Monday, 31 October 2016

'Dropstitch Dot' attempted to arrest Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan who "fled the scene"

According to The Northern Star on 25 October 2016:

“Nanna Dot Moller, known to many as 'Dropstitch Dot' performed the 'arrest' handing a Kevin Hogan impersonator the warrant along with a list of the charges as the man himself had fled the scene.”

The police did not look amused after being called to the protest event at the Nationals MP’s Lismore office on 24 October 2016.

The very, very threatening Northern Rivers contingent of the Knitting Nannas and a NSW police officer in imminent danger of ‘hardware’ overload on his uniform

“According to Nanna Twomey the protest is related to off-shore processing and protecting the environment.
"We are protesting against the children in detention as well as the way that they've treated our land," she said.
She also claims that MPs no longer represent citizens.”

Essential Research vs Morgan Research on Australian support levels for "Muslim immigration"

Image from thread of
The Australian 21 September 2016

Roy Morgan Research, 26 October 2016:

In stark contrast to the widely reported Essential Research Poll in mid-September that claimed Australians opposed Muslim Immigration 49% cf. 40%, independent research by Roy Morgan shows Australians continue to support Muslim immigration (58% cf. 33%) as well as Asylum Seeker Immigration (66% to 25%).
Five weeks ago, Australians were bombarded with the news that we, as a nation, or the majority of us, did not want Muslims coming into the country – based on a poll by Essential Research.
I said at the time, in several interviews (Listen to radio interview with 2SER), that we believed it was highly unlikely that these results were true.  Roy Morgan surveys over several years from 2010 to 2015, showed majority support for Muslims, refugees and others immigrating to Australia. We believed it highly unlikely that sentiment would have changed so dramatically. The latest Roy Morgan Research showed indeed Australians continue to support Muslim Immigration, albeit with a reduced majority.
It is crucial that public opinion surveys on such important issues as this are independent and conducted with a sample which is truly representative of the Australian population.
The increasingly prevalent use of internet surveys using ‘Commercial panels’ of respondents is extraordinarily dangerous. ‘Commercial panels’ are typically recruited in a variety of ways – opt-in, competitions, acquired email lists etc. The size of the ‘Commercial panel’ can never make up for the unknown and unknowable biases.
We see it as a little like the ‘sub-prime’ fiasco in the US that was at the heart of the Global Financial Crisis. Combining large quantities of ‘high risk’ mortgages into packages and re-labelling them didn’t make them any less risky.
When it comes to sampling the Australian population – combining ‘highly skewed’ lists of people doesn’t magically create a representative sample representing a cross-section of Australians.
Roy Morgan conducted this latest survey, and previous waves of the research, at our own cost because we believe it is important the people of Australia are accurately represented on an issue of such social, human and moral importance.
Click here to see the full results of the latest Roy Morgan survey on attitudes to immigration and population.

Roy Morgan Research, 25 October 2016:

Muslim Immigration

Support for Muslim immigration is down 7% from a year ago (65% support in October 2015), although it is up 4% from July 2010 (54% support).

Importantly, a majority of L-NP supporters (51% support cf. 36% oppose), ALP supporters (67% support cf. 25% oppose), Greens supporters (88% support cf. 5% oppose) and supporters of Independents/ Others (58% support cf. 34% oppose) all support Muslim immigration.

However, the overwhelming majority of One Nation supporters are opposed to Muslim immigration (87% opposed cf. 4% support).

Immigration Levels & Population

Now 40% (up 3%) of Australians support immigration remaining about the same and a further 21% (down 11%) want to see immigration levels increased; this constitutes a clear majority of Australians 61% (down 8%) who support immigration remaining the same or increasing while 34% (up 8%) want immigration levels reduced and 5% (unchanged) can’t say.

Australians are split on the effect of immigrants on Australia’s culture and way of life: However, there has been a negative shift in the last year – back to lower than recorded in 2010. 32% (down 5%) of Australians believe immigration has a positive effect on Australia; 32% (up 1%) believe immigration has a negative effect while 25% (up 6%) believe immigration has little effect and 11% (down 2%) can’t say.

