Yesterday I received a communication from a foreign school student who has an Australian Federal Police detachment in his country. His question, to me after reading my comments on Blak and Black was:
“Are the AFP really as corrupt and racist as you make them out to be on your web site?”
My immediate response to my enquirer was that on the basis of my own interactions with the Australian Federal Police, combined with those of others I know and what is in the public domain, the answer is an undeniable, yes. I also informed him that I would post a more detailed response on Blak and Black.
For the purposes of answering my enquirer I’m going to break my response into two parts. The first is about institutionalised corruption which extends to tampering with evidence, malicious prosecution and illegal activities. My second post will be about institutionalised racism within the ranks of the Australian Federal Police, where I will write in a little more detail about the content of the statements I have collected from Indigenous Australians, who have alleged that the Australian Federal Police have committed acts of racism against them. I will also include a more detailed analysis of Darren’s case, who has a well-documented series of complaints against the Australian Federal Police for racism and brutality, all of which have been ‘white-washed’ by the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Australian Federal Police internal investigations unit.
Several weeks ago I met with a foreign investigative journalist who had read Blak and Black and wanted to interview me about AFP corruption and racism. This journalist’s main focus was the role of the Australian Federal Police in drug importation into Australia. While I was unable to assist on that issue as my focus is on institutionalised racism within the Australian ‘establishment’, it is interesting to note that Schapelle Corby’s name was raised by this journalist. The current plight of Schapelle Corby became more interesting to me after I was independently contacted a few days later by an Afghani, who regaled me with an intriguing tale of Australian Federal Police misconduct in that troubled country.
Readers will probably recall that Corby is serving a 20-year sentence for the importation of 4.2 kg (9.3 lb) of cannabis into Bali, Indonesia. She was convicted and sentenced in Bali on 27 May 2005 by the Denpasar (Indonesia) District Court and currently serves her sentence in Kerobokan Prison, Bali.
Corby’s lawyers argued that she had no knowledge of the cannabis until customs officials at the airport found it. Her defence centred on the theory that she had become an unwitting drug courier for what was supposed to have been an interstate shipment of drugs between Brisbane and Sydney in Australia. The claim was later supported when the former head of operations for the Australian Federal Police’s internal investigation unit, Ray Cooper, claimed that it was well known within the Australian Federal Police that some passengers were unwittingly being used to transfer drugs between domestic airports in Australia.
The current plight of Schapelle Corby becomes more interesting when one considers an incident that occurred in 2006 involving QANTAS baggage handlers at Sydney Airport. In 2006, it emerged that the New South Wales Crime Commission had sanctioned an informant to sell 7kg of cocaine to a suspected drug ring, with links to Qantas baggage handlers. Only 1kg was ever recovered, with 6kg allegedly sold on the streets.
During the committal hearings of those involved in the QANTAS baggage handling crime syndicate, the court heard the staggering claim by the assistant director of the NSW Crime Commission Mr Mark Standen that it was justified to allow the drug onto the streets because it could not seriously endanger anyone’s health. How much of an insult are Standen’s comments to all those families who have had to suffer through the addictions and in some cases deaths of loved ones because of the easy availability of drugs on Australian streets?
Mark Standen is the same person who was arrested and charged in 2008 over an alleged $120 million drug importation plot. How could Standen rise to the dizzy heights of assistant director of the NSW Crime Commission, when he harboured views like the ones he expressed during the committals of the QANTAS baggage handling crime syndicate?
The short answer is that the Australian Federal Police facilitated his rise to power and in the process put at risk the lives of countless innocent Australian and foreign nationals.
In 1982, the Stewart Royal Commission into Drug Trafficking heard that Standen had worked for the Federal Narcotics Bureau, then an arm of Customs and which later amalgamated with the AFP.
The commission heard that in May 1979, Standen and two other “narco” agents had raided a Bondi house of a man called Udy, where they found 18 silver foils of hashish. Standen later told the royal commission he and his colleagues had, weeks later, flushed the hash down a toilet, falsified entries into the bureau’s log book that nothing was found in the raid and then destroyed a signed statement from Udy confessing to his ownership of the drugs – effectively removing any trace of the bust.
“I do not actually specifically remember the incident – I feel fairly certain I would have destroyed it by shredding,” Standen told the commission about this confession.
Asked by the commissioner if the men were “really trying to obliterate all traces of this incident”, Standen responded: “That is correct.”
Standen told the royal commission they destroyed the hashish and paperwork because the amounts of drugs was less than 500g and charges could not be brought under federal laws.
But a policeman – AFP chief superintendent John Reilly – who investigated the matter after a complaint was made by NSW police, offered a different version of how the agents explained their actions.
According to Reilly, the agents claimed there had been problems with charging Udy because of a lack of co-operation from local police and that they then became embarrassed about having held on to the hashish for more than two weeks. Phillips said that Standen’s answers during the investigation “‘reflected on either his honesty or his quality as an investigator”.
Standen was then charged under the Public Service Act and recommendations made that he and another agent were to be barred from joining the AFP when the Narcotic’s Bureau merged into the new commonwealth force later that year.
But the royal commission heard that the charge and AFP ban were dropped because of “indecision by members of the Department of Administrative Services and what was then Business and Consumer Affairs”.
Standen moved into the AFP.
Joining him in the AFP was one of Standen’s close “narco” colleagues, Allan Gregory McLean, later convicted for importing heroin into Australia.
The facts speak for themselves. The very police service tasked with protecting Australians from illicit drugs and terrorists is the same police service that seemingly condones, if not actively participates, in the very activities that they are tasked with protecting Australians against.
Do I stand by my comments that the Australian Federal Police are corrupt and racist? Yes. Should they be allowed to operate in your or any other foreign country? In my opinion, no!
Young man, your family and your country would be best served if the Australian Federal Police detachment you speak of was requested by your government to leave, immediately!