Tuesday, 21 August 2007

House raids without warrants in NT

This is the text of a letter from Jennifer Martiniello
that has gone to the 7.30 report and several newspapers. Please circulate to your networks.

Jennifer Martiniello is a writer and academic of Arrernte, Chinese and Anglo descent. She is a former Deputy Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, and a current member of the Advisory Board of the Australian Centre for Indigenous History at the ANU

Dear Kerry O'Brien and 7.30 researchers,

I have just returned from the Northern Territory. I want John Howard to explain why house to house raids without warrants are being conducted by the AFP in all the Alice Springs town camps.

I also want to know why at least two of the senior women who toured major cities speaking out against a uranium waste dump on their traditional lands have been raided by the AFP on warrants issued by a Federal Magistrate in Canberra, their furniture slashed with knives, belongings damages, laptops and mobile phones seized, and phones tapped. I was told by one of the women that the warrant gave 12 hours access to her home, and that she was told that the measures were justified because of the security crackdown for APEC ministers. One of those women is an elderly grandmother.

I have also been told by town camp residents that the AFP has set up surveillance on all households in the town camps, and have photographed without consent, every Aboriginal child in those town camps. In the 1990s the AFP were successfully taken to court for exactly the same violations in Redfern.

Please report on this disgraceful conduct, and pursue a full explanation from the Howard Government.


Jennifer Martiniello
Member, Advisory Board
Australian Centre for Indigenous History,
Australian National University

This email may contain creative spelling!

Jennifer Martiniello
e: kemarre@optusnet. com.au
m: 0423629470
w: http://www.kemarrearts.com.au


Gabriel said...

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Best Wishes from Ireland

Gabriel in Listowel Co. Kerry

Anonymous said...

Alice town camp raids claims are "baseless and untrue": AFP
Issue 135 - 09 Aug 2007

By Amy McQuire

NATIONAL, August 24, 2007: The Australian Federal Police (AFP) have dismissed allegations that AFP officers have been conducting house raids without warrants in the town camps of Alice Springs as "baseless and untrue".

The claims were made in an email to ABC TV's 7:30 Report program and courtesy copied to other media, including NIT, by Jennifer Martiniello from the Australian Centre for Indigenous History.

The email has been widely circulated throughout Indigenous networks.

It has also been picked up internationally, with co-leaders of the New Zealand Maori Party Tariana Turia and Dr Pita Sharples today issuing a media release in response, stating that the "violation of Aboriginal rights" has "moved to a new level".

In the email, Ms Martiniello appealed to Prime Minister John Howard to explain why the AFP had allegedly been involved in "house to house raids" in the town camps.

Ms Martiniello also alleged that every Aboriginal child living in the town camps had been photographed without consent and claimed the homes of two senior women had been raided by police because they had protested against a uranium waste dump on traditional lands.

A spokesperson for the AFP today rejected the allegations.

"The AFP can confirm that these allegations are baseless and untrue," the spokesperson told NIT this morning.

"The AFP has not conducted search warrants on town camps anywhere in Alice Springs or the Northern Territory, as has been alleged."

The Tangentyere council's family services manager John Adams also backed the AFP, telling NIT yesterday that he "hadn't heard anything about the raids".

But Mr Adams said that while there definitely hadn't been any raids by the AFP, he could confirm that Northern Territory Police had been "actively using their powers" in the town camps in the wake of the Commonwealth's NT Indigenous intervention.

"There have been issues with local police cordoning off town camps and doing DVO (Domestic Violence Order) sweeps," Mr Adams said.

"To do that they close off the town camps and do a house by house."

Ms Martiniello yesterday conceded there could have been a misunderstanding.

"I got the information from a meeting 40km north of Alice Springs where there was a number of people there, some of them residents of the town camps," Ms Martiniello told NIT yesterday.

"Several of the women who toured the major cities protesting against uranium waste dumps were also there.

"What I was told was that the Southside camps had been targeted for raids and for surveillance and they were expecting that the Northside camps would be targeted the following week.

"It was definitely the AFP who raided the woman's houses (who were protesting against uranium dumps)... but in the town camps, it could have been the NT police. That wasn't clearly identified."

But Mr Adams said allegations that either the AFP or the NT police had been conducting house raids were "completely wrong".

"I can say that the NT police have been vigorously pursuing these matters, especially now, and they are very keen at the moment," Mr Adams said.

"While they aren't overstepping their legal powers, they have been very vigorous and are doing everything they can."

A spokesperson for the NT police this morning declined to comment on allegations of house raids by AFP officers.