February 7th 2009

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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL: Where will President Obama take America?

GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS: Can Australia avoid an economic depression?

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Australia should brace itself for worse to come

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: Blatant political bias in human rights body

JUDICIARY: High Court nominee's gay rights, abortion activism

GLOBAL TERRORISM: The great lie of 'home-grown' terrorism

QUARANTINE: Shake-up for Australia's quarantine system

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: Being smart about using soft power

MEDIA: What to make of the Obama cult

OPINION: Is there any point to suffering?

CIVILISATION: Created equal: how Christianity shaped the West

OPINION: Legislative change could help first home-buyers

Should democracy always have the last word? (letter)

Deserted by the Liberals? (letter)

A future for News Weekly (letter)

FORUM: Free markets and libertarianism

CINEMA: Slumdog Millionaire - Indian orphan tale a box-office hit

BOOKS: ENOUGH: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life, by John C. Bogle

BOOKS: THE WHITE WAR: Life and Death on the Italian Front 1915-1919, by Mark Thompson,

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The great lie of 'home-grown' terrorism

by John Miller

News Weekly, February 7, 2009
In two recent British trials, the media have depicted the terrorist suspects as either home-grown or "British" terrorists, writes John Miller.

December 2008 saw the conclusion of two important terrorist trials that took place in the United Kingdom. The first concerned two Muslim doctors, who were charged in connection with the failed terrorist car-bomb attacks outside a London nightclub and at Glasgow International Airport in late June 2007. The second involved an al-Qaeda mastermind charged with planning other terrorist attacks in Britain.

The first trial saw Bilal Abdullah, a 29-year-old British-born Iraqi national, jailed for 32 years for his role in trying to kill and maim thousands of people in a series of terrorist bomb attacks.

His accomplice, Indian PhD engineering student Kafeel Ahmed (also known as Khalid Ahmed), was horrifically burned in the Glasgow attack and died a few weeks later.

The attack on Glasgow airport was the first terrorist incident on Scottish soil since the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, and occurred only three days after the swearing-in of the Glasgow-born MP Gordon Brown as British Prime Minister.

British authorities asserted during Abdullah's trial that the London attacks were to be the first strikes in a wave of terrorist atrocities. However, the presiding judge at the trial, Mr Justice Mackay, was highly critical of the way British authorities conducted the case.

In sentencing Abdullah to life imprisonment, the judge said: "Many people felt and still feel strong opposition to the invasion of Iraq. You do, you are sincere in that, and you have strong reasons for holding that view. But you were born with intelligence and you were born into a privileged and well-to-do position in Iraq and you are a trained doctor.

"All of the evidence makes you a very dangerous man; you pose a high risk of serious harm to the British public in your present state of mind."

The second noteworthy British terrorist trial involved the prosecution of Rangzieb Ahmed, the highest-ranking member of al Qaeda to face court in the UK and the first to be found guilty of directing terrorist operations.

Ahmed was described as having links to every major British terrorist cell, including suicide-bombers who targeted the London Underground and transport system on July 7 and 21, 2005.

He was arrested in Pakistan after his codebooks were found in an operation which involved Britain's state security service MI5, and its overseas spy agency MI6 and British counter-terrorist police in Manchester.

Ahmed was born in Rochdale, just outside greater Manchester, but moved with his family to Pakistani Kashmir before his eighth birthday. Undoubtedly, this is where he became radicalised because he was arrested at the age of 18 by Indian authorities, allegedly after action with Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, a Pakistani Islamic militant organisation which was originally set up to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.

In that year, he travelled via China to Dubai, as part of an al Qaeda active service cell and, according to evidence later presented at his trial, he was en route to South Africa on a terrorist mission, which was abandoned after a senior al Qaeda leader was killed in a US missile attack.

Returning from Dubai, he was put under surveillance. On his return to the UK, police and security authorities gradually built up a picture of him as a high-level al Qaeda operative who had boasted of contacts with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (the alleged perpetrator of the 9/11 attacks) and other senior figures. His links led to him being described as a "trusted and experienced operative".

When he was arrested by British authorities entering the UK in September 2007, it was discovered that he had a dossier of al Qaeda contacts. He was formally charged with "directing the activities of an organisation which was concerned in the commission of acts of terrorism; possessing three books containing information which would be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism and possession of a rucksack containing traces of explosives in circumstances which suggested it was for a purpose connected with terrorism". (BBC News, September 19, 2007).

He had been in telephone contact with one of the persons connected with one of the failed suicide-bombers who targeted the London Underground and transport system on July 21, 2005 and, furthermore, had set up a terrorist cell in Manchester which was broken up by police.

Creeping political correctness

In both British trials, the media depicted the terrorist suspects as either home-grown or "British" terrorists. This is arrant nonsense but a striking example of creeping political correctness which appears to pervade the UK and, increasingly, Australia.

The phenomenon faced by Australia, the UK, the US, Western Europe elsewhere is that of terrorists who, wherever they were born, have no loyalty to the host society in which they happen to be living.

This is transnational terrorism, and no amount of whitewash applied by the politically correct can disguise that fact.

— John Miller is a former senior intelligence officer.

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