Theo flew a Palestinian flag. First he was doxed, then came the bomb!

by Farah Abdurahman | Feb 12, 2024 | Government, Latest Posts

The victim of the Sydney bomb threat was doxxed by Israel government supporters, and the investigation was handed to a junior constable at the local police station who went on leave, rather than Counter-Terrorism police. With anti-Zionism and Islamophobia on the rise, Farah Abdurahman reports on how authorities are handling the tensions.

A device planted on the hood of a car in the Eastern Sydney suburb of Botany was not “a fake bomb” as mainstream media and politicians have stated.

The victim of the terror-related incident, Theo, said the investigating officer confirmed the item was an improvised explosive device without the ability to detonate remotely.

Theo – who prefers his full name be protected for safety reasons – has criticised inaction by officers at the South Sydney Local Area Command who downplayed the incident, and after six-weeks failed to refer the matter to the Counter-Terrorism Squad.

He said the investigation has seemingly stalled while the junior constable in charge recovered from Covid, ahead of taking three-weeks of planned leave. 

Michael West Media reached out to the NSW Police for comment but received only a pre-drafted holding statement stating officers were called out on January 5 following “reports of a suspicious item”.

“Officers from the Rescue and Bomb Squad attended and deemed the item safe,” the NSW Police spokesperson said.

However Theo said it took various investigating teams more than three-hours to “deem the item safe”. 

“An exclusion zone was set up, our home was a crime scene; there were police, a bomb squad, a bomb disarming robot, and forensic teams on site. That statement by police is entirely dismissive of the incident and the police resources dedicated to the call out,” Theo said.

Image: The bomb disposal robot onsite at the Botany address after the IED was reported.

Doxing and the Z600

Theo said he fed entire dossiers of information to the police in early January including how he was doxed on the “Jews of Sydney” Facebook page, which published his home address back in December, and included hateful and racist comments with incitement to violence.

“The last contact I had with Police was back on January 28 and that was just an email from the junior constable to say he had Covid, and he’s headed off on leave. There was no mention as to who would be managing the case in his absence,” Theo said.

“The woman who doxed me did so under her own name, she has not been questioned by police regarding publishing my home address on the internet. 

“I also provided the police with a suspect and supporting evidence and he too has not been questioned.”

This week a leaked transcript from a clandestine social media group chat involving 600 Zionist creatives revealed large-scale doxing efforts and co-ordinated attacks on Palestinians and their allies.

The activist collectives who published the leaked chat said in a statement published to Four AM that the transcript was shared in the public’s interest.

The statement goes on to discuss how the leaked group chat provided critical insight into how Zionists organised and operated in the progressive arts, academic and media spaces, demonstrating coordinated efforts to silence criticism of Israel.

“Many of us were shocked and disturbed by the contents of the transcript as we read the tactics discussed to target and harm the livelihood and reputation of good and just people, some for simply being Palestinian, and almost all for calling for an end to the genocide against the people of Gaza,” the collective said.

“To frame the sharing of this information as antisemitic or ‘doxing’ is an attempt to distract and deflect from the bigoted rhetoric and organised aggression enacted by many in the Zionist group chat against activists, artists, academics and anyone who speaks up for Palestine.

The investigation

Theo said police were doing their utmost to not investigate the matter as a violent crime, which meant he and his family were excluded from receiving victim support or adequate protection.

“I have already lost more than a month of work from trying to do the police’s job and simultaneously deal with my own trauma and support my family,” Theo said.

“I have less than a month left of pushing this before the rent is at risk and I am financially stricken.”

Theo, a fourth generation white Australian, said he has no doubt in his mind that he was targeted because “people” thought he was Palestinian.

“I’m just a standard guy who looks like a bogan. But because I chose to oppose genocide and fly the Palestinian flag I was targeted. I know from the comments on social media under the doxing that they thought I was Arab or Muslim,” he said.

 

 

Doxxed

Image: Comments under the Facebook post doxing Theo.

“I thought I was pretty aware of institutional racism, but it’s been heartbreaking to get even a small taste of what it’s like to not be afforded the white privilege I normally take for granted.

“This is systemic failure. The willingness of politicians and law enforcement to accept injustice, to issue human and civil rights selectively, to offer their protection selectively, it’s the same mechanism being used to defund UNWRA and provide military aid to Israel. 

“There is a structural, endemic failure to protect and treat equally any citizens perceived to be the wrong kind of minority. Political support of Palestine has grouped me and my family within this minority group despite our “whiteness.”

Former cop turned Barrister Mahmud Hawila, who is representing Theo, said his client was exploring his legal options and considering filing a complaint with the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission.

“This is one of the clearest examples of a terror related incident I have seen and the fact that the Counter-Terror Squad have not taken it on is a clear example of a failure to follow what is standard procedure in investigating these matters,” Mr Hawila said.

“Every member of the public is entitled to the same service from NSW Police, notwithstanding how they look, how they pray, or what flag is hanging outside their home. 

“If this bomb was placed in front of a house displaying the Israeli flag, I have no doubt in my mind that this would have been referred to the counter terrorism unit immediately for investigation.” 

Strategically stalled investigations?

It took more than 100-days for police to announce that footage of hate chants at the Sydney Opera House had been doctored and were fake.

In Victoria, it also took more than 100-days for arrests to be made in relation to an attack on a Melbourne fast-food restaurant – Burgertory.

While Police say the attack on the burger house was arson, Burgertory owner Hasheam Tayeh took to social media to maintain the firebombing was a hate crime, that followed weeks of targeted discrimination and assault on his staff and premises.

Theo believes high level political interference is at play to undermine the seriousness of the bomb threat, amid a pattern of burying cases against Palestine supporters through prolonged investigations and delaying charges and arrests.

Premier Minns’ weak response

“[NSW Premier] Chris Minns was quick to show his solidarity with Jewish communities after October 7. He wasted no time condemning what we now know were false allegations of hate chants at the Opera house, and he raced to do a photo op at a Jewish restaurant in Sydney after claims of a hate crime,” Theo said.

“I had someone plant a bomb on my car, right outside my home where I live with my family, and yet Minns has not so much as acknowledged it. No phone call, no condemnation, no public address.”

Theo said a note left with the Improvised Explosive Device made explicit demands that he remove the flag and any message boards expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people or expect another bomb. 

At an unrelated press conference around five days after the bomb incident, Premier Minns was asked to comment on the matter. In his response, the Premier referred to the item as a “fake bomb.”

“Minns reference to this incident as just a fake bomb and not a targeted political attack; intentionally, actively and knowingly provides political and legal protection for the bomber and demonstrates complicity at a state government level,” Theo said.

“Politicians who publicly disregard and vilify certain groups, while showing clear bias, create a laissez-faire environment of permissive impunity for targeting not just brown people, not just Muslims, but anyone who opposes genocide.

“If this continues not to be taken seriously and no one is brought to justice, I will hold the police responsible, I will hold politicians responsible and I will hold the broader action of the powers that be – who have drawn a wilful curtain of silence and ignorance around this – even more responsible than the bomber.”

After prompting by MWM, the NSW Police advised the case has been handed over to detectives at the South Sydney Local Area Command. 

The matter has still not been referred to the Counter-Terrorism Squad.

As the investigation continues, anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


Editor’s Note: MWM understands mainstream media have been made aware of the police response to the bomb threat against Theo but have chosen not to publish the story.

Farah is a former political reporter for Fairfax Media. She has almost 20 years of media and communications experience in senior and executive roles working across government, research and innovation, and the private sector.

Don't pay so you can read it.

Pay so everyone can.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This