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Original url: http://www.sbs.com.au/dateline/index.php3?daysum=2000-02-02
month, a long and painful saga played out in the bloody killing fields
of the Balkans had a happy ending in the tranquil grounds of Government
The Governor General,
Sir William Deane, threw a welcome party for Branko Jelen, the Serbian
CARE worker jailed for espionage who'd finally been released and allowed
to emigrate to Australia.
Rarely has a new
arrival been so celebrated but Jelen was always a special case…someone
caught up in a dangerous game beyond his control who, in all conscience,
could never have been left to rot in a Belgrade prison.
He was, after all,
merely a junior partner to the two Australians arrested with him, Steve
Pratt and Peter Wallace.....
And all along,
CARE had been anxious to send a clear message to its local staff throughout
the world that in times of trouble, they wouldn't be abandoned.
The nation's welcome
was heartfelt…..yet there's more to this story than we've ever been told
For tonight SBS
can reveal how these men were compromised by their own organisation when
it did a deal that had nothing to do with humanitarian work and everything
to do with intelligence.
CARE Canada, part
of the CARE Federation, had a contract with the Government of Canada,
a NATO member, to recruit a team of people - many of them former military
men - to help monitor events in Kosovo.
While Pratt, Wallace
and Jelen weren't part of the operation, Pratt, as CARE's country director
in the former Yugoslavia, did have a role in setting it up. It compromised
not just him and his co-defendants but CARE'S entire effort in the Balkans.
Malcolm Fraser - (YOU
WERE CLEARLY ANNOYED, EVEN ANGRY THAT YOU WERE EVEN EXPOSED TO THIS PARTICULAR
INCIDENT) I THINK IT WAS UNFORTUNATE, I WISH IT HADN'T HAPPENED.
chairman Malcolm Fraser.
Fraser - A HUMANITARIAN
ORGANISATION IN AN EMERGENCY AREA AS THE BALKANS PLAINLY WAS, SHOULD NOT
ALSO BE INVOLVED IN MONITORING, NOW THAT'S VERY CLEAR, IT'S A PLAIN VIEW
AND CARE CANADA HAS TAKEN A DIFFERENT VIEW.
Within the international
aid community, the implications of the deal are still sinking in. But
already some are accusing CARE of recklessness, of casting all aid workers
under suspicion and jeopardising their ability to provide help where and
when it's most needed.
Fiona Terry, Medecins
Sans Frontieres - (ARE YOU SHOCKED TO HEAR OF THIS?) YEAH I AM. I'M VERY
SURPRISED THAT THEY WOULD ENGAGE IN SUCH A BLATANTLY AMBIGUOUS POSITION
AS HUMANITARIAN AID WORKERS...
Fiona Terry is
Australian President of the Nobel-prize winning French organisation, Medicin
Sans Frontieres, Doctors without Borders.
Terry - (DO YOU THINK
MOST PEOPLE IN THE AID COMMUNITY WOULD BE SHOCKED BY THIS? YES I THINK
MOST WOULD BE SHOCKED AND DISAPPOINTED ABOUT IT YEAH.
Malcolm Fraser - (
ONE AGENCY SAID TO US THEY WERE HORRIFIED BY THIS, ANOTHER SAID "CARE
HAVE BEEN INCREDIBLY STUPID". DO YOU THINK IT HAS PUT OTHER AID WORKERS
AT RISK BY DRAWING THE SUSPICION THAT PEOPLE SUPPOSEDLY ENGAGED IN HUMANITARIAN
WORK MAY BE PURSUING OTHER OBJECTIVES?) NO I DON'T THINK SO, NO I REALLY
Fiona Terry - WELL
I DO THINK THAT THERE MAY BE BAD REPERCUSSIONS AND YES, IT COULD COMPROMISE
VERY MUCH OUR ABILITY TO WORK IN CONFLICT AREAS YEAH.
When Malcolm Fraser
was on his epic mission last year to secure the release of his men, he
was anxious to keep the contract secret. Even now he doesn't know if the
Serbs ever knew. But with Pratt, Wallace and now Jelen free, the story
can be told..
Malcolm Fraser - (WHEN
SBS PUT A CANADA CONNECTION TO YOU LAST YEAR, YOU ASKED US NOT TO MENTION
THIS. WERE YOU CONCERNED THAT IT WOULD COMPLICATE YOUR EFFORTS TO GAIN
THE RELEASE OF THESE PEOPLE?) OF COURSE. IT WAS A QUESTION OF PERCEPTION
NOT OF REALITY. I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT ANYONE KNEW, I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WAS
GOING TO BE INTRODUCED INTO THE COURT AND IF YOU'VE GOT YOU KNOW A STATE
OF WAR, A STATE OF SEIGE, SERBS AGAINST THE WORLD WHAT COULD PEOPLE MAKE
OF SOMETHING HOWEVER INNOCENT..
