The Bizarre Case of USyd Lecturer Tim Anderson
WORDS BY EDEN FAITHFULL & JOSHUA WOOLLER
Tim Anderson has been a senior lecturer in the Political Economy department at Sydney University since 1998. He is also currently in North Korea defending the “independent” Kim dynasty against “renewed US aggression”. So it’s safe to say he has some controversial political opinions.
In what can only be described as one of the strangest hiring choices in the history of the University, Anderson has a bizarre track record, from pushing the idea that Syrian gas attacks were “false flag” operations orchestrated by the US Government, rather than Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, to being convicted and serving six years in prison for the attempted execution of a bomb plot. Following his release in 1985, due to a police informant’s testimony being deemed as unreliable, Anderson was re-arrested and convicted in 1990 for his alleged involvement in the Sydney Hilton Bombings of 1978, which killed two people. Evan Pederick in 1989 testified that Anderson had ordered him to plant bombs in the Hilton, though, in 1991, Pederick’s testimony was ruled as unreliable, and Anderson was once again acquitted.
Anderson found academia following his release, and took up a position at UTS in 1994, before moving to USyd. Of course, since his appointment at USyd, Anderson still advocates for a wide variety of conspiracy theories, which seem incongruous with the prestigious legacy of the University.
In 2014 Anderson travelled to Damascus with a WikiLeaks party delegation to meet Assad. Anderson’s support for the Syrian regime culminated earlier this year, when he was involved in a two-day pro-Assad conference, that discussed the country’s Civil War from the perspective of terrorist organisation Hezbollah. Anderson has claimed that the Syrian Civil War is a “hoax” masterminded by former US President Barack Obama to “destroy an independent nation”. All terrorist organisations in Syria, according to Anderson, have been directly financed by the United States government in order to create a “New Middle East.”
He has labelled sarin gas attacks, which the European Union and United States have attributed to the Assad regime as being “false flag operations”. In a post written on his Facebook page, Anderson claimed that there is “no credible evidence that the Syrian Army has ever used chemical weapons”. Amnesty International concluded that the attacks were likely the result of aerial bombardment, while Prime-Minister Malcolm Turnbull described the attacks as “horrendous political conduct” on the part of the Assad regime.
The Political Economy Society’s Vice President, Andrew, offered Pulp a perspective of his senior lecturer that he claims has not been addressed by the media that often flock to his divergent political opinions.
“He’s actually a very engaging and passionate lecturer. A lot of his students really like him,” he admitted. “I haven’t had him as a lecturer before, but from what I’ve heard from all of his students, he’s a great educator”.
“It’s really important to have diversity in the Political Economy department. Of course, if you have a lecturer spouting sexist or racist views, then that’s another matter - but Professor Anderson just hold political opinions that are … very unorthodox in Australia”.
“Also I think you should note - he was, in the eyes of the law, acquitted of the terrorist acts he allegedly executed. I think that should be said.”
Another student told Pulp that as soon as he had found out Anderson’s views, he immediately dropped the subject.
"It’s probably fair to say I didn’t want to be lectured to by someone that denies pretty basic facts”, he told Pulp.
A student that had taken one of Anderson’s classes, however, told Pulp that from his lecture experience, he had found Anderson a “fairly normal, boring lecturer” and the he would not have known of Anderson’s strange views were it not for media coverage.
Anderson is currently on leave partaking in a “solidarity visit” in North Korea, a country which according to the United Nations Commission of Inquiry of Human Rights has human rights abuses the “gravity and scale” of which “do not have any parallel in the contemporary world.”