Monday, 20 August 2007

On May 26th 2005, the Denpasar correspondent for Melbourne’s The Age newspaper, Matthew Moore wrote an article called Why Australian marijuana is a big hit in Bali.”

It was made up of lies woven together to form the worst kind of propaganda that the Australian media had ever seen. It was unsupported, flouted known facts, ignored logic, misrepresented statistics and fabricated testimony. It was written so that the Australian people would believe it possible for Schapelle Corby to be guilty. Without this article no one would ever believe that anyone would take 4Kg of marijuana to Indonesia.

Between the 1960s and the 1980s marijuana had been flooding into Australia from Indonesia, and back then the ‘tripping grass’ from Aceh and other parts of Sumatra was highly sought after - Its trade name was ‘Sumatran Heads’. In fact, the quality of Indonesian marijuana was so high that during the late 1980s Dutch geneticists used Indonesian seed to create the hydroponic variety known as “Skunk”.

Unfortunately, the young people now going to Bali are only aware of the low grade marijuana being pushed onto tourists by the street dealers. This was mostly bags filled with stems, sugar leaves and it was poorly cured and made up of immature plants harvested long before flowering. Not only were the drugs of very low quality but quite often those buying drugs from these dealers would find themselves detained by the Bali Police and facing arrest unless they handed over their traveller’s cheques and any other valuables they had.

And, regardless of how old you are, you can’t go to Bali without noticing the drug dealers. They harass Western tourists constantly. They are almost everywhere where tourists go and it becomes very clear that not every tourist who buys marijuana from one of these dealers will be detained or arrested. The fact that these dealers are there day after day shows they are doing some trading and if every sale resulted in an arrest then sales would plummet to zero within days. Anyone stopping to talk to the dealers would be warned off and the drug dealers would be forced to do something else.

In spite of Indonesia’s tough stance on drugs the drug dealers are still very visible and it is obvious that the same tough laws that apply to Westerners do not apply to them. This is because if a dealer operating without any attempt to conceal his activities doesn’t work for the police then he must be paying a ‘commission’ to the police because nothing else explains the continued high visibility of so many drug dealers harassing the tourists. Therefore, the drug trade in Bali is more than infiltrated by the Bali Police; it is controlled and maintained by the Bali Police.

Of course, the Balinese people are predominantly Hindu and they don’t have the same cultural taboo towards marijuana as do Christian and Islamic cultures. Therefore it is highly unlikely that Balinese people would smoke the marijuana hastily grown for the tourists.

Those Westerners who live in Bali and mix with the Balinese people certainly don’t buy extravagantly priced marijuana from tourists any more than the Balinese people themselves would buy drugs from these tourists. The Cannabis plant is native to Bali and grows in the ditches and uncultivated land as a common weed. The Balinese have been cultivating their own marijuana since the seas uncovered the island and the ignorance displayed by the assertion that they and the Westerners that live there would buy Australian marijuana from tourists makes it all horrifyingly amusing.

There was never any discussion or review of Moore’s article and no other journalists did follow-ups or tried to scoop it with photos or footage of Western drug dealers selling drugs. There were no TV panel discussions, it wasn’t a topic on radio talk-back and no current affairs programs investigated further. No questions were asked in our houses of parliament as to what was being done to combat this alleged flood of drugs out of Australia in spite of the fact that it made us a drug-exporting nation. No comments were ever sought from DFAT, Australian Customs or the Australian Federal Police in spite of the massive failure and incompetence Moore’s article implied towards their efforts in maintaining good diplomatic relations with Indonesia and border security.

Matthew Moore makes the claim that there is a market in Bali for Australian marijuana without there being any evidence for it whatsoever. It seems we are entering a new era where accusation takes the place of investigation and notions of democracy and fairness were swallowed by a media that now controls public opinion. Before this article no one believed that Schapelle was guilty because no one would take marijuana to Indonesia. The facts never changed but public opinion did. It was written to enable Schapelle Corby’s guilt and was printed in several newspapers. It was featured in the 60 Minutes Special on Corby where it was narrated by Matthew Moore as the supporting argument for her guilt.

