Tim Anderson (political economist)

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Tim Anderson (born 30 April 1953)[1] is an Australian academic and activist. He is a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney and the author of several books on independent development and anti-imperialism. In 1979, he was convicted and imprisoned for an alleged Ananda Marga conspiracy to murder a National Front leader Robert Cameron,[2] but was pardoned in 1985 after an inquiry.[3] In a linked case in 1990 he was convicted for ordering the 1978 Sydney Hilton Hotel bombing and sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment, but was acquitted on appeal in 1991.[4] He subsequently became active in prisoners' rights and civil liberties groups, and has been involved with international solidarity and civil rights campaigns. He has worked as an academic since the early 1990s.

He was suspended from his post at the University of Sydney in early December 2018 and is intending to appeal against a decision to terminate his employment.[5]

Academic history[edit]

Anderson obtained a BA in economics from Murdoch University in 1983, a BA (Hons) from Macquarie University in 1986, and a PhD from Macquarie University in 1997. He was a lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney from 1994 to 1999 and has been a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney since 1998.[6][7]

International and civil rights campaigns[edit]

Anderson has supported civil liberties and prisoners' rights in Australia. He was involved in the Sydney-based group Justice Action in the 1990s which worked with the campaign group 'Campaign Exposing the Frame-Up of Tim Anderson' (CEFTA), whose newsletter 'Framed' was taken over by Justice Action and ran until 2004.[8] He was later Secretary of the NSW Council of Civil Liberties over 1998–1999.[9][original research?] Prisoners rights were a theme of his writing in the 1980s and 1990s, as reflected in his book 1989 book Inside Outlaws and part of his 1992 book Take Two, along with a number of published papers and interviews.[10][11][12]

He has campaigned in support of East Timor, Democratic People's Republic of North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Palestine and Syria. Between 2008 and 2014 Anderson made a series of short documentaries on the Cuban training of Timorese doctors,[13][14][15] and the work of Cuban doctors in the Pacific.[16] In February 2017 Cuba awarded him their Friendship Medal "as an acknowledgement of his unconditional solidarity towards Cuba and its revolution".[17]

He has been a critic of what he sees as uninvited foreign intervention in Syria[18][19] including the use of foreign funded groups, like the White Helmets, to call for humanitarian intervention in Syria.[20][21] He has described allegations the Syrian government was responsible for chemical attacks as a "hoax", contradicted by independent evidence[22][23] and Assad as a "mild-mannered eye doctor".[24][25]

In academic writing Anderson stresses the principle of self-determination of peoples, in international law and the twin covenants of human rights.[26] Similarly, he calls his book on the Syrian conflict, a 'defence of the right of the Syrian people to determine their own society and political system ... consistent with international law'.[27] In 2016 Anderson and other academics established the pro-Assad Centre for Counter Hegemonic Studies, because they believed their research and discussion was being censored by a broad conspiracy of governments, corporations, universities, and other academic institutions. According to Anderson, the organisation has no budget and is intended to compile a "virtual library" in support of sovereignty and self-determination.[28]

He has visited Syria many times during the war,[24] and attracted criticism for visiting in late 2013, while the Assad government was conducting bombing of civilians and hospitals, schools and civilian infrastructure in opposition-held areas of Syria.[29] The civil war he says is a "fiction" created by the United States "to destroy an independent nation".[28] In April 2017 he co-hosted a two-day conference on Syria at the University of Sydney, described in The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald as a "pro-Assad conference".[28][30][31] In September 2017, he travelled to Pyongyang and pledged solidarity with the North Korean people against alleged aggression from the West.[32] He also attracted controversy in April 2017 for using a series of Anzac Day social media posts to allege the Australian air force was committing murder in Syria.[25]

Ananda Marga bombing allegations[edit]

In 1979, Anderson was convicted along with Ross Dunn and Paul Alister to 16 years' imprisonment for an alleged plot by members of the Ananda Marga spiritual movement, plot to bomb the house of Robert Cameron, a member of the far-right National Front of Australia. After almost seven years in prison the three were pardoned and paid a sum in compensation following an inquiry into the convictions in 1985.[33] However, in a linked case, he was re-arrested in 1989. In 1990, Anderson was convicted for three counts of murder for planning the Sydney Hilton Hotel bombing, for which Evan Pederick had been jailed the previous year. Anderson was sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment, but was acquitted on appeal in 1991.[34] In directing an acquittal NSW Chief Justice Murray Gleeson said: "The trial of the appellant miscarried principally because of an error which resulted in large part from the failure of the prosecuting authorities adequately to check aspects of the Jayewardene theory. This was compounded by what I regard as an inappropriate and unfair attempt by the Crown to persuade the jury to draw inferences of fact, and accept argumentative suggestions, that were not properly open on the evidence. I do not consider that in those circumstances the Crown should be given a further opportunity to patch up its case against the appellant. It has already made one attempt too many to do that, and I believe that, if that attempt had never been made, there is a strong likelihood that the appellant would have been acquitted".[35][36][37]

