These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 3, 2009.
Monday, 3 August 2009
More On Anti-Christian Riots in Pakistan
New Duranty finally takes note of Muslim attacks on Christians - just because they are Christians:
GOJRA, Pakistan — The blistered black walls of the Hameed family’s bedroom tell of an unspeakable crime. Seven family members died here on Saturday, six of them burned to death by a mob that had broken into their house and shot the grandfather dead, just because they were Christian.
The family had huddled in the bedroom, talking in whispers with their backs pressed against the door, as the mob taunted them.
“They said, ‘If you come out, we’ll kill you,’ ” said Ikhlaq Hameed, 22, who escaped. Among the dead were two children, Musa, 6, and Umaya, 13.
The attack in this shabby town in central Pakistan — the culmination of several days of rioting over a claim that a Koran had been defiled — shows how precarious life is for the tiny Christian minority in Pakistan.
Officials said a banned Sunni militant group, Sipah-e-Sohaba, was among those responsible for the attacks, the third convulsion of anti-Christian mob violence in the region in the past four weeks.
Christians, who make up less than 5 percent of the entire population, are often treated as second-class citizens in Pakistan, where Islam is the official religion. Non-Muslims are constitutionally barred from becoming president or prime minister.
While some Christians rise to become government officials or run businesses, the poorest work the country’s worst jobs, as toilet cleaners and street sweepers.
It was the poorest class who lived in Christian Colony, a small enclave of bare brick houses where the mob struck Saturday. Its residents work as day laborers and peddlers in the market, often earning far less than the minimum wage, $75 a month...
Did Defense Secretary Gates discuss the New Bunker Buster MOP Bomb with Israel?
Reuters reported today, “Pentagon eyes accelerated "bunker buster" bomb,”that the USAF was rushing development of a new bunker buster bomb, the 30,000 pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP).It is a warning to both Iran and North Korea that the US had the conventional capability to hit reinforced nuclear facilities in both countries.An earlier version of the MOP, the 21,000 pound GBU 43 dubbed ‘the mother of all bombs’ had been successfully tested by the USAF 53rd Air Weapons Evaluation Groupat the Tyndall Air Base range in Florida’s Panhandle in 2003.The precision-guided MOP could penetrate underground structures to a depth of 200 feet. Air Force spokespersons indicated the MOP could be available by mid-2010 pending Congressional authorization. The mammoth weapon could be delivered by either the aging fleet of B-52’s based in Diego Riviera in the Indian Ocean or by the B-2 Stealth bombers from bases in the US. As Secretary Gates was in Israel last week speaking with Israeli security officials and PM Netanyahu, perhaps those sessions prompted this Reuters report to show that the US was serious about playing a possible military option card in the media war against both Iran and North Korea. This comes on the heels of a London Times report this weekend that Iran has the capability of assembling a nuclear bomb, awaiting a decision from Supreme Ruler, Ayatollah Khamenei.Earlier in 2005 Israel had ordered delivery from the Pentagon of upwards of 100 5,300 pound laser-guided GBU-28’s for possible missions against Iranian nuclear facilities targets with its front-line F-15b’s.
The Reuters report noted the following:
The non-nuclear, 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP, developed by Chicago-based Boeing Corporation, which is still being tested, is designed to destroy deeply buried bunkers beyond the reach of existing bombs.
If Congress agrees to shift enough funds to the program, Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N)'s radar-evading B-2 bomber "would be capable of carrying the bomb by July 2010," said Andy Bourland, an Air Force spokesman.
"The Air Force and Department of Defense are looking at the possibility of accelerating the program," he said. "There have been discussions with the four congressional committees with oversight responsibilities. No final decision has been made."
The precision-guided weapon, built by Boeing Co (BA.N), could become the biggest conventional bomb the United States has ever used.
Carrying more than 5,300 pounds of explosives. it would deliver more than 10 times the explosive power of its predecessor, the 2,000-pound BLU-109, according to the Pentagon's Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which has funded and managed the seed program.
Both the U.S. Pacific Command, which takes the lead in U.S. military planning for North Korea, and the Central Command, which prepares for contingencies with Iran, appeared to be backing the acceleration request, said Kenneth Katzman, an expert on Iran at the Congressional Research Service, the research arm of Congress.
"It's very possible that the Pentagon wants to send a signal to various countries, particularly Iran and North Korea, that the United States is developing a viable military option against their nuclear programs," Katzman said.
