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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Tuesday, 28 August 2007
US video blog logger Josh Wolf jailed for a year for refusing to release protester footage
Mood:  down
Topic: human rights

 

Sydney Indymedia news website is down for maintenance.

This seems quite incredible given APEC is only a week away. Perth is effectively the primary IMC for APEC news now apart from my own humble news website here

www.sydneyalternativemedia.com

SIM was also down for nearly 2 months prior to the controversial state govt election.    We have no idea why SIM is down but it does disempower the civil society sector to not have such a long standing indymedia website down. I have no idea if its been sabotaged, compromised or lacking staff. Maybe someone else knows. 

This writer was talking to a Chilean democracy activist at Addison Rd Community Centre on Sunday and he immediately assumed it was ASIO. Who would know.

Good to see posts at Perth IMC by long time effective organisers like Graeme Dunstan and his street theatre characters. Ghosts indeed.

Also there is the Canadian story of police infiltrators at Quebec which is a ripper, well sourced and very revealing - note they were masked and one was carrying a rock. APEC is definitely not a place "to rock". Anyone with such attitudes, not least the police, is not welcome here in Sydney.

In Feb 2003 250-500,000 peace protesters marched entirely peacefully. That's the democratic action we want. Others intent on public vandalism or mindless damage are NOT WELCOME. Like George Bush and Rice actually with their organised military industrial terrorism.

This writer was intent on not attending APEC wankery but on reflection think we should support the anti war march like in Feb 2003, this time in lawyer's suit and legal observer signage, and solicitor's card. At least to do a decent report for community media and gather evidence of any police misbehaviour - which does seem possible to justify their huge budget but should be avoided at all costs.

It would be a severely ethical dilemma if
SAM's editor saw evidence of protester violence. SBS Dateline reported a blogger who went to jail rather than give up footage of protesters to the FBI - the longest imprisonment of any media practitioner in the USA apparently - the story is curiously absent from their archive here http://news.sbs.com.au/dateline/index.php?page=archive

Here are google results for the jailed 'blotter' Josh Wolf here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josh_Wolf

The Blotter: Jailed Blogger Could Spend a Year in Detention
at
http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2006/11/jailed_blogger_.html

(US ABC network)

Personally this news website editor would find it pretty hard to go to jail for an idiot breaking a police van window, damaging the cause of the protest movement and our reputations, but you never know, depending on the journalism principle of protecting sources.

The time is approaching where reputable blogs, blots or whatever will need our our media union coverage which may or may not mean the official MEAA, which is might be noted shows no interest in helping over a fascist blacklisting of SAM's editor  from Sydney University campus for simply reporting a student education protest.

MEAA on the evidence to date are not at all interested in the community media right to know, only the Big Media with their big dollars.


Posted by editor at 11:46 AM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 28 August 2007 12:17 PM NZT
Monday, 27 August 2007
3 masked, rock carrying Canadian police at anti Bush protest in Quebec exposed on CBC news 22nd Aug 07
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: peace

(via Crikey.com.au 27/8/07 sourced via Wonkette blog to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the text below is Wonkette blog)

Cops Admit Cops Caught Being Fake Protesters Are Cops

When Bush was in Canada selling America to Mexico earlier this week, Canadian labor unions protested the secret negotiations between the three countries’ leaders. And whenever there’s a big political protest, there are cops in disguise — usually as “anarchists” — trying to start shit so that the uniformed cops can smash skulls and shoot their water cannons and rubber bullets and tear-gas cannisters at the real protesters who were just peacefully protesting. What was interesting about this week’s agents provocateurs is that they got caught on video and the video was immediately seen by hundreds of thousands of people all around the world and for possibly the first time ever, a police department has been shamed into admitting that it plants disguised cops in protest crowds to stir up shit.

