Friday, April 30, 2004

Julian Burnside QC Visa Revoked 

Refugee advocate Julian Burnside QC recently had his visa to visit Nauru revoked:

Last night, an Australian lawyer was prevented from boarding a plane to Nauru. Well-known refugee advocate, Julian Burnside QC, was due to represent asylum seekers in a court hearing on the island today. But he says he was told that the visa he'd been given on Friday had been revoked.

The "Action Page" Lives On! 

Those visitors who enjoyed reading my post about the "Action Page" at the "Show Mercy" website will be disappointed to hear that the entire "Show Mercy" website was deleted a day or two after I drew readers' attention to it.

What a fine read "Show Mercy" was.

There were so many notable names discoverable from that web site. The whole thing was so instructive, in how to get in contact and coordinate activities with the detainees in all the Refugee Detention camps, how to endear yourself to them and collect personal information and how to forward all the juicier bits of information to the mysterious third party for collation on the central database. Where and how to visit, the best phone booths in the Centres (the sound-proof ones) and so on. How to smuggle items past the guards even, and a whole lot of other exciting and interesting information.

The "Action Page" contained gems such as this:

Getting past ACM (Australian Correctional Management):

Remember, while detainees are stuck in detention they are under the control of ACM officers. Fat envelopes arouse suspicion, so if you're talkative like me, keep the bulk down by using both sides of the paper. Window envelopes with typed addresses showing through arouse the least suspicion. ("Just give it to her/him. It's probably a bill.")

Those of you who missed out will be delighted to hear that the whole thing is still accessible thanks to Google's hi-tech cache. So if you missed it the first time, go and read all about the "Action Page" at "Show Mercy" the site that is no more but whose ghost lingers on in the matrix.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

How those kidnappers didn't waste Donna Mulhearn. 

Ex-media spinmeister for the New South Wales Labor Government, Ms Donna Mulhearn claimed in her professionally crafted Press Release that she was kidnapped by Iraqi insurgents and was held while they interrogated her and her friends. Ms Mulhearn's account that she has emailed to friends and which is posted here describes one reason why her alleged kidnappers released her:

I explained that John Howard is a conservative politician, and that I belong to a party that opposes him. That we are hopeful that elections this year will deliver us a new Prime Minister that would withdraw troops from Iraq.

His face brightened. “A new Prime Minister?”

“We hope for this,” I said.

“Insha’ allah (God willing)” he replied in agreement.

Finally, I’d made a connection that may well have saved me.

A Sacred Swamp 

The NSW Land and Environment Court has overturned a Government and National Parks decision to grant permission to a film company to film in wilderness areas of the Blue Mountains.

Justice David Lloyd has taken the additional unusual step of declaring the wilderness area to be "sacrosanct" (sacred). Not sacred to indigenous tribes or to anyone in particular - it's just "sacred" in its own right.

Justice Lloyd also issued an order removing the rights of the Director-General of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, and the Environment Minister Bob Debus, from granting any further licences to film in the area.

We'll just go over that again: the court issued an order that the elected representatives of the people of the State of NSW cannot grant any licenses to film in the area.

In its submission to the Court, the Blue Mountains Conservation Society wrote:

The subject matter of Stealth adventure film is not related to wilderness protection and management and so is not consistent with the NPWS Filming and Photography Policy. Images of a nuclear bomber hanging over the Blue Mountains World Heritage area would be ugly, disgusting and hugely inappropriate.

The Land and Environment Court has effectively supported those locals who have claimed the nearby wilderness area as their own exclusive domain.

The film company selected the area because it had the right look. It was burnt out in the bushfire that razed the whole area in 2002.

The company is losing $500,000 a day while it fights this action in the courts and finds a suitable alternative site.

Latham Affects Troop Morale 

The father of a Melbourne soldier serving in Iraq has accused Labor leader Mark Latham of destroying morale among troops. Gus Lucas, whose son is serving with the diplomatic protection unit, said Opposition claims the Australian presence in Iraq was symbolic was worse for morale than "having mortar shells land on them".

Hmm, that might be laying it on a bit thick but I can see his point about Latham having a negative affect on morale.

Panty Thief Caught 

Japanese police who arrested a 55-year-old man for stealing women's underwear raided his home to find 4000 pairs of knickers collected over 30 years, police said yesterday.

Local reports said the man from the western Japan city of Hiroshima had confessed to stealing the items.

"I love women's underwear and could not control my desire," he was quoted as saying by the private Fuji television network.

The fetishist's run came to an end when the husband of one of his unsuspecting victims caught him on his balcony allegedly preparing to add to his stash, police said.

Police said they had confiscated the 4,000 pairs of underpants.

Gotta Save Them Portraits 

The terrible tragedy in North Korea where 131 were killed and 1300 injured has been compounded by the government's refusal to accept aid from outside. After the blast, dozens of the injured, many children, have been allowed to die agonising deaths from burns and other injuries for want of basic assistance.

At last, the communist leadership has identified the cause of so many needless deaths.

Many North Koreans died a "heroic death" after last week's train explosion by running into burning buildings to rescue portraits of leader Kim Jong-il and his father, the North's official media reported yesterday...

..Many people of the county evacuated portraits before searching after their family members or saving their household goods," KCNA said in a report with a Ryongchon dateline. "Upon hearing the sound of the heavy explosion on their way home for lunch, Choe Yong-il and Jon Tong-sik, workers of the county procurement shop, ran back to the shop," KCNA said. "They were buried under the collapsing building to die a heroic death when they were trying to come out with portraits of President Kim Il-sung and leader Kim Jong-il," it said.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Costello Welcomes Rise In Inflation 

No one would welcome a rise in inflation but the ABC thinks Costello does. "Costello Welcomes Rise In Inflation." That was the headline on this ABC Online story. Wicked Costello. The story is actually about a FALL in the rate of inflation. Inflation is currently running at a very low level, historically speaking.

I'll just reiterate, the rate of annual inflation actually FELL (from 2.4% at December 2003 to 2.0% at March 2004), but the ABC gives the impression that it rose [possibly by comparing the March quarter figure 0.9% with the December quarter figure 0.5%].

The news of a continuing low inflation rate is great economic news for the government and for the country but bad news for the ALP and apparently for the ABC for some reason.

Here are some of the more catchy lines from the ABC's story about continued fabulously low inflation:

The latest inflation measure for Australia shows the cost of living has risen 2 per cent. The March quarter Consumer Price Index (CPI) shows prices have jumped 0.9 per cent in the most recent three-month period, raising the inflation rate... The jump is more than the 0.7 per cent rate generally expected...

...Adverse weather conditions in the eastern states have pushed up fruit and vegetable prices substantially...

...Petrol, tertiary, secondary and primary education has been more expensive. The cost of a house purchase has also gone up, along with pharmaceuticals...

...Shadow Treasurer Simon Crean says today's inflation data highlights the stress on family budgets...

...Citing higher health, education and childcare costs, he says the overall inflation figures mask the financial pressures on key areas of household spending.

Is there any way that this good news could have been reported any more negatively without tipping over into open hostility.

ABC reporters really, I mean really despise the government.

The same news as reported by News Limited has the headline "Living costs rise slowest in 4 years" and reads more than a little differently:

THE cost of living in Australia is increasing slower than at any time over the past four years, according to figures released today.

The good result in latest inflation figures puts the Federal Government in an even stronger position to deliver income tax cuts expected in next month's Budget.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said prices rose 0.9 per cent in the three months up to March, slightly higher than experts' expectations.

The result took the annual inflation rate down to two per cent, at the very bottom of the Reserve Bank of Australia's target range and the lowest since December 1999.

There were increases in the cost of fruit and vegetables, petrol, and medication in recent months, the figures showed.

Other price increases in the cost of home ownership and education have been offset by the reduced cost of cars and overseas holidays, made cheaper by the strength of the dollar. The current rate of two per cent compares with inflation of 2.4 per cent in the year to December, after a 0.5 per cent rise in prices in the December quarter.

Your Their ABC.

What the US Presidency Thinks of the Media. 

By being part of politics and making the news, not just reporting it, the media have to some extent sidelined themselves from serious discussions and from input to the growth of society. As far as George W. Bush is concerned he claims not to read the news or even watch it on TV. He still has to respect their power but he does not accept the conventional wisdom that the press fulfills a psuedo-constitutional checks-and-balances function. He sees them as players not umpires.

"...a reporter says to the president: is it really true you don't read us, don't even watch the news? Bush confirms it. And the reporter then said: Well, how do you then know, Mr. President, what the public is thinking? And Bush, without missing a beat said: You're making a powerful assumption, young man. You're assuming that you represent the public. I don't accept that.

