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Navy not above suspicion

In the cult movie, “The Blues Brothers” there is a car chase; possibly the best car chase ever filmed. Such is the chaos being wrought by Jake and Elwood Blues on the freeways leading into Chicago that just about every police car in the force is out on the road determined to capture them. At a critical point in the chase and with the reputation of the force on the line, the officer in the radio room issues the instruction, “The use of unnecessary force has been approved.”

When the first of the allegations of cruelty by Australian naval personnel against asylum seekers was reported by the ABC, I was sceptical. That is not what we do, I thought. That can’t be true. But subsequent to those alleged New Year’s Day events, a claim surfaced that there existed within the Navy a group linked to the Australian Defence League, an online racist group opposed to Muslim immigration into Australia. The Navy is currently investigating one of its members who posted a comment on a friend’s Facebook page stating: “I’m about to head out today to deal with these f—ers.” This was first reported by Bianca Hill in The Age on 26th January.

Then came Michael Bachelard’s article in the Age and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers on February 6th and the interview with Yousif Ibrahim Fasher in Indonesia, which gave credibility to the allegation that Navy personnel had mistreated asylum seekers. That article reignited this shadowy matter and gave more weight to the ABC’s original story.

Let us put the claims by Fasher, who continues to allege that Navy personnel forced some asylum seekers to put their hands on hot pipes to one side for the moment and look more closely at something else he claimed. Fasher has stated that on the last two nights of the tow back, the two Australian Navy Vessels turned their lights off. Fasher’s claim is corroborated by Abdullah Ahmed, from Eritrea who was also on the same boat. An Australian Navy source has since told Bachelard this would never happen, that it is against maritime law. Indeed it is! But two men were astute enough to notice that it did. So why would a naval vessel turn its lights off at night unless, as in wartime, it did not want to be detected? If it did not want to be detected, then it is reasonable to surmise it was probably sailing in Indonesian waters and knew so at the time.

When one puts these instances together and places them alongside some of the quite heartless actions of Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, a conspiracy theory develops; one that could be interpreted by some as suggesting a culture exists within naval communications vaguely reminiscent of that scene from ‘The Blues Brothers”. The release of footage taken from an orange boat seemingly being towed by a naval vessel released by the ABC on 7th February reinforces that view.

Secretly, the Abbott government knows it is in trouble. It knows it is vulnerable on the issue of naval engagement with asylum seekers so what does it do? It tries to divert attention by focusing on the unions where it believes Labor is vulnerable. It announces a Royal Commission into Union corruption.

A recent survey suggested that 60% of Australians think our government should be tougher on asylum seekers arriving by boat. This survey, if accurate, would give government plenty of incentive to accelerate its push back policies without the need to deflect attention. If it had nothing to be concerned about, why try to create a diversion?

Defence Minister David Johnston’s dribble about Navy personnel being maliciously maligned and his call for an investigation into the ABC was melodramatic to say the least. His claim that he had initially stayed silent because he was so angry is the stuff of soap operas. History is littered with examples of abuse being committed by those deemed above suspicion, e.g. the Catholic Church, the Salvation Army, the Police; so why not our Defence forces, and specifically the Navy?

One thing politicians never seem to learn is that cover-ups are always uncovered sooner or later. Whatever is going on inside the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and its communications with naval vessels patrolling the Timor Sea, the truth will eventually come out. Officer cadets training in our Defence Forces have already been shown up behaving abusively towards their own at Duntroon, therefore is it reasonable to think that within such a culture some Australian Navy personnel could wantonly inflict burns on asylum seekers? I think yes. Sooner or later, a whistle-blower will step up and blow this story out of the water. Nothing stays hidden forever. Let us not forget the disgraceful ‘children overboard’ affair.

What we are witnessing here is a classic re-run of deception and denial so prevalent during the term of the Howard government. It constitutes illegal use of our defence forces for the purposes of political gain. That they have the temerity to announce a Royal Commission into the Trade Unions to deflect attention is not only an abuse of the democratic process but a callous confirmation that they will do anything and say anything to remain in power.

These pathetic suggestions by government members that we are somehow unpatriotic if we dare call into question the integrity of our Navy personnel is so cowardly. These people who, by placing the burden of their own decisions on others to carry out, are the real cowards. They are the disloyal ones; disloyal to the oath they swear when appointed to office.

An independent inquiry is needed to determine what happened on New Year’s Day, but don’t hold your breath waiting. Meanwhile, the Navy is no more above suspicion than the politicians who command them.

 

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68 comments

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  1. John Kelly

    Reblogged this on THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN and commented:

    An independent inquiry is needed to determine what happened on New Year’s Day, but don’t hold your breath waiting. Meanwhile, the Navy is no more above suspicion than the politicians who command them.

  2. Tracie

    I will never point the finger directly at the Navy for what is being done to the asylum seekers. Responsibility of the atrocities will always go to this government. I agree with everything written in this article. It makes more sense than any explanation given by the government.

  3. Tracie

    All allowed by the upper echelons. I think the assault took place too, but under the watch of the government. The buck must stop with someone.

  4. uknowispeaksense

    If they can treat their own so badly, they can certainly do so to asylum seekers. After all….they aren’t “even Australian”.

  5. Dissenter

    Yes We do have to accept that it is possible that these alleged abuses took place.
    But isn’t the CONSIDERING of them NOT just MUDDYING the waters?

    WE Australians have ALLOWED SPEW VIEWS from SHOCK JOCKS to IMPACT on our national psyche and NOW we have RACIST activities TAKING PLACE in our names.

