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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 2 February 2007
VP Cheney visiting aircraft carrier USS Australia to firm up nuke weapon silos?
Mood:  blue
Topic: nuke threats

SAM has been reporting China's massive economic dependence on Iranian oil, and China's not very coincidental awesome demonstration of ability to knock USA military satellites out of the sky, which would be necessary for the USA to effectively menace or even politically annexe Iran as it has other Middle East states.

VP Cheney who is visiting here in the next month (refer below), was quoted a few days ago in the major press regarding USS Stenner aircraft carrier steaming into the Persian gulf as 'evidence' of the US intent to curb Iran's influence in Iraq. This reads like putting a brave face on China's frightening warning to back off their oil investment in Iran, that is, to physically stay out of Iran itself.

Now all the chatter in the Big Media is not about military strikes on Iran's dual use peace/weapon nuke research and development sites but a new vicious cold war 'shoot to kill' policy for any 'Iranian agents' found in Iraq, which is after all a neighbour to the war torn country with sympathy over religion and ethnicity.

This reads like something of a tantrum by Secretary of Defence Gates and the US military industrial complex after the China 'test' for being blocked in their escalation agendas against Iran by the next biggest (mostly soft but also hard military) power on the planet .

If these massive geo political players can't fool little old SAM website here about this full on power struggle over US/Iranian influence in the Middle East and its oil resouce or relations with Israel they are not fooling most other serious observers.

Further this scary unstable reality feeds into little old Australia. Paul Dibb ex ASIO for 25 years, now ANU academic, in The Australian newspaper recently reported his 1976 research 'proving' Australia was a nuke target priority of the Soviets back then.

Australia today is surely in the nuke geo politik strategic balance. There was a rumour that US Secretary of State Rice and Australian PM Howard talked about 10 or 15 nuke silos in Australia last June 2006. It's a logical suggestion. We have US military communications sites at Pine Gap, North West and some others from memory. We have Dibb's advice back to 1976, and now we have strategic movement in all of the East Asia: Japan, let alone South Korea, debating nuke weapon deterence on North Korea. Taiwan with nuke power similarly vis a vis China menaces of their democracy. Indonesia, a huge Islamic country, seeking nuke power capacity which again is dual use by 2015 (only 8 years from now), earthquake zone notwithstanding. Iran arming up nuke wise vis a vis Israel already 2nd or 3rd in the world nuke weapon capacity.

Anyone who thinks either the United States Govt or the Australian Govt is not looking at nuke weapons here as part of their global network of super power control has not been paying attention. And Cheney's visit is surely not for holiday talk. World scale politicians like Cheney are not like that. They visit to do serious things.

More here: http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/cheney-to-visit-australia/2007/01/30/1169919313080.html

including these quotes:

"A statement issued by the White House said Mr Cheney would travel to Australia and Japan during the week starting February 19.

"He will meet with (Japanese) Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and (Australian) Prime Minister John Howard to discuss issues of mutual interest including Asian security and the global war on terror," it said....

"Mr Howard later confirmed that Mr Cheney would visit Australia from February 22 to 27.

"The Australia-US alliance is of enduring importance to both countries and makes a significant contribution to international security," the prime minister said in a statement.

"Australia and the United States continue to work together toward our common goals.

"We are cooperating closely to fight terrorism, address global environmental challenges and enhance energy security, prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and promote an open international economic order."

Mr Howard said the visit would be an important opportunity to reinforce the strong bilateral relationship between the United States and Australia.

"(It will allow us) to consult on major international issues such as regional security challenges, Afghanistan, Iraq and the war against terrorism," he said."

Posted by editor at 7:48 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 8:02 AM EADT
Germany closing down it's coal industry: The Times
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: globalWarming

The local Australian newspaper quietly reports this massively significant news story yesterday February 1st 2007 in its World section, sourced to The Times in the UK, which relates directly to Australia's problem with our own huge greenhouse generating white elephant coal sector. Not least in NSW the Anvil Hill coal project which is an issue playing in marginal seats like Marrickville and Balmain in Sydney.

