Are we safe – contest of fear and hope?

The Westender found this news story that we re-published in 
May last year (2013) .... If you substitute “ISIL” for 
“Al Qaeda” throughout, it still makes perfect sense today.
                         -- Quote from local paper, Brisbane

I understand The Westender is trying to highlight the specter of fear that western governments and Mass Murdoch push but I would like to look more closely at the politics of fear and show how words are important.

The word Al Qaeda (arabic word meaning ‘The Base‘) only appears once in the article referred to by The Westender:

Jabhat al-Nusra, affiliated with Al Qaeda and other extreme Islamist groups, control the majority of the oil wells in Deir Ezzor province, displacing local Sunni tribes, sometimes by force.

– from European powers fund Al Qaeda looting of Syrian oil

Al Qaeda is mentioned here to differentiate it from Jabhat Al Nusra (arabic word القصاص meaning retribution). *

It is true that western leaders, including the Australian Prime Minister, now refer to ISIL much more than they do to Al Qaeda, western government’s  buzz word for evil only a few months ago.

In The Westender there is a confusion, admittedly shared by the Australian Federal Police, that people can interchange willy nilly names such Al Qaeda or Al Nusra or ISIL.

The reality is that Al Nusra and ISIL are engaged in a bloody conflict where they are shooting and killing each other in Iraq. This may be seen by the Australian Federal Police as a quibble over words but when journalists, whose business is words, also join in, its a worry.

Take for example, recent raids against members of the Islamic community in Brisbane and Sydney. Police allege that Omar Succarieh from Logan City demanded $7,000 be returned to him so that he could pass it on to Al Nusra.

Brisbane journo, Sarah Elksin, claims in her frontpage Australian article titled The rocky road for Logan’s zeroes that Succarieh was ‘charged with funding the terrorist group of choice for his brothers, Jabhat al-Nusra‘.

The Australian article claims that his co-accused, 22-year old Agim Kruezi, is charged with ‘with preparing for hostile foreign incursions into Syria’. Succarieh is charged with this and with extorting the $7,000 from Kruezi’s schoolmate, Adrian Vaevae, at least according to the Murdoch press.

At the same time, the Australian government has promised 8 Super Hornet Fighters to assist the US in bombing ISIL and to equip their enemies with weapons. The Australian military have already supplied arms to the Peshmerga (Kurdish word meaning ‘those who confront death’).

And Prime Minister Abbott has claimed that “… exhortations, quite direct exhortations, were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country.

Police say that Azari “did conspire with Mohammad Baryalei and others to do acts in preparation for or planning a terrorist act” meaning picking out random people and cutting their heads off. Only problem is, both police and Abbott are talking about ISIL not Al Nusra. And two of the accused from raids last week in Brisbane and this week in Sydney, namely Azari and Kruezi, are supposed to be connected with Al Nusra but at the same time planning to work for ISIL – groups that are fighting with each other. Surely police can do better than this?

Australian Federal police, the Australian, and the Prime Minister are all involved in the same thing, confusing words to advance the politics of fear.

As the No vote in the Scottish Independence referendum demonstrates, fear sells.

The Australian newspaper is publishing maps to show countries “that have committed resources towards a US-led stronghold to repel and defeat Islamist extremists in parts of Iraq and Syria” – direct quote from the Australian. The Australian government has promised:

. Military transport planes to deliver weapons to Kurdish forces.
. to deploy 600 troops to the UAE.
. $4.6 million in humanitarian aid.

middle-east-map.jpg

All police, mainstream media and government are doing is killing hope that some settlement can be found by highlighting lunatic acts on video … surely journos and local newspaper can do better and not get sucked in.

What is more brutal: being killed by a knife or by precision bombing of your home by a Super Hornet jet fighter?

Conclusion
The only hard facts police have presented against Succarieh and Kruezi in court is that they tried to get money out of a school kid to send to Syria. The rest is speculation seemingly based on a misreading of intelligence provided to them about al-Nusra and ISIL. Until police come up with some hard evidence that these men are committing crimes, the rest is a beat-up by the mainstream media and the government. It is guilt by association for followers of Islam.

