AFP tracking pro-IS pilots: report

Australian Federal Police are monitoring two Indonesian pilots who appear to have been influenced by pro-Islamic State elements, on concerns they may pose a security threat, an intelligence website says.


The apparent radicalisation of the two pilots – which SBS cannot name for legal reasons – was detailed in a March 18 operational intelligence report compiled by the AFP and obtained by website The Intercept.

The AFP report – marked “for official use only” – analyses Facebook posts by the two pilots that appear to support IS.

The Intercept reports that ‘pilot A’ formerly worked for AirAsia Indonesia, while Premiair says ‘pilot B’ ceased working for them on June 1.

‘Pilot A’ graduated from the AirAsia academy in 2010 and flew international and domestic routes, the intelligence report states.

He began posting material indicating his support for IS from September 2014 – posts which ‘pilot B’ “liked”.

The AFP also noted that ‘pilot A’ had commented on the page of Heri Kustyanto, who it’s believed left his Indonesian family to fight with IS in Syria or Iraq.

At the time of the report, ‘pilot A’ was active on Facebook, was befriending radicals, and listed his current city as Raqqa, Syria.

The AFP report says ‘pilot B’, meanwhile, lives in Bogor, near Jakarta, and was a pilot for the Indonesian Navy before Garuda and Premiair.

He had posted photos of trips around the world, including to Australia, but by December 2014 was posting pro-Islamic State material.

His friends list included many military and commercial pilots.

The report concluded that radicalised pilots were an obvious threat, “as witnessed by past global events” and noted that a recent edition of the al-Qaeda magazine had encouraged aviation attacks.

Both men were trained pilots with contacts in the industry, it said.

The AFP distributed the report to partners in Turkey, Jordan, London, the US and Europol, The Intercept reported.

In a statement, the AFP said it did not comment on matters of intelligence.

“The AFP maintains strong relationships with its domestic and foreign law enforcement partners to ensure the ongoing safety of Australians both within Australia and abroad,” it said.

The Intercept was initially created to report on documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

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