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Politics, Excution Squads And Why How Things Are Framed Is Everything!


Let’s get really, really angry at the Indonesians. They killed two of our citizens.

How dare they! I mean, the death penalty is wrong, isn’t it? (Unless you’re Derryn HInch who’ll be arguing for it and telling you that most Australians are behind it, according to a recent poll of people who are stupid enough to listen to his program.)

Ok, I’m trying to back up here and work out – not just how I feel – but also what I think.

Mm, it’s terrible to hear that two young men who seemed to have turned their lives around and were offering a lot to their fellow prisoners were executed for crimes they’d committed almost a third of their lives ago. Yeah, I can probably get pretty upset about that.

And I certainly don’t support the idea that they were responsible for the deaths of heroin users because they were the ones importing it. After all, if we go down that path, pub owners are responsible for a significant number of road deaths and a fair amount of domestic violence. And yes, yes, I know that one is a legal product whereas the other is illegal. And yes, they should have known the consequences.

Yes, we can certainly bat this back and forward over the dinner table, with some people applying more spin than a Chinese ping pong player.

I read about how we need to try and eliminate the death penalty in our region. I look at the front page of the Murdoch paper with a painting of the Indonesian President and the suggestion that he has done something terrible by carrying out the death sentences.

Yes, I think, he should have granted them mercy. But I also know that when they were sentenced to death, there was precious little protest then. Was that because we could accept their deaths, before they’d had the chance to rehabilitate themselves? Or simply because we didn’t have a front page figure to blame?

But I also can’t help but wonder about the selectiveness of the paper’s outrage. Why are we not – for example – suggesting that we can’t possibly enter into any treaty arrangements with the USA while they execute such a high number of their citizens? Why are there suggestions that we boycott Bali, but not Mcdonalds?

Is it that we care more about the lives of these two Australians?

Or is it that we’ve been told who to get angry at? And rather than asking the sort of questions that may actually stop this happening again, we’d rather just find someone to hate, because that’s the easy thing. (She’s a witch, burn her!)

Yeah, we shouldn’t question our WAR ON DRUGS and taking a tough stance; it’s only Indonesia that have gone too far. Like Baby Bear’s porridge and other possessions, we’re always just right.

In spite of the UN protests, the executions went ahead. I guess the Indonesians, like Tony Abbott on asylum seekers, were sick of being lectured to by the UN…

“No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.”

John Donne


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  1. king1394

    Perhaps when the death sentence was brought down on these two men, average Australians couldn’t get their heads around the idea that drug traffickers (as opposed to, say, murderers) would actually be executed. The principle that there should be no such thing as the death penalty is not always well accepted here in Australia as we see when grief-stricken relatives of victims of horrible crimes are interviewed on their opinions of what should happen to the perpetrator. A lot of people get emotional also about crimes against children, and think that paedophiles should be put to death or punished forever.
    I thought the call for the execution of the Bali bombers didn’t help the case of these guys either. Howard was particularly sanguine about the necessity for Indonesia to follow through on the death sentence in that case.

  2. mark delmege

    Like so much of what we are presented with as news and comment these days – this is little more than cheap ’emotionalism’ and orchestrated outrage. It is a form of propaganda. They are playing with our heads … as usual.

  3. iggy648

    If Cristina Sergio had owned up 4 hours later than she did, Mary Jane Veloso would be dead, and the Indonesians would have the blood of an innocent on their hands.

  4. brickbob

    Good piece Ross,and that poem by John Donne is a classic and relates to this sad situation perfectly.

  5. guest

    I am against capital punishment anywhere. But I am confused by the situation which has recently transpired in Indonesia.

    Everywhere in Indonesia are signs explaining that drug traffickers will be executed if caught. They said they would execute – and they did. No surprise.

    Widodo was bound by the law of the land, by signed agreements between Indonesia and Oz with regard to information on drug smugglers and according to the demands of the electorate in Indonesia.

    So we wonder about the role of the Federal Police in all of this. Please explain.

