Patterns of Global Terrorism 2003 - Australia

Canberra strengthened its already close working relationship with its international counterparts in the global war on terrorism in 2002. The Australian Defence Force maintained its substantial contribution to Operation Enduring Freedom, including deploying a Special Air Services contingent in Afghanistan, aerial tankers in Kyrgyzstan, and P-3 patrol aircraft in the Persian Gulf region, while two Australian warships participated in the multinational interception force in the Arabian Gulf. The Australian Government strongly condemned all acts of international terrorism during the year, particularly the 12 October Bali bombings, in which 85 Australians died. Australia was instrumental in providing assistance to the Government of Indonesia in the aftermath of the attack.

Canberra signed bilateral counterterrorism memoranda of understanding with Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand in 2002, and it is negotiating such a memorandum with the Philippines. Canberra is a party to 11 of the 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism. The Government also enacted laws that create new definitions for terrorism; provide stronger penalties for carrying out, abetting, or financing terrorist acts; and enhance Australian Customs' powers to enforce border security. Federal and state leaders formalized a new intergovernmental agreement on Australia's national counterterrorism arrangements in October. The agreement provides a new and strong framework for cooperation between jurisdictions and creates a national counterterrorism committee to recommend additional federal-state measures to upgrade security. Several states strengthened their own antiterrorism laws as well.

Australia sought to block assets of all individuals and entities included on the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 Sanctions Committee's consolidated list of persons and entities associated with Usama Bin Ladin, members of al-Qaida, and members of the Taliban. It also sought to block assets of individuals and entities designated by the United States pursuant to Executive Order 13224. The Government also proscribed six organizations, including al-Qaida and Jemaah Islamiya (JI), under antiterrorism legislation enacted in June 2002. The legislation allows prosecution of members of such organizations or persons who provide financial or logistic support to them.

Australian law-enforcement and intelligence organizations actively investigated possible links between foreign terrorist organizations and individuals and organizations in Australia. In the wake of the bombings in Bali, the Australian Federal Police conducted a joint investigation of the attack with the Indonesian National Police. The Australian Security Intelligence Organization and State Police conducted raids on several houses of persons in Perth and Sydney who were suspected of having links to JI.

In November, Australian authorities in Perth charged an Australian citizen with conspiracy in connection with an alleged plan to bomb the Israeli Embassy in Canberra and the Israeli Consulate in Sydney. The same month, the Parliament enacted a law creating a crime of extraterritorial murder, manslaughter, or intentional harm to Australians, retroactive to 1 October 2002. The law gives Australia jurisdiction to prosecute those responsible for attacks on Australians overseas, such as the perpetrators of the Bali bombings.


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