‘SPASE INC.’

March 20, 2013

Presenting a compile of music video clips of DJ Spase. All the video’s were filmed and edited by myself in Los Angeles. ENJOY!!!

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Justin B. O'Brien & DJ Spase

Justin B. O’Brien & DJ Spase

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‘COP THAT’

January 31, 2011

On November 11, 2010 I submitted a complaint to the OmbudsmanNT about Northern Territory Police accessing my personal telephone records.

The police investigation was part of a ‘witch hunt’ to try and identify the anonymous NT Police sources I quoted while reporting for the NT News on a drug squad raid at Darwin Lord Mayor Graeme Sawyer’s house.

The report can be downloaded by clicking on this link:

OmbudsmanNT final report

Or read the an edited version of  OmbudsmanNT report below.

Commissioner John McRoberts

Dear Mr O’Brien

RE: Complaint against Police

I refer to your written complaint to this Office dated 11 November 2010, regarding the Northern Territory Police accessing your mobile phone records without your permission or knowledge and your request to investigate whether that conduct was unlawful or not.

I accepted your request not to have the Ethical and Professional Standards Command (EPSC) deal with your complaint and my office made enquiries.

BACKGROUND

As you are aware on 20 October 2010 the Northern Territory Police executed a search warrant at a house situated in Wagaman. An NT News article written by you about this search, published on 21 October 2010, stated that information had been provided to the media by a police source.

That information included the identity of the owner of the house at Wagaman which was information not released to the media by NT Police.

The Police received a complaint from the home owner dated 27 October 2010 regarding leaked information. The EPSC had prior to that date launched an investigation to find the

Darwin Lord Mayor Graeme Sawyer

Darwin Lord Mayor Graeme Sawyer

Police Officer responsible. The Ombudsman was notified of the complaint from the homeowner on 5 November 2010.

The actions of a police officer providing information to you was a breach of Section 155 of the Police Administration Act. It was also potentially an offence under Section 76 of the Criminal Code:

’76 (1) Any person who, being employed in the public service or engaged to do any work for or render any service to the government of the Territory or any department or statutory body thereof, unlawfully communicates confidential information coming to his knowledge because of such position is guilty of a crime and is liable to imprisonment for 3 years.

(2) If he does so for purposes of gain he is liable to imprisonment for 5 years.’

If an offence was committed by a police officer providing information to the NT News the person obtaining that information could also have been guilty of the same offence as an accomplice, inciter, abettor or procurer.

A155 Communication of information

(1) A member shall not, without reasonable cause, publish or communicate any fact or document to any other person which comes to the knowledge or into the possession of the member in the course of his duties as a member and which the member has not been authorised to disclose.

Justin B. O'Brien - Multimedia Journalist

Multimedia Journalist - Justin O'Brien

Penalty: $1,000 or imprisonment for 6 months or both

First CCR search — 19 October — 22 October

On 21 October 2010 a Senior Constable from the Operational Intelligence Section (015) completed a Request form which was allocated to another Senior Constable from the Drug and Intelligence Division. The Request was for CCR and RCCR records for the period

19/10/2010 to 22/10/2010 for your mobile 0401442440. On 22 October 2010 the acting Officer in Charge of 015 authorised the request.

The Authorisation was electronically sent to Optus on 22 October 2010. Unfortunately the officer completing the electronic request made a clerical error and entered incorrect information into the document citing that the CCR and RCCR information was for an investigation into offences contrary to the Misuse of Drugs Act.

This incorrect information appears to have no effect on the Police meeting the Commonwealth requirement for Authorisations. The request accurately recorded the enabling legislation (Section 178(2)).

Subsequently, Police noted their error and corrected their records identifying section 155 of the Police Administration Act as the reason for seeking the carrier (Optus) records. They also advised Optus of the mistake to ensure that no record existed linking your phone number as having some connection with the misuse of drugs.

The Police on obtaining your phone records determined the name of a Police officer believed to have breached section 155 of the Police Administration Act. Details for phone numbers showing on your records were sought from the carrier to identity the subscriber to that number.

The search of your charge records to this point was limited to a four day period during which it appeared that a Police officer provided information to you. Your records identified a Police officer’s phone number. The records showed two calls from your number to the officer’s and one call to you from the Police officer.

The first call on the records between the two numbers showed that the contact was initiated by you.

Ms Richards found NT Police acted 'unreasonably'.

I am satisfied that the records and evidence show that the first search of your call charge records was lawful and was reasonably necessary for the investigation of suspected offences. Those offences could have been breaches of Section 155 of the Police Administration Act, a breach of Section 76 of the Criminal Code and possible breaches of Sections 12, 43BG, 43BH, 43B1 or 104 of the Criminal Code. Further investigation by NT Police to find out who used the phone sets matching the subscriber numbers was warranted.

The Second CCR search — 22 September 2010 — 27 October 2010

On 28 October 2010 a Senior Constable from 01S, sent another request for your records. The request was only for your CCR records, ie, records of whom you called, not who called you. However the period was expanded seeking records from 22 September 2010 to 27 October 2010. The authorising officer was the Territory Intelligence Coordinator (TIC). The electronic Authorisation for your records was sent on 01/11/2010 to Optus. The Authorisation was given by a Senior Sergeant whom I am satisfied had a lawful delegation under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act.

Also on 28 October 2010 the Police applied for and obtained CCR’s (22/09/10 to 27/10/10) for a Police officer believed to have been responsible for the information leak.On 5 November 2010 this officer was interviewed and on 8 November 2010 the officer was disciplined (section 14(c) of the Police Administration Act) for not reporting contact with you.

Investigation Outcome

This investigation revealed that the Police made two (2) applications to Optus to obtain your CCR’s, the initial application included obtaining your RCCR’s.

I have seriously considered your view that Section 180(4) of the TIAA – Authorisations for access to prospective information or documents – applies to Section 178. Section 178 is the section of the TIAA that Police relied upon to obtain your records.

Prospective information (as referred to in section 180) is not defined within the Act, however it was described by NT Police as accessing real time data. In researching a 2007 submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee I found prospective data being described as information that comes into existence during the life of an authorisation. The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 Annual Report for the year ending 30 June 2009 describes prospective data as data that comes into existence during the period for which the authorisation is in force. It does not include data that came into existence before the authorisation was in force. The disclosure of prospective data may be authorised by a criminal law-enforcement agency when it is considered reasonably necessary, by an authorising officer, for the investigation of an offence with a prison term of at least three years.

The seeking of your phone records in the second instance (starting from 22/09/2010) was in my view unnecessary. At the time of this second request the Police Officer believed to be responsible for the ‘leak’ had been identified. You had identified yourself in the article you wrote as a possible accomplice.

The Police informed me that the second search of your CCRs was to find out what communication occurred between the Officer and you before and after the calls on 20 October 2010. They said that you and the officer connected to the number you called on 20 October might have been close friends regularly in touch which would tend to dilute anything sinister about the calls on 20 October. I was also told that it was necessary to have the records to be ready to challenge the officer concerned when he was interviewed in case he claimed to be regularly in touch with you as a friend. I reject that latter explanation as a sufficient reason justifying the extent of the records requested.

The officer concerned was interviewed three days before Optus provided the CCRs which causes me to discount the “friendship” defence as a sufficient reason. I also consider that even if the CCRs for a five week period showed that your phone and the officer’s phone were connected often, such records would not prove who made the calls and what was said. Those records for a five week period were not capable of disclosing anything of probative value beyond what  had  already been obtained by the first search.

Although I am satisfied that the second search of your CCRs was lawful and authorised under Section 178 of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act that search was “unreasonable” within the meaning of Section 101 of the OA. Police have powers and they have a discretion to decide when and how to exercise those powers. They also have a duty to respect the human rights and dignity of the citizens they serve and protect. There must be a balance maintained and intrusive powers ought not to be exercised unless it is reasonably necessary to do so. In the instance of the second search of your CCRs for a period of five weeks it is my opinion that the intrusion into your privacy was not reasonable even though it was lawful.

The Commissioner of Police disagrees with my view. His view is that the second request to Optus was in accord with “standard investigative techniques … to establish whether contact between parties is an ongoing occurrence and whether there is a pattern to the conduct…”.

I have not accepted that view in your case because any contact between you and a police officer prior to the execution of the warrant, on 20 October 2010, was of no relevance to an alleged offence of unlawful disclosure of an event which happened on one occasion only, on either 20 or 21 October 2010. I have given the Commissioner of Police my reasons for the view I hold and I include an extract of my letter to him:

“In my opinion to access phone call charge records for a period of three weeks before the event which precipitated the offence under Section 155 of the Police Administration Act was unreasonable. It was in my view unreasonable because any interaction or communication between Mr O’Brien and any police officer prior to the execution of the warrant on the house in question was not capable of producing any evidence that could logically have carried any probative value. Citizens of the Northern Territory have a human right to privacy, recognised by International Conventions and Declarations, and to some extent recognised by the Common Law.

There was no proportionality between the seriousness of the offence being investigated, the value of any information likely to be obtained and the degree of invasion of Mr O’Brien’s human right to privacy. It is the failure to balance the value of his rights against the outcome sought or potentially available that amounts to the exercise of the discretion to access his records being, in my view, unreasonable. In many other cases the investigative techniques you describe might well shift the balance and make the needs of law enforcement or prevention of harm reasonably override a person’s right to privacy. I do not believe it was reasonable to do so in this instance.”

RECOMMENDATIONS

I made four recommendations to the Commissioner of Police. The Commissioner of Police has accepted two of them as follows:

1. The Commissioner of Police will issue a general order to make it patent that access to a person’s telephone call records must be authorised by a member of the rank of Superintendent or above.

2. The Commissioner of Police will issue a new authorisation under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act replacing the exiting authorisation of Commissioner Paul White authorising only officers of the rank of Superintendent and above only to make requests for telephone call records under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act.

I note that you have approached my office concerning a response from NT Police to a request by NT News under the Information Act for the release of documents. It is correct that under the Information Act documents obtained by EPSC to investigate a complaint against Police that is covered by the Ombudsman Act are exempt from disclosure. That exemption arose first when NT Police notified the Ombudsman of the Lord Mayor’s complaint on 5 November 2010. No document before that date would be covered by the exemption of documents and information created or obtained under the Ombudsman Act.

Other exemptions may be applicable but not the exemption created by Section 49C of the Information Act. I do not know what documents were requested under the Information Act and I cannot investigate any matter arising under the Information Act unless it is referred to me by the Information Commissioner.

If you require any further information please contact the Assistant Ombudsman, Bert Hofer.

I advise that the notice served relating to disclosure of the draft of this report remains valid.

It does not apply to this report.

CAROLYN RICHARDS

Ombudsman


‘THE LONG GRASSERS’

February 21, 2010

As a 17 year old college student – I signed up for a major in American Literature. The two classroom novels were ‘Slaughter House Five’ by Kurt Vonnegut and John Steinbeck’s, ‘The

'The Homeless Camp'

'Home Sweet Home'

Grapes of Wrath’.

I mention this because at 619 pages in length – ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ is a heavy read. It wasn’t John Steinbeck’s story about Tom Joad and his family’s fight to survive the Great Depression that concerned me, but the six hundred odd pages which lay ahead. So, I put my head down and got through it.

Last week, wandering through an illegal Aboriginal tent camp near the centre of Darwin – I could see similarities between the Joad’s and the ‘Long Grassers’ who called the camp home.

‘The word for Long Grasser mean we homeless people – homeless … but we like to use the word Long Grasser’ – is how 45 year old Bob Gallagher describes himself and the dozen Aborigines who live there.

Like the Joad’s – the men and women have no permanent place to stay. Fast forward eighty years since the Great Depression and home for these people is anywhere there is a vacant patch of ground to put up a tent.

However, the ‘Long Grassers’ have money. The Joad’s were penniless when they were driven off their Oklahoma farm by drought – while the ‘Long Grassers’ have access to regular payments from the Federal Government.

LORD MAYOR WITH LONG GRASSER

'VISITING THE LONG GRASSERS'

This ‘sit down money’ has bred a generation of first Australians – who fairly or unfairly, the majority do not contribute to society. At the Darwin camp, the ‘Long Grassers’ play cards, gambling with the ‘federal cash’. The winner does what the ‘Long Grassers’ call – ‘the rabbit run’, it’s his or her job to walk to the bottle shop and purchase more grog.

Lord Mayor Graeme Sawyer believes the influx of hundreds of ‘Long Grassers’ to Darwin is an unanticipated outcome from the 2007 Federal Intervention into Aboriginal Communities. Major General David Chalmers who headed up the Federal Response disagrees – telling me at the recent Bombing of Darwin Ceremony: “People were already on the move .. people are transient .. you can’t blame the Intervention for people wanting to move to the City”.

Shoot the messenger or do something about the problem.

The Lord Mayor wants to build camps with showers and toilets at locations around Darwin, where ‘Long Grassers’ like Bob Gallagher and his friends can live. According to Sawyer: “The various levels of Government need to get together and provide some space where these sorts of camps can be facilitated”.

Known for his passion to defeat cane toads – Graeme Sawyer is willing to stake his reputation to solve the ‘Long Grassers’ problem: “We have the same problem with backpacker’s when the dry season comes” – the Lord Mayor says, continuing: “Pretending it’s not happening is not a solution .. the reality is the system we’ve got at the moment is just creating more and more problems”.       

Northern Territory Police, Darwin City Council and the Aboriginal ‘First Patrol’ know the illegal camp exists. However, with the backdrop of Darwin’s housing shortage and skyrocketing rents – everyone allows the campers to stay.

The camp can only be described as basic – rough living, there is no running water and the toilet or bathroom is the tall grass surrounding the tents. Bob enjoys a drink, is a diabetic and he recently had his left big toe amputated. He worries he’ll get sick if he continues to live rough.

AMPUTATED BIG TOE - A LONG GRASSER

'MISSING LEFT BIG TOE'

“I’ve got to go to the hospital for a check up, because I’m living in the bush .. It’s not a nice place to stay, we put in for a house last year and we’re still waiting” – Bob says as he holds a plastic measuring cup filled with ‘watered down’ Port.

Australia is often referred to as the lucky country – I don’t think Bob considers himself lucky.

Maybe one day – the ‘Long Grassers’ will find a home or society will persuade these modern day ‘Okies’ to change. It’s not going to be easy. As someone once said to me, if you can read you can cook. My reply was, try reading ‘The Grapes of Wrath’.


‘KANGAROO COUNTRY’

September 2, 2009
'Kangaroo Country'

'Kangaroo Country'

Like it or not.. when you say you’re Australian to a Dili local, the response is often a friendly – ‘Ahhh .. Kangaroo Country’. So when Governor-General Quentin Bryce delivered three corrugated iron sculptured kangaroos for East Timor’s Presidential Palace garden, it seemed the ideal gift.

Questions to President Jose Ramos-Horta were banned during the stage-managed picture opportunity alongside Ms Bryce. Normally one keen to wear out batteries in a radio microphone, the President has been careful not to get into a stoush over his decision to oppose an International Justice Commission into human rights crimes committed during Indonesian occupation and the violence which followed the 1999 Independence vote.

Jose Ramos-Horta believes the past is the past and building a positive relationship with Indonesia is now more important. At the official ceremony marking the tenth anniversary of the Independence vote, switching between Portuguese and English – the President was keen to make his position clear: (ENGLISH) “.. there will be no criminal inquiry into past human rights abuses”. There is no questioning of Mr Ramos-Horta’s sacrifices for East Timor – three brother’s and a sister murdered by Indonesian backed forces and an attempt on his own life, but his no justice inquiry is at odds with some Timorese.

'Justice For The Dead'

'Justice For The Dead'

Displaying that Independence doesn’t mean freedom – less than three hours after the President’s Official speech a protest outside Dili’s main hotel, the Hotel Timor by two dozen people opposed to the President’s ‘no’ decision was swiftly broken up by truckloads of ‘Special Police’. Call ‘Unit Taskforce’ .. 20 officers torn up banners reading ‘No Impunity For Timor War Crimes – Justice Now’ and took away three ringleaders.

As we drove back to out hotel with the video footage of the police action, a protester said: ‘He .. (President) is betraying the mothers of East Timor’.

With unemployment as high as 70 percent across East Timor and most living on less than 50 cents a day – job building infrastructure projects are the obvious way to pull the population out of poverty.

'Skippy'

'Skippy'

But, the decision not to pursue prosecutions against people who committed atrocities during the 24-year fight for freedom, threatens to undermine the leaps in security since the 2006 gang violence, death of Alfredo Reinaldo and assassination attempt on Jose Ramos-Horta.   

In a sign the President has won the first round in this fight, it was the Indonesian pop star Kris Dyanti who headlined the outdoor concert celebrating 10 years since the Independence vote. It odd choice considering the past, but maybe not as silly as three kangaroos in Presidential Palace garden.

 


‘MEMORIAL DAY’

May 24, 2009

(VIDEO STORY ABOUT MEMORIAL DAY AT THE LOS ANGELES NATIONAL CEMETERY)

The best way to describe Memorial Day to an Australian – is to say it’s the American version of ANZAC Day without the pub crawl! A time to remember those who have fallen in battle, survived to come home and anyone who has served.

An American Flag

An American Flag

An American tradition on Memorial Day, is to place an American flag at the grave site of past soldiers, sailors and airmen. No small task considering the numbers. At the Military cemetery in Los Angeles an army of volunteers is enlisted to answer the call – usually Scouts, Cubs and Girl Guides.  

From a foreigners point of view – it’s a very powerful and moving sight .. thousands of kids, American flags in hand – following tradition and struggling to push a 50 centimeter long flag into the soil. 

One of the 58 thousand flags placed around the LA National Cemetery

One of the 58 thousand flags placed around the LA National Cemetery

I asked a mother dressed as a Scout Leader why are American’s so patriotic? She replied .. ‘American’s come from everywhere, we believe in what this country stands for  – today is about respect, honor and freedom. Australian’s have fought for freedom .. you are just like us’. I agreed. Although, patriotism seems easier for American’s .. the colour combination of ‘red, white and blue’ lends itself to self promotion – unlike Australia’s ‘green and gold’ and that ‘Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi’ chant which makes me wish I was Canadian!

Back to Memorial Day .. the Mum summed the morning up best in five words that followed our conversation – (referring to her son, hand on his shoulder) ‘.. his father is in Iraq’. You may not agree with the decision .. but you support the troops. 

America is at War – Waring at a level not seen since Vietnam.

Walking around the LA Cemetery and looking at the headstones, one name soon blends into another. Many of the men buried there lived long lives – into their 70’s and 80’s .. they fought for their Country .. and they came home. But, what jumps out

21 years old

21 years old

is the unmistakable difference between a new headstone and an old one. The faded weathered lettering .. compared to the black stenciled look. 

Private First Class Jin Su Ong stood out. Ong an American, born in 1987 was just 21 when he died in Iraq this year. It made me think .. in 1987 I was in College living life and at 21, I was traveling the world. What would you have missed out on if your life had ended at 21? No disrespect to the other veterans .. but Ong lived in my time. 

For all the symbolism of today, most of the Scouts who playfully raced to plant the flags at each headstone are too young to understand the meaning of Memorial Day – that’s a good thing. PFC Jin Su Ong was forced to grow up too early.

(BELOW ARE ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHS TAKEN AT THE LOS ANGELES NATIONAL CEMETERY – JUSTIN O’BRIEN, 5/23/09)

 

'The Scouts'

'The Scouts'

 

'Flags On Guard'

'Flags On Guard'


‘BUYER BEWARE’

April 30, 2009
THE JEEP

THE JEEP

When I first heard the term ‘Caveat Emptor’ (Buyer Beware) in a business class – I thought ‘cool’ Latin, but having just purchased a second hand Jeep I understand its meaning, in plan English.

         Okay – the 1992 Jeep 4×4 Sport was a bargain. Advertised on ‘Craigslist’ saying it required a new alternator – after a test-drive the Jeep’s owner Daniel Holzman accepted my 12 hundred dollar offer. I returned late the next afternoon, paid his Dad (John) the cash and off I drove into the darkness.

         I got two miles up the road when without warning the radio died, all the lights in the dashboard went out and the engine started to ‘skip’-‘chug’ and ‘stumble’ (It ran great during a test drive the day before).

         Aware I wasn’t going to get far – I started to drive North, hoping to make it to the safer streets of Santa Monica where I could crash park my wounded vehicle. My journey ended 30 blocks later outside an industrial complex at the corner of Olympic and 20th Street.

What's in a name?

What’s in a name?

Immediately I called Daniel’s father John to explain what had happened. He said quote: ‘Oh .. no .. I can’t believe that. My son wouldn’t sell you a dud – let me speak to him. I don’t want you out of pocket on this .. I want to make this right!’

         In the darkness, I arranged a tow truck then telephoned Daniel Holzman who is working as a chef in New York. ‘Oh ..’ he said .. ‘my Dad did say the lights looked a little dim when you drove off!’ Daniel offered to take the car back – but I liked the car. Then came the statement of truth (Daniel) ‘I thought you would have at least made it home!’ We came to a verbal agreement to reimburse me for the

The Dints Show Character!

The Dints Show Character!

towing and taxi fare home.

         Carlo’s the tow truck driver arrived an hour later and we dropped the Jeep off at Pep Boys workshop. The repairs came to $500.

The next day I left a message on Daniel’s cell phone, telling him I was now on the road and gave a breakdown of the costs for towing and a taxi. He never called me back. So I telephoned John, his Dad. ‘Oh … I’m not taking money out of my pocket’, he said. ‘It’s an issue between you and Daniel’.

Feeling I had been ‘Somali Pirated’ after recounting down the phone line his commitments made two days before, I slipped into LA mode – ‘something along the lines of how was he going to sleep tonight with a crooked back!’

I didn’t pursue the issue after that. I could use the cash, but any funds reimbursed would have had been tainted – sometimes it’s best just to walk away.

But for what’s worth, I did learn a practical lesson no lecturer could ever teach – Buyer Beware or ‘Caveat Emptor’ for those who speak Latin.


‘PAYBACK’

March 9, 2009

Is a wife who cheats on an unfaithful husband worse than him? Does it make them both now equal? Or is it ‘payback’ and the final breakdown of a once loving relationship.

Recently asked this question, I don’t think there is a simple answer.

Why did he cheat in the first place? Is it because he’s a public figure, in a position of power and ‘opportunities’ presented themselves. Some how in his mind this made it okay. Should society feel sorry from him, now he is the victim and humiliated. Did society know of her heartbreaking pain.

 I suggest it’s a private issue between a husband and wife.

What good would it do for the husband to seek revenge against the ‘other’ man – poisoning his career prospects with a company, by revealing the affair to a senior manager. A bit childish.

I doubt she would have cheated – or ‘looked’ at the ‘other’ man had she not been a victim.

Hillary Clinton suffered the greatest public humiliation – when confronted by Bill’s unfaithfulness. I’ll never forget that walk across the White House lawn to an awaiting helicopter. Chelsey in the middle holding hands with Mum while Bill held the dog Buddy’s leach. They got on with life, well publicly anyway. Hillary showed great strength and if their marriage is ‘true’ – it shows unfaithfulness can be overcome. What was her ‘payback’ .. a US Senate seat, US Presidential candidacy and now the US Secretary of State? Once again, it’s a matter between the husband and wife.

A close friend once told me she had a pact with her boyfriend not to tell the other if either had an affair. They’re no longer together.

I subscribe to the Robert Redford character’s approach to love in the movie ‘Out Of Africa’. Romantically involved with the married Merryl Streep character, Redford describes two lions as having it right when it comes to love – ‘the male lion says to the female lion – I like you, you like me .. simple uncomplicated’. Unfortunately, what works in the wild doesn’t work in the City.

Redford’s character was floored too. He would disappear in his plane, making up an excuse to escape the chains of commitment for a few days. Maybe this is why every man should have a shed in his backyard!

No one is perfect – neither the one who cheats or the other man or woman. We’re human and humans make mistakes. But, I did come up with one answer – stop and consider if the ‘payback’ is worth the price, next time you’re thinking about pulling on a rain coat and doing the ‘wild thing’.