The Pied Piper of Paris
17 April 2012
Willie Brigitte has been arrested again. You remember Willie? Maybe you’d just started high school then. Whatever. Willie was the young French islamist arrested in Sydney way back in 2003. For a few months he’d been a close associate of Abu Hamza, the Pakistani-Australian architect convicted in 2005 of acting in preparation for a terrorist offence.
Abu Hamza is eligible for parole in 2019 but Willie didn’t go down for that one because we’d deported him to France. Hamza was nabbed as soon as Brigitte’s subsequent arrest in France was made public.
In March 2007 Willie was found guilty of “associating with criminals in relation to a terrorist enterprise” He got nine years, but he was out again in 2009 with time off for time already spent in custody. Whether he actually, really and truly, spent time in custody before the trial is an interesting question because he’d disappeared into the black maw of secretive detention run by the anti-terrorist authorities. For all we know he could have been back home in Guadeloupe with his mum.
This time around, Willie has been arrested along with 16 others who he’d apparently led on jihad training exercises in the woods outside Paris. No weapons were found in his home. The Paris raids, coming as they did on top of the Merah case, were a handy fillip for Sarkozy’s reelection campaign.
But let’s revisit Willie’s time in Sydney because to this old student of secret police tactics he looks awfully like a career agent provocateur.
Willie arrived in Sydney in mid 2003. By the time he got here, he’d allegedly been under relentless surveillance by French security since 1998. In December 2003 I wrote this:
On the face of it Willie looks like a small time al-Q player. Came to Paris from the West Indies as a boy and became a social worker, converts to Islam at the age of 30, and immediately gets involved with a radical Sunni group. Just afterwards, on the eve of the soccer World Cup, the French cops round up 70 of his new comrades. But not Willie, they narrowly miss Willie (or so they say).
Unlike some of his associates, Willie didn’t go to Afghanistan to fight for the Taliban, instead he goes briefly to Yemen to study the Koran. But just after September 11, he rushes to Pakistan and tries to cross into Afghanistan to offer his services. He takes a look at the border security, thinks better of it, and sits out the invasion in a Lashkar-e-Tayyiba training camp in Pakistan playing with Kalashnikovs (or so they say he says).
So that’s Willie: knows lots of insiders, never gets picked up by the cops, but he never quite gets to the scene of the action either (until now). Might be the CV of a minor, not-too-courageous al-Q player, but it could equally be the CV of an intrepid French secret service operative. Take your pick.
In Sydney, Willie swaggered around the mosques and even Tony Mundine’s boxing studio, hinting he was a big man from al-Qaeda. He attracted the amorous attentions of an Aussie girl named Melanie Brown, a recent convert to Islam, who called herself Khadija. They married in haste in an Islamic ceremony. Curiously, Melanie’s CV (an ex-army signaller from an Anglican private school) makes her look a lot like she’s actually ASIO.
Strangely, it wasn’t until four months after Brigitte arrived here that the French spooks informed ASIO of his presence (or so the official story goes). Our boys pounced, arresting him for overstaying his tourist visa and working illegally. Interestingly, they didn’t use their sweeping new anti-terrorism powers. Obligingly, we deported Willie to France but when our spooks flew over to interview him over the Hamza business, their French colleagues sent them packing before they could get near him (or so our guys told the media).
It was all very mysterious, but there’s a good case that Willie was an agent provocateur sent to pull potential terrorists out of hiding. Maybe the French and Australian spooks were collaborating. Khadija Brown might have been an ASIO undercover girl. Maybe she stumbled on Willie, thought he was the real thing and blew the whistle or perhaps she was, by agreement with the Frogs, part of Willie’s cover story.
And now the Pied Piper of Paris done it again, leading another bunch of naive idiots into the arms of the law.
At a time when the Gillard Government has officially unleashed the secret police on a range of domestic activists, including, for example, opponents of the coal industry, there’s a message here. Kids, just be very cautious about that swaggering idiot who popped up from nowhere and who’s always trying to get you to lurch just that little bit too far outside the law.