    ASYLUM seekers have every right to seek asylum and IT IS WE who are contravening THEIR RIGHTS.

    I suggest if they were from the UK or IRELAND then this treatment would not be happening.
    BUT THEY ARE FROM ….MUSLIM countries….or are Tamil or…not CHRISTIAN so it is OK THEN to treat THEM in this barbaric way.
    I have read the comments on the Guardian. They are talking about WELFARE savings and costs to government.

    WAIT A MINUTE… all of the migrants who came here after WW1 and WW11 were given assistance. They were housed in migrant hostels and fed and clothed and received SOCIAL SECURITY benefits too.
    THESE PEOPLE and their children amount to a huge proportion of Australia’s population now.

    SO WHERE IS THIS HATE COMING FROM???? EVERYONE ONE OF US NEEDS to think before we EVEN OPEN our mouths about Costs,drownings,etc and REMEMBER that …………..
    TONY ABBOTT and JULIA GILLARD and thousands others arrived HERE BY BOAT and were provided with SOCIAL SECURITY benefits to set up their lives here.( their parents at least and most likely a huge number of politicians on each side including Tanya Plibersek, yet this policy was FRAMED by them IN OUR NAME). DISGUSTING.

    THIS POLICY and the CONCENTRATION CAMPS are nothing BUT AN EXPRESSION OF RACISM. NOTHING ELSE. We should be ashamed. VERY ASHAMED.

  6. mars08

    Tracie: “I will never point the finger directly at the Navy for what is being done to the asylum seekers. Responsibility of the atrocities will always go to this government. ”

    So, just being “good Germans” then? Sorry, but the individual is as responsible as the system. And witnesses have a duty to report any misbehaviour.

    I don’t claim to know what ill-treatment (if anything) has been suffered by the asylum seekers, but an open investigation would be nice. After all, if you have done nothing wrong etc etc….

  7. Fed up

    Qantas will get government assistance. They are willing to take on the unions.

  8. Tracie

    I understand what you are saying, but after the Holocaust the leaders were committed for trial, not the ones obeying their instructions. Otherwise, there would have been nothing of Germany left, including my friend who – as a child – joined the Hitler youth. He had soon found out that it would have been to his detriment, so became less prominent.

    I would love a full investigation, but with this government I doubt it will occur.

  9. Kate Rose

    Fast forward twenty, thirty, fifty years and the photos of Nauru and Manus Island are shown – pregnant women, children, sewn lips, burnt hands, rooftop sit downs, et al.

    And you can imagine what we are not seeing or hearing.

    Stories will be told after they are ‘freed’ and time passes. The truth will out it always does eventually.

    Our children will be ashamed and shake our heads and say ‘how did this happen’?

    I am making sure that I will be able to tell my grandchildren that I did my best to try and right this wrong. But I couldn’t do much.

    My heart bleeds. I despair.

  10. Dissenter

    On the point of” illegal use of our defence forces for political gain”. YES and this is the legitimising of themselves WITH THE AUTHORITY of the defence forces too.
    Now we will also have a find Australian defence force ex general as our Governor General.
    Again this is legitimising themselves and their USE of the Defence forces for POLITICAL purpose and THERE WILL BE MORE.
    THIS IS a government which is MAXIMISING ITS ENTRENCHMENT in government in EVERY WAY possible.

  11. lawriejay

    Defence Minister David Johnston’s dribble about Navy personnel being maliciously maligned and his call for an investigation into the ABC was melodramatic to say the least??

    A quick Google check of Naval behaviour becoming of officers and gentlemen reinforces Davey Johnston’s view that personnel are being ‘maliciously maligned’ by the ABC.
    In May 2009, while HMAS Success was on exercise in South-East Asia, the ship’s Commanding Officer was alerted to an alleged sex gambling game aboard, which challenged male sailors to record their sexual activities with female sailors in a ‘ledger’, and awarded them prize money based on who or where they had sex.

    HMAS Ballarat embroiled in claims of hazing ritual sexual assaults; Navy says allegations ‘serious’ but won’t comment on specifics.

    Rape claim hits scandal-prone Australian Navy Australia’s scandal-prone Armed Forces have been hit by fresh allegations of sexual misconduct after a young female sailor accused a colleague of rape.

    Navy recruit says instructor forced her to have sex, harassed Tormenter remains in forces as navy recruit’s career lies in tatters.

    I THINK IT IS JUST POSSIBLE THAT THE ASSULT OF ASYLUM SEEKERS DID TAKE PLACE.

    I am a loyal Australian.

  12. rossleighbrisbane

    Of course there’s an obvious point here and that is that inquiries can clear people as well as condemn them. To take the line that we’ll have no inquiry because that’s just insulting to the navy and we should just trust them is ridiculous when you apply it to any other area.
    “We won’t be investigating this because it would be insulting to suggest that a policeman would take bribes” or “That person is a doctor who has taken an oath, there’s no way we should allow a coroner to examine the cause of death of his patient.”
    And we’d roll on the floor laughing if anybody suggested that a Member of Parliament would misuse funds in any way and to audit their expenses is tantamount to accusing them of being no better than a criminal!
    Accusations often need to be investigated in order to demonstrate innocence, and to remove the innuendo hanging over the accused.

  13. Terry2

    Of course this incident requires an impartial investigation, the ABC merely did its job in reporting the ‘allegations’.

