See : Jake Bilardi, reportedly killed in Islamic State suicide bombing, planned to attack Melbourne, blog says, Michael Bachelard, The Age, March 12, 2015.
Bilardi’s blog now appears to be devoid of content. He made several posts, of which this was the last.
NB. One of the principal opponents of IS in Syria are the Kurdish PYG (People’s Protection Units) and PYJ (Women’s Protection Units), militias closely connected to the PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistani or Kurdistan Workers’ Party), a Marxist party which, over the course of the last decade, has evolved in a more libertarian direction, influenced in part by PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan’s reading of US anarchist Murray Bookchin. (See : Graeber et al on the ‘Rojava Revolution’, January 5, 2015.)
At least one Australian, Ashley Kent Johnston, has died fighting alongside the PYG. Several other Westerners have been killed fighting with the PYG: Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, 25, a former Royal Marine, and 19-year-old German woman Ivana Hoffman.
Australian authorities, like their counterparts in Europe and the US, regard the PKK as a terrorist organisation, and the PKK is the only non-Islamist organisation on the government’s list of proscribed groups. There’s currently a campaign in Australia (and elsewhere in the world) to have this designation rescinded. You can read more about it here.
“With my martyrdom operation drawing closer, I want to tell you my story, how I came from being an Atheist school student in affluent Melbourne to a soldier of the Khilafah preparing to sacrifice my life for Islam in Ramadi, Iraq. Many people in Australia probably think they know the story, but the truth is, this is something that has remained between myself and Allah (azza wa’jal) until now.
My life in Melbourne’s working-class suburbs was, despite having its ups and downs just like everyone else, very comfortable. I found myself excelling in my studies, just as my siblings had, and had dreamed of becoming a political journalist. I always dreamed that one day I would travel to countries such as Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan to cover the situations in these lands. I was intrigued by the conflicts in these countries and I was bent on understanding the motivations behind violent political and social movements. While the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State in Syria and Ansar Dine/MUJAO in Mali occupied my mind day-in-day-out, I also took interest in the rise of violent street gangs in Mexico, El Salvador and Brazil. Through my research I found a common link between all these organisations, they are made-up of oppressed and neglected people seeking their own form of perceived justice.
But let’s go back a little bit further…
Being the youngest in a family of six, I was always treated as a student by my older siblings, all of whom were studying a variety of different topics. So from a young age I was being used as a study tool by my siblings, being taught Psychology, Biology and History among other subjects. I should be rivaling Albert Einstein if all the information had settled neatly in my memory, but most of it left as soon as it entered. It was my eldest brother’s deep interest in international politics though that grabbed my attention the most and while I may have fallen asleep during some of the ‘classes’, I can still to this day remember many of the things he taught me. In fact the first time I ever heard the words ‘al-Qaeda’ and ‘Usama bin Laden’, they came from his mouth, but as I know he is unhappy with me being here, I can confirm for his sake that, no, he did not ‘radicalise’ me.
From then on, my love of politics only grew, learning from my brother before going on to do my own research. Being just five-years-old at the time of the attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001, my knowledge of the operation was basically non-existent. Despite this, I was immediately drawn to the topics of al-Qaeda and ‘Islamic terrorism’ based on the little information my brother had provided me with. I was intrigued, why would a group of people living in caves in Afghanistan want to kill innocent American civilians? And the even more perplexing, how did such a simple group fly commercial airliners into the global superpower’s trade and defence centres? It was from here that my research into al-Qaeda, Shaykh Usama bin Laden (May Allah have mercy upon him) and groups with similar ideologies worldwide began. I spent every day researching online and reading the books I had begun collecting and I was understandably very pleased when the Victorian state government introduced a laptop-in-schools programme, meaning I could now spend the otherwise wasted time in boring classes reading.
