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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Monday, December 1, 2008

The Latest Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) Smear

Regular readers of this blog will fully understand the political dimension of this case, and the role of the media, as illustrated by our film:


In the latest example of adherence to this agenda, SMH yesterday produced a classic piece of propaganda dressed as news. It relates to the beautiful Schapelle song produced by deservedly acclaimed indie-artist Tara Hack, but it provided cover for the usual innuendo and smear.

Rather than detail this from scratch, I will re-produce the following cutting but perceptive insight:

Mr Ed and Junior-Scribe's Lament for Journalism
aka The Art of Opinion Management

Mr Ed: "Ah, young Harry, we could do with a bit of a story on Corby, and there's something supportive going around the net channels which is in danger of catching people's attention".

Junior Scribe: "So it's best to cover it in some way, so as to cover our tracks, just in case?"

Mr Ed: "You've half got it son. It's your first on this case isn't it? Do you know how to write it?"

Junior Scribe: "I've got a couple of ideas, sir"

Mr Ed: "Throw a few words in at the start to imply that it's edgy and probably irrational. 'Notoriety', now that's a good one, and call it 'political'! Make sure you re-enforce the term "convicted drug smuggler" to imply that she is somehow guilty, without ANY reference to what actually went on in the show trial. In fact NEVER refer to the show trial whilst you are working here.".

Junior Scribe: "Yeh"

Mr Ed: "And be sure to play down the increasing international concern about the lack of any action to help her. I know what to do: blame a film! What a good idea, if I say so myself."

Junior Scribe: "Sure thing"

Mr Ed: "End it with one of the old smears to signal to the readers that she is guilty and somehow deserves it"

Junior Scribe: "Any in particular?"

Mr Ed: "Use the Dad. He's dead so he can't sue us (and that's a decent tip for future stories by the way son). Use the lag, and his fictitious claims that he was some sort of massive drugs baron."

Junior Scribe: "I take it you do actually know that a certificate of 'no disclosable outcomes' for him was issued by Queensland Police, and about their total lack of any interest at all in this mythical international drugs ring? And that you do know he was of very meagre means, especially for an international drug baron?" (sniggering). "Won't the public put two and two together?"

Mr Ed: "As if we are ever going to tell the public any of that, stupid boy! What they never see they will never know."

Junior Scribe: "Ha ha, I've got it now"

Mr Ed: "That lot should help to marginalize the impact of this Schapelle Song thing, and keep the process of opinion management moving along nicely.".

Mr Ed: "Ah, and yes, make sure you mistype the URL of the song link itself, so that the punters can't get to their turf easily. That's important."

Junior Scribe: "I'm there. I've got all of that"

Mr Ed: "Good lad"
And Junior-Scribe's finished article?

New York songbird's lament for Schapelle

AN AMERICAN musician has gained notoriety after penning a political song about convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby. New York-based singer-songwriter Tara Hack has attracted rave reviews and 1000 hits on YouTube after releasing the track earlier this month.

Titled Saya Tidak Bersalah, I'm Not Guilty - Corby's final words before being sentenced - the song highlights her imprisonment and attacks the Australian Government and the media for their lack of support for the 31-year-old Queenslander.

It includes the lyrics: "She touched down, she didn't get far/ she got framed in Denpasar/ she planned to stay at a fine hotel, but her stay in Bali turned into hell/ take two weeks on a fine vacation, spend nine hours in interrogation/ a one-way ticket straight to heaven, she won't get out until she's 47."

Hack, described by US music website as a "highly acclaimed indie-pop artist", said: "I hope that in even the smallest way this song helps to bring awareness to Schapelle's horrific situation. I hope it is a tiny step to give Schapelle back the voice that was so cruelly and unjustly stripped from her."

Corby was thrust into the US spotlight in June last year following the screening of a documentary titled Ganja Queen on HBO, filmed during Corby's 2005 trial.

