A revealing light was shed on the Abbott government’s constant resort to terrorist scare campaigns when the federal director of public prosecutions (DPP) this week dropped the sole “terrorism” charge against a Melbourne teenager accused in April of plotting an attack on Anzac Day war ceremonies. According to the DPP’s statement, there was “insufficient evidence” to continue the prosecution.
Harun Causevic, 18, from Hampton Park, a working class suburb in outer-southeastern Melbourne, was finally released on bail. Despite protests by his family, he was kept in a maximum-security prison for more than four months, held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.
Causevic and four other teenagers were arrested in a series of violent pre-dawn police raids on April 18, supposedly for planning to behead a police officer, take his gun and go on a shooting rampage on the 100th anniversary of Australia’s involvement in the World War I, British-led invasion of Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula.
Planned by successive governments for years, the official Anzac Day centenary events were intended to be the highpoint of a four-year multi-million dollar campaign to “celebrate” World War I and condition public opinion for a new period of war.
The alleged “Anzac Day plot” was the subject of lurid headlines throughout the corporate media, fed by police claims that the “plot” was “ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria]-inspired.” Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Labor Party leader Bill Shorten and Daniel Andrews, the Labor premier of the state of Victoria, seized upon the arrests to whip up support for the nationalist and militarist displays on Anzac Day and to justify a heavy police mobilisation for the events.
“This was a potential attack at an advanced stage of planning,” Abbott declared immediately. He urged people to defiantly “turn up in very large numbers at Anzac events … to support our values, our interests, our armed forces.” Shorten called on people to demonstrate that “we will not be deterred by a fear of terrorism.” Andrews demonised the five teenagers as “simply evil, plain and simple.”