Attempting to make people feel unsafe is no way to conduct policing at home or foreign policy abroad. Nor is following the US and its agencies into another war in the middle east. Australia needs to make its own decisions as to what is right for those people abroad who do not have the luxury of being safe. Australian government should withdraw its offer of troops and planes until a proper debate about what is going on and how best to deal with it.

The middle east is a huge oil field and everybody wants a piece of it; western powers, Russia and Islamic fundamentalists.

At the end of the day, its poor middle eastern people who are suffering, this war is so bad and good people are powerless. And it hurts … we need to help by trying to understand not by inflaming the situation.

Ian Curr
September 2014

Postscript
See also Tangled Turkish-Kurdish-Syrian-Iraqi Web :

Is Australia (together with our NATO allies) now unofficially at war with Syria, together with a rather large number organisations, some of which we have prescribed (proscribed, sic) as terrorist organisations?

References
*Suqour al-Sham commander: “Our land can’t bear a proxy war.”
Coalition against the Jihadists

5 responses to “Are we safe – contest of fear and hope?

  1. Antony Loewenstein

    Instant Islamists, instant threats, and instant experts. This terror has appeared out of thin air | Antony Loewenstein

    The current anti-terror campaign has to be one of the most hysterical demonisation campaigns of modern times, against a threat that virtually nobody had heard of a few months ago.

    Now a new “threat” has appeared out of thin air: The Khorasan Group, a hardened cell of Syrian terrorists “too radical for al-Qaida” that appears
    to be completely fictional.

    Everything has happened so quickly, as if by command. But there are some things about our newest war at home and abroad that aren’t instant: the constant downplaying of the role played by US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar in fuelling and funding Isis; the amnesia surrounding the radicalisation in US detention of Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – once, reportedly, a calm individual; and the emergence of Isis from the ashes of the disastrous Iraq war, a point well made by independent Australian MP Andrew Wilkie.

    The ignorance of Australia’s elites is also deeply entrenched. A friend who works at one of Australia’s leading Muslim groups tells me that he’s contacted daily by journalists who demand to know what his organisation is doing to reduce the threat of terrorism – as if a Sydney-based Muslim is somehow responsible for Isis beheadings or mass rape.

    It’s not difficult to show the diversity of the Muslim faith; take a look at Conor Ashleigh’s wonderful photography of a community in Newcastle. And it’s possible to treat radicalisation with the seriousness and context it demands, as The Saturday Paper’s Martin McKenzie-Murray did last week, in a forensic analysis of the killing of Abdul Numan Haider.

    The pressure on the Australian Muslim community is immense, a feeling of being outsiders, exacerbated by a message that they’re different and under suspicion. Many Muslim women in particular feel disempowered and not trusted by the wider, white majority. Islamophobia is now unofficial government policy and some media’s central worldview.

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  2. indigenous social justice association

    the tragic news that an 18 year old muslim australian had been shot dead by a victorian police officer, after allegedly wounding both officers, has been drowned out by the screams of the media, the verbal vomit on our airwaves and the government’s rhetoric and secretiveness.

    we state here and now and publicly that isja does not condone violence in any form. we most certainly do not call for violence against police officers except in the express right of self defence.

    this attack has only fuelled the ever-present discrimination from the malicious and misrepresentative media sound grabs from government sources, the boltian self-appointed weather-vanes of what is best for all of us as a (white christian) society and a seemingly endless twitter-chat and (un)social site hate-speech to which then must be added the unwanted extra attention to those of a ‘middle eastern appearance’ by state, territory and federal police forces. and let us not forget asio.

    the death of numan haider is legally a death in custody under the victorian coroners act regardless of the circumstances that brought it about. the spin is in and all of the media are only looking hysterically on the little that is known but no one is really looking at it as a death in custody. but isja will.

    the royal commission recommendation that explains what is a death in custody is rec 6 and that sets out 4 criteria of what is a death in custody. 6a states the death wherever occurring of a person who is in police or prison custody or detention as a juvenile, 6b spells out the death wherever occurring of a person whose death is caused or contributed to by traumatic injuries sustained or by a proper lack of duty of care whilst in such custody or detention, 6c says the death wherever occurring of a person who dies or is fatally injured in the process of the police or prison officers attempting to detain that person and 6d informs that the death wherever occurring of a person who dies or is fatally injured in the process of that person escaping or attempting to escape from prison or police custody or juvenile detention.