When Steve Pratt
made his celebrated confession last year, we were told it was under duress.
He wasn't a spy at all, just an ordinary aid worker caught up in events
beyond his control.
still believes none of the three was engaged in espionage.
Malcolm Fraser - OUR
PEOPLE WERE INNOCENT, I BELIEVE, ABSOLUTELY, BRANKO JELEN INNOCENT ABSOLUTELY...
Yet what the former
prime minister now readily admits is that CARE was guilty of a serious
error of judgement in allowing the Canadian contract to ever happen.
Fraser- ( CARE AUSTRALIA
WAS THE LEAD ORGANISATION IN SERBIA, CORRECT?) YES (DID YOU KNOW AT THE
TIME ABOUT THE CARE CANADA CONTRACT?) I DIDN'T KNOW UNTIL AFTER OUR PEOPLE
WERE ARRESTED. ( SO DID ANYBODY IN CARE AUSTRALIA KNOW?) YES BUT YOU WOULD
HAVE TO TAKE THAT UP WITH CHARLES TAPP AS NATIONAL DIRECTOR. I DIDN'T
KNOW. I BELIEVE I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN AND IF I HAD KNOWN, I THINK THE PROGRAM
MIGHT HAVE BEEN ENDED.
This is the man
Fraser says could and should have prevented the deal. Charles Tapp, CARE
Australia's national director, is getting a very public caning from his
Fraser - (WAS THERE
ANY WAY THAT AS THE LEAD COUNTRY IN SERBIA, YOU COULD HAVE STOPPED THAT
PARTICULAR PROGRAM?) TECHNICALLY YES. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN PERHAPS UNCONVENTIONAL
WITHIN CARE PHILOSOPHY BUT IT COULD HAVE BEEN STOPPED ( BY WHOM? ) IT
COULD HAVE BEEN STOPPED. WELL STEVE PRATT WE KNOW WAS OPPOSED TO IT BUT
ALSO CARE IN AUSTRALIA WOULD HAVE HAD TO BE OPPOSED TO IT. YOU WOULD HAVE
TO TAKE IT UP WITH CHARLES TAPP AS TO WHY IT WAS NOT STOPPED ( DID PRATT
TELL TAPP ABOUT THIS?) I'M SURE THE NATIONAL DIRECTOR KNEW ABOUT THE PROGRAM
YES.(SHOULD TAPP HAVE TOLD YOU DO YOU THINK?) WELL LET'S JUST SAY WE'VE
ALL LEARNED FROM SOME ASPECTS OF THIS PROGRAM.
Charles Tapp declined
our invitation to respond. Yet it's no surprise that Fraser's comments
have sparked a major row within CARE itself
What you're about
to see is extraordinary proof of the deep divisions this deal has generated...my
interview with Fraser last Friday interrupted in mid flow by CARE'S publicity
manager Antony Funnell.
Malcolm Fraser - LET'S
PUT IT THIS WAY, WITH THE WISDOM OF HINDSIGHT, IN MY VIEW, CARE AUSTRALIA'S
VIEW IS THAT A MONITORING OPERATION SHOULD NOT BE ATTACHED IN ANY WAY
TO A HUMANITARIAN OPERATION...
Antony Funnell- STEVE
DIDN'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT AND ALSO GRAHAM, IT'S A CONTRACT THAT
CARE HAVE WITH CIDA NOT WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA.
Fraser to make a distinction, the CARE contract was with the Canadian
Government's foreign aid agency CIDA. It's a distinction Fraser rejects...forcefully.
Fraser - ANTHONY WHEN
I AM DOING AN INTERVIEW, YOU DON'T INTERRUPT. HAVE YOU GOT THIS ON.
Davis - LET'S CONTINUE
Funnell - IT'S A VERY
IMPORTANT DISTINCTION, THAT IT'S NOT A CONTRACT WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF
CANADA, IT'S A CONTRACT WITH CIDA
Fraser - ANTHONY
Davis - CIDA IS AN
AGENCY OF THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT... I WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE THE INTERVIEW,
CAN WE DO THAT?
Funnell - I WAS MAKING
A POINT OF CLARIFICATION.
Fraser - WELL YOU
DO NOT INTERRUPT AN INTERVIEW WHEN I AM BEING INTERVIEWED. DO YOU UNDERSTAND
Funnell - I WAS JUST
MAKING A POINT OF CLARIFICATION.
