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Reality TV wagging the dog

Margo: Richard Tonkin is our investigative writer.  His archive is here.  His Webdiary history began with my experimental offshoot Your Democracy, managed by my brother Hamish Alcorn after I took redundancy and went onto contract in September 2004. Richard has been a stalwart ever since. His first piece for Webdiary was Halliburton down under: Taking over South Australia by stealth.  Richard is also a Webdiary comments editor.

 
The New South Wales state government in Australia is boosting security at this year's APEC summit in light of the foiled attacks in Britain. Hundreds of additional surveillance cameras will be installed on trains and buses. Authorities are building a citywide digital network linking public and private closed-circuit TV cameras. 

This introduction to a Voice of America story exemplifies my worries that Dr Haneef has been used in Australian media to portray the possibility that a person similar to him could attempt to assassinate the likes of US President Bush and Russian President Putin when they come to Sydney in September.

The trouble is that if there is no "Australian connection" to the "terror scares" in Glasgow and London then the story being used to provide public support for the incredible amount of security that Sydney is about to endure will have much less credibility with the public. The intense APEC security is more likely to be regarded with suspicion.

If there is truly a fear of attack then why is the Australian federal government not changing our terrorism alert status? Might the public have negative feelings to PM Howard if they perceive that his organising the visit of an unpopular "War President" has created a dangerous perhaps deadly environment for the people of Sydney?

Bush will arrive here only several days before the sixth anniversary of the September 11 2001 terrorism attacks. Just as the date arrives US residents will be watching the President roaming abroad to help solve the problems of the world while a protective Australia makes sure his enemies can't harm him. Will the vision of such activity be enough to boost Bush's sagging polls and give him enough popularity to be able to justify invading Iran?

Does this line of thinking bear any relevance to the desperate tactics that have been used to implicate Dr Haneef? Today's Australian reports that the Australian Federal Police have been discovered to have written implicating notes into Haneef's personal diary. Hedley Thomas and Andrew Fraser have discovered this in a transcript of Haneef's interrogation at Brisbane airport.

[extract]

 Sergeant Simms states: "Now, as I was alluding to, or as I was going to show you, before ... police who have been looking through your diary have found some handwritten notes in the back of your diary. And one of these handwritten notes is details for Kafeel Ahmed. Telephone numbers and looks like an address. A couple of addresses. Now, that writing there, is that your writing?" When Dr Haneef again denies it is his writing, Sergeant Simms leaves the room. He returns and says: "Thought that might have been the case. In fact, it's not. This is what's been written by police. So it's not your handwriting at all."

Have the AFP deliberately "planted" false evidence in order to justify Haneef's detection? Were they aware at that time that the SIM card was not in the burning jeep in Glasgow but inside a mobile phone in Liverpool?

More important than those questions is this one: were the handwritten notes part of the information on which our immigration minister made the decision to deprive a man of his liberty virtually at the instant he was been set free by our legal system?

I also wonder how such problems appear to the likes of the CIA and the FBI. In their eyes ASIO and the AFP must be beginning to look like colonial Keystone Cops. Can they trust our forces in a situation where the possibility of an attempted attack on the leader of the world's only current superpower is deathly high? If they can't get a simple propaganda job right, can they be trusted to make sure a "dirty bomb" isn't set off from a suitcase in the middle of Sydney? Surely you'd only be risking your integrity if you were prepared to let such a devastating thing happen. Bush would be evacuated with no harm, and a radioactive Sydney would be on American TV as a 9/11 anniversary reminder of the international urgency of continuing a proactive global War On Terror. Downtown USA might even support Iran attack, though perhaps more from fear of having what they're seeing on TV happen to them.

I write these words only to raise the possibility of how such an unfolding timeline might one day need to be dissected in forums such as Webdiary, That is, unless such forums have been, by then, deemed to be inappropriate to Australia's national security interests and closed down. Stranger things have happened.

In the meantime we're watching what is most likely to be an inept attempt at controlling a large population's sentiments. By the way, there's nothing that's been suggested in the Go-Bag that'll protect a Sydneysider from a dirty bomb. Bush would be safely back in Washington long before the residents of Rose Bay began reporting symptoms of radiation poisoning.

The idea of creating fear of such an attack in order to win an election is not a new one. I first came across it ten years ago in the political comedy Wag The Dog. In that film the "producer" of a fake War On Terror made such a suggestion in order so save a President's dwindling pre-election poll figures. Nowadays the public, both US and Australian, are less likely to be watching films, more likely to be watching "Reality TV"

While I've been writing these words this morning's Sydney Morning Herald has come out. Let's see how far the dog has been wagged now...

[extract]

But yesterday's report, in News Ltd newspapers, said that police found "images of a Gold Coast building" and its foundations in a raid on Haneef's apartment. The report said investigators were looking at documents referring to the "destruction of structures" and information that Haneef was one of a group of doctors who had been learning to fly in Queensland.

In his statement, Mr Keelty denied the federal police were the source of the leak.

Which brings me back to this synopsis of the movie's plot:

To keep the media from learning of this, Presidential adviser Winifred Ames (Anne Heche) brings in political consultant and spin doctor Conrad Brean (Robert De Niro), a specialist in such salvage operations. Brean suggests fabricating denials of non-existent emergencies -- such as denials about the B-3 bomber. The denial, of course, is true, since no B-3 bomber exists. Brean visits the mansion of Hollywood producer Stanley Motss (Dustin Hoffman) and gives him the assignment to create a patriotic campaign centered around a war in Albania. Motss assembles a creative team -- Liz Butsky (Andrea Martin), the trend-setter Fad King (Denis Leary), and songwriter Johnny Green (Willie Nelson). Treated like an ad campaign, the songs and symbols are transmitted directly from a Hollywood soundstage to CNN.

It's time we had some new scriptwriters, don't you think? But don't worry too much about the dirty bomb possibility. Here's what AP's Ben Stein wrote about it in 2002:

[extract]

The latest post-9/11 disaster scenario making news headlines is the "dirty bomb." The theoretical situation occurs when terrorists get hold of radioactive material from a hospital or food-irradiation plant, attach it to an explosive, and detonate the bomb in an urban area. The explosion spreads the radioactive material all over a city and exposes the population to radiation. Yet according to a health physicist, the biggest health risk from a dirty bomb would not, reassuringly, be cancer, but something more preventable: panic.

A dirty bomb "would probably not lead to many, if any, cancer deaths," says Andrew Karam, radiation safety officer of the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY. But if the public receives unreliable or exaggerated information about dirty bombs, Karam worries that "the use of a radiological weapon would result in many deaths in traffic accidents as people flee the scene, and possibly stress- and anxiety-induced heart attacks."

The radiation dose from a dirty bomb would likely be relatively small, says the Rochester health scientist. Even a potent dirty bomb, consisting of a radioactive cobalt-60 rod used for food irradiation, for example, would deliver an average dose of a few tenths of a rem for people within a half-mile radius, he says. (A rem is a unit of radiation dose.) This compares to the 0.3-0.4 rem average dose per year that a person receives from natural sources, and 5 rem, the typical annual dose limit for nuclear and radiation workers (most radiation workers receive less than 1 rem of exposure annually).

