"There are hundreds of terrorist plots under way in Australia... [This] startling and disturbing figure... comes from an important speech this week by David Irvine, director general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation [ASIO]... In Irvine's important speech, he points out that the death of Osama bin Laden has not changed the dynamics of anti-Western, transnational terrorism. He comments: 'Ideology remains, in the absence of leaders like Osama bin Laden, and it is virulent'. He goes on to say: 'Of particular concern to us in Australia is the current targeting of this message to young English-speaking Muslims, specifically, through both al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula's Inspire magazine, and the readily available English language lectures by radical Yemen-based US sheik, Anwar al-Awlaki'." (The unheeded steps of a psycho killer, Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 28/7/11)
While the above may sound plausible, face it, Anwar al-Awlaki's lectures can only provide work for so many spooks.
So, what with ASIO's 471% expansion between 2001 and 2010 and its shiny new $590 million headquarters in Canberra*, there must be a helluva lot of potential for thumb-twiddling over at HQ.
With this in mind, therefore, the Devil could well be finding work for idle ASIO hands at Melbourne's Preston Mosque:
"Heavy-handed ASIO attempts to recruit young Muslims from Preston Mosque, bullying and harassment are creating fear and disquiet among the community, according to a Muslim leader. Young Muslim men at the mosque for Friday prayers yesterday described how ASIO agents would not take no for an answer when they asked to meet 'for a chat' and had recently changed from insistent requests to making legal demands, threatening 5 years' prison for refusing. One told how an ASIO agent provocateur tried to get him to transfer money to a terrorist organisation... ASIO said yesterday that to protect Australia it relied on public help. It maintained dialogue with representatives of a wide range of groups, but such engagement was confidential." (ASIO tactics creating fear in community, say Muslims, Barney Zwartz, The Age, 18/2/12)
[*See my 31/1/12 post Beautiful Sets of Figures.]