Port Moresby bleeding
A Kiap’s Chronicle: 9 - Settling into Kainantu

Some legacy, Mr O’Neill: corruption, incompetence & butchery

The despair of the mothersKEITH JACKSON

AND so Peter O’Neill joins the ranks of those tyrannical leaders of brutish states who bear ultimate culpability for butchering their own people.

Furthermore, in a shameless act in parliament, the house of the people, O'Neill could not bring himself to regret the reported martyrdom of four university students and wounding of two score others before calling an adjournment to travel overseas, to Europe it is said.

This gives an entirely new dimension to the expression “cowards' castle”.

Not that his miserable, venal, corrupt and incompetent administration has not – in a more indirect way – been responsible for the deaths of many more Papua New Guineans from preventable disease, domestic violence and extra-judicial police killings.

It is indeed a government with much blood on its hands.

There could be no more craven action by any disciplined force than to fire randomly and wantonly into a crowd of innocent and unarmed people.

The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary did this. 'Royal' my arse. They are little more than a politicised rabble.

And as for the apologists - the yes men and women with whom the Butcher surrounds himself - the ghouls who argue this is a decisive act of a tough leader. Look at them – they have no conscience to gnaw them and a heart as shrivelled as a small, hard stone.

These pariahs are so unlike the generous and welcoming mass of Papua New Guinean people, who are great and have great hearts.

Such creatures, these fellow travellers in greed and hatred, are culpable also - by their furtive conspiracy to align themselves with tyranny against good. They are both fat of body and fat of head.

Finally, Australia. This happened on your watch Julie Bishop. And on yours, Malcolm Turnbull. Australia - a nation that fancies itself as a global player which can’t even manage a shred of decency in its relations with its closest neighbour.

And which shows no moral leadership in its own region, let alone on a broader canvass.

This is a very sad day for Papua New Guineans.

Wise and intelligent and moral leadership would not have let it happen.


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Peter Kranz

The Papua New Guinea government has termed as “intentionally reckless” reports by some international news organisations on Wednesday’s events in Port Moresby involving University of PNG students and police.

Foreign Affairs secretary William Dihm said the visa status of the foreign correspondent in Port Moresby would need to be reviewed because of it.

Dihm said: “At times like this, foreign media and foreign governments and organisations have an interest in what is happening in Papua New Guinea.

“Foreign media and some foreign governments we believe have reported on what is happening here from their foreign eyes and from their perspective.

“For instance, the [alleged] death of students – they were very quick to report that and not some aspects that the government was trying to do in a challenging time.

“Some of this reporting were intentionally reckless.”

He said people who had reported in such a manner should apologise to the nation and the government “or perhaps their visa status in this country may need to be looked at again”.


Mr Dihm's words will be explained to readers in a PNG Attitude article tomorrow - KJ

Paul Oates

I am not sure Ms Merrell understands the depth of feeling and immense level of frustration that has built up over the last few years as ordinary people have felt ignored and not listened to by the leaders of their own country.

This is not just a political movement or even a few rabble rousers creating an opportunity for the ever present rascals to rampage around. What we are seeing is the tip of an iceberg that has been growing in size and power.

If the repercussions of the recent police action really start reverberating in the PM's volatile electorate, he will find himself isolated and vulnerable. Unfortunately, all this violence and injury could have and would have been prevented if PM O'Neill had merely agreed to be questioned by the police fraud squad.

Surely it is not worth creating the suffering that have now arisen and will be hard to downplay or ignore? By refusing to answer any questions it begs the question: Why?

Is it worth creating such a situation that people feel so aggrieved that they are prepared to suffer personal injury and even the possibility of losing their lives.

If I were Ms Merrell, I would be advising her employer to agree to answer questions in his office with his lawyer present and easily clear his name as after all, he claims he has done nothing wrong.

Given the government is still united behind the PM, how can the answering of a few questions be politically motivated?

I would suggest that anyone who tries to downplay this genuine demonstration of PNG people power should expect and not be surprised at the level of vitriolic response.

Daniel Kumbon

'Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable' - George Orwell

Michael Dom

No fear young leaders!

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." Mahatma Gandhi

Faith. Unity. Action.

Des Martin

The murderous behaviour of the police in shooting unarmed students prompted me to look up my old DNA [Department of Native Affairs] departmental Standing Instructions to Kiaps/Police, particularly the section entitled "Firing Upon Hostile Persons".

Twelve pages set out various scenarios indicating when lethal force may be used.

None of these would excuse Wednesday's police action.

The police action was reprehensible given that water cannon, long batons, tear gas and protective riot gear is available to police forces faced by riots or demonstrations.