Some recent news accounts have predicted that dirty bombs would cause a small amount of additional cancer cases. However, Karam says these estimates are all based on a faulty assumption.

Faulty assumption? There's a lot of it going round....

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Dirty Bomb Research Centre For Adelaide

DSTO Media Release 21/8/07

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) is researching the use of a novel technique to deal with the after-effects of incidents involving a dirty bomb

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, Mr Peter Lindsay, said the technique known as ‘luminescence’ would measure levels of radiation resulting from an explosion, so that appropriate treatment could be rendered to people affected by the incident. 

A dirty bomb is an explosive device containing radioactive material which disperses radiation on detonation. Its primary aim is to deliberately spread radioactive contamination, unlike an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) which is designed to cause damage through a blast effect.  

“DSTO is proactively developing ways of measuring radiation exposure because the amount of radiation will determine the type of treatment to be applied,” Mr Lindsay said.  “Getting an accurate reading of the radiation dose will directly help the recovery effort.” 

The method DSTO is developing is known as recombination luminescence which can measure the dose of radiation in common building materials affected by radioactive contamination.

DSTO scientist Dr Barnaby Smith said recombination luminescence measures electrons trapped in the crystal structure of building materials where they have been forced by exposure to radiation. “The number trapped is proportional to the radiation dose,” he said.

“Generally, the risk to health from radiation exposure is less than the public perception and lower than the risk of injuries from the blast,” Dr Smith said. “However, during an incident, public panic could exacerbate the crisis and even result in further casualties.”

He said dirty bombs were rightly referred to as weapons of ‘mass disruption’ rather than ‘mass destruction’. 

Mr Lindsay said while no known incidents of dirty bomb explosions had occurred overseas, Australia could not afford to take any chances. “Our defence scientists are working actively to ensure that we are suitably prepared to minimise the effects of such incidents.”

“DSTO and the University of Adelaide are working towards establishing a Centre of Expertise in Luminescence that will enhance national security capabilities in this area,” Mr Lindsay said.

Haneef and Andrews

SMH covers it here

You know, I don't have a problem with the Minister being able to cancel somebody's visa if they're of bad character.  But to be able to cancel a visa because sombebody has an association, which can be no more than a blood relationship, with someone believed to be involved in criminal activities, is just not cricket. 

Andrews seems to have used his Ministerial power simply to trump the courts, and it rebounded.  Serves him right, I say.  

Australia as a fascist society

Richard Tonkin says:

It just came over the radio..  The Federal court judge said that Kevin Andrews made a "jurisdictional error" in cancellling Haneef's visa.

Would that normally happen in a 'fascist' society, Richard? Judges overturning decisions of the political leadership?

Haneef Beats Andrews In Court

It just came over the radio..  The Federal court judge said that Kevin Andrews made a "jurisdictional error" in cancellling Haneef's visa.

Andrews had indicated that he'd appeal if the case went the wrong way.  Let's see what he has to say today.

John Pratt, I'm wondering if it's one of those new water cannon that can electrifiy its water, thus firing a "liquid taser."   That would give the protesters quite a shock, pardon the pun.

What a mess. No terrorist example, just fences, snipers and water cannon.

An earlier water cannon report

 [ABC Radio, August 20 2001]

COMPERE: Now, water canons are not a usual thing. I've never seen them used on the streets of Australia. This is a fairly severe tactic to be using.

NANCE HAXTON: Yes. And there's around 80 people involved in the riot, as you know. And from what I've heard, there's around 250 guards and around 50 police on the ground already. So certainly they've brought in the heavy artillery as such to control this riot.

COMPERE: Now, when you say 'water canon', have you been able to ascertain whether that's mobile water canon as we see it traditionally used in some of the dictatorships in South America and across Europe and that, or is it just fire hoses being used?

NANCE HAXTON: All I can see is a truck in the distance and definitely a water canon spraying from that truck. But certainly as it is a truck, I would say that it is mobile and could be moved around the centre.

The gear was nicely packed away before the city based media arrived.  Nance won a Walkely for the report and is now ABC Radio's Adelaide current affairs reporter.

 There may be quite a bit to report in Sydney over the next few weeks, I reckon
 

Water cannon won't stop protests

Alex Bainbridge, spokesman for protest group Stop Bush Coalition, said the water cannon would not discourage the activists.

The coalition plans to protest against the war in Iraq, global warming and workplace changes at Sydney's Town Hall during the APEC Leaders week on September 8.

It is also plans a smaller protest to mark US President George W. Bush's arrival in Sydney on September 4.

"It's not a comforting thought to think that they might be going to prepare to use a water cannon against us," Mr Bainbridge said.

"But it's even more worrying to think about the innocent people being killed in the war in Iraq, and the fate of humanity if global warming isn't held in check."

Mr Bainbridge said the water cannon was likely to be discussed at the coalition's protest planning meeting at the University of Technology, Sydney tonight.

It had not discussed with police the circumstances under which the water cannon might be used, he said.

Several thousand people are expected to gather for the September 8 protest. The group will march from Town Hall along George Street, through Martin Place and back along Macquarie Street to finish in Hyde Park.

So this is where the champion of democracy has taken us. Forget the thousands of Australians, who marched in a vain attempt to stop the Iraq war. Anyone who wants to protest will be washed away.  Why is the War criminal, being invited to our county in the first place? Couldn't they  hold their talk fest on a desert island somewhere? How much is this going to cost the Australian Economy? Imagine the howl if  unions threatened to close Sydney for a day. 

New Sydney Water Cannon For APEC Protesters

Talk about a red rag to a bull.

[extract]

The New South Wales Government has unveiled a high-pressure water cannon that it says will be used to disperse any violent protesters at next month's APEC summit.

Premier Morris Iemma says the $600,000 US-built cannon will knock unruly protesters off their feet.

Mr Iemma says it will be used when public safety and property are under threat, and before situations spiral out of control.

"The water cannon truck will only be used in extreme cases of major public disorder..." he said in a statement.

"Any protesters who are considering violent disruptions during the APEC conference should count this as a warning."

Police Minister David Campbell says the cannon has a 360-degree aim and can shoot water more than 50 metres.

Mr Campbell says the truck is fitted with a surveillance camera, a push bar to clear heavy obstacles, and an air-tight cabin to protect police from smoke and gas.

He says it can hold more than 12,000 litres of water.

"When the water cannon is deployed, violent crowds will know police mean business," he said.

"I am sure its very presence will be enough to break up riotous behaviour."

 

George's aqueous fantasies

Don't be silly, you can't use this water cannon – Sydney is still on water restrictions.

Hasn't just about everyone said that so far? :)

Maybe I'll get my car in now for a wash in the CBD.

The whole thing is sick. How many police officers could we have for the cost and maintenance of a "water cannon"? And what kind of sicko sadistic will volunteer for that job, eh? The usual guys who give the force a bad name?

I still think Canberra was the correct choice. No real productive business there to interrupt and no loss if the whole real-estate there was radioactive. And no casualties as everyone would happily leave for the public holiday. Might finally make Queanbeyan a real place. Whereas … lose Sydney?

