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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Tuesday, 22 May 2007
Missing rocket launchers still at large in lead up to APEC in Sydney?
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: legal

 

This is a press release we noticed today from the legal authorities posted on Melbourne Indy Media a few days ago relating to a high profile mainstream media report in early April 2007:

 

Further charges over stolen rocket launchers This is a joint Media Release between the AFP and NSW Police.

As a result this report from the Murdoch press around the same story

 

Bail refused over alleged rocket launcher theft | NEWS.com.au states:

 

"TWO Sydney men, including an Australian army captain, have been refused bail after being charged with the theft of 10 army rocket launchers.

 

.....Mr Collins said only one anti-tank rocket launcher has been recovered by police. He said extensive searches had been carried out in bushland for the missing seven weapons, but their whereabouts were unknown.

 

......Police said the missing rocket launchers had been taken into account in security preparations for the APEC summit in Sydney in September."

 

The individual posting on Melbourne Indy Media states there is no update on the police website and speculates that this means the "seven" rocket launchers are still at large.

 

We find this state of affairs very scary including for innocent peaceful protesters who might be at risk.
.........

 

Postscript #1

 

In terms of national security credentials two significant political developments here are

 

1. the interview on the 7.30 Report last night with highly respected army veteran Mike Kelly now a federal ALP candidate complete with glowing reference from Iraq Provision Authority's Paul Bremmer, and role in criminal prosecution of Saddam Hussein:

 

 "'Incompetent leadership' drives military lawyer to politics

 

Australian military lawyer Colonel Mike Kelly, who has served in some of the world's most dangerous locations, says the country's "incompetent leadership" is what has driven him to enter politics as one of the Labor party's star recruits. "

 

; and

 

2. the PR battle of the Iraqi Govt VIP's with Downer and Nelson parading Iraq's foreign minister in the press here Iraqi minister fails to sway ALP on troops - National - smh.com.aubut hardly rebutting the savage condemnation of the Occupation incompetence by Iraq ex Finance and Defence Minister on SBS last Wednesday May 16th (reported on SAM last Sunday)

Posted by editor at 7:05 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2007 1:09 PM NZT
More Christian Kerr free market blather as Doug Cameron steps up for the senate
Mood:  sharp
Topic: election Oz 2007
 

Picture: Then unionist, now ALP senate candidate Doug Cameron speaks to the OurMedia conference in April 2007 in Granville about controversial things like good policy on climate change, IR, innovation, public education and health services and against bigotry in politics. He was very well received by these international community media practitioners unlike Christian Kerr at crikey ezine today.

Rebuttal of shallow ignorant crikey.com.au ezine today (as below)

 
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2007 3:54 PM
Subject: bullsh*t Christian - Doug Cameron is right on the bullseye

First is it Labour or Labor? Make up your mind.
Second, nothing wrong with fair trade over bogus "free" trade. We all know about the "free" market meritocracy eg Macquarie Bank boss earns $33m who themselves are juniors to the whale sharks on Wall Street: It's small bickies at Macquarie compared with the big boys.
We all know what a market FAILURE capitalism has been on global warming  courtesy of Sir Nicholas Stern  and why the ALP are pioneering economic intervention along with every other logical world leader on the planet. Even Bob Santamaria  knew laissez-faire capitalism was  a demon.
All you are arguing for is rampant privileged enclavism, ie millionaires over economic justice for the millions.
I would say Cameron is worth about 100 Ayn Rand clones, and all that growth economics claptrap devoid of ecological limits let alone any sense of John Kenneth Galbraith  political economy in a civilised society.
Indeed the root cause of all these mad ideologies making the world so insecure at the moment is the poverty and misery caused by the so called economic rationalism of psychopathic Corporations .
Other than that, good column. I only wish he was running for the Green Party.
Yours truly
Tom McLoughlin


6. Doogie Cameron: the ALP's latest anachronism
Christian Kerr writes:


Motoring buffs will know all about the Hindustan Ambassador – India’s first car. It’s a saloon based on a 1948 Morris Oxford that is still being churned out in its hundreds every year.
The ALP has its equivalent, in Australian Manufacturing Workers Union boss Doogie Cameron. He’s also based on a 1940’s British model. He’s a throwback to the days of "I’m All Right Jack" – which, as if to emphasise the drabness of the period, is even in black and white. And he’s also going into the Senate.

It’s pretty clear that fairness in industrial relations matters to voters. And it’s also equally clear that voters don’t think much of the trade union movement.

One Labour source described Doogie to Crikey as "An arcane and archaic remnant of a lost history of the Party that has yet to understand it should roll over and die."

"Labor even in the Hawke-Keating period could comfortably make the link between its many tens of thousands of Party members and the addition of union executives and delegates as representatives in Labor's forums because the unions had good majority of wage and salary earners as members – a majority of whom voted Labor," they said.

"Now the unions have less than a fifth of the salary and wage earning workforce which is now much reduced anyway, and its membership is in a narrow range of old-style industries such as manufacturing, mining and oil – and the Shoppies in retail, who were/are the DLP rump. Even a majority of those members voted for the coalition up until 2004. Any claim to legitimacy as representatives of workers within the Labor party is unsupported by the facts."

This party member claims Labor, as a state based organisation, is still tied to a system that has given a small group of union delegates unrepresentative and unequal power on its administrative bodies and the preselection bodies.
For federal lower house and Senate seats this means that they can dictate who gets nominated, except in the territories where the seat numbers are so small as to be irrelevant. They say the collapse in rank and file party membership has exacerbated the imbalance of power.

"The change to 50% union delegates at conferences and other changes that Crean pushed through -- at least in part, at the price of his loss of the Leadership -- were a minor improvement, but major change will only be possible when Labor is in government," our source says.
"The prime minister needs to drive that change. Who knows if Rudd will be that PM given what he owes to the NSW Right and the current system."

The government seems to have toned down some of its anti union rhetoric in the past few days. Crikey Labor source thinks the issue may have actually helped Kevin Rudd.

