Australian Army wide open
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Old 08-05-2009, 01:40 AM   #1
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Open gate to terrorists





'A TERRORIST attack on Sydney’s Holsworthy Barracks was ‘‘likely imminent’’ before the alleged plot was crushed in a series of pre-dawn raids yesterday, but the main entrance to the army base remains guarded by unarmed private security men.

Federal, NSW and Victorian police say phone intercepts since March have uncovered a martyrs’ mission, involving Somali and Lebanese Australians, to storm the army base with automatic weapons and kill as many soldiers as possible until the terrorists were shot dead or arrested.

In one of the intercepts, presented in Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday, a text message exchanged about the base said: ‘‘I stalked around. It is easy to enter.’’

This remained the case yesterday. About 5.30pm three unarmed ISS security guards manned the entrance. At other times there were two, while a back entrance was reportedly unguarded. Men in civilian clothes, apparently soldiers, walked through an opened gate five metres to the right of the front gate, without security checks. The base is surrounded by a wire fence about two metres high.


Just 200 metres beyond the gate are the barracks for the counter-terrorism force, the 2 Commando Regiment. Across the road is the 3RAR Parachute Battalion. Both have been critical in Australia’s war effort in Afghanistan, one of the alleged motivations for the terrorist plot.


The NSW Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, said the terrorist attack was ‘‘likely imminent’’. ‘‘Should they have made the entry, they were likely to have killed many, many officers.’’

The Australian Defence Force confirmed Mr Scipione’s statement that it upgraded security based on intelligence of a potential attack. The Defence Force told the Herald it was confident security was strong enough and, despite Mr Scipione’s remarks, a spokesman said the plot was caught early in its planning.



It is two years since a Somali community leader in Sydney, Herse Hilole, warned that young Somali refugees in Melbourne were returning to Somalia to fight and could be recruited for attacks in Australia.


At 4.30am yesterday about 400 police mounted the second biggest counter-terrorism operation in the nation’s history when they raided 19 homes in Melbourne and arrested four men, all Australian citizens.

One of them, Nayef El Sayed, 25, of Glenroy, had been charged by last night. Accused of preparing for a terrorist attack at an army base, he refused to stand for the magistrate, Peter Reardon – because under his religious beliefs he would not stand for anyone but God, his lawyer, Anthony Brand, told the court.

A Lakemba man, 35, was questioned in Sydney but not arrested.

The others arrested in Melbourne are a Carlton man, 26, a Preston man, 25, and another from Meadow Heights, 22. They were charged this morning with same offence as Sayed and will appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court today.

One of them, Saney Aweys, faced court separately yesterday, flanked by two federal agents. Denying any link to the other men, he told the court he was a boilermaker. "I have been already up for 30 hours and working for 20 hours when they picked me up,’’ Mr Aweys said. ‘‘I want it to stop now. I want to have a rest.’’

Mr Reardon, saying terrorism struck ‘‘at the heart of our democratic society’’, granted a federal police application for Mr Aweys to be interviewed for an extra eight hours from 6pm, after he had had sleep.

Another man, 33, who was already in jail over other matters, is expected to face Melbourne Magistrates Court this afternoon.

Security camera footage allegedly shows one conspirator outside Holsworthy on March 28.



A senior source told the Herald that authorities were aware the alleged terrorists had not obtained weapons.

Mr Scipione said: ‘‘My advice is that it could have happened at any time. Now, within days, within weeks, within months is imminent to me.’’ But the important point was that it did not succeed. ‘‘Whether it was minutes or whether it was months it doesn’t matter. It was finished.’’

The Defence Force spokesman said the plot was ‘‘foiled at the cell level, at the genesis level’’. He quibbled with the suggestion the ISS employees were ‘‘security guards’’. ‘‘They are access control to a base. Inside a base there is a range of physical and personnel security measures to stop people getting through.’’

Open gate to terrorists



Bloody hell. 3 UNARMED security guards? No checks?

Forgive me if I'm not too reassured by the "range of physical and personnel security measures to stop people getting through"...not if random people can scope out the base anytime without challenge...


No wonder my country is known on occasion as "Austfailia" (and not only for the crap gunlaws, it seems)


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Old 08-05-2009, 01:47 AM   #2
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WTF??? The main gate is 'guarded' by unarmed private security?? That, my friend is unacceptable. I crossed from Italy into France in the mid-80's. That border was so heavily guarded, it made me nervous. Had that crossing point in the alps been guarded by unarmed private security, I would have crossed while whistling 'Dixie'.


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Old 08-05-2009, 02:23 AM   #3
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I know, it's a complete scandal. IMO.

Whether this will rouse the Australian population from their legendary apathy remains to be seen. We have been fairly insulated from the direct effects of terrorism (Bali bombings aside), no attacks on our soil as yet, and I have often wondered what it would take for people to wake up to the potential possibilites and necessity of really getting serious about the risks etc. So often the Govt spin is based on posturing & political damage control. I don't have a lot of faith in them really knuckling down to do what is needed, and in time for that matter.

