Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, death to you
“Terror suspect Jack Thomas fooled al-Qaeda, trial told,” from the Australian, October 20:
JACK Thomas deceived al-Qaeda by accepting money from the terrorist organisation while not intending to carry out an offer of “work”, a court has been told.
Crown prosecutor Nicholas Robinson SC said Mr Thomas was not naive as he described himself, but calculating.
“He was the one who used the term naive, but look at what he did,” Mr Robinson told the court in his closing address today.
“He took tickets and money from (Khaled) bin Attash who was clearly a member of al-Qaeda … and he took them intending not to work.
“He deceived al-Qaeda.”
Mr Thomas, 35, is on trial in the Victorian Supreme Court for receiving funds from a terrorist organisation and possessing a falsified passport.
The Crown alleges the Melbourne man accepted $US3500 ($5053) and a plane ticket to Australia from al-Qaeda operative, Khaled bin Attash, in Pakistan between November 2002 and January 2003.
During that period, Bin Attash approached Mr Thomas claiming to have a message from Osama bin Laden that the terrorist leader wanted a “white boy” to work for him in Australia, and that he, bin Attash, could offer $US10,000 ($14,438) immediately to anyone willing to carry out an attack.
Mr Thomas travelled to Afghanistan in March 2001, originally with his wife and child, to train with the Taliban to fight in the civil war.
He ended up in an al-Qaeda camp but says he didn’t know it was run by the terrorist group until he saw Osama bin Laden at the camp for the first time, before September 11.
His barrister, Jim Kennan SC, said Thomas was certainly naive because he travelled to Afghanistan in the belief he could help stop the civil war.
“If that isn’t the height of naivety, what is?” Mr Kennan told the court.
“We say it’s the height of naivety.”
Mr Kennan said the proposition by the Crown that Thomas defrauded al-Qaeda showed what a “thin and desperate Crown case this is.
“That’s really … a very desperate interpretation of that evidence,” he said.
Mr Kennan argued there was no evidence before the jury to suggest bin Attash was a member of al-Qaeda.
He said the money and ticket were organised by Pakistani well-wishers, with whom Attash was involved.
The case before Justice Elizabeth Curtain, is continuing.