Cross posted from The-Diplomat article -New Leaders Forum:
By Eddie Walsh
By Eddie Walsh
|Protestors march through the streets of Berlin during a demonstration to support the ' Occupy Wall Street' -movement Saturday Oct. 15, 2011. Protestors gathered at many major European cities Saturday to join in demonstrations against corruption, capitalism and austerity measures. (Maja Hitij)|
|People take a part in a demostration as they march towards Puerta del Sol square in solidarity action for the worldwide protest dubbed "Occupy the City" in Madrid on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011. The organizers of the Occupy Wall Street announced on their website that protesters will demonstrate in concert over 951 cities in 82 countries. (Arturo Rodriguez)|
|Protesters march during a "March of the outraged" in Santiago, Chile, Saturday Oct. 15, 2011. The gathering in the capital of Santiago was one of dozens of global protests launched Saturday in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. (Aliosha Marquez)|
Critics of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and interventionism in general have long accused international humanitarian action of being a form of imperialism cloaked in humanitarianism. The BRIC/IBSA countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa; hereafter referred to as BRICS) are beginning to unite around this skepticism, countering western enthusiasm [...]
The BRICS countries have determined that humanitarianism should not compromise the sovereignty of individual states and should not restrict the rights of governments over domestic matters. This stance, of course, directly contradicts the new humanitarian basis of American foreign policy.
[J]ustification for a "humanitarian war" where self-serving foreign interests masquerading as "international institutions" arrange for a disgruntled opposition vying for power whom they are supporting, funding, arming, and whose leaders they are harboring, to manage the perception of a given conflict to provide a predictably slanted pretext for "international intervention.Color Revolutions post echoed the same sentiments:
Time and again, such indignation, sincere or calculating, has been used to justify or to cover up the crimes of the Western powers: the slave trade, the extermination of indigenous peoples and the systematic stealing of land and resources. This attitude of righteous indignation continues to this day and is at the root of the claim that the West has a “right to intervene” and a “right to protect”, while turning a blind eye to oppressive regimes considered “our friends”, to endless militarization and wars, and to massive exploitation of labor and resources.
The West should learn from its past history. What would that mean concretely? Well, first of all, guaranteeing the strict respect for international law on the part of Western powers, implementing the UN resolutions concerning Israel, dismantling the worldwide US empire of bases as well as NATO, ceasing all threats concerning the unilateral use of force, lifting unilateral sanctions, in particular the embargo against Cuba, stopping all interference in the internal affairs of other States, in particular all operations of “democracy promotion”, “color” revolutions, and the exploitation of the politics of minorities. This necessary respect for national sovereignty means that the ultimate sovereign of each nation state is the people of that state, whose right to replace unjust governments cannot be taken over by supposedly benevolent outsiders.
Next, we could use our overblown military budgets (NATO countries account for 70 per cent of world military expenses) to implement a form of global Keynesianism: instead of demanding "balanced budgets" in the developing world, we should use the resources wasted on our military to finance massive investments in education, health care and development. If this sounds utopian, it is not more so than the belief that a stable world will emerge from the way our current “war on terror” is being carried out.
The main purpose of Blak and Black is to attempt to bring to the world’s attention the hypocrisy and racism that inform contemporary Australian society.
While Australia’s treatment of its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (“ATSI”) population affords ample testimony to the white supremacist attitudes of Australia’s so-called political, intellectual and cultural elites, a fact that the world community seems happy to ignore, as being nothing more than an Australian ‘domestic’ issue.
Australia’s neo-colonial and racist attitudes to the indigenous peoples of the Pacific cannot continue to be ignored by a world community that claims to aspire to an international society in which racism, bigotry and white supremacist attitudes have no place. It is with this in mind that I offer the following analysis of Australia’s racism and white supremacist attitudes to the indigenous people of the Solomon Islands.
As stated previously, my next post will be about institutional racism and systemic bias in the Australia’s criminal justice system. Something the indigenous peoples of the Pacific can look forward to, unless they stand up to Australia, exporting its systemic racism and corruption to them under the pretext of bring the ‘rule of law’ to the developing nations of the Pacific.
