01 | 31
2011

The AFP and the rule of law

Categories: Accountability, Australian Federal Police, Corruption, Rule of Law

by: Bakchos
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The AFP in its submission to: THE SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND TRADE INQUIRY INTO AUSTRALIA’S INVOLVEMENT IN PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS, March 2007 made the following statement:

The AFP Annual Report 2005-06 focuses on the pivotal role of the organisation in supporting emerging states in our neighbourhood and contributing to the global peace dividend. Participation by the AFP in peace and stability operations and regional capacity building is now core business of the International Deployment Group (IDG). Peace and stability operations are likely to demand intervention by an effective police service to mentor and develop local authorities or undertake executive police functions in order to provide basic rule of law that enables a community to either maintain normalcy prior to a potential conflict or return to that state following actual conflict. Within the operations continuum, the AFP considers each possible mission as being unique and requiring a response that recognises a diversity of tasks, responsibilities and outcomes. (My emphasis)

The Australian Federal Police are clearly stating that they view themselves as a professional police force capable of mentoring and developing regional local authorities in the arcane arts of due process and the rule of law. Regular readers of Blak and Black will know that I ‘bang-on’ about the rule of law in many of my posts, especially in those dealing with the Australian Federal Police.

The Rule of Law, in its most basic form, is the principle that no one is above the law. A.V. Dicey created a classical formulation of the rule of law in 1885. He stated that the rule of law has three meanings:

It means, in the first place, the absolute supremacy or predominance of regular law as opposed to the influence of arbitrary power… Englishmen are ruled by the law, and by the law alone; a man may with us be punished for a breach of law, but he can be punished for nothing else. It means, again, equality before the law or the equal subjection of all classes to the ordinary law of the land administered by the ordinary law courts; the ‘rule of law’ in this sense excludes the idea of any exemption of officials or others from the duty of obedience to the law which governs other citizens or from the jurisdiction of the ordinary tribunals.

So when the Australian Federal Police argue that they can provide executive police functions in order to provide basic rule of law as part of the IDG, what they in effect saying is that they can spread Dicey’s ‘good word’ about … the absolute supremacy or predominance of regular law as opposed to the influence of arbitrary power … laudable, but is current Australian Federal Police culture compatible with Dicey’s sacred words? If not, what possible role does the Australian Federal Police have to play with the IDG or indeed within Australia itself?

As mentioned in a previous post, the Australian Federal Police were incorporated under that name on the back of the fit-up of a number of Australians accused of the bombing of the Sydney Hilton during the 1978 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, better known by its acronym CHOGM.

Five members of the Australian Chapter of Ananda Marga were charged with the bombing and in one of the darkest hours for the rule of law in Australia, they were found guilty. After a lengthy campaign by supporters of the falsely accused members of Ananda Marga an inquiry was held into their convictions. This inquiry would ultimately hear evidence implicating the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organization in a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice for their own ends.

Since the 1978 CHOGM farces the Australian Federal Police have had an unbroken record of fitting-up innocent people for their own ends. In more recent times we have witnessed the case of Indian born Gold Coast doctor Muhammed Haneef. Haneef was falsely charged with being a terrorist, possessing a SIM card linked to his cousin allegedly involved in the failed plot to bomb Glasgow airport that year.

Mamdouh Habib a former ‘guest’ of Uncle Sam and the Deputy Sheriff at the Guantanamo Hilton received compensation last December from the Commonwealth Government for human rights violations (he was tortured in Egypt) whilst in Australian custody. Another victim of the Australian Federal Police and their concept of the rule of law.

Moving quickly along, we come to the ongoing saga of the former Attorney-General of the Solomon Islands, Mr Julian Moti QC, another potential victim of the Australian Federal Police. Mr Moti, an Australian lawyer of Fijian Indian parentage, refused to buckle under Australian Government pressure to rein in Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavereh and Cabinet over their apparent anti-Australian anti-Chinese political stance in the fiercely independent Solomon Islands. This was seen as an act of treason and a threat to regional security, the security being that of Australia’s avaricious commercial interests. I will keep readers informed as to the progress of Mr Moti’s ongoing persecution by the Australian federal Police.

The pièce de résistance of this post is Mr Fred Martens. Today, in an article in The headed Police accused of hiding evidence in rape case, it is reported that:

OFFICERS from the Australian Federal Police allegedly stole and concealed documents that could have helped a former pilot and businessman fight allegations he had raped a 14-year-old girl in PNG.

Mr Martens alleges in documents filed in court that an Australian Federal Police agent committed perjury, tried to cover up problems with his investigation, perverted the course of justice and pursued a malicious prosecution. The documents allege that the officer tried to ”amass evidence to bolster a case against [Mr Martens] regardless of its truth or falsity”, ”deliberately ignored obvious inconsistencies” in the girl’s statements, and agreed with PNG officers to conceal various documents, the damages claim says.

There are two issues with Mr Marten’s case which should be of concern to all Australians. Firstly, it would appear, at least on the surface that it is well accepted practice within the Australian Federal Police to manufacture and/or doctor evidence to fit a particular outcome that they are looking for. This type of culture is to be expected in a politicised and immature organisation that is result, rather than integrity driven. Secondly, the Australian Federal Police are refusing to put their hand up for what they have done. There is an old maxim in the criminal milieu – don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. This is just another way of saying that we all have to be accountable for our actions. If Australian Federal Police Officers have committed crimes against Mr Martens, the rule of law says that they must be placed before the law and answer according to the law.

The situation at the moment is that the Australian government and one AFP agent are arguing that Mr Martens claim is ”irregular”, has been laid under the wrong law and in the wrong court. An application to have the claim thrown out of court is to be heard in Cairns in mid-February.

It’s about time that the Australian Federal Police grew up and took responsibility for their actions. Give the bloke a break, accept responsibility and do the time that others would have to do if they weren’t part of the spineless, mindless morass that is the Australian Federal Police.

I don’t know what the Australian Federal Police think the rule of law means, but whatever it means, it doesn’t mean fitting-up people for political or organisational ends. If that’s what they think it means, Australia and the rest of the world would be best served if the Commonwealth Government disbanded the Australian Federal Police at the earliest possible opportunity.

Petition for a Royal Commission into the Australian Federal Police

I mentioned recently that I had a meeting with Mr Adam Watt concerning corruption within the Australian Federal Police. Mr Watt mentioned at that meeting that he was preparing a petition calling for a Royal Commission into the Australian Federal Police. I have asked Mr Watt for a link to his petition. When that becomes available I would ask readers to give consideration to signing it.

I would also like to put on the record that Mr Watt stated during our meeting that he:

… absolutely and  unequivocally denies / refutes the AFP charges and has done so since the very first day of [his] arrest…

People are entitled to a presumption of innocence. This presumption should be afforded to Mr Watt pending the outcome of his trial. A quick Google search will show that Mr Watt has a lot of support within the wider community!

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