Used to jail people who are not terrorists!
The August 24 Sydney Morning Herald had as its front page headline: “Mystery path from architect to terrorist”. It is indeed a mystery if Lodhi’s guilt is assumed. But the evidence against Lodhi is unconvincing, and not the kind that would normally be regarded as “beyond a reasonable doubt”. It is more likely that Lodhi is not a terrorist.
While Justice Anthony Whealy, who handed down the draconian sentence, believes that Lodhi is a terrorist, he is still “mystified” at Lodhi’s transformation from a “laissez-faire” Muslim to one with extremist views. But Lodhi has himself said that fundamentalists have distorted Islam and that he doesn’t hold such views. He has also testified that “killing innocent people is not part of Islam”.
The judge was relying on the contents of a CD-ROM of extremist material found at Lodhi’s home and played in the courtroom to dramatic effect. Lodhi denied ever having seen it before. It is possible it was planted by ASIO or the federal police, two organisations which are highly motivated to secure convictions and which may consider it ethical to plant evidence to secure a conviction if they believe their suspect is guilty and dangerous.
The judge accused Lodhi of “not renouncing his intention to prepare an attack”. But how could he if he had no terrorist intentions in the first place?
The assumption of Lodhi’s guilt in some circles can be explained by the need to find a scapegoat. As in the witch-hunts of old, and in the McCarthyist era, people’s fears can be partly exorcised by the arrest of scapegoats, who are then demonised.
Lodhi has been convicted on the basis of alleged future intentions. No actual plans for any terrorist act have been uncovered. The evidence of those intentions is weak: openly inquiring about the prices of certain chemicals in an office environment; buying two diagrams of the electricity grid; and possessing recipes for amateur explosives and one for invisible ink copied down years earlier from a juvenile “anarchist” website.
Whealy concluded that Lodhi must have been going to bomb the electricity grid, even though the diagrams he had bought would have been useless. Lodhi, an entrepreneurial type, said he wanted a wall and desk map to promote one of his business schemes — exporting electrical generators to his native Pakistan. Family and friends confirmed Lodhi’s discussion with them of his plans.
Likewise, they confirmed his discussion of plans to export detergents for tanneries in Pakistan, a country with a big leather industry. He had enquired about prices for some chemicals, the same ones which could have been used as ingredients for explosives. The prosecution accused Lodhi of wanting to make urea nitrate, and brought in an explosives expert to describe to the jury what would happen if urea nitrate was exploded in the court room. But Lodhi never acquired any chemicals, nor did he have any equipment for making explosives.
The notes, from the website, were written on 15 pages torn from an exercise book. They were described by the prosecution as a “terrorist manual”. Lodhi’s lawyer characterised them as “unsophisticated” and more like a “boy’s own” spy kit. Lodhi said he copied them down out of curiosity at the time, and then forgot about them. Many young males do get excited about the idea of home-made “bombs”, but that doesn’t make them terrorists.
The jury was deadlocked, unable to come to a verdict for more than a week. This indicates that evidence that Lodhi was a terrorist was not clear “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Whealy sent the jury back to get a unanimous verdict. In such a pressure-cooker situation justice can be compromised. Juries are also influenced by the prevailing political climate which, since 9/11 and the federal government’s “war on terror”, has made many a lot more worried about terrorists and terrorism.
In Lodhi’s case, this has meant that the threshold of what constitutes “beyond reasonable doubt” has been lowered to an alarming degree. Justice and civil rights are the victims of this “war on terror” in which the government and security agencies benefit politically from convicting supposed terrorists. It is likely that Lodhi’s conviction and sentencing demonstrates, as in the Thomas case, that terror laws are being used to jail people who are not terrorists.
[Colin Mitchell is an activist in the Melbourne-based group Civil Rights Defence.]
From Green Left Weekly, August 30, 2006.
Professor George Williams says
University of New South Wales law expert Professor George Williams says the matter could be tested in the High Court.
He says the case will reduce people's confidence in the justice system.
"The fact that a jury is not involved, the fact that the criteria are loaded against the person because the standard of proof is significantly lower than it would normally be, mean that even though a judge, I have no doubt, will attempt to give a fair hearing and do his or her best - doesn't matter," he said.
"You've got the system stacked against someone.
"This is not a normal process and indeed that's exactly the problem with it."
Caught questions extra Lodhi charges?