In international politics, gunboat diplomacy refers to the pursuit of foreign policy objectives with the aid of conspicuous displays of military power — implying or constituting a direct threat of warfare, should terms not be agreeable to the superior force.
The term comes from the period of colonial imperialism, where the European powers would intimidate other states into granting trade or other concessions (unequal treaties) through a demonstration of their superior military power. A country negotiating with a European power would notice that a warship or fleet of ships had appeared off its coast. The mere sight of such power almost always had a considerable effect, and it was rarely necessary for such boats to use other measures, such as demonstrations of cannon fire.
Gunboat diplomacy is considered a form of hegemony. As the United States became a military power in the first decade of the 20th century, the Rooseveltian version of gunboat diplomacy, ‘big stick diplomacy’, was partially superseded by ‘dollar diplomacy’: replacing the big stick with the “juicy carrot” of American private investment.
It is this mixture of ‘big stick diplomacy’ combined with ‘dollar diplomacy’ that a racist and white supremacist Australia is using to cajole the increasingly nominally sovereign states of the Pacific into toeing Canberra’s line.
Australia has always maintained the argument that its role in the Solomon Islands is about peace keeping and has nothing to do with power projection, or attempts to influence opinion in a foreign capital, but is purely altruistic in nature and is aimed at restoring peace, order and good government to the people of the Solomon Islands. So what is the reality?
The Facilitation Act 2003
The Facilitation Act (“FA”) is an Agreement between Solomon Islands, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga and was signed on the 24th May 2003. The purpose of the FA was to pave the way for the deployment, by the signatories to the FA, of armed forces, police and other personal to Solomon Islands.
The FA facilitated the formulation of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).
On 4th July 2003, Sir John Laply the then Governor-General of the Solomon Islands made a formal request for assistance under the provisions of the FA. This then led to the passing of the Facilitation of International Assistance Act 2003 (“FIAA”) (No.1 of 2003). The Agreement signed on the 24th May 2003 was incorporated as part of the Act.
The FIAA sets out the mechanisms under which RAMSI is to operate in the Solomon Islands. Section 6 of the FA gives RAMSI the same powers granted to the Solomon Islands Police under the Police Act. However unlike the Solomon Islands Police, Section 17 of the FIAA grants immune from legal proceedings for RAMSI personnel along with tax exempt status.
The issues of immunity from prosecution and tax exempt status bring into focus the concept of unequal treaties and national sovereignty. National sovereignty has at its heart, accountability.
One of the first national sovereignty issues we encounter when considering the role of RAMSI in the Solomon Islands is that of national or sovereign accountability. Under the FIAA the Participating Police Force (“PPF”) is accountable to the Deputy Police Commissioner who is a senior Australian Police Officer.
The FIAA is silent on whether the Deputy Police Commissioner should resign his/her Australian commission before acceding to the post of Deputy Police Commissioner of the Solomon Islands. If the Deputy Police Commissioner is allowed to accede to that post without first resigning their Australian commission, a parallel line of accountability is created within a sovereign state. Is this constitutionally sound?
This parallel line of accountability in turn gives rise to the question of immunity. Under the Solomon Islands Constitution, an aggrieved party may apply to the High Court for redress for the contravention of his/her fundamental rights. Section 18 (1) provides:
…if any person alleges that any of the [human rights provisions] of this Constitution has been, is being or is likely to be contravened in relation to him for, in the case of a person who is detained, if any other person alleges such contravention in relation to the detained then, without prejudice to any other action with respect to the same matter which is lawfully available, that person (or that other person) may apply to the High Court for redress.If a situation arises where a member of RAMSI is alleged to have violated the fundamental rights of a citizen of the Solomon Islands, the courts would be powerless to act, unless RAMSI waives its immunity, which in turn raises the question: is the immunity provision in the FIAA consistent with the Solomon Islands Constitution?
Together with the immunity and tax exempt provisions granted to RAMSI under the FIAA it is worth giving some thought to what the legal personality of RAMSI actually is. As discussed in Blak and Black’s article The wisdom of Miles Jordana: Hidden in plain sight, there has been no formal United Nations Security Council endorsement of RAMSI, beyond a media statement in 2003 from the President of the UN Security Council at the time of the initial intervention.
