Global news sources are reporting a what appears to be a hostage taking at the Lindt Chocolate Café in Martin Place, Sydney, also home to the Reserve Bank of Australia. [more inside]
"To aid the national security community in imagining contemporary threats, the Australian Security Research Centre (ASRC) is organising Australia’s Security Nightmares: The National Security Short Story Competition. The competition aims to produce a set of short stories that will contribute to a better conception of possible future threats and help defence, intelligence services, emergency managers, health agencies and other public, private and non-government organisations to be better prepared." (via)
As of yesterday, Dr. Mohammed Haneef was released from jail, amidst speculation that his incarceration had been unjust, and is on his way back home. It is believed that once he is ready, there will be a lucrative deal waiting for him if he wishes to tell his story (pdf of his transcript of detention), but for now, his wife, Firdaus Ashriya, is happy to have her husband back home.
"[Vitek] Boden had waged a three-month war against the Scada (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system of Maroochy Water Services in Australia beginning in January 2000, which saw millions of gallons of sewage spill into waterways, hotel grounds and canals around the Sunshine Coast suburb." A 2002 Washington Post story on possible al-Qaeda attacks also mentions the Boden case: "Specialists in cyber-terrorism have studied Boden's case because it is the only one known in which someone used a digital control system deliberately to cause harm."
Apologies come from the top Queensland, Australia: "QUEENSLAND'S elite anti-terrorism police will no longer use photos of real people in target practice after concerns were raised by indigenous and civil liberties groups." Dp the police have the right to use someone's mugshot for target practice, without permission or consent?
There's a revolt in the ranks. Office of National Assessment senior analyst Andrew Wilkie resigned in protest against the stance on Iraq. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has questioned Mr Wilkie's seniority and suggested he did not have access to all available information on Iraq but Opposition leader Mr Crean disputes that. "Not senior? This is a person who has had involvement on terrorism briefings - we know that from the reports," Mr Crean said. "He's also a person that according to the same reports was going to be put on the Iraq taskforce if Australia went to war. Now don't tell me that's not senior, don't tell me that's not connected."
I'd like to report some suspicious behaviour...a series of recent television commercials running on Australian TV promoting a toll free phone number to call if the viewer happens to see anything suspicious. Suspicious, you say? Don't be alarmed, it's all part of the Let's Look Out For Australia Campaign, whose motto is: 'Be alert, but not alarmed'. Then it says: 'Australians are friendly, decent, democratic people, and we're going to stay that way.' I feel alarmed, but not for the same reason. I'm alarmed that everything I once valued about my country, a humane welfare system that provided free healthcare and free education (including free university study) and an admirable and enlightened approach to multiculturalism, have been substantially compromised over the past decade. I feel so betrayed that I can no longer say with confidence that I love my country. Things have reached the point where I want to move somewhere else: anyone have any suggestions?
The shockwaves from Bali ripple outward. John Sidel explains the likely impact on Indonesia, whilst Clive James and Germaine Greer discuss the impact on Australia. Thanks to Miguel for the two lost links. The Independent leader which caused such offence is here. For many, for whom 9/11 was remote, Bali is close and personal.
Arsonists try to burn down a mosque in Melbourne, Australia I was going to title this link 'Another terrorist attack', but I was concerned that would unduly alarm people:
Deputy Victorian Police Commissioner Bill Kelly said police had no evidence to suggest the Doncaster attack was a response to the Bali bombing. "It's not being looked at as a retaliation attack, it's just being looked at as an arson attack on a building," he said. "But obviously given what has happened last Saturday that puts another dimension into the investigation to follow-up on to make sure it either is or isn't politically or religiously motivated."Terrorists or arsonists? I suppose it depends upon whether you're Muslim or not. Sounds like terrorism to me. But like us easy-going Aussies like to say: 'No worries. She'll be right, mate.' Damn them all.