Terrorist Act Against Pro-Palestinian Not Regarded as Terrorism at All

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Terrorism treatment

A resident of Botany and his partner came across a do-it-yourself bomb sitting atop the bonnet of his ute parked in his driveway, near the Palestinian flag he’d erected by his letterbox, along with a message board expressing his dismay over the slaughter in Gaza and calling for public debate.

The explosive device found at 2 pm on 5 January consisted of a jerry can partly filled with petrol and a rag hanging out of its opening, as well as some large bolts taped to the edges, and a lighter to set the rag alight was attached. Also stuck to it, a note read, “Enough! Take down flag! One chance!!!”

Indeed, one would think this act is obviously terrorist in nature, as Part 5.3 of the Criminal Code (Cth) defines a terrorist act, as a dangerous action causing serious harm or threatening it, with the intention of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.

Accordingly, the act would amount to the offence of engaging in or threatening a terrorist act under section 101.1 of the Act, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Mascot resident, David Wise, local construction boss was raided and arrested by NSW police on 7 March. And Wise is reportedly a Zionist, which is a political doctrine promoting the establishment of Israel on Palestinian soil, and the intent of the political position is fuelling the genocide in Gaza.

But as authorities have demonstrated in the past, those of the Islamic faith are treated very differently when committing certain acts than those of other faiths are. Indeed, at times it would seem police are manufacturing their own terrorists by entrapping teens into committing terrorism offences.

Indeed, NSW police came to the decision that Wise’s crime isn’t enough of a threat to be considered terrorism, despite the combustible device, the clear statement of potential harm, and that it was motivated by the aim to silence visible support for Palestine in line with Zionism: a political ideology.

A little alarming

“Police have charged a man following investigations into a suspicious item and alleged threatening phone call to a man in Botany,” NSW police said on 7 March. And the statement added that the bomb squad “deemed the item safe” and South Sydney detectives had established a crime scene.

This was close to nine weeks after the initial incident, and the Herald reported, on the day he was charged, that Wise had allegedly shown up at the Botany property days prior to the bomb appearing, and had a heated discussion with flag flyer Theo about the wholesale massacre in Gaza.

Police had been made aware of this from the initial stages of the investigation. And on 16 February, Theo received a phone call carrying similar sentiment to the bomb threat, and he reported it to police. Yet, the arrest was not made until 7 March, eight weeks later, and he was then refused bail.

Wise was charged with send article to cause alarm, two counts of stalk/intimate, use carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence, and unlawfully enter inclosed land.

None of these charges reflect the obvious death threat made to terrorise Theo into silence, so he’d stop vocalising his political support for the Palestinian civilians being slaughtered in Gaza, in line with a much wider Israeli campaign to prevent broader awareness of its international crimes.

Why NSW police did not charge Wise with more serious offences reflecting the nature of the crime is little understood, as is the reason that much of the media has been focused on it being a “fake” bomb, rather than a potentially explosive device that was clearly meant to cause more than alarm.

Truths suppressed elsewhere

“I worried that I’d done something wrong. I worried that somehow in speaking up and being in opposition of genocide, I had done something wrong,” Theo told the ABC, days after the incident. “Someone’s come into our house at night. They’ve brought something they made to scare us.”

“They want us to change what we’re doing,” the local man spelt out to the national broadcaster. “It’s also something which is clearly there to threaten me, to make me and my partner feel scared, feel terrified. This is terrorism.”

Theo told Michael West Media last month that South Sydney Local Area Command had downplayed the matter. The case was handed to a junior constable to deal with, and it was not referred to the counterterrorism squad.

Further the bomb squad taking three hours to deem the bomb safe, which saw a robot and forensics team deployed, conveys the serious nature of the crime.

Theo explained on 12 February that the last time he’d heard from NSW police was when the junior officer called to say he’d be off work sick for a while with COVID.

Theo, a white Australian, also conveyed that he’d received a lot of harassment of late, and he considered that was because people simply decided he was a Palestinian because he flew the flag, and the small taste of widespread institutionalised racism he’d experienced was “heartbreaking”.

Downplaying the crimes

Conservative estimates put the death toll in Gaza at over 31,000 Palestinians, with over 73,000 injured. More than 12,000 children have been slaughtered. And the 2.3 million Palestinians of Gaza are also being starved to death, with over half a million people close to famine.

The lack of adequate naming or charging over the bomb incident being left unquestioned in the mainstream media is akin to the long called out attempt to silence unbiased reporting on Gaza, which has been ruled a “plausible genocide”, while support for Palestine is increasingly criminalised.

Theo wrote on X on Friday that he’s been requesting a meeting with NSW police assistant commissioner Tony Cooke, but he’s been ignored. And a cited email adds concerns about the undercharging of Wise, whom it’s understood is going to plead guilty to all charges.

The Botany resident further sets out that the do-it-yourself bombmaker also appeared in court last Thursday, with no mainstream media there to cover the 14 March mention. The only journalist on hand at Sydney’s Downing Centre at the time was Serkan Öztürk.

So, the implications are that, as has been readily discussed in the alternative media, the mainstream Australian media has been propagating a pro-Israeli, hence pro-Zionist, stance, and this same bias now appears apparent in NSW state law enforcement.

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Paul Gregoire

Paul Gregoire is a Sydney-based journalist and writer. He's the winner of the 2021 NSW Council for Civil Liberties Award For Excellence In Civil Liberties Journalism. Prior to Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, Paul wrote for VICE and was the news editor at Sydney’s City Hub.

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