Thursday, May 13, 2010

Man from Lalor Park charged after bomb found in backseat of car in Sydney


May 13, 2010

A BOMB found on the backseat of a car in Sydney's suburban north west doesn't appear to be related to terrorism, police say.

Officers patrolling in Kellyville at about 12.45am today discovered the improvised explosive device after becoming suspicious of the car due to anomalies with its number plate.

After conducting a routine traffic stop at Arnold Avenue a vehicle search revealed what is thought to be a home-made bomb, consisting of accelerants, a timer and wires.

Specialist police attended and rendered the device harmless.

"As a result, they cordoned off the area, called in our bomb squad, (and) made sure the device was rendered safe," Assistant Commissioner Denis Clifford told reporters.

The car's driver, a 46-year-old man from Frederick Avenue, Lalor Park, has been arrested and after being questioned by police has been charged with deliver explosive substance with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, possession of explosives, firearms offences and an offence relating to documents containing threats.

Mr Clifford ruled out any links with terrorism, saying police are investigating whether it's related to a domestic dispute.

"We are also keen to speak to this person about an incident at Normanhurst in March this year where a suspicious device was found on the steps of a premises," he said.

"That leads me to believe that this may well be related to a domestic situation."

Mr Clifford said the bomb was unsophisticated, but could cause a lot of damage.

"God knows what would have happened if the police hadn't intervened," he said.

Police searched the arrested man's home and state they found several items, including a firearm. Officers from strike force bulloo, which was formed by Kuring Gai detectives last month to investigate a suspicious device which had been located outside a home at Normanhurst on March 31 have assisted with questioning.

The man has been refused bail to appear at Parramatta Local Court tomorrow.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Teen footballers charged over gang rape

By Greg Roberts,
October 27, 2009, 7:53 pm

Three teenagers have been charged over the alleged gang rape of two women during an end of season football trip.

The youths were among a group of 16 young men arrested on Tuesday morning over the alleged rapes at Phillip Island, about 140km south of Melbourne, earlier this month.

A 17-year-old and two 18-year-olds are charged with false imprisonment, rape and indecent assault.

The 17-year-old from Montmorency, and the other youths from Bundoora and Lower Plenty were to face an out-of-sessions court hearing on Tuesday night.

Police raided four properties in Melbourne's northeast at 6am (AEDT) on Tuesday and arrested the young men aged between 17 and 20.

They include players from Montmorency Football Club in Melbourne's northern suburbs who were on an end of season trip to Phillip Island.

Two local women complained to police that they were raped by a group of men on Saturday, October 10 at Cowes on Phillip Island.

One of Montmorency's coaches said the trip was not officially connected to the club.

"It was not an official trip, the only official football trip involved seniors and reserves players that went to Glenelg," he told AAP.

"There was no under-19s footy trip, I think a few of the boys went away with friends.

"We had a lady from the AFL come here halfway through the football season who gave a talk how to respect women.

"We don't want any trouble, we just want to play the game, be successful, give some of these young blokes a game and get them off the streets."

AFL Victoria chief executive officer Peter Schwab said he was "shocked at the allegations".

He also confirmed the club had participated in the AFL's Respect and Responsibility program aimed at creating respect and safe environments for women.

"It's an extremely distressing time for the two girls concerned and our thoughts are with them," he told AAP.

"Certainly we would hope anyone involved would come forward and co-operate fully with the police.

"We trust the police will get to the bottom of it."

The AFL has been liaising with the Northern Football League, in which Montmorency plays.

Mr Schwab said the NFL has the power to de-register players and officials from its affiliated clubs.

The NFL's general manager Kevin Crompton released a statement saying the league and club were bitterly disappointed with the allegations.

"The NFL takes the allegations very seriously and encourages anyone with information to come forward," he said.

The search warrants were carried out at two properties in Montmorency and one each in Bundoora and Briar Hill while CCTV footage was seized from Cowes nightspots.

Detective Inspector Glenn Davies from the Sexual Crimes Squad said violence against women would not be tolerated and all such offences would be thoroughly investigated.

"I encourage all women who are victims of sexual assault to report these offences to police," he said in a statement.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Muslims must tackle theology of hate

Abdullah Saeed August 07, 2009

Article from: The Australian

EVENTS of the past decade have shown that small groups of militant extremist Muslims have a remarkable ability to create havoc in much of the world: killing, suicide bombing and destruction in the name of Islam.

