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Perhaps I am unduly suspicious and cynical and , yes ... this may be all just another of those grand conspiracy theories with which we are constantly assailed these days but I am, at heart , one of those people who thinks that if something looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck... it's probably a duck.
So, let's take a closer look at who I suspect is getting 'the bird' in the Indonesian courts....and who is actually picking the bones.
Consider for a moment that Schapelle Corby's conviction may not have been a momentary lapse of judgment by an Indonesian court dealing with a patently innocent human being but may, in fact , be part of a highly orchestrated and somewhat appalling intergovernmental 'deal' that has been done to extricate the Indonesian and Australian governments and more importantly Qantas, from some massive financial, domestic and international embarrassment. And Corby like so many others in this saga is simply a tragic pawn in a much bigger game.
I correctly predicted the 'guilty' verdict for Schapelle some time ago. It was on the same day that the news of the suspended baggage handlers at Mascot broke. So needless to say I was not surprised at the courts judgment today.
The good news for Schapelle is that if I'm also right about what follows here then she may reasonably expect to see herself returned to the Australian mainland in under a year; either as part of a reciprocal prisoner exchange or under the auspices of a Presidential pardon ( reasonably common in Indonesia) which would release but, most importantly, not exonerate her .
Let's put all the pieces together and have a look at how I believe it was played out.
Part 1. Corby is arrested with a rather large quantity of Marijuana going 'the wrong way' i.e. into Indonesia. The 'Wrong Way'? Yep. The street value for such an amount of the 'happy weed' is a fraction of the price in Asia that it is in Sydney. Think about that. If you had a large amount of marijuana to sell then logically you'd keep it in Australia. You might ship it from Brisbane to Sydney ... but shipping it to Indonesia would be like swapping your Double Bay townhouse for a semi detached post tsunami beach front resort in Acheh. Which is precisely why drugs are regularly run from Asia to Australia not the other way round. There are worth more here. We have a developed Western economy with high wages and good demand..and thus we are by far a more lucrative market for the stuff. Already something didn't fit.
Part 2. Corby had no priors, and despite some attempts by folks like Derryn Hinch to paint her family as having had some past dealings with drugs, they are about consistent with many (if not most) Australian families experience. Her profile is no way consistent with that of a drug courier. She is not an addict. She has not made regular trips to Asia in the past and she has always traveled under her own name. She was absolutely unknown to law enforcement authorities in Australia at the time of her arrest. Her demeanour was absolutely convincing . She either had the best drama coach in the business or she was truly bewildered at what had happened to her. Even more that didn't fit ...and by now the Australian public were beginning to sense it.
Part 3. What The Australian Federal Police were not saying at the time of her arrest was that , although she was unknown to them ,the Qantas baggage handlers that processed her luggage that day...weren't. They had been under surveillance in what was about to become a series of hugely successful drug busts .
Part 4. The Australian Federal Police knew Corby was innocent because, with the help of the Dutch police, they had been monitoring a huge shipment of drugs that had travelled through Qantas on the same day that Corby's bag had been processed. The trouble was that they could not afford to tell anyone about it until the stings were complete. In addition they also were about to 'close the noose' on another syndicate that was soon to become known as 'The 'Bali 9' .
An open admission that they were mounting large scale surveillance campaigns at the airports would have jepordised both those operations. As the public clamour on Schapelle's behalf began to rise, however, they were forced to look for an alternative way to introducing some of that information to the Indonesian judiciary.
Part 4. The 'official' defense in Corby's favour was run with the help of one John Ford, a current guest of Her Majesty's Prisons who suggested that the drugs in her bag were in fact on route from Brisbane to Sydney where they should have been removed but weren't (That this was possibly as a result of the Sydney courier having been 'spooked' by federal police surveillance in place on that particular that day isn't mentioned). Where Ford got this information is hazy but what happened next seems unprecedented.
Part 5. Ford was transferred from his prison cell in Australia to Indonesia to testify on Corby's behalf. Try and get a release from prison to go to a dentist in Sydney and you'll see how hard that is. A weeks pass out of the country (and beyond Australian juristiction) for Ford clearly showed that someone fairly influential was pulling the strings in this case.
Part 6, If I'm right about this, The Indonesian Government suddenly had a big problem. They had been appraised privately of the truth of Corby's situation at an intergovernmental level but they had some fairly pressing domestic considerations on their plate. The Indonesian government knew that to release yet another 'white drug importer' while any number of Asian couriers had been regularly taken out on the beach for a 'bullet breakfast' in recent years was not going to play well in an increasingly fundamentalist and nationalist population. What to do?
