Friday, November 9, 2018

Bourke St jihadi was another known wolf, from a known network: ASIO,AFP ,state counterparts in Vic, NSW continue to reject passive supporters of jihadis as a threat.

by Ganesh Sahathevan 

These  facts of the jihadi attack in Bourke St ,Melbourne, as reported by, have not been disputed:

The attacker in Melbourne was shot by police after he set fire to a ute laden with gas cylinders in the centre of Melbourne and stabbed three people, killing one. The attacker died later in hospital.
Police are now treating the stabbing attack in Melbourne's Bourke St as a terrorism incident.
The knifeman, a 31-year-old Somali-born from Melbourne’s north-western suburbs, died in hospital last night after being shot in the chest by police.
The Herald Sun, on its Twitter page, said the terrorist’s wife “was missing and is believed to have been radicalised”. They say Victoria Police are searching for her.
In a press conference yesterday afternoon Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said the man who is alleged to have stabbed three people, killing one, was known to Victoria Police and federal intelligence authorities.
“We are now treating this as a terrorism incident,” he said.
Commissioner Ashton revealed the man came to Australia from Somalia in the 1990s and had relatives known to police from a “terrorism perspective”.
“He’s got family associations that are well known to us,” he said.
There were some reports that the man yelled “Allahu Akbar” during the attack but Commissioner Ashton said this had not been confirmed.

As with the case of Numan Haider, the attacker was known, and was known to be affiliated with a network who can be at very least be described as a network of passive supporters. This writer has described the existence of such networks in the literature , in South East Asia,and in Australia, but  rather than review all that, readers are directed instead to this story from last year which describes the  consequences of not addressing the problem of passive supporters, in an earlier incident that took place under Graham Ashton's watch:

Two police officers stabbed by teen terrorist Numan Haider to sue ASIO for not warning them he was a threat



Lone terrorist responsible for deadly attack on Bourke Street
9 November 2018 — 9:33pm

A lone terrorist was responsible for a deadly stabbing attack that unfolded on Bourke Street in Melbourne's CBD on Friday afternoon.

One man was killed and two others injured after being stabbed by a man who set a ute alight outside the Target store near the busy intersection of Bourke and Swanston streets.

He was taken to hospital in a critical condition, but died on the operating table.
A relative of the man was arrested on terror-related charges last year. However, sources said there had been no intelligence from counter-terror authorities about any serious threat.

"He is known to both Victoria Police and federal intelligence authorities," Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said on Friday night.

"There is no ongoing threat that we know of ... as I speak to you tonight.

"But certainly we are treating it as a terrorism incident. He's got family associations that are well known to us."

Late on Friday night, there were reports that IS had claimed responsibility for the attack via the Amaq news agency. However, IS is known to have claimed responsibility for attacks in the past that it has not in fact had any connection to.

It is believed the attacker, who lives in Melbourne's north-western suburbs, arrived in Australia in the 1990s.

Two victims in hospital

Prominent Launceston businessman, Rod Patterson, 58, was one of two victims in hospital on Friday night. He suffered head injuries and was undergoing surgery.

The other victim, a 26 year-old man, was believed to be in a critical condition with neck injuries.

Mr Patterson's wife, Maree, posted a message on social media thanking everyone for their wishes.

"So unfortunately we got caught up in the attack in Bourke Street this afternoon and Rodney was hurt – good news is he is in a great hospital and doing OK given the circumstances," she wrote.

Mr Patterson, a former Autobarn franchisee and president of the South Launceston Football Club, owns an apartment in Melbourne.

The identity of the victim who died has not been released.

How the attack unfolded

The attacker stopped his dual-cab ute on Bourke Street before setting it alight about 4.30pm.

Fire crews later found a number of barbecue-style gas cylinders in the ute.

"This is an evil and terrifying thing that has happened in our city," Premier Daniel Andrews said.

A section of Melbourne's CBD remained in lockdown overnight after the attack sent Friday afternoon shoppers and commuters running for safety.

