Classic Ellis: The Usual Suspects, 2007

June, 2007

Within two days of the haughty Commons resignation of Tony Blair (‘I wish everyone, friend or foe, well. And that is that. The end’) his phlegmatic successor Gordon Brown gave hints he’d pull troops out of Iraq and was faced with a flooded Stratford-on-Avon, inundations and evacuations and fallen bridges over most of Britain and an attempt by terrorists to drive a car crammed with bombs into Glasgow Airport Passenger Terminal. Men in flames came out of it and fought with police but the ill-rigged car, a Jeep Cherokee, did not explode. Flights were cancelled and Gordon Brown and his new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, in office for only hours, announced measures to keep cinemas, theatres, restaurants, hotels, sporting venues, shopping centres, schools and hospitals ‘safe from terrorism’ and a one-bag rule on air journeys. One of the terrorists died of his burns and an Australian resident, his cousin Mohamed Haneef, a Gold Coast GP of dark-elfin appearance, was arrested and questioned by Federal police. And so it was, and so it went that the five-month Australian Federal Election campaign began.

It wasn’t by then a quiet week in Australian politics either. Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough after announcing an ‘intervention’ into the Northern Territory had sent army officers and police in khakis to ‘investigate’ child abuse, or alleged child abuse, by adult Aboriginal males in places called Mutitjulu, Imanpa, Apatula, Titjikala and Santa Teresa. A Palm Island Aboriginal man was found not to have been beaten to death in custody amid angry local protests. Gerard Henderson was appointed to a committee which would decide what Australian history was fit to be taught in schools. Morris Iemma and Nathan Rees announced, rejecting contrary advice, a desalination plant in Botany Bay. Floods overwhelmed Goulburn, Sale and most of East Gippsland. The Pasha Bulker, a container ship grounded off Nobby’s Beach, defied all efforts by the sleeplesss, bug-eyed Minister Joe Tripodi to refloat it. A Chinese man held in Villawood for two years and sent home to China was unsurprisingly tortured there and complained about it. John Laws announced his retirement. Mike Rann called the Northern Territory Intervention ‘John Howard’s Shock and Awe’.

Now read on.

Wednesday, 27th June, 2007, 4.50 p.m.

Writing in Jenny’s room in the late afternoon. Clear yellow light on the yellow walls and the hanging owl-puppet and Indonesian carvings. On PM last night Mal Brough outlined his reasons for what some black leaders have called ‘an invasion’ or ‘the Stolen Children revisited’. It’s neither, he said. It’s stabilising communities. It’s restoring normal life.

Mal Brough: You don’t get kids to school if at home at night all there is, is drunken rowdy fights and abuse and neglect, and if there’s no food in the stomach and there’s no shoes on the feet, there’s no chance of getting a child to school. Part of what we’re doing in the next two days in the first five communities . . . is to assess: are the police, are the schools, are the health services adequate? If they’re not, they have to be addressed.

Anne Barker: Minister Brough has acknowledged there are deep fears among some communities at the prospect of police and the army coming in. Some residents at Mutitjulu have reported women and children fleeing their homes in terror that police or soldiers are coming in to seize their children, or shoot their dogs. Minister Brough says he’s angry at such blatant lies.

Mal Brough: It is these very typical scaremongering tactics, standover bully-boy tactics and lies that some have perpetrated upon their people for too long to keep them scared of authority, to keep them in a state of desperation. It is essential that we have people in those communities as soon as we possibly can to reassure them and give them the security that they deserve from the authorities.

Howard claims no political motive for this but of course it’s a wedge Karl Rove could have designed. Claim it’s not racist persecution but saving children from repeated rape and you not only nail down the racist vote but pick up some Hillsong, feminist, whingeing Pom and ‘Concerned of Pymble’ votes, especially if the chosen invaders wear slouch hats and give the children lollies.

And even better than that Bob Collins, of course, is a Northern Territorian and a local Labor hero and a Federal Labor Senator, and he’s going on trial for pederasty soon for tampering with underage black boys, one of them Tom E. Lewis who played Jimmy Blacksmith; it fits. He’ll be on trial during the election; it fits. Labor doesn’t care about raped little black boys, they can plausibly say. They’re prepared to see them squashed and pleading for mercy under brutish fat Bob Collins. Vote for us.