Most Australians want relatively moderate population growth – 34% (up 2%) want a population under 30 million in 2046, and only 24% (down 6%) want a population of 35 million or more. This is a shift away from growth levels that were seen as acceptable a year ago – but nowhere near the 2010 levels when 56% wanted a population under 30 million in the year 2040.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Twitter takedown and court cases over the seas in Clinton & Trump Land

Lumen (formerly Chilling Effects) database record of a takedown request which saw a tweet removed and a Twitter account suspended:

[Private], , ,Sent on October 23, 2016
[Private]San Francisco, CA, 94103, US
Received on October 23, 2016


The Twitter hashtag timeline the offending tweet was posted in was probably #LiberalsExposed which is a thread focussing on the current U.S. presidential election.

JUSTIA Dockets and Filings:

Plaintiff David Kittos alleged that Defendants Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., Donald Trump, Sr., Donald Trump, Jr. and Michael Pence used an authorized copy of his photograph in a campaign advertisement in violation of the Copyright Act. Specifically, Defendant Donald Trump, Jr. tweeted the plaintiff's photograph with this accompanying text: "[i]f I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That's our Syrian refugee problem."
Plaintiff: David Kittos
Defendant: Donald J. Trump For President, Inc., Michael Pence, Donald Trump, Jr., Donald Trump, Sr. and Does 1-10
Case Number: 1:2016cv09818
Filed: October 18, 2016
Court: Illinois Northern District Court
Office: Chicago Office
County: XX Outside US
Presiding Judge: Gary Feinerman
Nature of Suit: Copyright
Cause of Action: 17:501 Copyright Infringement
Jury Demanded By: Plaintiff

Benaissa v. Keep America Great Pac [Democrat PAC fundraiser being sued by US surgeon over allegations found in this August 2016 political media release]
Plaintiff: Rafik Benaissa
Defendant: Keep America Great Pac, Francesca Lucia, Jon Cooper, Nathan Lerner, Scott Dworkin, Chuck Westover and Jarad Geldner
Case Number: 1:2016cv07796
Filed: October 5, 2016
Court: New York Southern District Court
Office: Foley Square Office
County: NewYork
Presiding Judge: Gregory H. Woods
Nature of Suit: Assault, Libel, and Slander
Cause of Action: 28:1332
Jury Demanded By: Plaintiff

Doe v. Trump et al [Allegations of sexual assault of a child said to have occurred in 1994]
Defendant: Donald J. Trump and Jeffrey E. Epstein
Plaintiff: Jane Doe
Case Number: 1:2016cv07673
Filed: September 30, 2016
Court: New York Southern District Court
Office: Foley Square Office
County: XX Out of State
Presiding Judge: Ronnie Abrams
Nature of Suit: Assault, Libel, and Slander
Cause of Action: 28:1332
Jury Demanded By: Plaintiff

Defendant: Hillary Rodham Clinton, DNC Services Corporation and USA
Plaintiff: Harold Peterson
Case Number: 1:2016cv00429
Filed: September 23, 2016
Court: New Hampshire District Court
Office: Concord Office
Presiding Judge: Joseph N. Laplante
Nature of Suit: Civil Rights: Other
Cause of Action: 28:2201 Declaratory Judgment
Jury Demanded By: None

Allister v. Rodham Clinton et al [Self-described Aspiring President of The United States” sues 26 people/institutions (including presidential candidate Hillary Clinton) and goes down in flames on 13 December 2016]
Plaintiff: Sonja M. Allister
Defendant: Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Benjamin Carson, Catherine Parrish Carpenter Andrews, Kevin Matthew Andrews, Emily McCormick, Bowdre George Longo, Roswell Police Department, C. T. Jackson, Shelby Sanford, Lynn Apt, Roswell Police Department Group, The City of Atlanta, Kasim Reed, Alpharetta Police Department, Peachtree City Police Department, Atlanta Police Department, East Point Police Department, College Park Police Department, Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta, GA, The City of Alpharetta, The City of Peachtree, The City of Roswell and The State of Georgia
Case Number: 1:2016cv03273
Filed: August 31, 2016
Court: Georgia Northern District Court
Office: Atlanta Office
County: Fulton
Presiding Judge: Richard W. Story
Nature of Suit: Other Civil Rights
Cause of Action: 42:1983
Jury Demanded By: None

