Friday, January 20, 2012

Schapelle Corby & Operation Isogon AKA "I'za Gonna" Wear Blinkers & A Blindfold: A Formal Request To ACLEI to Re-Investigate

Click on the picture to enlarge & read.

Dear Phil,

Re: A formal request for an investigation into the propriety and ethics of Operation Isogon (and all the embedded links in this blog post are also part of the evidence I'm submitting, and extremely important).

I rang ACLEI on Friday afternoon (20th January 2012), to confirm whether or not your organisation had received this new complaint from me, and your operative said he had. I also took the opportunity to ask him if he'd heard of the Lockerbie Disaster (he has). He also agreed with me that if corrupt baggage handlers could secrete 10 kilos of cocaine in a passengers luggage (as they did at the exact time Schapelle flew) - or 4.2 kilos of marijuana for that matter - they could hide a similar amount of Semtex. So do I need to further underline the utter seriousness and gravity of your responsibilities in this matter?

Therefore re that new complaint, this current one and any further concerns of mine, I will submit formal Freedom of Information requests a reasonable time (a period of weeks), after my correspondence - because I do not think allowing you one whole year (as per my previous complaint to your department), to simply do an "Assessment" that merely involves flicking correspondence between yourselves and the people you're supposed to be "Investigating" is acceptable - in fact, it's laughable (if it wasn't so tragic). You gave zero documentation of any form of independent verification or investigation (merely asking the AFP for their version of events) - plus the cosiness between yourselves and the organisation you're charged with policing is both appalling and frightening. May I remind you even extreme seniority is no bar to the most grave corruption?

So now may I draw your attention to The Whitewash Report, and Section Here's a quote:

Citing 'no admissions had been made’, as supporting evidence to dismiss serious allegations, is clearly extremely questionable in itself. However, in July 2011, The Hidden World Research Group identified and directly interviewed a Brisbane baggage handler, who categorically denied that all the baggage handlers had been interviewed.

It's a section that, though it doesn't name it there, is a direct reference to Operation Isogon and a supposed police "Investigation" of Brisbane-based baggage handlers - and how the hell you could have accepted that not even quarter-baked piece of trashy cover-up (without a single question), is beyond me, and probably beyond anyone else with a shred of common sense. Maybe your officers have never heard of "Occam's Razor" and it's blindingly obvious application in this case? So let's start from the top . . .

1. Where are the interviews with the check-in staff? Why didn't they "Notice" 4.2 kilos of bulging, slashed, stinking marijuana in a grossly overweight boogie board bag - and why didn't this scenario spark the required manual check? And is it likely that anyone intent on smuggling 4.2 kilos of marijuana would deliberately do so via an overweight boogie board bag that (according to airline regulations), would be subject to a physical search? Why was there no police mention of this thoroughly obvious point?

2. Why didn't anyone else who handled the bag "Notice" the bulge and the stench either?

3. Why didn't the extremely bizarre nature of Schapelle's alleged crime, as confirmed by Australian Customs, contemporary press reports, economic data and insider comments, plus her complete lack of criminal background or profile, spark the need to treat Brisbane Airport as a potential crime scene immediately? Why the hell was this "Investigation" delayed for almost 6 months after her arrest on the 8th of October 2004 - plus delayed for almost 4 months after a letter from DFAT to Michael Phelan which directly requested it? Gross insider criminality was a well known problem, as also confirmed by Senior Customs Officer Allan Kessing, and as confirmed by the massive inventory losses reported by Australian Protective Services Officer Gary Lee Rogers. Then (of course), there are the numerous documented instances of insider theft and tampering. Didn't anyone teach the Australian Federal Police the extreme urgency of the first 48 hours, re any crime scene? Or were they just on a tea break for the first six months?

4. Were Chris Lush and Mick Milakovic ever interviewed, re their comments to Channel 9 about Brisbane Domestic Terminal? Were all the trashed and destroyed luggage padlocks ever investigated? Can you please find out, because Geoff Askew (Head of Security at Qantas at the time), didn't have a clue . . .

“ROSS COULTHART: And then there's Chris Lush who was hired to install cabling in the ceiling at Brisbane Domestic Airport terminal, just a few weeks after Schapelle Corby left for Bali.

CHRIS LUSH: And we just noticed about thirty odd locks sitting beside the conveyor belt that some had parts of bags on them It looked like someone had been rummaging through bags and taking locks off in a certain area and taking bags off and obviously putting them back on and scavenging through bags I'd say

ROSS COULTHART: In Sydney we tracked down another witness with a remarkably similar story. In 2003 Mick Milakovic was working on air-conditioning in the ceiling of the international terminal right next to the luggage conveyor belts.

MICK MILAKOVIC: We'd been working in the ceiling space and found probably half a bucket of pad locks.

ROSS COULTHART: Half a bucket?

MICK MILAKOVIC: Approximately. I'd been counting up to twenty.

ROSS COULTHART: Do you think that there's a plausible explanation, an innocent explanation for why all those locks were there. Perhaps they'd fallen off as they hit something on the conveyor belt?

MICK MILAKOVIC: No, there is no way. Because they had been cut. They'd been cut. If it was locked and were there I can say it is accidentally. But locks are in two pieces.

ROSS COULTHART: Do you think it's plausible that large numbers of locks could be broken snapped by the way in which they're pushed through the baggage handling system.

GEOFF ASKEW, QANTAS SECURITY BOSS: Ross I am unable to answer that. I know where you're going with this but I can't answer that.”

5. What formal procedures are the Australian Federal Police supposed to follow re the immediate preservation of forensic CCTV evidence, and why weren't these procedures followed within the first 48 hours, given all the above facts? There were a huge number of cameras relating to Schapelle (and her bag), as described by Australian Customs, all the way from the car park to the point where her luggage was loaded on to the plane. "Operation Isogon" mentions "Evidence," while blithely neglecting to mention the most pertinent CCTV evidence was inexplicably destroyed, even though (given this was a formal crime scene), it should have been preserved as per AFP guidelines straight away. Maybe it ended up in the roof space, rotting and forgotten, along with all the cut baggage locks?

6. Obviously, forensics were also crucial to this Australian criminal investigation, e.g. "Operation Isogon," so why an earth didn't the AFP utilise the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, to facilitate their knowledge base? How could they even begin to "Investigate" the Brisbane-based airport staff without this vital knowledge? Hopefully, we can find out. Weren't they interested in discovering who's fingerprints (and maybe DNA), were on/in the inner bags? Weren't they interested in where the drugs were grown? Weren't they interested in who manufactured the space bags, and where they were sold? Given they were specifically asked by DFAT to investigate these exact points as early as November 2004?

7. Why didn't "Operation Isogon" mention or investigate the frightening staff failure to add Schapelle's boogie board bag to the airport's computerised luggage handling system?

7. Can you please directly investigate whether or not every relevant staff member at Brisbane Domestic terminal (who may have had direct contact with Schapelle's bag, rosters would be a good starting point), was . . .

a) Interviewed.

b) Drug screened.

c) Fingerprinted.

d) Checked re their previous criminal history.

e) Had their vehicles and home premises forensically checked for drug residues and equipment (given this may well be an ongoing offence, even to-day). Because according to journalist Tony Wilson, this capability existed at the time.

f) Investigated re their relevant phone records, banking records and visible assets. Though maybe the Commonwealth DPP needs a bit of in-service education on this last point, because he seems to think it's not unusual for QANTAS baggage handlers to have the odd three-quarters of a million dollars hanging around.

8. Obviously, a vital part of "Operation Isogon" was the exclusion (or inclusion), of Schapelle herself as a suspect. So (as Isogon was a joint operation between the AFP and the Queensland Police), even if the AFP carried out no direct investigations into Schapelle, which is highly unlikely, they would have liaised with the Queensland Police on this matter. So can you please ascertain . . .

a) Whether or not there was ever a forensic investigation of Schapelle's home premises (and relevant vehicles), for drug residues and drug paraphernalia - and if not, why not?

b) Whether or not there was ever an investigation into her phone and banking records. If so, what was the result? And if not, why?

c) Whether or the AFP (or the Queensland Police), ever interviewed senior criminologist Professor Paul Wilson re his findings on Schapelle?

Regards, Kim