    Then we come to a plea for mercy, too little too late. We talk of rehabilitation over a ten year period, specifically for the two most often in the media. Their faces appeared in the media on a daily basis. The emotional build-up was huge. Even though not much at all has been said about those others executed on the night.

    Yet the death penalty has not been applied to all, so that the Indonesian government is able to grant clemency – but not to those who are leaders in the crime.

    Strangely, there was a huge outcry when Labor paused the slaughter of cattle in Indonesia, claiming such a pause affected the cattle industry in Oz. No compunction, though, about the Coalition government telling the Indonesian government how to handle a crime which affects Indonesia on a daily basis.

  6. colgradolfcol gradolf

    Yes, I am outraged at the use of capital punishment anywhere, anywho. We express our moral certainties when it is a couple of Aussies, but what about the genocide in West Papua…….

  7. Sir ScotchMistery

    We could spend our entire lives getting angry about what other countries do. But at the end of this day, Australia has an English man sitting in the seat usually reserved for prime ministers, and we don’t get angry about that.

    Can I suggest that we just accept that the 2 young men were killed as part of a developing nation’s road to being accepted as a developed nation, which is probably also something we could aim for and move along. The nature of the Asian creature is to be a circus. Goodness, they even have graduation ceremonies from kindergartens in Thailand, so it’s difficult to expect very much more when they kill people in the forest at night.

    Why were we not so enraged when the Bali bombers were killed by the same people?

  8. Annie B

    Yes Rossleigh – a big “yes” from me and from most here, so far. …. A truly excellent article.

    Was heartened to see your comment about pub owners / responsible / road deaths / domestic violence et al. …. How true that might be, but that is a domestic situation which has to be addressed, ( and is aparently being addressed in Victoria by the Labor Premier ? ). ….

    I am absolutely no wowser as I sit here at my keyboard, with a tipple of Dolce Rosso at hand. …. but –

    The Bali situation is different – it is off shore, so to speak. …. and therefore was out of our hands, with much thanks to the AFP who could have – and should have, allowed the perps ( as they were then ) to re-enter Australia and grab them at that time. …. Being on safe ground ( so to speak ) they would most likely have spilled their innards as to who was pulling the big strings – who was behind this illegal carrying of drugs INTO our country and therefore, so much more could have been achieved. … And why wouldn’t they have spilled the goods ? …. In Indonesia they had no hope – here, the worst they faced was life imprisonment… or less. … A moot point now.

    The AFP made it a reverse situation by tipping off the Indonesian authorities – so Indonesia could act on their soil. …. ( according to my research ). ….. WTF ? ( as per “Guests” comment re the AFP ). …. What prompted them to do THAT ? … hmmm – I wonder.

    There was something that smelled to high heaven, from the beginning – about all of this.

  9. Annie B

    @mark delmege …

    Might be trite to say … but the best way to deal with people who attempt to ‘play with our heads’ is to give them the two finger salute in no uncertain terms , and then turn our backs on them.

    As far as the media is concerned, it means not reading their rubbish, means walking away from the TV when someone ( anyone ) who offends, appears – and not swallowing garbage on social media. …. Social media is handy to keep in touch with those that rely solely on that format – provided they don’t post insulting and demeaning rubbish, that is upsetting or unsettling. …. If they do – …. OUT. …. I personally don’t need that crap.

    Sadly, I have had to ignore much on my Facebook page in recent times – ‘friends’ ? who post stuff that is meant to upset, or shock. …. People who delight in bringing the ‘bad’ news to others – especially about horrific acts of vandalism, brutality and cruelty to people and animals, not to mention the proselytising of their religious ideologies. ….

    In a personal situation, I have found ( nasty as it sounds ) that a ‘stirrer or aggravator ‘ is best dealt with by simply leaving the table / room ( for a toilet break, will do ) – and making sure my back is turned to them at the time. … Not nice, but works wonders.

  10. mark delmege

    Yes well Annie we are getting elaborate long running productions of nothingness really. Endless dissections of nothingness heaped upon thoughtless nothings. Our news has descended into emotional swigs of the hard stuff. And our pollies play the game upping the ante every chance and no matter what the cost, to get their ever more earnest and irrelevant dials on screen – any screen will do. Forget the real world this is TV.