From the Corriere della Sera, the eyewitness acount by a Franciscan friar:
"Ha 39 anni padre Younis, francescano, e un conto molto personale con gli autori di queste violenze: ben sette membri della sua famiglia hanno perduto la vita. «Fanno tutti per cognome Hameed, il clan famigliare del marito di mia sorella: due bambini, tre donne e due uomini. Tutti massacrati o bruciati vivi per una sola colpa: essere cristiani, una piccola minoranza che non supera il 2 per cento dei circa 170 milioni di pakistani», spiega.
Ma com'è cominciata? «Alcuni giorni fa in un villaggetto presso Gojra si era tenuta una grande festa di matrimonio cristiana. Come è usanza, alla fine della cerimonia in chiesa gli invitati hanno tirato verso la coppia fiori, riso, alcune monete per augurare prosperità e biglietti con frasi di saluto o salmi. Il problema è che i musulmani hanno cominciato a sostenere che in realtà i versetti religiosi erano pagine del Corano strappate, un'offesa gravissima per l'Islam e oggi ancora più grave in questi tempi di fanatismo. Ben presto sono volati insulti, accuse, poi pietre e violenze. Nel pomeriggio erano già state date alle fiamme alcune abitazioni», risponde. Ma l'escalation più grave riprende sabato mattina verso le undici a Gojra, nei pressi della cosiddetta «Christian Town», il quartiere cristiano.
«La nostra gente ha contato otto autobus carichi di estremisti arrivati da lontano. Volti sconosciuti di gente armata sino ai denti. Il loro slogan preferito è stato che noi cristiani abbiamo la stessa religione dei soldati americani e dunque siamo nemici, meritiamo la morte. Prima hanno tirato pietre, poi hanno utilizzato benzina e infine mitra e bombe. Qui attorno a me è tutto bruciato, carbonizzato. Il bilancio di sangue poteva essere molto peggio, se i cristiani non fossero stati in allarme e non fossero fuggiti subito. I miei famigliari non sono stati abbastanza veloci e sono bruciati vivi, intrappolati tra le fiamme. Mio genero aveva il cranio sfondato».
In serata un'analisi più completa giunge ancora per telefono dal vescovo di Faislabad, monsignor Joseph Coutts, che ci risponde mentre sta ricevendo le autorità del governo regionale del Punjab, assieme ad alcuni leader religiosi musulmani locali. «Non è il mio mestiere fare analisi politiche - sostiene . Ma è ovvio che questi pogrom sono stati ben organizzati da gruppi che, alla luce della destabilizzazione in Pakistan, e forse persino in Afghanistan, e soprattutto delle battaglie degli ultimi mesi nella vallata di Swat, cercano di alzare la tensione. Ci hanno provato con i gravi attentati nelle maggiori città pakistane e ora passano con gli attacchi ai cristiani. Il fatto più grave è che adesso riescono a mobilitare grandi folle di fedeli contro di noi. Trovo sia un fenomeno preoccupante, peggiore che i soliti attentati isolati a suon di bombe nelle basiliche che hanno terrorizzato i cristiani sin dalla guerra del 2001 in Afghanistan ». Il vescovo ricorda almeno quattro pogrom che hanno visto la mobilitazione di larghe masse di manifestanti pronte ad usare violenza. «La prima volta in anni recenti è stata nel 1997, nel villaggio di Shantinagar. Otto anni dopo si è ripetuto nella cittadina di Fanglahill. Il 30 giugno scorso è avvenuto nel villaggio Banniwal, nella regione di Kasur, non troppo lontano da qui. E il 26 luglio a Korrial hanno dato fuoco a 60 case. Per fortuna i cristiani erano pronti e sono fuggiti al primo segnale di violenza».
A Islamabad da tempo la nunziatura fa discretamente pressione sul governo per cercare di offrire maggiori garanzie di difesa alla comunità cristiana. E i vescovi locali chiedono alle autorità di cancellare la controversa «legge 295», che in nome della Sharia (la legge coranica) prevede persino la pena di morte a chiunque offenda il Corano e la figura di Maometto. «Il problema è che questa legge viene spesso utilizzata in modo del tutto arbitrario. Spesso basta la parola di un cittadino musulmano per far mettere in carcere un cristiano senza alcuna prova concreta», prosegue monsignor Coutts."
I saw this in the Sheffield Star this morning just before I went out and didn't have time to post it. I also wanted to re-read it; just in case it was a spoof.
Since then Douglas Murray sums up my own thoughts pretty well as reported by the Daily Mail.
POLICE in Sheffield swapped places with Muslim women – by dressing head to toe in full religious dress and walking round the city centre.
As part of an exercise called 'In Your Shoes Day', two South Yorkshire police officers and a police community support officer took to the streets wearing jilbabs and niqabs – Islamic outfits which leave just the face exposed
In return, the Muslim women had a tour of the custody suite, the CCTV office and were shown the day-to-day duties of a South Yorkshire police officer.
The three officers who took part in the experience were all born in Sheffield, while only two of the Muslim women were born in Sheffield. The other two had come to the UK and settled in the city.
Sgt Deb Leonard, who participated in 'In Your Shoes Day', said: "I have gained an appreciation and understanding of what Muslim females experience when they walk out in public in clothing appropriate to their beliefs. Now the comment has gone from this morning - it was something on the lines of:- That explains why I couldn't find a police officer when I was burgled - I should have stopped the woman in fancy dress. Douglas Murray, of the Centre for Social Cohesion, said: 'You just couldn't make it up. The victims of crime must be amazed that the police have so much time on their hands that they can spend a day playing dress-up.
'This is a complete waste of police time and taxpayers' money. It's not their job to be going round dressing up. It's another indication that the police in this country are having a nervous breakdown and have been having one for the past 10 years. It's not the duty of police to empathise with particular sections of the community. It is the duty of the police to prevent crime and catch criminals.'
Sid Cordle, Sheffield-based Yorkshire regional organiser of the Christian People's Alliance said: 'My major concern is that the police are using tax payers money in order to go around in Muslim clothing. After this are they planning to dress as members of other communities such as Hindus and Buddhists? Because if I was a member of one of those communities, and they had been dressing up as Muslims, I would be asking why not us? As far as we are concerned this form of dress is a symbol of oppression of women.
'The Koran clearly says a man is superior to a woman. This symbol of oppression is unwanted in our society and the police should not be encouraging it. Where will the police draw the line with dressing up? Are they going to go out dressed as prostitutes or the homeless to see how they feel?
'If they really want to know how Muslim women feel they could learn far more by going and living amongst them and talking to them.'
Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'This is an absurd diversion from real policing. People want the police out catching criminals, not indulging in politically correct gimmicks. The police are overstretched as it is without officers being paid to do other things than their real job.' I usually expect more sense from Yorkshire people.
Those Somali pirates are back in business. Don't think, "Arrrgh, me mateys!," peg leg, parrot on the shoulder, walk-the-plank, hook-for-a-hand. Think Chapter 8 of the holy, holy Qur'an, entitled "Al-Anfal," which translates to "Booty," or perhaps more propitiously, "The Spoils of War." Think AK-47's, speedboats, and warlords fighting over ransom. Think of a nation's entire economy being based on piracy and kidnapping. It gives "Gross National Product" a whole new meaning.From Reuters:
MOGADISHU (Reuters) – Somali pirates holding a German ship with five Germans, three Russians, two Ukrainians and 14 Filipinos on board have received a $2.7 million ransom and are counting it before releasing the ship, a pirate told Reuters.
"We have taken $2.7 million ransom for Hansa, a German ship," pirate Abdi told Reuters by phone from Haradhere, a piracy haven.
"We are now dividing the money. We shall get down (off the ship) soon."
The German-flagged container vessel Hansa Stavanger was captured about 400 miles off the southern Somali port of Kismayu on April 4.
The release of the 20,000 tonne ship, owned by Hamburg shipping company Leonhardt & Blumberg, was expected last week but it was delayed after the pirates demanded a higher ransom.
Earlier, a Malaysian-owned tugboat held for over seven months was released after a ransom was paid, with 11 Indonesian crew.
Gangs of Somali pirates in the shipping lanes linking Asia and Europe have made millions of dollars in ransom payments from ships hijacked in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden.
Last night BBC 2 broadcast the gripping docu-drama Man on Wire. It tells of how, in 1974, a mad young Frenchman named Philippe Petit walked on a tightrope between the twin towers of the World Trade Centre. This was the best YouTube clip I could find of the real event (with apologies for the cheesy music):
On August 7, 1974, shortly after 7:15 a.m., Petit stepped off the South Tower and onto his 3/4" 6×19 IWRC (independent wire rope core ) steel cable. He walked the wire for 45 minutes, making eight crossings between the towers, a quarter mile above the sidewalks of Manhattan. In addition to walking, he sat on the wire, gave knee salutes and, while lying on the wire, spoke with a gull circling above his head.
