Friday, April 10, 2009

The Role Of The Australian Establishment

Having learned the actual facts of the Schapelle Corby case, and examined the clear complicity from within Australia itself, people sometimes ask "How could they do that?". To understand the drivers for such inhumane behavior though, it is necessary to examine the underlying nature of the Australian establishment itself (not that this is unique to Australia I might add).

"The Establishment is a term used to refer to the traditional ruling class elite and the structures of society that they control. The term can be used to describe specific entrenched elite structures in specific institutions, but is usually informal in application."

This is the Wikipedian definition of 'the establishment'. It is not far off the mark, although I would perhaps define it more along the lines of: a privileged section of society bonded together through self interest and shared values to the exclusion of the majority.

One of the most obvious manifestations of its existence is that most fundamental policies do not actually change with a change of government: the establishment remains in control of the political and social machinery, and radical change is never on the agenda. Nor is this unique to a particular form of government: ruling elite are evident in most systems, from communism to fascism to capitalism. Within each, the vast majority of the population have little idea that any manipulation of power is occurring, and are at best only vaguely aware of the inbuilt structural mechanisms to retain the status quo and exclude them from the feast.

The establishment broadly looks after its own: its own class, its own people and its own structures. It scorns outsiders, and ruthlessly protects itself from large scale intrusion or threat.

In Australia the establishment, from its own perspective, scorns Schapelle Corby, her family, and all families like them: broadly for what they stand for and represent. The Corby family are not wealthy or powerful in any way, and critically, have entirely different values and backgrounds to those who actually comprise the establishment. Their outlook and even cultural roots are almost alien to that particular minority subset of the population.

Like the vast majority of people, Schapelle Corby and her family are 'outsiders' as far as the establishment is concerned, in that they are able to consider them as sufficiently different to themselves to distance them from any sort of bond or cultural affinity. There is simply no social, emotional or human kinship in the sense that one would expect to exist within a given community or population.

This almost complete emotional detachment from the interests of outsiders as human beings, enables them to take decisions and act on a macro generic level. Outsiders thus become dispensable, because they are viewed as fundamentally disparate: there is simply insufficient commonality or similarity for any consideration of their interests or well being as people. There is no empathy.

But it goes further. Because of this lack of affinity and empathy, if they dare to threaten the interests of the establishment in any way at all, they are ruthlessly castigated and dealt with by one means or another, although usually quite subtly. There is no guilt or emotion associated with this, because their is so little cultural or human bond in play. The victim subconsciously ceases to be seen as an actual person who suffers acute pain.

This process is not a new revelation. Indeed, many atrocities throughout history have in fact been enacted largely due to the propensity of the human psyche to detach itself from the interests and suffering of others, either individually or collectively. Perpetrators of crimes against humanity, and those implementing them on their behalf, have psychologically wholly detached themselves from their victims. This regrettable human tendency is also evident to this very day. It is how politicians can push buttons knowing that countless thousands will die, usually in a foreign territory, as a result of their decision. They have emotionally and culturally detached themselves from the actual victims and their real human situation, in much the same way as the establishment has from Schapelle Corby and all those Australians like her.

Unfortunately, Schapelle Corby threatened the interests of the establishment in 2005. Of course, she attracted massive sympathy from the vast majority of Australians, who naturally related to her, as they were of similar class and shared common values. But as discussed, she was an outsider to the establishment, and was creating political instability with respect to the government's strategic relationship with Indonesia.

Even worse, at the extreme end of their social simulation models at the time, she was a potential catalyst for widespread exposure, subsequent distrust of, and thus opposition to the establishment itself. She was emerging as a vehicle through which the majority might actually see the disparity between how the establishment's own were protected, yet how commoners were often dispensed with as worthless, and were systematically disadvantaged within society as a whole.

She was thus a prime target for the unrelenting wrath of the establishment through its supporting social and political machinery.