Which is a powerful statement. And if Bush believes it (a possibility not to be dismissed) then we must credit the president with an original idea, or the germ of one. Bush's people have developed it into a thesis, which they explained to Auletta, who told it to co-host Brooke Gladstone:

That's his attitude. And when you ask the Bush people to explain that attitude, what they say is: We don't accept that you have a check and balance function. We think that you are in the game of "Gotcha." Oh, you're interested in headlines, and you're interested in conflict. You're not interested in having a serious discussion... and exploring things.

The journalist asserts that the press represents the public. The President doesn't accept that.


James Morrow on UNScam 

James Morrow investigates Aunty ABC's reluctance to report the UN Oil Vouchers Scam.

He concludes:

...this latest scandal proves that the UN, with all its structural flaws and moral failings that have led to the deaths of millions, can no longer claim the role of legitimate and neutral broker anymore. If, indeed, it ever could.

And identifies the obvious reluctance of Aunty ABC and the Left generally to focus attention on this outrageous scandal:

The editorial decision to turn a blind eye to the story puts the ABC in good company with other Western news outlets, most of which have taken a see-no-evil approach to one of the biggest corruption scandals in modern history: the systematic purchasing of friends and allies by the Iraqi dictator.

Many highly prominent citizens, outspoken critics of the war, may have received huge cash sums from Saddam Hussein :

Those named include not just Sevan but a vast array of Russian politicians, close friends of French President Jacques Chirac (including France's former minister of the interior), British Labour MP George Galloway, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter and, closer to home, Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri.

In short, it's a who's who list of high-profile anti-war and anti-sanctions voices, all revealed to be shills for Saddam.

He saves his strongest criticism for the UN:

But by far the biggest recipient of Saddam's largesse was the UN. During the program's existence, more than $US1 billion was kept by the organisation as a fee for administering the program. As one senior UN diplomat recently told London's Daily Telegraph: "The UN was not doing this work just for the good of Iraq. Cash from Saddam's government was keeping the UN going for a few years."

and a stubbornly myopic Left media eye:

Amazingly, though, it has taken an incredible amount of time for this story to get what little traction it has so far gained in the media. (Certainly the anti-war Left, which is happy to believe that George W. Bush toppled Saddam to kick a few contracts to Dick Cheney's old pals at Halliburton, has been deafeningly silent on the topic.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Omens and Portents 

Woe and alas, a Latham government cometh...

People who are superstitious will not find it easy for the next month or so - if they look into the sky one night next week, they may see a red Moon.

Two fiery stars - the first comets of the Millennium that are expected to be visible by the naked eye - are about to make their way across the skies.

Then Earth, Venus and the Sun will all be directly aligned, staging a cosmic eclipse that no human alive today has seen.


- "Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. " -

If you have never seen a total eclipse of the MOON (i.e. not an eclipse of the SUN - they're different, silly), well if you haven't ever witnessed this eerie phenomenum and you live in the right parts of Australia, kit yourself out in warm woollies and go to bed early the night before to make sure you get up to watch it. The moon usually goes the color of a new copper coin (sometimes red, like blood - cue the wild eyed prophet in camel hair coat...) and you'll see the shadow of the edge of the Earth move across the Moon. If we're really lucky, we could see the shape of an Earth mountain or a cloud on the rim of the shadow [but don't count on it - and stop trying to do the "rabbit ears" trick].

The eclipse is at totality (the moon is in darkness) between 5:52 am to 7:08 am Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, 5th May 2004. If you're located somewhere outside Eastern Australia or you don't want to risk missing it do your own research and check your local news paper for details of the event and especially check when the moon sets (goes down below the western horizon) in your locale. Recommend you start watching as the Earth's shadow begins moving across (that'll start around 4:48 a.m) don't give up in the first half hour if it's too boring - it gets better [sheesh!]. In the Eastern states the sun will rise just after the eclipse goes total and then the moon will set so don't count on beeing able to get up late and see it all after sunrise.

And before the day of the Lord shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood, and the stars fall from heaven. And the remnant shall be gathered unto this place; And then they shall look for me, and, behold, I will come; and they shall see me in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory; with all the holy angels; and he that watches not for me shall be cut off.

So there.

Latham Gets the Brush Off 

Mark Latham has seriously compromised a possible future relationship between Australia under Latham and the USA under Bush.

OPPOSITION Leader Mark Latham has been told not to bother even seeking an audience with United States President George W Bush during his upcoming visit to Washington.

...Mr Latham refused to say whether the advice had come from the US Embassy in Canberra.

US Ambassador Tom Schieffer has been a vocal critic of Mr Latham's pledge to bring Australian troops home from Iraq by Christmas if elected later this year.

"I'm not going into the detail," Mr Latham said.

This comes hot on the heels of another rebuff, this one from Tony Blair. Latham's minders had automatically assumed (how??) support from the UK'S PM, Tony Blair, and were flogging tickets to a seminar featuring Blair and other glitterati. Problem was no one checked with Blair and when queried by reporters they emphatically said Blair would not be attending.

A report in The Australian newspaper said that a spokesman from No. 10 Downing Street had confirmed there was no plan for Mr Blair to attend and said that he did not want to get involved in Australia's domestic politics.

Bone Pointer Is Geoff Clark's Cousin ! Surprised? - Not! 

The old Gnu Hunter has been sounding off a bit lately about the laziness (or worse) of journalists who will scratch no deeper than the surface of "stories" and report them at "face value", except of course when the story being reported doesn't sit well with their preconceived notions in which case the story will be poked, prodded, distorted and turned upside-down to get to the truth.

Anyhow, when the mysterious, idiot bone-pointer "Moopor" pointed a bone at Howard, the media played along with the politically correct ruse that "Moopor" could not talk to the assembled media. It was Clarke who kept the media at bay saying that "Moopor" was in a "spiritual zone" and could not talk to the media because of "unspecified cultural reasons".

Convenient ?

- hello? where was the journalists "nose for news", or more rudely said, where was their "bullshit meter" ?

Why did they not investigate deeper, since everyone would notice the reek of Clarke all over this, especially as he was photographed standing right next to her while she pointed the bone.

Anyhow, the worthy Australian Newspaper dug a little deeper today and it turns out that "Moopor" is none other than Geoff Clark's kissing cousin.

Furthermore it emerges that i) she had absolutely no traditional authority to point the bone and ii) bone-pointing was not practised by the Tjap-Whuurong people.


It is obvious that the whole thing was a stunt to embarass the Liberal Party but the stunt would not be possible if had not been facilitated by the media.

A fraud that is pure propaganda in a political stoush has been broadcast in headlines around the world:

"Aborigines Put Black Curse on Prime Minister" - Yahoo (USA and World)
Aboriginees Ancient Hex - Sun, UK
"Aboriginee Puts Hex On Aussie PM" - Canada
"Take That" - Canada

Clark has embarassed aboriginees with his culturally offensive attack:

At Warrnambool, western Victoria, Bernice Clarke, whose family has had a long feud with Mr Clark's, said yesterday: "It's all bullshit, it's crap."

She said Bernadette Clark, the daughter of Mr Clark's aunt Fay, had no traditional authority to point the bone, which in any event was not practised by the Tjap-Whuurong people.

"When we saw it, we were so embarrassed," she said. "My gut rolled, I felt so sick. It makes blackfellas look stupid."

I really doubt that this little news item about "Moopor" being Clark's cousin will get a run worldwide like the "Aboriginees Curse Howard" story did.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Ms Donna Mulhearn Shot At By US Troops? Bullshit. 

Ms Donna Mulhearn worked as an ALP media spin doctor for the Carr Labor Government. The events in Iraq reported by her in prepared media releases and published with great breathlessness in the media are bullshit, in my opinion, and here's why.

She had no trouble at all getting into Fallujah, effortlessly transiting the boundary between American forces and Iraqi insurgents to link up with the insurgents inside.

Inside Fallujah, according to Ms Mulhearn's account, she was shot at by the Americans four times but her own evidence describes only two occasions where she was shot at. She couldn't have been talking about four bullets because in the exciting minute by minute account she gives the bullet count climbs higher than that quite quickly.

She saw and heard no Americans. She saw no American flag, device, vehicle or person. She saw and heard no American before, during or after the shooting.

Here's how she spins it:

"We drove slowly through the parts of Fallujah controlled by Iraqi fighters then stopped in a side-street that faced a main road. We could not go any further because the main road was under watch and control of US snipers. They had developed a habit of shooting at anything that moved."