The Desperation Of Barnaby Joyce: letter publicly released at a cost to Australian taxpayers of an est. $293 per word plus legal fees

The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 October 2016:

Opposition agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon has fought for the release of the letter, which was emailed directly to Mr Joyce and Tony Abbott's former head of department Michael Thawley, since the independent Information Commissioner ruled it should be made available.
Mr Joyce's department fought that ruling, spent $80,000 on engaging Ernst & Young to review its public information processes, and then fought the matter through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal before giving up the fight just after Parliament rose for two weeks on Friday.
"This letter shows Paul Grimes was deeply concerned about Barnaby Joyce's behaviour. He was challenging Joyce's integrity," Mr Fitzgibbon said on Monday.
"He clearly thought what Joyce did was not appropriate. This letter indicates he was being bullied.
"What Barnaby Joyce did was to sack Paul Grimes to save himself."
The Deputy Prime Minister's office stressed that Mr Joyce did not sack Mr Grimes, rather Mr Abbott asked him to stand aside on advice of Mr Thawley.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

It remains dangerous to be a woman in Australia

Destroyers, this has been a devastating week, as we watch the death toll of women rise.
Within 24 hours of our last post, we bring news of another life lost to violence against women. We also believe the reported evidence is now strong enough to post on two tragedies we have been monitoring for days.
That is four reported deaths within a week. Four. And nine – nine - over the last month.
Our sad record honouring all known deaths in 2016 now stands at 59.

Read more here.

Just because it is beautiful.........(15)

Peacock Spider  - male
Maratus volans
Native to Australia
Credit: Jürgen Otto

Coastal Peacock Spider
Maratus speciosus
Native to West Australia

Friday, 28 October 2016

Just who should be responsible for the minefield that the Internet of Things has become?

“IoT Growing Faster Than the Ability to Defend It”
The IoT is a vast and growing virtual universe that includes automobiles, medical devices, industrial systems and a growing number of consumer electronics devices. These include video game consoles, smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo and connected thermostats like the Nest, not to mention the smart home hubs and network routers that connect those devices to the internet and one another.
[Scientific American, 26 October 2016]

I believe the world of IoT offers incredible opportunities for human advancement. It also has a dark shadow side. We can do amazing things with connected devices that will change the world, but connecting all these devices also lays us open to a myriad of potential dangers. We must take these dangers seriously, and even more so, we must take our responsibility to ensure IoT security seriously.
[Forbes, 26 October 2016]

Because IoT is a new field, it's dominated by companies that don't have the same mindset as the manufacturers of mission-critical servers—and that can spell trouble. "Very often, the creators of smart gadgets are small startups," says KeepSolid CTO Vasyl Diakonov, "and they don’t have resources or knowledge to build out sophisticated security."
Ben Desjardins, director of security solutions at Radware, specifically calls out the software end of the equation. "The most challenging aspect of this," he says, "is that many of the IoT devices are being manufactured by organizations that are new to software development, and are likely to have more vulnerable code and immature patch management processes."
[CSOonline, 12 October 2016], 

Hot on the heels of Internet users learning that for years the tech world has been quietly releasing onto the market an unknown number of devices of various kinds that contain serious security vulnerabilities and/or malware so that the Internet of Things (IoT) is now a minefield for the average person, we find that some in the IT world would like us to believe it is now our fault entirely if we unknowingly purchase and use one of these critically flawed products.

