I thought that the 4 Corners program broadcasted 5 November 2014 will spark intense debate and prompt all authorities to search for answers and take quick decisive actions (you can watch the program here http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2014/11/03/4118289.htm). Despite the fact that the program producers seem not to understand fully the implications of what they revealed, but I thought that other authorities would have taken notice and acted quickly.
The program revealed beyond any doubt the deep relations between the convicted terrorist Khalid Sharrouf and officials of CFMEU, the largest union in Australia and the largest donor and supporter of Labor party (and to lesser extent of Greens party too). The program did not go further in answering questions that would become natural response to these revelations. Questions like:
- Did Khalid Sharrouf’s dealing with CFMEU was individual initiative or part of larger project of close relations with extremist groups in Australia?
- Who introduced Khalid Sharrouf (and most likely his well-organised network of extremist groups) to the CFMEU?
- What promises did convince the CFMEU to deal with convicted terrorist (and his network of extremists)? And what was the full deal between 2 sides?
I will try to answer some of these questions later, after giving some background to the beginning of the relationship.
At the beginning of Syrian “revolution”, extremist groups and their supporters formed working group to approach ALL parliamentary political parties to urge them to support the “revolution”. I know that this is normal practice for “lobby groups” to visit politicians and try to convince them to support their “causes”. But this group was different.
Extremists could gain meetings with representatives of ALL parliamentary political parties at that time. Their main argument was that supporting this popular “revolution” will gain these political parties votes of the majority of Australian Muslims, who strongly support Syrian “revolution”. I assume that there were other promises too. This includes promises of financial support for their parties. I am aware of offer to donate to many election campaigns of different parties from these extremists groups.
Surprisingly, the strategy worked perfectly. It was the first issue that ALL parliamentary political parties agreed to support.
The subsequent attacks by extremists on their rivals (including shootings, burning businesses and homes, death threats, verbal and physical assaults...) went for the last 4years with no condemnation from any of these political parties. On the contrary. When I sought meeting with my local Federal MP (Labor), appropriate state ministers (Liberals) and representatives of security agencies, my requests were declined.
I can safely assume that behind closed doors, more dangerous dealings were happening. Such dealing that could see at least 2 Muslims of Lebanese background become members of NSW parliament next March. Both are originally form the same village of terrorist Khalid Sharrouf, Mohamed El Omer and Abdallah Elmir.
Is this mere coincidence?
It is very clear that these extremist groups decided or received some advice to infiltrate our political system. For the last few decades, these groups declared that democracy is Haram/forbidden (according to their Islam), and so they boycotted it totally. It seems that they were convinced recently that influencing political system would get them a lot of benefits, including authorities turning blind eyes on their violent extremist practices against rivals. And it would not be seen as participating in the forbidden and cursed democracy.
The 4 Corners program could have played major role as eye-opener to the fact that some political parties had decided to enter alliance with these extremist groups. Unless they want to convince us that CFMEU was dealing only with single gangster: Khalid Sharouf. And why would CFMEU want to deal with convicted terrorist to threaten and blackmail opponents? They could have employed ordinary drug dealers or bikie gangs. And by the way, do not buy the claims of CFMEU that these accusations are witch-hunt against union by anti-union Liberal party.
If we take into account the recent developments, we could build on what the 4 corners revealed and reach some conclusions.
The NSW Labor party wants to promote to NSW parliament next year 2 candidates with some connections with extremists.
In Lakemba seat, the NSW Labor party headquarter parachuted Jihad Dip to run as candidate in that seat, despite local members’ opposition to this appointment. Jihad Dip is very close to notorious Jamal Rifi, who was until recently on the front-line supporting rebels in Syria including seeking meeting recently with top NSW Police officials to protest against Foreign Incursions Act and the NSW Police announcement to crack down on fighters’ travel to Syria (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-14/muslim-leaders-hold-closed-meetings-with-police/5451094 ). Mr Dip also has connections to Lebanese Moslem Association, who at occasions broadcasted lectures of terrorist Anwar Al Awlaki, who was killed later by US drones (http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/alqaeda-at-city-mosque-20100414-se8g.html ). The LMA also put a fatwa against Muslims engaging in wishing “Merry Christmas” for Christian neighbours and friends (http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/lakemba-mosque-removes-christmas-fatwa-post-20121223-2btaj.html ).
In Auburn, Labor party is doing even further damage to its image (http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/exalp-boss-john-della-bosca-demands-investigation-of-auburn-branch-stacking-claims-20141119-11pl26.html ). The NSW Labor party is involved in discrediting popular shadow minister (and former minister) Barbara Perry. The Labor party is siding with her opponent, despite reports of wide-spread irregularities including branch-stacking (http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/full-houses-for-hicham-zraika-as-auburn-candidates-invited-to-play-their-hand-20141107-11hndu.html ). The NSW Labor for some reasons is risking split within ranks and even risking possible loss of seat.
Reports in Sydney Morning Herald cited that Barbara’s challenger had developed strong relations with Laurie Ferguson, Federal Labor MP, despite the fact that the challenger belongs to the Labor Right, while Laurie is from the Left (http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/eddie-obeid-the-weapon-of-choice-in-auburn-preselection-stoush-20141116-11mvrs.html ).
By the way, Fergusons have strong connections with CFMEU...!!!
A decade ago, Labor party allowed Eddie Obied to develop tribal Christian-Lebanese background faction (The Tirregals) within the Labor party and become very influential powerbroker. He then became the king of NSW Labor, where no premiere can be appointed without his approval.
Well, it seems that the history repeats itself, but with more dangerous flavour. Now, NSW Labor party is allowing Muslims of Lebanese background with clear connections to extremists to develop a new powerful faction.
We believe that NSW Labor committing this mistake will have wide-spread negative (or even destructive) implications. The NSW Labor needs to understand the changing mood (even among Australian Muslims) about what is happening in Syria (and in Iraq) in the last few months. The majority of Muslims want to save Australia from any possible terrorist activities, after discovering that what was happening in Syria was not a revolution, but rather terrorist activities. Many of them changed their view of what is happening in Syria and Iraq.
We believe that we should stop Labor from committing the biggest mistake in their history, even if this means that Lakemba and Auburn change hands to conservative Liberals....
The last point to mention here is that the extremist groups are very wealthy groups. In the last few years they were successful in sending millions of dollars to Syrian opposition. They also received millions of dollars from unspecified sources, where they used this money in building tens of big centres and buying lucrative businesses. For the last few decades, the money flow to these groups came from Saudis (http://www.nationalobserver.net/pdf/2007_secret_saudi_funding_of_radical_islamic_groups_in_australia.pdf ). But more recently, Saudis decided to reduce the support for these groups after it realised that the extremism/terrorism could hit in the heart of Saudi Arabia. The more logical explanation of continued flow of money to Australian extremist groups is that a lot of the money is received recently from wealthy terrorist organisations operating in Syria and Iraq who generate millions of dollars daily out of illegal oil trade, selling of women and kids and kidnapping of civilians to collect ransoms.
It seems that these extremist groups had decided to play politics to gain some political influence. I hope I am wrong, but all indications are not promising.
We hope that authorities and officials of political parties (especially the NSW Labor party) will realise the extreme dangerous game they want to enter.