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Police report on Wieambilla shootings too superficial


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The report, following an investigation conducted by the Queensland Police and Australian security, into the Wieambilla shootings last December revealed extremely sketchy findings. The investigation, however, is apparently ongoing. Elsewhere, other information from official sources, provide information which raises questions about the findings of the investigation and add weight to a likely conspiracy.

In mid-February the Queensland Police issued their report about the Wieambilla shootings and confirmed their findings as 'domestic terrorism linked to the Christian fundamentalist belief system known as premillennialism'; a belief about the second coming of Christ and a literal interpretation of the Book of Revelation. (1)

The investigation used phone messages, emails, social media and a personal diary by Stacey Train with years of detailed entries.

It concluded the Train family, responsible for the killings, were an 'autonomous cell', which had targeted the Police officers who were investigating the disappearance of Nathaniel Train and various firearms licence issues.

The report discounted any link with the Sovereign Citizen's movement, although it recognised the two belief systems were similar. There was also no reference in the Police report to any link between the Train family and far-right political movements, although reference was made to the Waco murders in Texas twenty years ago. The Wieambilla killings were compared to the Waco murders, although the report failed to acknowledge the role of the far-right with the latter.

Elsewhere, however, an alternative explanation about the terrorist attack was issued from official intelligence and parliamentary sources to mainstream media a fortnight earlier: it referred to 'fringe conspiracy groups, with right-wing extremists … which were at play in the Queensland shooting'. (2)

The Police investigation did not link the rise of the far-right in the United States to the resurgence taking place in Australia, although publications in the public domain and open source intelligence contain a wealth of information.

In 1994, for example, US militia movement leader, John Trochmann, launched the Militia of Montana, which 'served as a prototype for numerous paramilitary groups … and … like many of the militias … it … traced its origins to neo-Nazis and professional white supremacists'. (3)   

Trochmann, it was noted, had addressed the Aryan Nations Congress in 1990, 'to argue that they should drop the swastika and hood in favour of Jesus Christ and the bible … by down-playing overt neo-Nazi themes and disguising their racialist beliefs, Trochmann hoped to influence a broad audience of disgruntled Americans, who would doubtless have recoiled if they were blitzed with Hitlerian raves'. (4) It is, therefore, not difficult to observe the Trump phenomena in the US in a more meaningful context.

Those associated with Trochmann were subsequently linked to the Waco murders. (5)

The method of operation chosen by the militias was also noted as being composed of 'small autonomous units composed of five or six dedicated individuals who were bound together by a shared ideology rather than a central command'. (6) The method reduced the likelihood of infiltration and enabled the creation of a wider movement of advocates to challenge the existing order: it was noted, for example, 'the last thing federal snoops want, if they had any choice in the matter, is a thousand different phantom cells opposing them'. (7)

The process of radicalisation of disenchanted individuals with dysfunctional relations with society, has already taken place.

The far-right today is a driving force behind those identified as compulsive conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers, religious fanatics and so on, who do not necessarily flout their true political credentials; they remain in the shadowy and grey areas of the spectrum. Premillennialists would now appear the latest addition to the growing list.

The chosen method of operation of the far right has been to challenge a perceived target which might, for example, be immigrants from Islamic countries, regarded as a perceived threat of an 'alien culture'. Following the Wieambilla shootings it would now appear the Police have also been included in the growing list of those targeted by the far-right.

And infiltration, by the far-right, has long been a speciality. A media release from the leadership of the Australian far-right openly claimed their ability to infiltrate established political parties and related organisations: their primary focus was on 'intelligence … and … espionage'. (8) They have also long been associated with dirty tricks and identity theft: the media release, for example, stated how the far-right were encouraged to steal official stationery and stamps to 'further their own clandestine aims'. (9) In these days of on-line scams, the far right have had the opportunity for a field-day with their disruptive behaviour.

When an official parliamentary statement from Canberra recently noted 'new forms of terrorism', they were certainly correct with their observations. (10)

The 'new forms' rest on older, well established longer links of the same problem; some present commentary, nevertheless, has remained indifferent or oblivious to the historical roots of the far-right in general and in particular with specific reference to Australia.   

It is also not particularly difficult to identify links between the US-based far-right and their Australian counterparts: during the Wieambilla investigation a man called 'Don … with an American accent … a US man was identified as a person of interest'. (11) Who he was and his status, has yet to be established. Just where, in cyber-space does he reside, if at all?

The US far-right, however, have been a recurring theme for decades: the John Birch Society was noted in the early 1960s as an umbrella-type organisation 'catering for constituencies spanning the fringes of neo-Nazism to the John Birch Society and the radical right'. (12) It was linked directly into Australian-based networks through the Australian League of Rights (ALOR) and their international affiliations which included white supremacist counterparts in then Rhodesia. (13)  The ALOR also had extensive domestic organisation with numerous cell-type units which distributed US far-right publications which often resembled Cold War conspiracy theories. (14)

The ALOR was also led by a man of action who was no stranger to the intelligence services of South Africa. In some of the darkest days of Apartheid in South Africa, the ALOR leader, Eric D. Butler, was employed by Pretoria to train their Security Police. Their specialities included 'suicides', murders, bombings, assassinations and general terrorism together with dirty tricks. (15)

