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The Bali Nine horror: silence from Labor

Isn't it weird. Amrozi is about to be shot dead as the Indonesian courts decide they can't even look at the nation's constitutional protection of human rights re three of the Bali Nine's appeal against their death by firing squad BECAUSE THEY'RE FOREIGNERS! 

'In conclusion... plaintiffs who are Indonesian nationals have legal standing (in Indonesian law) while plaintiffs who are foreign nationals have no legal standing... so the proposals of plaintiffs three to five cannot be accepted,' (the head judge) said, referring to the trio of Australians.

I, for one, will never forgive this government for handing over our bloody stupid, off the rails young people to the Indons for arrest, knowing Indonesia had the death penalty for such offences. I imagine their parents, and weep for them, and our Prime Minister, his hands bloodied with Australian blood, by CHOICE!

Yet there is silence from Labor. Sure, McLelland said he'd support Downer's representations to the Indonesian government, but where is the outrage? Where is the promise to never ever lest this happen again?

These Bali nine young people were MULES, remember. The AFP has never explained why they didn't let them bring the drugs back here and lead them to the big time crims.

I last wrote about this matter in Death politics in connection with Rudd's slap down of McLelland on capital punishment and Amrozi, despite the fact that Rudd himself opposed the death penalty for Saddam. In that post I republished my original piece of 8 August 2003 on the danger for Australians of both big parties backing the death penalty for Amrozi. We can't say death is fine for foreigners and uncool for us. We just can't.

So far, only the Democrats and The Greens have put out statements on this Australian tragedy, which I've published below. 

Of course Labor doesn't want to enter this field now because of Rudd's hysterical overreaction to McLelland's recent statement of ALP policy. So now Amrozi and the young Australians facing death are linked. We've got nowhere to go, unless we want to ask the Indons to declare us racist.

Webdiarists can revisit the scandal by reading Michael de Angelos's piece of 19 april 2005, Bali busts: our road to a new form of fascism and the 511 (!) comments to it. On that thread I wrote a rI was a nutter. This was it:

"... Howard dumped Australia's long-time opposition to the death penalty when Amrozi was convicted. This horror is the latest manifestation of that terrible bipartisan decision. Howard seems comfortable with the prospect of Australian blood on his hands... No Australian should go to Bali or elsewhere in Indonesia if at all possible. It's too risky. Indonesia is one of the most corrupt nations on earth - see PJ Journey's Maybe I am also a thief - and Australia is now happy to deliver our citizens into its corrupt justice system and let them be executed by its order."

For a good history of the big party's changing positions on capital punishment under pressure, see Crikey's  Policy Comparison.


30 October, 2007

Govt could prevent repeat of Bali Nine: Democrats

The Australian Democrats support Scott Rush, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in their constitutional challenge, but blasted the Howard Government for failing to close the loopholes that allowed Australian intelligence to lead to their convictions. 

"The situation for these Australians is a tragedy for all concerned," Democrats' Attorney-General's spokesperson Senator Natasha Stott Despoja said. 

"Perhaps the greatest tragedy is that the Government refuses to learn from this experience and act to prevent a repeat of this situation, where information gathered by the AFP was instrumental in placing young Australians on death row. 

"This year Australia entered into the Lombok Treaty with Indonesia that formalised intelligence and security cooperation between the police and armed forces of the two countries. 

"While Indonesia maintains the death penalty for many offences, the treaty contains no human rights safeguards whatsoever. 

"Despite the case of the Bali Nine being highlighted to the Government during a Senate inquiry, the Government-stacked Senate committee nonetheless recommended that the treaty proceed unamended. 

"While requests for mutual assistance or extradition have a mechanism to allow the Attorney-General to refuse cooperation if the request might subject an Australian to the death penalty, the sort of informal cooperation covered by the Lombok Treaty contains no such safeguards. 

"The AFP even amended their internal guidelines following the Bali Nine case, but the new guidelines failed to provide a mechanism for refusing to cooperate if a 'death penalty offence' is being investigated by Indonesia, provided no charges have been laid. 

"I challenge the Government and the Opposition to commit to closing this loophole as their first act when the new parliament is convened. 

"An in-principle opposition to the death penalty means nothing if the major parties don't have the courage to do all that is in their power to end this abhorrent practice," Senator Stott Despoja said.


31 October, 2007

Government needs to plead for clemency for Bali nine now: Greens

Greens Senator Kerry Nettle today called on the government to start pleading for clemency for the Bali nine now.

"The federal government should not wait until all legal avenues have been pursued before asking the Indonesian President to spare the lives of these young Australians," said Senator Nettle.

"The government waited too long before pleading for clemency for Australian Van Nguyen and they must not repeat that mistake.

"It is disappointing that the Indonesian Constitutional Court has decided that the right to life is not absolute. Now John Howard and Kevin Rudd must use all diplomatic avenues at their disposal.

"Time is running out, yet we have seen little effort from the Howard Government that shows an added sense of  urgency to their approach. In fact there is nothing to suggest that the Prime Minister has taken enough steps to plead for the lives of these young Australians.