Fraser - ANTHONY!
CAN YOU UNDERSTAND...
Funnell - I WON'T
MAKE ANY MORE, I WON'T MAKE ANY MORE.
Fraser - CAN YOU UNDERSTAND
Funnell - I WON'T
MAKE ANY MORE
Fraser - DO NOT INTERRUPT
WHEN I AM BEING INTERVIEWED AND DO NOT EVER INTERRUPT AGAIN. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?
Funnell - I DON'T
THINK THIS IS A GOOD THING TO BE SAYING.
Fraser - I DON'T THINK
IT WAS A GOOD THING FOR YOU TO INTERRUPT. I TAKE IT THAT THE CAMERAS ARE
NOT RECORDING ANY PART OF ANTHONY'S INTERRUPTION, IS THAT RIGHT?
Davis - WELL I MEAN
OBVIOUSLY THE INTERVIEW WAS INTERRUPTED AND WE WOULD HAVE TO SAY THAT
IT WAS INTERRUPTED, BUT THIS IS HIGHLY IRREGULAR.
Fraser - I KNOW IT
IS HIGHLY IRREGULAR..
To Fraser, CIDA
and the Canadian Government are one and the same.
Fraser - THE CANADIAN
GOVERNMENT, THROUGH ITS AGENT CIDA WAS FUNDING AN OPERATION. I THOUGHT
CIDA WAS PURELY A HUMANITARIAN ORGANISATION AND THEN I DISCOVERED THAT
CIDA HAD A NON-HUMANITARIAN FUNDING WINDOW.
And through this
window passed Canada's contract with Care to hire monitors for Kosovo....a
humanitarian organisation willingly drawn into a compromising non-humanitarian
Fraser - WELL THE
PROGRAM WAS TRYING TO KEEP THE PEACE, DESIGNED TO HELP STOP INCIDENTS
IN WHICH PEOPLE GOT MURDERED OR BEATEN UP OR KILLED. THE PROGRAM ITSELF
WAS A GOOD PROGRAM. IT WAS AN HONOURABLE PROGRAM. IT WAS ALL ON TOP OF
THE TABLE ( BUT THIS WAS AN ERROR OF JUDGEMENT) THE ERROR OF JUDGEMENT
WAS ATTACHING A DIFFERENT KIND OF GOOD PROGRAM TO A HUMANITARIAN ORGANISATION.
At the time the
contract was signed at the end of 1998, the international community was
trying to stop the appalling violence in Kosovo.
With Serbia's agreement,
a monitoring force was assembled by the OSCE, the Organisation for Security
and Cooperation in Europe from among its 55 member states stretching from
Vancouver to Vladivoskok.
In Ottowa, CIDA's
Director of Balkan projects Stephen Wallace turned to Care.
Stephen Wallace -
WE HAD AN AGREEMENT WITH CARE CANADA WHEREBY CARE CANADA IDENTIFIED CANDIDATES
WHO WERE SUITABLY QUALIFIED UNDER THOSE VARIOUS SKILL SETS SPECIFIED BY
THE OSCE AND ONCE THE OSCE SELECTED AND EMPLOYED THESE INDIVIDUALS, CARE
CANADA CONTINUED TO PROVIDE BASIC ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT SUCH AS MEDICAL
REVIEWS, ORIENTATION BRIEFING SESSIONS, THE PAYMENT OF PER DIEMS AND SO
This is the man
who signed for CARE, Dr John Watson, Care Canada's Executive Director.
Dr John Watson - YOU'RE
LOOKING FOR PEOPLE IF AT ALL POSSIBLE WHO'VE HAD PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE IN
COMBAT ZONES WHO HAVE A FLEXIBLE PERTSONALITY, WHO'VE DEALT WITH TRAUMA
AND WHO WANT TO GO INTO WORK OF THIS TYPE. USUALLY THEY ARE ON A NETWORK,
THERE IS AN ORGANISATION TASKED WITH MAINTAINING A ROSTER OF INTERESTED
PEOPLE SO THEY WOULD FORWARD US CV'S, SOME PEOPLE WOULD CALL US DIRECT,
A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD BE REFERRED TO US THEY'D CALL UP THE GOVERNMENT
AND THEY'D BE REFERRED TO US IN CARE CANADA.
