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Why I bought The Australian this morning…

18 Jul

…instead of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Because of the front page story Haneef: I’m no radical.

The Australian has obtained a copy of “his first taped interview with Australian Federal Police officers, a 142-page transcript of which was leaked to The Australian yesterday.” That in itself raises some questions. In the print edition we are told we may read the full transcript from The Australian web site, but this seems no longer to be the case. NOTE: 11 am: The transcript is available as a PDF file from a side bar near the story linked above.

However, in the report we read:

He told AFP agent Adam Simms that he had never had firearms, explosives or terrorist training, and that he knew nothing about the failed bombings, linked to his second cousins, in London and Glasgow. He also denied he had ever been asked “to take part in jihad or anything that could be considered similar to jihad”.

“Every drop of blood is human. And I feel for every human being,” he said.

But he admitted obtaining a loan of pound stg. 200 to pound stg. 300 ($468 to $702) in June 2004 from Glasgow bombing suspect Kafeel Ahmed, for a medical qualifying exam. “When I asked him (when to) pay him back, he said, ‘Just give it to any of the poor in India’.” …

In his first interview with the AFP, Dr Haneef shed light on his sudden attempted departure from Australia to India with a one-way ticket after a conversation on July 2 with his father-in-law, in which Dr Haneef mentioned that his second cousin, Sabeel Ahmed, had been arrested over the foiled terrorism attacks in London and Glasgow. A year earlier, Dr Haneef had given his mobile phone SIM card, which had unused credit, to Sabeel Ahmed.

“I had mentioned to him about this incident in the UK — that Dr Sabeel has been arrested. So (my father-in-law) he said to me, ‘Why are you worried about that?’ So I just said, ‘Keep calm, if we have not done anything, then just nothing to worry’.”

Dr Haneef said that after he was told by his father-in-law to call British police “and let them know whatever’s going on”, Dr Haneef told the AFP that he repeatedly tried to telephone one of the police officers, Tony Webster, in Britain to explain the SIM card issue, but that the calls went unanswered.

Dr Haneef said his father-in-law booked and paid for the one-way ticket “because I didn’t have money”. “I asked him to book a ticket for me now and ah, I (was) going to get a ticket … with my money when I come back.”

While he responded to questions about his religion, Dr Haneef declined to talk about his political views, including the war in Iraq…

You may read the rest of the report for yourselves, but it certainly raises some questions in my mind. I could, I might add, think of quite a few bloggers around here who are neither Indian nor Muslim nor even physicians whose views on the Iraq War or Palestine may not be all that far from Dr Haneef’s, assuming for the moment his views are likely to be those of most Indian Muslims rather than those of Bush, Howard or Downer, but they haven’t been called in for questioning — yet. Disagreement with Bush, Howard and Downer on such matters is not yet a hanging offence.

Later

I have read that transcript now. The reporter’s account above is accurate. One thing: the transcript includes every — and I mean every — private detail about things like addresses and phone numbers. I actually think it is quite scandalous they were not edited out before they were made available for us to read. How would you feel if you were in Dr Haneef’s Kafka-esque circumstances?

Most of what he says strikes me as perfectly ordinary. Interview almost anyone from his part of the world and you would get similar circumstances and stories. But I am in no position to judge his innocence or guilt, and neither are most readers of this blog. (You never know who might read your blog. Someone in Beijing read it just five minutes ago… No gov.au yet though.) I am very uneasy about this whole thing, and Kevin Andrews is looking better and better for that part in The Crucible. 😦

5 pm

ABC News has just reported Dr Haneef’s own lawyer leaked the document…

Thursday

… and explained why on Lateline last night.

Meanwhile they are none too pleased in the UK, apparently, that a Scotland Yard investigator’s mobile phone number was in the leaked transcript.

Some of the more disturbing aspects of the case from the point of view of where our society is going are highlighted in The bumpy road to justice of a non-citizen doctor (Sydney Morning Herald).

“I have been associated with persons involved in criminal activity. I have defended them, charged with murder. Unfortunately I wouldn’t pass the character test on your statement,” the judge said to Roger Derrington, SC, representing the minister.

“You’re not a non-citizen,” was the government barrister’s reply. “The purpose of the migration legislation is to protect the national interest … the Commonwealth doesn’t have the power to investigate the relationships of people overseas.”

Justice Spender’s voice rose. “That’s absolutely astounding, Mr Derrington.”

And without getting on a high horse about it, one thing that struck me reading the interview transcript yesterday was that the interviewers did not seem to have much real knowledge of either Islam or Indian life… That, I would have thought, may have been useful knowledge to have in sorting the suspicious from the mundane.

See also

Missing Link – Dr Haneef Edition on Club Troppo.

Friday

And now we learn the sim card was hundreds of miles away from the scene of the terrorist attack: Haneef SIM card found elsewhere: UK police. ABC has confirmed that the SIM card tying Mohammed Haneef to the terrorism attacks in Britain was not found in the burning Jeep that crashed into Glasgow airport, as the prosecution alleged in court on Saturday. Instead, it was found 360 kilometres away and eight hours later when Haneef’s cousin Sabeel Ahmed was arrested. The revelation again raises questions about the handling of the high profile terrorism prosecution…

Sunday 22 July

For quite a unique follow-up on this 🙂 see Davo, and I address it again a little on my Happy Birthday John post on Journalspace.

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4 responses to “Why I bought The Australian this morning…

  1. Daniel

    July 18, 2007 at 10:03 am

    Your final sentence has an ominous ring, Neil! Perhaps John, using Bush as his model, will soon claim that he too is fighting a war on terror and, as such, cancel the election and move even further to the right.

    Hanging may be just around the corner!

     
  2. ninglun

    July 18, 2007 at 11:29 am

    Daniel’s comment refers to the sentence before the added note.

     
  3. D. Hicks

    July 18, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    yes you are correct the personal details should have been edited out.
    yes the whole things raises questions in our minds.

    why is the good doctor not practising in his OWN country?

    especially in light of his new child there?
    why is his wife not enjoying the affluence of brisbane lifestyle?
    how come he has ‘no ticket money’ ?
    but his friend had $700 to loan on to “the poor of India”

    are sim cards purchased in England not good for Australia ?

    why are The Rules suddenly different from those
    applied to D Hicks by our ALLY the USA ?

    The thing I hate about the MSM is that they all flap the drama at us, without telling us all the little things we need to know before we can assess for ourselves if a thing is terrible or not.

     
  4. ninglun

    July 18, 2007 at 3:00 pm

    In pure guess-work, I would suggest possible answers to some of the above:

    1. money, and an opportunity for advancement brought him here, not to mention our own shortfall in qualified doctors.
    2. as happened with many of the Chinese who came here in the early 1990s, he may not have been able to bring his wife here.
    3. he may have even had hopes of permanent residence, after which he may have brought his wife here.

    All speculation of course.

     
 
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