This is why little or nothing has been done to help her, despite the shocking human rights abuses and the political sentence. Had Schapelle Corby been part the establishment, perhaps the daughter of a politician, senior ranking lawyer, major industry figure, or senior police officer, the organs of government would have been used to bring her home. But she wasn't. She was an outsider: a working class girl with nothing in common with those individuals comprising the establishment. And she was creating significant issues of unpredictability for the establishment itself.

There are so many examples to cite from over the years that it is difficult to know where to actually start. I will therefore take those that have emerged just in the last couple of weeks or so. These focus upon the establishment's use of government organs, the media and the legal system.

1. The Government
The story in the media this week, about the government's bewildering refusal to donate Schapelle's book royalties to a cancer charity, as she requested, brought to mind again this whole disgraceful case.

Readers will recall that despite the patent abuses of her human rights, the illegalities of the show trial, and the political sentence, the Australian government launched legal action to seize the royalties from her book on the basis that they were the 'proceeds of crime'. Essentially, they were seeking to prevent her from having the funds to pay her enormous legal costs, or even fly her mother over to visit her. It was the first time ever that prosecutors in Australia had sought to recoup proceeds of crime from the publication of a book.

The ruthlessness and brutality of this is simply staggering, but it is a fine example of how the establishment have little or no empathy with those outside their own, and consequently no compassion whatsoever. To initiate such a spiteful and vindictive action against someone suffering in such appalling conditions beggars belief for most thinking people, but it illustrates well what the public are actually up against.

2. The Legal System
Also hot off the press is the case of the "senior Perth lawyer", Mark Trowell, who had infamously made PUBLIC statements regarding bribe money during the show trial itself: one can imagine the impact this might have had on the judiciary in Indonesia, and its possible contribution to the barbaric sentence. The case of this clear and particularly appalling breach of client confidentiality reached the final stage at the 'State Administrative Tribunal' last week.

The tribunal said that a breach of a client's confidentiality would usually result in a serious penalty, and Trowell faced the possibility of a suspension or disbarment.

The actual outcome regarding this particularly nasty breach? Wait for it: he was 'reprimanded'. No, seriously. That really IS it!

It would be funny if it wasn't so shockingly serious. They blathered about it being a `most unusual' case, how 'remorseful' he was, and laughably in the context of this article, even referred to "high regard by the profession" and his "impressive array of references". Yes, we get it: it has the word 'establishment' indelibly stamped all over it. But they insisted on spelling it out.

3. The Media
It emerged last week that a Channel 9 documentary about Schapelle Corby, The Hidden Truth' (THT), has been nominated for a 'Logie' award (a major TV circus award in Australia). That production was basically a re-hash of the original film 'Ganja Queen', released previously in the United States, and which was NOT a Channel 9 production. But THT was not JUST a re-hash, it was a shocking hatchet job: censorship of material that might invoke sympathy for Schapelle Corby, and blatant insertion of the most stilted and distorted of representations of Schapelle Corby's family.

But wait. The Logies are supposed to recognize works of creativity, craftsmanship, and TV production skills! Why on earth is a re-hash and censor of existing material, with crude propagandic inserts, even being considered for the reward of a nomination? I think we know the answer to that by now, don't we.

Whilst discussing the establishment's ongoing use of the media, it would be remiss not to mention the investigation currently being conducted by JournOz, the ethical journalist portal. Earlier this month they published a major item explaining the actual process used by the government/establishment to manipulate public opinion via the media, and ABC in particular. It is essential reading for anyone who has any doubts regarding the degree to which this has occurred: And let's not even START discussing the recent crude censorship of the global protest and UN delivery!

So it has been a busy month thus far, with the tentacles of the establishment active across a significant number of social control systems.

The moral of this post though is that rather than seeing the hand of government in the countless examples of complicity and manipulation, observers would be better advised to recognize the foul prints of the establishment all over the most sordid aspects of this case, from the sale of Schapelle Corby's human rights, through to the blatant use of the media to smear her and hide the truth.

Identifying those responsible and calling them to account is obviously not the easiest mission in the world, but it is one which anyone with a soul and an ounce of compassion for humanity, cannot refuse.

Note that this entry is also available as a PDF


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