Miranda Devine has come to the defence of retiring AFP chief Mick Keelty. Miranda sees the need to defend him because…
Keelty was derided this week as a “courtier cop”, “egotistical” and as “mocked” reportedly by unnamed government ministers, no doubt of the Socialist Left.
What is it with Teh Left and deriding and mocking?
You see, according to Devine, Keelty did good things for Australia (true enough) but “mistakes were made” regarding Mohamed Haneef and the Bali Nine cases. And — catch this — those mistakes were “trivial by comparison with the security benefits of his reign”. Trivial! Try telling that to Dr Haneef and the Australians now serving life sentences in Indonesian prisons.
Miranda’s argument seems to be that Australians should accept “trivial” threats to their liberties and rights because it’s a small price to pay to “[push] terrorism down the threat list”. And what example does Devine use to prove her case? Why, the Herald Sun‘s favourite MCG Terror Threat beat-up.
Last September a Muslim cleric born in Algeria and living in Melbourne, Abdul Benbrika, 48, and six followers were convicted of being part of a terrorist cell that planned an attack in 2005. Prosecutors alleged the men had talked about attacking the MCG on Grand Final Day.
The Hun loves this story because it really hits readers where it hurts: football. The thing is, there was never a scrap of credible evidence led in court that Benbrika and his associates had picked the AFL grand final as a target. One prosecution witness said it, and then that same witness was so thoroughly discredited during cross-examination that the judge warned jurors that it would be “dangerous” to convict anyone on the basis of this witness’ evidence. When the men were arrested they were in possession of precisely zero explosives equipment and the terrorists’ equivalent of pocket change in cash. Were Benbrika and co. a future threat? Possibly. Were they an imminent threat? No. Does this stop the Hun and Miranda from trotting out the tired old “Grand Final Terror” line? No.
But such is the current climate that when the Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, praised the police taskforce for “the most successful terrorist prosecution that this country has seen”, he was howled down by a toxic combination of civil rights groups, defence lawyers and an opportunistic Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull.
And the judge, Miranda. McClelland made the above comment during the trial, which any grade eleven legal studies student can tell you is a really dumb thing to do. Justice Bongiorno said the comment was unnecessary and said it had the potential to cause problems with the trial.
Defend Keelty all you like but don’t diminish his mistakes in the process. And try to get across the facts of court cases before you use them to bolster your argument.