Stephen Wallace CIDA
- CONSISTENT WITH ANY KIND OF OPERATION, WHETHER IT BE IN HUMANITARIAN
ASSISTANCE OR BE IT IN DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE OR IN PEACE MONITORING YOU
FIND THAT YOU HAVE SOME OF THE SKILL SETS IN EX MILITARY PEOPLE AND THIS
WAS NO EXCEPTION...
No one can say
for sure whether some of the recruits may have been real spies also working
for western intelligence, though it's entirely reasonable to assume so
given the circumstances in Kosovo.
Care defends itself
by saying the Serbs were meant to be given copies of any OSCE report.
But a senior source inside the OSCE has told Dateline no information of
any value was, in fact, passed on.
The same source
says the OSCE and NATO were working hand in hand, with OSCE reports going
direct to NATO.
That's no news
to Serbia, according to deputy Information Minister Miodrag Popovic.
And so Care Canada
not only had a contract with one of the belligerents, whose planes would
soon be bombing Belgrade, it had a direct role in sustaining the Canadian
members of a force passing information directly to Serbia's enemies.
Stephen Wallace CIDA
-.THEY WERE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA THROUGH CARE CANADA WHO PROVIDED
THE ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT.
Malcolm Fraser - (
I MEAN STRIPPED TO ITS BARE ESSENTIALS, WHAT CARE CANADA DID WAS TO HELP
SET UP AN INTELLIGENCE NETWORK IN KOSOVO, THAT'S TRUE ISN'T IT)
NO USING THE WORD
INTELLIGENCE IMMEDIATELY GIVES THE WRONG IMPRESSION. LET ME BACKTRACK
HALF A SENTENCE, INTELLIGENCE IMPLIES THAT OTHER ELEMENTS WERE INVOLVED,
MAYBE ESPIONAGE OR WHATEVER BECAUSE INTELLIGENCE AND ESPIONAGE GO HAND
IN HAND ( RIGHT NOW IN THE OXFORD DICTIONARY, INTELLIGENCE MEANS "INFORMATION
THAT MIGHT BE OF VALUE MILITARILY" AND ISN'T THIS WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT?
THAT'S ONE OF THE MEANINGS OF INTELLIGENCE.
(WHEN WE HAD SO MANY
EX-MILITARY AND SO MANY EX-POLICEMEN GOING IN UNDER THIS CARE CANADA CONTRACT,
DIDN'T THAT GIVE RISE TO A SUSPICION THAT MAY HAVE BEEN AVOIDED HAD THAT
CONTRACT NEVER BEEN SIGNED?) OH LOOK IN RETROSPECT, IN HINDSIGHT, I THINK
IT'S MUCH BETTER IF IT HADN'T BEEN SIGNED, IF IT HADN'T TAKEN PLACE. (SO
IT WAS A MISTAKE ) I HAVE SAID THAT MY VIEW IS THAT THESE KINDS OF OPERATIONS
SHOULD NOT BE MIXED UP WITH THE HUMANITARIAN OPERATION. THAT'S CARE AUSTRALIA'S
VIEW VERY CLEARLY, QUITE CATEGORICALLY AND WE WOULD BE SAYING TO OUR COUNTRY
DIRECTORS IN AN EMERGENCY, IF ANYONE COMES AT YOU FOR A PROGRAM OF THIS
KIND, WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE PART OF IT.
But Care Australia's
country director in Serbia, Steve Pratt, didn't say no...he actually helped
the Canadians set up their operation, assisting a staff member whose job
was to liaise with the monitors.. Fraser tells us he didn't like doing
so though Care Canada's boss John Watson has a different recollection
John Watson - I TRAVELLED
WITH STEVE FOR A WEEK IN KOSOVO. IT WAS QUITE CLEAR TO US THAT ON THE
TRADITIONAL HUMANITARIAN SIDE IT WAS GETTING VERY DIFFICULT, THEY WERE
BLOWING UP MORE HOUSES THAT WE COULD REPAIR, WE DIDN'T HAVE LAND-MINE
PROOF VEHICLES SO EVEN GETTING OUT TO THE COUNTRYSIDE WAS A MAJOR TOPIC
OF CONVERSATION. YOU HAD TO KNOW WHERE THE LANDMINES WERE OR WHERE THE
CONFLICT WAS. SO THERE WAS A DEFINITE ADVANTAGE TO HAVING A PEACE MONITORING
PROGRAM GOING ON TO CARE'S TRADITIONAL HUMANITARIAN WORK. WE DECIDED THE
TWO COULD BE QUITE SEPARATE AND THEREFORE WE WENT AHEAD WITH IT.
