Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A whitewash

Last year, in the run-up to the Australian election, Indian-born doctor Mohamed Haneef was arrested, charged with "reckless support for terrorism" on the basis of guilt by association, detained on immigration grounds to subvert a court ruling granting him bail, then summarily deported when the case collapsed. It was an appalling example of how anti-terror laws can be abused, and it rightly resulted in a judicial inquiry. That inquiry has now reported back, finding that the case against Haneef had no foundation, that he should never have been charged, and should not have been deported. But unbelievably, it has also

...cleared the Howard government of any improper behaviour, conspiracy or political motivation in ordering the detention and later deportation of the Indian doctor from the Gold Coast in July last year.

While finding flaws in the actions of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, the former immigration minister Kevin Andrews, the Department of Immigration and the AFP, the report finds there was no conspiracy nor political motivation in the decision to cancel Dr Haneef's Australian work visa and send him back to India after the terrorism charges against him were dropped.

So, the police perjured themselves when opposing bail, the Minister's office colluded with police to subvert the rule of law, and government sources spoke openly of deportation as a means of limiting the political fallout. But "there was no conspiracy nor political motivation" and none of it was "improper".

I think those conclusions speak for themselves about the quality of this "inquiry".