Beauty Happened Today – Part 14 of Gumshoe’s Royal Commission Series

10 commandments

by Mary W Maxwell

It was rainin’ hard in Adelaide these past two days, but I was as happy as Larry — glued to the screen, watching the Royal Commission. The hearings of this 5-year program are, by the grace of God, live-streamed (from Sydney). Tune in right now if you like.

Allow me to say why the whole thing is a marvel.  Although the name of the RC is “RC into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse” it may as well be called “The Royal Commission We’ve Been Needing for Decades To Get at the Issue of Unaccountable Power.”

I devoted Part 13 to showing the nature of – the horror of – bullying in the cadet ranks of the Navy. I mainly quoted two men, in their sixties, whose lives were ruined at the HMAS Leeuwin in Perth. That was the hearing of June 21. Then on June 22 the judge lashed into the supervisors.

I don’t mean ‘lashed in’ as in reprimanding. No. It was much more subtle than that. The Commissioner, Justice Peter McClellan, simply caused it to be seen how the adults in charge of the boys (who were bullied not by staff but by older boys) totally and utterly shirked their duty of care.

Asking a Supervisor To “Explain”

This is a Mr Curran, now retired from the Navy, age 75 or so:

Q. From 1970 to 1972, you served as a divisional officer,
that’s of the Stevenson Division; is that right?

A. Correct.

Q. You retired from the Navy in 1974 and then, as I understand it, you studied and then you went teaching; is that right?

A. That’s correct.

Q. You retired from teaching in 1987?

A. Yes, that’s correct.

THE CHAIR: Q. Can I just understand – what is the
responsibility or role of a divisional officer?

A. The divisional officer, your Honour, is to look after
the welfare, supporting the junior recruit through studies, academic studies as well as naval training, and on the domestic side, with his parents, dealing with those matters.

Q. So, as it were, you are given particular responsibilities to care for the young men or boys who came into Leeuwin; is that right?

A. That is correct.

Q. So if things went wrong, in the way they were treated,
they were matters that fell within your area of responsibility?

A. They would.

MR STEWART [The questions are being asked by a barrister, Angus Stewart, SC, unless it says The Chair, i.e., the judge]

Q. Mr Curran, you say in your statement that you knew very little about what physical and sexual abuse occurred at Leeuwin; is that right?

A. That is correct.

Q. What did you know, Mr Curran, at the time? What did
you know about what physical and sexual abuse was taking
place?

A. Well, I didn’t know very much at all, really. For those particular or specific instances, there would have been “talk” — in inverted commas — about some incidents, but I was never directly involved in any complaint or investigation.

Q. If there was talk of incidents, I take it that that means that you became aware at that time that people were saying that there were incidents of physical and sexual abuse?
A. In the context of – yes, sir, that’s correct.

THE CHAIR: Q. What did you do about it?

A. The talk, your Honour –

Q. No, what did you do?

A. What did I do about it?

Q. Yes.

A. If they concerned someone in my division, I would have called my divisional chief and we would have sought the person involved and investigated the matter.

Q. How many times did you do that?

A. I don’t think I ever did, your Honour.

Questioning Peter Sinclair

The next person called (subpoena’d? I don’t know) to give evidence was a former Navy Commander named Peter Sinclair who was later governor of New South Wales. Almost every question caused him to start using let-me-slip-away-from-the-subject language.

The judge must have had some sort of no-slip substance at hand because the Commander never got very far.  I won’t bother to quote the exchange. It surely was heartening to see a man who is inherently a politician be forced to answer questions straightforwardly. Full marks to Justice McClellan!

I think I can put it this way: tricksterism cannot survive in his courtroom. (And if not in this courtroom, why should it survive in any other courtroom?)

Victims of Abuse at an Army Training Center

Boys can sign up to learn a trade in the Australian Army (electronics, plumbing, etc), as early as age 14 but more commonly at 16. Until recently they would do an apprenticeship at Balcombe Barracks in Victoria for three years.  A boy wanting to be an army musician would also go there.

