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27 Feb 2014

Abbott's Mickey Mouse Inquiry Into The Death On Manus Island

It's certain the Liberals never initiate an inquiry without knowing the outcome first. This week we learn they have appointed Robert Cornall to investigate events surrounding the Manus Island riots that lead to the death of Reza Berati on February 17 2014.
Robert Cornall
Cornall and the Liberals go back a long way. As head of the Attorney-General's Department, Robert Cornall denied Australian officials had been present during the torture of former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mamdouh Habib. Cornall claimed 'it is unlikely Mr Habib has a legal case against the Government'. Looks like Cornall got it wrong because the Australian Government made an undisclosed compensation payout to Habib 'to avoid further protracted litigation'. You can bet there was a secrecy clause in that payout to shut Habib up for ever. Cornall has been flat-out for the Libs lately.                               
Mamdouh Habib
Only 3 months ago he found there was no case to answer over Manus Island detainees being raped and abused in the centre with the full knowledge of staff members. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison told the media 'we've been taking the necessary steps to ensure proper security arrangements in that facility and that’s why we were able to expand the capacity and expand its operations'. So a detainee being bashed to death with a lump of wood is Morrison's idea of 'proper security' is it? Curiously, Cornall found that 'detainees at the facility have all since been transferred from Papua New Guinea, placing them “beyond the jurisdiction” of the country'. So if they really are under the jurisdiction of New Guinea why is Australia carrying out impotent little reports just so bureaucrats can harvest tax-dollars out of these peoples misery?
From there Cornall went on to find there were no conflicts of interest on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority dumping of 3 million cubic metres of sludge into the Marine Park. Looks like Robert Cornall scratches his chin and never finds anybody is to blame, especially the people paying him. We bet his inquiry into the deadly Manus Island riots finds the same thing all over again?
Click-on 'Read more' for a report on the violence from within the detention centre.

 This is an edited version of a recent interview conducted by phone between a Farsi-speaker in Australia and an Iranian asylum seeker in the Manus Island detention camp. Both the original recording and an English transcript were provided to Fairfax Media by two independent sources.
Extract from opening statement
This attack was intended and organised ... After they attack the detainees they enter the rooms and destroy anything we had. They left nothing behind and stole anything they wished to keep. One of the boys used his friend's blood and cover himself with blood and hid under the bed, pretending he is badly injured so they leave him alone, but when he was pulled from under the bed and G4S took him away with the ambulance, they realised he had faked his injury and they hit him with the ambulance chair in his head. As a result he had multiple cuts to his eyebrow and forehead.
Some of us tried to use bed sheets to tie the door handles to the bed leg, to stop our doors from opening, but we were not successful and many were attacked brutally and barbarically. The PNG people would not leave until the person had suffered serious injuries, but it didn't stop there, and shooting into the crowd began.
Question: Why do you think the PNG people and others attacked you in the first place?
Answer: Everyone has different views, but when we all gather together and put our heads together we decided ... [to] call for "freedom, freedom" ... [This] began to worry the Australian authorities and they could not personally attack the voice of freedom, however they used PNG and G4S to help to shut us down.
They must have said to the locals that these people speak of freedom and might escape the detention centre and they will attack you, your family and rape your women, so these people got worried and that is what brought the massacre.
But I assure you, it was never our intention to escape. Yes, the internal fence between two camps ... came down, but detainees never ever touched the external one, which leads to the bush or ocean.
Q: What fence came down?
A: The fence separating Foxtrot and Mike [compounds]. It is a weak, wire fence, and this occurred to us as we were running for safety from one to another.
Then they attack people in Mike camp and, when you ask all detainees, they unitedly identify Reza Barati's killer.

Q: Is this person Australian or PNG?
A: No. He is of PNG origin, a local. Everyone is unhappy with him. The detainees saw him a few days ago behind the external fence, making gestures saying we will cut your throat and kill you.
There has been no security and, until today, we work shifts to watch over ourselves. We have people stand shift while some rest. One group work the night shift, another group of us do day shift to ensure we don't get attacked again.
Also we have overtaken the cleaning and other welfare work among ourselves, as we don't want the locals to return to the camp and service us. We have no problem to do it all ourselves, but security and Australian authority don't want this to continue and, just today, they brought three PNG people who attacked us to work in the store/canteen.
Soon Australia authority will bring more PNG people in for cleaning, cooking etc. and we can't do anything to protect ourselves.
This will eventually result in violence. Please put yourselves in our situation; someone who last week hit you to death, you have to face today. Unavoidably, that is a disaster. The authority either doesn't comprehend or they have some further plan for us.

Q: Do you mean that the ones who work in the camp were involve in the attack?
A: 100 per cent, of course. See, one of the boys that I don't wish to name was badly injured in the attack, so one Australian guard threw him over his shoulder to take to the ambulance. On his way out, a PNG guard hit the detainee's head with a wooden pole. As he picked his head up, the PNG guard recognised him as a friend who was giving him cigarettes every day. He was shocked and said, "Sorry, sorry my friend."
This story has become one of the jokes currently in the camp. "Sorry, sorry my friend."
They are all locals who are employed and work here, and yes, many were on shift in full uniform and many were off shift and in personal clothes. At one point there was a G4S PNG guard in full uniform, but he wore thongs as he didn't get a chance to put his boots on.
Q: What kind of weapons did they use?
A: I was in Foxtrot. Mike compound was hit badly with weapons. The Mike detainees describe the weapons as metal/timber poles, sharp knifes used to cut the coconuts into half, [machetes] baseball bats, BB guns and rifles, and any sharp objects, rock etc.
Q: Has anyone been injured by machetes or were they used for scare tactics?
A: Yes. If you look at the closet doors, that's where they hit us with machetes. One detainee in Foxtrot was cut badly all around his neck, like they meant to cut his head off.
Q: Anything else you wish to tell me at this point?
A: Please, on behalf of all detainees in this place, regardless of colour, nationality, Farsi, Arab, Tamil, and Kurdish etc. We are all human beings, we refugees came to ask for your protection. All we have is hope, hope for everyone outside this place in Australia or anywhere in the world. HELP US.

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