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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 7 December 2007
Split in NSW green movement in 2000 prefaces Lane Cove River rail crossing 'debacle'
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: nsw govt


The Daily Telegraph have gone the near fatal blowtorch on the NSW ALP govt:


End of the line for Morris

EXCLUSIVE: THE $2bn Epping to Chatswood underground rail link has been bungled. It is the Iemma Government's latest disaster - will it be its last?

89 comment(s) about this story

But one should be a little sceptical who specifically caused this particular stuff up as the fatal decision to tunnel rather than bridge the Lane Cove River was championed by one narrow faction of the green movement we came to know back then as "the urban bushland mafia". We understand it was this faction with excellent local Liberal Party connections who eventually got the ear of the Carr govt who in the end went for 'a shallow' (versus 'a deep') tunnel, when the great majority of the greens preferred 14 metre high bridge option for greater mass transit utility (more stations, design concerns).

We are advised this was a 'bridge too far' for the silvertails in Lane Cove (green or otherwise) who didn't want more busy viable train stations accessible to snot nosed westie students amongst other more ethical concerns of disruption to bushland and noise.

This writer loves urban bushland. We really do. But because they are small areas we accept as a trained ecologist that these have remnant amenity and aesthetic rather than major conservation importance - by contrast with say large intact (Indigenous) wilderness/world heritage quality national parks. In this case it was a balance between air pollution and remnant bush.

So when it came to the planning of the Epping to Chatswood rail line to expand mass transit (in the badly congested Sydney urban context) we considered 8 years back the loss of maybe 200 square metres of bush for the sake of an extra railway station/bridge over, not under, Lane Cove River as ethically jusitifiable.

At the time we were an organiser and natural areas campaigner for Friends of the Earth Sydney. We were receiving faithful reports from our long time (eccentric?) transport colleague Ted Floyd, who typically was outraged at the urban bushland mafia controlling the agenda for the whole enviornment movement in Sydney, ie by Dr Judy Messer as long time Chair of the Nature Conservation Council and also appointee to Sydney Water Board by the Carr Govt.

We spoke to Floyd again this morning and he confirms he got out of transport policy because it was "all too hard" so he went on to something 'easy' like drought and urban water policy.

Oh how the chickens have come home to roost now for Messer and her ilk pictured above receiving the Vincent Serventy Conservation Medal of 2000 (pdf here). But not because of Friends of the Earth Sydney our erstwhile green group, or the sustainable transport lobby or even the Green Party. We all got done over by the 'urban bushland mafia' only to read about it today in the press, and how. Ouch.

Indeed that wasn't the plan back in 2000 in the NSW Parliament Upper House or the view of the main weight of the green lobby like this submission. They were definitely for a bridge over the Lane Cover River for many good mass transit reasons as you can read below in Hansard and the Carr govt agreed with us to begin with.

As late as 26 April 2001 the bridge option was still being reported as the official one.  But the urban bushland mafia were still on the case, and to be fair this was their right in the normal Environmental Impact Assessment and submission process. Floyd refers to some kind of Carr Govt so called  'win-win' resolution in 2001 with a shallower tunnel cut and cover through the river.  Then Holroyd Council reported by August 2001 the shallow tunnel was in the official development plan and by 23 August 2001 InfoLink architecture trade newsletter confirms it. But even the peak National Parks Association, normally a great ally of the urban bushalnd mafia, back on 23 August 2001 seemed to think tunnelling at Lane Cove River was a wrong and dumb approach.. The controversy infested their own journal letters page too including a local council leafleting campaign to their 5,000 odd members.

The unexpected consequences of the bridge option being lowered to a cut and cover option started as early as 4th Sept 2001 according to a local MP for Roseville area. Shallow enough as well to impact one resident with cracks and subsidence issues in one spot along the corridor.

Here is some NSW Hansard of 30 May 2000 which is MOST illuminating , bold added for emphasis, and keep in mind this was all in the context of draining and desperate losing campaigns against the M2 and Eastern Distributor motorways, so most of the democratic base of the green movement wanted a mass transit win ..... badly (this writer was arrested on both campaigns 1995, 1997):

The Hon. R. S. L. JONES [5.15 p.m.]: The bill will amend the Transport Administration Act, the National Parks and Wildlife Act, the Public Works Act, the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and the Heritage Act in order to provide for the development of the Parramatta rail link. The bill enables land within the Parramatta Regional Park and the Lane Cove River National Park to be acquired for the development; confirms that the Public Works Act applies to the development; excludes the development from the provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act which relate to the liability of private certifiers; allows approval under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and the Heritage Act to proceed concurrently; confirms that no compensation is payable for the construction and use of the tunnel, underground stations and platforms if the surface is not disturbed; and protects underground rail facilities from interference or damage.

It has been a long time coming, but finally the Government has produced a sound transport infrastructure and initiative that I and many public transport, conservation and resident groups applaud. Those groups include Action for Public Transport, Eco-Transit Sydney, Coalition for Transport Action Groups, Blue Mountains Commuters and Transport Users Association, Ryde-Hunters Hill Flora and Fauna Preservation Society, Bundara Bushcare Group, Blue Mountains Conservation Society, North Ryde Residents Group, New South Wales Urban Environment Coalition and Friends of the Earth. They all support the project.

Other members and I have received numerous letters of support for the project from individuals and families who live or have lived in or close to the Lane Cove Valley. I have also received a number of emails and representations from groups that are very much opposed to the alienation of any land from Lane Cove River National Park, and that is entirely understandable. The $1.4 billion Parramatta to Chatswood rail link, which will cover 27 kilometres and have five new stations, will be the largest railway line built in Sydney since the Blacktown to Richmond line in 1864. Seven existing stations on the Carlingford and western Sydney lines will also be upgraded during the project. The new double-track line will travel from Westmead through Parramatta, Carlingford, Epping and Macquarie University to Chatswood and St Leonards. It will offer great travel benefits to the residents of the western suburbs and other areas, including the Carlingford region, North Ryde, the Central Coast and the North Shore.

While concerns about the impact of the project on Lane Cove River National Park have not been addressed entirely through alterations to the plans, the Government has proposed a course of action that will ensure minimal loss of land and the addition of other land as a trade-off. I understand that this trade-off is not satisfactory to many residents and conservationists—and I fully understand why as I have passed through the area many times and was reminded of it today when shown photographs. Following discussions with Peter Katz and Bill Grant of the Parramatta rail link project, I understand that, while 1.9 hectares of park land must be acquired for the construction of the Parramatta rail link, only a small proportion of that land will be required permanently for the operation of the link. Any land excised that is not required permanently will be restored and returned to the park. The Government will also add to the park approximately a further 2.8 hectares of land at Brown's Waterhole, which featured in a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald.  .....

