Some Aus NatSec and IR opportunities

These are some opportunities I’ve noticed, over the past couple of weeks, for Australians interested in national security and international relations. Good luck!

The journal Security Challenges is holding it’s 2014 Young Strategic Writers’ Competition. Anyone under 35 can apply, and the winner will receive $2,500 and have their article published. It closes on Friday 1 August 2014.

The Society for Terrorism Research is calling for papers for it’s 8th Annual International Conference, which will be held in Boston on 17-19 September 204. The conference theme is “Communication & Collaboration for Counter-Terrorism” and it aims to bring practitioners and academics together. They are also holding a Student Paper Contest (see page 2). Proposals for papers must be by 15 May, and finished student papers must be in by 1 July.

The Australia Indonesia Youth Association is looking for more contributors to its blog.

The Kokoda Foundation‘s National Security Careers Night 2014 will be held on 27 March.

The Australian Army’s Directorate of Future Land Warfare (DFLW) is commissioning academic research from all over Australia, and I’ve heard that they are particularly interested in commissioning from the humanities, and from social and behavioural sciences.

The Australian National University‘s School of International, Political and Strategic Studies is hiring Research Fellows. They are looking for people working on political and social change in Japan, Korea, Malaysia and/or Vietnam. Applications close on 31 March.

There are vacancies for some Defence graduate programs, such as the Intelligence & Security Development Program and the Defence Pathways – Graduate Development Program. They close on 7 April.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s graduate scheme is also open. It closes on Monday, 17 March.

The Lowy Institute is seeking an East Asia Program Director and an International Economy Program Director. These close on 14 March.

The need for counter-terrorism law reform

I have a new article on ASPI’s blog The Strategist about Australia’s need to take independent reviews of national security legislation seriously. You can read the article here.

This is a companion post to go into some more detail about the sources and background.

 

Last year, these  four independent reviews of national security legislation were tabled in Parliament:

Independent National Security Legislation Monitor – declassified annual report 20th December 2012
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC)
14 May 2013

Council of Australian Governments review of counter-terrorism legislation
Council of Australian Governments (COAG)
14 May 2013

Report of the inquiry into potential reforms of Australia’s national security legislation
Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS)
24 June 2013

Independent National Security Legislation Monitor – annual report 7th November 2013
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC)
12 December 2013

The brief period of media discussion following the reports focused on their most controversial parts, such as the INSLM’s calls to abolish ASIO’s detention powers and the AFP’s preventative detention powers. The response of both major parties was simply to avoid doing anything that could result in them being accused of weakening national security.

When the then Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, tabled the COAG report and one of the INSLM reports (after 5pm on budget night, when there’d be minimal media coverage) he stated “In light of the recent terror attacks in Boston, it is clear that it is as important now as it ever was to maintain strong capabilities in the fight against terrorism…. Our counter-terrorism framework has held us in good stead so far, but we cannot afford to stop being vigilant.”

And that was it. There was no other response to these reports from the Gillard government, or from the Rudd or Abbott governments.

This is really unfortunate. These are extremely valuable reports, and where they have made recommendations to remove existing powers they have also provided detailed arguments that doing so will not harm national security, which at the very least deserve a similarly detailed response and not just assertions of ‘national security’ back.

Moreover, most of the recommendations were actually about more mundane issues, such as that some of Australia’s counter-terrorism legislation is so poorly-worded as to make it unusable, or that some bits leaves dangerous gaps.

My article for the Strategist focused on one of these gaps, using the recent disappearance of a convicted terrorist, Khaled Sharrouf, as an example of why these reviews deserve a response.

The INSLM’s 2012 report made a proposal to reshape Australia’s control order regime. While the report opposed control orders in most circumstances (particularly when used against people acquitted of terrorism offences like Joseph Thomas) it argued that obtaining a control order for a convicted terrorist, when there’s sufficient evidence they continue to pose a danger, should be made much easier than it currently is (see pages 43-44).

