Water Week

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Aus Federal Police confirm its officers trained 20 Burmese police in in­telligence gathering; Aidwatch seeks halt to co-operation

Posted by waterweek on 11 October 2007

The Australian Federal Police confirmed three of its officers trained 20 Burmese police in in­telligence gathering, as the inter­national group Aidwatch warned that such co-operation should be curtailed amid the brutal sup­pression of democracy activists, wrote Craig Skehan in The Sydney Morning Herald (5/10/2007, p.6).

Misuse of knowledge: The 20 police were among more than 70 from Burma who, during the past three years, have participated in a regional train­ing program at the Australian-funded Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Co-operation in Indonesia. Kate Wheen of Aidwatch said that Australian-imparted skills could be misused by the military regime in the pursuit of its critics. The junta has acknowledged that at least 15 people have been killed by Burmese security forces during the past fortnight.

Crime-prevention argument: The Federal Police maintained that collaboration, in­cluding the posting of police in Burma, was justified to stem crimes including the smuggling of heroin and people into Aust­ralia. A spokesperson said the Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty, took the view that it was up to the Australian Government to decide on the future of such co-operation. Burmese officials have come to Australia at the invitation of various federal agencies, includ­ing for training to combat money laundering. An AusAID document referred to funds being provided for the training of “senior officials in the theory of counter-terrorism rec­ognition and collaboration for combating terrorism”.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 5/10/2007, p. 6

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