On November 11 1995, a syndicated article, entitled "Loose Cannons", appeared in a number of Australia's Saturday morning dailies. The article was authored by Jacqueline Lunn of Sydney's Daily Telegraph. The article was a classic text in the study of political police disinformation imposed on the public by a compliant journalist.
"Loose Cannons" featured a full-page-length photo of neo-nazi would-be impressario, David Palmer, complete with brown uniform and swastika armband. There was also a photo of Gerard Walsh, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) deputy director. The piece was indeed, graphically effective. The reader was meant to 'see' the opposing faces of 'extremism' and 'security', each in competition, with the good-blokes on the ball.
On surface reading, the article was a somewhat serious look at the growth of violent tendencies on the 'Right' side of politics. It quoted Walsh in his official capacity. It quoted Superintendent Neville Ireland of Special Branch against the backdrop of threats to the Olympics and international terrorism. (At this very moment his close co-worker ex-Special Branch officer, Superintendent John Garvey, was in charge of the New South Wales Police 'Olympics Security Unit'.) The article mentioned a specific potential threat to the Sydney Olympic Games and implied counter-planning was already under way. It discussed names and mentioned sources. It had a certain ring of authority. Neville Ireland said, "that it only takes one individual to take that sort of action" - to have a terrorist situation in Australia. Lurid references in the article to the assassinations of the Israeli prime minister, the Japanese sub-way attack, the Oklahoma Bombing and the Sydney attack on Prince Charles, created the atmosphere of imminent dread.
It is only when the article is dissected and the investigative blowtorch applied, that the truth has been discerned. The article was just too good to be true.
What The Article Said: The Smears About Individuals.
The article, as said, featured the Palmer portrait. It was clear to the reader that Palmer was important and relevant to the text, that possibly the other 'rightist' persons named in the text were either politically or psychologically related to him, and that he was in some way a major threat to security and a player in a political underground. Indeed, Lunn hit on Palmer in the first column of the text, discussing his home and his mode of dress (all articles on this provocateur seem to do this) and affirming how his manner belies the 'fact' it is "hard to conceive the violence and hatred that moves him". Yes, yes. Stylistically, Palmer was the glue and the sub-text that held Lunn's fabrication together.
A number of persons were mentioned as activists in patriotic politics although they are all "not as radical as Palmer's (group)." By putting Palmer and the others on a continuum of 'radicalism', a relationship is thus created. They may be weighed as related to neo-nazism only by the degrees of 'radicalism' they express. It is of course the case, that there is no relationship at all, not ideological, not political and scarcely organizational between Palmer's gang and the others, because the Palmer group was/is a phantom under the control of the political police.
There was Tony Pitt, (redoubtable editor of patriotic newspapers), Bob Doring (firearm owners' rights advocate), Ian Murphy of the 'AUSI Freedom Scouts' and myself. These gentlemen were quoted but not in any way that meant they weren't smeared with guilt by association, as potential thugs and men of violence.
As Lunn put it:: "there is a feeling that something or something is about to explode." Obviously, it wasn't the named patriotic gentlemen.
The descriptions of each, and how they were implicated as part of the Loose Cannons action squad, were snippets of smear and distortion, each bit a part of the bigger picture.
In my case, Lunn wrote:
"Saleam is out of jail and sources say National Action is once again gaining momentum. As the numbers grow, so too will the violence."
These political police sources knew that while I had most certainly taken out a membership in the group, then directed by Mr. Michael Brander of Adelaide, I was not politically active. They certainly knew that National Action was not then active in Sydney. They lied to Lunn and created what could only be described as a criminal defamation. It is a matter of record since 1995 that whatever I have done politically, no record of violence does, or could, exist. Lunn at no time contacted me. Why should she? She had the word of Special Branch. When I eventually protested the article to the Australian Press Council, a worm called Rogers, the editor of the Daily Telegraph, appeared. I remember his rhetorical ravings: "Mr. Saleam is saying he knows more than Special Branch. He's saying that his word should be taken over Special Branch." Exactly: some 15 months later Ireland would confess to perjury, conspiracy, stealing and other offences, in evidence at the Royal Commission Into The New South Wales Police Service. He was also a drunk. Was he pissed when Lunn interviewed him? If the interview took place over "lunch", it would be a certainty that the Special Branch 'bar fridge' was already cleaned out, and Ireland was living up to his sobriquet of - 'two bottles'.
Lunn also took time to say Palmer had been a member of National Action, which was yet another lie on Palmer's part uncritically passed into the text. In that way, Palmer could bask in the media-created glamour of National Action's violence and have credibility for his statements that he knew of conspiracy to commit violence.
