Tuesday, December 23, 2014

23-Dec-14: In Australia (not only there), it's getting harder to ignore a rising tide

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We have some serious concerns about the sense Australians are making of last week's Martin Place Sydney siege. So we're quite focused on today's report about how its political leadership is preparing the nation.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Tuesday warned of a heightened level of “terrorist chatter” in the aftermath of the fatal Sydney cafe siege and said another attack was considered likely. “A briefing from the security agencies today indicated that there has been a heightened level of terrorist chatter in the aftermath of the Martin Place siege,” he said following a meeting of his National Security Committee. “We don’t know when and how an attack may come, but we do know there are people with the intent and the capability to carry out further attacks.” [source]
Australia’s terror alert level has not been raised above its current high, but
Abbott cautioned that “at this level, an attack is likely.” “I am alerting people to the fact that the terror threat remains high and as you all understand, at this level, an attack is likely,” he said. “That’s why it’s important that people remain alert and aware as well as reassured that our police and security agencies are doing everything they humanly can to keep us safe." ...At high, a terrorist attack is seen as likely. An extreme alert level means an attack is imminent or has occurred. Australia has not officially branded the Sydney siege as a terrorist attack. Abbott said he was “not going to speculate” about any specific future attacks, emphasizing only that “there has been a heightened level of chatter amongst people who we would normally think of as terrorist sympathizers”. [source]
He added this:
 "There are people who would do us harm, and can do us harm." [source]
Perhaps that's obvious, and maybe even trite. But since he is in a good position to know, it's valuable information for people to have. And on the whole that blunt assessment seems to make more sense than one he shared with the nation just a few days ago:
Abbott added that he had not heard of anyone saying the Sydney attack was a justifiable response to something that Australia might have done. “I haven’t heard anyone say that and frankly anyone who does even think that is dead wrong – absolutely dead wrong,.. This was the act of a deeply unstable person with a long history of violence and mental illness. This was the act of someone who is way beyond any mainstream – any mainstream – and has been rightly, absolutely repudiated by all of the communities of Australia.” [source]
We're left wondering whether Mr Abbott knows about Australian support for the glorification of our daughter's murderer, and what he would do if he and his advisers knew. We wrote about that here.

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