Raids in Australia one week, new law the next?

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On Thursday 18 September Australia's supposed largest counter-terrorism raid took place, it was the same week as Australian troops left for the 'Middle East' and is just days before new anti-terrorism legislation will be debated in parliament.

Tony Abbot says "all you need to do to carry out a terrorist attack is to have a knife, an iPhone and a victim.”

What do you need to carry out a terror raid?

The numbers:

  • 1 intercepted phone call
  • More than 800 police
  • 25 Sydney properties raided
  • 15 people arrested
  • 3 charged
  • 2 given bail on firearm offences
  • 1 person in custody

This was the result of Australia's allegedly largest counter-terrorism operation on Thursday 18th September. A raid that happened in a busy political time for the Australian government.

The timeframe:

  • August 5: Tony Abbot proposes extension of anti-terrorism and telecommunications metadata / surveillance laws
  • August 28: Labor senator Sue Lines told Fairfax Media the Prime Minister “is just using this (terrorism threats) as a shield to try and deflect from the awful mess they’re in with their budget”.
  • Sept 12: Tony Abbot raises Australia's terrorism alert level from Medium to High but says authorities don't believe a terrorist attack is imminent
  • Sept 15: Abbot announces Australia will send 600 troops to the 'Middle East'
  • Sept 16: troops begin departing
  • Sept 18: the raids
  • Sept 18: Australia Labor leaders support the raids, (no mention of the budget)
  • Sept 18: US Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated Australia for undertaking the raids, saying how they highighted the necessity for US actions against terrorism and the international support for the US
  • Sept 18: Abbot officially farewells air force personal going to 'Middle East'
  • Sept 21: Labor now looks set to back the anti-terror legislation
  • Sept 22 onwards: anti-terror legislation will be debated in parliament

The fall out:

  • Australian armed federal police will now be in charge of security at the Australian parliament
  • John Key has remarked that the “Australia teror raids show value of spying” He says, “we live in a complicated and risky world and we just need intelligence agencies to provide support for New Zealanders."
  • The Australian anti-terror legislation will probably flow quickly through parliament

And there is still one person in custody – 'charged with planning to kidnap and behead a random member of public'. (Is that a new offence?) How long will that person stay there before a court-case or the charges are dropped quietly?

Further reading:

http://www.indymedia.org.nz/articles/3109
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/19/sydney-dawn-counter-terrorism-raids-why-now-and-why-so-few-answers
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/09/20/pers-s20.html

Comments

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The ironic twist is that these counter terrorism raids took place just before the New Zealand Elections when John Key was under pressure from the book ''Dirty Politics' by Nicky Hagar and also Kid Dotcom's revelations of The 5 I's and our own GCSB. It certainly did not help Internet / Mana Party and I believe, in no small way, led to a low voting turnout, especially among Maori and younger ones.

Purely a coincidence one asks? I think Disabled, Maori, Poor and others have been affected. it certainly put the cat among the chickens to coin a phrase.. One hopes though this will highlight World Affairs is in our own back yard.

Doug Hay
Cordinator DLANZ

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