(eds. The discovery of vast copper ore deposits in Bougainville's Crown Prince Range in 1969 led to the establishment of a huge copper mine by the Australian company Conzinc Rio Tinto. Aware that something significant was being planned, BCL’s Managing Director, Robert Cornelius, relayed his concerns to the company’s Chairman, ahead of a meeting with the PNG government. As a result, they instructed a PNGDF officer, Leo Nuia, to prepare the PNGDF for a decisive assault on BRA strongholds. A loyalist leader, Thomas Anis, claimed “we are fighting a civil war which involves arms, violence and psychological struggle for power – a warfare in which only the fittest will survive” (Post-Courier, 07/01/1991). (2003) The Political Economy of Armed Conflict: Beyond Greed and Grievance. Frightened, ignorant thugs with guns a long way from home.”, Another executive remembered surveying the destruction inflicted upon local villages by government forces during April 1989: “Forty, 50 villages, and the crops [were destroyed]. As the crisis unfolded the national government chose to deploy the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) in an effort to reopen the mine and suppress the landowner movement. However, the BRA successfully shut the mine down just hours after its re-opening, while the peace agreement signing was stayed when a Provincial Minister involved in its construction was assassinated. (eds.) Kramer, R. C., Michalowski, R. J. and Kauzlarich, D. (2002) ‘The Origins and Development of the Concept and Theory of State-Corporate Crime’, Crime & Delinquency, 48(2), 263–282. ‘In Between: Personal Experiences In the 9-Year Long War on Bougainville’. Situated on Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) eastern border with the Solomon Islands, the company's Bougainville operation was forcefully closed down in November 1988 by traditional landowners who objected to the mine’s environmental and social effects. Additionally landowners and politicians were assaulted, a prominent landowner’s wife was raped, and those left homeless by the destruction were placed in internment camps (called ‘care centres’ by the PNG government) where they were denied access to any outside visitors. BCL’s Managing Director immediately phoned key Ministers and organised an emergency meeting for the following morning. A … The meeting ended on a sour note. In response, company executives adamantly denied complicity. Le Billon, P. (2005) 'Fuelling War: Natural Resources and Armed Conflict'. PNGDF soldiers also began to experiment with the use of mortars on civilian areas, including white phosphorous rounds. Dom Rotheroe who provided excerpts from his documentary film, 'A Coconut Revolution'. Available online. Bougainville: The Forgotten Human Rights Tragedy, report: available online. According to a former District Commander of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC): “Basically the mobile squad people are semi-military, they are aggressive, they don’t do what normal policeman do, they go in there and they beat a few heads in. Similarly, Australia’s Foreign Minister, who presided over one of the least known but nonetheless egregious periods in Australia’s foreign policy history, went on to become the head of the International Crisis Group, a major international NGO committed to conflict prevention and resolution. Lasslett, K. (2009). Bougainville: Rio Tinto faces war crimes allegations in bid to reopen mine. Né en 1729 à Paris, Louis-Antoine de Bougainville est le fils d'un notaire et échevin de la ville de Paris. At the time, the Panguna open cut mine was the largest in the world. Ballentine, K. and Sherman, J. As a result of these joint efforts, approximately 10,000 to 15,000 people were killed on Bougainville. Bougainville is a semi-autonomous, resource-rich region of PNG with its own administration, but dependent on the national government for most of its income. In an effort to bring the rebels to heal, the PNG government, with encouragement from Australia and BCL, placed a military blockade around Bougainville during May 1990. One manager recalled: “These guys [PNG security forces] were ignorant thugs with guns. Le plus grand et le plus puissant représentant du type aviso, l'équivalent pour la Marine française des sloops et des canonnières. British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto is seriously contemplating reopening its Bougainville copper and gold mine, Reuters reported on February 7. Bougainville: Before the Conflict. (1990). However, the PNGDF lacked the operational capacity to undertake this extensive military campaign alone. 'State Crime by Proxy: Australia and the Bougainville Conflict', British Journal of Criminology, 52(4), 705-723. Bathurst: Crawford House Press. Bougainville Revolutionary Army, Communiqué, 29 November 1989. They were confident the company did supply the defence force with the aforementioned equipment. There is no vacuum or hermetic sealing - merely a very logical time frame - not some chaotic outsider driven free for all. BCL was profoundly disappointed with this decision. Collier, P., and Hoeffler, A. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. It was no longer a land compensation issue nor a tribal conflict. Il colonise l'archipel des Malouines (1763), qu'il remets aux Espagnols à la demande de Louis XV en 1765. On the 28 April 1989, Francis Ona (1990: 7-8) declared: “Our only option now is … to break away from PNG. PNG’s Defence Minister boasted, “we have shown the military destruction that can be caused, if ever they decided to start again. (1990) ‘Bougainville is a Special Case’, in May, R. J. and Spriggs, M. Shot dead by the PNG soldiers, her abdomen was then cut open to remove the foetus. (2002). At this stage in the dispute BCL feared that the PLA was intending to alter the legal arrangements which governed the mining operation, using threats and emotive rhetoric. The government offered the moderates a generous peace settlement if they could persuade villagers to withdraw their support for the more radical PLA executive. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers. (Optional) Enter your postcode for local activist event updates. Consequently, when customary landowners used industrial sabotage to close the mine in 1988, this regional dispute soon transformed into a major national crisis. The Bougainville Civil War, also known as the Bougainville Conflict, was an armed conflict fought from 1988 to 1998 between Papua New Guinea and the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), who were fighting for independence. It wasn't just the "ambassador." World War II, when: because of the natural affluence of their village life and the coverage of the [Bougainville] district by Christian missions (mainly Catholic and non-Australian), the administration neglected to play a conspicuous role in development almost until copper was discovered. Despite Francis Ona’s warning a declaration of emergency was issued by the government on 26 June 1989. Bathurst: Crawford House Press. The war has been described as the largest conflict in Oceania since the end of World War II, with an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Bougainvillean dead. In PNG the state owns sub-surface minerals. Standish, B. Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online. Today the opposition to the mine is strongest overseas, especially among Australia's trade unions and non-government organisations. ‘Perspectives on a Crisis (5)’, in Polomka, P. Indeed, PNG’s Cabinet was sensitive to the fact that a heavy handed approach might not be socially feasible in a country where tradition, kinship, and customary landownership remain pervasive forces. So it would be difficult to argue that this support is based upon informed consent. Perhaps BCL was unaware of the ends to which this logistic support would be applied? (eds.) Led by Francis Ona and Perpetua Serero, this executive had a radical political agenda. Bougainville – Blood on our Hands: Australia’s Role in PNG’s War. British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto is seriously contemplating reopening its Bougainville copper and gold mine, Reuters reported on February 7. (eds.) Extra-judicial killings, forced displacement, the internment of civilians, and the denial of humanitarian aid, were just some of the egregious tactics employed by the military. Bougainville Perspectives on a Crisis, Canberra: Strategic and Defence Studies Centre. This it was hoped would split the rebels into disparate groups, thus allowing the PNGDF to pick them off one by one. However, the BRA’s leadership was adamant, any permanent solution to the conflict would require: 1) The withdrawal of the government’s security forces from Bougainville; 2) The permanent closure of the mine; and 3) The holding of a referendum to decide the question of independence. The Bougainville Crisis, Bathurst: Crawford House Press. Sharp, N. (1997). Once again, the military used its entire arsenal – which included 81 mm mortars, M16s, M203s, M79s, and four Iroquois helicopters rigged with M60s – to bombard villages. For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. During early 1989 unrest on Bougainville grew as militants began to attack the property of local businessman. Expecting a sympathetic ear, Cornelius was shocked to discover that the government in fact blamed BCL for the recent disturbances on Bougainville. (2000). The war crimes committed by government security forces in the conflict were horrific. Facing severe financial and logistic constraints the national government turned to the mine’s operator, Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL), and PNG’s principal international benefactor, Australia, to prop up the PNGDF. Memorandum to the Chairman, 22 November 1988. The new Prime Minister, Rabbie Namaliu, ordered an independent inquiry into the mining operation during August. Forget about your differences and struggle for only one goal: to save the lives of our future generations”. So we supported them every way we could.”