A bent coat hanger? A set of torn New Wonder sails? A square circular quay changing shape? A Latte set becoming Frothy?

One thing that is rather foolish is not to call for blood donations ahead of time as most explosions result in huge burns and huge need for plasma. We already have heard from the Sydney Hospital director that there is no way they could cope with the casualties from any attack. I hope nothing happens as have just been roped in to be there for one of the days with a friend. Damn.

By the way, did they find all those missing rocket launches that the rogue ADF sold to "organised crime"?

That should break up riotous behaviour.

Cheers

PS: I wonder how Mr Bush copes with being so universally disliked by all normal caring rational humans. Probably just washes such worries away. And fantasises about water cannon.

Shutting the stable door

I don't know where this comes from:

[extract]

Press Trust of India

Melbourne, Aug. 17: Australian Federal Police (AFP) is trying to suppress transcript of their second interview with Indian doctor Mohammed Haneef, held in connection with failed car-bombing of Glasgow Airport, though immigration minister Mr Kevin Andrews already selectively quoted from it.

The AFP has provided Haneef’s lawyers with the transcript of the 12-hours they interrogated the Indian doctor before charging him on 14 July with providing resources to a terrorist organisation.

Bush to sign US-India Reactor Deal At APEC ?

It's the next logical step.  It's amazing how quickly things have gone since, in an aside to conversations regarding Haneef, Downer told the Indian foreign minister that he might be able to organise a uranium deal.  Now Howard has made an agreement subject to the finalisation of US-India arrangements.

If signed in Sydney it would be exemplary of the two non-Kyoto signatories making a "significant global contriburtion to climate change" or somesuch.

That would be a "good nuclear thing."  I hope we don't see a "bad nuclear thing."  Sure, the fence is apparently "bomb truck proof" as we're being told today, but nobody has yet talked about detecting something the size of a suitcase. 

The "bad nuclear thing" could be the kind of catalyst the US is waiting for.

Oh.. a thought on the India deal.  Isn't it lucky that Howard's mates Walker, Morgan and De Crespigny want to build a General Electric enrichment facility?  It might come in handy after all..
 

Apec closures, ID requirements announced

The eight year old kids in the choir need security checks? Lovely.

Just posted by SMH:

[extract]

A five-kilometre-long, 2.8 metre-high fence will be used to lock up sections of Sydney's CBD during APEC in what has been acknowledged as the greatest dislocation of Sydneysiders since the 2000 Olympics.

Sydneysiders will also have to show identification to cross the street in parts of the CBD during the summit.

 I wonder what will happen if you can't produce ID,  or on doing so are found to be on the "black watch list?"  Imprisoned without bail till Bush leaves, I guess.

It must nearly be time for the radiological drill.

Meanwhile the NYPD have released a report on homegrown terrorists.  New York Times report here.

Webdiarist "Policing The Police" at APEC

Webdiary contributor Dale Mills was on the tellly on Tuesday night:

[ABC extract]

Dale Mills from the Human Right Monitors says the group will "police the police".

"We'll be attending the Sydney CBD area where there will be protests and we'll be collecting eye witness evidence and video and photographic evidence of any misbehaviour or heavy-handedness by the police," he said.

Human Right Monitors is worried the special police powers might stay in place after the summit.

Special temporary police powers were also introduced for the Sydney 2000 Olympics and after the games some of the laws remained in place in areas surrounding Sydney Harbour.

"What it means is that in every big protest in the future there may be similar emergency powers, then similar emergency powers are introduced at small protests, then the emergency powers may become permanent," he said.

 The ABC, being fair and balanced, went to the relevant NSW ministers and authorities for comment on APEC policing powers.  None gave any.

When I was asking if my name would be checked on the list, I didn't expect there'd be an announcement of one:

[Herald-Sun, yesterday]

 

NSW police have established a "black list" of individuals banned from APEC security areas.

Victoria Police have worked with NSW on activists known to have been involved in violent aspects of last year's G20 protests in Melbourne.

Some of those people are understood to be on the NSW watch list.

Melbourne and Sydney associates of Scott Parkin will be on it, for starters.  Perhaps police, as a deterrance, could publish the list so everyone knows not to come?
 

A humble suggestion- Parkin supporters should take care not to end up as evidence against him when his trial resumes.  It's almost to be expected, even if it takes a set-up.  The arrest of "Parkin trained activists" would mean that ASIO and the AFP will have "got it right" in this case, and the backwash could publicly vindicate the shambolic saga of Dr Haneef. If that happens before the election, it will make a difference on how "the public" (as Downer has taken to calling us so often this week) perceives it's Government's manipulation of security fears for political success.

APEC Photo-op- Ins and Outs

Howard can't be happy that Bush has buggered up the prestigious world leader's photo to rush home to his spotlight.  The swansong won't sound the same.

Interestingly the Sultan of Brunei seems to be sending a message.  He's found a diplomatically legitimate reason not to attend, and it sounds like he might use it.  Either that or he just wants his dinner setting moved further away from Downer.

Global Army Chiefs In Sydney Last Week- Why?

What was the message being sent by this action?  Nineteen military leaders in a Sydney pub? It certainly dismisses the notion that APEC wasn't held in Canberra because of the lack of five star hotels.

Great advertising.

Google Denies Sydney Map Censorship

This could be entirely coincidental, but worth noting nonetheless.

The Age is reporting today that where once you could see the details of the clothing of people walking around the Opera House, now such detailed close observation is imposssible.  The maps for areas of Sydney outside of Sydney's CBD are as sharp as ever.

Google denies they've been censored, claiming that the maps were changed due to problem with a siupplier.

 An SMH piece in January (which uses the same phot of the Opera House as the new Age one) explained how a three-seater plan had been given permission to fly low over Sydney on Australia Day to take  high-resolution photos.

[extract]

The plane is scheduled to begin flying over Centennial and Moore parks at 9am from where it will head out to Bronte Beach. The flight will zig-zag its way across the inner east, the city, Harbour and the lower North Shore, ending at about 2.15pm.

 I'd be more convinced with today's explanation of Google told us what happened to the photos they took, and who were the suppliers of the removed photos.

"Denial" of new Manhattan Dirty Bomb Scare

This reeks of dog-wag.  It's unverified and the radiological detection equipment being deployed is only a precaution.  New Yorkers will be more acutely aware of the "dirty bomb" concept.  The story is running globally, including "our ABC" this afternoon..

[extract

According to the NYPD, units have been deployed with radiological sensors, and checkpoints have been established at specific entry points into Manhattan, including the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels. The center of this threat is reportedly the 34th Street area. The report was based upon postings on an Israeli website which suggested a truck with radioactive material may be detonated within the city.

"The threat remains unverified," said the NYPD. "Our counterterrorism posture, which is reconfigured daily based on intelligence from around the world, has been modified."

I think the Aussie attack possibility probabilities just took another turn for the worse.   One thing for sure, Howard has every excuse now to elevate Sydney's terror status for the APEC lockdown.  Let's see...

Simulataneous Tri-City Al Qaeda Attack?

