Conspiracies and c*ckups over Haneef:

Kerrie Byrne writes: Re. “Haneef conspiracists go tumbling down the grassy knoll” (yesterday, item 1). Concerning Christian’s piece yesterday, I don’t know what a “bien-pensant pissant” is, but Christian’s mood seems to have shot well over the petulance barometer. The outrageous mistruths that Mick Keelty was forced to deny concerning Haneef’s alleged plot to do something to a Gold Coast high-rise smack of a desperate, politically charged intent to slur the accused’s character, and to plant in the public’s mind a lingering doubt. The tabloid media has been a willing conduit of these rumours without foundation. There may not be a conspiracy as such, but there’s definitely an agenda. The cops and the Federal Government are just dying for a Muslim terrorist scalp and have no qualms about ruining Haneef’s life in the process. Hence the attempt to incriminate him by fraudulently interfering with his diary. Yet today the press reveals the latest shenanigans using terms such as “howlers” and “bungling”, but how are they not an open and shut case of tampering with and falsifying evidence? Isn’t it bleedingly obvious that any “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” type scenarios would have been presented to the bail judge? Yet it was Christian on ABC radio’s Late Night Live last Monday who claimed that as they couldn’t nail Haneef, the case made a mockery of the terrorist laws. This line was repeated in Crikey last Tuesday. Well, hello, maybe even harsh terrorist laws can’t ensnare a genuinely innocent person, without concocting false evidence. Perhaps Christian could now apply his mind and his Churchillian sense of justice to the question of on what grounds the Immigration Minister can legitimately rob Haneef of his work visa. The SIM card line is now very dodgy. But I do wonder why Christian doesn’t offer his talents and insights to the floundering Liberals. The Party machine must be crying out for A-grade strategists to help fight the election battle. Afraid of hitching your horse to a sinking ship, eh Christian?

Gary Price writes: Christian writes that it’s more likely to be a sequence of blunders combined with institutional thuggery than a conspiracy, and generally I would agree. But he omits mention of Minister Andrews’ intervention, which I think adds a particularly unpleasant odour to the proceedings – the smell of people in high places manipulating events for their own ends. As well though, I think it’s worth mentioning that one way of guaranteeing thuggery of the Rau/Alvarez sort is to provide pay and promotion incentives for specific kinds of outcomes – for example, the number of illegal immigrants detained, or the number of terrorism-related convictions. It seems to me it might be surprisingly easy to avoid considering certain inconvenient facts if you were in, effect, being paid to do so.

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Ken Lambert writes: It seems that Mr Haneef might be innocent of anything other than having a suicide bomber for a second cousin. That seems like ample reason to have a very hard look at the good doctor. Would the Australian public prefer potential loss of Australian lives to a three week loss of freedom for Mr Haneef? I think not. The usual self-serving Julian Burnside; huffing and puffing amongst the lawyers – a protected species ripe for a good solid culling; so out of touch with the ordinary citizen’s desire for government to err on the side of caution when dealing with Islamic imports. Keelty cock-up is on the cards – looks like he might have had one two many grogs. Maybe he should take the hint from Islam.

Alan Lander writes: Christian Kerr wrote: “Central to the conspiracies was the active acquiesence and participation of The Australian newspaper – “The Government Gazette”, in their parlance.” Yes, Christian, but it’s still the Government Gazette.

Congratulations to Crikey:

Archie Glenn, former chairman and managing director of ICI Australia – now known as Orica, writes: Re. “Orica under fire for turning down PE windfall” (yesterday, item 26). Congratulations to Crikey for exposing the bid for Orica and an attempt to disembowel a company that has developed its top position in the world through its expertise – well done.

Tassie – a world leader in native forest demolition:

John Hayward writes: Re. “Pollies talk while forests fall” (yesterday, item 8). It was gratifying to see Tasmania given its rightful place in Thomas Hunter’s article on international logging, where the state was shown to rival New Guinea and Indonesia as a world leader in native forest demolition. Meanwhile, Kevin Rudd has just given Tasmanian logging five stars after his talks with the CFMEU officials and forestry myrmidons from the state government. Despite his unnervingly robotic demeanour, and those occasional flashes of authoritarian tendencies, many in Tasmania expected Rudd to maintain at least a facade of environmental sensitivity until the polls close. But he may not feel it’s necessary, given his huge lead, and Howard’s envirophobic reputation. It is probably fortunate he has shown his cards prematurely, in time for Howard Haters and former Labor supporters to find a new home before the election.

