Australian Politics 2015-08-29 15:41:00


Victoria's CFMEU/Labor Police Minister on why authorities should back off from Visa checks for illegals

The farcical cancellation of random visa checks in Melbourne is the Australian Border Force’s fault, Victoria’s Police Minister says.

Wade Noonan said he was told Operation Fortitude was to be a standard police operation until the ABF’s “unfortunate and inappropriate characterisation”.

Border Force announced on Friday morning it would be “speaking to any individuals we cross paths with” in the Melbourne CBD. After online outrage about the random spot checks, the ABF clarified with “we will not stop people at random in the streets”. But it was too late to save Operation Fortitude, which was cancelled as 200 protesters swarmed Flinders Street Station and forced the press conference announcing it to be called off.

Victoria Police cancelled the operation just five hours after it was announced.  “We understand there has been a high level of community interest and concern which has been taken into consideration when making this decision,” a police statement said.

Mr Noonan said the government was told the operation would target anti-social behaviour and commuters to ensure people got home safely.

“We fully support the decision by Victoria Police to cancel the operation after the unfortunate and inappropriate characterisation by the Australian Border Force today,” Mr Noonan said.

Border Force workers told the Community and Public Sector Union they were worried about their safety and the public reaction. “They were deeply concerned at the suggestion they would be stopping all people on the street, which is not how their work has been done in the past,” union secretary Nadine Flood said.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton refused to comment, referring all media enquiries to Victoria Police.

Protest organiser Ezekiel Ox said the result was a “huge win” for Melbourne, and said locals would look out for any future attempt to check visas on the streets.

“Every single person here will be doing everything they can to impose themselves on those checks, they’ll be trying to interrupt those checks,” Mr Ox told AAP on Friday.

“They’ll be making it very difficult for the Border Force to do their job.” Opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles said the government’s over-zealous announcement of the operation was at best clumsy and at worst shambolic.

“This has been incredibly badly handled and Peter Dutton needs to immediately come clean on how this announcement was so botched,” he said in a statement.

Greens MP for Melbourne Adam Bandt said the operation could threaten Melbourne’s reputation as a welcoming city. “How will the Border Force distinguish between locals, visitors and visa holders?” he told AAP.

Traffic and trams were held up for 30 minutes in Melbourne, before protesters stormed the gates of Flinders Street Station.


Gold Coast police brutality: Another alleged incident captured on CCTV

THERE has been an explosion of allegations of police brutality on the Gold Coast, with shocking footage emerging of a recent attack.

The Courier-Mail has obtained disturbing CCTV footage from inside the Surfers Paradise police station which shows a handcuffed Michael Cox, 29, being physically restrained and his head slammed into the tile floor.

The footage shows Mr Cox and watchhouse officer Peter Nummy talking on a bench inside the station. Both men appear relaxed. At no point does Mr Cox lunge at the officer, but moments later the footage shows Officer Nummy twist Mr Cox’s handcuffed wrist backward and slam his head into floor.

The Courier-Mail showed the footage to a former detective who questioned the officer’s use of force.

Police yesterday confirmed they were aware of the matter and that Officer Nummy had not been disciplined.

Mr Cox has lodged a claim against the Queensland Police Service for more than $100,000 for pain and suffering caused by Officer Nummy on May 4 last year.

Mr Cox was taken to the Surfers Paradise police station after he was victim to a random assault outside East Nightclub in Broadbeach.

Michael Cox is wrestled to the floor, slamming his head on a tile.
Court documents reveal Mr Cox told an officer: “I’m going mate, I just want to know that the other guy is going to get charged”, when he was asked to move on.

The male police officer then yelled: “You’re a (expletive) stupid (expletive) and I’m not your (expletive) mate” before arresting him for contravening a “move on” direction.

Mr Cox said the evening was a nightmare.  “I had to take six weeks off work because my wrist was broken,” Mr Cox said.  “If I walked down the road and broke someone’s wrist I’d be charged with assault, so why can the police get away with it?”

The revelations come as an internal review into the culture of Gold Coast police began this week, and the Crime and Corruption Commission decided no officer would be charged over another police bashing in the basement of the Surfers Paradise station.

However an accused police whistleblower faces prosecution for allegedly leaking video of the incident to The Courier-Mail.

Shine Lawyers general manager Kimberly Allen said the CCTV footage shows a handcuffed Mr Cox “did not resist his arrest or threaten or demonstrate aggression to the officers”.

The Courier-Mail can reveal solicitors across the Gold Coast have been inundated with inquiries from people who have suffered serious injuries allegedly at the hands of police.

One law firm is currently handling more than 50 excessive force claims.

Potts Lawyers director Bill Potts said his firm receives inquiries on a weekly basis from members of the public who have been “touched up” by police.


Leftist antisemitism

Anyone can be a journalist these days, as Melbourne University is proving with a new and free online course that aims to teach would-be reporters how to go about the job of keeping the public informed.

