by Dee McLachlan
It’s been a busy time for bombs, planes and terror — as Dr Day had predicted in his ‘Everything Is In Place And Nobody Can Stop Us Now’ lecture, in 1969:
“Terrorism would be used widely in Europe and in other parts of the world… and just a little bit of terrorism would help convince Americans that the world is indeed a dangerous place, or can be if we don’t relinquish control to the proper authorities.”
School Room Hoaxes
Earlier this year, a 17-year old (now 18) Israeli national was charged with making thousands of bomb hoax calls — many targeted Australian schools.
In a separate case, another 17-year-old was charged in a Victorian court for making dozens of bomb hoax calls to schools across Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia between May and April 2017.
Another Malaysian Airlines Saga
Then on the 2nd of June, there was the case of Sri Lankan Melbourne student Manodh Marks, 25, creating a midair drama on Malaysia Airlines flight 128. He was trying to enter the cockpit, while clinging onto a device he said was a BOMB. Bold passengers pounced and subdued him.
Manodh Marks, and (R) being “subdued”
The jet, carrying more than 330 people, on its way to Kuala Lumpur, turned back and landed at Melbourne airport. While people sat on the “bomber”, the police mulled over what to do for 90 minutes before boarding the plane — only then evacuating the frightened passengers.
The Sick Bag Bomb Message
I had not heard of this next episode, but The Australian reported it a few days after the Marks saga. On the 6th of June, one of the 42 passengers on a Virgin Airlines flight to Albury…
“allegedly wrote a threat on the sick bag provided in his seat, which was discovered soon after. The threat made claims that he had stashed a bomb on the aircraft, prompting air cabin staff to contact NSW police.”
The plane landed, and the doors were “ripped off” by authorities from the outside — and passengers were told to”RUN, RUN, RUN.” Leaving their bags, the passengers jumped from the front exit onto the tarmac.
Police arrested the 30-year-old man on the tarmac, and charged him with “sending a [hoax] document threatening death or grievous bodily harm and giving false information.”
The Explosive Sex Toy
And then there’s the case of the mistaken sex toy (reported on May 30th). At first glance, the bomb squad team thought it was a dangerous bomb, “at risk of exploding into a fireball at the slightest shock.”
The owner insisted it was nothing more than a homemade sex toy. But then why were several officers struck down with burning skin, irritated eyes and vomiting? Two were taken to hospital. That’s what you get when tampering with saucy items!
But now for the real deal — the sausage mincer.
The Sausage Mincer Bomb
This reads like a movie script.
The plot: to build an “Islamic-inspired improvised device” to bring down a plane.
The cast: Four men in Sydney. The family drama stars son Khaled and Mahmoud Khayat, with Khaled and Abdul Merhi. The four are known as cleanskins — actors not on any casting lists. The supporting lead — the good guy — is played by our prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull.
Props required: a crude homemade bomb disguised as a kitchen mincer. It was also described as a domestic grinder — a “multi-mincer” used to make sausages. Plus, handwritten notes, two phones, an iPad, two mobile phone SIM packs, and vehicle registration and insurance papers.
The climax: extra security measures in place at major airports, resulting in long lines (many extras required.)
I am writing this up with a touch of sarcasm, even though this might be a real threat.
But that’s what it feels like — a hyper-drama. It is like we are all caught up in movie — unsure what is real, fake, or scripted. The log line, “keeping you safe,” is on every poster, and is being used over and over again.
We have thankfully not had a major attack in Australia (yet) — and this, in the media, has been contributed to the extra money, excellent policing, and surveillance work. (I was unable to find a press release on the raids.)
The ABC reported that,
“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed raids carried out in Sydney on Saturday ‘disrupted‘ what appeared to be an ‘elaborate‘ conspiracy, and said extra security was in place at airports around the country.”
Maybe the PM should get the same authorities to investigate another elaborate conspiracy that actually killed 10 Australians back in September, 2001.
And AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin said,
“We do believe it is Islamic-inspired terrorism. Exactly what is behind this is something that we will need to investigate fully,”
I’m not quite sure if I’m living through an espionage thriller or a comedy.