So far, so good. The ambulance is in a side-street facing a main road which she somehow mysteriously knows is the limit of the "Iraqi fighters" territory and where the territory controlled by the Americans begins. Presumably the "Iraqi fighters" (snipers) are on one side of the road and the "US terrorists" (snipers) are on the other. It's just as well those disciplined "Iraqi fighters" (snipers) don't mind taking pot shots at passing ambulances or noisy blue-gowned foreigners with megaphones speaking stuff they don't understand.

Ms Mulhearn says:

"Before we ventured onto the main road we called out a message from the side street.

“Hello? American soldiers! We are a group of international aid workers. We are unarmed. We are asking permission to transport an ambulance full of medical supplies to the hospital. Can you hear us? The reply was just a chilling silence. We repeated the message. Silence again. We looked at each other. Perhaps the soldiers were too far away to hear us? We had to walk onto the main road and take the risk that we would be clearly visible as unarmed civilians, and approach the soldiers with our hands in the air."

So there's no actual Americans or ANYONE seen. No tank, no checkpoint, no flag, no soldiers were ever SEEN or HEARD. Ms Mulhearn takes the word of the "Iraqi fighters" that there were Americans over the road.

I looked at the others and could tell we were all thinking the same thing: “If I don’t do this, then who will?” Their courage inspired me as we all stepped out on the road together. We walked slowly with our arms raised in the air. My eyes scanned the tops of the buildings for snipers. We didn’t know where they were set up so we walked in the direction of the hospital. We repeated the message over and over again on the loudspeaker, in the silence it would have been heard for hundreds of metres. It echoed eerily throughout the neighbourhood.

Still no sign of anyone. Their forlorn cries in the loudspeaker echoing out for hundreds of metres.

It is now that Ms Mulhearn gets very lucky. On a bright sunny day she turns her head around and sees:

"In the distance I saw two white flashes, then the loud bang of gunshots and the ugly realisation that they were shooting into our backs."

So we know they were not pistol shots because the two white flashes were off "in the distance." Pistols have an effective range no greater than about 75 metres tops and would not create white flashes visible "in the distance".

No modern military rifle fires a subsonic bullet, certainly not any that create "two white flashes" visible in daylight, yet Ms Mullhearn saw two white flashes then heard the loud bang of gunshots. This quiet clearly occurred in her imagination.

For her to recall so clearly a delay between the flashes and the gunshots, the "sniper" MUST have been more than 300 metres away. I looked it up, the basic infrantryman's M16 carbine fires a bullet that will travel to its target at a bit less than 880 metres per second, so if the shot was fired from a closer distance she wouldn't have remembered any delay between seeing the flashes and hearing the bullet because it's the two bullets she heard as they broke the sound barrier going past her.

Now I put it to you that the chance of Ms M. just happening to turn to look behind and just catch in broad daylight the two very faint flashes of rifles fired at many hundreds of metres distant is looking pretty slim.

The chances of an ordinary US army soldier missing her and her buddies completely at a distance less than 300 metres with two shots, while she's standing out there in the middle of the road, is pretty slim.

Anyhow, that's two shots.

It all happened so fast: ducking, hearing the whizz of the bullets above our heads, diving for cover off the side of the road against a wall.

There are more bullets "...whizzing above our heads..."

Undaunted the brave Ms Mulhearn faces down the Americans again and gives those expert marksmen another try:

We re-grouped, but we didn’t want to give up. Now we knew where the soldiers were, we could walk towards them. We decided to go out again. Same drill: we called out the message first, then stepped out onto the road, this time facing the direction the gunfire had come from. “Hello! American soldiers. We are foreign aid workers- British, Australian, American. We are not armed. We are asking permission to transport an ambulance on this road.” My injured hand was shaking as I held my passport now damp with my blood. I tried to work out what I was feeling: fear, anger, determination. I still don’t know. We had only repeated the message twice and walked a few metres when our answer came. Two more bullets. By this stage I think I entered a state of shock. I had been shot at, not once, but twice by American soldiers after politely asking permission to transport aid to a hospital.

In the press release that she sent for publication to Australia Ms Mulhearn said she was shot at FOUR times.

Now, counting individual bullets Ms Mullhearn was shot at with two bullets in the first "event" plus all those bullets whizzing overhead then a further two bullets in the second "event".

According to Ms Mullhearn there were two shooting "events".

Ms Mullhearn by her evidence was shot at either "twice" or "more than four times" depending on how she wants to define being shot at.

She saw no American flag, vehicle or person. No Americans were seen or heard before, during or after the shooting.

If someone was shooting at her she'd do better to point the finger at someone on her own side of the fence in Fallujah.

Donna's story bears only a slight resemblance to her friend Jo's more detailed news story.

Update: To read more about Donna's release from her alleged kidnappers click here.

School's Out 

A NSW primary school has been so afflicted with modern teaching methods and lack of basic discipline that the parents of ten children have withdrawn them from a primary school in Walgett because the school is too violent. The children are now being taught at home with help from the school. One of the children is a cousin of T.J. Hickey who's death caused the Redfern riot. Bullies and bad behaviour make learning in this primary school a secondary consideration. Just trying to keep the kids from inflicting harm with scissors is a higher priority. The children bully each other and the children's parents bully the teachers. As usual, the majority suffer by the actions of the minority.

Parents have removed their children from a primary school in northern NSW and are teaching them at home in protest at the classroom and playground violence dished out by a group of "out of control" students.

The exodus last term of 10 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children from Walgett Community College Primary School has resulted in the Department of Education intervening to develop a new discipline policy and enforce it from this week.

One of the mothers, Vanessa Hickey, said she removed her nine-year-old son, Tyrin, because she feared he would end up illiterate like her cousin, Thomas "TJ" Hickey, whose death in February sparked the Redfern riot.

The law, regarding compulsory attendance at school, is not enforced in Walgett. At least three in every 10 children are absent from public school every day. This figure does not include a core of the 20 students who are rarely at the primary school. As a result, these kids will be trapped in their circumstances, for life. Years of welfare dependency, despondency and crime await.

Meanwhile, the Labor controlled State governments have rejected the record $31 Billion package Federal government package for schools which includes proposed ranking of schools, the re-introduction of student report cards and other measures.

Sunday, April 25, 2004


Aussies...In Case We Ever Forget...Kiwis...

Kia Ora! to our Kiwi Mates.

The Greens Reckon: "Latham Should Have Gone Too" 

As automatic gunfire crackled in the background, a relaxed PM chatted, unfazed, with his troops.

Intent on thanking Australian troops "in the most evocative way", Mr Howard was undeterred by shots heard during the dawn service at Baghdad airport.

"You just get on with what you're doing - that's the Australian way," he said.

Back home there was cackling in the background.

"ANZAC Day should be above politics", Senator Bob Brown cackled today as he dragged ANZAC Day down into politics.

"Anzac Day is way above politics and it needs to be kept very non partisan," said he barracking from the sideline.

Demonstrating just how keen he is to see the end of Howard: "John Howard has had 400 days to be in Baghdad since the invasion began, including last Anzac Day. The end of hostilities was announced about two weeks AFTER ANZAC Day 2003. (Visiting on or before ANZAC Day 2003 might've made the PM eligible for a medal).

Volunteering someone other than himself to go: "Choosing Anzac Day now when we are a month or two out from an election, I think it would have been very wise, proper and dignified for him to have asked Mark Latham to go with him. But more people would say Howard was wise not to take Latham. Just imagine how politicised the event would have been then. And why only just Latham? By Brown's logic, shouldn't all the opposition parties go too, Brown included?

Greens Senator Kerry Nettles went through the motions of visiting Baghdad. But the half hearted affair was cancelled mid-trip. It's purpose was to collaborate with independent journalists and rights activists in Baghdad and funnily enough there was no mention of a quick visit to gee up the nearby Australian troops.

Did Latham or Brown ask to go to Baghdad or the Solomon Islands for ANZAC Day? Perhaps if they'd asked they could've gone.

Anyway, Brown and Latham's support for troop activities at ceremonies held in Iraq would be seen as lending legitimacy to what they've already said, many times, is an illegal military occupation.

Update: When Labor MPs and others were heckling the PM asking him when he was going to visit Iraq they asked when he (Howard) was going. Casting little aspersions of cowardice and indifference to Iraq and the troops, the hecklers did not ask when "we" (Howard and Latham) would be going.

- Oh, ya can't try me I'm part of disunion... 'Til the day you die... -  

Laugh a minute good time boy Faheem Lodhi, who authorities allege was either trying to bring down Australia's entire electricity grid or was planning to blow up Australia's only nuclear research reactor, may not ever be tried for any offence and could be released.