"Whoever wins the election must prioritise issuing a directive to the Australian Federal Police not to co-operative with overseas police where the death penalty is possible.

"The Australian Federal Police are complicit in this sentence as they chose  international co-operation with overseas police instead of protecting Australian lives by having the Bali nine arrested on Australian soil.

"The Greens believe that capital punishment should be abolished worldwide,"Senator Nettle said.


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Do you have a list?

Dylan Kissane: "I expect it'll be about as effective as all the previous resolutions have."

Oh, I dunno. In open, liberal, pluralist societies like Iran and North Korea, it could stimulate debate. Who knows? They might even follow New Jersey and ban it outright.

Hey, you don't have a list of who voted for the GA list, do you?

The List

Eliot, the votes fell as follows:

For the resolution: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela.

Against the resolution: Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Chad, China, Comoros, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Dominica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Grenada, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United States, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Abstained: Belarus, Bhutan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Morocco, Niger, Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Togo, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, Zambia.

Absent: Guinea-Bissau, Peru, Senegal, Seychelles, Tunisia.

While I personally would’ve liked to see the Australian government would vote the other way (or at least abstain) I can’t be too disappointed. After all, I think the resolution will have about the same chance of establishing a moratorium on capital punishment as the resolution on human rights in the DPRK passed in the same session has for giving some semblance of freedom to the people of North Korea.

Very quiet on death row, isn't it?

I'm staggered that there's so little interest in this issue, given all the sanctimony over the Bali Nine. Not one comment since my own from yesterday.

Could it be because of the Bali Bombers on death row? And we approve of that?

Or perhaps because places like Cuba, Vietnam, China, Iran and North Korea still have the death penalty? And we approve of them?

jurisdiction problems

Margo Kingston: "The Law Council has welcomed a landmark resolution by the United Nations which calls for an immediate moratorium on executions as a first step towards the universal abolition of the death penalty."

Even if national governments endorse this, it may not always be within their jurisdiction.

Specifically, it was the right of the Federal Government in the United States to abolish the death penalty which was tested by the Supreme Court there in the late seventies and overturned on the grounds it is a State matter.

It would require individual states to abolish the death penalty, for example New Jersey which recently abolished the death penalty.

"Executions are technically legal in 37 states according to the Death Penalty Information Center. New Jersey has since 2005 been among nearly two dozen US states which have a freeze on administering the death penalty."

Another way would be via an amendment to the Constitution. What's that? A majority in a two-thirds majority of the 50 states?

Thirteen where it's abolished versus 37 where it's legal, of which 24 have a freeze in place, so effectively 37 which don't do it. Which is just over two thirds where it seems sentiment is running against it. So, that's two ways in which it might be done in the USA.

Iran and China are the worst offenders world-wide, so forget them even trying to abolish it.

North Korea uses mass executions in gas chambers. because they admire efficiency, I suppose. So forget them abolishing the death penalty, too.

Singapore does it in secret would you believe.

Here's a list of the countries still doing it. Pretty well half the world's countries, including Cuba.

New Push? Nah, Same Old Push

The GA Resolution passed this year makes specific reference to a HRC Resolution of last year. The HRC Resolution in turn makes reference to a whole lot of previous resolutions on the death penalty and the rights of those on death row.

It's doesn't seem to me to be a "new push" but rather the "same old push" that the GA and other UN organs do every year. I expect it'll be about as effective as all the previous resolutions have.

New push to end death penalty world wide

From the Law Council of Australia:

19 December 2007

Law Council Supports UN Vote to Halt Executions

The Law Council has welcomed a landmark resolution by the United Nations which calls for an immediate moratorium on executions as a first step towards the universal abolition of the death penalty.

Passed by the UN General Assembly early this morning, it is the first time a resolution calling for an immediate moratorium on executions has been adopted by the General Assembly.

Law Council President Ross Ray QC said, “This historic resolution sends a powerful message that the majority of the world’s nations are not only committed to the abolition of the death penalty within their own jurisdictions, but are also committed to ending executions beyond their borders.”

The resolution had the support of 104 of the 192 Member States, including Australia, who co-sponsored the resolution. The resolution was adopted by the majority of the General Assembly despite concerted opposition from a number of countries still ordering executions, including the United States, Singapore and China.

Mr Ray commended Australia’s strong support for the resolution and has already written to the Minister for Foreign Affairs urging the Australian Government to use the resolution as an opportunity to continue diplomatic efforts to secure a reprieve for Australians currently on death row in Indonesia and Vietnam.

“Australia can be proud of leading the call for an immediate halt to the use of the death penalty. It is imperative that a country like Australia is vocal and consistent in its opposition to the use of the death penalty – wherever and whenever executions are ordered,” he said.

“The General Assembly’s resolution presents a chance for the Labor Government to correct the perception that Australia has a selective policy towards the death penalty and restore our credibility as a global leader in the movement to abolish capital punishment.”

“Without that credibility, the effectiveness of any representations made on behalf of Australians at risk of execution will be jeopardised,” Mr Ray concluded. 

Mister Big in Asia

Woodforde OAM says:

"Could we have breakdown of trade between Burma, North Korea and Indonesia please, Mr Epistemology?"

That's a very good example of Epistemological Retardation right there.

Angela is "not sure there ever was any evidence of NK government involvement in that Pong Su" even though they owned the bloody thing and everybody on it.

And to convince Woodforde the North Korean government might have a role to play in it, he needs the actual shipping orders in triplicate.

But when it comes to the Bali Nine nitwits, and in the absence of any evidence whatsoever, they're practically prepared to believe John Howard himself taped the bags of pink rock to their chubby calves and thighs...


Mr Axolotl: That's a very good example of Epistemological Retardation right there. and John Howard himself taped the bags of pink rock to their chubby calves and thighs...

I'm once again reminded of that famous line in Good Morning Vietnam from Airman Adrian Cronauer to another axolotl: “You are in more dire need of a blow job than any white man in history."

Racist and rude?  Yes (and probably speciesist).

Coarse and crude.  Utterly, and worthy of Tony Abbott on blast after blast of the really naughty stuff out of the back of his non-prescription drawer.

But pertinent?  By God yes.  Axolotl, go for a long slow walk somewhere and git it orf yer chist.

Go on.  You know you want to.  Think of yourself as a Kiwi.

And you can still cast an equally informal absentee vote from somewhere in the Great Victoria Desert.  March on.

Take water, matches, food, a plaid, Tam O'Shanter-lite and stout boots.  Hoist Helen McDemidenko aloft yer wee shoulders for shelter and march ever westwards across the blazing sands toward the mines, the heat and the HR Nicholls Soc'y. jobs.  You CAN weld can't you?

Never mind the flies.  Think of them as your friends and way-fellows.   Some of the larger, more brutal looking ones subscribe to Quadruped magazine, although like you they don't qualify on the number-of-legs basis.  They may chat with you, nonetheless about intellectual things pertaining to the Reich and John Howard duping, then killing drug mules, as you described.

But you should make a statement to the police about your theory.  They will listen and give you cup after cup of strong tea, plus pencil and paper.  But NOT a sharp pencil.     

Woodforde, OAM, fitness coach of, and tormentor to the terminally know-all and those generally as epist as a fart.

To Woodforde OAM.

G'day Woodforde,

It seems contradictory to say that I like your posts when some part of them are always beyond my comprehension.

I have the feeling that you are what my wife would call "a little devil".

You have a way of making your points which, I must admit, lose me in their references to matters beyond my education.

Nevertheless, I perceive that your heart is in the right place.

Cheers Ern G.


I begin to understand. "Epistemological Retardation" must mean the handicap suffered by anyone who fails to accept without question anything, however nonsensical, put forward by Eliot Ramsey.

Sure am glad to have got that one sorted out and filed away.

successful big drug dealing

Paul Walter says:

And Eliot, yes you would have had to have been Albert Speer to organise successful big drug dealing from Bali, or just about anywhere else, because the rank greenhorn or even gifted amateurs who involved there were all easily busted (think also of Corby).

The Bali Nine caper?

Yes, that went very well, didn't it.

Angela Ryan says:

Oh, and Eliot, I am not sure there ever was any evidence of NK government involvement in that Pong Su.

The North Korean government owned the ship. In fact, the North Korean government owns everything in North Korea.

They own the labs where the smack was produced. And every piece of infrastructure between the labs and the where the ship was docked.

They'd own the banks where the money was deposited. And they'd have organised the laundering of the funds.

The only people in North Korea with access to anything is the government.

There's no private property in North Korea.

That the whole point of communism, remember?

All the ships crew would have been North Korean government employees. As would be their customs officials. And the ships captain.


So while there's considerable evidence for North Korean government involvement in heroin smuggling on a massive scale, there's absoluely nothing I can see which links the Bali Nine to anyone much.

You might recall my recently speaking of what I call 'Epistemological Retardation'? I define it as the diametrically opposed counterpart to Occam's razor.

Web blogs thrive on it... 

scepticism rooolz. Will they still die for our AFP?

Mr Woodeford, I don't think I have recently said how much I enjoy your posts. Sidesplitting. Eliot, I don't think I have said recently how much I enjoy your posts. Same but sad. Guess it is the topic. You were so good in "evolution”. “Occam’s razor" is something I find myself using all the time and perhaps you should read up about it and actually try it properly.

Actually Eliot, I was politely trying to point out to you in an earlier post that although there is probably a case for government agency involvement in drug trafficking, including by our allies, I have little doubt there is corruption regarding such at the highest points and covert agencies involved in the distribution network.

What I was pointing out to you was there was no evidence per se that North Korea government was involved in that particular shipment. Indeed, the AFP made no such claim while presenting evidence to court, three years later, yet our government loudly made such claims at a time.

It would be nice to apply Occam's razor to all international events. However, by the laws of the theory it still leaves a number of hypotheses each time that cannot be dismissed by the very nature of adherence to the theory. One cannot be selective or dismissive of any data points nor hypotheses that these support. Do you not understand the application of the theory in analysis, Eliot?

The North Korea issue was a sales pitch, and the likes of Eliot buy it uncritically as usual, as it fits a preconceived paradigm, without analysing the evidence and then in ignorance criticising others when they do.

But let's carry on with the anti blog propaganda currently in progress. Must be scary for MSM when sites of independent news here freely debate such issues and present so often a clearer picture. I guess they love Eliots of the world who seek to stop people thinking and questioning, stop people having healthy scepticisim about the actions of the world. One day, Eliot, you will realise not to believe everything you read in the newspaper that fits your ideology, your way of thinking. These are the most difficult items to question for most people.


Axolotl Rumpo And every piece of infrastructure between the labs and the where the ship was docked.

Could we have breakdown of trade between Burma, North Korea and Indonesia please, Mr Epistemology? Including any Ephedras-extract from the feudal barbarians in compulsory organ transplantation Olimpixland.

And how much moves on to Australia in 44 gallon drums, no questions asked. All payments to the Honh Kong and Shanghai Bank, via the ANZ, thank you.

Killjoy Woodforde, OAM


I agree Eliot Ramsey-the Bali Nine lot were a hapless bunch of chumps but I believe the actions of the AFP in that case need a serious investigation. Certainly the manner in which they were brought to the attention of the AFP by a parent is not only a reprehensible betrayal but a completely hopeless tactic that ensures that a worried parent would never go near them again.

I made my feelings clear in my clumsy piece referred to, but in light of the recent actions in the Dr Haneef case the AFP appear to have seriously crossed the line where they are now making political decisions hoping for a desired outcome, and that is not their role. I also believe the bulk of AFP officers-and likewise with ASIO-are decent honest Aussies who have our best interests at heart. The problem clearly lies with the upper echelons.

We all know the dreadful history of the NSW police , who were left unchecked for decades and got completely out of hand. Many innocents suffered over the years because of it. The very difficult task of cleaning up this states police force-a Bob Carr's success, has given us a police force I now trust and believe on the whole are about the best we can expect.

There is one aspect of the Bali Nine case ( and I have great sympathy for Shappelle Corby who has copped heaps of flack and much because of her working class family background)-that I believe should have been considered. If we truly believe that prevention of crime is what we desire (and who doesn't ?)-why weren't the Bali Nine all hauled in before they departed for Bali-given a grilling or even charged with conspiracy to commit a crime.

What if they had actually succeeded in their task-evaded capture and been able to distribute their haul back in Australia ?.

As for the message I believe the AFP hoped would be sent to others by allowing the nine to travel to Bali, it's fallen on deaf ears. Drugs continue to be a scourge in Australia.

As for Labor's stance, I dearly hope that they are saying  ( or not saying) anything to get elected and if successful can then begin to moderate their stance. Howard has done that consistently since '96, why not Labor as well ?. Has everyone forgotten the numerous ministerial scandals that Howard had to be dragged like a stubborn mule to finally implement his own declared standards ?. The apology by Tony Abbot today to Bernie Banton is outstanding, in that he did it so quickly with a minimum of fuss. Who knows if he means it or not, but at least he did it quickly and honorably. And that's a bloody difficult thing for me to admit. Image if similar had been happening for the past 11 years.



Mike de Ang The apology by Tony Abbot today to Bernie Banton is outstanding

'sright, Mike, but not as outstanding as the sheer funk and terror amongst Howard's private office goondahs and textorators when Abbott's pathetic outburst against Austrlian of the Year (and Greg Combet mate) Bernoie Banton took root in the popular media.

And that on a day when Abbott stuffed up across the board. In many countries, a half-decent leader would have turfed him.

All that silly old Howard could do was grimace strangely/glower, roll his damned plate, akin to his so-called "spaz" (thanks, all of you without neurological damage) during the Wormathon, then carry on about a Labor candidate's behaviour toward some English retirees at Hervey Bay when goaded on Iraq. A side issue a thousnad klicks away. Vewy Pwofessional, Elmer Fudd.

Then the now less-than-spry Kirribilli had those rotten sheilas in pink frilly hats, high heels and nice frocks pretending to be a PM's Ladies' Auxiliary. Is there no respect!!!!?

Childe of the 50s Woodforde, OAM

Gerard Brennan on the mess

See Execution stance under fire in today's SMH:

THE former chief justice of the High Court, Sir Gerard Brennan, lambasted the Coalition Government and Labor last night for their stance on Indonesia's use of capital punishment, saying principle had been sacrificed for policy.

"We cannot declare the execution of Australians to be barbaric and the execution of Indonesians to be acceptable," he said.


And meanwhile, Brig Wallace and the whole ratty Christian Lobby crowd are silent as the grave on the whole "Thou shalt not kill" caper.

So much for the Old Testament, full of SAS-type Temple Guard, infanticide, killing and invasion.

Perhaps Brig Jim should have done some time in the Burma Police with young Eric.

But it seems that Our Fuehrer at Kirribilli has surrounded himself with handy chaps from the SAS. There's even one at Yarralumla/Admiralty House (when Mary Bashir's not staying)

It must be something to do with his having a military/proto-fascist New Guard crooked (read Marr's story on the New Guinea copra plantations) father, combined with his own unsuitability for military service (bung ear). It's all very praetorian.

Woodforde, OAM


This issue is getting murky with the various other asides being thrown in.

If you are going to argue the rights and wrongs of the police actions, that is one issue, and there are hard questions to be answered.

The war on drugs makes as much sense as does the war on ‘terror’, has never been effective and was started by the same mob who believe that they have the right to impose their view of the world, on the world.


Margo, empathy for the parents?  Who would want anybody to be tied up in the ramifications of this mess?

Two brief stories.


When I was about 16 or 17 I lived (boarded) with a friends parents. His sister, about my age had been raped when she was twelve. She talked about it easily, said that it had not been her fault, that she could do nothing about it, that it was in the past and over.

I don’t know how many times the household was wakened to her screaming in the night, or how many hours I sat beside her on the bed, taking quietly, reassuring her that she was safe.

Later, when she married, if her husband placed a hand on her in her sleep he woke to a screaming, quivering, hysterical woman.

Later in life a friend of mine showed the cigarette burn marks all over her body. She had been raped by a bikie gang.

My sympathies tend to run with the victims.

Approximately six weeks ago in China Town, Sydney, there was a young woman, in obvious distress, sitting on the street.  I stopped and ask if she was okay. She wasn’t. Her boy friend had beaten her up and thrown her out, and she had nowhere to live. The marks indicated that this was probably true.

I told her I had an appointment, that I would be back in hour and if she wished I would give her a bed in a small room while she got things sorted out.

As I was leaving a young woman, stopped, looked hard at the young woman and immediately made a phone call.

When I got back she had gone. I assumed the young woman had phoned a crisis centre of some kind, and assumed that the young woman was being cared for.

A couple of days ago back in China Town I saw her sitting on the street. As was inevitable, she looked worse than she had when I first saw her and was wearing shoes several sizes too big. I talked to her, repeated the earlier offer, and she said yes, brightened up considerably, but then changed her mind.

Today I saw her again. I talked to her, gave her a business card with a map on the back, $5, to get something to eat and then said to her that I wanted her to go with me up to the shops above the markets, half a block away.

We went, I took her to a bargain shoe store and told her to pick out a comfortable pair of shoes that she would be suitable to wear if she was working. She turned away from the shoes I steered her towards, and picked a pair of shoes at half the price ($30).

She said that she would pick up clothes tonight, and make her way to my place tomorrow. The young woman who walked away from me at that point could hardly be recognised as the young woman sitting on the street an hour earlier.

She said to me that earlier that day somebody had asked her why she didn’t get a job. She said that she tried to explain that when you have no address, no phone, no safe place to sleep, it was all but impossible to get a job.

The question is, how is it possible today, in Australia, to leave a young woman in obvious distress on the street for, she says, three months?

How, when the cost of providing the assistance needed to give a person the chance to turn their life around is so little, and the cost to society if such a person is allowed to deteriorate to the point that their health collapses, or they wind up in trouble with the law is so great?

The problems in this society run deep.

NK shipping news spin, non caring aussies or nonaware,cicardas

Hi Peter, your concerns should be all of our concerns and I do think most here agree with you.

Unless I am mistaken, I think that you are saying the big picture is not an election but the execution of Australians- or anyone for that matter in an abitrary justice system with a cruel set of punishments including the barbaric death penalty. And made worse as Margo so clearly rxplained,by our own AFP dobbing them in for execution before they hit here and implicated the real big drug bosses.

Oh, and Eliot, I am not sure there ever was any evidence of NK government involvement in that Pong Su  but to find that one would need to keep up with an issue to the end as it took three years for the trial .Yet again a bit of bizarre AFP change of  story (??AGAIN AGAIN)  with S.E.A. organised crime being the label used for the culprits by the AFP,not the NK government,  but don't ever say our AFP have been politicised..            

 The North Korea Heroin was a torpedoed spin . The load of heroin from the boat ,followed around Victoria and eventually intercepted while off  Newcastle, was according the the AFP ,from South East Asian drug networks. In the courts the NK ship crew were found to be innocent. there was no evidence presented by the AFP of NK government involvment. Seems it may be better to carefully grill AFP rather than rely upon our own government interpretation of what they say,like recent stories and events.


But don't let facts get in the way of a good spin.  And there was method to such as usual. You will of course remember that darkening the name of North Korean government at the time we were in the missile range fear mode helped the missile shield sellers at the time to make NK the demon at every point and Howard as usual did his rodent bit. Cost the Japs about 40big ones in missile shield fees.  Lucky Raytheon.  Pity about the overboard truth.

Try not to fall for Howard spin Eliot, it is easy but we all should know better by now,especially one well skilled such as you.We have to be sceptical of all event reports and follow the details and follow the evolution and results. 

Saying NK nationals involved in Heroin trafficking means the NK government is  , is about as logical as saying the Israeli government is responsible for the Ecstacy trade as the Israeli mafia controls most of it world wide, according to Haartez. . hmm. Or Australia is responsible due to Schapelle and the Bali nine being caught, or the US/NATO  is responsible as their oil executive Qisling controller of Afghanistan rules over the biggest ever opium poppy crop. Then again maybe there is a deal there to allow that great pipeline.

Still it always helps to use selective information for spin when wanting to wrack up world threat. A usual truth is the casualty, as is the little person caught in the cross hairs. In this case nine young people who should have a couple of years jail here in Australia and then a chance to prove rehabilitation. Still, Singapore hangings show our government is not good at asking for clemency, our advocate..not.

Some things should be above slimy politics. They include life and death issues. it is not hard to have one's kids make a mistake and take the wrong path. The crime is when our own police dob them into another countries barbaric justice system for execution. the bigger crime may be why they were not allowed to fly home and meet the distributors.

Who made that decision in the AFP? Or was it the minister?  Who is our home grown mafia protector and murderer,for indeed it has protected the drug barons and has handed the  young lads over for execution-known execution. Another betrayal of our people and our values against he death penalty.

Any message can be presented well. If that message has the strength of truth and value then those who attack it get blowback. I think an early action about the death penalty will not harm the Labor party in the full and educated run of the election. I think that NOT standing up for this issue and it's principles will not only harm the Labor party but put the blood of young people upon their hands. Howard is mired in it. All his mucky lot  are.  And there is a line in politics for each person that shows their character.

Have they forgotten how David Hicks had popular support against his incarceration and alleged torture despite the accusation of terrorism against him? (those who support the validity of the US military "court" may even call it a "conviction". Our own legal representative organisations do not ,nor did Hicks" US military  lawyer say it was a valid system so I go by their expertise and professional integrity.).The Australian people saw that for what it was. How much more obvious an Indonesian legal system/ execution issue? Are drugs worse in the Aussie psyche than even terrorism? It was the Greens, particularly Kerri Nettle, who stood by David Hicks' father as he toured and spoke relentlessly to gain freedom for his son. Again Labor did nothing to help here.

One has to wonder why the media has left the Bali 9 pretty much alone. it would not be hard to start making Australians more aware of the humanity of these guys and how they got into the Indonesian system of 'justice".  Perhaps they should have agreed to have tea with the Indonesian Chief  as "terrorists/agents" do. Cosiness.


 As said just now by an eminent judge whom I respect, the war against terror (known as TWAT), and I add the war against drugs(TWAD) are seriously damaging our justice system and allowing unaccountable actions by our executive.

Just like the Dems and Republicans merging, we have a similar merging of parties here.Is that is what is required to avoid media cruxi fiction  by the  over powerful media barons and the multinationals so  linked ?  Is this the product of a mal-functioning democracy? Where both parties merge as flossy representatives of Big business and Drug barons and military industry swillers?

The little fact that these Australians will be shot due directly to our AFP/Howard Ministers action   ,where as they may have had a decade instead in our jails and then a second chance is something  no-one seems to care about .Such a loss and,really ,a moral crime as such, weighs heavily upon us adn there is always a price.. Imagine if these were US citizens. Americans would never hand over their own to another so corrupt and savage system, nor would the Brits or even the Kiwis or Canadians. How cheap we are to our own government.

How cheap the East  Timores were,how cheap the West Papuans are. 

Who shall we next hand on a silver plate for the Indonesian  bullets? Funny how happily our paedophiles have lived and frolicked  there and other S.E.A.. Bit embarrassing for DFAT that.  Bit of an arm twister there.Does that have anything to do with FA impotence when it comes to Indonesia? or is it the oil/resources deals and corruption  for Rio and BHP et al? Something seems to be there. Warren Redd touched on it in his book Cicada..

Or are we really just a pathetic mucky bunch without cares for others or values and it is reflected in our governments actions?

My heart goes out to those young people and their families whose world has changed so horribly and who have learned such a harsh lesson about what really goes on and how wrong it is.




MK never forgive for handing over our bloody stupid, off the rails young people to the Indons for arrest, knowing Indonesia had the death penalty

Mmmmm ...

Kommissar Keelty must be turning into a bit of a pillow-biter these days.

Not just for the handover to slaughter of the Bali Nine, but also his being very matey with the mob who loaded the SievX at gunpoint for the utterly rotten and corrupt Howard regime's "we will deride" policy. Meanwhile he'd be yawning at the Howard-Nelson Lockheed scandal.

And he reckoned that going into Iraq really cooked our goose, terrorism-targetwise, as our Great and Powerful Friends might adjure. What a guy!

Woodforde, OAM, terima kaseh

Small time crims. Big trouble in Chinatown.

Margo says:

The only good reason they wouldn't is to track down the bigger players when he got back. They were arrested on their way out of Indonesia with the drugs, on a tip off from our cops.. Your point? 

For something so small time, there may have been no bigger players. It's not like they were the North Korean merchant marine.

They were only carrying a few kilos of smack, not a big shipment.

The guys who put the team together were penny ante.

It's a bit the Corby caper. A fairly small time crime assumes major social and political significance because of the scale of the misfortune that befalls the operators.

I'm against the death penalty. In fact, I'm against the criminalisation of the possession of weed.

And I think it's sorrowful and pitiful that the Bali Nine are in the jam they are.

And I feel sorry for Chapelle Corby, too. Because she's such a jerk.

But we should stop pretending somehow they're all the victims of some conspiracy - other than their own cack-handled conspiracy, that is.

The big end of wouldn't get out of bed for the amounts those clowns had on them. Really.

Supreme Technocrat

Margo says:

Not big time players though, Eliot. Wonder why the AFP didn't want the mules to lead to them, eh? 

Margo, you wouldn't have to be Albert Speer to organise a drug deal in Bali.

Margo: The AFP knew the mules were going to Bali to get the stuff and bring it home. You may remember one of the boy's father contacted the cops and begged them to arrest him on the way ou of Oz. The only good reason they wouldn't is to track down the bigger players when he got back. They were arrested on their way out of Indonesia with the drugs, on a tip off from our cops.. Your point? 


Yes Margo, it was despicably cynical of Keelty and his masters and not for the first or last time, and am very sure my memory is right in telling me that, curiously, the one time they weren't under surveillance was when they went to pick up the stuff. How fortuitous, so those further up the food chain were thus able to escape.

As for the bombers, here some were obviously more "mule" types than leaders or planners, too. Personally, I thought from the time Howard began bad-mouthing Megawati after 11/9, that angry and frustrated types in Indonesia with chips on their shoulders, justifiable or otherwise given the poverty some of them came from, would eventually react intemperately.

And Eliot, yes you would have had to have been Albert Speer to organise successful big drug dealing from Bali, or just about anywhere else, because the rank greenhorn or even gifted amateurs who involved there were all easily busted (think also of Corby). That suits genuinely organised crime and its police and military protectors down to the ground. The freelancers committed mistakes only youthful naïfs could have committed although it is a shame to think of how they will have to pay quite so dearly for their youthful sins.

Think back to when you were young, Eliot unless you are/were even more of a complete nerd than I suspect already. No one ever give you the benefit of the doubt, which you were grateful for, for some unholy antic you fooled yourself into getting into due to the rashness of youth?

Farrrrr.....such perfection.

Or perhaps just a dreary guts-aching pain?

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone", though.

misguided pratts.

Paul Walter says:

As intelligent people we know that both the Bali Bombers and the  Bali Nine have been misguided pratts.

Yeah. It's not like they were heroin smugglers or anything. Anyone could have made the same mistake.

Margo: Not big time players though, Eliot. Wonder why the AFP didn't want the mules to lead to them, eh? 

Between a rock and a hard place

I agree with you Paul.  Rudd is in an unenviable position.  I am sure he would like to be yelling loudly about the issue but it would be political suicide for him to rock the boat too much at this stage.  Many people are only willing to turn away from the Howard government because they think they are going to get something similar with new faces.  But you wonder, what next, when your principles are buried in order to gain acceptance.

The disgraceful waste of resources being flung around at the moment to buy a few votes from both sides is extremely worrying.  Whilst I can understand the motives to just get back into government or to win it, I grieve for the country.  We could do so much with this sort of money that will last long into the future.  Handouts here there and everywhere will be forgotten as soon as the dust settles. Again Rudd has little choice but I do wish he was able to stand up and say that this is not what the country needs.

sympathy for the devil

I sympathise deeply with the comments of the majority so far, but please be honest to the point of conceding Peter Hindrup is making a serious point. 

Can I elaborate?

As intelligent people we know that both the Bali Bombers and the  Bali Nine have been misguided pratts. Yet Peter is correct to suggest that the position regarding these sorry people is probably irretrievable, given the nature of the offences involved and the reality of premeditation.

Margo and co,  please have the sense to concede that if Labor even sniffed around this issue every shock jock, spin doctor, tabloid newspaper, TV program of the ACA/ TDT type and Hansonist loudmouth politician would erupt simultaneously and Labor would again be incinerated in the resulting conflagration. Another six years and counting of Howard and, worse still, Costello, when a positive election result is so close and and could acheive so much in the future, by comparison?

Kids Overboard and Tassie Woodchipping, to name just two issues, have demonstrated what happens to the Opposition when it steps "off message" to debate social issues of principles with the half-illiterate Hansonist mortgage-belt public in its current gullible frame of mind.

Emotional issues only distract us from noticing the nuances of the current election politics, such as defence and higher education, and the sly slipping and slithering around of Costello over whether or not he would be bound by election promises made by the  Howard government leading up to Novemember 24.

C'mon folks. We KNOW what we'll get if the Coalition gets back in through smoke and mirrors. Labor COULDN'T do any worse. And if it does, it  can be thrown out later, too. At least we will not have rewarded the Coalition yet again for nearly twelve years of bad  behaviour.

Every Decent Australian would agree Margo.

People certainly forget quickly, especially when the issue concerns a matter of conscience.

The Howard "New Order" is infamous for its denial of Human Rights, not only in Australia but in the international community and yet, Howard boasts of being a signatory to the International Criminal Court.  What a hypocrite.

It was the act of faith of a worried Father which led the fascists to sacrifice nine unwise Australians to the Indonesian lobby.

The information given to the Howard AFP was intended to be acted upon when the man's son was back in Australia where he would face a "democratic" justice.

The Howard government and their AFP betrayed this Father and his family; the Bali nine; their duty of care and every Australian who is against capital punishment.

At the time of this act of depraved indifference, Howard and his henchman Downer, claimed that the cries of "fair go" from the then Opposition Leader was because Labor was soft on drugs.

This was given a big play in the venal media and Labor was canned for their objections.

Nevertheless, this whole case increases the hatred of the Howard "New Order" almost as much as the Bali bombings when they did not warn our citizens of the U.S. intelligence because it wasn't "specific"!

There is the blood of 88 Australians on Howard's hands and it that could expand by another six unless there is some strong stand by the Australian Labor party and the other parties in opposition.

I also agree that the Kevin Rudd should be screaming blue murder now - it is one thing to be bi-partisan to avoid wedging - it is quite another to ignore such an anti-Australian and disgraceful denial of justice - election or no. 

Those who lay down with dogs will get up with fleas.



Margo, completely agree with you on this one. I am so very angry with our AFP and government for handing Aussies  to the vagaries of Indonesian Justice and the savagery of their death penalty. 

I doubt Howard has any conscience for all the deaths and misery he has caused but I do not know why Mr Rudd is more scared of not winning an election than taking a critical stand against this very event. (Margo: I do!)

If it is for electoral reasons then Mr Rudd is making a very dangerous mistake. The Australian people have had it to the neck with lying and deceit and see in him a chance for a new leadership.  If he shows thus no substance but only another reed to blow in any direction of the back room bully boys then the electorate will see through him. They look to him for hope and inspiration after Howard, a fresh honest and just way of doing things - even if it does risk economic change.

To imitate the Rodent  and his real lack of principles and ruthless serving of agendas is a mistake. Farbetter to stand on the principles of courage of convictions and bravery under fire, to uphold values that are cornerstone to our way of living, such as defending our citizens, seeking proper justice for them, not betraying our own.

If we expect our soldiers to stand under fire for principles that we adhere to as a nation then how much more we expect of our politicians who aspire to be our leaders to stand under the fire of propaganda and to trust we the people to see through it with their guidance.  Such would show the Howard death stance as hypocritical, as indeed it is. 

One only needs to remind Mr Howard that it is lucky for his kind that the death penalty is not here for the greatest of crimes of all, WARCRIMES.

Rudd has made a critical error and fallen for the trap. If he is not different to Howard in non-economic ways then why change?

Australians are seeking a new leader that does not deceive and has strength to stand by Good and Just doctrine, something we can be proud of again internationally.  That we are currently just the maggot upon the Neocon and  Bush rotting political backside is evident from e international action Howard and his cabal  has dragged us into, Iraq being the glaring example. Do we want another Rodent as leader,or someone who will stand up for us as Canadian and New Zealand leadership did in the Iraq Invasion ensnaring.

Strengthen the spine  and hold up the shield of truth.

Howard lost my vote with his lies sending us to war.

Rudd lost my vote by betraying our own to a dirty death sent by our own.

The Greens and Dems stand up. Thank goodness for our country there are still some with political voice who dare to defy the creeping nastiness. See how they go when they have the power to truly do it. In this I trust the Greens. I still hate the GST.

Bali nine

Not all that sympathetic!  These people knew, or had no reason not to know what they were getting into. I have far more concern for the people of Iraq.

I find the plea 'that these people are Australians' abhorrent.   Just as I do the wailing over the Australian soldier/s killed in Iraq/ Afghanistan.   I should care  that  one of the invaders is dead?   Spare me.

That capital punishment ought to be abolished,  we have people like Bush, Blair, Howard and their cohorts to deal with yet, and I want to live long enough to see the bastards hanged.

Yes, I want to see it --- be there.

Otherwise, limit it to some cases of murder, gang rapists, rape using a weapon or overwhelming force, or of a stranger, I'm not sure that these people  are even worth the expense of a trial.

Margo: any empathy for the kids' parents, Peter?

Privileged dead

The other day the Treasurer made reference to a "financial Tsunami". It occurred to me that in all the fawning over the one new dead Australian soldier, the utter poor taste of the metaphor, given the great numbers of Indonesians who lost their lives in 2004, went completely unremarked. Some dead are privileged over others. I thought the treasurer revealed his anglo-centrism as well as a curious bloodless piracy from media events: clearly he would not have used the word "Tsunami" without the events on boxing day 2004, it became part of the lexicon of public discourse. It seems to have entered his head but the reality of it has not penetrated.

I don't want the Bali nine to die, and, I expect both major parties to lobby against their slaughter. The lesson is: live life carefully, without a presumption of justice being done.

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