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  1. #161
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    Jan 2007


    Top cop resigns in disgrace over link to racist and obscene posts

    One of Victoria Police's most senior officers and the head of the force's Professional Standards Command has resigned in disgrace over racist and obscene posts made under the pseudonym Vernon Demerest.

    Assistant Commissioner Brett Guerin, head of Professional Standards and a police officer of 40 years, was last week referred to Victoria's anti-corruption watchdog after The Age revealed he posted shocking comments under the online pseudonym "Vernon Demerest".

    The Age revealed on Monday that that nom de plume has been also linked to several vile posts on social media under the Demerest alias, including references to "cheating dagos", "third world dullards", "Indian and Pakistani peasant[s]" and "jigaboo[s]".

    Within an hour of The Age revealing the new allegations, Mr Guerin resigned from Victoria Police. His resignation was accepted by the chief commissioner.

    The Age can reveal that Demerest posted vile insults under YouTube videosoften using profane language or referring to sodomy and rape. Some of the comments are too offensive to publish.

    Under a video of a Somali pirate attack, Demerest posted: "I'm afraid this is what happens when the lash is abolished. The jigaboo runs riot and out of control. The 'boo needs the lash. The 'boo wants the lash. Deep, deep down the 'boo knows the lash provides the governance and stability."

    Under a video of Argentina losing to Holland in the 1998 World Cup, he posted: "Wonderful to see greasy, diving, cheating dagoes get their just reward. Bitter, lingering defeat."

    Mr Guerin was referred to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission last week after The Age revealed he was responsible for offensive comments about former Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon and former Police Association boss Paul Mullett on a blog.

    Mr Guerin admitted on Thursday that he was behind the comments made under the name Vernon Demerest, after the fictional character played by Dean Martin in the 1970 movie Airport.

    Last Friday, he was directed by Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton to take leave while the state's corruption watchdog investigates him.

    Of Ms Nixon and Mr Mullett, "Demerest" wrote in August 2016: "She [Ms Nixon] bent the Mulletmeister [Mr Mullett] over and slipped a rather large schlong up his date courtesy of the Supreme Court's decision this morning."

    It is expected IBAC will now also investigate the racist comments made under Mr Guerin's alias.

    This is not the first time Mr Guerin has been linked to racist comments.
    In 2008, Mr Guerin called former senior sergeant Mario Benedetti a "fucken wog".

    Mr Guerin told 3AW last week that it was a "throwaway comment between three blokes who had known each other for 30 years".

    Mr Benedetti has a different account of the exchange. He blames force command for failing to investigate Mr Guerin at the time, and then later, promoting him to head of Professional Standards.

    "It was wrong and it was definitely racist ... I got a payout because they didn't want it to go to VCAT [Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal], but I had to sign a confidentiality agreement," Mr Benedetti said.

    Victoria Police spent almost $300,000 of taxpayer funds fighting the case before settling.

    Mr Benedetti said the insult was made at a formal meeting with Mr Guerin after he had complained about resourcing at Moonee Ponds station.

    Mr Benedetti covertly recorded the conversation, which prompted then chief commissioner Simon Overland to introduce a ban on officers taping each other.

    The Age can also reveal that the Demerest nom de plume was responsible for a string of pornographic comments about Australian sporting matches.

    When Carlton defeated Richmond in September 2013, "Demerest" commented: "Always important, Richmond, to stretch the hamstrings before bending over and touching one's toes to receive turgid blue schlong up the date. But then again, Richmond hammies must be used to that action by now."

    Under a video of Australian batsman David Warner scoring 89 on debut against South Africa, Demerest posted: "South Africa. Bent, spread, lubed and reamed. And reamed. And reamed. Ouch."

    And when Melbourne Storm beat Parramatta he posted: "Yes, the Eels certainly had their pants lowered, were bent over and reamed (without KY) by the mighty Storm. Ouch."

    Demerest posted similar comments when the Australian Rugby League team defeated New Zealand.

    "Very inspiring stuff. It was for the Aussies last night, at least, when they de-trousered, bent and lubed the Kiwis before reaming them with turgid Aussie schlong. Ouch."

    In another bizarre online rant, Demerest claimed that women should not be allowed to sing Australia's national anthem.

    "The National Anthem must never be improvised. It must always be sung by a male. A baritone. And accompanied by a band. No argument. No opinion. Just fact," he posted.

    Mr Guerin defended his right to air his personal views under a pseudonym during a radio interview last week.

    "I guess my default situation is when I see an argument being made that's not fair I do tend to weigh in and try to provide facts and bring some balance,'' Mr Guerin said on 3AW.

    He denied he had used a police computer to make the posts.

    In response to the fresh revelations, a Victoria Police spokesman said: "In accordance with his obligations under the Victoria Police Act, Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton has referred a matter involving allegations against Assistant Commissioner Brett Guerin to IBAC," the spokesman said.

