OVER THE YEARS, we have seen many a political stunts go pear-shaped — take Sarah Palin for example.
Here in Australia political stunts extend as far as character assassinations, even to the point of arrests being made under false circumstances. At least they do now.
Some of you may have read my previous article on the allegedly stage-managed arrest of Craig Thomson last Thursday. The article delved into the public statements by Detective Superintendent Col Dysonfrom NSW Police Fraud Squad that the reason for the arrest in NSW was that Thomson had declined to "surrender himself" to a Victorian Police warrant for his arrest in December. This claim was vehemently denied by Craig Thomson and his solicitor Chris McArdle.
Let's not forget that the arrest was carried out in the full glare of the media, who had been tipped off about the arrest the night before, smack bang in the middle of Tony Abbott's speech to none other than the National Press Club.
Thomson and McArdle's views were dismissed by most — however, I thought that it was the Victoria Police claims that looked rather ridiculous. I struggled to see how someone could be given over a month's warning of an arrest, I also struggled with the validity of the charges, particularly the ones involving ice cream, as there appeared to be a lot of ridiculous charges, seemingly just there to make the overall number of charges look enormous.
As it turns out, my doubts were justified, as it has now been confirmed by NSW Police that, despite Dyson's claims, there was, in fact, no arrest warrant issued in December at all.
That's right, the justification for Thomson's arrest was a lie.
I suggest at this point you nip out, make yourself a cuppa, and let that sink in for a bit.
If my assessment of the evidently fictitious police arrest warrant was correct, then that again makes me question the timing of this most public of spectacles.
I should just point out now, that I may have given some flack to Ean Higgins in previous articles, but I think he deserves a pat on the back and congratulations for his article on this today. Credit where credit is due.
On the timing of the baseless arrest, I have been told by reliable sources that the Victorian Police officers involved spent the night before in Terrigal, on the NSW Central Coast.
This, of course, would mean overnight accommodation at taxpayer expense as well as meals. Victoria Police are yet to respond to my query as to whether any of the officers involved had ice cream, or watched an in-house movie, and if so, if can we expect charges laid or an Internal Affairs investigation announced.
In fact, Victorian Police refused to comment at all.
What this actually means is that Victoria Police more than likely woke up on their fluffed pillows at Crowne Plaza Terrigal, had a nice hearty taxpayer-funded breakfast, maybe even in bed, and then sat around for half the day waiting to arrest their man.
So, if the Victorian Police stayed overnight then it makes the stage-managed claims seem even more plausible. It would seem an amazing coincidence that police who had been on the Central Coast for more than 18 hours would happen to make the arrest during Tony Abbotts speech that lasted minutes. That is either one hell of a fluke, or a fine example of stage management. Considering high level arrests are usually well-rehearsed and planned, the fluke option seems unlikely.
Again, one only has to look at the involvement of George Brandis in the NSW Police investigations to appreciate the strong possibility that strings were being pulled with the Victorian Coalition Police Minister. At least, that is how it looks to a large and growing section of the public.
The main stream media, however, seem to have been sucked in by the bizarre conspiracy theory of the right. This utterly ridiculous theory is that Gillard called the election early because she knew Thomson was to be arrested the next day.
I don't even think this is a real theory, I think the best disguise for a legitimate theory of stage management is to try to create a conspiracy theory so preposterous that it makes any theory seem wild. The right have created their own theory to deflect attention from the real questions being asked by the public — and on cue the right-wing press run with it.
This is straight out of Propaganda For Dummies 101, and the public are not fooled.
I would like to see NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell launch an investigation into the circumstances of the arrest, instead of making slanderous wisecracks about it. After all, it seems based on the statements of NSW Police, that they were misled, or flat-out lied to by Victoria Police, in order to fulfill a political agenda — surely a serious crime?
Col Dyson, an extremely senior Officer, has been made to look a fool over this because he has been misled and fed false information by another states police force. This should not be just shrugged off.
As for O'Farrell's wisecrack about Thomson's strip search, do I need to remind him about his Arts Minister George Souris? Here's some things that may refresh his memory, public masturbation, two men in a pool, it's rude to point, and police called to scene. Glass houses and stones anyone?
Speaking of the strip search, more rather disturbing information has come to light regarding the series of events involving the search.
Thomson went before a magistrate immediately after being strip searched. This is unusual, as normally he would have been searched after being before the magistrate and only if he was refused bail. Being placed in the hands of Corrective Services prior to court proceedings seems designed to humiliate Thomson, delay the outcome and see him placed in custody overnight. IA has been told that only around 5 per cent of persons who are arrested are strip searced.
So, what facts have come out of all this?
It is fact that the warrant we were told by police Thomson was arrested on never existed.
It is a fact that the chain of events surrounding the strip search were highly irregular.
It is fact that the Victorian Police for whom the arrest was made for had spent many hours in the area before making the arrest just as Tony Abbott commenced his speech, and well after all the media had turned up at Thomson's office.
It is also worth remembering that if this is a case of Coalition interference, it would not be the first time that an arrest has been made as the result of a campaign run by the current Federal Opposition.
Pauline Hanson actually spent time in jail before it was uncovered as being a set up based on lies. The set up was orchestrated by the Coalition and paid for out of a slush fund set up by none other than Tony Abbott.
Now, I'm no fan of Hanson, but I am a massive fan of having the democratic right to have my say when I vote. Tony Abbott sought to take that right away from us all.
This is what Tony Abbott said when asked to justify his slush fund to attack Pauline Hanson:
“Obviously in hindsight, I shouldn’t have done it. But if I had my time again and it was necessary to make an alliance with some pretty unusual people to stop a very serious threat to the social cohesion of the country, well, I would do it. I mean, how else were we going to stop One Nation at the time?”
Having political opponents arrested under false pretences sounds to me more like a dictatorship than a democracy. Is Tony Abbott basing his proposed style of government on North Korea?
When Abbott was asked if he regretted what he did to Pauline Hanson he said he'd do it all again.
Maybe he is.
Catch up on IA's full Jacksonville investigation here:
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