News and events

There but for the grace of God, go I

Regarding the Haneef case…

The SIM card. By my count, I have four first-cousins, and I don’t even know how many second-cousins. They all live overseas or interstate, so I don’t see them very often, but if they arrived on the doorstep, I’d welcome them, and if they were in need of a mobile phone or a SIM, and I had a spare one, I’d probably give it to them. What would they do with it? I don’t know. Would Haneef be in trouble if he’d given his cousin stamps, or envelopes, or other innocent items that could potentially be misused?

I’ve certainly given my sister old unused mobile phones in the past. Maybe I should ask for them back?

Plans of a Gold Coast building? Well, it sounds like they turned out to be nothing more than tourist brochures.

Is having building plans an indication of guilt? Uh oh. I’ve certainly pored over plans of Melbourne Central at times.

There’s other circumstantial evidence, but Haneef was granted bail, and the DPP elected not to prosecute because the case was so weak.

Maybe he’s guilty, and maybe he’s innocent (this morning there are allegations of a link to Al Qaeda). If the government has more evidence, they should use it. Otherwise it does start to look like Children Overboard again.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

9 replies on “There but for the grace of God, go I”

a good summary. I hope the appeal to get his visa back is successful – that would really embarrass the Government if he came back. It’s a shame the opposition aren’t more vocal, but as a political hot potato, it’s boiling over.

Looking at your plans, reminds me that I need to complain rather loudly to connex or whoever manages Melbourne Central Station. They need to put up big signs so that moronic idiot generation Y’ers don’t clog up the escalators, and instead if you want to stand stand on the left, and if you want to walk down, walk down on the right. I have just missed so many trains in my time at the “new” Melbourne Central because of fools who can’t walk a few steps.

Oh and as for Doctor Haneef, what a dirty, dirty little affair. I really wonder how Kevin Andrews sleeps at night.

I reckon we give the cops a hard time. Believe it or not, they do their best to help us. Occasionally they stuff up because of the nature of the work and the vast amounts of information they need to process. Imagine the outcry that will occur if a terrorist act happens and the police have missed a tiny bit of evidence.
The government is the same. Politics get involved and make it messy, but the individuals nearly always mean best. Our politicians are not evil. These politicians will get the blame if something does happen. They have to err on the side of caution.

…and really – There but for the grace of God, go I? You would have to be very, very, very unlucky to go where Doctor Haneef went. There have been only a few events like this in Australia in decades. You’d be a thousand times more likely to be bitten by a brown snake and it would be a hundred times more horrible.

to Bill: I think the police, prosecutor, and court system did a good job – followed up on evidence that showed the potential of a serious issue… it’s the idiot Immigration Minister throwing the “character of disrepute” crap that is the issue. Haneef just can’t win – either he was going to be found guilty (fair enough if there was enough evidence etc) and locked away/deported, or he would be found innocent/acquitted and Kevin Andrews was going to have him deported.

So much for the justice system…

Biff, what do you mean by ‘evil’? Do you mean wearing a pointy beard and laughing maniacly while lowering kittens into boiling water? The evil that gets done is almost all due to normal people being willing to accept that someone else will be harmed so that they may gain some advantage. All of us are willing to accept that, you and me included: but there is a question of degree. Also, all of us think of ourselves as ‘good people’ and ‘meaning well’ – so much so that to think otherwise is a sign of a mental disorder.

As it happens I know some of the current junior politicians very well, having gone to uni with them. Most of the ones I know are substantially less troubled by scruples than the average Joe: none, in so far as I know, have boiled any kittens. Politics is the art of doing what is required to get and maintain power – limiting your open options due to a moral backbone is most often a disadvantage. For this reason is it vital to constrain the ways politicians can get power to those that are socially useful. Not allowing politicians to use fear to garner support for themselves is a big part of that.


Can I vote for you at the next election ? :-)

Kevin Andrews should be sacked for sticking his head where it doesn’t belong.

Daniel, I think you have misrepresented the “case” in your summary, deliberately or not. How many of your cousins are radical Islamic jihadists? How can you use a stamp to create an IED? Do you understand what motivated the Glasgow jihadists? Either Haneef is extremely naive or he is an accomplice. Either way, do we really want foreign doctors who fit either category?

I’m not sure why you argue that if the government has more evidence, they should use it. I’m happy that the federal authorities do not play politics by gambling our safety and publish their intelligence.

I thought you were above this sort of thing.

Brian, I’m pretty sure most of my cousins aren’t radicals at all, though one hasn’t been in touch in some time, and I couldn’t be sure… As for my second cousins, I don’t even know how many I have, let alone their beliefs.

Your point about being naive is a good one, though it may be that the strength of family loyalty (strong in that culture, I believe) somewhat muddied any indication of his second-cousins intentions. Even if he was incredibly stupid in leaving the SIM card, that’s not a crime if there was no intent, and it hasn’t been shown that there was.

I didn’t say the government should publish all the evidence — particularly if some of it may compromise operations. I’m saying if they really think Haneef is guilty of being a terrorist, they should use the evidence they have to ensure he is charged and brought to court. That they haven’t would seem to indicate to me that they have no such evidence, and given the DPP declined to prosecute, evidently the DPP believes that too. He’s innocent until proven guilty.

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