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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Knuckleheads of the Day award

For the second day in a row, TFM goes down under for a Knucklehead.

Today's winners are Australia's customs ministry and Qantas airlines. They get the award for the hiring of Easton Barrington James as a baggage handler at Sydney International airport. Neither the airline or the Customs ministry did a background check that would have discovered Mr. James was a convicted cocaine dealer.

Don't you just love the war on drugs? Australia is frequently in the news because of people arrested for drug posession. Usually a Australian citizen caught in another Asian country where drug posession is a major crime sometimes punishable by death. This case is ridiculous because of how much freight goes through an airport like Sydney. To allow a person like James to work there is a major goof up. You have to wonder how much illegal drugs were transited through the airport with his help.

For not doing a proper background vetting of key airport personel, Qantas airlines and the Australian Customs ministry are today's Knuckleheads of the day.

Hat tip- Poliblog
Open Post- Bright & Early, Mudville Gazette, Cao's Blog, Adam's Blog, TMH's Bacon Bits, Third World County, Jo's Cafe, Stuck on Stupid, Basil's Blog, Blue Star, Voteswagon,

A CONVICTED cocaine dealer linked to drug-fuelled police officers who shot dead Roni Levi has worked as a Qantas baggage handler at Sydney airport for the past four years.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal Easton Barrington James was given full security clearance by state and federal agencies and has had access to all airport areas since 2002.

It comes after revelations security cameras in the baggage-handling area at the airport were tampered with at the same time a huge cocaine syndicate was operating through the international terminal.

James served six months in jail in 2000 for drug supply.

He was named in the Police Integrity Commission inquiry into the 1997 shooting death of Levi on Bondi Beach as a cocaine dealer who had supplied the drug to police.

Despite being described by the PIC as a known dealer, he was eventually acquitted of supplying 3.5g of cocaine to his close friend Rodney Podesta, one of the two officers who shot Mr Levi dead.

Qantas last night confirmed James was convicted of another drug charge in Western Australia after he received his Aviation Security ID Card and began working at the airline in 2002.

He was sacked from his job as a baggage handler six weeks ago.

"This person worked for Qantas as a baggage handler for four years," a Qantas spokesman said.

"Prior to his employment he was cleared for an ASIC (security card), as is mandatory for all Qantas staff."

"His employment was terminated as a result of information we received about a drug-related offence in Western Australia."

Qantas was aware of James's involvement in the Levi investigation, but did not know about his prison sentence for supplying a prohibited drug.

The airline pointed out customs -- not Qantas -- controlled background checks on all airport staff.

The Daily Telegraph understands James, who worked in the airport's domestic terminal, had unrestricted access to luggage.

His job involved sorting suitcases on the baggage carousel and loading them on to aircraft.

The revelation will come as a major embarrassment to Customs Minister Chris Ellison, who yesterday dismissed concerns about airport security as a "beat-up."

The minister confirmed The Daily Telegraph's report yesterday that security cameras in the baggage handling area had been tampered with.

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