    I had never heard of David Johnston before and I don’t expect to hear from him again: I think you will find that Peta has put him back in his box. Totally alarming that this man is our Defence Minister.

  14. Hotspringer

    People in uniform are trained to do as they are told. In every country, every time, everywhere. You do not join the Australian Defence Forces unless you want to go and kill people who did you or your country no harm.

  15. Pat.G

    The Navy vessel turned its lights off? Which lights exactly, upper deck lights? Flood lights? This isn’t an offence and Warships, with exception to their Navigational Lighting, always have upper deck lighting OFF at night unless they are conducting exercises which require it on.
    Had they turned their navigation lights off, then there could be some questions asked. However, nav lights are a VISIBLE indicator to nearby ships to inform them of A. Your position, B. Your direction and speed, C. wether you are anchored or towing another vessel!
    If these Aussie warships wished to HIDE by turning off their Nav lights, their Captains should be relieved of their Commands, as they had obviously forgotten that Radar does not need visible light to See you at night!

  16. OzFenric

    I understand that it’s difficult to spot a boat on water using radar (depending on the size of the boat). Besides, turning your lights off is not about radar. It’s to prevent detection by civilians on land who would most certainly be commenting publicly if they saw an Australian warship within eyeshot of the Indonesian shore.

    The suggestions that the navy returned asylum boats well within Indonesian territorial waters is given further weight by the changes made to navy workplace safety protections and obligations applied to them. Personnel are being given leeway to take actions that under peacetime conditions would be illegal. I have not seen the text of the changes that were implemented in December, but I would not be surprised to find that individual personnel cannot be charged for offenses relating to intruding on another sovereignty’s waters.

    The suggestions are weakened by the fact that nobody from the navy has blown the whistle on the practice. If this kind of mistreatment were common, or if towing boats back within sight of shore was now happening regularly, you might expect at least one or two decent sailors to say something off the record. (Bearing in mind that they would need to be on shore leave and most likely in fear of losing their rank/job). Caution is required here on all sides, as we run the risk of becoming conspiracy theorists on a par with the 9-11ers. What is more likely: that a few miscreants are lying for personal gain, or that hundreds of honest navy personnel are engaged in a vast conspiracy?

    Too early to tell but at the moment the argument is tending towards the navy, I’m afraid.

  17. Samyasin

    A naval officer tried to run me down after he drove into the back of my sisters car. We got out to get his details which he refused to provide, but he had a naval uniform on with his name tag on. I made a note of his name and was walking around to get back in the car when he drove into me from behind. I was scooped up on the bonnet and rolled off as he did not slow down or stop. This man escaped any conviction as it was deemed that the punishment from the navy was enough. I understood that soon after that he became the captain of a ship.
    The man obviously had difficulty making reasonable and rational decisions when i encountered him, i fear for those affected by the decisions that he makes as captain of a large naval vessel. The idea that naval personel are beyond reproach is simply ridiculous.

  18. Kaye Lee

    “Do you believe Australian naval personnel or do you believe people who were attempting to break Australian law?” – Tony Abbott

    “who do you believe….someone who breaks australian law, or someone who breaks international law” – Shaun Micallef

  19. Fed up

    No attention was given to the migration bill passed yesterday, with the OK from Labor. A disgrace on the part of Labor.

    Refugees lose more rights. Any negative assessment, means immediate deportation. No dissent entered into.

  20. Kaye Lee

    Having read what Fasher said when interviewed, this alleged abuse involved only a few naval personnel who were on the asylum seekers boat. It is possible that those on the Navy boat were unaware of what had happened. I cannot see what his motive would be for lying and I am astonished that no-one from our government or armed forces have even interviewed him.

    It seems damn obvious to me that an investigation must be made to clear our naval personnel or to possibly identify a couple of sailors who may have done the wrong thing. I know several people serving in the Navy who would be as horrified as we are by these allegations. Surely we owe it to them to clear their names.

  21. aussiegreenie

    When the beginnings of secrecy from Our Tony (I do not refer to him as he PM as he has not earned this respect by his lying to Australian voters) towards the ‘co-called Illegals` showed how they began `de-humanising’ the people claiming asylum. Inferring them as illegal, queue-jumpers, economic refugees, etc. So we as Aust would not have compassion, or feel sympathy for them.. thus when their harsh processes would br more palatteable for us.

    It’s what Howard did to Hicks and Hannef when they deliberately slurred and criticised them.

    This ‘feelings and psychy’. (spelling??) filter down through defence forces and Australian people to allow them to carry out these autricities easier.

    I am not going to let Our Tony do this in MY name or my ‘blessing’, either through apathy or willingly.

    He is below comtempt and so is Mr Morriscum who is implementing this heartless and sick policy. Who else is happy to let this haopen in their name…?

  22. David Linehan

    Good synopsis. Sadly it appears the party I belong to and support Labor, has decided apart from calling for an enquiry has shut up shop and decide to ‘play it safe’ and have two bob each way. Supporting defense force and Immigration Dept personnel on one hand, not prepared to admit where there is smoke there is fire on the other, hinting an enquiry may uncover something.
    I can understand given the ALP performance on Asylum Seekers when in Govt, while far superior in many aspects to this current fascist regime, they hardly covered themselves in humanitarian glory. So they are treading lightly on the present deplorable situation.
    Yet again it appears those advising the Opposition are pushing the don’t rock the boat approach, in the main. advice being accepted. How many times has gentle leadership filtered down through the rank and file and kept Labor in Opposition when everything pointed to winning. Certainly not Whitlam, Hawke or PJK. However Crean, Beasley readily come to mind as two.