These additions to the park also ensure that the precedent set for similar or other intrusions into national parks in New South Wales is one of no net loss—that is, any intrusions must be mitigated with compensatory additions. It is understandable that many people are upset about the idea of losing this precious little piece of the park, which includes some important rock structures. In fact, the precedent set by this project goes further: not only will there be no net loss of land within the park as a result of the link, but the park will actually be larger. Although that is true, the same result could have been achieved without any net loss to the park at all.

While I understand that some residents would have preferred scrapping the planned 14-metre railway bridge through the edge of the park in favour of a tunnel, I understand also that such modifications would have severely reduced the public transport benefits of the project. Others oppose that view. The tunnel option would require building a tunnel under the Lane Cove River. It would also require 800 metres more track and eliminate the proposed stations at Delhi Road and the University of Technology, Sydney [UTS] Kuring-gai campus.

The maximum gradient at which rail track can be built is a grade of three in 100. Therefore, railway lines can rise and fall at a rate of only 3 per cent. The combination of the depth of the tunnel required to get under the river and the maximum rail gradient mean that the proposed stations at Delhi Road and UTS Kuring-gai would have to be constructed at a depth too great for safety. In the event of an emergency, platforms have to be cleared in four minutes and everyone must be able to reach a safe location within six minutes using fire stairs, not escalators. According to our information, this would not be possible at stations that are 50 to 75 metres underground.

The removal of the Delhi Road and UTS Kuring-gai stations would serve to take an expected 10,000 train passenger movements from the line each day, many of which would replace car trips. That is up to 3.5 million train trips per year. Abandoning the two stations because of the depth of the tunnel would also mean that a third of the 27 kilometres of line would be underground without stations. The tunnel option also places a constraint on the operating capacity of the railway as it is considered undesirable to have more than three trains in a single segment of tunnel, however long. Operational safety protocols also allow up to three trains only in a tunnel section at any time as it is not considered safe to bank up more trains in a long tunnel section. The bridge option, on the other hand, splits the underground train line into two sections and would, as a result, accommodate twice as many trains and lead to speedier recovery from delays. The bridge option would also be less intensive due to the shallower gradients and shorter distance, and it would have no operating costs. ....

The Hon. Dr A. CHESTERFIELD-EVANS: ... The issue that has caused the most controversy is the crossing of the national park. I have received 66 letters, 25 emails, and submissions from Helen Fern, David Robinson, Caron Morrison and Jim Donovan of Action for Public Transport, among others.

The crossing of Lane Cove River National Park by a low-level bridge, which is the favoured option in the departmental material, has the advantage of requiring the least construction and the lowest gradients. Another advantage is that commuters will have a view, albeit fleetingly, of the park. As the Hon. R. S. L. Jones said, there is the important aspect of improved safety for trains because of access to the bottom of the tunnel. A newspaper article the Sunday before last reported that the Greens made a deal to support this option in return for saving Browns Waterhole. Labor people have quietly murmured to me that Browns Waterhole was already going to be incorporated in the park, but it was smart to get the Greens vote. I am not able to comment on the rights or wrongs of that; I merely note it in passing. ....

I received a submission from Caron Morrison, who has studied this matter for some considerable time and has been an activist, particularly for the Lane Cove River National Park. Her submission on this matter is significant. It states:

There is a real merit in the argument that the rail line should proceed to St Leonards, rather than to Chatswood. Unfortunately the M2 contract, signed by Bruce Baird several years ago makes consideration of this route extremely difficult. The M2 contract contains a clause which requires the State Government to financially compensate the Motorway operators if the patronage levels are affected by alternative transport in the area of M2 influence. This can be either private roads or public transport, and is referred to as an "adverse material impact". I have a good reason to believe that the State Government has received legal advice that, because the St Leonards route more closely parallels the M2 than the Chatswood route, this option could become extremely expensive for the State as a whole. Once again, we see that the M2 involved much more than the destruction of bushland and communities.

.....If the route is set by such a constraint, the option of building a bridge is probably the lesser of a number of possible evils. ....

I quote from Caron Morrison, who deals with this humbug extremely well. Although she may be in this House tonight, she does not normally write about this House as we do not get that much publicity. She said: 

    Mrs Chikarovski and Mr O'Farrell appear to be attempting to present themselves as Parliamentary "guardians" of the Lane Cove Valley. This makes me deeply unhappy. These two individuals have had plenty of opportunities to protect the bushland of the Lane Cove River and its tributaries. When the M2 issue was being hotly contested, and constructed, Mrs Chikarovski was fighting for preselection in Lane Cove, and when in government was a staunch supporter of Bruce Baird, Minister for Roads. Mr O'Farrell was Bruce Baird's Chief of Staff. Many of us tried, and failed, to protect the Valley, but none of us were as well placed as Mrs Chikarovski and Mr O'Farrell. Why didn't they protect the Valley when they could?......

Caron Morrison continued: 

    Peta Seaton, the Opposition Environment Spokesperson, issued a press release on May 26 saying that Labor and the Greens had "sentenced thousands of road users to decades of future road transport problems". That is arrant nonsense. I could easily accuse Bruce Baird and the M2, or even Laurie Brereton and the Harbour Tunnel of that particular sin, but I cannot say that Peta Seaton's argument has any validity at all. When Ms Seaton says that "Bob Carr is treating national parks as vacant construction space", I can only say that I wish she had been there when the Devlins and Terry's Creek bushland was being cleared for the M2.

Caron Morrison went on to say: 

    I am also worried by the Opposition's insistence that this rail line was their idea. That is certainly not my interpretation of events. I distinctly recall being contacted by several large engineering firms, including Barclay Mowlem, Abigroup and Ove Arup, in the very early 1990s, when they were canvassing community support for the then-called Macquarie Rail Line (Chatswood-Parramatta). Over time, and with a number of other people, I attended several meetings to discuss this proposal, only to see them lose interest after they formally approached the Fahey Government. I formed the impression that the Government had asked them to delay their interest until after it had the M2 up and running. It may be my imagination, but at the time it seemed that reducing its interest in the Macquarie Rail Line was beneficial to Abigroup who now has a major interest in the M2 consortium. It cannot be disputed that the construction of this rail line was part of the Fahey Government's 1995 campaign platform, but it was there as a result of a concerted community and corporate campaign. It was there to defuse community anger and concern over the M2, not because they genuinely had the communities' interests at heart.

That is merely one activist's opinion [very trusted expert, SAM editor] , but it is nice to talk to someone who was there at the time. The Opposition is strident in its saving of a tiny bit of park when it puts a motorway through a huge slab of it. I need to be persuaded that the rail link has to go across the park. If it cannot go along the Epping Road route for either technical or contractual reasons related to the M2, then that is the best option. ....

