By Dr George Venturini*
Testing the thesis . . . Obsession with crime and punishment (continued)
Preventive detention and ‘control orders’ are the tools of fear-inducing State power.
One such ‘control order’ was imposed for the first time in 2006 on an unfortunate Melbournian. A recent convert to Islam, he was on a visit to Afghanistan in March 2001, six months before the 11 September attacks. A person of modest means in more ways than one, including financial, after the United States invasion he decided to accept cash from an al-Qaeda-linked individual to return to Australia. Caught by Pakistani Police and held prisoner for five months from January 2003, Pakistani, American and Australian intelligence and police officials tortured him in Pakistan, using all available physical and mental abuses.
Finally released without charge, he was delivered to the Australian Federal Police.
From mid-2003 he lived in Melbourne with his wife and children, under close surveillance by police and A.S.I.O. which suddenly arrested him in late 2004 – the charge: terrorist activity; and subjected to a ‘control order’, after 18 months, just as the Howard Government was preparing a further round of ‘anti-terrorist’ legislation, including provisions for closed trials, secret witnesses and media restrictions. His ordeal would end when, after six years of persecution, in October 2008, a Victorian Supreme Court jury acquitted him of all charges.
Presumption of guilt pervades certain aspects of criminal law in Australia and is unashamedly used by governments.
The case of former Solomon Islands’ Attorney-General Julian Moti, a Fiji-born Australian subject, is the most recent illustration of such bias.
Australia carries out a neo-colonial Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands – the official name: RA.M.S.I. Julian Moti was suspected with harbouring doubt about the ‘civilising function’ of R.A.M.S.I.
Between 1997 and 1999 allegations that Moti had sexually abused a 13-year-old girl were first levelled against him in Vanuatu. The charges, however, were thrown out of court, with the magistrate describing the attempted prosecution as “unjust and oppressive” due to the absence of evidence and glaring inconsistencies and contradictions in the alleged victim’s statements. Local prosecutors did not appeal the decision and the issue was closed – until late 2004. Then the Australian High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, dredged up the allegations as a means of preventing Moti from being appointed to the position of Solomons’ Attorney-General. The subsequent Australian Federal Police investigation served as the means for removing Moti from the Solomon Islands and the destruction of his legal career throughout the South Pacific. The Howard Government’s unrelenting pursuit of Moti formed part of its provocative ‘regime change’ campaign in 2006-07 against the Solomons’ government of Manasseh Sogavare, waged to sustain R.A.M.S.I.
Moti was unlawfully removed from the Solomons on 27 December 2007, by being taken from his home, bundled onto an airplane, flown to Brisbane where he was immediately arrested at the airport by waiting A.F.P. officers. The so called ‘deportation’ proceedings went ahead in violation of a local magistrate’s court ruling specifically prohibiting Moti’s ‘deportation’. Moreover, that amounted to a violation of the Solomon’s Deportation Act, which provides for a seven-day appeal period. All this occurred following the revocation of his position as Attorney-General by a pro-Australian Government, which was installed after Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare became victim of a protracted ‘regime change’ campaign. Such removal of Moti was nothing more than a ‘disguised extradition’ and not a deportation as the prosecution claimed before the Queensland Supreme Court, where Moti was standing trial – again – this time under the Australian child sex tourism laws. That such charge had been dismissed in Vanuatu a decade before counted for naught. As it turned out the A.F.P. and the Director of Public Prosecutions violated Moti’s basic legal rights by withholding vital documents. His right to liberty was breached, his civil rights were breached, the rule of law was breached, he was illegally seized and taken to Australia, before he could lodge an appeal against the ‘deportation’, and the Australia Government was a knowing party to all of that.
Moti lost the case. He appealed and lost again.
At mid-April 2011 the High Court of Australia was called upon to consider whether the government turned a blind eye to the illegal rendition of Moti in 2007. The Court had granted special leave to hear the case and would also examine whether the payment of near AU$150,000 to the alleged victim and her family brought the administration of justice into disrepute. In fact, in February 2008 – under the new Rudd/Gillard ‘Labor’ Government – the Australian police began paying monthly sums of AU$1,290 to the alleged victim’s brother, AU$480 to her father, and AU$2,475 to her mother. These payments were made while the family continued to live as usually in Vanuatu, where the minimum monthly wage was just AU$240. According to a November 2010 article in the Melbourne Age, “payments to the complainant and her family had reached at least AU$300,000 – double what was revealed in court in 2009.”
