Wednesday, December 5, 2012

1) Grandfather accused of training for conflict in Indonesian province of West Papua

1) Grandfather accused of training for conflict in Indonesian province of West Papua

2) Guyana trip by West Papuan could spark agitational efforts.


1) Grandfather accused of training for conflict in Indonesian province of West Papua

A MELBOURNE man received military training in the Ukraine and was travelling to West Papua to engage in "violent conflict" with Indonesia when intercepted by Australian authorities as he was about to board a flight to Papua New Guinea, a court has heard.
Gerard Michael Little, 45, had passed ticket check and Customs stations in Brisbane when he was seized in a multi-agency sting led by the Australian Federal Police.
Mr Little was today denied bail in Brisbane after Magistrate Jacqui Payne decided he was an unacceptable risk of flight and of reoffending.
Despite his “unsophisticated” posts on Facebook about his intentions, Magistrate Payne ruled he had a “strong commitment” to the ideals he was pursuing.
Commonwealth prosecutors told Brisbane Magistrates Court they had an “overwhelming case” against Mr Little on what they said were two “extremely serious” charges relating to “incursions” into foreign states.
Mr Little, a slightly-built disability pensioner, with grey hair and glasses, was arrested after Australian Federal Police, with the aid of Victorian and Queensland police, searched properties in both states yesterday.
He has been charged with two offences: preparing acts for incursion into foreign states and being trained or drilled for incursions into foreign states.
Opposing bail, Crown prosecutor Justin Williams said Mr Little had allegedly made comments that he intended to travel to Papua New Guinea and then travel undetected by “island-hopping” to the Indonesian province of West Papua.
An armed movement has been active in West Papua as part of a campaign for independence from Indonesia.
Mr Williams told the court Mr Little made admissions to police about posting certain comments about his intentions on two Facebook pages.
He also made admissions about a letter found on his laptop.
“When your honour considers those comments, those admitted comments clearly evidence an intention on his part to leave Australia and travel to West Papua and engage in violence, relying on the training he undertook ... in the Ukraine,” Mr Williams said.
Mr Little allegedly told police in 2003 he did not recognise the sovereignty of Australia or its laws.
Mr Williams said that bail was primarily opposed because of the seriousness of the offences, the strength of the evidence and the risk of flight.
The crown submitted Little had no ties to the jurisdiction, and he was a risk of reoffending by further attempting to carry out his travel plans.
Mr Little's lawyer Nick Dore said Mr Little's training was conducted in the Ukraine with a UN-sanctioned non-government organisation.
He said his client lived in Melbourne and split his time between there and Toowoomba.
“He's not trying to mask any activities,” he said.
“When he speaks to the police ... he talks about what he's planning on doing.
“The crux of it is whether or not he was lawfully entering West Papua to provide services on invitation,” he said, adding the case would require “a lot of investigation”.
“There is a big difference between entering a community on a mercenary basis, uninvited, like someone in a Hollywood movie, and someone lawfully invited to attend,” Mr Dore said.
Mr Dore said his client had ties to the community as he had an elderly father who lived in Toowoomba, west of Brisbane, and a 21-year-old daughter and four-year-old granddaughter.
He said his father and daughter were both suffering medical problems.
Australia fully recognises Indonesia's sovereignty over its Papua and West Papua provinces, despite a decades-long separatist insurgency.
Australia's support for Indonesia's control was explicitly set out in the 2006 Lombok Treaty.
Asked about the position earlier this year, Foreign Minister Bob Carr said: “It would be a reckless Australian indeed who wanted to associate himself with a small separatist group which threatens the territorial integrity of Indonesia.”
Australia does, however, regularly raise with Indonesia concerns about human rights in the provinces.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade urges Australians to “reconsider your need to travel” to Papua and West Papua.
Additional reporting: AAP
RNZI Posted at 19:12 on 04 December, 2012 UTC
An MP in Guyana says his country is more focussed on the plight of Indonesia’s West Papuan people after a visit to the Carribean country by an exiled West Papuan tribal leader.
The trip coincided with a call by the former President of the UN Security Council, Guyana’s Rashleigh Jackson, for international support for West Papuan self-determination.
Johnny Blades reports:
The UK-based Benny Wenda is on a campaign to promote global awareness of the Papuan struggle for independence.
In Guyana he met with the country’s President, various parliamentarians and local communities.
He told Guyana’s Capitol News Network that the Carribean country has an historical link with the Papuans from when their region was incorporated into Indonesia in 1969.
“Guyana was one of the countries that support West Papuan independence in 1969 in the UN. Guyanese people support every people who are oppressed in other parts of the world so this is something that I am seeking help from people of Guyana and the Guyana government, so that’s why I’m here.”
Benny Wenda’s legal advisor is a UK attorney of Guyanese Heritage, Melinda Janki.
She says his visit was an eye opener for Guyanese:
“The interest here has just been amazing. The first reaction that Benny has had from people is: how come we did not know about this, how can we be hearing about the denial to the right of self-determination how can we be hearing about people benig locked up, political prisoners? The first response is really one of shock and then tremendous sympathy.”
While in town, Benny Wenda met with representatives from each of the major political parties.
One of the MPs who met with the West Papuan was Desmond Trotman from the APNU, or A Partnership for National Unity.
He says people were impressed by Mr Wenda’s sincerity and commitment to the West Papuan struggle.
“Well it has been on the radar for some time but since Benny has come here, we have become more focussed on the problems of the West Papuan people. He has been able to explain in a lot of detail the struggles that his people have been going through for quite some time. The people in Guyana have had a history of struggle against colonialists and the colonial empires and of course we will, as individuals and as a collective, we will be very committed to the struggle of the West Papuan people.”
Desmond Trotman says there’s a lot of agitating Guyana can do on the Papua issue.
This includes pushing within the United Nations on the need for action on supporting West Papuan self-determination.

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