* Â There are no words to describe the depravity of these traitors:
LAWYERS who defended those accused and acquitted of terror charges have called on the government to apologise.
Civil rights campaigner and solicitor to six of the defendants, Rob Stary, and barrister Greg Barns accused the government of stage managing arrests and rebuked federal attorney general Robert McClelland for commenting before all of the verdicts were handed down.Â
Mr Stary called on the government to apologise to four men acquitted of terrorism offences for being detained in “Guantanamo” style imprisonment, and did not rule out suing for compensation.
“The first thing we would expect the government to do is offer them an apology,” Mr Stary said.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
“Their lives have been irreparably damaged. There should be a good will gesture.”Â
* News links:
Mr Stary said counter-terrorism efforts had cost the government $20 billion and was a political point scorer.
* Pic’s of the perps, here:
* Â Can you spot the ‘revert?’
Police Â taped Benbrika telling his followers not to believe moderate Muslims when they taught that the word jihad had many meanings, not all of them violent.
”They say jihad means many things. He’s a donkey. he doesn’t understand his religion,” Benbrika said.
”Tell him – OK, Allah he mentioned the jihad in the Koran. What does it mean? It’s fighting the unbelievers, that’s all.
”And the kuffar (unbelievers) … this word, they know what this word means. It means we want to kill them.”
Armed with all this intelligence – including 16,000 hours of bugged conversations between Benbrika and his group – it’s no wonder counter terrorism police suspected an imminent terrorist attack in Melbourne.
A taskforce, codenamed Operation Pendennis, was formed to investigate Benbrika and his cell.
Pendennis was made up of Australian Federal Police, Victoria Police and ASIO agents.
Their constant fear was that Benbrika and his cell would commit a terrorist act before there was enough evidence to lay charges.
Benbrika:Â ”You shouldn’t just do, kill one or two or three, you need some good … like close to the station, the train.”
Merhi:Â ”Yeah, like what’s been going on in …”
Benbrika:Â ”Do a big thing.”
Merhi:Â ”Like Spain.”
Benbrika:Â ”When you, in here, in Australia, when you do something they stop to send the troops. If you kill, we kill, here a thousand, the Government is going to think …”
Merhi:Â ”Bring the troops back. Because if you get large numbers here the Government will listen.”
* Â Lots more, go to page 2, scroll down!
“It beggars belief that while the jury was still deliberating the attorney general spoke about the verdicts,” he said.Â
“He was either ill-advised, or he has no concept of the processes that are in place while a jury are deliberating with their verdict.”Â
“They (those charged) are the victims of a political campaign, run by both governments, both the discredited Howard, Downer and Ruddock regimes, and the current regime, in which they have opportunistically sort to gain political mileage.’Â
He said Abdullah Merhi, who was alleged to have volunteered to be a suicide bomber, had in fact been found not guilty of this offence.Â
Merhi was found guilty of being a member of a terrorist organisation, knowing that it was a terrorist organisation.Â
Reports of plots to bomb significant iconic landmarks, such as the MCG on grand final day, 2005, and the West Gate Bridge, were wrong, Mr Stary said.Â
Mr Stary said the anti-terror laws, changed shortly before 10 men were arrested in Melbourne on November, 2005, over terrorism offences, were dangerous in that people could become criminals for their thoughts, describing it as young persons’ “bravado” and “simply talk”.Â
He said that it did not constitute conspiracy and had no identifiable target.Â
“There was talk about a range of things, the sort of bravado that young men get involved in.Â
“No doubt the sort of bravado that the Bolsheviks used to talk about in the 1950s, the sort of bravado the Maoists talked about in the 1970s, and those people that supported Irish reunification, or independent Kosovo, or an independent Croatia.Â
“It’s the same sort of language that’s used by young men in those sorts of circumstances in supporting causes of self-determination,” he said.Â
“Whatever you say about how repugnant or odious the comments were, it was simply talk,” he said.Â
Mr Stary said most of those on trial had not met before they were jailed together at Barwon PrisonÂ
The defence lawyers along with the Civil Rights Defence group want anti-terror laws repealed because they are too broad.Â
Mr Barns said many Australians would have been convicted of terrorism crimes if the current anti-terror laws had existed since the 1950s.Â
“Australia’s anti terror laws are so sweeping in their reach, that they are embedding into our justice system guilt by association,” he said.Â
“These laws would support the conviction of individuals who donated money to organisations such as Nelson Mandela’s ANC or Fretilin.Â
“What one says and thinks alone can be now be considered criminal. This is a serious extension of the criminal law.Â
“It means that people who express radical views, or associate with those who do, and agree with those views, can now be considered to have committed a criminal offense.”Â
The defence team has flagged appeals will be launched after sentencing.Â
RADICAL self-proclaimed Muslim cleric Abdul Nacer Benbrika and six of his followers have been convicted of being members of a Melbourne-based terrorist cell.