    now, dependent on the circumstances of the event i would, i believe, be able to safely argue that numan;s death could be applicable to any one of the four definitions.

    numan was a muslim australian, born here 18 years ago. he was a devout muslim and. i believe, would have had all the passions and dreams of every other 18 year old australian. i am concerned and puzzled as to the how and the why of the intense police surveillance, both victorian and federal. was it the company he kept? what he watched or read? was he vocalising an intention of going to syria? was he, understandably, concerned with the federal governments stance on following the usa into iraq? did he dislike tony abbott? we may never be allowed to know the answer to those questions, and many more, but the authorities here were obviously alarmed and took great interest in his day to day activities. hours before he went to the police station his room was searched. for what reason is still unknown.

    numan was obviously quite aware of the police interest and, i assume, would have been very angry at the police intrusions and harassment into his day to day activities and the intrusions into the family home. the reasons for numan’s visit to the police station is very much unknown but what is known is that numan agreed to meet the two police officers in the station car park rather than in the police station itself. did numan fear going into the police station? or was his agreement premised on that he was armed with a knife? and why was he armed with a knife? self-protection? fear of the police?
    when it is stated that he knifed both officers, and i accept that he did, what was the circumstances? did they, in effect, try to arrest him or make some other threat to him? we just don’t know. we may never know due to a police investigating police operation.

    what happened in that car park is for the coroner to ascertain but we must remember that it will be an investigation owned by the police. it will not be an independent investigation. one report stated that numan was driven to the police station, were they witnesses to the events in the car park? what is their side of the story? the ‘official’ story is that numan came to the car park and after an indeterminate time numan produced a knife and seriously stabbed the two police officers, nearly killing one, so the victorian police officer had no option than to draw his fire-arm and killed numan outright with his first shot. on the face of it that seems to be more than possible. until one asks questions.

    we have yet to be told of what occurred and the sequence of events in the car park. even if the cops made no threat of arrest against him, the intention to arrest would have occurred from the time the knife was drawn and most certainly after the knife was used. an opposite scenario could be that for reasons unknown they shot him first then he reacted with the knife. how many shots were fired? we know of one but there may have been others. how close was the victorian cop to him when he shot? the age old question, why not wounded rather than killed? the questions just go on and on.

    here we have two well-trained professional police officers with years of experience in policing events such as talking to suspects or whatever. the victorian officer was armed but it is not known if the federal officer was. they claim that numan drew the knife and only after he was able to injure both officers, one seriously, were they able to kill him. the order of the stabbings remains unknown but numan must have acted very very quickly to be able to stab both officers before they could retaliate in any way during the stabbings. there would be, i assume, cctv coverage of the car park that hopefully will survive intact the police investigation before being given, again intact, to the coroner’s office.

    one task of the coroner who will be investigating these events will be to ascertain why numan armed himself with a knife? was he in some fear for his life from the police? was he expecting some attack upon him from another quarter? or was he in such a psychological state from the police ongoing harassment and, perhaps, police interference with his future, that he had decided to put an end to it. death by cop. we just do not know.

    whatever the circumstances, the police failed to handle the situation in a professional manner. as i said earlier,the two police officers would have been experienced, they would have been very well aware of numan’s character through their intel on him, they would have assessed the possibilities of outcomes of meeting in a car park rather than the station itself. all this and more would have been known to them yet they agreed to meet him there. there was, apparently, no fear on their part that numan may have been armed although the victorian police officer was known to have been armed.

    the gutter racist murdoch press spewed out that numan carried the two knives plus an isis flag with the intent of beheading both officers. even the top cops have come out publicly denying that there is any such legitimacy to this gross misrepresentation of the truth. the murdoch press should be totally ignored for the lack of any veracity in its headlines.

