On September 12, 2014, the Federal Government of Australia raised its terror alert level to ‘high’ for the first time ever. The second highest of four levels, this suggested that a “terrorist attack is likely”.
I wasn’t greatly surprised to learn of the largest counter-terrorism raid in Australian history, which was conducted just days later. 800 officers from various government agencies raided 25 addresses in Sydney and Brisbane, detaining fifteen people over an alleged Islamic State-connected plot to conduct random public beheadings in Australian cities.
Naturally this news shocked the nation, and demanded a strong and swift response from Australia’s leading politicians. The terrorist raid also happened to occur on the same day as 600 Australian special-forces troops and support personnel flew to the UAE to prepare for an American-led campaign against IS militants in Iraq and Syria.
Many questions are being asked now about the raid and its outcome. Why were 800 police required to detain 15 people? Why, out of those 15 detained, were only two people charged (and only one, Omarjan Azari, charged with terrorist offences)? Media focus has however primarily centered around the alleged plot to publicly behead a random Australian, the alleged success of the raids which foiled this plot, and how the government is planning to protect the Australian people in light of these disturbing events.
According to some recent internet polls, my personal opinions on all this have me firmly at odds with the majority of Australians, with regard at least to this…
The poll at the bottom of this screenshot shows that 86.6% of people (who took this survey) think Australia requires new anti-terrorism laws. Well, it looks fairly certain that you’ll be getting them, but back to that shortly.
The top of the screenshot links to a baffling story about a woman who was stopped from taking a flight from Sydney to Dubai because she is the sister of notorious Australian terrorist Mohamed Elomar, and because she is listed by Australian Federal Police as a ‘person of interest’. My question is, why on earth was she PREVENTED from leaving? As a ‘person of interest’, and sister to an infamous and brutal terrorist, why is the Australian government doing all it can to keep her in Australia? Wouldn’t it be in the nation’s best interests to let her leave… and not let her back in?
I also wonder about the need for new, more stringent anti-terrorism laws. Our politicians and the mainstream media (who really should work out of the same offices for the sake of convenience) have informed us that ‘Operation Massive Overkill’ (or whatever the recent Sydney/Brisbane raids were called) was a resounding success. If so, why is it now vitally important to change the anti-terror laws?
I have a lot of questions about this whole thing. For some reason, it just doesn’t quite make sense to me. And now… a quick segue.
Does anyone remember the ‘Children Overboard‘ debacle? For non-Australians, I’ll briefly explain.
In 2001, a month before a Federal election, the Australian public were horrified to learn that some illegal ‘boat people’ had, in their desperate attempt to reach the lucky country, purposely committed unimaginable acts against THEIR OWN CHILDREN!
The Australian corporate media went into hyper-drive. A boatload of barbaric, inhuman monsters (from some barbaric heathen country – it didn’t really matter which) had thrown their offspring into open seas in an attempt to force the Australian Coastguard to rescue them all, thereby offering asylum in Australia rather than having their rickety boat forced back to wherever it had come from.
Then incumbent Prime Minister John Howard promised the nation that he (and his coalition government) would stop the dangerous scourge of boat people invading Australia and threatening… well, I don’t know. How a few desperate refugees in boats (and they are just a tiny proportion of the number of people streaming into Australia, no matter what you might have been told) can be a threat in any way to Australians or the Australian way of life is a mystery to me.
Anyway, on the back of the government’s perceived strong stance on border control, combined with the sensationalist fear-mongering media reports surrounding the Children Overboard affair, the government won the election with an increased majority.
The media was somewhat more subdued just after the election, in its reportage of the fact that the ‘Children Overboard’ thing NEVER HAPPENED, and that the members of the government who originally propagated the story had had full knowledge that it NEVER HAPPENED. Yes, there had been a boat, and yes the boat sank. People throwing their children into the sea was, on the other hand, complete bullshit. The story however helped the federal government to win the election, gain more seats in parliament and also push through tough new immigration and border protection laws with increased public support.
Of course, things like this happen frequently. It never seems to matter so much after the fact however that, to give just one example (which had massive consequences for millions of people), there were no weapons of mass destruction.
I contend that this is happening again right now in Australia. This time it’s not about winning an election, but it is about giving increased power to the police and military (in the name of national security) and the tactics are basically the same. Create a climate of fear and mistrust among the people in order to enforce stricter controls over the people and their movements (often laughably in the name of ‘freedom’, or something as intangible as the ‘Australian way of life’), and all with the peoples’ willing support.
I’m not suggesting that there wasn’t a phone call (that’s right… Australia’s largest ever anti-terror raid was carried out because of an “alleged” phone call, between two men already under surveillance). Also, I’m not suggesting that these men and their shadowy colleagues are innocent.
There is the small matter however… of this.
That’s right. It appears that during the phone call in question there was no specific mention of beheading at all. The public outrage over public beheadings on Australian streets was deliberately fostered by the corporate media, and validated by the “assumptions” of intelligence officials and carefully worded repetitions of these assumptions as supposed factual evidence by the Australian Prime Minister and other high ranking politicians.
Lets assume now that these two men and their co-conspirators were indeed planning random, public, videotaped beheadings of Australian citizens, as the unnamed intelligence officers have assumed. Without solid evidence, why was it so necessary to horrify the Australian public with shocking imagery directly related to the recent high-profile videos released by ISIS depicting the beheading of western civilians from America and the UK?
Ah yes. Fear and hatred among the masses equals power and money among the very few.
Now with the sudden and terrifying rise of IS, Islamophobia is spreading once again (of course) throughout Australia and the western world.
Blindly believing hysterical corporate media hype, carefully calculated to validate various political decisions from above, is absurd and dangerous. The idea that Muslims, on the whole, are terrorists or have the potential to become terrorists, is as ridiculous as the notion that Christians, on the whole, are members (or potential members) of the KKK or the Westboro Baptist Church.
I can say from personal experience that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are no different from anyone else, in that they simply want to live in peace and make a better life for their children.
In case you are wondering… yes (as some of you who know me may point out), I live in the Middle East. No, I’m not a Muslim, nor am I a Muslim apologist. There are good and bad people in every country and of every faith. This article is not about religion though. It is about a seeming absence of critical thought in modern society.
I urge you, fellow Australians… be careful what you wish for. The Prime Minister wants to change the rules, and surely he’ll get his way this time, but these legislations that can be drafted and enacted with such apparent ease are far more difficult to have taken from the books.
The leaders of the world’s most powerful nation have, arguably, been pitting the American public against each other for generations. Australia appears to be rapidly heading in the same direction. I don’t have anything against Americans as people. I have a lot of American friends. I don’t however want to come from a country in which the public schools are furnished with mine resistant armoured vehicles and grenade launchers.
It’s a slippery slope, I fear.