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Monday, 25 November 2013

Anthony Reagan—The Economic Hit Man

Leonard Fong Roka

What game is Anthony Reagan playing on Bougainville for Bougainvilleans?
When the Panguna people fought against the brutal exploitation of Bougainville wealth to built Australia’s buffer state of Papua New Guinea that hosted a people that were not ethnically and geographically relatives of Bougainvilleans, Australia was up against the Solomon Island people of Bougainville and supported the PNG people.

Bougainvilleans stood up to shut the Panguna mine that was building PNG and not Bougainville. The analogy is that Bougainville was rich in the media and the few urban centers but in reality, Bougainville was the poorest island with no infrastructure, proper government system to sustain progress. Bougainville was marching to its grave yard festooned beautiful flowers.

Australia and PNG loved the pre-crisis Bougainville direction of development that was based on exploitation that was sustained by institutional indoctrination to subject the Bougainville nation into a field of genocide.

The pair proofed it when the Bougainville people revolted since 1988.

Australia and PNG had the dream to eradicate the people of Bougainville in their 10 year total blockade on Bougainville to take control of the massive seven mines that Bougainville is sitting on. Since Panguna mine was the financial river of PNG, it indicated that the next 6 mines were as positive in terms of profiteering for Australia and PNG.

But Bougainvilleans stood to the harsh Australia and PNG rage against them.

Thus reaching a moment in the life of Bougainvilleans that their tiny island states like Solomon Islands, Vanuatu with the backing of only one responsible state in the Pacific, New Zealand; other humanitarian organizations like churches and individuals of the Pacific and the international community began advocating for peace in the midst of the divided Bougainville people that were fighting each other whilst the Australia armed PNG army turned into a sitting logistical provider.

Peace did not suffer resistance for the island since Bougainville was a nation that people knew and accepted each other. So when Bougainville kept their guns away and peace slowly wrapped the island making Australia thinking.

Australia is a hegemonic state in the South Pacific. It cannot let go its status that easily to another rival state, for example, China and be seen as a bystander in its own doorsteps from exploiting the tiny Pacific island states.

Thus Australia dived into the peace effort on Bougainville under a new skin of friendship for the post-conflict Bougainville population to welcome it as a big brother. Of course, it is the regions big brother, but no state or person enters into a partnership without its interest to get its slice of the cake.

With all care, Australia helps Bougainville create the Bougainville Peace Agreement (2001); Australia support Bougainville creates it autonomous government system and so on. But as it stands behind Bougainville, Australia is seeing that Bougainvilleans turn to built laws that will deter or narrow its interest on Bougainville.

To this, an academically well versed Anthony Reagan comes into play.

Consider this and look at Mr. Reagan and the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) of the day: ‘Experts at the banks will come after you. It’s their job to punch holes in your forecasts—that’s what they’re paid to do. Making you look bad makes them look good.’ Confessions of the Economic Hit Man by John Perkins (2004: Page 17).

Anthony Reagan is punching holes in Bougainvillean psyche and achievements making the ABG look bad and making outside interest and directive  look beautiful thus ABG is backing outside interest and not a Bougainville oriented approach to development of Bougainville.

Such a trend paves way for exploitation. That is Bougainvilleans still will not own the land they died for since ABG is vowing to foreign interests that the very good examples on the ground are Anthony Reagan and Lindsay Semple.

Recently in Bougainville Forum (Facebook) Anthony Reagan preached all his credentials of working on Bougainville and admitted that, ‘It’s true that AusAID has paid for my work in Bougainville.’

In this day and age, political leaders are puppets and the real decision makers in politics are the financial institutions, multinational corporations, and so on. So we have to ask as Bougainvilleans how many financial tentacles has AusAID has? BCL and Rio Tinto are both Australian multinational corporations!

So nothing is hidden when Anthony Reagan is struggling hard to influence and mould the outcome of the Bougainville mining bill.

Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Association (PMALA) chairman, Lawrence Daveona, emailed his executives that, ‘we must collectively defend the "Stolen Rights" for our people. We must remember that Blood has been spilled in our struggle for Land rights. You all know the rest of the story. It is now or never as long as people like Mr. Tony Regan and Professor Cieran who are on the payroll of AUSAID as advisors to ABG keep carrying on their misguided information to us under the cover of "Workshops" for us the Landowners.’

People are seeing and feeling the whole problem Bougainville is now faced with: the reckless roaming of an economic hit man to kill Bougainville ownership of the land and its livelihood. They are here to put foreign interest ahead of Bougainville’s loss of 15 to 20 000 of its innocent people that perish under Australian support of its friend, PNG and its brutality on the island.

Another American sympathetic to Bougainvilleans, Dr. David E. Martin of the University of Virginia wrote in Inverted Alchemy blog that, ‘In an elaborate scheme reminiscent of the first theft of Bougainville’s assets, Mr. Regan has complied with the wishes of his paymasters and drafted a new mining bill that preserves nearly all the abuses embodied in the 1967 Act. To add insult to injury, his proposed bill reinforces the corruption quotient by burying in Clause 26 the nullification of the over 200 provisions with the simple empowerment of the Autonomous Bougainville Government to act unilaterally and without consideration of any law as it wishes. Using his “constitutional” expertise, he’s taken to the U.S. government’s definition of Constitutional Law – if it is expedient, do it and tread on the Constitution to get what you want.’

