During the Boer War, Harry “Breaker” Morant and Peter Handcock were made scapegoats for the British Empire when Australia signed off on their execution to satisfy their colonial masters in Great Britain. They died for carrying out the orders of British Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener who needed a couple of colonial soldiers to sacrifice to appease the German Kaiser.
In the interest of not upsetting the British, Australia betrayed two of her own citizens to their death. That was 1902.
Yesterday, Australians Geoffrey Tuxworth, Simon Peterffy and Glen Pendlebury were made expendable political scapegoats to appease the Japanese. Australia’s attorney general Nicola Roxon has been quick to condemn these three brave men by saying that they were detained by Japan in international waters and Australia would be powerless to stop them being taken back to Japan.
Of course the only reason they boarded the Shonan Maru #2 was because her government has refused to make good on their pre-election promise to get tough with the illegal Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
When governments refuse to represent the will of their own people, the will of the people finds alternative means of expression.
The attorney general was quick to believe the whalers' lie that the men were taken as prisoners 44 kilometers off shore when the boarding took place 16 nautical miles offshore and therefore inside the 24 mile contiguous zone. Without any hesitation she agreed that these three men, citizens of her own country, could be taken back to Japan and imprisoned.
She forgets that the ballot box that gave her the job and title she enjoys was not placed in Tokyo. She will be a traitor to her own people and a sycophant to Japan if she allows this abduction to take place.
Is the subservient colonial political mindset so ingrained that it becomes second nature for Australian politicians to acquiesce to the demands of powerful nations like the economic superpower of Japan? In order to keep Tokyo happy, will Geoffrey, Simon and Glen become the scapegoats to appease Japanese anger and the humiliation of having their “security” ship boarded a second time?
If the Labor Government of Australia allows the forced deportation of three of their own citizens from the shores of their own nation to be taken down to the Southern Ocean and then back to Japan for inprisionment, it will be a mistake that this government will regret making. It will illustrate once and for all that the promise to protect the whales of the Southern Ocean from the harpoons of the Japanese whalers was nothing but an opportunistic political stunt made for no other reason than to steal votes from people who actually care about protecting the planet they live on. It will also illustrate that like Harry “Breaker” Morant, these three men, Geoffrey Tuxworth, Simon Peterffy and Glen Pendlebury, are simply expendable citizens to be used to keep the Economic Empire of Japan appeased.
It will also be a bloody disgrace and a permanent stain upon the escutcheon of Australia and the legacy of the Gillard government. Every day these three men spend in a prison cell in Japan would be a daily reminder of the dishonesty, deceit and disgrace of a government that has betrayed her own citizens.
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2011-12 Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign