Daily Archives: 09/10/2019

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From the dockyards to the dock

October 9th, 2019 / / categories: 南京夜网 /

Jason Clare … launched a crackdown on waterfront crime.The war against organised crime on Australia’s waterfront has secured a series of high-profile arrests that police say have smashed alleged drug networks operating through Sydney’s ports.
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In the past three months, the Polaris taskforce – the Australian Federal Police-led operation that involves the Customs Service, NSW Police and associated agencies – has arrested four Sydney waterfront workers, two men with connections to the docks and a former wharfie.

While the four cases are not connected, all the men are before Sydney courts on drug charges and are yet to enter pleas.

Police, who spoke to The Sun-Herald on the condition of anonymity, said they remained wary of an entrenched culture of corruption, nepotism and silence on wharves.

”The waterfront is where Australia is most vulnerable and Polaris is working at ways of reducing that exposure,” an officer said. ”It’s a slow grind but we’re getting there.”

But Dean Summers, a Maritime Union of Australia organiser who handles waterfront security concerns, said: ”It’s ridiculous. This bagging, this trying to suggest we’re all crooks and gangsters and, in the past, terrorists, just doesn’t wash.”

He added: ”The wharves are largely a sterile environment. It’s boxes moving across the tarmac. To suggest it’s a dark and dingy festering den of criminality is just off the page.”

Police admit they have an endless battle against ”dark networks” that operate through the ports. The NSW Crime Commission has detailed that after several arrests, and cash and drug seizures, a Mexican cartel had simply ”set up a new stream of supply within months”. In part, it is because ”disproportionately large profits can be obtained for illegal drugs in Australia”, they wrote in last year’s annual report.

But a tiny fraction of containers are checked. Statistics from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service show more than 2.2 million containers are imported each year, 70 per cent of them coming to Melbourne and Sydney. Of these, the Customs Service X-rays 101,500 and physically examines 14,000 containers each year.

In May, the Home Affairs Minister, Jason Clare, launched a crackdown on waterfront crime. But he declined to comment on container check ratios and police allegations that the union, a big supporter of the Labor government, was a problem for the nation’s border security.

In May last year, David Samuel Perry, 45, a former Queensland branch assistant secretary of the union, was sentenced to a year in jail for allegedly lying about helping a syndicate to smuggle $170 million worth of drugs into Australia. Mr Summers, however, said he had never seen any criminal activity in his time working for the union.

”Our members are by and large honest, hard-working men and women who just want to go to work.”

Mr Clare’s reforms include new obligations for maritime and aviation security identification cards for stevedores and at customs depots, warehouses and for brokers who use the Integrated Cargo System. But last month the government’s Office of Best Practice Regulation ”assessed this decision as being non-compliant with the Australian government’s best practice regulation requirements”. Mr Clare did not respond to emailed questions and declined requests to be interviewed. In a statement, his spokesman said that since inception in July 2010, Polaris had made 20 arrests resulting in 113 charges, seized more than 12 tonnes of illicit substances and precursor chemicals for drugs, 119 tonnes of illicit tobacco and 92 million cigarettes, preventing the evasion of about $77 million in tax revenue.

Mr Summers said increasing the security requirements for waterfront workers was a misplaced policy.

”I don’t know if you understand how invasive that card is already. People have to undergo an ASIO background check, AFP check and an immigration check. If they are suggesting that’s not good enough, well, they need to speak to those agencies.”

Mr Summers said the union was disappointed it was left out of negotiations about the reforms.

”People working in shipping companies, or those people who have real effective control of terminals, they don’t have to have background checks,” he said. ”A lot of ports in the country don’t even have security on them.”

In July, Asciano, the company that runs the Patrick wharf, announced plans to replace 270 of its 511 Port Botany workforce with automated straddle carrier technology by 2014. A spokeswoman said: ”We have always and will continue to work together with the relevant law-enforcement agencies in order to appropriately address crime and review potential vulnerabilities.”

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Some burning questions for the deputy

October 9th, 2019 / / categories: 南京夜网 /

WHEN the existence of the listening device warrant 266, containing 114 names, landed on the front page of The Sydney Morning Herald on April 13, 2002, there was an immediate outcry from serving and former police.
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Many were experienced detectives. They knew it was extremely unusual, if not unheard of, for so many names to be on the one warrant. A warrant lasts for only 21 days before it has to be renewed. How on earth, the critics asked, could an undercover officer, M5, possibly bug the conversations of so many people in such a short time?

The outgoing police commissioner, Peter Ryan, sought to defuse a potentially explosive situation. The next day he appeared on 60 Minutes and essentially told viewers it was all above board. He said the undercover officer, M5, “was going to a function at which a lot of people would be present and therefore he may be talking to a hundred people, all of whom had to be named in the warrant”.

He was asked: “So it wasn’t an investigation of 110 odd individuals?”