Here is the full story for its historic value:

Germany to bury its coal industry

THE coalmines of Germany were condemned to death yesterday when Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to end state subsidies for the industry.

The decision to end the payment of E2.5 billion ($4.2 billion) a year of taxpayers' money will wipe out 37,000 jobs at the nation's eight surviving pits. It effectively shuts down what was once Germany's most powerful industry, providing jobs for 500,000 workers and exerting huge influence on policy.

The threat of industrial action, and even a national stoppage similar to the miners' strike that blighted the early years of the Thatcher government in Britain, has been averted. Ms Merkel's coalition Government secured the reluctant support of unions by agreeing to direct part of the subsidies into creating jobs in the worst-hit regions of Saarland and North Rhine-Westphalia.

The scheme will not be fully implemented until 2018, and can be reviewed in 2012 in light of conditions in the European energy market.

"No miner need be scared he is about to be dumped on the street," Economics Minister Michael Glos said, revealing some of the Government's nervousness over the issue.

The miners appeared beaten yesterday, faced with the stark reality of cheaper imported coal. The cost of production in Germany is three times higher than in China or Australia.

"They seem to be deeply resigned to their fate," said Thomas Hunsteger-Petermann, Mayor of Hamm in the Ruhr coalmining belt.

"None of us can understand why domestic coal is being eliminated from our national energy mix."

A spokesman for the German Trade Union Federation said: "These closures could lead to an erosion of the labour market from which the Saarland will never recover."

Ms Merkel's decision to end coal subsidies was supported by the two main factions in her "grand coalition" Government, comprising the Chancellor's Christian Democrats and their Social Democrat partners.

Many union members feel a sense of betrayal at the way the Social Democrats, who have traditionally drawn support from mining communities, failed to defend the state subsidies for coal. The fallout from the decision is likely to weigh on the next round of pay talks, with unions demanding the Social Democrats live up to their left-wing heritage and break ranks with Ms Merkel to demand a generous inflation-busting wages settlement for 2007.

That means not surrendering ground on demands for a minimum wage. The unions want E7.5 an hour to be paid to all workers in all industries, which would entail a pay rise for about five million workers. In the EU, only Germany and Cyprus have no minimum wage, and Ms Merkel, intent on being business-friendly, has always resisted the measure.

Figures released by the German Federal Statistics Office showed last year's pay rises had been almost entirely offset by inflation. The discontent over the pit closures may thus gain a sharper edge when the next wage round begins.

The Times

From http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21151238-2703,00.html

Posted by editor at 7:36 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 8:03 AM EADT
Thursday, 1 February 2007
Iemma, Garrett, and 'mate' Angel spin an exclusive climate googly at Howard government in his favourite newspaper
Mood:  loud
Topic: globalWarming

On the PM show last night Peter Garrett as Shadow Minister gave a somewhat waffly interview to hard head Chris Uhlmann here:




leaning on the front page story on climate change story in the Sydney Daily Telegraph lifting out to another 2 page spread with colourful graphics:


PETER GARRETT: Well look, just think about where we would be if John Howard had done something about greenhouse gas emissions 10 years ago. I mean, the front page of The Daily Telegraph today …”


 The PM show ran the same story from the Daily Telegraph just prior


But the city's been given a dire warning about the impact of climate change on its future from the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation).

It's a report commissioned by the New South Wales Government. The study predicts temperature rises of up to five degrees, and a decrease in rainfall of up to 40 per cent, over the next 70 years.”




Premier Iemma is quoted about this “doomsday” scenario and their seems little doubt the whole exercise was aimed at hurting the Howard federal government, widely viewed as a failure on this policy area, having been a repackaged CSIRO 2004 report trimmed to focus on Sydney’s future and released by Iemma’s office.


Not only hurt Howard perhaps but marginalise the attack being worked on by the Herald using the Angel TEC research:


Water crisis plan sinks in red tape



But today the Tele rival Sydney Morning Herald is very not amused  for being trumped yesterday


Climate data fit for recycling

THE State Government's green credentials were under scrutiny yesterday after it was caught out recycling 2004 data on climate change and was forced to admit its own agencies were too slow to make water savings.


And here


Analysis: All hot air: Iemma's reign of hypocrisy


And here


Editorial: In a spin over climate change


Hell hath no fury like a newspaper scorned for their rival.


But it also echoes the lengthy story we wrote yesterday about one Jeff Angel who similarly ran on abc 702 radio news bulletins both early and late though curiously not in the middle, boosting the message that ‘politicians have to start behaving themselves’ in light of the CSIRO report. That story here on SAM


Angelic greenwashing of water guzzling cyanide gold mine at Lake Cowal posted 31st January 2007


goes on to analyse the very ALP NSW Govt friendly history of Angel in the past around the Lake Cowal gold mine for one, and many parallel green concerns, particularly while Carr was Premier.


This has to be balanced against Angel’s attacks on the Iemma government in the Herald yesterday for their water inefficiency and their policy of long wall underground mining for coal on abc radio.


Perhaps Peter Garrett is effectively the pro ALP brand greenie now who can defend or neutralise anything Angel serves up at least in PR terms, The Green Party have annexed the role of powerful honest brokers and the ALP know it, and thus Angel is finally losing his protection racket modus operandi.


Perhpas Angel is only left now with actually building public support if he can for a position like Milo Dunphy always did, not just co opt others campaign work burning them in the process  in order to draw down government sinecures? Which calls up why did he take the wrong path originally? Was it for being stuck in the shadow of a giant like Milo Dunphy who took pollies head on, or genuine lack of ability? Time will tell.


Postscript #1


And as angry as the Herald is for being cut out of the CSIRO report story exclusive attacking Howard, this report today in conservative The Australian by Mike Steketee, is also very negative but not very persuasive, and virtually concedes the election to Iemma regardless 

"Mike Steketee: Iemma's banana republic

01 February 2007

IF you were writing a script for how to get in trouble in the run-up to an election, you simply could not go past NSW. It has the lot, including a child sex scandal, a flagging economy and the fallout from the Government's long neglect of capital spending in areas such as water and public transport. ...

The Iemma Government is not mainly to blame for the NSW economy lagging behind the rest of the nation. Rising interest rates have hit the housing market harder in Sydney and the resources boom is sucking jobs and investment interstate. But a government prepared to scare off investors for short-term political gain does not help.

The state election will not hang on this issue, particularly because the Opposition is even more irresponsible. So large is the Government's electoral margin, so powerful the benefits of incumbency and so discredited the Opposition that the Government on present indications will be returned with a reduced majority. But the ramifications of its behaviour are much more serious and longer lasting than any of the issues on which voters will be asked to exercise their choice.

Mike Steketee is The Australian's national affairs editor."

Postscript #1

An amusing article ran bottom left of page 4 of Daily Telegraph the following day 2nd Feb 07: "Scoopful of sour grapes"

"Having been scooped again on a major exclusive, The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday resorted to lying to deflect its failure to cover the CSIRO climate change report. The Daily Telegraph beat its rival on Wednesday with a page 1 exclusive on the CSIRO report commissioned  by the State Government. To cover its embarrassment at being beaten, The SMH wrongly claimed the report was old."

They similarly quote Premier Iemma accussing the SMH of "petty jealousy".

Posted by editor at 8:56 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 8:20 AM EADT
Big Brother Feds oppressing ngo dissent, just like Little Brother NSW govt?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: election Oz 2007

The well written and idealistic comment piece by Sarah Maddison and Clive Hamilton  January 27, 2007 which leads in with


"Many welfare organisations have discovered that criticising policy is unacceptable to this Government"


was a good read, and mostly true to this writer with some 15 years in the non government group sector. It was circulated to us by environmentalist David Lockwood. The article is here:


The repression of the bleeding hearts


One comment regarding the complexity of the situation from this ngo minnow with no govt funding: The NSW ALP govt does the same thing.


Clive Hamilton is on the happy side of that favouritism as regards state largesse. Ex Premier Carr is on his Climate Institute and was cued to launch his sustainability book in 2005 at Parliament House in Macquarie St while as Premier overseeing woodchipping of a million tonnes of natural forest per year in breach of an election promise made in 1995.


Clive didn't see the inconsistency of that and wrote to me to the effect of 'You have a chip on your shoulder'. Which of course is true too regarding that issue.


A case in point was defunding of the 'NSW Ethnic Communities Council' as a way of conservative Carr addressing the momentum of the One Nation challenge to right wing voters. The other case in point is sidelining the far more representative and bigger membership The Wilderness Society versus the 700 size Total Environment Centre which was far more compliant to the then Carr govt as


"the greenest premier in the history of Australia"


to quote Jeff Angel in late 2002 in the Sydney Morning Herald prior to the March 2003 vote. That was an outrageous pre emption of the green movement in an election cycle.


Conclusion: Both major parties are corrupt when they can get away with it as regards robust discipline of critical comment by the NGO sector.


The difference is that the Howard Govt are bigger and have been there the longest and thus are most guilty of oppressing non govt groups.


Postscript #1 5th Feb 2007


And the Establishment chill, possibly via Howard Govt contacts in business, against Clive Hamilton's Australia Institute is in this article following, while noting the legal timing of the court action reported is back in November 2006 is before this latest book of Maddison and Hamilton about 'Silencing Dissent' in early 2007:


DJs sues over child exploitation claims

Images from David Jones kids summer catalogue ADELE HORIN | David Jones is suing the Australia Institute over claims the giant retailer's advertising sexually exploited children.

Posted by editor at 7:59 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 6 February 2007 7:26 AM EADT
SAM news blog clocks 2800 hits first month, Sydney Indy Media back online too
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: independent media

We are fairly happy with our Sydney Alternative Media website as we lead into the NSW and federal elections, and gather together the strands of news value from diverse social contacts here in Oz, but also Aussies scattered by the global wind to Canada and South Korea.

It was intended to substitute for http://sydney.indymedia.org/ which went offline for maintenance and upgrade for about 6 weeks, and is now thankfully back up in the last few days.

This calls up the role of blogging news and how it can relate to collectivist and much more public interactive official indymedia sites like SIM and say alternative news media blogs like SAM. My feeling the greater editorial control of a blog can raise the quality of a read while SIM provides a genuinely well known and globally connected  brand for public access to get that critical news story into the community.

Also blogs are generally hosted by blog companies and therefore subject to that control while indymedia have greater stand alone technical capacity and multiple redundancy built in if ever there was a censorship agenda against bloggers per se.

2,800 hits for SAM in just under a month is nothing earth shaking but enough to feel okay about, and worth pursuing. This level of interest is in January which is supposed to be a quiet time though this year is not so typical with 2 big elections marching on with NSW March 24th and federal election perhaps in November 2007.

The trend in daily reads seems to be increasing too with 179 for the last day. Lastly we have noticed our language and even content turning up either as a direct or indirect echo or perhaps parallel evolution in some high profile columnist articles, one distinctly centre left, another on the right. We won't embarrass them by mentioning who.

Our material is for open use and is meant to be borrowed, recycled and reused. It's free, and no need for attribution either. It really is free, and that's the owner and editor speaking.

Posted by editor at 6:39 AM EADT
India's President calls for public feedback on solution to terrorism via yahoo blog
Mood:  crushed out
Topic: peace

Our man in South Korea Jarrah Keenan, with plenty of reason to ponder the question of peace south of the DMZ there, sends this intriguing message about a Gandhi style internet based process to find the solution to terrorism:

Howdy Tom! I thought this question on Yahoo! Answers might be interesting to you.

any chance of adding this to SAM and MIM? it's really very thought provoking - global democracy in action!!!

