Flattered as I am to be pinged in yesterday’s editorial, I would have
thought that writing your leader about a letter you received about a
comment you’d made in an earlier editorial was the sort of thing one
would save for slow news days.

There are many phrases you could use to describe the current moment, but
we can all agree that slow news day isn’t one of them. You seem to be
missing the point I’m making. It is one thing to keep an open mind on
whether the police are playing it straight down the line on these
matters, it is something else entirely for an independent newsletter to
put – at the head of its issue – a statement giving the police the
benefit of the doubt. It is not your job to give anyone the benefit of
the doubt – it is your job to remain sceptical, critical and
inquiring. How about the following questions:

  • Why was it necessary to wait until the change of legislation to conduct
    the raids, if the eventual charges laid turned out to be ones already
    on the books?

  • Why was the official story slipping between the announcement that the
    arrested group were ‘making bombs’ and later that they were acquiring
    chemicals used for bombs?

  • If on the other hand, they have been making bombs, why weren’t they
    arrested earlier, and charged with crimes already on the statutes?

  • Or, if, as seems likely, the surveillance of these groups was pretty
    total, why was it necessary to arrest them now? Why not wait for the
    possible commencement of any mission, thus making an arrest and
    conviction more straightforward?

  • If this group of alleged conspirators were aware of being under
    surveillance, is all this back-slapping a bit premature? Is there
    another group out there under deeper cover?

These questions obviously suggest contradictory scenarios, but that’s
the point. Given the convenient way things have played out – and add
that to ASIO’s conduct over WMDs in Iraq, the AFP and the Bali 9, etc,
then a bit of scepticism is paramount. You seem to find it easy to
turn such an attitude on CEOs – what about turning it on the state?
wasn’t it a little defensive to rebut my comment before subscribers
even had a chance to read it – rather than appending
a reply to the end of it?