Friday, November 1, 2019

SA Chief Justice Kourakis terrorism decision makes Dutton's surveillance laws a necessary evil

by Ganesh Sahathevan

The US NSA Uses Social Network Analysis To Map Terrorist Networks.Terrorist 
nodes within them.

The ABC reported:

A former Adelaide student found guilty of being a member of Islamic State (IS) has had her conviction overturned on appeal, despite the state's chief justice accepting she had pledged allegiance to the terror group.

Her legal team argued there was no evidence presented at trial about the organisational structure of IS and how a person might become a member and, therefore, no evidence that Ms Abdirahman-Khalif had taken steps to do so.

They also argued that the trial judge's summing up to the jury was unbalanced and failed to present the defence case.

Three judges presided over the appeal, Chief Justice Chris Kourakis, Justice Trish Kelly and Justice Greg Parker.

The chief justice said the evidence at trial supported an inference that Ms Abdirahman-Khalif was a supporter of IS, its extremist ideology and its terrorist activities.

"It also supported the inference that she intended to travel to Turkey to make contact with members or supporters of Islamic State in Turkey, with the intention of travelling into areas of Syria, Iraq and Turkey … for the purposes of either providing medical assistance to fighters and others or to marry an Islamic State fighter," he said.

However, Mr Kourakis  said the prosecution did not produce evidence about IS's organisational structure or membership.

"No evidence was adduced on how members were recruited or selected, or of any process by which they were inducted and finally accepted into the organisation," he said.

"Other than references to [IS leader Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi's autocratic rule and to several of his immediate subordinates, there was no evidence about Islamic State's decision-making processes or command structure

"There was therefore no evidence against which to evaluate any connection between the proved conduct of the appellant, her communications, pledge of allegiance, singing and attempt to travel to Turkey, with formal or informal membership of Islamic State."

Jihadi organisations like IS comprise independent cells; look for an "organisation" is often impossible, as is any search for "command structure". Jihadi networks comprise nodes and links (see article below) and this decision by Kourakis  will require prosecutors in future cases to provide evidence of the nodes and structures in order to prove structure and decision making processes. Current surveillance laws may not allow this, and the expanded spying
powers reported to have been proposed by Peter Dutton are probably the remedy.


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 proliferation 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 theoretical 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 similar 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

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