If you haven’t seen it yet (or even if you have), here’s the CBC report including the good parts from the YouTube video:

 

The matching cop boots are cute, aren’t they? It’s especially cute how the one cop put duct tape and spray paint on his new cop boots. Poseur!

There was absolutely no way to squirm out of this one, so the police in Quebec were forced to admit they do what everybody knows cops do:

With the proof caught on video, Quebec provincial police were forced to admit yesterday that three undercover agents were playing the part of protesters at this week’s international summit in Montebello.

Quebec police admit agents posed as protesters [Toronto Star]

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

Quebec police admit agents posed as protesters
Deny role of undercover officers was to provoke violence at summit of North American leaders
Aug 24, 2007 04:30 AM



Canadian Press

MONTREAL–With the proof caught on video, Quebec provincial police were forced to admit yesterday that three undercover agents were playing the part of protesters at this week's international summit in Montebello, Que.

But the Quebec police force denied they were attempting to provoke protesters into violence. Rather, they said the three were planted in the crowd to locate any protesters who were not peacefully demonstrating. Police said the trio's cover was blown when they refused to toss any objects.

"At no time did the Quebec provincial police officers act as agents provocateurs or commit criminal acts. Also, it is not part of the policy of the police force nor is it part of its strategy to act in this manner. At all times, the officers responded to their mandate to maintain law and order," the Sûreté du Québec said in a news release last night.

The police said after viewing a video clip from YouTube.com and video shot by police officers, they were able to confirm the three were Quebec provincial police officers.

Earlier, both Quebec police and the RCMP denied any of their officers were involved.

 

Earlier yesterday, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day rejected opposition calls for an inquiry into the role of suspect agents at the North American leaders summit.

"If people have concerns ... there is a complaints process for the RCMP. There is also one for the Sûreté du Québec. This incident happened in Quebec, so I imagine people could also file under that complaints process."

Day's words did little to appease Dave Coles, the union leader who confronted the three men on the protest line and accused them of being cops.

"We're going to talk to our legal counsel and we'll decide (Friday) what our next action is going to be," said Coles, president of the Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.

The three officers, sporting bandannas, showed up on the front lines of a protest at the summit. One carried a large rock.


Posted by editor at 8:32 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 27 August 2007 8:49 PM NZT
Better late than never for Get Up on the pulp mill atrocity?
Mood:  lazy
Topic: ecology
[email string sent today follows]
 
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2007 10:52 AM
Subject: Re: Stop Gunns' pulp mill madness

yep saw it direct from Get Up, Get Up are a bit slow on this one, only when it got to the front pages of The Australian and on 4 Corners and on 60 Minutes did they start leading from behind. Shows how much they are captured by the ALP actually (who support the pulp mill, pro logging agenda), Brett Solomon of GU advised a public meeting he is funded by Evan Thornley who is a rich IT entrepeneur back from the USA and now in the Upper House of Victorian Parliament ...for the ALP. Better than nothing I suppose.
Also story running into today's The Australian here (not showing picture in paper version of lithe hippie woman because its an earth mother story, and Masked Owl suit):

Pulp mill plan ruffles Greens' feathers

IT is a lovely day in Bondi. The sun is out and so are the crowds. Seagulls are swooping down, stealing chips.

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2007 8:50 AM
Subject: FW: Stop Gunns' pulp mill madness




From: info@getup.org.au
To: echidna27@hotmail.com
Subject: Stop Gunns' pulp mill madness
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2007 16:21:38 +1000

Dear friends,
 
While the rest of the world focuses on solving the climate crisis and protecting what is left of our precious natural resources, Australian politicians are hell-bent on approving an environmentally disastrous industrial development in Tasmania - the Gunns pulp mill.

Right now we have the power to stop the development before it's too late. Nationwide opposition has forced the Federal Environment Minister to allow ten days of public comment before making his final decision. You can help stop the pulp mill by voicing your opposition today:

http://www.getup.org.au/campaign/NoPulpMill

Gunns Ltd's proposed pulp mill will pour tonnes of dangerous greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and poisonous effluent into Bass Strait. The expected environmental damage will wreak havoc on the tourism, fishing, agriculture and wine industries in the area, and mean the further clear-felling of Tassie forests.
 
Tasmania's economic future depends on its clean, green image, not on pulp mills. Independent economic analysis released this week shows the mill will actually destroy more jobs and wealth than it creates. Tell Minister Turnbull there's no good reason to approve the pulp mill in its current form:

http://www.getup.org.au/campaign/NoPulpMill

The inquiry process into the mill's impact has been fraught with political and corporate interference. Let's put the people back into the process, and remind our decision-makers who they really answer to.

Thanks for being a part of this,

The GetUp team

---------------

GetUp is an independent, not-for-profit community campaigning group. We use new technology to empower Australians to have their say on important national issues. We receive no political party or government funding, and every campaign we run is entirely supported by voluntary donations. If you'd like to chip in to support GetUp's work, please click here. If you have trouble with any links in this email, please go directly to http://www.getup.org.au. To unsubscribe from GetUp, please click here.
 

Posted by editor at 12:52 PM NZT
Public Alliance to Avert Desalinastion
Mood:  special
Topic: ecology


 


Posted by editor at 12:17 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 27 August 2007 12:22 PM NZT
APEC in Sydney: US President Bush not welcome, wife Laura takes the hint, GW & Rice cancel 2nd day, Keating rubbishes the junket
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: peace

In the city that hosted an anti Iraq war, pro peace rally of 250-500,000 in February 2003 it is increasingly clear George W Bush is only welcome by the News Ltd Sydney Daily Telegraph owned by a US citizen Rupert Murdoch, and precious few others: Greens keen to cage Bush, not Sydney

In the last few days God's judgement seems to have come down on the gambling industry horse racers with equine flu but also the police horses traditionally used to bully protesters from on high: Flu threat to APEC security

Now we hear via ABC wife of GW Bush, Laura Bush has cancelled her attendance in Sydney altogether.

Greg Sheridan also writes today that GW Bush was not even very keen to attend Sydney's APEC at all, having already cancelled attendance at ASEAN representing only 600M people and 'huge' US commercial investments, and expecting a critical report to Congress about the Iraq war at the same time.

Similarly Secretary of State Rice prefers to ride 15 hours on Air Force One back with GW than stay a second day. Sheridan states p2 of The Australian today

"This is a sorry reflection on the priorities of the second Bush administration as compared with the first. [Colin] Powell would never have done this."

Paul Keating who we might have watched at the Seymour Centre last Thursday in Sydney but preferred to hear him on PM and 7.30 Report instead (and understand via a roadie backstage Keating similarly left the stage to immediately watch the tv as well) is in The Australian today saying effectively the whole APEC agenda is off the rails after the Cold War ended.

No doubt PK is running interference for ALP leader Rudd to spoil PM Howard's APEC stage but he does it with cred as architect with the first Bush Presidency and Clinton of the forum in the first place. Especially references to China and Japan deep animosity, but great mutualistic opportunities not least on China's troubled environment.

We notice the ambiguous heavy irony in the headline in the Oz:

"Auspicious beginning THE founder of the APEC leaders' meeting believes the forum has the political grunt to deal with regional security."

That is political grunt wasted, and squandered, such as "Paul Keating is frustrated by the failures  of the organisation [APEC] ...."