UN Press release SC/7853, 26 August 2003, Press Statement on Solomon Islands by Security Council President Fayssal Mekdad (Syria), reads in part:
“The members of the Security Council welcome warmly the collective action of the countries of the Pacific Islands Forum to support the people of the Solomon Islands in their quest for the restoration of law and order and stability.
The members of the Security Council welcome the leadership exerted by Australia and New Zealand, in close partnership with other countries in the region in this regard. They hope that this important regional initiative will quickly lead to the restoration of normalcy and national harmony in the Solomon Islands and that it will facilitate a peace-building process and economic recovery. They encourage all parties to cooperate in promoting these objectives and to renounce the use of armed force and violence to settle their differences.”The reality is that RAMSI has no legal personality. In the event that Australian RAMSI personnel are accused of violating the fundamental rights of a citizen of the Solomon Islands it is likely, because of RAMSI’s lack of legal personality that Australia would plead sovereign immunity under international law.
These fundamental legal issues were first raised by Mr Julian Moti QC in his capacity as Attorney-General of the Solomon Islands and eventually became a point of contention between Australia and the Sogavare Government. Ultimately Moti’s views on the constitutional irregularities of RAMSI led to the Australian orchestrated downfall of the Sogavare Government and Moti’s illegal rendition to Australia on what can only be described as trumped-up child sex tourism charges.
The reason Mont’s views have become relevant again is that following the 2006 riots in Honiara RAMSI police arrested and charged two members of the SI Parliament, Charles Dausabea and Nelson Ne’e, both of whom stood trial on charges alleging that they orchestrated the riots in April 2006. Former SI Foreign Minister Alex Bartlett (who had a large number of charges against him) also stood trial. This issues that ultimately lead to the 2006 riots have been more fully explored in my article AFP accused of fabricating evidence, yet again!
During the trial of Bartlett, 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.
Following their acquittal in the criminal cases brought by RAMSI, Bartlett, 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 FIAA.
The implications for the ‘rule of law’ and an individual’s right to justice in the Solomon Islands, following Australian invocation of the immunity provisions of the FIAA are obvious. In response to Australia’s invocation of the immunity provisions of the FIAA, the Lawyer representing Bartlett, Dausabea and Ne’e, Mr Charles Ashley made an application in the Solomon Islands High Court on 14th October challenging the constitutional validity of the FIAA.
According to documents filed in the Solomon Islands High Court the applicants are seeking the following reliefs against the Australian government as the first defendant and the Special Coordinator of RAMSI as the second defendant:
• The then Police Commissioner Shane Castles was subjected to the direction of the Australian Government and RAMSI and not the Solomon Islands Government which was a breach of subsection (5) of 43 of the Solomon Islands Constitution.
• A declaration that in breaching subsection (5) of section 43, the Australian Government or the Special Coordinator of RAMSI are not entitled to any claim of immunity under the provisions of the Facilitation Act of 2003; and
• A finding that actions by the Australian government and Special Coordinator of RAMSI not to disclose documents to the High Court is in breach of the Claimants right to a fair hearing as provided for under subsection (8) of section 10 of the Solomon Islands Constitution; and
• An order directing the defendants to release the required documents relating to the April Riots to the incumbent Police Commissioner; and
• A declaration by the Facilitation Act does not absolve the Australian Government and RAMSI from liability to pay compensation for contravention of fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals under Chapter 2 of the Constitution;
• A finding that the arrest, detention and prosecution of the three MPs in connection with the riots has breached Claimants rights and freedoms;
• An order damages must be paid by the defendants for breaching the Claimants fundamental rights and freedoms under Chapter 2 of the Constitution; and
• Findings and recommendations of the 2006 April Riots Commission of Inquiry against the defendants must be accepted;
• An order for compensation to be assessed if not agreed
• An order for costs on an indemnity basis; and
• Any further or other orders the court deems fair and just.As RAMSI lacks a legal personality, it is likely that Australia will plead sovereign immunity at international law. If this happens, the wrong parties will be without any form of legal redress for the wrongs inflicted on them By the Australian Government, the Australian Federal Police and RAMSI.