When a longer two-part version was screened in Australia, it reignited debate about Corby's guilt or innocence, largely due to convicted drug smuggler Malcolm McCauley, who said he knew the truth. McCauley was arrested in November 2005 when a police raid on his Adelaide home uncovered evidence of trafficking and pictures of him visiting Corby in jail. He served 15 months for his part in transporting 100 kilograms of cannabis to Queensland.

In an exclusive interview with The Sun-Herald, McCauley said Corby's late father Mick had been the Queensland-based recipient of his drugs since 2000. He spoke of a "well-oiled machine", involving Mick Corby and Bali airport security personnel.

Hear the song and watch the video at

Source: The Sun-Herald

It is important to grasp that every word in 'reports' like this one is crafted. They are wordsmiths (albeit poor ones) and innuendo and smear don't just slip out by accident.

This story is really about a wonderful song telling the story of a tragic situation. Rather than reporting it as such, we are treated to yet another SMH/Fairfax smear against a family suffering beyond imagination.

Feel free to tell them what you think on: and


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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

International Politics and Schapelle Corby

In the latest Schapelle video I have used the phrase "Australia's strategic relationship with Indonesia trumps Schapelle Corby's human rights". Perhaps this is a good time to elaborate a little on this.

Australian-Indonesian relations are of enormous importance on the world stage. Why? Broadly speaking, because Indonesia is a Muslim majority country of over 220 million people which is not currently under the control of religious fundamentalists. It is thus relatively closer to the West than a number of other similar cultures. It is therefore seen as strategically important that its political stance with respect to the West remains stable, particularly regarding issues such as terrorism. Australia, through its proximity, is clearly instrumental in maintaining this equilibrium.

None of this is particularly contentious. It is fairly obvious. It has been the case for many years.

And then came the Schapelle Corby case. I am sure that Australians will recall the events of 2004/5 reasonably clearly. The show trial, the barbaric sentence, and the clear breaches of Schapelle's human and legal rights caused uproar.

The repercussions of this were also political. For example: John Howard, the Australian Prime Minister writing to the judge; the Indonesian president again breaching Schapelle's human rights by urging the court to 'send a signal' to Australians;.... the case was rocking the strategic relationship between those two nations. At the time many Australians were also urging a direct response to free her. This was suddenly a significant political issue.

And politicians are politicians. Howard was in a corner: the people of Australia wanted her to be freed, but to the West, and to politicians, the international relationship was vital. No prizes therefore for guessing which took precedence.

But how? How could the Australian government extract itself from the hook of public opinion?

Again, no prizes for guessing: the media.

The media are of course expert at influencing opinion. This happens in every nation: the press are never neutral. In this situation though they quickly saw a win-win scenario.

Media proprietors are not stupid. They understood all of the above. They will also have had high level contact with the government. They will have known the reasons for the government's back tracking, and will have believed this to be in the national interest. Politically alone, they will have decided to support Howard on this issue.

But they also saw years of revenue spinning headlines, through smears, insinuation, and gutter journalism. They eagerly grabbed the winning hand. The loser was Schapelle. The loser was human dignity, and human worth.

This is the REAL hidden truth, but it is not really hidden. It is obvious to those who see the world objectively and are not naive enough to simply believe the sound bites they are fed by those who always have an ulterior motive (either commercial or political).

It is cruel, and it is vile. But it is reality.

So take your pick: choose human dignity and compassion and support Schapelle, or go for political expediency and walk away.

The video explains the crude implementation of this media agenda, via a six step process. There is nothing clever or unique about this procedure: it is a process which has been used often in the past, most regularly under regimes of a dubious nature. It outlines each step, and explains the intended impact in terms of public perception.

It can be viewed directly here:

Creating a video of this nature is emotionally draining, so I will take a short break before working on the next. Rest assured though: there will be a next.


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Friday, September 5, 2008

ABC Admit Schapelle Corby Smears

Back in 2005 the facts of the Schapelle Corby case were laid bare for the public to see. She was denied a fair trial, and her human and legal rights were cast aside. She was sentenced to an unprecedented 20 years in an Indonesian prison cell.