The construction of the bridge should include noise-mitigation engineering, similar to that used under the Tivoli Theatre. I understand that trains can run on rubber tracks to reduce their noise. It cannot be disputed that the proposed route damages the park, but we may not be able to use Epping Road, even though it would be preferable from the point of view of workers along Lane Cove Road, the residents of Lane Cove, the high density housing along Lane Cove Road, and the industrial areas of south Artarmon and along Epping Road.

The Hon. HELEN SHAM-HO .... The Guardians of Lane Cove River National Park also stated that a "patronage demand study" from an unspecified source revealed that 2,600 people would commute daily to UTS in 2021. This figure is questionable in the extreme. Estimates by Action for Public Transport suggest that commuters using the UTS station alone will make about 10,000 to 12,000 trips per day. While we cannot look into a crystal ball to see whose prophecies about patronage will come true, I remind honourable members that the campus at UTS has about 5,000 students. If we consider also the number of local residents who would be likely to use the station, I suggest that Action for Public Transport's prediction is more likely.

Another inconsistency within the presentation by Guardians of Lane Cove National Park was that, on one hand, it stated that UTS Kuring-gai is situated in "a remote area of bushland" but, on the other hand, it alleged the campus is already well serviced by public transport. ...In the past week I have been inundated with letters, emails and faxes about the impact of the proposed bridge in Lane Cove River National Park. Community groups including the Blue Mountains Conservation Society Inc., North Ryde Residents Group, Bundara Bushcare Group, New South Wales Urban Environment Coalition and Eco-Transit Sydney support the existing rail link proposal. Other groups including the Fullers Bridge Residents Association, the Environmental Liaison Office, Willoughby Environmental Protection Association, Guardians of Lane Cove National Park, West Lindfield-Killara Residents Group and West Killara Residents Action Group have sent me letters arguing against the bill.

As in any similar situation in which railways are being built there is considerable criticism from the residents who do not want the project in their backyard, including, in this case, the Leader of the Opposition, Mrs Kerry Chikarovski. On the other hand, through the newspapers and the briefing I received from the Parramatta Rail Link Project Director and other concerned parties, I have been informed that the area affected is not pristine bushland. Indeed, the area in which the bridge is to be constructed was a vineyard, an orchard and a rifle range before its present incarnation as part of the park. Some opponents of the bridge suggest that the tunnel should be built. To build a tunnel under the Lane Cove River, it would be necessary to dig in the rock beneath the river at a considerable depth so as to penetrate under the problematic soils and rocks.

I was advised that this alternative route would necessitate 27 kilometres of underground tunnel with no stations to be constructed because of factors such as topography and exceeding the gradient at which it is safe to construct rail stations. Stations which would then be scrapped would be those at UTS and Delhi Road. I believe the experts. The Hon. J. F. Ryan said that we parliamentarians would understand those simple terms and judge for ourselves whether the proposal is good or bad. I suggest that the tunnel does not resolve perceived problems with the construction of the rail link. Instead, it creates more problems. Is it not the purpose of the link to provide better, safer and faster public transport options? A tunnel stretching 27 kilometres underground should be the last resort. It is usually only in cases where there is no alternative that such a long tunnel would be constructed with no stations in its entirety, as it can be dangerous in emergencies.

Furthermore, if the tunnel option were to proceed, many thousands of people would not have access to a station which they would have if the bridge over the river were to be built. The public needs stations to access the benefits that train transport can bring. If an underground station were to be constructed at UTS I have been told that it would need to be at a depth of more than 60 metres. ......

 For all of the reasons I have outlined, I am absolutely not opposed to the construction of the bridge.

The Hon. Dr B. P. V. PEZZUTTI: What I am most concerned about is the political trade-off and sell-out of the national park. If honourable members think that is over the top, I refer them to a press release issued on 22 May by Judy Messer from the Nature Conservation Council. The press release is headed "Political Trade-off is a Sell-out for Lane Cove National Park" and expresses my views and the views held for a long time by people up that way. As many honourable members would know, there have been many plans to construct various freeways through that area to connect Hornsby to the freeway at Lane Cove. The press release states: 

    The Nature Conservation Council of NSW has expressed strong opposition to the construction of an overhead railway bridge within the Lane Cove National Park and the political expediency driving the decision-making.

    "Whilst NCC supports the proposed Parramatta Rail Link in principle, the NCC is always concerned that public transport initiatives should not occur at the cost of conservation of NSW's natural and cultural heritage", said Council Chairperson Dr Judy Messer. "The NCC is specifically disturbed that the current preferred option will result in an unacceptable level of impact on Lane Cove National Park and the adjoining bushland areas of high conservation value."

    Dr Messer said that adverse impacts will include: loss of biodiversity and habitat values, public open space, recreational amenity, Aboriginal and European cultural heritage, the alienation of national park lands, and unacceptable noise.

They are all the things that the Hon. I. Cohen and Ms Lee Rhiannon sprout about every single day.

[Interruption from gallery]

I agree with that comment from the public gallery: "Used to." Dr Messer continued:

    "The Council is further concerned that the NSW Government proposes to enact legislation to remove the affected portions of land from the jurisdiction of the National Park—

something, of course, that the Greens are complying with— 

    thus pre-empting the outcome of the EIS but in no way legitimating the destruction of park land."

    "It should also be noted that the Lane Cove National Park has over 1 million visitors a year thus confirming its premier recreational importance for the people of Sydney. Clearly the overhead bridge option is not at all acceptable. There is no way that the dedication of Brown's Waterhole will compensate for this gross alienation of national park values."

Despite this press release and this now considered opinion by the Nature Conservation Council—

The Hon. I. Cohen: A person in the Nature Conservation Council. It wasn't the opinion of the whole organisation. There has been a lot of debate within the organisation.

The Hon. Dr B. P. V. PEZZUTTI: That is what Dr Messer, the head of the Nature Conservation Council, said. I accept that the Hon. I. Cohen is a forthright person who does his job with some diligence. However, I will read from an article from the North Shore Times: 

    Conservationists and the State Government have cut a deal, swapping a patch of bushland in return for supporting a bridge across Lane Cove National Park.

    Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon has secured a commitment from Transport Minister Carl Scully that Browns Waterhole, near South Turramurra, will be gazetted as part of the Lane Cove National Park.

It is an awful shame that Ms Lee Rhiannon does not have that commitment from the green Premier or, in fact, the Minister for the Environment. The article continues: 

    In return Ms Rhiannon is expected to support a rail bridge across the Lane Cove National Park as part of the Parramatta-Chatswood link.

    The Browns Waterhole land has long been part of a political football—a small parcel of bushland contained in the abandoned freeway corridor formally earmarked for a connecting link between the M2 and F3. ....


Yet the tunnel under the river was indeed built according to the urging of a narrow green faction led by Dr Judy Messer and the so called Guardians of  Lane Cove River Park etc we knew as the 'urban bushland mafia' over the consensus of the greater majority of the green movement and the debate in the NSW Upper House back in 2000. Such is the evolution of the green movement from a weaker Green Party 8 years ago to a much stronger machine today in 2007 when a democratic support for the bridge option would have stuck. How the bridge option unravelled in 2001 making way for the tunnel we are not too sure and imagine Dr Messer might be able to explain better. We are going to dive back in the files and see any clues.

The NSW Govt are marshalling their PR forces today but it's looking bad for them. Very bad. And the dinosaurs in one faction of the green movement.

Posted by editor at 9:24 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 7 December 2007 4:18 PM EADT
Chinese dictatorship to free press: There's our way or no way
Mood:  sad
Topic: independent media


Posted by editor at 9:08 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 7 December 2007 9:16 AM EADT
Thursday, 6 December 2007
NSW Law Society President warns about errorism erosion of civil norm of client confidentiality
Mood:  not sure
Topic: legal


Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2007 3:18 PM
Subject: From the President - December 2007 .....

Client Legal Privilege

As issues of national security continue to dominate the political arena, preserving the rule of law is becoming increasingly challenging as executive government seeks to increase access to various sources of information. Of particular concern is the current discussion with regard to expanding the range of powers given to investigative bodies allowing them to probe into all aspects of lawyer-client relations.

The Law Society maintains that full and frank exchange between lawyers and their clients is fundamental to ensuring the appropriate carriage of justice. Legal privilege is the client’s privilege and citizens’ rights must be protected against expedient, fear-based, legislative incursions.

It is important that laws are reviewed in a manner that does not lead to an erosion of confidentiality and privilege. The Law Society will co-operate with relevant bodies to maintain an ethical and independent legal profession and provide strong protection for the exchange of confidential information between lawyers and their clients.

The Society’s submissions on the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Discussion paper on Client Legal Privilege and Federal Investigative bodies are available on the Law Society’s website at www.lawsociety.com.au/15434. Similarly the Law Council of Australia submission can be accessed at the Law Council’s website. The Society’s recently formed Ethics sub committee on The Rule of Law will also be looking at issues of confidentiality as part of its brief. You’ll find more about this sub committee in the December issue of the Law Society Journal.


Hugh Macken
Senior Vice President


Also of interest is this initiative of the Law Society to enforce ongoing ethics training for solicitors at least once every three years: 


The Council of the Law Society of NSW proposes to amend Rule 42 of the Revised Professional Conduct and Practice Rules by the insertion of a new 42.1A requiring a practitioner to complete, as part of the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirement, one (1) unit of ethics education every three (3) years. The Council also proposes to make various other amendments to the Rule including .... The current rule is set out at: www.lawsociety.com.au/page.asp?partID=722

The Law Society invites comments and submissions on the proposed rule. These should be forwarded to the Secretary, Law Society, 170 Phillip Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000 or emailed to ethics@lawsocnsw.asn.au by 30 November 2007

.[proposed new ethics training rule] 

42.1A If the holder of a practising certificate is required to undertake a course of continuing legal education, that continuing legal education must include a component relating to legal ethics that deals predominantly with the role and responsibilities of legal practitioners where:

42.1A.1 the component is to be undertaken at least once in every compliance period, or such shorter period as may be determined by the appropriate Council, and is to comprise at least one unit in the units of continuing legal education that the holder of the practising certificate is required to undertake.

42.1A.2 "compliance period" means:

(a) in relation to a person who was the holder of a local practising certificate at 1 April 2008:

(i) the period starting on 1 April 2008 and ending on 31 March 2011, and

(ii) each further period of 3 years ending on the third anniversary of the expiration of the previous period, or

(b) in relation to a person who became or becomes the holder of a local practising certificate after 1 April 2008:

(i) the period starting on the next 1 April after the person became or becomes the holder of a local practising certificate and ending on 31 March in the year that is 3 years after the start of this period, and

(ii) each further period of 3 years ending on the third anniversary of the expiration of the previous period.

Posted by editor at 4:58 PM EADT
Updated: Friday, 7 December 2007 8:32 AM EADT
Spooky world of multinational espionage keeps idealistic activists nervous
Mood:  hungry
Topic: human rights


A BAE Harrier GR.9


In this age of multinational corporate "greenhouse mafia" prosecuting their agenda by fair means or foul, ie to protect their obscene profits, comes this cracking, intriguing story in UK's The Guardian of Dec 4 2007 : Martin and me (which may well be a title satirising the famous slummy fictional movie Withnail and I).

The Guardian story is no joke for idealistic activists who want peace, love and sustainability via democratic grassroots group process. It's a fair dinkum story of broken trust and espionage and infiltration by BAE Systems - Europes largest arms company - of a non government peace group called CAAT or Campaign Against Arms Trade. This gives the flavour of the serious sh*t they get involved in


CAATnews 200 February - March 2007 490kb or webpage version Includes: Legal challenge to ending of SFO investigation; Shut DESO - the big push; using local media; Tanya Tier interview; local campaigns news; arms trade shorts.

The Guardian story is the latest sad, dangerous, unnerving thread in a long line of govt and corporate trickey to protect multinational interests from civil society attempts at moral accountability in the western economic system.

Sydney Indy Media here carry a reaction from local well travelled activist Ciaron O'Rielly to the 2003-2007 BAE/CAAT expose :

The memories begin for me in mid- '96, when I arrived in England for the first time in 17 years. I came primarily from East Timor solidarity activism in Australia to support a friend, who I had met at the Washingon DC Catholic Worker and who had been active in solidarity with me while I spent 13 months in prison for disarming a B52 on the eve of the first Gulf War. She and 3 other women (using one of the hammers we had used on the B52 and New York and would later use at Shannon in 03) were in Risley Prison (England) following a £1.5 million disarmament action on a BAe Hawk fighter at BAe, Warton, Lancashire. The Hawk figther was already painted in Indonesian Air Force markings and was due for immediate export to the genocidal Suharto regime to be used on the people of East Timor. "Seeds of Hope Ploughshares".... http://www.plowsharesactions.org/webpages/weba.htm 


As you can see Soeharto sponsored terrorism of East Timor with BAE hawk jets puts our own region in the picture as regards the santised history of UK based BAE whether you approve of taking a hammer to private property or not. We have to admit we find it hard to condemn in light of the mass murder in East Timor for decades. Not our way but you can see the logic. And the logic of BAE instituting asset protection strategies.

This documented espionage of CAAT reminds of the recent John Pilger movie War on Democracy which apparently carries a very disturbing direct quote from a CIA senior officer who effectively concedes 'sure it's all about keeping the USA financial interests on top by any means possible' with reference to the dirty war in South America in the latter 20C against it's people via local foul dictators such as Pinochet. Ugly ugly stuff. You can catch the video in parts on YouTube starting here.


None more ugly than this one via the BBC referring not to Chile but Argentina in this case while noting Nixon/Kissinger's Operation Condor aggregated all these countries:

       A court in Argentina has convicted a former Roman Catholic police chaplain of collaborating in murders during the country's military rule.
Christian Von Wernich 

Von Wernich showed no emotion as he was sentenced

Christian Von Wernich, 69, was convicted for involvement in seven murders, 42 abductions and 31 cases of torture during the 1976-83 "Dirty War". Survivors say he passed information he obtained from prisoners to the police. As he was sentenced, Father Von Wernich showed no emotion. Protesters torched his effigy outside the court. The trial in the town of La Plata, 60km (35 miles) south of Buenos Aires, had lasted for three months. Father Von Wernich initially avoided prosecution by moving to Chile, where he worked as a priest under a false name.

We recall seeing a movie on SBS made in Spanish and perhaps set in Mexico where the radical lecturer mentored the idealistic students in their activism, not fully realising the security agency had their hooks into their teacher and were blackmailing him for the activist details. Of course all the naive idealists were turned in. We took mental note of all this - if a script writer could think it and actors could portray the scenario realistically I got to feeling it was probably quite possible.

We take the view in progressing community media and ecological sustainability concerns one should maintain reasonable transparency and avoid violence in order to best avoid the fearful and over zealous govt agents who do make fatal mistakes at times. For instance the poor Brazilian man shot dead for being in the wrong place and wrong time in the age of errorism on the London Tubes, may he rest in peace:

BBC NEWS | UK | Shot man not connected to bombing

Similarly we take the view best to not trust anyone too much, admittedly a fairly depressing road to follow.

Interestingly we noted these thoughts on the Sydney Indy Media news post linked above 12 hours ago and they were censored off the site. In fact contrary to usual form there are no comments allowed on that particular feature story. We are not sure if it means there are too many inflammatory comments or just mine.

Posted by editor at 1:07 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 6 December 2007 4:21 PM EADT
Bah humbug! Who cares about the global situation really?
Mood:  special
Topic: world

Earth Status report - 2007

If the population of the Earth was reduced to that of a small town

with 100 people, it would look something like this:


57% Asians

21% Europeans

14% Americans (northern and southern)

8% Africans






52% women

48% men




70% coloured-skins

30% caucasians




89% heterosexuals

11% homosexuals




6 people would own 59% of the whole world wealth

and all of them will be from the United States of America


80%  would have bad living conditions


70%  would be uneducated


50% underfed


1 would die


2 would be born


1 would have a computer


1 (only one) will have higher education


When you look at the world from this point of view,

you can see there is a real need for solidarity,

understanding, patience and education.

Also think about the following -
This morning, if you woke up healthy, then you are happier

than the 1 million people that will not survive next week.  

If you never suffered a war,


the loneliness of the jail cell, the agony of torture,


or hunger,


you are happier than 500 million people in the world.
If you can enter into a church (mosque) without fear of jail or death,  

you are happier then 3 million people in the world.   

If there is a food in your fridge,


you have shoes and clothes,


you have bed and a roof,


you are richer then 75% of the people in the world.





If you have bank account, money in your wallet and some coins in the money-box,


you belong to the 8% of the people on the world, who are well-to-do.


If you read this you are three times blessed because:   

1. somebody just thought of you.


2 . you don't belong to the 200 million people
that cannot read.


3 . and... you have a computer!


As somebody once said:  

" - Work as if you don't need money,


- Love as if you've never been hurt,


- Dance, as if nobody can see you,


- Sing, as if no one can hear,


- Live, as if the Earth was a heaven."


If you like, send this to people you call friends.
If you don't send this, nothing will happen. But,

if you send it - someone will smile




So start living & stop worrying, You don't know how blessed you are!


Posted by editor at 10:52 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 6 December 2007 11:09 AM EADT
It's time for News Limited & PM Rudd to ditch Piers/loggers' anti science rhetoric on climate
Mood:  bright
Topic: globalWarming


Picture: Clips from News Ltd press in Sydney Dec 5, 6 has a confused line on dangerous climate change, even allowing for diversity of opinion, despite owner Rupert Murdoch earlier this year acknowledging 'the planet deserves the benefit of the doubt'. Indeed it does.

A contact of ours sells (organic) fruit and veg in Sydney. He recently sold his farm near Young in the family for three generations because of desperate lack of rainfall. It took him years to walk away but his wife is 'overjoyed' not for the miserable loss but the fact he has survived the highy rational decision, environmentally, emotionally and financially.

But according to Piers Akerman today it's far better for Australia's new government to continue to keep its head in the sand as to the scientifically verified urgency: To continue down a blind alley and send our population to the wall with stubborn denial and inflexibility. To fail in the adaptation stakes. Akerman's has no insight to the cruelty of his rhetoric.

Well that's okay for near retired journo hacks who have made their whole career hating the environment and greenies generally. They've had their go.

News Ltd seem to get the quandary they are in with their neurotic coverage as shown by the contrast above. Opposite Akerman is the other view about drowning Pacific Island cultures. Meanwhile some 4 - 7 million depending on who you reference (World Vision here, ReliefWeb here)  Bangladeshis are struggling with massive cyclone disruption on their low lying areas. Over 3,000 died directly. More will.

Fairfax also seems to feel the turn of the tide. In the Sun Herald Miranda Devine's toxic anti ecological views are being balanced by a younger hip bloke on the facing page with about equal space and cogency most weeks. Devine has seniority but she is stalling.

Which brings us to PM Rudd's approach to Bali UN Climate conference. He may take comfort from front page picture embarrassment's to Indonesia showing devastated forest there compared with so called natural harmony here (see front page image below that last month, same newspaper).


But arguing selective hypocrisy of Indonesia's governance only gets you so far in Australia itself: The same destruction is happening in Australia - legally ....in East Gippsland


 ....in Tasmania

 ....in South East NSW

In Rudd's own delegation to Bali is a Howard machine fixer and apologist for logger political terrorism Catherine Murphy


(6th Dec 2006 - New paper: Logger terrorism under the Howard federal government) representing the National Association of Forest Industries (read woochippers of native forests) who issued this political rhetoric dressed up as (junk) science on carbon storage:

            Dec 3 2007 NAFI represents Australian forest industry at Bali climate change meetings

NAFI’s CEO and Deputy have been appointed as members of the official Australian delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Bali

NAFI’s CEO, Catherine Murphy, and Deputy CEO, Allan Hansard, have been appointed as members of the official Australian delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Bali. .....“In fact, when a tree is harvested, the wood products created store carbon, while the new trees grown in place of the harvested trees continue to capture carbon. " [bold added]

In reality about 2% of native forest harvested in Victoria and we presume nationally has a life cycle  based on quality appearance grade wooden products, most of the rest is sawdust, woodchips for short lived paper products, or forest trash which gets burnt, and destroys humid canopy. Yep you read that right. About 95% plus is destruction of the carbon store. Why do they do it? We say for the privatisation of high rainfall public land transformation to higher profit plantations that really do produce high value appearance grade timber. Just like Indonesia. But they are so brutal over there? Like this attack on Adrian Whitehead in Victoria Australia in 2000, who is over at the Bali conference representing the civil society group Zero Emissions Network?




