Whatever it is, it’s powerful stuff.
Scott initially described events before Reza Berati’s killing, and the serious injuries to around seventy others as “an incident” and “a disturbance”. I’d like to be able to see and hear those events, and calmly refer to them like that.
Other unconfirmed reports coming out, even at the time, talked of asylum seekers hiding and fleeing, and being dragged out and beaten. They said that other PNG residents went into the camp, rather than asylum seekers coming out. They said that Berati was killed inside the compound, not outside. They said that many shots were fired, and iron bars were being used. They spoke of many many bleeding asylum seekers. Hardly anybody mentioned injuries to anyone else, because there were very few.
This information was in the public domain at the time. Unlike anyone else, in addition to this information, Scott Free had access to communications with the Department, with the camp, with G4S, and with PNG authorities.
Yet nothing could break through his calm description of this as an incident and a disturbance. Whatever he’s on, it’s powerful stuff.
A short time later, his first thought was to reassure the Australian public that breakfast had been served, and order restored. Powerful indeed.
Then subsequent information, which was entirely consistent with all of the unconfirmed reports, was provided to Scott Free. He now corrected the many completely erroneous statements he had made previously. Reza Berati was killed inside the camp. PNG locals were inside the camp. G4S staff were in the camp when Berati was killed. And yes, breakfast was indeed served, he got that right.
But such is the power of Scott’s source of calm, he showed no concern that one or more people responsible for Berati’s death were at large, and possibly still working in the camp.
Possibly working as “guards” of the survivors of what, on the face of it, now sounds more like an out of control lynch mob armed with knives, iron bars and firearms pursuing essentially defenceless and in some cases completely passive asylum seekers.
They’re still at large, but Scott’s not concerned. That’s powerful stuff.
If it appeared that prison guards had killed an inmate in an Australian prison, all hell would break loose. All people responsible would be stood down and an independent inquiry started in parallel with vigorous police investigation. These people aren’t even prisoners, they have committed no crime and it seems likely their guards killed one of them.
Here, SIX DAYS later, and no suspects, no nothing. But Scott is calm. I really want some of that stuff.
Because I’m aghast and despairing at the callous and irresponsible dereliction of even basic responsibility being shown here. Information is being viciously suppressed; silence, not order, is being restored, and violent killers walk around, like the Minister, scot free. I need some of that stuff urgently, because this is just awful, and makes no sense.
When the news came that the camp commander is a former officer in the Sri Lankan army, I’d almost lost the ability to be further appalled. But Scott wasn’t phased at all.
In Australia the outrage after six days of no results would be massive. Newspaper front pages would be thundering indignation and demands for action.
But Reza Berati’s killer or killers are still out there, quite probably working for G4S, and probably for Transfield next, and Scott is calm. That stuff is amazing.
According to Tony, he’s also not a wimp, and a decent guy. Could be. But I want whatever he’s having.