Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Indonesian executions - reflections on the death of eight prisoners, including Bali nine organisers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan

It is now confirmed that eight prisoners, including Bali nine organisers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, have been executed in Indonesia. The executions were carried out at 12.30am local time (3.30am AEST) on Nusakambangan prison island. The photo of the vigil is from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Many issues are raise by the case. A few things are clear.

First, the Indonesian people cannot be blamed for the decisions of their Government. Some of the threats of retaliation are very silly and actually frightening.

Secondly, the whole case took place within a frame set by national sovereignty and Indonesian domestic politics. That's no different from Australia, or indeed any other country. 

Thirdly, the Australian Government has no choice but to react strongly. I don't think that public opinion will allow any other option. . 

 Australia and other countries involved need to indicate their displeasure at the Indonesian Government's decision. This should be done not by hurting the Indonesian people, they are not responsible, but by official punishing action directed at the Indonesian Government. Of course, this will pass, but if you don't make the point, future change will not be possible.

The Australian Government, and the Australian people, should also take a lesson. It's not possible in a globalised world to make domestic political considerations the total determinant of action independent of view elsewhere.

It's not just what is done, but also how it is done..Indonesia has handled this very badly      

28 comments: said...

I think Australia handled it very badly too. Bali is not some playground for Australian drug smugglers. What Indonesia does to people who break their rules is not our business.

Winton Bates said...

In my view the government should just express disappointment and leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

most of our aid budget to Indonesia is directed at counterterrorism education. i can't believe people think we should cut it in response to this.

Spotter said...

The AFP are the ones who mis-handled this. They had warning (from the father of one of the Bali nine) before the drug smugglers left this country. Alternatively they could have arrested them on their return to Australia. I am uneasy at the thought of Australian funded organisations such as the AFP being used to put Australian lives in danger in this way.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I have direct, close family experience with the successful importation of such drugs.

If it was up to me, I would have executed them nearly ten years ago, for the harm they were seeking to introduce into my family. And then I would have reloaded, and said "next".

When asked about promolgating Christianity, Sister Teresa said you convert one person at a time. To which I say "next".

The Indonesian government has only erred in allowing this process to drag out so long.

All the rest, including our now sainted PM and FM, and their posturing, is just politics - much like their fleeting visits to war zones where our people are doing what they are asked, without question.

I will only believe they are genuine when they start holding monthly cabinet meetings in Tikrit.

But I feel for the families; it is a hard thing to lose a child.


John Stitch said...

Dear KVD that is the biggest load of bullshit I have ever read on this site. You tosser, you make me sick. For starters they didn't kill anyone, they didn't rape, molest or otherwise injure one other person. This notion of deterrence by firing squad is the biggest load of crap I have heard from those who support your view. Are you so stupid, ignorant or uninformed to think that this barbaric act will in some way reduce the drug trade by even one iota. Get real idiot. This was posturing on a grand scale to drum up local support.

Let me be even clearer I do not support Tony Abbott but I think he has done everything possible to try and resolve this. Points to him and Julie Bishop. Okay so now they are dead, well isn't the world a better place. You lame shit why don't you go over there and deliver the final shot to their heads, just in case one of the marksmen missed their hearts.

Have you ever fired a rifle. Have you ever seen what happens when the kill shot doesn't kill? You specious jerk. I mistakenly thought you were a person of consideration, given your previous views, however maybe you should join the rat bag crowd at the Local who have never fucked up chiming "Well they knew the penalty". If it's such an effective policy maybe we should adopt it here. And by the way have you ever taken illegal drugs?

Winton Bates said...

Blessed are the peacemakers. Where are you Evan, when we need you?

Anonymous said...

John Stitch - so many questions, such little coherence :) But to answer a few:

1) They didn't rape, molest, or otherwise injure one person:

I think it was 10 kg of heroin they were seeking to provide?

2) this barbaric act will in some way reduce the drug trade by even one iota:

Sister (my bad) Mother Teresa said "one person at a time". But you think the death of one person is not even worth one iota?

3) I do not support Tony Abbott but I think he has done everything possible to try and resolve this

Agreed. But the result was known years ago, so I'm bound to ask: And?

4) You lame shit why don't you go over there and deliver the final shot to their heads

Wasn't invited. Would have been sadly, but willing to do so.

5) Have you ever fired a rifle. Have you ever seen what happens when the kill shot doesn't kill?

Yes and yes - but never at a human. Also I've never provided drugs to a human which reduces them to a psychotic, pathetic, excuse for a human. Would you like me to send you a 30 minute tape of one such, describing the feeling of maggots eating their way into his eyeballs? Have you ever lain in bed listening to a loved one tramping up and down the roof with a carving knife and a hatchet in their hands? Have you talked them down?

John, you really are a posturing tosser, aren't you.

6) have you ever taken illegal drugs

No. I have enough trouble controlling my use of the various legal ones.

Have a nice day :)


Jim Belshaw said...

To John@6.51. I think that Australia handled it very badly too, if not for the reasons that you express. Your last sentence seems to imply that local rules and the punishment for breaking of should not be of concern to those outside the country. That is clearly not the case. The issue is where do you draw the line and what you do about it.

The cases and the responses to it have apparently fueled something of a backlash inside Indonesia especially from the Jakarta Globe who editorialized against the decision to go ahead. At the same time, the Indonesian Government has announced that it intends to go ahead with sixty more executions, something that will stir the debate along.

I think that the way the executions, their botched processes and international reactions has stirred debate in Indonesia is a good thing. The execution by beheading of an Indonesia citizen in Saudi Arabia is another factor coming into play.

In Australia, one positive if one can speak of positives is that its further reduced the chances of those who might wish to reintroduce the death penalty here.

Winton, it's a question of proportionate responses. There opinions will vary.

Jim Belshaw said...

To anon@9:40, point noted. To JS@6.32, I was going to delete that comment, but kvd can look after himself.

Anonymous said...

Jim, before it gets lost in tomorrow's issue de jour, I thought Andrew Bolt's piece in today's DT worth a link:

He makes basically the same points as yourself, if a little more colourful in language. Mostly I am not comfortable with his dog whistles for "my nominal side" of politics, but I think he gets it about right in this instance.

I am adult enough to know that whatever I might feel on a personal level has absolutely nothing to do with consideration at State level. We cannot somehow tow our large island further away from this enormous neighbour we have; we must co-exist.

But on the level of personal, I think I have remarked before about the stark difference between our government's support for these two Australians, and that given to David Hicks. I still can't reconcile that.

Anyway, your later post says it's time for considered reflection, and careful response - and I agree with that completely.


2 tanners said...

Now that it's too late for the condemned, i think we need to talk about our relations and reactions to Indonesia (the people) rather than government-to-government relations.

How is this going to affect societal relationships - everything I read on facebook says "poorly"

And to Mr Stich, if you feel that personal insults and suppositions about people you don't actually know support your case, think again. Why not disagree, strongly and, if you choose, emotionally and leave it at that. As Jim says, kvd can look after himself. I cannot say the same for the arguments and tactics you have employed.

Len Standing-Marchant said...

Yes Mr Stitch your emotional outburst does nothing to lift the debate. I think Jim should have censored the offensive remarks. Although I strongly disagree with kvd I think a more reasoned response is warranted. I am a bit disappointed that kvd would deliver shots to the head of the men. This as you pointed out was a barbaric act and I hope it was with tongue in cheek that kvd was talking about delivering the final blow. Maybe not. But he is entitled to go where he wants at the invite of other governments and shoot drug smugglers. Are you the John Stitch who sometimes writes for Private Eye?

Anonymous said...

Getting away from the point of Jim's post here - that Australian response should be measured, and best made after the tumult dies down - but I'm bound to offer the following as some sort of explanation of my personal beliefs:

1) was sufficiently provoked by Mr Stitch as to offer to "pull the trigger". Apologies for that. If it is to be done, best leave it to trained marksman.

2) I honestly believe that incarceration for a lengthy time is more profoundly inhumane than a sentence of death. I accept you may disagree with that.

3) Lost in the last couple of days was the sentencing in Sydney of an 18-19 year old to 30 years without parole for a particularly grisly murder, reports suggesting some sort of psychopathology involved - who knows? What I do know is that if that person survives even 10 years alive and unmolested, it will be a small miracle. And further, if indeed he has such psychology, he will be released at age about 50 with the very same capacity as he has now acted upon.

4) Cruel and inhumane punishment was meted out to those lads in Indonesia - and by that I mean the excruciating delay of what was basically inevitable once they set upon their plans, but were arrested.

5) I also believe in the right to die by choice - I think the present treatment of those with incurable, painful disease a disgrace. It has always amazed me that we give the right to owners to put a sick animal out of its misery, but refuse the same for a human. I am now far from Jim's post, I accept, but how anyone can sleep soundly at night after to condemning a fellow human to a) excruciating slow death by incurable disease, or b) 20-30 years' imprisonment, is quite beyond my idea of mercy.

Now these are personal opinions, and I am no anarchist, so will allow majority opinion to hold sway. Just, please, spare me the hypocrisy that you are acting out of sweet mercy if you hold to contrary opinions. I believe you are the true savages.


Jim Belshaw said...

Good night all. All those years ago as a seventeen year old I did Philosophy I including ethics. I can't say I did it very well measured in exam terms, but it had a profound influence on me.

I mention that now because it taught me to respect relativities and to try to disentangle arguments.

To Len@11.30, I didn't know that a John Stitch wrote for private eye! Perhaps I should have censored JS,I almost did, but I'm glad that I didn't.

2t@7.57 makes an important point. This is not about the Indonesian people. One of the reasons that I wrote the next post with its references to Indonesian reaction was to highlight the distinction. What have the poor Balinese done to deserve a boycott campaign? We should be increasing our popular involvement with Indonesia, not reducing it.

