimate the scale of the horror associated with terrorism and who, without a scrap of evidence, are labelling the move by Andrews as political, while frothing at the mouth in anticipation of yet another conspiracy-theory-driven scandal.


Jeremy said...

"he did associate with at least two men charged with terrorist offenses in the UK"

That's right. He CHOSE to be related to them, after all.

"a lot fairer than the justice handed out to Iranian adulterer"

Well then, it's perfectly fair that we treat Haneef according to the barbaric standards of a country for which he's never advocated. Why not?

"Mr Haneef is being well fed and looked after"

Man, that sounds awesome. Harry, it's just so unfair that you don't get to enjoy that treatment, isn't it? Haneef gets all that lovely luxurious jail time, while you have to feed and look after yourself.

Seriously, I don't get why those hippy lefties are complaining. The way they carry on, you'd think jail time in our system was some kind of punishment. And that leaving a SIM card for a relative was not an incredibly serious crime deserving of such jail time.

Anyway, it's very fortunate that Kevin Andrews isn't going to fall for the whole "leave the administration of justice up to the courts" furphy. At least when the magistrate bailed Haneef on the basis of the flimsy charges, he had the visa system in order to lock Haneef up anyway.

And I'm relieved. If there's one thing we conservatives agree on, it's that politicians can truly be trusted with our civil liberties.

hc said...

Your rant is stupid Jeremy.

I stated he may be innocent but there is the possibility that he was associated with serious crime. He associated with those apparently involved in an attempted terrorist attack, loaned them a SIM card used in a car bomb attack and left Australia quickly after the arrests with an inconsistent story.

Worth interviewing and - as I pointeed out - the costs of being detained miniscule in relation to those imposed by those whom the terrorists in Britain seek to support. This is relevant to the costs of detaining a possible suspect.

How do you know what motivated Andrews? You are guessing.

I suggested taking a balanced view. Obviously you can't do this.

In the face of a claimed link with terrorism and some evidence you would do nothing. Grow up.

Appu said...

Balanced view?
Talking about what happens to Iranian adulterers and forming a link to an Indian muslim living and working in the Gold Coast?
Does this mean that you accept responsibility for all actions commited by what - white, anglo saxon, christians?
European, economists?
People in red ties?
Unpleasant for him if he is innocent - yes, how marvellous for him and his family if he is innocent to have had the pleasure of running into the Australian criminal justice system in the guise of a member of the executive being judge & jury. Please don't embarrass yourself any further.

Shlomo said...

harry, harry, harry. Congrats on getting back to putting the boot into muslims.

First: It is not just a small inconvenience/cost being incarcerated effectively without charge. (the charge is crap -- it was available from the beginning and only brought because they had nothin' on him.)

Now they'll imprison him in Vilawood indefinitely while they continue to fish for evidence.

Next: The risk he imposes being free is tiny, but the cost of imprisoning without charge craps all over our justice system and is huge if you have brown skin or are muslim.

Like Hicks, this is not about Haneef. It is about all of us.

You clearly have a poor grasp of legal principles. Much more dangerous people are set free on bail due to lack of evidence every day in Australia.

Anonymous said...

Ignore lefty, harry.

There hasn't ever been a terrorist, terror group or suicide bomber lefty didn't empathize with.

hc said...

Appu, You are a pathetic creature. He is being held for questioning as a suspect terrorist on reasonable grounds - he has not being convicted of anything.

Even Kevin Rudd agrees.

You would not pursue inquiries with respect to a suspect who you thought had any prospect of being innocent?

You raise the white, anglo saxon, christian' clause to advance your shallow thinking. Don't embarrass yourself you boring little racist.

lucy tartan said...

He was bailed by a magistrate, with some fairly strict conditions attached, but the minister for immigration has effectively overruled that decision. I am very uncomfortable with this.

hc said...

Lucy, It is extreme but an extreme situation. The 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.

It is a very serious matter. If he is innocent he will walk free and get an apology. If he is not then maybe he can provide information that is useful to Australian or UK security.

Matt Canavan said...

No doubt it is serious. But so is granting bail to sex offenders or other dangerous criminals. The common law we have inherited has given us a pretty robust system for deciding the limits of holding someone without charge. I can't see the reasons for altering this system based on the current threat of terrorist attacks.