"It builds the perception of an 'extreme' position from the union and a balanced, moderate but tough response from Rudd," they say.

"It’s not dissimilar to the role-playing Howard used to do with Hanson and does now with Heffernan. He lets the shot get fired then sees what damage the projectile has done."

Now that’s a different take on the polls. And it explains why the ALP is still churning out Hindustan Ambassadors of its very own.
Send your tips to boss@crikey.com.au or submit them anonymously here.

Posted by editor at 5:54 PM NZT
Dire Straits tribute to the Cutty Sark on YouTube here
Mood:  hug me
Topic: water

In light of the tragic fire on the Cutty Sark gutted by fire - Travel - smh.com.au we suggest a good song for the local radio is this one Single Handed Sailor, you can sample via YouTube here below, or album version would be even better. More on the Cutty Sark here too Cutty Sark - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, and Cutty Sark

 

 

YouTube - Single Handed Sailor Dire Straits Rockpalast 79

Single-Handed Sailor Lyrics
Artist(Band):Dire Straits

Two in the morning dry-dock town
The river rolls in the night
Little gypsy moth she's all tied down
She quiver in the wind and the light

Yeah and a sailing ship is just held down in chains
From the lazy days of sail
She's just a lying there in silent pain
He lean on the tourist rail

A mother and her baby and the college of war
In the concrete graves
You never wanna fight against the river law
Nobody rules the waves
Yeah and on a night when the lazy wind is a-wailing
Around the Cutty Sark
The single handed sailor goes sailing
Sailing away in the dark

He's upon the bridge on the self same night
The mariner of dry dock land
Two in the morning but there's one green light
And a man on a barge of sand

She's gonna slip away below him
Away from the things he's done
But he just shouts 'hey man what you call this thing'
He could have said 'Pride of London'
On a night when the lazy wind is a-wailing
Around the Cutty Sark
Yeah the single handed sailor goes sailing
Sailing away in the dark


Posted by editor at 3:07 PM NZT
What happened to the 'playgirl princess and the spies that saved her' story?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: big media

Mmm, looks like a juicy gossipy story in the middle section of the teasers top of page one yesterday. Only trouble is the story pointing readers to the "Worldwide" section just isn't there in the newspaper. We flicked through the pages 3 times in case we were missing something.

I would have bought the paper normally if I'd seen that teaser. As it is we missed ours yesterday and only saw it for free at the local Marrickville Library a day later.

What did that naughty princess and the spies get up to I do wonder.

Especially after watching the disturbing (last episode?) of Spooks last Friday night on ABC TV where two top spies in MI5 are the full stop to the show in the most harsh way possible in a twisted plot involving the death of Princess Di.

We rang the News Ltd news desk just now, publishers of The Australian ,was immediately transferred, it seemed knowingly, to the voice mail of "MaryEllen" for what job or advice we don't know. We declined a sweet invitation to leave a message. 

It may have happened before where an advertised story doesn't appear in a top line daily newspaper (just as headlines can be mis spelt, rarely). But we can't remember ever seeing it before.


Posted by editor at 2:10 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007 5:16 PM NZT
Whither ABC bias? Mike Bailey ordered to do the weather by ALP's Premier Wran
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: election Oz 2007

 

 

Stay tuned for the pre emptive buckle by all the ABC broadcasters as to allegation of bias in light of weatherman Mike Bailey nominating for the North Sydney seat held by Joe Hockey:

Weatherman Bailey facing 'huge challenge'  8:18am | Labor's latest recruit Mike Bailey admits he faces an uphill task to defeat Joe Hockey in the federal election.

Minister Joe Hockey is sounding strangely very strident on 702 Trioli show just now, so they probably have good reason. Indeed Chris Uhlmann of AM show earlier today gave a too negative sledge of Bailey as if to cover his delicate *rse. He might have mentioned profile of Bailey as a real asset after some 20 years in the job on tv, in a climate change election, as the weather man no less.

Transcript in due course here.

But what intrigues me is the original, and relevant to allegations of bias, reason Bailey became a weather man after starting out as a political reporter in State Parliament but then being black listed by the ALP's Neville Wran Premier of NSW back in the 1970ies, if memory of modern history serves:

The version we heard from a middle aged Lefty (the Art Gallery curator) is that Bailey reported a story after being confidentially backgrounded, preferring to buck the control games of the government, a forerunner of the Carr bell ringing of media Pavlov dogs and manipulation. The discipline on Bailey was said to be blacklisting from all ALP ministers making his job virtually impossible. Voila - forced career change into the weather man business to pay the bills. How the circle turns.

Certainly Nifty Neville had a rocky relationship with the ABC more generally as per this 50 years retrospective recently by NSW Stateline:

QUENTIN DEMPSTER: But all the policies and reforms in the world couldn't save Neville Wran from that perennial New South Wales’ institution, corruption or allegations thereof. There was the Bill Allen affair, with the second-highest police officer in the state accused of profiting from gambling and crime figures. The government struck a deal and Allen was allowed to retire, in return for not trying to fight the charges. Prisons minister Rex Jackson went to jail for accepting bribes. And there were the so called Age tapes, the result of illegal phone-tapping by the New South Wales police. They brought up links between a solicitor, Morgan Ryan, and the High Court judge and former Labor attorney general, Lionel Murphy.

And the scandal of them all, the claims in a Four Corners program called the big league, that Neville Wran had got a mate off an embezzlement charge by pressuring the Magistrates Court. Fortunately for Mr Wran, a royal commission ultimately cleared him, but, unfortunately, he had to stand down from the premiership for three months.

JEAN KENNEDY: Neville Wran was livid about his treatment and he was especially angry at the ABC.

NEVILLE WRAN: Are you from the ABC?

REPORTER: I am.

NEVILLE WRAN: Yes. Well, I don’t answer your questions, I don't answer your questions at this conference.

........................

My feeling would be Bailey is just worried about the climate (as per cross to Disneyland with Adam Spencer earlier today), there is a real chance of a change of governmnet as per the Prime Minister conceding the same yesterday, and Bailey is ready to get involved.