The flaws and problems of the CO provisions discussed above are most evident and pressing in cases where COs are proposed to be made against persons before charge and trial, after trial and acquittal or who will never be tried. On experience to date in Australia, and consideration of the different but comparable experience in the UK, there is a vanishingly small category of such cases, in any event.

Even if by misfortune those numbers were to increase appreciably, the proper response need not and should not involve COs in their present form. Instead, the twofold strategy obtaining elsewhere in the social control of crime should govern. First, investigate, arrest, charge, remand in custody or bail, sentence in the event of conviction, with parole conditions as appropriate. Second, and sometimes alternatively, conduct surveillance and other investigation with sufficient resources and vigour to decide whether the evidence justifies arrest and charge. (And, meantime, surveille as intelligence priorities justify.)

On the other hand, the dangerous and outrageous social transgression constituted by proven terrorist crime presents ample justification for COs against terrorist convicts where they can be shown to present what may be called unacceptable risks if they were free of all restraint upon release when their sentences of imprisonment expire.

Recommendation II/4: The provisions of Div 104 of Part 5.3 of the Code should be repealed. Consideration should be given to replacing them with Fardon type provisions authorizing COs against terrorist convicts who are shown to have been unsatisfactory with respect to rehabilitation and continued dangerousness.

By his next report, he sounded very concerned about this recommendation being ignored (pages 4-5):

Recommendation II/4 was for consideration of authorizing control orders against persons convicted of terrorism, after their release from any imprisonment to which they have been sentenced, if they are shown to have been unsatisfactory with respect to their rehabilitation and continued dangerousness. The intention was to make available a form of protection against the threat posed by such proven offenders, upon their release into the community. The proposal was for a much more simply obtained form of control order than is presently the case, including for such proven offenders. It drew on established analogues with respect to recalcitrant sexual offenders. When the recommendation was made, there were about ten terrorist convicts already released, and about thirteen still imprisoned, of whom about three are quite likely to be released in the next five years.

Indirect support for such an approach may be seen in the following UK experience.

The Court of Appeal of England and Wales has considered notification requirements (imposed for 10 years from the date of release from imprisonment) on convicted terrorists. The Court held the notification requirements4 to be appropriate and not disproportionate, and upheld them as compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights.5 The Court held that the scheme is not disproportionate when set against the legitimate aim of the prevention of terrorism and considering “the relatively moderate intrusion caused by the interference with the private lives of convicted terrorists”.6 The Court held that terrorism offences fall into a special category and that “even if it is the case that there may be exceptional cases [where a terrorist offender can be said to pose] “no significant future risk”, their possible existence does not preclude a general requirement of relatively moderate interference in a context such as this”. 7

The Court held it was “important to keep in mind the gravity of the disorder or crime which is being sought to be prevented” finding that terrorism offences have unique features which compound concern (acts committed by someone motivated by extreme political or religious fanaticism) and if anything calls for a precautionary approach it is counter-terrorism.8

The INSLM’s recommendation was made on 20th December 2012. Nothing has come to the attention of the INSLM about any governmental or official response to it.

The Abbott Government has recently been talking about how seriously it takes counter-terrorism. Responding to these four unanswered reviews would be a good start.

 

To find out more about Sharrouf’s disappearance and what it says about counter-terrorism law reform, it see my Strategist article here. For more information about Khaled Sharrouf and the Pendennis plot, see his sentencing document here. See also the sentencing document for the main Sydney Pendennis trial, particularly paragraphs 20-24, 30-34, 42, 103, 140. Sharrouf was also an unindicted co-conspirator in an aborted second Pendennis trial in Melbourne, see paragraphs 1-3, and the sections titled “The Current Trial – Evidence” and “The Haines evidence”.

Indonesian jihadists in Syria

On Friday I had a post published on ASPI‘s blog The Strategist about Indonesians fighting in Syria. You can read it here.

