Last month the Australian covered “the biggest anti-terrorism raid in Australia’s history” extensively, complete with picture of a sword “that police claim they were planning to use” according to Channel 10, and comment from prosecutor about the one person who turned up in court
At Mr Azari’s court hearing today, prosecutor Michael Allnutt said he was accused of plans designed to “shock” and “horrify” the community. The plan involved the “random selection of persons to rather gruesomely execute”, he said.
Yesterday it turned out that the sword was plastic.
But the owner of the menacing item has revealed that it is actually a plastic decoration common in almost every Shiite Muslim household. The sword – a Zulfiqar or Dhu al-Fiqar – is one of the major symbols of Shiite Islam that one leader said “wouldn’t be able to cut a cucumber”.
Mustafa Dirani, a 21-year-old part-time painter, was detained and his parents’ Marsfield home raided at dawn on September 18 as part of the Joint Counter-Terrorism Team’s Operation Appleby.
True to form, the police are staying stumm:
The Australian Federal Police refused to explain why the sword was seized or to confirm that it was plastic. “The AFP does not comment on ongoing investigations,” a spokeswoman said.
The ABC’s MediaWatch discusses who was controlling the news of the raids – embedded cameras and all. Russell Brown also has an interesting discussion on PublicAddress titled “Terror Panics and the War Imperative.”
The police are certainly keen to control the discourse – they must have a big media section. Suits a hyped- up media as well. The one certain result is more fear in the communities.