Monday, February 07, 2005

The Habib (in)justice

I Saw this article in the Green Left Weekly (a substandard Australian publication which supports civil liberties "Chavez style" - see banner on their site)

The Habib injustice — a threat to us all
Sarah Stephen & Aaron Benedek, Sydney

Consider this scenario: an Australian citizen travels to another country, is kidnapped by the military of a third country, receives absolutely no assistance from the Australian government, is imprisoned for three years at the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay without charge and suffers repeated torture.

Eventually, this citizen is released due to lack of evidence and allowed to go home. Rather than apologising for its lack of action and offering compensation for his ordeal, the Australian government announces that the man will be kept under surveillance.

Well, Benedek & Stephen are quite correct, Mamdouh Habib’s Gitmo and post-Gitmo experience is a threat to all of you out there who plan to associate yourselves with a terror organisation (such as Lashkar-e-Taiba), meet the leaders of such groups, undergo the highest level of terror training Al Qaida offers, take part in the planning of September 11th, and call your wife in advance of WTC Attack and forewarn her that “something big is about to happen in America”. If the above is an apt description of yourself, beware, your freedom is in danger! Otherwise, soak up the sun, chuck a shrimp on the BBQ and enjoy the surf.

Habib got off on a technicality. Prior to 2002, it was not illegal for an Australian to be part of a terror group. When the legislators did get their act together, it was not retroactive and hence Habib enjoys freedom – albeit somewhat curtailed. Should his freedom be absolute? Should he be given a passport and allowed to board a plane to Pakistan? Give Osama & cronies a phone call? Or expect to live under no surveillance? Absolutely not!

Imagine this scenario: A paedophile is arrested after police confiscate a video in which he performs sexual acts with a ten year old boy. At the trial, the tape is held to be inadmissible for a technical reason (e.g. no search warrant). The man is released and applies to work in the kindergarten which you operate. Would you give him the job?

What the likes of the Green Left seem to forget is that with “rights” come “obligations” – both moral and legal. Joining a terrorist group is a clear breach of such an obligation, and as far as I care, Habib’s rights are dispensable.

No comments: