[Editor's Note: This open letter to Tony Abbott from Edward Middleton concerns two high profile Australian news stories unknown to most Americans. The first involves the case of Schapelle Corby (video below), an innocent victim of airline baggage handlers drug smuggling who, on May 27, 2005, was convicted by a Jakarta court of bringing 5 kg of marijuana into Bali on a Quantas flight from Syndey. After serving almost 10 years, Schapelle was released on parole in February 2014 and will remain on parole until February 2017. She was sold down the river and allowed to twist in the wind thanks to Michael Keelty, then head of the Australian Federal Police, along with other politicians of the Howard administration who could have helped her, but chose to coverup the known drug smuggling among baggage handlers at Syndey and Brisbane ariports. The second case involved a group of less innocent Australian drug smugglers known as the Bali Nine. A father of one of the young smugglers tipped off police through a lawyer that the son, Scott Rush, may be involved in drug courier activity and wanted to prevent the son from getting into trouble. Keelty then tipped off Bali police, knowing that Bali executes people for involvement in drug sales or distribution. Two of the Bali Nine are due to be executed this month. The story goes deeper as the baggage handler drug smuggling activity was not only known to the AFP, but police and the airport management may have been involved in the drug syndicate. A whistleblower airport cop, who could have helped save Schapelle Corby from conviction, was conveniently 'suicided' in 2005 while he was trying to inform Australian officials that the baggage handler drug smuggling syndicate was rampant.]
From: Edward Middleton [:email@example.com] Sent: 16 January 2015 To: 'TonyAbbott.MP@aph.gov.au' Subject: Australia's Own Charlie Hebdo Moment Importance: High
Dear Mr Abbott,
WHEN A PICTURE PAINTS A THOUSAND WORDS Michael Keelty in 2005 as head of AFP
Allow me to quote a passage from a letter, which was sent to you by a member of the public last week:
"When Michael Keelty’s AFP [Australian Federal Police] tipped-off the Indonesian Police about the Bali 9, rather than simply arresting them on return to Australia, the dire implications were already known. Some were barely more than kids, but death sentences were inevitable. Given that it was actually the concerned father of one of the nine [father of Scott Rush] who had tipped-off the AFP in the first place, the betrayal of trust was absolute. However, the playing of politics and the dismissing of human life was nothing new”
The problem with this isn’t just that human lives were dispatched in such a cavalier and obscene fashion. It is that it didn’t occur in a vacuum. Keelty had a superior, a boss, who happened to be a minister in John Howard’s government. His name was Christopher Ellison [right]. Before digging any deeper, shall we take a look at how Ellison wriggled and evaded on this matter, when confronted by the media?
“I totally defend the actions of the Australian Federal Police. They do a very good job working internationally in the fight against transnational crime, particularly drug trafficking. We make it very clear that Australia does not believe in the death penalty.”
This unequivocal support was repeated by others within the Howard administration, but we both know, Mr Abbott, that the rabbit hole goes much deeper than this. I am referring to the acute political risks to your party regarding Sydney Airport and Macquarie Bank, which a conflict with Keelty on the Bali Nine could easily have exacerbated, particularly with the close-shave Schapelle Corby situation already in progress.
For the benefit of those copied into this email, allow me to connect the dots, and expand further. I quote the outraged citizen again:
"Keelty, and his boss, Justice Minister Christopher Ellison, had already withheld a host of life critical primary evidence from Schapelle Corby and the Bali Court. This was not only in terms of the criminal gangs which were active at Sydney Airport, as exposed by the Kessing Reports, but included direct and vital facts: for example, that her boogie-board bag was the only item NOT scanned at Sydney Airport (it was diverted by baggage handlers who were known to be corrupt) and that records show that 5kg had been added to the weight of her luggage AFTER check-in. And this was just the start."
To understand the central importance of this in the context of the Bali Nine, shall we take a more holistic look at Sydney Airport, from the perspective of your political colleagues at the time?
SYDNEY AIRPORT, MACQUARIE BANK, AND A MARRIAGE OF NECESSITY
Security was a shambles, and the shambles was a direct result of the rip-off, regulation-light, privatisation by Howard’s government. The airport had been handed over to his and your favourite financial benefactor, Macquarie Bank, for peanuts, and with minimal regulatory demand.
Whilst Howard’s good friend and departmental secretary, Max Moore-Wilton [right], was given the plumb job of airport CEO, at least his brother Stan wasn’t on the scene this time…. as he was when the M2 was flogged-off to Macquarie for a snip, with a legacy of 40 years of road-user tolls. On that occasion, good old Max was on the government’s team, whilst Stan batted on behalf of Macquarie. Records show that Macquarie donations flooded into political pockets throughout this period, at unprecedented levels. You ought to read the BAU Report, Mr Abbott, for the gory details.