Posted by editor at 11:20 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 27 August 2007 12:02 PM NZT
Sunday, 26 August 2007
Sunday political talkies: Govt suffers equine flu in the polls, Rudd doing God's work on hospital reform?
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: election Oz 2007

Picture: Busy trade amongst lefties and greenies (not to be confused with aggressive 'Fishes' in great dystopian movie Children of Men) King St Newtown 25th August 2007 as APEC 'world leaders' conference approaches early Sept 07 in Sydney CBD, with ex PM Keating saying its got the wrong agenda anyway, everyone else knowing it's a party to honour vain old man Howard, and Police Chief Scipione (Italian Irish extraction like this writer) ej*culating prematurely saying (Haneef style?) 'intelligence' shows the need for 500 cells for 'violent protesters'. Never mind the entirely peaceful huge anti war protest in 2003 in Sydney by much the same groups (?). But will police present this 'intelligence' to the Supreme Court over protest permits? More like posturing by the $6 Billion a year security industry to justify a $170M/$24M a day security/APEC junket (that ex Premier Carr baulked at in 2005) and waste of money that should have been in Canberra?

 

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:

 

- Beazley tugs his forelock for the ALP to the US empire p9 24/8/07 SMH  “Beazley joins US think tank”, only to be outdone in forelock tugging by real ALP leader Rudd “US is an overwhelming force for good in the world” p16 24/8/07 – yeah yeah tell it to millions of ghosts across the world.

 

- Feared truck blast toll of 400 sets grim Iraq record 17/8/07 p9 The Australian.

 

 

- We saw on tv then read only on Friday in The Oz at page 8 24/8/07 “Trainers want Pope’s people off their turf”, and same paper way back something about equine flu scare. Now the surly, pompous racing industry figures at Randwick complaining long and loud about disruption to their gambling business to the NSW Govt - with no plan B for the Popes youth Festival venue – are virtually shut down. Is it God’s judgement? Which reminds us of seeing a stern Joe Tripodi type figure in the blazing sun in full grey suit, on the steps of St Peters (and this is for real lobbying (?) for same youth gig way back in July 2002, or ) maybe just getting confession. It was our fascinating, inspiring world trip Chile to Ireland and back via Germany, departing Rome.

 


- Pulp mill stories everywhere – including colour pic of Greens candidate Susan Jarnson (above) top p5 24/8/07 in The Oz expected to poll around 11% in marginal Wentworth, a quality left wing candidate, nurse, mother etc. But for our money the real fracture in conservative votes will be local solicitor Alex Tees with a reasonable small business following, saying this far out he won’t direct preferences. Still to find a decent picture of the guy. The Sept 07 (!) issue of monthly Sydney City News page 4 by trooper Pam Walker quotes John Kaye MLC Greens "We're not enthusiastic about George Newhouse ...[ALP candidate in Wentworth]" and the text states it's more about " getting John Howard out". Sure, sure, preferences to ALP announced 3 months out, actions speaks louder than words. In the Eastern Suburbs the Greens are effectively captured by the ALP (and have been since at least 2000 says this ex Green Party councillor 95-99).

 

Picture 'Live Green' festival Victoria Park Saturday 25th Aug 07 more party then green perhaps with empty bicycle parking rack, but plentiful good quality stalls, great live music, and very busy beer garden. A Clover Moore inspired bread and circuses to outflank the rival Deputy Mayor Chris Harris (Greens)

 

 

 

- Meanwhile the massive issue of pollution stacks in the seat of Grayndler (Truck tunnel to port is back p1 The Glebe 23 Aug 07, spill to page 3) via the Iemma Govt's commitment to a truck tunnel shepherded through by their bureaucratic thug Prof David Richmond, a long time ALP stooge is ignored by Anthony Albanese. The Opposition Shadow on Infrastructure and Water prefers to not talk about this guarranteed cancer source with a picture story p9 of same paper about smelly Ibis breeding in Marrickville and attacking the local council. Albo with grand hypocrisy asks where are the reactors going? We say where are the truck tunnel smog stacks going? (we live in the suburb). And the local councils know its stuffed - adverts for both Leichhardt and Marrickville Council calling for public feedback on the environment p16 The Glebe 23/8/07 and p11 respectively. 

