Political Intelligence and briefings

Political Intelligence and briefings

Posted by : Frank Short Posted on : 30-Nov-2021
Political Intelligence and briefings

As one with feelings and lasting memories and affinity for the Solomon Islands, I am drawn to comment the riots and civil uprising in Honiara last week has left me sad but especially because what unfolded I had perceived to be on the horizon, even from half a world away in Thailand, from observing media stories, happenings, and events in the Solomon Islands over several months.

In my service days in the country, the then RSIP had a functioning and reliable Special Branch, structured and trained on British lines.

The Special Branch collated intelligence of a political nature largely overtly and it was my duty to collate the raw intelligence material and to make a weekly intelligence report to the Cabinet.

Early reporting led to an accurate picture of the civil unrest that occurred from late 1998 and to the government seeking aid from the Commonwealth, albeit such assistance did not put an end to the then deadly internal conflict until the ultimate arrival in the country of RAMSI in 2003 but by then too late in having prevented the tragic circumstances which this last week, in a separate letter, I had outlined.

The RSIP Special Branch was disbanded by the AFP on RAMSI’s arrival in the country.

Even one of my most hardened critics in government during my time as head of the RSIP had to admit my security intelligence briefings were, “Spot on.” as he once put it.

In the light of what happened in Honiara last week, I venture to suggest that the way intelligence gathering is made and shared with the government should be reviewed.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short


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