Australian PM warns of 'specific' terror threat

November 2nd, 2005  

Topic: Australian PM warns of 'specific' terror threat

PM warns of 'specific' terror threat

Prime Minister John Howard says the Federal Government has received specific intelligence about a potential terrorist threat in Australia.

At a press conference, Mr Howard would not give further details, citing operational security reasons.

"The Government has received specific intelligence from police information this week, which gives cause for serious concern about a potential terrorist threat," Mr Howard told reporters.

"I do not intend, and can not, go into any of the operational details. We have seen material, it is a cause for concern."

Mr Howard says the Senate will be recalled tomorrow to pass an amendment relating to the description of a terrorist act.

He says the amendment to existing counter-terrorism laws would allow authorities to deal with the threat.

He says the amendment will be introduced to the House of Representatives this afternoon after Question Time.

The amendment is separate from the Government's proposed counter-terrorism legislation that Mr Howard says will be introduced to the Parliament soon.

Mr Howard says the specific terrorist threat became known recently but he has refused to detail the information.

"All the detail of this information has been provided by me and the Attorney-General, to the Leader of the Opposition, and to the shadow minister for homeland security," he said.

The announcement from Mr Howard came as ASIO in its annual report publicly outlined the threats to Australia.

ASIO says that some of the extremists it has been investigating were born in Australia.
November 2nd, 2005  
Sure there is..................
Christ thats like saying its gunna rain sometime this week, or the summers gunna be a hot one.
Sweeping statements like that are only going to worry people.
Or is that what he wants so they can push through the new laws??????
Or take our attention of the new workplace reforms???
November 2nd, 2005  
It might explain why he has be trying to push the laws through so fast.
November 2nd, 2005  
Italian Guy
Australian and Italy find themselves in the same situation now. Our governments have been warning about specific threats too. We expect terrorist attacks on our country within April, when general elections are going to be held. Our top officials have repeatedly stated the threat is not to be taken lightly.
November 3rd, 2005  
Originally Posted by Bory
It might explain why he has be trying to push the laws through so fast.
seems he will use them as a way of getting his shoot to kill thing through, despite opposition from the premiers
November 8th, 2005  
AUSTRALIAN security agencies appear to have averted a major terrorist attack on home soil with a series of dramatic raids on a suspected terrorist network this morning.

Sixteen people were arrested and are facing terrorism-related charges.
Government and police officials said today some of the group had been stockpiling chemicals to make an explosive device.

Most of the alleged terrorists appeared in court today. Among them was Adbul Nacer Benbrika, the radical Islamic cleric also known as Abu Bakr.

A court in Melbourne heard Benbrika was the co-ordinator and spiritual leader of the group.

The seven held in Sydney were today charged with conspiring to manufacture explosives in preparation for a terrorist act.

The seven were named in court as Mohamed Ali Elomar, 40, of Bankstown, Khaled Sharrouf, 24, of Wiley Park, Moustafa Cheikho, 28, of Wiley Park, Khaled Cheikho, 32, of Wiley Park, Mazen Touma, 25, of Bankstown, Abdul Rhakib Hasan and Mirsad Mulahalilovic.
Some 500 police officers, a combination of state police officers and federal agents, launched more than 20 raids on properties in Sydney and Melbourne simultaneously at 2.30am this morning.

Later in the morning, one of the suspects tried to flee, firing gunshots at police. Officers returned fire and the man was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Police seized documentation and computer hard drives from the targeted addresses in several Sydney suburbs including Wiley Park and Lakemba, while homes in Melbourne's suburbs of Brunswick, Coburg and Broadmeadows were raided.

It has been claimed the group may have been plotting a terrorist spectacular on the scale of the al-Qaeda attacks on London and Madrid. ( More: Chemical 'threat')

NSW Police Commissioner Ken Moroney said the group's plans, if successful, would have been "catastrophic".

Authorities have not yet identified any specific targets the suspects were planning to attack.

