Monday, 23 July 2007

Trial by smear

It seems leaking is a bad thing when done by lawyers protecting their client's reputation against falsehood(1), but by that much noted, mysterious political alchemey when done by those intent on destroying a man's reputation(2), it is a good thing.

Apart from being smeared with the suggestion that he supported the terrorist attacks in Britain, the police have had to deny rumours that haneef is being linked to terrorist plans to carry out attacks in Australia(3). Astonishingly, it seems the police actually wrote the names of terror suspects into Haneef's diary(4) - WHY, WHY, WHY? - and then interrogated him over this 'incriminating' document.

It also seems that defending Australia from terror is only a priority until it starts to make the government look bad. Once that happens, Australia takes a back seat and political survival insincts kick in. It looks like Haneef may have the Criminal Justice Certificate, which is threatenin ghim with deportation, revoked(5), which is good, but not have his visa restored, which is bad. The result will be that he is deported. Which is a strange idea if he is as dangerous as he is made out to be. Surely, keep this potential terrorist cadre in confinement? Or, if he isn't dangerous, why deport him?

The government's handling of the visa issue has been shambolic. Some humilty, culpability and decency are in order. Likely? No, deport the problem, the Hell with his rights or any pretence of fair treatment. Which is startling hypocrisy from the government of a country once used as a dumping ground for Britain's legal problems.
1 - "Haneef's lawyer probed over leak," by Ian McPhedran and Rhett Watson in The Herald Sun, July 19, 2007. (http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22096446-661,00.html)
2 - "Govt trying Haneef by media: lawyer," AAP article in The Brisbane Times, July 22, 2007. (http://news.brisbanetimes.com.au/haneef-reports-wrong-keelty/20075422-p0n.html)
3 - "Haneef may be deported? Police accused of leaking allegations," PTI article in The Hindu, 22nd July. (http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/001200707221920.htm)
4 - "Another day, another blunder in Haneef case," by Hedley Thomas and Andrew Fraser in The Australian, July 23, 2007. (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22117624-5006786,00.html)
5 - "Haneef may be deported?" PTI article in The Economic Times, 22 Jul, 2007. (http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Haneef_may_be_deported/articleshow/2224801.cms)

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