29 July 2007

Killing what we stand for to save what we stand for

Last week a beautiful and venerable line of roadside trees was cut down on order of our state roads department because some years ago a drunk drove into a tree, and trees are 'unforgiving'.

The tree-cut made headlines because it occurred where people with high profiles (and high property prices) live. Only a few months ago close to where I live the same thing happened, though it made no news at all.

Mohammed Haneef is lucky. Australians in numbers have been vociferously revolted by the sliminess of the government's actions - but we knew something about what was going on, even if we got served many wild stories about him. But for our society's openness, Haneef might have been how many people locked up for how many suss reasons in how many places today?

There is much written now about Australia's 'Keystone Cops', but they are under tremendous pressure to pull terrorists out of hats. Not in the headlines are:
  • The role of the media in crying Terrorist!
  • The craven lack of criticism by the Opposition due to their fear of being seen as 'soft'
  • The increase of powers that has happened - abacadabra! - during this episode
The fear of being seen as 'soft' is what got the Iraq mess started.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
Maintaining our Perspective by High Court (Australia) Justice Michael Kirby

The tricky problem of defining terrorism by Ben Golder and George Williams, University of New South Wales Law Journal

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