However, some bystanders risked their own lives to help police stop the attacker. One man tried to repeatedly ram the attacker with a shopping trolley, while another used a traffic cone to fend him off.

A large crowd of people also stood and filmed the man's confrontation with police.

How the attack unfolded

The attacker stopped his dual-cab ute on Bourke Street, near Swanston Street, before setting it alight about 4.30pm.

He then started attacking people with a knife, stabbing at least three people.

Witnesses told The Age they were shopping in the area when they saw a man throw what they believed to be a bomb into a car before it exploded.

They had initially thought the man was running to catch a tram close by, before a nearby police car rushed to the scene.

They heard screams and cries from the crowd before they were rushed from the area.

One bystander tried to push a trolley into the attacker. That man was pushed over onto the street, but got up and tried again with the trolley to stop the attack. Another man tried to ward him off with a traffic cone, a third was seen with a cafe chair.

Transit officers were the first to respond, with one officer using a tree to protect himself from the attacker as he lunged at them with the knife.

Police then shot the lone terrorist in the chest and arrested him before he was taken to hospital.

By 5.20pm, the body of one of the victims was lying under a white sheet on Bourke Street surrounded by police tape, near the entrance to Russell Place. There were large spots of what appeared to be blood near the body, as well as a pair of men's black lace-up shoes.

About 6pm, police confirmed the victim had died.

Witnesses were taken to Melbourne West police station in police vans, some looking shaken.

On Friday evening, there were two dozen people in the police station foyer waiting to give statements. Most sat in three rows of chairs, before being called to one of six tables set up by police.

One man briefly exited the building to greet a woman. He looked shaken as he hugged her - one sleeve of his white jumper was stained with dried blood.

Earlier, a witness, Sarah Krug had told The Age she had been heading to the night noodle markets when "all hell broke loose".

Her immediate thought was, "Oh no, not another Bourke Street incident," she said.

"I thought the car was coming for us," Ms Krug said.

"I didn't know what was happening there was just so much chaos and screaming."

They all had panicked faces'

Stuart Gaut was inside the McDonalds on the corner of Bourke and Russell Streets when he felt the building shake and heard an explosion.

As he ran to the entrance, he saw about 40 people sprinting past in fear. "They were bolting, they all had panicked faces," he said.

An amateur photographer, Mr Gaut grabbed his gear and ran in the opposite direction, towards the scene, to take photos.

"I just saw the car, then the whole area was covered in smoke. There were a lot of policemen moving everyone away. It's funny how everyone just stands around and looks, no one was really running away."

Mr Gaut then went back into the McDonalds, which was in lockdown for more than an hour, to pat the shoulder of a trembling witness recounting his account to police.

The Bourke Street Mall, including Myer and David Jones stores, were evacuated shortly before 5.30pm.

Melbourne's anti-terror sirens and loudspeakers were used for the first time, sounding out across Bourke Street.

The message over the loudspeakers said: "This is Victoria Police, please evacuate the area."

The attack came on the second day of the highly-publicised murder trial of James Gargasoulas, who allegedly drove through Bourke Street Mall on January 20 last year, killing six people and injuring 27 others.

by Ganesh Sahathevan

The following is an extract from a Monash press release(see full form below) quoting "terrorism expert" and lead investigator Greg Barton:

GTReC researchers found Australian militants and terrorists frequently consulted and consumed online extremist material but other factors played far more important roles in radicalising them. Their real world social networks of friends and family, and access to individuals who fought overseas or attended terrorist training camps were far more influential in affecting their thought and behaviour than materials circulating in the virtual world.

Lead chief investigator Professor Greg Barton said relationships, in the sense of social networks, belonging, and the allure of an enhanced sense of identity, play an important role in violent.