Ryan: “Oh no. If I was at that function, my name would probably have been on the warrant too.”

In other words, just because you were on the warrant didn’t mean you had done anything wrong.

There was one problem. The warrant was granted on September 14, 2000 – the day before the opening of the Sydney Olympics. There was no chance a major police function would have been held in the following 21 days. Indeed, Strike Force Emblems – the report of which The Sun-Herald reveals today – found there was no such function during the span of the warrant. Emblems investigators tried to find out who had advised Mr Ryan. On the face of it, he had been seriously misled. It is not clear who advised him.

On June 30, 2003, Cath Burn – who is now a Deputy Police Commissioner but had been a key officer within Special Crime and Internal Affairs – had a formal record of interview with Emblems investigators. They asked Ms Burn if she knew how Mr Ryan had arrived at his explanation of a function.

“I have no idea why he said it,” she replied. ”I’d say he wasn’t briefed.”

Question: Well, is that statement [about there being a function] true? Answer: No.

Q: Why would he make a statement such as that? A: I don’t know. You’d have to ask him. Q: Do you know who briefed him? A: I have no idea.

Ms Burn told Emblems that Mr Ryan’s explanation had been openly discussed with Operation Mascot – a long-running inquiry into police corruption – and that he had been given incorrect information.

At the time of this interview, Emblems investigators were not aware of a two-page briefing note about listening device 266 written by Ms Burn on April 13, 2002, the day the Herald story appeared and the day before Mr Ryan’s 60 Minutes interview. The Sun-Herald has seen a copy of that briefing note. Marked “Highly protected”, it appears at odds with Ms Burn’s answers in her formal record of interview almost 14 months later.

In it, she says: “It was the procedure to include on the warrant names of people who were likely to be spoken to by the informer [M5] whether they were targets, suspects or persons of interest. This did not extend to every person the informer would come into contact with, just those where it was likely the conversation would be recorded (eg. At a function).”

In a 12-page annexure to her briefing, she goes on to describe a function. She lists the 114 people on the warrant and, one by one, gives reasons they were on it. Next to 30 names, Ms Burn had written “King send off list”, indicating they were expected to attend a farewell for detective Jim King, which M5 had in fact helped organise.

The Sun-Herald has established that King’s small farewell drinks in fact took place in June 2000 – three months before listening device 266 was approved by Justice Virginia Bell in the NSW Supreme Court. In addition, it has established that at least 20 of the 30 named on the list did not attend the function because they barely knew King or didn’t know the farewell was on.

“Never went, never invited, never would have gone,” said one officer who was supposedly going.

Ms Burn said yesterday she had no comment but wanted to clarify that she was a sergeant in SCIA and never its commander. However, in 2002, she signed her briefing note as ”acting commander” of the Special Crime Unit within SCIA.

Mr Ryan, meanwhile, wasn’t at Jim King’s send-off, either. But it turns out that even he and his then wife did not escape SCIA’s scrutiny. They were placed under physical surveillance at the Marriott Hotel, where he often drank with colleagues.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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I was cleared – Brammer

October 9th, 2019 / / categories: 南京夜网 /

Mal Brammer … former assistant police commissioner.THE former assistant police commissioner Mal Brammer, a former commander of Special Crime and Internal Affairs, yesterday strongly rejected any allegation of wrongdoing.
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He said he was ”not aware of any legitimate and tangible findings that applications for search warrants, telephone intercepts and listening devices were falsified by some SCIA officers”. He said he was not aware ”of any personal vendetta by any officers within SCIA” towards the then head of homicide, now a deputy commissioner, Nick Kaldas.

Responding to a finding by a strike force that he had been ”untruthful”, Mr Brammer said a review by two senior officers subsequently ”found there was no evidence I did so. No adverse finding now exists in that regard.”

Mr Brammer said for the past decade, Fairfax Media had ”undertaken a speculative campaign of trial by media towards me particularly based on innuendo and hearsay, to the point of being somewhat blinkered and vindictive”.

”I am well aware of the agenda and who is driving it and why it is occurring currently,” Mr Brammer said.

In regard to the findings of strike forces Sibutu, Tumen and Emblems, he said: ”I have not had material evidence made available to me regarding the alleged findings to justify comment.” But he said he believed Sibutu ”evolved from coerced misguided opinions”. Criticism of him by Operation Banks was based on a ”misguided report and the unsubstantiated opinions” of a senior officer.

He said the Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, in a previous role as commander of SCIA, ”had key executive responsibility” for the Operation Mascot inquiry into alleged police corruption, including the Kaldas matter.

Neil Mercer

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

WITH the start of the school this year came a change in uniform for Riley* – a skirt. The 15-year-old, born a male, no longer wanted to feel trapped in the wrong body. Supported by her parents and the public high school she attends, Riley decided it was time to take the step of “transitioning” to a female.
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While there are no official statistics in Australia on teen transsexuals, some professionals working in the area of gender identity have noted an increase in the number of transgender young people.

