Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ye Olde Corruption: Nothing Changes

Two years after his father's funeral, Abe Saffron's son comes clean:
Despite Saffron's lifelong denial of involvement in criminal activity, in Gentle Satan Saffron's only son, Alan, 59, says his father controlled the vice trade, including illegal gambling and prostitution, in every state except Tasmania and the Northern Territory, and bribed a host of politicians and policemen to ensure he was protected.
Not just any politicians and policemen: the former Liberal premier Sir Bob Askin and the police commissioner Norm Allan.
"There have been many accounts of my father's relationship with these two men but none realised the depth of his association and influence. Both were totally corrupt ...
And of course it was not just these two men, but many others who still cannot be named:
"I wish I could tell you who they are," he said, but lawyers for his publisher, Penguin, had asked him to remove a number of names from the book.
This is from Saffron's wiki page:
In an interview with Lisa Carty of The Sydney Morning Herald, Alan Saffron said that he had received death threats over the book because it would name some of the people involved the conpsiracy, and that he was unable to name everyone involved for legal reasons, because some were still alive. Saffron claimed he could name people "much bigger" than former NSW premier Robert Askin and former police commissioner Norman Allan, with whom his father corruptly dealt to protect his gambling, nightclub and prostitution businesses. Saffron specifically referred to:
"... one particular businessman I was desperate to name, and there's one particular police officer who is extremely high ranking. They're the biggest names you can imagine in Australia".
According to the Herald article, all the conspirators are named in the original manuscript of the book, which is now in the possesion of Saffron's publishers, Penguin, and that the book will be re-published after as the others allegedly involved in the Nielsen case die.
Well, the biggest name I can imagine in Australia's police forces is AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty:
Commissioner Keelty is the Chair of the Board of the Australian Crime Commission, membership of which includes his counterparts from State and Territory Police and the heads of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Australian Securities & Investment Commission, Australian Customs Service and Attorney-General's Department.

He also Co-chairs with Indonesia the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering, which comprises 32 member countries and is affiliated with the Financial Action Taskforce - the international policy making body on money laundering.

Commissioner Keelty is a member of the Business Government Advisory Group on National Security. This group provides a forum for high-level dialogue between business and government on national security, which works closely with bodies such as the Trusted Information Sharing Network for Critical Infrastructure Protection (TISN). He is also Patron of the Australian Section of the International Police Association.

As AFP Commissioner, he assumes the role of representative of Interpol in Australia, and as a result of the collaborative relationships formed between the AFP and the Asian region, he represents Australia at ASEANPOL which includes the heads of 10 Asian police forces.

Commissioner Keelty is one of 21 members on the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police Committee and holds a position on the Board of Government of the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC). A joint training and capacity building initiative between Australia and Indonesia, JCLEC is situated in Semarang, Indonesia.

In addition, the Commissioner chairs the Australian Institute of Police Management (AIPM) Board of Control. The AIPM provides executive training courses for emerging managers from Australasian police services, and the Board of Control comprises Commissioner Keelty’s counterparts from State, Territory and New Zealand police jurisdictions.

Commissioner Keelty also joins State, Territory and New Zealand Police Commissioners as a member of the Australia and New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency (ANZPAA) Board of Management. ANZPAA provides cross-jurisdictional policing services including input into the strategic direction of Australasian policing. It also critically reviews issues to improve cross-jurisdictional information exchange and to provide an independent perspective for significant policing and law enforcement matters.

Commissioner Keelty holds a Master of Public Policy and Administration, a Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice Education, is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management. He also is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an Advisory Fellow of the Australian National University Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet).

In 2003, Commissioner Keelty received the Bintang Bhayangkara Utama Medal – Indonesia’s highest policing award - from the President of Indonesia, in recognition of the AFP’s close cooperation with the Indonesian National Police (INP). He was awarded an Australian Police Medal for distinguished service in 1996 and in 2003, the Centenary Medal for service to the AFP. In 2008 the President of the Republic of Singapore, Mr Sellapan Ramanathan, presented Commissioner Keelty with Singapore’s Distinguished Service Order, in recognition of his contribution to strengthening the working relationship between the AFP and Singapore’s Police Force.

In addition, Commissioner Keelty has been recognised by the Australian Financial Review (AFR) Boss magazine as one of Australia's 25 True Leaders. Furthermore, the 2007 AFR Power issue – profiling Australia’s major ‘power players’ across politics, business, the professions and the cultural arena - has highlighted the Commissioner as one of Australia's Top 10 most influential people.

The Commissioner was also named by The Bulletin as the fifth most powerful person in the Government category for the magazine's first Power 100 edition in 2007. The category judge, former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chief Allan Fels, recognised the Commissioner for his part in the transition of the AFP from "an unimportant role to a central position of power in security crime detection, dealing with our South Pacific neighbours and the rising tide of global crime".
Now I do not personally know if Mick Keelty is the man to whom Alan Saffron is referring, but certainly it is Keelty's job to ensure that person is exposed to justice.

UPDATE: Antony Loewenstein quotes a Green Left Weekly letter suggesting that a Sydney charity was recently raided by the police because it supported the Palestinians. According to the Murdoch media, they must be terrrrrsts:
The NSW Government, through its Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing, confirmed it would examine MAA following The Australian's revelations that the Sydney charity worked with Interpal earlier this year to distribute aid in Gaza.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs is also considering whether to refer the case to the Australian Federal Police.
So here's the official government line in Australia:
Give money to Israeli Zionist expansionists = good.

Give money to Palestinians = bad.
Clearly, the USA is not Israel's only client state.

To be clear: if any charity is supporting violence by anyone, it is to be deplored. But we do not seem to have a very open and honest debate about these issues within Australia, where our most powerful political and business leaders (and seemingly our military and police forces as well) are clearly taking sides with Israel. Given that the Israeli-Palestinian problem is at the heart of the West's "war on terror", which dominates all talk of global security these days, it is clearly in the best interests of ordinary Australians if we can at least have a balanced approach to the issue. That does not seem to be happening.

We are still waiting for the Lowy family to name the Israeli "charities" to which they donated $62 million in Australian taxpayer funds.

UPDATE 2: This story in the Age really nails the substance and urgency of Saffron Jnr's allegations:
Mr Saffron said he had received death threats and that copies of his unedited manuscript had been handed to police in Australia and California so suspects could be identified if he met foul play.

Mr Saffron got a police escort when he landed in Sydney on Thursday to launch the book, and his publisher has hired bodyguards to attend public appearances.

Mr Saffron said he feared some people might try to suppress the book's publication with endless court action designed to keep it off the shelves. Publisher Penguin had promised him it would re-release the book with a new name every time one of his targets died.

"I have countless names and Penguin has them all," he said. Mr Saffron said the corrupt officials were "much bigger" than former Premier Bob Askin and one-time Police Commissioner Bill Allen, whom Abe Saffron bribed to protect his gambling, nightclub and prostitution businesses. Both are dead. He said he wanted to name "one particular businessman" and a high-ranking police officer. "They're the biggest names you can imagine in Australia and it's really sad that I can't come out and tell the truth."
Saffron Jnr also says his father forced him into electric shock treatment in Sydney's infamous Chelmsford Hospital:
Alan Saffron says he escaped with the help of his mother just before a lobotomy was due to be performed by Dr Harry Bailey, who took his own life in 1985 after the hospital's bizarre psychiatric practices and deep-sleep therapy were exposed.
My epileptic grandfather died in Sydney after similar prolonged electric shock treatment in the 1960s.