Articles

It’s not paranoia if you can prove it

In politics on November 1, 2007 by karan Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Lies, damn lies, and cold hard evidence: The Australian Federal Police had a plan to keep Haneef locked up all along.

To quote:

The Australian Federal Police have admitted they had a secret “contingency” plan to keep then terrorist suspect Mohamed Haneef behind bars if he was bailed by a Brisbane magistrate.

The details of the plan came to light when details of emails, obtained by Mr Haneef’s lawyers under freedom of information laws, were published in The Australian today

Wow.

“The emails relate to normal operational contingency planning,” the spokeswoman [for the AFP] said.

Double Wow.

Leave aside all considerations of whether or not Haneef was guilty, or whether he was being used as a political football to kick dubious goals. The AFP have frankly admitted they had a ‘plan’ to keep a suspect in custody beyond that afforded to them by the standard democratic process. Wow. Only the brave would admit such a thing under free democratic process.

The evidence?

The first email, written by Brisbane-based counter-terrorism co-ordinator David Craig to commanders of the AFP’s counter-terrorism unit at 5.22pm on July 14, states: “Contingencies for containing Mr HANEEF and detaining him under the Migration Act, if it is the case he is granted bail on Monday, are in place as per arrangements today.”

Sounds pretty explicit. If they want to detain him under the Migration act, well, the way the Migration Act works means that they have to involve the Immigration ministry at some point in the chain. What does the Immigration department have to say?

After getting advice from Mr Andrews last night, [spokeswoman] Ms Walshe said the minister had “absolutely not” been involved in any “contingency” plan to thwart Ms Payne: “It’s not our email and it’s not something that we considered beforehand.

Really? Because, well, funny that, it sure as hell looks like it. The fact that he was detained right after he was granted bail sure looks like the contingency plan swinging into action.

This email was forwarded at 8.10am on Monday, July 16, by agent Luke Morrish, the AFP’s Canberra-based acting manager for domestic counter-terrorism, to top Immigration Department public servant Peter White.

Mr White, the department’s assistant secretary responsible for character assessment and war crimes screening, gave Mr Andrews comprehensive advice on his powers and his authority to cancel Dr Haneef’s visa and keep him in custody on the basis of secret evidence.

And it was the “character assessment”, funnily enough, that came to be the trigger for retaining Haneef. Hmm. From this, we can draw one of two conclusions:

  • The minister knew and played along with the AFP’s contingency plan, abusing powers left right and centre.
  • The minster didn’t know and was clearly incompetent.

As much as I favour the latter, I would be more inclined to believe the former.

A leading defence lawyer and close follower of the Haneef case, barrister Greg Barns, last night said the emails showed that “the AFP in conjunction with the Government were essentially completely undermining the judicial process.”

“They were ripping up the doctrine of the separation of powers,” Mr Barns said.

Clearly, there is some measure of abuse going on in the system here, and if Minister Andrews or Commissioner Keelty don’t fall on their swords as the slightest gesture to contrition, it’s not a system anyone can or should believe in.

The terrorists have a primary goal to restrict the freedoms of those in the west to act as they wish within a fair and equal legal framework. I wonder who is going to be the first to ring them to congratulate them that they’ve won. Long ago.

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