Herald SunÂ Insight Editor KEITH MOOR has spent months interviewing people and examining thousands of pages of court transcripts and other documents relating to the case.
He has pieced together how the evil and dangerously manipulative Benbrika persuaded a group of mostly young and impressionable men to join him in what he claimed was an Allah-approved jihad war against unbelievers in Australia.
Benbrika’s goal was to commit a terrorist attack of such enormity it would persuade the Australian Government to pull its troops out of Iraq.
Moor’s report traces how the terror cell developed, what it planned to do and how a joint Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police taskforce stopped it before it could commit what would have been the most devastating attack ever on Australian soil.
EVIL Muslim cleric Abdul Nacer Benbrika manipulated young and impressionable men to join his terrorist network.
He told them Allah had approved a jihad war against unbelievers in Australia.
Benbrika’s goal was to commit a terrorist attack of such enormity it would persuade the Australian Government to pull its troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Secretly taped conversations led investigators monitoring Benbrika’s terror cell to believe it was planning something even more devastating than the damage caused by Bali suicide bombers Jimi and Iqbal.
Armed only with a pipe bomb disguised in a vest, Iqbal walked into Bali’s busy Paddy’s Pub in 2002 and exploded the crude device.
His partner Jimi detonated a car bomb outside the nearby Sari Club seconds later.
The bomb was so powerful it registered as a five second earth tremor on seismic equipment which showed vibrations from the blast were felt over a 20km radius.
Iqbal and Jimi’s dual suicide bomb attack in the heart of Bali’s Westerner-dominated entertainment strip killed 202 people from 21 countries, including 88 Australians.
Police had taped evidence that Benbrika was planning something similar.
He was taped discussing a 500kg version of a 500g test bomb he watched explode only days before the October 2004 federal election.
Benbrika was also taped bragging about what he hoped to achieve.
|The AFL Grand Final was the original target and because of the raids and because of security reasons and funding they were to be off until the following year.|
|Â||– prosecution witness Izzydeen Atik||Â|
”We’ll damage buildings. Blast things…thinking big not small,” the extremist Muslim sheik said.
”What we want to do is to do maximum damage and damage their property. Damage their lives.”
The quantity of chemicals which exploded in Bali with such deadly effect was between 150kg and 300kg – far less powerful than the one Benbrika was talking about building.
Victoria Police explosives expert John Kelleher gave evidence during the trial that he did not know of any building in Melbourne which wouldn’t be levelled by a bomb of the size Benbrika was discussing.
”There is not many buildings that would survive – 500kg is an enormous amount of explosive,” he said.
Mr Kelleher said in a statement to police that most houses would suffer severe structural damage, and its occupants would probably die, if even a 1kg bomb was used and that using a 5kg bomb would collapse most suburban homes.
He said he had attended the scene of the 1986 Russell St bombing, which killed Constable Angela Taylor, and witnessed the devastation that car bomb caused – and it only contained 11kg of explosives.
Some of Benbrika’s terror cell members were caught on tape discussing possible targets, including the West Gate Bridge, Melbourne’s rail network and fans at a football game.
Benbrika was taped extolling the virtues of al-Qaida’s Osama bin Laden and urged his network to follow the doctrine of the notorious terrorist leader.
He told convicted Melbourne terrorist Izzydeen Atik that since the September 11 attack on New York’s World Trade Centre twin towers in 2001, it had become difficult to get what was needed to ”blast things”.
Police also recorded evidence which the prosecution claimed revealed that Benbrika had persuaded at least one of his impressionable young followers to agree to become what would have been Australia’s first suicide bomber.