Malcolm Fraser - (YOU
SAY THE SERBS KNEW ABOUT THE OSCE MONITORING PROGRAM BUT DID THEY KNOW
ABOUT CARE CANADA'S CONTRACT WITH THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT?)......WELL
LET ME PUT IT THIS WAY. SERBIA, THE GOVERNMENT OF YUGOSLAVIA AND FOR THAT
MATTER THE GOVERNMENT OF SERBIA WOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT NATO COUNTRIES GENERALLY
WERE SUPPLYING MONITORS FOR THE KVM PROGRAM, SO THE FACT THAT THE MONITORS
WERE BEING SUPPLIED BY A NATO MEMBER IS NOT OF ANY PARTICULAR SIGNIFICANCE
( BUT DID THEY?) NO I DON'T KNOW WHETHER THEY KNEW SPECIFICALLY THAT THE
CANADIAN GOVERNMENT WAS INVOLVED. I DON'T KNOW TO WHAT DETAIL WHERE THE
PEOPLE CAME FROM, WHERE THE MONITORS CAME FROM, WAS REPORTED TO THE GOVERNMENT
Fiona Terry MSF -
I THINK IT MAKES THE WHOLE POSITION OF AID WORKERS VERY AMBIGUOUS. I THINK
IT'S INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT THAT WE STICK TO CERTAIN PRINCIPLES BECAUSE
THESE PRINCIPLES GUARANTEE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE OUR ACCESS TO PLACES AROUND
THE WORLD. BASICALLY THE PRACTICAL MEASURE OF NEUTRALITY IS THE BELLIGERENT'S
PERCEPTION OF REALITY. WE CAN GO AROUND AND TELL EVERYBODY THAT WE ARE
NEUTRAL OR IMPARTIAL BUT IF THEY DON'T BELIEVE IT THEN THEY ARE GOING
TO BLOCK OUR ACCESS OR PERHAPS ACCUSE US OF THINGS....
IN THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA, WHERE BASICALLY MOST OF THE BELLIGERENTS SAID
IF YOU'RE NOT WITH US YOU'RE AGAINST US.( SO WHAT ABOUT A SITUATION IN
WHICH CARE CANADA DOES A CONTRACT WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF ONE OF THE BELLIGERENTS
IN NATO'S ACTIONS AGAINST SERBIA? WELL IT GETS WORSE AND WORSE YES (A
DEFINITE COMPROMISE?) DEFINITE COMPROMISE ( NOT ONLY OF CARE BUT OF ALL
AID WORKERS?) YES I THINK SO.
1999. For any westerner still in the former Yugoslavia, life had become
very difficult indeed. Even aid workers were suspect in a climate in which
the Serbs had claimed homing devices were being planted to help the NATO
bombs reach their targets.
Steve Pratt and
Peter Wallace had been trying, as best they could, to keep Care's local
operations going .But at the end of March they set off with Care's files
Malcolm Fraser - THEY
HAD OFFICE RECORDS, THEY HAD SOME OTHER PERSONAL MATERIAL, SAMIRA PRATT
IS A MUSLIM, I THINK THEY ARE BOTH MUSLIMS ACTUALLY. I LEARNED AFTERWARDS
THAT ANYONE WHO APPROACHED A CERTAIN BORDER TO MOVE OUT OF THE COUNTRY,
AS THEY WERE AT THE TIME, IF THEY HAD A LOT OF WRITTEN MATERIALS IN THE
CAR, IT WAS DETAINED. (YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT CROATIA HERE) YES THE CROATIAN
BORDER ( PEOPLE TO THIS DAY CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHY THEY DIDN'T GO OUT THROUGH
HUNGARY AS MOST OTHER PEOPLE DID AND CHOSE TO GO OUT THROUGH CROATIA.
DO YOU HAVE AN ANSWER TO THAT?)
....THE TRAFFIC WAS
HEAVY, I THINK SOME BRIDGES WERE DOWN, IT WAS GOING TO TAKE A LONG TIME,
THEY THOUGHT IT WOULD BE QUICKER. THEY HAD BEEN THROUGH THE LIPOVIC BORDER
MANY TIMES AND HADN'T HAD ANY TROUBLE..(PRATT HAS APPARENTLY BEEN TELLING
PEOPLE THAT IT WAS THE COSTLIEST MISTAKE OF HIS LIFE. WOULD YOU AGREE
WITH THAT ASSESSMENT?) WELL I DON'T KNOW HIS LIFE IN ANY SORT OF DETAIL
BUT OBVIOUSLY IT WAS A VERY DIFFICULT MISTAKE....
What was in the
Care files, though, proved even more costly.
