Leaked email reveals mediation mercenaries targeting Bougainville
Every barrier is an opportunity in the amoral universe of western capitalism.
Take for example Panguna – two decades of spiritual, environmental and social devastation, topped off with a decade long war, has sparked landowners to say ‘never again … in the future development will be done according to our means and our objectives’.
Sound like a pretty large barrier for Rio Tinto’s return to the scene of the crime, which it left smouldering two and half decades ago.
Cue the mediation capitalists. With global miners around the world wanting a foothold in land and environments that is not theirs, a new class of foreign entrepreneurs have emerged who want to make money through a unique specialism – they know how to wrench consent out of unwilling landowners.
Numerous companies are panting at Rio Tinto’s door, with their hands open. One is the Australian company RREDD, Risk Response Engage Design Deliver, who specialises in helping miners disarm landowner opposition.
Fresh from its work with Judge Kandakasi at PNG LNG, RREDD’s Principal Craig Jones recently sent this email::
“Judge [Kandakasi] I’m back in Australia. I remain interested in the Bougainville issue… It may be that your success with the PNG LNG matter may give us some credibility around conducting a process in Bougainville where we are the neutral 3rd party.
I have a close relationship with the most senior Rio Tinto person responsible for communities.
If there is any angle you can push it might give me an angle to push with Rio to fund a process”.
It is hard to accept the logic, on the one hand RREDD claim they are neutral, but on the other have good friends at Rio Tinto who might help boost their annual profit margins by funding a mediation process. Their loyalties are not to the heritage of Panguna but the moneybags and those companies who hold the purse strings.
And shame on a Papua New Guinea national court judge for selling his national role like some high priced wine. Where was this judiciary when people were being butchered by the military? Nowhere!
Landowners at Panguna know a trojan horse when they see one. They know these companies have one thing in mind, their own pockets, and they know Rio Tinto has no interest in resolving the past, unless they see profits at the end of the table.