    "As the matter is now with IBAC for its consideration it would not be appropriate to comment further."


  2. #162
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    Jan 2007


    Australia to train Myanmar military despite ethnic cleansing accusations

    Defence department spend continues despite claims treatment of Rohingya bears ‘hallmarks of a genocide’

    The Australian defence department plans to spend almost $400,000 on English lessons, event attendances and training courses for members of the Myanmarmilitary in 2017-18, documents released under freedom of information laws show.

    Myanmar’s armed forces, also known as the Tatmadaw, has faced international condemnation and accusations of ethnic cleansing in recent months for perpetrating a fresh wave of attacks against the country’s minority Rohingyapopulation. About 688,000 Rohingya refugees have fled over the border to Bangladesh since August 2017. Yanghee Lee, a UN human rights investigator, has said the situation bears “the hallmarks of a genocide”.

    In 2017-18 the defence department will spend $398,000 (a $126,000 increase on last year’s spending) on English lessons and on funding Myanmar’s participation in the Pirap Jabiru multilateral military exercises in the region that Australia cohosts with Thailand.

    Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s leader, is due to visit Sydney this month for the Asean-Australia special summit. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on Thursday the Myanmar government’s treatment of the Rohingya people is expected to be discussed.

    Australian allies including the US, UK, Canada, France and the EU have cut ties with Myanmar’s military over the violence. The US and Canada have imposed targeted sanctions against Myanmar military leaders. In recent months the Myanmar military has also courted controversy through purchases of fighter jets from Russia and ballistic missiles from North Korea.

    A briefing note produced by the defence department says: “Defence has a modest program of engagement with Myanmar in non-combat areas, with a focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping training and English language training. This engagement is designed to expose the Tatmadaw to the ways of a modern, professional defence force and highlight the importance of adhering to international humanitarian law.”

    The briefing note, anticipating a challenge on why the UK and the US have acted differently, says: “Each country needs to make its own decision on engagement with the Tatmadaw.”

    While an arms embargo, introduced in 1991, remains in place, Australia has so far diverged from its allies and resisted calls from groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to suspend military cooperation with Myanmar. Australia held its first bilateral defence cooperation talks with Myanmar in 2017, and plans to hold further talks this year.

    “Australia’s bilateral defence engagement with Myanmar is limited to humanitarian and non-combat areas such as disaster relief, peacekeeping, aviation safety and English-language training,” a defence department spokesperson said.

    “Maintaining this engagement has enabled senior Australian military officials to directly raise concerns on Rakhine with their Myanmar counterparts.”
    Last year the defence department offered Tatmadaw officers English lessons and study places in Australia for courses on aviation safety, maritime security, operational law, joint warfare and peacekeeping. One Tatmadaw officer received a scholarship from the defence department to study for a master of peace and conflict at the University of Sydney.

    In June 2017 Australia gave Myanmar advice on how to carry out an air accident investigation following the deaths of 122 people when a Y-8 military plane crashed.

    The spokesperson gave the example of Lieut Gen Angus Campbell’s meeting with Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the Tatmadaw army, at the Pacific armies chiefs conference in Seoul in September 2017.

    Diana Sayed, Amnesty International’s crisis campaigns coordinator, said the Australian government’s strategy of continued engagement and careful diplomacy cannot be justified given the extent and extremity of the crisis.

    “This business as usual approach is unacceptable, and is only going to further damage Australia’s international reputation, especially as Australia takes up its seat on the UN human rights council,” Sayed says. “The decisions of the US, the UK and the EU to cut military ties, and the recent sanctions imposed by Canada all show that Australia is out of touch with the rest of the world when it comes to this crisis.”

    It is not known if members of the Tatmadaw who are directly implicated in the violence against the Rohingyacould benefit from Australian-funded training. The defence spokesperson said subject to course requirements and visa processes, “the Tatmadaw nominates personnel to fill Australia-based training positions”.

    The department did not provide a response to questions about what steps the department is taking to identify individuals implicated in perpetrating the violence.

    Talking points written for the Australian defence minister Marise Payne’s meeting with her Myanmar counterpart Lieut Gen Sein Win in October 2017 advise her to acknowledge the Myanmar government’s narrative that “the current violence was sparked by attacks on government forces”.

    The minister is advised that Australia “strongly condemns” the attacks on security outposts by Rohingya militants, in which 11 police officers were killed, but stops short of condemning the government’s own violence against the Rohingya people in which an estimated 6,700 civilians were killed in only the first month.

    Instead the talking points express Australia’s “deep concern” over the displacement of Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh, saying that “these reports divert attention away from the legitimate security threat posed by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army [and] harm the Myanmar military’s international reputation”.



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