That would-be martyr was Abdullah Merhi and he was only 19 when he fell under Benbrika’s spell.
Merhi was this week found guilty of being a member of Benbrika’s terror cell, but not guilty of providing resources to it.
Benbrika, 44 at the time, was able to twist Muslim literature to extol the virtues of being a suicide bomber in a way that made it attractive to a vulnerable and naive teenager like Merhi.
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Civil libertarian concerns are misplaced
September 19, 2008/The Australian
CONTRARY to opinion in some quarters, bleeding-heart naivety and soft-headed stupidity are not virtues, especially in terror prevention. The sooner Australia’s misguided civil libertarians understand this, the safer their fellow citizens will be. Law enforcement agencies ASIO, the Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police deserve congratulations for the success of Operation Pendennis. After gathering 16,400 hours of electronic surveillance and bugging 98,000 telephone calls, seven defendants, including radical cleric Abdul Nacer Benbrika, have been convicted of being part of a terror cell. Despite evidence uncovered of plans to attack the 2005 AFL Grand Final at the MCG or Melbourne’s Crown casino during Grand Prix week in 2006, the trial has drawn bizarre reactions from some who are well enough educated to know better.
Rob Stary, who represented seven of the men, claimed the fact that four were acquitted showed “they are casting the net too wide”. A more rational interpretation might be that the acquittals showed due process worked and delivered justice. The Australian, especially in its coverage of the botched Mohamed Haneef investigation, has been a stickler for due process to maintain public confidence in the laws. It was upheld in this trial.
Sounding like an ingenuous student, Liberty Victoria president Julian Burnside QC condemned anti-terror laws after the trial for their impact on “minority groups”. The vast majority of good Australian Muslims want terrorism stopped as much as, if not more than, their fellow citizens. Mr Burnside also claimed the laws “criminalise conduct most people would not regard as criminal at all, including words said or views held which never result in any actual harm to anyone”.
Greg Barns, who defended Ezzit Raad, pointed to “a world of difference between preparing to act and acting, and merely thinking and talking”. Such cavalier thinking beggars belief. Every week, criminals go to jail for such crimes such as conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to commit fraud, without actually murdering or defrauding anyone. In such cases, it is the evidence of intention that matters.
Pushed to its logical conclusion, Mr Barns’s argument implies that anti-terror laws should not be invoked until terrorist acts are unleashed. This would be as unacceptable to the vast majority of Australians as his client Raad’s recorded statement that it was a pity more people had not died in the 2005 London terrorist bombings. Raad was found guilty of belonging to a terrorist organisation and of making funds available to it.
After the World Trade Centre attacks and the Bali bombings, critics of the security services were quick to blame intelligence failures in preventing the attacks. In relation to September 11, the criticisms later proved valid as it emerged that some of the perpetrators had been known to authorities for years. In Australia in 2004, concerns over perceived intelligence failures in the lead-up to the Bali bombings prompted the then ALP Opposition, the Greens and the Democrats to demand judicial inquiries.
Despite such concerns, the exemplary intelligence gathering in the lead-up to the Melbourne terror trial, preventing preparation of a terrorist act that may have killed and maimed innocent people, has left parts of the Left upset. As Daily Telegraph columnist Piers Akerman argues: “Predictably, a number of civil libertarians, academics and legal figures who have vilified those who predicted such a development since the 9/11 bombings and the Islamist attacks against civilians in Bali and the West, have continued their attacks on the legal system which enabled these men to be held, tried and convicted.”
Such clouded thinking by the Left is nothing new. In February, Amnesty International’s main concern about the trial was that the men had been denied bail. Yesterday, The Age’s main concern was a front-page claim they had been “mistreated”. During the trial, defence claims of terrifying “Nazi tactics” by authorities and suggestions that members of the alleged cell were too stupid and inept to be terrorists were also unconvincing. Unlike the bosses of Jemaah Islamiah and al-Qa’ida, many of those who perpetrate terror attacks are easily-led dupes.
Despite the controversies, Australia’s largest terrorist trial and the investigation that led to it nailed a home-grown terrorist cell plotting to wage violent jihad on Australians. That justice was done, and seen to be done, reaffirmed the value of the anti-terror laws, properly implemented.