Of course, modern journalism, as defined by our tertiary institutions, requires the correct perspectives and passions, which is why one of the course’s videos  is something of an education in itself.

A mock press conference, it presents a sleazoid property developer detailing his plan to drain a marsh and build 89 new homes.

The general and obvious wisdom to be drawn:

    shifty businessmen despoil Mother Nature to line their pockets

    councils are the handmaidens of conscienceless profiteers

    shifty businessmen don’t like to answer questions

    development is bad

But they are not the only lessons Melbourne University’s Dr Margaret Simons and  Dr Denis Muller would appear to be imparting. Do notice the name of the developer in the picture atop this item, a screen grab taken from the instructional video.

To which ethno-religious group do you reckon the fictional “Mr Robert Finkelstein” might belong? Why that particular surname?

A note seeking explanation for the choice of name has been sent to Drs Simons and Muller.


Secret 'dark net' operation grabs child pornographers

Scores of children have been saved from abuse after an elaborate sting by Queensland Police led to the identification and arrest of key members of a global online sex abuse network.

The 10-month operation led to the arrests of members in Australia and around the world.

Queensland's anti-paedophile taskforce Argos targeted an internet bulletin board which had 45,000 members.

Users were ranked according to the volume and originality of the child exploitation material they uploaded to the site.

The board was hosted on the part of the internet known as the "dark net", which uses encryption software to hide identities and mask people's browsing history.

The site, the name of which remains suppressed by the South Australian District Court, was administered by an anonymous Australian. He was later unmasked as Adelaide childcare worker Shannon McCoole.

This month, the Families SA employee was sentenced to 35 years in jail for sexually abusing at least seven children in his care and for transmitting child pornography on the internet.

McCoole's victims were in state care, and were as young as 18 months old. The oldest was three. The sentencing judge at McCoole's trial described him as "evil and depraved".

He shared images and videos of his abuse of children on the site he administered.

McCoole was arrested last year after a manhunt that involved law enforcement agencies around the world.

Unusual 'hiyas' greeting key to arrests

The key breakthroughs in the case were made by Taskforce Argos which pieced together clues about McCoole's identity by cross-matching an unusual online greeting used by the childcare worker.

"He used [the greeting 'Hiyas'] on messages on the board, as a greeting to other members on the board," Taskforce Argos Victim Identification co-ordinator Paul Griffiths said.

Mr Griffiths searched for the greeting online, narrowing down a huge list of its users until he found a Facebook page and a photograph of a Volkswagen four-wheel drive utility.

"[The Facebook page] did point us in the direction of Adelaide," Mr Griffiths said.  "I actually found him asking questions online about how to raise the suspension of his four-wheel drive."

Using the visible registration plate on the 4WD, police came up with a name — Shannon McCoole. Background checks immediately rang alarm bells.

"It was evident he was working for Families SA as a family care worker," Mr Griffiths said.

"[It was] almost panic stations at that point because he's in a real position of control and access to children that we just can't allow to continue at all."

McCoole was immediately put under surveillance.  Four days after he was identified, police knocked on his door and arrested him.

Inside they found evidence — including metadata on a camera and a freckle on McCoole's finger matching one in images of abuse — that proved he was the head administrator of the global abuse site and an active sexual abuser of children in his care.

With McCoole in custody, Queensland's Taskforce Argos then activated phase two of the operation. "Phase two was to take over the network, assume control of the network, try to identify as many of the key administrators as we could and remove them," Detective Inspector Jon Rouse said.

"Ultimately, you had a child sex offender network that was being administered by police."

But Detective Inspector Rouse said there was no way his team was going to allow the sexual abuse of children to go on.  "We closed membership [of the site]. Nobody gets in. We didn't let any new membership come in. Effectively we caged the rats."

Two officers from Taskforce Argos secretly assumed the online identity of Shannon McCoole, working around the clock for 10 months to dismantle the paedophile ring and identify abusers.

"This wasn't an 8:00am-4:00pm, Monday-to-Friday operation. Even when the guys knocked off work we were all communicating outside work," Detective Inspector Rouse said.

"[Assuming the identity of a child sex offender] can mess with your head. It's not something you want to do for really long protracted periods of time. It's inordinately challenging."

Detective Inspector Rouse said the sting resulted in the identification of paedophiles around the world.  "US, Europe, United Kingdom. [It was] global," he said.

"It's testimony to the work done by the team at Argos to make sure we were working in real time with those [international] agencies to execute search warrants.

"This required us engaging with those targets in real time while law enforcement went through doors. [There were] time zone challenges, but good work by authorities across the world."

The operation has also resulted in the arrests of suspected paedophiles in Australia.  "I won't give specific numbers, but there were several in South Australia, several in Victoria and in Queensland as well," Detective Inspector Rouse said.

But the head of Taskforce Argos said the true success of the sting should not be measured in arrests alone.  "I think in terms of the identification of child victims, that's what it was all about. There were a lot of kids that are in a better place now because of what happened across the globe."