In other words its all just normal democratic grist, and nothing for the ABC Haters to get worked up about.

And lastly we say if Howard does draw India and China into compulsory carbon emission controls at APEC in Kyoto Mark II, it will be largely due to the strident ALP campaigning, just like the recent $70 billion splurge on taxpayers in the recent Budget.

But more importantly it will be good for this planet facing a 5 metre sea rise in 90 years time more or less an imperial foot or two either way.

....................

Postscript #1

Looks like Bailey has locked in his decision to go for ALP pre selection and resign from the ABC, story timed at 11.48 am today on Fairfax website Weatherman Bailey quits ABC for politics


Posted by editor at 10:35 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007 6:20 PM NZT
Terry Hicks skips Sunrise 7 this time, father of the year and community media champ
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: independent media


Jill Hickson, film maker of ARTV program provider to TVS Ch31 community tv tells us her team interviewed Terry Hicks in person last Sunday morning (20th May 2007) at their Addison Rd Centre office. It will be broadcast sometime in the next few weeks on Sunday night 11.30 pm (with repeats at obscure hours).

Terry Hicks is of course the father of alleged terrorist David Hicks recently, finally, mercifully, returned now to Oz: Adelaide Now

We say alleged because we take the view the USA military commission may have been justice or not, but it wasn't seen to be done from our vantage point. 5 years too long. Chucked out by the USA Supreme Court for dodgy process along the way to rise phoenix like. Bullied into a plea and denied British citizenship. We would have to wait for a High Court of Australia decision endorsing the conviction of the younger Hicks before joining the sheepish chorus of Big Media here re "convicted terrorist" which sounds to us like a PR figleaf for the federal govt. Thus we lawyers are the last resort for human rights in a democracy.

On the other hand as a Gandhi type person we don't approve of mercenaries or similar with a psychological disposition to military violence. Between the two lies the politics and law of this situation.

But Terry Hicks is the father, and what a father he has proven to be:

My Australian Father of the Year - Eureka Street 

The Adelaide Review [Issues] Father’s personal fight for human rights

Naturally a controversial choice like the Sydney Peace Prize this year for Hans Blix who effectively opposed the Iraq war in favour of ongoing inspections regime and evidence based approach: Sydney Peace Prize for blunt Blix - World - smh.com.au

But what impresses us at SAM micro news blog now is this startling anecdote from Jill Hickson to paraphrase (as we dug her garden pond yesterday with recycled bath tub):

'While we were doing [the interview] the call came through from Weekend Sunrise at channel 7. Terry told them he had to fly out by 12 midday. They said okay come in, we will put you with Alexander Downer. Trouble is says Terry to the Sunrise researcher I'm booked with community tv. '

[Consternation follows, relative merits and stature, audience size, scheduling, will Terry cancel in favour of Sunrise?].

'Producer for Sunrise rings back and said okay that's fine, respects Terry's decision to do community tv as promised and wants to keep the options open for the future.'

Our comment would be: This was a big call by Terry Hicks, and supremely ethical. The enthusiastic amateurs of ARTV volunteer team organised by pro Jill Hickson were all in place and ready to go. But Sunrise were a much higher profile opportunity. We understand Terry didn't even pause. "End of story" was his conclusion when it was clear the scheduling conflict was impossible to resolve.

The guy has real class. And perhaps he well understands that it's the community good will for his campaign for human rights for his son, right or wrong, which underpins the return of his son in the first place. Groups like  GetUp! - Action For Australia - www.getup.org.au, and many others also from left to moderate right wingers.

In that respect we think he is most likely correct which presumably why he gave this talk to Melbourne University Law School in April.

Declaration: We do legal checking each week pro bono for the ARTV show at 11.30pm Sunday nights Channel 31 Sydney. An ex girlfriend with more radical politics to this writer  became a determined supporter of the Bring David Hicks Home campaign, and congratulations too for this reward for all that hard work.

Postscript #1 May 22nd 2007 at 8 am - Leigh Sales, reporter over reaches

Leigh Sales has published a book presumably through Melbourne Uni Press  which Richard Ackland, legal writer has reviewed here: Detainee 002: the case of David Hicks - Book Reviews - Books ... We have always found Ms Sales very appealing personally but feel quite annoyed with her shaky presentation of the David Hicks situation in this final phase. Ackland is judicious with praise of her book but actually is damningly faint too around concerns of congenital blandness there at the ABC. That is (my words) inability to take a line for truth rather than political mediation of powerful opposing forces in Australian society (read Coalition v ALP). And Ackland is not alone. The reviewer in The Australian from memory (offline?) came a similar conclusion of, well, which side of a many sided situation are you on? Inevitably the answer is every side and no side.

That's not to say its not a highly competent 'flesh on the story' research effort by Sales, to paraphrase Ackland's tick for a media mate.

But here is the drum Leigh from a fan till now. That's no way to really live a life. Doors open and doors close. You have to take a stand for something.

And here is my deconstruction of  Leigh Sales: A marked man for the rest of his life | Opinion of May 21 we think has some howlers (she did a deal for The Australian to extract her book too):

First the headline by the sub editor  - quite vengeful and malicious. No rehab in a Murdoch press paradigm. That's nasty.

Second she compares him to Mamdouh Habib selling his story turned into a PR disaster - actually wrong. It polarised according to prejudice but got out real evidence of real torture endorsed by our oh so real nasty federal govt. In that sense he got to tell his truth and thus save his sanity.

Three, Sales just seems shallow and sort of apples versus oranges quoting the mars bar survivor after 40 days in the Himilayas savaged by the Big Media. (As we recall it was 60 Minutes who paid for the story and went the biff via Richard Carlton, based on the facts?). Sales says the media will turn on him if he sells his story in an exclusive.

Err sorry wrong again. These deals are done every day - its called commerce and the Big Media accept that business paradigm more than anyone built on the advertising industry. No malice is motivated by more than competition. He also has children and been accused of being a no hoper father. That would be highly inconsistent to be attacked for trying to make a living. In fact grotesquely cruel given the suffering he's been through.

Then there is the old chestnut of training with Al Qaeda - well in fact it was the Taliban pre WTC terrorism as we recall it. The oppressive govt of Afghanistan but the govt no less. But its amazing how AQ is available as a pre emptive smear these days regardless of actual evidence, or actual existence, the bogey in the geo politik cupboard.

Then quoting Max Markson, a PR grub if ever there was - remember the dodgy Sherie Blair fiasco with bugger all money actually going to charity: AM - Cherie Blair begins controversial tour of Australia

And Max almost certainly is a dedicated Zionist, while Hicks almost certainly a dedicated anti Zionist which is not in fact quite the same anti semite or bigot or racist: Not even Max Markson would deal with Hicks | Media | The Australian

Lastly we say  if David Hicks considers a life of ecological study as a zoologist in the outdoors in particular compared to 5 years in gaol, then its a good idea. Nature is a known healer like the Tasmanian forests for WW2 veterans in a very shaky state after that scarring experience. It is known as a good thing in this age of climate change which helps with public reputation. And in the best of worlds can be apolitical (though not in this writer's case). Last but not least the environment movement often functions as a redeemer such as developer bankrupts like Ian Kiernan, or corporate pigs who turn over a new leaf like the current head of WWF Australia Mr Bourne and no doubt a long line of others, even Rupert Murdoch showing some green tinges lately.


Posted by editor at 9:25 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2007 10:08 AM NZT
Monday, 21 May 2007
Corrupt compromise of the public revenue by Treasurer Costa with Priest affidavit?
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: nsw govt

Picture: NSW Treasurer Michael Costa gave a very helpful affidavit to a trenchant critic of the NSW Govt allegedly in the lead up to the NSW election. But why did he put the public revenue at risk with such evidence? 
----- Original Message -----
To: NSW Auditor Cc: Sylvia Hale MLC Greens Justice spokesperson, ICAC NSW, Greg Pearce Shadow Treasurer, Stateline NSW, Crikey.com.au editor, NSW Law Society, Mike Carlton SMH/2UE,
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2007 1:13 PM
Subject: Referral of Andrew Clennell expose SMH re Costa 'pre election affidavit' questions over compromise of public revenue

NSW Auditor
CC Shadow Treasurer Pearce, Sylvia Hale (Greens - justice portfolio)
By email - 21st May 2007
 
Dear Sir
SMH expose of Treasurer Costa pre election (2007) affidavit favouring litigant against the NSW Crown
 
We have had a telephone conversation earlier today with the journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald Andrew Clennell who has written 2 articles extracted in full below.
 
Significantly Clennell suggests in our conversation the affidavit praising Priest sworn by Minister Costa was prior to the 2007 election.
 
I am editor of a micro news website called www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog with expertise in the community media sector for at least 10 years, 2 years as a reader analyst with Media Monitors, and a solicitor in NSW. In 1990-91 I worked in the litigation section of Baker & McKenzie until moving into the ngo sector this last 15 years.
 
My understanding of the media coverage in the last 6 or even 12 months to the NSW State election is that Mr Tim Priest was conspicuously absent from the cut and thrust of election battle when prior to that he was a very notable figure in the politics of this state around law and order issues. This impact was in particular as a result of substantial media support from Alan Jones at 2GB and his article in the conservative Quadrant magazine here of January 2004
 
The Rise of Middle Eastern Crime in Australia - Tim Priest ...
Although this article has been substantially attacked for being a blend rather a precise account of criminal events in my view the facts asserted by Priest have never been convincingly rebutted outright, though certainly weakened in terms of credibility. Nevertheless after the Cronullal riot in late 2005 there was a clear political strategy of the Debnam led Coalition to further exploit Priest's claims and witness as per this ethnicly charged report Alan Jones: I'm the person that's led this charge - National ...
 
Based on our legal experience now rather than political and media analysis we raise this critical question for the protection of the public revenue and legal integrity of the administration of justice in NSW: In my experience whenever a public servant including a minister like Michael Costa has competing legal or moral obligations regarding court evidence inevitably the evidence is provided by way of subpoena rather than voluntary affidavit.
 
We say if Costa was in agreement with Priest's legal claim, a friend or felt a moral obligation to support Priest for whatever reason he had a clear conflict of interest as a member of Cabinet to withhold any such affidavit until he was compelled by legal process. He indeed could have advised Priest's legal team to seek a subpoena to avoid his conflict of interest and indeed duty to protect the public revenue as much as was reasonable.
 
We are deeply concerned to know without knowing either way whether or not Mnister Costa may have offered an inducement to Priest to self censor any role in the NSW election period in order to obtain a favourable affidavit of evidence enabling a substantial payout to satisfy the $2.5M claim by Priest. For instance it would be our expectation that professional politicians at that level would well know the political equation involved as we have outlined above and that taking Priest out of the debate would be a political coup for the ALP government under very great pressure in their 4th re election contest since 1995, with a Premier virtually forced to retire in mid 2005.
 
In particular we note this revealing article by Mike Carlton quoting "police sources" last Saturday 19th May 2007
 
Let me tell you about the copper and the deal done - Opinion - smh ... .
 
We have added bold in these quotes:
 
"As Andrew Clennell reported in the Herald on Wednesday, "the affidavit is understood to contain words to the effect that Mr Priest could have made the senior ranks of the police service, such as assistant commissioner or deputy commissioner, had he not been sidelined after a stint at Cabramatta".

My police contacts say this is not a view widely shared at the higher levels of the force. But Costa's lunging intervention was enough. The police minister in office before the election, John Watkins, was advised by Commissioner Moroney and legal counsel to settle the action.

"There was a risk of greater cost to the taxpayer if this case continued," Watkins told me on 2UE on Tuesday. Claiming the matter was confidential, he refused to reveal how much had been paid out. But if Priest and his wife got even half the amount they were demanding, which seems at least possible, we are talking seven figures.