As soon as Petit was observed by witnesses on the ground, the Port Authority Police Department dispatched officers to the roof to take him into custody. One of the officers, Sgt. Charles Daniels, later reported his experience:
I observed the tightrope 'dancer'—because you couldn't call him a 'walker'—approximately halfway between the two towers. And upon seeing us he started to smile and laugh and he started going into a dancing routine on the high wire....And when he got to the building we asked him to get off the high wire but instead he turned around and ran back out into the middle....He was bouncing up and down. His feet were actually leaving the wire and then he would resettle back on the wire again....Unbelievable really....[E]verybody was spellbound in the watching of it.
Petit was warned by his friend on the South Tower that a police helicopter would come to pick him off the wire unless he got off. Rain had begun to fall, and Petit decided he had taken enough risks, so he decided to give himself up to the police waiting for him on the South Tower. He was arrested once he stepped off the wire. Provoked by his taunting behaviour while on the wire, police handcuffed him behind his back and roughly pushed him down a flight of stairs. This he later described as the most dangerous part of the stunt.
His audacious high wire performance made headlines around the world. When asked why he did the stunt, Petit would say "When I see three oranges, I juggle; when I see two towers, I walk."
I missed this amazing feat first time round, and sadly only learned of it shortly after the towers were destroyed in the name of Allah.
I have no idea whether Petit is religious or not, but I was put in mind of The Juggler of Notre Dame, who pleased God with his juggling. Intentionally or not, Petit surely glorified God in his own way. And just as surely, the nineteen hijackers blasphemed against Him.
A couple of months ago I got irritated, as did Emma Duncan of The Times, with the girliness and Stepford-wifery of female role models. Led by WAG-in-Chief, Michelle Obama, they are essentially clothes-horses and appendages of powerful men. But are the men in question any less shallow? Not necessarily, according to Michael Gove:
Following the eclipse of Miss World as a major media event, the tendency to judge figures aspiring to global prominence on how well they fill swimwear has diminished. But not disappeared altogether. Last summer both David Cameron and Barack Obama were appraised by judicious critics on their beachwear choices. And in previous years the seaside ensembles of figures from Vladimir Putin (aggressively bare-breasted) to Silvio Berlusconi (similarly naked above the waist but with a penchant for piratical bandanas) have also excited attention. Although in Silvio’s case we probably now enjoy just a little too much detail about what he likes to keep covered and uncovered.
The interest in how leaders of the free world look in their trunks is entirely understandable. We’re nosy, aren’t we. And there’s always the potential for comedy in seeing how figures we expect to see encased in grey suiting cope with the demands of beach casual. Henry Kissinger in Speedos is always going to be worth a gawp.
But public interest goes beyond simple curiosity about how the other half dives. We increasingly judge our leaders in the same way as prospective buyers might appraise bloodstock at an Irish horse fair. Is that a well- turned calf, are they glossy and in good health, do they run well over soft ground? Are our leaders fit, capable of beach frisbee and blessedly free of tummy bulges? Part of the appeal of Barack, and before him, Dubya, was that they were hunky regular guys at home in the surf.
The tendency to look for supreme physical fitness in our leaders is, ironically, one of the many cultural consequences of Camelot. JFK and his brothers burst into public consciousness as a group of healthy all-American boys who could be photographed, every summer, frolicking in the waves off Hyannisport, showing off the sort of rippling muscle tone you were unlikely to get Alec Douglas-Home displaying. The irony of such display lay in JFK’s own profound physical frailty. His body was so racked with pain he was almost permanently on the most powerful medication.
The reality of JFK’s physical weakness is explored in illuminating detail in David Owen’s fascinating book In Sickness and In Power. But while Lord Owen laid bare the extent of JFK’s fakery he, like poor Nicolas Sarkozy, still seems to be in thrall to the essence of the Kennedy myth — the idea that robust health is a precondition for political mastery and world leaders must indeed show themselves physically fit for office.
But history tells us a very different story. The two greatest European leaders of the 19th century, Bismarck and Salisbury, were fragile bundles of ill-health, given to nerve-storms, physical prostration and long periods when they required delicate nursing and cosseting. The two greatest war leaders democracy has ever had, Churchill and Lincoln, were both depressives whose melancholia manifested itself in physical weakness and debility. And while all four were very different characters one thing united them. None of them was going to look good in Vilebrequin.
The truth is that those who have been the most fitted to lead were among the least fit around. And our increasing focus on the physical appearance of leaders simply reflects our growing inability to pay serious attention to their ideas.
Churchill was no oil painting; nor was Lincoln, who famously said, "If I were two faced, would I be wearing this one?" but they were intelligent, witty and great leaders.