His lawyer says there's been far too much naughty media attention on this case. Australian's should never have been informed as much as we have about the circumstances and reasons for his arrest. We should not have had so much information about what exactly it is that he is alleged to have been planning. No one should be permitted to discuss it until three years of court case and appeal have elapsed. This is true whether or not Mr Lodhi's name and likeness are published with the news coverage. It would make no difference if names were suppressed. The problem is the media sensation about the heinousness of the alleged offence that will stay in people's minds until eventually they are selected for the jury. No matter who stepped into the dock, the jury would leap from their seats frothing at the mouth clutching at the accused to rend him.

The people of Australia are incapable of giving this man a free trial. It's far better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent man is punished. All Australian citizens are dollards, so easily swayed by news stories about the case that they just can't be trusted to sit in court.

I'm not saying that Mr Lodhi did or did not intend to make half the population of Sydney glow in the dark. Forget Mr Lodhi for a moment. It just seems a little odd that anyone caught allegedly planning to flouresce the citizens of a metropolis should be let loose to have another shot because there was too much media attention on him the first time around.

Yes, yes, it's all too hard. Better to just let him go. I think I'll sell my flat in Lakemba though, and move a thousand kilometres, up west of Bourke.

No, wait. Here's a better plan for dealing with someone caught like this in the future. Let's have a trial. Let's put Australia's jury system to the test.

If he's innocent he stands a good chance of walking free. Well done everyone.

If he's innocent and is wrongly convicted, due to a naughty trial-by-media, then this one person goes into a nice comfortable cell for a long time. Heartbreaking for him and perhaps several of those near and dear. There's no doubt about it, it would be an injustice. There's only the hope of exhoneration or pardon.

But, if he is tried and is rightly convicted he doesn't get a second shot at irradiating a million of his Aussie mates. A much greater injustice is averted.

A trial will also facilitate public discussion on a great many things.

Let's have the trial. Let justice be done.

Howard, the Man Of Steel, Flies Into Iraq 

John Howard delighted the troops by appearing as the mystery visitor at a dawn ceremony in Baghdad.

In late March Mark Latham was in trouble over his backpedalling and misleading in the parliament. He had trouble remembering how he'd made the decision of withdrawing the troops. Around that time and coincident with increased insurgent activity in Iraq, Howard was dared by Labor MPs to visit Iraq. Bush had done it, Blair had done it. Why hadn't Howard? they cried.

You can probably guess the motivations behind those dares. The Fairfax press and the ABC kept asking.

Howard didn't have to go, but he has and what a good P.R. coup it is too.

Great idea, Labor MPs.

p.s. There is no truth in the rumor that Mr Howard was actually visiting this entrepreneur, the self-styled King of Baghdad Airport. Note the high-tech sceptre and his right-hand fan.

Calling the UN... Calling Peace Protestors... Rights Groups... 

Even if the UN or the peace protestors decided to do something about this, what would they do? They won't do anything because 1) there is some oil there; and 2) it would require some action. The Sudanese government ties up the UN by using the delays of the UN's own "process". The peace protesters are too tied up with anti-Americanism to be concerned about the Sudan.

This is where some of the world's worst human rights abuses are occurring and nothing is being done to stop it. This is ethnic cleansing Sudanese-style. A government-sponsored campaign, led by Arab tribesmen against their black, African neighbours, has triggered the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time and - with the world's eyes fixed on Iraq - its most forgotten calamity.

The socialists might countenance sending in their own troops if there's not too much fighting to be done, but as we've seen in the case of Iraq any US military intervention in an election year would be unilaterally opposed, no matter how abhorrent the Sudanese regime.

The Swiss navy or a battalion of boy scouts could halt this brutality but the afflicted Sudanese people appear to be beyond help.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Please Explain Web Diary 

Can somebody please explain to me how WebDiary works this year.


The alternative is it must now be too clever for this senile old Gnu Hunter to follow but this is Margo's WebDiary we're talking about so I'm not sure that that can be the problem.

Most of it is not even written by the Margoyle any more. In Margo's long absence she has returned into her house from whence she came out; and when she had come, she findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth she, and taketh with her seven other Web Diarists more wicked than herself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of the Web Diary is worse than the first.

One paragraph you're reading Margo and the next you're reading a story by somebody else (or two somebody elses) Christ knows who! and interspersed throughout it all Margo pops up with her irrelevant stupid remarks.

It makes my eyes sore.

It's not good for a Gnu Hunter to be reading this stuff on a Saturday night after a few grogs I can tell you. I'm going to go somewhere else...

I think I'll head on over to PROFESSOR BUNYIP (kneel and bow respectfully) for a Blessing and an Attitude re-adjustment.

Gas Proof Screens Surround MPs in the UK Parliament. 

Britain's extremist Islamic citizens, welcomed to that country and now determined to take it over, have succeeded in raising a screen between the parliament and the citizenry. Parliamentary democracies have for hundreds of years operated without the need for such barriers. Perhaps it's a symbolic first step down the slope to a full Islamic state?

But just suppose for a moment those few English citizens launching a gas attack were successful in asserting their will to kill most or all the UK's MPs. What would happen?

In Saudi Arabia the result of such an attack would be terrible anarchy and the quick establishment of the hoped-for fascist theocracy. The Kalif would rule again.

In the UK it would also be terrible, people would mourn, people would be outraged, there may be quiet protest and counter-protest. The Queen of England would rule again. And then, with or without her help, the people would hold elections and vote in new MPs to again express the will of the majority.

Phil Adams Identifies "Them". 

Phil Adam's so often disappoints that it's hard to keep reading him. It's not good to see his talents wasted not just in works done for the Dark Side but just plain wasted. The old duffer can't seem to put a logical sentence together these days, preferring emotion as opposed to fact as though writing pulp fiction.

Today, Phil doesn't like the term 'un-Australian' as used by Them so what does he do? He alleges that those who may use the term 'un-Australian' are themselves 'un-Australian', actually 'Bushwhackers' is the term he invents, conflating issues to further allege that if you're not anti-American like Phil then you must obviously be an actual American who loves George Bush. If you're not with Phil, you're agin' him.

"Such is the passion of Australia’s Bushwhackers that their patriotism is not directed at the Australian flag they profess to love, but at the Stars and Stripes."

Suddenly mid-story he veers off and attacks two individuals, Miranda and Frank Devine, with no apparent connection to the story before veering Left again to resume where he left off with his anti-American attack.

He goes on and reveals just who they are that he's writing about.

The likes of Tim Blair and Imre Salusinszky, of Gerard Henderson and Andrew Bolt, ignore Bush’s long history of mediocrity and mendacity. They and their ilk turn deaf ears to documented accounts of his sleazy business affairs and seem indifferent to the fact that, as governor of Texas ("all Stetson, no cattle"), he set an all-time record by approving the executions of 150 people. Bush’s business connections with big oil, indeed with the bin Laden family, with many of the worst sleazes in American corporate life (up to and including the grand larcenists of Exxon), mean nothing to his grovelling acolytes in Australia who fill their speeches, their broadcasts or their newspaper columns with uncritical drivel and bunkum.

Latham Stole an Academics Ideas 

An academic has come out to say that Latham's speech (the Clintonista) borrowed heavily from the academic's ideas without attribution.

Melbourne University professor Brian Galligan - who with fellow academic Winsome Roberts wrote the newly launched work Australian Citizenship - said yesterday the Labor leader appeared to have drawn on key concepts from the book without acknowledgement.

Given the eagerness of the ABC, SMH and others to help Latham diffuse this issue by accusing John Howard and the Liberals of hypocrisy perhaps it would be better to let this story run on its own and let the good professor and others do the work.

Mind you, an academic having just published his new book wouldn't be looking for some big-time free publicity would he ? Send a book to someone and then claim they've pinched your ideas, without knowing if they've read it or not. Of course not.

Art Freaks 

Confirming that in order to make it in the modern world of art one has to be mentally ill a Dutch artist has used skin surgically removed from her abdomen to fashion an artwork. The work has guaranteed her top spot at the Amsterdam Art Show. Sight unseen the work will be acclaimed and will earn top dollar.

The art world is no stranger to controversy [no shit! -Ed.]. A transvestite potter beat the creators of a pair of bronze sex dolls to land Britain's Turner art prize in 2003. A pickled sheep and a Virgin Mary figure made of elephant dung have also won the prize.

Friday, April 23, 2004

The Action Page. Tampa the Musical and Show Mercy. 

The following is a VERY interesting story. It's a little long, but stick with it because I'm sure you'll think it's worth it.

Let's go:

How could we ever forget Ms Sammy Ringer and her wonderful "Tampa the Musical".

