Double or nothing on Haneef

Having made a comprehensive mess of the Haneef case while he was in Australia, and having paid for his flight to India, the government and the AFP, might reasonably have sought to turn the page, and given a “No comment” or other non-response to further questions on the subject. Given the Minister’s broad latitude under the law, it seems most unlikely that Haneef’s appeal against the visa cancellation can succeed, so they had a chance to get the story off the front page.

Instead, they’ve decided to go double or nothing. Andrews won a round of the media cycle with his carefully timed and staged release of allegedly secret information on Tuesday. With no time for any real response, he got a perfect run on the TV news and the morning editions. It took a day or so for some of the problems to emerge, of which the most significant were:
* The information wasn’t secret and had been put to Haneef by the police in interviews (for which the transcripts have apparently not been made available)
* The apparently damning quotes (mostly from Haneef’s brother) were tightly edited extracts from a translation of a conversation in Urdu
* Andrew’s presentation ignored the fact that Haneef had called the British police four times without success in an attempt to resolve the SIM card question

Not content with this, Mick Keelty suggested that further charges “might” be laid against Haneef, managing in the process to misspeak yet again regarding the location of the SIM card. Then there was the convenient leaking of an Indian police dossier (apparently just a summary of material provided by the Oz and UK forces).

Perhaps all this will succeed in political terms. But most people must be aware by now that seemingly clearcut evidence presented by this government has a habit of turning out to be flimsy at best. Having made the latest claims, the government should either lay charges against Haneef or agree to Rudd’s call for an inquiry in which the whole issue can be examined by someone credible.

20 thoughts on “Double or nothing on Haneef

  1. “Perhaps all this will succeed in political terms. ”

    Those are the only terms the Rodent Regime is interested in, Prof Q.

    I’m amazed to find myself nostalgic for the days when conservative politicians used to rave on about individual freedoms and the rule of law and how this distinguished us from the communist tyrannies where the end justified the means.

  2. It may well be an own goal on Andrews behalf – as if he hadn’t cancelled the visa then Haneef could have been charged with terrorism offences in Australia. As it is the case is so weak it would be difficult to get an extradition order – particularly as the Indian authorities are the ones supposedly making the link to Al Quaeda.

    Either way Andrews peremptory action has meant that the result is bungled.

  3. Did the information include references to weapons of mass distruction? This has worked in the past.

  4. i have a little trouble with the notion that “the government should lay charges .. or agree…”. to what end? to serve whose purpose? do you expect the government to do something that would inconvenience itself?

    it is convenient to the chatterati to pretend that the government ‘should’ respond to moral imperatives, for the chatterati have no other leverage with our masters. indeed, without this pretense ozzians would have to face the reality of their political insignificance. i suspect this reality doesn’t bother them, but the pretense seems to be vital.

  5. Al, I can’t imagine anything more pointless than a string of blog comments about the pointlessness of blog comments, which is all you seem to have offered lately.

  6. Indian authorities have denied any link between Haneef and Al Qaeda, http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/haneef-alqaeda-link-denied/2007/08/02/1185648047650.html

    quote
    A senior Indian police officer today labelled as “incorrect and false” a media report that linked Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef to the al-Qaeda terrorist network….

    Gopal Hosur, Bangalore’s deputy police commissioner, today said police in Dr Haneef’s hometown did not even have a file on the doctor.

    “That is all incorrect and false,” he told The Associated Press of the media report.

    “I don’t know where they got this information from or who they’re quoting.”
    end quote

    It is incredibly sloppy journalism on the part of SBS to broadcast this allegation without further investigating. At the very least they should have asked for formal confirmation from Bangalore police authorities. If one were conspiracy-minded one might think that Australian government ministerial staffers….

    No, surely it must be a cock-up. But very convenient.

  7. As a “CONSTITUTIONALIST� I has already grave concerns when the then Minister for immigration (now Attorney-General) Mr Ruddock presided over the detention and deportation of Vivian Alvarez Solon, disregarding what is constitutionally appropriate.

    People are accustomed that the Australian Federal Police, Department of Immigration and indeed Ministers can do as they like to detain and deport persons, without proper application of the RULE OF LAW at least constitutionally, albeit the Framers of the constitution made it very clear that the Commonwealth could not enforce its own laws but had to place any person “accused� (formally charged) before a State Court for a judicial decision� and only the local State authorities could enforce Commonwealth law by DUE PROCESS OF LAW.

    If this process had all along been followed we never would have had cases like Vivian Alvarez Solon, Cornelia Rau, and numerous other such cases.

    The Minister has the right to make decisions but his decision is not legally enforceable unless so enforced by a State Court by judicial decision and the Commonwealth has no constitutional powers to interfere with the State judicial processes. To do otherwise would be akin to giving the Minister “judicial� powers to decide the innocence or guilt of a person!

    If this system had been applied to Dr. Haneef I doubt he ever would have been detained in the first place!

