by Ganesh Sahathevan
It is obvious from the ABC 7.30 interview copied below that NSW Police knew in advance of the general threat that ultimately led to the murder of Curtis Cheng. Despite knowing of the threat police and ASIO did nothing ; intelligence gathering cannot be an excuse when there is a danger such as this.
Granted there were teenagers involved, but then why did police not speak with their parents,and have these boys disciplined if not put into "intervention" programmes that Nick Kaldas says are already in place? It does appear as if police already know that intervention and "deradicalization" does not work, and they are otherwise afraid to enforce normal law enforcement methods.
Vote buying in Western Sydney seems to be the main culprit. Malcolm Turnbull's fear of losing his prime ministership can only add to the insecurity. That the member for Auburn , Craig Laundy, had been one of the main criitcs of Abbott's so-called anti-Muslim policies and voted for Tunrbull has not escaped attention. The question for the rest of us is whether he retaining his seat is worth any more murders like that of Curtis Cheng. Clearly, a way must be found to wean politicians off their dependence on the Muslim vote.
Teen member of Islamic State group suspected of Parramatta Shooting tells its inside story
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Reporter: Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop and Dylan Welch
TranscriptLEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: The issue of young Muslim men embracing the message of violent jihad is rattling the entire Western world.
Tonight, one of those youths, himself at the heart of Australia's security crisis, speaks exclusively to 7.30.
For years this self-confessed jihadi has been a member of a small group of young Islamic State supporters from Sydney. It's this group that police allege is associated with both the recent street murder of New South Wales police accountant Curtis Cheng and also the alleged disrupted plot to abduct and kill a random member of the public last year.
The 19-year-old who appears in this story is best friends with both of the young men accused of planning those attacks.
This story from Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop and Dylan Welch, and a warning: some of the material is confronting.
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: Every day, they've been watching. Wherever I go, whatever I do. Take photos. 'Cause you see cars in front of your house or the same cars following you every day. They all take photos. And they all say, "Oh, this guy's planning an attack."
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP, REPORTER: This is one of the most closely-watched teenagers in Australia, under surveillance by police and ASIO since at least early last year. He's in a group of young Islamic State supporters suspected of plotting a terrorist attack.
How did you become close?
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: As a brotherhood. Like gangsters, they have the brotherhood. We have our brotherhood.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: It's a brotherhood that's now under investigation over the execution of a civilian police employee in broad daylight in Parramatta earlier this month.
We've agreed to hide this 19-year-old's identity because he says he fears for the safety of some members of his family who don't share his belief in violent jihad.
According to counter-terrorism authorities who've been keeping a close watch on you and your friends since early last year, you and your friends are one of the biggest terrorism threats in Australia.
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: That's a lie. 'Cause anyone sees me, I'm a normal dude.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: There aren't many regular dudes who support Islamic State.
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: There's a lot.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: In September last year, Australia woke to the news that young Islamic State supporters were planning a terror attack in Sydney. The teenager and his friends were raided that morning.
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: They smashed a whole door. They said, "Police! Open up!" They had their SKS, their gun pointed at me, "Get on the floor." They just said anything to link with ISIL, Islamic State, ISIS, you be - they'll take you away.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: This Western Sydney teenager came to Australia as a 10-year-old Afghan refugee and soon after, his brothers became involved in crime gangs. One brother is serving 24 years in Australia's highest-security jail, the SuperMax, for a brutal gang murder.
PETER MORONEY, FMR COUNTER-TERRORISM DETECTIVE: They come from a broken family history. They generally have - and again, I'm generalising, but they generally have a connection of some description of a family member, direct or otherwise, connected to crime. And when you throw all that in the mix, that's when you're creating a nice base then to - for that person to be going one way or another.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: For them to radicalise?
PETER MORONEY: Absolutely.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: Several of the teenager's close friends are now charged, including Omarjan Azari, who's accused of conspiring to murder a random non-believer. Their ties go back a long way.
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: Well, we used to go to school together. Footy, soccer. We met up like that.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: It was at Parramatta High where he met Omarjan Azari, who introduced him to hardline Islam and became his spiritual guide.