The ABG’s mining minister, Michael Oni from Panguna, is now a puppet in the House of Representatives. He has no ownership of the bill played around by Anthony Reagan. It was not Michael Oni that presented the bill in parliament but Anthony Reagan.

In such a rush Anthony Reagan also abused the Bougainville Constitution twice but nothing has being done by the ABG.

The Bougainville Copper Agreement 1967 that allowed the exploitation, indoctrination and genocide of the Bougainville people is now trying to come back with the blessing of the ABG and the economic and political hit man Anthony Reagan.

Bougainville’s Contesting Resource Bills

Leonard Fong Roka

In June 1967, the mining policy created by the colonial administration, the Bougainville Copper Agreement gave Australia's CRA 53.6 percent ownership and most of the profits from the Panguna mine. In 1964 an Australian administrator told local people they would get nothing from the mine. This led to the 10 year civil war and the Australia-back PNG blockade of Bougainville since 1988 that led to the death of estimated 10 to 20 thousand Bougainvilleans.
In 2005 after years of peace negotiations Bougainville was granted a high form of autonomy, under the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) within the state of PNG. It is now able to make its own laws as it prepares for a referendum between 2015 and 2020 as catered for in the Bougainville Peace Agreement of 2001 to decide its political future.

With this though, Bougainville is financially depended on PNG and other donors with its internal revenue generation still staggering. This situation has driven the leadership to pursue the re-opening of the Australian Panguna mine that was shut in May 1989 for its exploitation of Bougainville resources and suppression of its people.

To improve internal revenue sources the Bougainville government is focused on the re-opening of the Panguna mine through the creation of new laws in the Bougainville parliament. This parliamentary exercise of creating laws over the resources rights in Bougainville has now turned into a contest spilling beyond the House of Representatives in Kubu, Buka causing fear and doubt to many Bougainvilleans.

Since November 2006, the PNG government agreed to transfer mining, oil and gas powers to Bougainville and since then the Bougainville government was at work trying to mitigate its economic loopholes.

The late Joseph Kabui’s house got tangled up with controversial Australian businessman Lindsay Semple creating the Bougainville Resource Development Corporation (BRDC) that was to give 70 per cent of Bougainville resources rights to Lindsay Semple. The current Dr. John Momis house had got Bougainville dealing with BCL to get the Panguna mine running to free Bougainville economically.

Despite the Lindsay Semple deal blasted in parliament around 2008 contributing to the death of Joseph Kabui and its setback, it had made a come-back under the skin of Morumbi Resource Inc. running around Bougainville secretively trying to gain ground with potential resources sites and owners. On the same issue, the current Bougainville government house under Dr. John Momis is also engaging with the CRA subsidiary company, BCL and other stakeholders in a not-so-transparent pursued of the development of Bougainville resources.

Both regimes are fighting each other to get the Bougainville government to get their own bill to be the law overlooking resources, especially mining, but this is causing trouble for people running the negotiation of Panguna mine.

The two contesting bills, ABG’s Transitional ABG Mining Bill has Anthony Reagan as the architecture that is said to be backed by BCL and so pro-BCL and not much Bougainvilleans. Whilst the next bill known as Bougainville Resources Owners is backed by Lindsay Semple through Sam Kauona, the former Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) strategist.

An officer in the Panguna Mine Affected Landowners Association (PMALA) who asked to remain anonymous stated that as a body representing mine affected people they do not like both the ABG-Reagan and Kauona-Semple bills.

In the ABG-Reagan bill there is transparency in the Bougainville administration side. People know what they are doing but at the political level Bougainvilleans know nothing. Bougainville knows there are hidden agendas now in the BCL-Reagan-ABG relationship.

Recently the first draft of that bill abused Bougainville parliament by not getting endorsement and going in for the first hearing. During the ABG president’s daughter’s funeral Anthony Reagan was disrespectful of Bougainvillean customs pushing the parliament for another hearing of the bill.

It is obvious the ABG-Reagan bill does not want to change the old parasitic Bougainville Copper Agreement for it is profitable to them and this is where the landowners will not entertain that bill since the BCA did exploited and suppressed Bougainvilleans for the good of BCL and PNG thus leading into civil war and death of 20 thousand Bougainvilleans.

With the Kauona-Semple bill, Bougainville Resource Owners, the officer said it has few positive areas like 100 per cent right by resources owners to exploration license and so on. But this ‘100’ is not positive for Bougainville in other areas of the bill.

All Bougainvilleans suffered during the war and so in every resource development project the ABG must be the partner in ownership with the immediate resource owners. This is catered for in the ABG-Reagan bill but not in the Kauona-Semple bill.

Also, the Kauona-Semple bill exposes resource owners to reckless exploiters like Semple himself. They would not be immune since that law says it is their resource and it is they who decide.