Whatever the worth of Costa's opinion, the truly startling thing is that a Government minister - the Treasurer, in charge of the taxpayers' money, for heaven's sake - should take sides with a claimant suing for a fat chunk of that money. It is, quite simply, bizarre."

We say it appears more than bizarre. It appears as a wild departure from the usual role of evidence by subpoena, instead an affidavit pre election. Putting this with the conspicuous silence of Tim Priest during the election period and we say res ipsa loquitur - the matter speaks for itself.

Please advise whether this course of conduct by Treasurer Costa has in fact wasted substantial public revenue for failing to adequately support the legal defence to the Priest legal claim.

We are similarly copying this correspondence to ICAC in order for them to inform themselves and consider whether this matter deserves investigation in case it involves improper political reasons for settling the legal action to avoid political criticism during the sensitive election period, as described above. Suffice to say we believe it does look that way on the information in the public domain.

Yours truly

Tom McLoughlin, editor www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog

 

Costa's affidavit help for Priest - National - smh.com.au
Andrew Clennell State Political Editor
May 16, 2007

THE NSW Treasurer, Michael Costa, wrote an affidavit on behalf of the disgruntled former police officer Tim Priest that could have led to higher damages being paid by the taxpayer in a Supreme Court action Mr Priest was taking against the Government.

The affidavit is understood to contain words to the effect that Mr Priest could have made the senior ranks of the police service, such as assistant commissioner or deputy commissioner, had he not been sidelined after a stint at Cabramatta.

The Government settled its case with Mr Priest on April 13 for an undisclosed sum. Mr Priest had been suing the police service for more than $2.5 million for "psychiatric injury", breach of contract and negligence.

The Herald learnt yesterday that the Government settled a separate action with Mr Priest's wife, Karen, the same day. There is speculation Mr Priest's settlement was as much as $1 million, based on past legal advice to the Government.

Mr Costa's office said yesterday the Treasurer had written an affidavit supporting Mr Priest's case.

Mr Costa's spokesman, Mat Jones, denied the affidavit had called Mr Priest a potential "future commissioner".

Asked if the document had talked about Mr Priest having had an opportunity to reach the top of the police hierarchy, Mr Jones said Mr Costa had no further comment.

The document reached the Crown Solicitor's office and NSW police legal services but it is unknown whether it reached the Supreme Court, where hearings were still some way off when the settlement was made.

The shadow treasurer, Greg Pearce, raised concerns last night about Mr Costa's actions. "I believe Tim Priest was poorly treated, but it's entirely inappropriate for Costa, as the Treasurer, to intervene in this way," he said.

The former police minister John Watkins, who approved the settlement with Mr Priest, said yesterday he did so after a recommendation from the Police Commissioner, Ken Moroney, and senior counsel that settling would save money.

"There was a risk of greater cost to the taxpayer if this case continued," he told 2UE.

However, Mr Costa, who as police minister in 2001 befriended Mr Priest and employed him as a consultant in his office, is believed to have pushed for the settlement.

Mr Watkins denied the settlement had anything to do with secret police documents on an operation known as Operation Retz that Mr Priest's legal team had been seeking.

....................................

http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/costas-whistleblower-mate-wins-damages/2007/05/13/1178994998359.html

Costa's whistleblower mate wins damages

Andrew Clennell State Political Editor
May 13, 2007

THE Iemma Government has paid out the controversial whistleblower and former policeman Tim Priest, who had claimed more than $2.5 million damages from the police service for "psychiatric injury" and a breach of contract.

It is believed the settlement follows a push on Mr Priest's behalf by the Treasurer and former police minister, Michael Costa, who befriended Mr Priest during controversy over crime in Cabramatta in 2001-02 and employed him as a consultant during that period. The office of the Police Minister, David Campbell, confirmed NSW Police Force settled with Mr Priest in early April, just after the election, but refused to say how much it had paid the disgruntled former officer.

Mr Priest repeatedly hung up on the Herald when it called him about the settlement.

Mr Costa, who would not comment yesterday, befriended Mr Priest after being introduced to him by the broadcaster Alan Jones in 2001. This followed Mr Priest's allegations to a parliamentary inquiry about the police handling of drug and gang crime in Cabramatta. The former police minister Paul Whelan and former police commissioner Peter Ryan lost their jobs in the wake of the Cabramatta affair. Mr Costa employed Mr Priest as an adviser on gangs for a time.


Mr Priest was suing the state of NSW, claiming psychiatric injury and alleging negligence and breach of contract concerning his service as an officer at Cabramatta.

The former detective came to prominence as a disaffected officer stationed at Cabramatta in 2001 when he accused his superiors before the parliamentary inquiry of ``criminal neglect'' in the handling of drug- and gang-related crime.

Last year he backed the claims of the then Opposition leader, Peter Debnam, that the Government was soft on gangs in western Sydney and confirmed he had spoken to the Liberal Party about standing for it in the March state election.


Settlement of the matter follows demands from the Supreme Court, after an application by Mr Priest, for internal police documents that the police force was keen not to release.

Settlement of the matter follows demands from the Supreme Court, after an application by Mr Priest, for internal police documents that the police force was keen not to release on Operation Retz - an investigation which led to the sacking of former assistant commissioner Lola Scott in 2002. It is believed that there is some potentially embarrassing information in the documents.

Mr Priest's case had been some way from being heard, with the ``discovery'' of documents still being worked out when the decision was made to settle, a police spokesman said.  Mr Priest's case was handled by Crown solicitors and the police legal services branch.


Mr Priest told a federal parliamentary committee in October 2002  that the office of Mr Costa had helped him receive some payment from the police service and a police pension.

``I was invalidated, medically retired from the police,'' Mr Priest said.

``Only recently I had been denied any compensation from the NSW Police but, owing to the interference and the persistence of Police Minister Michael Costa's office, that was set right.

'`I have received a lump payment and I am on a police pension of about $1100 a fortnight at the moment.'' The pension payments are believed to have been discontinued upon settlement.