    It will be a mere matter of time that the Australian Federal Police will indeed detain a person who subsequently could found by the Court to have been involved in terrorism but then the Court having to refuse the admission of material as “evidence� on the basis that it was unconstitutionally/illegally obtained. What we then will achieve is that this ignorance of following DUE PROCESS OF LAW will have been terrorism upon the general public while the real criminal can walk free!

    There is more, lots more.
    For more see my blog at http://au.360.yahoo.com/profile-ijpxwMQ4dbXm0BMADq1lv8AYHknTV_QH and my website http://www.schorel-hlavka.com

  8. mr q- now that i got your attention, perhaps you will go a step further and explain your view of the utility of political commentary in a society that appears content to be powerless under a parliament now dominated by amoral careerists.

    i am long habituated to ozzie disinterest in politics, i have been willing to smile and pretend football was interesting instead. but military attendance in iraq, and the passage of sedition and terror laws, and the use of those laws to box up people without troubling the legal guild has removed oz govenment from the ‘charming yokel’ category to ‘nascent fascist’ category.

    this is serious. in particular, it is not good enough to say “the gummint should..” when you see people being imprisoned on the say-so of men quite impervious to moral opinion. i realize the absence of avenues of effective resistance to a criminal cabinet perhaps more clearly than any born ozzie, but i hope to awaken any who read my posts to both the need for, and possibility of, actual democracy in australia. the alternative to democracy is rule by people widely viewed as corrupt, incompetent, untrustworthy, and in my view simply dangerous.

    ozzies don’t have democracy from choice, for they were never given a choice. they remain without democracy out of ignorance and inertia. any society needs a big incentive to change it’s character, and it has come: significant economic, ecological, and political dangers have become apparent in recent years, the total effect on oz society may force change upon us. if we don’t get started toward democracy now, the oncoming stresses are more likely to result in a cromwellian ‘commonwealth’- dictatorship with an australian flavor.

  9. G. H. SCHOREL-HLAVKA Says:
    “The Minister has the right to make decisions but his decision is not legally enforceable unless so enforced by a State Court by judicial decision and the Commonwealth has no constitutional powers to interfere with the State judicial processes. To do otherwise would be akin to giving the Minister “judicialâ€? powers to decide the innocence or guilt of a person!”

    Not quite. While I am not a lawyer, my understaniding is as follows:

    The Government can, and does, pass laws that allow the Minister to do a variety of things without judicial permission. What it can’t do is exempt the decision from eventual judicial review. The Immigration legislation does its best to do so, but that really means that only the High Court can hear many immigration cases. A number of High Court challenges have seen amendments that make this the case. However, it is the party, not the Minister, that must take the running on the case.

    It’s not like a speeding ticket. You are sent the ticket and the bill – your guilt is not assumed, unless you pay up. If you front up in court, you have a presumption of innocence. The difference with immigration is that you are not necessarily being accused of a crime, but instead are seeking a right (the visa) which is not presumptively yours.

  10. “It is incredibly sloppy journalism on the part of SBS to broadcast this allegation without further investigating. At the very least they should have asked for formal confirmation from Bangalore police authorities.”
    MikeM, it’s not like SBS to broadcast dodgy Indian police files on blokes like Haneef. They would be the last organisation to do so if they thought it was in any way detrimental to Muslims in Oz generally. Have you watched SBS TV lately? They would have paid good money to some minor Indian official for the file and believed totally in it’s accuracy. The Indian authorities knowing full well how it would have been obtained, would naturally deny its authenticity for obvious reasons. Sweet Jesus, if you think Oz authorities would bend/manipulate the truth a wee bit about aspects of the Haneef affair, what do you reckon their Indian counterparts would do when faced with being caught out as corrupt and incompetent? I have no doubt India’s spooks are keeping a watchful eye on Haneef, as that file attests.

  11. The journo from SBS, David O’Shea, was handed a dossier from a senior Indian policeman. He said that he was denied access to any other police and has no idea if the dossier is true or not, who wrote it or when it was written and has no idea why he was given it.

  12. ‘He said that he was denied access to any other police and has no idea if the dossier is true or not, who wrote it or when it was written and has no idea why he was given it.’

    Nor, if you watch his interview by George Negus, did he make the slightest attempt to find out. Extraordinarily, according to him, the copper gave him the document, he noticed that al Qaeda was mentioned on it, but instead of asking for more information he put the thing in his bag in case the copper asked for it back.

    If you watch O’Shea’s demeanour in the Negus interview, consider the anonymous nature of the document and its amateurish formatting (down to a poor replica of the photo of Haneef that had appeared in the Australian media for weeks), and O’Shea’s apparent failure to make the most basic inquiries about the document’s content … well let’s just say SBS hasn’t added to its reputation as the home of fearless, reliable investigative reporting.

  13. John Howard is becoming more like Robert Mugabe. He is trying to curb the freedom and rights of minorities in Australia(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6930801.stm). Actually he is employing all different tactics and strategies to win the coming election. In the past several weeks he seemed to have gained a few points as result of some of his clever strategies, including the one to malign Haneef’s character.