Oh, that must have been such a treat. I'm sorry I missed it.

Now, we've got another gut wrenching tale to shame Australians and the Howard Government. "In Our Name" as you'd expect is a fabulous expose of Australia's Refugee Concentration Camps. The purpose of the play is to embarrass the Howard Liberal Government.

This play is created by playwright Nigel Jamieson. Nigel did that fun "tin thing" at the opening of the Sydney Olympic Games.

Nigel showed up as a leading light of the "Show Mercy" organisation on its "website." The list of members appear to be minor nobility from the Inner and Eastern suburbs of Sydney.

The function of the "Show Mercy" organisation is "...educating the public, pursuing media campaigns and organising or supporting events in the community" in relation to asylum seekers.

Like you, the Gnu Hunter often wondered how asylum seekers in the four or five detention centres, scattered around the country and in far off Nauru, could coordinate their campaigns of lip and eye sewing, of hunger strikes and simultaneous protests.

I had expected to find the information via the socialist websites of the ISO, Resistance, Green Left, etc. but they're pros, and too circumspect with that sort of information. Likewise I thought the info might be on the websites of the Refugee Action Collective/Coalition, which in NSW at least is a front for "ex"-members of the International Socialist Organisation.

But here it is the information one seeks! The "Action" web page of "Show Mercy" has all the information you could need on how one personally contacts the detainees, acquaints oneself and gets to know them in all the centres, how to collate a database of their names, record their personal history, keep special information, heart wrenching stories, anything "special", etc., etc.. and then send it onto a mysterious interested third party. The reader is instructed to keep a diary of all information they can and to note special information about detention centre staff (especially any slip ups) - then send it via email to the third party.

Keep your record [Diary] in a safe place, and get in the habit of automatically adding to it every time something new happens. It may well end up in the hands of the Commonwealth Ombudsman. Just "quality control," you know .

There's also information about the many phone booths (especially the soundproof ones) and the best times to ring.

Now the fact that this information is there on the website doesn't mean the Gnu Hunter is saying that Nigel Jamieson or the other highly regarded people described on the website have anything to do with anything untoward or that they wrote the "Action Page".

It is the contents of the "Action Page" and the "Letter Writing" information only that is of interest to us dear reader and the bit about phones and the other juicy tid bits. Information for example, on how best to smuggle objects past the ACM Officers when visiting detainees. Now if that's not illegal it should be.

Getting past ACM (Australian Correctional Management):
Remember, while detainees are stuck in detention they are under the control of ACM officers. Fat envelopes arouse suspicion, so if you're talkative like me, keep the bulk down by using both sides of the paper. Window envelopes with typed addresses showing through arouse the least suspicion. ("Just give it to her/him. It's probably a bill.")

The informative "Action" page appears to have been written in the first person as if it were sent to the website creator "as is", say via an email, and indeed an email address pops up quite frequently throughout the text. That email address is where you are encouraged to send your collected detainee intelligence for filing into the central database.

Now it just so happens that the email address will put you in touch with the organisation: "Rural Australians for Refugees".

One well known member of that organisation who looks after the Maleny Queensland Branch is none other than :

Ms Sammy Ringer ("Tampa the Musical").

Rural Australians for Refugees appears to have been started in Bowral NSW and is possibly coordinated from there. Ms Sammy Ringer may play only a minor part in the organisation and the Gnu Hunter does not assert that Ms Ringer had anything to do with the information on the "Action" page.

The whole "Action" page seems devoted to the campaign of "Letter Writing" which the page says is a "national campaign organised by: Spare Rooms for Refugees".

The Registrant Contact details (publicly available) for that Domain Name are:

Julian Burnside, (jb@julianburnside.com)....
205 William St
Melbourne, 3000

That learned gentleman's website is here.

Once again, the Gnu Hunter is not asserting that any of the people named herein were involved in writing the "Action" page. After all, how are we to know how that page was written or who wrote it ?

It's just very interesting reading, isn't it ? Seeing who's involved in doing all these good works in the community, the players, where the links go on the page and how it all fits together...

I really enjoyed reading the "Action" page.

The BBC Gets to the Bottom of the Jane Errey Affair 

Using all of the great resources and intellects at their disposal the BBC probes deep.

An adviser to the Australian government is claiming she was sacked because she refused to exaggerate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

Ms Errey is now singing before the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

Before they make their decision, I wonder if the poor benighted listeners will get to hear about Ms Errey's political activism.

ASEAN Free Trade Zone 

Latham promises engagement with Asia. Howard delivers:

Australia has been invited to begin talks to join a free-trade zone covering South-East Asia in a diplomatic coup that follows years of frustration and rebuffs for the Howard Government.

And any deal with the 10-nation-strong ASEAN grouping of countries could be the precursor to something much, much bigger - a free-trade area including India and China that encompasses half the world's population.

The surprise decision by ASEAN economic ministers also included an invitation for the Prime Minister, John Howard, to attend a leaders' summit in November in Laos where free- trade talks are planned to formally commence.

Now that mad Mahathir has gone, why wouldn't they want to trade. Australia has a GDP that matches all of them put together. It's also a way we (them and us) can "leverage" the free trade agreement Australia has with the USA. There'll be one with NZ too. Crikey, there's an outbreak of free trade everywhere. A little better than the "level playing field" built by Keating when we were the only ones playing.

What are the chances this occurred, at least in part, due to our new found assertiveness and close US alliance?

Cue the protests from buggy whip manufacturers and avacado growers.

About The Latest Gang Rape Trial... 

The first thing I'd like to point out about this case is that the names of all of the convicted men have been suppressed.

We do not know the names of the victims. We do not know who was convicted. We do not know the names of witnesses.

All these names have been suppressed and it is illegal to use them.

We have only an indirect assurance via the media and the courts that this court case ever took place.

Were there victims? Are there convicts? How can the public know for sure?

I can understand the suppression orders on the names of the victims but for the scum who were convicted? Why should it not be known who they are? Justice must be seen as well as being done.

The second thing is that because of a law rushed in knee jerk, jerk politician style, especially for this case, the defendents were not allowed to cross-examine the victims. As uncomfortable and traumatic as such a cross-examination may be for victims it is a fundamental right of an accused in any court case that he or she should be able to ask questions of his accuser. Just because the charge is rape should not abrogate that right. The judge himself in his judgement has recommended that this law should be scrapped not least of reasons being that the convicted sods are going to appeal against this law and could quite possibly have their case quashed in the High Court.

The pre-trial proceedings, the trial proceedings themselves, and the framing of sentences, in the cases of MSK and MAK, laborious and hugely time-consuming as those exercises have been, might turn out to have been a waste of time.

Should that happen, then it is at least on the cards that the reason why it will happen will be that an appellate Court comes to the conclusion that s 294A of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 deprived MSK and MAK of a fair trial. The notices of appeal clearly adumbrate such an argument; and it is clear from things said by MSK and MAK that they are aware of, and all too alive to, the forensic potential of the decision of the High Court of Australia in Kable v The Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW) (1996) 189 CLR 51.

In earlier interlocutory judgments, and in my charge to the jury, I have said all that I need to say in explanation of my view that s 294A is, in its practical consequences for persons accused of the prescribed serious crimes, both high-handed and heavy-handed...

...I well understand that to criticise so-called progressive reform is to show, in many quarters, the proverbial red-rag to a bull; but I presume, even so, to propose that serious and urgent attention be given to the repeal of s 294A before it really does become an entrenched vehicle for the wrongful depriving of accused persons of what are, in truth, not merely basic legal rights, but basic human rights as well.

When delivering his judgement the judge dished out a total of 70 years between the villains. He also made the following remark concerning multiculturalism and the law:

The status of women in foreign countries is, in the end, a matter for the law and culture of those countries. The status of women in Australia is a matter for the law and culture of Australia. Neither the law nor the culture of Australia recognises multiculturalism, however that phenomenon might be defined, as providing in any way or to anybody a convenient justification either for rape or for any other form of sexual abuse.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Sorry. There's Good News. 

I hate to go against the trend but there's a whole lot of good news today.

You may have been subjected to years of nothing but bad economic news, you know: The rich are getting richer. Those other countries are better. Health is a mess. Education, ha! Jobs, forget it!

Here's a break from that. According to an Australian Bureau of Statistics study:

The income of the poorest 30 per cent of the population rose by 8 per cent between 1995 and 2001.

Our income has been growing at 2.8 per cent a year over the past decade. National income per head is $30,000. This is much more rapid than the yearly rise in national income over the previous two decades.

The national wealth per capita has been rising at 0.6 per cent a year over the past decade.

