We see this claim routinely made wherever an informant is involved in uncovering a jihadist plot. The informant, so it goes, enticed them into participating in jihad, echoing the standard elementary-school defense and classic abdication of responsibility: “but he made me do it!”
And it is, indeed, a flimsy argument. Are we to believe at some point the defendant so easily took the step of saying, “Welllll, I don’t normally go in for this sort of thing because I’m a peaceful, moderate Muslim, but you’re a swell guy, so… Yeah, let’s murder some Australian solders!” Or kill some Jews. Or plot to kill American soldiers overseas. And so on.
A man accused of conspiring to launch a terror attack against an Australian army base in Sydney believed that Somalia was the place for ”true jihad”, the Supreme Court heard yesterday.
Wissam Fattal told an undercover police officer in February last year that many Muslims from Australia ”were going to fight jihad in Somalia”. The court heard that Fattal was also interested in travelling to Yemen or Afghanistan, and that he believed the life of a mujahideen was the best life.
Fattal’s lawyer, Pat Tehan, QC, said the undercover officer, known only as ”Hamza” tried to manipulate Fattal into making threats against the Australian military. He said Hamza tried to provoke Fattal in May last year by telling him Australian soldiers had killed an innocent man in Iraq.
In a March 10, 2009, exchange which was played to the court yesterday, Hamza allegedly recorded Fattal saying: ”Brother, if I find a way to kill the army, I swear to Allah the great, I’m gunna do it. I swear to Allah the great why I kill them, because they put what they call them sending, send them to Afghanistan and Iraq.’‘
The court has heard that Fattal travelled to Sydney in late March last year and visited Holsworthy Army Barracks for surveillance.
Hamza, a Victoria Police senior constable, said he befriended Fattal at the Preston mosque. He first met Fattal on November 7, 2008, prayed with him and visited him repeatedly from April 2009 while Fattal was in custody on an unrelated charge.
Hamza gave his evidence from an undisclosed location and by video link to a courtroom reconfigured to protect his identity. He said he boxed and trained with Fattal who told him he was a former successful kick-boxer.
Only the jury, the respective legal teams and Justice Betty King and her staff were able to see Hamza’s face on television monitors as he gave evidence.
To the rest of the court, Hamza was a disembodied voice with an Australian accent. Hamza posed as a convert to Islam when he approached Fattal at the mosque.
Fattal, 34, Abdirahman Ahmed, 26, Saney Edow Aweys, 27, Nayef El Sayed, 26, and Yaqcqub Khayre, 23, are charged with preparing for, or planning, a terrorist attack.
They were allegedly planning a suicide attack against Holsworthy Army Barracks. The men have pleaded not guilty….
Did Hamza put it in all of their minds, too?