The first details of the charges against the 16 terror suspects were outlined in a Melbourne court today.

Victorian police had more than 240 hours of phone intercepts in which the group discussed plans to kill Australian civilians, the court heard.

Some of the group had attended military training, and they had a pooled fund of money to finance alleged plots, the court heard.

Benbrika was the co-ordinator and spiritual leader of the group, prosecutor Richard Maidment QC said.

"It is alleged that all of the persons who have been before the court this morning along with another not presently in custody constitutes a terrorist organisation," Mr Maidment said.

"That organisation is directed by the defendant Benbrika.

"Each of the members of the group are committed to the cause of violent jihad," he said.

The arrests come just days after the Federal Government rushed changes to anti-terrorist legislation through Parliament.

Prime Minister John Howard warned the changes were necessary because "specific intelligence and police information" indicated a group was close to carrying out a terrorist spectacular on Australian soil.

Victorian Premier Steve Bracks said documents and computer hard drives had been seized and that in Sydney some chemicals had been seized.,10117,17176270-2,00.html

Surprise Surprise, over 7 years ago a know Arab Terrorist was arrested in Melbourne as was seen of the TV show "Crime Stoppers". How many people saw the writing on the wall then? I think the threat must have been reasonably significant for such a rapid response after the laws where passed. As to how long they have averted an attack with such a large Muslim community here in Oz who knows, but it is nice to see something being done..... at last.

I just hope the new laws will withstand the bleeding hearts .....
November 8th, 2005  
Raids disrupt 'imminent' attack

By Elisabeth Lopez, Dewi Cooke

Victorian Premier Steve Bracks believes police have disrupted probably the most serious preparation for a terrorist attack ever in Australia.

Police arrested 17 people in co-ordinated anti-terrorism raids overnight in Melbourne and Sydney. The men, nine from Victoria and eight from NSW, have been charged with a range anti-terrorism offences.

A man is believed to have been shot during one of the raids in Sydney's west.

Melbourne Magistrates Court has remanded seven men in custody pending a hearing on January 31.

Another two are appearing before the court, applying for bail. The application is being opposed.

The raids followed reports that a group of men were stockpiling chemicals to carry out a terrorist attack.

Speaking at a news conference today, Mr Bracks said the raids, which followed 16 months of surveillance, were made possible by an amendment to anti-terror legislation rushed through Federal parliament last week.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon said police feared a terrorist attack was about to occur.

"We were concerned that an attack was imminent and we believe that we have sufficient evidence to go before the courts to show that," Mrs Nixon said.

"It became more obvious to us as information became available to us that the way these people were behaving was of serious concern and that we needed to interrupt that activity and operation as soon as we could."

However, a lawyer acting for six people in Sydney described the raids as "political and a great shame on this country".


Eight people in Melbourne have been charged with terrorism-related offences including intentionally being a member of a terrorist organisation.

A ninth has been charged with intentionally directing the activities of a terrorist organisation.$20 on JI

The nine men have arrived at Melbourne Magistrates Court, where they are set to face a filing hearing this morning.

Outside the court, an associate of their lawyer, Rob Stary, said the suspects were mainly men in their mid-20s, most of whom were married with children.isn't this the same the whole world round. something drastic needs to be done to integrate immigrants into countries in order to minimise the chances of people feeling displaced and neglected

The associate said Mr Stary was representing all nine men, most of whom he had acted for previously.

It is believed that two of the men are relatives.

NSW Police Commissioner Ken Moroney said the raids began about 2.30 this morning, and involved police wearing bullet-proof vests, using helicopters and dogs.<sarcasm>well gee im glad they remembered the bullet-proof vests, you would feel kind of stupid not wearing one on this kind of op.

An AFP spokeswoman told the raids were a joint operation between Victoria, NSW and federal police.[color]so it was purely Police, not Army. interesting. i still think i would prefer the Army conducting the execution of this sort of op[/color]

They related to an ongoing counter-terrorism investigation.

