Congratulations Julian Moti QC on your well-deserved win over Australian racism and hypocrisy!
“If the criminal justice system is corrupted, or otherwise interfered with, a community is left with few options, the least desirable of those options is for them to take the law into their own hands,” Former Australian Federal Police (“the AFP”) Commissioner Mick Keelty
While few would dispute the wisdom of Commissioner Keelty’s words they tend to ring hollow in his mouth. While yesterday’s decision from the High Court of Australia (“HCA”) is beyond doubt a vindication of Mr. Moti’s position, it is far more than that. As Moti expressed to me in a recent e-mail, a victory for him is a victory for all “blackfellas”. Blackfellas challenging the Australian establishment is, in the final analysis, what the Moti saga has been all about. This being said, it is now open for the indigenous, sovereign and independent states of The Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu and Fiji to decide whether they want to be associated with an entity, the Australian Government, which has so blatantly interfered with the criminal justice system of a sovereign state – the Solomon Islands.
The HCA summed up Australian interference with, and disregard for, the Solomon Islands criminal justice system in these words:
“Australian officials facilitated the unlawful deportation of the appellant by supplying a travel document relating to him (and travel documents for those who would accompany him) at a time when it was known that the documents would be used to effect the unlawful deportation.”
“When it was known that the documents would be used to effect the unlawful deportation”; are not a sovereign state’s deportation regulations part of its criminal justice system? Yet Australia, at the time when Mr Keelty was still the AFP Commissioner, engaged in conduct that it knew to be illegal and ultra vires the laws of the Solomon Islands. Indeed, the HCA went on to say that:
“Australian officials supplied the relevant documents in time to be used, with knowledge that they would be used, to deport the appellant [Moti] before the time for deporting him had arrived.”
With a total disregard for the niceties of the Solomon Islands’ criminal justice system and with the full knowledge of Australian officials in Canberra including Commissioner Keelty, Australian officials in Honiara “facilitated” Moti’s “unlawful deportation” to Australia for no other reason than to serve Australian political and commercial interests in the region. The political and commercial interests that serve Australia are more often than not at odds with the political and commercial interests of the indigenous peoples of the region.
In fact, Moti expressed to me on a number of separate occasions over coffee or lunch that his grand vision for the Solomon Islands was to remove the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (“RAMSI”), which would have resulted in a withdrawal of Australian aid; Moti envisaged that aid being replaced by China. If successful, this would have ended Australia’s neo-colonial ambitions in the region.
As part of the background to the Moti saga the Sydney Morning Herald (“SMH”) reported on October 12, 2006 that, “The Australian Government believes Moti was involved in an attempt to free from prison two MPs allied to Sogavare who are awaiting trial on charges of inciting riots in April.” The two MPs referred to in this report are Charles Dausabea and Nelson Ne’e, both of whom stood trial on charges alleging that they orchestrated the riots in April 2006. The Australian Government’s fear was that a resurgent and empowered Sogavare would turn his back on Australia in favour of a more benign and less racist China.
During the trial of Dausabea and Ne’e, the Solomon Islands High Court heard about written agreements that the then Solomon Islands Police Commissioner, Shane Castles (an Australian Federal Police officer on secondment to the Solomon Islands Police), made with two crucial prosecution witnesses. Pursuant to these agreements the witnesses received significant financial and other assistance on the condition they kept the agreements secret and gave evidence in Court only in accordance with their police statements. The agreements were in a form that violated judicial rulings on such matters and attempts to keep them secret clearly violated Solomon Islands law governing disclosure of relevant information to defence lawyers. Such is the racist attitude of Australia’s ‘aid’ mission to the Solomon Islands that it becomes, in defiance of Commissioner Keelty’s words, acceptable to corrupt a sovereign state’s criminal justice system for Australia’s political advantage.
After failing in its attempts to corrupt the Solomon Islands criminal justice system, Australia showed its real face by exposing the true nature of the RAMSI Treaty. Following their acquittal in the criminal cases brought by RAMSI, Dausabea and Ne’e commenced civil actions against the Solomon Islands Government for malicious prosecution. As part of that process lawyers representing the three applicants sought to subpoena records from RAMSI and the Australian Government regarding the 2006 riots. As predicted by Moti when he was Attorney-General for the Solomon Islands, as soon as Australia and RAMSI were called to account by the Solomon Islands High Court for their actions in the Solomon Islands, the Australian Government announced that it was invoking its right to immunity from prosecution pursuant to the provisions found in section 17 of the Facilitation of International Assistance Act 2003 (“FIAA”).
In the manoeuvres and machinations that form the basis of any trial based on the ‘rule of law’ lawyers acting for Dausabea and Ne’e sought to subpoena certain information from Australia, information that would shine a light onto the actions of RAMSI and the AFP in the lead up to and during the April 2006 Honiara riots.
Australia has refused to comply with this subpoena, citing the immunity provisions in the RAMSI Treaty. Herein lays the real reason why Australia wanted Moti out of the position of Attorney-General for the Solomon Islands; Moti was fully aware of the hypocrisy and sovereign bribery that was at the core of the RAMSI Treaty, realities that the Dausabea and Ne’e matters have brought to the surface.
The core issue for the Solomon Islands Government is who owns all the information recorded in RAMSI’s files? As an equal partner of RAMSI, can the Solomon Islands Government demand that information? Can the High Court of the Solomon Islands order that information to be released to the Solomon Islands Government?
These are all interesting questions and they go to the very heart of what RAMSI is. If RAMSI is, as we are all lead to believe, a treaty amongst equals, then surely all of the information held and acquired by RAMSI is the joint property of all treaty signatories. If so, what legal basis does Australia have for not complying with a subpoena issued by the Solomon Islands High Court for RAMSI files? The answer is simple and it is what put Moti on the wrong side of Canberra in the first place. RAMSI is not a treaty among equals; it is an artificial creation of Canberra, designed to impose Canberra’s will on the indigenous peoples of the region. Canberra’s will, as the Moti saga is unambiguous testimony to, ignores the rules governing the criminal justice systems of its so called treaty ‘partners’.
By challenging RAMSI and Canberra’s role in the Pacific on behalf of indigenous sovereign rights, Moti became the target and the plaything of the juggernaut of greed that passes as the Australian establishment. The Australian establishment is the last bastion of so called white supremacy in the Pacific, an establishment that clearly states in its unwritten charter and code of conduct “dark skinned chaps not admitted”. It’s one thing to occupy and rape indigenous land, it’s entirely another to share the sinews of power with its indigenous population.
As Moti said, a win for him is a win for all “blackfellas”. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end for Australia’s racist and neo-colonial ambitions in the Pacific. Now that Moti has reached his first mile stone in his quest for justice, let’s hope that Australia’s criminal justice system swings into action in a way that is not interfered with or otherwise corrupted and all those Australian officials, including members of the AFP who colluded to facilitate Moti’s unlawful deportation to Australia are held accountable to the fullest extent that the law allows. More importantly, let’s hope that our indigenous brothers and sisters in the Pacific tell Australia to go packing in the name of indigenous sovereign rights!
Say no to racism, say no to corruption say no to Australia. Remember, far from being a benign multi-racial democracy, Australia still sees itself as ‘carrying the Whiteman’s burden’ in the Pacific. This type of attitude has no place in a twenty-first century world!
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