That the number of these militant extremists is small is not a good reason for the majority of Muslims to remain silent.

The ideology of these small groups has become widespread at a global level and unless the silent majority in Muslim societies wakes up to the threat these militant extremists pose to their societies, their religion and to the world, there is a danger that militant extremism could become the norm in some Muslim societies.

Countering the ideology of militant extremists from 9/11 to the recent Jakarta bombings, Muslim religious leaders, theologians, academics, journalists and others have labelled such actions as anti-Islamic.

Australia, home to about 400,000 Muslims, has become a target of militant extremists, as a series of arrests this week has demonstrated. The law-abiding silent majority of Muslim Australians faces a particularly important task, now more than ever: to counter the threat of militant extremism and the hate-filled ideology of the extremists, and to save the younger generation of Muslims from this ideology.

This does not mean that Muslim Australians are somehow responsible for the acts of militant extremists; clearly they are not, and law-abiding Muslims should not be held responsible for the criminal acts of those who call themselves Muslim.

There are several things mainstream Muslim Australians can do. Condemning the violence in the strongest terms is naturally the starting point, but it should not be the end of the story.

Mainstream Muslims have to actively counter the claims of these militant extremists, just as Muslims in the past have done so at different points throughout the history of Islam, and in doing so helped to keep the militant extremists at the margins of society.

Mainstream Muslim Australians need to recognise that Koranic verses and the sayings of the prophet Mohammed can be misused and twisted to justify the most terrible acts. Unfortunately, all religious texts are not mathematical in their precision and are open to all forms of interpretation. Therefore, to counter the militants' arguments, it is important to show that the views and interpretations of the militants ought to be rejected because they are un-Islamic and go against mainstream Muslim thinking and practice.

The silent majority should strengthen its campaign of undermining the militancy and hatred advocated by the extremists. This campaign should begin at Friday sermons, in mosques, at homes, through lesson at Muslim weekend and day schools, in study circles and youth camps. This is no doubt happening but more needs to be done in view of the present situation.

There needs to be a strong and clear message that killing innocent people, be they Muslims or non-Muslims, is a grave sin and is prohibited in the strongest terms in the Koran and in keeping with Mohammed's deeds.

More broadly, there needs to be an emphasis that Islam teaches compassion and love rather than hate. Unless the theology of hate is challenged, it is likely to become the standard interpretation of their faith for many disaffected young Muslims.

It is important that mainstream Muslims stop -- where that happens -- berating the West for its supposed moral failings and preaching that Muslims cannot be fully Muslim in Australia if they are actively involved in Australian society as full citizens.

Australia is not a perfect society, but neither is any other society. It is not mutually exclusive to be a good practising Muslim and an Australian. That certain vices contrary to Islamic teaching -- such as gambling, pornography or brothels -- exist in Australian society is no reason to label Australia un-Islamic. These vices also exist in all Muslim societies. No one forces any Muslim to indulge in any of these vices.

The freedoms that exist here are a part of Australian society's fundamental values and should be seen as a plus from a Muslim point of view. Such freedoms can be used to bolster one's faith.

Many Muslims find that these freedoms allow them to live in Australia as practising Muslims in a way that is not possible in many Muslim-majority countries, where religious freedom is often curtailed, even for Muslims. In essence, Australian values and Islamic teachings on the question of freedom are not so vastly different. Both are based on ideas such as human dignity, justice, equity and egalitarianism.

The basis of some hate-filled literature is that non-Muslims are kuffar (unbelievers) and therefore do not deserve to be treated with respect. Such views are rightly rejected by mainstream Muslims. But rejection is not enough. They need to promote the Koranic teaching that all human beings, whatever their faith, deserve to be honoured as the children of Adam. It needs to be stressed that non-Muslims and Muslims are brothers and sisters within the human family. The Koran tells us that God never wanted to convert all human beings to one religion. Had he so desired, he could have done so. All human beings are free to accept or reject a religion, as the Koran consistently teaches.

The Koran also teaches that debates with non-Muslims about faith should be conducted with the utmost courtesy and dignity.

Respect, courtesy and compassion are repeatedly emphasised in the Koran and these injunctions are in line with the idea that Islam is a universal faith that attempts to contribute to human dignity.

It is important to deal with militant extremism at the ideological-theological level as a matter of urgency. Mere condemnation is insufficient. Sitting on the fence will not help either.

