Australian police caused Solomon Islands Riot – Part II

I have been searcing the news archive for the story last week that the Australian police caused the riot.

The first story I read is this one:
“Australian Solomons police criticised”

Disorganisation and cultural insensitivity among Australian police deployed in the Solomon Islands turned a peaceful protest into a violent confrontation on Tuesday, according to an Australian aid worker who witnessed the incident.

Mr Johnston, who was speaking to The Age by telephone from his home in Kukum, an Eastern suburb of Honiara, said the crowd were protesting peacefully until RAMSI officers tried to physically break the blockade.

“It appears that that’s when things got out of hand, when there were some more aggressive approach to the crowd while they were still negotiating through their own local representatives,” Mr Johnston said.

“When they brought a riot squad in and a lot of riot gear there was a noticeable change in tone,” he said.

“In Melanesian culture, you can shout as much as you want, but once you start shoving somebody… physical confrontation is a whole new level,” he said.

RAMSI officers, which includes police from Australia and other Pacific nations, fired tear gas on demonstrators who were blocking a driveway at the Parliament to prevent the departure of Prime Minister-elect Snyder Rini on Tuesday night.

The speaker of the Parliament, Sir Peter Kenilorea, had specifically ordered that tear gas not be used, as reported here on ABC:

Sir Peter Kenilorea says he asked RAMSI officers not to use tear gas against the protesters.

“I specifically spoke to the RAMSI police officers not to take hasty actions as they did,” he said.

“They should allow time for us to keep talking to the protesters at the Parliament House, not to use tear gas on them because it would simply aggravate the situation and it would simply take the Parliament situation or scene to the street.”

Sir Peter says he had to order the officers out of his office.

“They were trying to organise themselves in the Parliament building,” he said.

“I had to tell them to get the thing out of my office. It was Parliament House it’s not an army barracks, they should organise themselves outside.”

Australian Police Comissioner Mick Keelty has defended the riot police saying “I think they did a fantastic job.”

Australian police caused Solomons riot

From The Age
Australian police ’caused Solomons riot

April 25, 2006 – 5:34AM

Canberra should compensate the Solomon Islands because Australian police sparked the Honiara riots, a former New Zealand government minister says.

Richard Prebble, a minister in Labour governments of the 1980s and a frequent visitor to the Solomons, said Australian Federal Police officers had erred by firing tear gas at a peaceful demonstration.

“The crowd was outraged and the riot spontaneous,” said the newsletter Mr Prebble publishes for the New Zealand political party ACT, of which he is a former leader.

“Canberra should hold a proper inquiry and then pay, in the Solomon way, compensation.”

There was widespread violence and looting in the Solomons’ capital last week after the surprise election by MPs of Snyder Rini as prime minister, whom some accuse of buying his job with money from Chinese businessmen.

Australia and New Zealand have sent additional soldiers and police to help keep the peace.

Despite most Chinese businesses being destroyed by rioters, Mr Prebble said there was little anti-Chinese sentiment on the islands.

“Most Chinese were born in the Solomons, speak pidgin and are Solomon citizens,” his newsletter said.

Mr Prebble said logging companies keen to continue unsustainable cutting of rainforests were doing the serious bribery.

The Taiwanese government “generously” funded politicians, and government also played a part, he said.

Mr Prebble said the Solomon Islands government bribed MPs to support the prime minister.

“Last election the average bribe was $40,000, eagerly accepted by MPs broke from having overspent on their campaigns.”

He said the legal bribery was the country having a cabinet of 19 from just 50 MPs.

Mr Prebble, who is married to a Solomon Islander, retired as an MP last year.

Indonesian intimidation of Australia

I’m sick of hearing from those commie bastards in Indonesia. Bang Bang can go bang himself.

Michelle Grattan hits the nail on the head in this article in The Age.

“Good relations with Indonesia are extremely important. But one has to ask: how far should Australia be prepared to go for the sake of them?

First, we change asylum-seeker policy so any boat person who defies the odds to reach Australia’s mainland will be processed offshore. Then Philip Ruddock, acting Immigration Minister, is by implication warning Government backbenchers with concerns about the change, especially its impact on children, that speaking out might do harm.

“It’s important that our relationship is not damaged, either in Indonesia or here, by statements from people who don’t speak for the Government but have particular views that they want to express,” Ruddock said.

This is all a bridge too far, even for the sake of a super-important bilateral relationship.