I don't care who our next Prime Minister is, and Americans shouldn't care who their next President is, as long as he's ugly. Or she. Black, white, male, female, just let them be ugly. Unfortunately we look set to get Cameron, who is handsome and shallow, just like Obama. I don't think "Too many tweets make a tw*t" compares with "Bossom? That's neither one thing nor the other", or "Tell the Lord Privy Seal that I'm sealed in the privy and can only deal with one sh*t at a time."
History has become history It also reflects our increasing estrangement from our own past. One of the many malign consequences of the accelerating decline in the study of history is that we have lost meaningful standards of comparison for current events. Discussion of politics is impoverished because people rarely draw parallels with any event much before 1979.
A recent survey of history students at one of our best universities revealed that fewer than one in ten could name a single 19th-century Prime Minister. When it comes to foreign affairs a simple, caricature, one-dimensional view of America’s role prevails that shows no understanding of the competing visions of that nation’s destiny outlined over the years by Jefferson and Jackson or Truman and Taft.
A recent article in The Independent attacked one of our finest historians, Andrew Roberts, for his approach to the history of the British Empire, accusing him of blood-soaked nostalgia for the white man’s burden, simply because he took the trouble to reconstruct, as a proper historian should, how people thought and felt at the time they acted. We’ve now reached a stage where we are so prone to arrogance we judge the past by the standards of the present, but we labour under so much ignorance that we can’t illuminate the present with proper insights from the past.
Worse still, ignorance of history means that 1066 And All That will mean nothing. Brian Cathcart revealed that one fifteen-year-old boy thought it was the date of the Great Fire of London. ("I suppose he had three out of the four digits.")
The shocking rise in anti-Jewish attacks demonstrates that the way Israel is presented impacts directly on the safety of British Jews.
According to the Community Security Trust, there were 609 anti-Jewish incidents in the first six months of this year, more than in the whole of 2008. And more than half the incidents reported in January made some reference to Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.
Well, of course. People were being told day in, day out that the Israelis were wantonly killing Palestinian children.
In fact, Israeli figures showed that the vast majority of those killed were Hamas operatives. Given that half of Gaza’s population are children, not to mention the use by Hamas of civilians as human shields, the relatively small number of child casualties testified to the remarkable care Israel took not to kill children.
What makes the Israel-bashing so monstrous is that Israel is being vilified through falsehood and distortion for defending its citizens against attack. This is tantamount to saying it should not defend itself — and therefore should not exist at all.
When a culture goes bad like this, an enormous amount rides on the attitude and behaviour of those at the top. But this vicious mood is being reflected and exacerbated by the government of that self-described Israel-lover, Gordon Brown.
There has of late been a flurry of Israel-bashing by the Foreign Office. It has totally disregarded the opinion of Colonel Richard Kemp, formerly commander of British forces in Afghanistan and the intelligence co-ordinator for the British government.
Col Kemp recently told a conference in Jerusalem that, like Britain in Afghanistan and Iraq, Israeli forces were up against an enemy that deliberately manipulated Israel’s adherence to international law so as “to produce an international outcry and condemnation”.
And HMG has duly allowed Hamas to manipulate it. The Foreign Office has revoked five export licences for spare parts for Israeli warships’ guns on the grounds that Israel’s actions were ‘disproportionate’ — even though these are claims fabricated by Hamas and recycled by the UN, media and NGOs.
The FO says it based the revocation on the criterion of whether the proposed items would be used for ‘internal repression’. But Gaza is not ‘internal’ to Israel. Nor does Israel even occupy Gaza any more.
The Foreign Office told me that because of the ’significant control that Israel has over Gaza’s borders, airspace and territorial waters, Israel retains obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention as an occupying power in relation to Gaza’.
But this is nonsense. The Geneva Convention merely lays out the obligations of an occupying power. It does not actually define ‘occupation’ — which, as set out by the Hague Convention, means military boots on the ground, preventing a territory from governing itself. There are very obviously no Israeli boots on the ground in Gaza, which is governed by Hamas.
This and other similar Foreign Office initiatives form part of a frenzied eruption of anti-Israel malice. Malevolently distorted reports by NGOs have provoked a firestorm of similar articles in the Guardian.
A book entitled Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide by Ben White — who has stated: ‘I do not consider myself an antisemite, yet I can also understand why some are’ — was launched by both War on Want and the Council for Arab British Understanding at a separate Commons reception presided over by Labour MP Brian Iddon.
