Australia is on the frontline in the war on terror. Or so our little SAS commentariat likes to think. In fact, the case of terror suspect Mohamed Haneef shows the Howard government and the federal police utterly out of their depth. The Sydney Morning Herald’s David Marr explains:
“Geography was not one of my better subjects at school,” Detective Sergeant Adam Simms of the Joint Counter-Terrorism Team admitted to the prisoner in the sixth hour of the interrogation. “Bangalore, where’s that in relation to Pakistan?”
As good a reason as any for the Australian Federal Police to be so furious this week at the release of the transcript of the second interrogation of Mohamed Haneef, is the embarrassment the force will endure as the ignorance of the interrogators is displayed page after page. For 10 days detectives on three continents had been gathering whatever evidence they could find about the Gold Coast doctor, but Detective Simms had not opened an atlas.
He did not know where Liverpool was from London. The name Mysore meant nothing to him. It seems he’d never heard of Urdu. The ways of Skype were new to him: “I’m a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to this sort of thing.” His grasp of a doctor’s career paths was shaky. He had no clue what Muslims do in Ramadan. “OK,” he said when Haneef explained. “Excuse my ignorance, yeah.”
Calling all terrorists. This country is open for business.