Prime Minister O'Neill and the Police Commissioner should resign and the police commander responsible for giving the order to open fire should face charges.

God help PNG given the move towards an O'Neill dictatorship with no respect for the law.

Mathias Kin

Mr Alone, not once did you pen a message condemning police brutality. You shot a lot of arrows at the poor university students, half of them females. Over 20 students were shot at.

Since you and I went to university, how many in our time went on to enter the national parliament as elected leaders?

Not many. But leaders are not necessarily elected. I became a captain and coach of my RLF team, I was a leader. One of my mates left uni to become a priest - he is currently a great leader leading thousands of Catholics.

You seem to condone the police brutality - the shooting with live bullets at unarmed students who were conducting a peaceful protest.

And butchery? Yes this time maybe nobody died, but police shot indiscriminately into the mass of students.

Do you condone this butchery act of the well armed Special Service Unit (police)? Or maybe we should sent them to Iraq and see if they stand a change against real bullets flying at them too?

This is a democratic country, citizens have the right to assemble, voice an opinion and audit government performance. The students have been doing just that. You seem pro-O'Neill.

Yu save wokim gutpla toktok long PNG Attitude; tasol nau mi ino save.

Ed Brumby

Shame on you, Ms Merrell. Shame on you.

Regardless of your alleged conspiracy theories, there is no excuse whatsoever for shooting civilians engaged in their democratic right of peaceful protest.

(And, by the way, the word you used on your amusing blog for those who threaten you should be 'deviants', not 'deviates' - so much for your much-vaunted higher education.)

Francis Hualupmomi

It is my view and I strongly feel that this issue of student unrest would not have blown up should it have been internally resolved at institutional levels starting from the university administration through to the higher education department and ministry.

The NEC and prime minister should be the last option for intervention. The university administration and higher education department and ministry should have resolved the problem at its inception.

It appears obvious that Wednesday's confrontation between students and police demonstrates the inability of the higher education department and UPNG to amicably resolve the issue.

It seems that the minister for higher education is the only leader on the forefront addressing this issue. The public hardly sees the secretary of higher education and UPNG administration finding neutral ground to resolve the issue.

The Ombudsman Commission and the inquiry should also investigate whether these key actors contributed to the confrontation.

The heads of these institutions should immediately step down to save face. I have confidence in Minister Malakai Tabar to resolve this issue.

Corney Korokan Alone

['Quote from one Freda] Students are the future leaders and their rights to express should not be suppress for so long [end quote]

Such superficiality as this quotation gives an inflated notion that students are future leaders.

This confluence of factors is clarified here:

1. Yes, some of them will be leaders in the future. They can become who they want to be. The absolute fact though is that, their time will come. Trying to juggle a lot on the contrary can prove to be catastrophic. Ever heard the phrase “bite what you can chew”?

2. For now, no one has mandated any students from any university, colleges or secondary colleges as yet.

3. There's a possibility that some of these students will be looters and launderers - leadership isn't automatic because one has been to university and earned a degree.

4. It's plain that the future so-called leaders cannot recognize that; they're pawns in some conspirators' desperado gamesmanship for power.

5. Untested zeal withers in the real battle of life.

6. Education without a benefit of better judgment and focus on real attainable goals at this critical juncture in life is something worth serious reassessment by the students themselves and their parents/guardians.

7. Butchery? Not really in perspective and as history dictates.

Rashmii Bell

I detest xenophobia of any form but for you Susan, I make the excpetion. You are an oxygen thief and undeserving of any association with Papua New Guinea.

Michael Dom

Susan Merrell, you are a sad, sad woman and I am sorry for the wasted life that makes you immorally bent sullying the noble efforts of young Papua New Guineans who are reclaiming their nationhood.

Susan Merrell, history will not look on you kindly.

The hallowed halls of academia, which you prize so highly, will cast you from their ivory towers with contempt at your shallow words.

If you live to your old age, you will look back on this episode of your life with bitterness and hatred that you may never come to terms with, being utterly incapable of compassion.

God keep you, if He will.

