Terror Australia, a play on the original and apt name of this great land ‘Terra Australis’ given that the Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced an increase in National Terrorism Public Alert System last week .
Seeing as to how Australia’s terror threat level has been raised from medium to high, I thought I’d highlight a few events which have threatened and/or killed in this country and Australians abroad..
According to the Sydney Morning Herald
Mr Abbott stressed that raising the terror threat level did not mean a terror attack was “imminent” but said it meant there are people in Australia with the “intent and capability” to carry out a terror attack.
The nation’s outgoing spy chief ASIO Director General David Irvine says an attack could manifest itself in a “Bali-style attack, although Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Friday that the agencies had not detected any “particular plots”.
Mr Abbott expressed confidence that the authorities are “smarter than terrorists and would be terrorists,” and would remain “one step ahead” of their malice.
He said it would “not make any difference to daily life” for the vast majority of Australians but it would mean “more security” at airports, ports, military bases, public buildings and large public events, including the upcoming AFL Grand Finals. But he said football fans should not be deterred from attending the games.
“Normal life in Australia can and must go on,” he said. “We want people to go about their normal lives and we certainly want to people to enjoy the football if their teams are lucky enough to be in the grand final,” he said.
Lone-wolf threat: Terror level increased, security
FEARS of “lone wolf’’ terror attacks on Australian soil, motivated and informed by social-media sites, have driven the rise in the national-security alert level to high, immediately sparking tighter security at major public events and government buildings.
The decision came after national-security agencies declared they were concerned about the threat posed by the number of Australians involved in, and returning from, the Islamic State terrorist assault on Syria and Iraq.
Young women are now among up to 70 Australians who have joined the jihad.
ASIO director-general David Irvine said the threat level had been increased because an attack was now much more likely: that could be a Bali-style bombing or an attack by a loner.
Authorities have become increasingly concerned about a lone terrorist slipping the security net. While organised plots tend to create “chatter’’ on telephone networks and the internet, lone actors are more difficult to detect because they do not necessarily communicate with others.
Agencies said extremist groups were actively looking to Australia and the region to recruit potential fighters and their main tool was social media.
Terra Australis hasn’t been ‘terror free’.
Hilton Hotel bombing.
At 12.40 am on February 13, 1978, a bomb exploded in a garbage bin outside the Hilton Hotel, Sydney. The blast killed two garbage collectors and a police officer.
It was the venue for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting (CHOGRM), a conference of government leaders from former British colonies. Twelve foreign leaders, including the then Indian prime minister Morarji Desai, were staying at the hotel at the time as part of the meeting.
I remember clearly how it put everyone into panic mode. In 1978 Australia was a pretty unknown quality in the world, still a forgotten colonial outpost which was in the process of growing and catching up with the outside world.
We grew up quickly that day and joined the World.
The worst terrorist attack to take place on Australian soil was attributed to Ananda Marga, a religious philosophy from India.
The group was also accused of being involved in a 1977 attack on an Indian diplomat in Canberra and the stabbing of an Indian airline worker in Melbourne a month later.
Three men, including one who served time for conspiracy to murder a Sydney neo-Nazi leader, were linked to the bombing by a 1982 coronial inquest, but were pardoned, released and awarded $100,000 each in compensation in 1985.
The real bombers have never been captured.
Sydney Turkish Consul General and his security attaché assassinated .
On 17 December 1980, Sydney Turkish Consul General Şarık Arıyak and his security attaché Engin Sever were gunned down by two people on motorcycles in Sydney. The Justice Commandos for the Armenian Genocide claimed responsibility for the assassination and despite a $250,000 reward offer by the Turkish Embassy, no charges were laid and their assassins remained at large.
Police said the attack was the result of a “long standing hatred against the Turkish people”. In the 1970s and 1980s, Turkish diplomats were considered the second-greatest security risk worldwide, after Americans.
The Consul General was attacked despite having taken precautions in the form of not travelling in the official consulate Mercedes Benz vehicle and instead being chauffeured in the trailing security attaché’s car.
In the same year
Bombing of the Israeli Consulate and the Hakoah Club in Sydney.
Just before Christmas in 1982 a bomb was detonated near the Israeli Consulate in Sydney, injuring two people.
Several hours later a bomb was found in a car parked outside the predominately Jewish Hakoah club at Bondi, but it failed to detonate properly.
The first bomb exploded about two o’clock in the afternoon at the Israeli Consulate in William Street. Two people were injured.
The second bomb was left in the boot of a Valiant sedan in the car-park of the Hakoah Club in Hall Street, Bondi. But the device failed to detonate properly.
There could have been carnage if the attack had gone to plan.
In June 2013, clearly in what is not a ‘cold case’, police announced they have a clear idea who carried out the bombings in Sydney 30 years ago and a joint state and federal police task force is following fresh leads.
A woman was involved in the purchase of the Valiant sedan used in the Hakoah Club bombing.
On the 14th of December, two male persons went to a car yard at Parramatta Road in the suburb of Burwood, where they negotiated the sale of a green Valiant sedan.
