MR. DOWNER – STOP FOOLING YOURSELF, THE MASSES, AND PEOPLE OFAUSTRALIA. COME CLEAN ON BOUGAINVILLE NOW. BOUGAINVILLE IS DEMANDING AREFERENDUM

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BOUGAINVILLE FREEDOM MOVEMENT

P.O. BOX 134, ERSKINVILLE. NSW. 2043 AUSTRALIA Ph: +61-2-95582730

MEDIA RELEASE March 2000

BOUGAINVILLE

MR. DOWNER – STOP FOOLING YOURSELF,  THE MASSES, AND PEOPLE OF AUSTRALIA.  COME CLEAN ON BOUGAINVILLE NOW.  BOUGAINVILLE IS DEMANDING A REFERENDUM.

"Mr. Downer has suggested that the Australian and the Papua New Guinea media should be made aware to attract a little more international attention about the current situation on Bougainville."

Mr. Downer last Friday (10 March 2000) whilst visiting Port Moresby said that "the Australian Government believes the death toll from the Bougainville crisis is far greater than in Northern Ireland and therefore deserved more international attention".

"Whilst we agree wholeheartedly with the above comments made by Mr. Downer it is obvious that Mr. Downer has failed to inform the media that it was the Australian Government who colluded with Papua New Guinea (PNG) to set up a deadly military blockade (land, sea and air) around Bougainville. This to PNG, set up by the Australian government, prevented journalists, human rights organizations etc from getting to Bougainville during the war (1988-1998)."

"The blockade effectively sealed off Bougainville from the outside world. It was designed to force the people of central Bougainville to submit by depriving them of medicines, fuel and humanitarian aid."

"The brave few that did manage to get through to Bougainville and the deadly blockade to get the "real" stories from the people of Bougainville found it extremely difficult to have their works published in the mainstream media or televised in Australia on their return."

"Australia was heavily involved in the war on Bougainville, providing training, equipment (helicopters, patrol boats, ammunition etc) and finance to the Papua New Guinea Defense Force operations on Bougainville. There is also evidence that Australia supplied pilots to fly Iroquois helicopters as gunships to strafe villages on Bougainville."

"Of course, this was paid by the Australian tax payer. How would the people of Australia ever know this without the media communicating this information? Without the Australian government and our taxes, the war on Bougainville would not have continued for the past ten years."

"The Australian government is trying to change its image from "war mongers" to supposed "peace makers".

"The Australian government is still refusing to listen to the people of Bougainville."

"The only way forward is the request of the Bougainville people to have their say on independence by way of a referendum."

For further information please contact +61-2.9558.2730 or +61-2-9804.7632

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