It was partly prompted by this Timothy Holman post on jihadist foreign fighters, where he points out the need for greater efforts to break down the different factors behind the impact of foreign fighter mobilisations on domestic political violence (as opposed to simply saying “lots of fighters could mean lots of plots”) and for more research on non-Western examples.

For more about Indonesians fighting in Syria, see this report by the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict which was released on Thursday. It’s a great report, particularly the sections on how Indonesian jihadists perceive the Arab Spring and the role of apocalyptic literature. The New York Times has some coverage of it here.

I also recommend this two-part Jakarta Post profile of Indonesian terrorism researcher Solahudin and his very interesting life, here and here.

A table on Western fighters in Syria

Here is a table of the most up-to-date estimates of the numbers of Westerners who have fought, and died, in the Syrian insurgency.

The table provides minimum and maximum estimates on the number of fighters from each Western country (‘Western’ used here to mean Europe, North America and Australia) and the numbers of death notices appearing in jihadist media outlets.

The data in this table is not my own, but comes from two recent reports by Aaron Y Zelin. I’ve combined tables of his together to create this larger table, so be sure to credit him if you use any of these figures.

The data on the number of fighters comes from the Western Europe foreign fighters table in this report and some of the additional data on other Western countries in that report. It provides the following explanation what these minimum and maximum estimates are based on:

Our dataset contains approximately 1,500 open source items which have been collected since November 2011. They include: media reports about foreign fighters in English, Arabic and several other languages (and from both sides of the conflict); government estimates; and statements about foreign fighters by jihadist groups, typically published in online extremist forums and on social media.

For each country, we provide “low” and “high” estimates, with low figures including only fully confirmed cases where names are known, and high figures representing the maximum number of individuals based on credible sources.

The data on the numbers of jihadist death notices comes from this report, which notes the following limitations:

Since the Syrian uprising turned into an armed rebellion, jihadists have announced the deaths of more than 1,100 fighters on their Twitter and Facebook accounts and, to a lesser extent, on password-protected forums. Although other foreigners have been killed in Syria, their deaths were reported by non-jihadist rebels, Western media, or Arabic media and are not included in this assessment. The figures below also exclude foreigners who have fought on the Assad regime’s side.

To be sure, the information gleaned from jihadist sources is self-reported, and some data might therefore be suppressed for political reasons, especially reports of Iraqi involvement. That said, it still offers a worthwhile snapshot of an otherwise murky world.

I’ve ordered the table in three different ways, so you can easily see how the countries compare to each other in each of the three categories.

Version 1: Western fighters in Syria by country, ordered by low estimates (descending).

Country Low estimate High estimate Jihadist death notices

1

Belgium

76

296

1

2

France

63

412

6

3

United Kingdom

43

366

2

4

Sweden

39

87

1

5

Germany

34

240

3

6

Spain

34

95

2

7

Norway

33

40

1

8

Netherlands

29

152

2

9

Denmark

25

84

2

10

Australia

23

205

5

11

Bosnia

18

60

2

12

United States

17

60

3

13

Ireland

11

26

4

14

Albania

9

140

3

15

Canada

9

100

2

16

Kosovo

4

150

2

17

Finland

4

20

0

18

Macedonia

3

20

2

19

Italy

2

50

1

20

Austria

1

60

0

21

Luxembourg

1

1

1

22

Switzerland

1

1

0

Version 2: Western fighters in Syria by country, ordered by high estimates (descending).

Country Low estimate High estimate Jihadist death notices

1

France

63

412

6

2

United Kingdom

43

366

2

3

Belgium

76

296

1

4

Germany

34

240

3

5

Australia

23

205

5

6

Netherlands

29

152

2

7

Kosovo

4

150

2

8

Albania

9

140

3

9

Canada

9

100

2

10

Spain

34

95

2

11

Sweden

39

87

1

12

Denmark

25

84

2

13

Bosnia

18

60

2

14

United States

17

60

3

15

Austria

1

60

0

16

Italy

2

50

1

17

Norway

33

40

1

18

Ireland

11

26

4

19

Finland

4

20

0

20

Macedonia

3

20

2

21

Luxembourg

1

1

1

22

Switzerland

1

1

0

Version 3: Western fighters in Syria by country, ordered by number of jihadist death notices (descending).

