Friday, October 5, 2007

Aiding the Junta?

My immediate reaction to the confirmation that the Australian Federal Police have been training their Burmese counterparts was nausea. Prima facie, this seems like an open-and-shut case of something we shouldn't be involved with. Training the law enforcement officials of a notoriously repressive regime? Pass.

The details of the training that have come to light - the relatively small scale, the assurance that the role of the AFP has been confined to training the Burmese in narcotics and other transnational crime - haven't done much to shift me on this. It's one thing to say Australia, and indeed the western world as a whole, is all but powerless to act in a way that would benefit the Burmese people. I don't really doubt that; the Burmese regime is famously cloistered, and external intervention on behalf of democracy has, shall we say, a spotty history at best. But it seems a disingenuous stance when the Feds are assisting the Burmese establishment, even in a small way.

1 comment:

diego luego said...

My local rag the Manly Daily claimed in the last 5 years, at least 5 police officers from Burma have been trained at Australian Institute of Police Management in Manly on the shores of Sydney Harbour. The newspaper hinted that even more could have been trained.