Australian Howard government weighs up “regime change” in Papua New Guinea

This is a video about biodiversity and environmentalism in Papua New Guinea.

By Patrick O’Connor in Australia:

Canberra weighs up “regime change” in Papua New Guinea

24 October 2007

The Howard government is continuing its dirty tricks against Papua New Guinean Prime Minister, Michael Somare, contemptuously defying the outcome of PNG’s August elections. Canberra had hoped the elections would result in a more pliant administration, and is now considering an unrestrained “regime change” operation, like the one it recently carried out in East Timor, and is currently orchestrating in the Solomon Islands.

The government’s manoeuvres in PNG have been completely ignored by the Australian media, and neither the Labor Party nor the Greens have raised a word about them in the federal election campaign now underway.

This column in the Sydney Morning Herald does mention the issue.

Australian Imperialism, Son of Star Wars and Papua New Guinea: here.

In Praise of Barbarians: Essays against Empire by Mike Davis: here.

30 years since Sydney’s Hilton Hotel bombing—the unanswered questions: here.

Australian prime minister [Rudd] undertakes tactical shift in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands: here.

Australian Labor government presses neo-colonial agenda at Pacific Islands Forum: here.

The death of Gracinda da Costa in an apparent road accident involving an Australian military vehicle has highlighted the blanket immunity enjoyed by the intervention force in East Timor: here.

3 thoughts on “Australian Howard government weighs up “regime change” in Papua New Guinea

  1. Humanitarian Imperialism
    Using Human Rights to Sell War

    By Jean Bricmont

    Since the end of the Cold War, the idea of human rights has been made into a justification for intervention by the world’s leading economic and military powers—above all, the United States—in countries that are vulnerable to their attacks. The criteria for such intervention have become more arbitrary and self-serving, and their form more destructive.

    Jean Bricmont’s Humanitarian Imperialism is both a historical account of this development and a powerful political and moral critique. It seeks to restore the critique of imperialism to its rightful place in the defense of human rights. It describes the leading role of the United States in initiating military and other interventions, but also on the obvious support given to it by European powers and NATO. Timely, topical, and rigorously argued, Jean Bricmont’s book establishes a firm basis for resistance to global war with no end in sight.

    Jean Bricmont is professor of theoretical physics at the University of Louvain, Belgium.

    Softcover, 192pp, bibliography, notes, index


  2. Howard condemns Ku Klux Klan photo

    By Brendan Nicholson

    November 12, 2004

    The picture that caused the row: Australian soldiers at Townsville’s Lavarack barracks dressed as members of the Ku Klux Klan.

    An episode in which Australian soldiers posed in Ku Klux Klan-style hoods with black recruits has been condemned by Prime Minister John Howard and senior army officers.

    Mr Howard said the photograph, taken just before the soldiers went to East Timor, was offensive.

    “I’m fairly broadminded and reasonable about pranks and so forth in the military,” he said. “But anything that touches upon somebody’s race and particularly involving such an abhorrent organisation as the Ku Klux Klan is not a joke.”

    The photograph was taken at Townsville’s Lavarack Barracks in September 2000 and involved soldiers from Delta Company of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Australia Regiment.

    White soldiers donned laundry bags with eye holes cut in them and posed in intimidating fashion behind several dark-skinned recruits.

    Some of the black soldiers involved are considering legal action and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission is also investigating.

    The incident has already been the subject of one inquiry, which resulted in soldiers from the unit being told to undergo additional “equity and diversity” training to counter racism.

    A further complaint was made recently, with a second investigation to be completed by Christmas, according to Army Chief General Peter Leahy.

    Soldiers have also claimed that armour plates were removed from a black soldier’s bulletproof jacket in East Timor, and that offensive messages were scrawled on black soldiers’ equipment.

    General Leahy said the Ku Klux Klan photograph was deplorable. “We’re appalled by the behaviour that brought this photograph about,” he said.

    He said he was disgusted that soldiers still thought they could get away with behaviour “of this intolerable nature. Where have they been whilst we’ve been training and dealing with matters of equity and diversity?”

    He said the army believed the soldiers thought it was a prank, “a bit like a school photograph – they thought at the end of the formal photographs ‘We’ll have a fun one’. Well, this one wasn’t fun. They got it wrong and the consequences, while unintended, have been deplorable.”

    We’re appalled by the behaviour that brought this photograph about.
    – General Peter Leahy

    But the local federal MP, Liberal Peter Lindsay, said there was no racism at Lavarack Barracks. “It was just a fun thing before the troops went overseas,” he said.

    He said the photograph should never have been taken, but that an inquiry was “a waste of time”. “Out in the general community, nobody would even turn a hair.”

    Townsville photographer Richard Fraley, who took the picture, said it was done as a joke and was not racist.

    Platoons competed to see who could come up with the best “fun photo”, he said. “These guys ran off, grabbed these (laundry bags) and came back for the Ku Klux Klan stuff. That’s all it was. There was no ceremonies, and the whole thing took two to three minutes.

    “I have been with the army taking their photos since Vietnam. I have never, ever, seen any racism.”

    Townsville residents are familiar with allegations of Ku Klux Klan activities in their city. In August 2003, local Aborigines complained when leaflets bearing the letters KKK and a swastika appeared in letterboxes. Homeless Aborigines have also complained of rock and petrol bomb attacks by skinheads.

    General Leahy confirmed that since the photograph was taken some of the officers involved had been promoted.

    He said he found “incomprehensible” the claim about the bulletproof jacket. “We’re a team. We work together to keep each other alive. It’s a dangerous environment out there. I just can’t understand how that would have happened.”

    Brisbane lawyer Simon Harrison said he was considering complaints of brutal treatment from more than 50 former members of the Defence Force.

    The allegations, relating to treatment over the past two years, included psychological bullying and a case where a soldier suffered pneumonia and frostbite after being forced to stand under a cold shower.

    Defence Force Chief Peter Cosgrove said the photograph was galling because the force had a good record of looking after indigenous recruits.

    – with AAP


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