Erstwhile patriot movement hang-around Phillip Galea this week began the latest chapter in his three-year ordeal in the Victorian justice system; he is currently on trial in Melbourne facing serious terrorism charges.
I was present at most of the Reclaim Australia and United Patriots Front rallies held in Melbourne and Bendigo in 2015 and 2016, but I do not recall seeing Phil Galea around.
When he was originally arrested on weapons charges in late 2015 however the penny dropped and I realised I had seen Galea’s odd public behaviour, in a different context, many years earlier.
In 2010 I attended a left-wing rally against the nascent patriot movement outside Flinders Street Station in Melbourne, ostensibly to observe Antifa and certain other suspicious characters from the online Neo-Nazi milieu.
Bear in mind that ten years ago the scumbag left could muster 500 people into a baying mob at just a few hours’ notice. So, when an obscure right-wing group linked to the Zionist Q Society declared that they would meet under the clocks at Flinders Street to protest Islam the Trotskyites and anarchists vowed to stop them.
In the end, only two right-wingers turned up and were quickly escorted away by the police, however toward the end of the rally a bizarre event occurred which gave the media and the left their photo of the day.
Across the road from the station and the main body of leftists a group of known Antifa and punks were mooching about watching the spectacle, standing with them was a tubby figure now known to all as Phil Galea; now whether he knew these lefties and was there as part of their crew I cannot say, I assumed by his appearing to banter with them that he was not perceived as a threat at any rate.
Suddenly a dishevelled looking kid with a shaven head and wearing sports clothing under a black trench coat bowled into the midst of the Antifa and began giving the red “power” salute of the raised clenched fist. Galea, for some reason, then stepped forward with the lad and gave a Fascist salute, much to the amusement of the Antifa; the shaven-headed kid was grabbed by a burly police sergeant and frog marched away from the scene while Phil returned to his former position.
This was odd for two reasons, firstly why was Galea with Antifa and secondly if he was attending alone why didn’t they stomp him there and then for being an overt neo-Nazi?
Fast forward five years and Phil Galea is knocking about the patriot scene and getting himself into all sorts of trouble, he was, I understand, arrested twice on weapons charges and then jailed for a month in late 2015 for possessing several direct current weapons described by the media as tasers.
Movement hoppers are always a worry, routinely stepping from one group to another, which hints at either a personality disorder or ulterior motives; there were well-known and deeply compromised individuals who always appeared to lead and advise the newest patriot cliques during their 2015-16 rising, Galea seems to have had links to all of them.
Sociopathic desperados such as Ralph Cerminara and Neil Erikson had their sticky fingers all over the Victorian patriot milieu, Erikson, in particular, was close to Galea and it is understood that a phone call between the two was being conducted at the moment counter-terrorism police swooped on Phil’s western suburbs home.
The idea that Phil Galea was some sort of patriot leader in his own right is far-fetched, he apparently belonged to numerous Facebook groups and attended a few rallies but other than that he looks to have been a nobody as far as the organised groups were concerned.
So, the big question is: was Phil Galea a just weak-minded individual being manipulated by movement wrecker and police asset Erikson and other, as yet unnamed actors?
I am afraid I don’t have a concrete answer to that query, the fact that Galea’s mental state and fitness to stand trial has delayed proceedings for over three years is a big hint, as is his confinement to the Thomas Embling Hospital, a secure psychiatric facility.
Galea’s QC began his defence this week by asserting that certain outrageous comments made by her client concerning planned acts of terroristic violence, which were captured by police phone taps, were part of a sting operation to flush out a police mole in the original incarnation of right-wing street crew Soldiers of Odin.
Soldiers of Odin Melbourne, in the first instance, was one of Neil Erikson’s short-lived attempts to cash in on an emerging overseas trend, he commandeered the name during the period in which Galea was under police surveillance until others chased him off the naming rights after securing an official charter from the mother chapter in Finland.
Galea’s lawyers further asserted that he passed on information to a “self-confessed Nazi sympathiser” in the S.O.O group, that sounds like Neil Erikson to me since the legitimate organisers, for all their other faults, would have no truck with Neo-Fascist types.
Galea could have simply asked around the patriot scene if he wanted an opinion on who the mole might be and he would have been told straight away to be wary of Neil Erikson and his crew of misfits; the fact that he appears to have gone solo and tried to sort things out himself seems to indicate that he was an isolated and disturbed figure living in a bubble of internet drama.
We have seen this over and over again in terrorism cases, sad and disconnected people being drawn into the web of provocateurs and police informants, there are probably quite a few of young Muslim men currently languishing in maximum security cell blocks due to ill-considered words to a compromised person and becoming too emotionally invested social media drama.
That is not to diminish the threat posed by such people but loneliness, depression and a need to belong to something seemingly larger than oneself, along with the provocative actions of police moles in subverting dissident groups is the real story here, not “far-right” terrorism.