Anti-terror authorities will keep tabs for two years on a West Wollongong man who collected ISIS paraphernalia and called on Allah to destroy Australia – “this filthy country” – in the lead-up to Anzac Day.
Peter Kalantzis, 37, piqued the interest of the Australian Federal Police and NSW Police Force Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) when he posted a message to Facebook on April 13, threatening to hunt down with “my AK47” any spies that had infiltrated his list of friends.
In subsequent posts, all written under the psuedonym Abdul Rahmaan Abu Muhammad, he mourned the death of a Syrian friend now in “Jannah” (the Islamic concept of paradise) and vowed to “celebrate the destruction of America”.
JCTT officers searched the West Wollongong home Kalantzis, a carer, shares with his unwell elderly father nine days later.
They seized what prosecutors described as “a large number of digital and physical materials of a religiously extreme nature, including terrorist propaganda and violent and graphic material”.
This included black and white patches with Islamic insignia - one bearing the flag of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) - a disc titled ‘Bilaad Al-Shaam & What is the least we can do for Syria’, five flags with Islamic insignia, two knives and a bullet, handwritten notes containing the words ‘jihad’ and “Jabat Al Nusra’, a printed document titled ‘Muhajireen Battalions in Syria’ and books relating to Al Qaeda and jihadism.
“The presence and volume of these materials indicates a concerning fixation on the offender’s part on extremist interpretations of Islam and the activities of terrorist organisations,” the Commonwealth DPP told Wollongong Local Court, in written submissions tendered on Thursday.
Kalantzis was arrested and admitted to federal agents that he had created the Facebook profile. He said he had deleted it on April 24, and opened a new account in the name of Abdul Rahmaan Abu Muhahir. He had shared Islamic knowledge with Facebook friends – about 200 people he had never met in person.
He told the agents he wrote the threatening posts as a scare tactic, but didn’t intend them for anyone in particular, and didn’t have any intention or means of following through on his threats.
Kalantzis was sentenced on Thursday, after pleaded guilty to a charge of using a carriage service to menace.
The court heard Kalantzis, a man of Greek descent, prayed at a Wollongong mosque and received guidance from a Sheikh there.
Prosecutors told the court his actions had diverted JCTT resources otherwise set aside for detecting, investigating and disrupting serious threats to national security.
They countered suggestions from Kalantzis’ lawyer, that his untested mental health may have contributed to his actions or reduced his moral culpability.
“On the contrary, the offender made admissions … that he wrote the posts in response to hearing that there were spies on Facebook and of other people being reported, and in response to events happening overseas, including the deaths of women, children and old people. These admissions indicate that he offender acted upon a rational basis when writing the posts.”
Anzac Day The Day This Filthy Country Celebrate The Killing of Muslims in the Lands of IslamPeter Kalantzis
Magistrate Abdul-Karim noted Kalantzis was a person of prior good character, with a clean criminal history. The magistrate was ultimately not convinced that he was motivated by extremist ideology.
Kalantzis was sentenced to two years imprisonment, with the sentence suspended on condition of a $500 surety, and extensive terms surrounding his use of social media.
He must not contact anyone who is a member of a terrorist organisation and is required to give authorities near-unfettered access to his online activities.
“I wanted to ensure there is monitoring of [Kalantzis] for a lengthy period of time to ensure that any [similar] behaviour is detected,” Magistrate Abdul-Karim said.
Kalantzis told the magistrate he would not be revisiting any social media.
Outside court, solicitor Danny Lagopodis said his client was not an extremist.
“My client, who I’ve known for many years, and his family, for no apparent reason other than perhaps his mental state, decided to put on Facebook certain extremist material,” he said.
”We live in a very very concerned world where terrorism is at the forefront of everybody’s mind.
“He is a man that perhaps didn’t think things [through] properly and thoroughly. He is a collector of these items, it’s strange that he should be a collector of these items, but by all means he had no intention of putting into practice what he might have said.”
Tending to the extreme: the Facebook posts that sparked a counter-terrorism investigation
April 11: Ya Allah Bless Me with Ash-Shahadaah Ammen
April 13: A Warning To Anyone On My Friends List if You Are A Spy I’ll come and Hunt You Down Anyone who is working for Asio I will personally Hunt You Down I’ve been Reported Three Times This Week So the Danger Extends to You I can Find you Anywhere you Are and my AK 47 is by my side.
April 18: Allah Swt place you in Jannah Al Firdaws O Brother Abu Al Waleed I truly miss you it was nice knowing you in this Life Ins Sha Allah our paths cross in Al Jannah This Dunya is Cursed. (Asked who Abu Al Waleed was, he replied: “Shaheed Akhi Syria friend of mine”).
April 18: Anzac Day The Day This Filthy Country Celebrate The Killing of Muslims in the Lands of Islam The Kuffar celebrate Massacres of Muslims May Allah Swt Curse and Destroy Australia.
April 18: Today America is Celebrating The Destruction of Islamic Countries Tomorrow We The Muslims will be Celebrating The Destruction of America.