The Parramatta shooting and counterterrorism dilemmas

12 Oct 2015

The Parramatta shooting and its aftermath demonstrate common difficulties democracies face in counterterrorism.

On Friday 2 October, 15-year old boy Farhad Jabar fatally shot NSW Police employee Curtis Cheng at Parramatta police headquarters, before being killed during an exchange of fire with officers. While details remain unclear, authorities currently consider the attack is a terrorism incident involving more people than Jabar himself.

On Wednesday, four suspects were arrested in a joint counterterrorism operation. Three were released shortly afterwards, while one was held longer. Several had earlier been on the periphery of the Operation Appleby investigation, which was a Joint Counter-Terrorism Team Operation begun in 2014 targeting an alleged plot by Islamic State (IS) supporters to publicly murder a randomly chosen person in Sydney, instructed by the now-deceased Australian IS member Mohammad Ali Baryalei.

Immediately after Wednesday’s raids, familiar criticisms were made against counterterrorism agencies, which were accused of being either too aggressive or not aggressive enough.....

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