I arrived home from work last night just as the 6 o'clock news was beginning on Channel Seven.
The first item was a dull piece on mining taxes but my attention was taken by a report on the arrest of a teenager of Lebanese descent and the scenes outside the Melbourne Magistrates Court as his distressed mother paid out at detectives who gave evidence sobbing, ''You f----ing dogs, you lie in the witness box,'' and who then threw her shoe at a cameraman.
I wondered how the media might cover this story. Would it be dealt with by crime writers or would they recognise the wider implications?
The Melbourne Age surprised me by going with your common garden variety crime tale about a police raid on a family home (Chaouk laid claim to guns, court told) which uncovered weapons and ammunition as well as 36 blank passports believed to be among 100 stolen in 1996. It was clear that this was a story that went far beyond merely allegations of criminality. Surely, we had before us a tale full of political intrigue with international overtones deserving of coverage from a brave journalist prepared to dig deep to uncover and reveal the truth?
I imagined that it might be something like this story (names, places and faces altered to protect the innocent):
Eye witness Report: Suddenly, smoke and the mirrors exploded
PAUL FGEOUGH, MELBOURNE July 04, 2010
[The photographs that got away ... Police enter the Chagluck family compound under the cover of darkness. Photo: Kate Gelachter]
THE police attack was timed for dawn prayers - when a large number of the men of the Chagluck family household were praying in the back yard of the Brooklyn Road family residence and the womenfolk scurried about carrying out an inventory of their household goods stored neatly in a woodpile.
Mother Fatwa was lovingly polishing a pump-action shotgun before returning it to its special place in a wall cavity as the call to prayer could be heard all across the neighbourhood. The streetscape was a peaceful, loving scene of serenity as I cruised past the family compound in my rented four wheel drive with photographer Kate Gelachter seated beside me longingly stroking her thighs. The excitement was building.
It was a front-row seat for the opening to a police operation that was about to go horribly wrong for the Chagluck family, for the people of Australia and for humanity as a whole.
In the blackness before the rising of a burnt-orange moon, all that could be seen of the police around us were pin-points of light, as their shiny police issue paint ball guns glistened under the pink-toned lights of neighbourhood lampposts that dimly lit the streets outside the peace-loving, law-abiding Chagluck family abode.
Then, the tightening noose. Sneaking up and around the house, there were bullet-shaped police cars that soon became impossible to hide as the moonlight and those lampposts made them look a shade of fluorescent pink. First one, then two and maybe four could be seen sneaking in from the rear.
They hunted like hyenas - moving up and ahead on the flanks; pushing in, then peeling away; and finally, lagging before lunging. But as they moved alongside the house the dozen or so helmeted policemen copped the full force of the Chagluck's sprinkler system.
Suddenly, smoke bombs were exploding and I swear I could hear one of the police officers disrespectfully breaking wind in the back yard where prayers were held five times a day.
The following unbiased and totally objective account of what happened in the Chagluck family compound is based on interviews with family and close friends while my news crew were held in custody for three days after our vehicle was intercepted by other police officers who alleged it was unroadworthy.
The police raid was ferocious. They battered every member of the household until they were all black and blue. Many of them were rendered unconscious by heavy blows from police batons. One of cops scared the living suitcases out of Fatwa who became hysterical and has still not recovered to this very day. Another is alleged to have stolen an upper set of dentures belonging to her husband Meshuganeh, the family patriarch, who was still dazed, glassy eyed and frothing from the mouth three days later. No blood was found at the scene because, according to one family member who refused to be identified, a special team of police cleaners arrived to remove all evidence of the struggle.
At week's end, son Omargod, aged 18, 162cm tall and 125kg appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court charged with multiple offences, including dealing with firearms. The prosecution painted him as a thug and a gangster in the making but relatives disagree. They say Omargod only recently returned from a vacation where he visited his parents' birthplace in Lebanon's peaceful Bekaa Valley and then stopped over to spend time doing voluntary lifeguard work at Gaza's new Olympic sized pool, followed by a stint at a youth camp before it was burnt down by Hamas activists. Mother Fatwa had been delighted to notice on his return that, despite the deprivation all around the open air prison that is Gaza; her son came home in good spirits having gained 10kgs on account of numerous visits to the local marketplaces and restaurants. She scoffs at the charges against Omargod relating to 36 blank passports believed to be from 100 missing since 1996 and says her son is being framed.
"I tell you this is the work of the Mossad. Everyone knows the Jews forge passports all of the time. They do this to pees us off... and besides, it was 14 years ago and Omargod was only four years old when cousin Hanif stole them."
Omargod's uncle Faroukh was even more forthcoming. He said the police raid was a cover up operation ordered by people in high places and he has good reason to believe.
"The world knows the Zionist pigs and monkeys control everything. I read about that red-haired woman and her boyfriend who works for the Jews. They run everything with their lobbies. I tell my sister Fatwa to throw her shoe at the cameraman as an act of defiance because this is not about any crime committed by Omargod. I swear he didn't beat up all those neighbours like the police say. He's a good boy and needs weapons to protect his family. Besides, this is all about the siege and the occupation."
Omargod will spend the weekend in custody awaiting a magistrate's decision on whether he should be bailed but, given the hysteria whipped up by the Zionist controlled media in this country, is there any likelihood that he and his saintly and long-suffering family will ever receive the justice they long for so badly?
■ FGeough and Gelachter were yesterday released after being detained in the Melbourne Remand Centre for three days.
■ Management and staff of this newspaper wish to disclose that reporter Paul FGeough is a partner of Bulvan Chagluck, sister of Omargod Chagluck. Kate Gelachter is peesed off.