  23. bjkelly1958

    I concur with another poster that responsibility goes to the individual. Greater culpability goes to their supervisors, if the knew about it and did nothing. With a number of Defence Force members as also being members of the Australian Defence League, it is alarmingly possible.
    It there was any more proof required that the Government is engaged in a political witch-hunt against the ABC, then the Defence Minister, wound up and briefed by Peta Credlin, again calling for an enquiry into our national broadcaster must satisfy that requirement. The Fairfax Media has been at the forefront of this story. They have broken more new chapters than anyone else but there is no concerted cry for an enquiry into them.

  24. Stephen Tardrew

    I spent seven years working with service veterans and some of the stories would shock many here. Yes shit does happen and these guys are trained to kill. Not only that they are trained to have extremely heightened autonomic responses and to follow orders. Bad shit happens in action when servicemen are hyper vigilant and hyper reactive.

    Now the idea that a sophisticated navy like the Australian Navy would ever mistakenly breech the border of another country is just plain ridiculous and insulting. Ever heard of GPS. Furthermore these ships have incredibly sophisticated technical capabilities. In fact I am certain many servicemen, servicewomen and veterans would be absolutely appalled that anyone would suggest that they would make such a ridiculous error.

    Innocence or guilt is not relevant until there has been an inquiry and, like it or not, it will be internal and you will hear and see nothing.

    Political interference does not go down well with many service personnel however they cannot express their reservations.

  25. Kaye Lee

    One wonders why the government moved to change the rules after these allegations surfaced. Could the lack of an inquiry be because the actions of individuals are now the responsibility of our government?

    “SARAH DINGLE: The Immigration Minister Scott Morrison also confirmed that no Navy personnel bear personal responsibility for what may happen in the course of Operation Sovereign Borders.

    Reports this morning say changes to the workplace safety laws mean that sailors are no longer obliged to take “reasonable care” to ensure the safety of asylum seekers, similar to being at war.

    SCOTT MORRISON: What it does is protect the individual officers from any liability; the liability rests with the Government.

    JULIAN BURNSIDE: It will tend to make service personnel a little less diligent about how they treat asylum seeker boats, because they know that they won’t be personally responsible. I would have thought it was a useful discipline for people to know they may be liable for the consequences of what they do.

    REPORTER: Some of the asylum seekers claimed that they were roughed up, or in a couple of cases they claimed that their arms were held against hot engine parts by Australian personnel. Now there was a strong rebuttal of that from the Chief of Defence Force, but have those allegations been specifically investigated?

    ANGUS CAMPBELL: They have been looked into internal to our operational arrangements, and I just ask that you might reflect on the question, what might be the motivation behind those sorts of claims?

    SARAH DINGLE: The Commander said that that internal investigation didn’t involve speaking to the complainants.

    ANGUS CAMPBELL: In this particular case, no it did not.

    SARAH DINGLE: There will also be no comment on reports of protests involving self harm or even suicide by asylum seekers in detention,

    This, says Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, is to stop copycat events.

    JULIAN BURNSIDE: I think it’s complete bullshit. First of all because people in detention centres don’t have ready access to daily news reports, so it’s unlikely that news reports would have anything to do with copycat events. Second, because self harm attempts and suicide attempts in detention centres are a characteristic sign that people are being driven to hopelessness and despair, and what Morrison wants is precisely that, he wants them to be driven to despair so that they will abandon their claim for protection.

    SARAH DINGLE: In fact, the Department of Health’s guidelines on the reporting of suicide changed in 2011.

    They now allow for reporting of suicide and self harm, provided that it’s not sensationalised and encourages people to seek help if they need it.”

  26. diannaart

    When I was a very little child, I asked my father, a war vet, if he was a hero. He replied “to be a hero, you have to be seen being a hero, otherwise no one will know”.

    I’m guessing similar applies to bad behaviour – we are fooling ourselves if we think no one in the armed forces ever behaves less than perfectly at all times. Whatever happened to the asylum seekers who were returned to Indonesia with burns on their hands was not observed by any who could be considered impartial. We may never know the full truth. All we have is:

    1. Two statements by 2 individual asylum seekers (not known to each other).

    2. Evidence of burnt hands.

    3. No available comment from Navy for “operational reasons”.

    4. A government exceedingly critical of media, singling out ABC although allegations were simultaneously reported by SBS, Fairfax and the Guardian.

    The truth will probably eventually out itself – too late for any appropriate action to be taken.

    ————————————————————————————

    @ Kaye Lee

    Watched Shaun Micallef last night also – a much needed antidote to the B/S served up to the public by vested interests.

  27. Brian

    With the antics that have been known to occur at the ADF and the army and navy personnel who’ve been disciplined or dismissed as a result of misconduct I find it pretty rich for the Minister of Defence ( who ever he is. Don’t think I’ve seen his mug before. Must have been operating undercover, so the bad guys don’t know what he’s up to ), to be claiming they’re all saintly souls operating for the good of humanity and the ABC are a bunch of bastards for daring to suggest or rather report the possibility that all may not be well with “Operation Sovereign Borders”. One would always like to believe the best of them and for them when detailed to do these unpleasant tasks but don’t feed me this guff that none of them would ever do any wrong. History quite clearly shows it aint so.

  28. Rod Bakes

    Abetz, has exonerated border protection personell of any liability in the course of their duty ,Why would he do that ,I wonder .So much for an open & accountable government ,We are being fed to the wolves on every front imaginable !! They must be stopped !!