I hope it doesn't take some kind of wholesale tragedy to change that mindset. Doesn't help that sensitive details about this police operation were leaked before the arrests, and reported in The Australian newspaper (a Murdoch-owned subsidiary)

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"If it has come from a law enforcement officer or a Victoria police officer, it is a criminal offence," he said.

"It is a very, very serious breach of security.

"We need to get to the bottom of this and I am absolutely determined to do our best to do this."

Mr Overland said he did not know what action if any the Commonwealth was taking in relation to the leak.
Probe into terror raids leak
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Old 08-05-2009, 01:50 PM   #4
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Even the guards at the base don't have guns; I hope the Australian government gets over this anti-gun thing soon.
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Old 08-05-2009, 04:48 PM   #5
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If you think unarmed guards manning security posts seems stupid, I can top that off. In Argentina, army security check points are guarded by soldiers with UNLOADED weapons. By unloaded I mean with completely empty magazines.

How is that worse than being completely unarmed? Well, criminals have figured out that raiding guard posts is the easiest way to get their hands on some nice FAL rifles, perhaps a light machine gun if they are lucy, as well as lots of ammo (soldiers keep cases of ammunition, they just aren't allowed to load it in their weapons).
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Franciscomv View Post
If you think unarmed guards manning security posts seems stupid, I can top that off. In Argentina, army security check points are guarded by soldiers with UNLOADED weapons. By unloaded I mean with completely empty magazines.

How is that worse than being completely unarmed? Well, criminals have figured out that raiding guard posts is the easiest way to get their hands on some nice FAL rifles, perhaps a light machine gun if they are lucy, as well as lots of ammo (soldiers keep cases of ammunition, they just aren't allowed to load it in their weapons).
Jesus, sounds like Mayberry. Why don't they just give em one round, like Barney Fife and they can put it in their pocket in case of an emergency.

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Old 08-05-2009, 09:52 PM   #7
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Sounds like the security at most Federal Facilities in the US, not military, they still have guns. A couple of exceptions might be Coast Guard and Air Force facilities. Marines secure the entrances to Navy bases. Contract guards at the facility I worked out of were unarmed. What a Joke!!
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Old 08-06-2009, 02:09 AM   #8
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This was particuarly bad IMO cos the 2 main Commando units are housed at Holsworthy...it was mentioned that as these guys are very active in Afghanistan at the moment that was one of the primary reasons for targeting this particular base.

What's worse, the head of the ADF said last night on the tv news that it wasn't "economically feasible" to have active armed troops on guard at the gates of installations. Surely if it's not 'economically feasible' to have troops guarding their own, then it's not 'economically feasible' to have a standing army at all! Especially if they're at increased risk of attack/infiltration thru not being properly guarded. Or is there something lacking in my logic here? If so could someone please point that out

And I love their excuse that as two journalists who were caught inside - having evaded security - posed no threat, so the system "did not [need to] work."

whatever the hell that means!


Govt defends security at Holsworthy base


August 6, 2009 - 10:04AM






'The federal government has defended security at Sydney's Holsworthy army base, dismissing the intrusion of two journalists as "not a real threat".


A Daily Telegraph reporter and photographer were arrested on Wednesday after evading security at the military-only barracks - the alleged target of a terrorist attack - and taking photos before eventually being apprehended.

Asked his concerns about the issue, parliamentary secretary for defence Mike Kelly said the two journalists were "messing around with our defence personnel and causing an unnecessary waste of time".

Military bases had well established security protocols which were multi-layered to deal with varying threats, he said.

"This was not a real threat and therefore the system did not work in that deeper sense to prevent their intrusion," Dr Kelly told ABC Radio.

He also defended the use of private security contractors at entry gates.

"It was a much better arrangement than having diggers wasting their time at the gates when they should be focusing on improving their war fighting skills," Dr Kelly said.

The government has ordered a review of security at military bases in the wake of counter-terrorism terror raids in Melbourne earlier in the week in which four men were arrested.'

Govt defends security at Holsworthy base
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Old 08-07-2009, 12:59 AM   #9
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US MIlitary bases have armed soldiers at the gates and on patrol on the grounds 24/7. It's part of assignment for most of the troops. Guard duty and base patrol is training and who better to guard a military base than the soldiers on the base? The logic of hiring that out to an unarmed security compny is insane!

Zhuk, I hope this is a wake up for someone high up in your military. That could have easily been a tragic story instead of just shameful.
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Old 08-07-2009, 02:10 AM   #10
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I can only hope so WDB, but really I'm very doubtful considering what's been said already by the top brass. They obviously don't see guard duty as meaningful 'training' in any way but rather 'wasting their time at the gates when they should be focusing on improving their war fighting skills'. Pity if they get killed due to the lack of security before they have attained such skills, huh

Disturbingly, the two reporters who got into the base & walked around for 2 hours taking photos etc before being arrested got in by telling the security guy at the gate they "wanted to use the golf course" which is attached to the complex. It would be utter farce if it didn't have such serious implications!


The story is now yesterday's news it seems (I can't find any further reports) and I'm betting that the Govt is just shutting up in the hope it gets forgotten so they don't have to address any of the issues raised, and avoid any further bad [political] press. That would be entirely typical.


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