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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Saturday, 29 March 2008
Ms Burgmann cuts the cake called 'in denial' at Sydney University Dec 2006?
Mood:  sad
Topic: nsw govt

Well well well.

The more one digs via innocent googles into the postures of retired president of the Legislative Council Ms Burgman, now aspiring to City of Sydney Mayoralty, the more one is just a little shocked and repelled into the arms of such as The Green party or genuine independents like Clover Moore. Don't get me wrong. We are all for sister feminist pioneers in leadership roles, and respect for campaigners at the coal face in the halcyon also dangerous 1970ies on aparthied, and over development.

Only we feel a certain rhetorical "When did you sell out?" question bubbling up in light of recent ICAC expose of senior ALP operative Joe Scimone deep in the soul of the ALP state govt, when you read this new next exemplar of Polly Anna Burgmann-itis seemingly running PR interference for brand ALP:

[From this official Sydney University link here]

News Media appetite for sleazy scandal damages democracy

5 December 2006


A skewed media focus on grubby political scandals and politicians' dirty secrets threatens the very foundation of our democracy says Michael Hogan, co-editor of a new book celebrating 150 years of successful government in NSW.

"New South Wales' record as one of the most peaceful and most prosperous societies over the past 150 years is virtually unmatched in the world," says Hogan, an associate professor in the University of Sydney's Department of Government and International Relations.

"Our politicians solve problems by making deals and by compromising - the alternative is conflict, civil war and terrorist violence," says Hogan, who co-edited the book, The Worldly Art of Politics,with Ken Turner, also an honorary associate in Government and International Relations.

"But our fragile democracy threatens to be undermined by the media spotlight on the self-seeking, grubby side of politics, the handful of worst performers. Combined with a reluctance to offer praise when it is due, it's no wonder there is widespread cynicism in the electorate."

Hogan and Turner admit some politicians perform poorly, abuse parliamentary perks and play to the media's preference for conflict. "Like any profession there are liars, cheats and people who don't do a very good job. They therefore must share the blame for their ill-repute."

"But the majority of parliamentarians go into the business because they are passionate about a particular issue and want to achieve something. It's perfectly OK to present politicians warts and all - but most of the time the media only presents the warts.

"That politics is an insecure and stressful career is demonstrated by recurrent examples of MPs falling into excessive drinking, sexual misconduct and depression. Practitioners do not only have to combat rival parties … Once elected, they still have to watch their backs.

"Unfortunately all the worthwhile things people do - the RSL meetings, the opening school fetes - all of which put a strain on family lives, aren't as newsworthy as the scandals."

Hogan and Turner's book, The Worldly Art of Politics, celebrates the lives and skills of the hardworking committee members, locals MPs, constructive party officers, skillful administrators and negotiators as well as path breaking Independents.

"It is a difficult job and people who try to suggest it is a bludge simply do not understand what it entails."

The book includes chapters by Peta Seaton, Graham Freudenberg and Henry Mayer, among others, with an introduction by Rodney Cavalier.

It will be launched this week by the Hon Dr. Geoff Gallop, former Premier of Western Australia and Director of the University of Sydney's Graduate School of Government.

Note to editors

New South Wales' parliament and first university share a common father and were born within six years of eachother: William Charles Wentworth led movements that directly led to the establishment of both the University of Sydney (founded in 1850) and the NSW Parliament (founded in 1856).

The Hon Dr Meredith Burgmann, President of the NSW Upper House, will be cutting a cake, presented by the University of Sydney to the NSW Parliament to mark the occasion of Parliament's 150th birthday.

What: A celebration of 150 years of successful parliamentary government in NSW with the launch of The Worldly Art of Politics

When: 6pm, Wednesday 6 December 2006

Where: The Nicholson Museum, Main Quadrangle, The University of Sydney

Contact: Kath Kenny

Phone: 02 9351 2261 or 0434 606 100

Posted by editor at 11:15 AM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 29 March 2008 12:00 PM NZT
City Hall Left candidate Burgmann airbrushes 2 million death holocaust in North Korea?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: nsw govt


Experience ... Meredith Burgmann points to her long history opposing inappropriate development.


What price detente? Dishonest self censorship and airbrushing of history in the 1984 sense?

