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Far-right Australian convicted of plotting terror attacks

Phillip Galea planned to bomb several targets in Melbourne and spoke of killing Muslims

Phillip Galea arrives at the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, on November 7, 2019. EPA-EFE / Shutterstock
Phillip Galea arrives at the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, on November 7, 2019. EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

An Australian man who said he would put Muslims “in ovens” has been found guilty of planning and preparing a terrorist act.

Phillip Galea, 35, was on trial in Melbourne after being arrested in August 2016.

He planned to bomb Melbourne’s Trades Hall – the headquarters of the union movement, a socialist youth centre and the Melbourne Anarchist Club.

During the trial it emerged that Galea believed that the Australian left was responsible for what he referred to as the “Islamisation of Australia”.

The court heard a transcript of a phone call in which Galea said “eventually we’ll put [the left-wingers] all in ovens … with the Muslims”.

“It’s like killing a snake with these people, cut off the head and the body dies,” he said.

It was also revealed that Galea once met with a local imam because, in his words, “you have to know your enemy”.

Galea also spoke in his phone calls of “cutting throats” in central Melbourne and leaving “a line of dead lefties around”.

In addition to being convicted for “acts in preparation for, or planning a terrorist act”, Galea was also found guilty of attempting to make a document likely to facilitate a terrorist act.

He planned to produce what he called “The Patriot’s Cookbook”, which would instruct readers on how to make smoke bombs and metal bombs by using potassium nitrate for, in his words, “the advancement of extreme right wing ideology to overcome the perceived Islamisation of Australia”.

A police raid on Galea’s home found 362.1 grams of mercury and five cattle prods, as well as video clips on how to make explosives, and instructions on manufacturing mercury as a precursor to explosives.

Prosecutors told the court that police also found footage of Galea performing a reconnaissance mission at the Resistance Centre, a socialist youth venue, in September 2015.

Andy Fleming, co-author of The Radical Right In Australia, has been monitoring the extreme right in Australia for 15 years.

He told The National that the end of Reclaim Australia, the far-right party with which Phillip Galea had been associated, saw many extremists abandon public rallies and turn to secretive tactics.

“Following the collapse of Reclaim Australia and the United Patriots Front, and a relative decrease in public mobilisations, some on the extreme right, such as The Lads Society, have elected to organise in a more clandestine fashion, including by way of incorporating some remnants of Antipodean Resistance. If the rhetoric engaged in by these sorts of groups is taken seriously, then there is a basis for concern,” he said.

Mr Fleming said that “many thousands” of people “have been radicalised in the recent period”.

“It's also possible for a so-called 'lone wolf' to again emerge from this milieu,” he said.

In October, Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation Director General Mike Burgess told a parliamentary committee that there was “no doubt” some on the extreme right would be inspired by the Christchurch mosque attack, allegedly carried out by an Australian, and that extreme right-wing groups in Australia have become “more cohesive and organised than in previous years”.

Updated: December 5, 2019 03:11 PM

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