Country Low estimate High estimate Jihadist death notices

1

France

63

412

6

2

Australia

23

205

5

3

Ireland

11

26

4

4

Germany

34

240

3

5

United States

17

60

3

6

Albania

9

140

3

7

United Kingdom

43

366

2

8

Spain

34

95

2

9

Netherlands

29

152

2

10

Denmark

25

84

2

11

Bosnia

18

60

2

12

Canada

9

100

2

13

Kosovo

4

150

2

14

Macedonia

3

20

2

15

Belgium

76

296

1

16

Sweden

39

87

1

17

Norway

33

40

1

18

Italy

2

50

1

19

Luxembourg

1

1

1

20

Finland

4

20

0

21

Austria

1

60

0

22

Switzerland

1

1

0

Enjoy.

Australian involvement in the Syrian insurgency at the end of 2013

The Murphy Raid ended 2012 with 3-part series on the state of Australian jihadism:

Australian jihadism at the end of 2012, part I: before 2012

Australian jihadism at the end of 2012, part II: key events in 2012

Australian jihadism at the end of 2012, part III: what has changed?

I was thinking of marking the end of 2013 with a similar series. However, the main development has simply been the continued involvement of Australians in the Syrian conflict, which I’ve written on several times already.

So instead, this is a post of resources on Australia and the Syrian insurgency for anyone who wants to stay up-to-date on this topic. It has past writings by me and others, plus some information on new developments.

 

My writings on Australians in Syria

On 26 November an article of mine was published in CTC Sentinel. It was a 2000-word piece that gives an overview of current information on Australians fighting, how it relates to past Australian jihadist activity, and what threat it may pose at home.

Earlier I wrote three other pieces on this topic. This article from April was an introduction to why the Syrian conflict raises domestic security concerns for Australia. This post from June provided a list of reported incidents of Syria-related violence in Australia (I have not come across media reports of any new incidents since then). This post from July expressed scepticism towards the estimate that 200 Australians were fighting in Syria, 100 of them with Jabhat al-Nusra (this estimate isn’t used as often now as it was then).

If you only want to read one of these articles, I recommend the CTC one, as it’s the most up-to-date and it covers the points made in the three earlier articles (though in less detail).

 

New developments

However, two significant developments have since occurred.

First, on December two men have been arrested in Sydney and charged with several offences under the Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act 1978 for allegedly supporting al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria. Police allege that one man, Hamdi Alqudsi, was actively recruiting fighters (at least six) and facilitating their travel to Syria to join Jabhat al-Nusra and presumably the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. They allege the other man was preparing to travel and fight with such groups.

These arrests undermine a claim from my CTC Sentinel article where I suggested the process of Australians traveling to fight in Syria was not very organised:

“In Australia’s previous foreign fighter mobilizations, well-connected individuals were usually needed to facilitate access to camps and conflict zones.[39] In the case of Syria, however, many of the Australian fighters appear to be entering via the Turkish border with few pre-existing connections to Syrian armed groups.”

The arrests indicate that at least some active recruitment and facilitation may actually have been occurring in Australia. Moreover, Federal Police Deputy Commissioner National Security Peter Drennan has said that he does not believe this case is a once-off and that several similar networks may be in place. If true, this indicates that the process of Australians travelling to fight to Syria may have recently become more organised, or may have always been more organised than it appeared.

We will have to see what comes out of this trial, and any future ones, which will be very interesting to follow.

Second, on 8 December it was reported that around 20 Australians had their passports confiscated by ASIO in the past few months because of suspicions they were planning to fight in Syria.