  11. Annie B

    Another thought – – –

    Now – how to put this ?. ( carefully ? )

    a) … where do people who elect to traffic in drugs, GET their drugs while on that foregin countrys’ soil, to distribute to people in other countries ?.

    b) … why does that country to our north, espouse such extreme methods of punishment – for the movement of drugs in ( to or out of ) that country …. i.e. the death penalty. According to Wikipedia (?) … the incidences of death penalty for drug trafficking is 22 since 1999, and 14 for murder & terrorism since 1999.
    The major incidences have been 14 ( of the 22 ) in 2015, for drug trafficking.

    c) … what exactly is that country protecting ?
    ….. i ) … their own drug trafficking for profit, or
    ….. ii ) … a political agenda ? or
    …..iii ) … a religious ideology ?

    d) … is that country to be trusted, in their alleged ‘protection’ against illegal drugs on their soil ?

    On the 4th point, I think perhaps “not” …. we should not trust this country, in any way, shape or form….. withdrawing our ambassador from there, is a token band-aid solution. …. It speaks, but not nearly strongly enough.


    I do not in any way support the use, movement, trafficking or money-making of or from, the illegal use of drugs. … It is a shocking indictment on society, and the ice epidemic here alone, is something we have yet to realise fully, and do something about, in no uncertain terms – very harshly, preferably.

    Nor do I support the death penalty – anywhere.

    As said before – something smelled rank about all of this – from the beginning.

  12. Matters Not

    The nature of the Asian creature is to be a circus.

    Really? Those ‘Asian creatures’ must be something to behold. Funny buggers. Born ‘clowns’?

    And then there’s this

    Goodness, they even have graduation ceremonies from kindergartens in Thailand, so it’s difficult to expect very much more when they kill people in the forest at night

    I think I’m starting to understand your position. It’s not the Indonesians or the Thais, or whoever, that are the problem, it’s the ‘Asian creatures’!

    Nothing to do with ‘racism’?

    Or perhaps you need an irony alert?

  13. Annie B

    @ Sir Scotch ….

    ” Australia has an English man sitting in the seat usually reserved for prime ministers, and we don’t get angry about that.”

    Well, actually, I think I could safely say, many thousands of people HAVE been angry at that, and still are …. and even angrier that the person in question, has not the guts or integrity to step up to the plate and prove – one way or another – that he has the legal RIGHT to be here as a PM, in the first place.

    But then – he wouldn’t – would he ? …. the slimy toad !!


    ” Why were we not so enraged when the Bali bombers were killed by the same people?”

    Because they killed 88 of our people. ? But I DO see what you mean. …. I get that you are saying that it suited us to think then “Yaaayy – death to the Bali bombers ” when our own were killed in that terrorist attack, but now two Australian criminals are put to death, it is suddenly NOT ok ???

    I do think there is a bit of a difference. …. A sudden and deathly massacre of innocent bystanders, adults, children, by the Islamic terrorist organisation Jemaah Islamiyah … is somewhat different to … money makers trading in illicit drugs for which there is a lucrative market – here – and elsewhere. ….

    However, they are BOTH abhorrent in different ways. …

    The Bali bombers – 36 + of them were Indonesian extremists – yet most today walk free. … Three of them were executed for their murder / terrorism. …. their bodies were treated with a great deal more respect than the bodies of the 8 who were shot in the past 48 hours. … I cannot find if any more of the Bali bombers were subsequently put to death. ? … If anyone can enlighten – please do.

    Is this a double standard in good working order ? …..

    It’s political .. but it’s all based mainly on religion, in my humble opinion. …The whole damned lot of it.

  14. stephentardrew

    Those pesky US allies killing off those with mental health issues using the death penalty.

    US good.

    Indonesia bad.

    Don’t agree with capital punishment but fair suck of the old sav.

    Nothing to see here.

    Move on.

    When the news cycle is over all will be forgotten.

    We had our little emotional spray meanwhile women get beaten to death and children abused.