What should we do to free our planet from terrorism?


Posted by editor at 6:18 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 1 February 2007 7:05 AM EADT
Energy lobby still in thrall to fossil fool greenhouse mafia says Milne
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: globalWarming

As the 7.30 Report last night ran this

Australia ignoring solar power, says pioneer

Australia's leading solar power innovator leaves the country tomorrow, frustrated because he believes this country cannot see past its rich coal and uranium reserves, and recognise that the sun is Australia's richest energy resource of all.

in effect a profoundly depressing coverage of groundbreaking solar energy technology going to China, Europe and the USA out of Australia to help save our planet, to strains of denial of Industry Minister McFarlane and to this ear a sound of voters rushing for the door, Senator Milne of the Greens below identifies where the Howard government, and the energy sector here have gone so horribly wrong. And she is right.

It is a depressing and very frightening manifestation of an earlier profound report on ABC flagship 4 Corners about an insiders club 'greenhouse mafia' here:

The Greenhouse Mafia

Reporter: Janine Cohen Broadcast: 13/02/2006

Four Corners returns for 2006 with a whistleblower … and revelations of a powerful insiders’ club...

"Having found out what I’ve found out, I find it impossible to continue with a clear conscience without speaking out" - whistleblower interviewed by Four Corners.

Are Australians getting the whole truth on global warming?

Not according to evidence given to Four Corners, which returns with disturbing allegations about the power wielded by industry lobbyists, the self-proclaimed greenhouse "mafia". http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2006/s1566257.htm

Over to Senator Milne .... 


Wednesday, 31 January 2007

No time to delay climate action - Howard must price carbon now

Australia cannot afford to wait for experimental technology to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and advocates of this 'wait-and-see' approach
are risking catastrophic climate change, the Australian Greens said

Greens climate change and energy spokesperson Senator Christine Milne
said a report commissioned by the Energy Supply Association of Australia
(ESAA) was self-serving, arguing for the nation to put its hopes in
carbon capture and storage, and ignoring the potential gains from energy

"It is in the interests of the fossil fuel industry to claim that
renewable energy and energy efficiency are no solution to climate change
and that we must rely instead on an experimental and costly technology,"
Senator Milne said.

"The ESAA should be advocating improving energy efficiency and demand
reduction - the quickest and cheapest way to reduce emissions - but of
course this in not in their members' short-term financial interest.

"The Howard government has deliberately refused to review the scope of
renewable energy and energy efficiency to meet deep greenhouse reduction
targets, instead directing all its efforts at 'clean coal' and nuclear
power, which it favours.

"This policy failure has driven renewable energy technologies like solar
thermal power company Solar Heat and Power offshore where it is
recognised that solar thermal power is a probable replacement for coal,
nuclear and oil.

"The urgency of action on climate change is reinforced with the release
today of a CSIRO report on the likely impacts for NSW. The forecasts are

"Australians have a right to be angry with their governments for
continuing to prop-up polluting energy interests and failing to treat
climate change with the urgency it demands.

"We need a national effort, starting with the federal government setting
a national greenhouse reduction target, introducing an emissions trading
scheme and a carbon tax on transport fuels, a higher mandatory renewable
energy target and investment in public transport."

Posted by editor at 5:52 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 8:06 AM EADT
Kaye exposes slashing of education programme for western Sydney teens
Mood:  irritated
Topic: election nsw 2007

As the Sydney Daily Telegraph education reporter Maralyn Parker notes the "arrogant" and "complacent" attitude of Minister Carmel Tebbutt, who is also MP for marginal seat of Marrickville in an article yesterday

Voters can count, too

Greens aspirant and favourite of the Teachers union, Dr John Kaye, slams the education policy of the ALP on their own credentials of social equity, and he does look to have a very sound point:

Struggling teenagers in Western Sydney getting a raw deal

Media Release - 31 January 2007

The Greens today called on the Iemma government to reverse its
appalling decision to dismantle a number of highly successful
educational programs targeted at disadvantaged young people in
Western Sydney.

