A letter from Kerry Browning

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Both Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party have been actively supporting Kerry Browning in her campaign against a police harassment and a frame up. This is an edited version of a 23 October 1989 letter sent by Kerry Browning to Radical Women.

Dear Radical Women

Greetings to the sisters of Melbourne Radical Women.

It was encouraging to receive your letter of support stating what actions your group would be taking to lobby and publicise aspects of the court case following the charges laid against me.

Please convey my thanks, also, for the donation given by Radical Women to the Defence Fund.

One of the more interesting aspects that has come out [during the committal hearings] is the level of co-operation between the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), admitted by the police, in sharing their surveillance work and “intelligence” on this case. The amount of tax-payers’ money that went into listening devices, static, mobile and video camera surveillance, all intended to totally violate every source of privacy one thinks they might have, only to find they have thousands of hours of NOTHING is truly amazing, especially for them.

What also became apparent was the general reluctance on the police witnesses part to disclose their meetings or relevant conversations with American and South African officials or people whom the Americans recommended the AFP talk to for “information”. In fact as we neared the end of the committal hearing in June many documents that were used by police during the investigation as well as to draw up their statements would not be divulged, thereby causing an inevitable legal argument that is still being disputed.

Some of these documents and tapes involve anonymous information sent to ASIO regarding the fire-bombing incidents, police running-sheets and information regarding a couple of people who are still supposedly under investigation on matters related to the offences.

This case certainly is not the first occurrence of intimidation by the State’s forces against individuals or groups for their political beliefs and no doubt won’t be the last. However, conservative elements such as these never fail to misjudge or underestimate us when carrying out their disgraceful tactics. From my observations these tactics only serve to strengthen our resolve to continue the struggle more united and determined than before.

Such attacks are also designed to disrupt, weaken and divide progressive organisations and to some extent it appears that it has done some sorting out of the activists/groups and how they respond to such events. But this can be seen in a positive light insofar as knowing who you can rely upon politically in the future.

Next time I visit Melbourne it would be good to meet up with you if possible. Our local despots are currently considering reducing the curfew hours from 10 pm to 6 am to 12 midnight to 6 am. There’s nothing magical about midnight and I’m not Cinderella but it appears that, from the perception of our “law enforcers”, sinister activity manifests [itself] only during those hours.

Yours in the struggle,

Kerry Browning

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