Since when do one’s thoughts and beliefs constitute a punishable offence?

We are wrong if we think it was only back in the 16th century in the time of the Inquisition and burning at the stake when heresy – or even a suspicion of heresy – was regarded as the gravest crime of all.

In Howard’s Australia in 2007 we find just that happening.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal yesterday found against former Guantanamo Bay victim Mamdouh Habib in his bid to regain his Australian passport when it noted that he still held extremist views.

From what we have learned about Guantanamo Bay it is highly probable that if one did not hold extreme views on entering, one certainly would after experiencing the unique hospitality there.

The age of the thought police is certainly upon us. Torquemada hasn’t retired; he has just been seconded to ASIO.

Just as disturbing is the latest revelation in The Australian, again implicating the government’s walking disaster, Kevin Andrews, seeking to interfere in legal processes in regard to the former terror suspect, Mohamed Haneef.

This is not just political spin doctoring; this is blatant illegality.

The so-called case against Dr Haneef is risible in the extreme. On the other hand, the developing case against the government and its agencies is growing ever more serious.

Nothing short of a Royal Commission is needed to investigate the government’s complicity in possibly illegal activities and cover up, the AFP’s utter incompetence and Mick Keelty’s serial compliance with government propaganda.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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