Dark Reading, 26 October 2016:

Imagine an Internet with multiple levels of security that users need to earn.
Someone has to clean the house, shovel the walk, and mow the lawn. As we grow to adulthood, we realize that this person is us. We either do it ourselves, or we have to earn enough to pay someone else to do it. The Internet has reached a point where we need to take responsibility for our own actions to clean it up.
Many aspects of life present this onus of individual responsibility; there are benefits when we do our part, and consequences when we don’t. Drive responsibly and you can get a discount on your car insurance. Don’t mow your lawn, and in many communities you will get billed when the municipality does it for you.
The Internet if full of opportunities for us to affect others by our actions. Unsecured computers can be used as bots for spam and denial-of-service attacks. Downloaded malware can infect other systems nearby because we are inside a trusted environment. We have tried to educate people on the importance of protecting devices, not clicking on shiny but suspicious links, and other responsible behaviors, with limited effect. What if we took a different approach?
Imagine an Internet with multiple levels of security that users need to earn. Level zero means a person does nothing, and so has limited access to services because their computer is probably infected. Many corporations work this way on their internal networks, restricting access of devices that are unknown or do not have a minimum set of security defenses. Restrictions could be based on inexperience -- akin to what many countries do with driver’s licenses -- or personal habits, which often affect life insurance premiums.

I’m sorry, but with even the government-subsidised hearing aids supplied to pensioners in Australia having a digital component which can transmit and receive, this still inchoate push to make eighty year-olds as morally or legally responsible for hacking and denial of service attacks as the manufacturers of everything from digital doorbells and cameras through to wheelchairs and mobile phones is one that should be vigorously resisted.

"Let the buyer beware" should not be used as an excuse for the technology community to continue its sometimes sloppy research, design and manufacturing processes or fail to alert the public to/correct known product security flaws.

All manufacturers and vendors need to be totally honest with consumers, draw attention to the fact that the product has a digital component, make the limitations of their devices known at point of sale and supply clear information on security/software update requirements.

This is clearly not happening across the board with the Internet of Things right now and a higher level of consumer protection is needed.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Don't comment if......

Nooruddean Choudry at

Don't comment.

Don't comment if you're poor or disadvantaged, because you're a scrubber and a scrounger and basically a waste of space.

Don't comment if you've got any affiliation with a political party or social movement, or have previous for mouthing off about issues that matter to you, because you clearly have an agenda.

Don't comment if you've not commented about this before, because you're out of your depth and need to stick to what you know and what about all the other things in the world you're not commenting upon?

Don't comment if you've got 12 followers on Twitter because no one cares what you think, you unimportant loser. Don't comment if you've got 1.2 million followers because who do you think you are, you jumped up egotist?

Don't comment if you're brown or black or Muslim or Jewish or gay or trans or bi, because you just need to get over yourself and stop playing the victim all the bloody time.

Don't comment if you're none of the above because you're just a bleeding heart liberal leftard, who jumps onto bandwagons that have nothing to do with you. Wind your fucking neck in.

Don't comment if you're a woman because you're getting ideas above your station and you're too pretty to be worrying about that, or maybe you're just one of them feminazis and probably a lesbian.

Don't comment if you're rich or famous because you're a luvvie and you don't live in the real world, and why don't you open your own fucking home to them? Just like we take in orphans when we donate to Children In Need.

Don't comment if you haven't got the full facts because you're ill-informed and wrong. Don't comment if you're an expert in the field because we don't trust so-called experts and educated elites.

Don't care. Don't worry. Don't have compassion. Don't comment on anything or anyone that's not us. Don't question what 'us' is. Don't be offended. Don't feel guilty. Don't get angry. And don't fucking cry.

Don't comment. But yeah, free speech.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Are We Any Closer To Having A Banking Royal Commission?