Mr Howard was saying on the radio this morning that, apart from rushing home to get ready for the Petraeus report on Iraq being handed to Congress, Dubya also had to get ready for September 11 commemorations.

How lame. Surely the 911 media ops would have been worked out ages ago. The fact that Howard has bothered to use this as an excuse is concerning. It's not the best reasoning for placing the Sydney CBD under virtual martial law several days ahead of schedule. Instead of merely on a planned long weekend, the city will be clogged during a working week because Dubya hadn't worked out what he was doing on his own "one day in September?" There has to be more to it.

Never mind the fact that city traffic movements would've been considerably minimised during a Bush weekend visit. The chances of a terrorist travelling concealed amongst commuting Sydneysiders have increased significantly.

I've just come across this piece from The Australian last year:

[extract]

An al-Qa'ida attack during next year's APEC summit in Australia was likely to be on a grand scale and could include simultaneous bomb blasts in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

But former US intelligence officer and al-Qa'ida expert Malcolm Nance said the chances of such an attack had fallen to less than 10 per cent because of the large strides Australia had made in counter-terrorism.

Mr Nance told a Melbourne counter-terrorism summit the APEC summit in Sydney in September next year was the "dream" target for al-Qa'ida.

Like the 2004 Madrid train bombings, the APEC summit would be held on the eve of an election - and it would have the added attraction of being the last summit of its kind for US President George W. Bush.

But Mr Nance, a former career US intelligence officer and now a Middle East-based counter-terrorism consultant, said Australia was one of the hardest targets in the world for al-Qa'ida to crack, and the prospects for a successful attack were not high.

"Because of the scope of policing, intelligence and counter-terrorism in Australia, terrorists cannot come into this country and believe they are not being hunted," he said.

"Osama bin Laden knows Australia is a one-shot nation - if there is any attack, the full brunt of law-enforcement will come down and al-Qa'ida is finished here.

"That's why they will not seek to strike small targets."

Mr Nance said an attack on up to three cities at once was the most likely scenario.

A "less than 10%" likelihood was before "simultaneous attacks" on London and Glasgow, and a cousin of the perpetrators turning up in Queensland. You'd reckon that at that time the odds were perceived as much higher.

If there is or was such a fear amongst intelligence communities, then no wonder ASIO is annoyed at the Liberals’ political meddling in the situation.

What is Australia's true terror level for the next few weeks? Surely it should be raised at this point in time? Or would this be considered by Howard as politically damaging?

I just hope that what Mr Howard is telling us this morning is not that Bush is rushing home to tell the US media what he just saw happen to Australia.

Nothing conspicuous at all

Nothing conspicuous at all, Eliot.  Not just in my mind either.  Since you seem to choose to ignore it, here's that Voice Of America quote again:

 The New South Wales state government in Australia is boosting security at this year's APEC summit in light of the foiled attacks in Britain. Hundreds of additional surveillance cameras will be installed on trains and buses. Authorities are building a citywide digital network linking public and private closed-circuit TV cameras.

The link is at the top of the piece, and not in my mind.  If you can't see a correlation, and can't comment further, that's okay.  I understand.  Until you can muster an opinion of your own we should leave our debate there, in order to save you further self-embarrassment.

Sorry, I just realised the posting  time of your last comment.  See you on Monday.

Critique of Pure Reason

Richard Tonkin says
You asked me to show you a connection between the UK stuff and APEC.  I did.  Your turn.
You think you did, Richard. But it's in your mind only. You said:
It stands to reason that Haneef has been used as a device to give the AFP powers that even ASIO don't want them to have.
According to your 'reason' only, but you have conspicuously not provided any evidence at all. And in fact, I can see 'no reason' for you to imagine it.

Mary j Shepherd said:

This report would tend to show why no-one from AWB has been charged and won't be.  Australia is still stealing from the Iraqis and calling it aid.

Yes. Imagine stealing from the Iraqis and calling it aid. But it's odd how selective you are about that sort of thing, Mary J.

One rule for the AWB. Another for member for Bethnall Green.

Adding insult to the Iraqi injury

http://www.aidwatch.org.au/assets/aw01091/Determining%20their%20national%20interests%20-%20Final.pdf

 

This report would tend to show why no-one from AWB has been charged and won't be.    Australia is still stealing from the Iraqis and calling it aid.

It's disgraceful.

Why ASIO are annoyed: quotes from The Bulletin

 From the Bulletin's  "secret sources:"

[extracts]

 "There was no security reason for the government, for Andrews to revoke his visa . . . so they revoked it on character grounds,"

 "If he was deemed to be a security threat then (Attorney General Philip) Ruddock not Andrews would have been (publicly) prosecuting the case against Dr Haneef. Instead we see it became an immigration rather than a security matter."

"For a security dossier to have any weight it should have some basis in Humint (human intelligence) and Sigint (signals intelligence or electronic eavesdropping). This so-called dossier is based on circular intelligence - that is, somebody says something critical of the suspect which is not verified, but the next analyst bases their assessment on that information,"

"This so-called dossier on Haneef is based on nothing but what we call Rumint ("intelligence" based on rumor) and Gossint ("intelligence" based on gossip). It would not stand up in any genuine court of law."

Still wating, Eliot

I see you've wandered off to post on other issues.  You asked me to show you a connection between the UK stuff and APEC.  I did.  Your turn.

Well, actually, they tortured and burned witches.

David Curry says:

Meanwhile, the storm of lies, innuendo and speculation continues on Haneef.  The burden of proof seems to have shrunk to Andrews’ ‘reasonable suspicion’.

I wasn't aware that once the Spanish Inquisition was finished dealing with a witch, the witch was given a first-class airline ticket home to be re-united with his or her family?

Also, if you are concerned that the taint of terrorism will follow Dr Haneef for the rest of his life, shouldn't you be addressing those concerns to his family members who are engaged in terrorism?

After all, they're the ones who tried to stitch him up as a patsy.

Dr Haneef was exonerated of terrorism here, and was welcomed home as some kind of hero. Some 'taint'.

So, clearly, your analogy is forced and ill-founded. Perhaps you should show it to Dateline? They'd probably use it as their lead story.

Also, Joe McCarthy's central allegation was, of course, that during the 1950s Communists were actively trying to infiltrate important western cultural, political and military institutions with a view to subverting them on behalf of foreign interests, notably the Soviet Union.

And they were.

For example, Alger Hiss and Klaus Fuchs, both of whom at the time were widely proclaimed 'innocent' by their left wing sympathisers and various other assorted chumps and dupes in the west.

Clarification for Eliot

Eliot, one day, in an ideal world, you might actually respond to an email in good faith.  But of course you're not interested in real debate, I know. 

The 'forced and ill-founded' analogy was the Sydney Morning Herald's, not mine, and it referred generally to the 'war on terror' rather than specific details of how Haneef got back to India.  Analogy - n. agreement, similarity.  Look it up, Eliot, if you need to. 

Certainly the tactic of extracting confessions under torture is something the witch hunts and America's war on terror have in common (and which you seem to be an apologist for).  The general hysteria applied to both. 

