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Fanciful Terrors: Bomb Plots and Australian Airport Security

By Dr Binoy Kampmark

In the classroom of international security, Australia remains an infant wanting attention before the older hands. During the Paris Peace talks, Prime Minister William Morris (“Billy”) Hughes screamed and hollered Australia’s wishes to gain greater concessions after its losses during the Great War, urging, among other things, a more punitive settlement for Germany.

In the post-September 2001 age, recognition comes in different forms, notably in the field of terrorism. Australian authorities want recognition from their international partners; Australian security services demand attention from their peers. The premise of this call is simple if masochistic: Australia is worth torching, bombing and assailing, its values, however obscure, vulnerable before a massive, inchoate threat shrouded in obscurantism.

Over the weekend, the security services again displayed why adding fuel to the fire of recognition remains a burning lust for the Australian security complex. The inner-city suburb of Surry Hills in Sydney, and the south-western suburbs of Lakemba, Wiley and Punchbowl, witnessed raids and seizures of material that could be used to make an improvised explosive device.

What was notable here was the domesticity behind the alleged plot. Focus was specific to Surry Hills in what was supposedly an attempt to create an IED involving a domestic grinder and box containing a multi-mincer. At stages, those with a culinary inclination might have been confused: were Australia’s best and brightest in the frontline of security getting excited about the ill-use kitchen appliances might be put to?

The arrest provided yet another occasion Australian audiences are becoming familiar with: individuals arrested and detained, usually with no prior convictions let alone brush with the law, while the celebratory stuffing is sought to file charges under anti-terrorism laws.

But this was not a time for ironic reflection. Australians needed to be frightened and reassured, a necessary dialectic that governments in trouble tend to encourage. First, comes the fear of death, launched by a sinister fundamentalist force; then comes the paternal reassurance of the patria: those in blue, green and grey will protect you.

Without even questioning the likelihood of success in any of these ventures (would this supposed device have ever gotten onto a plane?), such networks as Channel Nine news would insist that this could be the “13th significant conspiracy to be foiled by Australian authorities since the country’s terror threat level was raised to ‘probable’ in 2014.”

The Herald Sun was already dubbing this a Jihadi “meat mincer bomb plot”, happy to ignore the obvious point that details were horrendously sketchy. The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, deemed the conspiracy “elaborate”. (The foe must always be elevated to make the effort both worthwhile and free of folly). The AFP Commissioner, Andrew Colvin, was convinced that this was “Islamic-inspired terrorism. Exactly what is behind this is something we will need to investigate fully.”

Depending on what you scoured, reports suggested that this was a “non-traditional” device which was set to be used for an “Islamist inspired” cause. The usual cadre of experts were consulted to simply affirm trends they could neither prove nor verify, with the “lone wolf” theme galloping out in front.

John Coyne of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s Border Security Program, for instance, plotted a kindergarten evolution for his audience: planes were used in September 2001; then came regionally focused incidents such as the Bali bombings, and now, in classic fatuity, “a new chapter arising or a return chapter almost”. “This is much more panned and deliberate, if the allegations are correct.”

Rita Panahi, whose writings prefer opinion to the inconvenience incurred by looking at evidence, cheered the weekend efforts and issued a reminder: “Remember the weekend’s terror raids next time you have to surrender a tube of sunscreen as you pass through airport security a second time, this time barefooted and beltless, and fearful you might miss your flight.”

For Panahi, this was a case that was done and dusted. These were “wannabe jihadis” (dead cert); they had plotted to inflict “mayhem and destruction on Australian soil” (naturally) and Australians needed to understand that an ungainly super structure of intrusive security measures were indispensable to security. Thank the counter-terrorism forces, luck and distance.

Such occasions also provide chicken feed for pecking journalists, many of whom have ceased the task of even procuring their beaks for the next expose. Indeed, some were crowing, including one on ABC 24, that the “disruption” of an “imminent” attack had taken place at speed; that this “cell” had little chance of ever bringing their device to an aircraft. Evidence and scrutiny are ill-considered, and the political classes are permitted to behave accordingly.

The Border Protection Minister, Peter Dutton, never happy to part with anything valuable on the subject of security, refused to confirm whether there had been an international dimension, a tip-off from intelligence agencies, or assistance.

“There will be lots of speculation around what the intent was,” claimed Dutton, “but obviously all of us have been working hard over recent days and we rely upon the expertise of the Federal Police and ASIO and other agencies.” He observed that there was “a lot of speculation around” which he did not which to add to.

He need not have bothered, given that the opinion makers have formed a coalition of denial and embellishment so vast and enthusiastic so as to make Australia matter in the supposed global jihadi effort. It would come as a crushing disappointment to the infant in that room of international relations to realise otherwise.

Dr Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.