We recently observed this strange reality in the Inner Sydney politics of NSW as per this correspondence below:

To: [Editor New Matilda]
Sent: Friday, March 28, 2008 3:43 PM
Subject: agree good story for NM to run, no doubt

Ah, not a problem that Ms Burgmann helped satirist/journalist nephew Charles brother of Verity etc. Or that NM ran the story. The problem is the sanitised deletion by the author (while transparently profile building for her City Hall bid 13 Sept 08 re-announced this week in the press after backing off it week previous) of the true history of North Korea, and not so long ago either.
Agree it's not for the editor to change the content. Agree its for readers to take a swing, or even contribute article in contra distinction.
It's actually an excellent record to be cherished via NM, of Meredith displaying archetypal career Left blinkers. As such it's pretty newsworthy too that she could be so polly anna about NK realities compared to say giant of journalism abc's Mark Colvin.
From a more cynical point of view I feel she was very calculating to avoid a blow back from NK via google check of her story (inevitable) by airbrushing reality, whilesoever nephew Charlie might still be over there or wanting something out of the regime (like food?). Her language is remarkable for its determined neutrality. It comes over as terribly dishonest to me.
We are talking 1/3 of a real holocaust here in modern times. I can't imagine what game she thinks she is playing. I'm a lefty really yet this surely is very calculating or incredible self denial. But I'm pretty sure she will pay for it in the local council contest if she pursues the election. Actually I've already flicked it on (being a bit of a meddler).
She also endorsed the very infamous Part 3A repeals of heritage and swathe of other green planning legislation in harness for ALP in 2005. Lead in the saddle bags. She's a goner on that alone. Pity one or other boomer dinosaur has to win.
Yours truly, Tom
To: [PR flak Clover Moore, Cr Chris Harris - Greens, SMH, Daily Telegraph reporters]
Sent: Friday, March 28, 2008 1:29 PM
Subject: Burgmann's amazing blinkers on North Korea, 25 March 08

Well Jeff Lewis (spinner for Clover), Cr Chris Harris (Greens)
Meredith climbed back in the ring earlier this week. Have a look at this outrageous profile build in her article on New Matilda, which it seems they have taken off their front webpage since my email last night - and no wonder - airbrushing a 1/3 real holocaust of modern times takes quite an ideological blinker. [SAM editor: On reflection actually not 'removed', just pushed off by newer content] The Jewish related voters won't cop this candidate after this piece about North Korea, you mark my words. Nor should they. See my feedback at bottom to the worthy folk there at New Matilda. This is more devastating real politik ammunition regarding the blinkered Meredith Burgmann, brand ALP Left, as shallow as they come it seems:

Piccolo Diplomacy | newmatilda.com 

North Korea might remain isolated on the international stage but the streets of Pyongyang are slowly coming to life, finds Meredith Burgmann.
[Full extract to record for posterity, and in case it gets removed]

north korea

25 Mar 2008

Piccolo Diplomacy

North Korea might remain isolated on the international stage but the streets of Pyongyang are slowly coming to life, finds Meredith Burgmann

If Richard Nixon's overture to China in the 1970s was "ping pong diplomacy", then the recent tour of North Korea by the New York Philharmonic is surely "piccolo diplomacy". At the same time, North Korea has closed its Canberra Embassy. These contradictory symbols of North Korean policy are symptomatic of the present regime in Pyongyang.

The Embassy in Culgoa Circuit, O'Malley - aligned neatly in a row with the rest of the "Axis of Evil" - was an extraordinary place. The huge reception area contained no furniture at all except the national flag, two sofas and a coffee table. Neatly set out on the coffee table was a tin of instant coffee, a packet of Coffee-Mate and a can of orangeade.

While no fan of North Korea's domestic policies, I had achieved an understanding of their international relations outlook after spending time there in 1997. A recent visit to the Canberra Embassy was part of a concerted year-long campaign to obtain a journalism visa for my nephew, The Chaser's Charles Firth. This proved a much harder task than I had imagined. As we sat drinking orangeade and instant coffee in the empty Embassy we tried to explain to Mr Pak, the Senior Minister, that Charles was a serious journalist as well as a satirist.

The concept of satire to the North Koreans is difficult. We eventually resolved it by explaining that satire was when you make fun of George Bush.