The taint of terrorism I referred to was specifically in relation to Haneef's options for travel and work.  Do you really think it's likely, Eliot, that Haneef is likely to be let into Australia or the US any time soon?  (And yes, I do realise that's different from being burnt at the stake.) 

And I see you've become an apologist for McCarthyism, too?  Good for you!

Burning Times

A song by Charlie Murphy that bears relevance:

There were those who came to power, through domination
And they were bonded in their worship of a dead man on a cross
They sought control of the common people
By demanding allegiance to the church of Rome

And the Pope declared an inquisition
It was a war against the women, whose power they feared
In the holocaust against the nature people
Nine million European women died 

"Those who don't know the past...  "

The new witch hunts

It’s not a novel idea, but the SMH today draws parallels between the 17th Century Salem witch trials, the McCarthy era of the 1950s, and the current ‘war on terrorism.  Some quotes:

The Salem "trials" and the anti-communist witch-hunts 300 years later share some disturbing features. Both were fed by hysteria about evil forces, the mob whipped up to denounce fellow citizens, false confessions extracted and throughout it all the authority of the state was to be unquestioned.

The same guiding catch-cry was also common, "better to be safe than sorry". Only this week it was echoed by the Prime Minister …

Apparently "better to be safe than sorry" is now the guiding principle for legal reasoning and political decision-making. In one convenient sweep it supplants the presumption of innocence, the onus of proof, and the rule of law.

Meanwhile, the storm of lies, innuendo and speculation continues on Haneef.  The burden of proof seems to have shrunk to Andrews’ ‘reasonable suspicion’. 

Speaking of which, I notice India denies all knowledge of even preparing a dossier on Haneef. 

I wonder how ‘lucky’ Haneef really is (Eliot’s words), given that the taint of terrorism will probably follow him for the rest of his life.  At the very least his travel and work options are now probably severely limited, despite that lack of a single piece of evidence implicating him in the UK bomb plot or any other terrorist activity. 

Oh, well.  Better safe than sorry, right?

In related news, Justice Kirby lashes the High Court's decision to overturns the appeal against ‘Jihad’ Jack’s (he’s gotta change that name) control order. 

[The High Court] should reject legal and constitutional exceptionalism. Unless this court does so, it abdicates the vital role assigned to it by the constitution and expected of it by the people. That truly would deliver to terrorists successes that their own acts could never secure …

Kirby drew a comparison with the High Court’s 1950s decision not to allow the banning of the Communist Party. 

Given the reasoning expressed by the majority in these proceedings, it appears likely that, had the Dissolution Act of 1950 been challenged today, its constitutional validity would have been upheld.

This is further evidence of the unfortunate surrender of the present court to demands for more and more governmental powers, federal and state.

In the past, lawyers and citizens in Australia have looked back with appreciation and gratitude to this court's enlightened majority decision in the Communist Party case … a judicial outcome worthy of a free and confident society which does not bow the head at every law that diminishes liberty beyond the constitutional design.

To get in ahead of everyone else: Kirby would say that, wouldn’t he? 

Thank God SOMEBODY’S saying it. 

Proof of UK incident tied to APEC?

Read the piece above the comments, Eliot, if you haven't already.  According to Voice Of America, the two were tied together since the saga began. All the law-toughening talk since has been related to Haneef.  It stands to reason that Haneef has been used as a device to give the AFP powers that even ASIO don't want them to have.

 I'm lucky that you weren't around the place when I was questioning Aid spending. The story's just broken on misspending for wheat contracts. I'm off to Aid Watch for a look.

Unlike you, I don't just do this sort Monday to Friday 9 to 5. I probably should be as detached as you appear to be. Let's just say that my instincts tell me that Haneef is the tail that is being used to wag the dog of increased counterterrorism methods.

If you have time before you disappear for the weekend, could you please answer my question to you, instead of responding with a  counter-question.  Do you think Haneef and APEC security are related?

Well that's what you get for watching 'Dateline'

Richard Tonkin asks:

Eliot, what do you believe Haneef to be guilty of, and why?  Spit it out, man!

He was obviously lying about his reasons for leaving the country and lying about being ignorant of his cousin's Islamist political activities.

He was also aware that, as his Aunty described it, his SIM card was being employed in some kind of 'project' by his cousin Kafeel. That's beyond dispute now.

He also lied about his being prepared to 'dob in his cousin if he was a terrorist'. He knew before he left Australia.

So, perhaps he should stay in India, because given all that he's not going to be very welcome at the Immigration Reception Centre of too many of the world's airports for quite some time.

Why do people feel they have to defend such behaviour? I'm not saying we should arrest him or anything. But why invite him here?

Richard Tonkin asks:

 

Do you believe that the Haneef case has been used as a device to circumvent civil liberties outrcries during the introduction of counterterrorism measures for the conference? 

Well, unless you can show a link between the failed bombings in London and the Glasgow airport attack, on the one hand, with some program devised to "circumvent civil liberties" prior to the APEC summit, on the other hand, no there's not connection at all.

Do you have any evidence in support of such a claim, Richard?

Richard Tonkin says:

Dateline's David O'Shea appears to be choosing his words carefully, suggesting that the document could have been partially compiled by someone with access to Google News.

The highest professional standards at 'Dateline'. Not like those Murdoch tabloids who exposed the AFP record of interview with Dr Haneef.

Hang on? His lawyer leaked the the AFP record of interview, didn't he?

SBS Dossier Compiled From Google News, Says Reporter

A Bangalore police officer has given SBS a file on Haneef.  Bangalore police are, according to their assistant commissioner, not keeping a file on Haneef.   If so, who gave the police officer the file to pass on?

Dateline's David O'Shea appears to be choosing his words carefully, suggesting that the document could have been partially compiled by someone with access to Google News

Bangalore's deputy commission Hosar has said (of the files coming from his department)  that ""That is all incorrect and false.  I don't know where they got this information from or who they're quoting."

O'Shea couldn't question the officer who gave him the documents due to "logistical difficulties." 

(Sourced from Hedley Thomas' piece on The Australian's website,via Google News) 

I wasn't pretending, Eliot, were you?

The Al Qaeda claim was bogus, the dodgy dossier was bogus, the SIM card story was bogus, the baby's age was bogus.

Eliot, what do you believe Haneef to be guilty of, and why?  Spit it out, man!

I notice you're still apparently not interested in any connections between this case and the forthcoming APEC summt, so I'll ask the precise question.

Do you believe that the Haneef case has been used as a device to circumvent civil liberties outrcries during the introduction of counterterrorism measures for the conference?

Haneef lawyers don't want inquiry before election. Doh!

Mary j Shepherd says:

Eliot, Dr Haneef did not run straight to the airport - he was here for two days after the mess in Glasgow.

You are wrong again, Mary J. Because this is Dr Haneef's timeline:

  • June 26, his baby is born in Bangalore.
  • July 1, news breaks in Australia about the failed bombing overnight at Glasgow Airport.
  • July 2, Dr Haneef goes to work at the Gold Coast Hospital and asked for emergency leave, saying his wife was unwell after giving birth.
  • That night he was arrested at Brisbane Airport with a one-way ticket to India purchased the same day.