Rudd on Dec 3, 2007 the morning of the swearing in of his new government stated he was feeling "chipper". Unfortunate choice of words that. Not so coincidental from our point of view.

 We interpreted this turn of events like this:

Subject: Rudd feels "chipper" on govt swear-in day last Monday. Re: [Greens-Media] Rudd takes loggers to Bali

When PM Rudd was taking early interviews on Monday Dec 3 2007, his big day for the swearing in of the new government he said words to the effect of "I'm feeling chipper." What does one make of this? A coincidence. A throwaway line. A freudian slip?
 For what it's worth I've never heard Rudd use that particular word before.
He is a workaholic and almost certainly in this period was working up his prep for Bali which was well understood mid last week of being the next big real politik dynamic.
Methinks he was indeed thinking forests, whether to the good or the bad.
Certainly the weekend press had a two page feature in the Sydney Morning Herald about the pulping of Indonesian forests:

Stopping the rot in logging industry - Environment - smh.com.au  [not listed in the archive index, which is a caution to me]
Related story here: 
Up in the trees, the boss hangs on for a miracle - Environment ...

The head of NAFI as I recall is Catherine Murphy an ex  Howard staffer. What this means I have no idea. A naively hopeful view might be that he knows Murphy is no ideologue only a fixer and with change in govt she simply trims accordingly, a bit like a communist satellite pre and post Berlin wall, or pre and post Saddam Iraqi bureaucrat in the Dept of Energy. Same forelock different tug.
But my guess it's all negative just as Senator Brown states below. The only strand of hope seems to be that Qld outlawed the woodchipping industry, and if that approach could be rolled out to the rest of the country would a hope
against dismal expectation.
> Wednesday, 5 December 2007
> Rudd takes loggers to Bali
> Brown again calls for 10% cut in Australia's emissions by ending native forest logging
> The inclusion of the CEO and deputy CEO of the National Association of Forest Industries in the Rudd government's delegation to Bali is a signal of no change from the Howard years, Greens Leader Bob Brown said
> in Hobart today.
> "The fastest way for Australia to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 10 per cent is to stop logging and burning native forests. NAFI, which fronts for Gunns and its pulp mill proposal, is there to agitate against this
> prudent move by Australia," Senator Brown said.
> "How can Rudd join calls for Indonesia, Papua New Guinea or Brazil to end logging when he has a loggers' lobby group in his own camp?" Senator Brown asked.
> "Instead, Mr Rudd should show he means business by announcing Australia will dump Gunns' pulp mill which will produce 100 million tonnes of greenhouse gases if it is built," Senator Brown said.
> Further information: Ebony Bennett 0409 164 603

Rudd's pulp mill for Tasmania is under constant legal barrage. His friend and colleague Peter Garrett is bleeding to death in the public credibility stakes over such forest vandalism at home.

Meanwhile the planet is going down the gurgler at a rate of knots and no amount of double talk or diplomacy can fool all the people.

What we need is some Bernie Banton style straight talk of which PM Rudd is so admiring, and rightly so. Because if dangerous climate change is going to destroy western civilisation as a result of runaway momentum, maybe people have a right to know their dismal fate and some JUSTICE? That would be common decency. As Winston Churchill said

"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."

Get it? If you don't have the courage to deal in scientific reality get off the platform.

Meanwhile Adrian Whitehead writes from Bali UN conference directly on the issue of science of natural forest carbon storage:

New Australian Forest Science - Released at UNFCC Bali Conference

From Adrian's Zero Emission Bali Blog. For more blogging see: www.zeroemissionnetwork.org.au

"The last event of the night was run by The Wilderness Society. It included a presentation of the excellent work by Brendan M Mackey from ANU on determining the natural Carbon Carrying Capacity (CCC) of different forest types in the South East Australia. His work builds on the previous data for the forests of SE NSW and the E. ragnans (Mountain Ash) forests.

Prof Mackey stated that Natural CCC was underestimated everywhere because foresters and forestry data is used as bases for calculating natural CCC. This is shown in the significant difference between between CCC calculations by the IPPC, 60 t C ha-1 yr-1 average for a temperate forest and Mackey's work which produces an average of 670 t C ha-1 yr-1.

This work relates directly to one of the key focuses of the Bali meeting which is the debate around reducing emission from deforestation and degradation (REDD).

Prof Mackey makes the point that current GREEN carbon (living terrestrial biomass and soil carbon) is not accounted for, unlike BLACK (fossil fuels), BROWN (agriculture and plantations) or BLUE (atmospheric and ocean) and that we must have definition of green carbon so we can actually see it in the context of action on climate change and REDD. Prof Mackey defined degradation of a natural system as any action that reduces its CCC.

One exciting bit of work the Zero Emission Network has been doing with Prof Mackey's previous data, was showing that if the forestry sector was included in a carbon pricing mechanism (either tax for trading) with a minimum price of $10 or more a ton of C the native forest industry would collapse over night. This new research seems to support this.

The report is currently only in limited release, but people interested in it should contact 

The second part consisted of a talk about the challenges of protecting one of the world's last natural substantial tropical rainforests, the forest of Aceh, protected for many years by a succession war run out of the jungle. Here the main drivers of destruction are palm oil plantations destroying lowland peat swamp forests, and illegal logging. However there are some positive programs including the elephant patrol which consists of former Acehnese fighters that patrol the jungles looking for illegal logging on the back of elephants."

Adrian Whitehead
Zero Emission Network
Level 2, 140 Bourke Street
Melbourne, Victoria 3000

0403 735 118

Posted by editor at 8:34 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 6 December 2007 12:31 PM EADT
Wednesday, 5 December 2007
Asbestos and the struggle for redemption of spin merchant ex premier Bob Carr?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: health

Bernie Banton — the public face in the successful battle on behalf of asbestos victims against James Hardie —  with his wife, Karen, and son, Dean, after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma last August.

Picture: Working class hero, Bernie Banton who died recently after a winning battle over many years against corporate criminal James Hardy, flanked by wife Karen and son. What lessons will be learned in terms of  political and corporate governance as a result of the heroic efforts of Mr Banton and others?

Later today we will visit Addison Rd Centre with at least 5, and probably more, buildings with corrugated asbestos roofing.

The community land at 142 Addison Rd Marrickville has been through the hands of the Dept of Defence as a recruitment base in WW2, and Vietnam War, Immigration centre in the 70ies, and diverse cultural centre for the last 30 years.

