FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Fanciful Threats

The fantasy driven Herald Sun has always enjoyed a good screech with headlines. While hardly compares to that other Murdoch rag, The Sun, which runs both humour and hysteria in its lines, it does attempt to frighten its readers into grievous despair. And nothing does this better, it would seem, than talking up the radicalisation threat in Australia, the lurking monsters that creep out at night with machetes awaiting to attack figures of authority. Naturally, Allah and Mohammed are meant to be their inspiring companions.

The tabloid screeching has reached new levels, with more desperate accretions on the story that the Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, was the “target” of a “plot” by various young men who have assumed cartoonish proportions. The documents centred around the so-called Anzac Day terror plots, released by Justice Peter Riordan who lifted the suppression order on transcripts of conversations between 18-year-old Sevdet Besim and a 14-year-old boy in England. These came in the form of “explosive documents” that the paper perused, though a perusal by everyone else reveals nothing that incendiary.

Instead, they reveal the minds of disturbed and aggrieved teenagers keen to have an impact in the manner puerile aspirants seek. They allegedly sought weapons. They allegedly were involved in plans, if they even warrant that term, that seems to have been given retrospective coherence by inventive police accounts. Plots, after all, tend to have a degree of certainty.

Besim’s alleged involvement comprised mourning at the grave of the late Numan Haider before being arrested in April. In broken patois more reminiscent of satirical nonsense, Besim is said to have communicated to his English-based counterpart how, “After Numan r.a. (sic) did his op here and I heard this it was enough for me to say that’s it im doing this. Im gonna fight these enemies of Allah.” This would have involved fire arms and “a massive machete”.

In what can only be described as the views and attitudes of a terrorist thespian and errant child, the English-based figure observed how, “You are a lone wolf, a wolf that begs Allah for forgiveness a wolf that doesn’t fear blame of the blamers.” Police have read volumes into this exchange. They do not see children so much as well motivated terrorists on the make.

Using voice-over-internet protocol (VOIP), Besim is said to have discussed possible attacks on the Shrine of Remembrance and the federal police headquarters at La Trobe Street. “Lik[sic] I said though I’d love to take out some cops. Intelligence agents.” Apparently, he could not “wait now for the op”.

Accompanying Besim would have been co-accused Harun Causevic, another 18-year-old who was going to accompany Besim after nabbing a car to run down a police officer, behead the person in question and use available weapons to shoot others on Anzac Day. Much like Grand Theft Auto without the screen.

Central to this ill-planned, cumbersome balderdash was the fate of 18-year-old Haider, who was shot dead by police having, it is claimed, attacked two officers without warning. Haider was killed outside the Endeavour Hills police station in Melbourne’s south-east in September 2014. What had ensued was a messy melee of aggravation and blood, Haider having been invited to discuss the cancellation of his passport, a fact he did not take too well too. Both a Victorian officer and an Australian Federal Police officer were stabbed. The Victorian officer subsequently shot Haider in the head after the assailant’s refusal to stop stabbing the fallen AFP officer.

A feature that is evaded by way of convenience was the undue interest the authorities showed in Haider prior to the event. In some ways, he provides an object study about how to invite assault and mayhem when mere delusionary outbursts might have sufficed. A religious, confused fanatic is not necessarily a problem till he has a grievance to feed. The police were particularly keen to emphasise how Haider had brandished “a black flag with white Arabic writing emblazoned on it at a Dandenong shopping plaza.”

This says absolutely nothing about the young man, other than the petty grand standing that accompanies such acts. But the police, short on Arabic translators, persisted in asking Haider what his flag featured. In cavalier fashion, he replied that they “should know what it said and to Google it”. While he was not present “to bomb the plaza… your government will pay.”

The accounts by some papers suggest that Haider had it in for Abbott, though it is hard to actually give that any credence on looking at the transcripts. The Age is dry but direct. “In documents released by a Supreme Court judge on Wednesday, police allege Numan Haider’s actions constituted an implied threat towards Mr Abbott.” The Herald is dramatic and overwrought. “It can now be revealed that two teens charged over an alleged Anzac Day terror plot were close associates of Haider’s and were with him until just half an hour before his death.”

