Tuesday, September 09, 2014

09-Sep-14: In Australia, terrorism no longer as far away as it once seemed

Australian woman recruited by the Islamist thug
(photo below) whose arrest is now being sought.
Educated at St Hilda's School, Southport,
Queensland, this woman was shot dead
in January 2014 in war-torn Aleppo, Syria.
Having spent a major part of our lives in Australia, and raising part of our family there, it's worrying and depressing to see terror take centre-stage in one of the world's most congenial societies.
ASIO seriously considering raising Australia's terror threat level to high | ABC Australia News | September 9, 2014 | The head of Australia's domestic spy agency, David Irvine, says the country's official terror threat level could be upgraded in the next few days. ASIO's director-general has told the ABC's 7.30 that the threat had been building in Australia over the past year and he had an "elevated level of concern". The threat has been at medium since 2003, which means an attack is possible and could occur. If it is raised to high, it means an attack is likely... "I'm certainly contemplating very seriously the notion of lifting it higher because of the numbers of people we are now having to be concerned about in Australia, because of the influence of Syria and Iraq on young Australians both in terms of going to those places to fight, but also in terms of what they are doing here in Australia with a potential intent to attack."
And this
Same Australian woman some time
later, prior to her violent death
[Image Source]
Arrest warrant for Islamic State jihadist accused of sending Australians to SyriaABC Australia News | September 9, 2014 | Police have issued an arrest warrant for a former Kings Cross nightclub bouncer believed to be Australia's most senior member of the Islamic State (IS) militant group in Syria and Iraq, following an investigation by the ABC's 7.30 program. Authorities say Mohammad Ali Baryalei, 33, has used a trusted position in IS operational command to funnel more than half of the 60 Australians currently fighting in the wars. Counter-terrorism sources have told 7.30 Baryalei recruited a who's who of Australian IS fighters, including senior fighters Mohamed Elomar and Khaled Sharrouf, who has posted pictures online of his seven-year-old son holding a severed head in Syria, as well as videos of himself and Elomar executing prisoners in Iraq... Australian Federal Police say an arrest warrant has been issued against Baryalei for "terrorism-related activity". "Should Baryalei return to Australia, this warrant authorises law enforcement to arrest him immediately," an AFP spokesman said. "As this matter is ongoing it would not be appropriate for the AFP to comment further." Baryalei is from an aristocratic family from Afghanistan who came to Australia as refugees when he was a child. The 33-year-old was an aspiring actor who had a fleeting appearance on the true-crime series, Underbelly, but years ago turned to radical Islam in Sydney. Baryalei became a leader of the Street Dawah preaching movement in Sydney, where he formed a cell of jihadists. He proselytised with at least five men who went on to die in Syria and Iraq and many more who are still fighting.
Mohammad Ali Baryalai, highest-ranking
ex-Australian in ISIS: He and
family were received as refugees in
Australia. Now returning the favour
This Iranian source, quoting Australian authorities in May 2014, said that "as many as 12 Australians had died fighting in Syria. Most were young men, including several from Melbourne." Also that "nearly 150 Australian citizens were being monitored for fighting or planning to fight in foreign conflicts".

An especially sober Australian view of the threat it faces was articulated by a former head of the Australian armed forces, Professor Peter Leahy, last month. He warned that "the country was ill-prepared for the high cost of fighting a war that would be paid in “blood and treasure” and would require pre-emptive as well as reactive action".
Australia needs to prepare itself for a century-long war, both overseas and at home, against radical Islamic militants. Currently the director of the National Security Institute at the University of Canberra, Prof. Leahy [said] that as a liberal, secular society, Australia is perceived as 'the far enemy' by radical Islamic groups and individuals, and would no doubt continue to be targeted. "We are already affected in that there are places that would be wise for us not to travel to and there have been terrorist bombings in places that we do travel to, as we can see from 9/11 and both of the Bali bombings..." [The Australian, August 9, 2014]
We published an open letter in the wake of the massive 2002 Bali terrorist attack in which Australian victims figured prominently. It's here.

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