 

74 comments

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  1. Keitha Granville

    fear is the first weapon of the facsist

  2. lefturnahead

    You have produced a wonderful piece of writing,and a good expose of the antics and propaganda of the Govt and the Keystone Kops in full flight!
    Turnbull approached this past week in three stages,stage 1” hide away from the dual citizenship storm,stage2… arrange a ”terrorist” bust by at least 3 of the Agencies that everybody said would not work together,which actually was 2 things in one i suppose,when you combine his supposd boost in the polls from said event…. which wont happen of course.
    Stage 3… hold another press conference surrounded by yet more men and women in ”uniform”, and bask in the glory of this supposed ”Victory for Freedom”
    Rinse and repeat!~`

  3. Matters Not

    Australians needed to be frightened and reassured, a necessary dialectic that governments in trouble tend to encourage.

    Indeed they do! That’s the key – frightened and reassured . Feed their paranoia.

    Worked a treat in days gone by with maps and red arrows. Went to Vietnam to repel communism and now Vietnam is one of our bestest friends. (Still with a nominally communist government.) Went to Iraq to guard against mythical weapons of mass destruction and along the way we unleashed a hornets’ nest of tensions created, in part at least, by the Sykes–Picot Agreement.

    One hundred years ago, on May 16, 1916, representatives from the United Kingdom and France (with the agreement of Russia) met in secret and signed what has come to be known as the Sykes–Picot Agreement. The pact, signed amid World War I, divided the Ottoman Empire into spheres of imperial control, and is often held responsible for establishing the current borders of the Middle East.

    Yes with our terroristic bombing over there we reap the threats of retaliation at home. Some actually wonder why. And search for scapegoats – never daring to look in the mirror.

  4. Robert REYNOLDS

    Reading this article gave me cause to wonder if perhaps I had inadvertently swallowed some sort of hallucinogen while having my evening meal.

    I would like to make just a few passing observations in response to this ham-fisted, undergraduate and unconvincing attempt to play down what is clearly an extremely serious incident.

    The Herald Sun is excoriated by the author for

    “…..dubbing this a Jihadi “meat mincer bomb plot”, happy to ignore the obvious point that details were horrendously sketchy.”

    While the author quite confidently rushes to the defense of those arrested,

    “The arrest provided yet another occasion Australian audiences are becoming familiar with: individuals arrested and detained, usually with no prior convictions let alone brush with the law, while the celebratory stuffing is sought to file charges under anti-terrorism laws.”

    Apparently the details surrounding this incident are not so “horrendously sketchy” to the author.

    Then Herald Sun journalist Rita Pahahi comes in for a good serve:

    “For Panahi, this was a case that was done and dusted. These were “wannabe jihadis” (dead cert); they had plotted to inflict “mayhem and destruction on Australian soil” (naturally) and Australians needed to understand that an ungainly super structure of intrusive security measures were indispensable to security. Thank the counter-terrorism forces, luck and distance.”

    Perhaps we could re-write this paragraph along the following lines:

    “For Kampmark, this was a case that was done and dusted. These were no “wannabe jihadis” (dead cert) only innocent bystanders going about their routine daily tasks. There was no intention whatsoever to plot to inflict “mayhem and destruction on Australian soil” (naturally) and Australians needed to understand that an ungainly super structure of intrusive security measures were only a waste of money and there for the sole purpose of creating a climate of fear where there was clearly no problem whatsoever.”

    When you get the ABC acknowledging the promptness with which this imminent attack had been disrupted, especially when it has been reported to be of an Islamic inspired nature, then you know that there must be something genuine about the reported threat.

    How such offensive drivel as that which is contained in this article could be written by a Senior Lecturer at a prominent Australian university is beyond me. I wonder if the author might have some hidden agenda and if so what is it?

  5. Matters Not

    Ah Robert REYNOLDS – apparently there’s an uncontested reality out there, just waiting to be discovered. Then to be consumed. Self-evident truths?

    Nothing to do with construction? Nothing to do with perspective? Or judgement?

    Premasticated food is the fare of dependent beings. I believe.

  6. Roswell

    I wonder if the author might have some hidden agenda and if so what is it?

    Oh dear. A conspiracy theorist.

  7. paul walter

    Spooky stuff, like tonight’s 4 Corners.

  8. Robert REYNOLDS

    Just curious Ros.

  9. Robert REYNOLDS

    Not really Paul. The 4-Corners report had some substance to it.

  10. Roswell

    What an odd curiosity.

  11. Andrew Smith

    I too will not be surprised if or when the suspects are released without charge; after suitable amounts of fear mongering in media, deflecting attention away from other issues and meanwhile authorities’ position is reasserted.

    It’s proven technique of spooking the electorate, especially the grey vote, away from any actual or existential danger in suburban and regional electorates, to be more fearful than those living in the midst of supposed danger (research round 9/11 showed same, those in mid West more fearful than in NY).