The Terrorist Angle: Obliging Neo-Nazi Lies
The Olympic Games have been terrorist targets. As it was the 2000 Olympics were terror-free. However, the state required justification for a raft of security regulations to restrict public freedom.
Palmer willingly committed a serious provocation. He was quoted as saying three things of the most explosive quality, but as Lunn put it, he spoke "without seeming to realise the gravity of his words." Nonsense, Palmer knew what his words were at every point. His incredible statements follow:
"The Sydney Olympics is the sort of time you can get international coverage. Australia couldn't keep any violent action quiet then."
"But action wouldn't go under the name of the NSDAP. The action would be by assassin and saboteur nationalist groups that operate in Australia."
"We consider ourselves to be like the IRA, but we would hope to be more selective than they have been. We have a chivalry thing about women and children."
Palmer's words seemed to imply he had real knowledge of events. Was the Fuhrer ever interviewed by security over this amazing knowledge? Has any journalist ever asked him? Has any journalist ever tried to establish the actual extent and membership of Palmer's neo-nazi 'NSDAP' (ie. National Socialist Defending Aryan People Party)? Don't tell me, the answer is "no, no, no"? Then in that case: why not?
The Police Heroes To The Rescue
New South Wales police have had a strange penchant for self-heroicisation. On occasions, the most shame-faced perjurers and liars have had themselves awarded bravery medals for various feats of heroism, when in truth, the only real justification for the award has resided in the collective story-telling of the officers themselves. The most notorious case of that was the bravery medals issued to those who framed the Ananda Marga Three in 1978.
The Special Branch officer mentioned in Lunn's text, Ireland, had served in Special Branch in 1988-91, at times when the interest of this corrupt unit was focused upon nationalist activists in Sydney. In particular this officer, in conjunction with John Garvey, ran corrupt cases against members of the former Australian National Action. Their hatred of nationalist ideology and politics was extreme.
John Garvey was involved in the Milperra Bikie Massacre of 1983. Two Sydney Morning Herald scribblers wrote a book about the incident, citing Garvey's actions in the text (for which he received a bravery award). While I understand surviving bikers dispute Garvey's role in the gun battle, this point is not the issue here. Rather, it is Garvey's awareness of the importance of the press to the creation of image. In this case, it was Garvey's role in Olympics Security which required 'exposure'. Ireland obviously helped him by default.
Neville Ireland also had a good connection with the media. In 1989-91, he built good relations with a number of journalists during his criminal rampage directed at members of the former Australian National Action organization. He had been the media's hero and journalists were always ready to oblige him with good press. But best of all, Ireland controlled a shadowy informer dubbed CC18 by the Royal Commission Into The New South Wales Police Service, a creature whom we have identified as Peter Coleman, Palmer's official 'deputy' in the world of neo-nazism. Ireland could, whenever he chose, get a story up and running.
The present story is one such example. We must ask: who commissioned the story?; why was Jacqueline Lunn, an obviously out-of-her-depth journalist, chosen to write it? how did she get such ready access to the deputy director of ASIO and the boss of Special Branch?; how did she locate Palmer and why did she choose to make this nobody the centre of attention? Until Lunn answers these questions, we can, and we should, assume the worst.
It is the present argument that Ireland and ASIO fabricated the whole business from beginning to end.
In 1995, Ireland was in charge at Special Branch. He was hoping to see through the Royal Commission without a blemish. He failed. Unfortunately, journalists such as Jacqueline Lunn never return to the scenes of their crimes against the truth, but simply forget the drivel written. It is my function to remind her.
The Neo-Nazis Help Out
The neo-nazis made themselves available for this piece. Palmer was so willing to tell whatever he could. He incriminated himself. He said he was a terrorist. He said he knew who might do the violence. Frightfully foolish of him! - if he was the genuine article. In fact, it makes one wonder why a journalist exercising critical faculties would believe anything said by a person so voluable.
The article achieved several things. It told the untutored reader that there were threats to the Olympic Games; these threats could involve neo-nazis; a number of rightists were similar to the neo-nazis in their predisposition for violence; the Special Branch and ASIO were aware of these threats and were active against them. Bravo, brave security men!
This classic piece of disinformation fools some people, but not those who are capable of critical thought.
The Jig Is Now Up
The game played by the security and intelligence community with the neo-nazis is now somewhat smelly. The sort of nonsense paraded by Special Branch in 1995 may not be repeated. However, we can never be sure of that. Vigilance against provocation is always rewarded.
Will Palmer appear in 2003, this time as a fanatical follower of bin Ladin, ready to bomb and kill on Australian soil? This time he personally might have a problem with playing the ASIO game. Maybe the last words he will hear are 'God Is Great'; he will 'miss' the explosion.