In Do we need a Royal Commission into the banks?  (North Coast Voices 21st April 2016) I wrote: “What is very obvious is that there is a need to shine a very strong light on the banking/ finance industry in order to force the changes that are required to make it fairer and more responsive to customer needs.  Moreover there is an ongoing need to ensure proper compensation for consumers who have been hurt by unscrupulous behaviour over recent years.  And the “bad apples” in the sector need to be identified and removed.  This would lead to a marked improvement in public confidence in the banking/finance system.”
What has changed in the six months since then?
Very  little of substance.  The returned Coalition Government continues to reject holding a Royal Commission into the banking/finance system while the ALP Opposition and the Greens continue to call for one.  However, the Government has obviously been feeling under pressure on this matter. Although it still continues to rail contemptuously about the Opposition’s “populist” Royal Commission policy, it has abandoned its “do nothing” stance to take some limited action which it obviously hopes will neutralise Labor’s calls.
The first of these was a brief inquiry conducted by the ten member House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics on October 4th -6th.  (The composition of this Committee is: five Liberal MPs, one National, three Labor and one Green.) It was called by Prime Minister Turnbull after the major banks failed to pass on in full the Reserve Bank’s 0.25% rate cut to mortgage holders. Mr Turnbull said that it was an opportunity for the banks to explain how they deal with their customers, and why they make interest rate decisions and be open and accountable about it. It is significant that it was interest rates, not the many other really appalling actions of the banks over many years that produced this tepid inquiry.
The CEOs of the four major banks (Commonwealth, ANZ, National and Westpac) each spent three hours answering questions on matters such as bank policies, past mistakes, how these had been remedied and the action taken on those responsible for mistakes and illegal activities. 
Some committee members were concerned about the very limited time available (around 20 minutes with each CEO for each member) which led to the question of whether CEOs would be willing to return for a further session. Deputy Chair of the Committee Matt Thistlethwaite (Labor) remarked that the twenty minutes he would be getting was farcical because he had two days’ worth of questions to put to the CEOs.  Apparently those asked about returning expressed a willingness to do so – quite understandably given that this “inquiry” was obviously very preferable to a Royal Commission.
All CEOs were contrite about their banks’ past performances but claimed that the problems had been investigated (or were still being reviewed) and were (or would be) fixed. Obviously they believe that the Australian community should accept promises that the banks will put their own houses in order – something they have obviously not felt compelled to do in the past. The fact that many (if not most) of those responsible for the bad behaviour are still employed by the banks raises serious questions about bank culture and doubts about the banks’ commitment to improvement.  There are many other issues which need more than vague promises about “doing better in future”.  These include the lack of transparency, the lack of competition in the sector, the incentives which have encouraged predatory and illegal behaviour, and the inflated salaries rewarding the CEOs who are ultimately responsible for the culture and the bad behaviour.
The inadequacy of this brief and tepid inquiry was obvious even to the Government.  Although still anxious to shield the banks from a really sweeping and effective inquiry, it has recently announced a further inquiry – a banking tribunal which it is claimed will be a low-cost way for victims of the banks to seek justice.
The Opposition has predictably seen it as yet another way to avoid a Royal Commission with Shadow Financial Services Minister Katy Gallagher claiming it was “all pre-determined and pre-agreed with the banks.” 
What must be worrying the Government is that there is considerable public support for a Royal Commission and the paltry measures so far undertaken by the Government are unlikely to weaken this support. A national poll conducted by the Australia Institute in the second half of September found 68% supported a Royal Commission or similar inquiry and only 16% opposed it.  Furthermore 52% of those surveyed believed that Prime Minister Turnbull was protecting the banks in refusing to call a Royal Commission. Only 21% disagreed.
This issue is not going to go away. The more the Government tries to defuse the situation with ad hoc measures such as the recent ineffective Parliamentary Committee inquiry and the promise of a banking tribunal, the more it is going to be seen as being out of touch with a very substantial part of the electorate.
Northern Rivers

GuestSpeak is a feature of North Coast Voices allowing Northern Rivers residents to make satirical or serious comment on issues that concern them. Posts of 250-300 words or less can be submitted to ncvguestspeak AT for consideration. Longer posts will be considered on topical subjects.

Policing in Australia sometimes seems like a tale of violence, sexually predatory behaviour and racially motivated assault - not on the part of street criminals but on the part of police themselves

The Age, 23 October 2016:

More than a third of all Victoria Police officers who appealed dismissals or demotions in the past two years were disciplined because of predatory behaviour towards women, including family violence victims, colleagues, and women who were vulnerable or in care.

A senior constable was found to have preyed on five women, one officer exposed himself to staff, a 44-year-old had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, and several officers, including a Police Academy trainer at graduation celebrations, vulgarly propositioned women.

Almost exactly two years ago, former Chief Commissioner Ken Lay confronted troubling attitudes towards women within Victoria Police head-on when he announced a Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission independent review into the force.

