Australia’s own ‘Guantanamo Gulags’

Australia was founded as a British penal colony, a fact that most Australians have found to be a defining aspect in how they treat their own convicts and detainees.

However, the current Australian Labor government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard has not only re-opened Australian detention centers for refugees in the independent island nation of Nauru and Manus Island, Papua New Guinea (PNG) but has outsourced to unscrupulous contractors the operations of those facilities and a larger refugee detention and processing center on Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean.

Furthermore, WMR has been informed by Australian sources that the outsource companies permit Australian Zionist “businessmen” to influence how the largely Muslim economic refugees are treated, with some Australian-Israeli dual nationals being permitted to enter the detention camps to subject the refugees to brutal interrogations billed as “counter-terrorism” background check interviews.

The refugee centers on Nauru and Manus, formally known as the Nauru Immigration Detention Center and Manus Island Immigration Detention Center, respectively, were established by the former conservative government of John Howard. However, after Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd came to power in December 2007, the government closed the Nauru and Manus centers and ended the refugee detention policy known as the “Pacific Solution.” After deposing Rudd in an intra-Labor Party coup, Gillard re-opened Nauru and Manus, paying the Nauru and PNG governments tens of millions of dollars and awarding contracts to dodgy service contractors that are paying sub-par wages to Nauruans and Papua New Guineans for menial labor jobs at the facilities.

Conditions at the Nauru detention center are so deplorable, refugees interned there who risked their lives at sea to flee to Australia have asked to be deported back to their countries of origin. Moreover, some refugees in Nauru have committed suicide. Nauruan employees of the center are paid as little as one-tenth the salary of their Australian counterparts. Nauruans once enjoyed the largest per capita income in the world but that was before the island’s phosphate deposits were mined out to depletion and their global investments were squandered.

The main detention center in the Indian Ocean, called the Christmas Island Immigration Reception and Processing Center, is operated by the Britain-based contractor Serco, which once stood for “Services Company,” a subsidiary of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). The Christmas Island Workers Union has charged that Serco’s prison on their island has seen assisted suicides, beatings by guards, and inadequate health services carried out by Serco contractors. The Nauru center has been outsources to Transfield Services, an Australian military support contractor and a large donor to the political coffers of both Gillard and her conservative opposition. Security at the Nauru facility is sub-contracted to Wilson Security. At least one of its employees is a former border police officer with with the Israeli Defense Force.

The Manus center is run by the security firm G4S, founded in 2004 with the merger of the British firm Securicor with the Danish firm Group 4 Falck. The firm also incorporates the American security firm Wackenhut. G4S failed to meet its obligations to provide adequate security for the 2012 London Olympics. It has also been the subject of numerous investigations for its inhumane treatment of detainees in countries around the world. G4S Israel (Hashmara) provides security for Palestinian political prisoner concentration camps in Israel and on the West Bank and security technology for Israel’s “Apartheid Wall.” G4S Armor Group personnel were accused of murdering innocent civilians in Iraq. G4S is a primary target of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

Refugees imprisoned in Nauru have mostly been Muslims, including ethnic Hazaras, a beleaguered Shi’a minority group in Afghanistan; Iranians, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Burmese Rohingya and Palestinians. The Australian-Israeli agents who Gillard has granted access to the Nauru have been particularly interested in interrogating and abusing the Palestinian refugees.

Last week, three detainees attempted to escape from Manus Island and decided it was better to swim in shark-infested waters than remain at the squalid Australian gulag. PNG Opposition Leader Belden Namah has said that Manus detainees are being held in violation of the PNG Constitution. Namah wants the detainees released and PNG to refuse any more detainees from Australian authorities.

“The Pacific Solution” is a play on words reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s “Final Solution.” However, the “Pacific Solution” finds the descendants of those victimized by the Final Solution all too willing and eager to profit and benefit from the Pacific Solution.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright © 2013

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).

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