In other areas of health economics I see that you (rightly) apply rigorous cost-benefit analysis to policy decisions. Why are you not doing the same here?

Mark U said...


Haneef was detained for 15 days while the police questioned him and trolled for evidence. At the end of this, the only substantive charge appears to have related to him giving a mobile phone sim card to one of his relatives.

Queensland state Magistrate Jacqui Payne then granted Haneef bail following the charge of providing support for a terrorist organization, saying there was no clear evidence he was involved in the car bomb plots in London and Scotland.

The Government has now detained him on the grounds that he has "failed a character test". What on earth does this mean? Since when does being related to someone become adequate grounds for detention? If there is more substantive evidence, surely the charges laid would have been more sunbstantive. Otherwise, is there be any risk in allowing him to be released on bail? And are we prepared to treat non-citizens differently from citizens in our legal system?

Just because some other country has a harsher legal system does not absolve us from treating people in line with our long-standing principles of justice.

hc said...

Matt, I am applying cost-benefit analysis. The benefit is that he might be a terrorist supporter with valuable information that might save lives and help prosecute villains. The cost is that he might be innocent.

The latter cost in my judgment is low relative to the former benefit. He is only being questioned.

He was associated with two men who were involved with a terrorist plot, he did give them a SIM card and was abruptly leaving Australia for inconsistent reasons.

I think the case for holding him is strong in these circumstances although, yes, he may prove entirely innocent. So might anyone sought for questioning.

I think his treatment has been reasonable given the circumstances. It was for this reason that I mentioned the punishment regime in Iran. He is not facing torture and is being well-treated.

lucy tartan said...

Is he still being questioned now he's in Villawood?

Bring Back CL's blog said...

Harry the Immigration act is used to get rid of people out of the country but the Government wants the amn to stay in the country.

What Andrews has done is simply upend the Magistrate's decision.

By gingo he gives a sim card a year ago when no-one knew what was going to happen and which the Magistrate said was thin evidence.

If he was a risk he wouldn't have got bail.

hc said...

Lucy, I think he is yet to be transferred to Villawood. I assume he can be question there.

Homer, Andrews has the right to revoke a visa if he believes a person has criminal associates. This certainly seems to be the case even if Haneef has not committed a crime.

How do you know what information Mick Keelty has? How much information would he reveal in a public court?

Andrews hasn't forced him to stay. He will put him into Villawood until he goes to trial for the original charge of 'recklessly giving support to terrorism'.

If he is found innocent of that charge he will be deported as an associate of criminals. If he is found guilty he is in deep shit.

Welcome back - I've missed you.

robert merkel said...

Harry, if Haneef was released on bail he wouldn't have been able to scratch his backside without ASIO knowing about it.

I fail to see how an individual whose phones and internet access will be tapped, who would be reporting to police every day, and more importantly whose face is imprinted on every tabloid reader in the country could possibly pose any particular subsequent risk.

Spiros said...

"loaned them a SIM card used in a car bomb attack"

Harry, you are being disingenuous.

It' true that SIM cards can be used to remotely trigger bombs. But the police haven't alleged that Haneef's SIM card was used to trigger the car bomb. All they've said is that it was in the car, most likely because one of the bombers (like nearly everybody in modern societies) carried a mobile phone. The SIM card was "used" in the bomb attack in the same sense that the underwear worn by the bombers was used.

Obviously, you don't think that judicial process counts for much, if anything. You think exclusively in terms of expected outcomes, or as you put it, benefits and costs, for this particular case.

But process and precedent do matter, especially in the law, and most especially when personal liberty is at stake. It is no small matter that a politician can override a judgment made by an independent judicial officer. You say that Andrews' decision was made with the public interest in mind. Maybe it was, and maybe he had his political interests in mind as well. We just don't know. That is why we leave these decisions to judges and magistrates; to take the politics out of it, as much as possible.

It's naive at best to say that this consistent flouting of our ancient liberties is necessary for the unique challenges of Islamic terrorism. Already we are seeing law enforcement officials saying that they would like to use control orders, which were mean to be introduced to fight terrorism, against bikie gangs. You can't blame the lae enforcement for this. They have a job to do and will use whatever tools are legally available. But because of this, you do have to be very careful about tools you give them

And you certainly don't want politicians, even elected ones, sticking their two cents worth in.
There is a reason why we have separated the judiciary from the executive, and that is protect citizens from capricious executive power. If you want to see a modern version of what happens when the executive tramples all over the judiciary, look no further than Zimbabwe, a country with the same legal tradition as ours.

