Saturday, September 20, 2014

Counter-terrorism raids: AFP used extraordinary powers for first time to detain people without charge

In the wake of the anti-terrorism raids in Sydney and Brisbane on Thursday, it has been revealed Australian Federal Police (AFP) used preventative detention orders for the first time to detain people without charge.

The operation continued today with yet more homes searched and a bigger police presence on city streets.
Three men arrested during the raids were released in Sydney on Friday afternoon after being detained under preventative detention orders.

The orders can be used when there is an imminent threat of a terror attack and can last between 48 hours and 14 days.

Omarjan Azari, 22, remains in custody charged with conspiracy to prepare for a terrorist attack.

There was initially some confusion about whether the orders were used when the acting Federal Police Commissioner was asked how many people were being detained and could not elaborate.

"It's not trying to be difficult. It's not a question I can lawfully answer," Andrew Colvin said.

"We have operational reasons why we don't confirm or deny numbers of people and we have legislative restrictions about what I can say publicly."

The AFP later clarified that legally the commissioner could not comment while the orders were in force.
It is the first time the orders have been used since being introduced after the London bombings in 2005,
Former national security legislation monitor Bret Walker says the orders are ineffective because suspects cannot be questioned. He wants the powers repealed.

"I think it would be a bit tough to criticise the police for keeping secret those things which do not need to be revealed at the moment," Mr Walker said.

"Because they are understandably surrounded by so many safeguards the notion of keeping somebody in custody whom you have no intention to charge, even for a short time, is so alien to our views of liberty that it has to be wondered why would you bother inventing a whole new system when you have the familiar power of arrest?"

Draft legislation should include clause to stop torture: Walker

Mr Walker has also backed concerns expressed by crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm who says new national security laws would allow ASIO to torture people.

He says the Attorney-General George Brandis's draft law is flawed.

"There's every reason why Australia should continue openly to sign up to being on the side of the angels. We are against torture. We will never use it," M Walker said.

He says it would be easy for senator Brandis to put a clause in the legislation to stop torture.

"It should be consistent with safeguards that presently exist in other laws already in existence in the country.

Those advising the Attorney-General should have drawn that to his attention earlier."

The scale and scope of the proposed changes are not just worrying members of the crossbench.

Some Muslim Australians say this week's raids are being exaggerated to justify expanding police and intelligence powers.

 

More than 100 people rallied in Sydney's Lakemba on Thursday night at a protest led by the ultraconservative political group Hizbut Tahrir.

The group's Uthman Badar said the Muslim community was "not new to these sort of heavy-handed raids", which he described as "politicised counter-terrorism".

Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Friday dismissed the comments as "emphatic but they were utterly unrepresentative of Australian Muslims".

"The vast majority of people in this country, regardless of their faith, are first-class Australians. They are absolutely first-class Australians," he said.

"They are here, they came here because they wanted to join our team."

The Muslim community is already feeling the backlash, with reports of threats against mosques.

A mosque at Mareeba in far north Queensland was vandalised on Thursday night with the word "evil" spray-painted near its front door.

Rami Antar, who attends the mosque in Logan, south of Brisbane said his mosque was open to the public in an attempt to generate discussion and eliminate divisions.

"So rather than coming and throwing threats and doing graffiti's on the side of the walls and throwing pig heads and swearing as they're driving across, we just open our doors and our hand for the wider community, especially those with ... who have very serious concern about what's going on," he said.

"Please come, come inside, come and talk to us, raise your concern and see if we can help you because what's hurting them it's hurting us as well."

Mr Antar said his local community was still grappling with police raids on a local Islamic centre last week, as well as three homes yesterday.

"It's something that the Muslim community is not very proud of - obviously. And it's of course, it's a concern, we don't like to see things like that, and hope things like that does not happen again."

abc.net.au  19 Sep 2014

Cementing the laws of the police state of Australia.

Just another method to unlawfully detain ANYONE, under the 'terrorist' pretext.

Previously, 'communism' which was bank rolled by the global banking elite, was the enemy but the politics to enslave the masses changed as this could be better achieved via the  freedom / democracy catch phrase of capitalism.

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