I read that on Thursday, 18 September, 2014, almost nine hundred officers and agents of the Australian Federal Police Force participated in raids on 25 homes in New South Wales and several more in Queensland. As a result of those raids, 15 people were detained and ultimately one person was charged with conspiracy to commit a terrorist act and one was charged with possession of an illegal weapon and ammunition. I’m not aware of the details, so cant say if it was a catapult, an unregistered pea rifle or a rocket launcher (all illegal weapons).
Naturally, when the authorities undertake an operation of this kind, you’d expect it to be very hush hush. I was amazed therefore to see media photographs of alleged suspects being apprehended. It almost seemed like the press were invited to the party.
People are apparently pretty pleased and impressed with the results …. nine hundred police apprehending 15 suspects who were for the most part subsequently released. The one chilling piece of information that came out of this (if you ignore the overtime bill) was that these raids were sparked by the uncovering of a plot to carry out a terrorist act on Australian soil. This was apparently discovered through the interception of a telephone conversation between one of the suspects and a terrorist figure in the Middle East. I’m not sure then, why it needed nine hundred officers to raid so many properties, if they had hard evidence of this alleged phone call between two people. I’d have expected them to arrest the local one within minutes of them overhearing the call. There’s so much that I don’t understand about the whole business.
The raids seemed to coincide with our Prime Minister’s much publicised farewelling of 600 of our military personnel who were dispatched to the Middle East, supposedly to support the Iraqi government in its efforts to repel the terrorist threat there.
And it came a couple of days after our ‘terrorism threat level’ was raised even though, according to the Prime Minister, there was no information to suggest any imminent threat or of any particular plot.
Since that awful day that Americans refer to as 9/11, when terrorists crashed aircraft into the twin towers in New York and into the Pentagon, our whole world has changed. There have been other terrorist acts since then. Perhaps none as spectacular or as successful, in terms of effect. But all contributing cumulatively to the transition from the world we used to know …. to the one we will be living in very soon.
Anyone who counts the victories of these terrorists, based only on the body count of their awful acts is really failing to grasp the realities of this particular form of warfare. The purpose of terrorism is … well …. to terrorize. That is, to incite terror within the community. Terrorists don’t just win when they kill somebody. They win when they manage to sow the seeds of fear and distrust within society. They win when you no longer feel safe to do those things you’d normally do. When you cancel that overseas holiday. When you start looking with fear and distrust at members of your own society. When you no longer feel safe to attend events or functions or you don’t want to let your kids out of your sight because you fear for their safety.
But there’s even more to the effects we are seeing and feeling, due to recent history’s terrorist activities. In the United States, the government has invested massive amounts of money manpower and resources to spy on their own citizens, all supposedly in the name of fighting terrorism. Every email and every phone conversation can be electronically scanned to detect various ‘red flags’ … keywords or phrases that might indicate a possible security breach. This isn’t something that might happen. It isn’t something that will happen. It is something that has already happened, in the so-called ‘Land Of The Free’.
Here in Australia, right now, our Parliament is discussing legislation which will require internet service providers or mobile phone carriers, to retain the meta data from every citizen’s use of the internet and every mobile phone call that they make, for a period of two years. This will enable the ‘authorities’ to investigate every phone call you made, to whom, when and for how long; every web page that you open, how long you looked at it ……and we are assured by our ‘leader’ that we have no need to fear the misuse of ANY of that information.
Today, I read on the internet that under new legislation, police will be given substantial new powers of arrest under proposed amendments to anti-terror laws. It said that “A much anticipated package of reforms to terrorism laws is set to be introduced into Parliament early next week”.
I seem to be the only person who looks at all of these goings on and sees a dark and sinister change to the world I used to know. I seem to be the only person who perceives an unholy alliance between the media (who have a vested interest in sensationalism), politicians and the ‘authorities’, (both of whom have a vested interest in retaining and increasing their ‘powers’). Most people I know keep themselves fully informed about the awful terrorist acts abroad and of these anti-terror antics at home. But no-one seems to be the least little bit concerned, as the apparatus of real terror is being assembled by their own government, right before their very eyes.
I see ugly changes in the attitudes of many of my countrymen towards others of my countrymen, based upon their religious orientation and the perception that their religious beliefs are somehow linked to terrorism. The Fact that the present Middle East threat from Muslim Fundamentalist terrorists is limited to some 31,000 fighters and there are 1.6 billion Muslims on the earth, should suggest that we are talking about an absurdly tiny minority. Something like .000019375% of the world Muslim Community are fighting in that campaign. I think we should be very wary of the other 99.99998%, don’t you?
There has not actually been, so far as I know, a single significant terrorist act perpetrated on Australian soil. But despite that fact, our society seems to have gone bonkers, with our politicians leading the charge into a dark and scary new world. Under the current proposals which seem certain to be implemented, every phone call that you make, every web page that you visit …. all will be recorded and kept on file for (don’t worry) only two years. And it will never, never, never be used for any purpose, except to counter terrorism. So if you’re not a terrorist, you have nothing to worry about.
You’d have to be amazingly naïve to imagine that the new data retention powers will stop at meta data, when our US friends are already wading through private conversations, word by word and examining web site visits, page by page. There’s a whole raft of incentives for politicians and their army of security goons to expand the scope of spying on private citizens. The number of jobs created alone would be mind boggling. The person who gets to control that outfit will be a powerful person indeed. I think J Edgar Hoover’s power (which he blatantly abused to control even presidents) will be eclipsed by whoever runs a national listening post network. Just like the terrorists, the government won’t actually have to DO anything to control you. It will be enough that you know that they can … and that they are watching.
The next ‘campaign’ I am expecting to see from the powers that be, is one that seeks to have ordinary citizens dobbing on one another on suspicion of alleged terrorist activity. A kind of ‘Crime Stoppers’ on steroids. And all of these ‘measures’ are more at home in a totalitarian regime. They have little place in a healthy democracy.
Again, so far as I know, there hasn’t been a single significant terrorist act perpetrated on Australian soil yet. It will happen, sooner or later. And all the security measures in the world won’t prevent that. We are deluding ourselves if we think it won’t. But without ever fighting against Australians on Australian soil, these terrorists have won massive victories over the people of Australia. The free and open society that I thought I was a part of, is being swept away on a tidal wave of paranoia, whipped up by our political leaders who perhaps want to keep us from thinking about local politics. Fanned by a media industry who’s bread and butter relies on holding our (very limited) attention … and encouraged by a new, growing and sinister security industry who can smell the endless opportunities in this dark new landscape.
We are rushing headlong to embrace the security of bondage in every aspect of our daily lives, to protect ourselves from some supposed threat ‘out there’. The terrorists from half a world away are converting Australia into a police state, without even visiting! If the aim of terrorism is to fracture a society, to control its people and to destroy everything that makes our society the envy of much of the world, I think the terrorists are already winning.
Andrew Caddle 2014-09-20
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