Monday, June 23, 2008

Burying The Truth and Schapelle Corby

I debated recently the evolution of a news story. Time and time again a story begins with the truth. However, if it is a big story, as it runs its course, the media become ever more desperate to report further developments. To find new angles. To find spin-off stories. To present 'exclusives'.

As time passes, the latter become more detached from the actual story itself. Frequently, they also become more detached from reality. Stories appear based upon the most ludicrous of leads - stories which are clearly preposterous. But they make a good headline: they sell newspapers or generate viewers.

Schapelle Corby is a case in point. The desperation for 'exclusive' led some media rags to FABRICATE stories which were of a nature to make her release from a foreign hell hole more unlikely. Think about the implications of that. The invention of a story buys a significant circulation surge, which they apparently view as more important than a human being.

Schapelle's sister, Mercedes, dared to bite back to try to protect her, and took legal action. She WON. The above allegation of fabrication is consequently PROVEN in a court of law to be true.

So where is the great media huzzah which should be front page reporting a mega story which discredits and EXPOSES the industry with the sword of truth? The proof of the nature of much of the media is officially laid out: how they have systematically harmed Schapelle Corby because they made money out of it.

THAT is the NEWS.... but the news will not report it.

They will not report it because it exposes the repulsive inner workings of the media industry itself. Note here that as a bi-product, reporting it would significantly help Schapelle, so they are now yet again implicated in harming her.

Even more obscene, not only will they not report it, they instead create a whole new set of anti-Schapelle propaganda and fire it out to the world. What mightily impressive people they are.

So the Corbys are torpedoed by the barons for daring to stand up and tell the truth (ratified by the courts). Mercedes Corby blows away the invented stories, so instead of now helping her desperate family as they try to assist Schapelle, they manufacture another bullet and fire it at them!

As a result the family are in turmoil... again, as Schapelle lies in a hospital bed suffering from serious clinical depression and related conditions.

I certainly hope readers of this entry are as disgusted as I am. The media (certainly large sections of it) are burying the truth for profit: they are burying Schapelle Corby for profit.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

No More Tomorrows Published

Schapelle's book, 'No More Tomorrows', has finally been published in the UK and US.

For anyone unaware of this terrible story, it is essential, but heartbreaking, reading. It can be obtained via the links on the Schapelle.Net book page.

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The Media, The McCanns and the Corbys

I used to believe that the the gutter press here in the UK were about as low as it was possible for the media to be. It appears that I was wrong: the Australian media is even more immoral and blood thirsty in their ruthless pursuit of circulation. The media in both countries do, however, share many similarities, above and beyond significant common ownership.

One similarity relates to the evolution of a news story. Time and time again a story begins with the truth. If it is a big story, as it runs its course, the media become ever more desperate to report further developments. To find new angles. To find spin-off stories. To present 'exclusives'.

As time passes, the latter become more detached from the actual story itself. Frequently, they also become more detached from reality. Stories appear based upon the most ludicrous of leads - stories which are clearly preposterous. But they make a good headline. They sell papers or generate viewers.

The problem is that as a result REAL people often get hurt, and sometimes very badly hurt. Yet the dregs of the journalist profession carry on remorselessly.

Over here in the UK, as in Australia, the media have a long and shameful record of reporting events relating to a person, and then seeking to destroy them through the above route. There are countless examples of this, but a (relatively) recent one relates to the McCanns.

If anyone is unaware, in 2007, a 4 year old British child, Madeleine McCann, was kidnapped in Portugal whilst on holiday with her parents, Kate and Gerry. There was massive media coverage of this, and naturally, substantial national sympathy for her parents. The story ran for months. After a while, as there was actually no new information or real news to report, the stories became more ridiculous. So-called 'sightings' of Madeleine were common. Of course, they were by and large absurd, but running the stories served a purpose in terms of circulation and sales.

As the police got desperate, they also made the parents "arguidas", or suspects, presumably because they had been so unsuccessful in tracking exactly what had happened. This of course opened the door for the media hounds: and a character assasination period ensued. Of course, there was no evidence against the McCanns, but from the immmoral and unethical stance of simply selling newspapers, this was clearly not an impediment.

Fortunately, the McCanns did have contacts, and understood the need for active and professional media management from the very start. They were able to reel this back in, and re-focus attention back on to the case itself, and back on to their missing daughter and investigation.

Not so fortunate was Schapelle Corby. Apart from being held in a cage, she did not have the benefit of such advisors and expertise. When the lower life forms of the media industry began to seek ludicrous spin-off stories, she was totally exposed to them. There was no re-focus on the case itself, just the impact of lies and distortion upon public perception.

Working in a media related industry myself, this was hard to take. To watch the media embark on the same old trusted path, and then seeing that the victim of this innuendo was already suffering horribly, added to my frustration and anger.

The vile people who do this sort of thing really do need to take a good look at themselves. They need to understand that their actions can hurt and kill. They need to accept their responsibilities, not just as journalists, but as human beings. When someone can suffer so badly as a result of distortion and spin, they need to report truth with absolute diligence.