Posted by editor at 3:15 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 21 May 2007 3:29 PM NZT
Do the math - 5 metre sea rise in 90 years on a non linear ice shelf collapse
Mood:  lazy
Topic: globalWarming

Picture: Quoting USA Today 12th May 2007 "   Iceberg B-15A, which broke off in March 2000, sits at a right angle to C-19, which broke away from the Ross Ice Shelf last last week."

Sent: Monday, May 21, 2007 10:28 AM

Subject: do the math on NASA's Dr Hansen advice of 5 METRE sea rise in 90 years with non linear ice shelf collapse

(Just another reason to stop forest destruction and land clearing of natural carbon store.)
Regarding your State of the Planet last week, I took the trouble to follow the links to quality Grist news site with Dr James Hansen NASA, (also carry a one to one interview with Rupert Murdoch). Hansen references his recent scientific paper that a more likely scenario than the IPCC predictions on minor sea level rise goes like this (be afraid, very afraid): 15 May 2007  An interview with renowned climate scientist James Hansen |  

 "I've actually written a paper and submitted it called "Scientific Reticence and Sea Level Rise" [PDF], because it just seemed to me that there was a gap between what scientists really thought and what was in the public knowledge in regards to ice sheet stability and sea level rise."

at the pdf  [bold added] dated 23rd March 2007

"Under BAU forcing in the 21st century, sea level rise undoubtedly will be dominated by a third term (3) ice sheet disintegration. This third term was small until the past few years, but it is has at least doubled in the past decade and is now close to 1 mm/year, based on gravity satellite measurements discussed above. As a quantitative example, let us say that the ice sheet contribution is 1 cm for the decade 2005-2015 and that it doubles each decade until the West Antarctic ice sheet is largely depleted.

 

That time constant yields sea level rise of the order of 5 m this century. Of course I can not prove that my choice of a 10 year doubling time for non-linear response is accurate, but I am confident that it provides a far better estimate than a linear response for the ice sheet component of sea level rise."

Dr James Hansen NASA.

 

Last weekend one of the commercial tv channels in Sydney reported footage of another ice huge like 200 sq km block falling into the Arctic sea: USATODAY.com - 124-mile-long iceberg breaks off Antarctica May 12th 2007

 

So do the maths - 1mm a year, 1cm in 10 yrs, 2cm in 20yrs, 4cm in 30yrs, 8cm in 40 yrs, 16cm in 50 yrs, 32cm in 60 yrs, 64cm in 70yrs, 1.28m in 80yrs, 2.56m in 90yrs. Total sea rise - 5.11 metres by 2100. Exponential rate of change is like that - very unforgiving.

 

Tom McLoughlin, editor www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog

 


Posted by editor at 12:30 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 21 May 2007 2:12 PM NZT
Sunday, 20 May 2007
Sunday political talkies: Capt Jack in pirates 4 coming to an APEC near you
Mood:  chatty
Topic: election Oz 2007

Picture: Will Capt Jack Howard be eaten by electoral fate? Will he go down with the Liberal ship as APEC meeting of the world's pirates ...err leaders comes to Sydney Sept 07? Images from YouTube trailer of Pirates 3 World's End movie out May 24. 

Author’s general introductory note (skip this if you know this regular weekly column):

This is not a well packaged story. It’s a contemporaneous traverse of the Sunday television free to air political talkies indicating the agenda of Establishment interests: Better to know ones rivals and allies  in Big Politics and Big Media. ]

 

Indeed it’s the tv version monitoring task similar to what Nelson Mandela refers to here in his book Long Walk to Freedom (1994, Abacus) written in Robben Island prison (where he was meant to die like other African resister chiefs of history in the 19C), at page 208

 

“..newspapers are only a shadow of reality; their information is important to a freedom fighter not because it reveals the truth, but because it discloses the biases and perceptions of both those who produce the paper and those who read it.”

 

Just substitute ‘Sunday tv political talkie shows’ for "newspapers" in the quote above.

 

For actual transcripts go to web sites quoted below except with Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.

 

 

Media backgrounder:

Significant shifts this week in media coverage. Wheels fell off AWAs re Big media/govt/corporate complex re polling bad for govt, ALP/unions hang tough, budget no bounce, wages (no) growth stats shows unequal rewards of boom.

Big Media in existential angt navel gazing over 9's CEO bailing out in the press last 2 days but really boring as batshit?.

Weird quotes - Bryan Frith crusty in Murdoch press 'transparency is not good for the market' - WTF? Terry McCrann against lowering of the company tax rate - again WTF? [references in due course]

Hard to read a compass on the political high seas with stuff like this, not least Murdoch himself going carb neutral green in rhetoric at least.

- major story of Nigel Wilson buried re India Pakistan Iran gas pipeline like the US$70 Billion oil supply deal to China from Iran in 2003 or so. USA under Bush promoting Global Nuclear Energy partnership as counter influence energy geo politic with Canada/Australia yellowcake in their sphere of control, counter that is to Middle East 'Great Game' over oil powering western economies.

- this thesis echoed by Hamish McDonald on Japan looking at departing USA assurances vis a vis nuke detterence provision, go nuke weapons for self, which Howard surely wants to do also by enrishing uranium here also, as per Marian Wilkinson (all quality journos and thinkers, Wilson, McDonal, Wilkinson).

- it finally struck this writer re Spiderman 3 movie US$250 million investment - its a homily on the poison of revenge after Sept11 WTC terror to the voters of the USA etc, and a lesson well taken judging by

Picture: Harvard educated, former interim Defence Minister, finance minister now author on SBS Dateline last Wednesday repudiates the Occupation as 'rank amateurs, swaggering disaster', calls for international political solution with neighbours, effectively rebutting the article in today's Sunday Telegraph on p88 "Aussies are crucial to a stable Iraq" quoting comparative political light weight - Istrabadi, a UN diplomat and constitutional author presumably based in New York not the country itself which would focus the mind no end.

- strange reverse smear on "old fogey" Gerard Henderson who went the full on sledge against light and cringeful Jacinta Tynan articles p89 of Sunday Telegraph.

