‘No evidence’ of threat to Australia months ahead of Bali bombings

The nation’s intelligence neighborhood believed there was “no evidence” Australian interests were remaining specific by global terrorist organisations just months ahead of the largest decline of Australian lives in a one terror assault in the Bali bombings.

Previously confidential files launched on Sunday by the Nationwide Archives also reveal the Howard federal government in 2002 was “not inclined” to commit considerable figures of staff to a lengthy-expression presence in Afghanistan as the notice of The usa and its allies turned in the direction of Iraq.

Prime Minister John Howard visits Australian soldiers in Iraq in 2007.

Prime Minister John Howard visits Australian soldiers in Iraq in 2007.Credit score:Andrew Taylor

The 2002 cabinet papers expose the depth of terror-related issues faced by John Howard and his federal government subsequent the previous year’s September 11 attacks on the United States. They stretched from distinctive anti-terrorism guidelines to counter-terrorism preparations with nations this kind of as Indonesia.

Difficulties would come to a head following the attack in Bali on the night of Oct 12, 2002, when a few bombs have been detonated across the popular tourist centre. The explosions killed 202 folks, such as 88 Australians, although hundreds extra have been wounded.

Carried out by terrorist team Jemaah Islamiyah, it remains the biggest loss of Australian everyday living in a terrorist attack.

Then Australian prime minister John Howard and then-prince Charles pray at Southwark Cathedral for the Bali bombing victims in February, 2003.

Then Australian prime minister John Howard and then-prince Charles pray at Southwark Cathedral for the Bali bombing victims in February, 2003.Credit history:Reuters

In February 2002, the cabinet’s national protection committee mentioned it experienced gained a briefing from the head of ASIO who reported there “remained at this phase no proof of any concentrating on of Australian pursuits by intercontinental terrorist networks”.

The similar conference had also obtained a briefing from the director-normal of the Workplace of Countrywide Assessments about the circumstance in Afghanistan where by an alliance of forces, together with Australia, had secured the funds Kabul.

The committee was advised that with a massive selection of lacking Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan, it would just take at least six far more months for the US military services operation to “uproot them”.