My Life: A True Study of Murphy's Law
Given the places I have lived and worked, perhaps it is no surprise that trouble has always found me easily. In some of the most dangerous (Ireland during the “Troubles”), challenging (China opening to foreign trade) and corrupt (Manila under Marcos) places in the world, a good man often becomes a target. Over and over I have proved myself not to be the bad guy people seem to want me to be. More
I know what you are going to say – this could not really happen to one man. But I swear my story is true, although there are many out there who wish to change it or conceal it. I am nearly at the end now and all I really want is for my story to be told. No more lies, no more bearing the blame for things that others have done. My story is a story of resilience – every time I fell down, I picked myself up and began my story anew. All I ever wanted was to live in a just society, provide for my family and to live in peace. When I list the places I have lived and worked - Ireland, China and Manila in particular - you will understand why justice and peace were sometimes hard to find. Yet even in Australia, trouble found me in my quiet little corner.
My story starts in Ireland, where I was a member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary – the RUC. The RUC were not Catholic or Protestant. What we believed was that those who chose the violent route were the ones in the wrong, regardless of which side they were on. We were on the side of the law and we came from all walks of life.
After being responsible for the arrest of a high ranked IRA bomb-maker, an occupational hazard when you work undercover for the RUC, I found myself on the IRA hit list and quickly moved my family to Australia. Here I become involved in trade with China when they were first opening up. I hosted the first Chinese Trade Delegation to Australia. But what seemed like a huge opportunity became my worst nightmare. From working with the Chinese to manufacture mining equipment, I found myself embroiled in spy games. At first it seemed harmless, basically I was a messenger, but somehow I wound up as the main go-between China and an Australian arms manufacturer, and as a spy for ASIO and the Brits. I was eventually bankrupted by the CIA when I would not spy for them. This was the biggest heartbreak in my life – my business went broke, my investors lost huge sums of money, my family lost our home and I had to take the blame for it all. It appeared my business had simply gone broke and I could not tell anyone the truth. This secret has eaten at me for many, many years. It was at this time that I lost my wife, in spirit at least. Too many secrets and too much time away from home.
Yet even that could not hold me down. I became involved in foreign exchange in Manila to try to recover from some of my debts. It was reasonably lucrative and it seemed I would regain a position of financial security, even if my reputation in Australia was in tatters. Then I met the Sale brothers and I discovered firsthand how corruption really worked for the big players in the Marcos’ regime. Luckily (or unluckily) I was operating right at the end of his time, and my fight for justice was eventually rewarded. I was found by the courts to be the legal owner of goods stolen from me. However financially, the news was not so good. The Sale brothers, who, supported by a corrupt army, had stolen my warehouse full of goods, had already sold the goods. It was a win on paper only, yet it was a part of the greater move in Manila away from corruption and towards a more equitable system.
I returned to Australia, having by now a new wife and a small son. Yet still peace and quiet were not to be mine. I live in the bush, almost in the middle of a national park. Bushfires are not infrequent and at Christmas time in 2001, they were very bad. The NSW Premier needed a scapegoat and somehow events conspired to deliver me to him on a plate. I had to fight for my innocence yet again in court, facing libel accusing me of being an arsonist. Again I won, but too late for my reputation and with a heavy hit on my finances.
These are the stories I want people to hear. I want people to understand how I got in the messes that seemed to follow me around. So often I was cast as the scapegoat. Over and over I have proved myself, often in court, not to be the bad guy people want me to be.
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