Picture: Howards doing their Family of Blood act at the Living Green festival in Sydney, as per Dr Who later that night? More sinister Dr Who type figures here ('Can I have a cutting?') too

And serious talks on sustainability with Peter Thompson ... err sorry drinks actually ....

- Geothermal use makes more cents to Lihir, p10 Resources section 25 Aug 2007

- Upstart pollster draws fire from the old brigade SMH Aug 23 2007 re YouGov firm from UK.

- Dad's the word as former contender becomes adviser 15/8/07 The Australian p23, re George Williams the legal whiz now stay at home Dad not ALP candidate.

- Wicked pedia: business, CIA edit online entries 16/8/07 SMH p13

- Garrett reinforces his office to repel government attack 9/8/07 The Australian p2, Ryan Heath, Martin Callinan re two snot noses into the ALP camp.

- Iemma Govt failure on open government #1 While we wait, Premier, the gap is getting wider smh p28 16/8/08, and Lesson for Canberra in neighbours attitude p30 23/8/07, both stay in touch section.

 - The shallow world of big media "How the ABC's science guru finally found an audience" 17/8/07 The Australian p13

Meeting the Press 10

 

Deborah Rice compere. Julia Gillard is the talent, effective makeup job on tired eyes, as articulate as ever. Bats off union hack sledge by Hockey.

 

ALP wins economic management poll by Ipsos 20-22 Aug 07 39% to 36%.

 

Interest rate rise in favour to ALP for 24%, most unaffected voter intentions 55%. 4% more likely to vote for Coalition.

 

Iemma bats off strip club question, turns it on Hill (?),  Clennel (Herald), Spicer (ABC) lots of laughs all round.

Gillard stays away from Grandfather Howard age as an issue.

Overall looking centred, competent, relaxed, balanced, underlying confidence and strong. Good interview even with the hard edged voice.

 2nd half

- David Salter on his book, deserve the media we get?  Bris should have published next day (true), should have been on Media Watch he says, Rudd story not big really.

Reminds of Fairfax protest rally as here some months back


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

 

7 Weekend Sunrise, 8.35-40 am Riley Diary  -

Satire about Kevin Rudd more like Ned Flanders than sleazy Homer Simpson. Excuse for showing girlie dancers and Sefton strip club in Sydney which looks like a Liberal Party set up to string the smear along courtesy dickhead Colin Allan.

 

 

 

http://www.seven.com.au/sunrise/weekend

 

 

 

Insiders 2

 

Swan as Opposition Treasurer – tax cuts question dodged, pushes responsible investment in infrastructure for next 10 years.

 

Paul Kelly agrees Rudd health policy is a big play. Howard needs climate change outcome from APEC.

 

Panel of Bolt (News), Toohey (AFR?) , Taylor (AFR)

 

All tend to agree polls have stabilised, Bolt 'over for Howard'.

 

Home page is http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/

 

 

Sunday 9

 

 

News refers to more APEC disruption.

 

Laurie Oakes with Abbott batting off Rudd health reform plan for hospitals. Sledges Rudd but Oakes counters re Mersey little in one marginal. Abbott boosts as great trial. [Scepticism high and Abbott playing with a pair of twos.] Then the interaction goes into a political abyss for Abbott:


Picture: Laurie Oakes in hushed grave tones at the reaction of Tony Abbott to serious credibility challenge, this image shows his cornered slugger punchy embattled mode, as if with equine flu (?), over Rudd health reform package, which Abbott had proposed himself but was rejected by his Cabinet and PM.

 

Shades of punching into left winger Peter Woof as a student in the 1970ies over the student association lock out.

 

 

Feature story about circle of abuse in one Aboriginal community in the NT. 

 

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

 

 


Posted by editor at 9:08 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 26 August 2007 12:28 PM NZT
Friday, 24 August 2007
Dishonest Sydney Telegraph runs interference on Rudd ALP health policy, as Iemma ALP run interference on bus pay claims?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: health


Picture: Today's press front pages in Sydney tell a story, with most including Australian Financial Review (not shown) carrying the real news prominently page 1 of a big federal ALP health policy, but the Daily Telegraph aka cartoon book go spoiler on a tangential health headline about sick bus drivers, who probably really are sick, and not joking.

