Police commissioners and their political masters

Andrew Scipione

Faceless man replaces Andrew Scipione as NSW Police Commissioner … UK’s Theresa May delivers suicide note to EU – or is it Britain’s resurrection? … Why hardened criminals become terrorists in prison … Korea, North and South, plunges into political turmoil … Moslem baroness puts Israel’s soldiers of fortune on the spot … Festival of Dangerous Ideas … Great Crashing Bores

“Mr Nobody” becomes NSW police commissioner

Mick Fuller is the new NSW Police Commissioner chosen to succeed Andrew Scipione.

Never heard of him? Join the boat. He’s unknown to 99.9% of the population of NSW. Most members of the NSW Police Force don’t know him either.

Fuller, a former assistant commissioner, is the “captain’s pick” of Premier Gladys Berejiklian and the hierarchy of the NSW Police Association, a law and order lobby group. The association’s State branches dominate police policy in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. The NSW hierarchy vetoed two other candidates before giving the green light to Fuller.

Fuller will fit perfectly into the shoes of Scipione who turned faithful service to his political masters, Labor, Liberal or National, into an art form. He will serve Berejiklian by keeping the lid on police scandals and he will serve Police Association bosses by doing what they ask. It’s a win-win for the 0.1%.

On Scipione’s early retirement – his term does not officially end until September – he has been showered with glowing profiles in Sydney’s magazines. He has featured in lengthy pieces in the SMH and The Australian as well as an “exclusive” interview with Channel Nine’s Sixty Minutes. It has been nauseating, self-serving stuff.

The interviewers have been carefully vetted – whether they know it or not – and the interviews have been structured to present “Skippy” as a modern-day Bulldog Drummond, Sherlock Holmes and Eliot Ness. He appears to be leaving before the final coronial report into the Martin Place siege which is expected to reflect poorly on Scipione. There are other official reports nearing completion as well.

Media coverage of Scipione’s farewell raises the question – again – of the meaning of the word “news”. As the cover of the latest Time magazine asked: “Is Truth Dead?”

By any definition, the coverage of Scipione’s departure does not rate as “news”. For example, there are no interviews with former senior officers who might be able to provide an assessment of his career. Why not? But it isn’t “fake news” either because he is clearly going, and the words in the interviews are clearly his. No, this is a case of public relations pretending to be news. It is a PR operation managed by the NSW police hierarchy with the willing participation of the mainstream media.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the PR drivel and just remember that Scipione, and his handpicked deputy commissioner Catherine Burn, both went home on the night of the Lindt Café siege when 18 terrified customers and staff were being held at gunpoint by a crazed gunman.

What criminals has Scipione ever arrested, charged and had convicted of a major crime? Answer – none.

Police, the media and the public have been criticising police chiefs in NSW for decades. When I arrived back in Sydney in 1986 the target was John Avery, swiftly followed by Tony Lauer, Peter Ryan, Ken Moroney and then “Skippy”.

A suitable epitaph for Scipione’s time as police commissioner is that he served his Premiers – Morris Iemma, Kristina Keneally (Labor) and Barry O’Farrell, Mike Baird (Liberal) with unswerving devotion. Pity about the public of NSW and the fight against crime.

Brexit dye is cast

British Prime Minister Theresa May this week sent Britain’s Brexit six-page suicide note to Brussels with the backing of her Tory Party, the Labour Party and Nigel Farage’s United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). Her UDI from the European Union (EU) is opposed by the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish, Welsh and Irish nationalists and up to half the voters of Britain.
When US President Donald Trump brags about “America First” and his crazed attachment to economic nationalism he is branded as a lunatic (which he is). But when Mrs May babbles on about Britain going it alone, building “Global Britain” and replacing trade multilateralism with unilateralism, she is hailed as a genius. Trumpism and Mayism are not identical but they are on the same side of the coin. They are an attempt to turn back the history of world trade which has existed since biblical times.

Ancient historical records show that the early Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Phoenicians, Persians, Indians and Chinese traded almost continuously, BC and AD. Their market was an ever-expanding world; its boundaries were limited only by discovery.

It is a post-imperial arrogance of white English people (and white Americans) to believe they can create their own trading market through unilateral deal-making. Both May and Trump think they can: let’s see what happens …

When jails recruit terrorists

The terror attack outside the House of Commons on March 22 was carried out by Kent-born Adrian Elmes.

Elmes, 52, was a career criminal who spent most of his life behind bars on a variety of serious crimes including criminal damage (1983) and stabbing (2003). The media around the world refer to him as Khalid Masoud, the name he adopted after he converted to Islam.

Why would a “Man of Kent”, a quintessential English type, become a Moslem and then a terrorist?

We have known for many years that incarcerated UK and US criminals, black and white, choose to become Moslems. The same process has been underway in Australian jails for the past 15 years. Many of the converts are Aborigines. Why?

There are several reasons:

  • Islamic prisoners strictly adhere to a faith which stresses group solidarity, inner courage and physical and moral purity. (This is quite different from the Islam faith of the billionaire kings, princes, princesses, emirs and feudal rulers of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states).
  • Islamic prisoners are entitled to more privileges than other inmates: prayer times, better food, religious books and music, easier family visits.
  • Islamic prisoners receive more community support when they leave prison, including the possibility of housing and jobs.

It’s no wonder prisoners choose to join Islamic “gangs” while the official prison policy remains punishment through physical and psychological violence.

If prison facilities have become recruiting grounds for future terrorists, what are we thinking?