And it may well work. Rudd is wedged and can only mumble qualified support. And the children will be told by their mothers to lie and fudge, or suffer a beating if they don’t. Breadwinners will be arrested, ‘kissing cousins’ locked up in faraway prisons and be soon found hanging from knotted blankets in their cells at sixteen.

And this is Australian hard-nosed politics today. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the rape inquiry. You send in the army to look up the anuses of eight-year-old girls. If they haven’t been abused by then well they are now, by you.

I just thought of an excellent name for Brough’s raiding army.

Arse-Prodders Without Borders.

Tuesday, 3rd July, 2007, 8.30 p.m.

A certain Dr Mohamed Haneef has been detained while trying to board a flight from Brisbane to India, his home country. He’s twenty-seven and a registrar at the Gold Coast Hospital, and thought to be connected in some way with the Glasgow terrorist incident. John Howard, asked by Chris Uhlmann what the fuck is going on, told PM:

‘A man has been taken into custody for questioning. And we should all respect that. We get a lot of lectures from people, including people from the media, about due process. I am making no allegations.’

He can be held, it seems, for only four hours. That time can be extended if a court permits it, for another twenty hours.

Australia’s threat level remains as it was.

Tonight on The 7.30 Report Ali Moore asked the Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty, what the link is to the car bombings in Glasgow.

Mick Keelty: Well, it’s not appropriate to discuss the evidence. One of the things I think that has been lost in some of the reporting today, and some of the commentary today, is that this is an investigation by the counter-terrorism command in the United Kingdom and what we are doing here in Australia is assisting that investigation.

Ali Moore: So how much longer are you seeking to question Dr Haneef?

Mick Keelty: Well, under the legislation we can seek up to twenty-four hours. That does not include what we call ‘dead time’. The dead time was specifically accounted for in the legislation for such a situation where we have a significant time difference between where the activity is here in our country and where the activity is in the other country.

Ali Moore: So you could hold him for a number of days then?

Mick Keelty: We could hold him for as long as a justice approves us to hold him.

Crispin Black, an English terror expert, says the attack was linked to the Blair-Brown changeover. They claimed they were from al-Qaeda, he said, but they’d only ‘adopted the label’. And they were too incompetent to be called, in Gordon Brown’s words, ‘terrorist masterminds’.

9.40 p.m.

Night in Jenny’s room, looking down at the light on the ferry wharf. The Howard-Ruddock era has come a long way. Where once you were presumed innocent and your guilt required proof, it’s now all smear, staining and low-key libel of everyone in the vicinity. An Afghan on a leaky boat is presumed to be a terrorist. The woman with him is presumed to be his accomplice, the child she is cradling presumed to be a kidnapped child, their cover. If you once met Osama bin Laden, you are somehow assumed to be (like David Hicks) involved or complicit in three thousand deaths in the toppling towers of New York. If you have thought a thing – committed adultery in your heart, as Jimmy Carter might say – you have, by these new rules, effectively done it, sinned in God’s sight under this new paranoid legislation. And to judge by Haneef’s arrest and unending incarceration (a photo of him in a posture of despair in the back of a police van moved many to his side) you need only now be related to someone who has done something bad – or has tried to do it and failed – and you are guilty of ‘terrorism’ too.

Steathily the concept of sin has come back. If you have sinned in your heart, hellfire awaits. And, on this present reading, damnation.

  1. Happy New Year to you Mr Bob Ellis and all the Lefties here that I occasionally read. It’s a good website that provokes me to comment occasionally.

    I wish you all a happy 2013 and promise to be magnanimous to you all when Labor is finally defeated and not sneer at your slovenly sad socialist selves when Tony Abbott is proclaimed your Sun God, your Emperor and your annointed Prime Minister.

    I raise my glass to you all. Be happy and of good cheer for you never know when your day is done or what sad fate may befall you.

    • Hippy New Year to you too, Frank, and as a somewhat less than illusioned left-leaning affiliate I look forward to seeing later in 2013 an unretouched i-snap of your mug with the eggs spread from furrowed brow to stubbled chin, per the outcome of electoral choices.

      Best wishes…

  2. Happy New Year to all.

    Even the unreconstructed deluded rightists. :lol:

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