Riley, who tells her story in today’s Sunday Life, says she gained the confidence to begin the transition after going online and discovering there were other people who shared her experience. Her online support group, True Colours, had just 25 members several months ago. More recently, though, a new member was joining every week.

“I definitely have seen a change in the number of transsexual people coming out and being so proud and happy with themselves since my family first started looking for trans-connections for me about five years ago,” Riley says.

Elizabeth Riley, a Sydney counsellor who has been working with transsexual teens for nearly two decades, says more young people are coming forward, and parents are getting better at supporting them.

“Twenty years ago parents had never heard of transsexual teens and they had no way of getting their heads around it, and the kids had no words to express it, there was almost no way of coming to grips with it and talking about it,” she says. “The gay and lesbian community is much more normalised now and I guess the next step is transgender.”

Rebecca Reynolds, the managing director of the inner-city support group Twenty10, has also noticed an increase in people dropping into the centre to discuss gender identity. She cautions that this does not mean the issue is ”getting any easier” to deal with and transsexual teens living in the suburbs need more support.

Riley, who wants to help people understand transsexualism, says she wants to be accepted for who she is because being transsexual to her is not a lifestyle choice.

“No one would have chosen this torture in life,” she says. “We’re not here to provoke you. We’re here to live just like you are.”

* Surname withheld.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Donor law broken at O’Farrell lunch

October 9th, 2019 / / categories: 南京夜网 /

Guest of honour … Barry O’Farrell.BARRY O’FARRELL was the guest of honour at a Liberal Party function at which property developers were urged to make donations – and yesterday party bosses were forced into making a humiliating promise to refund $5000 taken at the event.
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It is the second time in a week that a Liberal fund-raiser held at Candelori’s Italian restaurant in Smithfield has landed the state government in hot water. The Sun-Herald revealed last week that Anthony Roberts, the Fair Trading Minister, was the star turn at a lunch at Candelori’s in April when western Sydney property developers bid $2000 for private lunches with him.

Mr O’Farrell, as the then opposition leader, was the keynote speaker at Candelori’s in July 2010 when Vic Cavasinni, the owner of Cavasinni Constructions and Beechwood Homes, handed over $5000 towards the Liberals’ 2011 election campaign.

Under NSW laws, political parties are forbidden from accepting property developer cash.

The Premier yesterday insisted he was unaware developers attended but the Liberal Party pledged to return Mr Cavasinni’s $4750 cheque and ask the NSW Electoral Commission to investigate the matter.

Mr O’Farrell said in a statement: ”I had no role in issuing the invitations for the 2010 event organised by the Liberal Party and was unaware developers were present.

”Like all Liberal Party functions I attend, I expect the organisers to fully comply with all legislation regarding political donations. I have brought in the nation’s toughest campaign finance laws, which I might add were opposed by Labor.”

Returns lodged with the Election Funding Authority show Cavasinni Constructions Pty Ltd gave $4750 to the Liberal Party in Smithfield in the financial year to June 30, 2011.

A Liberal Party spokeswoman said the donation would be returned and the matter referred to the NSW Electoral Commission but added that Mr Cavasinni had been asked if he qualified as a property developer before his money was accepted and he said he did not.

Mr Cavasinni told The Sun-Herald he only became aware ”a few months ago” that he was ineligible to donate but would not comment any further.

Both functions were hosted by Smithfield Liberal MP, Andrew Rohan, whose electorate office is metres away on the Horsley Drive.

Linda Burney, Labor’s deputy leader, called on Mr O’Farrell to strip Mr Rohan of his preselection in Smithfield. ”Andrew Rohan is clearly up to his neck in it and, frankly, people like that don’t belong in the Parliament,” Ms Burney said.

”Barry O’Farrell needs to explain how Andrew Rohan was ever pre-selected in the first place and rule out endorsing him as the Liberal Party’s candidate at the next election. The people of Smithfield deserve to have a local MP they can have confidence in and after this week it’s clear the Member for Smithfield doesn’t fit the bill.”

Mr Rohan’s office did not return calls. The local press reported at the time that David Clarke, MLC, leader of the Liberal right, was also at the lunch with his factional ally, Marie Ficarra, MLC, Mr Rohan and Mr O’Farrell.

The most political damage from the Candelori’s lunches has so far been to Mr Roberts, who fronted the April lunch at which Mr Cavasinni and two other developers, David Masterton of Masterton Homes and Peter Fowler of Fowler Homes, bid $2000 to have lunch with him.

The episode became the focus of Labor’s question time attack last week and Mr O’Farrell was forced to ask the Electoral Commission to investigate.

The Liberal Party has insisted those cheques were never cashed after an alarm was raised that the businessmen qualified as property developers. Despite that, Mr Roberts hosted Mr Masterton and Mr Cavasinni for separate lunches at Parliament House just months before a review of the Home Building Act.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.