Australian jihadis are said to be very well prepared, and the best equipped for battlefield duties. As reported in The Australian:

THERE was something about the six Australians that made them stand out. Thousands of foreigners have ventured into Syria and Iraq during the past year for their journey to jihad; but, for locals who live along the border between Turkey and Syria, this group was different. As they sat drinking coffee before making their final walk into a foreign war, these Australians stood out: they were supremely confident, well-dressed and well-resourced. “It was clear they were not rookies,” says one local who watched them sitting at the coffee shop in Turkey about 50m from the border with Syria. “They seemed to know what they were doing.”

Locals watching the group were struck by several things. First, only one of them spoke Arabic and had to translate everything for the other five. He seemed to be their leader and looked to be in his 40s while the others were younger, in their 30s. Every so often he walked away from the group to talk on the phone, as if for privacy.

Second, they were clearly well prepared; they wore new, strong-looking walking boots, a contrast to many of the bedraggled jihadists who depart from this cafe clothed in little more than their well-worn attire and a desire to join the battle for Islam between Sunnis and Shi’ites. Good shoes and bags full of supplies were low on the list of priorities for those zealots.

Observers who saw the group of Australians said they seemed prepared for a long assignment. But what stood out most was their demeanour. They were calm, confident and relaxed. Locals noticed they all had Australian passports.

They were, one local commented, physically very large — he found them intimidating — and they wore the crocheted woollen caps popular with some Muslim men. All were “very beardy”.

(Unholy foot soldiers in a foreign fight THE AUSTRALIAN JULY 12, 2014)
It is obvious that these Australian jihadis had been trained professionally, were well funded, and had support of strong network of passive supporters. It is time for the Government, law enforcement agencies, and Muslim leaders, to tell us who these people are, and what is being done to eradicate the threat they pose this society.

Understanding Terrorism in an Australian Context: Radicalisation, De-radicalisation and Counter-radicalisation
8 August 2013

The key findings from a four-year Australian Research Council-funded collaborative research project on terrorist radicalisation in Australia by researchers from Monash University’s Global Terrorism Research Centre (GTReC) will be released on Thursday 8 August.

The project, conducted in partnership with Victoria Police, Australian Federal Police, Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Victorian Department of Justice, is the most significant and in-depth examination of radicalisation undertaken in Australia.

Understanding Terrorism in an Australian Context: Radicalisation, De-radicalisation and Counter-radicalisationfocused on developing the understanding of radicalisation in an Australian context and sought international perspectives to enhance the understanding of violent extremism in Australia and relevant international threats.

Project members conducted over 100 interviews, including current and/or former violent extremists, in Australia, Indonesia, Europe, North America and elsewhere, from various ideologies (jihadist,far-right, far-left, IRA and Tamil Tigers). Also interviewed were many of the world’s leading counter-terrorism practitioners and analysts, and representatives from a variety of community groups, canvassing their attitudes on why some individuals become radicalised and ways community, government and religious stakeholders might work together to counter violent extremism.

The role of the internet and on-line materials in radicalising some individuals was also thoroughly investigated. Online sources provided both the lethal inspiration and the technical know-how for Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik’s anti-Islam motivated terrorism in Oslo and Utoya Island in July 2011, in the attack Tamerlan and Johar Tsarnaev perpetrated at the Boston Marathon in April 2013 and the brutal murder of off-duty British soldier Leigh Rigby in Woolwich, London, in May 2013.

GTReC researchers found Australian militants and terrorists frequently consulted and consumed online extremist material but other factors played far more important roles in radicalising them. Their real world social networks of friends and family, and access to individuals who fought overseas or attended terrorist training camps were far more influential in affecting their thought and behaviour than materials circulating in the virtual world.

Lead chief investigator Professor Greg Barton said relationships, in the sense of social networks, belonging, and the allure of an enhanced sense of identity, play an important role in violent 

“Academics like to focus on ideas and ideology, but emotions, social bonds and experiences also play a crucial role. For many who become caught up in violent extremism social networks are much more important than ideology," Professor Barton said.

