John Clarke QC, the former NSW Supreme Court judge, is heading the inquiry into the arrest of Mohammed Haneef under the ‘anti-terror’ laws, which is expected to start in May. But the inquiry has no power to force people to appear, to subpoena witnesses, nor to require them to produce documents that may incriminate them. Clarke can’t even protect those who do come forward from being demoted or victimised by Government, police or ASIO.

This inquiry should have been a final demolition of the Howard government’s Islamophobic fear-mongering. But the inadequacies of the inquiry disgrace Rudd.

Perhaps this is not surprising given senior Labor ministers agreed with the lies then Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews told about Haneef’s involvement in the attempted bombing of Glasgow airport. Kevin Rudd and then shadow immigration minister Tony Burke saw the “secret evidence” that Andrews cited to revoke Haneef’s visa after the courts threw out all charges. Clarke’s inquiry will not even have the power to force Andrews or Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty to testify.

Keelty has admitted that nine full time AFP officers (and another five if they need them) are still investigating Haneef eight months after Haneef was freed.

Australia’s draconian “terror laws” themselves must be put on trial. While Clarke’s inquiry proceeds it will be up to the same forces that defended Haneef at the time-anti-war and democratic rights activists-to ensure that the laws which allowed Haneef’s arrest and detention are actually exposed and to demand that Keelty be sacked.

Jean Parker

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