This isn't to say John Howard is Robert Mugabe, but the principle is the same.

If you want to speak the language of benefits of costs, then you have to weigh up the long term costs of eroding the protections that individuals have against an all-powerful state, and that is all individuals, even the ones who have committed bad acts.

Sir Henry said...

Harry, ad hominem attacks on people does not make your argument any clearer.

The detention of Mohammad Haneef is only logicalluy consistent (if not right) if the police do have something on him that they can't reveal for operational reasons, and so they have convinced the government to use extrajudicial methods to keep him on ice, as it were, so he would be more amenable to providing answers.

Keeping someone locked up is a form of pressure which you can use as leverage to obtain information.

So, to sum up. It seems that as far as the system of justice is concerned, the evidence against Haneef is as thin as your own argument. The ostensible reason for keeping him locked up is because it is suspected he may still have information that he hasn't coughed up. That is on the offchance. As someone said "trolling". But it is worth a try, you and the police reckon.

But police always say these things. And if we give police unfettered powers of detention, perhaps even torture (as argued by Alan Dershowitz), deny suspects natural justice, we do end up, by definition, with a police state.

I think the utilitarian logic, a kind of vulgar economic reasoning applied here, a cost-benefit ratio if you like, is a bankrupt form of reasoning, simply because it degrades the parameters of the society in which we live. We gain nothing, or potentially very very little (some extra information in this case, though this is a very long shot). But we lose a lot.

Bring Back CL's blog said...


you are avoiding the point.
Are you honestly saying Keelty refused to give the court information that would allow a dangerous man on the streets.

The Magistrate said the case was thin.
If Andrews wants to get this bloke out of the country on inforamtion he cannot talk about then let him do it but he patently isn't doing that.
He is using the Immigration act to keep him here.

He is well and truly overruling the Magistrate and frankly has given no information on why we should trust him.

I prefer to live in a democracy where people are presumed innocent until guilty.
If the AFP cannot convince a Magistrate then patently the person is not dangerous.

He is going to get great legal advice being in Villawood and his legal team being in Brisbane

hc said...

Robert, I don't know Robert, if he is a terror suspect - I am not sure that he still is I guess that want to stop him destroying evidence and so on.

Spiros, You don't know what the SIM card was there for. Your 'most likely' is a fudge. There are two processes going on here - one in corts and one by the Minister for Immigration applying thye Migration Act to someone who seems most certainly to have at least associated with criminals.

Sir Henry, I am not sure who I ad hominem-ed. For the most part your comment is consistent with my views.

You attack utilitarian thinking here but you are wrong. This is not a 'ticking bomb' problem - non-one is being tortured to extract a confession. Its just a matter of whether he runs around free before his charges go to trial or remains in detention. Small cost but huge potential gain if he is a terrorist or if his imprisonment can yield information about these people.

Homer, Even though I am overwhelmed with happiness that you are decided to come back and comment on my blog I don't think my pleasure made me avoid your question.

The issue of presumption of innocence does not arise here. He did associate with some nasties and application of the Migration Act enables him to be detained until he faces charges and then be thrown out of the country if found innocent.

Wait and see if he is found innocent. In your glee to find yet another way of hammering the government you are overlooking the possibility that he may be up to his neck in this terrorist plot.

Spiros said...

Harry, the police have been very careful not to say that Haneef's SIM card was used to blow up the bomb.

All they've said is that Haneef's cousin had his SIM card in the car.

And this notion that his visa should be withdrawn because he's a known associate of criminals is a charade. What criminals? None of his known associates has a criminal conviction of any kind. So unless you and Kevin Andrews are redefining the word criminal to also include people who have been merely charged with a crime, that one doesn't work either.

And you don't really believe this two processes nonsense do you? This was the executive vetoing a judicial decisi on, pure and simple.