    Like the mooted AFP sweep of Melbourne CBD last year to check individuals’ bona fides e.g. valid visas when stopped on the street; suggesting profiling or stereotyping of foreigners or visitors? Worse, this implied Australians (or those who don’t look ‘Australian’) will be stopped and need to carry identification, even though not required by law?

    Not only a slippery slope but shows the authoritarian paranoia now coursing through conservative culturally specific politicians of both left and right….

  12. Robert REYNOLDS

    Oh, not really Ros. It is my scientific mind at work.

    Cheers.

  13. jim

    What scares me right now is if the LNP win the next fedral election they are the worst ever right across the board IMO.

  14. Zathras

    How many potential terrorists have been stopped by airport checks internationally?
    The answer is none.

    The purpose of the checks is not to stop terrorism as much as it is meant to make passengers feel more safe and each time a “plot” is uncovered, security increases accordingly, albeit disproportionally.

    The alleged “liquid bomb” threat revealed in the UK some years ago eventually led to the release of the suspects because it was impossible and impractical for them to carry out the plan they had been talking about.

    A bomb expert stated that it would take about two hours to mix the liquids required and would require very low temperatures, like ice. A biproduct of the reaction is also a strong acetone smell which would be easily detected in a sealed environment. Furthermore, the worst damage that such a bomb would do would be possibly to blow out the adjacent window and kill the bomber but would be unlikely to critically damage a plane.

    Nevertheless airports introduced a strict policy on liquids as carry-on baggage and also conveniently gave politicians further powers that could be used against the public generally

    Terrorists seem to have moved away from aircraft as targets and onto easier methods, like cars and trucks. The aviation industry has already been damaged..

    So far this story has only been a lot of sensationalism, many wild allegations and very few facts.
    It will be interesting to see if it uncovers anything substantial.

  15. Max Gross

    If dead-eyed Dutton really is in charge of “protecting” Australia… we are all FOOKED!

  16. Phil

    Really enjoying Dr Binoy Kampmark’s contributions here on AIMN.

    We’ve devolved to a pipsqueak international player under this pathetic conservative political theatre.

    I can’t rid my mind of the nagging thought that ASIO, AFP have become the ‘loyal’ servants of the Turnbull conservatives although I sincerely hope I am wrong.

  17. helvityni

    I’m already starting to communicate in whispers like the handmaids in Gilead; I don’t want any ‘dead-eyed’ men banging on my door in dead of night…

    Oops so sorry, you just want to keep me feeling safe so I can now sleep with both eyes closed….

  18. Harquebus

    “”Today, a video will be released, inshallah, that will show you how to do various things. The video will explain to you in detail how to handle a knife.”
    A few hours later, the official ISIS media department publishes a video from Raqqa. The video is among the most brutal things that the terror organisation has ever published.”
    http://www.businessinsider.com/how-isis-wanted-me-to-carry-out-a-terrorist-attack-2017-7

  19. Roswell

    I have a scientific mind, too. The difference between us, Robert, is that I would prefer to research the topic instead of the author.

  20. Kaye Lee

    The thing I will never understand is why they give these plots so much publicity. How come there are always tv cameras present? Why are details of the alleged plots blasted across all the news? They are doing the work of the terrorists for them.

  21. Michael Taylor

    Kaye Lee, I find it interesting that between 2001-2007, and again from 2013-now … that the terror alerts are far more constant than between 2007-2013. Actually, did we even have any when Labor was in power?

    One year – when Howard was PM – there were three alerts. Only one of those was a real threat, the other two were ‘designed’ for political ends. How do I know? That’s my secret. ?

  22. Matters Not

    KL, re:

    never understand is why they give these plots so much publicity.

    Binoy Kampmark says:

    Australians needed to be frightened and reassured, a necessary dialectic that governments in trouble tend to encourage

    Yep first frightened and then reassured . Create some paranoia and then make sure you feed it. Regularly and in large doses. Don’t let the punters settle. Keep them cowering under the covers.

  23. helvityni

    MN, spot on: first frightened and then reassured…

  24. Aortic

    H L Mencken, ” The aim of all practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, thence clamorous to be led to safety.”

  25. michael lacey

    The trouble is the government hold all the cards they can keep the fear highlighted! They can also have the capability to let a real event get through or manipulate an event which still serves its purpose; while we are speculating we are still afraid!

    Donald Rumsfeld The Unknown Known that is to say that the things you think you know; that it turns out you did not !
    ‘The Unknown Known”

    As Matters not said ‘Yep first frightened and then reassured . Create some paranoia and then make sure you feed it. Regularly and in large doses. Don’t let the punters settle. Keep them cowering under the covers.