But an analysis of Police Registration and Services Board review hearings shows the extent of this culture in stark detail.

The board hears the appeals of those who are disciplined by the internal police investigation unit, Professional Standards Command.

Unless an officer appeals to the board, or is charged with a criminal offence, details of the behaviour which led to their dismissal is rarely made public.

The board started publishing its decisions in 2014.

Police Registration and Services Board review decisions can be found here.

Some recent examples……

Taking advantage of a vulnerable female
DECISION The Board acknowledges the strong work record of the Applicant, his lack of any malicious intent and accepts that he would be unlikely to engage in such conduct in the future. However, a consideration of all of the factors set out above, especially the public interest in maintaining community confidence in Victoria Police, weighs strongly in favour of dismissal. Vulnerable members of the public must be able to seek help from the police force without any risk that they will be vulnerable to further harm from those entrusted to protect them. Having considered all the material and the submissions made, and after having regard to the public interest and the interests of the Applicant, the Board is not satisfied that the Inquiry Officer’s decision to dismiss the Applicant was harsh, unjust or unreasonable. Accordingly, the decision to dismiss the Applicant stands. The Board publishes these reasons for decision pursuant to Section 154A, subject to the redaction of the material in Appendix 1. The Board directs that the material in Appendix 1 not be published or communicated beyond the parties and their representatives. For the Board, all members concurring.

Making unwelcome sexual advances to a female public servant and publicly exposure himself
DECISION Having considered all the material and the submissions made, and after having regard to the public interest and the interests of the Applicant, the Board is not satisfied that the Inquiry Officer’s decision to dismiss the Applicant was harsh, unjust or unreasonable. Accordingly, the decision to dismiss the Applicant stands. Pursuant to the provisions of s.154A of the Act the Board proposes to publish these reasons. For the Board, all members concurring

Assault of a member of the public
DECISION Having considered all the material and the submissions made, and after having regard to the public interest and the interests of the Applicant, the Board is not satisfied that the Inquiry Officer’s decision to dismiss the Applicant was harsh, unjust or unreasonable. Accordingly, the decision to dismiss the Applicant stands. Pursuant to the provisions of s.154A of the Act these Reasons for Decision are to be published. For the Board, all members concurring.

Just in case anyone is under the impression that police conduct is of a higher standard in New South Wales because we see fewer published misconduct reports, I remind readers that on 7 March 2013 New Matilda reported:

In just the past few years we have seen case after case with compelling prima facie evidence of police brutality and excessive use of police force. However not a single case has resulted in a police officer being either demoted or dismissed, let alone charged with assault or another criminal offence. It is worthwhile at this point recalling just some of the incidents that have sparked community unrest in the past few years.

In November 2009 police were called to the home of Adam Salter by his dad. Salter was mentally ill and harming himself with a sharp knife in the kitchen. It was a frightening and dangerous incident. The most senior officer on site called out "Taser! Taser! Taser!" before shooting Salter dead with her glock pistol. What looked like a terrible tragedy and mistake was internally investigated by police. That police investigation cleared police of wrongdoing and the officers involved were in fact promoted.

When the coroner reviewed the matter (pdf) she found much of what the police had alleged was "simply not true", other parts were "almost entirely wrong", "a failure and a disgrace". The Salter’s family lawyer described it as "a whitewash" and "a cover up". Since then the Police involved have been the subject of an Ombudsman review and a Police Integrity review. Years have passed and no-one has been held to account for the tragedy.

In February 2011 Bugmy, an Indigenous man, was at his grandmother’s home in Wilcannia. When police entered he was holding a knife. His partner took that off him. He knelt on the ground with his shirt off and his hands behind his back. When he wouldn’t lay face down on the floor, police tasered him multiple times.

A magistrate found this unreasonable and excessive use of force. An internal taser review by police cleared the officers of any wrong doing. You can see the disturbing footage yourself and make up your own mind. Despite criticism from the Ombudsman, no disciplinary action has been taken against the police involved.

In January 2011 Cory Baker, a young Indigenous man, was taken to the Ballina Police Station where he said he was seriously assaulted by a group of police. An internal police investigation and report was produced. The police investigation cleared police and concluded that Baker had assaulted them.