Bus drivers get paid about $20 an hour we hear. We think they deserve danger money too this winter.

70 out of 300 at Ryde depot are reporting 'flu' sick leave (about 23%) says the Telegraph at their page 9 spill over from front page headline here "Sick Joke" when the rival Sydney Morning Herald reported recently 20% flu rates in some workplaces here in Sydney far less exposed to public germs. Indeed there has been an avalanche of such worrying stories here:

Don't soldier on - take a sickie and spare the city your germs ... by shrieker Miranda Devine with this image.

Public health measure ... wearing a mask in Tokyo is a sign of respect.

Public health measure ... wearing a mask in Tokyo is a sign of respect.

And here Toddler dies from flu - National - smh.com.au

and here Sydney flu epidemic kills 150 | The Daily Telegraph

So the poor old bus drivers are being smeared in a front pager, which has the very useful dual purpose if you are conservative Coalition paper of crowding out a big health/hospitals policy announcement, which could be the pivotal election winner for Kevin Rudd's federal ALP.

Meanwhile Virginnia Trioli of abc prime time 702 radio ... is off sick for a whole week now and this writer has delivered vitamin C and vegetable soup packs to our disabled buddy in the Eastern Suburbs down with the same lergie.

Have the Telegraph and stingy Iemma no shame at all?


Posted by editor at 9:08 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007 9:48 AM NZT
Thursday, 23 August 2007
Liberal Party's $1M draw back: Greens
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: health
Liberals should stop taking donations from big tobacco

23-08-07

If the Liberal Party wants to be taken seriously when discussing the
health risks of smoking, they should donate the over $1 million dollars
they've received from Phillip Morris and British American Tobacco to
cancer research, Greens Senator for New South Wales Kerry Nettle said
today outside a Liberal party fundraiser hosted by the Federal Minister
for Ageing, Christopher Pyne in Sydney.

"Christopher Pyne cannot deliver an effective 'quit smoking' message
while his party continues to accept donations from big tobacco
companies," Senator Nettle said.

"Smoking is the single greatest cause of death and disease in Australia.
According to the 2001 National Drug Strategy Household Survey  tobacco
use caused 19,000 deaths and 142,500 hospital episodes were attributed
to tobacco smoking.

"Australian Electoral Commission data shows that between 1998 & 2006 the
Liberal Party has received $697,065.00 from British American Tobacco and
$337,340.00 from Philip Morris.

"The Liberal Party should donate the over $1 million dollars they've
received from tobacco companies to cancer research," Senator Nettle
said.

"There is growing public disquiet about the millions of dollars
political parties receive to run their election campaigns particularly
tobacco companies.

"Today's $1200 a head lunch hosted by Christopher Pyne excludes all but
the top end of town from gaining access to the Howard Government",
Senator Nettle said.


Contact: Kristian Bolwell 0411638320

Posted by editor at 6:03 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007 6:35 PM NZT
BHP-Billiton on corporate welfare in South Australia: Greens
Mood:  irritated
Topic: corporates


Media Release
23rd August 2007


16.7 Billion reasons to scrap BHP Billiton special deal

Greens MLC Mark Parnell has called once again for BHP Billiton to give
up its special exemptions from state law on the back of yesterday's
extraordinary record profit announcement of $16.7 Billion.

"Why should a company that earns a staggering $16.7 Billion a year get
special deals from the people of South Australia that mean they save
money by avoiding state laws?            

"The time for special exemptions for BHP Billiton is well and truly
over.  They clearly can afford to pay their own way," he said.

