Beware there be Jinn in the forests: Indonesia and West Papua, a clash of cultures

Beware there be Jinn in the forests: Indonesia and West Papua, a clash of cultures

Last weekend I took a stroll through the Mesopotamia exhibition at the Melbourne Museum. While reading the commentary attached to a number of the artefacts I realised, in a profound way, that what we call civilization is actually a reaction to and against nature. Some cultures, those we choose to call ‘primitive’, ‘savage’ or ‘uncivilized’ attempt to live in harmony with nature, or at least attempt to develop a rapport ...

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Melanesia and Indigenous Australia: white privilege and the ‘rule of law’

Melanesia and Indigenous Australia: white privilege and the ‘rule of law’

Melanesia and Indigenous Australia: white privilege and the ‘rule of law’ … first, I made him know his Name should be Friday, which was the Day I sav’d his Life; I call’d him so for the Memory of the Time; I likewise taught him to say Master, and then let him know, that was to be my Name. Daniel Defoe (1719), Robinson Crusoe In the Nineteenth Century Robinson Crusoe gave ...

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AFP racism sparks diplomatic row between Australia and Vanuatu

AFP racism sparks diplomatic row between Australia and Vanuatu

On 2nd May, 2012 the Vanuatu Daily Post reported that Private Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office Clarence Marae had been arrested at Sydney International Airport by the Australian Federal Police (“AFP”) whilst accompanying Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Meltek Sato Kilman Livtunvanu to Israel on a diplomatic mission. Following his arrest, Mr Marae was charged with conspiring to defraud the Commonwealth, contrary to section 86 (1) and 29D of the Crimes ...

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Portia’s Lament: Western greed and the death of the indigenous cultures of West Papua

Portia’s Lament: Western greed and the death of the indigenous cultures of West Papua

Fragments from the Alfoxden Notebook There he would stand In the still covert of some rock, Or gaze upon the moon until its light Fell like a strain of music on his soul And seemed to sink into his very heart. Why is it we feel So little for each other, but for this, That we with nature have no sympathy, Or with such things as we have no ...

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Fred Martens a political pawn on the checked board of fate and corruption

Fred Martens a political pawn on the checked board of fate and corruption

“Upon my feeble knee, I beg this boon, with tears, not lightly shed” of my regular readers for my tardiness in posting over the last few weeks. I have been travelling in Queensland collecting and collating statements from Indigenous Australians who have been victims of Australian Federal Police (“AFP”) racism and corruption. I also took this opportunity to collect another approximately nine hundred signatures on Black and Black’s petition calling ...

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Vice-regal corruption: Australia and the UNSC

Vice-regal corruption: Australia and the UNSC

The Samoan Government has announced that Australian Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, will visit the country next week as part of a Pacific tour that also includes Nauru, Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands and New Caledonia. Ms Bryce will address Samoa’s parliament and call on Samoa’s head of state, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi. Her two days in Samoa has also been scheduled for a visit to SENESE, a school for people ...

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West Papua and the United Nations

West Papua and the United Nations

July of 1969 was a big month. Whilst the ‘civilized’ world was focused on the deployment of three men to the moon, Indonesia was finalizing steps to wrest control of the territory of West Papua from the United Nations, the former Dutch protectorate. I do not say wrest lightly, for it was in the so-called Act of Free Choice that in fact the people of West Papua were robbed of ...

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Arma virumque cano

Arma virumque cano

The more classically minded among Blak and Black’s readers will recognise the title of this post as being the opening words of Virgil’s epic poem The Aeneid, “… sing of arms and of a man.” Arms and the man I sing, who first from the coasts of Troy, exiled by fate, came to Italy and Lavine shores; much buffeted on sea and land by violence from above, through cruel Juno’s ...

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Silence no longer so golden

Silence no longer so golden

Complicity takes many forms, as discussed in posts by both Bakchos and me. Many believe that silent complicity is the least culpable, but to my mind if the silence enables the perpetrator of the wrongdoing to continue causing harm, then the silence is of a gross kind. An example of such silent complicity allowing continuing harm is described by Steven Miles generating discussion in both the Lancet and via his ...

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Corruption and accountability: the AFP in the Asia/Pacific region

Corruption and accountability: the AFP in the Asia/Pacific region

The criminal justice system consists of three main parts: (1) Legislative (create laws); (2) adjudication (courts); and (3) corrections (prisons, probation, parole, fines, community service). In a criminal justice system, these distinct agencies operate together both under the rule of law and as the principal means of maintaining the rule of law within society. The first contact an alleged offender usually has with the criminal justice system is the police ...