Quite naturally, there was uproar in her own country. All this, and more, was visible to the public.

The refusal by the police and judiciary to test the drugs for origin, which could have cleared her instantly, was open information. The refusal to fingerprint or DNA test, was known by all. The record of the show trial judge, of never having acquitted anyone in over 500 drugs cases, was exposed. The burning of the evidence to prevent it being subsequently used to free her was shown starkly in photographs and images.

The cat was out of the bag. The truth was there to be seen.

Unfortunately, truth alone is not enough. The Australian government was apparently transfixed, wringing its hands and claiming impotence. The Australian media? Surely they would rally round, campaign, and help an Australian citizen in grave need?

No. Large sections of the media adopted a far more sinister approach, choosing to pick at her like vultures on a dead carcass. This went way beyond the vulgar but expected cheque book journalism the world is familiar with. A process of smear and innuendo was initiated. Muck was thrown at the Corby family from all directions. This went on and on, week after week, month after month, year after year.

However ridiculous the stories, however unsubstantiated, however untrustworthy (or paid!) the sources, throw enough muck and some will stick. Schapelle Corby will eventually be seen as guilty by association. Over a period of time, people will forget the very facts they have actually seen with their own eyes.

This is precisely what has happened.

Some of the worst excesses in Australian journalistic history have been evident with this case. Stories have been fabricated, and legally shown to have been fabricated. Opinion has been presented as fact, and real facts have been buried. The Australian public have slowly but surely had a false reality pulled over their eyes, to blind them from what they had seen for themselves.

As Schapelle Corby lies in a squalid cell suffering from serious clinical depression and related conditions, her family have been in turmoil. Such is the serious impact this has had upon her, even Civil Liberties Australia (CLA) have taken an interest, openly accusing their own media of undermining her.

Only recently have a small number of people started to respond to this unprecedented abuse. Malicious unfounded stories, for example, are starting to be challenged by individuals, not only from Australia, but also overseas.

The most recent challenge relates to ABC's Lateline report "Corby's dad linked to drug trade" in which it blatantly reported these "allegations" as fact. Of course, this happens regularly, and is merely a footnote within the overall media onslaught. However, in response to a formal complaint by a concerned viewer, ABC was forced to respond:
"On review, the ABC acknowledges that its reporter should have stated that allegations have been made that Mr Corby was involved in the drug trade, rather than stating these claims as fact. We have concluded that the following statements by the reporter are in breach of 5.2.2 of our Editorial Policies;
'It's now clear there were at least two generations of Corbies involved in the drug trade. Together, the father Michael Corby senior and his daughter Schapelle Corby represent 30 years in the marijuana business.' 'But Michael Corby senior's experience in the drug trade involved more than just the occasional puff.' 'Throughout his long drug career, Michael Corby senior avoided going to jail.'
The ABC agrees the report should have included a reference to the fact that Queensland Police found no evidence to suggest that Mr Corby was linked to the cannabis seizure at Tony Lewis' property, given that Ms Moore's testimony was included in the report. Our investigation has found that because Lateline was aware of this information but failed to include it in the report, this lack of context is in breach of 5.2.2 of ABC Editorial Policies."

But what about all those countless other breaches, by so many media organs, over the years? How can they possibly retract the serious damage these have done to Schapelle Corby and her life?

Are ABC and the networks now going to focus on the REAL issues? The show trial? The breaching of Schapelle Corby's legal and human rights? Her conditions? Are they actually going to initiate the campaign they should have launched 4 years ago, to free her?

Or are they going to continue to smear, to increase the pain of someone suffering so badly already, without even a cursory nod to ethics or morality?

Those responsible should be spending some serious time hoping that karma is a false concept. The rest of us, however, should be hoping that the Australian media belatedly recognizes its responsibilities to report fairly, accurately and ethically. Someone's life does actually depend upon it.


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