Police target teens with secret 'evidence'

Issue 
Police say its evidence is too secret to be heard in court.

Heavily armed “anti-terrorist” police raided homes in Melbourne and arrested a teenager in Sydney on May 17. This foiled two unrelated terror plots, according to saturation media coverage based on information from police and security agencies that is too secret to be heard in court.

In Sydney, 18-year-old Tamim Khaja was arrested in Parramatta and charged with planning a terrorist attack and preparing for “foreign incursions”.

The raids on houses in the Melbourne suburbs of West Footscray, Broadmeadows and Epping were linked to the arrest of five men in North Queensland on May 10. Musa Cerantonio, Shayden Thorne, Kadir Kaya, Paul Dacre and Anthony Granata were arrested towing a recreational boat from Melbourne toward Cape York.

Friends of the men claim they were going on a fishing trip, the ABC reported. But police allege they were preparing to sail to Syria to wage armed jihad. The media has dutifully reported this as fact, dubbing the men the “tinnie terrorists”.

They were charged with planning an incursion into a foreign country by a court in Melbourne on May 19.

Under several waves of draconian anti-terrorist laws introduced since 2001, trials for terrorism are held in secret and standards of evidence have been lowered and weighted against the defendant. Courts are mandated to treat accusations by ASIO as proven fact without evidence if ASIO declares keeping the evidence secret is necessary for national security.

However, the media has reported a steady flow of police statements alleging details of the plots.

Police said Khaja had been “scoping potential targets” in Sydney and that an attack by him was “imminent”. Evidence cited against him includes that he attempted to leave the country in February, but was unable to do so because his passport had been cancelled based on secret evidence under anti-terrorist laws.

Other evidence against him was that he has been under surveillance since he was reported to the government's terrorism hotline for expressing Islamist views at high school in July last year.

Attorney General George Brandis said on May 17: “This is the ninth occasion since the national terrorism alert level was raised [to high] in September 2014 that police have successfully intervened to prevent an imminent terrorism event on Australian soil.”

Police allegedly prevented attacks including the September 2014 killing of 18-year-old Haidar Numan, who was shot dead by police at the Endeavor Hills police station, after he responded to a police request to come to the police station to talk to them. For undisclosed reasons the police demanded he talk with them in the car park where he allegedly attacked police with a knife before they killed him.

Another is the so called “Anzac Day terror plot”, in which five teenagers were arrested in April 2015 for allegedly planning a terrorist attack on an Anzac Day parade. The main evidence against them was that they had been friends with Haidar Numan and were in email communication with the plot's 14-year-old alleged mastermind in Britain.

So far this century, two people have been killed in a terrorist attack. By comparison in 2016 alone, 30 women have been killed in domestic and family murders and 50 workers killed in workplace accidents.

The same politicians who justify increased police powers and compromise the right to a fair trial have cut women's domestic violence services, while strengthening the laws criminalising trade unions.

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