Sunday, November 4, 2007

Indonesia had no right to claim that we were exporting drugs into their country without proving it.

An investigation is needed.

Our Prime Minister, John Howard, told us to trust the Indonesian court. He said that our government could not interfere in the justice system of another sovereign nation.

Our government betrayed us.

Schapelle was accused of taking marijuana from Australia to Bali but the Australian government made no effort to discover how this was achieved.

No one was asking the Australian government to interfere in Indonesia’s justice system. We just wanted our politicians to do their jobs.

Schapelle was a beauty therapy student who worked in a fish and chip shop to save for her holiday and yet somehow she managed to acquire $40,000 worth of marijuana. The Corby’s home was not searched. Her friends and acquaintances were not questioned. Her finances were not investigated and it appeared that an Australian citizen could take drugs from Australia to Bali and our government would not care.

When questioned by the media as to why the Australian Federal Police had not investigated Schapelle and her family, the Commissioner, Mick Keelty replied:

"It is not the job of the AFP to clear people."

You would think that the Indonesian court would be insulted by our government's apparent lack of concern. You would think that the Indonesian Attorney General would demand that we take the Indonesian court's allegations seriously.

Was the reason for this total lack of concern over the source of the drugs by both Australian and Indonesian authorities related to their lack of curiosity about where the drugs were going? The Bali Police didn’t even interview Schapelle’s sister, Mercedes, who came to Bali’s airport to discover what had happened to Schapelle.

People may have believed that our government was ignorant as to whether Schapelle was guilty or not. However, the international trafficking of drugs as far as Australia is concerned is a one-way trade – illegal drugs are imported only. The mere suggestion that we might be exporting narcotics to our neighbours, thereby incurring diplomatic embarrassment, would make this crime of the highest priority.

If the Corby family or anyone else was growing drugs to take to Bali it would be viewed with the same priority to law enforcement as an act of terror. After all, it would be an attack against the reputation of this nation.

Our police and security forces would be required to know the truth. Our politicians and ambassadors, in order to respond appropriately needed to know exactly what they were dealing with. Our government did know and did care and it is unrealistic to believe otherwise.

Many people believe that our government would not reveal evidence that would allow an Indonesian court to impose the death penalty on an Australian citizen. Our government informed Indonesian authorities of the Bali Nine's planned drug buy and so have demonstrated no such reservations (See "Death for Sale"). Like the Bali Nine, Schapelle wasn’t formally charged until just before her trial and so the same legal allowances applied.

We had Australian talkback radio insulting Indonesians, calling for a boycott and suggesting that we send in the troops.

We had division in our society and three years on, hundreds of thousands of disgruntled Australian voters still believe Schapelle is innocent and that our government was either incompetent or they deliberately let her down.

If the Australian government had evidence that incriminated her they would not have concealed it. If Schapelle was lying, stirring hatred towards Indonesia and creating a damaging division within our society our government would have revealed all the incriminating evidence they had.

It may shock some Australians to discover that there was no such evidence!

Not only did our government not investigate, the closed circuit television camera footage from dozens of cameras in both Brisbane and Sydney mysteriously disappeared. Two days after Schapelle's arrest, Guy Pilgrim, a friend of the Corbys went to Brisbane airport and recieved verification that this footage existed and that it was in good order. Ros Corby was given the same story. In the weeks that followed, Brisbane airport staff declared they had lied because all of the cameras had been under repair. Adding insult to injury, it was then announced that this too had been a lie because the cameras were only set to record when known offenders were passing through the airport.

Even if we ignore the stupidity of the final assertion, known to be nonsense by anyone working in security, the fact that lies have been told is not in dispute. The man who told Guy Pilgrim that the footage was in good order days after Schapelle's arrest, in all likelihood had never heard the name "Schapelle Corby" and had no reason to lie.

However, not even the liars are sure what story to tell: the tapes were lost; the cameras were under repair or the cameras weren't switched on.

Lies were told and no one has been held to account.

When the prosecution refused to weigh Schapelle's luggage to prove that she had the marijuana when she departed from Brisbane and refused to test for fingerprints that would allegedly tie Schapelle to the crime the Australian authorities must have gone into a panic. After all, if Schapelle was guilty, the Indonesian authorities were discarding their best evidence. These actions of the Bali Police were confirming that not only was Schapelle innocent but that the Bali Police knew she was innocent because they knew what evidence would not support their case.