Australia does the right thing granting protection visas to 42 West Papuan boat people, and then, when the Indonesians are outraged, quickly acts to prevent itself having to act properly towards any future arrivals.

It has gone from strongly upholding its proper processes to falling over itself to avoid upsetting the Indonesians.”

Read the rest of it here: We risk too much in placating Indonesia on West Papua

US Army Generals say Rumsfeld should resign.

Guardian Unlimited Special reports Army report on al-Qaida accuses Rumsfeld:

“The US defence secretary has faced many calls to resign over Guantánamo, the invasion of Iraq and abuses at Abu Ghraib prison – but the pressure he faces now comes from a weighty new quarter: six generals recently retired from the military he runs.

Retired general Paul Eaton, who was in charge of training Iraqi security forces, sparked the current round of condemnation in a New York Times article on March 19.

On April 2, Anthony Zinni told a TV interviewer the US was ‘paying the price for the lack of credible planning’ in Iraq.

Seven days later, Lt Gen Gregory Newbold, a former member of the joint chiefs of staff, tore into the administration’s ‘casualness and swagger… the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions’.

On Wednesday, John Batiste, a former infantry commander, added his voice, and on Thursday his colleague John Riggs concurred.

Charles Swannack, who commanded the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq, brought the total to six yesterday, telling the New York Times Mr Rumsfeld had demonstrated ‘absolute failures in managing the war against Saddam’.

Mr Rumsfeld is understood to have offered to resign at least twice while in charge at the Pentagon, but both times President George Bush turned him down.”

— Update: Bush in reaction to all the press has said that Rummie is staying.

Murdoch Press in Oz poo-poos Global Warming


When six leading Australian CEOs went public last Thursday with their concerns about climate change – “there is broad consensus that climate change is real, the impacts may be significant and we need to act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions” said the bosses of BP, IAG, Origin Energy, Swiss Re, Visy and Westpac – they didn’t get very far. Their calls for Australia to reduce its greenhouse emissions over coming decades were largely ignored by policy-makers, poo-pooed by the Business Council and ridiculed by Australia’s climate guardians at the Murdoch press, who made these insightful comments.

“It is what happens to such emissions in the US, Europe, China and India that is going to determine the climate outcome. What we do is completely irrelevant. It’s not like we can achieve a nice climate outcome just for Australia, somehow isolating our emissions and our, reduced, greenhouse gases above our land-space … It’s not based in either science, logic or even good – sorry, would you accept ‘not completely dodgy’? – economics.” – Terry McCrann

“Even if climate change is man-made, there is nothing Australia can do to change it in any way we could measure. Our emissions will be dwarfed by India’s and China’s for a start. So we’re being sold snake oil that won’t solve a problem that might well not be our fault … It might not even be a problem. The House of Lords report even suggested we might not be worse off with warming, on the whole, given how much better plants will grow.” – Andrew Bolt

Just why Rupert Murdoch allows or directs his attack-dogs to ridicule the idea that climate change is an unfolding global calamity – his flagship The Australian usually leads the charge, followed by several columnists – isn’t hard to understand. It’s about money and you get to kick the liberals in the process. But if he ever becomes convinced that the climate problem is real, or that it is crazy not to take precautions in case it’s real, there will be some very sour attack-dogs wandering around without red meat.

Ockers more interested in tabloid news than real issues

From the News Interactive website (Murdoch’s lot) an amusing tale of what Aussies are really interested in.

“it has not gone unnoticed among colleagues in the newspapers that the stories on the front pages of the newspapers – the hard news, the issues of the day – are not the ones that are popular on the news websites.

The quick ratings systems that provide instant information on what people are clicking on are a useful guide to what is raising the pulse of the Australian public at any one moment.

Here’s a piece of stats trivia from the week: not one story on industrial relations or the Cole inquiry was among our top 10 stories. The Cole inquiry rattles along exposing, at the very least, a troubling reality that matters crucial to national security and the integrity of Australian business didn’t worry the Prime Minister’s officials enough to bring them to his attention.”

Week in review –

The top stories that interested the average ocker?

1. Man ‘sleep-divorces’ wife

2. Alba, Playboy Settle

3. Does Jessica Rowe Giggle Too Much?

4. Property market tipped to boom

5. Former Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins eyes Logie award

Noticed this Headline today:

“Ex-AWB chief fingers Downer”

With a line like that, bound to get everyone looking.