So, I thought it was high time that if the media didn’t want to review this article that I would. I will present the article itself in red with my commentary and critique so that you can choose for yourselves what to believe.

Why Australian Marijuana is a Big Hit in Bali
by Matthew Moore, 26th May 2005

Perhaps the most compelling reason so many Australians believe Schapelle Corby is innocent is the "coals to Newcastle" argument: why would anyone smuggle marijuana to Bali when everyone knows it's so easy to get there?

While drugs might seem freely available on the streets, the foreigners who live in Bali, including those serving time in Kerobokan jail, say that buying them is a very risky business because you never know if the seller is an undercover police officer or a police informer.

For that reason, westerners in Bali are prepared to pay premium prices for marijuana if they can get it from other Westerners, as that's the best way to ensure they are not going to be trapped and arrested.

Like any good lie, Moore begins with the truth to win credibility first. It is dangerous to buy drugs in Bali because a lot of the drug dealers are working for the police. However, Moore’s oversimplification makes what he says untrue.

Nothing in Indonesia makes money without the police taking a slice. Any serious drug dealer selling a range of drugs such as heroin, speed, ecstasy and grass to the tourists is backed and supplied by influential people within Indonesia’s ruling elite or he is working directly for the local police.

Because Indonesia had been supplying most of the marijuana consumed in Australia, Bali was much like the factory sales floor where tourists could buy magic mushroom omelettes and smoke a joint on the beach while they had their hair platted. Drug taking was illegal but since Indonesia was a dictatorship and the police had complete control of the courts then any illegal activity such as the drug subculture was run and controlled by the police. When Australia stopped importing marijuana because we had become self-sufficient the attitude changed.  Marijuana then became a means to entrap tourists who were forced to part with their valuables and traveller’s cheques to leave the country.

Moore is also right in saying that tourists in Bali would rather buy from other Westerners. I’m sure they would but that doesn’t mean that it happens and what drug users want has never been high on anyone’s agendas. What Moore is saying is that white-skinned Westerners have successfully infiltrated the drug scene in Bali that is completely controlled by the Bali Police and are selling drugs to the same tourists that the Indonesian drug dealers are targeting. He is saying that they are competing with the Bali Police and with Indonesia’s ruling elite without ever being caught. That is not possible.

If it is dangerous for Australians to buy drugs in Bali it would be suicide for them to sell them there.

He also says, “Westerners in Bali are prepared to pay premium prices for marijuana if they can get it from other Westerners” but he offers no supporting evidence. He merely reasons that it must be true. However, anecdotal evidence of Australian tourists in Bali who go there because it is inexpensive and haggle if asked to pay $10 for a T-Shirt supports the opposite view. And, while it is possible that a few would be willing to pay top dollar, this does not equate to a profitable market.

According to four sources in Bali contacted by The Age, including one former and one current drug dealer, high-quality Australian marijuana, similar in appearance to that found in Schapelle Corby's luggage, has been sold on a limited basis in Bali for years, but only to Westerners.

Of course, none of the drug dealers indicated by as the “four sources in Bali contacted by The Age” were Europeans. If they were Moore could have ended his article right there having proved his point. And, according to Moore’s argument, we are left to wonder if the four sources were drug dealers working for the Bali Police. For any drug dealer to speak to a reporter he or she would have to have an agenda. In this case the agenda was to support the claim that Australians are importing marijuana into Bali and that it was possible for Schapelle Corby to be guilty.

Anyone with any experience at all with marijuana will tell you that all high quality marijuana regardless of where it comes from when dried and cured is “similar in appearance.” What’s more, “marijuana, similar in appearance to that found in Schapelle Corby’s luggage,” has been exported from Aceh for years and has been the main funding source of the ‘Free Aceh Movement’.