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An ‘Ethics Commissioner’ without ethics: welcome to Australia

An ‘Ethics Commissioner’ without ethics: welcome to Australia

Yesterday, Thursday I received a phone call from Captain Fred Martens, the man who spent a 1,000 days in jail, having been wrongly convicted of an offence under Australia’s Child Sex Tourism Laws. His conviction was later quashed by the Queensland Court of Appeal (“QCA”). At all times Captain Martens has maintained his innocence. Captain Martens has further maintained that he was a victim of a corrupt Australian Federal Police ...

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Martens, Moti and the ‘rule of law’ in Australia

Martens, Moti and the ‘rule of law’ in Australia

Captain Fred Martens, whom I have written extensively about on Blak and Black in the past, was employed as a commercial pilot flying light aircraft within PNG and between PNG and Australia. In 2004 Captain Martens became a victim of Australian Federal Police (“AFP”) corruption and/or incompetence, which resulted in the loss of his business interests in PNG, the loss of his freedom (he was incarcerated for nearly 1,000 days ...

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Copper and gold: the blood diamonds of West Papua

Copper and gold: the blood diamonds of West Papua

Invaded by Indonesia in 1961, West Papua is the crisis on Australia’s doorstep. The conflict generated by the usurpation of the former Dutch protectorate is not recognized as anything other than a separatist movement by those in power in the international community, but it is so very much more. Since the Act of No Choice in 1969 in which 1025 West Papuans voted under extreme duress unanimously in favour of ...

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The Jayapura Five: Our choices and actions do affect the lives of others

The Jayapura Five: Our choices and actions do affect the lives of others

Little fly, Thy summer’s play My thoughtless hand Has brushed away. Am not I A fly like thee? Or art not thou A man like me? For I dance And drink and sing, Till some blind hand Shall brush my wing. If thought is life And strength and breath, And the want Of thought is death, Then am I A happy fly, If I live, Or if I die. William ...

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Genocide in West Papua, collective responsibility and the role of Ernst & Young

Genocide in West Papua, collective responsibility and the role of Ernst & Young

The TNI under Suharto was seen as different from other armies because: Indonesian army sees itself as quite different from other armies in the world, because it was never created as an instrument of the state, but was itself involved in the creation of the state. Thus the military considers itself the embodiment of Indonesian nationalism. In theory, it remains above the state, and technically does not consider itself answerable ...

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West Papua and the vote of no choice!

West Papua and the vote of no choice!

These feelings which we Cubans have already acquired will have to be shared by someday. Today it hurts us if a Cuban is hungry, if a Cuban has no doctor, if a Cuban child suffers or is uneducated, or if a family has no housing. It hurts us even though it’s not our brother, our son, or our father. Why shouldn’t we feel hurt if we see an Angolan child ...

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Lost Sovereignty; a disgraced judge and a kidnapped Attorney-General

Lost Sovereignty; a disgraced judge and a kidnapped Attorney-General

Carl Schmitt’s Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty is both famous and obscure. A twentieth-century political theory, containing two canonical sentences: “Sovereign is he who decides on the exception” and “All significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts.” These statements are regurgitated by contemporary political and legal theorists time and again. Standing alone, Schmitt’s statements are both puzzling and shocking. Schmitt’s ...

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The masks we wear: Ernst & Young and global terrorism

The masks we wear: Ernst & Young and global terrorism

…the threats we face are no longer from known enemies, nations that have fleets or missiles or bombers that we can see come to the United States, nations that can be deterred through previous notions such as mutually assured destruction or any other previous defence notions. (Ari Fleischer former White House Press Secretary for U.S. President George W. Bush as reported on ABC AM Tuesday, 3 December, 2002) The new ...

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Operation Helpem Fren

Operation Helpem Fren

On 18 January 2012 the Solomon Star reported that RAMSI apologist and the former Solomon Islands Finance Minister and Member of Parliament for West New Georgia and Vona Vona, Peter Boyers, was arrested and charged with criminal trespass and intimidation. What is more interesting are the facts surrounding these charges. According to the Solomon Star, Boyers was engaged in a longstanding dispute with political rival Peter Boso. In an apparent ...

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What is actually the root of the problem in Papua?

What is actually the root of the problem in Papua?

The following is an extract of an interview between Bambang Dharmono, former Aceh military commander and negotiator representing Indonesia for the Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM), to lead the Presidential Unit for the Acceleration of Development in Papua and West Papua (UP4B) and journalist Nani Afrida which appeared in The Jakarta Post on 16 December, 2011. The question posed by Nani to Bambang was “What is actually the root of the ...

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