Jimmy Awagl

Due to the shooting,
PNG will retaliate as civil unrest
and you will lose your glory
Susan's comment on what students deserve
will be like a bush fire.
you and O'Neill with the bulk of rough, semi educated policemen
will not contain the anger of the 7.5 million Papua New Guineans
as they rebel.
Be mindful, PNG is a communal society
bound to cause destruction
at any time
Simbu is protesting
Mt Hagen is protesting
Wabag is protesting
when will you contain the protesters?
you will hide in a police cage
your freedom is suppressed
with your evil deeds
you are bullying
playing like a dictator
by mouth you a undermining law
by action you are a coward and puppet
the world is watching
you are disgrace to Melanesian society
you people are embarrassing
yet you think you fly like an eagle
and see like an owl
but without legs to stand on
the edge of the law will suit you
it is the mouthpiece of the nation
if you step on the branch
you will fall
still the edge is waiting for you
Peter O'Neill is fighting a losing battle
bai yu pudaun lon hel tomoro

Murray Bladwell

Susan, are you inferring that Peter O'Neil does belong on the moral high ground?

Michael Dom

Butchery - truly.

This makes me feel angry, frustrated and guilty for not being there too.

This is what evil men will do when a nation does not take responsibility for its democracy - your children will bleed on the streets.

Philip Fitzpatrick

This framing of everything in terms of growth and jobs is getting very tedious.

A society is not the same as an economy. The quicker politicians realise this the better.

Peter Kranz

Look at the pictures. Why is the mobile squad equipped with Australian-made SLR'S (self loading automatic rifles) or US M16s?

These are combat weapons, designed to rapid fire at enemy troops in the context of a war, with a devastating impact.

To use them against a civilian protest is an abomination.



Bernard Corden

Julie Bishop is just a flowerpot, sit there and look pretty for the cameras.

Peter Kranz

Julie Bishop has just said this -

"Peter O’Neill is the elected prime minister of PNG and PNG is a sovereign nation. PM Turnbull spoke to PM O’Neill last evening and offered support if the government needed it but that offer was not taken up.

"We want there to be calm in PNG, we want PNG to focus on its strengths as a nation. It has an enormous economic opportunity with a number of LNG projects.

"This can provide jobs and economic growth in PNG. But the violence is disturbing, of course, it is, and we call for calm and a deescalation of the tensions.

"These protests have been going on for some weeks now, the students have effectively boycotted the university. So we want to ensure that law and order is restored but that any police response to lawful peaceful protest is proportionate."

Murray Bladwell

I just viewed an excellent interview on ‘The World’ with Beverley O'Connor and Bal Kama, a PNG PhD student from ANU, who clearly had been in touch with UPNG students. He says there is no turning back, that students will not back down.

O’Neill should be pressured by the Australian government. But we know this is never going to happen. Turnbull had a piss weak response on the ABC’s 7.30 Report and clearly doesn’t want to get embroiled. Julie Bishop appeared at her “Easter Island statue” best, stonewalling as you’d expect!

It seems that the best we can do at the Australian end is for us all (bloggers and friends of PNG) is to get onto our local members and hammer home the need for Australia to take a stand - fuck our self interest in our “prisoner of war” camp on Manus. We have badly let down the citizens of PNG.

Cheers mate and thanks for your forthright item on todays’ blog.

Rashmii Bell

Well said!

There is zero justification for police brutality. God's speed with recovery to those injured and traumatised by these deplorable actions. My heart breaks seeing this image of our others mourning for the assault on young lives. PNG belongs to us all and not only one man!

Arthur Williams

I have a grandson caught up as a tertiary student in it in Lae. As I prepare for sleep tonight my thought are with him and all those young men and women held hostage to the greed of one evil man and those around him who fear to speak for whatever reason even now after today's events.

“Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.” (Alan Paton, 1948, in South Africa)

'You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately... Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!' (Oliver Cromwell to another Rump Parliament, 1653)

Tears for the nation I loved.

Giorgio Licini

Shooting at students is simply unacceptable. Let this government go and go for good!

Paul Oates

I have just heard on the TV tonight PM Turnbull say in response to a question about the matter that he had spoken to PM O'Neill and there was no one killed in the riot. Other reports say 4 people were killed and up to 14 wounded.

If the official PNG government line is what PM O'Neill is saying occurred then was another report correct that all Australian police that were supposedly embedded with the PNG police were immediately disassociating themselves from the PNG police?

What has the PNG Opposition to say on this matter?

The Australian public need facts and not hearsay to form a proper opinion. Our PM appears to have been able sidestep the issue so far due to misinformation.

Can we now have someone in authority in PNG state unequivocally what actually happened and what were the facts? At the moment we are depending on conflicting reports.

Allan Kidston | Contract officer, 1967-1974

You are spot on Keith. This is a shameful act by the police against the most basic tenet of democracy, the right to peaceful protest.

Why have we, the Australian government, been co-operating with this rotten government, oh that's right, we have a detention centre on Manus.