With 96,000 prisoners, the UK has the highest prison population in the EU. Outside the EU, only Russia and Turkey have more prisoners. Official reports show that suicide, self-harm and mental breakdown are occurring on a frightening scale in UK jails.

As a result, Theresa May’s Tory government is responding – by spending $2 billion on new jails. Further proof of the value of a strict Anglican upbringing.

Smell of an Englishman

Some very wealthy English businessmen have welcomed Brexit and Theresa May’s little Englandism with both hands.

Meet multi-millionaire property owner Fergus Wilson, Britain’s biggest buy-to-let landlord. Wilson, 70, has issued an email directive to staff telling them not to let properties to “coloureds”.

“To be honest, we’re getting overloaded with coloured people,” Wilson said. “It’s a problem with certain types of coloured people – those who consume curry – it sticks to the carpet. In extreme cases you have to replace the carpet.”

Wilson once reportedly owned up to 1,000 properties in Kent: perhaps Adrian Elmes (see above) was a tenant?

Whither Korea?

The benighted nation of Korea is currently the hot topic in capital cities around the word.

South Korea’s first female president Park Geun-hye has been impeached and is facing trial on corruption charges. Her fate was sealed on March 10 when the conservative Constitutional Court ruled by 8-0 that she should be removed from office and tried.

A presidential election will be held on May 9 with leftish Moon Jae-in, the 64-year-old Democratic Party chairman and MP, emerging as the main contender. Branded as a “communist” by ultra-conservatives, Moon is in favour of banning the National Intelligence Service (NIS), an arm of America’s CIA, from all domestic intelligence gathering, and repealing the draconian national security laws which have been used to suppress left-wing opponents of conservative Seoul regimes.

Meanwhile, militarists in Washington, Tokyo, Seoul and London are urging strikes against North Korea to destroy President Kim Jung Un’s nuclear missile programme. Will the West and its allies bomb North Korea or will the presidential election in South Korea be allowed to go ahead?

In Australia, the warmongers at Rupert Murdoch’s Australian are providing a unanimous chorus for war against North Korea – on “humanitarian” grounds, i.e. “saving” North Koreans.

China’s Premier Li Keqiang has just completed a regional tour of Canberra and Wellington to boost trade and security relations and win support for regional neutrality towards Washington’s belligerent megaphone diplomacy over North Korea and the South China Sea. Tony Abbott, along with senators Eric Abetz and Cory Bernardi, is heading a small faction demanding “bombs away” over North Korea. It fits their longer-term strategy of preventing China emerging as a world super power.

For three decades, Washington and Moscow kept Germany divided between West and East. Now Washington and Beijing (supported by Moscow) are doing the same with Korea. I look forward to the day when the line drawn between Koreans – the 38th parallel – is consigned to the dustbin of history.

Baroness speaks out

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi is a former Tory junior minister at the British Foreign Office. She was Britain’s first Moslem Cabinet minister but resigned in 2014 after David Cameron’s “morally indefensible” decision not to condemn Israel’s blitzkrieg on Gaza. She is now seeking a law change in Britain to make it illegal for British Jews to join the Israeli army and take part in military operations against the Palestinian people. She wants them prosecuted when they return home and treated like other “foreign fighters”. It is illegal, for example, for Britons to participate in warfare in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, but not when they volunteer to fight for the Israeli army.

“Let’s just shut down this loophole,” said the lawyer and human rights advocate. “If you don’t fight for Britain, you do not fight.” Baroness Warsi added: “We are not brave enough to say if you hold British citizenship, you make a choice. You fight for our state only. That [message] has to go out strong.”

Will Malcolm Turnbull’s government consider prosecuting Australian Jewish citizens who fight wars against Palestinians, Lebanese, Egyptians, Syrians and Jordanians on behalf of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF)? How about clarifying the law and then issuing public guidelines?

Great Crashing Bores*

The news media is full of stories about Cyclone Debbie. It’s pathetic. I remember the great cyclone of 1967 – that was a real blast. But 1972 was the worst – the river came up and flooded the whole town. Crops were ruined and I remember seeing dead cattle floating out to sea. Then again, 1985 was pretty bad. Almost certainly worse than ’72 or ’67.

It bucketed down for four days – we had 16 inches of rain and 300mph winds. I’ll never forget it. Every tree in town was flattened and every roof blown off. Having said that, people around these parts still talk about the great flood of 1908. That was a real beauty. People are still waiting for the insurance companies to pay for some of the damage. My advice is to keep your premiums up to date. This isn’t climate change, mate, it’s Mother Nature.

Festival of Dangerous Ideas*

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  • GCB and FDI are works of satirical fiction

2 comments

  1. One point which seems to escape comment, or perhaps I haven’t been looking in the right place, is that the DPRK’s nuclear posture is entirely rational. When George W Bush described an Axis of Evil comprising Iraq, Iran and Nth Korea and then went on to illegally invade Iraq it’s not surprising that other two may have said “hang on a minute, are we next and if so we need something to dissuade Bush and his coalition of toadies”. Then along comes Trump and NK starts all manner of demonstrations of their missiles and nukes, I wonder why?

  2. MICHAEL ROSS: I saw Scipione as a bonding link between governments of the day screaming law and order toughness, and the leader of men under his command and what they were capable of doing. Of course, Kaldas and Burn got under everyone’s skin, but Skip remained aloof from that internal stuff-up. He, and the force, broadened out their reach to the ordinary citizen, and he can thank Ray Hadley (whose son is a copper) for getting a decent press run in difficult times. Kaldas can always be hired as an outside consultant or to head an inquiry, but his merit role now internationally is far more important than simply being in charge
    of NSW police.

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