Muslim Australians and their religious leaders can play a crucial role in dealing with the theology of hatred and violence.

Security agencies can protect us from the violence of the militant extremists but, unless the ideological-theological component is effectively tackled, they will continue to pose a threat for a very long time to come.

The last thing Muslim Australians need is a continuous flow of news about possible terrorist threats emerging from within the Australian Muslim community.

Abdullah Saeed is the director of the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies at the University of Melbourne.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Man faces court over explosives find

August 6, 2009 - 6:07PM

A man charged with making explosives was on anti-depressant medication, a Melbourne court has been told.

Russell Heard, 46, of Wyndham Vale in Melbourne's west, faced the Melbourne Magistrates' Court today charged with explosives offences.

Police allegedly discovered the explosive materials during a raid while carrying out a search warrant about 6pm yesterday.

The court was told Heard is on anti-depressant medication and should be assessed by a doctor.

Magistrate Lance Martin suppressed publication of Heard's image after the court heard identity may be an issue in the case.

Heard is charged with making an explosive substance with intent to damage property and possessing an explosive substance with intent to cause serious injury to property.

He made no application for bail and was remanded in custody to reappear on October 29 for committal mention.

In a media statement this morning, police said they believed they had uncovered a clandestine laboratory for the use and manufacture of explosive substances and had seized chemicals and apparatus from the home.

They were searching the property as part of an investigation into a burglary.



Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Police swoop in counter-terrrorism raids

Thomas Hunter

August 4, 2009 - 7:02AM

Homes across Melbourne's north have been raided in a joint counter-terrorism operation reportedly targeting Islamic suicide bombers this morning.

Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police executed 19 search warrants at homes in Glenroy, Carlton, Meadow Heights, Roxburgh Park, Broadmeadows, Westmeadows, Preston, Epping and Colac about 4.30am.

More than 400 officers from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Victoria Police, NSW Police, the NSW Crime Commission and Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) were involved in the operation.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said there had been a number of arrests, but she would not say how many.

Police have set up a crime scene at the corner of View and Glen streets, Glenroy, in Melbourne's north.

The Australian this morning reported that national security agencies had uncovered a plot by Islamic extremists to launch a suicide attack on an Australian army base, which was understood to be Holsworthy Barracks on Sydney's western outskirts.

It said the raids involved a suspected terrorist cell of Australian nationals of Somali and Lebanese backgrounds.

The report said members of the group had been observed carrying out surveillance at the army base and other suspicious activity around defence bases in Victoria.

It also said the cell had been inspired by the Somalia-based terrorist movement al-Shabaab, which had connections with al-Qaeda.

The investigation dubbed Operation Health, involving 150 members of the AFP, Victoria Police and ASIO, was launched in January, the report said.

An AFP spokeswoman this morning confirmed its officers had joined the raids.

"The AFP and Victoria Police can confirm the execution of a number of search warrants this morning as part of a joint counter-terrorism operation,'' she said.

The spokeswoman said more information would be available later this morning.

She was unable to confirm the News Ltd report.

- with AAP


Friday, July 31, 2009

Bomb detonators found in northern beaches unit: police

Arjun Ramachandran

July 31, 2009 - 6:39AM

The bomb squad has found a number of bomb detonators at a unit on Sydney’s northern beaches overnight, police say.

Residents were evacuated from a unit block, on Fisher Road at Dee Why, after the discovery in one of its units about 7pm.

They were allowed to return to their homes about 10pm after police deemed it safe.

Police found the detonators during a search of the raided unit, which also uncovered cash, a replica firearm, tablets, cannabis and a crystal matter believed to be illicit drugs, police said.

The unit’s 31-year-old male occupant was charged with drug possession, drug supply, firearm offences, handling an explosive precursor without a license and dealing with the proceeds of crime.

He was refused bail and will face Manly Local Court today.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Possible bomb-making materials found in Newcastle flat

Posted Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:02am AEST

A block of flats in Newcastle has been evacuated after police discovered possible bomb-making materials in one of the units.

Police say they went to the flat at New Lambton Heights this afternoon as part of a routine inquiry.

When they found the powders and chemicals they called in a hazmat team, police rescue and the bomb disposal unit and sealed off several roads around the unit block.

A 23-year-old man was found hiding in the roof of the unit block and is now being questioned by police.