  26. Helen Bates

    They might go a bit overboard sometimes but it is a necessary thing they do with Muslim maddies running around the world. What would you say if we had a London or Brussels happen here and they did nothing. Best be well prepared as the chances are we will in time get a major event.Bali was too close for comfort with all the dead Australian there

  27. Johno

    I am sure a new fridge magnet will be released soon. Johnny’s old magnet (be alert, not alarmed) is a bit yesterday.

  28. Banokles

    What the Federal government is doing is just applying a simple Hegelian Dialect, I believe. You know Thesis v antithesis v synthesis or in other words.
    Identify and or create a problem, offer a solution, and impose your will. Very simple really especially if the people are collectively treated like mushrooms through the media and education system, you know kept in the dark and fed on manure! to put it nicely! And I would like to say to the author, ‘Very well written” in my humble opinion

  29. Robert REYNOLDS

    I am not suggesting that it is the case on this occasion Roswell but sometimes the author and the topic can be inextricably connected.

  30. Robert REYNOLDS

    I know what you are saying Kaye. However, I see advantages and disadvantages in making the arrests and details of the alleged plots public knowledge. If the government keeps it quite, say by issuing a D-Notice and news of the event subsequently leaks out, then the government is accused of operating a police state. Sometimes for security reasons I can see a good reason to keep things quiet for a while, but I think that it is best that these things are eventually made public..

    I also believe that the public has a right to know of any alleged plots which have allegedly been planned against them. I know that I wish to be informed about it, even if that news comes later rather than sooner.

    Also Kaye, if potential plotters see others being arrested and detained then one would hope that this might be a deterrent. Although these types of plotters exhibit such a deranged way of thinking that one wonders if anything would deter them.

  31. Robert REYNOLDS

    Matters Not, I am a little perplexed by your response to the post from Kaye Lees.

    You suggest that the government, in order to suit its own ends,

    “Create some paranoia and then make sure you feed it. Regularly and in large doses. Don’t let the punters settle.”

    I know that governments will do this. I will give a prime example. I am sure that you recall those advertisements from the 1960’s that appeared on television courtesy of the Liberal Government and the political arm of the Catholic Church, the Democratic Labor Party, with big arrows pointing from China and Vietnam in particular, down towards Australia. This fitted in with the then Governments’ concerted anti-communist hysteria and rhetoric. I recognized that campaign as being a blatant scare campaign at the time.

    However Matters Not, what happens if there is a real threat? Remember what happens in the story of the boy who cried wolf.

  32. Robert REYNOLDS

    Banokles for the benefit of a simple soul like myself, would you please be kind enough to tell me just what the authorities are supposed to do when they strongly suspect that certain people in our society are planning to blow up a passenger plane full of innocent travelers.

    Reading your post would suggest that you would favor some sort of “Aussie Ostrich”, head-in-the-sand approach. It is difficult not to come to a similar conclusion after reading the posts of several other contributors to this site. The views of the author speak for themselves. There seems to be some sort of perception that by denying the existence of these threats and then by simply ignoring them, then by some process which is as mysterious as it is magic, the threats will simply disappear.

    It really makes me wonder what some people are on?

  33. Robert REYNOLDS

    Helen, many thanks for adding that logical, sensible and rational opinion into the discussion. After reading some of the other posts on this site, not to mention the author’s article, I have been wondering if somehow I had been inadvertently teleported to Planet Zircon.

  34. Michael Taylor

    However Matters Not, what happens if there is a real threat?

    Chances are, we might not be told about it.

  35. helvityni

    Michael, it’s all part of the secret men’s business. Most illuminating: Robert R agrees with Helen Bates…

  36. Robert REYNOLDS

    I would be careful if I were you Johno when you attach any fridge magnets to you refrigerator. Remember what the American physicist Lawrence Krauss said in relation to your chances of being killed in a terrorist attack,

    “You’re more likely to be killed by a refrigerator, in the United States, falling on you.”

    — ABC Q&A, 22 May, 2017

    (Actually, until he made that utterly inane comment, I had a lot of time and respect for Lawrence Krauss.)

  37. Michael Taylor

    Not much of a badge of honour is it, helvityni?

  38. Robert REYNOLDS

    Under some circumstances that is probably possible Michael. But I would suspect that in the case of a general terror alert then the government has a duty to inform the citizens.

  39. Robert REYNOLDS

    Some people who contribute to this site seem to think that the threat of Islamist inspired terrorist attacks constitutes some form of conspiracy and are perhaps not even real. I would invite them to peruse the details at the following site which gives some information about the scale of these Islamic inspired attacks since the 1970’s,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Islamist_terrorist_attacks

    According to this site there have been in excess of 20,000 deaths and 52,000 injuries attributable to Islamic terrorist attacks since the 1970’s.

    If anyone has evidence that any of these attacks did not occur then I would invite them to submit this evidence so that the records can be amended.

    There are of course many other websites that detail the atrocities committed by these fanatics and zealots. I would urge readers to at least take a look at some of them.

