The Pickering Post
Tuesday, 11th December 2018

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Larry Pickering

Four-time Walkley Award winning political commentator and Churchill Fellow, has returned to the fray over concern that the integrity of news dissemination is continually being threatened by a partisan media.


A healthy majority of Australians supports the execution of the Bali two and I find myself in the minority once again. The last chance of clemency was lost in the official cacophony of objections from both sides of Parliament. It sealed the fate of those two idiots. 

The executions will now be carried out, Joko Widodo will have his way, illicit narcotics will continue to be smuggled into Australia and you will still be able to buy any drug you want on the streets of Kuta and Kings Cross.

I was working for the Herald and Weekly Times when Ronald Ryan, the last person to be killed under an Australian State Government sanction, was executed in Melbourne’s Pentridge Gaol. 

A colleague and friend who I later worked with on the National Times, Evan Whitton, was a witness to the hanging and wrote of the clinical process in such a compelling way, it would stay with me forever. 

Evan was a powerful and gifted writer who massaged the English language into a rapier like weapon that tore at your gut and dismantled your bigotry. There is none today who equals him. 

Anyway, back to the Bali two. Let’s put aside the glaring hypocrisy of the Indonesian government, its corrupt judicial system, its gross inequality in sentencing and the fact that the AFP fingered these two before they could get here.

Anyone found guilty of murder or importing narcotics should rot in jail for life but these two hadn’t imported this haul at the time, they were just intending to, and if they had lobbed in Australia the AFP would have been waiting for them anyway. They were caught in Indonesia with Indonesian sourced narcotics. 

Okay, they may have carried drugs into Australia before and they may have escaped customs and the AFP, so was this a square-up? Was the call made to Indonesia by the AFP knowing full well the mules were certain to face a firing squad?

That ethical argument will continue.

So how do you kill a bloke in cold blood? Well, I guess you put a hood over his head, not so that he can’t see you, but so that you don’t have to look into his eyes. You stick a little white patch over his heart to shoot at and make sure one shooter in the squad has a blank in his rifle. 

He won’t die immediately of course, even if one of the bullets manages to pierce his heart, so the two minutes of a body jerking around can be put down to nerves contracting and the good thing is you will not have to look at his contorted face.

I had hoped we were beyond third-world Islamic penalties but according to polling (including here) the concept of legally killing another human being is alive and well.

If killing these two blokes in Indonesia meant one life saved here, then a case could be made for their execution. But not a case I would agree with because more people die from impurities in street drugs than the drugs themselves, and drugs are available on every corner with price linked to availability.

During alcohol prohibition, tens of thousands of people died from alcohol poisoning. Due to shortages, bootleggers used all forms of industrial alcohol. The greater the policing successes the greater the amount of impurities and the greater the number of deaths. 

It’s the same with narcotics and, as with alcohol, people will always acquire what they want regardless of its legality. The Bali two would not have represented a hiccup in the chain of distribution here.

The war on drugs is already lost, everyone admits that! Each time the AFP shows off their massive drug hauls, the prices shoot up and more backyard labs get into the market. 

Everything from rat poison to bleach, crushed glass and cyanide is used in ecstasy tablets. Impure heroin is injected from filthy needles. No oversight, no quality control because a $6 billion industry is forced and kept underground... but it will never go away.

It’s only when drugs become regulated that fewer people will die... including the Bali two.

So there, drugs and executions, now you can start chucking rocks at me from two directions. But please leave my son out of it, he simply made the mistake of giving a ratbag tennis player the keys to his flat and has never met those two young girls. Wait and see. 

Oh, and the first time I have ever been interviewed by the police was ten days ago regarding a terrorist threat.


One has to laugh. Tanya Pervasick is upset that we are depriving the Senior Public Service ranks of productive workers and husbands for frustrated ladies in Government.

A lot of people seem to have forgotten that Chan and Sumurakan were career drug smugglers.
By Candace Sutton for Daily Mail Australia
Published: 09:43 EST, 12 December 2014 | Updated: 11:41 EST, 12 December 2014

Bali Nine drug kingpin Andrew Chan, who is facing death by firing squad in Indonesia, masterminded another international heroin smuggling attempt out of Hong Kong - but the operation failed, resulting in three young Australians being jailed.
Daily Mail Australia can reveal for the first time that Chan enlisted Sydney teenager Rachel Diaz, 17, and Chris Vo, 15, both from western Sydney, as drug couriers to smuggle $1 million worth of heroin in condoms, which they were to swallow in Hong Kong and bring back to Australia.
The Hong Kong deal was to run at the same time as the Bali Nine operation - when Chan, Myuran Sumurakan and seven Australian mules were arrested, some with the drugs strapped to their bodies.
It can also be revealed that after his own arrest, Chan wrote a letter to Diaz in Hong Kong, ordering her to keep her mouth shut.
Chan and syndicate partner Sumurakan are on death row and were told this week by new Indonesian President Joko Widodo that he would not grant them pardons, despite their attempts to rehabilitate themselves behind bars. They could face death by firing squad in coming months.
Chan, who Indonesian police called 'The Godfather' when they arrested him, was a key organiser of the Australian end of the smuggling and distribution network, which was detailed in the Hong Kong court during Diaz's trial and described as a 'predatory crime syndicate'.
In just two weeks in April 2005, the syndicate was responsible for the arrest, and later the incarceration, of 17 young Australians for heroin trafficking in three countries.
Diaz, Vo and their minder Hutchinson Tran, 22, were arrested in a low budget Hong Kong hotel room on April 12, 2005.
They were found with 114 condoms filled with up to 1kg of heroin - but Diaz had had second thoughts about taking part in the operation, for which they were to be paid $200 for each 5cm-long condom they ingested.
Diaz's father Ferdinand failed to get his daughter released on bail and 12 months after her arrest, she was sentenced to 10 years and eight months. Vo, by then 16, received nine years, and Tran got 13 years and four months.
All have since been released, with Diaz serving out the majority of her sentence in a NSW women's prison after being transferred in February 2009 under the International Transfer of Prisoners' Act.
Five days after her arrest, Bali police arrested Chan, Sukumaran and their mules Renae Lawrence, Martin Stephens, Scott Rush, Si Yi Chen, Matthew Norman, Michael Czugaj and Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen. The seven couriers recruited by Chan and Sukumaran have all received sentences ranging from 18 years to life.
Both the Bali Nine and the Hong Kong drug smuggling deals were connected with a third, lesser-known attempted heroin importation in which Chan and Sukumaran conspired with four young Brisbane people.
Daily Mail Australia can also reveal that in the lead up to the Bali Nine and the Hong Kong operations Chan and Sukumaran visited a young Korean-Australian who was later arrested and charged over the Hong Kong conspiracy following the arrest of Diaz, Vo and Tran.
A Korean-Australian and a co-conspirator were charged with plotting to import the packages of heroin that Diaz and 15-year-old Vo were meant to swallow.
Chan visited the Korean-Australian at least three times in different NSW prisons and once with Sukumaran in late 2004, just before the two made two 'practice' runs to Indonesia with several of the future Bali Nine couriers, including Renae Lawrence, and successfully returned to Australia with heroin strapped to their bodies.
Chan, who was a manager at a Sydney catering company, duped three of his staff - Lawrence, Norman and Stephens - into becoming mules, promising them thousands of dollars in return.
Following the arrests in Hong Kong and Bali within days of each other - and a series of other arrests in Sydney and Brisbane just days later - police said the Bali Nine had no connection with the Diaz case.
However, detectives have exclusively revealed that Chan was in contact with Diaz for months and all three trafficking deals were connected to a Sydney-based Chinese drug smuggling syndicate which had links to Myanmar.
Chan, who has found God in prison, was regularly visiting another convicted drug dealer in prison as he was conspiring to commit the Bali Nine deal.
Diaz and Vo were recruited to go to Hong Kong as drug mules, police say, on the promise of $6000 or $7000 for a single trip.
Diaz, a trainee hairdresser with churchgoing Filipino migrant parents, and Vo, a McDonald's worker and son of a single mother of Vietnamese origin, came from modest income families in western Sydney.
Neither had previously known connections with drug syndicates, nor had they met before they flew out from Sydney to Hong Kong in April 2005.
Diaz's parents, Ferdinand and Maria, believed she was having a sleep-over at a friend's house and then reported her missing when she failed to return.
On the day she and Vo were due home, April 13, police believe the Korean-Australian went to Sydney Airport to collect them, armed with three packets of laxatives.
Diaz and Vo were in a room at the Imperial Hotel, in Hong Long's Tsim Sha Tsui backpacker district, with the 114 heroin-filled condoms, supplied by Hutchinson Tran, when police burst in.
Vo was prepared to swallow 30 packages but Diaz had apparently reconsidered, realising they could burst inside her stomach during the eight-hour flight back to Sydney.
Meanwhile, four Australians from Brisbane - aged 24, 22, 18, and 19, had been arrested in Brisbane and charged with conspiring with Chan and Sukumaran of conspiring to import heroin to Australia.
A fifth, Khanh Thanh Ly, 24, was arrested in Sydney. Ly subsequently pleaded guilty, but said he was only a 'run around' in the gang whose members included Sukumaran, and was never paid but did it for the 'glamour' and entries to parties and clubs.
The Bali Nine incident was linked to one of the world's biggest drug syndicates, Crescent Moon, which has smuggled large quantities of heroin from Myanmar (Burma) to Western countries.
Chan has admitted he saw the Bali Nine deal as a 'quick pay day'. He has never spoken about his involvement in the Hong Kong deal.
In an interview with ABC TV he pleaded for clemency, saying if his death sentence was commuted and he was released from prison, he wanted to help the community and become a minister of religion.

Had the AFP let them bring their goods to Australia. some smart-arse lawyer would probably have got them off any charges on a tecnacality, or if found guilty they would have been out now and back in business. This wasn't their first time carrying. The AFP have saved the Australian taxpayer millions and should be applauded.

What happened to the ones who sold the heroin to these blokes? They are probably still working in the police force or army assisting the other drug dealers there, how else does the drug trade flourish in these corrupt countries. I feel safer when I am walking the streets of Harare or Johannesburg by myself than in any muslim country!

If they had been apprehended coming into Australia with all those drugs, the maximum would have been SEVEN years and let out after FOUR. At least in Indonesia they will get a fairer sentence; fairer to us that is!

Waz we deprived,back then......

Gee whiz, " Can we start suing the government for 'NOT HAVING IT BACK IN OUR OLD SCHOOL DAYS,NOW THEN ? "

do they have to have a beard and speak Arabic though? If so, then yes and 10% will go to .......

True - we will never know if it's 1% or a few more.

I have grown cynical.... :-(

wish it was the majority instead of the 1% that do think for themselves pie

the double standards of the Indonesian Government should be proclaimed loud and clear to the world at large, starting with the graft of the judiciary to the double dealing by the elite levels of the administration.

..............Only the opinion of some of the public - many have a mind of their own. and treat the self serving media as a joke.

Yes Pie but the 'media' shapes and forms public opinion and they they vote with that knowledge, and that creates politics

I have no sympathy for these two who were ring leaders of drug dealing. My 23yo grandson died of a heroin injection just before last Christmas. His big mistake was succumbing to peer pressure to try drugs, but once hooked, the dealers kept him addicted. Dealers work hard at achieving this aim, ensuring them an ongoing high income. Damn all the dealers is what I say!!!. They didn't care at all about the lives they could ruin.

Same here

Journalist... opinion writer. What's the difference ? It seems all journalists have an opinion these days and most seems to be of the Left. The point I am making is that he is in the media commenting on events. He is not in politics making decisions.

when will the media start attacking Bill Shorten and the labor and greens party for the mess we have been left in and how they are blocking any chance for Australia to improve?

Sorry you went that route Larry, thought you were of sterner stuff, my mistake. These two fully understood what they were doing, and may have been a repeat easily it is to overlook the bloody misery these drugs cause. Its Australians with soft attitudes that encourages Muslim ratbags in our country.

He certainly has much morediplomatic skill than Rudd or Gillard, or WHITLAM ever had.