Debts are rising as we buy more stuff but our assets have grown at 1.8 per cent a year.

The survey shows that the pattern of our spending reflects our increased income and wealth. Spending on communications has soared over the past decade.

We're having holidays and spending more on recreation and culture.

The cost of food has barely changed. We spend less on alcohol and cigarettes.

We buy more stuff. Spending on household furnishing and appliances has risen rapidly over the past decade as has spending on health.

Despite all you've read recently about home affordability, the number of people who are spending more than a third of their income on housing has not changed over the past decade.

The bureau's survey looks at progress from the perspectives of individuals, the economy, the environment and family, community and social cohesion.

With a multitude of measures, it shows things are getting better, for the most part.

We're living longer, enjoying a better education and producing more.

We are less likely to die from car crashes, drug overdoses or murder.

We are less selfish and more likely to participate in voluntary community activities, with the numbers increasing from a quarter to a third over the past decade.

Update: The Sydney Morning Herald sniffs at this good news:

Australians are generally healthier, better educated, more likely to have a job and earning more money than they were 10 years ago. That's progress.

The same Australians are also more likely to be a victim of crime, be deeper in debt and have noticed fewer native birds about. That's progress, too.

The weight individuals put on these changes will help them decide whether or not they are "better off" than a decade ago. And that's a matter of opinion.

If only, if only there was a Labor government...

Jane Errey Rises Again 

Just when you thought we'd disposed of the errant Errey absurdity it's getting another run in the media. The story is almost an exact re-run of what's occurred previously before she was exposed.

In the SMH article NOT ONE SINGLE MENTION of the fact that until very recently Calamity Jane was up to her hips in politics as the leader of the Democrats in the A.C.T. No one mentions that by not turning up to work and thereby getting the sack from her public service position she makes herself eligible to run for the Senate (public servants cannot run) and she gets HUGE FREE publicity for launching her political campaign and for the Democrats anti-war cause here and abroad.

Can anyone, who knows about these things, tell us:

1. If Ms Errey has approached the Democrats, Labor or Greens for preselection? [In the same way that publicity seeking missile Andrew Wilkie did?]
2. Are there any public registers we can look up?
3. What's the deadline for nominating for the Senate at the next election?

Please email the Gnu Hunter or put something in the Comments.

The media just love this story and are determined to flog it for all it's worth. They don't seem too keen to get at the truth.

If she was reinstated, she said she would request to remain on leave until Australia's position on the war changed.

In its reasons for termination, the department said Ms Errey had taken work with the Centre for Appropriate Technology until 2005, precluding her from returning to her previous job.

It's good to know that victory in the War on Terror is a certainty and it's all because we've got "competent, trustworthy and loyal employees" like Ms Errey.

Update: Niner Charlie sends all the info on running for the Senate. It appears that Ms Errey, if she is to stand, will have to opt for an unwinnable seat - but isn't that what Andrew Wilkie is doing by running for the Greens against John Howard?

Aboriginal Culture Mocked 

A woman who pointed a bone at the Prime Minister (a procedure that in aboriginal lore can result in death) has probably offended the Wadi and is likely to undergo misfortune through her inappropriate use of culturally sensitive lore. Only a kadaitcha man knows how to point the bone and others who try it will have a terrible fate. Pointing the bone at a European (non-believer) will have no effect other than to have the spear hurled back at the thrower.

Mr Taylor, from the Mount Isa-based Kalkadoon Aboriginal Corporation, said only the medicine man or kadaitcha man had the power to point the bone.

He said a woman did not have the ceremonial powers and that the act would backfire on the woman and it would be she who was cursed.

"She is making a mockery of Aboriginal culture," he said.

He said the Wadi or Aboriginal law makers would not be happy with the woman for pointing the bone and for drawing the media spotlight on to a custom that was a sacred part of Aboriginal lore.

Pointing the bone traditionally involved dispatching one or more kadaitcha (assassins) with cockatoo feather and human hair slippers to hunt down the target.

As yet, the media have been reluctant to ask Mr Geoff Clark if he helped in the planning of this culturally insensitive and inappropriate political stunt.

Also, there's been no reported sightings of any kadaitcha men in feathery slippers.

More About Latham's Plagiarism 

Back in 1996, Labor Opposition Leader Mark Latham made a speech in parliament accusing a Liberal backbencher of being a plagiarist.

"What Mr Latham said then is every instinct in his body was revolted by the thought of plagiarism and he accused this Liberal MP of being a cheat, a fraud and a plagiarist. "Here he is guilty of precisely the same offence himself."

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has urged Mr Latham to apologise to the Australian people. This would be Mark's very own "Sorry Day".

As yet no one is running with the line that by stealing a section of a US President's speech Mark Latham is very obviously following "US policy".

It's now more than 12 hours since this story broke and the Sydney Morning Herald still doesn't think the story is news it wants to publish.

Update #1:
NinerCharlie finds Latham in Hansard: "It would be foreign to every instinct in my body to walk into this House and give a speech on behalf of the people of Werriwa that I had lifted from someone else’s ideas. I would be ashamed of that practice and would immediately apologise to the House."

Update #2: The SMH has published but is spinning support for Latham via their newspoll which asks the question: "Does it matter if they [Clinton & Latham] had the same idea." Of course only 20% of people voted 'yes' to that question.

Update #3: Imagine a cheeky smirk. Got it? Good, now Peter Costello says : Mr Latham is generating his ideas from the Internet. "I think what's happened here is somebody's gone to the Internet and they've typed in the words 'good speeches' and up has come the Clinton State of the Union speech...

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Latham Denies Plagiarising Bill Clinton Speech 

Australian Labor Opposition Leader Mark Latham has denied he borrowed heavily from a Bill Clinton speech for a major address.

Doesn't it seem just a tad hypocritical for Mark Latham to call his political opponent an arse-licker for being too closely aligned to the policies of a US President while he himself borrows from US Presidential speeches?

Comparing the two speeches:

Clinton: "Every eight-year-old must be able to read"
Latham: "Every infant child must be the beneficiary of reading programs".

Clinton: "Every 12-year-old must be able to log on to the internet"
Latham: "Every 10-year-old must be able to log on to the internet"

Clinton: "Every 18-year-old must be able to go to college"
Latham: "Every 17-year-old must be ready to extend their education".

Clinton: "Every adult American must be able to keep on learning for a lifetime",
Latham: "We want every adult to keep on learning for the rest of their lives".

At least now we know why Mark will be taking so many of his shadow cabinet in a long conga line to the USA. He'll be going to collect his speeches and he'll need all those extra hands to carry them back. Use the internet, Mark, that's what it's for.

The comrades on the Left of the Labor party will be incensed. Latham is parroting the US line...

He's a slave to US policy.

To read Clinton's 1997 State of the Union address click here.

If you know where Mark Latham's speech can be found please email me or put it in the comments and I'll put the link here.

Update #1: Thanks to reader Niner Charlie you can find Mark Latham's speech here.

Update#2: Having scanned over both, there's only the one sentence in Clinton's speech that stands out and contains the remarkably similar quotes (as shown above). This sentence looks very similar, and is in similar order to, three short paragraphs in Latham's speech.

"Let's work together to meet these three goals: Every 8-year-old must be able to read; every 12-year-old must be able to log on to the Internet; every 18-year-old must be able to go to college; and every adult American must be able to keep on learning for a lifetime. "

[that's four goals, Mr President, sir - Gnu Hunter]

Latham's speech reorganises and expands this out to read:

Every infant child must be the beneficiary of reading programs, making them ready to learn as soon as they are ready for school – literacy and numeracy for five-year olds.

Every 10-year-old must be able to log onto the Internet and manage information. Every 14-year-old must find the courses and settings which excite their learning interests and give them a hunger for more education. Every 17-year-old must be ready to extend their education into post-secondary qualifications.

Every adult must be able to keep on learning for the rest of their lives.

It's only a small part of a very long and boring speech so it doesn't matter. Does it ?

Kadaitcha Threat Issued 

ATSIC was and is a hotbed of cronyism, ineptitude and corruption. All sides of politics agree that it's time for ATSIC to be closed down. The beneficiaries of years sucking on the public teat do not agree:

A Queensland Indigenous leader says an ancient Aboriginal curse placed on Prime Minister John Howard is no laughing matter and could even have deadly consequences.

Suspended Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commissioner (ATSIC) chairman Geoff Clark was with a group of Aboriginal people who performed a ceremony known as pointing the bone at Mr Howard at Colac in south-west Victoria this week.

Indigenous rights campaigner Bob Weatherall says Aborigines believe that to point a bone at someone is strong enough to cause death.

He says John Howard has pushed Aborigines too far with his plans to abolish ATSIC and now they are using everything they have to fight back.

"You can't take it any other way, when somebody says and actually does the pointing of the bone then you have to take it as serious, you don't take it as a gimmick," he said.

"You don't think that it's not going to happen, you have got to respect that."

Teee Heeee 

So far under Victoria's notorious HateSpeak Law we have had a Witch suing a Christian Councillor, Muslims suing Christian Ministers and someone (forgotten who) suing a Government MP.

A pensioner is taking legal action against Channel Seven over the use of the name "Jesus Christ" as a swear word, saying it is time for Christians to be awarded the same respect as other religions.

Andre van der Linden has claimed the use of the name in the British-made series Prime Suspect was insulting and disrespectful to Christians.

He has lodged a complaint with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), alleging Channel Seven had breached new racial and religious vilification laws.

The judge is still deliberating on the case of the two Christian pastors.

Dark Ages Less Dark 

While attempting to spread peace and democracy into the far reaches of the world, only to discover the denizens of those far reaches often prefer to exist within the superstition and savagery of the Dark Ages, the US simultaneously launches an expensive investigation on behalf of all mankind that extends the frontier of human knowledge.

GP-B will be attempting to measure the angle at which earth is curving its surrounding spacetime, a phenomenon known as the geodetic effect. The second prediction of general relativity that GP-B is testing is known as frame dragging, which is caused by a spinning celestial body dragging spacetime with it ever so slightly as it turns.

Meanwhile, much of the world still clings fiercely to their superstition and savagery.

French Intolerance 

Demonstrating that they are not a true multicultural society the French justice minister has ordered the expulsion of a muslim Imam who declared himself in favour of women being stoned, wives being beaten and France becoming an Islamist republic.

Mr Bouziane, the imam of the al-Forquan mosque in the largely immigrant suburb of Vénisseux, said in an interview with Lyon Mag this weekend that the Koran authorised husbands to hit their wives, "but not just anywhere ... not on the face, but on the legs or stomach. And he can strike hard, to frighten her off reoffending."

He also said that he was in favour of polygamy, that women should not be allowed to share a workplace with men because "they could be tempted into adultery", and that music was a sin. Asked whether he approved of women being stoned, he replied: "Yes".

I think if an interviewer asked the same questions of the Grand Mufti of Australia and New Zealand the answers would depend upon the context in which the Mufti was speaking.

Come And Get Us... 

Thailand's idiot Prime Minister joins New Zealand's idiot Prime Minister spelling out in broadcasts to Iraqi insurgents exactly what it will take to remove their coalition troops from Iraq.

Thailand's Prime Minister:

"If we get hurt or killed, I will not keep them there. We do not go there to fight. If we get killed, why should we stay?"

My guess, the Thai troops in Iraq would not have been happy to hear him say that.

The End of SeparateCulturalism? 

After many years of tearing at the fabric of Australian society the flawed and dangerous notions of Multicultarilism may like ATSIC be fading into history. Mark Latham now believes:

Multiculturalism needed to be redefined to prevent it being a policy that separated people from each other, he said.

A "new and realistic way of thinking about multiculturalism" was necessary, he said, emphasising that "social cohesion is as important as respect for difference".

The cloaked politician (news "reporter") covering this story commented: "Latham's pitch to the Global Foundation yesterday was explicitly anti-elite and unabashedly populist"... ..."Mark Latham, has unveiled a new conservative vision...".... Not content with reporting what was said the reporter seeks to influence the reader by ascribing motives to the subject. Those motives may or may not be there in reality. No evidence is provided to support the alleged motives. It is assumed that the reader accepts the reporters comments. In reality the motives described really just depend upon who does the reporting. For example someone else may have commented: "Latham's pitch to the Global Foundation yesterday echoes what ordinary people have said for years.".... and ...."Mark Latham has rejected socialist orthodoxy...". In any case, the comments do nothing for the facts of the story. To my mind, it would be more helpful if the space was devoted to a precis of Latham's comments - without the wasted space of the journalists comments.

Update: This method of filtering the political comments made by the reporter may be a way to help readers sift the news facts from the surrounding "story". I guess right thinking readers have had to do this for years any way...

Update #2: Maybe we could have each story split into three columns. The facts in the middle and then Left and Right comments and spin in the columns either side.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Kiwi Beatup 

Greg Ansley, correspondent in Australia, gets a run in the New Zealand Herald with claims that:

A young medical student held on terrorism charges in Australia's most secure prison has become the centre of a glaring trial by media as the nation prepares to ratchet up security still further.

Gee Greg, we read about his arrest but we all must have missed that 'glaring trial by media' over here.

Right now (2130 AEST), neither the Sydney Morning Herald, News Limited or the ABC websites are running anything on their websites.

Is Pointing the Bone An Assault ? 

Geoff Clark's mates, at a Colac venue, subjected the Prime Minister to an aboriginal bone-pointing ceremony conducted by "Moorpor" a mysterious aboriginal woman dressed in possum skin (cue the mystical didgeridoo and stick music now), ooowoooh...

Well Geoff, I've got news for you. Only kadaitcha men can point the bone. The incantations are far too important to entrust to women. The effect of pointing the bone is that the "appointee" will die within a few weeks. Pointing the bone won't have anything to do with elections or the regulatory framework of a corrupt ATSIC.

In days gone by, after a bone-pointing several kadaitcha (assassins) were also dispatched wearing cockatoo feathers and human hair slippers, to leave no tracks. They followed up with physical attacks on the victim - just to be sure.

And bone pointing does not work on people of European descent (which would include Geoff and most of his mates). A real kadaitcha man would not attempt it on a European for fear of losing his own life or having another problem. This is because non-aborigines do not believe and so do not receive the "thought-spear" from the bone, which with nowhere else to go has to travel back to the sender. Oooh, the possum lady is in big trouble now.

A question for the culturally aware. In the Northern Territory where two laws and world views often co-exist, would pointing the bone be considered an assault or worse?

Have any kadaitcha been dispatched?

A question for aboriginal Senator Aden Ridgeway. Does he approve of this bone pointing ceremony? Will he stand in the parliament and denounce this as a sacrilegious stunt that does little to reconcile aboriginees with the broader community. Will there be a "Sorry Day" for aboriginees to apologise to mainstream Australia for this cultural assault?

Will the kadaitcha be recalled?

The Aboriginal woman known only as Moopor was not permitted to speak with the media in line with Aboriginal culture.

Convenient. Too bad the media went along with this confection. A real journalist might ask her who organised for her to be there.

Name names, please.

Update: Just curious if this bone-pointing procedure is common within ATSIC when the auditors are closing in, or if the board members aren't getting their way? Will anyone at ATSIC be brave enough to come forward with a good bone-pointing story?

Our Four Estates. Politicians All. 

The world's media are not impartial instruments that indifferently report the news without fear or favor. The news media are an integral part of politics. They are as instrumental in converting policy into action as are parliamentarians.

Reporters do not report the facts. They interpret them and in the act of interpretation distort, color, flavor and cook them. Sometimes they even create them.

In Australia we have the Houses of Parliament (the Senate and the House of Representatives) and we have the Media. Each entity is every bit as political as the other.

The Houses of Parliament consist of representatives of the people elected by public ballot from across the spectrum of society.

Reporters are a hand-picked Guild.

Whether a reporter joins the ABC, Fairfax or some other media team will depend upon "qualifications" and his "fit" within the team.

I suppose there's also a case to argue that there is another arm of politics which for want of a better term I'll call 'Bureaucracy'. It consists of Government Departments, NGOs, Local Government and Unions. All of these are highly politicised and each of them seeing and beeing seen through the many filtered prisms of the media. Some of these officials are elected but many are not.

So in summary we have: 1) the House of Representatives; 2) the Senate 3) the bureaucracy [Unions, Government Departments, Local Government, Community Groups]; and 4) the media.

As usual, some bright spark cottoned onto this idea a long time ago and well before the Gnu Hunter came along.

But in a nutshell the Gnu Hunter is of the opinion that the Bureaucracy, as described above, is Australia's Third Estate and The Media is our Fourth Estate.

In these modern times the question is: does the media consider itself to be Aristocracy or Priesthood?

Monday, April 19, 2004

Power Privatisation Is a Joke 

Could someone point me to just one instance where corporatisation or privatising of a State owned power utility has not resulted in chaos?

The notion that artificially created competing "retailers of power" can deliver "choice" or "savings" to end-consumers is a joke.

It's all the same bloody wires and infrastructure !

All this paper shuffling does is line the pockets of execs, lawyers and share traders.

