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In Good Faith
by Kingfisher Tuesday, Feb 14 2006, 2:23am
national / injustice/law / commentary

John Howard's recent appearance on the Australian media was noted by his transparent attempt to portray grief and 'genuine' concern. The Australian Prime Minister feigned choking-back tears as he pleaded with Australian youth not to contemplate smuggling drugs. Howard’s insincere performance was in response to (anticipated) judgements handed down to members of the ‘Bali nine’ in an Indonesian court. The events that led to Australian youths being fed to the barbaric determinations of a thoroughly corrupt and primitive legal system should not pass without scrutiny. The actions of the Australian Federal Police require an independent and thorough investigation. The lives of Australian citizens should never be surrendered to foreign powers when discretionary prerogatives lie directly with Australian authorities.

Bali 9
Bali 9

The damning aspect of this case for the Australian government is that a decision was made to ‘feed’ Australian citizens to the ‘dogs’ when numerous alternative options were available. It was information received (locally) from the parents of one of the drug couriers that alerted Australian Federal Police in the first instance.

It was not unreasonable of the parents to expect Australian authorities to have saved their son from the barbaric laws of a foreign nation. However, the AFP (under Mick Keelty) chose to inform Indonesian authorities of the actions of this group in the full knowledge that they would face the death penalty when apprehended. Furthermore, there is no doubt that the Australian government was fully aware and possibly involved in the decision to abandon citizens to a foreign power.

Information supplied in good faith to Australian authorities by concerned Australian parents resulted in a nightmare scenario that will continue to haunt them for the rest of their lives – for these parents the loss of trust in Australian government and institutions is complete. All Australian parents take note, the AFP are not to be trusted with the lives of your children or loved ones; they have a political agenda in which the lives of Australian citizens are only a secondary consideration.

Political expediency is more important to the Howard government than the lives of Australian citizens. In order to highlight the duplicitous nature of John Howard and the contempt he displays for his citizens we would refer to the Indonesian officer directly responsible for the murder of five Australian journalists in occupied Timor. We would ask the commissioner of the AFP why his cooperation with Indonesian authorities hasn’t resulted in the arrest of the known murderer of five Australian citizens. The question is rhetorical as the offender/murderer is known to enjoy a high position in Indonesian government circles and the protection that position affords.

It would seem that the attitude of Australian authorities to ‘justice’ follows a two-tier system; one law for the rich and powerful (local or foreign) and another for the average citizen. Those who are able to insulate themselves against the ‘law’ and those who are at the mercy of despicable forces that would sacrifice the lives of Australian youth to further their political aims. There is no doubt that John Howard’s administration is the most loathsome and callous the nation has ever known.

In view of the now close relationship the AFP enjoys with Indonesian authorities (purchased with the lives of our youth) we would expect the arrest and extradition to our shores of the Indonesian murderer of the 'Balibo five'. Failure on the part of government to address this heinous crime, regardless of the present position of the perpetrator, would clearly indicate a double standard and the inability of Howard to assert Australian rights in critical situations. Furthermore, it would confirm Howard’s obsession to pursue his personal political agenda at any cost.

The Australian public expect their leaders to serve and protect them at home and abroad. We would also remind Howard that David Hicks deserves the same rights as those accorded to Lewis (scooter) Libby, which were clearly spelled out by President George W Bush – "innocent until proven guilty"!

Failure to adequately deal with the above critical issues would result in a severe reduction in public cooperation with regulatory authorities and a further loss of confidence in government. Australia is at present witnessing the slow but steady breakdown of social cohesion based on diminishing trust in leadership and public institutions.

The Howard government’s record of assistance to citizens in unfortunate circumstances continues to be the most appalling in the developed world.

Vindicate the nation and bring a known Indonesian murderer to justice Mr Howard or stand in full view as a duplicitous, cringing, lying, grotesque, despicable coward that pretends to the actual leadership of this great nation. Also, be extremely aware that many real Australians would see you in the dock answering for your crimes in the near future.

Balibo Death House -- Monument to Oz Cowardice
Balibo Death House -- Monument to Oz Cowardice

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response
by cleaves Friday, Feb 17 2006, 11:08am

Soon after publication of the above article, Mick Keelty, commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, responded to his critics with probably the feeblest excuse ever given by a high-ranking police officer. Keelty stated that not to inform the Indonesian police of the activities of the ‘Bali nine’ would have amounted to “culpability” and “complicity” on the part of the AFP! It is universal practice by all competent drug enforcement agencies to ‘follow the drugs’ to the streets – this strategy is routinely employed in order to impact the many diverse aspects of an illegal drug network.

Keelty’s excuse, in view of the fact that he had at least forty-eight hours to deliberate, clearly indicates that he is incompetent. Furthermore, a full inquiry is necessary, as it is obvious that the unprecedented decision to sacrifice Australian youth to foreign courts would not have been made without the knowledge and/or approval of John Howard and his ministers.

In view of Howard’s questionable record (children overboard etc) it should now be plain to all that Australia is in the hands of a deceptive, heartless, coward who would resort to any tactic in order to further his personal political agenda. His is the most sordid and despicable politics experienced in Australian to date. Howard’s inability to lead a sovereign nation in its own right betrays the psychopathology (cringe) of a frightened infant seeking a father figure (Bush!)

Australia can no longer afford to gamble with the welfare of its citizens or its long term future – incompetents and psychological aberrants such as Keelty and Howard should be removed from positions of authority as soon as possible.

Advance Australia – remove the blight that is the Howard government!

Continuing Fight for Justice
by rialator Friday, Dec 8 2006, 8:52am

(IPI/IFEX) - The following is a 10 March 2006 IPI letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan:

H. E. Kofi Annan
Secretary-General
United Nations
New York, NY 10017
USA
Fax: +1-212-963 48 79

Vienna, 10 March 2006

Your Excellency,

The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, leading journalists and media executives in over 120 countries, is writing to express its concern at the ongoing failure to establish the truth about the deaths of journalists in Timor-Leste in 1975, as well as the deaths of two other journalists in 1999.

According to IPI's information, on 16 October 1975, five journalists from two Australian television networks were killed in an attack by the Indonesian army against Fretilin forces, the left-wing movement controlling Timor-Leste, in the town of Balibo. Working for Melbourne's Channel Seven network were Australian journalists Greg Shackleton and Tony Stewart, and New Zealander Gary Cunningham. British journalists Brian Peters and Malcom Rennie worked for the Sydney-based Channel Nine network. All of the journalists arrived in Balibo on 13 October 1975 to cover events in the region.

As well as the so-called Balibo Five, there are three other journalists who have been killed in Timor-Leste and whose deaths have also not been fully investigated. These are: Roger East, a print journalist killed on the Dili wharf on 8 December 1975; Bernardino Guterres, an East Timorese radio journalist apparently killed by Indonesian police on 26 August 1999; and Sander Thoenes, a Dutch free-lance reporter for The Financial Times, The Christian Monitor and other publications. Thoenes was killed on 21 September 1999, allegedly by soldiers from the Indonesian Army's Battalion 745.

In the past, there have been several attempts at uncovering the truth regarding the Balibo Five. The Australian government commissioned at least four inconclusive inquiries into the deaths in 1975, 1976, 1996 and 1999. In 2000, the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) civilian police (Civpol) set up a Historical Crimes Unit within the National Investigations Unit (NIU) and subsequently began an investigation into the deaths of the Balibo Five. On 3 February 2001, United Nations police investigators went so far as to issue international arrest warrants against three men, including a former minister of the Indonesian government, Yunus Yosfiah, for the murder of the Balibo Five.

Nevertheless, investigations into the journalists' deaths are now at a standstill. In 2001, the late Special Representative for the Secretary-General for UNTAET, Sérgio Vieira de Mello, wrote to the Indonesian Attorney General asking for interviews with nine suspects in the Balibo Five case thought to be residing in Indonesia. The request was denied, thereby effectively ending the investigation.

The Balibo Five were also mentioned in another international report. Published in February, the report from The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor (CAVR), an independent statutory body founded to inquire into all human rights violations in Timor-Leste between April 1974 and 1999, stated there should be ". . . further investigation of the elusive truth of this matter."

In addition, the report went on to say "All inquiries into the deaths [of the Balibo Five] have been limited by the fact that the remains of the journalists, buried at the Tanah Kusir Cemetery in Jakarta, have not been subjected to scientific investigation and that key witnesses in Indonesia have declined to give testimony to the various official inquiries."

In July 2006, there will be an inquest in New South Wales into the death of Brian Peters. This inquest is the result of pressure applied by Brian's sister Maureen Tolfree, who was assisted by the Australian Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ASICJ).

The year 2006 also marks the 30th anniversary of a statement made by IPI at its General Assembly in Philadelphia in June 1976, in which IPI "condemned the Australian and Indonesian Governments . . . for not taking positive action to determine facts concerning the fate of the five Australian-based journalists in East Timor."

In view of IPI's involvement in this case for nearly 30 years, we call on the governments of Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Timor-Leste and the United Kingdom to provide full and open disclosure of all the information they have in these cases; in particular, the Balibo Five.

We also invite the United Nations to reopen its own investigation into the deaths of these five journalists and for the above-mentioned countries to co-operate fully with what should be an independent public inquiry that has the legal authority to compel witnesses to provide evidence under oath and free of any intimidation.

Finally, IPI would remind the governments of those countries involved that it is calling for a fresh investigation not only in the name of freedom of the press and the need for accountability and transparency, but also because IPI strongly believes that the relatives of the deceased have a right to know what happened.

We thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

Johann P. Fritz, Director
International Press Institute (IPI)

Also sent to:

H. E. Prime Minister John Howard
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
3-5 National Circuit
Barton, ACT 2600, Australia
Fax: +61 2 62 71 5414

H.E. President Susilo Bambang Yudhonoyo
Office of the President
Istana Merdeka
Jakarta, Indonesia
Fax: +62 21 345 77 82

H.E. Prime Minister Helen Clark
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Executive Wing Parliament Buildings Wellington, New Zealand
Fax: +64 4 473 25 08

H.E. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao
President of Timor-Leste
c/o Embassy of Timor-Leste to the USA
4201 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20008, USA
Fax: +1-202-966 3205

H. E. Prime Minister Tony Blair
Prime Minister's Office
10 Downing Street
London, SW1A 2AA, UK
Fax: +44-207-925 09 18

Secret WA post in Balibo link
by Janet Fyfe-Yeomans via rialator - news.com.au Sunday, Feb 4 2007, 8:24am

January 25, 2007 -- INDONESIAN troops were recorded by a top secret WA listening station discussing the execution of five young Australian journalists.

The RAAF No.3 Telecommunications Unit, which was close to RAAF Pearce, near Bullsbrook, was so highly classified that little reference to its existence was made even in formal air force publications.

Police and lawyers investigating the deaths of the five journalists in Balibo in 1975 have focused on whether radio traffic about their deaths was picked up by the Defence Signals Directorate at Shoal Bay, near Darwin.

But for the first time, a former signals officer at the now-disbanded 3TU has revealed they also heard the Indonesian military discussions.

The fresh evidence comes as New South Wales deputy coroner Dorelle Pinch finalises procedural matters before the inquest into the death of one of the journalists, Brian Peters, begins on February 5.

The signals officer, who has asked that his identity remain secret, said his training officer, Flight Sergeant Alan Oldacres-Dear, told trainees he heard the recording of Indonesian soldiers in East Timor discussing the "elimination" of the journalists, who were covering the Indonesian invasion of East Timor.

The retired signals officer said the truth had "eaten him away" for 30 years.

"I want the families of the men to know that the people who knew about this then ... that this eats into you, this vow of silence," he said.

"The O-D used the words 'to be eliminated'."

Channel 9 cameraman Brian Peters, 29, and reporter Malcolm Rennie, 28, Channel 7 reporter Greg Shackleton, 27, cameraman Gary Cunningham, 27, and sound recordist Tony Stewart, all died in Balibo on October 16, 1975.

Flt Sgt Oldacres-Dear, known as O-D by his men, died in 1987 and his son, Neil, confirmed his father worked at the remote receiving station but said he never discussed his job.

However, The Daily Telegraph confirmed that 3TU, the only RAAF unit to have been continuously operational 24 hours a day for 45 years, did monitor radio traffic from Australia's northern neighbours in conjunction with the DSD.

"It is all still secretive. We weren't allowed to discuss ourselves what we did and who we listened to," former 3TU Association president Barry Mayne said.

The only written history of the unit suggests little evidence remains to help investigators working with the inquest.

It states that many official records, particularly between 1960 and 1978, are missing.

Copyright 2007 Perth ST

First to shoot Balibo Five became minister, inquest told
by AAP via rialator - The Australian Monday, Feb 5 2007, 9:45am

February 06, 2007:

AN Indonesian special forces commander who later became the country's minister for information was the first soldier to open fire on the Balibo Five journalists in East Timor, a Sydney court was told today.

An inquest into the death of one of the five journalists, Brian Peters, began in Sydney this week, more than 30 years after his death.

Peters and four other journalists - Greg Shackleton, Gary Cunningham, Tony Stewart and Malcolm Rennie - were killed during an attack by Indonesian special forces troops on the Timorese border town of Balibo in October 1975.

Official reports say the men were killed in crossfire between Indonesian troops and Timorese militia, but their families insist they were murdered.

The inquest has heard evidence from an East Timorese eyewitness who had trained with the Indonesian military, known only by the code name "Glebe 2", that Captain Mohammad Yunus Yosfiah was the first to start shooting the five journalists.

Counsel assisting the inquest, Mark Tedeschi QC, asked Glebe 2: "Was Yunus Yosfiah the first soldier to shoot?"

Glebe 2 replied through a translator: "Yes, he was the first to open fire."

The witness said the other soldiers then also started shooting the men for two or three minutes.

Mr Yosfiah was appointed Indonesia's minister for information in the Habibie government in 1998 and currently lives in Indonesia.

Glebe 2 told the inquest there had been no shooting coming from the house where the journalists were staying before the attack.

After being killed, the journalists' bodies were set on fire inside the house, where they burned for two days, he said.

The witness said senior military officials warned him not to tell anyone about the shooting of the journalists.

"(Did they) impress upon you that you must not tell anyone about the deaths of the journalists?" Mr Tedeschi asked him.

"Yes," Glebe 2 replied.

"Did they tell you it was top secret," Mr Tedeschi asked.

"Yes."

Glebe 2 said he issued false press releases and lied to Australian investigators about the incident, but finally told the truth to an Australian journalist in 1999 when he couldn't hold his silence anymore.

"Because in East Timor I saw a lot of injustice and massacres and as an East Timorese I couldn't support that anymore," Glebe 2 said.

The inquest before NSW Deputy State Coroner Dorelle Pinch continues.

AAP

© The Australian


 
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