(By the way, plenty of associates of criminals have been not just been let into this country, but feted on their arrival; such as Frank Sinatra, Evidently for visa purposes there are associates of criminals, and associates of criminals. And not just associates of criminals, but terrorists too. In recent years we have had not a few representatives of Sinn Fein, whose closeness to the IRA is so close as to be the one organisation.)

Appu said...

Thank you for your comments re me being a little racist, pathetic creature et al. This goes some distance towards confirming that you did not think through your original argument of trying to show parity between the treatment (alleged) meted out by the Islamic Republic and Australia. If, indeed it has come to the sorry pass where we are happy to compare the Australian system of jurisprudence with that provided by the revolutionary guard then fine I withdraw my comments unconditionally because it is all too late!
However, if you think that comparing an Indian muslim with an Iranian audlterer and their treatments under Iranian and Australian law are somehow germane then all I can say is that all the abuse you are willing and able to heap is not enough to stop a rational discussion on the issue.
Just because you are white, anglo saxon and presumably christian and wear a red tie does not alter the situation one iota!
Balanced view!
You may express your opinions and I may disagree, if this means that your response is to get nasty, petty and insulting - what can I say other than may (Jahweh,the Trinity, Allah) help you through this difficulty!

Sir Henry said...

"Its just a matter of whether he runs around free before his charges go to trial or remains in detention."

This means I presume that Haneef is a danger to society and that is why he is being locked up. The assumption here is that police have classified information to that effect. Or it may be that the prosecution has information and it doesn't want revealed just yet. He is assumed to be guilty of being a terrorist in other words, without that being tested in any way in a court.

But we can discount that explanation because he wouldn't be able to "scratch himself" as someone put it, with wiretaps, and reporting conditions etc etc.

So, it is no. 2. "huge potential gain if his imprisonment can yield information about these people."

The authorities have reached the acceptable limits of the current terrorist detention-for-questioning laws and are using the immigration act as a prop to that effect. It's available to them because Haneef is a foreigner on a working visa.

If he were a citizen of Australia then I guess the ASIO provisions would have kicked in.

Perhaps the Brits are preparing an extradition document?

The point about all this is that the law is being misused in bad faith.

"Small cost" you say. To me, it is a huge cost. Subverting our system of justice is no small matter. In this way we let terrorism win. This is a slippery slope, or if you prefer, the slow boiling of frog analogy. We slowly get acculturated to such quasi legal extra judicial behaviour and before you know it, we are living in a fascist police state. You think this doesn't affect you now, Harry. But what if the leftists got hold of the lever of power?

PS Whom have you ad-hominemed? Well, for starters you ad-hominem Appu. "You are a pathetic creature... Don't embarrass yourself you boring little racist."

Appu's point wasn't racist but a point of logic and consistency. He made an apagogical argument to the effect of reductio ad absurdum. Your response was personally abusive. This from someone who has gone with a rather brilliant dissertation on the motive fallacy.
Are you being disingenuous, or what?

hc said...

Sir Henry, I found Appuu's comments offensive. Still do.


'Does this mean that you accept responsibility for all actions commited by what - white, anglo saxon, christians?'

'Just because you are white, anglo saxon and presumably christian and wear a red tie does not alter the situation one iota!'.

I don't like the implied racist assumptions here at all.

I suggested terrorists support Islamic regimes such as Iran where there are no human rights and that Haneef would get much better treatment in Australia. Reread it.

Yeah maybe I was a bit short with Appu's remarks but, more than being offended, I sometimes cannot be bothered answering in detail to offensive, poorly thought through crap.

On your other points:

You don't show that the law is being used in 'bad faith' at all. Haneef is being held on serious charge and under the Migration Act - given his recent associations - he should be deported. Argue for a change in the Act if you don't like it.

The 'if-we-hold-in-custody-a-man-with-links-to-a-serious-crime-rather-than-give-him-bail-will- convert-Australia-into-a-fascist-state' is too frivolous to be seriously entertained this many minutes past my bedtime.

I am now going upstairs to read my copy of Bleak House.

Appu said...

So, Mr. Chadband—of whom the persecutors say that it is no wonder he should go on for any length of time uttering such abominable nonsense, but that the wonder rather is that he should ever leave off, having once the audacity to begin—retires into private life until he invests a little capital of supper in the oil–trade.

Bring Back CL's blog said...

