The mirrorless society
New book from Highlands holds nothing back

FBI & RPNGC join forces to fight corruption

FBI official
FBI assistant commissioner Hodges Ette poses with a RPNGC officer at the financial crimes and corruption training program [USA Embassy]


NOOSA – “Who wears sunglasses on a rainy day looking like they’re going to the concert in a suit?” the joke goes.

The answer is a G-man, the American slang term for agents of the United States government, usually from the FBI.

The famed Federal Bureau of Investigation is the domestic intelligence and security service of the USA, the government’s principal federal law enforcement agency.

The FBI attaché from the US Embassy in Canberra just completed a couple of days training 15 officers of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC).

The training, specifically aimed at investigating money laundering and corruption, was led by an FBI assistant commissioner of crime, Hodges Ette.

The US Embassy’s chargé d’affaires Joseph Zadrozny thanked the RPNGC for their support of a safer, more transparent PNG.

“Transnational crime threatens all of us, Americans and Papua New Guineans,” Zadrozny said, telling the officers that president Joe Biden had directed that transparency be brought to the global financial system.

“PNG is working with us to close loopholes that undermine democracy, catch criminals and make the Indo-Pacific safer.”

Zadrozny said he applauded PNG’s efforts to fight corruption and financial crimes.

It is estimated that more than K4 billion is stolen from PNG’s budget each year, brought to Australia and hidden in the banking system and the Queensland property market.

Last July, the PNG-based BSP Financial Group attracted the ire of the reserve bank’s financial analysis and supervision unit for alleged serious breaches of Australia’s anti-money laundering rules.

And in recent years there have been a number of risk assessments stating that illegal logging poses a huge money laundering threat to PNG.

The training was requested by the PNG government to provide police investigators with new skills on international best practice in conducting complex financial criminal investigations.

The course covered advanced investigative techniques for exposing money laundering and corruption, FBI case studies and practical exercises.

The FBI stations special agents overseas to build relationships with law enforcement, intelligence, and security services.

The FBI’s Canberra legal attaché’s office covers Australia, PNG and Pacific Island nations.

And here’s a slightly adapted multinational police joke to finish with.

At an international police convention in Canberra, the FBI, the Australian Federal Police and the RPNGC have a contest.

Rabbits will be set loose in the bush and the team that catches theirs first wins.

First goes the AFP. They use sniffer dogs and helicopters and come back with the rabbit in two hours.

Then it’s the FBI’s turn. They use high-tech gear, drones with thermal image cameras and satellite tracking. They’re back with the rabbit in just one hour.

Last to go out is the RPNGC. They return after 20 minutes with a very frightened pig, a written confession and the animal is screaming, “I'm a rabbit! I swear I'm a rabbit”.


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Harry Topham

I wonder if the investigations by the FBI will uncover the tangled web of deceit that leads back to Chinese spider haunts.

Lindsay F Bond

Where have all the growlers gone, song theme pasin. Want spik that needs salute? Thus KJ with Attitude.

Of flights of fancy and birds, the Eastern Curlew, honour the Moreton Bay Islands with their presence after enduring a13,000 kilometre flight from Siberia to Australia.


Yeah, Siberia, товарищ.

Chris Overland

Keith, your recounting of the Sandline fiasco was a pleasure to read.

Spicer may have been a logistical genius but he was clearly no student of history. If he had been, he would not have sought to engage in conflict with the BRA at any price.

During World War II, the Australians were able to keep Coast Watchers on Bougainville for years, thanks largely to the active or passive support of the Bougainvilleans themselves.

Literally thousands of Japanese troops searched in vain for people like Paul Mason but the people kept him informed of their movements and resolutely played dumb when the Japanese sought their assistances to find him.

Japanese attempts to secure assistance through either bribery or threats or even murder merely hardened the islanders' resolve.

In some cases, Japanese patrols tasked with hunting Mason down very rapidly found that it was they who were the hunted, not Mason.

Bougainvilleans, often armed with captured Japanese weapons, became very adept at laying ambushes for the hapless Japanese soldiers.

The same thing happened in the Solomon Islands and, as time went by, the Japanese soldiers became increasingly reluctant to venture far into the island hinterlands, restricting themselves to short and shallow incursions followed by a rapid retreat to their bases.

My expectation is that the Sandline 'warriors' would soon have found themselves enmeshed in an exceedingly ugly guerrilla war, in which they were variously misled, bamboozled and, eventually, terminated.

Of course, this is mere speculation on my part but it is hard to imagine how 45 white mercenaries, however well led and equipped, could ever have prevailed over the BRA.

Bernard Corden

J Edgar Hoover’s Legacy: Spying On Democracy

Bernard Corden

"Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad." - Henry Kissinger

"The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer. " - Henry Kissinger

William Dunlop

Shades of former RPNGC's Superintendent Mike Thomas' Tripela Liklik Pik, e.g., give me five good men and I'll sort it all out.

As told me by Sub Insp Terry Selva, later (Assistant Commissioner, 1981) in Chimbu back in 1970.

Happy New Year. Slantie.

Old Superintendent Mike must have spread the word about his strategic thinking.

It's almost 25 years to the day (8 January 1997) Lt Col Tim Spicer (Scots Guards, not sure about the kilt) met a deep-thinking J Chan and gave him the rundown about how his outfit, Sandline International (love the International, love it) with an impeccable days-long track record in the mercenary business, would secret in at regimental strength 44 mates and, bingo, Bougainville uprising suppressed.

Piece of cake. Everyone knows that Bougainvilleans can’t fight, yes? That the BRA had spent nearly 10 years tossing out the RPNGC and PNGDF and arming themselves to the hilt with some serious firepower that the uniformed guys left behind, well that was not so easy to find out.

So the Spicer boys sneak in under perfect cover on an Air Niugini flight from Singapore and totally fool everyone because 44 dull-eyed expats each looking like he’d go at least five rounds with Joe Louis, but no more than that, is about as inconspicuous as you can get.

Thinking laterally, Spicer had ensured weaponry flew in under separate cover because the helicopter gunships weren’t allowed as cabin baggage.

Still 31 of the lads were SAfricans so too much expectation would be just that. But they supplied the brainpower compared to the Aussies and Poms who dribbled after them.

Spicer, who I can assure you was not born yesterday, being something of a logistical genius had chartered an Antonov AN-124 Russian monster, the biggest thing capable of flight in the Russian speaking world on those occasions when it got off the tarmac.

It had all the weaponry for Moresby aboard including a couple of MI-24 helicopter gunships, a brace of piston engine light aircraft, so many small arms you could have made some quite big arms from them, and 600 crates of ammunition and mixed lollies.

Eventually the 45 fellas in Mosbi, who would not have been noticed by the rather incurious people who inhabit that forlorn city, did curate some weapons locally. The boys managed to gather an impressive collection of Hagen axes, cap pistols and other firepower known to be of assistance in taking over large stretches of territory (it always looks smaller on the map).

But there was a hitch because there’d been a snitch and the snitch told The Australian newspaper (this was before Murdoch approved of seizing power in countries he fancied owning like America) and so his rag unfairly ran the story on its front page making it sound like something was going on.

But, being sneaky bastards, they did this only after telling defence and foreign affairs who thoughtfully gave the Antonov approval to fly from Bangkok to Tindal RAAF base near Katherine in the See You in the NT.

Gaff blown, the rest is history, or it would be if there had been any history beyond the boys having one incredible stroke of final luck. To be sent packing - KJ

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