. Naturally, Rio Tinto wants to take advantage of skyrocketing copper and gold prices by dusting off its old South Pacific jewel. We didn’t have the logistics to go in, but when you have a call out, and the national government wants you to go, what do you do? BCL director Sir Rabbie Namaliu told The Australian on July 16, 2011: “To suggest that Rio did it deliberately is factually wrong. Noté /5. Hilson, C. J. Perry informed Cornelius that at around 12:30am militants had initiated a campaign of arson, which had damaged BCL’s accounting office, executive guest house, and engineering drawing office (over the coming days the attacks became more focused on paralysing the mine’s power supply). In the following case study you will be exposed to the calculations, relations, and decisions that led two democratic states and a major multinational mining corporation, to organise a systematic campaign of state violence that terrorised the residents of Bougainville for almost a decade. With many radical PLA activists now dead, the company may get its way. HAKO, Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea – In the northern coastal villages of Hako Constituency on Buka Island, in Papua New Guinea’s eastern autonomous region of Bougainville, life … I am sure that that lesson is being learnt by the Bougainvilleans” (National Parliament of PNG, Record of Proceedings, 11 July, 1989). Gillespie, R. (1996). Internment camps, the mortaring of children, aerial bombardments, assassinations, rape, and the denial of humanitarian aid — these are just some of the criminal state practices endured by civilians during Papua New Guinea’s decade-long civil war on the island of Bougainville (1988-1998). (1996). These allegations were featured in a hard-hitting Dateline report aired on SBS TV in 2011. Meanwhile heightening tensions between Bougainvilleans and mainland PNG migrants led to riots in several towns. Regan, A. J., and Griffin, H. M. Photo by Francis O'Neill, via eco-action.org. Australian supplied helicopters – which arrived in July – were immediately put to use, “offensive fire was regularly directed from the helicopters at suspected targets, including villages. [Dr Kristian Lasslett is an executive board member of the International State Crime Initiative. Young freedom fighter from the Bougainville Revolutionary Army in 1994. Believing that the law and order operation had demonstrated the government’s capacity to impose its authority, a meeting was called with moderate landowners opposed to Francis Ona. While a class-action has been taken against BCL by the landowners, the company nonetheless remains hopeful of returning to the island. The International State Crime Initiative would like to thank the following contributors: Amanda King and Fabio Cavadini of Frontyard Films who provided excerpts from their documentary film, 'An Evergreen Island'. Ten years of fighting for autonomy from Papua New Guinea and a brutal civil war ravaged the country in the 80s and 90s. The PNGDF, with assistance from the Australian Defence Force, instrumentalised these tensions – their plan was to exacerbate the growing divisions on Bougainville by continuing the blockade, and by engaging in psychological operations. As a result, in April 1998 a permanent ceasefire was signed, while in 2001 the Bougainville Peace Agreement was endorsed. The Wingti government, however, was toppled by a vote of no confidence in July 1988 before any progress could be made. NSW government under scrutiny for strip searches, 'war on drugs', Morocco and Israel agree to normalise a sordid relationship, Refugees forcibly relocated from Mantra Hotel in Melbourne, Moreland council condemns secret immigration detention centre. May, R. J. (eds.) Tanis, J. The mine began production in 1972 under the management of Bougainville Copper Ltd, with Papua New Guinea as a 20% shareholder. Without the Prime Minister’s consent, the Police Commissioner ordered the mobile squads to arrest PLA leaders, a move which violated an amnesty that had been granted to landowners by the national government. I am sure they are attracting a degree of community support from war-weary Bougainvilleans looking to rebuild their shattered island. They believed this would set a destructive precedent, illustrating that force could produce results. Many are against the controversial idea, but Australian-based campaigner Vikki John from the Bougainville Freedom Movement, said there were issues with getting their message out. Moreover, a number of influential Ministers genuinely believed that the campaign of sabotage was a cry for help by landowners. Like East Timor in the 1970s, the con­flict rarely made the headlines. (Fighters of the … During this invasion, Task Force 39, led by … De 1778 à 1782, Bougainville participe à la guerre d'ind… Indeed the Ministers told Cornelius, more needed to be done for local communities. For example, I interviewed eight senior managers who worked for BCL during 1987-1992. According to Regan (1996), the BRA began countering emerging loyalist sentiment through arrests, interrogation, torture and executions. Perched on the north-west tip of the Solomon Islands archipelago, Bougainville forms part of Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) easternmost border region. However, it is clans who own the land which mining companies must access to extract the minerals and build essential facilities. Well, its executives seem fairly cogent on this front too. This they hoped would allow the mine to be repaired, while the BRA was gradually neutralised. Ona, F. (1990) ‘Declaration of Independence – Republic of