The two failed prosecutions against Tim Anderson and his friends are cited examples of Australian miscarriages of justice, for example in Kerry Carrington's (Ed) 1991 book Travesty! Miscarriages of Justice[38][39] and in other law texts[40] including notes on compensation practice.[41][42]

Opinions and responses[edit]

The Spectator Australia describes Anderson's book The Dirty War on Syria, as published by GlobalResearch "a book club gathering for academic crackpots and conspiracy theorists".[43] On the other hand, retired sociology Professor James Petras wrote: "Tim Anderson has written the best systematic critique of western fabrications justifying the war against the Assad government. No other text brings together all the major accusations and their effective refutation."[44]

In August 2018, Anderson was investigated by his university for defending a badge worn by a former colleague which said "death to Israel" and "A curse on the Jews". Anderson and his ex-colleague had visited North Korea the previous month. According to Anderson, his associate was "under attack from zionists" and "friends of Israel".[45][46] Australian Education Minister Simon Birmingham described Anderson as an "embarrassment to academia" with "extreme views",[45] and the investigation was welcomed by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.[46] In a response, Anderson said he merely refused to censor the image, that did not support the expression on the badge, and instead argues "Israel must be dismantled".[47]

On 5 December 2018, it was reported that Anderson is to be sacked from his University of Sydney Senior Lecturer role for showing students material including an image of a Nazi swastika superimposed over the Israeli flag.[48] Reports indicated Anderson was given a week to show cause as to why he should not be dismissed, and Anderson said he intends to appeal the decision. On Facebook, Anderson described the action of the university as "political censorship".[48]



