Friday, November 17, 2017

When I’m the only one watched by ASIO in this country

On the 4th of December 2015 I received on Facebook messenger an invitation to attend a conference in Lebanon. The organisation was to arrange everything including airline tickets, accommodation, internal transport and food. All I needed to do was send my passport and that’s exactly what I did.

The only communication I had via Facebook messenger were two messages, the invitation and me sending the copy of my passport.

The organisers contacted me regarding the return flights from Sydney to Beirut via WhatsApp. The conference was due to start on 7th December which meant I didn’t have much time to organise my trip.

On the 4th of December the organisers booked my flight to leave Sydney on 6th December. I had only about 36 hrs to pack and leave. Even my wife only found out I was leaving when the booking was confirmed.

My solicitor obtained the attached document from the Lebanese authorities where it states I was banned from entry to Lebanon on 4th December 2015. The same day I received the invitation and the same day I confirmed my attendance. How extraordinary!

Not even my wife knew that I was leaving for Lebanon until the 5th of December. No one else in my family knew, I didn’t contact anyone for a visa nor did I book accommodation in Lebanon. This has left me wondering how did the Australian authorities know about my travel plans?

Not only how did the Australian authorities know about my travel plans but how efficient of them to contact pro-ISIS Lebanese Minister for Justice General Ashraf Rifi and ask him to issue me with a permanent ban. All this within a few hours of confirming my travel.

One has to ask why our authorities were so efficient and quick to intercept my messages acting swiftly to ban me from a foreign country. These are the same authorities that allowed more than 600 extremists to slip away and leave the country to join terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.

On 26 October 2015 I was on my way to Syria when I was detained and questioned at Melbourne airport for more than 1.5 hours. I asked the agent who was questioning me: “if you are so vigilant on an anti-extremist campaigner, how could you let 600 terrorists leave Australia for Syria?”

The young and naïve looking agent answered:” They have rights of freedom of movement”. I couldn’t believe what I heard!

Does this mean I don’t have the same rights?

Is ASIO really watching only me in this country? And why?

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