- NASA's James Hansen freaks me out holding firm to 5 metre sea rise quite possibly in next 90 years or so in scientific paper late March cross references here via pdf link at Grist news site (also have access to Murdoch etc) An interview with renowned climate scientist James Hansen |  

 "I've actually written a paper and submitted it called "Scientific Reticence and Sea Level Rise" [PDF], because it just seemed to me that there was a gap between what scientists really thought and what was in the public knowledge in regards to ice sheet stability and sea level rise."

at the pdf

"Under BAU forcing in the 21st century, sea level rise undoubtedly will be dominated by a third term (3) ice sheet disintegration. This third term was small until the past few years, but it is has at least doubled in the past decade and is now close to 1 mm/year, based on gravity satellite measurements discussed above. As a quantitative example, let us say that the ice sheet contribution is 1 cm for the decade 2005-2015 and that it doubles each decade until the West Antarctic ice sheet is largely depleted.

That time constant yields sea level rise of the order of 5 m this century. Of course I can not prove that my choice of a 10 year doubling time for non-linear response is accurate, but I am confident that it provides a far better estimate than a linear response for the ice sheet component of sea level rise." Dr James Hansen NASA

10 Meet the Press 8-8.30 am

 

 Sunday Mail 'Carter says Blair obsessive with Iraq'.

Footage of Andrew Robb ex Party organizer, re skills shortage attempt to neutralize Budget in Reply by Rudd. Looking grey haired like his boss. Echoes Costello in press looking grumpy.

 

Goes straight to the polling against the govt. Tuning out he says. Politics free week. Getting a bit sick of it all. Draws attention 4th term, do another term, do it well. Talking Rudd’s case – bad start for Robb. Respond appropriately – climate change matters. [as per Australian lead story re carbon trading via APEC summit]

 

Q. desperate measures go to Costello like Hawke 1983 –  absolutely the wrong strategy. Work harder.

 

Radio footage Costello, would jump out with the parachutes leaving Rudd Gillard to die in a plane crash. [ Echoes the ruthless nature of his character in hawks arrogance in Iraq.]

 

Footage of Rudd 2650 trade training facilites. Robb as minister of vocational training carps and reacts – sounds like an Opposition.

 

Panel Jennifer Hewitt now with The Australian, Peter Hartcher Herald – Robb pressed on money ‘wasted’ on policy backflip ‘will monitor week to week [meaning if polls change, rort of tax funds].

 

Robb sounding very tired, misses his cue to wind up 3 times.

 

Rubbery figures by Nicholson off the Australian has Howard and Rudd scrapping to meat the Dalai Llama to celebrate peace and love to be reborn as cockroaches.

 

Ist ad break public education junior schools theme.

 

2nd half – Hicks return to Australia today. Civil Liberties expert Dr Kristine Klugman Civil Liberties Australia.  PB asks issue neutralized? Takes the principle line not the politics so possibly out of her depth.

 

APEC controls draconian. Iraq involvement is main problem. Army carrying guns in streets? Gun culture like USA.

 

Hewitt presses re threat level, justified? Says people may agree for temp suspension but afraid of ASIO raids on Muslims in lead up to election based on Tampa electoral choreography [my word] experience. As a deliberate strategy in the election period. Yes.

 

Came across as a bit woolly but its becoming very clear atmospherics around APEC are the next big political chronology in federal politics – climate policy, muslims alleged threat, Iraq drawing trouble unlike NZ or Canada.

Picture: The govt definitely has whiskers on it now with polls suggestive of a Davy Jones Locker result next election, the question being do Australians really want an economic pirate for a Prime Minister (Howard/Costello in the alternative)?

 

Transcript in due course www.ten.com.au/meetthepress

 

7 Weekend Sunrise, 8.35-40 am Riley Diary  - Come on 7 time to start streaming this on your website???!!!!

 

Riley Diary, likeable new compere there again. Mark Riley looking a little grey and fortyish, compared to younger version of 'Riles' weekend reporter on Saturday news.

 

Feature on FoI Yes Minister rejection of $10B – drought in information. Turnbull looking exposed. FoI to protect officials.

 

Footage of PM refusing to answer “Will you release the water documents”. Document

 

Milky Bar kid  moniker with amusing footage of Rudd as this.

 

Q & A re advertising for Work policy expense. Similar to Hartcher on 10 above. $50M on advertising. Public should get behind reform of political advertising.

show goes on to story on Pirates movie in our theme here.

Footage of Costello gag jump from plane with/without parachutes. Women across the country cringe?

Insiders 2

 

Intro re govt confronting its immortality.  Lovely Leigh Sales with luke warm reviews of her book for being too balanced and therefore chronically ABC bland, on Hicks return. She wants the exclusive first pics if possible.

 

News rap Blair swing through Iraq, a tragedy of arrogant confidence really, which is what power does to all leaders in a democracy that they know better.

 

Ruddock cross – dead fish tone. Virtually endorses Sales book – kiss of death really for her – a journo career in search of a vocation if ever I saw one. Rudd defends indefensible 5 year delay of justice. Ugly stuff.

 

Everyperson segment – bleeding hearts disturbed by Hicks treatment.

 

Panel – Farr Murdoch Sydney Telegraph, Milne looking fitter on the wagon same Murdoch press, Lenore Taylor - ‘barnacle of Hicks removed’ metaphor, nice (like Shark Tale scene on tv last night, very funny).

 

Paul Kelly soliloquy from Murdoch press – insider/outsider thesis – good enonomic figures for the govt. Sounds plausible on a range of stuff Rudd, water etc, economy etc

 

Milne - 'mid paradigm' insight reveals - 1. he still has boyish appeal 2. his brain is reviving and is still good like Bill Leak from quitting booze for good 3. the peers appreciate the return in decent form. Good luck Glenn you are redeeming yourself. That's good for democracy even if your Costello grump story this morning in the Sunday Telegraph looking like a grumpy pirate too.

 

Milne comes out with another impromptu cracker: Abbott is turning into another naked Peter Debnam. Ouch metaphor, of course Abbott is rival to Milne's own mate Big Pete C. (generally refers to stupid 'six pack' photo in Sat Herald from memory.)