  40. Matters Not

    Dear oh dear where to start. Perhaps with one of Robert’s more insightful comments re some governments’ tendency to ‘mislead’. Robert admits:

    I know that governments will do this

    So the possibility that governments will feed us bullshit for their own ends is not only ‘entertained’ but illustrated via an historical example. But as an important aside can I also note Robert’s endorsement of Ms Bates and her less than insightful statement re:

    with Muslim maddies running around the world

    Yep there’s lots of people in Australia and elsewhere who had relatives and friends in the Middle East who, in the last few decades, were blown to bits by aggressive Coalition forces, including Australian troops and air-force personnel, in pursuit of mythical ‘weapons of mass destruction’. (Yes as Robert notes governments will do this.) You know make up crap and sell same to uncritical citizens. Hello Robert.

    In fact, when it comes to immoral and illegal aggression we are still doing exactly that. Of course it’s not headlines in the local MSM when hundreds are killed via our bombings almost on a daily basis. (But after all they are only adherents to Islam. And therefore they don’t count.)

    I know if I was in that situation, I would never, ever forget. And I would be very disappointed if my offspring did either. I know I would swear revenge on those who do so while espousing God bless America. (Yes I know it’s not a religious war, it’s just that we define it in exactly those terms. (That’s how the locals see it. And I can understand why.)

    One could go on. But why bother.

    Robert – I notice your latest post.

    When did it start? And who started it?

  41. Michael Taylor

    Some people who contribute to this site seem to think that the threat of Islamist inspired terrorist attacks constitutes some form of conspiracy and are perhaps not even real.

    Really? Who?

    I know a little bit more than you about the people who contribute to this site and I’d say that none of them “think that the threat of Islamist inspired terrorist attacks constitutes some form of conspiracy theory”. None.

    Everybody who contributes regularly to this site are all too well aware that terrorism is real, be it Islamist extremists, right-wing nutjobs or whoever. Nobody has denied that terrorism is real and nobody has suggested that any said terrorist attack is a false flag. We might get the odd one or two newbies who might suggest they are, but they soon get hounded down by the regulars here.

    What we have said, is that we are cynical of the government. But because we say that, you suggest we are blind to terrorism.

    I’d say that you are blind to what we are saying.

  42. Matters Not

    Speaking of deaths from US (and Australia) inspired terror try these figures:

    Documented civilian deaths from violence

    178,208 – 199,559

    Total violent deaths including combatants

    268,000

    And it continues. Why do you look the other way? What are YOU trying to hide?

    Or does TERRORISM begin and end with just one religion?

    https://www.iraqbodycount.org/

  43. Michael Taylor

    What is he trying to hide, MN? His hatred of Muslims.

    He just ain’t hiding it too well.

  44. Harquebus

    A few that I have read this evening.

    “It’s a vicious act of intellectual corruption to maintain that the war on terror does not create terrorists, that those killed, wounded, or displaced have no friends or family who will exact what they consider justified vengeance.”
    “However, the functionaries and politicians who now push the Kill the Enemy button also push the Domestic Surveillance button. They will not hesitate to push the Enemies of the State, Mass Detention, Concentration Camp, and Execution buttons when the time is right. Rotten government, like rotten fruit, gets more rotten, until it’s finally tossed in the trash.”
    Killing Them is Killing Us, by Robert Gore

    “And what also makes this strategy so enticing is that these small attacks, which are so much more difficult to prevent, is that they can add up over time.”
    http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/im-going-to-redefine-terror-bay-area-resident-accused-of-aiding-isis-planned-to-murder-10000-people_07312017

    “One of them holds the boy’s head with a tight grip on his hair while another mockingly slaps his face. Then, one of them uses a knife to saw the child’s head off and holds it up in the air like a trophy.”
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/trump-got-this-one-right/article/2009045

  45. Matters Not

    Re an earlier comment about crying WOLF

    While one can give any number of meanings to same, most suggest it’s all about:

    There is no believing a liar, even when he speaks the truth.

    A glance at our historical involvement in recent wars suggest we bought the lies. Remember the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Remember the Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    For the average person, trust in government is crucial. For the powerless, it’s the only hope we have. Those who destroy trust must be condemned.

  46. Johno

    Robert
    “You’re more likely to be killed by a refrigerator, in the United States, falling on you.”

    I would have to agree with this comment by Krauss.
    Mehdi Hasan said similar @ Q&A on Jul 17, 2017. Mehdi put forward some sensible views contradicting the standard rhetoric belched out by our fear mongering politicians.

  47. Robert REYNOLDS

    Johno, generally what happens, and admittedly it may take some prompting of the authorities, if a problem with refrigerator safety is identified, then we expect the relevant authorities to address that problem before any casualties occur or before any further casualties occur.

