Hillary in Indonesia Explains Why She Took SOS Job

During her tour of Indonesia yesterday, Hillary Clinton told the Indonesians why she accepted the Secretary of State's job:

It was not anything I had any reason to expect or had even thought about,” Mrs. Clinton said of President Obama’s offer to her to be the nation’s chief diplomat. “I had to make a hard decision.”

Mrs. Clinton said she put aside the disappointment of the election to take Mr. Obama’s job offer because, she said, “We have so many of the same views of what we should do in the world.”

Asked who her favorite musical groups are, she quickly answered the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. I know another of her favorite groups is Jon Bon Jovi. I'm sure it was a great trip, and had I known in advance where she was headed, I would have sent her a message asking her to make one more stop on her trip.[More...]

It's an hour and 45 minute plane ride from Jakarta, where Hillary was, to Denpesar on Bali. I would have liked Hillary to tour the Kerkoban prison, just to provide some welcome and hopeful words to Australian Schapelle Corby,a young hair stylist who is serving a 20 year sentence in a hellhole of a prison because when traveling to Bali from Australia for a family vacation to see her sister who lives in Bali with her husband and children, customs claimed to have found 4 kilos of pot in her boogie board. Schapelle has steadfastly denied knowing anything about it.

At first they said Schapelle might get the death penalty. Then they sentenced her to 25 years. She's down now to 20 due to good behavior. There are prisoner transfer treaties between Indonesia and Australia, but Schapelle was denied even that. Here's a picture of what her cramped cell looks like, you can see the stove so close to the toilet.

This is a part of the job of the Secretary of State. If Hillary has an extra hour or two, I hope she will visit Shapelle, even for 30 minutes. I'd bet it will help with the extreme depression Schapelle has been suffering. Maybe Hillary can strike a deal with Indonesia that if Australia returns a prisoner to them, they will release Shapelle back to Australia and her family. Maybe they'd let Shapelle come to an American prison. Hillary would get big Karma points from the millions of us in the U.S. who are horrified by these draconian sentences for drugs and who want to give these lost souls a real life back.

If Hillary is too busy this trip (I recognize this is short notice) maybe I'll write her a letter and ask her to send one of her high-level appointees familiar with foreign criminal laws (the office does handle extradition) to visit when he or she is next in the country. It would be the right and the human thing to do.

For the rest of you, Schapelle likes to get letters:

Schapelle Corby C/- LPM Kerobokan Jl. Tangkuban Perahu Kerobokan,
Denpasar 80117 Bali, INDONESIA

The Herald described the conditions at her jail:

AIDS is rife in the jail as corrupt officials allow drug abuse to run virtually unchecked. Human rights activists estimate that life expectancy in the badly overcrowded jail compound would be between 10 and 15 years.

The toilets in the jail's squalid cells sit directly beside the benches where food is prepared. The jail was built in 1976 for 366 prisoners, but it holds 525.

Corby shares her 5m-wide cell with seven other women. She is forced to wash with only a small bucket and ladle. The untreated water is fetched from a dilapidated well in the prison compound.

Corby's family says the jail food is inedible. It comes around on a big cart -- a bucket of rice which her family says regularly contains stones, dirt and sticks, and a pot of some kind of stew. The pot is encrusted with drying and rotting food.

Free Schapelle, Boycott Bali

Since her arrest, Bali has freed at least two Militant Islamic terrorists.

Here's what Schapelle looked like when she arrived at the prison in Bali:

Shapelle is not the only one that could use a visit from a Secretary of State. Check out the Bali Nine, 9 Australians, as young as 18, facing the death penalty after a recent arrest for smuggling heroin into Bali. While they may not have the innocence claims of Schapelle, the use of the death penalty shows that Indonesia remains a truly backwards country.

I have refused to travel to Singapore ever since they caned the teenager some years back. Barring a miracle for Schappelle, Bali will be added to my list. That's okay, the beaches in Southern Thailand are terrific, and I've been looking for an excuse to visit the Seychelles and Mauritius.

I'll give the last word to Schapelle. These were taken right after she heard the guilty verdict and 20 year sentence.

One last thought: Maybe someone could get Hillary a copy of the HBO movie Ganja Queen (about Schapelle) to watch on a long flight.

All of TalkLeft's Schapelle Corby coverage is accessible here.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Writing a letter right now... (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Thanin on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 04:22:35 AM EST
    and I hope Hillary listens to you on this Jeralyn.

    What is the Australian government (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 07:29:20 AM EST
    doing to help her? There must be someone there we need to do a writing campaign to, as well.

    Indonesia, where Obama grew up? (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 08:11:32 AM EST
    Yes, have him send someone to help these people.  Australia has helped us, sending troops to die in our war.  Don't let these prisoners die -- or live in hell -- in Obama's onetime homeland, where it would seem that he would have some serious sway.

