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I was flabbergasted, I couldn't believe the situation that I was in.

Tonight on the 7.30 Report - the homeless pensioner who took on the Queensland police and won.

The police should be honest, reasonable and respectful, not dishonest bullies.

This is a decision which has consequences for the community.

All these people were on Facebook and Twitter.

And how social media is shaking oppressive regimes around the world.

The weapon they had with them is the new information technology, and they were very good at using

Homeless man's court win against police

Welcome to the program, Heather Ewart. A formerly homeless man has won a rare and arguably
unprecedented case against the Queensland Police Service. Bruce Rowe says he couldn't couldn't get
authorities to take his complaint about police brutality seriously, so with the aid of lawyers he
undertook a private prosecution. And now, a Brisbane magistrate has ruled in his favour, finding a
police constable guilty of assault. But Bruce Rowe's 5-year battle may not be over, with
Queensland's Police Union saying it will appeal against a decision which it believes sets a
dangerous precedent. Peter a dangerous precedent. Peter McCutcheon reports from Brisbane. Bruce
Rowe fought the law, and the law... at least for the time being, lost. He walked from the Brisbane
Magistrates Court yesterday after securing a rare victory.

Police should be honest, reasonable and respectful, not dishonest bullies.

It's been nearly 5 years since the years since the formerly homeless pensioner complained about
police violence, complaints that authorities dismissed and his successful private prosecution of a
constable raises questions about the way the Queensland Police Service deals with allegations of

Very few people have any faith anymore in the police complaint system.

But the Queensland Police Union says questions should be asked not about complaint procedures, but
the dangerous precedent set by the magistrate's decision.

No police officer is protected now. They have to consider the future of themselves and their family
before they act. In fact, police officers may as well stay inside a police station and not do
because of fear of what the law could do to them.

Brisbane City Council closed circuit TV footage captured Bruce Rowe's arrest in the Queen Street
Mall in 2006. Police forced the then 65-year-old pensioner to the ground, then repeatedly kneed him
in the

flabbergasted. I couldn't believe the situation that I was in.

So this is where it all happened? Bruce Rowe first spoke out about his to the 7.30 Report three
months after the arrest, explaining how he'd ended up living on the streets.

Well, it was triggered by the loss of my wife to breast cancer 3 years and 3 months ago. I was
married for 41 41 years. She was my

taking too long to get changed in a public toilet after attending a gospel meeting. Police had
wrongly assumed he'd ignored a sign saying the toilet was closed and the lead-up to his violent
arrest was recorded and tendered in court.

Excuse me, listen to me, excuse me, listen to me.

Did you barge into an officer and report " glare in a provocative gesture" ?

The barging bit is absolute rubbish. I didn't touch a police

years ago, Bruce Rowe succeeded in having his public nuisance conviction quashed and then with the
help of lawyers working for free, took on the police force, and yesterday the former draftsman won.

If I hadn't of been so determined and hadn't had the help of the lawyers and barristers around me,
this probably would have gone unnoticed as it has in so many instances of people that can't defend

A magistrate found one of the arresting officers, Constable Benjamin Arndt, guilty of common
assault, fined him $1,000, but did not record a conviction. Magistrate Linda Bradford Morgan found
the force used goes beyond heavy-handed and in the absence of any violence by Bruce Rowe was a
disproportionate overreaction.

This is a decision which has dire of Queensland.

The Queensland Police Union says officers on the street need to be protected against this type of
private prosecution.

This is time now that Anna Bligh introduced protective legislation to protect police officers and
Emergency Services workers while they're doing their job and acting in good faith.

If this case weren't so serious, the reaction of the Queensland Police Union would be to roll
around the floor laughing. The Police Union want to go back to the '70s where they could do no
wrong, and never be brought to account.

President of the Australian Council of Civil Liberties, Terry O'Gorman, says it's extraordinary
that Queensland's Police Ethical Standards Command didn't think police had any case to answer.

It is an indictment on the Queensland police complaint system which we in the Civil Liberties
Council have been saying for 12 months or more has completely broken down and has completely no
credibility anymore.

highlighted similar cases where Queensland police have not been charged for apparently violent
arrests of homeless people, such such as the apprehension of Peter Willimae in Peter Willimae in
2008. However, one officer serving at Airlie Beach in North Queensland was caught on video in a
series of in a series of particularly violent arrests and last year pleaded guilty to assault

There are a number of officers who have resigned, probably as a result of this issue and there's
several others who will still face disciplinary procedures within think those people should hang
their heads in shame.

