IN DEFENCE OF THE AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPER REPORT:
Overland hypocrisy on terror raids
By Sasha Uzunov
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland is on the warpath over the publication of a story in The Australian newspaper on 4 August 2009 hours before a major raid on suspected Melbourne based terrorists who allegedly planned to attack Holsworthy Army Barracks in Sydney. . He has claimed that the leaked story had placed his officers in danger.
But the Chief Commissioner’s anger, or more like a case of protesting too much, is misplaced. The reporter of the article is Cameron Stewart, a well respected journalist and who according to his website profile is a former “spook” with the super secret Defence Signals Directorate (DSD). www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22653583-5014045,00.html
I am sure that Stewart would realise the magnitude of his story and I would personally as a journalist trust his news sense in running the story. www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25879554-601,00.html
The story was given the go-ahead by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), of which Commissioner Overland once served with.
If any blame is to be apportioned perhaps the Chief Commissioner should realise that the media is a double edged sword. Leaks usually occur for a number of reasons. Governments or the opposition release information in advance to test the waters. If the reaction is unfavorable, then the information is disowned.
To put it simply Commissioner Overland cannot have his cake and eat it too. Last month a “leaked” Office of Police Integrity (OPI) report was published in The Australian newspaper by Stewart which alleged a “shoot to kill culture” within the Victoria Police. It was noticeable that the Chief Commissioner did not jump up and down and condemn the leak but used it for political mileage.
The Australian newspaper story ran on July 13 2009 titled ‘No Tasers’ for deadly police, by Stewart quoted a soon to be released report from the Victorian Office of Police Integrity (OPI):www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25770795-5006785,00.html
There is a long running battle between the watchdog OPI and the Victorian Police Association, the union, over the introduction of the Taser Gun. The Victorian Police Commissioner Simon Overland is opposed to the non-lethal weapon being handed out to all police.
Senior Sergeant Davies of the Victorian Police Association quite rightly has expressed skepticism at the leaked OPI report.“We do have some issues with the fact that reports are released-leaked from the OPI and then nobody butters up to answer questions about it,” he said.
More to this story can be found at my article SHOOTING FROM THE LIP ,