Everyone who's watched Hogan's Heroes knows that the prison is often another battlefield, where combat can be continued by other means. Here's how it is being waged by al-Qaeda in Australia's maximum security prisons.
Islamic extremists are using an al-Qaeda training manual to give them instructions for taking over the state's toughest jails, prison authorities have alleged. ...
The prisoners had set up leadership groups in several maximum-security jails, with their activities governed by the code outlined in the al-Qaeda manual for incarcerated followers.
A number of Corrective Services staff have been targeted, some with violent threats by inmate groups. Other staff have been singled out for conversion to Islam.
The al-Qaeda style activity was detected after a 24-hour surveillance system was instituted.
Mr Hatzistergos said he was extremely concerned about the broader attempts to infiltrate the jail system, which were uncovered after sweeping changes to prison regulations allowed 24-hour monitoring of Muslim inmates.
The latest crackdown followed the disclosure this year that a third of the state's most dangerous criminals held in the highest-security jail in Australia, the Super Max facility inside Goulburn jail, were Muslim fundamentalists or converts to Islam.
The al-Qaeda prison organizing manual understands the need to enclose resistance activities in the wrapper of privacy. The al-Qaeda instructions are to engage in "hunger strikes, group protests and claims of mistreatment". One of those future demands might be to object to 24-hour monitoring on grounds of the invasion of privacy. The story continues:
"There were hunger strikes and organized complaints about their treatment," he said. "We have detected the leadership in groups across our maximum security jails [and] have moved in to segregate them and split them up.
"There is nothing wrong with conversion to Islam for the right reasons, but we believe there has been conversion taking place for the wrong reasons."
From the outset two schools of thought have contended to explain events since September 11. One regards radical Islamists as individual aberrants from an otherwise pacific religion. Radical Islamists are therefore criminals, deviant individuals best dealt with through the criminal justice system. The other school of thought regards radical Islamists as enemy combatants -- non-uniformed soldiers of an organized hostile force. And in fact, this is how radical Islamists understand themselves when they are not otherwise making hypocritical arguments to dopey human rights activists. They see themselves as soldiers of Islam, with a duty to continue the fight within the prison and to escape if possible to fight again.
For comparison, The Code of Conduct of U.S. Fighting Forces similarly imposes upon its members the duty to "evade capture, resist while a prisoner or escape from the enemy", the difference being that U.S. Forces are members of a uniformed military under regular command while the al-Qaeda are fighters in mufti often answerable only to their own murderous instincts.
However that may be, there will be no shortage of advocates who will continue to regard hard-core Islamists as simply another type of juvenile delinquent; the product of a bad home and lack of job opportunities. From that social-worker point of view Mr. Hatzistergos's 24-hour surveillance and breakup tactics will be regarded as an abomination left over from the dark John Howard years. They will take their cue from that immortal character from Hogan's Heroes, Sergeant Schultz, who memorably said whenever he observed something inconvenient, "I see nothing, nothing. I did not even get up this morning."