  29. David Linehan

    “government moved to change the rules after the allegations surfaced.” No point relying on Opposition to follow that up. They have become as mutes over the whole disgraceful affair. Seems will have to rely on the Greens to keep asking questions

  30. Bernard Macdougall

    In 1979-80, when many thousands of boat people were leaving Vietnam, I spent about 14 months in an around Singapore, observing the great exodus as best I could.

    In particular I recall a sailor on one of the many oil-rig supply vessels saying that many of them had made trips that would never be recorded in the log, surreptitiously towing boats towards coastlines, in the hope that the refugees would make it to land. Naturally they would have wanted to avoid interception by navies or coastguards.

    The international political situation was such that for humanitarians, as I like to think most mariners are, there was no realistic alternative. All countries in the region made the landing of boat people extremely difficult or impossible.

    During that period the steamship Akuna (originally HMAS Gladstone) operated out of Singapore as a mercy ship. This was her favoured method of getting boat people ashore (mainly in Indonesia).

    In January 1980, in the Gulf of Thailand, I was aboard Akuna when she picked up a boatload of Vietnamese people who had been attacked 5 times by Thai pirates.

    We headed for the Thai coast, hoping to get as close to land as possible, under cover of darkness, and to leave again as rapidly as possible.

    The Vietnamese boat proved to be so badly leaking and unseaworthy, however, and the refugees showed such great distress, when they were again loaded into it, that the commodore in charge of the Akuna most reluctantly changed his mind and allowed them back on board the ship.

    The ship’s agents requested Thai authorities to allow the Akuna to enter the port of Songkhla “for boiler repairs.” The additional passengers were not mentioned.

    Luckily the Akuna was allowed to enter Songkhla harbour and eventually the boat people were allowed to land and enter a refugee camp. Many months later they were resettled in Canada and the United States where some have become prominent citizens. One, a boy of 14 dressed in rags, has become a lawyer in private practice in Toronto and author of a massive history of the Vietnamese boat people.

  31. David Linehan

    Thanks Bernard, some light among the gloom

  32. Mitch

    I always struggle to understand how conspiracy theorists connect the dots to find the “hidden truth” but I think in this instance what you are attempting to demonstrate is quite clear. The ABC allowed itself to be portrayed as nothing but a tabloid media outlet with a report on alleged abuse of asylum seekers, whose only basis of credibility was that Indonesian police were going to look into the matter. My neighbor threw a rock at my house yesterday (maybe not) and police are going to look into it, but lets just prosecute those pesky neighbors of mine as I have made a statement so it clearly must be true. We don’t need any evidence of course, that’ll be too hard to find and will take far too long. How noble for our national broadcaster to conduct its business in such a manner, looking for an easy headline as opposed to doing their job. Actual reporting, you know facts and the like. But wait, the uproar over the undoubtedly left leaning ABC is an affront to democracy and how dare they challenge the “national broadcaster” to do their job. Actual reporting, you know facts and the like and how dare someone request for this reporting to be balanced. I am certainly glad my tax paying dollars are allocated to fund tabloid media, now I can cancel my subscription to new idea.
    But clearly this must be a smoke screen so evil Tony Abbott and his gang of crooks can look to put the union movement under the microscope. Even though this movement is a pillar of our community and in no way would it ever conduct itself in a manner that might be deemed less than moral. Labor MPs with former union ties on trial for misuse of union funds. Links between CFMEU and organised crime, even union officials have piped up saying there is “widespread corruption, standover tactics and even organised crime penetration”. I would have thought in light of this some form of enquiry might be warranted, you know to find the facts and the like. But no this is obviously a ploy so Abbott and co can sink us into to fascism. Did you know Hitler and Abbott have weekly phone conversations?
    Don’t even get me started on our defense forces, in case you forgot they are the ones who forced the asylum seekers to hold on to burning pipes for a laugh. I don’t care that these people sign up to defend our country they burnt those asylum seekers the ABC told me so. Bastards! Maybe in Abbotts quest to embrace fascism he’ll bring back death sentences so these nasty navel kids can be brought to justice. Oh wait I think I may have read somewhere that the ABC admitted to getting it wrong. Bugger it we’ll just shoot them anyways as there are plenty of bad seeds in the defense force and I am sure at least some of them deserve it. But again who needs facts when we have websites like THEAIMN.

  33. Matters not.

    Spot on Mitch, you can’t have an inquiry into something that didn’t happen.

    But hang on, how do we know it didn’t happen? Oh I forgot. Because those officials said it didn’t happen.

    And as everyone knows you can’t have an inquiry into something that didn’t happen. You can’t investigate an incident or even multiple incidents that never occurred. It just defies logic. Doesn’t it?

    Now sing after me : “There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza, There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole. .. “

  34. Matters not.

    As for those ‘navel’ kids.

  35. john921fraser

    <

    @Mitch

    Looks like you got lost on the way to the evangelical extreme right wing forum.

    But not to worry, your comment will be printed here (even though you provide no Links).

    But then again who needs "facts" when we have people "like: you.

    🙂

  36. john921fraser

    <

    @Mitch

    Try these Links :

    http://www.defence.gov.au/Publications/HotIssueBriefs/Docs/HIB001092.pdf

    http://www.defence.gov.au/Publications/HotIssueBriefs/Docs/HIB001035.pdf

    http://www.defence.gov.au/Publications/HotIssueBriefs/Docs/HIB001033.pdf

    http://www.defence.gov.au/Publications/HotIssueBriefs/Docs/HIB001029.pdf

    Now the name of the article published in THE AIMN is …. "Navy not above suspicion".