At trial, deeply disturbing CCTV footage of the police viciously assaulting Baker was eventually produced as a result of an order by a local magistrate. The charges against Baker were dropped. These events are only now being investigated by the Police Integrity Commission. It has now come to light that a senior officer told at least one junior officer what to write in his statement for the internal investigation. That version was blatantly false. Again no disciplinary action has been taken against the officers.

In March last year a young Brazilian man, Roberto Curti, died after being handcuffed face down on the ground and repeatedly capsicum sprayed and tasered by police. Again, an internal police review produced no recommendations for any disciplinary action by the police involved. The Coroner found the attempted arrest of Roberto involved "ungoverned, excessive police use of force." The Coroner found numerous police gave untruthful accounts (pdf) of what occurred on the night.

Curti’s case was the subject of a further critical finding by the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman’s report found (pdf) that the internal police investigation was procedurally flawed, failed to consider the lawfulness of the police actions and failed to properly analyse the police use of force. To date not one officer has been charged or disciplined as a result of Curti’s death.
Just this week a further disturbing case has emerged of a police officer at the Mardi Gras throwing 18-year old Jamie Jackson to the ground on Oxford Street and then roughly placing a foot on his back. The young man appears dazed and bleeding as a result of the force with which he struck the pavement. Jackson says he was just crossing the road and did not deserve to be assaulted.

The police have said that they are holding an internal inquiry into the incident that will establish the truth of what happened. Increasingly no one believes this. As the short summary above shows, there are exceptionally good reasons to doubt the capacity of police investigating police to get to the truth in these cases.

There is an inherent conflict of interest whenever we have police investigating themselves. This cannot be resolved until NSW has a single independent police review body which is sufficiently resourced and has its own officers undertake all critical incident reviews.

While on 11 September 2013 SBS News reported:

Corey Barker, 24, was taken into custody in January 2011 after attempting to help two friends in an aggressive street confrontation with police in Ballina. Details about his arrest have emerged in a damning Police Integrity Commission (PIC) report, tabled in parliament on Tuesday.

It found officers slammed Mr Barker into a bin and a chair before swinging him into a machine. He was then forced to the ground before being kicked in the head and kneed in the side.
"The police treatment of Barker can fairly be described as violent," the report said.

Mr Barker was handcuffed and dragged along the floor on his stomach by his arms to a cell where he was left in handcuffs for more than 90 minutes. "This method would have been acutely painful and was brutal," the PIC said.

It found constables David Hill, Lee Walmsley, Ryan Eckersley and Luke Mewing used excessive force against Mr Barker.

They were also found to have lied about the arrest, along with Senior Constable Mark Woolven and former sergeant Robert McCubben, who was medically discharged from the force last December.

The matter came before the PIC after Mr Barker fronted the courts in 2011 charged with the assault of Const Hill.

All six officers gave evidence Mr Barker punched Const Hill in the face while being walked from a holding cage to a cell.

But the assault case was thrown out after CCTV footage - at first thought to have been damaged - showed Mr Barker had in fact been the victim of a police attack. Police were ordered to pay his legal costs.

Commissioner Bruce James has recommended all six officers engaged in misconduct and should be considered for prosecution under the Crimes Act.

Then there is this from Sydney Criminal Lawyers on 22 June 2015:

Police brutality is not just limited to fatal shootings. We recently wrote a blog about 16-year-old Aboriginal girl Melissa Dunn who was arrested by police for resisting arrest and hindering police. CCTV footage of the incident showed police officers brutally tackling the girl outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Sydney’s CBD, before her head hit the gutter and she was rendered unconscious.
A children’s court magistrate later found Melissa ‘not guilty’ of the charges and criticised police for using an ‘inordinate amount of force’ during her arrest. Melissa tragically ended her life just three days after her trial ended.

We also reported on the highly-publicised case of the young, slightly-built young man who was slammed to the ground during the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras by a heavily-built police officer. It seems that this brazen officer was undeterred by the presence of several members of the public, some of whom were filming the incident. The list goes on.