Fraser - (WHY WOULD
STEVE PRATT HAD NEEDED TO HAVE GATHERED INFORMATION ON TROOP MOVEMENTS,
ON TANK POSITIONS, ON MINEFIELDS THAT SORT OF THING?) WELL MOVING FOOD
AROUND, CAN YOU GET YOUR CONVOYS THROUGH, CAN WE GET OUR FUEL THROUGH,
CAN WE GET OUR FOOD THROUGH TO THE CENTRES? DO WE HAVE TO GO A DIFFERENT
WAY ROUND? IS THERE FIGHTING IN THE WAY, ARE THERE TROOPS IN THE WAY?
I THINK THAT'S ALL PRETTY NORMAL. THERE ARE A LOT OF LESSONS OUT OF THIS
INCIDENT. STEVE HAD MILITARY TRAINING, SO HIS SITUATION REPORTS WERE WRITTEN
IN HIS TRADITIONAL LANGUAGE, IN MILITARY LANGUAGE ( MILITARY JARGON?)
....(OF COURSE THEY
HAD A SATELLITE PHONE TOO WHICH PROBABLY DIDN'T HELP?) YES BUT YOU KNOW
THAT WAS AND IS PART OF CARE AUSTRALIA'S PHILOSOPHY THAT WE WON'T HAVE
PEOPLE WORKING IN AN EMERGENCY AREA UNLESS THEY HAVE GOT CONSTANT COMMUNICATIONS
OUT OF THE COUNTRY, PREFERABLY BACK TO HEAD OFFICE IN CANBERRA. SO THAT'S
WHY THEY WOULD HAVE HAD A SATELLITE PHONE.
...(CAN I ASK YOU
THIS? DID THEY HAVE ANY OSCE DOCUMENTS WITH THEM?) OH GOOD HEAVENS NO.
NO. DEFINITELY NOT ( DEFINITELY NOT?) NO.
With Pratt, Wallace
and Jelen detained there was definitely no mention of the Care contract
- all through the long weeks of their trial and the successive attempts
to free them....
Not just by Malcolm
Fraser but Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and world figures such as
Nelson Mandela....a veritable who's who of who to call in a time of such
Fraser - (LET ME ASK
YOU DIRECTLY, DO YOU THINK THIS HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH WHAT HAPPENED
TO STEVE PRATT AND PETER WALLACE?) NO I DON'T (YOU DON'T?) NO I REALLY
DON'T. NOTHING RELATING TO THIS WAS RAISED IN COURT IN ANY OF THE EVIDENCE.
(BUT DID PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT IT?) THEY KNEW ABOUT THE PROGRAM ( YEAH BUT
THEY DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT CARE CANADA'S CONTRACT, THAT'S THE POINT) BUT THEY
KNEW A LOT OF PEOPLE HAD CONTRACTS SUPPLYING KVM MONITORS. THIS WAS NOT
UNUSUAL ( WAS ANY OTHER CARE ORGANISATION INVOLVED IN THIS?) NO BUT A
LOT OF OTHER ORGANISATIONS WERE. I DON'T KNOW WHICH ONES THEY WERE AND
I DO NOT KNOW TO WHAT DETAIL THE ACTUAL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROGRAM
WAS REPORTED TO THE GOVERNMENT OF YUGOSLAVIA..
As well as making
sure the existence of the contract never came to light, Malcolm Fraser
also did all he could to engage the Serbian leadership, making statements
that if not exactly pro-Serbian could be interpreted that way. He's still
Fraser - IT WAS THE
WEST'S DECISION TO GO TO WAR, NOT YUGOSLAVIA'S AND WHEN I SAY THE WEST'S
DECISION, THERE IS A GREAT DEAL OF EVIDENCE TO SAY THAT RAMBOULLET WAS
ORGANISED TO PROVIDE AN EXCUSE TO GO TO WAR AND I SAY THAT QUITE CLEARLY
have been rewarded.
Fraser - LET ME PUT
ONE OTHER THING THAT'S HAPPENED SINCE I'VE BEEN GOING TO YUGOSLAVIA AND
ON MY LAST OR SECOND LAST VISIT, WE SIGNED A COUNTRY AGREEMENT WITH THE
GOVERNMENT OF YUGOSLAVIA....
NOW THE AGREEMENT
THAT WE WERE ABLE TO NEGOTIATE, WHICH SETS OUT GOVERNMENT OBLIGATIONS,
IT SETS OUT OUR OBLIGATIONS, WAS THE FIRST OF ANY INTERNATIONAL NGO. NOW
I THINK THAT INDICATES QUITE CLEARLY THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF YUGOSLAVIA
VALUES THE WORK CARE IS DOING.