Australia, a nation full of proud nationalists and people who love democracy and what they perceive to be freedom, has forever stood beside the Americans in this war, deploying troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Therefore, in the media, the reports every morning when I sat on the couch eating breakfast and watching the news before school had to include a story on the Taliban’s brutality or fears of al-Qaeda operatives hiding in Europe. It was Channel 7’s program ‘Sunrise’ that I turned on most mornings, watching discussions such as, ‘Another attack in America, should we be suspicious about the Muslims in Australia?’ Still, as an Atheist of only 13-years-of-age I couldn’t believe everything I was seeing and hearing, my views of the Muslims were very positive and when it came to organisations such as the Taliban, my views almost six years ago would be considered by the Australian government as extreme and myself an Islamic extremist, although I was still an Atheist, a little confusing I know. I saw the Taliban as simply a group of proud men seeking to protect their land and their people from an invading force, while I did not necessarily agree with their ideology, their actions were in my opinion completely justified. I saw the foreign troops burning villages, raping local women and girls, rounding up innocent young men as suspected terrorists and sending them overseas for torture, gunning down women, children and the elderly in the streets and indiscriminately firing missiles from their jets. Who was I to believe was the terrorist? I saw similar events unfolding in Iraq where the mujahideen of Shaykh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (May Allah have mercy upon him) as well as other smaller factions were valiantly fighting the occupation. I read of the massacre in Haditha where US soldiers shot dead 24 civilians, majority of whom were women and children as well as an elderly man in a wheel-chair. I read about how soldiers raped 14-year-old Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi in Mahmudiyah before killing her and her family and setting fire to their corpses. I read and viewed images of the inhumane torture in Abu Ghraib prison as well as many other atrocities committed, primarily by the Americans, with also cases of torture, summary executions and massacres of civilians being carried out by military personnel from other nations of the coalition. I was beginning to learn that what the media was feeding us was nothing but a government-sponsored distortion of the reality. The image of the American hero waving the US flag on top of a Hummer rolling through Baghdad was nothing but the soft cover to a brutal untold story.
It was from my investigations into the invasions and occupations of both Iraq and Afghanistan that gave birth to my disdain for the United States and its allies, including Australia. It was also the start of my respect for the mujahideen that would only grow to develop into a love of Islam and ultimately bring me here to the Islamic State, but I’ll get to that later.
Structuring my research, I saw the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as the modern base for understanding the conflicts involving Islamic groups across Africa, the Middle East and Asia as well as sporadic attacks in Europe and the United States. From here I began focusing on the struggle in Palestine, this was the ultimate David and Goliath story, where the world was wanting so desperately to turn the victim into the oppressor and the oppressor into the victim, with much success. I saw the Israeli army tearing down the homes of Palestinian families to make way for a new Jewish family moving in from Europe, I saw Israeli soldiers torturing children for allegedly throwing stones at their heavily armoured vehicles, I saw them shooting innocent people and their treacherous leaders justifying their crimes by claiming that Jews are superior to all other races, stating that Arabs are less than dogs and should be treated as such, pointing to the Talmud as the source of their bigotry. My Atheist secularist views led me to support the aspirations of the Palestinian state and blinded me from realising what the true problem was, not Israel, nor Israelis but the religious ideology that governed them. I began to support the violent resistance in the Gaza Strip, recognising that it was this resistance that kept small pockets of Palestine from the hands of the Jews, even if it does mean that they are frequently hit with airstrikes. Also, the presence of a base to attack Israel from the west was always a sign of hope, especially considering the current aggressive advance of the Islamic State from the East and as well as the bayah to the Khilafah by the mujahideen in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula potentially allowing for attacks from all directions to liberate Palestine.
I could wrap this up very shortly but I want to divert away from my interest in violent Islamic movements for a minute to explain how I developed a wider world view and how I transitioned from being a reluctant-supporter of Islamic militant groups in different lands to become certain that violent global revolution was the answer to the world’s ills.
