Tuesday, 8 November 2005

Membership of a "banned" organisation

After all the hype of Howard's "big swoop", I think that it is worth pointing out that the majority of the nine men arrested in Melbourne were not charged with planning any kind of terrorist act. Rather they were charged with being members of a "banned organisation". Here I can quote their lawyer, Mr Stary:
This is important - they're not charged with any covert conduct. In other words, they're not charged with engaging in planning or preparation of any terrorist offence; they're simply charged with membership offences.
The men arrested in Sydney have been charged with conspiring to prepare for a terrorist act - essentially to manufacture explosives. If the men in Melbourne are not being charged with anything similar, why are they being lumped together with the Sydney guys in all of the media releases, etc? There is surely a huge difference between being a member of an organisation and actually taking part in activities related to planning a terrorist act? Is there evidence to lump these people together, or does their simultaneous arrest simply make better headlines and generate more hype for the Howard spin machine?

My guess is that by the time we know the answers, attention will be focused elsewhere...

BTW - Do drop over to Ms Fits' site for her photo series on these events (although not if you can't gloss over a few expletives).

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