    Andrews was sucessful in tarnishing Haneef’s character by releasing selective information to the media. The government has an edge over the general population because of information asymmetry between the government and the public. And Andrews is using this asymmetry in the information to his advantage.

  14. Do you know not one person, not one comment, not even one sentence or one word on this thread has acknowledged that the police and the security forces, as well as the politicos of all sides, are doing their best in protecting us against people who conspire to hack our bodies to pieces and making sure the process of investigation and prosecution is balanced with keeping with the freedoms and privileges we enjoy living in a secular liberal democracy.

    Lets get it right hey! this guys mates and relatives first planned to blow a nightclub up in central London and then go on a summer killing spree over the UK, and what knows what else and where else.

    As for what the Bangalore police have to say, I would take that with a big pinch of salt, take a trip around India and you will understand why. As for no previous…please try and understand the methodology behind AQ and its tactics.

    If you have any sense you will round up anyone connected with this guy and get them out as quickly and painlessly as you can…………..or you can be just like the helpful idiots who think all this does not matter, personally I would make the useful idiots pick up the human body pieces after an attack.

    Its easy to throw tomatoes, its hard to actually have to deal with the problem.

  15. The Howard regime seems to be much like Apartheid regime in South Africa few decades back. They trumped up false charges against Nelson Mandela that he was an extremist and put him in jail for 27 years. That is what Howard government has done to Haneef. The government has branded him as a supporter of terrorist’s without providing sufficient proof.

    Just think that in any other country if an Australian was treated this way, would an Australian appreciate that ? The US sent Australian David Hicks sent to Guantanamo prison without any charges. What was Australian people’s reaction ? They cried foul and most of Australia did not like the treatment he got in the prison. This is double standards. If one is a white Australian then one is assumed to be innocent and any other person is assumed to be guilty, even if there is no proof of guilt.

    I think the Austrialian’s who support government’s treatment of Haneef should accept that they don’t belive in fairness and they are racist, otherwise they should come up with a better reason for the high handed government action against Haneef.

    owls001,

    “As for what the Bangalore police have to say, I would take that with a big pinch of salt, take a trip around India and you will understand why. As for no previous…please try and understand the methodology behind AQ and its tactics”.

    You have no idea about the Indian police. Corruption exists in every country and I would agree that in India there is more corruption compared to most developed country. On serious issues the performance of Indian police is remarkable. For example,the Delhi police was the first to catch Hansie Cronje and his mates for fixing cricket matches(http://www.snapshield.com/www_problems/India/Delhi_Police_were_tapping.htm). India’s intelligence service is one of the best in the world. It has helped both UK and US with valuable intelligent information.

  16. Haneef is related to a person who attempted to murder dozens of people at Galsgow airport. He is more than just related – he has a close enough relationship that he gave that person his sim card. The day after the attack at Glasgow Haneef was apprehended by police trying to leave the county with a one way air ticket. Police have intercepted chatroom messages from his brother telling him to leave and tell police nothing.

    Hmmmm…. what would you think about that if you were in the AFP?

    Police naturally treat people as guilty until proven innocent. It’s up to the courts to prove them guilty. There was clearly not enough evidence to do so in this case, but more than enough evidence to cast suspicion on Haneef. He is not Australian – and has no rights to be in our country. Andrews was well within his rights to send him home, indeed, he has an obligation to do so.

    Haneef may well be totally innocent – the circumstantial evidence might just be a series of unfortunate coincidences. The government cannot afford to take that risk.

    I can’t believe the media beat-up around this case. Send the bloke home and let’s just move on.

  17. Andrew, Haneef did not give his SIM card to the Glasgow attempted bomber. He gave the SIM card to that individual’s brother, who has been charged not with being a terrorist, but with failing to inform police that his brother was behaving suspiciously. The evidence for this is that the terrorist brother sent him an email telling him where to find his will. Since this email is at best ambiguous, it would therefore appear likely that, in the absence of further evidence, the SIM card recipient will also be set free despite the draconian legal framework in the UK. So Haneef gave his SIM card to a non-terrorist who did not use it to further any terrorist act. All this is easily verified from media reports, but it appears for you at least the waters have been successfully muddied by Andrews and Keelty.

    In summary, if Haneef represents the kind of risk we need to create a police state to protect ourselves from, we’re not a democracy and our liberties aren’t worth protecting.

  18. Owls001 wrote that not one comment on this thread has noted “[The police and security forces] are doing their best in protecting us against people who conspire to hack our bodies to pieces …”.

    It is precisely because of the extremely serious threat we face that we should hold the police and security forces to higher standards, not lower standards.

    If the AFP is tripping over itself and screwing up when it comes to dealing with someone as low-level and peripheral as Haneef, what confidence should we have that they have the ability to detect and stop real terrorists plotting to kill us?

    I don’t see how being less critical of the AFP, making them less accountable, and giving them less scrutiny, will help protect us better from terrorism.

    Given what I’ve heard about detectives writing the names of terrorists in Haneef’s diary they don’t seem to be overflowing with intellectual firepower down at AFP headquarters.

    That should worry everyone, especially people like me who live in a big city.

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