Harry, that you are happy I am back merely reflects you need psychiatric care!!!

A magistrate heard all the evidence and decided the evidence was thin and he was no threat to society.
You are saying he is but you do not know why.

Have a think of what we are protecting against terrorists and whether your case is in fact enabling the terrorists to win

Spiros said...

The entire transcript of Haneef's interrogation has been leaked to the Australian. It can downloaded in pdf form for the whole world to see.

If what's in the transcript is all there is to it, then he should have never have been charged. No jury would convict anybody of anything based on it.

The whole episode is a farce. Haneef was charged on the basis of no evidence because the police could no longer hold him without charge. When the magistrate unexpectedly bailed him, Kevin Andrews stepped to override her just to make sure Haneef stayed in custody.

Peter Faris, a supporter of Howard's anti-terrorism laws and former head of the National Crime Authority wrote yesterday in Crikey that the he doubted that Haneef would ever stand trial here and he would be extradited to Britain as soon as the British ask for him.

Now that the transcript has been leaked, the authorities can conveniently claim that they can't try him here, so onto the first plane he will go.

hc said...

Spiros, I have looked at these transcripts briefly.

Why would the British want him? Surely they are not part of a Coalition conspiracy to play wedge politicds with Kevin Rudd.

If it is true they want him - that I am unsure of - it increases the argument that the serious concerns - not claim of guilt - but serious concerns of those such as Mick Keelty are justified.

It is remarkable to me that no-one who criticises the Haneef detention has been able to offer a credible explanation of why both sides of politics in Australia favour his continued detention.

Shlomo said...

Anonymous, you argue with labels and no logic, much as the other redneck shallow-brain-pan troglodites who make statements about "lefties supporting terror" in the US do.

Go look up habeas corpus, and write me a 500 word essay on its relation to the current case. You might learn something.

Trogo arguments have no place in this debate; go back to your sandbox.

Spiros said...

Like you Harry, I am not privy to internal police discussions or the intelligence provided to governments. So I don't know why the British might want him. Whatever the reason is, it isn't found in his record of interview.

I think the sequence of events is as follows.

1. Terrorists explode a car bomb in Glasgow.

2. British police find a SIM card in the car which they trace to an Indian doctor, a cousin of one of the alleged terrorists, who used to work in England and now works on the Gold Coast.

3. They tell the Australian authorities.

4. In the spirit of friendly co-operation with fellow fighters against global Islamic terrorism, the Australian police arrest Dr Haneef.

5. They interrogate Haneef, but he doesn't confess to anything except giving his cousin his SIM card so that the cosuin can use the unexpired minutes. Being no lawyer, and not having one present at the interrogation, Haneef doesn't realise that merely giving away a SIM card could land him in jail for 15 years, so he readily admits doing it. You will note from the transcript that Haneef was co-operative throughout the entire interrogation.

6. The police have a problem. They've obtained numerous extensions of the time they can hold Haneef without charging him but they've got nothing of substance on him and time is running out. So they charge him with giving away his SIM card.

7. The police think this will enable them to keep him on ice while they look for more evidence but the pesky magistrate grants him bail.

8. Enter Kevin Andrews, who cancels Haneef's visa so that he can be kept on ice in a detention centre.

9. As Faris made clear, the evidentiary burden to convict Haneef for the SIM card crime is actually quite high. Certainly, no jury would convict on the basis of the interrogation.

10. The transcript is leaked to the Australian thereby jeapordising any trial, making Haneef a candidtae for immediate deportation, and which saves the authirities the embarassment of a trial where Haneef would be acquitted (on the public evidence to date.) Keelty circumspectly doesn't actually accuse Haneef's lawyers of the leak. Phillip Ruddock has no such compunction. He has straight out accused them of leaking it. This is a very serious accusation, as serious as it gets really, given the lawyers' duty to the Court supersedes their duty to their client.

Now, one might ask, who benefits most from leaking this transcript? The authorities/government or Haneef's lawyers. Bear in mind that if it can be proved that the lawyers did it, they can be disbarred and jailed for contempt.

And who is more likely to have a conduit into the Australian, whose editors fancy themselves as front line players in the fight against terrorism? The authorities, or a Gold Coast solicitor?

Bring Back CL's blog said...