At the time of ASIO’s last annual report, its passport cancellation powers had been used about 70 times. Now with the new confiscations reported, that figure would be around 90.

As ASIO had used this power 18 times from mid-2012 to mid-2013 (which was more than any previous year), this means ASIO has cancelled passports around 40 times in the past 18 months. Previously, ASIO’s passport powers have not been very controversial, and have often not been noticed much at all. However, I suspect this massive escalation of their use means there will be quite a bit of controversy over them in 2014, particularly as several of the men are mounting a legal challenge.

Combined with the arrests above, it looks like the AFP and ASIO have recently decided their lack of success in preventing Australians from fighting in Syria means they have to make greater use of the legal tools they have. We will likely see further arrests and uses of these powers in 2014.

 

Other articles

Many other countries are concerned that foreign fighters in Syria may later pose a domestic threat. If you’re interested in the wider situation, take a look at these recent pieces by Aaron Zelin, Thomas Hegghammer and others:

Foreign Fighters in Syria: A Danger to the West?

Up to 11,000 Foreign Fighters in Syria; Steep Rise Among Western Europeans

Foreign Jihadists in Syria: Tracking Recruitment Networks

Dealing with European Foreign Fighters in Syria: Governance Challenges & Legal Implications

 

But more importantly…

Finally, this is all a very narrow way of looking at Syria’s civil war. The greater problem is the war itself, that it has killed over 100,000 people, caused over two million people to flee their homes, and isn’t likely to end soon. This humanitarian catastrophe is far more urgent than the conflict may later have on Australia and other Western countries.

Prompted by this War On The Rocks post, I’m going to end the year with a donation to UNICEF’s operations to help Syrian refugees. If you would like to do the same you can do so here.

Are ad-hoc attacks really the future of jihadism?

There is a widespread view that the terrorist threat in the West will, for the near future, consist mostly of ad-hoc attacks by individuals or very small cells. A recent article by the US writer Michael Hirsh, chief correspondent for National Journal, typifies this view. In the UK Matthew Goodwin has written that “the days when we faced a clearly identifiable threat with top-down chains of command look obsolete. Instead we have lone attackers or small cells of fanatics”.

In this post I question whether there has in fact been a trend towards self-starting small-scale plots and whether we should assume it will continue. The post specifically focuses on jihadism, as it poses the most serious current terrorist threat to the West (though far from the only one).

 

Has there been a trend towards self-starting small-scale plots and ‘lone wolves”?

Recent data does show a turn towards plots that involve very small numbers of attackers. A recent Bi-partisan Policy Center report which examined jihadist plots in the United States from 2011 to 2013 (inclusive) found that of 17 plots, 13 were carried out by individuals and the remaining four were by pairs.

A similar, but less dramatic, shift towards smaller cells is evident in Europe. Petter Nesser’s research found that from 2008 to 2012 (inclusive) there were 33 European jihadist plots, of which 11 were carried out by individuals, compared to four out of 72 for the period from 1995 to 2007. Then in 2013, two men with apparent jihadist motivations were charged over the murder of a British soldier in Woolwich, followed a week later by a possible copy-cat attack in France.

Not only are fewer attackers involved in jihadist plots in Europe and the United States, they are less likely to have received training or direct guidance from overseas jihadist organisations. This is particularly the case in the United States where none of the 2011-2013 plotters are known to have had such assistance.

This shows that there has indeed been a trend away from plots like the Madrid and London bombings towards self-starting plots by individuals and increasingly small cells. This has resulted in widespread commentary on ‘lone wolves’, including a report that senior police in Australia are concerned that “a ‘lone wolf’ strike will become the model of terrorist activity over the next decade.” Although many scholars push back against attempts to over-hype ‘lone wolves’, and the term is confusingly used in many different ways, the trend towards these self-starting and small-scale plots is clear.

 

What might have caused this trend?