  1. ^ "Tim Anderson v. Australia, Communication No. 1367/2005". University of Minnesota, from United Nations Human Rights Committee. 2006-11-15.
  2. ^ Dunn, Irina. "The Ananda Marga Trial" (PDF). Legal Service Bulletin. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  3. ^ Free Alister Dunn and Anderson: The Ananda Marga Conspiracy Case, Wild & Woolley, 1985.
  4. ^ [Julia Rabar, Australian terrorism born in the Sydney Hilton bombing, HeraldSun, December 20, 2012
  5. ^ "Australian University Lecturer Expelled After Showing Swastika Imposed Over Israel Flag". Haaretz. DPA. 5 December 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  6. ^ Dr Tim Anderson, University of Sydney, retrieved 2017-02-24
  7. ^ Tim Anderson, The Conversation, retrieved 2017-02-24
  8. ^ National Library of Australia '1989-2004, English, Periodical, Journal, magazine, other edition: Framed / Campaign Exposing the Frame-up of Tim Anderson, https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/6767912?selectedversion=NBD7678509
  9. ^ http://www.nswccl.org.au; see also Green left Weekly, 1999, Campaigning against NSW truancy law, https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/campaigning-against-nsw-truancy-law; Australian parliament, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Former_Committees/acc/completed_inquiries/1999-02/street_legal/report/c02; HRCA, 1999, http://www.hrca.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/sport_and_human_rights.pdf
  10. ^ Rob Graham, 1992, Tim Anderson speaks on the prison system, Green left Weekly, 25 November, https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/tim-anderson-speaks-prison-system
  11. ^ Tim Anderson, 1996, 'The loophole in victims' compensation', http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/AltLawJl/1996/54.pdf
  12. ^ Tim Anderson, 1995, 'Victims' Rights or Human Rights?', Current Issues in Criminal Justice, Sydney University Institute of Criminology, Vol 6 No 3, March
  13. ^ 'The Doctors of Tomorrow', 2008, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzhcSV4J6cg
  14. ^ 'The First Group', 2010, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZx6_mZyd54
  15. ^ 'Timor's New Doctors', 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nzz0v2gtJ38
  16. ^ 'Not really Europeans', 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVYWV7Ss780
  17. ^ 'Australian Activist Receives Cuba's Friendship Medal', http://radiohc.cu/en/noticias/nacionales/121474-australian-activist-receives-cuba's-friendship-medal
  18. ^ Tim Anderson in The Conversation, ‘The malignant consensus on Syria’, 2012, http://theconversation.com/the-malignant-consensus-on-syria-9565
  19. ^ ‘The war on Syria has never been a civil war’, http://english.khamenei.ir/news/3954/The-war-on-Syria-has-never-been-a-civil-war-Tim-Anderson
  20. ^ SBS, 'Look a bit more closely': White Helmets Oscar win under fire, 12 May 2017, http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/02/28/look-bit-more-closely-white-helmets-oscar-win-under-fire
  21. ^ Olivia Solon How Syria's White Helmets became victims of an online propaganda machine, The Guardian, 18 December 2017
  22. ^ Chapter 9 of Anderson's 2016 book The Dirty War on Syria compiles the evidence on the August 2013 East Ghouta incident
  23. ^ Assad path ‘kept open by boffins’, The Australian, April 16, 2018
  24. ^ a b University of Sydney investigates tutor’s online attack on a News Corp reporter, The Guardian 12 April 2017
  25. ^ a b Michael Koziol Sydney University lecturer used Anzac Day to accuse Australian soldiers of murder, Sydney Morning Herald 28 April 2017
  26. ^ T Anderson, 2002, 'The political economy of human rights', Journal of Australian Political Economy, December, No 50; and T Anderson, 2003, 'Self-determination after independence: East Timor and the World Bank', Portuguese Studies Review 11 (1), 169-185
  27. ^ Tim Anderson 2016, The Dirty War on Syria, Global Research, Montreal, page 10
  28. ^ a b c Koziol, Michael (April 11, 2017). "'Syria hoax': Sydney University at centre of pro-Assad push". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  29. ^ "Academic with a murky past stirs fresh controversy with trip to Damascus". www.theaustralian.com.au.
  30. ^ "Sydney academic to host twoday proassad conference". www.theaustralian.com.au.
  31. ^ "Sydney uni academic Tim Anderson defends Assad attacks Trump and Obama". www.theaustralian.com.au.
  32. ^ Sydney University’s Tim Anderson praises North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un during ‘solidarity visit’, Daily Telegraph, 4 September 2017
  33. ^ "Maleny man's Hilton bombing memories". Sunshine Coast Daily. 2008-05-25.
  34. ^ Deb Foskey (2006-03-07). "ACT Legislative Assembly Hansard". ACT Legislative Assembly.
  35. ^ R v Anderson (1991) 53 A Crim R 421. See also Tim Anderson's book, Take Two
  36. ^ Take Two, 1992, Chapter 27, http://lorikeet.and.com.au/t2/B3-CCA[permanent dead link]. htm
  37. ^ Jane Mussett and Steve Bolt 'The Tim Anderson Decision: the Chief Justice Cites the System', 16 Legal Services Bulletin 126 (1991) http://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/alterlj16&div=39&id=&page=
  38. ^ http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/UWALawRw/1992/30.pdf
  39. ^ http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/2641121
  40. ^ Russell Hogg, 'Who Bombed Tim Anderson', http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/PolemicUSyd/1991/12.pdf'[permanent dead link]
  41. ^ Justice Michael Kirby, 1993, Remedying Miscarriages in the Criminal Justice System, https://www.michaelkirby.com.au/images/stories/speeches/1990s/vol28/993-Cth_Law_Conf_-_Remedying_Miscarriages_in_the_Criminal_Justice_System.pdf
  42. ^ Adrian Hoel, 2008, Compensation for wrongful conviction, http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/tandi/341-360/tandi356.html
  43. ^ Cootes, Timothy. "Assad's Aussie cheerleader". The Spectator Australia. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  44. ^ https://www.mondialisation.ca/the-dirty-war-on-syria-a-systematic-critique-of-western-fabrications-by-tim-anderson/5530659
  45. ^ a b Koziol, Michael (19 August 2018). "Sydney Uni lecturer investigated for defending 'Death to Israel' badge". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  46. ^ a b Lecturer defends colleague, 'Australian Jewish News 24 August 2018
  47. ^ Anderson, Tim. "Concerns letter to Australian Jewish News" (PDF). counter-hegemonic-studies.net. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  48. ^ a b Koziol, Michael. "Sydney University moves to sack notorious lecturer after Nazi swastika incident". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 December 2018.