The ALOR was also not a straightforward political organisation but tended to hide behind covers of respectability where they were able to peddle their far-right views into circles of those regarded as 'opinion moulders'. (16) From its shadowy vantage points the ALOR focused upon those in 'public positions of influence … including school teachers, local councillors, the clergy and all others'. (17) Special attention was given to the clergy, where an ALOR publication noted, 'church organisations continue to be a fruitful field and some valuable work is being done in this sphere', and those associated with churches, including Rotary Clubs. (18)   

And then there is the Train family, reared in the staunch environment of evangelical theology and lurking behind the respectability of being teachers …

Interestingly, furthermore, the ALOR has remained the main Australian affiliate to the notorious World League for Freedom and Democracy (formerly the World Anti-Communist League), a shadowy collective of global far-right organisations. (19) The organisation, through various affiliates, has provided access to those associated with para-military operations and terrorism. Terrorism and political warfare, has been regarded as a speciality. (20) WLFD/WACL members and affiliates, furthermore, lurk behind sealed websites in cyber-space. (21) Those concerned, having gone to extreme lengths to hide their identities, are hardly likely to divulge their real names or whereabouts.

While Australian law enforcement bodies have concluded the Wieambilla shootings were 'an act of politically motivated violence, primarily motivated by an extreme Christian violent extremist ideology … and that they … did not find evidence the killers embraced a racist and nationalist ideology or were sovereign citizens, despite their anti-authority and conspiratorial beliefs', they have overlooked the changing nature of the far-right. (22) While it has primarily remained a movement based in reactionary political standpoints, it has learnt how to hide behind other ideologies and identities inside protest and other movements.

A recent study of the Australian far-right, for example, found two important features: it was noted by the Australian intelligence services, that, 'right-wing extremists are more organised, sophisticated, ideological and active than previous years … and … the far-right is a lot more nuanced. It has evolved and taken new shapes and morphed into something far more sophisticated than that stereotype'. (23)

The Wieambilla investigation, nevertheless, relied upon a narrow focus upon primary source material and forensic evidence and it is therefore disappointing that highly relevant secondary source material was not used to provide a wider focus and more useful study of the growing diversity of the present-day far-right in Australia and their links to similar movements elsewhere. (24)

In conclusion, while guilt is not proven by mere association, legal definitions of conspiracy do provide adequate grounds for consideration, particularly with those directly and indirectly associated with the Wieambilla shootings: they remain identifiable through all communications and telecommunications used by the family, over many years.

1.     Fatal attack on cops 'religious terror', Australian, 17 February 2023.
2.     Right-wing extremist fears drive gun reform, The Weekend Australian, 4-5 February 2023.
3.     The Beast Reawakens, Martin Lee, (London, 1997), page 346.
4.     Ibid.
5.     Ibid., pp. 346-48.
6.     Ibid., page 348.
7.     Ibid., page 348.
8.     Nazis claim their stamp on all parties,  The Age (Melbourne), 13 July 1999; and, Aginter Strategic Document, Aginter Press (wikipedia), with specific details about the  role of infiltrators as agent provocatuers.
9.     Age, ibid., 13 July 1999.
10.   Weekend Australian, op.cit., 4-5 February 2023.
11.   Queensland Police shooting, The New Daily, 16 February 2023.
12.   Old Nazis, the New Right and the Republican Party, Russ Bellant, (Boston, 1988), page 38.
13.   The Australian League of Rights, Andrew A. Campbell, (Victoria, 1978), Appendix C, page 170.
14.   Ibid., Appendix E, which listed 138 Voters' Policy Associations across Australia; and, None Dare Call it Treason, John A. Stormer, (Missouri, 1964), a typical US Cold War publication which went into twenty different print runs in 1964, and was distributed in Australia through the ALOR, South Australian organisation/depot based at 15 Hanson Street, Adelaide, private collection, author.
15.   Efforts of an Australian Anti-Red, The Star (South Africa), 15 July 1967, which noted Butler had visited South Africa as an official guest and was employed by the Apartheid government; and, The Spy in the Newsroom, Gordon Winter, Australian Playboy, June 1982, pp. 111- 15, which lists a series of torture specialisms used by the Bureau of State Security which employed Winter as a spy in London; and, Inside BOSS, Gordon Winter, (London, 1981), with specific reference to Chapter 39, Fellow Travellers, pp. 526-41, which has provided case studies of those associated with BOSS. There are references to covert operations in Australia and organisations including the Christian League, established in 1975 in Pretoria, and with strong links with the South African Security Police.
16.   Voices of Hate, K.D. Gott, (Melbourne, July 1965), page 37.
17.   Ibid.
18.   Ibid.
19.   Inside the League, Scott Anderson and Jon Lee Anderson, (New York, 1986), Appendix, The League List, pp. 275-85.
20.   Ibid., see foreword, with a letter to the authors from a former League member.
21.   See: Official websites for World League for Freedom and Democracy.
22.   Police killings domestic terror: ASIO, Australian, 22 February 2023; and, 'Hive of Spies', The New Daily, 21 February 2023.
23.   Australia's far right gets COVID anti-lockdown protest booster, Aljazeera, News, 5 October 2021.
24.   See: Australian, op.cit., 22 February 2023, which has provided the official position of both the Queensland Police and ASIO in regard to the Wieambilla shootings and subsequent investigation.