Martin Hirst writes:


A 40 year-old Brisbane teacher has become the first
Queenslander charged under Australian terror laws. John Howard Amundsen, from
suburban Aspley, faced court yesterday charged with a series of terror offences
including the preparation of a terrorist act using email to make threats and
fraudulently obtaining explosives.

According to police Amundsen, a former
television cameraman and PR officer at Brisbane
airport, threatened to launch a jihad on the streets of Brisbane in an email message traced to him.
Police also tracked their suspect from mobile phone records.

When Queensland
and federal police raided Amundsen’s home they allegedly found 53 kilograms of
the high explosive Powergel and 10 remote detonators. Police say that at least
four bombs containing nails and razorblades were found at the home Amundsen
shares with his elderly mother.

Amundsen’s high profile lawyer, solicitor
Andrew Boe, says his client is not linked to any terrorist plot and that there
is a less sinister explanation for Amundsen’s possession of the explosives.
According to police accounts Amundsen had said that the Powergel was for use in
several stunts he was planning for a yet-to-be made film project. However, film
industry sources told police that such explosives were not used in movie
stunts.

Among items seized from Amundsen’s house
were a book about Osama bin Laden and what police are referring to as Nazi and
war paraphernalia. Police were alerted to Amundsen when workers at a south Queensland quarry became
suspicious about a purchase of Powergel explosives using what turned out to be
false documents.

The Queensland
government has announced a tough new crackdown that will require all purchasers
and sellers of explosives to report to the Natural Resources and Mines
Department. Deputy Premier Anna Bligh has also written to the Prime Minister
suggesting a tougher national approach to stop people crossing state borders to
make illegal buys of explosives.

Peter Fray

Save up to 50% on a year of Crikey.

This extraordinary year is almost at an end. But we know that time waits for no one, and we won’t either. This is the time to get on board with Crikey.

For a limited time only, choose what you pay for a year of Crikey.

Save up to 50% or dig deeper so we can dig deeper.

See you in 2021.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

SAVE 50%