On the 22nd of December, a female, and this is another part of the developments here today, attended that particular car yard and paid the balance in monies for the green Valiant sedan.
Detective chief superintendent Wayne Gordon says police have also confirmed that the gas cylinders used came from the then State Rail Authority.
As yet, despite a huge reward offered, no one has come forward with information.
2002 & 2005
These two bombings did not happen on Australian soil but they were crimes perpetrated against Australians and the first clearly targetted Australians.
The 2002 Bali bombings occurred on 12 October 2002 in the tourist district of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali. The attack was the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of Indonesia or Australia, killing 202 people, of whom the largest portion (88) were Australians. A further 240 people were injured.
Various members of Jemaah Islamiyah, a violent Islamist group, were convicted in relation to the bombings, including three individuals who were sentenced to death. The attack involved the detonation of three bombs: a backpack-mounted device carried by a suicide bomber; a large car bomb, both of which were detonated in or near popular nightclubs in Kuta; and a third much smaller device detonated outside the United States consulate in Denpasar, causing only minor damage. An audio-cassette purportedly carrying a recorded voice message from Osama Bin Laden stated that the Bali bombings were in direct retaliation for support of the United States’ war on terror and Australia’s role in the liberation of East Timor.
On November 2008, the three men convicted of this heinous crime were executed by firing squad.
The 2005 Bali Bombing resulted in 20 deaths, with 4 being Australians.
Conspiracy to bomb.
Jack Roche is an Australian convicted on a charge of conspiring to commit an offence provided for by the Crimes (Internationally Protected Persons) Act 1976 to destroy an internationally protected building, the Israeli Embassy in Canberra, Australia.
A Muslim convert, Roche was convicted of conspiring to bomb the Israeli embassy in Canberra in 2000. The plan was never carried out.
In June 2004, he was sentenced to nine years in prison effective from 18 November 2002, when he was arrested. A non-parole period of 4½ years was fixed, and as such he was released on 17 May 2007. He had faced a maximum sentence of 25 years.
The Australian embassy car bombing took place on 9 September 2004 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
A one-tonne car bomb, which was packed into a small Daihatsu delivery van, exploded outside the Australian embassy in South Jakarta, killing 9 people including the suicide bomber, and wounding over 150 others.
It gutted the Greek Embassy on the 12th floor of an adjacent building, where three diplomats there were slightly wounded.
Damage to the nearby Chinese embassy was also reported. Numerous office buildings surrounding the embassy were also damaged by the blast, which shattered windows in buildings 500 metres (500 yd) away, injuring many workers inside, mostly by broken glass.
Plot to blow up nuclear facility.
The Telegraph UK reported:
Chilling details of an alleged plot by Islamist radicals to carry out a “catastrophic” terrorist attack in Australia emerged yesterday.
Police arrested 17 suspects during dawn raids involving 450 heavily armed policemen backed by helicopters. Authorities alleged that the suspects were members of a terrorist cell committed to “violent jihad” on Australian soil.
Eight men were arrested in Sydney and nine in Melbourne in the biggest counter-terrorism operation in Australia’s history, the culmination of 16 months of surveillance.
One of the Sydney suspects was shot in the neck and critically injured after he fired at police who ordered him to stop as he walked towards a mosque.
The nine members of the alleged Melbourne terror cell appeared in court, where prosecutors said they had carried out military training in the bush and had stockpiled chemicals capable of making bombs.
Holsworthy army base.
The Holsworthy Barracks terror plot was an Islamist terrorist plot which targetted Holsworthy Barracks—an Australian Army training area located in the outer south-western Sydney suburb of Holsworthy—with automatic weapons. They planned to infiltrate the base and shoot as many army personnel and others as possible until they themselves were killed or captured; but they were arrested before they could carry out their plan.
Five men connected with the Somali-based terrorist group al-Shabaab were arrested and charged in association with a terror plot. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd later said that the federal government had ordered a review of security at all military bases.On 6 August 2009, a Daily Telegraph reporter and photographer were charged with taking a photograph of a defence installation after gaining entry to the military base.
All five were identified as having attended the Preston Mosque, in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. They had later been attending the smaller prayer hall, , which is regarded by authorities as a key hub in Australia’s militant Islamist network. All five had been
According to police spokesmen, the suspects had been seeking a Muslim cleric willing to give a fatwa authorizing a jihad attack on an Australian military target.
At his arraignment, Wissam Mahmoud Fattal refused to rise for magistrate Peter Reardon, saying that he would not rise to his feet for anyone but Allah. Fattal was led from the courtroom shouting that Australia was killing innocent people in Afghanistan and Iraq and that
“you call us terrorists – I’ve never killed anyone in my life.”
Terror plots foiled
Former Attorney-General Robert McClelland said that Australia had disrupted four major terror plots since the 9/11 attacks on the United States, as he warned of a continued threat posed by home-grown extremists.
“Most Australians think that if we were to be attacked, it would probably be perpetrated by a foreign operative,”
“In fact, in the decade since 9/11, there have been four major terrorist plots disrupted in Australia. Thirty-seven of 38 people prosecuted for these acts have been Australian citizens, with 21 of the 38 born in Australia.”