In the course of my research I decided to delve deeper into the blood-stained history of the world. I learnt for the first time in great detail, the scale of the atrocities committed against the native population of the Americas by both the British and Spanish colonialist forces. About how both nations attempted to completely wipe out the natives in order to build their own respective civilisations, slaughtering millions of innocent people, intentionally spreading disease amongst them and raping the native women in an effort to breed-out the present race. I also learned more about the similar systematic genocide in my own country, Australia, the stories they choose to leave out when you’re in history class at school. I learnt about how the Crusaders rampaged across Europe and the Middle East, seeking to eliminate Islam from the region and restore the rule of the Catholic Church. I learnt about how the British and the French competed with each other to colonise the African continent, the advent of which still today leaves the affected nations facing great difficulties. I was beginning to realise that the cruelness of the world today is nothing but a historical expectation.
I continued to read; America’s land grab in Mexico as well as their brutality towards the Filipinos after the Spanish, who were themselves no better, signed over control of the archipelago to the Americans. The Portuguese soldiers who rampaged across East Timor, the British who seized control of many of the Pacific Islands, enslaving the populations on the pretext that non-Whites were created to serve the White race.
Continuing forward and the world bore witness to two World Wars, the second more brutal than the first. US, British, French and Australian forces imprisoned captured Axis soldiers in internment camps, torturing them and executing them as a source of entertainment. When US forces entered Japan they proceeded on a systematic campaign of massacring civilians and raping the local women before delivering the infamous nuclear bombs to Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The crimes committed by all sides in these wars are far too many to innumerate, so I’ll leave the rest of them for you to discover on your own. Then as the American war machine was kicked back into action in the Cold War, the world again witnessed more of their brutality, particularly in Korea and Vietnam. Today, they hail as heroes their soldiers who fought in these wars, history will always record though that they were nothing but a gang of rapists, murderers and brutal cowards who loved to inflict pain on an already aching population. Then there was their trade embargo, economic sanctions and isolation of Cuba due to its Communist leadership which left the people of this small Caribbean island in unimaginable poverty. Then there was their economic and military support for brutal rebels and dictators throughout Latin America simply because they were anti-Communist. El Salvador, Chile, Brazil, Nicaragua and Argentina are just some examples of countries torn apart by extreme violence and whose people suffered under animalistic rulers due to American intervention. Today, the people of El Salvador are still seeking to identify the victims of the anti-Communist American-backed regime that slaughtered all who were associated with the Communist rebels, even those who had only seen the world for a mere three days. Argentina and Brazil are still seeking more information on the Nazi-style prison camps set-up by their own respective American-backed dictators and Chile still mourns their own 9/11, when on the same day in 1973 the Americans supported Pinochet’s coup and subsequent iron-fisted rule, during which thousands were killed and many more tortured and disappeared on allegations of dissent.
The Cold War, I noticed, bore great similarities to the current conflict gripping the world today. Yesterday the Americans were openly backing the tyrants simply to impose their own ideology on the people and today, they realised this backfired and has led to hatred of the US across Latin America so now they have tried to be smarter about how they colonise and only some have managed to see through the facade. Whenever America goes to war now, they claim it is simply humanitarian intervention. Take their recent airstrikes against the Islamic State, they hyped-up the story of the Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar, making unsubstantiated claims of genocide before admitting the situation was greatly exaggerated and it was not much of an issue. But this correction came after the first missile had been fired and therefore, they were already in, so… ‘Well, we can’t pull out now’… Now as a result, every day the Americans are firing missiles at innocent Muslims in both Iraq and Sham.
It was also through these two successive American-led campaigns to impose the Democratic system upon the world that I woke up to the reality of what this ideology was, nothing but a system of lies and deception. The democratic system focuses heavily on providing the people with so-called freedom, allowing the citizens to select their leaders, alter laws if they feel the need and ultimately have the people decide the way their country is run, but this is far from the reality and there was no statement that summed this up greater than the words of the former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, “The people who cast the votes decide nothing, the people who count the votes decide everything.” The reality of democracy became clear to me, place in people’s mind the idea of freedom and convince them that they are a free people while oppressing them behind the scenes. On top of this the Western world throws celebrities and false reality into the spotlight to distract the people from what is really going on in the world, hence the widespread political ignorance among Westerners. This was the turning point in my ideological development as it signaled the beginning of my complete hatred and opposition to the entire system Australia and the majority of the world was based upon. It was also the moment I realised that violent global revolution was necessary to eliminate this system of governance and that it I would likely be killed in this struggle.