Part 7. The answer was brutal, simple and ultimately unconscionable... The Australian Government decided to give them someone else to execute. They arranged to swap Corby's life...the life of an innocent Australian for the lives of nine genuinely guilty Australians. In accordance with this agreement and despite the fact that the sting had been entirely set up by the Australian Federal Police it was organised that the Bali Nine would be arrested in Indonesia, not in Australia as previously planned. It was further decided that they would be arrested by Indonesian police after they had entered the terminal so that they death penalty could be sought. Those young drug couriers were 'dead men walking' as soon as that deal was done.
Part 8. This solved a number of problems for the Australian police. It got Corby off the death sentence. It effectively instituted the death penalty for the Bali Nine which they could not have obtained in Australia and it reinforced dramatically the increased co-operation between the two police forces which was to bear enormous dividends in a series of high profile busts over the next few months. It was the law enforcement 'capital punishment' equivalent of 'rendering', the US practice of sending terrorist suspects to other countries to be tortured because they are not allowed to do it at home.
For the Indonesian Government, domestically, it gave the increasingly vociferous anti-western mob, still smarting from the loss of East Timor, nine identifiable 'white christians' to throw to the 'nationalist lions' at dawn.
And in Australia it would pander to the rabid right's push for a return to the death penalty for heroin smugglers. They had been screaming for this through folks like Pauline Hanson for years. No doubt about it, this was going to be a set of 'ritual murders' that would play very well in both countries. I could just hear Stan Zemanic salivating. Even in 'anti-capital punishment' circles it was going to be hard to whip up much enthusiasm for a clemency campaign for folks caught with heroin strapped to the chests. It was beginning to look like a win - win situation for both governments.
Part 9. And Corby? Well...at that time it appeared that a 'deal' would quietly be done to acquit her...... but then ,unfortunately for her, came the really BIG spanner in the works. This is where it became messy.
The baggage handlers....and Qantas...
After the next major drug bust, the group of suspected Qantas baggage handlers were stood down. The truth of Corby's claims that her baggage had been tampered with were now apparent even to 'Blind Freddie'; but not apparently to 'Blind Justice'. For, as history has often shown, she may be 'vision impaired' but she is not deaf to the demands of the rich and powerful.
It was on the day that the head of Qantas was forced to publicly admit that his employees had been involved in drug smuggling and even worse; that Qantas security had failed to implement the 'screening' of baggage handlers (even to the rudimentary levels applied to cabin crew) that my alarm bells really started ringing for Schapelle.
Part 10. It was immediately apparent that if Corby was acquitted, Qantas would face the most enormous damages suit in Australian legal history. And from that moment I believe her fate was sealed. Neither Qantas nor the Australian government to afford to see her exonerated. At least some sort of conviction was necessary. That suited the Indonesians also, since a conviction would involve significant saving of 'face' in the matter for them.
Part 11. Corby was now to be convicted but somehow both governments would need to appease public opinion in Australia which was overwhelmingly in her favour. To fail to do so would see much of the renewed goodwill between Indonesia and Australia in the wake of the tsunami disaster simply evaporate. Neither government could afford for that to happen .
Part 12. I believe arrangements have now been put in place to have her transferred back to Australia as part of a reciprocal Prisoner exchange or have her freed under the auspices of a Presidential pardon which would release but, most importantly, not exonerate her; robbing her of any claim to compensation from Qantas.
Is all of this true or yet another flight of paranoid Drummond delusion? Well, I'm open to the latter possibility on this one; but the proof of any conspiracy pudding is probably in the eating. Let's watch, wait and see if I'm right. My prediction? Corby will not spend another year, let alone twenty, in an Indonesian prison and at least two of The Bali Nine will be put to death. It's immoral...possibly illegal...but it's a done deal..
Robyn & Bill wrote:
I definitely agree with you that there is something really dirty behind all of this.
It is unbelievable that the powers that be, will do anything [including ruin peoples lives] to please or make themselves look good. I feel that we have done enough for Indonesia, what which huge amounts of aid and numerous young servicemen's lives.
I have been to Bali on numerous occasions and my observations
are that they need to clean up their own backyards. If I,
a woman of mature age, can't help but notice the blatant dealing
in drugs on the street,yet their own police force can't clean
it up there is definately something terribly crooked going on.
I for one have had my last trip to Bali.
