Masked goons wearing flak jackets and wielding sub-machine guns approach a home silently just before dawn. Then acting on a silent hand signal from their leader, they all break into a jog trot and fan out around the house. The first two demolish the front door with sledgehammers, while the other six simultaneously smash windows at the sides and rear of the small suburban dwelling.
Screams can be heard from inside as these apparitions from hell burst into the bedrooms and force the unarmed occupants face-down on the floor. A woman and her four small children lie sobbing hysterically, while the “brave” leader of the masked goons sticks a Glock semi-automatic pistol up her husband’s nose, and cuffs his hands behind his back.
Readers could be pardoned for thinking this was a scene from the old Stalinist Russia, or maybe just everyday brutal Jewish oppression of Palestinians in Palestine, but they would be wrong. This is 5.15 a.m. on 30 October 2002 in the sleepy suburbs of Perth, Western Australia, and the brutal masked goons are acting on the direct warrant of Daryl Williams, Australia’s equivalent to Donald Rumsfeld.
Just like Rumsfeld’s prisoners illegally kidnapped and held in Cuba, the only crime this Australian family had committed was that of being Muslim, and thus causing political paranoia in Canberra. As Mr Williams himself rather foolishly admitted on national television, the goon operation, “is directed only at individuals who MAY have SOME KNOWLEDGE of J.I. [Jemaah Islamiah] in Australia.
An illegal operation, perhaps? It certainly was. Australian law states that if the Australian Security Intelligence Organization [ASIO] has concerns about specific individuals, then those individuals may be approached to make voluntary statements on the matter. This is understood by police officers to mean making an appointment by telephone, or knocking politely on the front door during daylight hours. There was nothing at all voluntary about this operation, which horrified and outraged the lady living next door:
“They broke down the door with sledgehammers. They were carrying machine guns and wearing black helmets and flak jackets, with balaclavas covering their faces. It was very frightening to look at, like something from a movie set. I was shaking and terrified, it was as though we had gone back fifty years to Nazi Germany.”