How many ways can you shoot yourself, part nine ... hang on, how many parts can we scribble before we beat the bible for length?
Yep, here he comes, the speaker in tongues:
"There has been no police investigation in Indonesia, there has been nothing of that sort." (here)
And letting off a few rounds at the messenger, the ABC, while he's at it.
Lordy, lordy, the pond immediately went into a faint and could only be revived by reading a little Shakespeare:
...the first bringer of unwelcome news
Hath but a losing office, and his tongue
Sounds ever after as a sullen bell,
Remember'd tolling a departing friend. (Henry IV, part 2)
Followed by a dose of:
Messenger: The nature of bad news infects the teller.
Mark Antony: When it concerns the fool or coward.
On: Things that are past are done with me. 'Tis thus:
Who tells me true, though in his tale lie death,
I hear him as he flatter'd. (Antony and Cleopatra)
Well Scott Morrison doesn't sound much like Mark Antony.
But let's make it simple. Don't shoot the messenger, unless you have high hopes of being revealed as a goose. Sure enough, not long after the emphatic assertion came the rebuttal, here:
Now who knows what the truth of the matter might be. It might be a set up, the fix might be in, or maybe there was a problem.
Whatever. Who knows?
The point is, you're on a hiding to nothing saying that the Indonesians aren't investigating when they say they are, and all within the same day.
Who to believe? asks a rhetorical Tony Abbott.
Whatever. Who knows? Since nobody will discuss operational matters with any degree of openness, it's all a mystery.
All that's clear is that within the one day, a bullying, blustering, huffing and puffing minister was caught out by making - if you put it politely - a mis-statement. A directly contradicted mis-statement.
So we should believe him? As he huffs and he puffs? Why you may as well be a frog offering a scorpion a day ride on the pond ...
And therein lies the entire failure of the secrecy caper and the alienation of the Indonesians.
Morrison has given them a free kick, and now they can pose as sympathetic assessors of the suffering of asylum seekers and as vigilant seekers after truth, and let the cards fall as they may.
And in consequence there has now been a flurry of denials, as the wrong-footed hop about. And we cop this sort of story Asylum seekers' burns claims baseless, say Australian chiefs (forced video at end of link):
But Fairfax is now so poorly resourced, all you get is this sort of nonsense, in lieu of investigative feet on the ground:
Professor Stephen Shumack, president of the Australasian College of Dermatologists, said the injuries could be burns from hot metal, though he stressed it was impossible to diagnose for certain from the images. He said the injuries could also be friction burns or some other external trauma, but ruled out lesions caused by a skin disease.
He said they appeared ''reasonably fresh'', estimating the injuries were five to 10 days old at the time the pictures were taken, which falls within the correct time frame for the asylum seekers' claims.
Analysis by images while thousands of kilometres from the actual events!
The pond has long been in favour of qualitative digital image analysis via the internet for ehealth initiatives, though it gets a bit hard when the images are delivered by tin cans, string and sealing wax on big Mal's carrier pigeon intertubes.
But with due respect to Prof Stephen Shumack, his contribution is entirely meaningless, and all it reveals is how pathetic the local media's response is these days, whenever an attempt to pierce the veil of secrecy is required.
And the other mushrooms, the reptiles at the lizard Oz had a different angle in Two asylum-seeker boat 'victims' already burned (behind the paywall because operational matters must be discussed in private):
Say what? What did the 'journalists' discover that about the 'victims'?
Two of the asylum-seekers who claim to have been deliberately burned by Australian navy personnel during a turn-back operation had burns to their hands before the navy arrived.
And how do we know the truth of this assertion by the 'journalists' scribbling furiously about the 'victims'?
Well while it's led as a statement of fact in the opening par, but there's absolutely nothing in the body of the text to justify it, beyond assertions by interested parties which are dissembling at best. The reptiles, we are told, have been told. By whom?
The Australian understands navy and Customs officials have ruled out misconduct on the part of any Australian official. They believe the wounds were probably either sustained as the asylum-seekers tried to restart their faulty motor or disable the motor to ensure they were rescued, or self-inflicted.
They were told by whom? Oh never mind.
In any case, why should it matter if two had burns before the navy arrived? What about the ones that got burns after the navy arrived?
What does that little distraction prove, except a desire for distraction?
Just like Fairfax, the 'reptiles' are reporting second and third hand. (By golly, using ' and ' to hint at ne'er do wells is 'catching', isn't it?)
'Believe' or 'rule out' or 'say' as the officials and authorities will, 'talk' of asylum seekers 'gaming' the authorities and officials as they will, if you live by secrecy, you will die by the consequences of secrecy, though even in the dark some mushrooms will struggle on and then erupt into controversy .....
They used to say that Defence was the ruination of ministers, but Morrison is on very short odds to show that Immigration is the portfolio of doom ...
No doubt the ABC will be made to pay in due course for running with a legitimate story - after all, they were just reporting what they'd discovered via actual feet on the actual ground, and reluctantly the rest of the pack swung in behind to at least acknowledge the story, if only to try to follow the official line by dissing it. But there will be trouble down the track. No one can expect a bully and a huffer and a puffer like Morrison to avoid a chance of payback when the ABC's budget comes up in cabinet ...
Meanwhile, the chances of other encounters has now officially increased, as you can read in The Jakarta Post, Navy strengthens patrols at border with Australia.
Hmm, how to spin that one?
A greater Indonesian navy presence in the seas south of Java would actually increase their responsibility for patrolling for asylum-seeker vessels heading off from their territory, a Defence source said.
Benjamin Schreer, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, who has written on Indonesia's military, said Jakarta's tough language was aimed largely at a domestic political audience. There was little chance of escalation or miscalculation by commanders on the seas because the two countries' navies knew each other well thanks to past joint-exercises and personal networking between officers.
''The protocols are well-established,'' he said. ''I also think there is sufficient trust established between these two navies who actually know each other quite well.
''You can even see it in a positive light and say the greater presence of Indonesian ships in the area means they can work with us on monitoring ship movements.'' (Naval breach: Australia could gain from increased Indonesian patrolling).
Yes you could look at in a positive light. There's nothing like getting the Indonesian navy out and about sharing and caring with Australians.
Why we'll join together as happy as larks, frolicking together on the high seas, all working to stop the people smugglers, all joined in Tony Abbott's and Scott Morrison's grand vision ...
Just watch out for the burns ...
(Below: we've run it before, and we'll run it again, because every day offers the potential to be a Scott Morrison Horatio Hornblower day. More Pope here, though the poor possum seems to be at rest at the moment)