Ruddock gave the game away last night.
Andrews acted because the Magistrate allowed the good doctor bail.

Apparently Ruddock does not believe they need to put evidence in front of the Magistrate merely say the accused should not be allowed bail.

Interesting legal concept

Sir Henry said...

Harry, seriously, this is unravelling badly, as I suspected it would. I have informed myself by reading the briefing document prepared for the Minister for Immigration and also the record of interview with Haneef, which was published in The Australian.

I concede that there is sense, in principle, in holding someone who is a danger to society. There are ample laws, both state, federal and under the new terrorism laws, to hold and charge someone and then refuse them bail (the presumption of granting bail is reversed when it comes to terrorism).

But in spite of all that, bail was granted by an independent judicial officer who presumably thought that Haneef was NOT a danger in either racking off or by blowing himself up in a bus, or whatever.

To return to what you said. Please note carefully, in contradistinction to what you wrote in your post, Haneef is not being held prisoner under any charge but as an alien whose visa was withdrawn because he is now regarded as a person of bad character.

Not only is this a circular argument that begs the question of character, the “facts” are actually based on a falsehood. To wit: Haneef had been charged with "recklessly" -- but not intentionally, as explained in a press conference by federal police commissioner Mick Keelty -- supporting a terrorist organization.

Yet the briefing document given to Kevin Andrews was misleading in that it claimed the charge used the word “intentional”, which is more than reckless. It implied that Haneef was part of a conspiracy. This is either mischievous or very sloppy.

The evidence against Haneef partly relies on his own self incrimination in the record of interview with Federal Police in Brisbane.

Incidentally, the quality of the questioning is a sad indictment on the intellectual capacity of our Federal Mr Plod. Incredibly, when Haneef broached the subject of having visited websites, this was not followed up. Yet this seems to be a very important aspect of the radicalisation of the perpetrators of the UK bombings. Look up Jamaat al Dawa on Wikipedia.

No matter. The charge relates to Haneef providing a mobile phone SIM card to Sabeel Ahmed, a cousin thrice removed, with whom he shared digs in the UK. Sabeel is the brother of the Glasgow bomber, Kafeel Ahmed, who is severely burned and is not expected to survive.

The SIM card, which was part of a contract plan with a company Zero Two in the UK had some phone time to run on it and Sabeel asked Haneef to leave it there for him. Haneef was not in a position to refuse because the former had lent him money, had helped him with accommodation and was storing his clothes and books.

And, note this, Sabeel undertook to transfer the SIM card and contract to his own name.
Furthermore, when the story about the bombing broke, Haneef was phoned by his mother in law to contact a UK police investigator named Graham to clear his name. Haneef made four attempts to call and this is validated by phone records as shown in the police record of interview.

This is also worth noting, the SIM card concerned does not appear to have been used in the bombing attempt; likewise, Sabeel Ahmed was himself not the bomber but the brother of one has been charged with “failing to disclose information that could have prevented an act of terrorism.”

The charge against Haneef then looks very dodgy indeed.

The burlesque of the transfer of Haneef from the Brisbane Watchhouse to the prison via an armoured van, three police cars a motorcade of police motorcycle outriders, and helicopter overhead and streets closed off, with sirens blaring is (a) completely, shrilly and absurdly over the top (b) smells like an attempt to prejudice Haneef’s right to a fair trial.

This is bullshit, Harry.

PS None of this would be an issue now, if the federal government had not ramped up the costs of studying for a medical degree by 300 per cent.

Newcastle University had started a brilliant pilot scheme of recruiting large numbers of mature age doctor students from ambos, nurses, medical equipment salesmen and women and all other people interested in becoming doctors. It also had a rural and remote component as part of the scheme. The scheme is now in tatters because of the lack of funding. You get what you pay for.

Anonymous said...

FuzzFlash sez...

"This is relevant to the costs of detaining a possible suspect."

Harry, notwithstanding that you are a "known" economist, human rights and habeas corpus are about much more than quotidian bean counting.

How's Bleak House going? Your taste in music and literature are excellent, however, your reflex Rodentophilia reminds me of Mr.Smallwood(Howard) and Judy(you);

"Shake me up, Harry !"

How much longer can you keep on doing it, Harry, without completely taking leave of your humanity?

hc said...