Chemicals stockpiled

NSW Premier Morris Iemma said intelligence was received that a group was making arrangements to gather chemicals and other materials capable of being used to make explosives.

"I've been further advised that police believe the group was planning a terrorist attack in Australia,'' he said.

Mr Bracks was asked if he thought the arrests had disrupted a major terrorist attack in Australia, possibly Melbourne.

"Yes I do," he said, adding the covert study of the group had not ascertained their target or targets.

". . . I congratulate the combined efforts of ASIO and Australian Federal Police . . . to ensure this disruption occurred and these charges will be before the courts."

Mr Bracks was asked if his briefings on the planning over 16 months had made him nervous for the safety of Victorians.

"I know that the Victoria Police, Australian Federal Police and ASIO had this matter under control," he said.

He also urged the city's Muslim population to not view the raids as an attack on their community.

"The law is absolutely ignorant of the fact that they might adhere to a certain religion or faith or have certain ethnic characteristics," Mr Bracks said.

Melbourne raids

A Victoria Police spokesman said the Melbourne raids were carried out between 2am and 3am on 12 houses in Dallas, Hoppers Crossing, Fawkner, Preston, Hadfield, Coburg, Yarraville and Meadow Heights.

Police arrested eight people in NSW after executing warrants in Lakemba, Belmore, Wiley Park, Greenacre, Illawong, Punchbowl, Hoxton Park, Condell Park, Ingleburn, Belfield, Bankstown and Kemps Creek.

Victoria Police chief commissioner Christine Nixon said the raids were connected to comments last week by Prime Minister John Howard regarding a "specific" terror threat.

The government recalled the Senate for a special sitting last week to pass one measure which widened the scope for authorities to arrest terrorist suspects.

Commissioner Nixon told ABC radio they had been charged with both state and federal offences, including offences related to membership of a banned organisation.

She said she could not confirm whether explosives or weapons had been seized.

"There were actually 23 search warrants involved in the matter, so it'll take some time for investigators to deal with all of those. We certainly had a range of material seized and grave concerns about the way that these people had been behaving."

"The offences that some of them will be charged with are related to that offence (membership of a prescribed organisation), but again that's a bit more detail that will be gone into later when they appear before the courts."

Asked about Commissioner Moroney's claim the suspects were believed to have been in the final stages of planing an attack on Australian soil, Ms Nixon said: "We certainly had concerns that the way these people were behaving was suspicious, and to us raised great levels of concern, so we believe that they were planning an operation.

"We weren't exactly sure when, nor more importantly, what they planned to damage or do harm to.

'Prosecutions are political'

Mr Stary said he did not know which proscribed organisations the men were suspected of involvement with.

He said he could not confirm whether those detained were connected with a series of counter-terrorism raids in June.

Mr Stary said he was alerted to the raids around 3am, when he was phoned by a client.

Sydney lawyer Adam Houda said he was preparing bail applications for the six people being held at the Sydney police centre.

Speaking from his office, Mr Houda told he had been able to talk with his clients by phone but had not yet seen the list of charges.

"The only thing I'd want to tell you (is) I just question the timing. These prosecutions are political and a great shame on this country," he said

"It's getting from bad to worse."

The raids follow Prime Minister John Howard's announcement last week of a possible terrorist threat believed to involve potential targets in Sydney and Melbourne.

There were reports the threat was linked to a group of Melbourne men who were spotted filming possible targets.

The government recalled the Senate for a special sitting last week to pass one measure which widened the scope for authorities to arrest terrorist suspects.

Labor, the Australian Democrats and the Australian Greens have accused the government of playing politics with national security and trying to scare Australians.

But Mr Howard last night rejected the claims, saying he announced the changes to anti-terror laws because they were in the national interest.
good job to all involved, hopefully they will be able to get some information out of some of them
November 8th, 2005  

well done