I saw people screaming, “Where is the Democracy?” in supposed democratic states and it made me hopeful that perhaps people were waking up to the reality but as it turned out they were still deceived despite their moment of anguish. I found a people though who had lost all hope in the democratic system and the United States and so I had to learn more, they were the gangs of the Americas. While their brutality is unforgivable and the suffering they have inflicted on innocent people, unimaginable, their underlying rationalisation is the unheard tale of the failed democratic system. I remember watching documentary-after-documentary about the Mara Salvatrucha in El Salvador, the Amigos dos Amigos in Brazil, Los Zetas in Mexico and the various street-gangs in Los Angeles. The elite prefer to portray them as simply groups of young men looking at making some quick cash and who love killing and mayhem but when asked what the real reasons for the establishment of their gangs are, the founders of these criminal organisations as well as their members always seemed to agree that they had the right to steal, rape and murder because the government and police force were doing the exact same to them in their communities. They all referred to the government as gangsters and the police force as well and rightfully so. They are predominantly from poor communities unfairly targeted by law enforcement and government policies and they are denied the opportunity to integrate into the system and build a regular life, so turning to a gang becomes their most viable option. I don’t want to go much deeper into my studies into the gangs in this region because I wish to return to the conclusion of my story, but this was something that only confirmed my understanding of the deception of democracy and that this is something that can only and must be destroyed by violent revolution. What would replace it though? Socialism? Communism?? Nazism??? I was never quite sure.
Sorry for the long detour but I felt it necessary to give the full story, I’ll now start to wrap things up, you can take a break and finish it a bit later if that’s enough reading for you at the moment.
…With the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ revolutions only giving rise to new dictators in the lands of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, it also gave birth to new mujahideen and even the nationalist, democratic uprising in the land of Sham was the beginning of the return of the Islamic State and Khilafah in the region. It was around this time that my love of the mujahideen began changing from a political admiration to a religious one. I had begun researching different religions, seeing that they were key to many of the conflicts taking place in the world today and during this new period of study I found myself deeply confused by all of these outlandish and odd religious systems, that myself as an Atheist had never been exposed to. However, it was Islam that for me stood out as easy to understand and was shockingly consistent with established historical and scientific facts, which for an Atheist is about as likely as Earth colliding with Pluto. Slowly but surely I began being drawn towards the religion and it was no longer a political interest for me but the truth I had been circling around for years with my research into the mujahideen.
Just as I had been eager to gain knowledge of the political world, I had now opened a whole new realm of knowledge and was keen to learn as much as I could about the religion. The more I learned, the more I came to understand and make connections with my previous research. Then things took a turn, something I did not fear as an Atheist but began to fear as a Muslim, was supporting the mujahideen, convinced that I had been ‘radicalised’ by violent terrorist organisations. So, what I can say is one of the most shameful periods of my life, the research I had been doing all these years and the beliefs I had held so strongly to despite no-one around me sharing them were thrown aside.
However, as I read through the Qur’an, I couldn’t help but make strong associations between the speech of Allah (azza wa’jal) and the chaotic scenes around the world today. For example, Allah (azza wa’jal) says, “And when it is said to them: ‘Make not mischief on the Earth’, they say: ‘We are only peace-makers.’ Verily! They are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive it not.” [Surat al-Baqarah 2:11-12]. Is this not the reality of the kuffar today? Who claim to be helping to free the people while doing nothing but increasing their suffering. As my realisation of this reality re-kindled my previous views about global revolution, I began to truly understand what I had focused on studying for more than five years, the motivation of the mujahideen: The doctrine of jihad and it’s superiority in Islam. As the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad ibn Abdullah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The head of the matter is Islam, its pillar is the prayer and its peak is jihad.” I now for the first time truly understood why there were Islamic armies from Mali to China, from Chechnya to Indonesia, it was an obligation upon every able Muslim to fight, an obligation that a person who dies without having fulfilled, he dies upon a branch of hypocrisy as stated by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). So after my period of peaceful, submissive, down-trodden aqeedah, my return to the path of ‘radical, terrorist’ aqeedah began and the more I learned about the concept of jihad, it’s benefits, it’s importance and the rewards for taking part in military operations to raise Islam in the land, the more I desired to join the mujahideen. As I learnt more about the aqeedah of groups such as al-Shabab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria and Ansar al-Sharia in Yemen as well as various other organisations across the world, my support for such groups grew and grew. My main interest though was the mujahideen in the land of Sham, I found myself drawn to Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham. Knowing the many ahadith regarding the blessings of the land of Sham I was eager to make hijra and join either of these two organisations. Despite my eagerness though, I met one key roadblock, how was I to get in? I had no contacts to assist me. After failed attempts at finding a contact I gave up all hope of making hijra.
