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June Today in Terrorism

June 17, 1995: Bombing of French consulate in Australia

On June 17, 1995 two people firebombed the French Consulate in Perth protesting a decision by the French government to renew nuclear tests in the South Pacific

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – Nuclear weapons are just about the worst invention in human history: does that mean opponents can bomb those who use them?

Humans are capable of creating the most awful weapons capable of the most horrible of atrocities. Poison gas. Cluster bombs. Chemical weapons.

And nuclear arms.

We all have seen pictures of nuclear weapons testing. The iconic mushroom clouds. As well as the unspeakable devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Don’t put these on your pizza – or use them on people (Photo: Australian Government, Public Domain)

It stands to reason, then, that everyone should protest any efforts to develop and use this sort of armament ever again. This is why so many are so adamant at being so active in preventing such knowledge from growing.

Up to and including the use of violence.

On this day in 1995

Two people, an Australian man and an Israeli woman, firebombed the French Consulate in Perth, in the western part of Australia. Their act was aimed at protesting a decision by the French government to renew nuclear tests in the South Pacific. More than $187,000 damage was done to the building but no one was hurt in the late-night attack.

We have to accept that in a democracy Australians have as much right as people in other parts of the world to demonstrate, but they shouldn’t demonstrate by damaging or destroying other people’s life. And this to me is an attack, a personal attack, as much as an attack on something that represents another sovereign state.

Honorary French consul Robert Pearce

The Israeli, Maya Catts, was sentenced to one year in prison for arson: her Australian counterpart, Bosco Boscovich, got three years. The two admitted filling two large glass bottles with gasoline, setting them alight and throwing at the building.

In the end the tests went forward and France remains one of the world’s – few- nuclear weapons nations. While we agree we must never use these arms again there have to be better ways to register our opposition.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Programme Director for the Security, Economics and Technology (SET) hub at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of five books on terrorism.

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