Monday 11 May 2009

Going Guam again, a junket in fool's paradise

This Wednesday, a number of local tourism operators, along with Cairns Regional Council Mayor Val Schier, and her policy advisor Robert Leeds, will travel to Guam, with the aim to develop business opportunities for our region.
Guam, a territory of the United States, was a regular destination on former Mayor, Kevin Byrne's travel itinerary. Both Advance Cairns and TTNQ are co-ordinating this year's trade mission.
"Unlike previous trips by Cairns City Council, this trip will have measured outcome and achievements to meet," a Council source told CairnsBlog. "It was well-known, that when the former Mayor travelled abroad, reports were scant and delivered in closed session. This will not happen this time."
This will be the first overseas trip for the current Mayor.
It's worth noting that Guam is often perceived as a corrupt environment. Even Magellan, who first landed on Guam for the Europeans, called it the 'Island of Thieves'.
Guam's Pacific Daily News records widespread government and company corruption.
In 1990, former Governor of Guam, Ricardo Bordallo, shot himself while draped in Guam's national flag. He was facing a four-year prison term for a corruption of bribery and extortion.
A recently-produced report was scathing about the effects of corruption and nepotism on the island. The report suggests that things are so bad that Guam is to the point of being a national security threat to the USA.
The US government controls around 30% of the Island's affairs, mainly their military operations. Some families believe that US government has stolen their land, however the US set up a compensation system that the Island's government was supposed to administer. Locals say the government is so corrupt, the money and resources never seem to make to the people.
Here's an example of how greedy and corrupt the leaders of Guam are. The description of Moylan, one of the five 'ruling families' is very revealing in this judgement.
The Cairns Post's Roger Dickson, will also travel with the group, for the four-day visit. Dickson was acknowledged with a Queensland Media Award for his coverage of the Lonergan's mysterious disappearance on the Great Barrier Reef 11 years ago, questioning the procedures by dive operators.
I'm sure Val and Roger will sit together for the 4 hour, 25 minute flight to Guam this week, and share the fish soup. I've sent an email to the Mayor, suggesting that she loan Rog her pillow, so he can reach the overheard reading light.

As one local said to me today, a few north Queensland business folk visiting Guam, is like lambs to the slaughter.


CRaig Barry, Holloways said...

I think you will find that Cairns Post's Roger Dickson, got a Queensland Media Award for his coverage of the mysterious disappearance of news for the last 11 years, not the disapeatance of the Lonergans.

Syd Walker said...

What is it about Guam (population <200,000) that requires regular attendance by the most prestigious personages in the Cairns community?

Is there a rational explanation? Do we just happen to elect politicians, year in year out, who love visiting enormous US military bases? Or it it a case of 'cane toad empathy'?

nocturnal congress said...

So they're hoping to secure Guam's US military population for R & R in Cairns? Yeah I guess the central business district could do with a string of brothels and sordid sex shows to bring it to life again.

Syd Walker said...

I think that's about right nocturnal. A testosterone-led recovery, coming soon to our town. Lock up your daughters! Get used to the wail of sirens as Military Police scream past, chasing yet another mixed-up kid who's lost the plot.

But why stop there? The growing Chinese military will need somewhere to unwind too. How about the Russians? Don't forget the war-happy Brits!

Cairns could become a home from home for all the world's warriors. They could even have a chunk of the Tablelands and a couple of islands for minitature wars (like mini-golf).

Let's invite the whole world to drop in and screw us...

hieronymus bosch said...

"Let's invite the whole world to drop in and screw us..."

may as well, we've already invited the rest of australia to do the same


Who do you suppose our Mayor and business leaders are meeting on this trip? It can't be their counterparts - they've all gone on a trade junket to Taiwan!

Guess them Chamorros are dying to meet their neighbour Australians!

nocturnal congress said...

Well summed up, Syd..."a testosterone-led recovery". However, as someone said, the US military has now been so outsourced and corporatised that their entire organisation is all packaged up. Therefore it would be unlikely that Cairns traders would benefit.

Paul said...

Guam is notorious for sweat shops run by companies associated with Republican Party functionaries.

Alison Alloway said...

"...Bevacqua noted that the Pentagon's decision to redeploy to Guam comes after large-scale protests against the United States military presence in South Korea and the Japanese island of Okinawa. In both countries, the U.S. military operates under rules negotiated between governments called a "Status of Forces Agreement", or SOFA. But because Guam is a U.S. territory, no SOFA is required.

Indeed, the Japanese government is so keen to have the Marines leave Okinawa - where a number of U.S. servicemen have made headlines by raping local women - that Tokyo is underwriting most of the estimated 10-billion-dollar cost of the redeployment."
(from IPS 13th May 2009)

So 8000 US marines and 9,000 of their dependents are being redeployed to Guam and it is being paid for by the Japanese Government because Okinawa has had enough of the high sex crimes rate.

Well, well, what is our Mayor doing?

S. Northy said...

So the Japanese Government is footing the $10 billion bill to redeploy the US military from Okinawa to Guam because of continuing sex crimes against the local women? And TTNQ Chairman, Stephen Olle wants..." the real opportunity lay in Cairns becoming the favoured holiday spot of the US military..." (from Cairns Post).

Jesus bloody Christ, don't these TTNQ fools do their research? And come to think of it, who the hell does research for Val Schier??

Noj Nedlaw said...


Reminds me of my time in Darwin during the initial UN East Timor mission. One of the more effective tools to stop the spread of sexually transmitted infections was to meet each and every ship that carried "shore leave" personnel and ensure that they had adequate supplies of condoms and lube. Back then, the US hierachy frowned on equipping their military with these items.

So let us hope that in our quest for US dollars we don't end up with unintended social issues.

Syd Walker said...

In the light of Alison's fascinating research, I wonder if the crafty Japanese aren't funding our Mayor's junket to Guam? Could it be part of their $10 billion budget to get rid of Okinawa's unwanted foreign louts?

Alison Alloway said...

Dunno Syd, hehe. The crime rate on Okinawa and the resentment of the locals to the American forces was so great, the Japanese Prime Minister weighed into the issue back in 2006 and helped negotiate the redeployment of US army personnel. I wonder if anyone has briefed the Mayor about this?

nocturnal congress said...

Be real interesting to read what Roger Dickson of "The Cairns Post" writes about the trip.

Syd Walker said...

'Fear and Loathing in Guam' by Roger S Dickson? I hope he gets a book out of it.

Perhaps Dickson's 'savage journney into the pimple of the US military industrial complex' will be illustrated with photos of Guam's canetoads?. Are they bigger than ours? We need the facts, no matter how shocking...

Alison Alloway said...

"Thousands of protesters are staging an anti-American rally on the Japanese island of Okinawa, on the eve of Friday's G8 summit of world leaders.
An estimated 25,000 people have formed a human chain around the largest US base to demand the withdrawal of the US military from the island."" BBC NEWS 20/7/2000

Alison Alloway said...

Cairns Dude, I quoted from IPS News 13th May 2009 in the comments further above. The Japanese Government is actually underwriting most of the ten billion dollar cost of the redeployment from Okinawa to Guam. That speaks volumes.

Syd Walker said...

Cairns Dude's comment "It's the strong American alliance that protects us, and makes it possible for crazy labor governments to hand out $900 cheques to anyone still breathing" must rank as one of the silliest remarks on this subject I've seen.

From whom is this 'Alliance' supposed to protect us? If an American Alliance is so essential, why is it the Swiss have avoided invasion for over 500 years without anything of the kind? Above all, how does an occupation we can't get rid of (Pine Gap etc) protect our independence?

Dude, America is not, as far as I've noticed, underwriting Australia's national debt. Perhaps you're thinking of Israel?

Unknown said...


The Swiss have avoided invasion because of their geographical location, which until the arrival of airplanes, made it nearly impenetrable. In later years they have relied on crafty diplomacy and the fact that warring nations needed a neutral country to carry out negotiations and to park their gold and cash.

During World War II the Nazis stored a lot of their stolen property in Switzerland with the compliance of Swiss authorities. Neutral Switzerland also closed its borders to Jewish refugees and sent them back to Germany to a certain death. Enlightened Switzerland gave women the vote in 1971 and has one of the harshest and restrictive immigration policies in Europe.So maybe it not such a good example...

Most other European countries have been aligned with the USA for the same reasons as Australia has. While it is not ideal, countries like Australia are only small fry in the scheme of things. I'd rather be governed by the Yanks than by the Chinese or Russians, if I had to make a choice.

And why do you have to drag Israel into every discussion ?

Syd Walker said...

Hi Nick, I won't debate Swiss history in detail with you in this space. Your take on the neutral Swiss is not unfamiliar to me. I hear it often from folk who seem to get most of their views on current affairs, consciously or not, from the Murdoch media and the ABC/SBS - and most of their views on history from the History Channel, Wikipedia and other war-worshipping 'approved sources'.

My point is that the 'threats' you appear to believe justify massive military expenditures on Australia's part - expenditures perceived overseas as not necessarily defensive in intent and which are therefore likely to trigger an arms race - are bogus. You have not a shred of evidence that China or Russia have any intent to invade this country. If you do, please share it.

As for bringing Israel "into every discussion" (1) I don't - check my posts (2) I probably mention Israel on this blog about as often as I hear it mentioned on the mainstream media. The difference is that my comments aren't self-censored to contain only reverential, favourable comment.

For reasons I explained in my post-budget piece, whether we Aussies like it or not, that little country has enormous potential relevance to our near term future. If it starts the war against Iran its leadership currently seems to crave so badly, bye-bye economic recovery for a very long time. And yes, it's been the 'Allies We Have to Have' who've made this possible; the USA continue to subsidize the bombastic little middle eastern State, even when suffering record domestic deficits (in stark contrast to the beneficiary).

Unknown said...

My take on the neutral Swiss is not from a current affairs show, as you insinuate, but from growing up in Europe, receiving a good well-balanced education and being familiar with the facts. And I have been in Switzerland many times (it is a delightful country). I know quite a few Swiss people as well.

Switzerland also has compulsory military service, not unlike Israel. Your statement that we don't need an American alliance, because Switzerland has survived without it doesn't make any sense at all.

I did not say that China or Russia were going to invade us, I merely stated that if we were to be aligned with one of the more powerful states, then I would prefer the USA over China or Russia.

It is a pity that Israelis and Palestinians can't sort out their problems. They are not the only ones with issues, just look at Ireland, the former Yugoslavia, Fiji and half of Africa.

The USA (and most of Europe) support Israel for historic and strategic reasons. So what ?Other (super)powers do the same in other countries.

Iran has nuclear ambitions and I can't blame the Israelis for being worried. We all should be !

Alison Alloway said...

Information Clearing House has an article by Chalmers Johnson on "The Cost of Empire" and maintaining US military bases around the world. It provides some more interesting insight into the US military. Frankly, it is high time someone who has the genuine interest of Cairns people at heart, talks to someone in Okinawa.