Alex Mitchell, The Sun-Herald’s State Political Editor, writes:

The item by Peter Faris QC, “In defence of the Australian Federal
Police” (yesterday, Item 4), is a disgraceful piece of dissembling. He uses legal bluff and
bluster to try to convince your anxious readers that the AFP’s conduct
in the Bali Nine arrests and convictions is all above board. He
mentions the federal court judge’s rejection of the application by four
of the Bali Nine to gain access to AFP documents saying: “This issue
was unsuccessfully litigated by Rush, Lawrence, Czugaj and Stevens in
our Federal Court in January.”

True, but what he fails to mention is that Justice Paul Finn called for
a review of the rules under which Australian police give information to
their Indonesian counterparts. Clearly, the judge was deeply unhappy
with the AFP’s behaviour.

Interviews I’ve conducted with long-serving AFP officers reveal that an
unstated protocol in force for decades was that AFP would not assist in
the arrest of Australian nationals in countries that administered the
death penalty. On the other hand, they worked with overseas police to
conduct “controlled operations” when quantities of illegal drugs were
“green-lighted” into Australia so that the couriers and their bosses
could be tracked, identified and arrested.

All this change after September 11 and the first Bali bombing when
Prime Minister John Howard and his national security committee made an
agreement with the Indonesian government to cooperate at all levels of
intelligence-gathering and policing – terrorism, Muslim
fundamentalism, arms trafficking, drugs smuggling and money laundering.
As an explicit show of goodwill after the successful joint
investigation of the Bali and Jakarta bombings, the AFP handed over the
Bali Nine to the Indonesian police, thus making them victims of the
Howard Government’s “war on terror.”

This was made clear by AFP
commissioner Mick Keelty when he said on Tuesday that his officers had
“acted in accordance with government policy,” adding: “We trust the
Indonesian justice system to deal with the terrorists who were
responsible for the Bali bombing. It’s the same system that’s dealing
with narcotics trafficking.” Precisely. And he boasted: “We’d do the
same thing again and we’re doing it each and every day.”

Keelty is having himself on. A large number of his officers have
decided they DON’T want blood on their hands and WON’T be giving
Australian suspects to Indonesian, Singaporese, Malaysian or Chinese
police to have them shot or hanged. The present policy is an affront to
Australia’s stand against capital punishment and its duty of care to
its citizens and it will be altered, even if that offends the eminent
Melbourne QC.