And a few days ago, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee — in an incoherent report which condemned Hamas but bashed Israel for fighting it — reiterated its call to negotiate with Hamas.
Moral muddle and manipulative malice over Israel: look no farther for the causes of those shocking attacks on British Jews.
There are many euphemisms for Muslim: "Asian", "person angry about Palestine/Chechnya/Andalusia/Ataturk", "person of Arab, Asian or North African extraction", "extremist of any religion", "youth" and even "man". Here is a new one from New Labour: person or persons "behaving badly". Richard Edwards of The Telegraph reports on Home Secretary Alan Johnson's initiative to curb Muslim immigration without saying as much:
Mr Johnson, the Home Secretary, is unveiling plans for a new points-based system which will take into account applicants' behaviour before giving them British nationality.
Immigrants will be expected to "earn" a British passport by accumulating points for voluntary work, speaking English, paying taxes or having useful skills.
And what particular "community" is rather reluctant to learn useful skills or pay taxes to the infidel? Beats me.
Marks could be deducted from applicants who have a history of anti-social behaviour, which could include protesting against British troops, or even failing to integrate into British life.
I simply can't imagine what kind of would-be immigrant, wishing to enjoy the benefits - literally - of living in Britain, might at the same time display hostility towards its soldiers. Can you?
"Bad behaviour will be penalised and only those with enough points will earn the right to a British passport," Mr Johnson said.
Bad behaviour? What kind?
The Home Secretary also plans to ban wives brought here, mainly from India and Pakistan, from receiving child benefit and a wide range of other state aid unless they learn English, support British values and do voluntary work in the community.
Getting warmer? Perhaps the Home Secretary should go further and penalise those - of any religion, natch - who divide the world into believers and unbelievers; wish to conquer it by force if necessary for the former; believe a man who "married" a nine-year-old girl to be a perfect example for mankind; stone adulterers, rape victims and homosexuals, and flog someone for having a glass of wine. No religion in particular, just anyone who goes in for bad behaviour of that kind.
We have discussed in a major NER article, "Foot Soldiers of Islam", the threat of American naturalized Somali youths recruited by radical Imams in Minneapolis and other areas to go to Somalia to become Jihadis with Al Shabaab and return as home grown terrorists.
Ann Corcoran, our colleague at Refugee Resettlement Watch, has this story on exactly that threat in Australia where naturalized Somali young men were arrested in a plot to strike at the Australian Army.
Yes, it seems that what most feared would happen in the US when it was learned that 20 or so Somali young men (former refugees) had left the good life in the US and gone to terrorist training in Somalia has come to pass—in Australia! One of those arrested today in Melbourne brought his Al-Shabaab training back from Africa and was planning to use it against Australian soldiers. Hat tip: Mars.
Four men – all Australian citizens – were arrested this morning as federal and state police, armed with search warrants, swooped on members of the suspected terror cell this morning in the second-largest counter-terrorism operation in the nation’s history.
Those arrested included a 26-year-old Carlton man, a 25-year-old Preston man, a 25-year-old Glenroy man and a man, 22, from Meadow Heights.
About 400 police raided homes in the northern Melbourne suburbs of Glenroy, Meadow Heights, Roxburgh Park, Broadmeadows, Westmeadows, Preston and Epping. They also raided homes at Carlton in inner Melbourne and Colac in southwestern Victoria.
“Police believe members of a Melbourne-based group have been undertaking planning to carry out a terrorist attack in Australia and allegedly involved in hostilities in Somalia,” a joint police statement said.
The men are expected to be charged with a range of terrorism-related offences.
Authorities believe the group is at an advanced stage of preparing to storm an Australian Army base, using automatic weapons, as punishment for Australia’s military involvement in Muslim countries. It is understood the men plan to kill as many soldiers as possible before they are themselves killed.
Since the men were all Australian citizens, as the missing Minnesota Somalis are American citizens, we can assume they arrived in Australia as refugees and possibly as small children as had the American Somalis. They obviously didn’t appreciate the generosity of the humanitarians who lifted them out of African poverty. The call to take part in Islamic Jihad trumps the good life anyday.
The cell has been inspired by the Somalia-based terrorist movement al-Shabaab, with two Melbourne men, both Somalis, having travelled to Somalia in recent months to obtain training with the extremist organisation, which is aligned with al-Qa’ida.
One of those men has already returned to Melbourne. The other is still in Somalia.
The suspects include Australians of Somali and Lebanese decent, most of whom are labourers employed in Melbourne’s construction industry, or taxi drivers.