View Full Version : Australia Gets Its 'Turn' In 'Terrorist' Threat

Peter Lemkin
08-04-2009, 07:16 AM
I'll be interested to see how this plays-out [real or provocation]......
COUNTER-TERRORISM raids in Melbourne have "disrupted a terrorist attack that could have claimed many lives," the nation's most senior police officer said this morning.

Melbourne terror raids
A plot to launch a suicide attack on an Australian Army base by Islamic extremists has been thwarted.

Four men - all Australian citizens - were arrested this morning as federal and state police, armed with search warrants, swooped on members of the suspected terror cell this morning in the second-largest counter-terrorism operation in the nation's history.

Those arrested included a 26-year-old Carlton man, a 25-year-old Preston man, a 25-year-old Glenroy man and a man, 22, from Meadow Heights.

About 400 police raided homes in the northern Melbourne suburbs of Glenroy, Meadow Heights, Roxburgh Park, Broadmeadows, Westmeadows, Preston and Epping. They also raided homes at Carlton in inner Melbourne and Colac in southwestern Victoria.

“Police will allege that the men were planning to carry out a suicide terrorist attack in a defence establishment within Australia involving an assault with automatic weapons,” said AFP Acting Commissioner Tony Negus.

Mr Negus said the counter-terrorism operation was the culmination of a 7-month joint investigation with Victoria Police, ASIO, NSW Police and the NSW Crime Commission.

He said it was a “massive physical and electronic surveillance operation”.

Of the four men arrested, Mr Negus said some were of Somali descent and others were of Lebanese backgrounds.

A series of other men are being spoken to in relation to the alleged terror cell and police have not ruled out further arrests today.

“Potentially, if this had been able to be carried out, it would have been the most serious terrorist attack on Australian soil,” Mr Negus said.

Mr Negus alleged that the men were planning on obtaining a Fatwa, or religious order, that would have allowed them to carry out the attack.

The four men, currently in custody at the AFP headquarters in Melbourne, are expected to be charged with a range of terror-related offences under Howard Government’s Australian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2005.

Victoria’s Chief Police Commissioner Simon Overland said police will allege in court that the group men had been planning to enter a military base and undertake and an attack using semi-automatic weapons. He also alleged that members of the group were involved in an Islamic insurgency in Somalia.

In a police statement of facts that is expected to be tendered in court later today, it will be alleged that the group had conducted reconnaissance at the Holsworthy Army Barracks in Western Sydney and had engaged in suspicious activity at other bases.

Authorities believe the group is at an advanced stage of preparing to storm an Australian Army base, using automatic weapons, as punishment for Australia's military involvement in Muslim countries. It is understood the men plan to kill as many soldiers as possible before they are themselves killed.

Members of the group have been observed carrying out surveillance of Holsworthy Barracks in western Sydney and other suspicious activity around defence bases in Victoria.

Electronic surveillance on the suspects is believed to have picked up discussions about ways to obtain weapons to carry out what would be the worst terror attack on Australian soil.

The cell has been inspired by the Somalia-based terrorist movement al-Shabaab, with two Melbourne men, both Somalis, having traveled to Somalia in recent months to obtain training with the extremist organisation, which is aligned with al-Qa'ida.

One of those men has already returned to Melbourne. The other is still in Somalia.

Al-Shabaab, which is using suicide bombers and jihadist fighters to try to overthrow the Somali government, seeks to impose a pure, hardline form of Islam, and sees the West as its enemy. It has been declared a terrorist organisation by the US and it has close links with al-Qa'ida leaders, including Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, an architect of the 1998 attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in which 223 people died.

The investigation of the group, dubbed Operation Neath, involves about 150 members of the Australian Federal Police, Victoria Police and ASIO. It was launched in late January.

Search warrants for at least 19 properties across Melbourne have been prepared to allow authorities to obtain more evidence against the group, which is believed to number about 18, with a smaller, hardcore element.

The suspects include Australians of Somali and Lebanese decent, most of whom are labourers employed in Melbourne's construction industry, or taxi drivers.

It is understood that several members of the group also wanted to travel to Somalia to fight with al-Shabaab, but when travel became difficult, they turned their attention to carrying out a terrorist attack in Australia.

Al-Shabaab is currently searching for jihadist recruits around the world, including in Australia. Authorities fear that Australian Muslims who travel to Somalia to fight for al-Shabaab could return to Australia as sleeper agents for future attacks in this country.

In the US, more than 20 Somali American men have disappeared from their Midwest homes in recent months to fight alongside al-Shabaab troops in Somalia.

The FBI's investigation into the radicalisation of Somali refugees in the US, via al-Shabaab, was described by The New York Times last month as “the most significant domestic terror investigation since September 11”.

The AFP is understood to have recently presented its evidence against the Melbourne cell to the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, which advised that the evidence was sufficient to support charges being laid under national terrorism laws.

A previous AFP investigation - Operation Rochester, in 2007 - into extremist activities within small pockets of the nation's 16,000-strong Muslim Somali community petered out after it was established there was no evidence of wrongdoing.

Only a small number of Australia's Somali community adopt the hardline Wahabist view of Islam, but authorities fear radicalism among this minority is being fanned by recent events in Somalia.

Intelligence analysts warn that Somalia has become the new breeding for international Islamic terrorists, as extremists seek revenge for the events of December 2006, when US-backed forces from Christian Ethiopia toppled the hardline government known as the Islamic Courts Union.

The US and Australia defended the Ethiopian invasion as a front in the global war on terror, but it awakened the nationalism of many Somalis in Australia, as well as Muslims of other ethnic backgrounds, who viewed it as a Christian crusade into a Muslim land.

Mark Stapleton
08-05-2009, 12:28 AM
It's a strange one, Peter. A military base seems like an unusual target for what was apparently planned as a commando style attack a la Mumbai.

In any case, the AFP will have their hands full protecting citizens from the consequences of our Government's misguided foreign policy.

Peter Lemkin
08-05-2009, 05:23 AM
Bill Kelly on the other Forum has been following one that sounds almost the same. Some Middle-Eastern pizza delivery guys were arrested for planning to attack the military base they delivered pizza to. Bill thinks it is just an invented provocation. Don't know, but agree no matter how well armed, on will get just a few meters, at best, into a military compound before being more depleted uranium than flesh - not great planning for an attack and a strange target.
It could just be to scare the population into accepting more police, military and laws that restrict their freedoms - seems to be the way all English speaking former democracies are headed these days.....i.e. down the sewer toward neo-fascist para-military policestates. If it is real blowback - if any of the terrorist attacks were and not false-flag, time to consider what was done to anger others so much. I'm sure Australia would gladly allow a military force from the middle east to come and take some of your gold - so its fair we go get their oil etc.....