Only this year 2007 have these signs been going up:



The president of the ARC Board Andrews said at the recent Annual General Meeting that she didn't "want to be alarmist" but they were taking action as required by the legislation.

Such action has been reinforced by the enormous struggle and effort of one Bernie Banton (SMH Slideshow: Bernie Banton in his own words, Video: Tributes flow for Bernie Banton (7.30 Report) ) and his supporters. In our activist career we can truly say we have not seen such a deserving winner of a State Funeral as Banton at Homebush Bay today. The details of the event are here 10.30am. We thought of him many days in our part time gardening work at the ARC this last 4 years finding scraps of asbestos in the landscape a bit too often than is really comfortable.

(We recall the day in 2007 a tenant there at Sidetrack Theatre encouraged us to clean out his hopelessly jammed gutters below one such corrugated rooftop. No thanks.)

We note the big wrap given recently to the ABC's Matt Peacock for urging the activist groups to push Bernie Banton forward as the public face of the campaign against James Hardy.

We noticed in the lead up to this State Funeral that Bob Carr - who we say was forceably retired after his 10 year reign as premier - has an increasing role in the memorial 'Bernie Banton research facility' into asbestos diseases at Concord Hospital.

We feel a jarring disjunction given Carr as Premier, as we understand it, or at least his regime well knew of the legal proceedings that permited cunning asbestos purveyor James Hardie to restructure via an order of the NSW Supreme Court in 2001. The actual court decision is here. We say a regime that well knew but failed to act given it's legendary lack of rigour and triumph of style over substance that the Carr regime became synonmymous with. Sure enough the federal regulator ASIC and Judge Santow accepted the woeful assurances of James Hardy they would fully finance projected compensation claims and the NSW Govt dropped the ball too.


We note this highly suggestive quote by Andrew Ferguson a well known union leader in the NSW construction sector made in November 2004 about the findings of the Jackson Inquiry earlier that year (made in an international conference in Japan) apparently referring to the 1995-2001 period that prefaced the 2001 creation of the so called Medical Research and Compensation Fund (part of the James Hardy asset offshoring strategy):

 "Peter Macdonald (CEO), Greg Baxter (VP Corporate Affairs), and Steve Ashe (VP Public Affairs) implemented a ‘communications strategy’, in relation to the creation of the MRCF, in which the fears of key stakeholders, including the NSW Government, were allayed by misleading statements." [bold added] in  

James Hardie – US Multinational versus Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union of Australia (CFMEU), Australian Trade Union Movement, asbestos victims and Trades Union International of Workers in the Building, Wood, Building Materials and Allied Industry (UITBB) Speech delivered by Andrew Ferguson, NSW State Secretary Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union Global Asbestos Conference Tokyo, Japan November 2004 Special thanks to Australia Legal Firms Slater & Gordon and Taylor & Scott for background material for this presentation. In PDF version, and HTML version here.

Ex federal treasurer Peter Costello seemed to be wise to this reality as we recall him in federal parliament over the official radio broadcasts in recent years targetting the Carr Govt failure to keep a check on James Hardy legal skulduggery. Costello didn't appreciate being drawn into the whole affair in relation to taxation and other corporate regulation. On the other hand Costello and the federal agency ASIC have alot to answer for too for the 2001 debacle in the NSW Supreme Court.

 Picture: Ex premier of NSW Bob Carr now chairman of the Concord Hospital Asbestos research facility opened in 2007. Within weeks of retiring in 2005 Carr joined big capital in the form of Macquarie Bank.

So though the NSW Govt were not a formal party to the Supreme Court proceedings of 2001 before Santow J it defies belief they were not aware of the factual matrix of the slow motion legal disaster unfolding, only rectified in 2007.

By 2004 the NSW Govt under Carr were backpedalling under the ferocious backlash of the assembled unions and civil society broadly based. Whether left or right, green or brown, rich or poor, young or old, we have all been exposed and some of us will die of the toxic stuff. Bernie Banton knew this and told us straight.

Bob Debus as then Attorney General of NSW also knew it and pushed hard for reform of defamation laws which in effect allowed the civil society groups to defame the James Hardie Corporation without fear of SLAPP suits. The national and other state govts fell into line with the law reform: It was James Hardy v Australia. This law reform is another ongoing legacy of Bernie Banton's fight and of those who most actively supported him.

We expect to hear Bob Carr on the mainstream media today. He may or may not mention his own Jackson Inquiry made necessary to sort out the mess of the Supreme Court wave through of the JH offshore corporate restructure farce: The corporate dance intended to shift their assets out of reach of what became a $4 Billion compensation fund for systemic industrial manslaughter. The legal trickey of Allens, the no.1 corporate legal sharks in Sydney, on behalf of their client James Hardy in 2001  had failed.


Images of the State Funeral today following the speech by widow Karen Banton:



We loved you here Bernie Banton, no fear of that.

Posted by editor at 6:48 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007 8:14 PM EADT
Silly season shaggy reindeer stories kick off with a vengeance
Mood:  silly
Topic: big media


We have been taking careful note of the change from an ever so serious (post) federal election phase with change of govt and leaders all over the place, to now a well earned rest from full on power politik.

A symptom of the wind down seems to be the traditional silly season stories, the more surreal the angle the better (like our image above of the ants that ate the merc from this years Sculpture by the Sea exhibition.)

Silly season seems to have come early this year, along with the subtropical storms that have blown through Sydney, even if PM Rudd doesn't seem to want a holiday by pushing hard as he must at the Bali Climate Change conference (more from Adrian Whitehead of Zero Emissions here.)

Here's our tally:

- Xmas thieves help themselves to 16 tonnes of bacon, ham | The .... A serious theft but that's not why it led the news.

- The transcendental levitation of pilots onto the wing tip of their own plane - no seriusly the first of no doubt many nuggets from your quality ABC World Today show yesterday.

- The World Today obviously couldn't resist with this happy hunting of Rudolph the Reindeer to feed the hungry while taking pot shots in gun happy urban areas, ain't that so lovely and folksy?

- We even feel the Mohammed Teddy Bear story with it's deadly undertones had a degree of opportunistic madness about it, either from opportunistic Islamist street protesters, to barracking for the teacher by outraged western media, to the stupidity of the teacher not so much transgressing a cultural taboo herself but unintentionally aiding a school room of Muslim kids to also transgress that same taboo. No wonder her teaching career in Sudan came to a thudding halt. Imagine a Muslim teacher telling a bunch of Catholic school class that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalen and never actually rose from the dead?  That being said we thank the Christian God blashemy is not a death sentence in Australia. Over reaction all round? You bet.

- Chimps outsmart uni students (ABC Science Online). Say no more.

- Birth date can affect personality - National - smh.com.au, the old nature/nurture one again with a surreal madcap astrology undertone.

We think with this 'admirable' start to the silly season story file we might see a bumper harvest this year. A journalistic balancer to the disastrously low crop of cotton and rice due to failing Murray Darling river system.

