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No al Qaeda assets frozen.



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Robert McClelland MP Shadow Minister for Homeland Security

Kevin Rudd MP Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Security

19 February 2004

NO AL QAEDA ASSETS FROZEN

The Howard Government today confirmed in Senate Estimates that since September 11 it has frozen no terrorist assets related to al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden.

This is surprising given that Willie Brigitte lived in Australia for five months last year, and Omar Abdi Mohamed, who is accused by the US Government of receiving funds from an al Qaeda-related charity, visited Australia five times.

The only assets frozen were three bank accounts held by the International Sikh Youth Federation totalling $2196.99, and the bank account of a Melbourne record store called Shining Path which had to be unfrozen when the bungle was uncovered.

In his December 2003 report the Chairman of the UN Security Council Committee established to coordinate the hunt for terrorist assets named Australia as one of eleven states which had “indicated the presence of Al-Qaida-related cells in their countries” but “provided no indication that any assets had been frozen”.

We cannot win the war against terrorism internationally if the Howard Government cannot properly coordinate the hunt for terrorist assets at home.

The Government should adopt Labor’s plan to better manage our counter-terrorism effort with a unified Department of Homeland Security, to ensure Australia plays its part in cutting off the flow of funds to terrorists.

Contact: Lachlan Harris (McClelland’s office) 0409 119 893 Alister Jordan (Rudd’s office) 0417 605 823