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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
Rudd Govt choreography on Dr Haneef case post Mumbai, echoes Howard govt hard line at APEC 2007?
Topic: aust govt

Picture: Silent vigil outside Sydney Supreme Court 5th Sept 2007 for civil liberties case to rally against W Bush prior to internationally significant Asia Pacific Economic Forum with world leaders attending, and just prior to November 07 federal election in Australia. The politics of terrorism, security and civil liberties were very high during this phase of national politics in parallel with the Dr Haneef Case which hit the news from July 2007.


Where is our celebrity PM Kevin Rudd, who couldn't keep his hands off the climate change white paper to the detriment of Minister Wong? Who gazumped his minister with a pre booked launch at the National Press Club?

In one word Mumbai. That is, Rudd is not there, but it is the terrorist slaughter only weeks ago by Islamist fanatics in India that explains why Rudd is ducking this high profile case of "wrongful arrest" of Indian doctor Haneef to quote Peter Faris QC in the news today. Or was that wrongfully charged (more like it in our view).

In reality despite the large scale of this controversy and the full engagement of relevant Green MP Senator Scott Ludlum on the civil rights aspects, and broadsheet press today, and ABC in all forms, what we are really seeing is a 'take out the trash' form of media management.

Picture: 8th Sept 2007 rally, David Marr journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald front of the paper again today on the Haneef civil liberties case.

This is a phrase borrowed from the West Wing TV series (with link to episode profile to follow asap).

1-13 (13) "Take out the Trash Day" Aaron Sorkin Ken Olin January 26, 2000


The title refers to the Friday press briefing wherein the White House releases information about several sensitive stories, thereby preventing discussion and reducing any probable impact in the media.

Donna: What's take out the trash day?
Josh: Friday.
Donna: I mean, what is it?
Josh: Any stories we have to give the press that we're not wild about, we give all in a lump on Friday.
Donna: Why do you do it in a lump?
Josh: Instead of one at a time?
Donna: I'd think you'd want to spread them out.
Josh: They've got X column inches to fill, right? They're going to fill them no matter what.
Donna: Yes.
Josh: So if we give them one story, that story's X column inches.
Donna: And if we give them five stories ...
Josh: They're a fifth the size.
Donna: Why do you do it on Friday?
Josh: Because no one reads the paper on Saturday.
Donna: You guys are real populists, aren't you?

A clue is found in the high circulation tabloid Sydney Daily Telegraph or rather absence of the story at all. Their front page is a child in a polka dot dress for Christmas. It's the holiday season folks. No one cares. They should but they don't.

Picture: Witty protester asserting right to protest against W Bush 8th Sept 07 rally during APEC, Sydney CBD.

The federal ALP Govt know that people have gone into holiday mode. As do the news savvy tabloid editor. As if to rub salt into the wound of this civil liberties agenda Sydney CBD had a well publicised public safety drill yesterday with an emergency siren around midday amongst festive shopping crowd. The subtext was Mumbai of course. Choreographed by the state arm of the same federal ALP machine in power nationally the day the Haneef report was released.

What we have dear reader is a Haneef report the federal government sat on for a month and released along with a raft of other policies (Education, Homeless, Infrastructure, Afghanistan) all in the wake of the Emissions Trading Scheme White Paper which really did crank public anxiety and will continue to do so.

Picture: A particularly impressive banner at the anti Bush rally 8th Sept 2007 sought to be prevented by NSW security agencies as a potential terrorist threat.

In real politik terms we have the security authorities here doing what appears to all the world as racial and religous profiling of Dr Haneef. Add to that a loose familial or social relation of the hapless Indian to fanatics in Scotland, one of whom died of self inflicted burns in a thankfully incompetent terrorism attempt and you may well have reasonable grounds for arrest or questioning.

And remember all the conventional security agency 'wisdom' about guilt laden middle class Muslim professionals, especially medical folks, over the death rate of 'their people' in various war torn places across the world 'caused by the West'. Not least the 2IC of Al Qaeda, qualified surgeon Dr. Ayman Muhammad Rabaie al-Zawahiri. All egged on by a federal govt led by ex PM John Howard desperate to win an election just as he did with the infamous racialised 'children thrown over board' lie on their record back in 2001.

Picture: Another example of state security arguably going over the top from Sept 2007.

In the innocent Dr Haneef case there is the ongoing detention and charges which were eventually dropped for lack of evidence. Even so in the wake of the slaughter in Mumbai the civil liberties lobby have been overtaken by circumstances. This writer has no doubt Haneef was positioned by the former federal govt in mid 2007 in a racialised white supremacist type appeal to the electorate in the highly politicised lead up to the federal election. A replay of the Tampa/children overboard affair if you like. Dog whistling to the swinging 5% 'One Nation' voter demographic that almost lost PM Howard the election in 1998.

PM Rudd and NSW ALP are also mindful of the same redneck swinging vote too. The Haneef stuff up in power politik terms is not really about ABC listeners and watchers, or broadsheet audience generally of a moderate thoughtful disposition. It's all about the politik of terrorism after Mumbai and 'taking out the trash' at Christmas time - no one is to be held responsible career wise for the Dr Haneef farce in any severe way. No apology, rather compo lawyers at 20 paces for damaged reputation. It's also a big win for federal police commissioner Mick Keelty dodging 'a bullet' (metaphorically speaking) to his career.

Barrister Keim has been busy saying in the quality media something like 'its a very bad report for Keelty and the Australian Federal Police'. This may well be true, but it's also a wet lettuce.

Picture: Different Police Force, same story? Here it is NSW not Federal Police, caught deliberately breaching their own rules by failing to wear identity tags, at anti Bush rally APEC 8 Sept 07. A symptom arguably of the same problems of cowboy mismanagement of state power in issues of public safety and perceived terrorism threat.

Posted by editor at 8:20 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 December 2008 11:40 AM EADT

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