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The Forum > Article Comments > Truth takes a beating > Comments

Truth takes a beating : Comments

By George Williams, published 30/5/2008

Australia needs laws that prohibit practices like torture so that we do not end up compromising our principles and values.

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THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FAILED TO PROTECT HABIB FROM AMERICAN TORTURE

I donít follow the lawyering path that all matters should be subject to legislation, be they torture, cluster-bombs or war.

It is too easy for governments to organise trials or commissions full of lawyers rather than do the leadership job of taking responsibility at the time, being principled and standing up for Australian citizens.

The torture of Mr Habib is the most relevant current case. http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/us-ignored-canberra-over-habib/2008/05/26/1211653938447.html

If DG ASIO O'Sullivan's explanation of Habib's rendition to Egypt is to be believed the Australian Government did not object strongly enough to prevent an Australian citizen being flown in a US jet to Egypt for the express purpose of being tortured by an American ally.

I'm just wondering why Commissioner Keelty is not doing the talking now as it happened on his watch. The explanation Keelty gave for some years to normal MPs, Senators and the Australian people seemed - well - a little economical with the truth - Lies? Maybe - but for national security reasons...

Habib is probably no saint but Australia owes him serious compensation. Arguments that he was terrorist, therefore he could be tortured (with an Australian expectation that he was being tortured) and imprisoned for years with no trial donít wash. An expectation of principled government representation is a right of all Australians even Muslim Australians tortured by foreign contractors of the CIA.

Yes Howard wimped out over this matter but Rudd should not do the same over future "Pressure from America" matters.

Rudd may well give in to pressure by sending higher Australian troop levels over the next two years to be killed in Afghanistan's perpetual war. It may continue to be painted as Australia doing its bit for the "War on Terror". Afghanistan is usually in a constant state of war for many reasons - al Qaeda and Taliban are but two additions.

Alternatively Rudd may see Australian participation in perpetual American wars in Asia as against his principles.

Peter Coates
http://spyingbadthings.blogspot.com/
Posted by plantagenet, Friday, 30 May 2008 3:48:44 PM
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Ach! Mr Williams,- don't make such a fuss!

Get your damn priorities right.

Can't you see we have enough to worry about with 'my religion's better'n yours'/nude adolescents/price of petrol.

Torture scmorture! A little torture here; a little torture there. Ech!

No big deal.

......................as you can see by the response/s to your piece....
Posted by Ginx, Sunday, 1 June 2008 4:29:14 PM
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From my reading of info on the web much is alleged about Habibís past from interception of phone calls just before 9/11. See http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/context.jsp?item=a0901habibcall#a0901habibcall

The info may have been too sensitive or technically inadmissible to use in court.

All this means that Habib cannot be labeled a terrorist or arrested, rendered, tortured then imprisoned on the basis of information that cannot be used in court.

Evidence must be tested before a judge and jury. That is a foundation and requirement of Australian law.

Its just no good to rely on such a (we have proof but the collection methods are too sensitive to provide this proof in court) or a (we have his confession) argument - but it was extracted by torture with no lawyer present.

BTW I'm no liberal wet, soft left type.

Pete
Posted by plantagenet, Sunday, 1 June 2008 5:47:12 PM
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