06 May 2015
by Tess Lawrence
Australian Federal Police: Drug mule out of control
The AFP's refusal to apologise to the Chan and Sukumaran families says much about their lack of humanity, but even more about their resolve to suppress the truth, writes contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence.
AFP Press Conference An Exercise In Futility
Yesterday's futile attempt by the Australian Federal Police to bleach its hands of the congealed blood of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran provided disturbing evidence that it is out of control and in need of competent leadership.
The overdue press conference was a sloppy and obfuscating affair that proved a major fail in Public Relations 101.
The AFP has long excused itself from public accountability and transparency, and since the genesis of the notorious Bali Nine saga, appointed itself policeman, jury and ultimately co-executioner, via their Indonesian proxies.
Throughout, the AFP constantly and arrogantly fobbed us off, stating they would talk to us only after Chan and Sukumaran had their heartsand all hope blown to smithereens by the firing squad.
AFP Measures Up To Low Expectations
That in itself was a portent of what irritating nonsense we could expect from them. They didn't disappoint and measured up to low expectations.
Australians deserve a Royal Commission into the odious circumstances before, during and since the phone calls to police made by Queensland-based barrister Robert Myers on behalf of anguished parent Lee Rush to stop his son Scott from travelling to Bali, knowing the then 19 year old was up to "no good".
It must have been an agonising decision for Lee Rush to "dob in his son and do the right thing for the community's greater good.
To the father's horror, those phone calls were to eventuate in Scott Rush being sentenced to death (later commuted to life imprisonment) after the AFP betrayed both the Rush family and Myers by gifting Scott's scalp, and those of the other Bali Nine, to Indonesia.
Lee Given The Bum's Rush By The AFP
Lee was given the bum's Rush by the AFP.
Instead of apprehending Scott at the airport as promised, they let him board a plane to continue his doomed mission to Bali.
In that single act of betrayal, the AFP has unquestionably discouraged thousands of Australian citizens from informing not only the AFP but other agencies to report suspicious behaviour and criminal activities.
The press conference was a lame attempt at damage control, rather than effective management of a decade-long crisis that has proved the AFP to be unworthy of our trust.
AFP Unworthy Of Our Trust
So staged and awkward was the insulting press conference that you would have thought it had been called to address an overdue parking ticket rather than the AFP's deadly role as willing accomplices in the murder of two Australians.
From the beginning of this debacle, the AFP's mismanagement, forfeiture of control to Indonesia's sovereignty, and its indifference to the fate of young Australian nationals they deliberately put in harm's way, has publicly reduced and debased us to little more than a servile institutional drug mule informant in this instance.
It is we who strapped to our obese body politic, trophy gifts of human sacrifice whilst ever eager to nestle within the foul-smelling armpit of Indonesia's notoriously corrupt police, legal and political systems, ably matched by our own cowardly cover ups, lacklustre performance and deceit.
Whoever tutored the three AFP muleteers, Commissioner Andrew Colvin, Deputy Commissioners Mike Phelan and the superfluous Leanne Close has given communications analysts a cruel but classic how-not-to model for this we-know-who-dunnit.
AFP Muleteers Andrew Colvin, Mike Phelan Unreliable Witnesses
Colvin and Phelan showed themselves to be unreliable witnesses.
The reality is the most important person was not present yesterday.
That person is the AFP agent who asked to be taken off the Bali Nine case because of Indonesia's retention of the death sentence.
AFP Conscientious Objectors Ask To Be Taken Off Bali Nine Case
In a rare moment of disclosure, Deputy Commissioner Phelan revealed that at least one agent asked to be stood down.
It is comforting to know that the AFP includes within its ranks, people who are conscientious objectors.
The Guardian's Daniel Hurst was one of the few journalists who realised the explosive significance of Phelan's remarks and quoted him thus:
"Certainly the vast majority [supported the decision], but I can remember at least one occasion at the time where a request was made by one of the investigators in Brisbane to come off the team,”
“[The officer] was not comfortable with us dealing with a death penalty situation. I didn’t even ask the investigator’s name. I just said no problem.”
Phelan said he still did not know the identity of the officer who had asked to be shifted.
Even watching from seven hundred kilometres or so from Canberra behind the plasma veil of the television screen, one could sense Chief Commissioner Colvin's acute displeasure at Phelan's breaking of the ranks.
Colvin immediately attempted to ameliorate Phelan's astonishing revelations and tried to put a spin on the remarks, saying he welcomed diversity of opinion.
AFP Bali Nine Defectors Must Appear Before Senate Inquiry
It is essential that the agents who defected from the Bali Nine case be identified and called to give evidence to the Senate and any other jurisdiction.
They are to be saluted for their professional courage and individual morality. It is a difficult thing to go against the tribe.
It should not be forgotten that Andrew Colvin was a key player in the aftermath of the first Bali bombings in 2002.
Andrew Colvin Key Player In Aftermath Of 2002 Bali Bombings
The Australian Federal Police and other agencies withheld intelligence warnings of potential terrorist attacks in Bali from fellow Australians.
It doesn't get much worse than that.
It is entirely possible that the horrendous loss of life and injury could have been averted.
AFP And Others Withheld 2002 Bali Bombing Terrorist Intel
Please note in the press conference video how Andrew Colvin attempts to dismiss any links between the betrayal of the Bali Nine with other matters and conspiracy theories.
Like others, he is nervous of the truth. We are not.
The propensity for successive governments to lie to us is self evident and yesterday this was echoed by the corporate culture of the Australian Federal Police.
That the AFP refused to make an apology to the Chan and Sukumaran families says much about their lack of humanity, but even more about their resolve to suppress the truth.
They are in denial.
But the cocks have crowed more than thrice on this one.