Astonishing Reactions to Terror Raids
The leaders of both major parties have expressed grave concern at the threatened terrorist acts in both NSW and Queensland, resulting in the largest ever response by police/intelligence. But some of the queries and reactions have been astonishing given the apparently accurate police explanation of the possible imminent timing of terrorist acts. One cannot help thinking that some would only be convinced of a threat if an act had actually occurred! In circumstances where police had had four prior months of surveillance, and had intercepted a revealing phone call from IS, it would have risked their credibility if they had delayed acting on the basis that they could stop the act as it was occurring (see below the front page lead from The Australian). And it seems clear that the intervention by police was their own decision and that Abbott did not instruct them.
But some commentaries imply, even assert, that the timing and even the occurrence itself of the police raid were designed by the government to support the passage of tougher counter-terrorist legislation and Australia’s involvement in the attack on IS.
Some of the “hyping” is set out in Denis Shanahan’s article below. Note that it includes ABC reporters. But it goes further than revealed there.
Take for example the article by The Age’s chief political correspondent (see below). The heading in the published version of the article (“PM and alert system bound to come under new scrutiny”) differed markedly from the digital heading and implied serious defects in the police raid. The first para questioned the motives and judgement of an unpopular and divisive leader. This despite the support from the Opposition leader. Worse still it somehow contrives to find that the raid itself has led to an increase in the terrorist threat level! And so on.
It is also clear from the protest at Lakemba Railway Station, organised by the group which supports IS, Hazb ut-Tahrir, that a significant section of the Muslim Community does not accept any wrongdoing by those arrested. Abbott has made a criticism of the protest.
Obama’s Role in the US Attack on IS
A report in the Wall St Journal (below) suggests that Obama has not cleared the commencement of attacks in Syria and when they start the military will be required to get his approval for any such strikes. It is difficult to assess the implications of this apparently unwieldy decision but it may reflect what seems like increasing tension between the military and Obama. Note that the general in charge of executing the Iraq and Syria campaigns takes the view that US special forces should accompany Iraqi troops on some military ventures.