Terrorist group 'targets our north'
October 28, 2002
THE Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah (JI) has targeted northern Australia to form part of an Asian Islamic superstate, according to a secret intelligence report.
The report, to be detailed on tonight's ABC Four Corners program, comes from the Philippines, chosen by al-Qaeda as its first base in South-East Asia in 1988.
Philippines' national security adviser Roilo Golez told Four Corners intelligence indicated Australia was part of al-Qaeda's plan for an Asian Islamic state.
"That is something that your intelligence people would have to assess. Suffice it to say that the Jemaah Islamiah vision of a pan-Islamic state includes parts of northern Australia," he said on ABC radio.
"That's what our intelligence indicates."
JI, the Indonesia-based Islamic extremist group, has been accused of perpetrating the Bali terrorist bombing. The group has established links with terror group al-Qaeda.
The Federal Government yesterday listed JI as a terrorist organisation under Australia's new counter-terrorism laws.
Attorney-General Daryl Williams today remained tight-lipped about the prospect of raids on those linked to JI.
Mr Williams said it was a matter for investigation by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) to determine if anyone breached the new anti-JI law.
"There are people in Australia who support overseas terrorist organisations. We know there are people in Australia who have trained with al-Qaeda. We know that people associated with JI have visited Australia," he said on ABC radio.
Asked if he expected any arrests, he said that was a matter for the authorities.
"What we can say is that the listing of JI as a terrorist organisation under Australian law puts anybody who has any association with it on notice that potentially they are committing a serious crime," he said.
A representative of the Australian Muslim community said violent political extremists should be arrested but he did not know of any.
Bilal Cleland, from the Islamic Council of Victoria, said there were extremists in the community but they were extremists by talk only.
"There has never been any suggestion of violence in the Australian Muslim community. We certainly are not aware of it if there has been," he said on ABC radio.
Asked who could be targeted should police or security services launch a crackdown on JI in Australia, Mr Cleland replied: "I think it is quite possible that people who have got big mouths and small brains will find themselves in difficulty."
"I don't think that just a loud mouth should be enough to have one arrested for terrorism."