It beggars belief really, doesn’t it? It’s absolutely not the sort of debate Howard’s cronies wanted on the front pages. They were desperate to avoid it, particularly whilst the Corby case was so amply demonstrating a real life consequence of the whole shady business.
The underlying script, of self-interest groupthink, political expediency, and the revenues of Macquarie trumping human rights, is visible, Mr Abbott. It’s already been self-documented, via hundreds of ministerial exchanges and reams of official materials, all published by the Expendable Project. Keelty and Ellison were at the epicentre of the onion rings. Schapelle Corby 's life was demonstrably dismissed because it suited vested interests in Canberra, the AFP, Macquarie Bank, and a variety of other stakeholders. She was fed to the gutter-media for vilification and fabrication to cover the tracks: tracks which revealed flagrant malversation and political acts of corruption.
If that was the fate of Ms Corby, they certainly weren’t going to allow the lives of citizens who were actually guilty of a crime to get in the way of such interests, were they?
I think you understand where I am coming from, Mr Abbott, but just in case, allow me to connect some more dots, and spell it out bluntly.
During this period, the relationship between Keelty, and the Howard administration, primarily through Ellison, is self-evident: correspondence between them proves that they were both party to a variety of hugely disturbing matters. Given this, and the above political imperative, there was absolutely no prospect or possibility of Keelty being thrown to the wolves, on any issue. Hence the catalogue of Keelty related scandals - to which politicians turned a blind eye - starting with the Bali Nine and ending with the Haneef affair. This marriage of necessity only came to an end when the Rudd administration was elected.
The Bali Nine were arrested on 17th April 2005, whilst both the government and Keelty were under maximum pressure on the Corby case. Throughout, Keelty was in constant communication with Ellison, and indeed, had regular communication with Howard. In his own words, he also “had an open door to Pastika”, who was the Indonesian Police Chief in Bali. This open door included a number of face-to-face meetings, with Pastika being described by the media at the time as “a personal friend of Keelty, with family in Australia”.
Why don’t you explain to your parliamentary colleagues how much Howard and his ministers knew about the Bali Nine, when exactly they discovered the tip-off from the worried parent [father of Scott Rush], what ministerial dialogue took place with Keelty (on and off the record), and how they collectively decided to close ranks around him and his AFP colleagues? Why don’t you explain why successive administrations have failed to act upon the ministerial correspondence, which incontrovertibly proves the issues I referred to earlier?
Which, chronologically, brings me around to you, and your government, Mr Abbott.
THE BALI TWO AND YOUR LIMP-WRISTED PROTESTS
You will go through the motions and pay lip-service, but you have no intention of making a serious attempt to save their lives. Indeed, you are already preparing the ground: “What I'm not going to do, though, is jeopardise the relationship with Indonesia”. I can read between the lines too: Don't worry Mr President, we won't go too far with our limp-wristed protests.
You know what you are doing here, and so does Indonesia.
What is currently hidden is WHY you are doing it. I suggest that I have hit the nail on the head with the analysis above.
You are protecting, not only Keelty and the AFP, but your political colleagues and your predecessors. You are protecting all those with blood on their hands, those responsible for Schapelle Corby’s misery and the potential deaths of the Bali Two, and those who have benefited from it, including Macquarie Bank. You are every bit as desperate to hide the full story of what Howard’s henchmen actually did as they are themselves.
I can read you like a book, Mr Abbott, because political self-interest is always an easy book to read.
When you proceed with your role-play of concern and feigned-protest, remember one thing: you are not fooling everyone. The media in this country may be gutless and complicit, but even AFP media-raids, ASIO cyber-hacking, and unremitting censorship, can’t bury truth indefinitely.
Expendable: The Political Sacrifice Of Schapelle Corby (1 hour, 42 minutes)
Uploaded on Jan 22, 2012
The evidential proof of every abuse documented in this film is freely available on the website: http://Expendable.tv
How a government wilfully withheld vital evidence from a court of law, deceived its public, orchestrated an unprecedented media campaign, and ruthlessly deployed its organs of state against one of its own citizens.
This is a frightening but entirely true narrative; a grotesque political horror story which is still unfolding today. It exposes what happens when an individual's human rights conflict with strategic political need. It reveals the ruthless use of a government's organs of state, and a regime of unprecedented opinion management, against a single working class woman and her desperate family.
It presents, and demonstrates, the crushing, pre-meditated, and often brutal acts which a western government is prepared to inflict upon a helpless citizen, in pursuit of political expediency.
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