As the war in Sham progressed and the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham appeared and the ongoing fitnah in the region was ignited, I found myself still on the side of Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, agreeing with the assessment of the mischief-makers that the Islamic State were from the khawarij. I believed it a duty upon others to slaughter the mujahideen of the Islamic State and had no respect for them, falling for the many lies being spread against them. It was my conversations with brothers from the State online though that began getting me to question my view of the organisation and the stories I had heard about it. As the Islamic State began to expand, seizing the cities of Raqqah, Fallujah, Mosul, Tikrit and others, Allah (azza wa’jal) Himself exposed the lies of the liars and humiliated the enemies of the State, a clear sign that they were upon the truth. Slowly but surely, I would come to love the State, recognising that they are the only people in the region establishing the Islamic system of governance, providing services for the people and most importantly they possess a sound aqeedah and manhaj that has led to their correct and effective implementation of the Sharia. It was this realisation that once again increased my desire to make hijra but once again I failed to find any contacts. This time was different to previous attempts at leaving though, I was growing tired of the corruption and filthiness of Australian society and yearned to live under the Islamic State with the Muslims. I now had the determination to finally remove myself from this land. I continued my search for a contact, even at one point considering simply crossing the border alone without any assistance. Finally, I made contact with a brother online who promised to bring me across the border, it was a risky decision to trust someone online but I was desperate to leave and was confident the brother was genuine. Fearing possible attempts by the increasingly-intrusive authorities in Australia to prevent my departure I began drawing up a Plan B. This plan involved launching a string of bombings across Melbourne, targeting foreign consulates and political/military targets as well as grenade and knife attacks on shopping centres and cafes and culminating with myself detonating a belt of explosives amongst the kuffar. As I began collecting materials for the explosives and prepared to start making the devices I realised that the authorities were oblivious to my plans but if anything was to attract their attention it would be my purchasing of chemicals and other bomb-making materials and so I ceased the planning of Plan B and sat waiting until everything was prepared and I could exit the country undetected.
Without revealing any sensitive information about how I entered the Islamic State, I’ll skip to the moment I entered the city of Jarablus in Aleppo province. I felt a joy I had never experienced before, the first time my eyes spotted the banner of tawheed fluttering above the city, everything felt surreal, I was finally in the Khilafah. At this time I couldn’t help but remember that moment a few years ago when I told myself that there will come a day where I will fight to overthrow the democratic system, that day had come, just not in the way I had expected. After a difficult and long journey in Jarablus, I put my trust in Allah and signed myself up for a martyrdom operation and was promptly sent to Baiji in Salaheddine province, Iraq. I sat for one month in Baiji before my failed operation arrived. After I witnessed the mistakes made, I turned to fighting in the city before once again registering for a martyrdom operation, a decision that would bring me to the large yet modest city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province. And that is where I sit today, waiting for my turn to stand before Allah (azza wa’jal) and dreaming of sitting amongst the best of His creation in His Jannah, the width of which is greater than the width of the heavens and the Earth.
I guess I was always destined to stand here as a soldier in the army of Shaykh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (May Allah have mercy upon him) considering the great respect I had for him even before I entered Islam. May Allah accept him among the best of shuhadah and allow me to sit with him in the highest ranks of Jannah.”