By Jim Elmslie, University of Sydney
September 21, 2012
Allegations that Australia is funding death squads in West Papua have brought the troubled province back to Australian attention.
Blanket denials by both Indonesian and Australian governments – standard policy for such reports in the past, no longer cut the mustard.
The players respond
The killing of Papuan activist Mako Tabuni by Indonesian police was for Jakarta a legitimate operation against a violent criminal shot while evading arrest. That Tabuni bled to death from his untreated wounds while in police custody did not rate a mention.
The Australian response was more measured. Foreign Minister Bob Carr took the allegation that Tabuni had been assassinated seriously because the partially Australian funded and trained elite anti-terrorist organisation, Densus 88, was accused of playing a role in the killing.
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