Policing the neighbourhood, Australia’s new para-military police

Part 2, (see part 1 here).

Published on WSWS.org, by Mike Head, 28 September 2007.

The AFP and the Honiara riots

The real face of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) as a para-military arm of Canberra’s neo-colonial policy has nowhere been more graphically demonstrated than in the Solomon Islands …

… The AFP was also centrally involved in the Howard government’s ultimately unsuccessful operation to frame-up Indian Muslim doctor, Mohammed Haneef, on terrorism charges. Haneef was detained for nearly two weeks without trial, and then stripped of his visa to block his release. Amid lurid media claims of a “doctors’ jihad network”—obviously fed by prejudicial police and government leaks—Prime Minister Howard and leading ministers declared that his arrest was a wake-up call to Australians that terrorists could strike on home soil.

Within three weeks the case collapsed. It emerged that prosecutors, acting on AFP information, had wrongly told a court that Haneef’s former mobile phone SIM card was found in the jeep that rammed into Glasgow airport in late June. Haneef’s lawyers released the transcripts of two AFP interviews with their client, providing a devastating picture of the AFP’s modus operandi: false, unsubstantiated and highly damaging allegations had been levelled against an innocent man and peddled to the media and the courts (see “Haneef police transcript exposes Australian government’s ‘terrorist conspiracy’ claims”).

The entire witchhunt was aimed at drumming up new public fears of terrorism in advance of the federal elections, due by the end of this year. As well, its aim was to justify the battery of unprecedented powers, such as detention and interrogation without trial, wide-ranging definitions of terrorism, the executive banning of organisations, semi-secret trials and the outlawing of urging support for resistance to Australian military interventions, handed to the AFP and its intelligence partner, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), since 2002.

Taken together, the scope and scale of the AFP’s ‘new paradigm of policing’ amounts to the erection of the scaffolding of a police-state within Australia along with the para-military enforcement of Australian strategic and corporate interests throughout the region. (full text).

Link: Protests in Aboriginal communities as Australian parliament passes military takeover bills

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