A Supreme Caught fudge in Sydney has questioned whether convicted scapegoat Faheem Khalid Lodhi should be convicted over additional charges.
The decision on whether the Barwon 13 case should proceed to trial is likely to be handed down tomorrow afternoon or Monday morning.
Civil Rights Defence believes these men are unable to receive a fair trial because the laws that they are charged under are unjust and contravene human rights - they are charged with ‘thought crimes’.
Eleven to be convicted on scapegoat charges
Eleven Melbourne men have been committed to stand convicted on scapegoat related charges.
Draconian scapegoat orders 'stacked against' Thomas
A constitutional law expert says the system is stacked against Melbourne man Jack Thomas.
'Control order' should frighten all Australians
Greens Senator Kerry Nettle today condemned the issuing of a 'control order' to Jack Thomas by the Attorney General Phillip Ruddock and renewed The Greens call for this arbitrary power to be removed from law.
Australia: The torture of Jack Thomas
Given the High Commissioner’s role and the reference to “high places,” there is every indication that the Australian government sanctioned these abuses. What is indisputable is that, acting on its behalf, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions sought to secure convictions that depended entirely upon the completely unreliable statements that Thomas made in his desperation to stop the beatings, avoid being sent to Guantánamo Bay and be allowed to go home.
Jack Thomas served with control order
‘Anyway who cares about civil liberties should be outraged at this decision. We hear about authoritarian governments putting people under house arrest in Burma – well, now it’s happening right here in Australia!’
QLD errorism suspect prepares bail application?
Appearing via video link today for a mention, Amundsen regularly spoke over the magistrate, saying he wanted to make another bail application because he now has technical information to prove that the devices in his home were not bombs.
Lodhi gets 20 years for thought crime?
But what effect of what bombing attack? Thought crime attacks cause no vicitims or I might add no real threat to anyone! More fear has been created by the authorities baseless charges of crimes that were never committed and by the parrot press screaming out terrorist.
Amendments to proposed anti-terrorism/liberty directives have been dismissed in the Western Australian Parliament.
Convicted attention seeker Jack Roche called by afp as informant
A convicted 'attention seeker' Jack Roche now an afp informant has given hearsay evidence at the committal hearing for 13 men facing [alleged] terrorism charges in Melbourne.
American Concentration Camp located at Guantanamo Bay
The American Concentration Camp located at Guantanamo Bay must be closed. Let the people go free. Pardon them. Show them Christian charity. Stop this evil.
Lodhi lawyer welcomes Thomas appeal win
Perhaps the abc should get another Walkley award?????????????????????
If they were any tougher they'd Rust!
Tougher terrorism laws predicted after Thomas ruling?
A top defence lawyer says he is concerned the Government might push for tougher anti-terrorism laws as a result of the quashing of convictions against Melbourne man Joseph Terrence Thomas.
abc 18 Aug 06
Judge quashes Thomas conviction
This is fantastic news. Congratulations to Jack and the Thomas family! It is a vindication of everyone prepared to fight for basic rights -- and makes the bus trip all the more important. We're in the process of putting a press release out. Good news for a change!
Prosecution playing 'dirty tricks' in terrorism trial
The defence lawyers for Melbourne's 13 terrorism suspects have accused the prosecution of playing dirty tricks.
The prosecution today played a taped conversation between defendants Shoue Hammoud and Bassam Raad in which the prosecution alleges Raad suggests the authorities that put other members of their group in jail need to be slaughtered.
But in a heated volley of legal argument, defence lawyers said the reference to slaughter instead refereed to Raad's fears about what could happen to his friends in jail.
The defence lawyers said the prosecution was trying to drum up outrageous headlines to excite the media and to compound the fear being peddled in the Australian community.
The defence lawyers said the prosecution should just get on with the evidence.
ABC 18 Aug 06
Court hears fishing expedition letter 'referred to sacrifices to a cause'
The letter reads: "My love, How I miss you already? What would I ever do if we were separated for more than a day? Inshallah I will never find out. May the only cause for our separation be the cause of Allah. And may he grant me paradise alongside you as queen of your Hoor." [kiss, kiss, kiss, hug]
Faheem Lodhi - another non-terrorist jailed under Australia's 'anti-terror' laws?
Jack Thomas, a non-terrorist, has been jailed under Australia's anti-terror laws. Now Faheem Lodhi has been convicted under the terror laws on flimsy, circumstantial evidence. It is likely he is another non-terrorist jailed for political purposes under the terror laws.