    Likewise Johno, if a terror threat is identified then any sensible person would expect the authorities to give it the appropriate level of attention also. The prevention of casualties must be given the first priority.

  48. Banokles

    Robert Reynolds, I do not know about your soul but I do know you have a simple mind. Who said anything about innocent travelers and the authorities doing nothing, get a grip or you may well already be gripping something else. You are obviously a dI-phallic sufferer you couldn’t get that silly playing with one!!! Remember that one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter. And by your simplistic approach you would call the partisans fighting the Germans in Yugoslavian and Crete during World war two terrorists. Your a fooll!!!
    I could go deeply into historic evidence but to argue with a fool is to argue with a drunk and one never does that.

  49. Robert REYNOLDS

    Andrew, you say,

    “I too will not be surprised if or when the suspects are released without charge; after suitable amounts of fear mongering in media, deflecting attention away from other issues and meanwhile authorities’ position is reasserted.”

    Well Andrew, according to the ABC news on Wednesday 2nd August, one of those arrested has been released without charge. If this person had nothing to do with the planning of the alleged terror plot, then it is unfortunate that he was taken into custody in the first place. Mistakes happen. I know of at least two people who, in the past, have been taken into custody by the police because they were suspected of having committed offenses. Both were later released without charge. Unfortunately, neither of those people subsequently received an apology from the police. The police, like any other profession, make mistakes.

    Do not forget that the police in charge of keeping the community free from terror attacks are playing a very ‘high-stakes’ game. If they arrest someone by mistake then they are roundly criticized by those who see the whole thing as some sort of nefarious conspiracy to frighten everyone for some sinister political end.

    Conversely, if they simply ignore all the signs and intelligence that suggests that something untoward is being planned, and an attack does occur then they similarly suffer criticism.

    I invite the critics of the police and government who contribute to this site, (and there is certainly no shortage of them) to put yourself in the position of the law enforcement authorities who are in charge of thwarting these plots. What would you do? I would prefer to hear something constructive and sensible and not the usual criticism and sneering cynicism and sarcasm.

  50. Jack

    “Fanciful Terrors”? Really? It seems that most responses to this article(as well as the author) are cynical to the motives of the government in announcing this. Fair enough, your fear of big brother triggers that response. I have some of that cynicism myself, however I will happily accept the temporary(if that’s what it is) inconvenience of a few suspects to ensure the safety of the masses. Incidentally we were fed this tip off from the US/UK, not from our own good work.

  51. Robert REYNOLDS

    I would invite my detractors to acquaint themselves with the contents of this short article from Salon.com. It provides a fairly good summary of my views on the “Islam problem”.

    http://www.salon.com/2015/11/17/the_left_has_an_islam_problem_if_liberals_wont_come_to_terms_with_religious_extremism_the_xenophobic_right_will_carry_the_day/

    The first two paragraphs make important points.

    In paragraph 4 the author states that,

    “The bigots on the Right, many of whom are Christian fascists, were quick to condemn Islam as such. These people hate Muslims already, and they hate them precisely because they’re Muslim. The religious right is animated by tribalism and hatred, and so anything they say or do as it relates to Islam is irremediably tainted.”

    This is a view with which I fully concur and I doubt that even many on this site would argue with.

    I think that the same could be said when the author comments that,

    “And it’s essential to note that Christianity is also replete with Iron Age dogmas, many of which are as regressive and toxic as anything you’ll find in the Quran.”

    What many on this site seem to ‘turn a blind eye to’ is the fact that,

    “When liberals attack the illiberal values of Islamic extremists, who turn women into cattle and children into martyrs, this isn’t a defense of white liberals or even Western culture; above all it’s a defense of the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who continue to suffer under the yoke of theocracy and repression.”

    One sentence in the Salon essay that is particularly relevant to this AIM article states that,

    “There’s a persistent taboo on the Left which demands that every incident of terror be attributed to American foreign policy. ”

    Take note!!

    As someone else said in a post to me, “I could go on….”

    If all Muslims had the views of those interviewed in the short video available at the end of the article then I would not be spending so much time on this site. I would have more time available to attack the other cancer eating away at our society. I am of course referring to economic rationalism.

  52. Robert REYNOLDS

    Now, while I have the time, I would like to mention another interesting article by the Pakistani-British liberal Muslim, Maajid Nawaz available at,

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/the-british-lefts-hypocritical-embrace-of-islamism

    Among the many interesting and telling points that he makes is the following,

    “Over the years, in survey after survey, attitudes have reflected a worrying trend. A quarter of British Muslims sympathised with the Charlie Hebdo shootings. 0% have expressed tolerance for homosexuality. A third have claimed that killing for religion can be justified, while 36% have thought apostates should be killed. 40% have wanted the introduction of sharia as law in the UK and 33% have expressed a desire to see the return of a worldwide theocratic Caliphate. Is it any wonder then, that from this milieu up to 1,000 British Muslims have joined ISIS, which is more than joined the Army reserves.”