Queensland Police Minister Neil Roberts was unavailable to talk to the 7.30 Report today about
Bruce Rowe's successful successful private prosecution, but the Police Union says it's planning an
appeal while Bruce Rowe says he'll be pushing the Crime and Misconduct Commission to take a stance,
even if it is nearly five years after the event.

It's been said by the police that it was done in good faith, that's not the case at all. It was
just violence against a very soft target. And in a statement issued a short time ago, Queensland
Police Roberts says all police officers in the State already have an indemnity from prosecution,
provided they act in good faith. A spokesman for the Queensland Police Service said it wasn't
appropriate to comment on the case while there

Children at risk

Children at risk

Broadcast: 09/02/2011


Victorian Police Minister Peter Ryan speaks with Heather Ewart.


HEATHER EWART, PRESENTER: The Victorian Government has pledged to respond swiftly to revelations
that 700 children in the state had unsupervised contact with almost 400 registered sex offenders
over the past six years.

A damning report from the Ombudsman accuses state authorities of putting the rights of sex
offenders above those of vulnerable children and points to bureaucratic bungling and a failure to
share information.

The Police Minister and Deputy Premier Peter Ryan has promised to adopt all of the Ombudsman's
recommendations, including a boost to police funding to deal with registered sex offenders.

I spoke to him a short time ago in his Melbourne office.

Peter Ryan, how on Earth could this have happened?

PETER RYAN, VICTORIAN POLICE MINISTER: Well the first task of any government is to look after the
most vulnerable in our community, and clearly this report shows that in looking after these
children, who have been subject to all sorts of terrible events, we have not looked after those
children as we should. I think this has happened as a result of a number of factors. A confusion in
the actual chains of command as to who should do what to whom in terms of the various pieces of
legislation. But also, the police. They have not been properly resourced. In 2006 and then '07,
'08, '09 the police made bids to the then Victorian Government for additional funding to assist
them in this important area, and each of those bids was refused, and I think we're seeing all that
play out now.

HEATHER EWART: But can you take us through the process, because the Ombudsman is especially damning
of an arrangement between authorities not to share information regarding sex offenders. Now how
could an agreement like that exist? On what basis?

PETER RYAN: Well, the Sex Offenders Register requires that those who are convicted of relevant
offences go on to the register. There is then a system whereby there is a reporting to the
Department of Human Services. The Department of Human Services is able to acquire material from
Corrections Victoria. There's been a breakdown in relation to the transfer of that information
because of a concern on the part of Corrections Victoria, being fair, that if the material were
simply handed across to the department, material pertinent to the background of a lot of these
prisoners, those prisoners would be reluctant to participate in the very programs which are
intended to help resolve the problems that they have and which cause them to be in prison in the
first place.

The other problem that was seen to eventuate there was that if medical practitioners participating
in those programs knew there'd be an automatic transfer of that information they might also be
reluctant to be involved in those programs.

On the other hand, there was in the possession of the department a direction from the then minister
which would have enabled the department to hand that material straight across. I think we got
caught in the crossfire of those two competing forces, but I can tell you now it is about to be
resolved in favour of the basic issue here, and that is, the interests of these children is the
first of the interests to be observed. And in time to come there will be no doubt about how that
chain of command runs.

HEATHER EWART: So, in blunt terms, the way it was working was that the rights of sex offenders were
being put ahead of the rights of children?

PETER RYAN: I think if that's too broad, if I may say, due respect to the Ombudsman. I think the
problem was there's been a conflict in the way in which the legislation has been drawn, on the one
hand, against the pragmatics of how these programs were best seen to operate in a correctional
circumstance. We need to remove that uncertainty, and I intend to do it. I've today announced that
there will be a group of us as four immediately responsible ministers - and I will chair this group
- who will have oversight of making sure that the 10 recommendations that have been made by the
Ombudsman, all 10 having been accepted by the Government, they will be implemented. We will rid
ourselves of the apparent confusion which has existed up until now and the departments will know
with utter clarity what is required of them. I have ultimate control of how this will take shape
and I can assure you and all Victorians, and indeed all your viewers, this will be done around the
guiding principle that it is the interests of these children, these poor innocents, that is the
thing we need to first have regard to.

HEATHER EWART: And while that process is going on, what is going to become of vulnerable children
out there right now?