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross notes that it is easy to misperceive temporary fluctuations in data on terrorist plots for massive, enduring shifts in the nature of the threat. Noticing a trend is one thing, judging whether it will continue requires looking at the broader context and the causal factors behind the trend.

Using Petter Nesser’s review of the literature on ‘lone wolves’, we can identify at least three key factors: organisational capability, strategic instruction, and tactical contagion.

The first factor refers to how the success of counter-terrorism measures against an extremist movement may leave it with little choice but to rely on self-starting attacks by sympathetic individuals. For example, effective crackdowns on violent white supremacist organisations in the United States from the 1980s resulted in a proportional increase in ‘lone wolf’ attacks by far-right extremists. Similarly, the United States has reduced the capability of al-Qaeda Central in Pakistan and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Yemen to direct or guide large-scale plots, partly prompting the shift in attack methods.

The second factor is that jihadist strategic texts and orations have increasingly promoted the ad-hoc approach. A book released by jihadist strategist Abu Musab al-Suri in late 2004 theorised an ‘individual terrorism jihad’ where the movement’s sympathisers attack at their own initiative wherever they can. At the time al-Qaeda’s leadership was reluctant to adopt this method, and al-Suri was soon captured. Since then, AQAP’s Inspire magazine adopted his ideas, explicitly promoted them, and provided detailed instructions in the English language. The highest ranking American in al-Qaeda, Adam Gadahn, also endorsed this approach in a video released in 2011 and a recent video by al-Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called for “dispersed strikes” that can be carried out by “one brother, or a small number of brothers.”

The third factor is tactical contagion. Terrorists often emulate the tactics of other terrorists. Ever since the London bombings, ad-hoc jihadist attacks have proven more effective than sophisticated ones. The success (in terms of causing deaths) of the self-starting attacks in Fort Hood, Little Rock, Paris, Boston and Woolwich caused other aspiring jihadists to emulate them.

 

Will the trend inevitably continue?

These factors help explain the current trend in jihadist plots. But they do not provide reason to presume that trend will continue, because none of these three factors are static.

For example, al-Qaeda’s limited organisational capability to directly carry out attacks in the West may not be permanent. A recent American Enterprise Institute report, as well as the Bi-partisan Policy Center report, showed how al-Qaeda’s affiliates and associates have a far greater geographic presence and reach than they did a decade ago. With two al-Qaeda affiliates seizing territory in Syria, a series of jailbreaks throughout the Middle East and North Africa in July (including about 500 prisoners escaping in Iraq), and the Egyptian coup seemingly re-validating jihadism, al-Qaeda’s strength may be increasing. Consequently, it may well rebuild its external operations capability and return to launching direct attacks that overshadow the ‘lone wolf’ threat. Indeed, Thomas Hegghammer tentatively predicts a “second wave” of large-scale attacks in the West in four to six years’ time.

Similarly, al-Qaeda’s strategic instruction can change. The movement’s leaders and strategic thinkers may decide to instruct their followers to refrain from ad-hoc attack ‘lone wolf’ attacks. This could occur if such attacks continue to produce few casualties and little economic damage, or if al-Qaeda does manage to rebuild its external operations capability. A simple change of minds in key decision-makers could significantly reshape the threat.

Finally, because of tactical contagion a single successful attack of a different sort could also alter the current trend. If another plot like the London bombings (a cell of at least four people, some with training, and receiving direct guidance from al-Qaeda) kills over a hundred people, it could prompt emulation. Western jihadists may then once again form larger groups and make more effort to seek out external training and support. Recent UK arrests suggest that the Westgate massacre in Kenya, a large-scale urban warfare assault, has already sparked copycat attempts. An attack within a Western country would likely have a greater contagion effect.

 

What does this tell us?

This shows that the widespread view (that the predominant terrorist threat in the West for the near future will consist of ad-hoc attacks by individuals or very small cells) is less tenable than it appears. There has certainly been a recent trend towards these sorts of attacks, but the key factors behind the trend could well change, possibly quite rapidly. We shouldn’t assume that terrorist plots over the next decade will closely resemble those of the recent past.