    was this some kind of black op terror operation? there are just so many questions relative to the shooting dead of numan haider that their must be an open and independent investigation into his death. we know as a fact of life that should there be a reason found to hide some evidence or fact, the police will. whether state or federal.

    the outcome of these events in that car park on that night are critical. critical not only to justice being found but to quelling the discrimination and religious intolerance against australian muslims following their religion and lifestyle in their own non-extremist and peaceful way.

    numan haider must not be allowed to become an object of terrorist abuse merely to satisfy the abbott government agenda.

    the bottom line that would have to be accepted by a coroner is that numan was under the control of the police merely by meeting with them. we should all look forward to the coronial inquest with great interest.

    we offer our sincerest condolences to numan’s family during this period of sorry business and the stress created by the blatant lies coming from all media outlets.

    fkj

    ray jackson
    president
    indigenous social justice association

    prix des droits de l’homme de la republique fraincaise 2013
    (french human rights medal 2013)

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  3. 'Guilt by Association'

    see evil

    Fairfax and Murdoch media are now trying to outdo each other in the politics of guilt by association. Fueled by facebook misinformation editors have sensationalised the actions of an 18 year boy leading to his being shot and killed by police.

    Government ministers and police chiefs are celebrating the distraction of the politics of fear.

    To get an idea of how crazy things have gone in the past week … it is hard to fathom what happened from the media reports … but police have shot and killed an 18 yr boy who seems to have cracked under the pressure of being bailed up by police, his house and room raided and his passport seized … finally he appears to have lost it outside a police station in Melbourne and slashed two terror squad members. There are raids of people suspected of sympathising with jihad: police operations, we are told, involving up to ‘800 officers’ … meanwhile mosques are being attacked and muslims abused … governments have given police powers to detain and suppress information. See http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-25/innocent-man-labelled-as-haider-on-fairfax-front-pages/5769936

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  4. 'Media reporting of ‘terrorist’ threat used to smear refugees and how to combat it'

    Amongst much awful reporting of an alleged terrorist plot, the Australian newspaper ran the headline ‘Mohammad Ali Baryalei: from refugee to battlefield plot ringmaster’. Worse still perhaps was Wagga Wagga’s daily Advertiser (owned by Fairfax), with an opinion piece that claimed ‘The flood of “asylum seekers” like Mohammad Ali Baryalei and those at the Liverpool mosque had to be stopped.’

    ‘Such attempts to smear refugees and Muslims as terrorists are completely unjustified, they do nothing to prevent terrorism, but will stoke racism against refugees and Muslims’ said Chris Breen for the Refugee Action Collective. ‘Mohammad Ali Baryalei came to Australia as a child refugee, but his refugee status has absolutely nothing to do with the allegations against him. He grew up in Australia, and later appeared as an actor on Australian TV series Underbelly. The Australian could equally pointlessly have titled its article “from Australian actor to battlefield plot ringmaster” but chose to smear refugees’ said Breen

    ‘Allegations against Baryalei remain unproven, as do allegations of terrorist plots. The Australian Federal Police who worked closely with the media to get out footage of the raids before they were even over, now admit the word ‘beheading’ was not used in the phone call intercepted. No attacks have been carried out, no evidence of plots been provided, and all allegations remain to be tested before a court of law. It is therefore extremely inappropriate and prejudicial for Prime Minister Tony Abbott to report the allegations as if they were fact on national television. Abbott claimed “direct exhortations were coming from an Australian… to conduct demonstration killings here in this country…This is not just suspicion; this is intent”’

    ‘Other credible allegations were made by those whose houses were raided but not charged, of being beaten and abused by police, backed by evidence of facial bruising, but Abbott chose not to report those.’

    ‘This all about the politics of fear, timed to coincide with Australian troops being deployed to Iraq, and coming a week before new oppressive anti-terror laws go to parliament’ said Breen

    ‘If anything makes terrorism more likely it is not accepting more refugees, but further military action in Iraq, where Western intervention was responsible for up to one million deaths last time around.1

    Even ASIO agrees this increases the risk of terrorism, telling Parliament in 2012/13 that “Issues such as Australia’s military deployments over the last decade… fuel the radical views”.’