Terrorism scapegoat was kidnapped, court hears
The Melbourne Magistrates Court has heard a man charged with [allegedly] directing a terrorist organisation was kidnapped last year.
The court was told Abdul Benbrika alleged in a conversation recorded by police that he was questioned and hit during an abduction which lasted about six hours.
The defendant did not indicate who was responsible for the alleged kidnapping.
Magistrate Paul Smith heard police initiated an internal investigation into the alleged kidnapping, but it was dropped after numerous efforts to contact Benbrika.
HoWARd's abc 15 August 2006
Magistrate allows AK-47 photo to prejudice scapegoat trial
No doubt that the magistrate seeks to incorporate the media throughout the proceedings of these innocent men because of a lack of concrete evidence and just so they can be used as scapegoat's for hoWARd's war on terror.
Former medical student to stand trial in kangaroo court!
Lawyers for the 23-year-old argue the charge is not constitutionally valid because they say the laws cannot cover alleged acts committed on foreign soil which do not have an Australian connection.
Student loses bid for High Court hearing
Lawyers for the 23-year-old argue the charge is not constitutionally valid because they say the laws cannot cover alleged acts committed on foreign soil which do not have an Australian connection.
Attorney General Ruddock is Oddball over anti-terrorist laws!Attorney
Attorney General Ruddock attacks different laws.
Have the 13 Muslim men arrested under Australia's new anti-terror laws been subjected to Guantanamo Bay-style conditions? It's an allegation being made by Civil Rights Defence
Major Michael Mori writes re David Hicks
The US Supreme Court has ruled the special Guantanamo trials illegal. An acceptable solution from the Americans is likely years away and our Government has run out of excuses not to act. Nearly 40,000 Australians have put their name to the Open Letter calling for David Hicks to be repatriated. I hope you'll join us now by clicking on the link:
International Protest Day calls for the end of Guantánamo Bay
Judges weigh 'Joseph Thomas's' appeal! Get your facts right!
What would she have imposed for stealing a passport?
Joseph Thomas conviction immoral
AN EMBARRASSING conviction based on TORTURE IMMORAL
Standardising terrorism in the prison population?
Try giving us hope, access to our communities, a sense of caring by the outside community. And letting us out to make restitution instead of building festering anger.
Scapegoats accused 'exploited' by guberment prostitutor
The rest of the prisoners had to stay in jail in AA maximum security segregted with no contact with human people in a box within a box with no fresh air or sunlight with the worst of the worst offenders.
Jury indicated it could not reach a verdict, but was ordered to push on?
These charges were that he collected maps of the Australian electricity supply system in preparation of a terrorist act (15 years), BUT WITH NO DETAILS ABOUT THE PREPARATION ACCEPT MATERIAL TO SUPPORT THOUGHT CRIME? that he sought information on chemical prices for the use of explosives for a terrorist act (life), BUT NO SOUND EVIDENCE ABOUT WHETHER THE CHEMICALS WERE GOING TO BE PURCHASED OR USED FOR THE USE OF EXPLOSIVES OR A TERRORIST ACT and that he possessed a document with information on the manufacture of poisons and bombs in preparation for a terrorist act (15 years). THAT HE LIKE MANY OTHERS MAY HAVE DOWNLOADED FROM THE INTERNET WHICH IS NOT ILLEGAL USUALLY?
A dangerous precedent: Australian man convicted of “preparing terrorism”
Since 2001, the government has seized upon the “war” declared by US President George Bush for both domestic and international purposes. Under the guise of combating terrorism it has participated in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, diverted attention from mounting economic and social problems at home and legitimised previously unthinkable police state-style measures, including semi-secret trials, “preventative” detention and the ability to impose life sentences without any evidence of an actual terrorist act.
Secret evidence used in Australian “terrorist” trial
Lodhi was bundled into the court building in shackles, in full view of the media. The display was intended to convey the impression that he is a violent and highly dangerous individual. Like several other Muslim men charged with terrorist offences in Australia over the past year, Lodhi has been denied bail and held in virtual solitary confinement in a “super max” prison, cut off from family and friends. Under state and federal “counter-terrorism” laws, the traditional presumption in favour of bail has been scrapped. It will only be granted in “exceptional circumstances”. On receiving a confidential affidavit from the Commonwealth, Magistrate Michael Price imposed a number of secrecy orders despite vigorous objections by lawyers for Lodhi and by media organisations. The orders mean that the affidavit itself will remain suppressed, and the media is barred from disclosing even the general nature of the material relied upon in it.