So, in fact while it took him a week to decide to visit his 'sick' wife, it took less than a day for him to split the scene after his cousin tried to blow up Glasgow airport.

Richard Tonkin says:

Mary J, take a bow.  Now the question will be this: Who planted the dossier to give to Dateline?  Everyone, at least those concerned with the story at this end, knew SBS was coming.

Yep. Given Dateline's track record, only a fool would listen to anything they said. We should have listened to Mick Keelty, instead.

Richard Tonkin says:

I must admit it was clever of you to pretend to believe that Haneef was innocent.

And it was clever of you to pretend that Haneef was innocent, too.

Mind you, I still believe Dr Haneef is innocent. But it's clear he wasn't being exactly honest with us about what he knew and his reasons for going back to India.

If you lie about so much as carrying bananas into Mascot Airport, you can get kicked out. There's no reason to make special favours for Dr Haneef of all people, let alone "compensate" him with a new flat!!

Richard Tonkin says:

 At the time, yes, all the circumstantials pointed to this, so I will concede that initially Andrews may have been correctly fulfilling his obligations as prescribed and predetermined by Immigration legislation.

Yes, he was.

Now, this is interesting:

Haneef's lawyers won't push pre-election inquest

The Federal Government is unlikely to face a formal inquiry into the handling of the Mohamed Haneef case before this year's election.

The doctor's lawyers are focusing on a hearing into his withdrawn work visa, scheduled to take place in Brisbane on August 8.

Yeah. The last thing they want are any more surprises, I bet.

I call it doing a Bakhtiyari

That story started out with Ruddock refusing to allow a woman and 5 young kids out of Woomera when their dad was living in Sydney and they hadn't bothered to tell her.   Then her brother jumped off the fence and was nearly killed - the wounds are horrendous - then at Easter the boys were seen screaming at the fence and became human beings.

A campaign started to have them released to their dad but Ruddock said no in case the other 50 wives and kids wanted to be with their husbands and fathers too.  49 were in the end.

Then they were taken from Woomera in the middle of the night, taken to Melbourne, then taken to the British embassy at the ages of 12 and 13, kicked out by the poms and arrested by 32 federal cops and taken back to jail.

The court released them so Ruddock appealed to keep them locked up.   He said "they are from Pakistan" nudge, nudge, wink, wink and the whispers and leaks started.

Ali the dad ended up being Asghar Ali, or Ali Bakhtiyari, or Haji Ali Asghar, or Haji Asqar - plumber/electrician/shop owner/gas fitter from Kuwait, Pakistan, Iran or Saudi Arabia and even Afghanistan.

He was born in 1957, 1959, 1961 or 1971.   He was illiterate or matriculated at the age of 4 - anyway you get the drift.

This is the same thing - that dossier was made up here in Australia as I said as it has the hallmarks of the illiterates who made the false documents for the Bakhtiyari family and other Afghans they tried to turn into Pakistanis.

I wonder how much they have wasted on this?   The hospital thing in Tassie will end up having the most expensive hospital beds in history anywhere in the world.    The hospital only has 94 beds - that is $450,000 per bed if full or $800,000 per patient now for the 56 people actually in hospital.

Could have built 200 houses for aboriginal families, 10 clinics or 20 schools.

Police dossier not Indian-prepared: Commissioner

[Extract from The Hindu]

Meanwhile, reports in a section of the Australian media that a dossier prepared by the Bangalore police on Dr. Haneef on his alleged links with the Al-Qaeda have come as a surprise to the police here.

Police Commissioner Neelam Achuta Rao told The Hindu on Wednesday that they had not prepared any such dossier.

Mary J, take a bow.  Now the question will be this: Who planted the dossier to give to Dateline?  Everyone, at least those concerned with the story at this end, knew SBS was coming.

 I smell Downer in this.

Eliot, you have claimed victory waaay too early.  Peter Russo says the saga is beginning to resemble the plot of the movie Groundhog Day, and I know exactly what he means.  Daily we have fresh unsubstantiated smears, daily we have people attempting to capitalise on them to tarnish Haneef's reputation.  Daily each set of allegations is proved to be false.  Then it all starts again.

How much fiction can this Government create?  Hopefully they're going to learn their lesson for the ever-increasing loss of trust they're creating for themselves.

I'm not prepared to surrender my way of life to these fascists.  Luckily, as Groundhog Day nears Election Day, I don't think I'll have to.

We owe Haneef plenty, Eliot

Even with the generous allowance for Andrews, as it appears he was totally wrong, we are still back at the start, Eliot. Andrews has kicked this man out of the country for no good reason. I was prepared to concede a little... obviously you are not. You want to keep dancing the same jig.

I must admit it was clever of you to pretend to believe that Haneef was innocent.

I am not surprised that you have avoided discussing APEC. Actually, I expected it. You seem to be quite enamoured with totalitarianesque security measures. Perhaps you are living in the wrong country. Perhaps I am.

Egg

Mary J says:

"It's not true"

What's not true, Mary J? The chat room transcript where Dr Haneef and his brother cooked up an alibi for him? About Aunty tipping him off about the SIM card being part of his cousin's "project"?

The cock and bull story about having to go home because his wife was sick? The nonsense about how he would dob in his cousins if he only knew they were terrorists?

Or do you mean the lies about the AFP writing in his diary? The lies about them releasing his record of interview to the media?

Just which particular un-truth do you mean?

Richard Tonkin says:

 At the time, yes, all the circumstantials pointed to this, so I will concede that initially Andrews may have been correctly fulfilling his obligations as prescribed and predetermined by Immigration legislation.

Yes. He was. We owe Dr Haneef nothing. But you want to give him a nice new flat and invite the family out, too. Maybe his cousins could come, too.

Eliot if was not true

Eliot the information in the so-called dossier was from an interview Mark Davis did weeks ago on Dateline and then we had the interview with the British security people last week stating what that dossier says.

That is not a police dossier as it was sent from Australia with that old passport photo on it.     A real photo could have been got from his wife.

You, Eliot, are the most breathtaking straw clutcher I have ever come across.

Desperate Innuendo

Eliot, thanks.. I missed a bit yesterday and had overlooked that part of David Curry's remarks. I didn't want to comment till I was sure.  I think David's right, as is Mr Wright.  If you're considering yourself to be implicated, the last thing you'd want do would be notify the authorities of your location.  I think Haneef's deeds in this instance match his words.

To use this to implicate someone is not quite as bad as to imply admission of guilt over taking an exclusive interview instead of giving a press  conference.  It's pretty close, though.

Haneef's visa? Andrews has stated over and over that his job was to determine suspicion of assocation.  At the time, yes, all the circumstantials pointed to this, so I will concede that initially Andrews may have been correctly fulfilling his obligations as prescribed and predetermined by Immigration legislation.  However, when those circumstantials became superfluous a rational man would have reversed his decision.   Instead he demonstrated glinty-eyed political obsession.  His boss Howard had probably decided that taking the logical path would be a poor show of strong leadership.

