By Mehroz Siraj
Australian counter-terrorism ambassador Bill Fisher has said that Australians did face the risk of confronting acts of terrorism from individuals or groups who were ideologically against the western style democracy.
“If your motivation is an ideology, we and any other country with a Western ideology is going to be a target,” Fisher said.
Fisher made these remarks while talking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) last week, days before the Boston bombings in the United States.
Commenting on the intelligence estimates of the prospects of terror attacks on mainland Australia or against Australian businesses and citizens overseas, Fisher said that the agencies were never 100 per cent certain about where, when and how the next terror attack would happen, if it did.
“We are always at the 10th of September,” he said.
“Just as generals are always told not to fight the last war, people in the counter-terrorism world are always reminded not to prepare for the last attack because each one is likely to be different,” he further added.
Fisher said that Australian businesses operating in sensitive regions of the world could also be on the hit-list of terrorists.
Giving the example of northern Africa, Fisher said that about 260 small and medium sized Australian mining and drilling companies were operating in that region which is known for its lawlessness.
He said that past intelligence estimates done by Australian agencies, had suggested that these businesses did face the risk of being attacked by armed groups and advised them to take the required security measures.
Australia is facing threats from homegrown and ideologically motivated radicalization, he said.
He said that the primary concern for the government was about monitoring the Australians of Arab backgrounds who were fighting in Syria and the ongoing cooperation with the current Indonesian government on prison reforms.
Due to the growing penetration of modern technology, Fisher lamented that terror suspects held in Indonesian jails were able to coordinate and liaise with their colleagues and networks, even when they were under arrest.
This, according to him was a problem as it could push back the ongoing efforts that Australian and Indonesian authorities were putting in to reduce the risks of Australians being attacked by terror groups in Indonesia.
Fisher said that without the Indonesian government’s support, the two countries would not have been able to achieve significant breakthroughs in their shared objective of dismantling the existing terror infrastructure in South East Asia.