    Good time to wind back funding and shut refuges.

    Am I a little weak minded or is there something not quite right here?

  15. Annie B

    @ mark delmege … [ posted at 10:20 pm ]

    Certainly cannot argue with any of that.

    “Emotional swigs of the hard stuff” …. most often at prime time, when kids are around – and children certainly DO take on board, what they hear.

    How is that supposed to help our young – unless – – – we turn off the bloody television sets.

    Grrrr … to it all.

  16. mars08

    Much hand-wringing and outrage when two of our citizens are convicted of a capital crime in another country. Media outcry and public anguish over something that happens in a foreign legal system.

    Yet barely a whisper of concern about children being driven insane and attempting suicide, women raped, and men tortured under our laws and in OUR jurisdiction. Something that could be changed tomorrow!

    The hypocrisy of our msm in astounding… and entirely predictable.

  17. diannaart

    So much to say – one point that I keep returning to (apart from the complete hypocrisy of both Indonesian and Australian governments and my disgust at the AFP) – just where did the heroin, the Bali nine strapped to themselves, come from?

    I understand heroin has to be smuggled into Indonesia for it to be smuggled out again – who were the people the Bali Nine were dealing with? Where are they now? Still in business?

  18. Annie B

    @ diannaart ….

    “Where are the people the Bali Nine were dealing with ? …. probably still where they have always been – pulling strings, co-ordinating trafficking of drugs …. and most certainly still in business.
    Scum, that they are. …. None of this debacle would touch them, or have any impact upon them.

    If one likes puzzles, mysteries or reading of crime, fictional or non-fictional … I suggest one doesn’t have to look far, in one’s mind, to know where the major part of these operations, emanate – into and out of.

    From a country that had the utter gall and cruel intent, to actually SEND their condolences to the families of the two Australians who they put to death themselves. ,… I wonder if there is any way to find out if that country ‘consoled’ ( phffft ) … the families of the other six who were shot for their drug trafficking | courier transgressions.

    I suggest we will never know. …. because that’s the way that, and other countries of similar ilk, work.

    I read some time back, that the heroin finds its’ way from an area somewhat further north – from the “Golden Triangle” ( which btw, is NOT a myth ) …. which is the primary area for growing the opium poppy, and is harvested and transported. Along with that article, was the ‘routes’ it takes – pathways I think they were called, which are very definitely throughout the country to our north.

    Considering the lucrative market we have here for hard illegal drugs ( something which should be stamped on and squashed in the harshest manner, by the powers that be here ) …. it is not difficult to realise that the nearest and most effective way of transporting these drugs, is along the ‘pathways’ throughout that country to our north – towards our own country, and others – west and east.

    Why would it be anything else – and why wouldn’t they protect their dirty profits from it ? …. Deal out death to interlopers, NOT to protect their country and its’ citizens, but – to protect ? ….. ??

    Something to consider, methinks.

  19. mark delmege

    I’ve said it before….every year that Australia was guarding Oruzgan province in Afghanistan the poppy crop increased. And didn’t we do a wonderful job there?

  20. diannaart

    Apologies Annie for not expressing myself a little more clearly. I was not asking rhetorical general questions, but focused upon the Bali Nine case in particular – what has been achieved?

    If the Bali Nine had any information would not there be more arrests? Drugs continue to be smuggled, the chain of supply unbroken. Lives wasted. Anyone who believes that this made an atom of difference to the black market is probably the same type who believes stopping refugee boats in the middle of an ocean is stopping the problem of asylum seekers.

    I agree, Annie, only a few from the lower levels of drug trade were eliminated – not a single advance towards those in control, both in Indonesia and in Australia.

    The so-called ‘war on drugs’ remains a case of appearing to do something while actually achieving nothing.

  21. Blanik

    I’m fascinated by all the sanctimonious comments that we hear/read (not on here of course) about this matter, and an totally opposed to the death penalty. It serves nothing but revenge. However, remember that we voted for a mob of LNP fascists who lecture to Indonesia about executions yet our human rights record is nothing better than raw sewage.

    People who live in glass houses …

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