Yep, Eliot, I think we should give him his visa, a ticket back for his family, a nicer flat than the papparazzi broke into (if they were indeed papparazzi and not Liberal Party stooges), compensation and a public apology, all  preferably accompanied by a handshake from John Howard.

Talking of desperate. Not to mention gullible.

Richard Tonkin says:

I can't find online Tony Wright's piece from the Age yesterday.  Apparently (I've only read on blogs) it claims that Keelty and Andrews have selectively witheld the information that Haneef had engaged in a number of phone conversations with UK police before his attempted departure. 

Well, that's odd, because David Curry (below) along with the rest of knew all about the 'phone calls from the media, such as this 18 July Fox News item.

David says:

Equally, I could argue that the fact that Haneef tried four times to ring the number of a UK police investigator given to him by Sabeel Ahmed’s mother, who told Haneef the police were asking about his SIM card, was clear evidence of his desire to assist the investigation. 

Another possibility is that Keelty and Andrews also knew about the chat room transcripts and selectively withheld those in order to make self appointed "commentators" and "experts" like Tony Wright look stupid. Seems to have worked.

So, tell me Richard. Dr Haneef? Should we renew his visa? Him being such a clean-living, harmless, helpful young chap and all?

Not till the fat lady sings

Eliot Ramsey,   I don't believe  "it's a catastrophe all round."  It is however, becoming a catastrophe for our authorities as they desperately clutch at making media mileage out anything not yet ruled out.   Does anyone truly believe that the Indian Al Qaeda slur constituted anything more than a hypothetical line of inquiry.  If Commission Keelty hadn't heard of it before, I doubt it 's to be taken seriously.  Yet Keelty seems happy to not rule it out.  Good press, especially a day after he garbled the SIM card angle yet again.

I can't find online Tony Wright's piece from the Age yesterday.  Apparently (I've only read on blogs) it claims that Keelty and Andrews have selectively witheld the information that Haneef had engaged in a number of phone conversations with UK police before his attempted departure.  Have you come across any of this? 

Oh Mindy - not changed enough

Miranda. Take her or leave her. I like Mohammed Haneef precisely because he is not Mother Theresa - certainly Kevin Andrews is not Mother Theresa either. I think Haneef is a particularly shrewd and perceptive young man. I think perhaps he may have half-understood both the potential for (and horror) of terrorists in his own family and the hyper-suspiciousness with which he would be met by Australian authorities.

I think the man is genuinely against terrorism. I am doubtful that Islam is all about peace and love (striking off the heads of infidels might be necessary from time to time, but it is not particularly loving) but nevertheless I have seen nothing here that points to any support for terrorism. What we see is a man that has tried to protect himself, shrewdly and effectively. Top marks to him for that.

We should make use of him, not persecute him. I would have offered him a job as an ASIO agent. Devine is right about the unpredictability of terror suspects, which is why we ought make use of our best and brightest. Crime and punishment is over, in regards to terrorism. We need to start thinking laterally about it, and start trying to reason with people, convert them, use them and reward their commitment to peace and love, whatever their associations.

A very useful asset

Richard Tonkin says:

I agree that if Haneef is "less than kosher" we have engaged in and lost the civil liberties debate through our stance on the merits of this one case.

It's a catastrophe all 'round. If he isn't kosher (or halal), and I've long had a niggling bad feeling about it, how come our own immigration people didn't know about this?

I mean, the UK and India are still in the bloody Commonwealth, aren't they?

I still am sure Dr Haneef had no direct role in the attacks in London, but only Alice in Wonderland now would think he had no inkling what was going on or otherwise wouldn't represent a very useful asset to his cousins.

That SIM card isn't going away. And in hindsight, they had to be kidding he was only just going home to see his wife after the delivery of his baby daughter. I mean, he's a bloody doctor. If he didn't know she was having a difficult pregnancy, perhaps he should spend less time in chat rooms?

Even if the SIM card wasn't in the Jeep, it was being held on to for some reason.

It could be the Indian police dossier overstates his importance (probably does). But c'mon.......

 

Curried egg on face - the Italians have a special word for it

Mary j Shepherd says:

"The bottom line is if any of it was true he would have arrested in India."

It's amazing, isn't it? No sooner had we all rolled out the 'context' and 'mistranslation' memes to rationalise the chat room transcript away, and some bloody Indian wolloper turns up at SBS's doorstep with yet another dossier on Dr Haneef.

The dossier also reads: "After having his education in Karnataka, Mohamed Haneef must have come into contacts with the members of terrorist entities and assisted."

Dateline has not seen any evidence to back up these claims.

I bet the Dateline team were absolutely torn with angst by that. On the one hand, here was a genuine scoop. On the other hand, it completely vindicated Kevin Andrews. 

What to do?

I know. Pretend than an Indian police dossier on Dr Haneef would require some special additional "evidence" backing it up before Immigration officials should look askance at his visa renewal.

Yeah, sure.

If Dr Haneef was white trash from Alabama and an official FBI dossier turned up saying he had connections to the Una Bomber and the Klan, you'd all expect Kevin Anderson to just give him a visa anyway, would you?

Remember when I suggested there should be a word for people with an insatiable urge to repudiate themselves in favour of exotic strangers? I suggested 'xenophilia'.

It turns out that Italians actually have such a word. It's 'esterofila'.

NUMBANADA RILES THE WAIVES

ERII It turns out that Italians actually have such a word. It's 'esterofila'.

And I bet they swung it out on the davits when they struck their new little Aussie Ambassadoria in an island in the yellow Tiber the other day. Good on Numbanda for sheer grit and I-couldn't-give-a-f*ck front, by the way. But she's not without here past and it's sins.

And we need a proper ambassador at this capital. Italy is a big Califoniaesque economy and a big power. And our links are formidable.

I bet most of ERII's great-grandparents, like many of those of the rest of us, were post-Risorgimento gang labour, miners and fettlers, chopping cane or building and hewing throughout the new federation. Much harder workers than the whites.

Frère Jihad Jacques OAM née Woodforde SJ, il Monstro di Pastini

CURRYING FAVOUR WITH KLAN

MR JUSTICE ERII: On the other hand, it completely vindicated Kevin Andrews who must now be released from lethal injection and brought back to life with Dr Abbott's miracle Health snake oil drugs. Only £1/10/6d in a green bottle.

Vindicated? Oh yea, the poor bastard needs a touch of that, ERII. That, and electro-convulsive therapy. A good jolt of Old Smokey. Even opposition to the death penalty must have its exceptions .... Andrews, Howard, Bishop I, Bishop II, Dame Brendoan Maelstrom, Downer ... herd 'em all into shallow graves and knock 'em down as if they were Muslim tourists or Catholics or thieving blacks or something.

Dr Frère Jihad Jacques OAM née Woodforde SJ, coming to a tent show near you with Hucklebery Finn, Mark Twain and Akka. Warts cured. Blind made to see. Whited sepulchres degreased. Mad made to speak in fifteen different Pentacostalist tongues, usually simultaneously. ERII does it, so can you!! Hallelujah!!

Be SAVED!! Pass the plate. Kirribili needs the widow's mite. He's hungry for baby barbeque. The NT has given him a taste for it. He likes to crunch on the little sparrow-like black bones. And the shopping channels love it too.