The new Qantas logo:

Patrick Kirby writes: Re. “The new Qantas logo: the roo survives” (yesterday, item 5). Is it just me or is the new Kangaroo an optical illusion? It appears as if in front of the Kangaroo is an elephant. But is it a Thai or Singaporean elephant?

Public holiday cheapshots:

Fellow Darwin insider Simon Wiese, writes: Re. “Brough schedules Tiwi showdown on Show Day” (yesterday, item 14). Whether or not Henry Ivrey is indeed an Darwin insider I don’t know… but to answer his question: “what other capital city gets two long weekends in a row.” I’d suggest he checks his calendar around 25 December and 1 January… in any year he wishes. C’mon Crikey you can do better than cheap shots over who gets the most public holidays!

A lack of reformist zeal:

John Kotsopoulos writes: I suggest to Martin Gordon (yesterday, comments) that instilling fear and uncertainty in the workplace through unannounced and ill-considered change (Hockey conceded as much) does not constitute reform and not supporting a change you disagree with is not a reversal. Given that Peter Costello is the one who has fingered John Howard for a lack of reformist zeal. I also suggest Mr. Gordon’s finger is pointing in entirely the wrong direction.

Erbil, not Jerbil, or gerbil:

Guy Rundle writes: Re. “Moderate incumbents returned to government in Turkey” (yesterday, item 15). Before the house pedant jumps on it let me emphasise that the capital of Kurdish northern Iraq is not Jerbil or any kind of rodent- as my Turkish story yesterday suggested – but Arbil or sometimes Erbil. The error was due to the bizarre transformations of the Turkish keyboard.

1.4 million of us love Midsomer Murders:

Betty Collins writes: Re. “Glenn Dyer’s comments” (yesterday, item 24). Yesterday Glenn Dyer had a real serve against the ABC and its Midsomer Murders and he was so outraged at both that he didn’t quite know which one to spit his phlegm at! He claims that the ABC should be ashamed for showing this show especially on a Sunday; because, according to Glenn it is a show “about make believe murders, in a makebelieve part of a make believe country called rural England”. D’uh Glenn, thats why over 1.4 million of us love it and especially at 8.30pm on a Sunday! Glenn thinks that the ABC should be serving up something that is worthy or at least gritty and soul wrenching. He just simply doesn’t understand that by that time, at the end of the week and the weekend, most people just want to relax, veg out and wind down! The last thing we want to watch before the beginning of another busy, grinding week is anything of the: worthy, political, soul wrenching, make -me- feel -guilty, gritty realism ilk. A bit of froth, comedy, make-believe or similar, is just exactly what we, otherwise fellow travellers, need at 8.30pm on a Sunday. It’s called relaxing or winding down; it allows us to retire to bed relaxed (but not alarmed).

Disclosing sporting CEO’s salaries:

Robert Parsons writes: Re. “What’s a sports administrator worth?” (yesterday, item 22). The AFL hardly receives any money from government. A pittance for junior development in remote areas. That hardly supports the argument that AFL executive, or the CEO’s, salaries should be disclosed.

CORRECTION: Re. “Liberal preselections the Towke of the town” (yesterday, item 13). Yesterday’s Crikey reported MP Bruce Baird stormed from the Cook preselection. This was incorrect. Mr Baird did not attend the meeting.

Oops:

Yesterday’s typos (house pedant Charles Richardson casts an eye over the howlers in the last edition of Crikey): Item 15: “Despite all this, the US wall be relieved at the AKP wan …”. Do Turkish keyboards have “a”s in place of “i”s?

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and c*ck-ups to [email protected]. Preference will be given to comments that are short and succinct: maximum length is 200 words (we reserve the right to edit comments for length). Please include your full name – we won’t publish comments anonymously unless there is a very good reason.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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