That explanation was evidently reassuring enough for us to be issued with visas and a motley trio - Charles, Head of Sydney's College of Fine Arts Professor Ian Howard, and I - set out for Pyongyang in October last year.

The difference between North Korea ten years ago and now is extraordinary. At the official level it is still isolated and paranoid, but it is now very different at the street level. Ten years ago it was a totally closed society, there were few people on the streets, no shops or cafes and only stiff and formal interaction during the limited social occasions that were allowed. There was in fact an eerie similarity to the physical geography of Canberra (several travellers have remarked upon this).

Pyongyang and the people are now very different. The government officials are much more open and communicative, especially about their financial difficulties. However, their legendary paranoia is still evident, especially in regard to the United States and Japan.

It is on the social and cultural level that I saw the greatest difference. On one evening for instance, as we walked along the river bank, our delightful guide Mr Pak (another Mr Pak, everyone is Mr Pak or Mr Kim) pointed out to us that the giggling and rustlings in the greenery around us were actually lovers meeting each other illicitly on the banks of the river. The lights along the river bank Mr Pak opined were "not as good as Darling Harbour" and when we came across a large bunch of brightly clothed men and women dancing underneath the giant Juche Tower, he let us know that this was where young single people come to meet each other. Charles of course plunged into the array of colourful dancers all ginger hair and sangfroid. Ten years ago he might have been shot, but this time we eventually all joined in the dancing.

Similarly, Ian wanted to do some of his art practice - brass rubbings of famous military installations around the world - as he is interested in the interaction of civilian and military cultures. He decided that the appropriate military installation would be the captured American spy ship, USS Pueblo, which had been taken over by the North Koreans in a blaze of headlines in 1968.

Eventually the 82 American crew members were released, but the USS Pueblo remained an important prize in Pyongyang. Ian talked his way in, taped some of his art paper across the pock marked and riveted funnel of the USS Pueblo and began his crayon rubbing under the suspicious eye of a tall Navy official dressed something akin to an admiral, with a very large gun. As Ian was getting up steam and I was taking his photograph, the admiral moved forward and grabbed Ian by the shoulder. I became quite nervous at this stage but the admiral simply took the piece of crayon from Ian's hand, did a few dramatic flourishes of rubbing and then proceeded to sign and date the artwork. He understood the nature of the project probably better than Ian's students back in Australia. It was a wonderful moment.

Mr Kim, the Pueblo guide, when complimented on his English accent, told us that he had learnt to speak English by watching the "classics" which turned out to be Kramer vs Kramer, Love Story and Torn Curtain.

Even at the Tomb of Kim Il Sung which is probably where the difference in our cultures is most clearly defined, our perceptive companion Mr Pak remarked that Australians don't have the same cultural values about the dead as Koreans do. We were quite clearly ill at ease with the amount of drama that went with the visit to the embalmed body. "Australians do not revere the dead", he said, as we wondered where Sir Robert Menzies was even buried.

The guards were in fact the most interesting part of this visit. I noticed that on the South Korean side of the room the military personnel were in North Korean uniform, and upon asking why this was so was told that when the South Koreans had important visitors they wanted to impress, then the North Koreans left the room, and when the North had VIPs then the South would hand over the room to them. A very co-operative way to conduct what the rest of the world is led to believe is a frosty relationship.

Fashion is now huge in the streets of Pyongyang. Unfortunately it happens to be the fashion of the 1970s. Women wear six inch wedges and even the boys wear wedge-soled sneakers. Spangles and lycra and luminous colours are particularly favoured by the young. The currency of preference is the Euro and the conversations with us are about investment in the animation film industry. At their spectacular Arirang Festival - famous the world over for the perfection of its open air extravaganza displays - just the week before we arrived they had achieved the ultimate in any capitalist society: a Guinness Book of Records achievement for 120,000 school children being involved in a flip card demonstration.

At the official level, they talked to us about their enemies, who they see as the United States and Japan. (They never talk about South Korea as anything other than themselves. They are all Koreans.) They see themselves as threatened with invasion: "When we are threatened with rifles we cannot defend ourselves with clubs." They believe they should have their own capacity for national defence: "America has always invaded weak countries, not powerful countries." They speak endlessly about how Pyongyang was razed to the ground at the end of the Korean War. They give you the figures that there were 370,000 people in Pyongyang and 420,000 bombs fell on the city. These refrains are identical to 10 years ago.