    Breen continued ‘On the same day, which coincided with the anniversary of Operation Sovereign Borders, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison released details of 12 boat turn backs after claiming for a year that ‘on water matters’ are secret. Leaving aside the hypocrisy, this is 12 times people seeking sanctuary have been terrorised by the Australian Navy, and had their lives put at risk – under the Howard government asylum seekers died during boat turn back operations.’

    ‘There may well have been Iraqi and Syrian refugees on those boats, but Morrison doesn’t care. The Coalition is again sending troops to Iraq, but Morrison refuses to rule out sending Iraqi refugees back to the war zone. Iraqi and Syrian refugees remain imprisoned on Manus Island and Nauru, and warehoused in Indonesia. Those fleeing Iraq and Syria can’t go back, and their continued detention makes a mockery of Morrison’s claim that he will provide set aside more places for such refugees.’

    For further comment call Chris Breen for the Refugee Action Collective on 0403 013 183
    http://www.rac-vic.org

    1. See http://www.commondreams.org/news/2007/09/14/poll-civilian-death-toll-iraq-may-top-1-million, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ORB_survey_of_Iraq_War_casualties

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  5. The Abbott Version of Australian Nationalism

    by Bilal Cleland

    Not since Billy Hughes, the British born Australian PM during the First World War, used sectarian hatred and xenophobia to divide the country over conscription, have we had such an outburst of right-wing nationalism. Hughes used fear of Catholics, especially Irish republicans, of socialists in the IWW and foreigners, especially those with German heritage to try to get the mainstream community to back his policies. If he had been able to articulate it, he would have proclaimed the “Team White British Empire.”

    As Shaun Crowe stated in The Conversation” 18/9/14, “Abbott’s “Team Australia” fits into the nationalist tradition of World War I and the 1950s.” It is a nationalism framed in terms of external threats. This time around it is ISIS and to a lesser extent and declining in significance, Russia in Ukraine.

    The sudden emergence of a terror threat just as the new anti-terror laws are about to be presented to parliament, with huge police raids in Sydney, Brisbane and Logan, gave the shock jocks and all of the mainstream media a field day. The whole Muslim community suddenly became subject to attack. The usual “unable to assimilate” into Australian society, to “home-grown terrorists” to “ban the burka “ from Liberal Senator Bernardi and PUP Senator Lambi were trotted out as they have been for the past thirty years. Lambi unknowingly insulted a woman who stood up for justice against the Taliban and paid with her life in her Facebook posting.

    Evangelical oracles like the Sydney Anglican Dean Jensen quickly pronounced : “It is time to face the truth that Islam itself is in part to blame, and to help our fellow Australians, especially those from Islamic background, to understand that Islam is false. This can only come from an open and free explanation of the truth – something not allowed in Muslim countries – but available to us.”

    Abbott’s statements that the Muslim community is not to be blamed for the terror suspects’ behavior, rings hollow. As Rossleigh points out in The Australian Independent Media Network 19/9/14:

    “After all, how strange would the following sound: Christian serial rapist, Wayne Kerr was taken in to custody today. Police acting on DNA evidence were able to identify Kerr as the man behind a number of attacks. The Premier praised the work of police in catching him and wanted to stress the vast majority of Christians weren’t rapists and found his actions abhorrent. OR Presbyterian investment banker I. G. Reedy was arrested after it was discovered that he had defrauded the company of over $3 million dollars. The Prime Minister said he hoped that people wouldn’t hold all Presbyterians responsible for this shameful act.
    So why do the words Islamic or Muslim have to be attached to these stories at all? Particularly when there seems to some sort of understanding that it’s more about politics than religion.”

    Perhaps, like Billy Hughes’ campaign against dissidents, it is all noise meant to hide unpalatable truths.

    According to Bob Ellis: “But he (Abbott) isn’t serious, he’s making mischief. He’s lost most of the policy battles of his first year and he’s thought a joke by many people, by many others a disgrace, and he’s embarked on the biggest ‘scare campaign’ since the Yellow Peril.”
    (http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-chicken-little-in-chiefs-big-beheading-scare,6917)

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