Merry Christmas Mr Kent and Mr Haddara
After and ASIO fishing expedition they were charged last month with knowingly belonging to a Melbourne-based terrorist group, that did not exist.
ASIO raid family home
This is an assault on civil liberties, for all Australians - on the eve of Human Rights Day 2005 that marks the day in 1948, that the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Shame hoWARd shame on you!
Tight security impedes scapegoat case
Indymedia has learnt this includes a bank account his supporters say was set up to fund legal representation for Muslims facing any kind of legal action. The prosecution is understood to allege the money was intended for terrorist purposes.
Some evidence is prejudicial to national insecurity
It has been previously reported that he is facing nine charges and is accused of planning a major terrorist attack on Sydney defence sites and the electricity grid using downloads off the internet and having 100 rolls of toilet paper to wipe his arse after low level bombs and farts. Shit!
Terrorism suspects' custody conditions 'inhumane'
"This treatment is very cruel and inhumane and what I've put forward to the Premier Morris Iemma to intervene and put an end to this scandal," he said.
DPP should lose the plot!
Now why would the DPP do that? Based on some notion I suppose, that john hoWARd (the hangman) wants to use Thomas's butt again, to raise the fear stakes in the introduction of the new Anti-Liberty-Dissent Directives!
Things and places identified
He said Mulahalilovic worked as a handyman, lived with his wife, parents and brother and, with the help of family members, could provide around $1 million security to ensure his freedom until trial.
Dangerous handyman terror threat?
But the only mother of SATAN here is John HoWARd and his new Ant-Terrorism Bill!
Terror suspects 'kept in dark'
"They're all kept in solitary confinement, they're kept in Guantanamo Bay style conditions and they're very oppressive," he said.
What are the dangerous chemicals police found when they went fishing?
If police say they were making bombs when they were painting motor vehicles then the only terrorist act that wasn't prevented was when police went on a fishing expedition.
Man shot by police in fishing raids
But there is no such thing as an independent investigation team in NSW because police investigate themselves and cannot be relied upon ever.
ASIO fishing expedition makes arrests
Are you satisfied truthseeker? Well I'm not this is just another public relations exercise that no one can prove. But trust us we know best?
hoWARd, ruddock, ellison, keelty and news ltd plotted chaos
Now they go on in the article to describe themselves as intelligence officials? But I'm sorry to say that any group of people who ask another group of people to believe what they believe based on no evidence is amongst the most unintelligent and lost group of people the world has ever known.
Houses raided over 'possible' political attack plans?
"Furthermore, nothing is reasonable about a raid on people's homes because for an alleged possibility. For those sorts of enquiries one should approach a 'soothsayer' and if you get the all clear only then should they approach people via the front door with the appropriate warrant to search one's home. A warrant based on concrete evidence that has been filtered by a juge or magistrate of the court to see whether the material is frivolous or vexatious."
If he'd been given his passport he'd be a free man
During his trial Mr Mallah's defence counsel said he was only trying to sustain the media spotlight when he sold details of his plans to an undercover officer posing as a journalist.
Melbourne man charged over ASIO links
Apparently this victim will appear before the Melbourne Magistrates Court later today and hopefully he won't be sent to the nearest "AA" Super-max prison for "social isolation" just in case ASIO aren't telling us the truth!
Australian prisoners' linked to Bin Laden: Ten News
Hatzistergos: "For example, because of a perceived risk that they may engage in, or incite other persons to engage in, terrorist activities."
Terrorist prisoners held in a "box within a box" with no "fresh air or sunlight" at Goulburn HRMU may incite alleged terrorists in Long Bay to blow up Long Bay Prison's Twin Towers?
Andrew Sullivan and the Tortued Truth
Mr. Habib said he was taken to a room with hooks on the wall and a barrel, set sideways like a roller, on the floor. His arms were stretched out, he said, and each wrist was handcuffed and fastened to a hook on the wall. By his description, the only way not to be left hanging was to stand on the barrel; an electric wire ran through it. Mr. Habib said he believed the interrogators in that room were Pakistani.
Mr. Habib said that when he refused to confess to being part of a 1995 terror plot, one man turned on the current. He lifted his feet to avoid the shock, he recalled, and he was suspended from the wall.
"I lost everything," he said.
Colin Mitchell via sam