As an overweight (OK, fat), middle aged, (OK aging) white middle class Australian I am unlikely to be abused for being a Muslim. But, as Q&A highlighted the other night, like my Muslim brothers and sisters, I am, because I am a socialist, not part of 'Team Australia.'
So I, like my Muslim brothers and sisters, am likely to receive death threats that the police ignore.
Last October I reposted an article from the socialist magazine Red Flag about a demonstration in Melbourne. The article included an explanation of throwing shoes at police that was plausible at the time but turned out to be a lie to the working class. It was one of the reasons I resigned from Socialist Alternative.
I received a torrent of abuse in the comments section of the article. One respondent threatened to kill me. They wrote: ‘They should put a bullet in you, for the good of everyone else.’ Another said, with just a hint of Alan Jones: ‘I hope you drown next time you go and do one of your little aquarobics classes friend.’
Another commenter who called themselves Dirty Unwashedc*nts (DUC) among other things said: ‘Never let the truth get in the way of a good story hey cockhead?’ There were other abusive comments from them.
It turns out the IP address that DUC was using was the Victoria Police Centre at 637 Flinders Street, Melbourne.
DUC also used a fake email address with the words ‘german sausage’ (not visible to readers) in it. Another post also used the same fake email address but from a different IP (presumably home) address. It would be reasonable, based on the use of the same fake and not public email, to assume that the two are the same person.
I wrote to a number of local ACT Labor and Greens politicians expressing concerns about the death threats, the misuse of Victoria Police equipment and wondering if there were any links between the various commenters (e.g. some group of police mates across Australia).
Only Simon Corbell, the ACT Attorney General, responded. The rest were next to useless. Who would want to defend a socialist?
Corbell suggested I contact the Victoria Police Conduct Unit and also speak to a sergeant at my local police station. I did both.
The ACT Police said since I hadn’t yet been killed it was likely the person in question was just a troll. They could investigate but… there was no investigation.
I waited months for the Victoria Police Conduct unit to get back to me. Eventually I contacted them a couple of times for an answer and put in FoI requests for my case. They knocked back the FoI requests on the basis they were not in the correct form. As far as I know there is no such requirement.
Eventually a police officer rang me to say that all they could find was the Victoria Police address but not which computer it was. So they couldn’t find who was responsible. That was it.
They wouldn't follow through on the death threats. That was the ACT’s responsibility, they said. So neither police force investigated the death threats against me.
Evidently Victoria Police did not even chase up the home ISP address of ‘german sausage’, the fake email name used from Victoria Police headquarters and another address. They also didn’t follow through on the death threats either, or see if they too were police, perhaps in another jurisdiction but mates with ‘german sausage’.
This was the only contact I had from Victoria Police. No letter, nothing.
Let's play reverse roles for a moment. Imagine if I wrote something like this to Tony Abbott: ‘They should put a bullet in you, for the good of everyone else.’
Cops would be all over me, and indeed I might be dead by now, killed by police in ‘self defence.’
It looks like there is one law enforcement agency for the one per cent, and the devil take the hindmost for the rest of us.
Especially if we are not part of Team Australia.
John Passant is a socialist and blogs at En Passant.
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