Australia’s home-grown terrorist failed a deradicalisation programme

The 16-year-old Australian-born son of two Australian parents was already put through a deradicalisation course.

Didn’t work, did it?

A 16-year-old boy charged over a foiled terrorism plot allegedly tried to learn how to make a bomb and said he wanted to “terrorise” Australians on Anzac Day, a court has heard.

The boy was arrested on the day before Anzac Day, just hours after police allegedly intercepted him sending encrypted messages via a social networking app saying he wanted to get a firearm and a bomb-making manual.

During a bail application on Monday, his father wept as he promised he would monitor his son 24/7 and said he thought he was doing the right thing by giving the boy, an apprentice electrician, privacy and space to spend time alone in his bedroom at night.

The alleged messages were sent on five nights between April 16 and 24 to an undercover officer posing as an overseas extremist, according to police documents tendered in Parramatta Children’s Court on Monday.

And what if he was talking to a real extremist? One with real contacts and resources? 

In one message, the boy, who had been on the police radar for a year, was asked why he wanted to do something on April 25.

“Because here in Australia the kuffar [non-believers] celebrate Anzac Day and I want to terrorise them on that day,” he allegedly replied.

In another, he allegedly said: “I want to learn how to make a bomb”.

When asked what kind of mechanical knowledge he had, he replied: “I am an electronic apprentice.”

Police also allegedly watched the boy leave his home for a meeting, arranged via message, to obtain a firearm however the meeting didn’t happen for unknown reasons, the court heard.

“The online communications indicate a sense of urgency in [the] behaviour of the young person,” Commonwealth prosecutor Chris Choi told the court.

The family’s Auburn home was raided at 3pm on April 24 and police allegedly seized phones and computers containing an Islamic State recruitment video featuring beheadings and issues of Islamic State’s official magazine Dabiq, Ms Choi said.

In opposing bail, Ms Choi said the boy had come to the attention of counter-terrorism authorities last May because he was allegedly chatting to Islamic State members online.

He was put in a deradicalisation program in November that had clearly “failed”.

“He now has a greater urgency to do what he failed to do on Anzac Day,” she said.

The boy’s lawyer, Zemarai Khatiz, said a psychologist has advised that he would suffer irreversible psychological damage if kept in custody until trial.

He proposed putting the boy under virtual house arrest with no internet or phone and said the family would give up their $1.2 million home if bail conditions were breached.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared via video link with a closely shaven beard and wiped his eyes as his father, mother, older sister and uncle cried throughout the hearing.

Tragic for the family.

But excuse me if I don’t care about the boy’s “irreparable psychological damage” for being locked up.

Who are our own radicals talking to on-line?  And how would we be protected if those who so vocally opposed the GCSB and SIS having appropriate powers had gotten their way?


– Stuff

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.