Australia Sells Out? One rule in Aus, another in Bali!
By Bali BS News
Oct 30, 2005, 05:06
It came as no surprise to us to see ABC’s October 14th article about Schapelle Corby and her appeal, with pictures of her behind bars holding hands with her lawyer, Irwin Siregar, but it still disgusted and saddened us. Because that fact, along with other recent indicators seems to confirm Australian Prime Minister John Howard and his government is selling out on Australia’s values abroad, specifically regarding Indonesia. That is, they are apparently lying down for corruption abroad, perhaps and most likely in return for cheap economic gain and uncharacteristic Australian pusillanimity.
You see Irwin Siregar was one of Schapelle Corby’s previous defense team lawyers and we are told partner to the much derided Lily Lubis who headed that fracas. In fact the whole defense team was fired because a respected Australian QC said they asked for half a million dollars to bribe the judges into letting Corby go (see article: Indonesian / Balinese Lawyers)! So why are the Australian authorities who have taken on the job of helping Ms. Corby now dealing with Mr. Siregar? But it gets worse. Many legal experts agreed the original investigation and trial should be challenged as the evidence was manhandled, thus making it inadmissible, and also because the judges clearly had pre-decided Ms. Corby’s fate by telling the defense lawyers they had not done enough to prove her innocence, when there is a Indonesian legal presumption of innocence, not guilt! But now we learn that the appeal is all about getting the sentence reduced not overturned. Discussions about how the marijuana found in Ms. Corby’s bag should not be punished as much as if it were a harder drug; an interpretation of Indonesian law which makes no such differentiation. Ms Corby’s sentence has, seemingly in light of clear indications her lawyers and the Australian Government have decided not to pursue an appeal based on inadmissibility and denial of Ms. Corby’s legal rights, already now been reduced down from 20 years to 15, and there are official noises of it coming down to below 10 years soon as well.
Of course this is how so-called Indonesian justice works. You can not ever fight the corrupt and clearly kak-handed legal system; you can just work with it. Much the way as Suharto family members and friends commit murders, etc. and end up getting light sentences that continually reduce further and where they are allowed to stay out of jail on so-called medical grounds. But that is not justice, it is kangaroo justice, and now it seems it has the official blessing of the government of kangaroos. Humour us if you will while we speculate as to the conversations between the Australian Foreign Ministry (AFM) and the Indonesian Justice Department (IJD).
IJD: You know we are never going to let you make monkeys of our system by overturning a judgment over judicial grounds. Corby should have paid the police off when she had the chance, before the publicity got a hold of it. So what our police got their fingerprints all over the packets? She was found with the drugs! So what the judges decided in advance Corby needed to be made a lesson of? She is almost 90% sure to be guilty; that is enough for us!
AFM: What do you suggest we do then? We can not leave Ms. Corby in your jail it is causing us some credibility problems.
IJD: You need to work with judges, give them some reason to be cordial to Ms. Corby. Appeal the sentence, not the conviction. If you appeal the conviction, you will lose and Corby will stay in jail for a long time. I am sure the judges can be convinced that marijuana offences should be treated less harshly than other drugs. So the judges reduce the sentence by 5 years as a sign of good faith if you appeal the sentence, not the conviction. Then you need to work at it through your Indonesian lawyers, not send your own here to tell them what to do, that will just annoy the judges. You need to use one of the previous Bali defense team lawyers, Siregar, as a sign of good faith after you fired the team for asking for 500,000 bribe money; that was a dumb thing to say and do. If you do the right things and stop your media from making us look bad, then Corby can be home real soon (grin).
AFM: OK, we’ll tell Corby to stop protesting her innocence and dampen down the media reports over it.
We would repeat that is our simple speculation of what we think went on recently between Canberra and Jakarta. We would love to hear the official explanation as to why things have apparently changed, why Ms. Corby is no longer pleading her innocence plus is holding hands with the man who was part of a corruption attempt during her trial, and why Indonesia’s previous hard stance against Schapelle has remarkably and very quickly softened to the extent of a sentence reduction!
It is not just the Corby appeal that is worrying about whether the Australia Government may be considered by some to be acting like cheap patsies. It seems the official line regarding criticism towards Indonesia reflected by what is perhaps the government mouth piece, ABC, does not bode well. Most people will know about the claim by former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid that Indonesian security forces were likely behind the terrorist bombings in Bali. Sure, there are some severe question marks hanging over Wahid, but there are about every Indonesian president. We saw nothing about this on ABC’s web site; not a simple statement, not any analysis, not even scorn. Even if you ridicule what Wahid said, you can’t ridicule the fact he said it and that at the very best confirmed the Indonesian Authority’s inherent anti-western sentiments.
Of course you, or rather the Australian Government can not always expect or even aggressively promote the standards and expectations of being able to ensure foreign governments enforce their own laws properly as you can with yours at home. After all, Australia needs to defend itself against terrorism on its home soil against insurgents possibly trained in Indonesia. It needs to protect its financial investments in Indonesia and its hopes of further trading with, or rather making more money from Indonesia. Australia certainly does not want any prospect of waking up one day to find Indonesia has become a fundamentalist Islamic state, not least for the sake of its need to extensively use Indonesian airspace and shipping lanes. But there is diplomatic effort and there is selling out. And if our interpretations are right, and we believe they are, it does tend to indicate Australia or rather Howard’s government has sold out on what it claims to hold dear at home.
While it sends troops to Iraq, Australia seems to have rolled over for the Indonesians.
In a way it is a shame that Indonesia became a democracy, as things or rather more robust decisions and actions could have perhaps been taken. And that perhaps is another very large reason why Australia may well have a soft rule for corrupt Indonesia; because it is a democracy, and Uncle Sam, Auntie Matilda and King Blair all want democracies to triumph, and certainly none to fail. That would equate to an admission of failure over foreign policy in that seeming political western premise that all democracies lead to heaven, even when democracies like Indonesia look like they only give their poor electorate Hobson’s choice. Oh well, of course a democracy has got to be better than a dictatorship, and a dictatorship has got to be better than colonial rule. Or maybe not when you look at what options the Indonesians have to vote for by token of recent legacy.
Perhaps more will now lament the departure of the Dutch and Portuguese from ruling over Indonesia as colonists. Sure, we know of all the colonial powers, the Dutch and the Portuguese had the worst reputations for just “take, take, take”. But with both now in the European Union, what would that have meant for individual Indonesians today? After all, when you consider the fortunes of colonies that Britain managed to hang onto for some time, Hong Kong and Singapore, perhaps Indonesia with its massive natural reserves would now be the envy, not the contempt of the world. Perhaps if Australia had been a bit sharper and maybe got in there quick and offered to make Bali its protectorate and holiday investment island, just imagine how prosperous the Balinese would be right now, and how much civil liberty they would enjoy. Also how Corby would most likely have received a fair trial, how corruption would be a criminal offence, not an integral part of the justice [sic] system, and how Australians would now be able to safely hold their heads high. Because maties, we think John Howard and co need to be looking at their feet right now.
By the way, a tip to the Indonesian and Australian Governments and ABC News who carried the story and picture of Schapelle behind bars holding hands with her lawyers; when you show pictures of Ms. Corby, drop the revolting spin of showing her beautifully made up in a crisp, fashionable white dress in a clean cell on her own. Anyone who knows anything about Indonesian jails knows that the picture is a fraud; it just seems to provide more evidence that the Australian Government and their mouthpiece have rolled over for the nasty Indonesian authorities. We can not show you that (Reuters) picture here, it was copyrighted but you can find it here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200510/s1482858.htm