Thursday, September 24, 2015

Marise Payne & Khaleed Sharouf: Evidence of intelligence failure, as well as failure if not refusal to understand the threat of terrorism

by Ganesh Sahathevan

On 12 July 2014 the Weekend Australian reported:

ONE of Australia’s most-wanted terrorists and a suspected war criminal, Khaled Sharrouf continued to receive a taxpayer-funded disability pension months after arriving on the battlefields of Syria.

Sharrouf, who was convicted as part of the 2005 Pendennis terror trial, arrived in Syria in December and has distinguished himself as one of the most brutal ­Australian fighters to emerge on the Syrian battlefield.

Revelations that the former Sydney man was paid his regular fortnightly disability cheque — $766 a fortnight — long after authorities knew he was gone, raise the possibility that the taxpayer may have been inadvertently funding his activities.

Human Services Minister Marise Payne declined yesterday to discuss the Sharrouf case, citing privacy concerns.
Under normal circumstances a disability support pension can be cancelled if the recipient is overseas for six weeks.
Ms Payne said the law as it stood did not allow authorities to cancel the payments of Australians suspected of involvement in criminal or extremist behaviour.
“(But) recent events have highlighted the need for further measures to ensure Australians engaged in terrorist activities are not receiving payments,’’ she told The Weekend Australian.
It is clear from the above that Payne has difficulty comprehending that  someone who had gone to fight in Syria and distinguished himself as one of the most brutal ­Australian fighters to emerge on the Syrian battlefield. might not actually have been entitled to the disability pension.Be that as it may, Payne's response belies her approach to terrorism and related issues, made evident as late as 2006, when she objected to and defeated  then Attorney General Dary William's proposed terrorism laws which would have allowed him to ban entities such as, for example, Hizbut Tahrir who directly and  indirectly provide the networks that encourage ,support and defend the likes of Khaleed Sharouf.
Payne's response,trying to blame departmental policy for her incompetence, is what one expects given her past performance. Early this year in a desperate attempt to sound "progerssive"  and provide herself a defence she  blamed  the Centrelink computer systems for which she was responsible as Minister for Human Services for  her department's mismanagement. One shudders to imagine what she can now do with a far larger budget.

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