Sunday 9

 

Terrible child abduction case in Portugal.

 

Feature on fathers rights follows by the look. Custody issues panel.

 

 Oaks with Ruddock?  No Oaks interview today? Rugby mini panel discussion.

 

Turnbull in fact is the subject. Reckless Rudd he says on Japanese whalers. [But ignores general view Japan are enviro and diplomatic vandals – on chipping forest, on whales, on seeking own nuke weapon deterrent, on denial of own war history.] Probably will be a vote winner for Rudd.

 

Macquarie Bank involved in water here? Resounding yes, as per the UK. Will go down like a lead balloon. Plundered for cash says Turnbull of State Govt on their water utilities. As if Macbank would be better.

 

Serious threat of water shortages affect power, not alarmist talk as such. Goes into boring dissertation, talk talk talk.

 

[irony of car adverts in wild scenery and majestic animals, when in fact its burgeoning car fleet, roads, mobile energy emissions killing those natural areas. A real Orwellian eco mind f*ck]

 

http://sunday.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/default.asp

 

Picture: is that the ship sinking, or the sea rising? Refer world class climate scientist James Hansen quotes in Media Background above re 5 metre rise in the next 90 years.


Posted by editor at 10:48 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 20 May 2007 1:17 PM NZT
Saturday, 19 May 2007
Imitation is the best form of flattery, Eco, Eco Shout, GE frog, whatever
Mood:  on fire
Topic: independent media

 

Picture: This is our frog logo and ecology networking group in local community press Sydney City Hub on page 3 for 2 years 2005-2006 up to the last NSW State election.

We noticed this latest micro news start up recently called EcoShout. When you sift through the grains, drill down through the rock you find its organised by, well associated with, Friends of the Earth in Melbourne always the strongest base for that network in Australia.

SAM's editor was associated with the moribund FoE Sydney office for too long in our working ngo lives until 2001, so we find this ironic they have adopted an outreach vehicle similar to our Sydney Alternative Media website here, with some 12,000 password protected hits per month, given our alter ego ecology action sydney.

We know something about news work they may not but that's okay, and imagine they will teach us a thing or two. Good luck Eco-Shout! And yes if they contact us we will share this profound gem.

And we already realised an Eco 2-page spread every Tuesday in the Sydney Morning Herald was a bit of a rip-off of our ecology action moniker too. But hey no one really owns it, except to say again its roughly the same news/green model, just much bigger circulation.

It's the same comment to withhold for now as to EcoShout above. Even so good luck Eco!

It's in a long line of copy reuse, and even in some more sinister cases, counterfeit - the frog sticker in NSW State Forests propaganda for that logger agency a few years back comes to mind.

Then we did a double take yesterday to see a corporate advertiser General Electric on the high quality USA Grist news site in the form of a very green cute frog. Whoa. It's on this story about Big Rupert here An interview with Rupert Murdoch about News Corp.'s new climate ... along with the athlete carrying 'clean coal' (talk about fiction becoming reality, or just plain old fiction as fiction). It's call EcoImagination apparently.

GE operate nuke plants and other scary stuff so presumably is into greenwashing too, like Big Rupert to some degree, the frog being the logo again of ecology action sydney above, which is fair dinkum green. Way green. And before you get too greenwashed check out this sobering reminder of the nuke cycle reality:


Now we don't pretend to have influenced GE's advertising dept, nor does anyone own the frog as a symbol but talk about de javu.

And now we notice a cute new tool "share this post" feature at the bottom of our blog template.  Is this a hint to network our news more? As Danny Concannon of the 'Washington Post' would say - okay.

Postscript #1 23rd May 2007 7.30 pm

We have just updated the biography of the editor on our "profile" at the right hand side button, and for the sake of disclosure in this sensitive election period we include it here:

Name:  Tom McLoughlin
E-mail:  ecologya@telpacific.com.au (mobile phone 0410 558838)
Location:  Sydney Australia
Birthday:  22 June, 1964
Bio:  1979-81 - Junior Surf Boat Victorian State Champions; ...........1979-81 - Captain under 18, Old Collegians Australian Rules FC Premiers, Best and Fairest..........1981 - Year 12 (HSC), CBC Warrnambool.........1982 - retail KM Lynch wine merchants.........1983-86 - zoology degree ANU Canberra........1987 - Trademarks Examiner, Canberra public service.........1988-9 - law degree (hon) ANU Canberra.........1990-91 - Baker & McKenzie solicitors Sydney............1993-94 - NSW Campaign Coordinator, The Wilderness Society (Australia) with significant victories including listing of several 100K ha of protected wilderness especially forest, and removal of state govt.......1995-1999 - Councillor, Waverley Municipal Council, with significant victories such as closure of Waterloo Incinerator, prevention of private rail onto Bondi Beach, paved way for 3 Greens at next election from one in '95..........1998 July - legal adviser Jabiluka protest camp NT..........1995- 2001 - office coordinator, natural heritage campaigner Friends of the Earth Sydney;............2002-04 - founder Turrella activist centre, Sydney involving renovation of 1000sqm factory site and 15 tenants...........5-6/2002 travel Chile, Western Europe...........7/2002 ongoing - founder/principal ecology action australia, significant victories include $15K funding to successful Chilean civil society rejection of Alumysa US$3B hydro/smelter scheme...........2002 ongoing - gardener p/t Addison Rd Community Centre...........6/2006 - recommencement as NSW solicitor...........1/2007 ongoing - founder Sydney Alternative Media news website ..............3/2007 ongoing - website builder for Addison Rd Community Centre Sydney..............4/2007 ongoing - structure working group of international OurMedia network.

Interests:  rock climbing, cycling, media especially press, movies, books, quality modern music, body surfing, bushwalking, blogging

Picture: The editor sans spectacles gawping at the hand held digital camera, which probably has a time delay if we could find the booklet, thankfully set to red eye control.

 


Posted by editor at 1:09 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2007 9:31 PM NZT

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