You could add Kevin Rudd to Malcolm Turnbull & Julie Bishop. My thoughts are with those young people who will eventually become the leaders of their country, I only hope they will still have a country.

Peter Kranz

"And as for the apologists - the yes men and women with whom the Butcher surrounds himself - the ghouls who argue this is a decisive act of a tough leader."

A certain Ms SM on holiday in Spain, tweets "Whistle a Happy Tune" from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Which one? ironically "The King and I".

David Loea

It is a sad day in the political history of this beautiful nation, PNG. Why it has happened this way? The political cronies had their way to escape from law. I stand with the majority to strongly condemn the act of slaughtering. Human beings are not animals, they are precious gift from God above. May those who involved in murdering fellow PNGans be strongly condemned.

Ed Brumby

Extremely well said, Keith: a day of sadness and shame.

`Robin Lillicrapp

It would seem the dross and inept who've ridden on the coat tails of political history are revealed for who they truly are.

To slaughter the the nation's youth is such a malevolent step. Like Herod of old, all pretenders to earthly rule would not be tolerated.

It will be interesting to see what is made of this here in Australia. Time now for sterner diplomatic stuff - not stuffing around, methinks.

PM O'Neill has shut all doors of escape from the consequences of this social evil that has descended upon the country.

Try as he might, there is no way he and his cronies can atone for this insanity perpetrated upon future leadership.

Let's see what saner heads amid PNG's Parliament and Judiciary can now achieve to rid the nation of the miscreants, and restore confidence in the market-place.

Lindsay F Bond

Oh, kneel, terroriser of peaceful compatriots...
Oh, conniver, come away from policing's sham,
Oh, pointless, long to linger in shame...

Chris Overland

The RPNGC has now stepped over the line between being a force for the preservation of law and order to being a gang of thugs enforcing the will of the will of the Prime Minister.

Thus a once proud and honourable heritage has been trashed for good. The honorific "Royal" is now a black joke.

The use of lethal force against unarmed students is a crime, pure and simple. The principal beneficiaries of this crime are the Prime Minister and the gang of crooks, shysters and carpetbaggers who support him.

Any right thinking person in PNG, including even the ignoramuses who constitute that crapulous place of cant, hypocrisy and deceit called the PNG parliament, ought to realise by now that O'Neill has to go.

If he is not forced to step down then, by default, his supporters are endorsing murder as a necessary "tool of trade" to maintain Prime Ministerial power.

This also would represent the end of genuinely representative democracy in PNG even though, of course, farcical attempts would doubtless be made to pretend otherwise.

O'Neill's unwillingness to submit himself to the judicial process demonstrates his flagrant contempt for the rule of law.

His supporters are just as culpable for this outrageous crime in so far as they have helped create the conditions for it to occur.

The role played by Commissioner Gary Baki in thwarting the proper administration of justice is especially significant. He should be compelled to resign immediately.

Is there no-one willing or able to act to defend the constitution of PNG and the laws made under it?

william Dunlop

KJ, A family friend was a 1/2 colonel in the Rhodesian Military in those troubled times, This was his description of Mugabe.

Jimmy Awagl

O' Neil hungry to suck blood
like sucking power
he thinks not like a Papua New Guinean
he thinks like an alien
he acts like a thief
defending his dictatorship
as a war lord
at the battle field
in the parliament
using another Papua New Guinean
as a slave
to shoot another elite Papua New Guinean
man in blue
semi educated
ill trained
not to respect law
not to enforce law
not to bring peace
but to follow a thief
to gain favour with money
to an innocent money
if the nature checks
and balance
both the verbal commander
and the arm commander
will enter the same gate
since PNG is mourning
over the spill of blood
at the capital city of PNG

william Dunlop

Well, O'Neill just had the butcher of Rhodesia, Mugabe's, approval to emulate him. What next.

Raymond Sigimet

Peter O' Neill, be a man and step down or better resign from the post of PM na go hait pastaim. Mi filim les na belhat pinis long wanem samting wok kamap stap.

You are holding the citizens of PNG for ransom. This is unbecoming of a PM of a democratic country. Your stubborness to answer to corruption charged is like a tropical ulcer eating into PNG society.

Be a man and step aside, and go in for questioning.

Leaders take responsibility of their actions. Leaders listen to what their people are saying. Leaders accept criticisms from their opposition. Leaders have integrity.

What transpired today would be another dark chapter in PNG's political history. Shame on you and all those fat frogs for this mayhem.

Mathias Kin

Oh my PNG
Oh how I weep for my PNG
Oh no
My girl has fallen
Other have hands in air like in a military operation
oh is this me once beautiful PNG
Please ooo

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