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17 Feb, 2023 15:30

Police told to keep record of ‘conspiracy theorists’ and ‘communists’

Law enforcement in Australia’s Queensland must report interactions with ‘extremists’ to counter-terror teams
Police told to keep record of ‘conspiracy theorists’ and ‘communists’

The Queensland police are required to report interactions with people who “allegedly hold a range of ideological beliefs” including “conspiracy theorists,” according to an email sent to all members of the Queensland Police Service on Thursday and seen by ABC News.

Police must record interactions with such individuals in the state’s QPrime database “at the first available opportunity,” the email states, explaining that in addition to “conspiracy theorists,” “religious, social or political extremists and sovereign citizens, as well as people with ideologies relating to capitalism, communism, socialism or Marxism” also fit the bill.

Officers were also told to report “all matters that indicate concerning or escalating behavior due to ideological beliefs, including religious and single-issue ideologies” and advised of the “risks” inherent in dealing with these groups.

The guidance comes after a deadly shooting in Wieambilla in December left two officers and a civilian dead, in addition to the three shooters. Nathaniel, Gareth and Stacey Train reportedly gunned down constables Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold and injured two other officers on their property, also killing neighbor Alan Dare when he was drawn to the scene by the noise. The Trains were then killed by specialist police following an hours-long standoff.  

Authorities are calling the incident a “religious terror attack,” citing the Trains’ Christian fundamentalist beliefs, a strain known as premillenarianism, whose adherents prepare for and anticipate the End of Days. A police investigation concluded the family had “acted as an autonomous cell” to carry out the attack, Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Tracy Linford told reporters on Thursday. 

Christian extremist ideology has been linked to other attacks around the world but this is the first time we’ve seen it in Australia,” the deputy commissioner said, acknowledging that there was no evidence the family had identified themselves as “sovereign citizens.” Stacey Train’s diary reportedly described police as “monsters and demons.

Police were potentially “lured” to the Trains’ farm in search of Nathaniel, a high-school principal who had been reported missing by his estranged wife in New South Wales and was wanted on firearms charges.

Much has been made of Gareth Train’s postings on online forums, where he described Covid-19 as a “neurological bio-weapon” and the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, which led to sharply restricted gun ownership for civilians, as an operation to “disarm the Australian population.” 

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