Actions of ideological bravura and religious fervour, notably by young men in suburban Australia, are not necessarily signs of terrorist motivation. Incompetence and inertia tend to be their enemies. Ennui is draining but hardly worthy of domestic engagement. Political assassinations and attacks on police stations demand a degree of ruthless skill and cruel indifference to life. Mere babbling doesn’t suggest actual worth.

Detective Senior Sergeant Adam Shoesmith is, however, convinced. As a member of the counter-terrorism team, he claimed that his office had received information “from a highly reliable source” on the movements of Haider. The link is then made between the death of Haider, and two other suspects.

The definitions of plots keep getting thinner with each exposure and media sensation. The mere mention of the word radicalisation conjures up the grounds, the basis of conviction. There is no margin for error – this is the world of assumptions, one of absolute truths. And Abbott and the Murdoch press seem to have that sewn up. Pre-emptive criminality, not actual proof, is what gains attention.

The means are barely there, even if they did show a desire to get arms or a machete. Nor was there any opportunity to present itself. A mere inarticulate desire to kill a leader of a state regarded as an imbecile and oppressive is hardly more dangerous than the mental drivel of teenagers seeking world domination.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

More articles by:

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

April 25, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Selective Outrage
Dan Kovalik
The Empire Turns Its Sights on Nicaragua – Again!
Joseph Essertier
The Abductees of Japan and Korea
Ramzy Baroud
The Ghost of Herut: Einstein on Israel, 70 Years Ago
W. T. Whitney
Imprisoned FARC Leader Faces Extradition: Still No Peace in Colombia
Manuel E. Yepe
Washington’s Attack on Syria Was a Mockery of the World
John White
My Silent Pain for Toronto and the World
Mel Gurtov
Will Abe Shinzo “Make Japan Great Again”?
Dean Baker
Bad Projections: the Federal Reserve, the IMF and Unemployment
David Schultz
Why Donald Trump Should Not be Allowed to Pardon Michael Cohen, His Friends, or Family Members
Mel Gurtov
Will Abe Shinzo “Make Japan Great Again”?
Binoy Kampmark
Enoch Powell: Blood Speeches and Anniversaries
Frank Scott
Weapons and Walls
April 24, 2018
Carl Boggs
Russia and the War Party
William A. Cohn
Carnage Unleashed: the Pentagon and the AUMF
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
The Racist Culture of Canadian Hockey
María Julia Bertomeu
On Angers, Disgusts and Nauseas
Nick Pemberton
How To Buy A Seat In Congress 101
Ron Jacobs
Resisting the Military-Now More Than Ever
Paul Bentley
A Velvet Revolution Turns Bloody? Ten Dead in Toronto
Sonali Kolhatkar
The Left, Syria and Fake News
Manuel E. Yepe
The Confirmation of Democracy in Cuba
Peter Montgomery
Christian Nationalism: Good for Politicians, Bad for America and the World
Ted Rall
Bad Drones
Jill Richardson
The Latest Attack on Food Stamps
Andrew Stewart
What Kind of Unionism is This?
Ellen Brown
Fox in the Hen House: Why Interest Rates Are Rising
April 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
In Middle East Wars It Pays to be Skeptical
Thomas Knapp
Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier …
Gregory Barrett
The Moral Mask
Robert Hunziker
Chemical Madness!
David Swanson
Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law
Dave Lindorff
Starbucks Has a Racism Problem
Uri Avnery
The Great Day
Nyla Ali Khan
Girls Reduced to Being Repositories of Communal and Religious Identities in Kashmir
Ted Rall
Stop Letting Trump Distract You From Your Wants and Needs
Steve Klinger
The Cautionary Tale of Donald J. Trump
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Conflict Over the Future of the Planet
Cesar Chelala
Gideon Levy: A Voice of Sanity from Israel
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail