PETER PENA – Mt Hagen.
The only apt way to describe the recent full page advertisements by John Nongorr on the subject of rule of law in PNG is that his use of discredited Reports (Defence Inquiry & Ombudsman) into the Moti Affair as providing credible basis in a bid to resurrect in the public arena a matter that is now considered a dead issue, is not only surprising but is effectively flogging a dead horse.
I act for Julian Moti in PNG. My principal concern is over people using my clients name and his unfortunate misadventure at the hands of the PNG and Australian governments, to seek professional or political mileage, in the pretext of social altruism. It is the worst form of insincerity there is, if used to mask ones real intentions. I am not suggesting any insincerity on John Nongorr’s part, and I assume he means well. Nevertheless, I consider that it is necessary to expose the false underlying assumptions behind these Reports, and to further expose the web of deception behind Australian regional Aid Policy by which this country is (and other Pacific countries are) being re-colonized, re-wired and their sovereignty hi-jacked, without a single shot being fired. Moti issue is part of the web of deception. If it takes more than a few lines to demonstrate this point, then I am greatly indebted to you for your patience.
Needless to say, my client has suffered immensely with his career and reputation now in tatters. It is disappointing to see time and again that the normal considerations of human dignity have failed to dissuade those intent on using him as their punching bag. Others, like addicts, appear to constantly crave moral elevation by the mere mention of his name in jest.
Reports: Correctly Rejected.
For those of the public who are not aware, both the Ombudsman Report and the Defence Inquiry Report, referred to and relied on by Dr Nongorr are seriously tainted with illegality, and as such they hold no probative value as public documents to provide any credible basis for anyone to make any political or social commentary, without the risk of losing ones own credibility.
The Defence Inquiry was found to be illegally constituted and biased. It breached Section 51 of the Defense Act and Sections 2, 3 and 12 of the Defense (Boards of Inquiry) Regulation 1978, which rendered the Report ultra vires, therefore unlawful. The Minister for Defense rejected the Report as he could not implement an unlawful Report. The Minister’s action was in keep with running a country by the rule of law.
Similarly, the Ombudsman Report was rejected by Parliament because the Ombudsman had no jurisdiction to investigate and make recommendations against individuals under Section 219(1) (a) (ii) of the Constitution, as it purported to do. It also acted in excess of its powers. Further, the Ombudsman deliberately and knowingly breached Section 220 of the Constitution and tried to sneak the Report through the back door of Parliament. The proper legal procedures under the Constitution were ignored. These were deliberate breaches of law by the Ombudsman Commissioners amounting to possible misconduct in office, for which somebody should investigate and refer them (to themselves), although that would present an interesting problem.
The Ombudsman Commissioners and any other statutory or constitutional officers in this country can only act within and to the extent of the powers prescribed by law. The moment they act outside their statutory powers, especially where they act negligently or without good faith they defy the rule of law and bring the offices they hold into disrepute. The decision by Parliament to reject the Report was also in keep with maintaining the rule of law.
The Great Deception: Gazing at the Wrong End of the Cow.
In 2008, I issued a media statement pointing out that the Defence Inquiry and its Report amounted to an unnatural fascination with the wrong end of the cow, so to speak. That Inquiry was fascinated with the so called “illegal escape” aspect of Julian Moti, without asking about how Moti happen to be in this country in the first place. Dr. Nongorr is also trying to conjure up something of an issue out of the same unnatural fascination. His first article is based on the single most important underlying assumption behind that (illegal) Inquiry Report; illegal escape. To brand Moti as an “illegal escapee” or a “fugitive of the law” as the Defence Inquiry Report does is based on nothing more than a mere assumption that Moti had legally entered the country and his prosecution was lawful. This assumption was taken up, relied upon and regurgitated in the Ombudsman Report.
Foreigners entering PNG have several limited categories of legitimate Entry Permits which go to determine their legal status in this country at any time, whether as Visitors, Tourists, Consultants, Dependants, and Residents under Work Permits or Diplomats. Surely it was not that hard to determine which relevant class Moti fell under.
He fell under none. He never applied or paid for a visa. His passport was not stamped on entry, nor was he cleared by Customs and Quarantine.
I asked back then, how can there be an “escape” or “illegal escape”, if in the first place Moti had not legally “entered” the country, and he was illegally arrested and extracted from the International Transit Lounge at Jacksons Airport, illegally detained, charged and prosecuted?
It is a simple, yet a thoroughly fair and logical question.
No one answered this very poignant question. No one could. It was the truth behind the question that stared all of us in the face. For three full years there was this pregnant pause and deafening silence from both the Australian government and the cacophony of voices in the peanut gallery. The facts were self evident. Moti was illegally arrested, extracted, detained and prosecuted. He never legally “entered” the country. To then even suggest and maintain in the public arena that he illegally exited the country, or brand him as an illegal escapee or a fugitive of the law, was both absurd and illogical then, and now.
His arrest was at the instigation, direction and supervision of the Australian Federal Police located in Port Moresby in the Transnational Crimes Unit. They acted on instructions from Canberra. It goes without saying that the whole exercise being publicly revealed to be illegal, (as it certainly was), did not bode well for the Australian government. Australians, in particular those like Rowan Callick of the Australian press and academics like Professor Helen Hughes of Australian National University think they know Papua New Guinea. They pride themselves as the champions of transparency and governance in the region. For them and their government to be seen to have instigated and carried out an illegal and unlawful arrest and prosecution is unthinkable! It is like calling God a Sinner, and God cannot be called a Sinner!
It also did not bode well for the Public Prosecutor who prosecuted Moti, especially if he was to continue in his newly installed role as Chief Ombudsman, after that generous Ausaid post-graduate scholarship at Monash University (Victoria) that conveniently came at the end of the Moti prosecution in 2006.
Something had to be done to remove this specter of illegality permanently casting a dark shadow over the Australian government and the Chief Ombudsman.
Ombudsman Report on Moti.
Salvation, as we all know arrived in the form of a Report. Yes, someone came up with the brilliant idea of a Report that was to be called an “Independent Report” on Moti by the Ombudsman Commission. Fortunately, there was one already underway. All it needed was a few edits of facts here and a few interesting interpretations of the law there, to clinically sanitize the involvement of the Australian Government and the Chief Ombudsman in this otherwise illegal and ignoble affair.
The Ombudsman Report, like a surgeon’s knife, incisively removes the Australian Government and the Public Prosecutor from the crime scene altogether, except in those parts that shows them as acting correctly and lawfully. It confirms that Moti was illegally arrested, extracted and prosecuted, but thereafter it goes off in an artificially contrived tangent, obviously on damage control mode, to protect the main culprits. Truth is like a well worn road on which the Ombudsman Report begins, but then it deviates and wanders off into the bush, leading the whole country astray.
For those who have seen the Ombudsman Report, they should look closely at the language, the slang and the acronyms used. For instance, in Papua New Guinea we call our Department of Foreign Affairs, the “Department of Foreign Affairs”, “Foreign Affairs Department” or shorten it to just “Foreign Affairs”. We do not usually call or refer to it as “DFAT”. It is a small, but a significant indication, among many, as to who actually authored that Report.
The Report was launched by the Chief Ombudsman. He summoned the audacity to threaten to sue the government if it did not accept it. However, the Ombudsman’s own impatient actions overtook events resulting in the rejection of the Report.
WANTED: A Knight in Shining Armour!
For the Australian government, there must be an Official or Independent Report by one of the public organizations of perceived credibility in PNG; an organization like Transparency International or the Ombudsman Commission, that the Australian Government in the future and for the record, can easily point to and reference as an independent report to assert its innocence over one of their most spectacularly monumental legal and diplomatic blunders ever. Like Pontius Pilate, they want to calmly wash the blood off their hands and walk away from it, unscathed, and blame it all on Papua New Guineans, their incompetence and inability to abide by the rule of law. For this purpose, they employ paid proselytes and loyal pole dancers like Rowan Callick and Helen Hughes to sing like nightingales and dance the public blame dance.
It is not a commonly known fact that the Australian government funnels millions of Kina into Transparency International and Ombudsman Commission every year. Australia has created so much financial rapport and institutional loyalty within these organizations, and other like organizations and NGO Groups that in desperate times like this it can be called in. That is exactly what they did by this Ombudsman Report.
It goes without saying that the rejected Ombudsman Report, had to be re-introduced, kept alive and maintained in the public arena for public debate somehow. It is one of the last unfinished businesses for the Australian government on the Moti matter in PNG. They don’t want to walk away from it with fingers pointing right back at them. They have to make the fingers point at other people, or away from them, even if they have to chop the whole arm off to do it. Its just too bad if many senior public servants, long serving Police and Defence Force Officers’ careers and reputations are destroyed by their actions in this country. The deliberate media diversion campaign in PNG and overseas profiling Moti as an escapee or fugitive of the law, with overemphasis on the so called escape aspect rather than examining the detail of how this man was illegally arrested, extracted, detained, prosecuted and persecuted in the first place, is a cunning and deliberate subversion of the truth that was professionally executed. The whole exercise reads like a plot for a modern day espionage film.
Now enters John Nongorr on the scene, a dazzling knight in shining armour riding a white horse, to the rescue of the Ombudsman Report, crusading for democracy, the truth and the rule of law! How brave, and how gallant! He joins the chorus of Callick and Hughes going off like a packet of Chinese firecrackers in a room full of rocking chairs.
[Ah, but must we carry on like this? We probably sound like old buai chewing cynics under the raintree at Tabari Place.]
All lawyers in this country took an oath to uphold the law and to see the rule of law prevail against tyranny and injustice. Some have drawn a line in the sand on such matters where powerful governments and groups use their power to oppress individuals, especially those who are powerless and who have little means to fight for truth, justice and their rights. They have drawn a line where our public institutions are being subverted by foreign sovereign interests under the cover of Aid to the detriment of our national interest and individual rights. They have pledged to stand for a just and fair society and for the rule of the law certainly, but not in the twisted and prostituted sense clearly purveyed in the Ombudsman Report. They have pledged to stand against the politics of fear and insecurity that seeks to corral us in the false horizon of governance and transparency by countries that do not practice such relative and fleeting ideals themselves, but readily seize upon the very notion of them as tools to subvert wise decision making, the national interest of a people, individual rights contained in a constitutional bill of rights, and ultimately, democracy.
Such ideals and others like the superimposed (UN) Millenium Goals have been embraced to shroud this country in the perpetual cocoon of corruption, and use them as providing both an excuse and justification for their un-mandated imposition. Just because it comes from the UN does not mean it is necessarily good for us or should override our national plans and priorities. It does not give another country the excuse to superimpose them on us. In these processes we have been rendered what that great London based veteran foreign correspondent, John Pilger, and German Lutheran theologian, peace activist and martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, both sadly describe as the “unpeople” or the “below people”, the people who exist in name only but really don’t matter. That is why the perversion of the truth and the ultimate perversion of justice behind such Reports must be exposed in the public interest, for what and whose interest they really stand for, that we may restore value to ourselves as a people.
The Convenient Untruths.
Both the rejected Defense and Ombudsman Reports on Moti are watered down and whitewashed versions of the truth. They represent convenient untruths to mask an inconvenient truth of Australia’s illegal conduct in this country. Particularly so, since both the Defence Inquiry and the Ombudsman Commission never took the time to interview Julian Ronald Moti QC CSI, the central figure in the whole saga.
You would have thought Moti would have been one of the first people interviewed by them. Instead, they went away and wrote their own versions of truth without going anywhere near Moti. The least they owed him was a right to a fair hearing before they could adversely brand and vilify him. They didn’t even accord him any right to Natural Justice obliged by our Constitution.
This reckless disregard for the truth is consistent with the modus operandi of the Australian government’s prosecution of Moti over the last 5 years. Not once has the Australian government stopped to conduct an interview of Moti. Every police prosecutor and lawyer in a legitimate prosecution in almost every Commonwealth country knows that an interview and the record of interview of accused persons are absolutely necessary and critical aspects of arraigning and processing a legitimate prosecution. As a former convict colony, Australia’s early history is seared by the fires of subjugation through the instrument called the rule of law, as opposed to the victorious triumph of culture, tradition, organized societal mores cultured and refined over thousands of years as we know, as a free people. Even by their own brief historical standards of rule of law, they failed Moti.
Moti has seen the Defence and Ombudsman Reports and refers to them as bizarre concoctions adapted from a jaundiced version of Alice in Wonderland by the Wicked Wizard of Oz and his helpers.
Quite apart from the serious legal defects outlined above, how can these Reports be fairly regarded as complete or credible at all by any normal thinking person? Not even Counsel representing Moti was called by the Ombudsman to give evidence. It is not right to then seek to trick our institution of Parliament by sneaking the Ombudsman Report by the back door, proceed to insult the eyes and ears of the unsuspecting public with such diatribe, parading mediocrity as sublime. If Parliament represents the sum of our collective will, then did we not seek to deceive ourselves, or was it the case of someone else deceiving us?
The Ombudsman has to change its approach to Leadership in the developing context of Melanesia. It has failed to facilitate and provide guidance toward development of a good leadership culture as in the fine and mature example that Sir Ignatius Kilage, an earlier Chief Ombudsman and elder statesman has set. Post Kilage, this important Constitutional Office appears to have lost its way, has become somewhat of a rogue policeman, and is seeking to rise above Parliament in a way that is unnatural and not intended by our Constitutional framework to do. It is trying to become the fourth arm of government in its primarily accusatorial and entrapment approach to leadership, which is an abuse. Institutionally it has lost its way in what is intended to be a finely tuned and sensitive role in developing Melanesian leadership, not clones of utopist idealism and unattainable virtue.
The Ombudsman in this country is also duty bound to engender and cultivate a culture of good leadership that is consistent with nurturing, offering guidance and assisting our leaders, who are indeed leaders of our people in their own right, in season and out of season, whether they are in public office or out of office. Our leaders and leadership in the Melanesian traditional context are not the same as western leaders who are just common citizens who become nobodies in the street after they leave public office.
The laws were intended to serve as a positive guide to leaders and the Commission; not a tool of entrapment and oppression. The Ombudsman has become a de-facto power monger and is becoming more responsible for the constant state of flux and chaos of (democratically mandated) leadership in this country than any other single public institution. It has constantly set Parliament against the judiciary and the executive government against the judiciary with its very public agitations and adversarial posture. Minimal success notwithstanding, it is responsible for creating public distrust and ridicule of our public institutions like Parliament. The overly adversarial and legalistic approach to discharging its functions using the law as a tool of entrapment and over-regulation, actively campaigning and co-opting the public in entrenching itself is fettering Parliament’s power as the supreme law making body. Most of our leaders do take their responsibilities and compliance issues seriously, and yet we are in great danger of destroying our democracy and social fabric in the manner the Ombudsman has discharged its powers so far, like a bull in a china shop, or if you like, a pig in a peanut garden. The ideals underpinning this institution are honorable but the execution has been a destabilizing force for our democracy, where we are struggling to hold a diverse nation of diverse tribes and peoples together. You have to ask who ultimately benefits from the constant and heightened state of chaos, uncertainty and confusion. It is probably time for some serious introspection and review of all our institutions in the context of restoring some balance to democracy under our constitution.
Truth in information supply chain is critical to the proper functioning of a democracy and even the survival of the capitalist free market economies. We have witnessed the near collapse of capitalism because of layer upon layer of lies and deception that governments and businesses executives have been purveying in the public arena.
The moment any one of us, including the Ombudsman go to the public with a Report that is less than the complete truth, as in the Moti Report, we not only defeat democracy and free market ideals, but what is more serious than that, we abuse the trust of our people who are not always in a position to judge the truth. It is at that point that we forfeit the right to their respect, and something within us dies, we as individuals, politicians or as public institutions.
It is no wonder Diogenes stumbled through the streets of ancient Athens in broad daylight, blindfolded, carrying a lantern, looking for an honest man!
Nongorr’s Mea Culpa.
More Lawyers should take public stands on issues of national importance toward maintaining a fair and just society like Nongorr has done, although his timing and reliance on Moti’s misadventure is quite misleading. You have to ask where the legal profession and the Law Society were in 2006/ 2007 when the Moti issue hit the headlines and the issue of rule of law was in absolute vogue as the following events were publicly unleashed upon Mr Moti:
- When Julian Moti was illegally arrested in Port Moresby (without a warrant), illegally extracted from the International Transit, illegally detained, wrongfully charged and prosecuted by the PNG Police at the direction of the Australian Federal Police on 29th September 2006?
- When the Australian government commenced persecution in PNG of Moti for an offence he had already been charged, tried, and discharged by the judicial processes of a competent Court in Vanuatu 7 years earlier?
- When Australian Federal Police and the PNG Police relied on a non-existent law, the Repealed Extradition Act (1975), to seek a Warrant of Arrest and locked him up?
- When the PNG police commenced proceedings for extradition of Moti contrary to the Extradition Act 2005? By law the Public Prosecutor should have commenced the proceedings, not the Police.
- When the Australian government produced to the District Court (Waigani) an illegal Warrant from Queensland District Court Magistrate to justify their illegitimate pursuit of Moti?
- [You see that Queensland Warrant was relied on by the Australian Government, the PNG Police and Public Prosecutor to seek and maintain District Court Magistrates Orders to arrest and jail Moti. However, did you know that the Public Prosecutor misled the Magistrate because that warrant was illegal under Queensland law ( Section 57 of the Justices Act 1886) as Mr Moti was in India when the Warrant was issued.
- The whole extradition proceedings were illegal as they were based on this illegal Queensland Warrant and on an Extradition Act (1975) that did not exist.]
- When the Public Prosecutor maintained the persecution and prosecution of Moti knowing that Moti had not committed an extraditable offence?
- [You see Section 7 (1) (c) of the Extradition Act 2005 sets out the mandatory Dual Criminality requirement that the Public Prosecutor knew Australia had failed to fulfill. PNG does not have Child sex tourism laws or such similar
- Extra-territorial offences the equivalent of Section 50BA Crimes Act 1914 (Commonwealth). PNG must have the same or similarly constituted extra- territorial offence to satisfy the dual criminality element of the law. The rationale being, PNG cannot under international law and by Section 7 (1) (c) extradite anyone for an offence that it does not recognize as an offence under its own laws. What Australia charged Moti with was not an offence in PNG. PNG could not extradite Moti. Australia knowingly staged an illegal operation. The Public Prosecutor knowingly maintained this illegal prosecution, and the Ombudsman Report seeks to justify and cover it all up.]
- When the Public Prosecutor maintained a prosecution against Moti that was a breach of our Constitution in terms of the Constitutional Right to Presumption to Innocence ( Section 37(4), and Double Jeopardy (Section 37 8))? To extradite Moti was arguably against the Papua New Guinea Constitution. The Ombudsman Report covers this up too.
- When the Public Prosecutor maintained a prosecution for extradition that he knew was illegal not only because of Section 7 (1) (c ) above, but because the request by Australia was motivated by political purposes, and on a number of other grounds as set out in Section 8 of the Extradition Act 2005? The Ombudsman Report also covers this up.
- When the District Court totally failed to uphold the rule of law and keeled over under the pressure of the Australian government, and further failed to discharge justice in the face of clear and resounding acts (and omissions) of illegality including its own lack of jurisdiction to deal with extra- territorial offences?
- [You have to wonder if the Court’s complicity have anything to do with the Law & Justice Sector funding we get in Australian Aid, where the District Court and the Magisterial Services have been happy beneficiaries of so much financial generosity, with Ausaid Advisors working within our Courts? Is this not a case of so much generosity that our Magistrates cannot afford to say no to them? How else does one logically explain such serious miscarriage of justice done to Moti in such a clear cut case?
- The financial generosity spreads to the rest of the Judiciary of this country as John Nongorr knows. In matters, political or otherwise, where the Australian government is a direct party to or has a direct or indirect economic, business, political or strategic interest in before our Courts, and indeed any of the other Judiciaries in the Pacific, has it ever occurred to anyone that this generous Aid we receive could be a fishbone stuck in the judicial esophagus of our courts, an unnecessary, artificial and improper fettering or corruption of judicial discretion?
- In most Pacific jurisdictions where the expatriate judges are invariably from Aid donor countries, notwithstanding and not doubting their personal, professional and moral integrity, the public perception of this new form of Aid based collaborative justice (with Ausaid’s Law & Justice Sector funding for instance) is critical to actual justice not only being done, but also seen to be done.
- Aiding and abetting judicial corruption is a subtle and very real threat to democracy in the region, and it must be ceased immediately with proper and adequate internal funding of the judiciaries as constitutionally mandated. We cannot continue the present Aid arrangements of Ausaiding and abetting the judiciaries of the Pacific. It is highly irregular and equally highly improper.]
- When the regional media, especially the Australian media through the likes of Rowan Callick and others, were shamelessly pontificating for Canberra and spreading lies and innuendo in the region on Moti, and these two Reports? When the Australian media (and Australian owned media in the Pacific) joined arms to black out any positive stories on Moti at all?
So where was the legal profession all this time when all or any of the above events unfolded? Did we miss their protest march?
Aiding & Abetting the Perversion of the Rule Of Law.
What befell Moti provided the perfect opportunity for those Lawyers who now want to demonstrate moral courage and fortitude. It was their moment of truth, to take a stand for things that really matter when a powerful sovereign government with billions of dollars to burn, called in all the institutional loyalties it has built up over the years with Aid, called upon its own people spread throughout our bureaucracy in the guise of Aid, with absolute control of the media machine, and its big guns firing on all cylinders against one little man, persecuted him with illegal papers and not one iota of credible evidence to support its outrageous allegations.
On the silver screen, it would have been the case of a cavalry of cowboys outgunning a lone Indian in one of Hollywood’s iconic Wild West sets of the dry, rocky and cacti filled bad lands of Arizona or Yosemite National Park.
The world needed all you gallant lawyers of courage and principle out there, to stand shoulder to shoulder when the battle was hottest, stating firmly and resolutely that, in this great ancient land we stand for the timeless human values of truth and justice, something instilled by God in every man of every race, color and creed. That we will not tolerate lies and cheapened versions of truth, new aid funded morality promoting a perverted form of rule of law, governance, transparency and such other like celebrations of mediocrity, the subjects of sinister human design, masquerading as the new front, and the new prism by which the world should be viewed.
It would have been a spectacular statement of intellectual and spiritual independence as Lawyers and Jurists trained in the true British sense and style, in a country that adopted the British Common Law, for us to transcend the smokescreen of the mighty dollar, take a stand and assert some individuality of spirit, form and substance. Alas, we but linger in the shadows of relativity, ready to hand over truth and justice to whoever walks in with the largest bundle of cash. Such relative truth and justice, and the perverted rule of law it entails will cease on the day the Aid funds cease to roll in, and cease they must.
To think that we can build a fair and just society on the basis of Aid is a delusion when there is nothing fair and just about Aid itself. Even the average Australian is now questioning the wisdom and effectiveness of Ausaid and of maintaining the highly paid laptop brigade, and any good they are doing in the region. People like that retired Victorian Court registrar who was on a salary of almost K1.5 million per annum in PNG in the Law & Justice Sector Aid project do not have the public endorsement of their own people. Why should we tolerate such self gratifying boomerang Aid-ocracy? They, like Rowan Callick of the Australian and Helen Hughes of the ANU, look and sound very knowledgeable and self assured, but we know they know very little about us and our real problems. We also know that deep down where it matters, except for a few, they don’t even care if we sink or swim; the laptop brigade fly in and fly out at will just for the big dollars.
If Canberra’s experience and record with the Australian Indigenous people is anything to go by, we are definitely doomed! They have not provided any solutions to help the indigenous people of Australia who are wandering on the fringes, dying in the empty spaces or falling through the cracks of their society. They have created and maintained dysfunctional indigenous communities, a form of systemic and systematic annihilation of a people. They have created an industry for themselves out of the misery of Indigenous people. Now they are trying to repeat the same here. We must have rocks in our heads to think they possess the heart, the empathy and the ability to altruistically advance us anywhere, when they haven’t done so for their own indigenous people at home for 200 years!
Canberra harps on and on, deceiving their own electorates, through the likes of Callick and Hughes, that they are giving a massive $300 million per annum to us and we are corruptly misapplying it all. There is little truth in such assertions under current tied arrangements, and yet every time we are made to look like petty criminals in the eyes of ordinary Australians, thus justifying their hypocritical presence in PNG in what they proclaim as an unenviable task they have to endure for the sake of humanity! What a load of gobblygook! Take a look at the massive trade imbalance and how much is carted out of this country every year from every mine and every oil and gas well, and by service and supply organizations, and very soon the $300 million they book in our name and spend on themselves begins to look like pocket change. We are talking over 80% of the wealth of this nation worth billions of Kina is carted out every year and most of it ends up in Australia. No wonder our people are still poor and we have serious underdevelopment issues. They then turn around and give a little bit of our own wealth back to us and make a big song and dance about it. How magnanimously generous!
Aid is not about us, it is about them. Apart from limited benefits, especially in infrastructure projects constructed by their companies, the reality is that Australia needs the aid more than we do and we know. It needs Aid to infiltrate and re-wire our institutions to control this country to serve its own interests, so we become and remain the subjects of manipulation, as it happened in the Moti experience. That is the simple truth. If it was not so, they would have taken Aid away a long time ago. They rely on newly imposed buzz words like poverty alleviation, corruption, governance, transparency and millennium goals as providing the moral rationale for reducing this nation into an Aid dependant economy.
Where is the deeper moral suasion for these otherwise deceptive and oppressive arrangements we have been pushed into? You may be forgiven for looking for the moral legitimacy of such conduct in some divine proclamation, as did one William Blake (paraphrased): Did those feet truly in ancient time walk upon [England’s] Australia’s [mountains green] plains brown? Was the Holy Lamb of God in [England’s] Australia’s pastures seen?
Or is it something more base, and vulgar, like a case of overwhelming economic power (from a stolen land of a stolen people) being mistaken for legitimacy, that would move even a great patriot like William Blake to tears in his low resting place. If Christ did walk on the spinifex plains of the Nullabor or the wooded hills down by Kosciusko way, the world is yet to know.
Just because they book Aid in our name does not justify their comments like “…they are all corrupt” or “we should buy the whole country and fix it up’’ on the internet. (see http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2940283.htm ) and (www.Islands business.com’Politics: Corruption and Incestuous Relationships).
Aid is probably the biggest con-job ever since Eve’s last conversation with the Serpent. The PNG government should ask Australia to keep it all in Canberra or give it to the poor landless Aborigines, who are dying on an island of poverty whilst surrounded by a sea of prosperity. After all, it is their customary land and resources that largely bankroll such cynical acts of public generosity that some people have likened to the distribution of proceeds of crime. Unless the Australian Government, and their paid pipers like Callick and Hughes, can prove to us that every dollar earmarked in Aid has not come from the misery and exploitation of Aborigine people, Torres Strait Islander peoples, their lands and resources, self respecting and proud landowning Melanesian peoples should stop Aid immediately. Such blood money, including money from our own resources taken out and recycled back to us as Aid, creates a vicious cycle of dependency from which we will not come off its merry-go-round if we do not summon the courage to stop it now- now as in 2010. We need a new and frank conversation on Aid.
If Australia is truly and genuinely committed to transparency and governance, and its Aid is borne out of genuine empathy for humanity, then it should be directed at countries in Africa and other regions where Australia does not have such serious geo-political conflicts of interest. PNG and the Pacific’s formal engagement with Australia should be on purely trade and commerce basis.
Only those Australians who carry on legitimate business, investments or have a genuine caring heart should be welcome to our communities to serve with us as fellow humanity, but not on the basis of Aid. Aid hosts the germs of dysfunctionalism. We don’t need dysfunctionalism.We must engage on equal and bonafide terms that preserves human dignity. Anything less is unacceptable. [In saying this, it must be noted that the posture of the faceless men in Canberra toward us so far with Aid is not necessarily known or agreeable to most decent hardworking and law abiding Australians, who would recoil in horror to discover half the things their government has been up to in the region, even in the manner Moti has been persecuted.]
We must return to the immediately post-independence years when we contracted expatriate expertise as and when we needed their services on merit. We got better results and value for our money then and we were more in control of our development agenda then. Those who came here wanted to come here and live among us and experience our ways. The world is a huge labor market; we do not have to be collared into accepting mediocrity. We should and we must live within our means, and properly manage our resources and live in the real economy where real internally generated income/production = (equals) expenditure/consumption, something that we should strive for right now and right here for the sake of our children. We must stop misuse and mismanagement. We should export more and import less. We should rather eat kaukau, taro, tapioca, banana, kumu, pork and fresh fish than to be constantly branded the largest beggars of the Pacific (by the likes of Callick and Hughes), shamelessly crawling cap in hand to the torture chambers of Canberra each year.
It is time for us to think, speak and behave like a people of abundance, living in a land of abundance, than as beggars in a land of scarcity. Papua New Guinea is a land of abundance. The whole of Melanesia is a place of abundance. It is time for the Aid paradigms and the politics that trade away our pride, dignity, sovereignty and true spiritual heritage to shift. We must carefully chart our journey out of Aid dependency into the sunshine of abundance that is our natural inheritance and place in the region. Our problem is not poverty; but intellectual and spiritual blindness, and summoning the courage to overcome these, and to do what we intuitively know we must.
Aid has successfully subverted our public institutions as we have seen in the Moti matter. Millennium Goals, poverty alleviation, transparency and governance, although worthy exultations, are unilateral impositions that have no inherent legitimacy, and have no reference to our own Medium Term Development Strategy or Vision 2050, and deny us our true spiritual orientation as a land that births a people of power, pride, abundance and generosity of spirit and deed. Besides, someone please tell me, what is wrong with eating kaukau, kumu and fresh fish? (Kaukau i sting nating long Hailans, husait laik hangere?).
We all know that there is nothing new under the sun, and that we have not descended from a line of thieves and liars. We did not just sail in to this land yesterday. We still have our hearts in the right place, our land; our people and our culture intact. We come from a long line of proud and honorable people. We have inhabited this beautiful, abundant and pristine land for well over 50,000 years. Our mountains are our refuge and the sea is our garden. As custodians for future generations, history behooves us to believe in ourselves, and protect this land as our ancestors did. The universe around us beckons us to believe in our conscience and what our Maker has instilled in us about right and wrong, just and unjust, truth and untruth, light and darkness, to chart the way forward for our nation so that in the ages to come, we can take our rightful place among the great fraternity of nations.
I encourage good men like John Nongorr, to think about what Aid is doing to us, what will happen after the Aid funds cease rolling in, and to look beyond the smokescreen of perverted forms of rule of law that this country and our people are assailed by at this time, bearing in mind, this is not a dress rehearsal and there is no audience out there to impress, just our people.
Some 65 years ago, a war was fought on this land. It was someone else’s war. It was never our war. We had no cause for animosity against the great people of Japan, and equally Australians. We were conscripted and co-opted with tobacco and salt packs into what became a brutal affair where hundreds of our people were killed. Some were even hanged for alleged war crimes, without any trial or due process of law at all by the Australian government. Our fighting spirit and prowess was acknowledged and mythologized by the Japanese as the “green shadows”. The Australian mothers called us god-sent “Angels ”from above. They fought like brothers, to protect the shores of Australia, and together drowned Horri in his own tears. For all that, our people ended up with little bits of metal from some backyard foundry to show for while their counter-parts became national heroes, celebrated, handsomely rewarded financially, recognized and later retired to relative comfort with generous pensions for themselves and their widows. While they were all Australians then, theirs have been immortalized, while ours have become the forgotten, faceless and nameless soldiers. If only the rocks of the mighty Kumusi could weep or wail like the rousing Eora!
Still, it was someone else’s war fought on our land. Moti was no different.
Australia Knew it was Illegal.
The Australian government with its several hundred well qualified lawyers knew that its extradition request to the PNG government was illegal. They knew the requirements of our Extradition Act 2005 ( Section 7 & 8) meant their request was illegal, and they also knew their Queensland Magistrate’s Warrant imposed on us was illegal too. Still, they were confident of pulling off a fast one on us.
No self respecting country brazenly called upon to break its own laws and its own Constitution should ever give into the tyranny of such demands, if it believes in the unadulterated version of rule of law and the protection of human rights under a democracy. Otherwise we will end up with a pat on the back, bits of metal from some backyard foundry in our pockets, and nothing much else by way of an independent spirit and unique identity in terms of judicial outlook, jurisprudential development, and development of our underlying law, that is necessary to build the most vibrant and populous Melanesian nation on this planet.
Papua New Guinea is the cradle of ancient Melanesian agrarian and obsidian civilizations. We surpass Europe on this scale by tens of thousands of years. We were civilized while most of the people of the world were still hunter-gatherers, real cane knackers! We are the citadel of Melanesia, around us and from us the other Melanesian nations of Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, New Caledonia, (Torres Strait and West Papua) were formed. With almost 10 million people, we Melanesians dominate the Pacific, and the Pacific is our home. It is our past, our present and our future. We ARE the Pacific people!
Except for West Papua, our Melanesian legal heritage is mainly British Common Law and French Code Civil tradition in some countries. Our own underlying law includes customary law and jurisprudence. Let no one waylay or sidetrack us with mediocrity and deny us our true destiny of jurisprudential development by such perverted versions of truth and justice purveyed by blood moneys, ever seeking to destabilize our democratic institutions to justify their own continuing interference and imposition. Our Courts are obliged to apply the Common law of England as at Independence, customary law and to develop our own underlying law using traditional and cultural principles common and peculiar to Melanesia. Let no Papua New Guinean or Melanesian ever be made to feel he or she is less than who he is, or somehow God has created him or her lower than anyone else. We have a rich spiritual and cultural heritage that is yet to be awakened. We are a people of truth and light. We are yet to shine our light of justice for the rest of world to see, appreciate and follow.
Australian Rule Of Law: Bribery is OK.
Moti has suffered greatly and is still being persecuted by the Australian government for alleged offences that he was discharged for in Vanuatu nine years ago. This time round the Australian Federal Police and the Australian government are serious about their version of justice and the rule of law. They continue with payments totaling well over Half a Million Kina (K500,000 ) to the witnesses (in Vanuatu) against Moti to get them to tell a conducive version of their story to ensure a conviction is guaranteed. They call these “witness sustenance payments.” Apparently, according to Australian government Lawyers, it is a legally acceptable form of bribery. It is a new and unique creation from the Australian government. According to their Lawyers, this is a good form of bribery. I have never heard of such before. [Certainly the decent people of Australia, who are in the majority, may not necessarily countenance their government engaging in legally and morally questionable conduct with public funds. Certainly most ordinary Australians invariably feel powerless against what the faceless people in Canberra do, and certainly what the Howard government did in Pacific, and Moti was one of them.]
In an interesting twist, the Vanuatu Police Commissioner several weeks ago ordered an investigation into the Trans National Crimes Unit of its Police Force in Port Villa, manned and run by the Australian Federal Police, as is the one in Port Moresby. The Commissioner is investigating the legality of bribes and laundering of bribe moneys by the Australian government through the TCU using Vanuatu Police Establishment and Ni-Vanuatu Policemen to pay bribes to witnesses and extract evidence (against Moti) that may not be true. It is not clear whether the funds form part of the Ausaid component to Vanuatu. Apparently it is an offence in Vanuatu for Policemen to bribe or induce witnesses, as it should be. Instead of welcoming this move in the interest of transparency and the rule of law, the Australian government is believed to be busy lobbying behind the scenes to have the Police Commissioner removed. $56 million this year to Vanuatu in Aid is a lot of dough for a small Pacific government to risk.(You still want to talk about the rule of law, Dr Nongorr?)
Moti was an Intelligence Operation.
It seems we have persisted with what was really an intelligence operation hatched by some of the best legal, political and law enforcement brains in Canberra, with the tacit approval of the highest levels of their government. As they have created so much financial and institutional loyalty through Aid with our government institutions, like the Police and our National Judicial System, they were confident of pulling it off, and they almost did.
However, nobody told them about the phenomenon called the PNG factor- nothing ever goes as planned in PNG. That’s when Canberra became unstuck. Behind the scenes while Howard and Downer were loudly “herniating” on national television every day, creating all manner of diversions including calling for mass revolution and military coup in PNG, Canberra had to bail out fast. They had to go into damage control mode almost immediately and chop off all fingers pointing straight at them. They immediately moved the media machine to shift blame and public focus away from the illegal arrest and prosecution by Australia. They used loyal media mongers like Callick, to coin media catch phrases like fugitive of the law and illegal escapist, to de-emphasis and take the focus away from the illegality of their own claims and actions. They removed all personnel closely involved in the illegal operation, including the then High Commissioner Michael Potts from Port Moresby, in case he was summoned to reveal all. They called in political and institutional loyalties, interfered with official Reports to create diversions and blamed other people, stacked enough people at the High Commission in Waigani to handle any fallout, and back to business as usual they went. The rest is now history….except that Ombudsman Report…how else will they now attempt to get it legitimized? Let the nation wait and observe their next move.
Infecting the Pacific with Aid(s)
Meanwhile the illegal prosecution of Moti and subsequent attempts to cover-up by the Australian government gives the public a rare glimpse into what the Australian government is really up to in the region. It is seeking to run separate de facto governments within the legitimately elected governments through the power and parameters of Aid, and quietly getting away with it.
Solomon Islands is an extreme case of this. Again they use media mongers like Rowan Callick and academic commentators like Helen Hughes, and certain local Newspapers owned by Australian interests to justify their agenda. It has set up an extensive intelligence network in the guise of Aid and using it to deliberately create chaos with people and institutions to necessitate their presence, even if they have to change disagreeable governments to do so. It is an insidious form of corruption of democracy itself, resulting in the usurpation and exercise of un-mandated power, giving rise to political and social instability. Political instability naturally results in diversion of resources by those in power to maintain power, which leads to social upheaval, economic disparity and underdevelopment. Social upheaval and economic underdevelopment perpetuates the cycle of Australia’s continued interference using the instrument of Aid. Hence, working with public institutions, student groups studying in Australia and Alumni groups, the Churches and NGO groups, rallying the masses against democratic governments and their political leaders, especially those that dare to possess an independent spirit and resist surrender to the march of the Australian neocolonialist interests over the Pacific is the public outworking of some of the their hidden machinations. They play the hidden hands with hidden agendas, in the true John Pilger style, creating the chaos and instability within which they thrive. The cycle of chaos and Aid is a deadly brew, where Aid polarized and pluralized becomes ‘Aids’ to the Pacific.
This trend is already gaining momentum in the region where disaffected parts of the population are whipped up into Aid(s) funded NGO Groups wielding un-mandated power to hold democratically elected governments and their development agenda to ransom. Aid(s) funding churches is already buying the favor of God in PNG, dispelling the myth that God cannot be bought or sold, or even corrupted. Giving Aid(s) directly to the citizens is rendering our elected leaders and Parliamentary appropriation processes irrelevant and further factionalizing and distancing them from their constituencies. It is the essence of death of a democracy by Aid(s). It is the silent taking over of a country where the local Member is calculatedly and deliberately rendered useless. We have Australian High Commissioner and Ausaid staff running around our villages opening classrooms and churches, usurping the local leaders’ positions and openly bribing the people for their loyalty. Now that the celebrated OLLIPAC law has been selectively declared unconstitutional, it paves the way for more chaos. The hidden hands with hidden agendas can play once more, with Aid, and God, to transform the masses into a massive army to march against any democratically elected government in the region who dares not do the bidding of the Aid(s) provider.
The faceless men of Canberra (the company) are running the region with the help of their four main commercial partners, siphoning off billions of dollars of the Australian people’s money, and playing the politicians in successive Australian governments on both sides and keeping their tax payers in complete darkness in the deadly business of Aid(s). Aspects of this was revealed in the latest Crikey Article on Australian Aid ( www.crikey.com.au/2010/07/12/who-profits-from-our-aid-the -untold-story-of-GRM-international/). The four main commercial partners contracting to Ausaid are closely aligned with the major political parties of Australia. What goes around comes around, as long as the Australian people don’t know; it is a nice cozy arrangement. These four are here and they want to continue their feeding frenzy. Any government, like the present, who wants to change the current aid configurations, will be deemed as hostile. The powerful in Australia will always use the medium of print and television media, opinion polls, blog sites and internet to change governments and politically assassinate leaders as they did in Songavare, and their own Rudd. In PNG they will always exploit our natural naivety with the media and the internet blog sites. [Only in Fiji, the Fijians were awake to their fun and games with the media misinformation and control tactics under the guise of freedom of information. Fiji, like China, realized that freedom of information is a luxury if it is used by others to subvert the population.]
Moti was persecuted because the faceless men and their commercial friends did not want to lose their lucrative contracts in Solomon Islands RAMSI feeding frenzy, mainly because he dared to call for a transparent and accountable exit strategy for RAMSI. Now they are there indefinitely, feeding as much as they want. [You don’t have to believe me, just follow the money trail.]
Young and old, we have stopped listening to our hearts. We have stopped asking the right questions. Who are we? Where are we going? What kind of people do we want to become? Where do we see our country in 50 to 100 years time? What kind of leaders we want to see to take us from here, and beyond? Our leaders over the years have ceased to humble themselves, to stop and listen to our people, seek their advice and counsel, to respect and involve our people and make development a meaningful and participatory process. We have ceased to protect the national interest, our people and our long term interests in the region. We must seek joy and pride in the advancement of our own people, to broaden the horizons of our international engagement with Europe, India, China and North America, as a vibrant people of the Pacific with our unique outlook and cultural heritage within the concept of international community of nations and peoples. We must be vigilant, to throw the shackles of mediocrity off and silence the voices of deception and lies around us that we may hear the way of truth, the way to reconnect with the essence of ourselves, as a unique people of culture and traditional wisdom, of truth and light. We are the true leaders of the Pacific. We must embrace our place and lead the way, as we did in 1975, because that is our destiny. Em nau!