    How can people who hold such views be expected to fit into a secular society such as ours?

    Could it be that there might be more to these terror attacks than a desire to seek revenge for military involvement in the Middle East and Africa?

  53. Joseph Carli

    ” “Over the years, in survey after survey, …” ..THERE is the weak link in your premise….equal in vague reference to : ” All my ( add appropriate reference data) friends say…(dot dot dot).

  54. Joseph Carli

    Rob Reynolds…wrote.: ” I invite the critics of the police and government who contribute to this site, (and there is certainly no shortage of them) to put yourself in the position of the law enforcement authorities who are in charge of thwarting these plots. What would you do? I would prefer to hear something constructive and sensible and not the usual criticism and sneering cynicism and sarcasm.”

    What would I do?…I’d send around, on the QT. a team of plain-clothes / armed appropriate squad officers to quietly as possible arrest those as required and quietly as possible (that would include NOT…NOT informing any television channels) take the people in for questioning and liaising with my counterparts in British intell’ in real time to go over the accusations with the suspects….and if one or two are not required for further interrogation, I’d slip them out the back door after thanking them for “helping with etc” and give them a ride home in an unmarked police car…..That’s what I’d do..What about yourself, Bob?

  55. Robert REYNOLDS

    Thank you for the very clever, bright and quick witted, not to mention extremely intelligent, comments contained in your latest post Banokles. I can only stand in absolute awe of your highly developed intellect!

    In response, please let me first deal in a little more detail with the highly sophisticated comments contained in your earlier post where you invoke the name of the great German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

    I put it to you Banokles, that the problem posed by terrorists in this and other countries is not always one created by the government. In the current case the government has made certain information about the alleged plan available to the media. There are no doubt details that have not been released because of the need for secrecy. As I have said elsewhere, when the government makes the details of these threats known it is criticized for trying to frighten the public. If they kept these things quiet and details subsequently leaked out then the government would be criticized for being secretive. It is a ‘no-win’ situation.

    Now, to address your most recent post.

    Your entreaty to,

    “Remember that one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter. ”

    intrigues me. It prompts me to ask you, just how do you regard the Islamist radicals who have been so active blowing things up and murdering people in the west in recent years? In your mind, are they ‘terrorists’ or ‘freedom fighters’?

    Unfortunately Banokles, I am only a simple fool. I have that from an impeccable authority. So you will forgive me for asking such a basic question.

  56. Roswell

    Robert Reynolds. You’re hatred of Muslims is noted. You’ve said your bit but I’d like to point out to you that this is not a site that accepts intolerance of minority or marginalised groups whether they be Muslims, Aborigines, gays, refugees or whoever.

    Even if every terrorist attack in the world was carried out by Muslims, Aborigines, gays, refugees or whoever then you still wouldn’t find people on this site blaming the innocent Muslims, Aborigines, gays, refugees or whoever.

    I think it’s time you took your hatred and intolerance elsewhere. I notice (elsewhere) that you’ve been banned from a popular site because of the hatred you spew. Please move to another site while there’s still one that will accept you.

  57. Robert REYNOLDS

    Very strong language Roswell. I was enjoying the apparent free and democratic environment here at AIM.

    ….. and if I decline to accept your invitation?

  58. Joseph Carli

    Yes…yes…one could expect such a finding..from such a “reliable source”…solid, certain, assured…
    Now can I have you look at an alternative set of numbers?..

  59. Joseph Carli

    Mr. Reynolds..Let me give you my personal and candid opinion on why there is an “Islamic problem” in the Levant Area “today” …and why there was a landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula way back in “those days”…simple really…The West (as in major powers), and The Vatican want Constantinople back..and control of all territory west of the Bosporus Straight . (that’s ; Full Stop).
    Sure…it’s a long game…but the Christian God is patient, after all..he’s got “forever” on his side!

  60. Robert REYNOLDS

    Thank you Joseph for that post on how you would handle the potential terror situation. I take on board what you say. Unless someone can persuade me otherwise, I have no argument with your approach. Your comment is one of the more persuasive and sensible that I have read on this site.

  61. Robert REYNOLDS

    Joseph, please let me assure you that I will be giving no support or sympathy whatsoever to western imperialism or to a Christian (or indeed any other type of) ‘God’, no matter how patient or otherwise the so-called ‘God’ is.

  62. Joseph Carli

    Fine sentiment indeed, Robert…But I don’t think “they” will be consulting either you or me on the subject nor the object.

  63. Robert REYNOLDS

    What a pity Joe, I am sure that we could ‘set them straight’ on these issues.

    The main problem is, though Joe, I suspect that we might both be a little more ethical and open in our approach than they intend to be.

