Saturday, 26 April 2008

Haneef inquiry could be waste of time and money: lawyer

The lawyer for former Gold Coast [scapegoat] terrorism suspect Dr Mohamed Haneef says he is worried a Government-ordered inquiry into the case will be a waste of time and money.

It is believed that Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty and former immigration minister Kevin Andrews will neither give evidence in public nor face cross-examination during the inquiry which is due to begin next week.

Peter Russo says he is concerned that the full facts about last year's bungled prosecution might not be revealed.

"The problem is that the inquiry should be able to get to the truth, but without having proper coercive powers there is some difficulty in the inquiry getting to the bottom of why Mohamed was first of all detained, and what information the AFP were in possession of," he said.


Haneef: The Interrogation.

Carlton Courthouse
349 Drummond St, Carlton
16 April 2008 to 3 May 2008
Phone Bookings
(03) 9347 6142

There is little moralising; the real villain is the legislation itself.

Someone must have been telling lies about Dr Mohamed Haneef, because without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine evening.

OK, so you have heard the Kafka line 100 times before, but as Graham Pitts' play about the Haneef affair suggests, there is an uncanny and disturbing correspondence between Dr Haneef's detention by Australian Federal Police in Brisbane in July 2007, and that of Joseph K. in Kafka's The Trial.

As it is, what is on trial in Haneef: the Interrogation is not so much Haneef or the police, but the anti-terrorism legislation that allowed and facilitated his arrest in the first place.

Pitts has based his play on the transcripts of more than 6000 questions asked of Dr Haneef during his detainment on suspicion of assisting a terrorist organisation. There are two basic roles, that of Haneef (Adam McConvell) and his interrogator (Simon King), and both actors demonstrate a fine commitment to the understandably wordy script.

Pitts uses the transcripts verbatim, but he injects a further dimension into the play by having the actors periodically step out of character to comment on the action, and the frequent absurdity of their discourse.

These shifts in tone and perspective bring fresh insights, though not all are successfully executed. The first transition, in particular, is difficult to bring off, especially as the audience is not expecting it. This feature will no doubt improve, however, as the actors settle into the rhythms of the play and their multiple roles.

This production makes simple but effective gestures to interrogation, with chairs, naked light bulbs, and closed-circuit TV projections dominating.

The director, Gorkem Acarolgu, toys with the audience at times, but ensures that absurdity and indignation go hand in hand with anxiety and uncertainty, just as in Kafka.

Pitts has edited the transcripts carefully, allowing the characters of the interlocutors to develop. Our sympathies are pushed towards Haneef, with a few jokes generated from dim-witted questions by the interrogator.

Yet like the complex treatment of interviewing detainees in Theatre du Soleil's Le Dernier Caravanserail (seen here in 2005), the play is careful not to over-simplify, nor to belittle the policemen who, after all, are just doing their jobs. There is little moralising; the real villain is the legislation itself.

Haneef tickets going fast, writer to speak

The Civil Rights Defence tickets for 'Haneef: the interrogation' are going fast.

The writer, Graham Pitts, has agreed to give a forum at the end of the
performance! Graham is a great raconteur. The La Mama bar will also be open

To reserve a ticket email:

The tickets are $20. The event is a CRD fundraiser.

Tickets can be picked up & paid for at the New International Bookshop (see

Performance details:
Friday, May 2nd, 6.30 (no late entries)
La Mama Carlton Courthouse,
Drummond St (nr the cnr of Elgin).
Pick up and pay at:
New International Bookshop in Trades Hall Building
54 Victoria St (cnr of Lygon St) Carlton, 9662 3744.
They only accept cash.
Opening Hours:
Tuesday-Friday: 12pm-7pm
Saturday: 12.30pm-5pm
Call to confirm late opening
Closed Sunday & Monday

Haneef's lawyer says inquiry is weak
The inquiry into Australian authorities' handling of the Mohamed Haneef case needs stronger powers to avoid becoming a "toothless tiger", the former terror suspect's lawyer says.

Push for overhaul of laws on terrorism
Anti-terrorism laws are just 'state sanctioned terrorism' aimed at 'innocent people' and using them as 'scapegoats' for Australia's 'alleged war on terror'. These laws were meant to project 'fear' in the community that we somehow need to be protected so that the government can wage war on innocent people for resources around the world unchallenged.

Hicks media gag order ends
As part of the deal, he was also banned from speaking to the media after his release in December 2007.

Habib mistreated but not in Aussie embassy
There was little doubt that Mamdouh Habib was badly mistreated after he was detained by Pakistani and US authorities in the wake of the September 11 attacks and no doubt whatsoever that he was taken to Egypt against his will, a Federal Court judge has found.

ASIO, police don't trust each other, report finds
A LACK of trust between the Australian Federal Police and ASIO has hindered co-operation between the anti-terrorism agencies, a report commissioned after the collapsed prosecution of the Sydney doctor Izhar ul-Haque has found.

Secret policemen's bill: $7.5m
Mr McClelland separately ruled out compensating or apologising to the Sydney medical student Izhar Ul-Haque, who a Supreme Court judge said had been kidnapped by ASIO officers. The conduct of ASIO in the case of Mr ul-Haque, who was cleared of terrorism charges, is being reviewed by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Ian Carnell.

Tough police powers outlive APEC
CONTROVERSIAL powers granted to NSW police during last year's APEC summit are likely to be made permanent - or at least available to police for any special event - under a proposal to be taken to state cabinet.

Faheem Lodhi - another non-terrorist jailed under Australia's 'anti-terror' laws?
Jack Thomas, a non-terrorist, has been jailed under Australia's anti-terror laws. Now Faheem Lodhi has been convicted under the terror laws on flimsy, circumstantial evidence. It is likely he is another non-terrorist jailed for political purposes under the terror laws.

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