The findings also highlighted the importance of using, where possible, non-coercive measures to work with vulnerable individuals and groups to deflect and dissuade them from using violence to achieve their goals. These measures, commonly described as ‘CVE’ (countering violent extremism) initiatives, are becoming more prominent in Australia and overseas as many countries’ security services have observed that such ‘hard’ responses, by themselves, have often been ineffective, sometimes paradoxically increasing, rather than deterring the prospects of radicalising individuals. GTReC’s research highlights the effectiveness of including the social networks of radicalised or vulnerable individuals in countering violent extremism in both Australia and elsewhere.

CVE approaches prioritise interventions that are well ‘upstream’, averting problems before they are fully formed and give rise to criminal behaviour. Recognising key signs, or indicators, of radicalisation is an essential element of CVE. To this end GTReC researchers have developed a model that will enable a diverse range of practitioners to collectively recognise signs of radicalisation through observing indicative changes in behaviour, thinking and social relationships that, when occurring together and trending over time, point to reasons for concern and the need for some sort of intervention.

CVE also requires ‘downstream’ initiatives focusing on rehabilitation and helping individuals and groups disengage from violent extremism and re-engage with mainstream society. All forms of CVE require attention to both the individual and their environment.

For more information contact Glynis Smalley, Monash Media & Communications + 61 3 9903 4843 or 0408 027 848.

The Problem Of Passive Supporters Of Jihadi Terrorists And The Putin Solution

by Ganesh Sahathevan
While I have previously taken a top-down approach to describing the networks that support  jihadists (see , the profileartion of Al-Qaeda franchises and off-shoots, such as those at work in Syriai requires that a bottom-up , or grassroots, approach be adopted.
While the top down approach looked at the support states provided jihadists, the bottom-up approach is concerned with how individuals at the grassroots can comprise networks that jihadists might rely on for their activities. Civil rights activists might be alarmed by such language, afraid that large sections of a given population could be branded jihadists, but there is in fact a theoratical framework and empirical  evidence to support this hypothesis.
Juan José Miralles Canals ii describes these types of networks using a mathematical and computer modeling approach:
Passive supporters of the jihadist cause are normal people who do not need to express their position explicitly. They just do not oppose a jihadist act in case they could. They are sharing independently an identical opinion of identifying with the jihadist cause. They do not need to communicate between then. This is an individual dormant attitude associated to a personal opinion. It does not need to be explicitly so. They are unnoticeable, and most of them reject the violent aspect of the jihadist action.
Social permeability to the jihad describes the physical pathways that nodes of the jihadist networks can establish and use to move freely and safely along, thanks to the passive supporters of the jihadist cause.
Social permeability to the jihad  describes the physical pathways that nodes of the jihadist networks can establish and use to move freely and safely along, thanks to the passive supporters of the jihadist cause.
Canals provides a mathematical analysis which concludes that disruption at the nodes is required to disrupt jihadists activities. Given what was seen in Iraq, and now Syria ,and well before these, Gaza, of apparently innocent non-combatants supporting the jihadists' cause, it does appear that Cannals theoretical perspective has and is being borne out in the real world.
I have previously written about the relevance to this day of the British Malaya administration's policy of new villagesiii, used to defeat the Communist Party Of Malaya, which while being financed by the Peoples' Republic Of China, relied heavily on the support of local Chinese to facilitate their activities on the ground.
That solution may today seem inhumane, but critics conveniently forget that lives were saved by that solution. Be that as it may, Russian President Vladimir Putin might have provided an alternative , a middle path:
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law the controversial bill ….amending the Criminal Code to expand the number of offenses classified as terrorism and require the relatives of people deemed to have committed acts of terrorism to pay financial compensation for the material damage they causediv.
Not unexpectedly Putin's law has already come under criticism. However it is suggested that critics should rather see this law as the basis for other similair policy instruments that might be used to curb acts of terrorism. Either that, or a return to the new villages.

ii Fourth-generation warfare: Jihadist networks and percolation
iv Russia To Hold Relatives Of 'Terrorists' Financially Responsible For Material Damage

See also


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