Mark Parnell has a Bill before State Parliament, the Roxby Downs
(Indenture Ratification) (Application of Acts) Amendment Bill 2007 that
will remove special exemptions from the Aboriginal Heritage Act, the
Environmental Protection Act, the Freedom of Information Act and the
Natural Resources Management Act. 

"Every other developer needs to follow these laws - why does BHP
Billiton continue to get a free ride?  It's bizarre that one of the
richest companies in the world gets an easier ride when it comes to
complying with state laws than other miners and developers.

"I urge BHP Billiton to voluntarily give up these special exemptions,
and if they don't, I expect the Parliament to support my Bill to take
them away," Mr Parnell said.


For further comment contact Craig Wilkins on 0434 007 893

...........

Greenpeace in Crikey.com.au today write

7. Nice profit BHP, shame about the environment

Greenpeace energy campaigner Ben Pearson writes:

So BHP has made another bumper profit. Just released figures report a record earnings result of $US13.4 billion, $16.7 million, driven by strong sales of commodities including petroluem products and coal. The press coverage of this has largely been uncritical; a doff of the hat to Chip Goodyear, and a general feeling of contentment that BHP, and Australia, can continue to ride the unprecedented commodities boom.

 

What is missing is an analysis of what BHP’s profits mean from a climate perspective.

BHP makes money by digging up and exporting commodities like coal. Its 23 coal mines worldwide produce nearly 150 million tonnes of coal a year, and it has major expansion plans in Australia. When that coal is burnt it creates greenhouse gases that fuel climate change, the costs of which will be huge if left unchecked. Australia, in particular, will be vulnerable as a hot, dry continent, and key industries like agriculture and tourism will be devastated.

In essence, therefore, BHP’s record profits now are being made by producing and exporting products which will threaten our economic wellbeing in the future. Yet the coverage of BHP’s profits fails to make this connection and fails to ask a very basic question: if climate change is such a threat, then why is it good that BHP continues to mine and export even more coal and other climate-changing products?

 

The answer from BHP would inevitably be "we’re investing in clean coal". Rubbish. BHP is spending about $360 million on clean coal over five years, a miserly amount compared to their profits. The expenditure is designed to create the appearance of caring about climate change so it can continue to profit from fuelling it.

 

Ultimately, reportage of BHP’s profits is just another manifestation of Australia’s current holiday from history. We happily ride the commodities boom while ignoring the inevitable, and severe, consequences of our quarry mentality, and economy. Future generations will look back at us in the same way we look back at Easter Island communities and ask "what were they thinking when they chopped down the last tree?"

Send your tips to boss@crikey.com.au or submit them anonymously here.


Posted by editor at 3:49 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007 3:53 PM NZT
Akerman's Heiner foray raises questions of bipartisan failure on child protection
Mood:  sharp
Topic: election Oz 2007

Piers Akerman reckons he is onto something with two significant columns in 4 days on the scandal of child abuse in a Qld institution from back to 1990, as pictured here bottom left today's Sydney Daily Telegraph.

 

Rudd may well be in the clear according to protestions of the ALP regarding improper shredding of old Inquiry documents, or not. Certainly Rudd is busy condemning abuse by economic slave merchants treating children as utilitarian widgets in a business/religious cult here: Brethren still a cult in Rudd's book And for that we are very glad. 

To us there seems to be just as much to be sad and sorry about regarding injustice and abuse of children on the Coalition side of politics through unspent Aboriginal welfare budget in a series running in the Herald (top left). We know of the broken election promise to fund the Cape York Land Use Agreement as one egregious example by Howard in 1996 (a promise made and broken again in 1998 by Minister Robert Hill).

Then there are questions alleging sinister behaviour in society generally (front page story Herald top right).

And perhaps the biggest child welfare issue of all is threat to a healthy environment which News Ltd are tuning into as per bottom right hand side full pager above in the press today too, as well as the former investment banker mother, climate change activist on abc talk back this morning.


Posted by editor at 12:51 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007 2:08 PM NZT

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