I am for once presenting the majority view - the view endorsed by both major political parties in Australia. I am not losing my humanity but I am combating a form of extremism.

The discussion above - almost entirely opposed to my fairly conventional views - shows how far blog commentary both on the left and the libertarian right has moved from the centre of Australian politics.

Pretty much the same sort of remarks apply to John Howard - he is despised in the left blogosphere but, until recently, the most popular PM since Menzies. Even now - despite Iraq - he has strong approval ratings.

I am in step.

Sir Henry said...

Being in step does not always a good thing.

Besides, how do you know you are in the majority on this topic?

What you are saying is that you are in step with the majority of parliamentary politicians in Canberra?

That must feel very satisfying, H.

PS There are links from all over the blogosphere to this discussion here Harry. Congratulations. You have crossed the Rubicon.

Mike said...

Given that I'm late to the debate, I thought I'd just throw in another small piece of evidence; the notorious SIM card that he handed over apparently expired in August 2006, almost a year before the attempted bombings occurred.

So we're charging this guy with giving his cousin a SIM card, which presumably the cousin then had to renew himself, and which he then may or may not have used in some way which was related to the incidents of late June 2007?

Angry said...

Unbelievable. A respected academic, one who is seemingly not just a shill or idealogue, really wrote this post??

“If he is innocent it will be unpleasant for him but he will get fair treatment in a civilised society.”

Well, no, that’s exactly what we are all arguing about. And you haven’t offered a single sentence of support for your claim. Instead, you’ve characterised those people who disagree and are arguing that our laws are unfair (on Haneef and in general), and the way executive power is being wielded is unfair, as ‘deranged’, ‘frothing’ and ‘mad’. Way to debate, man! Pathetic, especially for an academic. Argue the point, don’t abuse the one making it.

Some people are defending Haneef’s innocence, and you and them, are welcome to debate that to your heart’s content. Whether Haneef and his cousins have their eggs scrambled, fried, or poached might be relevant to such a discussion. But for those of us trying to defend the rule of law, separation of powers, and due process, and for those of us arguing that we’ve got a set of unfair laws being arbitrarily applied here, this cr*p about Iranian adulterers, the victims of terrorism, and what the opposition thinks is absolutely irrelevant. Totally beside the point.

On the fairness of the law and of Haneef's treatment, can you really dispute the following?

Firstly, that it is unfair that the law allows unlimited periods of detention without charge, rather than a final deadline - ie, indefinite detention. Haneef was detained for 14 days without charge or an end in sight. 14 days seems unfair, but even if one concedes the point that it was justified in this instance, the fact remains that an open-ended law allowing indefinte detention is an (unfair) ass.

Second, that we have a law, deemed to have been broken by Haneef, which is incredibly broad – ie, being reckless as to whether an organisation which he provided ‘support' (also broadly defined) to was a terrorist organisation. Firstly, the application of this law to Haneef is unfair in one sense, because potentially thousands of people will have broken this law, yet they have not been pursued or charged with anything. The law itself is also unfair because it is criminalises innocent acts. Regardless of whether Haneef innocently provided the SIM, the fact remains that the law is so broad that people could fall afoul of it for essentially innocent, well meaning acts.

Thirdly, that we have an immigration law which allows almost-complete Ministerial discretion – to fail the character test the minister only needs a ‘reasonable suspicion’ on his part that a person once associated with somebody else who is merely suspected of criminal activity. This is unfair, because again it punishes innocent acts – associating with anyone who subsequently commits a crime you knew nothing about or had nothing to do with is sufficient to cause you to fail the character test.

Fourth... actually what's the point in continuing? Surely you have some understanding of what a law should and should not allow... can you really argue that this man should be still locked up, charged with a crime under an arbitrarily applied law, and be deported irrespective of the outcome of the trial for knowing the wrong person? Just ask yourself the question: "if I were in his shoes, would I still consider the treatment fair?". Can you really still maintain that Haneef will get "fair treatment by a civilised society"? If so, then you should look forward to the day when you fall afoul of this apparently benevolent society, because there'll be no-one left to stick up for you....

hc said...

Mike, I have not seen that report but I'll take your word for it.

Angry, I have actually offered several reasons for my claim but you disagree with them. When I wrote about people 'frothing at the mouth' I had in mind people such as yourself in mind.