However, according to an Indonesian expert witness that Schapelle’s defence lawyer, Lily Lubis, brought in to examine the drugs, the marijuana found in Schapelle’s luggage was “low-quality Bali grass” often used by the police to entrap people. This is supported by photographs of the marijuana found in Schapelle’s luggage that show large leaves which is indicative of the low grade marijuana found in Bali.

Please examine the photos (top right) and you will see the large sugar leaves that make it highly doubtful that this was high quality Australian marijuana.

One European man, now serving a jail term for possessing hashish, said he knows of several Australians who have been bringing strong hydroponic marijuana into Bali.

He said it brings "really good money", getting a price around 50 per cent higher than the Nepalese hashish that is more widely available for around $A16 a gram on the streets.

He said the marijuana was stronger than hashish, which is produced from the same plant and has the same active constituents. "You just can't move, it's like (being) brain dead," he said of its effect.

Who is this? Why doesn’t Moore name this “European man, now serving a jail term for possessing hashish”? Since this man had no trouble sharing this information with a reporter, why didn’t the man make a deal with the prosecutor during his trial to name these “Australians who have been bringing strong hydroponic marijuana into Bali” in exchange for a lighter sentence?

This witness claims “he knows of several Australians who have been bringing strong hydroponic marijuana into Bali.” This witness is Moore’s entire argument. How did these Australians bring the drugs into Bali? How often? Who are they? How did they sell them and to whom? Did these Australians deal the drugs themselves or pass them onto distributors? Moore doesn’t even name his most important witness nor does he dig to discover the ‘how’s, the ‘when’s, the ‘who’s or the ‘where’s.

What is abundantly clear is that Moore doesn’t believe this man. Instead of naming him and basing the article around him and his information so that others could verify the truth of it, Moore mentions his claim in passing, validates him with ‘druggie drivel’ and then uses him as a device to pass on more unsupported claims.

The figures quoted here are “50% higher than $A16 per gram” which would work out at $A24 per gram. This is a deliberate distortion because Moore is relying on Australia’s ignorance and ignoring the per gram price in Australia. Around 2004, in Australian pubs and clubs, small bags with around 1 gram of marijuana in them sold for $25 each which is one dollar more than the price Moore is quoting and the dealers don’t need to buy an air ticket, rent accommodation and risk death.

Is it possible that this man spoke to Moore and told him whatever he wanted to hear after Moore promised him that he would publish his name and draw the world’s attention to his plight? After all, why else would a European drug offender locked away in Kerobokan prison voluntarily speak to a Western reporter? If this man was telling the truth or if he even existed to begin with, what was his motive or incentive to rat out other drug offenders from a prison? Moore avoids that issue as well.

Even if the man didn’t want to name these Australians there was no motive for Moore not to name him unless Moore knew it was all lies. Moore couldn’t know that unless it was he who was doing the lying.

An Australian who says he's lived in Bali for 15 years contacted The Age several times to say his children were frequently offered marijuana called "Aussie gold". The man, who refused to give his name, said the "hydroponic bud" smuggled from Australia sells for $A600 an ounce (about $A21 a gram) or as much as $A20,000 a kilogram.

Top quality marijuana in Australia sells for around $8000 a kilogram, although more when broken into "deals".

Now this is an absolute corker and it makes a mockery of his entire article. Here we have the iconic irate parent protecting his children. The fact that he doesn’t give his name is unfortunate but it fits in with the unsupported nature of the article. How does an irate parent who fits into the ‘anti-drug’ mould know the price per ounce and per kilogram? Why would someone not in the drug scene use the jargon, “hydroponic bud” - a term straight out of drug subculture? And, how old are his children?

Is Moore truly saying that Western dealers are harassing children to buy their product - in front of the Bali Police and every Indonesian drug dealer who Moore claims are often working for the police? And, not just once but “frequently offered”. According to an earlier statement in the article, Australian marijuana was sold in Bali on a “limited basis”, is highly sought after and can command the highest prices. Now, he is saying that these Western dealers are forced to flog it off to children. Were these children wearing Armani suits?

