National liberation comes to the South Pacific

Although the small Pacific Island nations now exercise a nominal independence very few have sufficient resources and practically no industrial development which would enable them to stand up to the pressures that are being imposed on them by Australia, New Zealand and other nations with more highly industrialised economies.

It has been easy for countries such as Australia to use so-called "aid" programs and loans (and then threatening to withhold them) to demand that the weaker nations adopt policies acceptable to the developed countries.

Australia, in cooperation with the United States, declared the South Pacific Island states to be its area of influence. In this frame of mind the Howard Government declared that it was the policeman of the region and sat in judgement over its neighbours as "rogue" states, "failed" states, not capable of "good governance". The Australian Government used such charges to claim it had the right to carry out pre-emptive strikes, and with assistance from others even went to the length of deliberately engineering crisis situations for that purpose.

Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands is a classic example. On two occasions the Australian Government and its lapdog ally, New Zealand, sent troops and police to the Solomon Islands as a consequence of some local disturbances. Who stirred up these disturbances has, of course, never been explained.

The troops and police were not alone in moving into the Solomon Islands. Civilian personnel were included, some taking over key positions in government economic and legal advisers, judges, bankers and election monitors. That these personnel would include members of ASIO and other "intelligence" agents has to be taken for granted.

In the Solomon Islands an Australian policeman took over the position of Police Commissioner and was responsible for last week's raid on the office of the Prime Minister of the Solomons. The raid was carried out while the PM was out of the country attending a meeting of the Pacific Forum and violence was used to break into his office.

All this was accompanied by vicious verbal attacks on the Solomon Island's Prime Minister by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer whose arrogant and outrageous behaviour had already been displayed in connection with East Timor and Papua New Guinea. Downer is a typical colonial governor using the stronger economic and military power of Australia and the availability of personnel to effect a virtual colonial take over.

The PNG Government was faced with a similar attempt to take it over but Australia was eventually forced to back off after insisting that Australian personnel in PNG should be above PNG laws. Australian high-handedness was again on display recently in connection with PNG when the Australian Government refused to extend visas to the PNG Prime Minister and other government officials to visit Australia when they were allegedly involved in the Julian Moti affair.

Flagrant interference

The Australian Government's flagrant interference and stand-over stand-over tactics also being played out in East Timor as it attempts to turn East Timor into an Australian colony. Once again troops and police were rushed in using the pretence of disturbances in Dili. No United Nations authority was sought despite the presence of a UN mission in Dili that dates back to the struggle of the East Timor people against Indonesian occupation.

In the recent discussions in the UN Security Council, Australia argued that it should continue to control the military forces at present in East Timor rather than passing command over to the UN mission.

The UN investigation into the events earlier this year in Dili has concluded that Alfredo Reinado could be prosecuted for his role in the disturbances in which a number of East Timorese were killed. Reinado is said to be in "hiding", yet it is clear that his whereabouts are known to the Australian military and media. His criminal role is also being covered up by the Australian Government with no steps to arrest him despite his escape from jail several months ago.

Reinado, who lived in Australian for about nine years and trained at the military college in Canberra, is clearly working closely with Australian forces and was a useful and willing tool in the vicious Australian-orchestrated campaign to overthrow the elected government of Mari Alkatiri.

Another long-standing Australian resident who is also playing the Australian Government's game is the present Prime Minister of East Timor, Ramos Horta.

Growing resistance

Despite these campaigns, occupations, economic and political pressure and blackmail, there is an obviously growing resistance in the island states to the attempts of the Howard Government (and the Keating and Hawke Labor Governments before that) to re-impose a form of colonialism on the island states, to destroy their independence and sovereignty and to install governments that will do the bidding of their Australian masters.

A Communist Party booklet Recolonising the Solomon Islands published in 2003 says that the rejection of colonialism and the demand for independence and sovereignty remain strong in the world and the neo-colonialist plan outlined by the Australian Government may yet come crashing down as it deserves.

In the 1970s and `80s the Pacific Island states were given their statehood in the wake of the world-wide anti-colonial movement of the time. Now, the people and governments of these states are beginning to fight for their independence!

From The Guardian

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