Give us the truth

The new head of Australia’s spy agency (ASIO), Paul O’Sullivan, has given his first public appearance since assuming the job. A terrorist attack on home soil is possible, he claims. Tell us something we don’t know. He proves that he is a puppet of the Howard government by claiming there is no link between Iraq and an increased terrorist threat.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Marian Wilkinson asks for some honesty:

“The Iraq war was not mentioned until a student asked if the war had made Australia more of a target. O’Sullivan gave the stock Government response: ‘It seems to me you can’t link that debate to whether or not Australia is a terrorist target because we were clearly a terrorist target before 9/11 and we remain a terrorist target.’

It must be time for Australia’s intelligence chiefs to accept there is a critical debate under way in Europe and America that the war is providing a training ground for foreign terrorists who could end up attacking Westerners at home and abroad with more lethal skills.”

Australia was indeed a target before 9/11 but how much longer must we suffer these infantile claims that the Iraq disaster hasn’t increased our chances of being hit?

The Christian Science Monitor in June 2005:

“Iraq may prove to be a better training ground for terrorists that even Afghanistan was in the early days of Al Qaeda’s presence there, and the result is the “training a new kind of Islamic militant” according to the BBC. The New York Times reported Wednesday that this assessment, taken from a new classified CIA report of the situation in Iraq, says that the country is serving “as a real-world laboratory for urban combat.”

I suspect O’Sullivan knows very well that Australia’s involvement in Iraq – and Afghanistan – has brought us closer to a terrorist strike but he is unable to publicly say so because our intelligence agencies are so politicised and scared of telling government what it doesn’t want to hear.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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