Archive for July, 2007

Richard Flanagan’s, The Unknown Terrorist
July 29, 2007

Fiction is again ahead of the game with Richard Flanagan’s brilliant thriller, The Unknown Terrorist. Mohamed Haneef should have read the book – as all Australians and visitors to this great land need to do – and he would have known what he was up against when arrested wrongly by the Federal police. The novel’s ending was more tragic (the victim wasn’t a medico) but give the Australian government more time. The UK police were appalled at the pressure our government put on the investigating police. They need another alleged terrorist quickly.

And how did we become a police state? Why, our ignominious vassalage to the US.

Fostering aggression in the Bush family
July 25, 2007

This post is relevant to Australians who perpetually cry about the disappearance of the Australian culture. Hey, we still have it. Just ask Dr Mohamed Haneef who has been detained by Immigration to face a terrorism charge.

If the terrorists win our war on terror I’m up for arrest without charge, day long interrogations mixed with beatings, humiliations and general torture. Our Australian Federal police detained Dr Mohamed Haneef on the incorrect evidence of a Sim card being used in the attempted car bombing at Glascow airport.

Given that the terrorists use the same legal criterion as are now used in UK and Australian democracies I know I will be accused of causing the first Gulf War, and the present one, and be instantly imprisoned.

The problem is I fostered the latent aggression in the Bush family when I spoke to George Bush senior in the bomb shelter bar in the Australian Embassy in Peking in 74. I was behaving in a natural Australian way. Two Australian businessmen attending the Peking Trade Exhibition pestered me about deputy prime minister, Dr Jim Cairns, being a pinko, leftie bastard. Jim was there to open the Australian exhibit and talk to the appropriate minister in the Chinese government about a North Korean debt owed to an Australian businessman for a wool shipment made some years before. I was Jim’s press secretary and the two drunk pests began assaulting me in the crowded bar. I defended myself and they fell over. I visited the toilet upstairs off the foyer.

Returning to the foyer I was accosted by our Hong Kong trade commissioner. “The ambassador has asked you to leave the embassy,” he said.

“Why?” I asked.

“The fisticuffs down in the bomb shelter.”

“No, fisticuffs,” I said.

“Are you going?” he asked.

“No,” I said.

He waved to the embassy guards and pointed to me, jacking the air with his thumb (it means get rid of him). I ran at them guessing that pretending I was clearing a ball from the back pocket (Australian Rules Football) would get me by them. I managed to pass them and descend the stairs, taking an aboriginal spear from the wall as I went. I found the ambassador, Stephen Fitzgerald seated at an alcove in the bar. He explained that he hadn’t asked me to leave the embassy.

I returned to the bar where a tall American joined me. “We’ve taken a vote,” he said, “and you leave the embassy.” See, it was as democratic as our detaining an Indian doctor. He didn’t tell me whether it was a secret ballot, or just a vote among those Americans present. This was George Bush, the senior representative of the US Liaison Office in China. They didn’t have an Embassy there but were riding on Australia’s coat tails, enjoying the co-operation of our Embassy.

“Sorry,” I said, “you’re an American telling an Australian to leave the Australian embassy.”

“You go,” he said. He moved as if to grab me but I reached behind him and ripped his leather coat from him (a cheap coat with weak seams) Many people descended on me and I only caught a glimpse of him at the bomb shelter exit. He was leaving the embassy, not me. Outside there was a sea of Chinese faces watching the future President descending to his car.

How do I know that this incident caused him so much trauma that military aggression became his pre-occupation? Well, a few years into his Presidency he visited Japan and as he approached the banquet table he saw a sea of Japanese faces observing him closely. It reminded him of the terrible failure he had suffered in the Australian Embassy and he vomited. He began invading small countries with all the acceptance military men have that force solves problems. And then he found Islam and was happy.

We found Islam, along with the Bush family, and we began suspending the rule of law, the principles of habeas corpus, and using detention without charge. The very same behaviour that the terrorists employ to aid their punishments. I didn’t mean to charge up his aggression. I wouldn’t have used force against him if I had known he was likely to become an unthinking warrior. That’s what I’ll tell my interrogators when they pester me about my motives and whether there was any group dedicated to inspiring the Bushes to military exploits. I can only say I didn’t know they would behave in that manner. I know it’s worse than giving a SIM card to a second cousin but then I didn’t even know he was going to be a President, just the way Mohamed Haneef didn’t know his second cousin’s brother was a terrorist.