Van Tongeren's Guilty Plea:
Special Comment On The Release From Custody Of Jack Van Tongeren
The guilty plea of Jack van Tongeren on November 23 ends the career of this unusual man. However, there is, as ever, a story behind the story.
Mr. van Tongeren did not plead guilty because he was guiilty of the various charges of conspiracy to commit arson and so on. Rather, he was exhausted and unwell, physically and psychologically - and was simply unable to contest the charges. Further months in custody, until a trial, may well have killed him. It was hence quite proper to take 'time-served' and a bond - and leave the field.
The activities of provocateurs, who were prepared to accuse him of crimes they had in truth committed by themselves, was always the real issue. These same provocateurs will appear against two other men who were (falsely) charged alongside van Tongeren.
Jack van Tongeren was the face of Australian neo-nazism, from the time he founded the 'Australian Nationalists Movement' in 1985. He was always sincere, even if the lines he took were not the best tactically and otherwise not based upon Australian political and cultural traditions. The one great negative of his activism was the encouragement and 'shelter' it offered to neo-nazi fools and provocateurs. Mr. van Tongeren usually failed to see that element in his campaign and ultimately it brought him down, first in 1989 and - finally in 2004.
It is to be hoped his retirement from politics will serve him well.