Saturday, 12 April 2008

Push for overhaul of laws on terrorism

Faheem Lodhi - another non-terrorist jailed under Australia's 'anti-terror' laws?

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Ian Carnell, has called on the Federal Government to make substantial changes to anti-terrorism laws, saying some of them can hinder counter-terrorism efforts by unnecessarily antagonising Muslims.

[However 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.]

Mr Carnell said there was a strong case for reviewing the strict rules that keep "national security" information secret in trials.

"My belief is that a key test for liberal democracies in the area of counter-terrorism is a willingness to revisit what was introduced when there was a sense of urgency and, if necessary, modify the measures to ensure effectiveness, balance and proportionality," he said.

"This is particularly so if some aspects may be counter-productive, such as adding to the sense of alienation and discrimination which members of the Muslim communities can suffer."

An alienated Islamic community not only provided more fertile ground for violent extremists to emerge, but discouraged Muslims from providing counter-terrorism authorities with vital information.

[But that is what the laws were meant to do, alienate the islamic community, now let's be honest because that's all they have done and all they will do. The laws are draconian and all should be repealed.]

[However] Mr Carnell ['playing the game'] has simply recommended the repeal of the vaguely worded offence of "associating" with a terrorism group, which carries jail terms of up to 10 years.

The offence can cover those who have an innocent relationship with suspected terrorists or groups, and Mr Carnell believes the offence transgresses human rights and interferes with "ordinary family, religious and legal communication".

[As does the whole of the Anti-terror laws transgresses human rights and interferes with "ordinary family, religious and legal communication".]

He also called for the process of proscribing a terrorist organisation to be taken out of the hands of the attorney-general.

"Action on the recommendations is needed," he said.

[Allegedly], the intervention by Mr Carnell comes as the Federal Government stalls on plans to amend the anti-terrorism laws, while lawyers and judges involved in terrorism trials continue to express disquiet about them.

Justice Anthony Whealy, who conducted the [sham] trial of Faheem Lodhi and is now presiding over the trial of nine Sydney men charged with terrorism offences, has been notably vocal.

In a paper in Judicial Review he said that the National Security Information Act "gives the appearance of having been drafted by persons who have little knowledge of the function and processes of a criminal trial".

Mr Carnell said this "trenchant criticism … surely points to it being ripe for review".

[And we say totally repealed.]

The act - which dictates what evidence can be presented in open court, including whether defence teams have access to it at all - has resulted in lengthy delays before terrorist suspects appear before a jury.

In the case of the nine Sydney men before Justice Whealy, it has been 2½ years since they were arrested, and it is expected to take at least another three months before a jury is empanelled.


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.

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.

Terror trial halted over prison conditions
A Supreme Court judge has put a Melbourne terrorism trial on hold and ordered Corrections Victoria to change prison conditions of the 12 accused men

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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