If the man refused to give his name why is Moore quoting him as an authority? Obviously, Moore is using this section to explain why he investigated the story to begin with - an irate parent rang to complain that drug dealers were targeting his children. In this phone call the man mentions that the marijuana was called “Aussie Gold” and this is certainly a strange nomenclature for marijuana.

The “source-colour” nomenclature has never been applied to marijuana before since all dried marijuana looks the same – it’s green. What he has done is to borrow the hashish naming system. Acapulco Gold, Panama Red, Afghani Black and Moroccan Brown are all types of hashish that describe where they came from and the colour of the resin which varies from a light tan, through brown to black. ‘Acapulco Gold’ really is a golden colour while ‘Afghani Black’ is definitely black in colour. “Aussie gold” is certainly a strange name to call marijuana since yellow marijuana is dead impotent marijuana. However, by giving the Australian import a trade name Moore is establishing the lie that there is a lot of it in Bali.

And again, Moore is using this unsubstantiated witness as a device to impart more confusion over drug prices. While the European prisoner had it at $24 per gram, the irate parent re-enforces the argument that it is costly by quoting $21 per gram. However, what Moore does then is obvious and unforgivable to anyone with a sense of reason. He multiplies the price that someone would pay for a gram - $21 which is fairly reasonable when buying small amounts – and makes out that someone selling the drugs in kilogram lots would get $20,000 ($21,000 if accuracy is an issue). He then compares this, not to the $25 per gram that someone would pay in Australia if they only bought a gram ‘club deal’, but to the per kilogram price of $8,000 that would only apply when many Kilograms were purchased. If he multiplied the $25 per gram out to a kilogram he would come to the artificial figure of $25,000 and not $8,000.

In this alone Moore is unmasked as a deliberate liar and he tries to hide his manipulation with the statement “although more when broken into "deals"” when the profit he claims Australian drug dealers could make by taking it to Bali is in fact less than the price drug dealers could get in Australia.

A Balinese drug dealer who has spent time in jail said he had smoked the Australian "skunk" many times with friends from Italy, Germany and Australia but had never bought or sold any.

He recognised the marijuana as Australian as it was made up of large flowers or buds, while the marijuana he sells from Aceh in north Sumatra or from Malang in East Java has much smaller buds and a lot of leaf mixed in.

Despite requests from Corby's lawyers, Indonesian police did not test the marijuana in her bag to find out where it was grown or its strength, and it is not certain it was grown hydroponically, a cultivation method that increases its potency. But when the bag of marijuana was displayed in the court, it was clear it was made up of buds the size of bananas, which emitted a powerful smell whenever the plastic bag was opened.

Yet another unnamed source and this time a “Balinese drug dealer.” He states that “He recognised the marijuana as Australian as it was made up of large flowers or buds.” So, let’s be clear here. This man is not a grower. He is not saying that marijuana grown in Australia only produces large flowers while marijuana grown in Aceh or in Malang grows only small flowers. He is a Balinese drug dealer and he is saying that the marijuana he receives from his distributors in Indonesia comes with all the rubbish included. But then, who cares? He sells his ounces for $20 per ounce. For $20, you can pick out the leaf yourself.

When marijuana matures, regardless of how or where it is grown, those flowers that get the most light develop the best. Those flowers at the bottom of a plant and those within the foliage tend to be a lot smaller than those at the top and around the edges near the top. Indonesian marijuana that is allowed to mature also has large flowers just as big as those found in marijuana grown in Australia but these may get a little lost amongst the hundreds of smaller flowers, the thousands of leaves and the large hand-sized sugar leaves that generally have little to no THC content.

Marijuana sold in Australia does not sell for $20 per ounce. It sells for $250 per ounce if you buy a truckload and up to $600 per ounce if you buy less as a user. Those buying 1 gram won’t buy it if a single leaf in a thumb-sized bag fills most of the bag. And, anyone buying marijuana in Australia with distribution in mind has this 1 gram bag scenario in the forefront of their thinking. Australian marijuana has any obvious leaf removed.