Not radicals at all

It is a file from MI5 that we know was discarded weeks ago - British intelligence people told us so.    It is claimed that he was on the fringe of something but no-one says what.

The bottom line is if any of it was true he would have arrested in India.

England have never wanted him.   India are not investigating him for anything and the rest is smoke, mirrors and stupid journalists who just don't get it yet.

Alexamder Downer Vs ASIO

[Advertiser website extract]

Mr Downer said the Government was trying to find a balance between civil liberties and preventing fatal terrorist attacks.

"You know how it is. If people get killed everyone will want to know why we didn't have tougher laws to stop attacks happening," he said on Southern Cross radio.

"The laws we have and the work that's been done by the federal police and our intelligence agencies and some of the state police forces up until now have protected us from terrorism, at least within Australia.

"But we need to listen to them If they want more powers, they need more scope to investigate terrorism or alleged terrorist activities, well we need to listen to them and then in the end the parliament will have to make a judgment about whether laws should be changed or not."

Suprisingly, Lord Alex seems to have made the spooks unhappy

[Advertiser extract]

Deep divisions have emerged between national security agencies over the need for wider federal police powers to combat serious crime and terrorism.

It is understood the nation's peak security body, ASIO, has not even seen proposed laws put up by the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Crime Commission. 

Under the changes police will get powers to enter people's homes and plant listening devices without notifying the residents for up to six months.

Under current law, warrants require police to notify property owners immediately.

The AFP also wants to extend their ability to break laws in the name of national security, under so-called controlled operations, with less oversight.

That is when an agent assumes another identity to conduct an investigation

 The newspaper's editorial proclaims today that:

Many would argue he [Andrews] was right to withdraw Dr Haneef's visa. But at best the suspicions are vague without more context.

There is no proof, even circumstantial evidence, that Dr Haneef is a terrorist.

At the end of this shabby episode the suspicion remains that the Government has been more intent on using the Haneef case for its own political purposes, rather than to uphold the integrity of the law or safeguard Australia against a terrorist attack.

Party Lines

If I had broadband and a less dilapidated rig the dossier would be on file.  As it was I saw his picture and the first few lines before a crash, and when I rebooted the bloody thing had been taken down.

What a mess... just heard a report, didn't hear from which paper, that MI5 have records of Haneef  talking to Islamic radicals in UK medical chatrooms.

I was wondering when the spooks would be brought in.. had been surprised they'd been kept out so far, to be honest.  Did MI5 pass on the information to ASIO and thus to Ruddock?  I so his initial self-presentation as a sideline spectator would be questionable.

Jenny Hume, with all respect, and for you I have much, I really don't think it's fair to suggest that this topic is being debated purely along party lines.  There's a lot at stake here.  Much advantage-taking of increased security powers is happening  in a country to which and in which there is no obvious terror threat, to fulfill (only in my opinion) the deemed security needs of the APEC summit.  I believe that whether or not the UK incident occurred the implementation of these measures was already planned.  This way minimises the hue and cry of civil liberties debates.  Haneef was intended to be a "convenient truth."  to use to get the job done.

I do not espouse such a point of view lightly, and certainly not along "party lines."  Using the expression reminds me that it once referred to the single line country phone systems on which everybody could eavesdrop.  Tonight I'm hearing of new "Sneak and Peek" laws.  My, how times have changed.

Oh Richard

Oh Richard: That is nice of you and the feeling is mutual. I  try not to be unfair, but you know there is not a lot of balance shown here on this issue and it does fall onto party lines whether we accept that or not.  But that does not bother me all that much. The right wingers will be sitting on the opposite side of the fence and just as irrational and emotional as some here. I am a bit of fence sitter myself. Maybe I am just getting too old to get too worked about anything these days.   

We are all victims of the times we live in. And we are probably not going to be able to do much about it.

Don't think I am not alarmed about the new laws, because I am. But every time some idiot does something like Glasgow and London any ground we might have had for opposing them is shot from under our feet. Yes times have indeed changed..  

And I guess what worries me a bit about all the hoo ha over Haneef,  is that if Haneef was found to be less than kosher in the end,it could in fact makes things worse, because the government of whatever colour will simply be more empowered, and the peoples' voice less so.

I really think the police should have been allowed to do their job without all the media and public interference. I in fact think that Haneef will end up being a much bigger loser now than he might have been as a result of that interference. But time will tell. (Margo: But Jenny, the police did aggressive leaking to start the ball rolling!)

Now I am out of here for a week of so. Cheers mate, we will make peace and music sometime. Hoped to be down for a new baby soon, but am sorry to learn that that event is not now going to happen, so plans are in limbo at the moment.

Margo: Hi Jenny. Still way out west? When are you due back in Canberra? I'm planning to be there around the 21st of August. Driving (ugghhhhh).

I'll agree with you on this one, Jenny

Jenny:

And I guess what worries me a bit about all the hoo ha over Haneef,  is that if Haneef was found to be less than kosher in the end,it could in fact makes things worse, because the government of whatever colour will simply be more empowered, and the peoples' voice less so.

One of the points I was trying to make by writing the piece was that where increased policing powers and levels for APEC would once have been subject to much more scrutiny they have now been invoked to handle an "emergency" situation.

I agree that if Haneef is "less than kosher" we have engaged in and lost the civil liberties debate through our stance on the merits of this one case.  However, if Haneef is ok and we didn't stand up then we may lose important rights without so much as a whimper in the blind faith of supporting "national interest."

I'm particular interested in what powers of public scrutiny may be brought into play in September.  For example, I have been planning to catch a bus over from Adelaide, bum around Sydney for a day or so then bus back(looking for a bed if anyone's got one to spare).  Are my ticket times going to cost me an interview at the bus station, perhaps being held for inquiry to keep me safely away from APEC (not that  anyone will get close) and popped back on the next bus out of town.  Will my name be checked against a list of known activists to determine whether it's safe to let me roam at large in Sydney?

Are the feet of internal air travellers going to be scanned for "shoe bomb explosives" as my father's were in the US?

The SA Police Commissioner was just saying on the radio that our local coppers need permission from a judge before entering a premises to bug it.  Downer wants to hand this ability unfettered to the AFP, and I bet the Bill is passed before APEC. 

It is when elitist drongos such as Downer usurp such powers that we must question whether the methodology of their acquisition is fraudulent. 

We can't afford to lose this, I know, because of the likely dissipation of our perceived integrity.  However, neither can "They."

PS We don' need to make peace.  Music, on the other hand...

I have it taped

It was a file written by Australia as far as I could see because it was just a reprise of his education, family, homes, and one line gave his "alias".    Now that is the give away because in the transcript of interview it said his nickname for his immediate family was Afhtr or something but in the court transcipts for his bail hearing it was listed as an alias.

On the so-called dossier it was also called an alias.    The rest was just the information that he was accused of helping the person in the Glasgow fire, which was not true.

Russo rightly pointed out that the police had not been to see them when they had been public for 4 days and had never been to interview the wife or mother.

In other words, nothing.

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