    These Links are straight from the horses mouth …. do you believe them ?

    Do you believe that they should have been investigated ?

    Who do you think should have investigated them ?

    Perhaps the ABC …… after all that is one of the reasons why taxpayers pay them.

  37. John Kelly

    Mitch, I’m a former infantry soldier of the 1960’s. Even though I never served in Vietnam where many of my friends were sent, I was scorned upon when in uniform by some of the public, some of the time. I took it on the shoulder and didn’t let it bother me. Servicemen and women today will handle criticism the same way. They are not the target. But that does not hide the fact that those with evil intentions are in every walk of life, including the Defence forces, now as they were then. No one is above suspicion of anything and only cowards will try to assert otherwise.

  38. Kaye Lee

    I am wondering how Mitch expects the ABC to determine the “facts” as they were not there. Were YOU there Mitch? You seem to be very certain that these allegations are unfounded. As for evidence, we have all seen the burns, we have all heard the allegations put forward by an eyewitness and corroborated by others who WERE there. They could be lying. I certainly hope they are which is why I would like to see an independent investigation to clear the naval personnel from any doubt. The fact that they refuse to do this is most concerning. I seem to remember the head of the ADF expressing the noble sentiment

    “The standard we walk past is the standard we accept”

    Keep on walking past Mitch….nothing to see here.

  39. Fed up

    I worked in the Public Service for years.

    Believe me, every complaint, no matter how small, had to be investigated.

    Cannot number the number of Ministrials that landed on one’s desk.

    What Morrison and Abbott’s

    If there is anything of concern, the inquiries will be followed by more formal action.
    That is all they had to say. Is what they should have said.

    Why did they not do this.

    Naval and custom officers involved, would have taken this as normal, not an insult to the navy.

    It is the secrecy and not following normal procedures that has led to the government’s problem., Yes, they bought it for themselves.

  40. mars08

    Eight months ago…

    “Male Defence Force recruits performed sexual acts on each other as an initiation ritual in a Canberra nightclub in the latest military scandal that has led to seven suspensions.

    Just a week after the Army revealed the ”Jedi Council” sex email affair, Defence announced on Friday that about 20 young male cadets and midshipmen had engaged in ”serious misconduct” in an incident last weekend.

    Fairfax Media believes that the incident happened in a Canberra nightclub and involved drunken sexual acts performed by men on other men’s genitals.

    The recruits were from the Australian Defence Force Academy, the Canberra miliary training institution that was also the site of the notorious 2011 ”Skype affair”.
    Advertisement

    The ”hazing”, or initiation ritual, appears to have involved members of the ADFA rugby club…”

    Mitch: “…these people sign up to defend our country” Yes, I’m sure they do. Every single one of them signs up with their sole motivation being to “defend our country”. Goodo.

    Sorta like all senior union officials rising to that position only to protect the rights of their members. Right?

  41. Stephen Tardrew

    Look crap happens everywhere. There are no perfect institutions. All I think is being asked for is a bit of honesty and transparency. This fear of the truth is just silly when it causes so much conflict and confusion. Set up the appropriate review committees, follow policies and procedures and Bob’s your uncle. Democracies should not vilify peoples aberrant behavior for life all that is expected is a little accountability. Why the hell is that so hard.

  42. Fed up

    A proper conducted investigation also clears those accused.

    Same could result for those Abbott is after with his numerous judicial and royal commissions.

    Maybe Ms, Gillard will welcome such an action.

  43. scotchmistery

    @Mitch – well pet I guess we know which way your vote went at the last clusterF (sorry – election).

    Now since you have no idea at all about much at all, can you pop in and ask Peta what you should have said, and if you can’t find the assistant prime minister, go all out and ask Kwistoffer Pyne or even better, George Pell’s darling boiled lolly sucking, bicycle riding sweety.

    And as noted by someone else, the link you need is http://www.raptureforums.com/forum/apostasy-local-church/74287-hillsong.html

  44. Peter Hamrol

    Conduct an in-depth independent and honest inquiry (so that there’s no secrecy) into this allegation would be the most sensible action to handle this matter … And before any judgement is handed down we must treat the NAVY as being innocent of any wrongdoing until proven otherwise …

  45. doctorrob54

    Independent and honest inquiry.Until then innocent of any wrongdoing.With that being the case do you think they will hurry for an enquiry.Innocent or guilty we will never know.They can’t even tell the truth regarding the refugees,do you really expect them to convict the clean up squad after telling them to do what it takes.
    Gotta understand it’s a hard and stressful job.Sometimes some of the lads might get a bit excited.No what I mean.

  46. revolutionarycitizen

    It is not incumbent upon the Royal Australian Navy to prove their innocence, it is incumbent upon their accusers and their enablers to prove their guilt, which they haven’t done, and no-matter how many times you repeat the allegation the fact remains, there is not on scintilla of proof…

  47. doctorrob54

    Facts,the boat was dragged around for two/three days,sever burnt hands was not sunburn,and statements were made.How do you suggest they get to question the sailors.What’s GMF is that you morons think we are at WAR.Well we are not.We have reached lowest common denominator,and broken humanitarian standards in our treatment of refugees.This gangrenous boil started with Howard,and with the aid of much media and both parties continued to grow.And now,with Abbott,Howards adopted Son the boil is getting bigger.still.