    I think (none / 0) (#12)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:16:33 PM EST
    he has that kind of pull in Kenya where all signs seem to indicate that he's basically a national hero, but Indonesia seems a harder sell, I mean apart from what 3 or 4 years of school he never really assimilated there- he didn't convert to Islam or permanently take his step-fathers name.

    More so than Clinton, though (none / 0) (#16)
    by Cream City on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 08:45:51 PM EST
    wouldn't you think?

    Especially considering... (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 08:17:36 AM EST
    two of her favorite artists are the Beatles and Stones...notorious for their drug use....you'd think she'd want to do something for the victims of the worlwide war on drugs.

    But she is a politician above all else...playing the game and playing dumb.

    That's not fair (none / 0) (#5)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 09:35:26 AM EST
    in this case. The woman is an Australian and her gov't needs to be aggressive about this. They could certainly ask for our gov't to assist to double the pressure, but Clinton's visit to Asia has a defined purpose. As horrible as this case is, it belongs to Australia first.

    You're right... (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 09:47:55 AM EST
    a little bit of a low blow...I guess I expect a Secretary of State to denounce human rights abuses when they encounter it in their official travels.

    Think anybody would take it (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 09:57:06 AM EST
    seriously from a representative of a country that still has Gitmo, indefinite "detainees," rendition, warrantless wiretapping, etc.?

    AND (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Faust on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 10:05:04 AM EST
    where we have plenty of ridiculous sentencing for pot "crimes"

    Point taken.... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 10:07:22 AM EST
    we barely have a leg to stand on when it comes to human rights...all that you mentioned and we cage and chain people over plants too.

    I thought Obama and Clinton were gonna change all that?...lol


    Sure they should, but (none / 0) (#11)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 11:15:50 AM EST
    is she traveling to Indonesia right now? Had Rice been there anytime in the past few years? This isn't a new case.

    I sure would like to know why the Australian gov't has failed to get their citizen back home.


    I think (none / 0) (#14)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:23:46 PM EST
    they've pushed in cases where there are serious questions about Guilt or Innocence (or at least they have done so in the past) but in cases with clear cut guilt they'll probably only intervene to prevent execution (its what we do as well I believe).

    Well (none / 0) (#13)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 01:22:07 PM EST
    we haven't ever really been a beacon for civil rights other than the Carter Years- I mean besides Jimmy's stand on Iran (which cost him dearly) I can't think of a president actually walking the walk in terms of Human Rights when it would really matter- (sure we had some Humanitarian Relief, and some low-cost interventions during Bush I and Clinton but c'mon- arguing that we believe in Human rights while giving China permanent FN status- something Clinton said he'd suspend and didn't- or ignoring Rwanda, the Sudan, and whatever Genocide we gave a free pass duirng Bush I- we care when we can do so without any real cost- not that this isn't a good thing or a step up from basically any other nation on Earth- NATO cooperation in the Balkans notwithstanding).

    Excuses (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 09:57:40 AM EST
    It is laughable that you would suggest that there is some sort of hierarchal protocol in calling out international human rights abuses. I agree 100% with Jeralyn and kdog on this. Australia does not need to set an example for us, although it is worth lobbying them to step in as well.

    The victimized deserve all the help that they can get. It is cowardly to wait for anyone else to take the lead when you know a life is wasting away unjustly.


    and what does it say about us? (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by cpinva on Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 03:15:30 PM EST
    the use of the death penalty shows that Indonesia remains a truly backwards country.

    pot, meet kettle. one quick way to resolve this would be an economic boycott of indonesia: money talks, everything else walks. i don't expect that anytime soon.

    jon bon jovi (none / 0) (#17)
    by txpublicdefender on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 01:49:58 AM EST
    I didn't know Jon Bon Jovi was a group. ;)

    Schapelle (none / 0) (#18)
    by NicolaW on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 05:21:16 AM EST
    People need to understand just how horrific the Schapelle Corby case actually is. Gross abuse of human rights, staggering cruelty, political indifference, and complicity and corruption in her own country Australia.

    Not for the faint hearted but here is an FAQ on the case:
    The Schapelle Corby FAQ

    The following investigative paper details some of the underlying politics and self interest which has left her to suffer:
    The Hidden Truth

    This case is almost unbelievable, but it is real: she is there now, today, suffering, whilst the population of her own country have been subdued by the orchestrated media campaign referred to above (and this film)

    The world needs to open its eyes to this, and get her out of there.... it's going on FIVE years now.

    Schapelle Corby Forum needs your help (none / 0) (#19)
    by niftynev on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:45:02 PM EST
    For any person wishing to join in discussions regarding Schapelle Corby, might I suggest that you join our supporters forum where you can discuss her situation with hundreds of others. In April, Kay Danes will be guest speaker at the 61st Conference on World Affairs hosted in Denver Colorado. Also at this conference forum members will be manning stands and presentations to highlight Corby's delicate situation. If anyone is in the Denver area and can help, please contact admin@freeschapelle.com.au Thanks. Nev