Yes... I know... it is pointless appealling to their conscience. However, I will certainly not refrain from exposing individual 'journalists' in future posts and press releases should the opportunity arise. Morpheus is watching.

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More Schapelle.Net Resources Available

I have just added a flyer to the Schapelle.Net resource page. This is a single page Word document, summarizing Schapelle's nightmare. The idea is that this can be printed, perhaps edited to suit specific needs, and then copied for distrubtion.

Please see this page ... and please feel free to use it as needed to raise awareness.

A Message to Indonesia

Until March 2008 I had no issue at all with your country. Quite the contrary: until that date my company sourced a significant amount of its external development work from Indonesia. This has since been stopped, of course.

The fact is though that I am not the first, and won't be the last, to form an extremely negative impression of Indonesia as a result of your cruel, unjust and disproportionate treatment of Schapelle Corby. I, and a growing number if others in the future, will not visit your country, invest in it, or purchase services/products from it. In addition to the economics, the reputation and status of your country is also seriously damaged and impaired.

From this point of view, surely even on your own criteria (whatever they are), the continued imprisonment of Schapelle defies logic (and I know for a fact that many of your own citizens agree with me). Even ignoring the 'trial' itself, which any objective international observer would find serious problems with, a wholly disproportionate sentence of 20 years... it beggers belief. Even more so when those found guilty of far more serious crimes in Indonesia receive just a fraction of that sentence. Surely you can see why this is such an issue, and one which won't go away?

So why don't you address it? You must see how Indonesia looks to people, and how impartial observers change their opinion of your country when the case is brought to their attention? Why don't you resolve the issue, and release her?

I have tried long and hard to try to understand what reasons you could possibly have for keeping Schapelle in captivity. All I can imagine is some sort of grotesquely misplaced national pride. But can't you see how it REALLY makes you look? Any nation which imprisons a young woman to demonstrate its own strength is not seen as strong, but as cowardly and disgusting. Can you not see that reality? Can you not see that changing position shows strength and not weakness?

I guess not. I can only assume that what we are dealing with is indeed a rather pathetic set of people, who wish to hide their vile nature by hurting those who cannot defend themselves. And trust me, many many others will reach the same conclusion.

Regarding Indonesia, a colleague from Manchester University suggested recently that in many respects the case and sentence were acts of state terrorism.

Terrorism? Well... most of the people in my locale who are aware of the Schapelle Corby case would be no more likely to visit Indonesia now than Afghanistan, Iran or any war zone state. And no, it isn't only through natural revulsion at what they have done and are doing to Schapelle, but a wider perception of how this translates to that regime's innate position and hostility to western culture and the free world.

The definition of state terrorism lacks consensus, but a number of aspects are widely accepted. UN Resolution 1566, for example, specified the following: "criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act."

Let's consider this for a moment. "Criminal acts"? This implies the breaching of a law or perhaps of a UN convention. Both these are clearly evident with respect to the judicial mistreatment of Schapelle Corby. The assessment on Schapelle.Net demonstrates systematic breaches of the Indonesian Code of Criminal Procedure and the UN International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. Hence, the case itself could be viewed as constituting a whose series of 'criminal acts'.

Now consider "against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages". Schapelle Corby is a civilian. Her imprisonment was demonstrably unlawful... thus she is being held unlawfully. Place this in the context of the Indonesian President making dark statements during the trial regarding "drug smugglers" and it becomes clear that the term 'hostage' is not misplaced.

And of course "the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons" is overtly covered because the 'group of persons' are clearly the "group of persons" who consume cannabis (for example) and may be tempted to cross borders in possession. Essentially, WHOEVER the message was actually meant for (and there was a message, so it was clearly meant for someone) Schapelle was being used to intimidate a group of persons (or "a section of the public" as defined over here in the UK by our legislation).

On the Indonesian Government's own commentary, we have a young woman undergoing severe mental torture to influence a group of unrelated persons. Perhaps the correct term for this is indeed terrorism.

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Celebrity Culture

As stated in an earlier post, one of the missions of this website is to raise awareness and recruit support. One channel for this will be via those with a highly visible public profile.

In modern society, celebrities are uniquely positioned. They can publicize and influence. By virtue of their position, they can make themselves into a significant force for change. However, they are also human, and as such are just as likely to be disturbed by the Schapelle Corby story as everyone else.

Over the coming months we will therefore be attempting to engender the support of a number of celebrities. I used the word 'attempt' because this is not straight forward. Celebs tend to be remote and inaccessible, and by necessity place barriers between themselves and the public. Letters do not get through to them, and when they do, they can easily be discarded simply through the sheer volume of correspondence they receive. Actually getting them to read a website such as this (for example) and think about a situation, is very very difficult.

Notwithstanding these issues, this is one of many channels which we will attempt to use. We will keep you posted!

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Schapelle.Net is Born

Online media may be geeky and boring, but it does mean that creating a website is second nature. Hence, my first and most obvious step to support Schapelle was to create

The objectives of the site were clear enough from the start:
- Help take the story to others who might be prepared and positioned to help
- Arm visitors with some resources to help them to help her
- Present the information in a suitable manner for international visitors, rather than just Australians, most of whom have previously encountered the info via other means
- Ultimatey, to help others apply pressure upon all parties positioned to actually do something concrete to help get Schapelle home.

One aspect of the development which I was clear on from the start was independence. If the site is seen in any way to be connected to Schapelle, or her family or friends, it can, in theory at least, be used against her by the forces of evil.

For this reason, the site makes it absolutely clear that it is run from here in the UK, by someone who has never even met or spoken to those in Australia who are associated with Schapelle herself.

Those in Indonesia (or elsewhere) who don't like what I am doing will therefore need to come to terms with the facts:
- The site reflects reality: that is the show trial and the appalling cruelty of what they are doing to Schapelle
- If my research (which has been precise and diligent) leads me to feel strongly about this, the same will apply to a hell of a lot of other people too. People across the whole world will continue to view them in the same way as I do.
- The site itself is fundamentally a product of THEIR OWN actions: it would not exist if there wasn't a massive problem. If they don't like it therefore, they need to address the problem itself, and not seek to blame those like me, who simply react to it.

As with many websites, this one will not remain static. It will continue to be built as new resources become available for the campaign, and as it continues to be promoted. It is also not going to go away (unless something happens to me of course).

The next stage though is visibility. A website is useless unless it is seen. I will therefore be working to address this, and to ensure that the facts outlined within the site are exposed to as many people as possible.

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The Beginning: Morpheus Meets Schapelle Corby

Until March 2008 I had never heard of Schapelle Corby. I am a busy guy: I run an internet business and have a wife and family to occupy any surplus time beyond that. I am also a Brit, and live on the other side of the planet to the locale of these events. The whole harrowing story had therefore escaped my attention completely.

Then it happened, the fateful search on 'Google Images'. I recall it quite vividly. I was seeking an image or design for one of our less than exciting legal web portals, and searched on something like 'law court', 'legal case' or similar. Amongst the myriad of search returns, which largely comprised thumbnails of grainy old judges and gavels, was the following:

It stood out like a sore thumb: a disturbing picture of innocence in distress. Like a fool I clicked it, totally unaware of the horror of I would subsequently uncover.

The text in the accompanying news article was stark and brutal. This young woman had been sentenced to 20 years in an Indonesian prison cell for apparently (yes, we'll come back to that) smugging cannabis into that country. STOP THERE! I certainly did. I stopped and re-read it. 20 YEARS? Surely not. Surely in any realistic scenario it will have been quashed or dramatically reduced on appeal?

Even from that first article it was also very clear that this was no ordinary 'trial'. There were scattered references to aspects which were quite simply outrageous. Off the top of my head I recall the refusal by police to forensically test the cannabis for origin, the refusal to fingerprint it, as well as some of the less than objective comments by the 'judge' during the trial itself. Yes, right from the off it had the pungent whiff of a show trial, transplanted to the modern era from the middle ages.

I felt a little sick as I rapidly searched Google on the term 'Schapelle Corby', half hoping and half expecting balance and sanity to be restored during the rest of the legal process. It quickly became apparent that this was not to be: other forces were at work. At the same pace, it became apparent that the issues above were just the tip of a very murky iceberg. Researching the trial and the circus around it revealed that the process had nothing whatsoever to do with seeking truth and justice, and everything to do with politics, corruption, and misplaced nationalist vengeance.

As with everyone who has scratched the surface of this, a host of questions entered my mind:
- Why was this allowed to happen?
- What the hell have the Aussie's been doing during the last 4 years?
- Why is no-one screaming at Indonesia that they have to respect human rights and release her?
- Can I do anything?

The former questions I will discuss in later posts: the answers reflect badly on just about everyone except Schapelle and her family. The last question though was the most frustrating in the immediate term: I really really HATE feeling utterly powerless, especially with respect to something important. But what could I possibly do? I thought 'nothing', so bookmarked the original page, and got on with running the company.

Well... that was the plan anyway. In reality I couldn't let it go. It was like a splinter in my mind. The vision of this poor woman suffering in a cage, and the barbarity of the sentence, returned frequently during the rest of the day. I even had difficulty sleeping.

The next day, back to the legal portal and thus the immediate trigger to put Schapelle back on the agenda for my thought processes. I delegated the portal development and spent some time conducting a more formal and detailed research exercise. The more I dug, the more unjust and hideously cruel it became. I therefore knew that I had to at least do SOMETHING to try to help.... however little help that might actually be.

Retrospectively, my journey was apparently exactly the same route as that embarked upon by most other decent folks: initial distress, anger at and hatred of those responsible, more distress, then frustration. I wanted to go to Bali and break her out personally.

But rationale and reality clearly has to prevail in the end, so I settled for using my skills and assets from here in the UK. The first manifestation of this was the development of this website, which the next post will cover.

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