Craig & Karen wrote:
I could not agree more, & today we hear that 4 of the Bali 9 have been paraded around, re-tracing their steps from that fateful day. Already it seems another of your predictions is being played out !
These kids, although they willingly & knowingly transported drugs, for the most part I beleive were acting under fear. I feel that
they have the culprit amongst them, and he only deserves the death penalty, the others possibly 20 years or more.
But for Shapelle , as far as I am concerned, and I feel many would agree, a "pardon" is not quite good enough. As the stigma will always be there, as it was for Lindy Chamberlain. Not until the day they utter "innocent of all charges" will this dignified young lady named Shapelle, be able to truly walk FREE.
Jimboomba Brisbane Qld
I would agree by far!
Any way of sending your web page to The View for some global
coverage? I would love for the Panel on 'The View' (American talk back show) to read it.
Noble Park ,Vic 3174
Read the story from the Australian Below. Was I Right ? Or was I right?
AFP deny father's tip-off led to arrest
From: By Ashleigh Wilson and Stephen Fitzpatrick
October 11, 2005
THE Australian Federal Police have denied any wrongdoing in the lead-up to the arrest of the Bali Nine during legal proceedings by two of the alleged drug mules.
"Documents filed in the Federal Court in Darwin last week claimed the AFP was tipped off by the father of Scott Rush, one of the Bali Nine, in an attempt to save his son from the death penalty.
The last-minute legal attempt by Mr Rush, 19, and fellow Bali Nine accused Renae Lawrence, accuses the AFP of failing to warn Mr Rush that he was under surveillance before he was arrested in Bali.
On the eve of their trials in Bali, the pair has launched legal action in an attempt to obtain documents detailing operational decisions by the AFP relating to their arrest.
They claim that AFP officers acted unlawfully by exposing them to possible death sentences, citing the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act that states a request for help from a foreign country must be refused if the prosecution involves the death penalty.
But in court yesterday, Australian Government solicitor Tom Howe flagged an application to dismiss the case, saying the two Bali Nine members were attempting to improperly extract documents in an Australian court for use in their Indonesian trials.
"That involves an abuse of the process of this court of a most serious kind," Mr Howe said.
Mr Howe said Attorney-General Philip Ruddock had received no request for mutual assistance under the act.
He also said that police had acted according to proper guidelines, which did not prohibit co-operation between Australian and Indonesian police before charges were formally laid.
"The Australian Federal Police strenuously resists the proposition that its investigation, and or the rendering of assistance by it, was triggered by any approach to any member of the AFP that took place (by a lawyer for Mr Rush's father) on or about April 7," he said.
Mr Howe said the case should also be dismissed because the applicants could have sought the information through other means, such as a Freedom of Information request.
He said any FOI request would be considered expeditiously.
Darwin lawyer Colin McDonald QC, who is acting pro bono on behalf of the two Bali Nine accused, described the attempt to strike out the case as "intimidatory".
The first of the Nine, alleged heroin courier Michael William Czugaj and alleged mastermind Myuran Sukumaran, will front Denpasar District Court today feeling "ready" and "calm", according to their lawyers.
Mr Czugaj, who was arrested at Denpasar international airport on April 17 with 1755g of heroin in plastic bags strapped to his body, is relaxed about facing his three-judge panel and unconcerned that, if convicted, he may be executed.
"This is not about win or lose," Mr Czugaj's lawyer, Franciskus Passar, said yesterday after visiting his client at Denpasar's Kerobokan jail.
"This is about presenting evidence. (My client is) going good and ready for court."
A very well thought through synopsis.
There was media saturation of the Corby proceedings and Bali 9 hearings however there has been very little on the Mascot 12 - does anyone know if a trial date has been set. Just to add to the conspiracy theory was it just a coincidence that the Mascot bust happened at the time ex Federal Police chief Mick Palmer was temporarily relieved of his security duties to concentrate on his report for the Dept of immigration on the Virginia Alvarez deportation matter. From memory wasn't an ex cop and ex MacQuarie Bank employee among the ones arrested and didn't Minister Anderson at the time defend the rights of baggage handlers with previous drug convictions. This is no coincidence - if I was going to set up a drug running operation through Mascot Airport these are exactly the people I would have running it.
The last line of your email regarding the source of bonuses recently paid to Macquarie Bannk board members was challenging and amusing but was, as I'm sure you'll understand, deleted for legal reasons.
All The Best
Pat Drummond, Editor
A poetic Perspective, Pat
All The Best
Graeme Johnson - The Rhymer From Ryde