And who can blame the Big Meeja for wanting some light relief. It's been a doozy of an 8 week stretch. Not to mention the very real threat of dangerous climate change bearing down on all those coastal mortgage economies. We need our sleep more than ever.


Postscript #1:

- late entry Nunnery doubles as marijuana plantation | The Courier-Mail, and the rivals are fully into the 'spirit' too Holy smoke! Cannabis found in nunnery - Breaking News - World ...

and on the silly season goes, with a vengeance ....

- The World Today - Family's shock after canoeist returns after 5 years, but there is talk about insurance fraud, and hurried trips by the spouse to Central America. Chalk another one up to Big Meeja funny business.

Posted by editor at 5:30 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007 5:53 PM EADT
Tuesday, 4 December 2007
Default judgement in NSW Supreme Court against Chinese Commerce Minister
Mood:  sharp
Topic: human rights



The Falung Gong lobby have sent through this irritant to the 2008 Beijing Olympics PR machine with a local legal twist:

Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2007 8:41 AM
Subject: Torture case Won Against Chinese Commerce Minister in Supreme Court

I am writting to forward you this recent news: Torture case Won Against Chinese Commerce Minister in NSW Supreme Court.
Please read the news below, and see the Judement Order from the case 11474/06.
It is a significantly victory of human rights and justice.
I send you this as I think you might be interested in this important news.
Also, you may be interested in the current event of Global Human Rights Torch Relay videos:
or search HumanRightsTorch for more information.
(For information of what is Falun Dafa (Falun Gong), please visit
http://falundafa.org, different languages are available for option;
for information of why CCP persecutes Falun Gong, please visit
http://TheEpochtimes.com or http://ninecommentaries.sohnetwork.comm
for "9 comments on CCP")

Thank you. 


On Monday (5/11/07), the Supreme Court of NSW issued a default judgement against Chinese Minister of Commerce,
Mr BO Xilai recognising his failure to provide a defense for the torture case brought against him by
Sydney Falun Gong practitioner and Chinese labour camp survivor, Mr PAN Yu.

This is the first won in a case against Bo Xilai, 58, who had been sued in over ten countries, including the USA,
the UK, Canada, Germany, and Ireland for his role in the persecution Falun Gong practitioners in China.
Bo was served a Statement of Claim in person on 4 September 2007 in Canberra prior to the APEC forum. 

Another two similar cases are in the Supreme Court of NSW and are progressing towards similar judgements against
former Chinese dictator Jiang Zemin, Luo Gan, the 6-10 ´Gestapo-like´ office and its head Chen Shaoji. 

"This is a win not only for all Chinese people and Falun Gong practitioners, but also a potent reminder of the
currently opposing legal sytems between Australia and China, as still to this day, no lawyers in China are allowed
to take on such cases. We are another step closer to the event of the perpetrators of the persecution of Falun Gong
in China being brought to justice at an international level," said Mr Newton XU, legal assistant for the case.

"As soon as the [40,000 watt electric] baton would make contact [with] me, I would lose control of my bodily functions,
rendering me incontinent. They also applied the electric baton to my face and my head, which made me feel as 
though I wanted to die, but I would just hold on. In the end, they applied the baton to the most sensitive spot on my
inner leg. The pain was indescribable," said Mr PAN in a testimony of his ordeal. 
As Governor of Liaoning Province in 2000, Bo Xilai played a pivotal role in the campaign of eradication directed against
Falun Gong practitioners. The persecution of Falun Gong in Liaoning is severe, with at least 373 known cases of deaths
of Falun Gong practitioners confirmed - the fourth highest of Falun Gong deaths in Chinese provinces. Liaoning also houses
the Longshan Forced Labour Camp and other labour camps where some of the most brutal human rights violations aimed at
Falun Gong have taken place.

Posted by editor at 10:24 AM EADT
T-card farce, new Iron Cove bridge, CBD poor amenity: The problem is not technical
Mood:  irritated
Topic: nsw govt

The transport tragedies in Sydney were inevitable from the time of the M2 motorway in 1994-6 onwards (we were arrested opposing treefelling at Devlin's Ck). We hear about:

Media Release
4 December 2007

Greens urge Premier Iemma to scrap Iron Cove Bridge upgrade

Greens MP and transport spokesperson Lee Rhiannon has called on Premier
Morris Iemma to scrap the $150 million upgrade plan for the Iron Cove
Bridge upgrade and to remove Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal as the key
driver of this project.

“The RTA expansion plan for the Iron Cove Bridge will deliver more
gridlock and air pollution. It should be scrapped,” Ms Rhiannon said.

“Premier Iemma needs to downgrade the role of the RTA to ensure local
and city wide sustainable transport solutions are created.

“The Iron Cove Bridge upgrade is only one part of the RTA’s grand
but dangerous plan that envisages more motorways and tunnels for the
inner west and Port Botany.

“In the era of climate change and peak oil major city road expansion
plans are highly irresponsible.

“Any bridge improvement needs to be integrated with plans to reduce
traffic on Victoria Road and that means better facilities for
pedestrians, bike users and public transport commuters.
“The government’s Iron Cove Bridge expansion plan has already
increased in costs by one third and the complexity of the project
indicates that the final costs could be even greater than the latest
figure of $150 million.

“This money should be put into a light rail service travelling from
the city under Victoria Road to Parramatta. This service would take tens
of thousands of cars off the road and reduce travel time to Parramatta
to 20 minutes,” Ms Rhiannon said.

For more information – Lee Rhiannon - 0427 861 568

We hear about:

NSW Tcard by 2009, contractors vow - Breaking News - Business ...

We hear about

Iemma says city plan uncosted 

We hear about

Port Botany winner an ALP donor - National - Home - brisbanetimes ...

The 'Public-Private-Partnership' revolving door between Big Politics and Big Business for road construction and operator profits has gutted the political and bureaucratic classes in NSW and Australia. There are no government champions or leaders in ethical transport. There are plenty outside of govt but its all flapping gums.

Ex unionists, ex MP's, financiers etc. NRMA fops and spivs. They all rejoice at the intensification of the private car fleet because they are personally enriched, and air pollution for little people be b*ggered. NSW Govt really is as corrupt as this.

The problems of transport congestion and air pollution in Sydney is deeply misconceived as a technical problem. The big parties are playing you dear reader, idealist and apathetic alike, for mugs.

All the motorway expansion M2, Eastern Distributor, M5, M7 etc has the public chasing it's tail over lost city amenity. Those damn Critical Mass cyclists are the only ones with any integrity in this tragedy of public interest.

It's straight out big money politics to destroy the public transport competition for corporate car based revenue dollars. It's as simple as that. Corrupt duopoly major party politics. Keep voting Green Party.

Posted by editor at 9:31 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 4 December 2007 9:59 AM EADT

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