Greens Education spokesman and Upper House candidate John Kaye,
said  "Youth Outreach, Chifley Centre Programs and volunteer tutors
with TAFE have contributed to keeping young people in school who
would otherwise drop out.

"It is a disgrace that these valuable and highly effective programs
are being sacrificed, when the 63 wealthiest private schools continue
to receive $59.6 million each year from the state government.

"These programs support young people who are not going to school, by
employing youth workers who are able to liaise between school and young people.

"Each of these programs is a triumph for good practice in public
education that deserves the full support of the Iemma Government.
Long term, sustainable funding for these programs is a start to
making sure the most disadvantage young people get the help they need
to stay at school.

"These cuts are a short sighted approach to education and will strike
hard at young people who are finding life tough. The Greens are
committed to making sure that all young people have the best start in life.

"The Greens are also concerned that funding for Plumpton Babies is
inadequate and may have been reduced. This program allows school aged
mothers to bring their babies to school while continuing their education.

"There couldn't be a more stark contrast. Youth Outreach programs
cancelled while SCEGGS Redlands gets $1.3 million a year from the
state government. Chifley Centre and TAFE tutor training programs
de-funded while Trinity Grammar gets $1.7 million a year.

"If Labor is serious about addressing the welfare needs of students
in the West and South West of Sydney, they will take on the wealthy
private school lobby and free up the funds needed to continue these
important programs.

"The money is there. It is the political will in Macquarie St that is
missing," Dr Kaye said.

Posted by editor at 5:40 AM EADT
ASIO got it wrong with Nauru detainee says Nettle
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: human rights

[media release follows]

Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Greens Welcome release of Nauru detainee

Greens Senator Kerry Nettle today welcomed the release of detainee
Muhammad Faisal from detention after five years.

"The release of Muhammad Faisal, following a fresh security assessment
by ASIO, raises serious questions about the accuracy of ASIO
assessments," Senator Nettle said.

"This man's life has been ruined and his mental health destroyed because
ASIO got it wrong. What could possible have changed about Mr Faisal's
security status during five years detention in Nauru," asked Senator

"Asylum seekers' claims should be assessed on their need to for
protection, not on a secret, bogus security assessment."

"After visiting him last year, I'm thrilled that Muhammad will be able
to live in the community. It's a shame for his mental health and
Australia that it is five years too late," Senator Nettle said.

Posted by editor at 5:36 AM EADT
Air quality crusader takes the final journey: Charles William Briers RIP
Mood:  sad
Topic: ecology

We received this email below from Charles' email sender address late last night. We published in full his latest RAPS newsletter only days ago, and met him a few times at his place in Earlwood just over the hill from the Turrella M5 East toxic pollution stack.

His last Residents Against Polluting Stacks newsletter is here on SAM at:

Wednesday, 24 January 2007
Iemma spinning portal toxic emissions from M5 to fit election timetable: RAPS
Mood:  rushed
Topic: ecology

[received 23rd January 2007]

Charles, Rest In Peace, cobber. You ran the good race right to the end. No one can do better than that. You will be sorely missed:

Charles Briers passed away earlier this week.  He had been battling various
complications of Parkinson's disease.

Our heartfelt thank you's to all who have sent messages of condolence and

Charles' funeral will be held at 10am this Friday at the South Chapel,
Crematorium, Linden Street, Sutherland, NSW :

Please come along and celebrate the life and love of a truly good man.

Donations in lieu of flowers to Parkinson's Australia.

Thank you.

Gina Briers and family
31 January 2007.

Posted by editor at 5:17 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 1 February 2007 5:30 AM EADT

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