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Corrupt Police Protected Pedophile Judge -NSW Special Branch disbanded

 + Special Branch Spied on 60,000

By Francesca Davidson

1997 The Australian
Corrupt Police Protected Pedophile Judge
NSW Special Branch disbanded
By Francesca Davidson

SYDNEY -- For 49 years the NSW Police Special Branch has been monitoring the activities of left activists in NSW. After the NSW Royal Commission into Police Corruption heard evidence in February of Special Branch's involvement in covering up the paedophilic activities of Judge David Yeldham, the branch was officially disbanded on March 12.

Special Branch has a squalid history involving fabrication of evidence, false arrest, perjury by its members and implication in at least two frame-ups, including the infamous Ananda Marga case of 1978-1985.

Special branches were set up as a supplement to the Australian Security and Intelligence Organization in the early 1940s amidst anticommunist hysteria and the Cold War. Their role was to provide security for politicians and to collect "dirt files'' on political activists.

Tim Anderson was one of Special Branch's victims, wrongfully imprisoned in both the Ananda Marga frame-up and for the 1978 Hilton bombing. With groups such as Justice Action, he has campaigned for the abolition of Special Branch for years.

Anderson told Green Left Weekly, "The last time an outsider had a chance to look at the files, in 1978, they found that there were at least 50,000 inactive files, 20,000 active and around 8000 dossiers. They contain mostly irrelevant gossip and some political information.''

Anderson points out that Special Branch used its access to privileged information in a selective and manipulative fashion "to protect a very conservative and pro-police judge'' such as Yeldham, while it monitored, arrested and framed "people such as myself who are critical of police operations''.

Special Branch focused on collecting information on particular trade union, community and migrant groups. "I've seen demonstrations where Special Branch would take a placard out of someone's hands and trample it into the ground with venom. These people were vetted for their political ideas'', says Anderson.

Anderson comments that the Special Branch was notably inactive in the 1980s when anti-apartheid activists' lives were being threatened by right-wing groups like National Action. Only when there was a murder in the National Action office did it begin making arrests, "because many of these extreme right-wingers were police informers''.

Special Branch always had access to people in positions of power, states Anderson, "hanging out at police functions, looking out for police hierarchy, hanging out with politicians and providing security for judges''.

NSW is the last state to have a special security force. According to Anderson, after the South Australian Special Branch was abolished in 1978 for misuse of information, NSW Labor Premier Neville Wran announced an inquiry into NSW Special Branch. When the Hilton bombing occurred in February 1978, Wran called off the inquiry. Anderson said, "Wran and the newspapers at the time defended the Special Branch, saying 'Stay away form our political police because they're protecting us from world terrorism'.''

What should happen to the existing files remains a debate. While Anderson agrees there is a case for handing over particular files, like Yeldham's, to the Police Integrity Commission, he believes the "dirt files'' should be made available to the people concerned and then destroyed.

"It's in the spirit of the freedom of information legislation, which incidentally didn't exist when Special Branch was created, that individuals should be able to check personal information that the government has on them to see if it's rubbish'', he says. "Unless the files relate to some real criminal investigation, they should be destroyed.''

The NSW government has suggested that the functions of Special Branch be picked up by the existing police apparatus. "The function of collecting 'dirt files' should be abandoned altogether'', argues Anderson. "What business have they got looking at peace groups and such people? Those people are involved in legitimate activity. If they are suspected of criminal activity, there are normal police functions that can take up that role.''

Link: http://www.rwnicholson.com/Judge%20Yeldham%20Protection.htm

Link To Original Article: http://members.tripod.com/~Hilton_Bombing/specialbr.html


Special Branch Spied on 60,000 http://www.greenleft.org.au/1997/267/17377


The Australian

(June 23 1998)

THE disbanded NSW Police Special Branch had nearly 60,000 secret index cards on organizations
The Police Integrity Commission report tabled yesterday found Special Branch was "virtually unaccountable" and had an "unacceptable overlap" between its functions of gathering information on VIPs and protecting them.

The examination of a cabinet in the Special Branch records room revealed firearms, weapons and detonators - some of which had been there for eight years and which the group's commander admitted to having no knowledge about.

In total, the commission examined 58,150 index cards contained in the records room: 26,800 related to individuals nearly 7000 focused on "terrorists'', with the remainder including organizations, publications and religious groups.

Letters to newspaper editors, attending demonstrations and parking cars near meetings, all resulted in reports. The retention of "dirt files" on MPs, significantly increased the risk of "blackmail or extortion" through leaks, the report found.

Between 1939 and 1997, Special Branch also established an additional 10,324 in-depth files however, all but 1079 had been destroyed & emdash; the report found their destruction might have been illegal. [my emphasis: this means the truth about the Hilton Bombing may never be know and shows they had a lot to hide.

The commission noted that the NSW police royal commission found that Special Branch tried to smother potentially embarrassing information relating to the late former Justice David Yeldham's sexual behavior in public toilets.

While it found no evidence of "similar incidents of protection of public officials", the report found the Yeldham example raised "the possibility that other incidents involving public figures could have occurred and been smoothed over by Special Branch, and any records destroyed".

However, the commission cautioned that the public release of some material could inflame issues and expose individuals.

Labeling Special Branch a "law unto itself", Police Minister Paul Whelan vowed yesterday to ensure as many people as possible had access to their files.

"The B-grade gunshoe, cloak-and-dagger days of the old Police Service are gone," Mr Whelan said. He said the Government would adopt the recommendations concerning the creation of a new agency and on the use of the existing files. Special Branch was disbanded in March, 1997 and its records seized.

Link To Original Article: http://members.tripod.com/~Hilton_Bombing/specialbr.html