PETER RYAN: Well, there are ongoing investigations in relation to the 376 instances that form the
basis of this report. Those investigations are ongoing. There are, at the moment, five orders have
been made to remove children from circumstances where they may be, or are in fact, at risk, and
those orders have been made. There are something in the order of 68 files still under close
examination, and so we will err on the safe side and make sure that any risk that is there now for
these children will be removed. That risk will be acted upon as a matter of urgency and we will
also make certain, though, that in the longer term - in the shorter and the longer term, the actual
chains of command are made so very clear that no-one can be under any illusion as to their
responsibility in the way in which these important issues are dealt with.

HEATHER EWART: Now, of the 700 children reported to have come into contact with registered sex
offenders, one is known to have been sexually abused. Might there be more?

PETER RYAN: There might be. But they are matters for the police in their investigatory role. My
role on behalf of government is to make certain first that we have appropriate and clear chains of
command in this and that the relevant legislation is given effect; and secondly, that the
appropriate degrees of resource are provided to enable that to happen. The former government did
not do that. The police wanted more resource. Over four consecutive years made the case to the
Budget Review Committee as to why they wanted that resource available, and didn't get it.

Now, to the credit of the police in Victoria, Assistant Commissioner Geoff Pope was appointed to
the all-important task of oversighting the operation of the register, the sex offenders register
back in September, 2009. As the report from the Ombudsman today evidences, strategic changes have
been made, important advances have been made in the way in which that reporting is occurring.
There's a lot more to happen, though, around the implementation of the recommendations of the
Ombudsman, and I assure you that will be done.

HEATHER EWART: Should heads roll over this?

PETER RYAN: Not interested much in that. I want to deal with this on a basis that we get a system
here which pays due regards to the needs of these children.

I think there are people who have been involved in the administration of this whole area who have
unfortunately made decisions - I think often around, though, the confusion that exists with the way
in which the legislation is structured and the practical operation of it. We need to remove that

I can tell you this, though: in time to come, anybody who does not comply with what this clear
direction will be, will not be making a mistake because of any degree of confusion. I have ultimate
responsibility now as the chair of this group of ministers which will be oversighting this. It will
be crystal clear as to what is required to look after these children, and I intend to make sure
that everybody involved in that process does what is required of them.

HEATHER EWART: Peter Ryan, thankyou for joining us.

PETER RYAN: Pleasure.

The Yemen connection

The Yemen connection

Broadcast: 09/02/2011

Reporter: Trevor Bormann

The Australian woman caught up in a diplomatic tug of war.


HEATHER EWART, PRESENTER: The Arabian Peninsula nation of Yemen might be the spiritual home of
Osama bin Laden, but it's fast earning a reputation as a launching pad for new recruits to an
Islamic jihad. ABC's Foreign Correspondent program has aired startling revelations of young
Australian men training in al-Qaeda training camps. Under scrutiny are the movements of 20 or so
Australians on an ASIO watchlist. Tonight we look at the case of an Australian who fell foul of the
Government and a botched attempt to bring her back to this country. Trevor Bormann reports.

TREVOR BORMANN, REPORTER: It's long been a destination for the devout. The religious schools of
Yemen have lured many young Australian Muslims with the promise of a further education. But ASIO is
struggling to keep tabs on 20 Australians who seem to have vanished from their radar in Yemen.

The ABC has been told by an Arab intelligence agent that he saw five Australians at al-Qaeda
training camps in southern Yemen. His information is explicit: that the Australians were engaged in
not only religious studies, but training in weapons and explosives. This is a re-enactment of my
conversation with the intelligence operative.

ACTOR PLAYING ARAB INTELLIGENCE EXPERT (Re-enactment): These Australians and other students are
being trained for terrorist missions, no question. Their value is in their Australian passports.

TREVOR BORMANN: With al-Qaeda entrenched in Yemen, foreign religious students are under intense
scrutiny as Western intelligence organisations and local agencies scramble over each other for

Former Australian diplomat, now consultant, Philip Eliason lived in Yemen for several years. He
says it can be challenging to work out the associations and motivation of any visitor to Yemen.

PHILIP ELIASON, MIDDLE EAST ANALYST: The authority of the Yemen location for religious cultivation
and development is undisputed, and that's why it's such an attractive place for people to head to,
to become a rounded scholar, if you like, and maybe a radicalised one.

TREVOR BORMANN: But now under scrutiny is the way the Australian Government deals with people it
calls "persons of interest". Shyloh Giddins was a young woman from country NSW who moved to Yemen
with her two small children. She protects her privacy. There are no images of her in the public

A Muslim convert, Shyloh Giddins lived in this apartment in the capital Sana'a.