Both bills are still contesting for acceptance in parliament with Bougainvilleans confused and watching.

The PMALA officer said that Bougainville must not entertain both bills but get the positive provisions out of each and built its own. The ABG must have priority set of guiding laws with the on-going negotiation to protect Bougainville with the influx of investors most of whom are parasitic.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

A fighter’s call of responsibility

Leonard Fong Roka

He was one of the men who ambushed and killed 8 PNG soldiers in late 1992 outside Arawa; he was wounded in the former Kieta port area by the redskin enemies of Bougainville in mid-1993, and he recently acted as a Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) sniper in the Bougainville movie, Mr. Pips.
Kevin Paibaku and his wife and children today live a calm life at his Bomena hamlet at Pidia village of Kieta, Central Bougainville taking up opportunities that reaches him with openness and a positive mind.

‘We all have suffered in the 10 year war for independence,’ he told me, ‘but our struggle is still going on. We have yet to reach the destiny we fought and died for and that is freedom from our own selfish leaders, the cruel PNG government and its people, and the Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) and its friends that are still running around to exploit us again with old laws.’

He joined the BRA in 1990 angered by the reckless PNG army and their patrol boats that came and regularly shot at and threatened his villagers with their huge guns.

According to Michael J. Field’s 1998 historical timeline entitled, Chronology of Bougainville Civil War (online), the PNG government, after failing in 1990 to end the BRA rebellion in Panguna and withdrew, it had its National Intelligence Organization (NIO) to create a confidential plan to re-take Bougainville with Australian input in April of 1990. The plan had two strategies: (1) a total blockade and (2) deliberate setting of Bougainvilleans against each other on geographic/ethnic terms.

All these worked out on Bougainville and Paibaku know for sure that Bougainville was and is still trapped in this PNG and Australia set-up.  

In early 1992 when the reckless PNG army began intensifying their attacks on the coastal villages, the Pidia people began slowly moving their families into the inland areas of their hinterland. As they moved to safer refugee camps their village went up in flames on the dawn raids.

So it was now the responsibility of young people like Paibaku to patrol the Pidia Peninsula with guns. They had also the role to contain the PNG army camps at Kobuan and Kieta that regularly attempted ambushes on their narrow trails of entry into the Pidia peninsula.

It was these duties that one day got him engaged in a gun battle with the foe that had him wounded in 1993. His unit of BRA patrol was trying to block a PNG army team foot access into the Kieta port at the Premier Hill when they got engaged.

After facing a brutal guerilla fire power of the BRA on the Arawa-Kieta access road without any gain, the PNG army patrol broke up and sent a unit further into the ridge overlooking the Premier Hill in the cover of night.

Early the next morning Paibaku and his old team of mates from where they rested for night in the jungles of the Pidia peninsula came to have a look at the previous confrontation spot. There they discovered a section of the divided PNG army patrol scavenging and encircling a point on the road that they were positioned the previous day.

Paibaku and his men did not waste a moment but started shooting at them from the rear. In joy of the scene of panicking Australia trained PNG soldiers, a few forgetting their weapons, darting into the roadside slope into Kobuan, Paibaku and his team exposed themselves to the PNG army unit positioned on the ridge above them.

They were about to pick a few dropped and forgotten PNG government weapons on the road when the uproar of gunshots from above them got them in shock. Four of his friends got shot but they still manage to help each other and move away from the line of fire.

Paibaku was trying to get a good shot at the ridge positions of the PNG army and a stray bullet bounced off a metal frame he was hiding beside and reaped through his buttocks. He was a experienced BRA man thus the tiny sting he felt meant a bullet and reaped through him thus he ran down hill into the former Kieta township and made it for the Karakung villages without checking his back.

As he reached Karakung, he ran out of blood and collapsed as he met friends who immediately carried him further inland.

His wounded life threatening so soon after he was shouldered by locals from Karakung to Koromira area where the BRA boats transported him to Choiseul province; this is a journey the saw him undertaking a life saving medical operation in Honiara.

Soon after his treatment he returned to keep fighting. In his return he was braver to fight the invaders of Bougainville.

But with the peace process he had not a chance to fight the shameless PNG government that came to fight to re-take Panguna mine. But he thinks peace was a positive development for Bougainvilleans to be united and get rid of PNG that had destroyed Bougainville land and people for years.

‘Peace was good since our kids are now in school as our leaders are fighting the war on the table,’ Paibaku told me at his Pidia village. ‘But peace again has sadly created irresponsible and corrupt Bougainville leaders who had forgotten our struggles since the 1960s.

‘The BRA leaders are worst. They had forgotten what we fought for and now they are running after money. They have also forgotten us the soldiers who actually suffered to earn them the reputation they have as our leaders. They are recklessly running after money with threat to the civil society after ordering us to contain our weapons.’

His recent role in the movie, Mr Pips, as a BRA rifleman was a moment of pride to his life as a fighter for Bougainville freedom struggle.

‘The New Zealanders has helped us make our story be felt in the wider cinema world,’ he said, ‘where people will know at least we had suffered in the hands of redskins from PNG who did wanted only to rob us our rights and dignity.’