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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

good old days « Previous | |Next »
November 22, 2008

Barack Obama has stated his intention to shut down Guantanamo Bay and there's some spirited debate going on about what should be done with the inmates. Geoffrey Robertson QC seems to think it shouldn't be all that difficult, considering that ordinary courts require evidence which should be the undoing of most cases, and evidence tainted with torture won't count any more. There could also be some other small matters to be cleared up, which shouldn't require too much effort:

TONY JONES: And what about trials that have already been conducted under the military tribunals and the system which will now effectively be defunct, and that includes, obviously, the first of those trials, that against David Hicks?

GEOFFREY ROBERTSON: Yes, of course. I think it's time while we've still got the monarchy to give David Hicks a royal pardon because his trial was obviously an expedient at the request of an Australian Government that needed to sure up votes.

Are we allowed to say that now?

Since that interview Hicks made his public plea for an end to the now quite silly looking control order, and the AFP almost immediately released a statement saying they wouldn't be seeking a new one. Why ever not? Surely once a convicted terrorist, always a convicted terrorist?

The Haneef inquiry has also handed down its report, but we're not allowed to know what it says in the interests of national security. Unless either Mick Keelty or Kevin Andrews recently changed their name to National Security, the report must say something about top secret AFP surveillance and evidence gathering methods, and it's understandable that those should not be made public if what we've seen so far is meant to inspire public confidence.

Robert Merkel suspects this is the end of the road for Keelty

The upshot is likely to be that Mick Keelty’s time as AFP head will end; perhaps other senior AFP officers may follow him.

Can't see it myself. As Merkel points out, "The one example where Labor has acted on a perversion of justice - mandatory detention - they were at pains to pretend that they weren’t doing so." Rudd's shown no inclination so far to apply his Behoeffer principles when it comes to prominent people. If anything, Keelty will quietly leave when he realises he's being starved of media attention. Letting it be known that they're dropping the Don questions from the citizenship test on a Saturday, the doldrums of the political news cycle, is about the most significant thing they've done when it comes to important people.

We're not likely to see any spectacular indicators of change here, unlike the Americans who appear to be getting into a real groove with this new justice stuff - raining down nastiness on Cheney and his crew. No, the most outrageous thing we could come up with is The Howard Years, and it's doubtful any major consequences of children overboard or the AWB rort will come of that.

| Posted by Lyn at 9:29 AM | | Comments (5)


Obama is, however, apparently going to let an enthusiastic Bush Administration torturer called John Brennan run the CIA, which does not bode well for a new era of civil liberties and respect for human rights.

I agree that Kelty is unlikely to go any time soon ... don't know where Robert got that notion. The government has bent over backwards to prevent the Haneef inquiry uncovering anything that might even mildly embarrass the AFP or Howard's mob.

I understand the Bradman question will be replaced with one about B A Santamaria, to reflect the way the obsessions of our new PM differ from the last one's.

Keelty won't go because he's too useful as an alibi for the government.
If he tries to pack it in before they say so, he will have that many charges flying at him he won't know which way to duck.
It's exquisite, for people who have followed his weird treatment of others over time, as the recent 4 Corners and SBS refugees (indirectly, in the later case ) show. illustrate.

Can't agree with you there Paul. As Ken said, this government shows no interest in holding anyone to account.

I suspect it has little to do with justice and everything to do with avoiding the sorts of divisions over race, immigration, refugees, Islam and so on that Howard promoted. Andrew Bolt is one of the last public figures still standing who's sticking with it. A couple of years ago he was among the grand wizards of nastiness and division. Now he's the boy in the bubble.

There is a distinction in what I'm saying, Lynn.
By keeping Keelty on, they are not necessarily valorising him- quite the opposite.
The current Keelty psychodrama is inverse of the caped crusader nonsense of Howard times.
He is regularly wheeled out for fresh revelations of his and therefore Howard and Ruddocks, incompetence. The government, of course, revels in this.They are authenticated in their hmanity, yet by switching attention to Keelty reveal the problem to human rather than systemic and can therefore avoid changing Howardist laws that cause the problemin the first place, that prevent the people from exposing the system ( an interesting paralllel is the failure to get rid of Howard IS, so that workers can strike to support victimised unionists like Mike Carlton).
Keelty is not being kept on because of his abilities, but because this unreconstructed Howard lackey shows the new government in a contrastingly good light.
Was actually working along the same lines as yourself, Lynn!

They've kept most of the old Howard appointees on. Not for them the night of the long knives re the public service.