Bougainville’, in Polomka, P. The Eyewitness Testimony of Marilyn Part 1, The Eyewitness Testimony of Marilyn Part 2. The government’s new strategy was related to BCL by the new Minister of State. Canberra: Pandanus Books. Concerned by growing inequality, foreign exploitation, intra-community friction, environmental harm and poverty, the new PLA embarked upon a campaign of civil disobedience. Last night I was on edge. While more broadly, the collapse of the PNG state would seriously damage Australia’s regional leadership aspirations, and provoke uncomfortable questions from important allies (principally the United States and Indonesia). The beachhead was secured on November 13. We learn that, when the war began in 1989, Matilda’s father left Bougainville for Australia to find work. (2006). As a result, in late March the mobile squads were instructed by the national government to restore order, with assistance from the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF). Rogers, T. A. ‘The Politics of the Panguna Landowners’ Association’, in May, R. J. and Spriggs, M. Using the defence aid supplied by Australia and BCL the PNGDF conducted a series of offensive operations during July and August 1989. Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro. Completely isolated from the outside world, the BRA and their political arm, the Bougainville Interim Government, were unable to normalise social conditions on the island during 1990. The Papua New Guinea Defence Force: Vanuatu (1980) to Bougainville (1990), Unpublished PhD, Canberra: Australian National University. En 1756, il fait partie de l'expédition au Canada sous les ordres de Louis-Joseph de Montcalm. Moreover, internal ruptures began to appear as people grew tired of deprivation and a growing law and order problem (an under-resourced BRA failed to provide any systematic policing service). ‘Ecocide, Industrial Chemical Contamination and the Corporate Profit Imperative: The Case of Bougainville’, Social Justice, 23(4), 109–125. The Bougainville Interim Government says that the Papua New Guinea Defence Force has begun to commit atrocities following the landing of troops in southern Bougainville's Siwai district on May 9. Frightened ignorant thugs with guns. (ed.) London: Routledge. Our goal is not only to expose the lies, hypocrisy and bias of the billionaire class and their media: we seek to help the organising efforts of all those actively resisting the increasingly authoritarian rule of the corporate rich, here and overseas. In an effort to press the independence question the BRA stepped up its attacks on the mine during May 1989, forcing its closure. (2000) Greed and Grievance in Civil War, Washington, DC: World Bank. I don’t know what I’d do without my weekly brain food. (eds.) Both organisations provided considerable assistance. This Accord examines the creative initiatives that helped to end the violence, and describes an indigenous peace process that drew on the strengths of Melanesian traditions. BCL responded favourably. During this ‘law and order operation’ hundreds of homes were burnt to the ground by security forces, along with crops. Secretary of the Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association, Bougainville operation was forcefully closed down, interviewed eight senior managers who worked for BCL, Podcast: Politics in Brazil today — Eyewitness discussion with journalist Michael Fox, Vigil for Muhammad — Malaysian student dies in detention, Ecuador: Popular progressive alliance gains electoral certification. A new mining law was passed last month by the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), opening up talk of the reopening of the Panguna mine – the catalyst of a 10-year civil war. In late March the overwhelmed security forces retreated also, after having suffered a number of serious losses. Amnesty International. The PLA’s executive believed that this inquiry would vindicate the landowners. (ed.) While this alone was remarkable just before the turn of the millennium, what is absolutely astonishing was that the weapons had been “resurrected” from the WWII battlefields. As internal tensions grew during 1990, the national government was able to activate its plan. Having marshalled 500 PNGDF troops, 300 RPNGC mobile squad officers, and 100 Correctional Service officers, Colonel Nuia implements a major military offensive in January 1990 in a last ditch effort to nuetralise the rebels and reopen the mine (by this stage BCL’s cash reserves were seriously depleted). Tell us what Green Left means to you. (1990). This is an audio version of the Wikipedia Article: Bougainville Civil War Listening is a more natural way of learning, when compared to reading. CLAIMS that Rio Tinto funded the civil war and fostered atrocities on Bougainville are being resurrected as a hurdle to the reopening there of the copper mine, whose proven reserves are worth at least $50 billion. The dead foetus was then placed on the chest of the dead mother for all to see — as a warning.”. (1992). You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month. Namaliu is hardly an uncompromised source. Then deal with the other issues (BCL, PNG, etc) in their own priority, in their own way in their own time. (2006) State-Corporate Crime: Wrongdoing at the Intersection of Business and Government, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutdgers University Press. (ed.) loyalist) force. (1997). 1990s Bougainville civil war: WWII weapons. This framework received a major boost when the military revolted against the national government’s plan to employ the private military company, Sandline International, during early 1997. Until Rio Tinto commits to full disclosure, any attempt to reopen the Bougainville mine will be another corporate blight on the deeply scarred people of this Melanesian island. The BRA responded to the government’s divide and conquer tactics, by formally adding secession to their political agenda. BCL’s Chairman was particularly alarmed at the deteriorating situation on the island. A senior PNGDF officer recalls: “We were not trained, we were not prepared, both in training and in our modus operandi. It was hoped that by doing so communities would begin to turn against the BRA, thus bringing about the ingredients for a civil war on Bougainville. located on Bougainville island has pro­ duced no copper and gold due to sabot­ age by village landowners. There are also reports that the Solomon Islands was again attacked the day before the Bougainville landing. An anti-war movement evolved on Bougainville during the mid-1990s, spearheaded by womens’ groups, NGOs, and the church. According to Rogers (2002: 238) Colonel Nuia “was a hardliner with little sympathy for the secessionists”. Reconciliation and Architectures of Commitment: Sequencing Peace in Bougainville. These conditions were unacceptable to the national government. Accounting for Violence in Developing Countries, London: Hurst & Company. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you. ), Contemporary State Terrorism: Theory and Practice. There are other problems with his account. Ce navire de guerre était prévu pour servir dans les colonies à l'étranger et transportait un armement assez performant pour sa taille. Fearing negative exposure, the national government banned the media from entering Bougainville. Modules . Kramer, R. C., and Michalowski, R. J. Much to the PLA’s disbelief, the inquiry concluded that “BCL has done good work” (BCL 1988). Sydney: AID/WATCH. Unsatisfied with BCL’s legalistic approach, the PLA set up a road-block on 16 May 1988, which prevented the mine from operating for several hours. The villages were varying from five or six houses to 20 or 30 houses.”. Pacific Scoop: Report – By Rowan Callick. June 24, 2015 June 24, 2015 jwh1975 3 Comments. One manager told me: “We did everything they [PNG security forces] asked of us to make their life more comfortable, and better able to manage through, with transport, communications, provisions, whatever, fuel. Namaliu was prime minister of PNG from 1988 to 1992. Lasslett, K. (2012). Despite its attempt to glorify war and promote nationalist myths, he gives an honest account of Australian atrocities in war-both in decisions by the ruling class to throw away lives joining unnecessary conflicts and in the war crimes committed by the military in waging them. (2004) State and Society in Papua New Guinea: The First Twenty-Five Years, Canberra: ANU E Press. Having been briefed on BCL’s views, the national government looked for a middle road. Only then we will be able to save the lives of our people in Bougainville … Please be united and walk side by side. Aware that the national government was preparing to resolve the crisis using “brutal firepower”, the BRA’s leader, Francis Ona, sends a hand written letter to the Prime Minister. That night BCL’s Managing Director was awoken by a phone call from the company’s General Manager for Commercial, Ken Perry. At 3:30pm on 22 November 1988, three hooded men armed with axes and knives forced their way into the BCL explosives magazine, and removed a considerable quantity of boosters, detonating cords, delays, and detonators. Despite having the support of loyalist paramilitaries, the state security forces continued to employ the same violent tactics witnessed during 1989-1990. Available online. Amnesty International said PNG forces stationed in Bougainville during this period took part in extra-judicial killings, village burnings and the rape of women. Ted Diro, the Minister of State, and Ben Sabumei, the Minister for Defence, persuaded their cabinet colleagues that a state of emergency must be declared, and the BRA neutralised using military force. You have to go” (Personal Communication, 2006). These sentiments were shared by PNG’s Police Commissioner. The Bougainville Conflict: Origins and Development, Main “Actors”, and Strategies for its Resolution, Port Moresby: University of Papua New Guinea Faculty of Law. Pla ’ s Managing Director immediately phoned key Ministers and organised an emergency meeting the. [ PNG security forces continued to negotiate with the use of WWII weapons before the Bougainville landing government banned media! Thus allowing the PNGDF turned to BCL and Australia for assistance do without my Weekly brain.! Must access to extract the minerals and build essential facilities, this executive had radical! 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