Update: Sensible remarks in the Comments from Niner Charlie and Paul. More food food for thought.

The privatised generating companies have a vested interest in supplyshortages because this drives up the price of electricity they sell into the grid through the national electricity market.

And it is at the end of the day a monopoly, private or public.

Carthage Must Be Destroyed 

The Canada Post published an enlightening piece, by George Jonas, of how attitudes may need to be readjusted for the war on terrorism:

To put the genie of anti-civilizational ruthlessness back into its bottle, to defeat terrorist despotism from the nuclear labs of North Korea to the alleys of Falluja and the caves of al-Qaeda in the Hindu Kush, America will need to reconsider decades of ultra-liberalism and political correctness, and revert to earlier models of national purpose.

( - via NZPundit )

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Special Constables? The Last Circus? 

One of the last animal circuses remaining in Australia is being targeted by professional busybodies who see inevitable victory is not now far away for their long campaign against animal circuses.

From reading their website, the members of Animal Liberation NSW have police special constable status, which was conferred on them by Police Commissioner Ryan in 2000. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

This is apparently old news now but I find it disturbing.

How does an organisation's members get police special constable status when the members of the organisation so routinely are in conflict with the law through "direct action"?

CLAUDETTE: This new relationship with the Police. Is this the end of Direct Action as we know it?

MARK: I don't see this as a problem because obviously the special constables that have been appointed (there are 3) cannot participate in that form of direct action but if people are so concerned about animals – that they are undergoing pain and distress – if these people felt compelled to step over that fence to assist that animal and then brought it to our attention then our special constables would have a duty under the Police Officers Act to respond to that information. Now we have a leverage – an agency – which is within AL and is an honest and appropriate response to any information that comes our way.

Ah, I see. So if a law breaker in their organisation needs a special constable to support one of the organisation's actions against a farmer or a circus there'll always be two or three on hand. Very convenient.

I'm surprised no other "community organisations" have cottoned onto this idea. Maybe the Grand Mufti or the members of Resistance could use a few special constables. Hopefully it's only the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty Act that allows for these special constables.

Send in the UN...? 

In Kosovo, a Jordanian U.N. police officer upon seeing 21 American U.N. police officers, the majority female, fired into the group wounding 10 and killing 2 before he himself was killed in a ten minute shootout.

Adventure Holidays In Iraq 

Joe and Chanel Medwin have saved up their pennies and are off to Iraq where they hope to do good works and have some fun. The fact that their bodies could be used to hold the millions of their fellow New Zealand citizens to ransom seems not to slow down these adventure seeking missiles. They plan to join Operation Mercy an organisation helping to help rebuild the community in Iraq.

When they return they'll be suntanned, refreshed and just such good company to invite around the dinner table where they'll relate all those exciting tales of what they saw and did in Iraq. Tales of the exciting days in captivity and about those brave men (especially the 3 guys who were horribly wounded - hope they get better) that risked absolutely everything to get them out again.

There'll be slide-nights and maybe even a talk or too at the local meeting hall.

The Medwins were apprehensive about joining Operation Mercy but were also excited about a journey they hoped would be "great fun".

"We just want to make a positive difference," Mrs Medwin said.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

A Closer Look at Mulhearn 

In 2003, Donna Mulhearn pulls down the posted media release of her rival human shields and smiling sweetly, drops it in the bin. By their deeds ye shall know them:

With the threat of war in Iraq, the peace movement has seen its most impressive mobilisation since the Vietnam days. Those who made it into Iraq have had a more mixed time. At the peak, up to 300 foreign peace activists have been wandering around Baghdad. Many have styled themselves “human shields”.

Tensions between them are inevitable. When one group of human shields posts a notice in French, English and Spanish of their intention to hold an action in the DMZ on Wednesday, another group of human shields tears it down.

“They’re renegades,” says Australian Donna Mulhearn with a sweet smile, as she bins her rivals’ release...

Donna Mulhearn, ex-journalist, ex Maitland shire councillor, ALP member and former media adviser to the NSW ALP Government, filing that report - in the bin.

McGeogh Sucks 

Paul McGeogh draws comparison between the religious fervour of terrorists and US kidnap victim Thomas Hamill's grandmother.

"Echoing the religious fervour of his captors, no doubt, 43-year-old Hamill's grandmother remains hopeful: "I got God, and I just trust in God."...

Knowing full well that Thomas Hamill was not among the four killed at the ambush site, where he was abducted and afterward paraded for TV:

And in Macon, Mississippi, where the town has been decked in yellow ribbons, Kellie Hamill bounces between the mysterious message she received and the grim news that there has still been no identification of four charred and decomposed bodies found in a shallow grave near where her husband was abducted.

On the topic of being caught driving through a crossfire between two warring sides:

... Donna Mulhearn, of Maitland, thought her Australian passport would stop US bullets as she distributed humanitarian aid in the cauldron city of Falluja.

And who are these mysterious "fixers" and what role do they play in the operations of the media in Baghdad? How beholden to them are the reporters:

When we set about rescuing another colleague who was detained briefly this week, the immediate response of the reporter's colleagues was to call the US military but a savvy Iraqi media fixer said "no" - he knew the tribal territory in which our colleague had been abducted and his first move was to make direct contact with the tribe's sheik.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Baby Seals - Wham. 

Boris Johnson, Editor of the Spectator puts together a fabulous little story that starts off talking about the clubbing of baby seals then veers off into animal rights, fishing, then anthropomorphism and finally Iraq. A delightful read that lambasts the attitudes of the Lentil and rice-cake eaters.

I don't know who handles the PR for these Canadian seal-clubbers, but it must be a hell of a job. Can there be any group, on the entire planet, that so excites hatred?... ...But I put it to you nonetheless that the Canadian fisherman has as much right to go out clubbing as the average British 18-year-old.

If it is really numbers of dead animals that shock you, let me remind you that every year we herd millions of cows and even more millions of sheep into the dark bellowing terror of dung-encrusted abattoirs, blap them with a bolt in the brain and then slit their throats. We don't have Canadian camera crews hovering above our meat processing plants.

And if it is not numbers that concern you, but the principle of taking life, then let me remind you that 200,000 embryos are aborted every year in Britain; and if you think that is irrelevant, let me remind you that, every year, in the People's Republic of China, 20,000 sentient adult human beings are killed by the state. Isn't that, on the face of it, a more natural subject for a campaign?

...It is the sheer conspicuousness of that killing that prompts, in our breasts, our exaggerated response: which I might compare, finally, with the agonies now being endured by those of us who supported the war in Iraq. It looks like an utter disaster, if you rely solely on the television images, and you study the small-scale newspaper maps, with their pictograms of conflagration in every Iraqi city.

Maybe I am a congenital optimist, but I can't help wondering whether that is all there is to it, and whether those polls - which found so many Iraqis convinced that their lives had improved - were not also true.

Television images of violence can create alarm. They can create outrage. But they are not always the whole story.

Human Shield Turns Propaganda Weapon 

Publicity seeking missile Donna Mulhearn, Human Shield, is back in the spotlight again.

She was apparently kidnapped by insurgents. After giving them an earful of her philosophies on life they recognised a kindred spirit and soon realised that releasing her would inflict more damage on the Coalition than keeping her.

"I realised quickly that my prime minister, John Howard, had placed me in great danger by making inflammatory comments about the war just a few days ago," she said.

"I was questioned about Australia's involvement in the war, about the current role of Australian soldiers and the views of Australians at home. They asked why Australia wants to hurt Iraqi people.

"I felt a great deal of shame about how blindly my government follows the lead of the US in terms of foreign policy."

Ms Mulhearn, 34, said the situation in Fallujah was reaching the point of an humanitarian crisis.

Many families were stuck there with few supplies because US soldiers would not allow them to leave, she said.

"Even during a so-called ceasefire, Fallujah was under siege with bombing, missiles and mortar attacks," she said.

"But the worst form of attack was the US snipers hiding on rooftops who kill hundreds of civilians as they tried to move about the city."


True blue Aussie, Izhar ul-Haque, is in a spot of bother over a holiday he took back home to Pakistan where it is alleged he kicked back and partied with the boys of al-Qaeda:

Izhar ul-Haque, a 21-year-old university student, trained in Pakistan with the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Toiba, Central Local Court was told yesterday. This is the same group that suspected French terrorist Willy Brigitte trained with. It was banned by the Federal Government six months ago.

 More posts by the Gnu Hunter:
 September 2003
 October 2003
 November 2003
 December 2003
 January 2004
 February 2004
 March 2004
 April 2004
 May 2004
 June 2004
 July 2004
 August 2004
 September 2004
 October 2004

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