Federal and Victorian police conducted several raids on houses in Melbourne and Victoria today, seemingly on the basis that some local radical right-wing activists had been planning harm to Victorians:
Victoria police counter terrorism command Assistant Commissioner Ross Guenther said that earlier this year they had received information that suggested there were individuals or an individual looking at either advocating harm against Victorian individuals or producing documents that might lead to the harm of people in Victoria.
“I’m very pleased to say I think we’ve interrupted something that could have been quite serious in terms of harm to our community,” he said.
See : Man arrested in terror raids in Melbourne’s north-west and country Victoria, Emily Woods and Chris Vedelago, The Age, August 6, 2016. See also : Terror raids lead to man’s arrest in Vic, Helen Velissaris/AAP, news.com.au, August 6, 2016 | Man arrested as counter-terrorism police raid properties in Melbourne, Tatura, ABC, August 6, 2016.
The only person thus far named in association with the raids is Phill Galea; Galea has previously been charged with various weapons offences connected to the ‘patriot’ movement and its activities and first came to my attention back in April 2010, when he attended a failed rally ‘against immigrants and Islam’ in Melbourne and was photographed sieg heiling counter-protesters. In 2015, Galea jumped on the Reclaim Australia and United Patriots Front (UPF) bandwagon; of late, he’s also been working with the True Blue Crew (TBC), attending their flag-waving event on June 28 and indicating an intention to attend the TBC picnic rally being held in Melton tomorrow.
Bizarrely, in response to Galea’s arrest, his comrade Neil Erikson published a video in which he claims to have texted Galea immediately after his arrest stating ‘I dumped the stuff’. Pretty silly behaviour … but then again, Eriskon is a very silly boy.
In related terror news, late last month Kurdish journalist Renas Lelikan was arrested and charged with being a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), one of 20 or so organisations proscribed by the Australian government as ‘terrorist’ — and the only non-Islamist organisation listed. See : Kurdish journalist Renas Lelikan accused of terror links denied bail, Jayne Margetts, ABC, July 29 2016; Bail denial for Kurdish journalist accused of being PKK indicts anti-democratic laws, Peter Boyle, Green Left Weekly, July 29, 2016.
both the Aryan Nations and the Ku Klux Klan seem to have made an appearance on the list at some point but are currently not listed. Back in May, several Aryan Nations members in Perth were arrested and charged with murder; they’d previously hosted the UPF when they travelled from Melbourne to attend a joint Reclaim Australia/UPF rally.
He’s now been charged:
“He was charged with intentionally collecting and making documents connected with preparing for a terrorist act, and between September 20 and August 6, 2015, committing acts in preparation for a terrorist act.”
More charges could be in the pipeline.
“Fairfax Media understands that Mr Galea’s arrest was prompted by concerns that he and possibly two other members of right-wing groups were canvassing an attack aimed at their perceived political enemies in radical left-wing groups.”
Note paragraph at the end, containing “correction” re Ralph Cerminara. One possibility is mis-identification – somebody pretended to be Cerminara (though for what reason, given that Fairfax would have been looking for him, is beyond me). Another is that Cerminara did say the statements that were in the print edition, but now for legal reasons denies it was him – and Fairfax withdraws, because they don’t have confirmation of ID.