    (I know that we do not always see totally ‘eye-to-eye’ on all issues Joe, but my experience is that if you talk to someone long enough it is often possible to find some point of common agreement.)

  64. Joseph Carli

    ” The main problem is, though Joe, I suspect that we might both be a little more ethical and open in our approach than they intend to be.”

    Joe Stalin was too soft..in my opinion.

  65. Roswell

    If you don’t accept my invitation, Mr Reynolds, then perhaps I suggest you leave your Islamophobia at the door.

    I don’t believe in religions either, but I don’t hate those that do.

  66. Robert REYNOLDS

    Joe, I must admit that your view on Joseph Stalin is probably not one that I share.

  67. Harquebus

    Roswell
    If they didn’t brainwash kids, I’d be fine with it but, they always do. I hate that.

  68. Rossleigh

    I think that brainwashing is fine because it’s always good to keep one’s mind clean…

  69. Robert REYNOLDS

    Thank you for your reply Roswell.

    I have been mulling over your (now) penultimate post during dinner and I have decided to add further to my previous reply.

    I am sorry that like you, when you address me, you can call me Mr (and that degree of formality is fine but I am quite happy with the less formal Rob or Robert). However because you choose to not to use your real name but rather to hide behind a pseudonym, and you post a picture of a male and female I have no idea even of your gender. But that is really of no importance here. I merely thought that I would mention it in passing.

    Yes Roswell, you are right when you say that I was blocked from The Conversation by the politically correct commissars that operate that site. (I hope you will excuse the colorful epithets.) I have also been placed on some sort of ‘watch list’ at The Guardian for the same reason; that is my comments in relation to Islam do not meet the politically correct criteria (which presumable means that as far as organizations like these go, no serious questioning, let alone criticism of ‘The Religion of Peace’ is permitted).

    I should not forget to mention that only a few weeks ago I cancelled my subscription to my Fairfax newspaper after being a loyal reader and subscriber for 42 years. I cancelled that because I found that too many of my relatively harmless posts, that usually related to Islam, were being deleted.

    I do recognize that I can make errors of judgement but in general I am very happy with the stand that I take in relation to religion in general and Islam in particular. The world is changing Roswell and I intend to change with it in ways that I think (and hope) best reflect fairness, honesty and decency. It goes without saying that even with the Wisdom of Solomon (which I certainly do not claim to possess) there are occasions when you simply do not know which way to jump.

    In your penultimate post you accuse me of spewing hatred and intolerance. Anyone who read that post could, I think, be excused for believing that I am a skinhead (well that is unfortunately true but that is not of my choosing) who dresses in a pair of bib-and-braces overalls and steel-capped boots and wanders the streets gnashing my teeth and sneering and snarling at Muslims and pulling off head-scarves etc. Just in case anyone is tempted to accept your claims and has formed such and image of me in their minds, I would like to make the following points in my defense.

    As I have said previously, I have never insulted or assaulted a Muslim in the street. I am a bit old-fashioned, if I see any female in a queue, say waiting to get on a bus or some form of public transport, I always stand back and gesture to the person concerned to enter before me. That rule naturally applies to Muslim women too. I have given up my seat on public transport to Muslim women in the past.

    A year or so back as part of my retirement activities I enrolled to do 3 subjects at a college in my capital city. There were many Muslims there attending classes. I got to know a young Muslim woman who had immigrated from Africa with her family. She was a lovely person. She had a friendly personality and when we met she was happy to shake my hand. I got on well with this woman and I was in a position because of my previous training, to assist her on the odd occasion, with her studies. She offered me cash for doing this but I did not have to think about that offer for more than a picosecond before respectively declining it. I was only too please to be of assistance where that was possible. I certainly never questioned her religious beliefs or made any comment to her that could be interpreted as offensive.

    Roswell, I do not for a moment, pretend that these issues are easy. I find it easy to befriend religious people. In fact I have met some who I would trust with my life. Just as I have met some atheists who I would be reluctant to turn my back on. More often than not I have pity for religious believers rather than condemnation. Generally they have been brain-washed and indoctrinated with the fantasies and the lies that underpin their belief system from the moment of birth. It is very hard for many of them to give that up. Just on that note, I would recommend a disturbing and heart-breaking documentary produced in 2016 available at,

  70. Harquebus

    Rossleigh
    I had a filthy mind for a long time but, now it is just dirty and old.
    I’ve never been brainwashed. What’s it like?

    BTW: The video that I recommended. What did you think of it?

  71. Rossleigh

    There are a number of problems with it but I’ll go into them at some other time.

  72. Harquebus

    Rossleigh
    I will look forward to it.

    BTW: I misspelled diannaart’s name in my last comment on depopulate or perish. Any chance that someone can fix it for me.
    Thanking you in advance.

    Robert REYNOLDS
    Internet rule number 1:Never use your real name.
    Internet rule number 2: Never use a credit card.

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