All this Balinese drug dealer can really say is that it appeared that much of the leaf had been removed to give it the look of being Australian but even this is doubtful. If you examine the photo at the top-right of this blog you will notice sugar leaves that are clearly visible. When dried they shrink to this size.

The amount of odour given off by marijuana has little to do with the variety or where or how it was grown. A single gram of “skunk” is not going to have a powerful odour. However, 4 kilograms of marijuana whether it is Sumatran Heads, Australian home grown, or whatever, is going to have a strong odour that will fill a room. This should be obvious to all and that Moore should misinform his readers so makes this pure propaganda.

While marijuana in the 1970s had THC (active ingredient) levels of around 1 to 2 per cent, today's hydroponic marijuana often has THC levels of 15 per cent, higher than a lot of hashish.

Again, this is a misrepresentation of facts that can be set straight by anyone who bothers. The first Australian marijuana grown in the 1970s had 0% THC and was no good for anything but paper or rope. Most amateurs kept on trying to plant seed from the most potent imported marijuana they were smoking only to have the same disappointing results. However, a few realised that if they kept on planting seed from plants they were growing in Australian soils and conditions that the potency would improve. It did. Within ten years or so, soil grown marijuana from Northern NSW and Queensland rivalled its genetic ancestry in Indonesia.

This is the story of how Australian marijuana went from 0% THC to 15% THC but Indonesian marijuana grown to be sold to Indonesians has been at 15% THC for thousands of years since the Cannabis plant is native to the region.

While it is true that a small amount of hydroponic marijuana grown in Australia using seed genetically engineered for this method by experts who know exactly what they are doing can exceed all expectations as far as potency goes, the media has not understood the realities. Hydroponics offers amateurs a way to grow marijuana in small amounts with the minimum of risk but at least 80% of hydroponically grown marijuana in Australia is inferior in all ways – they use seed from soil grown crops, they cram too many plants in too small an area, they harvest too early, too late or drown the plants in insecticide and/or growth formula. However, the media have ignored this in preference to blanket statements. Soil grown marijuana from countries such as Columbia, Jamaica, South Africa, Indonesia, Thailand and India where it has been thriving as a native plant for thousands of years will go on producing superior marijuana to 80% of what Australians produce all over the nation in wardrobes, cellars and spare bedrooms.

The Balinese drug dealer, who would not be named, said that while there was a lot of marijuana for sale, "it's hard for foreigners to get access to it" because they were fearful of getting caught. "It's safer for foreigners to bring their own. It's been happening for quite some time and it's not only marijuana."

While he was aware of the importation of marijuana from Australia, he said it was more common for foreigners to bring in hashish or other drugs.

While a number of foreigners have been arrested for trafficking or possessing hashish, Bali police say the marijuana found in Corby's luggage was the first incidence in which they have found the drug being brought into Bali from another country.

I’m sure plenty of stupid Australians have taken small amounts of marijuana to Bali for their own personal use to avoid the pitfalls of buying it there. However, this is a far cry from the assertion in Moore’s article that Australians are importing marijuana into Bali for sale and he even states that the Bali Police are not aware of any such trade since “the marijuana found in Corby's luggage was the first incidence in which they have found the drug being brought into Bali from another country” and we know for a fact that no Westerners have ever been arrested in Bali for distributing marijuana. If they had, then Moore would have interviewed them and would have had no need to write this distortion.

In addition, when the ‘Balinese drug dealer’ says “It's safer for foreigners to bring their own” he is being very specific and speaking of tourists importing drugs for their own use. Not only is he denying the assertion that Australian drug dealers are supplying tourists he is cementing this truth that tourists have been known to import their own because they know that no Western drug dealers are waiting in Bali to supply their needs.