You are so angry that you blunder into illogic. You confuse criticism of the Immigration Act (which does give the Minister authority for actions taken) with the case for taking these actions.

Hanneef has not been sentenced to indefinite detention but has been detained up until he appears in court. Then if he is innocent he will be deported under the Act for associating with criminals. If he is found guilty he will face penalties.

I'll let it go this time Angry but if you hold such vehement views why the anonymity?

Anonymous said...

Fuzzflash sez...

HC: "I am for once presenting the majority view - the view endorsed by both major political parties in Australia. I am not losing my humanity but I am combating a form of extremism."

Ever the Establishment Combatant. arn't you, Harry.

Guess I'll have to pitch my lot in with that dangerous subversive, Julian Burnside and those Rodent Resistors in Dr. Haneef's legal team.
If that makes me an Enemy Combatant, then so be it.

Angry, are you the famous masked Mr. Angry from that blogspot in cyberspace? You've got the antsyness, but you don't cuss. Maybe you're just being unusually polite. Anyway, don't bite at Prof's jailbird jibe to declare your "true identity". What's the point of having an anonymous option on the web log template if citizens can't avail themselves of it. Besides Harry's taken a savage lurch to the right recently. He needs to be closely monitored. In the National Interest.

Bring Back CL's blog said...

oops the AFP got it wrong.

Harry you are looking very foolish.

Would an anglo-celtic doctor from the UK have recieved this treatment?

Mike said...

And for those still following this thread, more news re the SIM card.

Mike said...

And yet more concerns that the case against Haneef was weak.

It really does suggest that if intelligence agencies, police forces or anyone else has information that is vital to the prosecution of a case, it should be heard in court.

As Malcolm Fraser and Barry Jones point out in a joint statement over at Australians All, this could have been done in a closed session if such information had to be kept secret.

Furthermore, it highlights the risk of ministers who receive highly filtered, distilled (and possibly distorted) information making bad calls, and thus why they really shouldn't have the kind of discretionary power exercised by Minister Andrews in this case (or at the very least shouldn't be able to exercise it in the way Minister Andrews did).

The more information comes to light in this case, the weaker the case against Haneef appears, and the less justifiable the actions of Minister Andrews seem.

It will be interesting to see if any information supporting the government's position comes to light over the next few days/weeks/months/etc.

Anonymous said...

you coward: respond to this-- you go muslim bashing because it gets more attention than your other posts: 41 comments here, zero on tobacco.

Sir Henry said...

Anonymous, you are wrong. As much as I could possibly disagree with professor Harry Clarke - and events seem to have vindicated my previous series of posts on this issue - Harry is not only not a coward, he is the most tolerant and truly libertarian of all blog hosts.

He does not censor views, nor does he use underhand, unethical and dishonest methods to stop people putting views on this blog with which he himself disagrees.

To my great distress, nearly all the so called left-wing blogs do it. THe control freaks that they are. (The honourable exception being Mr Angry 365 Days of the Year.) Some do it on a personal whim, others pretend that the comment has been caught on a spam cleaning machine, some even lie about what they do, and yet others, bizarrely, bowdlerise commentary they do not like by removing the vowels from them.

May I just say, the most offensive is John Quiggin, who should know better. The others - you know who you are.

This tells us something about Harry Clarke - he is not a coward and is happy to let his views stand as they are, where the force of argument is sufficient rather than having to rely on the deux ex machina of physical control.

He even allows his interlocutors, like you, to blog as "anonymous" without even a pseudonym. Now who is a coward, eh?

A big hat tip to Harry Clarke. A true gentleman of the blogosphere.

hc said...

Thanks Jack.

Anonymous said...

FuzzFlash sez...

ABC online 3.30 pm friday July27.

"The Australian Federal Police (AFP) have dropped the charges against Gold Coast-based doctor Mohamed Haneef."

Now let's see which way Kevin Andrews is instructed to act re Dr. Haneef's visa.

An appeal by Dr.H's legals if he is to be deported on "character" grounds would drag on over the campaign. He's compelled to appeal so as to clear his name. Then there's compensation a la Rau and Salon.

Talk about collateral damage from friendly fire. This is a very ugly outcome for Team Rodent and it's getting worse.