26 August 2013


The police state is not something new. Dictatorships such as Spain, Germany, USSR, Italy, South Africa kept tabs on their citizens and controlled them accordingly, with dire consequences if and when they strayed. This article covers much of the ground. It was on the blog Activist Post on 23 AUGUST 2103.


Friday, August 23, 2013

How to Talk to Kids About the Police State

Sigmund Fraud
Activist Post

While many adults would prefer to ignore it, a police state has already risen amongst the once free nations of the West. The legal framework and technology for this advanced big brother nightmare has been developing for decades, and as such, it is unlikely that the trend towards even greater surveillance, control and injustice will slow much in the coming years, even though the public is slowly awakening to what is happening.

The next generation of children may very well be the first to never experience privacy, and will be preyed upon their entire lives by the corporate state, ostensibly for purposes of security and marketing. As such it is imperative that today’s youths are given an honest explanation of what is happening along with hopeful guidance for navigating this brave new world.

What is to happen to the next generation? Are they to grow up knowing only subservience and submission to an all-seeing technological oligarchy? Or will they grow up to develop the personal power and intelligence to survive and thrive in this unfortunate environment?

Children are unlike adults in that they typically have a more intuitive way of reading the world around them. Too young to understand the logic of our chaotic and backward world, and too inexperienced to yet give into cynicism, kids also have a keen ability to know when someone should be trusted and when someone should be feared. The police state relies on it’s fearful image and tactics to maintain it’s power, and our young people are quick to see through this and spot the injustice, hypocrisy and the phoniness of adults.

In the classroom, children are taught the traditional nationalistic history, which celebrates and glorifies the past achievements of the state, repeating the idea that the nations of the West are governed by principles, morals, equal rights, democracy, and such. Being intuitively alert, it is impossible for the youth to be fooled by a painted picture like this, while all the while there is wanton violation of all this in the real world. The contradiction between this repeated lie and the real experience of living in a fearful security state contributes to inner conflict and reinforces the popular cognitive dissonance that renders so many adults useless in the effort to maintain personal liberty in these times.

It is imperative that we liberate the youth of today from the crippling fear that gives the police state its power. For this, here are some key considerations for discussion with today’s youth about life in a new age of tyranny:
  • Keep your moral compass focused on the principles of liberty, peace and love. The alternative is submission, conflict and hate, which will absolutely destroy you, as it is destroys those who would subjugate others.
  • Be honest with them about what we are confronting. Let them know that this is not right, this is not normal, and this is not how life should be.
  • What you are taught in school and in the media about how the world works is largely untrue.
  • You must know and understand your rights in order to endure injustice. The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the Magna Carta, and the volumes written on the subject of human freedom, liberty, the nature of tyranny offer moral guidance and inspiration. This is essential knowledge for confronting injustice and mustering courage.
  • You must exercise the rights that you still have, as well as continue to exercise those rights which have been unjustly turned into privileges.
  • Personal responsibility is crucial, as the alternative is apathy and indifference, which are crucial to rise of tyranny. This situation is your responsibility to deal with in whichever way you are guided to, but ignoring and refusing to acknowledge this is simply unacceptable.
  • You are not alone in this, as there are already literally millions of people worldwide contributing to efforts to bring light onto what has come to operate in the dark. The movement towards global freedom is indeed growing in parallel with the move toward global slavery.
  • It is not OK to emulate the leadership that we have nowadays, nor to join them in enforcing unjust laws. It is also not OK to profit from intruding on someone else’s liberty and privacy.
  • What happens to your neighbor and countrymen also happens to you. A predatory government always starts on the outskirts of society, first demonizing and persecuting fringe groups, then naturally evolving to toward more segments of society until everyone is a terrorist. By ignoring today the targeting of others, you contribute to your own persecution in time.
  • Privacy is something very valuable and very critical for mental health and well-being. It is important to learn how to exercise privacy and to protect yourself when using technology. Learn how to opt-out, decline, and skillfully not-comply when possible.
  • Taking care of your body, your mind, and spirit, and intentionally living with conscience will liberate you from the psychic and spiritual trap that is the control-freak matrix. It is designed to diminish your personal power and make your life seem insignificant. Turning your attention away from the mindless distractions and temptations of the media and focus instead on self-mastery and personal spiritual cultivation will help you to see through its illusions.
  • History is full of tyranny, war and ugliness, yes, but it is also a continuing story of revolution, triumph, re-construction and love, so do not be fooled by those too afraid to put hope into action.
  • Life is too short and too precious to live in fear of another human being. You deserve to be happy and enjoy your life, so it is your task to rise above this insanity.
Preparing the future generation for the challenges plaguing humankind requires brutal honesty with them about the condition of the world, while offering them hope and direction by exposing them to the creative ideas that will improve things. We have, sadly, created many problems for the next generation, the police state being only one of them. Courageous souls are needed, and it is our responsibility to develop within the youth the personal power to move through this.

This article was inspired by the following video which offers a short glimpse into the tragic lives of some of Syria’s youth as their country descends further into all-out war. The strength and poise of the children in this video is equally inspiring and heart-breaking and should give us all pause in considering how we prepare the next generation for the possibility of a better life than this…


Sigmund Fraud is a survivor of modern psychiatry and a dedicated mental activist. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com where he pursues the possibility of a massive shift towards a more psychologically aware future for mankind.

24 August 2013


The above video was from

Antony Loewenstein's blog

Chelsea Manning lawyer speaks out and damns brutal US sentence

In­de­pen­dent jour­nal­ist Alexa O’Brien, one of the only real re­porters who doc­u­mented the Chelsea Man­ning trial from the be­gin­ning, in­ter­views Man­ning’s lawyer, David Coombs, on Democ­racy Now!

23 August 2013


This article comes from Nation of Change on 20 August 2013 and is a further example of the way the United States of America is showing its tendency to become the police state of the western world.


Detention of Greenwald Partner inLondon Clearly Came on U.S. Orders

It is becoming perfectly clear that the outrageous detention of American journalist Glenn Greenwald’s Brazilian partner David Miranda by British police during a flight transfer at London’s Heathrow Airport was, behind the scenes, the work of US intelligence authorities.

British police and the British Home Office (the equivalent of America’s Department of Homeland Security) are claiming that the action was taken by them on the basis of an anti-terrorist statute, passed in 2000, with the Orwellian name “Schedule 7.” The give-away that this was not something that the British dreamed up on their own, however, is their admission that they had “notified Washington” of their intention to detain Miranda, a Brazilian national, before the detention actually occurred.

Note that they did not notify Brazilian authorities. It was the Americans who got the call. Why would British police notify American authorities about the detention of a Brazilian citizen except to ask what US authorities wanted done ? Clearly, Miranda was on one of America’s “watch lists” and the British police called because they needed instructions from their superiors in the US regarding whether to detain him and what to do with him once they had him. (The ironically named new White House press secretary, Josh Ernest, denied any involvedment by the US in the detention of Miranda, saying, "This is a decision that was made by the British government without the involvement - and not at the request - of the United States government. It is as simple as that." He was not pressed on the matter by the assembled members of the White House press corps--a group that is not known for its aggressiveness even when its own interests are at stake.

Miranda subsequent to the UK police's call to the US, was detained and held, without access to a lawyer, for nine hours -- the maximum amount of time allowed under the draconian terms of Schedule 7 -- and was during that time questioned by at least seven security agents, whom Miranda says threatened him with jail and asked him about his “entire life.” Never was there any suggestion that he was a terrorist or that he had any links to terrorism. Rather, the focus was on journalist Greenwald’s plans in relation to his writing further articles about the data he had obtained from US National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, now living in Russia under a grant of political and humanitarian asylum.
British police confiscated Miranda’s computer, his computer games and memory storage devices he was carrying. (In a related action, police also went to the offices of the UK Guardian newspaper, which is where Greenwald works, though from his home in Brazil, and, in an act of wanton destruction reminiscent of Nazi storm troopers or Chinese public security bureau thugs, destroyed hard drives of the newspaper’s computers containing leaked documents provided by Snowden. The paper’s editors said that this particularly ugly police action against the news media was pointless since the paper has copies of those documents elsewhere, but then, the “point” was the act of destruction, not elimination of the leaked information itself.)

It makes no sense that British authorities would have taken these outrageous police-state actions against Miranda, against Greenwald and against one of the UK’s most prestigious newspapers, on their own. The issue after all is Snowden’s leaks, which are primarily of concern to the US and the NSA -- the source of the documents.
US intelligence authorities these days maintain enormous files on American and foreign citizens, and track their movements by air. Many people are regularly subjected to special searches at US airports, and in some cases have their computers confiscated and searched by immigration authorities. Some are also detained for hours and are denied the right to get on a plane, though they are never charged with any crime. When I investigated the TSA’s watch lists and its “no-fly” list, I learned that there is no way to find out if you are on such a list, or to get your name removed if you are on one. There is not even a right to learn how such lists are compiled, or which agency might be the source of information that is putting you on a watch list.

No doubt Miranda was placed on such a watch list by the US because of his relationship with Greenwald. No journalist himself, Miranda had just met in Germany with journalist/filmmaker Laura Poitras, who has been working in collaboration with Greenwald on the Snowden documents exposé. According to the Guardian, which was paying his airfare, he was bringing back to Rio de Janeiro some materials in her position for Greenwald’s use in writing further articles. (Knowing that the NSA is monitoring their every electronic communication, Poitras and Greenwald understandably preferred to use a trusted courier, rather than sending the records electronically.)

We have entered a very dark period in terms of freedom of the press, not to mention the basic freedom of travel, association and privacy, when people like Miranda are detained in this manner. No one has suggested that Miranda, Poitras or Greenwald has broken any law. They are doing what good journalists in a free society are supposed to do. But the US security state, which has its tentacles now spread through most of the world, with client state secret services, such as the police in Britain, doing its bidding, isn’t going after “criminals” or “terrorists.” Like tyrants everywhere, it is engaging in repression, pure and simple.

“Terrorism” laws are now being overtly used to repress basic freedoms without the state even bothering to pretend that the police actions taken have anything to do with combating “terror.” The only terrorism at this point is the actions of the state. The only terrorists are government authorities.
What started out as malignant universal monitoring by the NSA of all electronic communications is now metastasizing into arrests of journalists and their assistants at the airport. This will no doubt in no time metastasize further to night-time SWAT raids on journalists’ homes and offices. We’ve already seen such things being visited upon political activists, so the new development should not come as much of a surprise.

This latest escalation of the US government’s assault on truth and journalism exposes the puerile sham of President Obama’s claim to want to “reform” the National Security Agency’s spying program and to limit the “Justice” Department’s invasive actions against journalists. The detention of Miranda was an act of war on the whole concept of press freedom.

Absent a public outcry -- and I see none -- it will only get worse.

ABOUT Dave Lindorff

Dave Lindorff is an investigative reporter, a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to Businessweek, The Nation, Extra! and Salon.com. He received a Project Censored award in 2004. Dave is also a founding member of the online newspaper ThisCantBeHappening! at www.thiscantbehappening.net


The following video is from the

Antony Loewenstein blog

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Her majesty's thugs target press


August 23, 2013 The Age

James Temple

Using the Terrorism Act to detain a journalist's partner is a gross abuse of power.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald walks with his partner David Miranda in Rio de Janeiro's International Airport. Photo: Reuters
It's been an infuriating few days for anyone who values the freedom of the press, as authorities in Britain resorted to the tactics of tyrants and thugs to squelch reporting that they simply don't like. In acts clearly calibrated for optimal intimidation, they have detained the partner of a journalist, threatened to shut down a reporting operation that has prompted a critical public debate over government spying, and forced the destruction of a major publication's computer hard drives.
It's breathtaking in its audacity - and if it comes to light that the US government took any part in these acts, it will warrant immediate congressional investigation.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Photo: Reuters
As it is, accelerating assaults on investigative journalism demand stronger protections for journalists and their sources. Otherwise, Western society will forsake its right to know what happens in the back rooms of a government that purportedly exists to serve democratic interests.
On Sunday morning, the partner of Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian newspaper columnist who broke most of the recent blockbuster stories about US government surveillance efforts, was detained at Heathrow Airport for nine hours under Britain's broad terror laws. Authorities interrogated David Miranda without a lawyer and confiscated his laptop, phone, memory sticks and other devices.
Miranda was returning from Berlin, where he met a filmmaker who worked with Greenwald on stories based on leaks from former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
Schedule 7 of the British Terrorism Act grants authorities wide latitude to search and question travellers to ascertain any link to terrorism. But it's clear Miranda's detention had nothing to do with terrorism, since Greenwald reported that those nine hours were spent questioning him about the NSA reporting.
Using laws designed to ferret out suspected terrorists to detain a person aiding acts of journalism is a cut-and-dried abuse of government power, an act of intimidation that may well be illegal - and certainly should be. It gives the lie to the naive but oft-repeated notion that if you've done no wrong, you have nothing to fear.
British officials justified their actions by suggesting Miranda was ''in possession of highly sensitive stolen information that would help terrorism''. But many things can be construed as ''helping'' terrorism. Osama bin Laden recommended a Bob Woodward book for its insights into US military decision-making, but that doesn't mean anyone with a copy in his or her carry-on luggage should be dragged off a plane.
The White House acknowledged that it was given a ''heads-up'' about Miranda's detention, but said it occurred ''without the involvement - and not at the request - of the United States government''. An equally shocking set of revelations arrived on Monday, as Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger published a story disclosing that British officials have demanded that the newspaper relinquish or destroy all the material leaked by Snowden. He was warned that if the newspaper refused to do so, the government would force its hand in court.
Rusbridger told authorities that most of the reporting on the NSA stories was already happening out of New York. But his argument was unpersuasive.
''And so one of the more bizarre moments in The Guardian's long history occurred - with two [government intelligence] security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives in The Guardian's basement just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents,'' Rusbridger said.
The good news: the publication had digital copies of the material outside the country. But the mere fact that a Western democracy raided an independent publication and shattered its property is outrageous, a tilt towards the totalitarianism imagined by George Orwell.
Such attacks on investigative journalism appear to be escalating. Judges have threatened reporters at The New York Times and Fox News with jail time for refusing to disclose their sources. The Obama administration has prosecuted more people under the Espionage Act for leaking classified information than all past presidencies combined.
Veteran investigative reporters say the current climate has cast a chill across the landscape. Once-reliable sources now refuse to step forward for fear of winding up the next Bradley Manning, the WikiLeaks leaker.
There's a high price to pay for these policies: we'll know less about what governments, businesses, lobbyists and other institutions are doing behind closed doors. Unless we demand stronger protections for journalists and their sources, we forfeit a victory to idiocy, incompetence, abuse and crime.

James Temple is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle.



22 August 2013


WikiLeaks, Assange Embrace the Far, Far Right

WikiLeaks, Assange Embrace the Far, Far Right
While WikiLeaks and its leader Julian Assange have long garnered support from people on the political left, it’s never been clear how strongly they backed the left. Now, an interview with Assange and actions taken by a WikiLeaks-affiliated party in Australia are making it apparent that WikiLeaks is not a leftist organization. The two groups may share some aims, but WikiLeaks is decidedly right-wing.

WikiLeaks’ overt anti-American rhetoric and commitment to complete government transparency has appealed to activists who view western and American imperialism as the greatest threat to world stability. Leftist luminaries, from Noam Chomsky to Michael Moore, and leftist leaders, like Venezuela’s late president Hugo Chávez and Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa, have all embraced the organization. Indeed, Correa’s government has been sheltering Assange in the Ecuadoran embassy in London, preventing him from being extradited to answer rape allegations in Sweden.

However, in an interview with Campus Reform, Assange praised America’s political right. He called former Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and his son, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.,  the “only hope” for liberty in America. “The libertarian aspect of the Republican Party is presently the only useful political voice really in the U.S. Congress,” Assange said in the interview, adding that he was “a big admirer of Ron Paul and Rand Paul for their very principled positions in the U.S. Congress on a number of issues.”
The Pauls, of course, are known to have been very cozy with fringe racists groups. Indeed, Rand Paul co-authored his campaign book with a man who calls himself “The Southern Avenger.” Rand Paul has said the Civil Rights Act was wrong, as was the Americans With Disabilites Act. These things are evidently not deal-breakers for Assange, however.

Indeed, on the one social issue Assange cited, he agrees with Rand Paul. Rand Paul supported a “heartbeat bill,” which would effectively outlaw abortion. Assange cited that approvingly, along with opposition to taxation in any form.

“So, non-violence: well, don’t go and invade a foreign country. [...] Non-violence: doesn’t extort taxes from people to the federal Government with a policeman. Similarly, other aspects of non-violence in relation to abortion that they hold,” he said.

Assange’s views are of a piece with radical libertarianism, which holds that government can do little but provide a minimal police force to defend property rights. This is, needless to say, about as far from the political left as one can get.

Assange’s statements might be viewed as a one-off, or a misunderstanding, if not for the actions of his political allies in Australia. There, the WikiLeaks Party, which has been trying to gain a seat for Assange in Australia’s Senate, allied itself with the far-right Australia First Party, an overtly nationalist and nativist minor party. It’s also thrown its lot in with The Nationals, another right-wing party, ahead of the Greens.

The party has tried to downplay the uproar since this became public, citing “administrative errors” as the reason behind their decisions. Still, it was noted by many that Assange had criticized the Greens’ policies on asylum-seeking as “simplistic and foolish,” and Crikey reported that it had been told off the record that the move was intentional.

What is abundantly clear is that Assange and WikiLeaks are not leftist or liberal, but libertarian in their worldview. That is not to say that there are not some issues where the two groups might ally; libertarians are non-interventionists by nature, and leftist groups may still find common cause with WikiLeaks on issues related to government transparency and military intervention.

On a whole host of other issues, however, from women’s rights to immigration, from the well-being of the poor to the rights of minority groups, WikiLeaks is not the left’s ally. It is the left’s enemy. And that should make any progressive concerned.


21 August 2013


There are two reports in this post - one from the Sydney Morning Herald from early August 2013, and the other from the Sydney Star Observer a week later covering much the same information, but providing more publicity to Sydney's and New South Wales' police force shame in not bothering to solve at least 30 of the gay murders during the 70s, 80s and 90s because of their ongoing homophobia and disinterest.


Report by Rick Feneley (Sydney Morning Herald)


Two boys play cards at the Keelong detention centre, south of Wollongong, in April 1991. "Tell me some good stories, you cunt," says one.

"About fag-bashing?" asks the other. And this 17-year-old inmate does not disappoint. "It was heaps fun," he says. With sadistic relish, he regales his fellow prisoner, and another at Sydney's Minda Detention Centre a few months later, with his reminiscences.

He reckons he was 12 when he started. He talks about hunting in packs of as many as 30 youths who would ambush homosexual men and punch and kick them and stomp on their heads, from Alexandria Park to Kings Cross and Centennial Park to Bondi and Tamarama. They'd go "cliff-jumping" and push gays over the edge. "Ah! Help, help!" he mocks one victim. "Heaps funny. Used to love how they scream, eh?"

The headlines are his trophies. "Got heaps of clippings at home, man, from all the poofters that we bashed."

"You're a sick puppy, mate." says his new friend at Keelong.

"It's a sport in Redfern ... it's a fuckin' hobby, mate. 'What are you doin' tonight, boys? Oh, just goin' fag-bashin.' "

He does not realise, but both his friends are wearing listening devices. He is in custody because he killed a man. He and seven of his mates. They will become known as the Alexandria Eight.

On January 15, 1990, after a game of basketball, they lured 33-year-old Richard Johnson to a toilet block in inner-city Alexandria Park. It was one of Sydney's many gay beats, a place for men to meet for casual and anonymous sex. Johnson had left his phone number on the wall. The gang - aged 16 to 18, most of them students or former students from nearby Cleveland Street High, a couple from a Catholic school - called the number to "bait the poofter". Johnson took the bait and they bashed him to death.

Behind bars, a couple of the youthful killers start naming names, suggesting who among the Alexandria Eight - and who among their extended network of schoolmates and associates - may have committed other gay bashings and murders. One of the eight, Ronald Morgan, skites about an attack at Bondi. "I had me new 'Boks from America on that day, too.

I had all blood over 'em … He should have went off the cliff that night but he didn't … We went down and put a cigarette butt out on his head."Also wearing a listening device is Dean Barry Howard, another of the eight. He is helping the cops now, but that doesn't stop him complaining. "I wish I would've done more to that fuckin' Johnson bloke if I'm gunna get 10 years. Two kicks and I'm gunna fuckin' get 10 years for it - five years for each kick."

Howard, in fact, is sentenced to eight years for murder, the reduction partly a reward for assisting police. In his own callous arithmetic: four years for each kick.

Detective sergeant Steve McCann had planted those bugs while the eight teenagers awaited sentences for manslaughter and murder. The homicide investigator was the first in the NSW police force to explore potential links between this case and a succession of murders and savage assaults of gay men, from the inner city to the Bondi cliff-tops. Some of his colleagues called him "the gay avenger". It wasn't meant kindly. McCann was straight, for the record, and simply determined to throw light on some unsolved crimes. They included the bashing murder of martial arts expert Raymond Keam, 43, in Randwick's Alison Park, also a gay beat, in January 1987; the killing of 50-year-old schoolteacher William Allen in Alexandria Park on December 28, 1988, a little over a year before the killing of Johnson in the same location; and the death of Cleveland Street High teacher Wayne Tonks in his Artarmon unit on May 19, 1990.

Working with McCann was Sue Thompson, a lawyer and former state ombudsman's investigator who had joined the force in January 1990 to co-ordinate its liaison with the gay and lesbian community. McCann and Thompson soon realised this blood sport called poofter-bashing was consuming many more "sick puppies" than the Alexandria Eight. They would encounter the Tamarama Three and the Bondi Boys, a local gang of about 30 which, despite its name, included girls, said to cheer on the head-kickers.

Thompson would write research papers, attain international recognition and be awarded the Police Medal in recognition of her 12 years in the pioneering gay liaison role. Using police data, she found 46 gay-hate murders in NSW between 1989 and 1999. Criminologist Stephen Tomsen backed those numbers with his 2002 finding of about 50 gay-hate murders between 1985 and 1995.

Their startling figures, while noted by the experts, never captured the public's attention. They were quite an understatement, in any case. They accounted only for reported homicides. They did not include cases filed away as suicides, deaths by misadventure or disappearances.

From bitter experience, Thompson now knows that at least some of those, and possibly many, were murders. Today she can count about 80 deaths or disappearances, mainly in Sydney but some in regional NSW, dating from the late 1970s to late 1990s - all potentially fitting this category of gay-hate crime. Of those, 30 remain unsolved.

John Bedser

Antique dealer
stabbed in shop,
Parramatta Arcade
2 December 1980


Gerald Cuthbert, 27

Stabbed 64 times,
Paddington unit
17 October 1981


Wayne/ Wendy Brennan

Transvestite and sex worker,
shot at Kings Cross home
April 1985


Gilles Mattaini, 34

Disappeared around
Marks Park,
5 September 1985


Raymond Keam

Martial arts expert, savagely bashed in Alison Park,
13 January 1987


Rebecca Johnson, sister of Scott Johnson, with investigative journalist Daniel Glick at the site of Scott's death at North Head.
Photo: James Brickwood

While a "wave" of gay-hate murders was widely reported, Thompson says: "It was never just a wave. It is much more accurate to describe it as an epidemic." (Curiously, Melbourne police and media have never reported a culture of antigay violence of these proportions.)

Thompson's list includes some much-publicised cases, notably that of the brilliant young American mathematician Scott Johnson - no relation to Richard Johnson - whose naked body was found at the base of a 50-metre cliff on the Manly side of North Head, near Blue Fish Point, on December 9, 1988. A coroner soon agreed with police and declared it a suicide.

Johnson's brother Steve never believed it. In 2007, from Boston, he launched his own investigation. Unlike most families, he had the means. Steve Johnson is an internet entrepreneur who made his fortune by creating an algorithm that made it possible to deliver pictures over phone lines, the earliest form of digital "streaming media". He hired Daniel Glick, a former Newsweek investigative journalist, to travel to Sydney. "Pretty much on day one," says Glick, "it became clear that the place where Scott died was a gay beat." Police had told the coroner otherwise. But gay men came here, took off their clothes, sunbaked and hoped to get lucky.

"At least some police knew about this at the time," says Glick. Scott Johnson, 27, was gay. He was about to be awarded his PhD at the Australian National University in Canberra. Glick again: "Gay men don't go to gay beats to commit suicide. Period."

In June 2012, 23 years after Scott's death, deputy state coroner Carmel Forbes threw out the suicide finding. She considered the weight of the research amassed by Steve Johnson, with a team that included Sue Thompson, and found it could have been a gay-hate murder or an accident. Police announced a $100,000 reward in the case in February - the day after the ABC's Australian Story featured the family's battle.

"At first, I was focused only on Scott's death," says Johnson. "Then we started hearing from other families and other men who had survived vicious assaults around the time Scott died. I was shocked to learn how many gay men had died ... there were hundreds, possibly thousands, of assaults against gay men during this era.

"There was a culture of gay-hate bashings ... It didn't stop at the Harbour Bridge. We've heard stories of the equivalent of the Alexandria Eight or the Bondi Boys who regularly gay-bashed along the northern beaches."

The postcodes for the unpublicised cases stretch from Mosman to Collaroy on the north side. There were the brothers from Narrabeen, aged 15 and 12, who would travel to the city in the late 1980s to bash and rob gays and Asians in Kings Cross and Moore Park. A couple of cases involve men found naked at the base of cliffs, north and south of the harbour, their clothes folded on the cliff-tops - as with Scott Johnson.

Importantly, to qualify for this "gay-hate" category, the victims need not have been homosexual. It was a question of the motive. Might the killers have mistaken them for being gay? The bigger question is whether it is really possible that Sydney experienced a gay-hate murder epidemic and nobody much noticed. To answer that, we need to consider the era.

Sydney's first Gay Mardi Gras parade in 1978 coincided roughly with the first of the murders on Thompson's list. And just as thousands of gays and lesbians were emboldened to come out, the world's first case of AIDS was diagnosed in 1981. In those days, it was a death sentence. Many saw gay men as walking vectors of a killer disease. Only in 1984 did NSW decriminalise homosexuality.
"A lot of cops didn't get the memo," says Glick. He reports the question a policeman asked Marguerite O'Connell, the sister of Scott Johnson's boyfriend and the last person to see Scott alive: "Did you know your brother was a poofter?" And then: "Do you still love him?"

Gays didn't trust police, so commonly failed to report assaults. The prevailing police attitude, says Thompson, was "if they're gay or lesbian and a victim of crime, they asked for it". There was no internet, no Grindr or Gaymatchmaker - the social network could be a public toilet. In 1987 came the Grim Reaper commercial. In a bowling alley, the Reaper skittled tenpins in the forms of men, women and children. The ad was hailed for its success in terrifying Australians into safer sex, but it left an unintended, indelible message for some: the Reaper was a "poofter".

"Those lads have a lot to answer for," argues Steve Page, the cop who exposed the many failings of his colleagues on gay-hate crimes. Today, Page heads security for a major corporation but he was a detective sergeant in homicide when he took over Steve McCann's files in 2000 and launched Operation Taradale. Page and McCann's work uncovered extensive networks of youths who were either involved themselves or clearly knew who was. When they denied and denied, however, it was not enough to meet the tests of admissible evidence and reasonable doubt. The Alexandria Eight, who have long done their time - terms of between four and a half years and 10 years - have been charged with no other gay-hate crimes. In January 2002, Page re-interviewed the storyteller from Keelong.
Now he reckoned he had been "skylarking" and boasting, while admitting, "I'd say some of it happened" and adding "I'm sure we never pushed anyone off a cliff that didn't get back up".

But the dozens of kids in those gangs have grown up. They are approaching middle-age. Not all did the bashing but they have been living with these secrets, and the guilt, ever since. "Someone's going to open their mouth one day," says Ted Russell, whose 31-year-old son John was found at the base of a Bondi cliff in November, 1989.

Scott Johnson, 27

Body found at base of cliff.
Blue Fish Point
North Head, Manly
9 December 1988
Police announced $100,000 reward in Feburary this year.


William Allen, 50

Bashed to death at gay beat
Alexandria Park toilets
28 December 1988


Samantha Raye

Transexual. Body found
in cave at South Head,
beneath HMAS Watson
naval base
20 March 1989


John Gordon Hughes

Gagged and bound, throat slashed, bashed with
lamp and bowl
in his Greenknow Ave unit,
Potts Point
4 May 1989


Ross Warren, 24

WIN TV news presenter,
disappeared at Marks Park,
22 July 1989


Steve Page and Sue Thompson re-investigated many of the suspicious deaths before leaving the police force.
Photo: James Brickwood

Sue Thompson accompanies Steve Page to Marks Park on the headland that separates Bondi and Tamarama, where the former colleagues give Good Weekend a tour of this one-time killing field. In the 1980s and '90s it was widely known as a gay beat where men met in the bushes and the honeycomb caverns surrounding the coastal walkway. We stand at a cliff-top lookout on Mackenzies Point, with views north to Bondi Beach and south to Tamarama. Page points towards Bondi, to a lower cliff edge. "John Russell was found on the rocks below that point." Page turns towards Tamarama and points to a ledge four metres away. "Kritchikorn went over there."

About 3am on July 21, 1990, Kritchikorn Rattanajurathaporn, a 34-year-old Thai national, found company at this lookout. As he and the friendly stranger chatted, three teenagers approached.
Brothers David and Sean McAuliffe and Matthew Davis had set out from Redfern, after a session of booze and bongs, with a plan to "roll a poof". Sean McAuliffe came with a claw hammer. They beat the other man unconscious and battered Kritchikorn. In his bid to flee, Davis would say, Kritchikorn stumbled backwards over the cliff. The Tamarama Three would be sentenced to 20 years for his murder but have been found guilty of no other gay-hate crime.

We stroll for less than two minutes towards Tamarama. Page points to a rock shelf. "They found Ross Warren's car keys about there." Warren, a gay 25-year-old television newsreader from Wollongong, parked his car on the western fringe of Marks Park early on the morning of July 22, 1989. He hasn't been seen since.

In his short-sleeved business shirt, Page still looks like a burly cop. He sounds less like the stereotype. "People walk around here for entertainment. For me, it remains a place of evil. What angers me most is that society allowed the circumstances in which these disgraceful things could happen. This was compounded by the original crimes being poorly investigated by police. We have to wonder whether society would have let that happen if the victims had been school principals, politicians, football players."

Thirty years after Peter Sheil's death, his four siblings have no answers. In April 1983, Sheil's body was found with "multiple injuries" - but without trousers - at the base of a small cliff at Gordons Bay, then commonly known as Thompsons Bay, north of Coogee. Sheil, 29, was not gay. He was schizophrenic and was on medication, but on the night of his death he was in good spirits, says brother Hugh. Peter had called his mother from the Coogee Bay Hotel at about 8.30pm to say he was heading home to a halfway house in Clovelly. He chose the coastal walk. It passed known gay beats.
Sheil's mother was a devout Catholic. She could not countenance the possibility of suicide and the policeman who handled the case was helpful, perhaps too helpful. Christopher Sheil, then 27, witnessed the "inquiry" into his brother's death - a discussion between his father and the policeman. "It took all of about a minute. They got to the part on the form where you fill out cause of death. I can't remember whether it was Dad or the cop who suggested misadventure. I said, 'We don't know whether he jumped, fell or was pushed.' Dad said, 'Ah, we're not gunna go into any of that.' "

Their parents are now dead. Christopher, 58, says, "Peter definitely wasn't gay. I wouldn't be embarrassed at all if he was. It's just not accurate. However, his behaviour could be reckless and it is quite possible he was mistaken for being gay, and attacked for that reason. It might also have been suicide, although if you look at the point where he died, it's not a likely choice. It's only a couple of storeys high. There were plenty of higher cliffs along the way."

Hugh Sheil remembers Coogee's beats - and their poofter bashers. He can't remember any by name but he does recall how blithely they would announce they were going to "give the poofs a flogging".
In those times, somehow it didn't sound so shocking.

In 1990, Steve McCann and Sue Thompson were curious enough to wonder about Ross Warren. Bondi's Sergeant Ken Bowditch, who was in charge of that case, had been less curious. After investigating for four days, Bowditch concluded - no inquest required - that Warren had fallen accidentally into the ocean, and that his body would soon surface. It never did. McCann and Thompson wondered, too, about John Russell.

Russell, a former barman, had been due to leave Sydney for the Hunter Valley, where he intended to spend some of a $100,000 inheritance building a home on his father's property. The police report into his death found that another gay man at a gay beat had fallen accidentally - "no suspicious circumstances". In fact, there were plenty, not least the clump of blond hair clenched in his left hand.

Confronted with the Kritchikorn killing, McCann and Thompson decided to treat Warren and Russell as probable murders. It would be another 10 years before Steve Page launched Operation Taradale, a three-year investigation that would focus on Warren and Russell but also cover other deaths. Page's Taradale report would be tendered as the critical document in a 2003 inquest into the death of Russell and the suspected deaths of both Warren and Gilles Mattaini, a 34-year-old Frenchman who vanished from Bondi in September 1985, in what was possibly the first murder at Marks Park.

One thread explored in Taradale potentially linked David McAuliffe, of the Tamarama Three, to the Bondi Boys. On December 18, 1989, three youths approached a man near the Bondi Icebergs club in Notts Avenue, the road that adjoins the coastal walk to Marks Park and beyond. "Are you gay?" they asked before they punched and kicked him and struck him with a skateboard. They broke six of his ribs. The victim identified two of them from police photographs - David McAuliffe and a Bondi local called Sean Cushman. Taradale contains extensive claims against Cushman, mentioned as "the leader" of the Bondi Boys.
Three days after that attack near the Icebergs, another gay man, 24-year-old David McMahon, took a late-night jog along the coastal path. Returning to Bondi, he was metres from the steps to Notts Avenue when he was tackled. Four or five youths did the beating, but McMahon recalls there was gang of about 18 present, aged 15 to 20. Four of them were girls. "They were cheering them on, encouraging the boys," McMahon tells Good Weekend. Someone said, "Don't let him look at us. He knows me." Indeed McMahon, who worked at a cafe on Campbell Parade, had recognised them. They were already known for terrorising gays, he recalls. He says he will never forget the face of the gang leader or what he said: "Let's throw him off where we threw the other one off." They dragged him a few hundred metres, close to the spot where John Russell drew his last breaths less than a month earlier.

"I'm gonna throw you over the side," the leader had said. Somehow, McMahon seized a moment and escaped towards Bondi. He outran the gang. He scaled steps into Hunter Park and screamed to a middle-aged man on a balcony. "I don't help poofters," came the reply.

After hesitating, McMahon chose Cushman from police photographs. A local with a record of stealing and petty crime, Cushman denied it was him and there was no corroborating evidence.
McCann's secret tapes of the Alexandria Eight, meanwhile, were explosive in their apparently incriminating details. The 17-year-old storyteller mentioned a weapon in the unsolved murder of William Allen in Alexandria Park - a "screwie", or screwdriver - which seemed to match a hand wound. The youth and fellow gang member Ronald Morgan implicated three local associates. Dean Howard, their co-accused in the Richard Johnson case, named the same three, but he also suggested Morgan and another member of the Alexandria Eight. Police could place little credence in Howard's recollections - Morgan may have been out of Sydney at the time, the other gang member in New Zealand.

Graham Paynter, 36

Found at base of 50-metre cliff, with jeans around knees and jumper over his head,
at Tathra Beach on the NSW south coast
14 October 1989


John Russell, 31

Murdered Marks Park,
24 November 1989


Wayne Tonks

Teacher at Cleveland
Street High,
found dead in his
Artarmon unit
19 May 1990


Kritchikorn Rattanajurathaporn, 34

Murdered Marks Park,
22 July 1990


Richard Johnson, 33

New Zealander,
lured and bashed
at Alexandria Park,
died in hospital
24 October 1990


William Dutfield, 41

Former jockey, struggled before bashed to death with a metal tape dispenser
in his Mosman unit
19 November 1991


Cyril Olsen, 64

Bashed then drowned,
Rushcutters Bay
22 August 1992


McCann left the force. His files collected dust until the day in September 2000 when Steve Page opened a letter from Kay Warren, mother of Ross, the Wollongong TV newsreader. Her humble request for answers spawned Taradale. Page called in Sue Thompson. He re-interrogated the Alexandria Eight and the Bondi Boys - and girls - about the suspected murders of Warren and Russell and the attempted murder of David McMahon. He bugged the phones of the Bondi crew who, a decade older, seemed untouched by the enlightened new millennium's politically correct language.
They still spoke of "poofters" and the cops hassling about a "faggot" who "went off" Marks Park. Cushman and a mate speculated about which "psychos" might be killers, but nothing that would stick. Depending who among them Page's team spoke to, the Bondi Boys had also used the graffiti tags PSK - Park Side Killers - and PTK, for Prime Time Kings or Part Time Killers.

In one intercepted call, Cushman's mother told him two detectives had visited. A dead man "had a clump of blond hair and you're a suspect". She wanted his assurance that he hadn't been "giving fags a hard time". Cushman: "Nuh ... they can have my DNA ... I wouldn't lie to you, Mum."

In 2003, Page delivered Taradale, all 2638 pages of it, to the then deputy state coroner, Jacqueline Milledge. A tendered police document included a recollection by the Tamarama Three's Matthew Davis about what David McAuliffe had told him soon after they killed Kritchikorn - words to the effect: "Don't worry, brother. This isn't the first time we've done this. You're one of us now." It was only Davis's word.

Sean Cushman told the court: "We grew up in Bondi. That's why we called ourselves the Bondi Boys." But he said: "I was never in a gang or crew. We didn't roll homosexuals." He has never been charged with a gay-hate crime and did not respond to Good Weekend's requests for an interview, though his mother said he wouldn't be interested. Cushman was given a good behaviour bond in 1999 for being an accessory after the fact of a violent assault three years earlier, when he had helped a friend who had viciously attacked a British tourist. The tourist, Brian Hagland, fell into the path of a bus during the fight and later died of his injuries at St Vincent's Hospital.

Cushman, according to the Taradale report, also went to a house to collect a drug debt in 1999 and warned his target's mother that he had killed a man at Bondi and got away with it - and he would do so again because the "coppers are too fuckin' stupid".

Sue Thompson retired, injured, in early 2003. Page would leave the force the following year. But both returned to court in 2005 to hear Milledge's findings. She called it a "first-class investigation".
Milledge concluded, like Page, that Warren and Russell had been murdered. She described the original police investigation into Warren's death as "grossly inadequate and shameful" and Russell's as "lacklustre". John Russell had sustained multiple injuries "when he was thrown from the cliff on to rocks", but police had lost the one exhibit that might one day help identify his killer: the hair he had been clutching in his hand. "Disgraceful," said Milledge. She found that Gilles Mattaini had probably met a similar fate. But Milledge said there was insufficient evidence to recommend that anyone be prosecuted.

Peter Russell, John Russell's brother, recalls a stare-off with one of the eight "persons of interest" at the inquest. "I looked at him and he looked at me, and I just know he was John's killer. I don't have proof, but I know."

In Boston, Steve Johnson read the news. Until now, he had no idea that gay bashing had been such a blood sport in Sydney. He got to work.

Jean Dye didn't know it, but the police files listed her son Crispin's murder as a possible gay-hate crime. She is not convinced that was the motive. She does, however, want some answers, some 20 years after he was bashed to death in Little Oxford Street, off Taylor Square.

Crispin had been a long-time manager for rockers AC/DC who'd also worked with Rose Tattoo and the Easybeats as well as being a singersongwriter. On the night of December 22, 1993, he and friends celebrated the success of his first CD, A Heart Like Mine. About 4.30 the next morning, a witness saw three men of Pacific Islander appearance standing over Dye, 41, apparently going through his wallet. He died two days later, on Christmas Day.

He had many girlfriends, his mother says, though he had told her: "People say I'm gay, Mum, but I don't know what I am." Jean Dye cannot exclude the possibility that his attackers thought he was gay, or that they simply wanted his money. After a 1994 inquest, a policeman had told her that a prisoner had been captured in a secret recording saying that he had "knocked off" Dye. It came to nothing. She is unhappy to learn that a police reward for information has long since lapsed. "Somebody out there knows what happened," she says.

The case of 64-year-old Cyril Olsen seems much less ambiguous. Olsen, a homosexual, was bashed in a Rushcutters Bay gay beat on the night of August 22, 1992. Some time later, Olsen tumbled from a wharf in the bay and drowned. Police immediately identified it as a possible gay-hate crime. An anonymous caller would later name a man who had been heard saying on the same date: "Let's roll a poof tonight."

In jail for another offence, that man allegedly told a cellmate he had bashed a gay man who then died. He denied this when police questioned him. The coroner ruled Olsen "drowned after accidentally falling". Olsen's friend Brian Stewart attended the inquest and believes there was little alternative on the available evidence.

Olsen had been drinking heavily that night. "A taxi driver saw him, bare-chested and bleeding, and asked if he needed any help. He said, 'I'm perfectly all right, thank you.' "

But Steve Page argues that it makes no sense to exclude the brutal assault as being the cause of Olsen's fall. He runs his usual moral gauge over this case: "We wouldn't stand for it if it was a woman or child who had been bashed and then fell in the harbour."

The winter sun is making emeralds of the Pacific below Blue Fish Point. This is Rebecca Johnson's third visit to the cliffs where her brother died. "It's hard to be here," she says, "but at the same time, it's so beautiful." She can imagine him happy here. "I was 11 when he died. The narrative I grew up with was that Scott had killed himself."

Now she is 36 and she and Daniel Glick have made another trip to Sydney to check on the progress of the police investigation. "Of course, there is no solace in the more likely truth that he was thrown, naked, from a cliff. But I am glad he wasn't so unhappy that he wanted to take his own life. The murder, it's horrific, but there is comfort in knowing that."

David McMahon knows just how horrific. He is the gay man who got away. Working at his cafe soon after the attack, McMahon would see his attackers passing by. Ever since, he has sought to protect his identity. "I went into hiding, really. I was so shy and meek back then, I was the perfect target." But now McMahon is braver, and he wants to reclaim his name and put it to this story; not his photograph but his name.

"I am at the stage in my life when I can see that this terrible history of gay hatred is part of what we are as a society. We have moved on a lot, thankfully, and I have been part of that."

He hopes someone from the Bondi gang can find as much courage and finally come forward with the truth. It is the girls he thinks about most. "I've always wondered what sort of mothers they would make."

Some are, indeed, mothers - the Facebook page of one of them features a Holy Communion photograph. The Operation Taradale interviews in 2002 give some insight into the girls' thinking. "They all beat up their girlfriends," one said of the boys. Another, asked about their attitude to gays, said, "We probably didn't like them ... 'cause all the boys, you've got to impress them when you're young."

Some of the killers are fathers. It is hard to find any who will talk at all, let alone explain what possessed them then or what they think of their crimes now. One of the Alexandria Eight, however, does take the call at his workplace in the eastern suburbs. He has previously told police he was uneducated and easily led when he committed the crime. Today he is brief, but very polite.

"Obviously this is something that I think about all the time. It's something I deeply regret doing. I have kids of my own now, so I know how hard it would be to lose someone. But because I have kids, I have tried to put those days behind me."

His eldest is 16, the same age he was when he and his mates killed Richard Johnson. At some point, he says, he will have to sit his kids down and explain what he did.


Sydney’s killer: the gay-hate epidemic that claimed 80 men

By Serkan Ozturk on August 8, 2013 (Sydney Star Observer)

Suburbs where gay men were beaten or thrown to their deaths in a silent epidemic of homophobic violence over 20 years.
The horror they must have felt in their final moments would have been close to unimaginable, but for the dozens of men attacked and killed late at night at beachside cliff-tops and secluded parks across Sydney from the 1970s to the early 1990s, justice may be edging nearer for the loved ones they left behind as police and the local community slowly front up to the reality of an epidemic of gay-hate killings.

As NSW Police this week confirmed for the first time it was widening a review into the mysterious disappearances and deaths of a number of gay men across the state, the family of American maths genius Scott Johnson – now widely believed to have been the victim of a fatal gay-hate attack near Manly Beach in December 1988 – told the Star Observer many of the suspected crimes would have been solved if homophobic attitudes had not been so prevalent in the police force in decades past.

“It is a sad likelihood that police then knew or guessed what was going on but turned a blind eye because of their own prejudice, or because these victims had no voice,” Johnson’s sister Rebecca Johnson Arledge said. “Imagine if the victims had been almost any other group – 80 or 90 women, or children, or even blue-collar workers who were attacked and killed every few weeks. The public outcry would have been deafening; the police would not have rested.”

Last week the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that roughly 80 such deaths or disappearances from the late 1970s to the early 1990s that were originally ruled suicide or misadventure, mainly in Sydney, are now believed to have been murders. Sue Thompson, a lawyer and former state ombudsman’s investigator who joined NSW Police in January 1990 to co-ordinate its liaison with the LGBTI community, estimated 30 of those cases remain unsolved. Although some cases resulted in young men arrested and charged soon after the attacks, police officers at the time failed to link the string of assaults as a pattern of violence against gay men and men perceived to be gay.

Many of the attacks that took place at cliff-tops across Sydney’s eastern and northern suburbs, as well as several inner-city parks well-known as gay beats, are now believed to have been perpetrated by roving gangs of young men. With names both banal and brazen, groups like the Alexandra Eight, the Bondi Boys, the Tamarama Three and the Park Side Killers continue to cast a dark shadow over the city’s recent past.

“We believe that those responsible for these horrible crimes are still living free in our communities. Scott died only 25 years ago – if these were teenage gangs, the perpetrators are now in their forties,” Scott’s brother Steve Johnson told the Star Observer.

“For those who have heard about the gay bashings or witnessed them, it’s safer now to come forward. Times have changed in the police department. The police are keen to hear what you have to say.”

Johnson was only 27 and about to be awarded his PhD in mathematics from the Australian National University in Canberra when his body was found at the bottom of Blue Fish Point lookout near Manly’s North Head.

Originally ruled as suicide both by local police and the coroner, the Johnson family’s tenacious fight to get to the truth of what happened to Scott saw them turn to celebrated Newsweek journalist Daniel Glick almost a decade ago after being spurred on by the findings of NSW coroner Jacqueline Milledge in 2005 in relation to a number of similar deaths.

Glick’s early investigations revealed that Blue Fish Point lookout was a well-known gay beat while at least six men, including WIN television newsreader Ross Warren, were believed to have died in similar circumstances at gay beats near cliffs overlooking Bondi in Sydney’s east between 1987 and 1990.

In June 2012 the NSW Coroner agreed to hold a new inquest into Johnson’s death, overturning the finding of suicide and bringing an open verdict with the matter now with the NSW Police Cold Case Unit. Earlier this year, a $100,000 reward was offered for information that may help solve Johnson’s death.

Tony Crandell, who was recently installed as NSW Police force’s corporate spokesperson for LGBTI people, told the Star Observer police were determined to solve what happened to Johnson as well as several other mysterious deaths.

“The cause of Mr Johnson’s death is still not determined, but detectives are committed to thoroughly re-examining all aspects of the case, including whether Mr Johnson might have been targeted because he was gay.

“Meanwhile, a review of Strike Force Taradale – an investigation into the deaths of two gay men and the disappearance of two others in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs from 1985 to 1990 – was commenced by the Unsolved Homicide Team last year and is ongoing,” Crandell said.

“For investigative reasons, police had previously not announced that this review was taking place, but can now confirm that review is well advanced.”

The Star Observer understands the Homicide Squad will also be considering a number of other deaths with possible links to gay hate crimes in the 1980s and 90s for possible review.

Reflecting on the likelihood that Scott was one victim of many, the Johnson family told the Star Observer it was painful to think that so many other families were left with so many unanswered questions for so long.

“Victims’ families didn’t realise it was happening, so most didn’t object or believed they were alone with no recourse. They grieved their loss, as we did, with no answers or community,” Rebecca and Steve said.

“Times have certainly changed. Communities are openly talking about this dark era.”
INFO: Anyone who can assist police can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers (GLLOs) are also located at metropolitan and regional police stations across the state and anyone can speak directly to these specially-trained officers who deal with LGBTI issues.



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Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm