"TERRORISM IS A CRIME", NOT AN ACT OF WAR
Australia's chief cop has told The Australian that Muslims shouldn't be singled out when it comes to the 'War On Terror' :
Federal police commissioner Mick Keelty has urged people to back off Muslims, insisting Islamic Australia is not to blame for terrorism.
...Mr Keelty said racial profiling was self-defeating because it risked alienating mainstream Muslims while ignoring the real danger of homegrown non-Muslim terror.
"I remind people that the firstperson who was convicted of a terrorist offence in Australia was a person with the unlikely name of Jack Roche," the police chief said.
And Mr Keelty said he did not like the phrase "the war on terror", because it did not apply in Australia.
"Unless people understand what is happening here, we risk alienating the Islamic community, we risk branding the Islamic community," he said.
Unlike most Australian politicians, Mr Keelty well understands how the endless terror-branding of Australia's Muslims translates to trouble on the streets for police, and risks ignoring threats rising from other parts of the Australian community.
As numerous polls have shown, and as Australia's Prime Minister has failed to publicly acknowledge, the vast majority of Australian Muslims reject terrorism, and reject the concept of violent jihad.
But trying telling that to the headline-addicted senior politicians. They've got so little to say, so few new ideas to discuss, they can't stop themselves from banging on about Muslim terrorists and trying to scare the shit out of people, particularly children.
Spreading terror is an act of terror, whether you use bombs or your supreme access to the television sets of most Australians.
Prime Minister John Howard, September 11, 2006 :
"People in Australia are in no doubt that extreme Islam is responsible for terrorism. We shouldn't pussyfoot around. We are not attacking Muslims generally, but you have to call terrorism for what it is - it is a movement that invokes, in a totally blasphemous and illegitimate way, the sanction of Islam to justify what it does."
What's so shocking about statements like that is Howard is supposed to get briefed by Australia's intelligence services and senior police and international experts. You'd think he would have heard about the Christian terrorists, the Hindu terrorists and the aethiest terrorists as well.
Of course, John Howard would never dream to mention extremist Catholics and the IRA terror bombings across England and Ireland in the 1970s and 1980s.
But Howard's not alone. It's the rare senior Australian politician who has recently acknowledged the fact that hundreds of thousands of Australian Muslims live peaceful, non-violent lives while adhering to the beliefs of their religion.
If anything was going to drive people to extremism, you'd think seeing your friends and relatives shot and bombed and killed and burned in Iraq and Lebanon would do it. But so far, the fallout in Australia from the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Muslims in these conflicts has been minimal here.
John Howard, of course, has to do everything he can to distract Australians from real issues causing great distress to Australians everyday, like the decimating house market, climbing interest rates, storming petrol prices and the fact that he is indirectly linked to a bribery scandal that saw an Australian company pay Saddam Hussein hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes, even after Australian soldiers had deployed to the Iraq region in early 2003 to find his non-existent weapons of mass destruction.
Top Cop Mick Keelty well understands that false assumptions about violence and Australian Muslims, and connections to terrorism in general, are dangerous - for the innocent and for the peace and welfare of Australian society in general :
"One of my biggest fears is how we apply the anti-terrorism legislation in Australia," he said. "If we have major operations and people are arrested, I think it's vitally important for us in our organisation - I can't speak for other organisations - to consider carefully how we portray that in the media. I think it's equally important as to how the media portrays it."
Mr Keelty said the danger of mistreating people who felt "the least bit alienated" was that they would become permanent outcasts in the community.
Keelty caused a storm of faux-outrage inside the Howard government in March, 2004, when he had the temerity to suggest that Australia's involvement in the Iraq War increased the chances that Islamic terrorists would launch attacks on Australian targets.
Howard denies to this day that the 'War On Iraq' has increased the threat of terrorism in Australia, despite the fact that virtually every military, terrorism and conflict expert in the world says, "Of course it does, moron."
Keelty is clearly concerned about terrorism. But it's not just Islamic extremists he's worried about.
He believes, as does the Attorney General, that there is a risk of non-Muslim terror inside Australia as well.
"...that's one of the reasons why you have to be careful about racial profiling in policing, because if you do, you risk profiling to the exclusion of people who are motivated to commit the crime," he said.
"Some of the best examples of (terror originating beyond the Muslim community) are coming out of Canada and the UK where people have, for whatever reason, converted to Islam almost as a step towards committing a crime they probably would have committed anyway."
"Some of these people harbour resentment of Western liberalised democracies in any event, or feel alienated or isolated within their own environment for whatever reason.
"Anti-social behaviour can manifest in a number of ways, and what it (terrorism) has unfortunately done is given these people reason to consider other options to be heard or to be seen or to be made martyrs."
"True Islam denounces murder, it is not practising the Koran to commit murder or to commit atrocities," he said."I am against racial profiling for crimes because (it) risks missing the true cause of the crime and risks focusing (on) an aspect of the community that may not necessarily involve itself in the crime while the crime is being committed."
Keelty also refuses to use the war-spin terminology of the Bush-Howard-Blair Hydra.
There is no such thing as a 'War On Terror', says Keelty. There can't be. It's impossible.
"I think a statement like the war against terror is an easy statement to make. But terrorism is a crime, it's murder. It's more about a mindset and a motivation than it is about a war ...
"As an Australian what is so important to us, I think, is that we maintain the quality of life that we have and we continue to capitalise on the benefits of multiculturalism, that we look to be embracing of all cultures."
Cheers to that brilliant burst of refreshing reality, and cheers to our Top Cop.
There is a plague of extremists in Australia causing great damage to our peace and the stability of our communities, but they aren't congregating in the mosques.
They're congregating in Australia's most expensive building ever built, right there in Canberra.