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As an elite operative, Michael Kennedy’s duty was to disrupt the drug trade. It also pitched him against rampant corruption. He blew the whistle only to be accused of inspiring a witch hunt against Australia’s top federal police agents.
Falsely, they blamed a breakdown triggered by Kennedy’s abusive childhood for him blindly lashing out at an unjust world. Charged with incitement, his humiliation was brutal. The wrong-doing Kennedy reported was seismic: millions in stolen narcotics, heroin imported with inside help, rip-offs, pay-offs, police drug use, a murder unsolved, a suspicious death dismissed as suicide. All was ignored and Kennedy targeted in a massive surveillance sting.
Abandoned by his key witness, he took a plea deal to avoid jail but his punishment included forced psychiatric treatment to ensure no one would again take him seriously. Kennedy moved on but the Wood royal commission into NSW police corruption (1994-97) brought everything roaring back. Many of the feds he’d accused were unexpectedly exposed including the operative who’d facilitated his takedown. Bizarrely, Wood’s chief investigator was also the former AFP commander who’d done more to silence Kennedy than anyone.
Despite such injustice, Kennedy is still denied a voice. White Noise traces his demise from Sydney’s roiling underbelly to the backblocks of Darwin. It examines his involvement in investigating the shooting of undercover cop Michael Drury, the Milperra bikie massacre, the exploits of Roger Rogerson and the dark corners of Sydney’s heroin trade. It also celebrates his reincarnation as a successful policing academic.