Operation Pendennis, Abbott’s CT approach and law resources

I have two new articles out. One is a co-authored journal article in Perspectives On Terrorism, revisiting the terrorist plot foiled in 2005 by Operation Pendennis:

Operation Pendennis: A Case Study of an Australian Terrorist Plot
by Bart Schuurman, Shandon Harris-Hogan, Andrew Zammit and Pete Lentini

This Research Note article provides a case study of a major Australian terrorist investigation, code-named Operation Pendennis. Drawing primarily from publicly available court transcripts, this study seeks to expand upon the growing literature within terrorism studies which utilises primary source materials. Its aim is to provide a detailed overview of Operation Pendennis that might serve as a resource for other scholars. The work also aims to add to existing knowledge regarding how terrorists prepare their attacks and react when under surveillance. This is done by providing a descriptive account of two cells’ preparations for an act of terrorism, and their unsuccessful attempts to evade authorities.

The other is an opinion piece in The Age, published a fortnight ago:

Abbott’s haste to tackle home-grown terrorists carries grave risks
by Andrew Zammit

The threat posed by Australians in extremist groups in Syria and Iraq is being used to justify dramatic changes to national security legislation. The threat is very much real, but that does not make all the proposed new laws necessary or justified.

The opinion piece expresses my fears, which have only increased in the past few weeks, that counter-terrorism in Australia is heading in a bad direction and returning to some of the worst aspects of the Howard Government approach. It looks like several of the Abbott Government’s new laws will be harmful, unnecessary, and will complicate counter-terrorism efforts.

I say “looks like” because there’s not much detail on the new laws, particularly the most contentious ones like reversing the burden of proof for suspected returning fighters.

So I’m linking to some extra resources on the laws, following up from the last post.

There are three sets of proposed national security legislation. The previous post contained resources on the first set, the five background reports, and some commentary.

Since then, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security has been conducting a short inquiry on the first set. Submissions to the inquiry can be found here, and transcripts of the public hearings can be found here.

Much less information has been released on the second set, aside from a press release and this press conference transcript.

The third set will involve data retention. No detail has been released on the government’s current plans for that, but there’s good background info in this Parliamentary Library paper from October 2012.

Finally, the Parliamentary Library recently released this useful paper: Counter-terrorism and national security legislation reviews: a comparative overview.

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