Some questions arising from the publication of ‘The Second Father — A view from the inside : the true story of Domenico Cacciola’
[Domenico Cacciola, Carmelo Cacciola and Ben Robertson. St Lucia, Qld. : University of Queensland Press, 2009.1 v.AN: 43767454 ISBN: 9780702237126 (pbk.) $34.95]
It seems that the entire Queensland Special Branch are dragging out their diaries to write memoirs.
Take a back seat Barry Krosch, Domenico Cacciola has decided to tell all. Surely he is not going to reveal the political corruption of the Queensland Special Branch, the lies, the verbals, the political arrests, how Special Branch stopped street marchers from getting employment with the State Government and more … in Domenico Cacciola’s book with the original title of “The Second Father”
Domenico Cacciaola was not part of the “Joke” – the corrupt system run by police including Commissioner Lewis, Jack Herbert and Tony Murphy.
Cacciola describes how, in the Southport SP betting case in late 1974, he and two of his superiors were set up by the bagman, Jack Herbert who, was later exposed by the Fitzgerald Inquiry and given immunity from prosecution to provide evidence against Police Commissioner Terry Lewis.
So both Lewis and Herbert set Cacciola up in the same way he set up so many street marchers during the Joh years. He partly explains his experience as being a dispute between Mason and Catholic.
Cacciola sets the record straight on Terry Lewis, even though he was part of the special branch organisation that helped make 3,000 arrests from 1977-1979 when Lewis refused march permits in order for Joh to export yellow cake (uranium).
Domenico made a few political arrests himself too. Pictured below is his arrest of an anti-uranium demonstrator outside Magistrates court in South Brisbane after the demonstration where 418 people were arrested for their opposition to Uranium mining and export.
The Lanky Yank
Domenico says in the Second Father (at page 126) that a stranger appeared at one demonstration during the Queensland street marches (1977-1979) and ‘quickly assumed the role of ringleader‘ and that ‘your spies could not find any information on him‘.
You say that there was a confrontation during which you took a few protesters to the Stanley Street watch-house.
Domenico, your memory is poor, that demonstration where the Queensland police made ‘a few arrests’ was on the 22 October 1977. You also say that we stood for nothing.
This demonstration to stop uranium mining and export from Queensland was the largest single day of mass arrest in Australian history (before or since).
Police arrested 418 people on that day.
Even a quick look back at the Sunday and Courier Mail editions (part of the Murdoch press) in the days that followed would set you straight on some of the facts. Who did the research for this book? It just goes to show the poor research skills of the Qld Special Branch.
You say that the Lanky Yank called you ‘Mr Goebells’. Well, you say you were spying on the Communist Party. You say that this American was marching up and down and egging the protesters on.
What I observed on that day was that we were waiting to be processed in the magistrates court. Civil Liberties lawyer, Terry O’Gorman, was in Manhattan Park telling us that we should enter ‘no plea’ when we went to court as there was legal doubt about the ban on street marches imposed by Bjelke-Petersen and your boss Terry Lewis.
You say the Lanky Yank was hysterical.
Yet he was laughing at your comic assault on him. You had him around the throat arching him backward as you were a stocky build and he was tall. You say that the lanky yank forfeited bail and that you never saw him again.
You forget that there was a series of unlawful detentions of the American, one only a few days later described in The Lanky Yank.
You also say that you were king hit on Hamilton Wharf during the meatworkers’ protests against the live export dispute that was taking away their livelihood. You say that Geoff Wills assaulted you breaking your teeth. This is a slander and a lie. Geoff Wills never assaulted you. Quite the opposite.
Here is the story that you did not publish in “The Second Father”.
In August 1977, we were down at Hamilton Number 4 wharf in Brisbane trying to stop a shipment of uranium from getting onto the docks. It was 9 pm at night. We had assembled on the railway track in a small group as the Uranium shipment approached. There would have been about 100 or so uniformed police in attendance. Someone was holding a transistor radio. The ABC National 9 o’clock news came on. They announced that we had already been cleared off the track by the Queensland police in attendance.
The train approached. Cops charged us from the darkness. We were shoved in a heap beside the railway as the yellow cake containers went through. We were literally piled on top of one another with the coppers holding us down until the shipment was on the wharf.
From the shadows stepped Domenico Cacciola of the Queensland Special Branch. Cacciola had been set-up to verbal an SP bookmaker in the Southport Betting Case and sent to the police stables in disgrace but later was promoted to the Special Branch, the ‘Green Mafia’ because it was run by a catholic, Les Hogan, and had a number of other catholics in it. A short man, you crouched down beside us and began to speak to a person at the bottom of the pile: “Mr. Monza, Mr. Monza, we’re going to get ya”. He had mispronounced a common Lebanese name.
Three people were arrested that night, a seaman, Geoff Wills, his wife, Nancy, and a printer.
Are you sure, Domenico, that you have not confused the date and the issue in the same way that you did after the big anti-uranium demonstration? I have invited your publisher to reply to this. You have slandered Geoff and Nancy Wills, probably in the knowledge that they are both dead.
The following week, in answer to a Dorothy Dix question in parliament, a National Party minister said that the anti-uranium demonstration on Hamilton No. 4 Wharf was the work of communists and an Arab sympathiser (presumably the person Domenico had threatened the week before) .
Soon after, Joh Bjelke Peterson announced “the day of the political street march is over”.
Special Branch lived up to Domenico’s promise, for the next 18 months they pointed out the leaders of the street marches so that we could be arrested time after time. They arrested a lot of people themselves. For example on 30 October 1978 Domenico and his fellow special branch officers arrested many in the street and in King George Square and the footpath nearby. When they did not do it themselves they would get units like Task force to do the job for them. I was one and the Mr. Monza referred to by Cacciola down at the wharves was another.
I was attacked by police in the square thrown in a paddy wagon, taken out, strangled and knocked out in the middle of the street, handcuffed in such a way that I lost feeling in part of my hand for three months, driven to Police headquarters, stripped and assaulted, paraded in front senior police, and finally taken out and imprisoned in Boggo Road jail under a falsely executed warrant issued by acting magistrate McKay. Similar arrests were made throughout that period until 1979.
In the end, exhausted by repression and division, the street marches ended in defeat for the extra-parliamentary opposition to the Bjelke-Peterson regime. It was perhaps the longest sustained period of organised protest in Australian history.
Of course, Aboriginal people have sustained their resistance to colonisation over a much longer period and at a far greater cost.
My point is the special branch had done its work.
Never forgive, never forget, never again.
30 June 2009
References and Notes
- ‘Who’s Who in the Zoo’ – excerpt from The Second Father
- The Second Father is being promoted and launched by Brisbane Better Bookshops.
- Domenico Cacciola along with an Inspector Pitts was caught fabricating evidence in the SouthPort Betting Case described in this article ‘Corruption claim is eerily familiar’.
- A view from the inside : the true story of Domenico Cacciola /Domenico Cacciola, Carmelo Cacciola and Ben Robertson.St Lucia, Qld. : University of Queensland Press, 2009.1 v.AN: 43767454 ISBN: 9780702237126 (pbk.) $34.95ANL eng ANL contributed cataloguing Cacciola, Domenico. CIP entry. Projected publication date: 200907 Cacciola, Domenico.Lewis, Terence. Herbert, Jack. Police Queensland Biography. Police corruption Queensland. Police administration Queensland.Misconduct in office Queensland. Political corruption Queensland. Queensland Politics and government 1976-1990. Cacciola, Carmelo.Robertson, Ben. 364.1323099
- Not Guilty
- Joh, the Queensland Special Branch and other stories