How not to find the bad guys

The Australian Federal Police today announced that they have spent $8.2 million on the fruitless investigation into “terror” suspect Mohamed Haneef. Yet another debacle in the never-ending “war on terror.”

Not unlike this alarming case in the UK:

A masters student researching terrorist tactics who was arrested and detained for six days after his university informed police about al-Qaida-related material he downloaded has spoken of the “psychological torture” he endured in custody.

Despite his Nottingham University supervisors insisting the materials were directly relevant to his research, Rizwaan Sabir, 22, was held for nearly a week under the Terrorism Act, accused of downloading the materials for illegal use. The student had obtained a copy of the al-Qaida training manual from a US government website for his research into terrorist tactics.

The case highlights what lecturers are claiming is a direct assault on academic freedom led by the government which, in its attempt to establish a “prevent agenda” against terrorist activity, is putting pressure on academics to become police informers.

The brutality and pointlessness of this kind of action will become clearer in years to come. Muslim anger will manifest itself in ways that should surprise none of us. Of course, the US government does know a few things about funding and supporting terrorism.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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