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Detention Camp Uprising Highlights Australia's Appalling Treatment of Refugees



This is a report a NZ Labour MP posted on his facebook page:

Kelvin Davis
October 30 at 1:09am ·
Just been on the phone tonight to another detainee on Christmas Island. He's been on the Island 3 months. He's been in isolation all that time, locked up 23 hours a day. He was released into mainstream today. He was the one guy the Detention Centre refused to let me see last Friday. After hearing his story I can understand why.
The ERT (riot squad) stormed his cell some time back, threw him on the floor, zip tied his hands, lay a riot shield on him, twisting his legs to immobilise him, but went beyond what was necessary and snapped a ligament in his leg while they pummelled him.
When he finally got to see a doctor, he was given a medical certificate to say his ligament was snapped and he needed surgery. The ERT raided his cell soon after, took all his clothes and the paperwork. Now he doesn't have that certificate/ proof any longer. When he asked for his clothes and the medical certificate, he was told they don't know what happened to any of his things.
He was made to live in his undies and given dry cereal to eat with no utensils. He was hosed down with a fire hose and left in his wet undies. They cranked the air conditioning up so that he froze. He sat in the shower at night with the water on hot until it ran out, just to warm up.
He told of how they tried to force him into signing papers to send him back to NZ.
Soon after arriving on Christmas Island four Iranians hung themselves. He cut one down and put him in the recovery position then pushed the emergency alarm. The nurses arrived about an hour later and laughed at him. He hasn't seen three of the Iranians since, he's not sure whether they survived.
This is all happening in Australia folks.
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Shame on Australia - this is not unlike the treatment dished out to minorities by Nazis.


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The US was largely ambivalent to the Whitlam government. (U.S Embassy cables posted on Wikileaks reveal this.) It was the banks in London (who largely owned Australia at the time) who were putting the pressure on the conservatives in Australia to force an early election to get rid the Whitlam government sooner than later. I'm sure to this day those really behind the 'coup' are quite happy to let the dysfunctional element of the opposition, think that it was the CIA. A notion which diverted attention from how things operated in Australia. (Sloppy research and assumptions by Pilger has helped create the myth and protect the guilty.)

Why was Threadneedle Street eager to get rid of Whiltllam? The Whitlam government had applied for loans to in effect nationalize some of the mining industry and when refused by London had sought OPEC oil money. (The so called 'loans affair').


Note 1: In the course of the current government a law was amended so that any Australian resident who had served jail terms of 12 months (single or cumulative) or more and was not a citizen could be deported back to their country of origin. This has caught up some of the 650,000 New Zealanders living in Australia, many of whom have not taken Australian citizenship. The unfortunate mentioned above will be one of these. (The notion behind the law was to gain greater power to deport Islamic 'radicals' but it has caught up a number of petty criminals from New Zealand, to the extent that it is becoming a diplomatic issue with New Zealand.)

Note 2: Australia is a migration country (around 28% of residents are foreign born with a further 25% having at least one parent born in another country) with a very powerful immigration bureaucracy - a bureaucracy that likes to be in control. Consequently the around 65,000 refugees that have been given permanent residency in Australia in the last 10 years have been hand-picked with a points score similar to that used for the 200,000 or so ‘regular’ migrants who settle in Australia each year.
(The refugee’s possible benefit to the Australian economy outweighs their need.)

So it can choose its refugee intake, Australia has done a de facto withdrawal from the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees by refusing to deal with asylum claims from people lacking travel documents who arrive by sea. This began with deterrent measures such as mandatory detention while asylum claims were processed and has finished with refusing to process claims any more, returning boats, and sending asylum seekers to other countries. (The cover for this is ‘saving people from drowning’ but this could have been equally prevented by allowing asylum seekers to travel to Australia by air, instead of fining airlines heavily for carrying passengers without visas.)

