Daily Archives: January 19, 2015

Answering Caroline Marcus & Her Fact Free Article On The Bali Nine

“BALI Nine smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran don’t deserve our sympathy; they deserve a bullet.”

These are not the words of a blood thirsty fanatic whipping up anti Australian rhetoric in Indonesia or an Indonesian politician using “tough on crime” politics to win an election, this is the dangerous and disturbing byline to an “Opinion” piece written by News Ltd Columnist and ACA Journalist Caroline Marcus.

Upon posting what is either clickbait or one of the most factually inaccurate pieces of journalism ever written (No, I’m not joking) Marcus received praise on social media from those who seem to have a limited understanding of…, well anything and severe condemnation from experts in the field of the law, drug crime and international relations. All the expert advice was ignored, dismissed or ridiculed while those begging for that bullet to be fired were kindly thanked and often their praise retweeted.

But let’s put opinion aside and get to the facts, picking apart Caroline’s article one inaccurate statement at a time. Marcus first argues that not only do these two men deserve to be shot by multiple gunmen in the Bali jungle until they are dead, either from the initial barrage of bullets or if they are still breathing from the sidearm of the commanding officer, she insists Australia has not right to meddle in the actions of another state. WRONG. That’s not how International diplomacy works, nor is it the actions required of a state like Australia that has ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the many other International law instruments that forbid cruel and unusual punishment.

Marcus then argues that Abbott is “right to say he will not put our relationship with one of its closest neighbours in “jeopardy” over this issue.” Again, this is not how International policy works, (I have a Masters in the subject, my thesis was the Death penalty… Caroline yours on this subject is what?). One could argue that the sentencing of Abu Bakar Bashir to just 2 and 1/2 years for his role in the Bali Bombings that killed 202 people including 88 Australians was an example of the Indonesian system putting the relationship with Australia in “Jeopardy”. But despite that appallingly inadequate sentence relations have not been impacted by that judgement. Just as they wouldn’t be as Marcus suggests if the two Australians were to serve life in prison instead of being killed by bullets.

Then we are treated to Caroline’s opinion on the role of the police, apparently it is to exclusively fight crime, not to protect and serve. I guess that leaves the gang at Police Rescue out of a job or those officers tasked with protecting vulnerable peoples and locations also searching the classifieds for new work. This again is Marcus using high school debating methods to solve a very complex and now probably deadly International incident.

Then we move to the worst part of it all. “My own stance on capital punishment has been informed by the successful zero-tolerance approach of Singapore – one of 40 countries that still use capital punishment – where I enjoyed an idyllic childhood in a virtually drug and hard crime-free environment.” Other countries to practice the death penalty are of course Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, The USA, China and of course the newly established Islamic State. Is Caroline suggesting this list of nations has the best of methods for combating crime?

Caroline is not informed on this complex matter by years of study, peer reviewed research or decades in the field but from her childhood memories of heroin free primary school and the fresh smell of posies served with her morning addition of the Government controlled newspaper. Singapore after all has a shocking human rights record, from slave labour, to hardline government censorship of the press (Caroline aren’t you a journalist who likes to publish your own opinion) to the outlawing of homosexual acts and the trafficking of women for sex. This place of her idyllic childhood is not some bastion of all that is good in the world as she claims it to be.

But on drugs and the death penalty she is quick to quote a politician, known for their truth on figures “In 2012, seven years after the country hung Australian drug trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, said the death penalty was a proven deterrent against drug crime in the country.” WRONG

Well my mistake, case closed, a politician says his policy works so I guess it must be true and Caroline is right after all. Except for the fact that no peer reviewed paper has ever shown a link between the death penalty and the reduction of the drug trade. But given Marcus has refused to answer my questions on this very issue let us return back to Singapore where all is great for some answers. In the latest figures available Singapore’s own Central Narcotics Bureau has outlined a sharp increase in drug trafficking in the country, which follows earlier figures from the years 2011/2012 that showed a 14 percent increase in that period. So clearly we should not be relying on Caroline’s memory of her idyllic childhood to decide the lives of two human beings when that very country is going backwards on the issue.

Finally Marcus uses the last of her column inches to subtly discuss the serious issue of drug abuse in Australia, before returning us back to the issue of the death penalty. Perhaps she’s hoping the next federal election will bring about a discussion on the reintroduction of capital punishment to Australia. But let’s turn to a cop who has worked one of the toughest beats in the world and had the death penalty at his disposal for his war on drugs.

“I … know that in practice, [the death penalty] does more harm than good. So while I hang on to my theoretical views, as I’m sure many of you will, I stand before you to say that society is better off without capital punishment… Life in prison without parole in a maximum-security detention facility is a better alternative.”

Police Chief James Abbott of West Orange, New Jersey

Or the  Global Commission on Drug Policy in 2011, who state “the majority of arrests are of “low-ranking ‘little fish’ in the drug market” who are “most visible and easy to catch, and do not have the means to pay their way out of trouble.”

So ignoring all the evidence of experts in the field, law enforcement both here (She had a dig at former AFP Comm. for testifying on behalf of Scott Rush) and overseas, the statistics from the exact country she claims to have seen capital punishment work that show quite clearly it doesn’t and the advocating of cruel and unusual punishment; Caroline Marcus believes two Australian’s should be executed by multiple gun shots (ISIS Style) until they are dead instead of serving the rest of their lives in prison. An alternative that is not only far more humane, just and ethical but also one shown to actual discourage the trade in the very drugs she so despises.

But then there is something Marcus hasn’t considered, an issue I am well aware of having worked many capital cases around the world. Right now the Indonesian Government will be monitoring the Australian media and the reaction to articles like Caroline’s to see what the fall out might be if they murder two of our citizens… for that Marcus has put a nail in the coffin of both Myuran Sukamaran and Andrew Chan. Nobody is saying they are good boys who should be sent home. They committed a terrible crime and must spend many years in jail. But anyone who knows them, has visited them (including criminologists) has seen their reform. But for Marcus that is not enough, she wants to hear that gun fire ring out and the bullet to explode their hearts until two more people are dead on this planet with absolutely nothing to show for it accept some warped sense that ignorant fools with some column space to fill will get a pat on their back from their editor and probably a nice welcome next time they arrive in Singapore.

If Andrew and Myu are killed by a firing squad (Apparently we are in the 21st century, at least according to the calender) Marcus will no doubt take to twitter with some smug remark. Because in the safe little bubble she live in the world is for passing judgement on sans facts and the cruel state sanction murder of two human beings is just another Sunday column. It kind of makes you feel sick…

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