A table on ASIO’s passport confiscation powers

One power often used by ASIO after 9/11 was its ability to cancel passports to prevent suspected terrorists from travelling overseas. Technically DFAT withdraws the passports, but as a result of adverse ASIO assessments.

Unlike ASIO’s coercive questioning powers or its ability to issue adverse assessments for visa applications (resulting in the indefinite detention of over fifty refugees), very little has been written about its passport-confiscation powers.

Here is a rough table of how many Australian-passport holders have had their passports confiscated, or returned, each year as a result of ASIO security assessments.

This table presents the figures as best as I can ascertain, and I have placed question marks against any numbers in the table that do not come directly from an ASIO annual report. Unlike its coercive questioning powers, there is no mandatory requirement that ASIO report when it issues security assessments for passports, so the available information is fragmentary. The sources are listed in detail at the bottom of the post.

The most recent annual report, which came out today, said that adverse security assessments were issued for 18 passports. This seems to be more than for any previous year, and I would guess that most of them were intended to prevent Australians from fighting in the Syria conflict.

Year Number of passports confiscated Number of passports returned
2012-2013 18 (over 73 in total?) ?
2011-2012 5? (over 55 in total?) ?
2010-2011 7 (over 50 in total?) 1 (maybe 3?)
2009-2010 8 10
2008-2009 ? ?
2007-2008 2 ?
2006-2007 ? ?
2005-2006 8 ?
2004-2005 13? (total 33 by this point) ?
2003-2004 6 (total 20 by this point) ?
2002-2003 ? ?
2001-2002 ? ?

Sources:

2012-2013 annual report:

Adverse security assessments issued for 18 passports (P.16).

2011-2012 annual report:

No information about passports in the annual report, but this article suggests 5 were confiscated during this period, and that about 55 were confiscated in total at this time.

2010-2011 annual report:

Adverse security assessments issued for seven passports (P.24).

Three were subject to new assessments (P.25).

One was Mamdouh Habib, who was issued a non-adverse assessment on May 2011 (P.31).

According to this article, over 50 were confiscated by this point.

2009-2010 annual report:

Adverse security assessments for eight passports (P.22) (See also p.24 of 2010-11).

10 people were issued non-adverse assessments and had their passport rights renewed (P.23).

2008-2009 annual report:

No mention of passports.

2007-2008 annual report:

Adverse security assessments issued for two passports (P.19).

2006-2007 annual report:

No mention of passports.

2005-2006 annual report:

Adverse security assessments issued for eight passports (P.4).

By end of reporting period, 14 people were having their passport refusal reviewed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (P.31).

2004-2005 annual report:

No mention of the number of passport refusals for the year. But it was probably 12 or 13 (see below)

Total 32 adverse security assessments for passports between November 2001 and June 2005 (P.3).

One was Mamdouh Habib, on 25 January 2005 (P.19).

33 adverse assessments had been issued in total, but ASIO withdrew one (P.21).

By end of reporting period, eight people were having their passport refusal reviewed by Administrative Appeals Tribunal (P.21).

2003-2004 annual report:

Adverse security assessments issued for six passports (P.3).

Total of 20 passport refusals since November 2001 (P.3).

Bilal Khazaal’s passport cancelled on 1 February 2002 (P.18).

Maher Khazaal’s passport cancelled on 23 December 2003 (P.18).

2002-2003 annual report:

No mention of passports.

2001-2002 annual report:

No mention of passports.

 

Update 1:  I initially wrote that ASIO’s power to cancel a passport was introduced after 9/11. I was mistaken, according the this book the power existed long before 9/11, but was rarely used. On 5 December 2013 I changed the text to reflect this.

Update 2: This transcript from the Security Appeals Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal provides some insight into the decision-making involved when ASIO cancels a passport, and of the appeals process. Added on 5 December 2013.