Once again, the Australian media has been completely bluffed by national security theatre.
What the Prime Minister and the various police chiefs - even George Brandis - have said may be proven. They haven't been proven yet and their words are worth nothing. Nothing. All this would have much more credibility coming from a judge after fair and extensive trials, even with the law's palaver.
No government is entitled to be taken at its word, especially this one. A policeman's finding is the start of a trial, not the end.
In reporting the arrests and related events of the past 48 hours or so, the traditional media had no right to drop the 'allegedly' and other qualifiers, to be excused for failing in its duty to be sceptical at the show put on for their benefit: the staged photo ops, the idea that any question would be fobbed off with 'sub judice' or 'operational matters', the absence of any inkling that the story might be elsewhere than where the media wranglers indicated.
Remember how the Murdoch press' investigative skill cruelled last year's Boston Marathon bombing, as @FearsumEngine noted. Remember the shameful treatment of Dr Haneef, and the great lie linking asylum-seekers to terrorism on the Tampa which our politics and media is yet to call out. Remember how credulous the media were on all those occasions - and how they have learned nothing, cowering and passing on unqualified the lines fed to them.
When you see transcriptions from staged events, you are not looking at a triumph of journalism, but a failure of it. Any event that resists investigative journalism is not worth covering. Being forewarned of photo ops is no proof of journalistic competence or savvy.
These are the occasions that ratchet downwards trust in traditional media. No amount of browbeating or sneering by journalists (or wannabes) will recover the respect they are busy shedding.
The national security agencies are ramping up security in the lead-up to the G20 conferences, particularly the leaders' meeting in Brisbane in November; and rightly so. Experience from previous incidents suggests that it is this far out that perpetrators start to finalise their plans. None of this was explained to, or by, supposedly experienced journalists. None of this appears to have been even a factor in recent raids. Instead, they talked of how police actions (which necessarily involve suppressing debate) might work for a government that has demonstrably failed at everything else, including economic confidence.
This fool would reward a politician who has spent seven years beating up non-threats. The journalist would give the politician yet more powers that he is demonstrably unable to execute effectively (even by his own standards - how many of those arrested arrived by boat? Well?). This shows why insiderdom is not worth journalists having, not worth people heeding, and why the story is not where the grizzled veterans (duped again by spinners) insist it is.
We are going into debt, financial and moral, for all this. Our public policy mechanisms appear exhausted of alternatives (and if this were not the case, the traditional media lacks the skill and wit to detect it). There is no small-o opposition offered by the official Opposition, only the most timid echo. It would be pathetic were there not so much more at stake than 'w(h)ither Labor?' witterings. Should this whole operation turn out to be the sort of sham for which I gave precedents above, they give no sign that they might anticipate or even learn anything from it.