NOW IT IS A POLITICAL SAGA February 14, 2005Posted by wmmbb in Terrorism Issues.
Habib’s interview with Channel Nine last night and his prior interview with the NY Times has sent the hares running. It is notable that the Opposition is taking up the issues in Parliament.
The head of the Attorney-Generals department, Robert Cornall said catergorically, before a Senate Committee:
“No Australian official witnessed any mistreatment of Mr Habib in Pakistan.”
Cornall does not believe that Habib has a legal case against the Government, based on media reports.
The Opposition pressed the Government in Parliament during question time, which gave rise to the preposterous admission by Ruddock, that he was unaware as to why Habib had been released by the Americans – a likely story.
Bob Carr ran off at the mouth. He virtually described Habib’s lawyer as hopeless. He then went on to say that Habib was in effect a terrorist, and he had to account for his actions and the reasons for visiting particular places.
Meanwhile, the Government, in the form of the Prime Minister, proclaims that Habib has no entitlement to compensation. Given Ruddock’s admission this seems like a half formed judgement at best.
We have to see how these defenders of civic virtue stand as the facts ooze out from their darkened repositories, given an airing and rain down upon those who would condemn a man without a trial, or even the presumptions of natural justice. Is it now starkly obvious that human rights are more vulnerable in the absence of a Charter of Justice or Bill of Rights?
And out of left field, we have the report of a former weapons investigator(spy) stating that Australians were involved in the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. He actually warned the Government that Australians were aware of prisoner abuse before the story of Abu Ghraib broke.
The plot has gotten murkier. The head of the Australian Secret Intelligence Organization has confirmed that they knew that Habib was in Egypt. This news, or if you will intelligence, comes as big surprise, especially in the wake of government ministers claiming that they could not confirm this fact. Now the argument is advanced that Habib was mixing with murderers in Pakistan, without acknowledging that he may not have been aware of their background.
The Sydney Morning Herald gives a fuller explanation of the actions of the head of the Attorney-Generals. He apparently wrote to Habib’s lawyer to establish whether there were grounds for compensation to be paid.
Jumana Musa, Amnesty Internationals legal adviser, currently visiting Australia, has a striking simile to describe the military commission trial process of David Hicks. It is, she says, “where the surgeons have had no training in basic human anatomy.”