The front page of today's SMH thus features the headline "Bikies infiltrate defence bases' and goes on to reveal - hold your breath, lock away your kittens and children - that
GAPING holes in the security of Australia's defence bases are leaving them exposed to infiltration by organised criminals, bikie groups and terrorists.But wait, there is more -
Defence sources have revealed that since at least 2008 the military has failed to act on warnings of poor base security and ignored or stalled recommendations to fix deficiencies.
In late 2009, senior US Navy officials raised concerns about security at Australian naval bases, querying whether American ships could dock safely.Security protocols at US bases are of course exemplary. Are we talking a routine question ('Does your port have potable water? Are there nightclubs in the vicinity? Are the natives friendly? Is it safe to dock?') answered with a routine 'Yes'?
The SMH frets that -
Briefings and reports by defence and police officials during the past three years reveal that:Given that membership of motorcycle groups is in fact not illegal in every part of Australia we might want to look behind the emo about "a small number of serving defence personnel belong to outlaw bikie groups". A small number of some 50,000 serving defence personnel are presumably members of the Liberal Party, stamp collectors clubs, gay saunas, pigeon racing clubs, Rotary and other entities. How small is "small" and what are the implications? Should all "serving defence personnel" be surveilled to determine their OMG associates? Mandatory blood, hair and urine testing to detect drug use?• A small number of serving defence personnel belong to outlaw bikie groups.
• A company tied to an alleged crime boss was given contracts to guard sensitive naval facilities in 2006.
• Plain-clothes undercover defence officials talked their way past security posts at half a dozen bases and on one occasion used a library ID card to enter a defence facility.
• Naval personnel smuggled guns into Australia from south-east Asia in 2008 by stashing them in the storage cavity of an Armidale-class patrol boat.
The SMH apparently did not need to rely on Wikileaks in obtaining "A Defence Department document" that reveals "a review of the vulnerability of defence bases, ships and other assets called for a ground-up overhaul", shortly after the Chief of the Defence Force said he was confident "the security arrangements in place at our bases are effective".
Law enforcement agencies have supposedly documented concerns about organised crime penetrating defence facilities for over a decade. It is unclear whether that documentation reflects substantive concerns (particularly concerns that were not effectively addressed) or merely speculation and bureaucratic insurance.
The SMH states that -
In 2000, the Victoria Police drug squad created an intelligence file alleging that a group of navy personnel was importing cocaine through Garden Island naval base in Sydney.Are we talking half the fleet or a few 'bad eggs' whose criminal behaviour has been detected and punished? Let us not dwell on independent claims that the Victoria Police has been "infiltrated" by drug dealers and OMGs or Office of Police Integrity reports indicating that information handling has been poor [PDF].
In 2006, two state police agencies discovered that Global Protective Services, a company subcontracted to guard HMAS Penguin and Garden Island naval base, was linked closely to the Finks outlaw motorcycle gang member and organised crime figure Yassar Bakir. GPS is now deregistered and not associated with any business with a similar name.Ideally the Defence Department or a parliamentary committee will place the claims in context.
Queensland police suspected that the now-jailed Bakir was simultaneously using GPS - whose naval base contracts expired in mid-2006 - to run drugs down the east coast. In 2005, another company linked to Bakir, Global Protection Group, also not linked to any business operating now, had a contract to guard the Randwick barracks.
Defence sources said the department was not only failing adequately to vet civilian subcontractors but had failed to detect or act on links between at least two dozen serving personnel and bikie gangs.
Police sources have confirmed strong associations between some defence employees and the Hells Angels, Rebels, Bros and Gypsy Jokers gangs, whose members include organised crime figures.
A police report seen by the Herald says a small number of military personnel are members of hardcore, outlaw bikie groups and have been implicated in "weapons and drug trafficking".
Using library cards or Photoshopped ID is not unthinkable. In an unrelated matter Director of Public Prosecutions (Queensland) v. Bakir  QCA 562 notes that Yassar Bakir was arrested in relation to possession of cannabis and possession of a Queensland Police Service identification badge.