In fact, the Indonesian court was so determined to prevent any investigation that they risked International condemnation by disallowing the defendant the right to have the incriminating evidence, the marijuana itself, forensically tested.

Our government had to be suspicious. The mysterious disappearance of the CCTV footage and the lack of investigation of Schapelle stopped any evidence that might conflict with the prosecution’s case and demonstrated that the Australian government were also aware of Schapelle’s innocence. They could only know that if they already knew who planted the drugs into Schapelle’s luggage. By their omissions we can conclude that the person or persons who orchestrated it were above Indonesian law and diplomatically untouchable. Schapelle was merely collateral damage and her conviction was ‘necessary’ for continued good relations with Indonesia.

In the early months of 2005, the Australian public were upset with the Indonesian justice system and it was the belief in Schapelle’s innocence that was fuelling the media circus.

Our government painted Schapelle as guilty by not investigating her thereby pretending to be suppressing the ‘incriminating truth’ so as not to prejudice her trial.

However, it may have been a better idea had our government demanded at the highest levels that our Federal Police be given a sample of the drugs that were incriminating Australia as a drug-exporting nation. This sample would also allow prosecutions of any others involved in the alleged Australian part of the crime.

Let's see the Indonesian government say "no" in front of the international community to that.

Schapelle will not be forgotten and the mystery was not resolved. She was sentenced to spend 20 years in an Indonesian prison to be subjected to sickness and disease and quite possibly, a premature death. No one, and certainly not our government has bothered to find out whether she was merely a mule, a grower, a dealer or the 'Ganja Queen' as she was touted to be by the Indonesian press just days after her arrest.

I have read through so much material from people who believe that Schapelle is guilty and some of these people appear to be quite intelligent. However, what is appalling is the misinformation and the outright lies that will be forgotten as public interest fades.

In contrast, those who are fighting for justice will remind people that the man who testified in court as to what Schapelle said required a translator when interviewed by the media. This customs officer claimed that Schapelle had admitted guilt. Is that why they ignored Schapelle, allowing her to wander around at will while they took her brother away to be questioned for half an hour?

We will remind people of the assertion that Australian marijuana known as "Aussie Gold" is allegedly circulating Bali. Where is it? None has ever been siezed. People will wonder why it was that SA drug dealer photos, Jodie Powers' outrageous accusations that were completely ignored by the police, Centrelink medical records that turned out to be a lie, and every government and media attempt to blacken Schapelle's name couldn't show her as being guilty.

Schapelle Corby, an ex-beauty therapy student acquired $40,000 worth of marijuana which would have needed from 30-40 marijuana plants to produce and no one could find leaf fragments, plastic bags, hydroponic equipment or witnesses to prove it? Like any good mystery, they make good stories and become the stuff of legends. Eventually, people will become intrigued and there is nothing that anyone can do to stop this.

What was our government thinking? How long before the real facts of this case crept into the public domain? Didn't our government know that the Bali Police prohibited all measurable evidence from the crime scene from reaching the court? Were they unaware that Schapelle's defence team tried to secure a $500,000 bribe? Couldn't they see that her lawyers were ignoring Schapelle's requests and presenting her as if she were pleading guilty?

Schapelle is a beauty therapy student and her mother owned a fish and chip shop and our AFP didn't investigate them but instead investigated where the Corbys thought the drugs came from. Was this their information source? Was this a measure of their stupidity or was it merely a clever ploy whereby failure to find guilty Australian baggage handlers would guarantee the prosecution of a guilty verdict?

If it wasn't your job to 'clear' Schapelle, Mr Keelty, why did you find it necessary to 'clear' Australian baggage handlers?

And the Bali Police who dragged GRANAT out of its box to threaten anyone with war or extreme displeasure should they feel a need to test the drugs... That wasn't a clue?

Universities, Journalists and human rights groups will hear Schapelle’s supporters continue to question the glaring anomalies of this case and it won’t be long before the average Australian will realise that not only is Schapelle innocent but that in allowing her to be deliberately set up by Indonesian authorities with Indonesian marijuana to gain a capital drugs offence, our government crossed the line and made every Australian an easy target for future scams. God save our government.