How is this consistent with Australia’s altruistic claim that it is sole purpose for being in the Solomon Islands is to bring the ‘rule of law’ to one of its struggling neighbours? To my mind, the actions of Australia to date in the Solomon Islands reek of nothing more than the neo-colonial aspirations of an arrogant, white supremacist, neo-colonial, third rate power.
Will you sign the petition calling for a Royal Commission into the Australian Federal Police?
Former MPs file constitutional case against Australian govt
Three former Solomon Islands Member of Parliaments (MPs) who were wrongly accused for their roles in the 2006 April riots have applied for a constitutional case against the Australian government and RAMSI.
Solomon Star article adds another layer of abuse in Australia's neo-colonial imperial agenda in the Pacific via leaked documents.Wed, 19 Oct 2011HONIARA, Solomon Islands (SOLOMON STAR) ---- Three former Solomon Islands Member of Parliaments (MPs) who were wrongly accused for their roles in the 2006 April riots have applied for a constitutional case against the Australian government and RAMSI.
Lawyer representing the three MPs, Charles Ashley filed the case in the High Court on Friday last week after RAMSI and the Australian government refused to submit documents to court in relation to the April riots.
This is a follow up of the civil case by the three former MPs Alex Bartlett, Charles Dausabea and Nelson Ne’e against the Government for malicious prosecution.
RAMSI and the Australian Government are not parties to the case but were required by the court to produce documents relating to the riot.
However, their legal representative Andrew Radclyffe wrote to the High Court last month claiming immunity that they were not required to answer to the court because they were protected by the Facilitation Act of 2003; which was accepted by the court.
The Facilitation Act states that no law can supersede the Act except the country’s constitution.
Therefore, Ashley wrote to Radclyffe advising them that his clients would be taking on a constitutional case against RAMSI and the Australian government.
The constitutional case involved sections of the constitution in relation to the Police Act, the Commission of Enquiry Act and the Facilitation Act.
The claimants have named the Australian government as the first defendant and the Special Coordinator of RAMSI as the second defendant.
Documents obtained by The Solomon Star also revealed that the Australian government had in the past appointed several key figures in the Solomon Islands Government sector to facilitate their political agenda in the country.
Two key figures that emerged from the report were former police commissioner Shane Castles and former Australian High Commissioner Patrick Cole.
Documents revealed the then Police Commissioner Shane Castles received directions from the Australian government not to dispatch a riot squad to calm the situation during the 2006 April Riots.
It was disclosed this was the Australian government’s way of signalling its opposition to China’s growing influence in the Pacific; and in this instance to allow looting and burning to take place to get rid of the Chinese populace in Honiara.
The documents revealed that Mr Castles appointment as police commissioner was also dictated by the Australian government so that he could work in partnership with then Australia High Commissioner Patrick Cole.
“They were both tasked by the Australian government to successful carry out Canberra’s political agenda in the Solomon Islands,” documents revealed.
“And there are fears the increase number of Australian advisors and appointees in the Government are placed there to carry out Australia’s secret agenda in the Solomon Islands.”
In mid-2004, it was revealed the Australian government through High Commissioner Cole pressured the European Union representative in the Solomon Islands not to commit itself to funding the then police commissioner William Morrell, a British national, when his contracts expired in 2005.
“In March 2005, Morrell’s contract expired and the EU advised then Prime Minister Sir Allen Kemakeza that EU will not be funding Morrell’s Police Commissioner’s post anymore,” documents revealed.
“On the 4th of March, former High Commissioner Cole sat as an interviewing panel member to interview candidates for the new police chief post and advised Sir Allen that Shane Castles was the suitable candidate.” But it was revealed Sir Allen informed the panel that his Government’s choice was Mr Morrell and not Mr Castles.
The Australian government in return threatened not to fund Mr Morrell if he was re-appointed but they would only fund Mr Castles if appointed, it was revealed.
“On the 18th March 2005, Sir Allen advised the Prison and Police Services Commission to appoint Shane Castles as the new police commissioner,” documents highlighted.
