Grey Thoughts
Cronulla Riots Continue
The riots in Cronulla continued last night. In what looks like the Middle eastern side coming out to battle for their territory, youths fired shots, smashed up shops and beat up bystanders. Many of the middle eastern youths came in convoys of cars from the poorer suburbs and police seemed unable to stop them. Before setting out the convoys assembled at the Lakemba mosque, which is Australia's largest that oversees around 350,000 Muslims.

I watched A Current Affair last night and was shocked by how much the media is trying to turn this whole thing into a racism issue. It isn't. It is quite clearly a gang and culture issue. All the media is doing is throwing fuel on the fire. As I previously mentioned when talking about the riots in France, this sort of thing has been brewing much the same in Sydney, as this article by retired police officer Tim Priest clearly predicted. The organised Lebanese gangs have been a problem in Sydney for years and last night they came out to stake their claim.

Clearly, the 'root causes' of this are firstly, the failure of multiculturalism, which let incompatible cultures attempt to coexist rather than encouraging assimilation into Australian culture. Secondly, the NSW government have let this happen by their great notions of changing how the police force works. As Tim Priest wrote in January 2004
IT WAS ABOUT 1995 to 1996 that the emergence of Middle Eastern crime groups was first observed in New South Wales. Before then they had been largely known for individual acts of anti-social behaviour and loose family structures involved in heroin importation and supply as well as motor vehicle theft and conversion. The one crime that did appear organised before this period was insurance fraud, usually motor vehicle accidents and arson. Because these crimes were largely victimless, they were dealt with by insurance companies and police involvement was limited. But from these insurance scams, a generation of young criminals emerged to become engaged in more sophisticated crimes, such as extortion, armed robbery, organised narcotics importation and supply, gun running, organised factory and warehouse break-ins, car theft and conversion on a massive scale including the exporting of stolen luxury vehicles to Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries.

As the police began to gather and act on intelligence on these emerging Middle Eastern gangs the first of the series of events took place. The New South Wales Police was restructured under Peter Ryan. Crime Intelligence, the eyes and ears of all police forces throughout the world, was dismantled overnight and a British-style intelligence unit was created. The formation of this unit and its functions has been best described by Dr Richard Basham — as a library stocking outdated books. The new Crime Intelligence and Information Section became completely reactive. It received crime intelligence from the field and stored it. Almost no relevant intelligence was ever dispensed to operational police from 1997 until I left in 2002. It was a disgrace.

One of the fundamental problems that arose out of the new intelligence structure was that it no longer had a field capacity or a target development capacity. With the old BCI there were field teams that were assigned to look into emerging trends. Vietnamese, Romanian and Hong Kong Chinese groups were all targeted after intelligence grew on their activities. When the alarm bells went off over growing intelligence concerns about a new or current crime group, covert operations were mounted.

When the Middle Eastern crime groups emerged in the mid-to-late 1990s no alarms were set off. The Crime Intelligence unit was asleep. I know personally that operational police in south-west Sydney compiled enormous amounts of good intelligence on the formation of Lebanese groups such as the Telopea Street Boys and others in the Campsie, Lakemba, Fairfield and Punchbowl areas. The inactivity could not have been because the intelligence reports weren’t interesting, because I have read many of them and from a policing perspective they were damning. Many of the offenders that you now see in major criminal trials or serving lengthy sentences in prison were identified back then.

Left to fester, it was only a matter of time.

(As a side note, the Australian article couldn't resist taking a swipe at the right by suggesting that the police promised to hunt down suspected 'right-wing' instigators. How lame)

Update: Andrew West, from the Syndey Morning Herald Blog also feels it is a multicultural issue.

Update 2: Tim Priest has an opinion piece in todays Australian that you should read as well. Some of the best comments
Although not widely known, the police ministry wields awesome power throughout the NSW police. So much so that most of the big decisions are made by so-called experts within the ministry and usually based on cost.

If Sunday's debacle can be linked back to the police ministry in any way, then there should be hell to pay. Despite the attempts of the experts, past and present, policing and law and order can't be run on a budget. After all, public safety is not a franchise; it is a common-law right.

Sadly Andrew West's article appears to be getting thrashed in the comments section. It's amazing that people will continue to deny the facts right before their eyes. Some people won't admit what is happening until they are placed under Sharia law.

Good luck. At least some Aussies are willing to push back, even if it is in a very clumsy manner.
Thanks Chris.

I just hope that this weekend doesn't see a big nasty battle. If the government doesn't do something to make it clear that they are handling the situation, the non lebanese group will continue to try and make it clear that they are willing to fight for their culture.
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