Fairfax is taking a beating on terror coverage, writes Hugo Kelly:
News is simply miles ahead of Fairfax in reporting strategic national security issues. When was the last time Fairfax scooped its rivals with a big spooks-and-spies story?
Not for a long while, despite the appointment of Marian Wilkinson as head of the SMH’s national security reporting team. Russell Skelton, at The Age (Fairfax’s Melbourne broadsheet), does have a scoop with this, however:
Before the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US changed security perceptions, Muslim militants of all complexions sought Australia as a haven from security forces hunting them in their own countries.
A search of Refugee Review Tribunal records between 1993 and 2001 reveals that scores of self-confessed militants from Algeria and Egypt asked for and, in many cases, were granted political asylum after convincing authorities they were fleeing persecution, jail and torture …
One successful Algerian applicant told the tribunal that he was heavily involved in a political group in Australia and produced evidence to prove it. He argued that his continued involvement with the “Islamist agenda”, which included the imposition of sharia law on “democratic” Algeria, had made him a target for security forces.
Read that paragraph again. A man whose ambition to impose sharia law made him an outcast in his own country was permitted on that basis to enter Australia, as though he was some kind of persecuted idealist. Be interesting to learn which local “political group” he was involved in; be interesting, too, to learn who on the Refugee Review Tribunal was awarding free passes to sharia advocates.
(Via Bernie Slattery, currently hotter than a parked Paris Peugeot)
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