The Australian government on April 11 2005 then proposed to the Solomon Islands Government that Mr Castles be appointed under section 40 of the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 for two years. This was accepted by the former Kemakeza government as Canberra had also proposed to meet the full costs of their new police commissioner candidate.
Therefore, by virtue of section 40 of the Australian Federal Police Act, Mr Castles being an ‘AFP appointee’ must not disobey or fail to carry out directions, instructions or orders given to him by the Australian police commissioner, RAMSI or the Australian government.
Mr Castles must only act on instructions from Australia although he was the police commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF).
This was a total breach of the Solomon Islands Constitution section 43 (5) which stated that ‘the RSIPF police commissioner, in the exercise of his responsibilities and powers with respect to the use and control of the RSIPF shall not be subjected to the direction or control of any person or authority.
Prior to the 2006 April Riots it was also revealed Sir Allen had given general directions to Mr Castles to make sure police are prepared to maintain public safety and public order during the election of the new Prime Minister.
Documents revealed Mr Castles had refused to obey the then Prime Minister’s orders.
“The failure, negligence and refusal to follow Sir Allen’s directions were because Mr Castles was an ‘AFP appointee’ as such an employee of the Australian government,” documents revealed.
“Therefore, Mr Castles was only answerable to the Australian government although he was the RSIPF police commissioner.”
Mr Castles disobedience to Sir Allen was a breach of section 43 (4) of the country’s Constitution.
Documents revealed RAMSI, the Australian government, and the former police commissioner in this regard has breached the Solomon Islands Constitution as a sovereign country.
“At no time Mr Castles requested for AFP back up although he knew the RSIPF were ill prepared and handicapped to maintain such situations.”
The Australian government and RAMSI were also later claimed to have bribed certain people to fabricate false statements against three former Members of Parliaments as instigators of the riots.
The trio Alex Bartlett, Charles Dausabea and Nelson Ne’e were arrested, detained and prosecuted but later acquitted of all charges.
They are currently applying for a constitutional case against the Australian government and RAMSI and a separate court battle with the National Government for malicious prosecution.
By DOUGLAS MARAU
Military deaths, Afghani deaths, billions of dollars, war-weary constituents, declining public support, and a lack of moral legitimacy means that both Australia and America need to exit Afghanistan now. As we know in Australia, as soon as American gets out, so will we. So why is the exit taking so long?The answer to question posed by the FPJ article, as it now appears has been answered equivocally by Australian Defense Minister, Stephen Smith, as reported in The Australian newspaper article:
Mr Smith reiterated that Australian special forces and instructors would stay on after 2014 to continue training and supporting the Afghans. He said it was important to send a message to the region that Afghanistan would not be abandoned and that there was a comprehensive development plan for the future.
NATO, the US and the international community generally must maintain their commitment to a long term strategic partnership with Afghanistan, Mr Smith said.With such a lengthy deployment of troops overseas, it is no secret that the costs of maintaining such an exercise, is simply unsustainable.
"Australia has made clear it expects to maintain a presence in Afghanistan after our current training and mentoring mission has concluded, potentially through institutional training, a special forces presence, military advisers, capacity building and development assistance."
As the war in Iraq winds down and America begins to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, the United States stands at a pivot point. Over the last 10 years, we have allocated immense resources to those two theaters.
In the next 10 years, we need to be smart and systematic about where we invest time and energy, so that we put ourselves in the best position to sustain our leadership, secure our interests, and advance our values.
One of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decade will therefore be to lock in a substantially increased investment -- diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise -- in the Asia-Pacific region.It appears that the opening sentence of Clinton's opinion article, does not exactly mesh with the Australia's Defense Minister's comments about the draw down in troops.
The time has come for the United States to make similar investments as a Pacific power, a strategic course set by President Barack Obama from the outset of his administration and one that is already yielding benefits [...] We are also expanding our alliance with Australia from a Pacific partnership to an Indo-Pacific one, and indeed a global partnership. From cybersecurity to Afghanistan to the Arab Awakening to strengthening regional architecture in the Asia-Pacific, Australia's counsel and commitment have been indispensable.