STEPHEN HOPPER, GIDDINS' SOLICITOR: She was raising her two children and she was teaching English.
And when she had spare time she was studying Arabic language. And in that way she was able to live
her life according to her beliefs.

TREVOR BORMANN: But in April last year, she was told her Australian passport would be cancelled, a
move designed to lure her back to Australia. ASIO has concluded Ms Giddins held what it called an
extremist interpretation of Islam and was a security risk to Australia and foreign countries.

STEPHEN HOPPER: She didn't want to come back to Australia; she was quite happy living in Yemen. She
wanted to be left alone. And we would really like to know why the Government has cancelled her
passport. To date, we don't really know why. They've just put up a couple of very vague sort of
reasons. They really have to do better than that, and an Australian citizen deserves more.

TREVOR BORMANN: Bringing Shyloh Giddins back to Australia would enable ASIO to keep an eye on her
here, but it didn't quite turn out as expected. Aware of the security alert surrounding Ms Giddins,
the Yemenis arrested her instead. It was left to her Yemeni lawyer, Abdul Ruckman Barman, to look
after her children.

ABDUL RUCKMAN BARMAN, LAWYER (subtitle translation): I managed to get the kids food, drinks,
chocolates, presents and water.

TREVOR BORMANN: And so began a tussle. Australian diplomats have the job of freeing Shyloh Giddins,
while the Yemenis wanted her as well, to extract as much intelligence information as they could.

PHILIP ELIASON: It's not just a holding room for someone until the Australians take them home, so
to speak. They become a commodity then that would be subject to bargaining and political
bargaining; it might even be used in a way to ratchet up security co-operation.

TREVOR BORMANN: It was a cumbersome episode of how two countries with mutual security interests
couldn't quite work together.

STEPHEN HOPPER: Really, the whole matter has been a complete stuff up by the Australian Government.
I think it's something that could have well been anticipated, but they were inexperienced and they
were acting out of their depth.

TREVOR BORMANN: Shyloh Giddins is now back in Australia and she wants her passport back. Now
stigmatised by an adverse ASIO assessment, that's proving difficult.

Federal Attorney General Robert McClelland wasn't available to talk to the 7.30 Report today, but
in a statement he said he wouldn't comment on individuals who may or may not be of security
concern. "A number of Australians have been drawn to extremist figures in Yemen, including to
Anwar-al-Awlaki, an Al-Qa'ida-linked cleric based in Yemen," he said.

Al-Awlaki is the American-born firebrand implicated in several recent terrorism cases. He is
prepared to talk about the Shyloh Giddins case, posting this internet speech late last year.

ANWAR-AL-AWLAKI, MUSLIM CLERIC (subtitle translation): The Australian Government asked the American
intelligence services, who in turn ordered the Yemeni Government to imprison the sister. As for the
sister, she was submitted to six hours of questioning daily, standing on her feet.

TREVOR BORMANN: We have no evidence that Shyloh Giddins did associate with extremist groups and
ASIO has steadfastly refused to elaborate on its assessment of her.

HEATHER EWART: Trevor Bormann with that report, produced by Jacqueline Hole.

The revolution is just a tweet away

The revolution is just a tweet away

Broadcast: 09/02/2011

Reporter: Sarah Dingle

While protests continue in Egypt, Tunisia is preparing for elections after uprisings deposed its
dictatorship. The protests have spread like wildfire across borders, spurred by a frenzy of social
media - with ordinary people using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other forums to support and
co-ordinate the uprisings.


HEATHER EWART, PRESENTER: In Egypt overnight, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have flooded
Cairo's main square in the biggest demonstration of people power since protests against the Mubarak
regime began two weeks ago. Across the region, the Arab world is buckling under the strength of
popular protest. It's spread like wildfire across borders, spurred by a frenzy of social media,
with ordinary people using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other forums to support and co-ordinate
the uprisings. But Arab regimes have also cracked down on internet access like never before. Sarah
Dingle reports.

FETHI MANSOURI, POLITICS, DEAKIN UNI: We are seeing the emergence of a new way of bringing about
social change. The only thing they had, if you like, the weapon that they had with them is this new
information technology with them, and they were very, very good at using them.

TIM WU, COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL: There is something going on in the Middle East right now. It could be
something that is monumental that completely changes the face of that region.

SARAH DINGLE, REPORTER: Across the Arab world, in countries like Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Syria,
people are on the march. Behind these displays of public power, there's a communications revolution
which knows no borders. Social media forums have become magnets for public discontent and
longstanding regimes are suddenly looking shaky. Egypt remains at a standstill after weeks of mass
protests demanding the end of Hosni Mubarak's 30-year reign. This week, thousands cheered the
release of detained cyber-activist, Wael Ghonim, a Google executive who was imprisoned for helping
kick-start the protests on January 25th.

