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Australian Authorities Forestall Planned Terror Attack (moved from ATSNN)

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posted on Apr, 2 2006 @ 06:02 AM
Australian Federal Police officers, working in conjunction with members of the New South Wales and Victorian police service and agents from the domestic intelligence network ASIO have apprehended three men on charges of being members of and funding a terrorist organisation. The men were arrested in the northern suburbs of Melbourne on Friday night as part of an operation which Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon said had seriously disrupted a planned major attack on Australian soil.
Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon said yesterday the arrests of three Melbourne men on Friday night had overcome a genuine threat.

"We believe (these) arrests have significantly disrupted the activities of a group alleged to be making arrangements to carry out a terrorist act in Australia," she said.

The Australian Federal Police's counter-terrorism manager, Assistant Commissioner Frank Prendergast, said Operation Pendennis, which led to the raids, was complex.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

These arrests, as part of Operation Prendergast, represent a continuation of a crackdown on domestic terrorist suspects which began last November with the arrest of 15 suspected terrorists in a series of massive raids in Sydney and Melbourne. As then, authorities have stated that the arrests have forestalled plans for a major attack on Australian soil, although they pointed out that no specific targets had been chosen.

These arrests were made possible by the introduction of strong new anti-terrorism laws, which grant greater powers of arrest, surveillance and detainment to police and ASIO, Australia's domestic intelligence agency (akin to the American FBI). Critics have labelled the new laws as Draconian, whilst the Government has cited the arrests as evidence of both their necessity and effectiveness.

Australia stands as a logical and attractive target for terrorist organisations. A major ally of the United States, Australia has contributed troops to both Afghanistan and Iraq and has recently demonstrated a greater willingness to throw its weight around in the South Pacific region. This has strained relations with its nearby neighbours, especially after Prime Minister John Howard's pledge to conduct pre-emptive strikes on Asian nations if they were aware of an imminent attack on Australia and could not or would not act to prevent it.

No doubt there will be much discussion about the validity of these arrests, in the form of "Isn't the timing of these arrests convenient given the Government's recent [insert domestic or foreign policy issue here] problem?" However, accepting for a moment that these arrests are genuine arrests of legitimate terrorist suspects, does this mean that the new laws are indeed necessary? How likely is a major terrorist attack on Australian soil? Other prominent members of the Coailition have already been attacked. Is it simply a matter of time? Do these arrests mean that the War on Terror is not perhaps as hopeless as some have suggested? Are our intelligence agencies, working behind the scenes, actually making an impact in preventing major reprisals from terrorist organisations?

I am completely in favour of Australia playing a more prominent role as peacekeeper and, if need be, enforcer in the South Pacific. Is a major attack simply a matter of time and do we need these laws to help protect us? What do you guys think?

Related News Links:

Related Discussion Threads:
WAR: Australia Introduces Tough New Counter-Terrorism Laws
NEWS: Australia Cites "Immediate Terror Threat" To Push Through Terror Laws
WAR: Australia Foils Terror Plot, Makes 15 Arrests

[edit on 2/4/06 by Jeremiah25]

posted on Apr, 2 2006 @ 06:08 AM
I'm sure you've heard of a man by the name of Benjamin Franklin. I think what he had to say on the subject pretty much sums up what my opinion would be; "Those who would sacrifice their liberties for security deserve neither liberty nor security." Not necessarily in those exact words but that's the general gist of it.

I think one either believes this or he doesn't. If you don't believe this, and security is more important to you... than by all means, cross out all the laws and rights you want. But in my opinion, sacrificing principles for safety is dishonorable.

posted on Apr, 2 2006 @ 06:22 AM

But in my opinion, sacrificing principles for safety is dishonorable.

I couldn't agree more. But when do laws actually become unethical or oppressive? If these men are found guilty by jury, does this constitute evidence that the police and ASIO are exercising their new powers effectively and judiciously, since people are not simply being dragged off the street or out of their beds in the middle of the night to be imprisoned without cause?

Or is this, rather, a case of "It's not happening to me and until it is I'm burying my head in the sand"? At what point are laws necessary, being wielded with temperance and when are they simply unnecessary extensions of authoritarian power?

posted on Apr, 2 2006 @ 06:29 AM
I have my doubts. I think we are paying a huge price (and perhaps bigger price in the future) based on the government-propagated supposition that we may be a terrorist target at some point in the future.

These latest arrests were supposedly based on the statement that those arrested were members of and help fund a terrorist organisation. Which one?

It is far too easy to just make arrests but we don’t see or hear the evidence that supports the arrests. I would like to hear that arrests have been made and that an attack was foiled backed up by real evidence to support the claim.

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