  48. revolutionarycitizen

    I think you need to go back and see what people like Whitlam said about the Vietnamese, mandatory detention began under Keating I believe. In-fact the “White Australia Policy” began under the ALP, and as we now know anti-Semitism is festering within the ranks of the ALP still…

    The very fact that people are ignoring the fact that it is a well documented practice of Indonesian boat crews to destroy/disable/dismantle the engines in their boats to ensure they’re “rescued” by the Australian authorities is telling.

    This story was and always has been just an excuse to smear the RAN by those who are ideologically opposed to the government’s policy.

  49. SmeeHere

    t is not incumbent upon the Royal Australian Navy to prove their innocence, it is incumbent upon their accusers and their enablers to prove their guilt, which they haven’t done, and no-matter how many times you repeat the allegation the fact remains, there is not on scintilla of proof…

    RC you are 100% absolutely correct. When a citizen is accused of a crime the police conduct an investigation and then if they believe there is enough evidence they proceed to trial to test the evidence.
    Now you may have missed it but the key word here is not innocence or guilt or patriotism, it is INVESTIGATION. Let me say that again for you slowly IN -VES-TI-GA-TION. Do you now understand what people are asking for?

  50. revolutionarycitizen

    And that investigation must begin with the accusers.

    Not to simply take the rumour, run it up the flag-pole as a smear before even performing even the basic veracity checks.

    The Royal Australian Navy have a rigorous internal investigation process (as do all branches of the ADF) which has no obligation to comply with any external request by the same media who smeared them in the first instance.

  51. SmeeHere

    RC
    “And that investigation must begin with the accusers.”

    You really are a cretin. let me say it in simpler terms for you. If some one robs my house, i make a COMPLAINT to the POLICE. Who then INVESTIGATE.

    The asylum seekers made a COMPLAINT to the POLICE. Who then let the Australian Government know. They should then have the appropriate Australian authorities INVESTIGATE. Forget about the media, any INVESTIGATION should be in public so as to clear the Navy if they are found innocent.

    Can you understand the process now? Why would anyone NOT want an INVESTIGATION is really incomprehensible. If there is nothing to hide why be frightened?

  52. Terry2

    The navy and customs have carried out an investigation on the naval incursions into Indonesian waters and profuse apologies have been made to Indonesia. The extent to which this report will be released to the public will now rest with Scott Morrison.

    The allegations of mistreatment and burns will undoubtedly have gone through a similar process of investigation and a report will be forthcoming. Again, the extent to which this report is released to the public will rest with Scott Morrison.

    The problem is not with the ABC – by the way revo you are wrong to say “rumour” we are talking about clear allegations which were made formally to the Indonesian officials by the asylum seekers – the problem is with Morrison.

  53. scotchmistery

    I’m ex-Navy. They would most certainly do it if the opportunity arose. They hate women and wogs, but women they hate the worst if they are in naval uniform.

    Bring on an enquiry, under a new government. Remember, there is NO statute of limitations on judicial enquiries.

  54. mars08

    What is is with the rabid right in this country?

    Quite keen on tagging Edward Snowden as a traitor and calling for his extrajudicial execution. Not averse to government agencies scooping up information on all their citizens, because oh… well… “if you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear”. Riiight?

    Yet, call for an open investigation into the alleged actions of a few sailors… and we’re met with howls of indignation and screeches of protest. Wait…if they’ve done nothing wrong…

    BTW…. I seriously doubt that any Navy personnel have overstepped the mark. I don’t think they would be that foolish. But an open investigation is still the best way to go.

  55. scotchmistery

    In the heat of an operation at sea, when you aren’t used to night ops and you aren’t used to having so much power, things occur, you would rather forget. Remember, these guys aren’t always rushing about in night camo with weapons. The largest part of their time is spent washing decks and fixing stuff. Being cops isn’t what they are trained for.

    Add an arsehole or 2 or a couple of bullies and you have no idea what can happen. The most worthwhile thing to bear in mind, is that most of them are decent folks doing a job. If any have overstepped the mark, then the “Nuremberg” defence, won’t help.

  56. Fed up

    It is funny, is it not. Many have been condemning Shorten for having nothing to say, not taking Abbott on for months now.

    This week, he speaks up on a couple of serious matters, such as rising unemployment and lost of industry.

    Yes, Australia losing its automobile industry, along with the last of it’s a food processing plant.

    Now it appears that Shorten is attempting to emulate Abbott as Opposition leader and is being nothing but negative.

    No comment or concern, that this government is secretive and refuses to answer any questions, on any topic.

    No concern that we now have one of the most bias speakers to sit in the chair. Takes orders from the government leader of the house, Pyne.

    Openly abuses and puts down members of the opposition, every chance she gets, especially the deputy leader.

  57. scotchmistery

    Perhaps we are becoming inured to this government and a less than useful opposition.

    Perhaps Ms Gillard would heed a call, so long as Shorten was dead, or stays as he is, barely useful, out of sight and shut up.

  58. doctorrob54

    Shorten should simply step aside and give the reins Albonese.He is out of his depth,in another eight years he will be good.

  59. Scotchmistery

    Good luck with that

  60. revolutionarycitizen

    ““And that investigation must begin with the accusers.”

    You really are a cretin. let me say it in simpler terms for you. If some one robs my house, i make a COMPLAINT to the POLICE. Who then INVESTIGATE.