But does it devalue
the position of aid organisations generally? Certainly Medecins Sans Frontieres
Fiona Terry MSF -
I THINK THIS WHOLE MISSION CREEP THAT HUMANITARIAN AID ORGANISATIONS ARE
GOING INTO AT THE MOMENT IS A HUGELY RETROGRADE STEP. I THINK WE NEED
TO GO BACK TO BASICS. I THINK THAT WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THE FUNDAMENTAL
PRINCIPLES OF IMPARTIALITY AND BE VERY CAREFUL OF INDEPENDENCE FROM GOVERNMENTS.
I MEAN I THINK EVEN MALCOLM FRASER'S POSITION HAS BEEN QUITE AMBIGUOUS
IN THE YUGOSLAV CONFLICT ( IN WHAT SENSE?) WELL FOR A START HE IS THE
HEAD OF A NON GOVERNMENT ORGANISATION AND YET HE GOES AS THE AUSTRALIAN
GOVERNMENT ENVOY TO THE REGION. I MEAN THAT IS SOMETHING THAT ASTOUNDS
ME AND I THINK HE HAS COME OUT WITH SOME VERY STRONG STATEMENTS OF HE
OWN AGAINST THE NATO BOMBING WHICH I AM CERTAINLY VERY MUCH OPPOSED TO....
....AND I CERTAINLY
THINK THAT MEETING INDICTED WAR CRIMINALS GIVES THEM AN ELEMENT OF LEGITIMACY
THAT I WOULD CERTAINLY STEER AWAY FROM DOING. (SO IN THAT SITUATION, HE
MADE A MISTAKE HIMSELF?) I FEEL THAT HE DID. HE PROBABLY DOESN'T FEEL
THAT HE DID BUT I FEEL HE DID YES.
What Malcolm Fraser
does feel strongly is that the episode of the Care Canada contract must
never be allowed to happen again.
Fraser - THERE WILL
BE A MEETING IN MAY IN OTTOWA WITH CARE INTERNATIONAL BOARD MEMBERS WHICH
WILL DECIDE, YOU KNOW, SHOULD THERE BE A POLICY FOR THE ORGANISATION THAT
WILL BE BINDING ON MEMBERS....
I HAPPEN TO BELIEVE
THAT THAT MEETING WILL MAKE A DECISION THAT CARE SHOULD NOT BE INVOLVED
IN MONITORING OPERATIONS IN AN EMERGENCY AREA WHEN ITS MAIN TASK IS HUMANITARIAN
AID, ITS MAIN TASK IS KEEPING PEOPLE ALIVE. I THINK IT CAN CREATE A PERCEPTION
THAT I'D PREFER NOT TO BE ABLE TO CREATE (WHICH IS WHAT OUR STORY IS ALL
ABOUT) I SUPPOSE IT IS.
But awaiting Fraser
in Ottowa is a sister organisation that's thoroughly unrepentant.
John Watson Care Canada
- MALCOLM FRASER HAS A MORE TRADITIONAL VIEW OF HUMANITARIAN WORK. IT
IS A REAL POLICY DEBATE. BOTH SIDES HAVE THEIR POINT. WE TAKE A MORE PROGRESSIVE
VIEW OF HUMANITARIAN WORK....
WE BELIEVE THERE'S
A WHOLE RANGE OF WORK THAT HAS TO DO WITH PEACE KEEPING AND RECONCILIATION
THAT HUMANITARIAN AGENCIES SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN AND IF THEY ONLY DO THEIR
TRADITIONAL WORK IT CAN HAVE VERY PERVERSE RESULTS.
IT CAN LEAD TO DEATHS
NOT ONLY IN THE POPULATION BUT IN THE HUMANITARIAN WORKERS THEMSELVES.....
Fiona Terry MSF -AID
WORKERS ARE ALWAYS COLLECTING INFORMATION FOR THEIR OWN BENEFIT IN THE
FIELD. THEY HAVE TO BE VERY VIGILANT WITH REGARD TO THEIR OWN SECURITY
SO WE NEED TO KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON AND CERTAINLY THERE HAVE BEEN SUSPICIONS
THAT AID WORKERS MAY BE COLLECTION MILITARY INFORMATION BUT I THINK THAT
THE PROBLEM WITH THIS COMING OUT AND IT BEING OFFICIAL AND IT BEING RECOGNISED
IS UNLESS CARE DOES SOMETHING ABOUT IT, TO SAY "WELL WE MADE A MISTAKE
AND WE RECOGNISE THAT AND WE WON'T DO THIS SORT OF THING AGAIN" THEN I
DO THINK IT'S A PROBLEM.....
ARE GETTING MORE AND MORE INVOLVED IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND THE WHOLE
HUMANITARIAN MANDATE IS BEING EXPANDED TO COVER ALL SORTS OF MORE POLITICAL
AREAS AND I THINK THAT'S DANGEROUS.
Care, as we've
seen, tried desperately to limit the danger to Pratt, Wallace and Jelen
of the Canadian arrangement but tonight comes a surprising revelation
from the Serbs.
Minister Miodrag Popovic maintains Belgrade knew all along but chose not
to make an issue of it.
ACTUALLY I WAS HAPPY
TO SEE AUSTRALIA OR THE AUSTRALIAN MEDIA DISCOVERED THIS STORY, ON THE
OTHER HAND I KNEW ABOUT THIS BUT YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND MY STAND BECAUSE
IT IS A MINOR PROBLEM FOR THIS COUNTRY, MUCH BIGGER PROBLEM WAS THE INTELLIGENCE
ACTIVITIES NOT ONLY OF THE PEOPLE FROM CARE BUT FROM THE OSCE MISSION
ITSELF, THE MUCH BIGGER PROBLEM IS THE PLIGHT OF THE PEOPLE IN SERBIA
Popovic is still
convinced the three CARE workers were spies, but says they were freed
in the national interest
Popovic - ALL ALONG
WE WERE JUST TRYING TO SAY WE ARE DEFENDING OUR COUNTRY AMD THAT WE ARE
NOT VILLAINS AND MURDERERS AND THOSE THREE PEOPLE WERE PARDONED IN THAT
.I DON'T SEE THAT
SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO WERE LEFT WITHOUT THEIR HOMES AND DEPRIVED OF THEIR
LIVELIHOOD OR EVEN NOW LIVING WITHOUT THEIR LOVED ONES ON THOSE TARGETS
SPOTTED BY THOSE PEOPLE FROM CARE THAT THEY'RE GOING TO FORGIVE THEM THAT
But milking Care's
continuing largess comes first.
Popovic - YES PEOPLE
DON'T LIKE CARE PEOPLE, DON'T LIKE HUMANITARIAN ORGANISATIONS BUT I THINK
THE PICTURE IS SOMEHOW FALSE IN THE WIDER PROSPECT, WE NEED THEIR HELP
AND THEY ARE WELCOME TO ASSIST THOSE PEOPLE IN NEED.
Yet for all Serbia's
nonchalance, there's a sobering element to this affair, not just for Care
but for all aid agencies.....
The cost of so
called mission creep in the Balkans is that those carrying the bandages
in one hand are sometimes also suspected of carrying a knife in the other.
Popovic - I DO THINK
THAT SOME PEOPLE DO TEND TO MAKE SOME CONNECTION WITH FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS
OR THE GOVERNMENTS OF NATO COUNTRIES AND DURING THE CONFLICT IT'S VERY
DANGEROUS BECAUSE THEY ARE MAKING UP THE SCENE FOR ATTACKS. WE HAD THOSE
SO CALLED ESTIMATES NOT JUST FROM CARE BUT EVEN UNHCR THAT WERE PROVED
FALSE AND THEY WERE JUST THE PRETEXT FOR NATO ATTACKS THAT WERE TO COME
LATER ON AND THESE PROBLEMS WE EXPERIENCED, ON THE OTHER HAND AS I TOLD
YOU HELP IS NEEDED, THE PLIGHT OF THE PEOPLE IS GENUINE, IT'S GENUINE
EVEN AS WE SPEAK AND WE DO NEED THAT HELP.
If the suspicious
sentiments in Serbia are catching, then the real impact worldwide can
only be guessed at. One thing tonight is certain. Within Care Australia
there are bitter recriminations over whether, as the lead nation in Serbia,
it should have turned the tap off on the Care Canada deal.
Fraser - (IF CHARLES
TAPP HAD THE AUTHORITY TO STOP THIS, AS YOU SAY, AND HE DIDN'T DO IT,
HAVE YOU TOLD HIM THAT YOU WEREN'T HAPPY ABOUT THAT?) WELL THAT'S AN INTERNAL
MATTER (HAVE YOU ASKED FOR HIS RESIGNATION?) OH GOOD HEAVENS NO (SO IT'S
NOT THAT SERIOUS - AN OMISSION ) LOOK WHATEVER HAS HAPPENED HAS HAPPENED,
WE HAVE ALL LEARNED A BIT.