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08 May 2012

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Well I for one will let it rest. Opinions from afar are often out of focus.

I agree now that Susan has compelling evidence that Australian institutions at some level did interfere in Pacific politics and sought to manipulate matters for their own ends - a conclusion I did not find easy to accept.

Perhaps I naively thought 'our' guys were better than that.

However I still think the Moti case has some hidden, murky secrets on both sides. Maybe we haven't heard the end of things.

And the pilot I spoke to was pretty convincing that the escape from PNG was ordered from the highest level.

I have been watching with keen interest the debate enfold on this, excuse the weak pun, rather emotive affair and it is with some trepidation that I now poke my toe into the rather murky mire of dirty politics that has enveloped this issue.

It would seem that, regardless of the rights and wrongs displayed by all of the players, objectivity has been the main casualty in all of this debate.

The key issue here appears to be one of double jeopardy whereby a person can find himself or herself facing he wrath of the law from the jurisdiction of two separate countries.

This type of issue of the misuse of he justice system is becoming far to common these days whereby one country can decide that if justice was not forthcoming in another country then the miscreants can then be dealt with in his or her parent country for the same offence.

This is born out in a recent case here in Australia where a US citizen was found guilty of manslaughter and subsequently gaoled and upon his release and subsequent deportation back to the USA facing similar criminal charges there for the same matter.

My understanding of the Moti case was that when the issue first arose the authorities dealt with the matter in that country where the offence was alleged to have been committed and he was subsequently found not guilty.

To me the Australian government's later actions in this matter smack of neo colonialism, ipso facto that one country can decide that because they are unhappy with the legal processes in another country they can take the moral high ground and initiate further subsequent legal actions against one of their citizens for offences alleged to have been committed on foreign shores and by so doing show complete disregard for the sovereignty of another country.

Yes Susan, your article is well crafted, befitting your obvious academic background in journalism, although one felt when reading same the issue in question became somewhat and sadly diminished by the over use of vitriolic prose.

Yes the pen is mightier than the sword however maybe you should have used a rapier rather than a cutlass as your preferred choice of weapons.

Peter - The AFP and DFAT were messing in the internal politics of Pacific nations - fact, not conspiracy theory. The evidence is on public record. Seek it out. Living next door to someone hardly makes you an expert.

Interesting comments, Peter.

I too did my study of the Moti affair and found two of my old Brandi students involved, including one who has now passed on.

I don't think anyone will ever get to the bottom of the case now.

At the time of the Defence Force Moti enquiry I was posted as the Military Advisor to the Acting Commander of the PNG Defence Force.

I sat through most of the sessions so to report back daily to the Commander on the events as they were unfolding.

On several occasions the counsel assisting the enquiry (now Justice John Kawi ) sought my assistance for technical advice prior to him cross examining the PNG Defence Force aircrew who executed the flight (since I am also a military pilot).

I am no lawyer, but my assessment then was that the findings of the Defence Force enquiry was inconclusive, in that it could not ascertain or establish beyond reasonable doubt that the ‘orders’ to whisk Julian Moti out of the country on the CASA aircraft did come directly from Sir Michael Somare.

The pilots also admitted, when I asked them later, that even they doubted whether the orders they received actually originated from Sir Michael.

Such orders would have been channelled down through the Defence Minister and onto the PNGDF Commander, which is the normal military chain of command all military personnel are familiar with.

Even if Sir Michael did issue such orders, he alone does not constitute The National Executive Council. Such orders, if issued outside of the military chain of command, can be deemed ‘illegal’.

The Defence Act is very specific in its promulgation that the National Executive Council (entire) has control over the Defence Force. Not the PM alone or Defence Minister – period.

Hence, such executive orders had to be sanctioned by the National Executive Council.

That was where I believe the Defence Inquiry fell short and never pursued, despite Sir Michael’s continued insistence that ‘those orders’ never came from him.

Now allow me to speculate a bit here.

Somewhere along the line, somebody saw the opportunity to gain from this issue, highjacked the process and used Sir Michael’s name to involve the military.

When the whole operation hit a snag, the person or persons retreated and went on the defensive whilst continuously stating that ‘the orders came from the top’.

I believe there is more to this case than what the PNG public has been led to believe or what the Defence Force Inquiry into the Moti issue has actually disclosed.

On that note I would be rather cautious to even contemplate that “grave offences against PNG law which could only have been sanctioned by the PM at the time. One Sir Michael Somare”.

Susan - Calm down. Yes, you have a case to make. And yes you have done extensive research. And yes, the Australian case against Moti raises some serious questions.

But that doesn't mean we have to resort to conspiracy theories about ASIO or the AFP messing about in local Pacific politics, which you seem to have done.

I believe the circumstances surrounding the escape of Moti from PNG are full of legal ambiguities to say the least - as is revealed in the Defence Force inquiry. I actually interviewed the pilot.

Your over-emotional reaction does not do your case much credit.

I may not have been sitting in the courtroom, but I was a neighbour of Julian for a month and met both him and his parents.

Understandably he was reluctant to talk about his court cases, but his legal colleagues in Honiara were - on which comments I base my messages.

When confronted with a stuff-up or a conspiracy, always plump for the stuff-up.

And yes, I bet you are better at sucking eggs than me. Maybe the yolk's on you?

From Susan Merrell to the Editor, Solomon Star (Published 10 April):
_____________________

The PNG High Commissioner has been doing a lot of 'refuting' in the Solomon Star lately.

