Exclusive Simon Benson
National Political Editor
The Daily Telegraph
June 20 ,2014
AN unprecedented security intelligence-sharing arrangement between spy agencies and customs will lock down Australia’s borders to potential jihadists either trying to return to Australia or leave our shores to join Syrian and Iraqi terror groups.
FEARS THAT TERRORISTS WILL BRING THEIR BELIEFS HOME
CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN IRAQ
The Daily Telegraph understands customs officials will be given higher-level intelligence briefs in the wake of the failure that enabled convicted Sydney terrorist Khaled Sharrouf to slip out of the country last year using his brother’s passport.
The Daily Telegraph yesterday revealed Sharrouf, a convicted terrorist from south-western Sydney, is in Iraq with the militant group ISIL, which is trying to overthrow the Iraqi government.
Yesterday Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the border protection agencies were on high alert for up to 150 Australians believed to be fighting in either Syria or Iraq seeking to return to Australia and for associates trying to leave Australia to join them.
More than 50 passports had been cancelled, the Daily Telegraph revealed yesterday.
But a draft report of the Cousins’ review is believed to have uncovered a 9/11 “silo mentality” scenario in Australia — a reference to US intelligence failures uncovered after 9/11 — where vital intelligence which could have stopped Sharrouf at the gate was not shared.
Senior government sources revealed new intelligence-sharing arrangements were being rolled out to ensure customs officers at airport gates had greater access to data that could help them identify people on watch lists.
Mr Morrison said the Sharrouf incident had been “an early wake-up call” that had exposed weaknesses in the chain, which were now being addressed.
He said the government was also “rebuilding capacity” into the system after budget cuts to customs under the previous government of almost $700 million.
Rioter Ahmed Elomar Jailed for Police Assault
Amy Dale Chief Court Reporter
HYDE Park rioter Ahmed Elomar will spend at least two and a half years in jail for brutally bashing a police officer. The former champion boxer hit
the officer with a pole during a confrontation on September 15, 2012, in Sydney’s angry Islamic march as part of a global protest against the anti-Islamic YouTube clip The Innocence of Muslims.
Judge Donna Woodburne yesterday said Elomar, the last of seven rioters to have their case finalised in court, had “agitated the crowd” as part of a group of “aggressive men”.
She fixed a total sentence of four years and eight months, and said only a full-time custodial sentence would match the crime.
The man, whose own mother described him as “not very intelligent”, became “overcome with the occasion” of the protests, the court heard.
But Judge Woodburne said Elomar’s “cognitive impairment” had not “deprived him of the ability to appreciate it was wrong to bash a police officer in the head, as he did”.
Elomar smiled at the judge as the sentence hearing, which lasted almost two hours, finished.
The court heard the 31- year-old married man “deliberately and forcefully hit a man who had done nothing more than get up that day and put his uniform on.”
Senior-Constable Jason Blanchard was struck with a pole and left bleeding from the head, with the court told the balaclava-clad Elomar “disappeared” into the almost 400-strong crowd after hitting the officer.
“(The officer) had no opportunity to see it coming,” Judge Woodburne said, adding police work is often “difficult, challenging and dangerous.
During the protest, Elomar carried a sign which read: “Our dead are in paradise, your dead are in hell.”
Judge Woodburne said the non-parole period would begin from September 2013, a year after the riots, meaning Elomar is eligible for release in March 2016.
His sentencing brings to an end more than 18 months of court hearings involving people charged over the riots.
Last year, protester Mohammed Issaka angered the court when he refused to stand for a magistrate. He later apologised.
An urgent review initiated by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison and Attorney-General George Brandis following the border blunder, known as the Cousins’ review, is believed to have found holes in the security net from the airport barrier all the way up to ASIO.