Most of today’s RC meeting, June 23, consisted of us listening to men who are suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, from their Balcombe days 40 years ago.

The main thing I have to report is that first a man took the stand and cried. We cried with him.  I heard plenty of sniffling going in on the courtroom all day. Then another man had a written statement but his brother had to read it out for him. It ended with a poem he composed.

Then came an Adelaide man who had been an apprentice musician at Balcombe. He started out with a strong voice like the voice of an announcer. You just knew he wasn’t going to “lose it.”

Hmm. He lost it. He got through most of it calmly but it all became too much when he recalled how many times he was blocked from getting help from the DVA – Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

Beauty Happened

Each of those three men let us know that the Royal Commission is a real blessing to them. By gosh it’s a real blessing to me, too, and it will be to the whole nation.

As Gumshoe readers know, we are constantly working on two court cases, those of the wrongly convicted Martin Bryant and Jahar Tsarnaev. Sure we get satisfaction and relief when good people contribute — and they regularly do.  But we get nowhere with the authorities. We are blocked, blocked, blocked. We get fake talk at every turn.

To have experienced the way in which the current RC is demanding truth, is an ENORMOUS relief. Heck, it could work in all the other cases, too, couldn’t it?

This courtroom feels like a courtroom. Granted it isn’t really a place for litigation or trials; it is inquisitorial. But the judge is the boss. He is quiet and modest, but we all know, don’t we. that the persons in the dock had better behave — as The Commissioner can pull out a contempt-of-court citation at his pleasure.

(Frankly it would be my pleasure if he would do that. I am sitting here watching, having intimations of what it could be like if the Bryant or Tsarnaev cases had a proper judge.)

Hope Springs Paternal

Today was an extremely happy day in my life.  I never thought I would see good old-fashioned normalcy again. It was beautiful and very touching. Mostly it was hope-producing.

Just think, those men who have suffered were able to find justice. They found it mainly through the simple process of having someone at the bench clarify right and wrong. They have been needing AUTHORITY for 40 years and there it was.

I have suffered approximately nothing in my day, compared to the terror these men endured when they were vulnerable adolescents. I can’t really ‘relate,’ as they say.

But I was able to relate 100% to their relief at seeing a person carry out his duties by using the authority delegated to him by society.

Jayz, it was a great day for Australia: June 23, 2016.

 

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Comments

  1. I think its time to change our National Anthem to truly reflect who we have all become:

    National Tantrum, as penned and painted by awesome Indigenous artist, didge guru and all round kickass mofo Adam Hill (not the whitefella, the other fella.)

    AUSFAILURE NATIONAL TANTRUM
    Australians all let us remorse
    For we are blind can’t see
    We’ve golden soil that we all spoil
    Our home washes into sea
    Our land abounds in racist gits
    Of whom we really can’t bear
    In history’s cage recompense the slaves
    Do Australians really care?
    In painful strains that left a sting
    Do Australians really care?

  2. Update Friday morn, June 24. Today’s speaker at the Royal Commission hearing is the overall boss of Balcombe in the 1970s, Mr Adam McDonald. He usually resorts to saying either “I don’t recall” or “Of course I would have done the proper thing” (to prevent harm to the boys). But all the evidence is placed before him that he did nothing.

    Paging Mary Maxwell! Come in please!
    Yes Your Honor, yes I’ll take an oath on the Bible, thanks.

    Your Honor, here is my opinion, based not on any knowledge of Balcombe – I am ignorant of that – but of hidden forces in our society. I deduce that someone is standing over Mr McDonald, in the same way that I said (on October 25, 2015) that someone is standing over Geelong Grammar’s headmaster or the Catholic bishops.

    I don’t see how I can prove it, but note how their tone of voice is so similar. Both men look unruffled; in fact they look quietly defiant. Could it not be because they feel the protection of some strong person, a boss whom they consider to be stronger than you?

    Your Honor, when you say to Mr McDonald “Can’t you see that the system failed these young boys?” the only honest answer would be Yes. But they act strangely blind to it! I claim they’ve been trained by trainers whom we don’t know about, and who have some very definite views on what should happen to military recruits, namely that they should be demeaned and terrified.

    Granted, the affluent students at Geelong were not to be treated that way. There it does look like a pedophilia issue. But as we have learned from “Secret Societies,” the sexual interference with children is all part of a big mind-control game (in addition to other purposes it serves – ask Fiona Barnett).

    What I am saying is that even though this Royal Commission is fabulously thorough in its investigations, there may be a major player who is not “on the radar.” I suppose my asking you to do more is not welcome. But what if the whole Balcombe tragedy has quite a different (ultimate) cause than what is being discussed?

    So you won’t think I’m nuts, I point to the CIA’s program known as MK-Ultra (which Congress has admitted to). It involved deliberate torture of children – not out of random acts of sadism, nor of pedophilia, but was completely systematic. It employed hospitals and scientists to do it. And what was the goal? Ask Tavistock. The goal was the messing up of the minds of all of us.

    Hadn’t we better deal with the criminality of these guys instead of pretending they don’t exist? Or instead of hoping that we can solve problems such as child abuse without taking those guys into account?

    • I’d be interested to know if the RC has acknowledged the Carpenter/Albert conspiracy re complaints about WA’s Department of Education and if not, why not:
      http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2006/s1767198.htm

      My understanding is that Mr. Albert walked away with a substantial monetary reward. As Minister for Education, Carpenter( an ex ABC 7 30 report & Stateline host ) was known for his stiff-necked attitude to complaints.

      • Dear Berry,
        I do not think the RC attempts to deal with every case. It has been a victim-driven collection of data, to a large extent. (Ads were placed in the newspaper by the RC and thousands of victime responded).
        The terms of reference are broad. The Royal Commissions Act of 1902 is here:
        http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/rca1902224/

        Letters Patent from the Queen for this particular RC include the following instruction:
        [We] appoint you to be a Commission of inquiry, and require and authorise you, to inquire into institutional responses to allegations and incidents of child sexual abuse …

        a. what institutions and governments should do to better protect children … in institutional contexts in the future;

        b. what institutions and governments should do to achieve best practice in encouraging the reporting of ….;

        c. what should be done to eliminate or reduce impediments that currently exist for responding appropriately … including addressing failures in, and impediments to, reporting, investigating and responding to allegations and incidents of abuse;

        d. what institutions and governments should do to address, or alleviate the impact of, past and future child sexual abuse and related matters in institutional contexts, including, in particular, in ensuring justice for victims through the provision of redress by institutions, processes for referral for investigation and prosecution and support services.

        • There might well be “a major player who is not on the radar”, but it appears to me that the lack of remorse demonstrated by Adam McDonald has more to do with the fact that there is no prospect of any real comeuppance.

  3. Mary,

    Professor Fetzer makes a chilling comment at the 55 minute mark in the above video.

    “The CIA Director (John Brennan) met with French Security just before the Paris attack. (Charlie Hebdo)”

    Who visited Downunder in March of this year???? Brennan,(CIA), Comey,(FBI) AND Gen. James Clapper (NSA)

    They better NOT be trying to pull some stunt in Oz.

  4. “As Gumshoe readers know, we are constantly working on two court cases, those of the wrongly convicted Martin Bryant and Jahar Tsarnaev”.

    On the “Boston Bombing”, fellow readers might gain considerable insight from Professor James Fetzer’s (Phd) analysis of several false flag “attacks” perpetrated by The Powers that Be. To wit, re. Boston, beginning at the 30 min mark.

    If his analysis is correct,(and I think it definitely is) the young Dhokhar Tsarnev is facing a death penalty for something which never happened. Not very fair, I’d say!!

    Hopes this help, Mary.

  5. Cheryl Dean says:

    that would have been wonderful to see, as normalcy is so badly needed. Let’s hope we will see more of that in the future. Hopefully one day both Martin and Dzhokhar will get to experience what real justice is.

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