Note 3: The Australian conservative parties are pro-immigration parties. They use the asylum-seeker issue as a distraction from their high-immigration policies and as wedge against the opposition Labor Party, whose trade-union base has elements of anti-foreign worker sentiments.


Gough Whitlam told colleagues following the liberation of Saigon in 1975: “I’m not having hundreds of f . . king Vietnamese Balts coming into this country with their political and religious hatreds”.

Reported by former Whitlam government minister, Clyde Cameron in is book China, Communism and Coca-Cola (1980).

The quote is from an issue of Direct Action which was the paper of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP).

'Balts' referred to anti-communist refugees from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia who came to Australia after WWII. The Left in Australia regarded them as probable 'fascists' escaping Stalin's justice. Those coming from South Vietnam were viewed in a similar light with the suspicion that the conservative Fraser government saw them as future supporters.


I understand that the Australian Government is using Christmas Island to house both 'hardened" criminals due for deportation after they have been found guilty in a proper court of law, and also refugees of presumed good character until proved beyond reasonable doubt in a legitimate court to be of bad character. It seems that some of the "hardened criminals" may be guilty of manslaughter, rape, paedophilia etc. One would have thought it would have been reasonable to have kept both groups well separate in different institutions.


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In another word - ignorance (mainly Pilger's). Neither Pilger nor Kwitney had access to the cables between the US Embassy in Canberra and the State Department in 1974. There are all still on Wikileaks (the last time I looked) go see.

Pilger has a tendency to let his case down (and the side he is supposed to supporting) by overblown assumptions without hard evidence. This can also result in him missing the point altogether.

To understand the Whitlam dismissal without understanding the role of the banks in England in the rule of Australia is to keep chasing white rabbits down holes. Up to Whitlam's time no government in Australia made a financial move without the say so from Threadneedle Street. Intelligence agencies like MI6 and the CIA ultimately are servants of big money and it was big money in London who believed that their interests would be not well served by a continuation of the Whitlam government. (Trying to loan money from Arabs - treason and heresy!)

Distractions by the ruling class as to where the real power lies and therefore who the real enemy is, have long been a successful strategy. However the Left in Australia was more aware of the state of things at the time of the dismissal of the Lang Labor state government in New South Wales than many were in 1974, where the CIA and Pine Gap were apparently more sexy than the 'loans council'.

Finally, I trust that "maxbeaverbrook" is satirical, or would you endorse the 1945 headline in Beaverbrook's 'Daily Express' in support of the Conservative election campaign "A Labour Victory would amount to a 'Gestapo' in Britain"?


Why they had been detained on Christmas Island while awaiting deportation has not been explained. Christmas Island was set up as a legal fudge and made to be 'outside of Australia's immigration zone' as one of first steps in Australia's withdrawal from adhering to the spirit and the letter of the Convention on the Status of Refugees.


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I'm sorry that you skipped over being complemented for use of satire and some apparent historical knowledge. However taking umbrage at an 'attack' on your 'namesake', the arch Tory such as Beaverbrook, is peculiar if not revealing.

As for the dismissal of the Whitlam government. Being ignorant is no shame. Being willfully ignorant is inexcusable.

In regard to Kwitney, his knowledge of Australian history, politics and society was facile to say the least with no real understanding of the structure of its ruling class nor the relationship of big money in Australia with big money in the U.K. (A ruling class that was no doubt pleased when the opposition began flailing about chasing CIA coup plots instead of identifying who was actually behind it all.)

If someone is actually of the Left, political and historical; illiteracy (casual use of 'fascist' is always a giveaway) makes them ineffectual and counter-productive in any effort to change the existing order of things and rectify the imbalances in wealth, power, and privilege. At the time of the election after the dismissal of the Whitlam government, you had to wonder at those who instead of reminding the electorate of the achievements of the his government and what would be lost by not re-electing it, instead kept prattling on about the the CIA and its machinations. Maybe some so doing were right-wing moles or maybe some were more interested in their own 'coup' fantasies. Something to think about.


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