Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Suspects of Convenience

Well, just how about that? After the recent "surprise" terror threats, a couple of days elapse and then raids take place which would seem to vindicate John Howard completely. From the SMH:
They were detained after security agencies swooped on properties in Sydney and Melbourne early today, charging 16 people with terror offences just a week after federal parliament passed an urgent amendment to Australia's terrorism laws. [...]

Shortly before the Sydney court hearing, Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said details of the charges against all the accused would be suppressed.

"We are not going to release the details of the charges before the court," he said.

"It's important that we give these people a fair opportunity to prepare their defence before the court, rather than run the trial in the media."

The charges could not have been laid without the passage of special anti-terror laws by the federal parliament last week, Mr Keelty said.

"The additional legislation has in fact assisted the joint operation," he said.


[...] Defence solicitor Adam Houda told reporters outside the court there was no evidence that his clients were planning terrorism.

"These young men are presumed innocent and at least the presumption of innocence has not yet been repealed," Mr Houda said.

"There is no evidence in these cases that terrorism was being contemplated by any particular person at any particular time or any particular place."

Mr Houda described the matters as "scandalous political prosecutions".


Magistrate Allan Moore formally refused the seven men bail and remanded them in custody, listing the matter for further hearing in the same court on Friday.
I can understand Mr Houda's concerns, given that Howard says he's not targeting Muslims and then says "perverted, fanatical Islam" is the common thread behind international terrorism. In a torrent of leaks, all sorts of "evidence" has been published, making a mockery of Mr Keelty's statements about "trial by media". I wonder if these same media outlets will print equally prominent retractions of any "evidence" which is later found to be false, or out of context?

Somehow I doubt it.

Independent site crikey.com.au says it quite well in my opinion. It's early days yet. Let's watch and see how things develop.

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