Such cases indicate that issues of police brutality and excessive force are a cause for concern in Australia, despite consecutive attempts to reform the law and redress these injustices.

Later that same year ABC News reported this curious fact on 24 September:

Internal investigations into deaths and serious injuries during police operations have not resulted in disciplinary action against any officer.

The figures, tabled in NSW Parliament, reveal that between January 2013 and August this year, 62 critical incidents were investigated by police.

Two adverse findings were recorded against a police officer in one case, with the officer given counselling. No disciplinary action was recorded against police in any of the 62 cases.

The figures were provided by the Government in response to questions on notice put by Greens MP David Shoebridge.

It will be interesting to see if the new NSW Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) due to become fully operational in 2017 will even make a dent in entrenched police culture in this state.

Those NSW police officers who perform their duties diligently, with compassion and goodwill must sometimes wonder when senior commanders are finally going to get their act together and weed out those violent and predatory individuals they must rub shoulders with in the force.


On 21 December 2016 Senior Constables David Hill and Mark Woolven, Constables Ryan Charles Eckersley and Luke Christopher Mewing, Probationary Constable Lee David Walmsley and Sergeant Robert Campbell McCubben were acquitted in the NSW District Court of assaulting Cory Baker at Ballina Police Station in 2013.

In June 2016 Sergeant Sheree Bissett, Sergeant Emily Metcalfe, Senior Constable Leah Wilson and Constable Aaron Abela were acquitted of perjury in the NSW District Court in relation to the shooting death of mentally ill man Adam Salter in the family home in 2009.  

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

This type of police surveillance will come as no surprise to Australian blogs which post on local and regional protests, 11 October 2016:

The ACLU of California reported that Geofeedia had been providing law enforcement with data -- including locations -- from the social media accounts of protestors. In response, it said Tuesday that Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram had cut off Geofeedia's access to their feeds.

The extent of law enforcement's social media surveillance was discovered through public records requests of 63 agencies in California, according to the ACLU of California. Emails obtained show the tools were used to monitor chatter around "the Ferguson situation," and that Geofeedia told California law enforcement agencies to find out how police in Baltimore used its tools to "stay one step ahead of rioters," after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody.

Geofeedia provided searchable data from public Instagram posts, troves of publicly shared information from Facebook (FBTech30) via the Topic Feed API, and public tweets. Information in Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts can be used to infer things like location, personal associations and religious affiliation.

The ACLU says Geofeedia and other social media surveillance tools can unfairly impact communities of color. Movements like #BlackLivesMatter began on social media, and Twitter, in particular, is used as a platform for organizing and amplifying protests.

"Communities of color rely on platforms to organize, to persuade, and to spread information," Matt Cagle, technology and civil liberties policy attorney at the ACLU of Northern California, told CNNMoney. "But here, the social networks left a side door open for surveillance by the police."

Law enforcement agencies invest thousands in the tools that aggregate and surveil conversation data --the Daily Dot reported that the Denver Police Department spent $30,000 on these types of tools in May. The ACLU launched an investigation in Denver in response to this report.

Based on information in the @ACLU's report, we are immediately suspending @Geofeedia's commercial access to Twitter data.
— Policy (@policy) October 11, 2016

In an email obtained by the ACLU of California through public records requests, Geofeedia claims "over 500 law enforcement and public safety agencies" use its services.

After the ACLU's report on Tuesday, Twitter tweeted that Geofeedia's access had been revoked.

"In addition to cutting off data access, the social networks should take additional steps to implement clear rules that prohibit the use of user data for surveillance, and oversight measures to ensure developers are not using the user data for surveillance," Cagle said.

The organization is joining with the Center for Media Justice and Color of Change to ask social media sites to commit to better protecting users engaged in political and social discourse.

Malkia Cyril, the executive director of the Center for Media Justice, said that people are using social media to expose human rights abuses, turning these platforms into modern day news outlets. However, the sites aren't not subject to the same kind of scrutiny or standards, she said.

"I wasn't surprised," Cyril told CNNMoney. "But I do think the average user should be shocked and dismayed at the scope and the scale of what the ACLU found."