Wednesday, July 19, 2006
double think Australia-PNG etc etc
Here is an amazing article from the Australian newspaper today, also (double think) discussed on Trinketization:
Australia has 'opened PNG door to JI'
By Lloyd Jones in Port Moresby
July 19, 2006
INDONESIAN terrorists have an open door into PNG to target Australians and their mining and energy interests thanks to Canberra's push to slash the size of PNG's military, says the force's former commander.
Retired Major-General Jerry Singirok, who in 1997 defied PNG's government and ousted Sandline mercenaries deployed to crush Bougainville secessionists, said the downsizing of the PNG military from more than 5000 troops to 2000 had crippled it.
Security on the border with the Indonesian province of Papua was already severely compromised with few or no PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) soldiers in place where full companies should patrol, he said.
The Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah (JI) posed a huge threat to Australia and PNG when the porous 760km border allowed illegal and suspicious migrants to cross with ease, Maj-Gen Singirok said.
"They would certainly target Australia's major investments in Papua New Guinea.
"As we have seen with the calls by Osama Bin Laden and his cohorts, they group Australia together with America and England as their enemy."
Major resource targets such as the Hides gas project, the proposed gas pipeline to Australia, the Ok Tedi and Porgera gold and copper mines, and oil installations in the Gulf of Papua were potential targets, he said.
"Any terrorist with intention (to do harm) would obviously strike where there's no defence, no security systems in place.
"If they cannot hit Australia on its home soil, they're going to hit Australia where it hurts.
"There's billions of dollars of Australian investment in PNG and there's a relatively significant population of Australians."
The downsizing of the PNGDF, with soldier payouts funded by Australia, was "humiliating" and "a major security blunder" that compromised PNG, Australian and regional security, he said.
Maj-Gen Singirok said Australia constantly accused the PNGDF of being a destabilising factor though the force had never threatened to take over the government.
"My challenge to Australia is it should not see us a destabilising force, it should strengthen us, give us equal training and the same standards as the Australian Defence Force because we can be a major force of deterrence in the region."
An Australian-backed program to destroy around 3000 surplus PNGDF weapons also compromised the force's capability, Maj-Gen Singirok said.