So let’s review:

Moore altered Australia’s belief that no one would take 4.1 kilograms of marijuana to Bali by using the flawed argument that because Australians were so fearful of buying drugs in Bali, Australians are selling drugs in Bali.

If it was dangerous for Westerners to buy drugs in Bali wouldn’t it be suicide to sell them there?

He doesn’t name a single informant, even a poor European prisoner, who would have been thrilled to have spoken to a Western reporter if only to get his name and situation into the Western media and into the awareness of those at home. And, in a nation where drugs can mean the death penalty, this Western reporter seems to have no trouble finding drug dealers but he can’t seem to find a single Western Drug dealer and we are left to wonder if he was even looking.

All his figures for drug prices and for marijuana potency are deliberately misleading. Why would an investigative reporter need to sell so hard and yet investigate so little if he truly believed in what he was writing?

How can marijuana have the trade name of ‘Aussie Gold’ suggesting that there is enough of it around to warrant a trade name when none has ever been seized, no Western drug dealers have ever been arrested and he can find no one who can claim to have bought any or sold any in Bali?

In his final paragraph, Moore quotes the Bali Police as saying that the marijuana found in Schapelle’s luggage was “the first incidence” and yet it was never tested for country of origin and no tests of that marijuana have ever been allowed by the Indonesian government. I’m not saying that the Indonesian government were ambivalent to testing or had no prosecutorial need to test the drugs. I am saying that Indonesia actively denied an Australian government request for a sample of the drugs.

Australia stood accused of being a drug-exporting nation and without a sample of the drugs they could not calm the rising hatred for Indonesia in Australia. They could not assure Australians convincingly that Schapelle’s rights were being preserved. It would be hard to preserve the illusion that Indonesia and Australia were working together to fight transnational crime but most of all, without a sample of the drugs any drug related criminal activity discovered in Australia could not be tied to the Corby case. Was Indonesia concerned about the flow of narcotics into their country and the ‘War on drugs’ or not? Indonesia lost credibility to prevent an independent test and this suggests that the truth was contrary to what the Indonesian government wanted to hear and that the marijuana found in Schapelle’s luggage was already known to be Indonesian.

What detractors and Moore would have the public believe is that on the day Schapelle was arrested, the Bali Police and the Indonesian government believed that there was a market in Bali for Australian marijuana. There had never been any official recognition of such, no Australian distribution network had been detected, no Western drug dealers had been arrested and no foreign marijuana had ever seized and the drug scene in Bali was thoroughly infiltrated and controlled by the Bali Police.

When Moore wrote this, you would imagine that it would have caused a storm. Australia, now the ‘Columbia’ of South-East Asia with Australian drug peddlers flitting from one Bali nightspot to the next flooding Kuta Beach with ‘Aussie Gold’. You’d expect Australia’s politicians to be clamouring for an investigation into this alleged poisoning of Indonesia’s youth by Australian criminals. The opposition would use this to criticize the government’s poor border security. Members of the House would insist that Mick Keelty, the commissioner for the Australian Federal Police explain their apparent failings while the Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs along with Customs and our nation’s Airport administrators would all be denying Moore’s lies. Yet, none of this happened. Nobody said a word.

It was the media that printed this story and not in just one newspaper. Then, it was narrated by Moore with the vision of Bali’s streets and houses mixed with footage of Schapelle in court and in prison and labelled ‘the Guilty argument’ in the most watched ‘60 Minutes’ show of all time, “The Schapelle Corby Special.” Its final resting place was as a web-cast on the net.

And, my detractors can be forgiven for believing that Moore’s article had little impact on the public because they measure public impact by the level of buzz in the media. There were no panel discussions, talk show commentary or editorialising on Moore’s assertions or Aussie Gold at all. There were no follow-up articles or competing journalists or media organisations trying to get a scoop with photos, video or hidden camera footage of Australian drug dealers working their trade in Bali.

Instead, the myth grew. Across the net ordinary people spoke of how they knew a guy who knew a guy that sold “skunk” in Bali or they had smoked it in Bali and the very few that weren’t just self-promoting had probably smoked some extremely potent marijuana from Aceh. And, even though Moore’s article that started all this is so obviously flawed he had one thing going for him that was hard to beat.


Moore wrote and published this article on the 26th of May, 2005 the day before Schapelle’s verdict was to be announced to the world on the 27th of May. It is my assertion that his brief was to justify a guilty verdict. Since this rather hastily scrawled article was neither challenged nor discussed by any competitors within the media it is clear that Moore’s order came from the pinnacle of government with an agreement from all other political parties so that the verdict in the Corby case would not lead to a worsening of International relations with Indonesia.

For the public, this and all other aspects of the Corby case posed a dilemma. If I am right and no one has taken Australian marijuana to Bali because there is no market there for Australian marijuana then Schapelle could not be guilty of taking 4.1Kg of marijuana to Bali because she could neither smoke that much on her two week holiday nor could she sell it. In addition, without Moore’s lies we are left with a woman mysteriously acquiring $40,000 worth of marijuana in Australia and taking it to a country where it was only worth $2,000.

This is monstrous.  Our government and media colluded and deliberately mislead the public to gain popular support for the conviction and sentencing of a young woman who they knew to be innocent.  She now lives in squalor and degradation and because she was innocent she was incapable of losing hope and accepting this ‘justice’ with the predictable result of a cruel deterioration that will make murderers of them all. And, regardless of all I have said in this blog, how can rational people be expected to accept and believe that? We accept ‘rogue elements’ or ‘bad apples’ in Watergate-style scandals but when all of a government, the opposition parties and the media are involved we rationalise that it cannot be true and that someone somewhere has misunderstood. However, the truth is in an understanding of the alternative threat - the big picture.

When the Bali Police arrested Schapelle they knew that no Westerners were selling marijuana in Bali. Every foreign correspondent and journalist in Indonesia that was summoned by the Bali Police to appear at Denpassar’s airport within the first 30 minutes knew that Australians weren’t competing with Indonesian drug dealers. GRANAT, the Indonesian anti-narcotics NGO who are very familiar with drug trafficking trends within Indonesia and were carrying signs like “Death to Corby” and “Australia is supplier of narcotics” knew all along that Australian drug dealers were not bar hoping along Kuta Beach in competition with the Bali Police. The Indonesian government knew Schapelle was innocent from the first moment they heard of her arrest.

And yet, the Indonesian government not only proceeded with the charges, they invited the world’s media to make it one of the biggest media events in Australia’s history. Regardless of what evidence emerged it would not alter Schapelle's fate that had been decided upon already. They vetoed all physical evidence, disallowed any investigation and dismissed the testimony of those who claimed to have been present when Schapelle packed her luggage as unreliable even though Schapelle was convicted on testimony from a man who could not speak English but claimed to have recalled what Schapelle had said. Her lawyers ignored her wishes and didn’t even bother to contest the prosecution’s case.

Schapelle’s trial was not just a farce. It was designed to be seen as a farce and as a deliberate attack upon a random Australian citizen by the Indonesian government.

When criminals or corrupt officials of a government deliberately target a citizen of a foreign nation that government denounces such an attack and does all it can to distance itself from the corrupt or criminal perpetrators.  However, when the court with the support of the Attorney General and the President himself supports such an attack it then becomes an attack by one nation upon the citizenry of another.  It is an act of war.

The Howard government had no choice but to cover up this travesty and lose the ‘holier than thou’/busybody/Deputy Sherriff approach that had been levelled at Indonesia over many issues including West Papua, Abu Bakr Bashir, Jamaah Islamiah and East Timor. Prior to Schapelle’s conviction everything that Indonesia did seemed to become Australia’s business but this all ended when Australia agreed that Schapelle came from a nation of criminals and had the intention of selling 144 over-priced ounces of marijuana under the noses of the Bali Police.

Your comments are most welcome.