Reviewed by Geoff. Muirden, Secretary.
Australian Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
BOOK REVIEW Originally published in The Strategy, October
1996, Page 5.
Smuggled-2: Wildlife Trafficking And Corruption
in Australia, by Raymond Hoser.
This book is DYNAMITE! It blows the lid off the rackets operating
in the wildlife smuggling industry in Australia and abroad, and exposes
many top names, both inside and outside the NSW National Parks & Wildlife
Service (N.P.W.S.)and other groups connected with corrupt activities, including
(but not limited to) promoting smuggling, conducting Rambo-style
raids on persons said to possess animals without licenses, protecting smugglings;
phone tapping, mail interception, and handling the truth very loosely when
it suits them to protect their interests, while breaking laws with impunity.
It is thoroughly researched, naming names and detailing dates of incidents
that constitute a shocking indictment of the wildlife smuggling industry,
aided and abetted by some officials within wildlife agencies supposed to
prevent it happening.
With friends like this, who needs enemies?
Not all officials within agencies such as the NPWS, Taronga Park Zoo
and Melbourne Zoo, Conservation and Land Management (C.A.L.M.) in W.A.,
to mention but a few organisations treated in Smuggled-2,
are morally reprehensible. Some are honest and reputable individuals, but
they seem unable to stop the suppression of whistleblowers within their
own departments, such as Clive Bennett and Ken Blade, whose efforts against
corruption were stymied, as documented in this book. It is the common experience
of whistleblowers to be vilified, harassed, sued and even sometimes murdered.
Raymond Hoser's original book, Smuggled:
The Underground Trade in Australia's Wildlife, was illegally
banned by the NSW NPWS, and they will no doubt also take exception to Smuggled
2, with updated and more extensive evidence against it and other
wildlife "conservation" groups.
Not content with other dirty tricks, Hoser claims that some active whistleblowers
have been killed, and that some individuals have accused NPWS officials
of being involved. NPWS officials are accused of trying to block proper
enquiries into the deaths (pp. 53-53;7879); others' lives were threatened
Where serious allegations, heavily documented, against NSW NPWS were
made to Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) by Clive Bennett,
nothing was done by ICAC (pp. 55-56).
The explanation was familiar to one who has read Raymond Hoser's other
Hoser Files" reviewed earlier in The Strategy,
May, 1996 edition. The allegations were against police and the police were
administering the ICAC, so they defended their own.(p.56) just as takes
place in the Internal Investigation Department (IID) of Victoria Police,
now being whitewashed by piously renaming itself the Ethical Standards
FERAL CAT EXAGGERATION
I have one disagreement with Raymond. He mentions the "feral cat
menace" (p. 167) with apparent approval, whereas Dave Richards, writing
in "Cat Wars", Independent Monthly, May, 1996,
shows these 'feral cat' figures have been exaggerated for political reasons.
Although most of the book is devoted to activities in Australia, there
are sections on other countries, notably Africa, where the smuggling situation
is worse, and Chapter 18 concerns mainly conditions in the United States
and United Kingdom.
The bottom line is that it's not just the wildlife bureaucracy that's
corrupt, so it the entire public service system, which uses similar bully
boy tactics and dirty tricks. As a former employee of the Victorian Education
Department, I saw plenty of evidence of backstabbing, treachery, and dirty
tricks as Standard Operating Procedure, and often one's 'colleagues' were
the worst enemy, but the malaise affects most of the government bureaucracy.
As Hoser says, the bureaucracy won't reform itself, any reform can only
come from outside, with reforming politicians (such as Graeme Campbell's
Australia First Party?), public reporting on the extent of abuses, and
legalising many import/export laws to ease the basis for bully boy tactics.
IN SUMMARY, A DISTURBING BOOK, BUT ONE IN THE WHISTLEBLOWER
TRADITION OF EXPOSING CORRUPTION'S UGLY HEAD.
Smuggled-2, Wildlife Trafficking and Corruption
In Australia by Raymond Hoser, published by Kotabi Pty Ltd., PO
Box 599, Doncaster, Vic, 3108. Cost $27.50 and $5 postage. 280 pp. paperback
Second Book Review
Smuggled-2: Wildlife Trafficking, Crime and
Corruption in Australia, by Raymond Hoser. 1996. Kotabi Publications
(P.O. Box 599, Doncaster, Victoria 3108, Australia). xx+259 pp. Paperback.
AUS $25.00 (approx. US $22.00)(and postage of $5). ISBN 0-958676909.
PROFESSOR YEHUDAH L. WERNER
Department of Evolution. Systematics and Ecology
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 91904 Jerusalem, Israel
(Originally published in Herpetological Review, 28(3),
Reptiles are relatively hardy in transportation. Only half a century
ago, before the global rise of conservation and decline of postal services,
it was normal to exchange live reptiles by international mail, not necessarily
airmail. Now two modern processes are both countering and stimulating each
other. On the one hand, most countries restrict collecting and exporting;
on the other hand, herpetoculture is spreading. The blooming amateur market
annually cycles millions of dollars in the United States alone. Some of
its global volume in terms of herpetofauna has been reviewed for 1980-1985
by Luxmoore et al. (1988). This market, with its appetite for rarities,
has stimulated, besides more positive results, the related phenomena of
illegal collecting, trading, and smuggling, all of which are facilitated
by the portability of reptiles.
Bureaucratic systems of licensing and inspecting have mushroomed almost
everywhere. The mix of extensive legislation, haughty authority, insatiable
desires, and ample money has generated its natural parasitic fauna of high-handedness,
fanatic enforcement, corruption, and bribery-in some countries more than
in others. It must have come as a shock to many readers of "Smuggled"
(Hoser 1993; reviewed by Werner 1995), when Australia, celebrity of nature
protection, was exposed by Raymond Hoser as a focus of negativity. It transpired
that not only was smuggling of the endemic protected fauna rampant but
many officials of governmental nature conservation agencies found a variety
of ways to personally gain from it. Not merely bribery but perjury, violence,
robbery, and even murder crowd the pages of "Smuggled" and make
it a suspense story.
"Smuggled-2" is a sequel and
like many a sequel is somewhat weaker than the initial book, perhaps mainly
because the surprise element has dimmed. Still, it is compellingly interesting.
The twenty chapters may be seen as five clusters, each of which doubles
as a separate appendix to "Smuggled." (I) Prefaces by others
and chapters 1-3 depict the author's fight for legitimate (rather than
illegal) conservation (especially in Australia), culminating in his "Smuggled,"
and the illegal war which aggrieved officials tried to wage against writing,
publishing, and circulating the book. (II) Chapters 4-5 update the reader
on the progress of inquiries into wildlife smuggling and related corruption,
originally reported in "Smuggled." (III) Chapters 6-15 bring
a deluge, in quantity and variety, of conservation-related crimes in Australia,
often with the involvement of officials. Mixed in are some occurrences
of possibly less criminal incompetent bungling of conservation authorities.
Some of the contents is fresh, having occurred after the publication of
"Smuggled." Other cases actually had occurred earlier, and it
was the reading of "Smuggled" that stimulated witnesses to speak
up. (IV) Chapters 16-17 widen the scope to encompass wildlife poaching
in Africa and the astonishing Madagascar fiasco (March 1993), when police
shot four visiting herpetologists, already prostrate by order, crippling
the well-known F. J. Obst. (V) Chapters 18-19 consider prospects for the
future, including the potential of captive breeding for saving species.
There is no index.
The bibliographies of published and unpublished source materials (Chapter
20; 29 pages), are intended to testify to every word in the book. Unfortunately
the sources are not numbered and usually the text does not guide the reader
to them. Still, everything appears to be true, because otherwise even in
the most liberal of countries, no author could retain impunity, shooting
such barrages of accusations at officialdom. In fact, Hoser's very ability
to speak up (despite being harassed for this) attests to the basic rectitude
of the country, so many of whose emissaries are shown to be wrong doers.
The text is enriched with some 125 black-and-white photographs. These
are not numbered and don't shine on the dull paper but they are fully explained
and materially help in conveying the message. Most of the figures fall
into one of four classes: "Good guys" (27 persons fighting corruption,
innocent victims of corruption, etc.); "bad guys" ( 26 corrupt
or allegedly corrupt nature inspectors and politicians, etc.); problematic
animals and plants and equipment for smuggling them (39 figures); documents
(24 newspaper clippings, letters to or from authorities, etc.).
Hoser fights on behalf of the animals and the lovers of animals, both
against mercenary exploiters of fauna and flora and against fanatic or
corrupt conservation-bureaucrats. I share his attitude that this is a war
of light against dark. But I think that sometimes the light dazzles him.
For example, he seems to imply that some confiscated animals should have
been released into the wild. which is controversial in terms of population
genetics and long-term effects. He assaults with a fervour that scorns
the careful use of commas, apostrophes, and sometimes prepositions.
But all in all, assuming you are interested in conservation, if you
have read "Smuggled" you will probably want this follow-up; if
you have not read "Smuggled,"
then reading at least Smuggled-2 is a must.
Hoser, R. 1993. Smuggled: The Underground
Trade in Australia's Wildlife. Kotabi Publications, Doncaster,
Victoria. xii+ 149 pp.
Luxmoore, R., B. Groombridge, and S. Broad (EDS.). 1988. Significant trade
in wildlife: A review of selected species in CITES Appendix II. International
Union for Conservation of Nature.
Werner, Y. L. 1995. A personal review of Smuggled,
by Raymond Hoser. 1993. British Herpetological Society Bulletin. 54:42-43.
SMUGGLED-2 IT BEAT THE BAN .......... HAVE YOU READ IT YET????
ORDER SMUGGLED-2 THROUGH THE INTERNET
THE MAIN KOTABI MEDIA RELEASE RE SMUGGLED-2.
Raymond Hoser has
been an active herpetologist/Zoologist and investigative author for about
30 years and published over 100 papers in journals worldwide. He has written
seven books including the definitive works "Australian
Reptiles and Frogs", "Endangered Animals of
Australia" and the controversial best seller "Smuggled
- The Underground Trade in Australia's Wildlife".
Australian Websites - Illegal Police activities, Political corruption,
Victoria Police Corruption
- One of several sites...
Papers about reptiles and frogs
- over 150 papers that can be downloaded.
Australian Reptiles and
Frogs - The Definitive book on the subject.