Security

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When Australians hear about Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s dire warnings and counter-terrorism raids, they could lose historical perspective on the threat posed by Islamic State. AAP/Mal Fairclough

With jihadists among us, is IS more of a threat than communism was?

Dire government warnings and counter-terrorism raids in our suburbs paint a picture of the worst threat Western nations have ever faced. A little historical perspective is in order.
A wave of small-scale assaults has shaken public confidence in governments’ capacity to protect citizens from terrorism. AAP/Yann Korbi

Bonds of trust are terrorists' target in the age of ‘leaderless jihad’

The Charlie Hebdo massacre and the subsequent attack on the Hyper Cache kosher market in France are merely the latest and most bloody jihadist atrocities to have traumatised the West. From Ottawa to Sydney…
The Toronto G20 summit showed what starts out as a peaceful protest can turn into a violent clash. EPA/Sergei Ilinitsky

G20 lockdown: the challenge of balancing freedom and security

The Brisbane G20 summit is shaping up to to be Australia’s largest security operation. In recent decades, most large-scale protests in Australia have been relatively peaceful events, but the policing of…
When a mosque is spray-painted with the word ‘Evil’ following last week’s raids, it’s a sign the community is getting the wrong message from the anti-terrorism campaign. AAP/Matt Jacob

Responsible rhetoric is a crucial part of the anti-terror armoury

While Australia has rightly joined the international fight to bring down Islamic State (IS) terrorists, at home its anti-terror campaign is fuelling more problems. For example, following high-profile anti-terror…
Citing ‘the national interest’ enables Julie Bishop and her government colleagues simply to assert the need for everything from tougher security laws to supplying arms to Iraqi rebels. AAP/Lukas Coch

‘National interest’ figleaf avoids debate on wars and terror laws

“There is no such thing as the national interest,” I tell my first-year Australian foreign policy students. This tends to stop them in their tracks. After all, if there is no such thing as the national…
Australian Federal Police officers outside Parliament House in Canberra today. The AFP is set to take over Parliament House security after ‘chatter’ about a possible terrorist attack. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Parliament ramps up security, only months after scaling it back

Liberal senator Bill Heffernan has had the last laugh on the serious question of security at Australia’s Parliament. Earlier this year, security was slackened in a bid to save A$400,000. MPs' staff and…
Australian women of different faiths gathered at Sydney’s Lakemba Mosque last month in a show of community solidarity. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Terrorists can be defeated by fighting fear with co-operation

From anarchists in the 1920s and radical leftists in the 1960s, to fringe, extreme-right Christian bombers or gunmen in the United States in recent decades, or radical Islamists such as Islamic State today…
There are now around half a million Muslim Australians, who are sometimes blamed for the actions of a tiny minority. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Mosques, Muslims and myths: overcoming fear in our suburbs

Since Australians woke to the news of yesterday morning’s counter-terrorism raids in Sydney, Brisbane and Logan, talkback radio and the TV news have filled with talk of “home-grown terrorism” and “enemies…
Tony Abbott has deployed his senior ministers, including Julie Bishop and George Brandis, to get out the government’s anti-terrorism message. AAP/Lukas Coch

First rule of fighting terrorists: don’t do their job for them

It appears that Australia might be put on a higher threat alert level. ASIO director-general David Irvine’s comments on a possible increase in the terrorism threat level (which came into force in 2003…
How secure is a signature on a credit card? Flickr/Jonas Carlsson

A forced PIN for all credit cards won’t stop the biggest fraud

Put the pen away when you next take out your credit card as from tomorrow (Friday August 1) Australians will no longer be able to use their signature when completing a transaction in a store. It’s PINs…
How will Australia respond to so-called ‘climate refugees’? AAP Image/Scott Fisher

Climate change and security: a wake-up call for Australia

The most recent IPCC report included a chapter on security – the first time this has happened. The report pointed to a range of security threats associated with climate change, including ill-health, food…
Can the US National Security Agency really record all phone calls in a single country? Flickr/Marc Wathieu

Your call is important to the NSA and they could be recording you

It was bad enough when it was revealed the US National Security Agency (NSA) wanted to hack information on smartphones but now reports this week it wants to record the phone calls of an entire country…

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