Aussie teen Jake Bilardi carries out suicide bombing for the Islamic State, Greens dipstick tells us we should not defend ourselves
Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt said a greater home-front effort was needed to confront Islamic State in Australia, warning we cannot “bomb our way to victory”. (The Australian)
“Why aren’t we doing more to get to the bottom of what prompts people who feel perhaps disconnected or perhaps disaffected here in Australia to go and join in this kinds of conflicts?”
THE Australian teenager apparently killed in an Islamic State suicide bomb attack in Iraq reportedly planned to bomb cafes and shopping centres in Melbourne.
In a blog titled “From Melbourne to Ramadi: My Journey,” Jake Bilardi, 18, details his conversion from an “Atheist school student in affluent Melbourne” to a “soldier of the Khalifah preparing to sacrifice my life for Islam.”
Bilardi was reportedly involved in one of seven IS suicide attacks in the Iraqi city of Ramadi on Wednesday.
A photo posted online, purportedly from a new IS propaganda video, appears to show a white van with an in inset image of a young man who looks like Bilardi sitting in a driver’s seat.
While the authenticity of the image has not been confirmed, there was a wave of car bomb attacks in Anbar province on Wednesday which killed at least 10 people and wounded 30. according to police.
The high school drop out’s blog offers a chilling insight into the mind of a young man who appeared determined to kill as many “kuffars” as possible even before he left Australia to fight with the militants in Iraq and Syria.
According to The Guardian the now deleted blog, written under Bilardi’s nom de guerre Abu Abdullah al-Australi, includes claims that drew up plans to launch “a string of bombings across Melbourne, targeting foreign consulates and political/military targets as well as grenade and knife attacks on shopping centres and cafes”.
The attacks would end “with myself detonating a belt of explosives among the kuffar”, he wrote.
He apparently collected materials for explosives before changing his mind and deciding to go to Syria instead.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop would not comment on ABC reports that Bilardi had left a series of improvised bombs at his family home. The ABC reported that his family alerted authorities are discovering the devices. Ms Bishop said she was awaiting a formal briefing on the reported discovery.
In his blog, which has not been authenticated, Bilardi claims that after making contact with Islamic State, he had signed up for a suicide attack but his first operation in Baiji, Iraq, failed.
“After I witnessed the mistakes made, I turned to fighting in the city before once again registering for a martyrdom operation, a decision that would bring me to the large yet modest city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province,” he wrote.
He also blames the war on terror for his radicalisation, saying: “This was the turning point in my ideological development as it signalled the beginning of my complete hatred and opposition to the entire system Australia and the majority of the world was based upon,” he wrote.
“It was also the moment I realised that violent global revolution was necessary to eliminate this system of governance and that it I would likely be killed in this struggle.”
Posts by the teen on the discussion forum Disqus showed that, four years ago, he was a thoughtful young man who appeared horrified by terror attacks and calling for international intervention to protect citizens in Somalia.
In response to one comment about the terror group Al-Shabab, he wrote: “They are still terrorists … I am an Australian and just last year there were Al-Shabab militants that were arrested over the plot to attack the Holsworthy army base in Sydney, NSW.
In another discussion about Afghanistan, he wrote: “Although everyone hopes to see an end to the war in Afghanistan, the truth is that as long as Al-Qaeda are still thriving the Taliban will also thrive for longer and longer and will continue to wreak havoc in Afghanistan.”
Tony Abbott has described Bilardi’s reported suicide bomb death as an “absolutely horrific situation”, which shows the lure Islamic State has to young Australians.
“This is a horrific situation, an absolutely horrific situation,” the prime minister told reporters in Melbourne.
“It’s very, very important that we do everything we can to try to safeguard our young people against the lure of this shocking, alien and extreme ideology.”
Professor Greg Barton from Monash University’s Global Terrorism Research Centre said using young westerners in suicide missions was a “very cynical move from a very cynical operation”.
Young people from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane who don’t speak any Arabic and don’t have any combat experience weren’t of much use to Islamic State, apart from propaganda, he said.
“So many of them become patsies who are told to strap on a vest or hop in the driver’s seat of suicide vehicle,” he told Sky News.
Michael Wesley, the director of the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University, said the troubled teen from Craigieburn, in Melbourne, may have been used by Islamic State to prove Westerners are willing to kill themselves for the movement
Professor Wesley cautions the reports of Bilardi’s involvement could be IS propaganda and he may be alive.
However he said the boy might have been seen as a useful tool for the movement to prove that Westerners “put their lives on the line for the movement”.
Professor Wesley told ABC radio it was in keeping with IS behaviour to involve a young person, like Bilardi, in a suicide bombing.
“We’re seeing a range of ages being recruited by IS, but young people are very prominent among them,” he said.
However he cautioned: “I wouldn’t put it beyond them to make things up. I think they will do anything for propaganda advantage.”
Bilardi was dubbed “the white jihadi” after appearing in a Twitter photograph in December, sitting with Islamic State fighters and clutching an assault rifle. British media first claimed he was from the UK but it has since been revealed that he was a gifted student from Craigieburn who dropped out of high school to join fighting in Iraq and Syria.
Neighbours and friends said he was “shy and confused” and had become more so after losing his mother to cancer in 2012.
The teenager was reportedly living with two older brothers and a sister after his mother died.
“He was really smart but seemed to get even quieter after his mum died,” one classmate said.
Before his Twitter account was suspended, the teenager tweeted about impending attacks.
“What we have in store for you dogs will make 9/11 look like child’s play,” he wrote in one post
In a previous post, the teen reportedly warned: “Martin place was just the beginning for you dogs.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it’s difficult to confirm deaths of Australians in the region.
“The Australian government’s capacity to confirm reports of deaths in either Syria or Iraq is extremely limited,” DFAT said in a statement.
“Due to the extremely dangerous security situation, consular assistance is no longer available within Syria.” It says Australians involved in overseas conflicts are “putting their own lives in mortal danger”.
“Any Australians fighting with non-state militia in Syria or Iraq should end their involvement in the conflict now and leave the conflict zone.”
Government frontbencher Simon Birmingham told Sky News: “The government’s not in a position yet to verify the reports but if true they are a sobering reminder of what we face when it comes to extremism and terrorism around the world.
“A sobering reminder to anybody who is thinking about or is engaged with groups who are extremists of the consequences of these activities: that innocent victims in Iraq have lost their lives, that this young man may have lost his life, that the consequences that has for his family to whom, of course, they must be feeling mournful and our condolences go to them in what would be a very difficult and trying time.”
Labor citizenship and multiculturalism spokeswoman Michelle Rowland said the reports highlighted the need for parliament to work together to prevent further atrocities.
“We need to look at what is driving young people to take this path. I think we need to look at issues of inclusion,” Ms Rowland told Sky News.
“Is it issues with not having sufficient pathways in life? Is it issues of not feeling that they have a future here?
“I know these are very deep questions to be asking but I think they’re the right ones to ask because, quite frankly, it’s a tragic situation and every time we hear it it becomes even more tragic.”
Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt said a greater home-front effort was needed to confront Islamic State in Australia, warning we cannot “bomb our way to victory”.
“Why aren’t we doing more to get to the bottom of what prompts people who feel perhaps disconnected or perhaps disaffected here in Australia to go and join in this kinds of conflicts?” he told Sky News.
“Where is the money and the resources … being spent on that on-the-ground activity to stop people like this deciding to get on the plane in the first place?”