Terrorism Hype Backfires

The detention and subsequent charging of an Indian-born doctor, Mohamed Haneef, under draconian anti-terrorism laws has turned into a PR nightmare for the Australian government. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) charged Haneef with providing support to a terrorist organization, claiming that he had provided a mobile phone SIM card to a relative who had it with him when he recently crashed his car into Glasgow airport terminal. The AFP subsequently conceded that the SIM card was with another relative hundreds of kilometers away at the time of the airport attack. Subsequently, Rupert Murdoch-owned News Limited publications claimed, based on anonymous government and police sources, that the AFP were investigating the possibility that Haneef's holiday photos of a beachside apartment tower were gathered as part of a "conspiracy to launch a terror attack in Australia". AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty subsequently issued a statement that "there has been significant misreporting on many aspects of this case."