    The asylum seekers made a COMPLAINT to the POLICE. Who then let the Australian Government know. They should then have the appropriate Australian authorities INVESTIGATE. Forget about the media, any INVESTIGATION should be in public so as to clear the Navy if they are found innocent.

    Can you understand the process now? Why would anyone NOT want an INVESTIGATION is really incomprehensible. If there is nothing to hide why be frightened?”

    When you make a complaint to the police regarding anything they take certain steps to ascertain veracity by way of your statement and any available evidence you have to offer, then the investigation begins.

    Also, the Royal Australian Navy is not answerable to the police, neither here and especially not in Indonesia, so the people making the complaint have to lodge their complaint here, in our jurisdiction for it to be actionable. Not only that, the Royal Australian Navy is subject to its own law and internal policies, which it maintains have been followed.

    So it appears it is you who does not understand the process at work here.

    Also, the criticism here of the ABC (and which the ABC have admitted to) was their compete failure to follow journalistic practice at its most basic levels.

    There is no need for an investigation, it has already been done by the RAN, and unless there is anything else anyone can add to the claims being made then there is no need for another investigation.

  61. doctorrob54

    RC you would have to be a total wanker,I bet you have a photo of Abbott with all his ministry on your bedroom wall.So the navy has done a full investigation into themselves and found nothing inappropriate went down,Well FU and f’k your navy.
    The ABC has nothing to apologize about,they reported the news,they didn’t accuse the navy of anything.What they were doing you cretin was reporting what our navy was accused of doing by injured asylum seekers and examining doctors.I know who I believe.

  62. revolutionarycitizen

    ‘RC you would have to be a total wanker,I bet you have a photo of Abbott with all his ministry on your bedroom wall.So the navy has done a full investigation into themselves and found nothing inappropriate went down,Well FU and f’k your navy.
    The ABC has nothing to apologize about,they reported the news,they didn’t accuse the navy of anything.What they were doing you cretin was reporting what our navy was accused of doing by injured asylum seekers and examining doctors.I know who I believe.”

    The ABC already admitted their mistake, and all I did was point out the blindingly obvious…

  63. john921fraser

    <

    Revo continues with his mistruths.

    And follows up with his usual vigilante ways.

    Again.

    When you grow up Revo then people will debate you.

    That is the end of the matter.

  64. doctorrob54

    There was no mistake,the half apology was simply to keep the idiots happy.Maybe your ilk would prefer to have a system like Egypt.WELL WE DON”T.

  65. Fed up

    Who is telling the truth?

    …………Indonesia’s foreign affairs minister Marty Natalegawa has told local reporters that a strong protest message was given to the Australian ambassador Greg Moriarty over the Abbott Government’s boat turn-back policy.

    Dr Natalegawa says Australia was already violating its international commitments and putting people in lifeboats and sending them back to Indonesia is an escalation.

    “What Australia has been doing is a bigger development than before,” he said.

    “In the past when they have turned back the boats, or pulled the refugee boats back to Indonesia, that alone is a violation against their international commitment under the Refugee Convention. But this time it has escalated.”

    Dr Natalegawa told reporters Indonesia does what it can to stop boats leaving the country and that Australia’s action is against the values of humanity.

    He says he will inform US secretary of state John Kerry about Australia’s actions and let officials draw their own conclusions.

    “There is no need to ask, we only need to inform it, and let America draw its own conclusion,” he said.

    Dr Natalegawa says he will discuss Australia’s policy with other countries as well.

    Australia, Indonesia relationship ‘very positive’: Bishop

    Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the asylum seeker issue is raised when she speaks with Dr Natalegawa but the relationship with her Indonesian counterpart remains positive.

    “We have open lines of communication and I’m constantly talking to Dr Natalegawa,” she said.

    “I think he said recently that we talk almost every day. It’s a very positive relationship – of course we have challenges.

    “Neither of us want to be in position where we have to deal with the people smuggling trade.”

    Opposition immigration spokesman Richard Marles says calling in Mr Moriarty is a “very grave step to take”.

    “Now we have a circumstance where the kind of cooperation which actually existed in terms of reducing that flow of boats under Labor has ceased and we have a situation where the policies of this Government in relation to this issue has led to our ambassador being called in before the foreign minister,” he told the ABC’s Lateline program.

    VIDEO: Labor immigration spokesman Richard Marles speaks on Lateline (Lateline)
    “We should be working effectively together between Australia and Indonesia, the truth is we’re in a period now where there is precious little cooperation at all.

    “The calling in of an ambassador by a foreign minister is a very grave step to take.”

    Earlier this month Mr Natalegawa said it was “unhelpful” to bilateral relations for Australia to keep pursuing its policy of turning back asylum seeker boats.

    He made the comments after the Australian Government said it had entered Indonesian waters without permission while trying to stop the arrival of the vessels.

    Immigration Minister Scott Morrison blamed the incursions on “positional errors” and said the Government took its “shared commitment with Indonesia to mutually respect the sovereignty of each nation very, very seriously”.

    This prompted Indonesia to beef up naval patrols although Dr Natalegawa played down suggestions the country was going on a war footing, saying they needed to ensure “things don’t get out of hand”.
    …………………

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-14/australias-ambassador-in-jakarta-summoned-by-indonesian-governm/5261466

  66. scotchmistery

    Actually revo ad hominem diatribe aside, the ABC issue a not misreporting as much as miswording the report. That has been accepted by the ABC. The report was accurate in its basis wrongly worded in presentation.

    Also do bear in mind that constantly referring to a thing as a fact does not make it a fact.

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