WAEL GHONIM, GOOGLE EXECUTIVE (voiceover translation): I saw those who died. I felt they were my

SARAH DINGLE: His early online call to march was spread by people like Cairo blogger Dalia Ziada.
Despite a fragile connection, she spoke to us via Skype.

DALIA ZIADA, BLOGGER (via Skype): It only started online, like a group of people Facebooking and
Tweeting decided to push things forward, so they get organised online through social media,
blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking and so on and then they move to the street. It's like, you know, an
inspiration, solidarity. This feeling of solidarity was only available through the internet.

AMR FAHMY: We had to use Facebook, had to use Twitter, the same as they did in Egypt.

SARAH DINGLE: 25-year-old Amr Fahmy's entire family is in Alexandria. He came here two years ago to
study. In Australia, he knew just five other Egyptians, but to support the pro-democracy uprising
back home he used social media to call for rallies in Sydney.

AMR FAHMY: I invited my five friends, my other friends invited his other five friends, so it turned
up 250 Egyptians there. We got to know each other.

SARAH DINGLE: The act of protest has gone online. In 2009, Iran was dubbed the first nation to host
a Twitter revolution. Enraged by the Ahmadinejad regime's fraudulent elections, thousands took to
the streets in the face of brutal government repression.

???: This was a massacre. They were trying to beat people so that they would die. And this was
exactly a massacre. You should stop this, you should stop this.

SARAH DINGLE: Iranians broadcast the results via social media, despite a government crackdown and
violence. Ultimately, Iran's regime brought the Green Revolution to heel. But last December,
Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution, driven by social media, succeeded where the Green Revolution had

FETHI MANSOURI: It only took four weeks from the day that the uprising started in central Tunisia,
not even in the capital, to develop into a fully-fledged popular movement with clearly articulated
political messages.

SARAH DINGLE: Tunisian-born Professor Fethi Mansouri was in the country for the first half of the
Jasmine Revolution. The second half he streamed live online from Australia.

FETHI MANSOURI: Having social media, having people on Facebook, Twitter, other social networking
sites, was extremely important in allowing them the space, not only to articulate what they wanted
to do, but more practically, if you like, on an operational point of view where they were able to
co-ordinate their actions.

SARAH DINGLE: On 14th January, Tunisian dictator Zain El Abidine Ben Ali fled. Now an interim
government has promised free and fair elections.

FETHI MANSOURI: Now how this would play out in other countries, time will tell. But we can see it
already in Egypt: it's exactly following the same course as Tunisia.

TIM WU: When it comes down to it, the internet is a bunch of wires and a bunch of machines and
soldiers can break machines, you can order people at gun-point to take down systems. The internet
is ultimately vulnerable to physical coercion.

SARAH DINGLE: Net neutrality expert Professor Tim Wu believes the Egyptian Government's response
has set a crucial precedent, in cyberspace and in history. The regime crackdown by severing
internet access nationally, rather than blocking individual websites.

TIM WU: The problem is it leaves the country in a real dilemma. The internet is an engine of
commerce. If you wanna have a functioning economy in this day and age, you need the internet. And
so it's a bit like switching off electricity.

SARAH DINGLE: After almost a week of blackout, internet access has been restored, but some
observers argue the Government still doesn't understand what has been unleashed.

FETHI MANSOURI: It's down to the mastery of this new technology, and this mastery has allowed these
young people in particular to frame their own identities, political identities, cultural identities
in a new language that the regime wasn't able to understand.

SARAH DINGLE: For Professor Mansouri, this is a new phase for the Middle East, achieving change
without a military coup or assassinations. But Professor Wu says the elements of a successful
revolution are the same as always.

TIM WU: The communist dictatorships in '89 and the '90s were overthrown without social media, and
of course the French Revolution, American Revolution - there have been revolutions before. So, the
most important thing are the people on the streets.

SARAH DINGLE: For Egyptians, recent events online have changed their world forever.

DALIA ZIADA: The whole world is now watching and it is gonna be very hard for him to change that.

SARAH DINGLE: You talk to your family in Alexandria. What do they say when you tell them about what
you're doing here?

AMR FAHMY: They're proud of me, but they tell me, "OK, if Mubarak stays there, know that you can't
go back to Egypt."

HEATHER EWART: Sarah Dingle with that report.

That's the program for tonight. goodnight.