Given that this is his wont, he has a long job ahead.

When Mr Yombon-Copio lifted his diplomatic skirts, giving a sneak peek of his xenophobic undergarments, he failed to take into account that it was not just "another foreigner" who was remarking on his diplomatic performance and his inadequate political statements.

For, were he to peruse the media pages in PNG, he would find much home-grown criticism, some of which my article quoted.

But Mr Yombon-Copio is correct when he states (although, with unnecessary belligerence) that PNG is setting its own political agenda – it's just that it bears little resemblance to the scenario painted by the High Commissioner.

Furthermore, it is ill-conceived to attempt to intimidate a journalist with a 'warning' to avoid controversial issues, especially when this journalist is beyond his diplomatic jurisdiction and sphere of influence. (i.e., in Mr Yombon-Copio's words: a foreigner). It serves to make me more curious as to what there may be to hide.

Might I remind the High Commissioner, that analysing and commenting on controversial political issues is my job – it's not his.

Moreover, there is absolutely no need for me to be in collaboration with anyone to assassinate Mr Yombon-Copio's character; he's doing an excellent job of that himself with his own words and deeds.

Susan Merrell (Dr)
BA, MA (with merit), Master Media Practice (with merit), PhD

Peter Kranz, when it comes to the Moti case you are trying to show me how to suck eggs.

Hearsay doesn't come into anything I have written. I have both (court admissible) primary and secondary evidence to back up what I say.

I didn't see you sitting in the courtroom when the case was being heard in the Brisbane Supreme Court or the Australian High Court.

The PNG issues started when Moti was arrested illegally and brought into PNG. The Ombudsman's Report makes this finding.

Interestingly, the Chief Ombudsman and architect of the report, Chronox Manek, was the DPP at the time of Moti's arrest in 2006 - so it must have pained him to discover the truth.

To then talk about the PNG Extradition Act is rubbish. What's the maxim about coming to court with 'clean hands' and not benefiting from the commission of an illegality?

Susan - I will try and stick to analysing the message.

The Moti saga inviolves several separate cases. One in Australia, one in Vanuatu and one in PNG.

You have repeatedly reported what many people would class as 'conspiracy theories' regarding Moti, based on hearsay.

I am referring to the PNG case, which the Defence Force Inquiry showed to involve grave offences against PNG law which could only have been sanctioned by the PM at the time. One Sir Michael Somare.

Professor Nonggorr begs to disagree with your interpretation of the law.

Is a PM above the law, even when attempting to protect his friends?

I recommend reading the PNG Extradition Act, 2005.

http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/2/1/39366686.pdf

If this so-called diplomat makes life to be just eating, sleeping and reproducing, then surely he must be an alien from another planet and, indeed, the size of his ego is larger than his brains.

Good grief! Have we suddenly run out of quality diplomats to send abroad ?

With you all the way, Susan. Whether ‘that diplomat’ or other readers of PNG Attitude agree with you or not is irrelevant. You have a strong case, so stick to your line and give him more!

I do not know sufficient about the Moti case, but 6:1 from the High Court seems pretty good to me.

The Australian Federal Police have lost the way when it comes to justice. Look what they did to Fred Martens, the pilot. He has suffered enormously at their hands.

Don't hold back, Peter. And, yes, I have plenty of axes to grind.

Let's first look at the 'serious charge' to which you allude. It has been made by many people, including both sides of the Moti case - the defendant and the informant.

I have had the occasion to interview both. And it's hardly my levelling of the charge that's serious but the charge itself.

Child-sex tourism is indeed 'unspeakable' and to use this for political mileage is particularly obscene. To do so further degrades the actual victims of this abhorrent practice. How dare they?

FYI, while I am neither pro-Somare nor anti-Australian, I do believe that Julian Moti suffered an enormous miscarriage of justice and the High Court of Australia indicated their agreement last December.

Are you aware of how few cases ever actually are give leave to apply to the High Court for a permanent stay of prosecution, let alone receive one? It was a 6:1 decision

The High Court of Australia decided that the abuse of processes in the Moti case were so egregious that the Australian state forfeited its right to try. Why would the state commit such staggering abuses were there no political motive?

Moti's pursuit cost Australia millions of dollars (Operation Rouge) whereas another case of a well-known paedophile was not pursued by the AFP because the state would have needed to expend $3,000 for a flight. Unaffordable apparently.

Does this discrepancy make you think, Peter Kranz? Well it should.

There's plenty more evidence too, but Julian Moti has no need to subject himself to trial by you - nor will I do so for your morbid delectation.

I am not a public figure and therefore you have no right nor reason to know anything about me personally other than what I care to disclose.

My writing speaks for itself, agree with it or not - up to you. Analyse the message not the messenger.

I have some questions about Susan Merrells's articles, interests and motives in her recent writings [refs PNG Blogs, Solomons Star etc].

She has been obviously pro-Somare, anti-Australian and pro-Moti in her writings, and it sounds like she has some axes to grind.

I could provide chapter and verse, but Google saves the trouble.

She believes that the unspeakable act of child sex tourism has provided a smokescreen for Australia's political interference in Pacific Island and PNG politics.

So she is really accusing Australia of using child molestation accusations to further political interests. This is a serious charge.

She describes and dismisses the Moti cases in PNG and Australia as evidence of this.

I think we need to know more about her interests and affiliations.

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