From the defence, the Court heard that “Australian authorities assisted [Moti’s] unlawful rendition to Australia”, by handing his new passport to Solomon Islands police, arranging his arrest in Brisbane and paying accommodation for the Solomon Islanders who escorted him.” The defence also said that “[the A.F.P. agent] knew the deportation was unlawful.” The Court was also told that the “Australian ‘witness assistance’ payments to the alleged victim may have been an abuse of process.” Further, the defence submitted that “The right-thinking person would correctly perceive a link between the political genesis of the prosecution, the means by which [Moti] was brought to the jurisdiction, and the extraordinary payments being made to keep the prosecution on foot.”
The Australian Government’s plan suffered a contretemps towards the end of March 2011 when the father of the victim confessed on his death-bed that his daughter had ulterior motives when she first accused Moti in 1997-98. And the motive? The 13-year-old girl, according to the father, had levelled the rape allegations against Moti to try to prevent the family, who are all Tahitian nationals, from being deported from Vanuatu for violating visa conditions. The father accused the Australian Federal Police of threatening his family – “if we did not cooperate it would go against us.” As a result, “fear was in the house.” Nevertheless the A.F.P. offered inducements. He apologised to Julian Moti and his family, with whom he had been friends, declaring that neither he nor his wife would continue to cooperate with the attempted prosecution of Moti.
At the end of such revealing confession, the girl’s father said: “We have all been battered by all this. … The people who have pressed the button to start all this [were to blame].” And he pointed the finger towards the Australian Government at the time.
On 15 December 2009 Justice Debbie Mullins of the Queensland Supreme Court ruled that there had been an abuse of process and stayed the indictment against Moti. She held that “questions about the integrity of the administration of the Australian justice system [arise] when witnesses who live in a foreign country, expected to be fully supported by the Australian Government until they gave evidence at the trial in Australia.”
On 7 December 2011 the High Court of Australia ordered a stay of charges, ruling that Australian officials’ participation in Moti’s extradition from the Solomons had been unlawful under Solomon Islands law. Summarising its ruling, the court said: “Further prosecution of the charges would be an abuse of process because of the role that Australian officials in Mr Moti being deported to Australia.” This was a permanent stay of prosecution putting an end to all court proceedings against Moti. Mr. Manasseh Sogavare stated, in response to the ruling: “I am so pleased. This matter has hung like a dark cloud over me and my government. This decision has vindicated me.” On 12 June 2012 Mr. Moti announced that he would have sued the government.
Mr. Moti regained his Fijian citizenship in 2012. He was admitted as a legal practitioner in Fiji in June 2013. In September 2013 he was appointed Professor of Law at the University of Fiji.
Moti’s tribulations had begun under the Howard Government; they would continue under the Rudd/Gillard Government. Names might have changed, Australia’s ruthless neo-colonial interventions through the Southwest Pacific continue.
Yet, there is much fracas about ‘multiculturalism’ – a wonderful goal gone sour because people of scarce appreciation for culture can hardly be serious about multi-culture. In the hand of skilful manipulators multiculturalism risks becoming a form of populist cretinism manoeuvred by Government Philistinism for electoral purposes. Most every thinking person realises it. In reality, one should pay attention to some ‘necessary associations’ between ‘Middle Eastern thugs’, organised crime’, and drug trafficking.’
Members of what Galbraith called ‘the contented class’, John Howard’s ‘comfortable and relaxed’ kleptocracy, would not ‘inside trade’, of course, nor ‘consume’ other than for purpose of entertainment! Ça va sans dire!
Tomorrow: Testing the thesis (continued) . . . Rampant cronyism and corruption
* In memory of my friends, Professor Bertram Gross and Justice Lionel Murphy.
Dr. Venturino Giorgio Venturini devoted some sixty years to study, practice, teach, write and administer law at different places in four continents. In 1975 he left a law chair in Chicago to join the Trade Practices Commission in Canberra. He may be reached at George.Venturini@bigpond.com.au.
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