McClelland did not detail the cases but they are believed to include that of Algerian-born Muslim cleric Abdul Nacer Benbrika who led a Melbourne terror cell which plotted to kill thousands.
In Sydney, five Muslim men were convicted in 2009 of conspiring to commit a terror attack using guns and explosives on an unknown target to protest against Australia’s part in the “war on terror.”
And in 2006, Pakistan-born architect and Australian citizen Faheem Khalid Lodhi was jailed after being found guilty of planning to blow up Sydney’s electricity grid.
More recently, three Australians with links to al-Shabab extremists in Somalia were accused of conspiring to attack Sydney’s Holsworthy army base.
McClelland said that more than 100 Australians have been killed in terror attacks overseas since the shocking events in the United States a decade ago, many in the 2002 bomb blasts at a Bali nightclub strip.
But he added advice from security experts was that the greatest threat to Australia was from home-grown extremism stating close work with the community could weaken the appeal of radical ideology.
“While the death of Osama bin Laden was an important milestone in the international fight against terrorism, we need to realize that al-Qaeda’s ability to adapt and change its leadership endures”.
“That’s why the government focus is both on strong counter-terrorism law enforcement measures but also on reducing the risk of home-grown terrorism,”
Listen to this on 2GB Talkback radio with Ray Hadley.
Aussies hail ‘war with West’
I post this entire article from the Australian as it’s behind a pay-wall
AUSTRALIAN members and supporters of Islamic State are framing their jihad as a war between Muslims and the West, while a Sydney-raised senior official of the extremist group’s al-Qa’ida rival is talking about joining the battle against the US and its allies.
The step-up in rhetoric came as Uthman Badar, a spokesman for extremist Islamic movement Hizb ut-Tahrir, described the US as “the enemy” and called Arab states “traitors” for supporting the expanded fight against Islamic State.
In the wake of US President Barack Obama’s announcement this week of his strategy to defeat Islamic State by expanding airstrikes in Syria and the arming of moderate groups there and in Iraq, Australian Islamic State fighter Abu Khaled told more than 900 Twitter followers to prepare to face the judgment of Allah.
The Weekend Australian last month revealed Khaled was believed to be a former Melbourne man of Fijian and Cambodian ancestry, and was the star of a yet-to-be-released propaganda video from the group.
“Your (sic) gonna answer for your 1440 minutes of daily living! Prepare the best you can for the day you face Al Haakim!” Khaled said in a post early yesterday. “May Allah keep us firm!”
Abu Sulayman, a former Sydney cleric born Mostafa Mahamed, who has become a senior official with the al-Qa’ida-backed Jabhat al-Nusra, said the US would leave “defeated” from Syria, and the region would never be the same.
“The US is playing an integral role in her own defeat,”
Sulayman said in an internet post early yesterday.
“It is a necessary stage before we witness victory. The undeniable truth is that after 9/11 awareness levels increased, and so did the numbers of mujahideen! The coming days will change everything in al-Shaam (greater Syria).”
Sulayman, who was last month featured “fighting” outside Aleppo in propaganda photographs released by the Jabhat al-Nusra, also said the US would “bleed her economy” in the war, “fighting Muslims all over the world, spending billions on security & anti-terrorism campaigns”.
If requested by the US, Australian war planes and SAS troops could also operate in Syria and Iraq to assist the fight against Islamic State. This raises the possibility of the military killing Australians who have joined the terrorist group.
One of those Australians, known as Abu Talib and based in the group’s de facto capital of Raqqa in northern Syria, joked on Twitter about Mr Obama saying there was nothing Islamic about the group. He said the “confused” President should be rejoicing, not going to war, if the group was not made up of Muslims — suggesting the intervention was a purely a battle against Islam.
He also shared a Twitter post that said the last major US intervention in the Middle East resulted in Islamic State’s predecessor being established.
Badar, whose group disputes the legitimacy of Islamic State’s caliphate, hit out at the US and its allies in the Arab states.
“Note how this ‘war on terror’ works: the greatest terrorist of them all, America, leads and all the thoroughly corrupt tyrants of the region follow. Together they will fight terror!” he said on his Facebook page.
“Let the traitors stand with the enemy. We stand with our Ummah (Islamic population), and the Ummah stands firmly against this intervention.”
From the Syrian port city of Latakia, Abdul Salam Mahmoud, a former member of Sydney’s “Street Dawah” proselytising movement, who is currently delivering aid, said he reactivated his social media accounts solely “to express my anger against the US and its gang in their recent plots against jihad”. Among the alumni of the same Street Dawah group is the most senior Australian member of Islamic State — terrorist recruiter and organiser Mohammed Ali Baryalei — along with two men killed in Syria this year: Ahmad Moussalli and Yusuf Ali.
“As the world unite 2 fight against Jihad, we have 1 thing to say ‘Never will a lion worry about the number of DOGS who gather to attack him’ .
The Sudanese-born Australian had told SBS’s Insight last month that he was not a supporter of Islamic State or Jabhat al-Nusra, but yesterday he posted that he supported jihad.