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: Omar in school, he used to teach me how to pray and we used to go to mosques together, we used to do a lot of things together. And from that, like, he used to be - he finished school and I was by myself, and after that, I used to listen to sheiks, I used to listen to the lectures, go Thursday nights, so get myself educated.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: He then tried to convert fellow students.
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: I used to preach. I used to give - speak to people about Islam, and, like, the non-believers, I used to advise them to come to Islam. It's our life, you know, like, we live for long with life for Allah.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: Would you get yourself killed for Allah?
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: (Pause) No comment.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: Why don't you want to answer that question?
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: Because it's gonna lead us to trouble.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: What kind of trouble?
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: Like ASIO and AFP, (inaudible). And they'll probably think he's gonna plan a terrorist attack or something like that.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: If you say what you really believe...
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: Yeah.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: the police will come after you?
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: Of course. They're already after me. They're just looking for a little reason to put me behind bars.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: So what you're really saying is that you would?
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: Everyone wants to die for Allah. We all want to live the best life in the hereafter and we want to make to the top of the seven levels of Jannah - heaven. We want to make it to the top.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: 7.30 asked NSW Police for their view of the teenager, but they declined to comment.
We showed the interview to Peter Moroney, who was a senior detective on one of Australia's biggest terrorism cases, and he was alarmed.
PETER MORONEY: We're talking about violent jihad, so we're talking about murder. The simple response is via the evasiveness of his answer and in the end, when pushed, he says, "Yes, I would." That's alarming, because we know - we know from past investigations that have occurred is that if they can't leave Australia to fight, there are some self-appointed members of the Islamic community that would suggest that it is OK, you can then wage your jihad here.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: Since last year's raids, the 19-year-old has been supporting his friends in court, and at times, he's been violent.
JOURNALIST: How would you describe these allegations that he is plotting to kill somebody and drape an ISIS flag around his head?
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: This is his best friend, Raban Alou. The 18-year-old was charged days ago with helping commission the Parramatta shooting from inside the local mosque. Both of them knew Farhad Jabar, the 15-year-old Parramatta shooter.
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: He was just a quiet dude. Keeps to himself.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: In recent months, they were studying the Koran together at Parramatta Mosque, where he says he last saw Jabar a fortnight before the shooting.
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: Maybe once a week we used to read the Koran together. That's it. I used to revise with him.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: So who was teaching who about the Koran?
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: Farhad was teaching me.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: Did you play any role in the murder of Curtis Cheng?
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: No, I didn't. I had nothing - I was working that day. I was working at Fairfield. Had nothing to do with it.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: Do you think it was a tragedy for Curtis Cheng?
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: Of course it is a tragedy. He's still working with the police government, so he's part for him.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: Why are you finding it so hard to say that the murder of Curtis Cheng was a tragedy for him and his family?
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: Because they don't say anything about the Muslims, so why should I say - why should I please them, you know? Why should I please the kafir - the disbelievers? Why should I show that, oh, yeah, I care about them? Which I don't.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: This teenager's commitment to a brutal holy war against what he sees as the sins of the West is unrelenting.
ANONYMOUS ISLAMIC STATE SUPPORTER: There's no other law except Allah's law. People that smoke drugs, there's no cigarettes, there's no alcohol, there's no brothels, there's no clubbing - all shut down. That's what we want. Stop the bombing overseas, stop killing our Muslims and then war will be over.
ALPHA CHENG, SON: I am here today in the most tragic and difficult of circumstances to represent my family, heartbroken from the sudden loss of a beloved husband and loving father.
ANDREW SCIPIONE, NSW POLICE COMMISSIONER: The gentlest of friends lost to an act of terror.
SEAN RUBINSZTEIN-DUNLOP: On the weekend, a family farewelled a man who came to Australia for a quiet and peaceful life. Their message couldn't be more different to the violent dogma that claimed that life.
ALPHA CHENG: If we all do that little bit more, as Dad did for everyone in his life, I believe that we can live in a more harmonious and gentle world. May he rest in peace.
LEIGH SALES: Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop and Dylan Welch with that report.