I will hold further comment to allow further discussion.

Anonymous said...

David Hicks? Never had much sympathy for this boofhead. While Hicks made a success (of sorts) out of failure, Chan and Sukumaran, for their repentance and rehabilitation, paid the ultimate sacrifice. And what talented, exemplars they had become! Through self-discovery, Sukumaran revealed himself as a renowned and gifted artist. He will surely be in the running for the Archibald. What a waste! I will never visit Indonesia.


Anonymous said...

Hi DG, can't argue with your description of Hicks :)

All I'm saying is that he was "our boofhead" and as such he and his family should have been given the same level of government assistance and support as "our drug importers".


2 tanners said...

No matter which side of the fence you are on, I believe the Australian ressponse, including that of the people, has been disproportionate.

Disproportionate with what?

Let's start with domestic violence. More than 30 women and some men are known to have been murdered in Australia in the past year by their partners or family. REsponse from the media? A few limp wristed articles and press releases from concerned organisations buried on page 7. Response from Government? Funding cuts for refuges. Response from public? Yawn, not exciting.

People who kill others through road stupidity - drink, thrills, speeding? Pretty much the same level of interest and the same disproportionate body count.

I just think the revealed priorities are wrong.

Kaz Reeder said...

I may be out of step with the general opinion here but I thought thet kvd's comments were far more offensive than anything that John Stich said. He may be a rambling ratbag but he is not advocating the taking of someone's life.


Anonymous said...

Helluva difference between domestic violence and the road toll and the fate of Chan and Sukumaran. The latter was a statutory execution attended by huge issues of principle. Neither was I impressed with the associated legal processes.


2 tanners said...


While one was a state-sponsored killing, I believe there are huge issues of principle and many poor legal processes in domestic violence, starting with police not taking action nor effecting legally mandated AVOs, poor witness protection and lopsided abilities to pursue matters in court.

For the record, and you are free to disagree, if you believe in evidence-based policy, and you have the evidence and the means to mitigate a problem, to then wash your hands of it smacks of the same moral culpability as those who 'merely' support those who pull the trigger.

This is not a disguised rebuke to kvd who, I think, absolutely accepts the moral implications of this proposition.

Anonymous said...

Hello Jim and others. I was scanning through your blog when I saw something that piqued my curiosity. I worked for Private Eye in the eighties and nineties as a sub and occasional column writer. The name John Stitch was originally from a skit by Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore, something about him being a non-stop dancer. I am reasonably sure this is the same guy who is sending in the odd (very odd) musings to your blog.
The last time I saw him was at the Lamb and Flag hotel in London around 2000 he was drinking with a very drunk Tom Baker. He was no longer working for Private Eye full time but was occasionally being called upon by them to do hatchet jobs on the Royal family when required. This was his specialty. His real name was Spencer something and he took the nom de plume of John Stitch. He is in his own way quite mad but fun in the flesh.
I do know that the articles he wrote were as outrageous and offensive (to some) as his current offerings on your blog. The style is similar. If it is him then this suggests he has migrated to Australia to spread his general mayhem. You should feel privileged that he has decided your blog is worthy of his rudeness. I also suspect he likes kvd, from memory he would never bother responding to someone he thought was below his ilk and given the passion of his last piece he must hold him in high esteem!
I will contact some of our previous associates and try to find out if it is the same person and if so what he is up to.


Anonymous said...


I am not an 'ilk'. My father was a member of the local lodge, and I assure you I respectfully returned all his accoutrements - although I did quite like the apron, so was very tempted to keep it.

More seriously, it will be interesting to read Jim's 'unpicking' of the various ethical, moral issues raised here.

DG seems to think that "state-sponsored" killing is somehow more abhorrent than providing drugs for our young people to kill themselves? And 'tanners is worryingly close to a perceptive analysis of my own simplistic (I admit) view.

Meanwhile, Trader is betting on Tuesday's RBA decision. Priorities...


Anonymous said...

Kaz, he may be a "rambling ratbag" but he is "our" rambling ratbag. As such I am happy to respond to his occasional comments, in good spirit.


Jim Belshaw said...

Interesting conversation, this one, all over the place!

To JK@2.46. Will be fascinated to learn what you find out! And, kvd, if you were not the son of an 'ilk', perhaps an elk or a buffalo?

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, '2 tanners'believes in policy-based evidence.


2 tanners said...


You don't say what your problem with evidence based policy is, but it has a couple of characteristics which separate it from, let's say, 'captain's calls'.

First, there have to be some basic facts relating to the policy goals, the surrounding circumstances and the treatment proposed. Second, past similar policy failures need to be explicitly accounted for.

This is somewhat better than pulling an idea out of one's ideological a***. And it also justifies changing or cancelling the policy when present monitoring is showing no effect o perverse effects.

Anonymous said...

My problem is with the way you were using it.