They are now short of electricity and believe that when they try to build nuclear power plants they are stopped. Minister Jon,Vice Chairman of the powerful Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, told us "We were promised petroleum but it did not happen" and "We are determined to raise the standard of living through science and technology". Technology they declared included nuclear power.

They regarded the recent North-South Summit between South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun and Kim Jong Il as an "epoch-making" event to further develop relations between North and South, "It is our firm belief as long as it takes place under the North South Declaration that reunification will come."

Vice Chairman Jon also reiterated their fear of Japan, pointing out, "We apologised for the kidnappings but have had no apology from Japan for 40 years of occupation and cruelty". As we leave they inform us that "Unfortunately we have no cultural agreement with Australia", and add enigmatically "Seeing is believing".

Relations with Australia have always been hit and miss. The redoubtable Mr Pak informed us that he had met Kevin Rudd in 2000, when he was Secretary General of the Korean Anti Nuclear Peace Committee. They are very excited about Rudd's election because they believe that he will understand the Korean situation better than previous leaders.

When Minister Pak rang me last month to inform me that the North Korean Embassy was closing, he sounded sad. He said that it was a lack of finances that caused the closure. It is a problem because they certainly need as much connection with the real world as they can get.

The last 10 years of gradually defrosting relations has had a beneficial effect on their society. How can a society that boasts of a Guinness Book of Records achievement and learns English from Kramer vs Kramer not benefit from detente and cultural exchange? Thank goodness for piccolo diplomacy.

[comments follow.....]
Tom McLoughlin 27/03/08 8:02PM


This article reinforces my concern about the author’s career left penchant for what feels to me like "disaster tourism". I’m sure its very pleasant travelling and being treated graciously as retired president of the Legislative Council in NSW (and sure I might well be envious) but this twee report resplendent with self censorship about:

1. the death camps (2 million deaths 1997-2000) that undoubtedly exist in North Korea for anyone on the blacklist, and

2. the role of big brother dictator Chinese CP propping up in turn the North Korean dictatorship

is frankly a joke. I suppose the subtle amongst us will say it’s all understated in order to achieve nephew Charles Firth’s mission of access and future reportage. Well maybe, but I think it’s pretty much a wank. Detente? I don’t buy it.



Tom McLoughlin 27/03/08 8:07PM


Here’s a few more reliable reports:

Famine may have killed 2 million in North Korea
August 19, 1998

PM - Searching for freedom: one woman’s journey out of North Korea
Friday, 24 November , 2006

"MARK COLVIN: The regime of Kim Jong Il in North Korea is the closest thing on earth to the nightmarish world created by George Orwell in 1984."

So what the hell is this twee report? Who is kidding who for God sake?

Posted by editor at 10:42 AM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 29 March 2008 11:07 AM NZT
Thursday, 27 March 2008
DPP 'lion' Cowdery has bigger target on rump now, over truth of resourcing
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: nsw govt

The Herald front pager is dramatic for the evidence of bump and grind between institutions of power in NSW, DPP chief versus NSW Attorney General. But also Fairfax Herald taking sides in their editorial below, and front page here:

Funding strings on prosecutors

March 27, 2008

THE bean counters of the Auditor-General's department have run their measures over the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and, unsurprisingly, have found it difficult to answer a question that is not easily quantified: what price justice? Nevertheless, like bean counters everywhere, their answer is to recommend installing a new super-bean counter inside the prosecutor's office and have everyone filling out more internal reports about their workload and how they process it.

No one should object to a publicly funded office being held to standards of accountability and efficiency. The prosecutor's staff and budget have gone up while the number of cases it handles has declined. But are the prosecutors being held to account for falling efficiency - if that's what it is - in the entire judicial system? The auditors acknowledge the growing complexity of cases and longer trials, and that the state prosecutors are hostage to the competence of police in preparing committals for trial, and then the scheduling of the courts.

The increased scrutiny is shrouded with a miasma of suspicion because of the background of friction between the incumbent Director of Public Prosecutions, Nicholas Cowdery, and the Labor Government. Mr Cowdery has declined to join the periodic lynch mobs whipped up by the politicians and shock jocks, and he speaks out fearlessly against attempts to overawe judicial officers, as he is now doing about what he sees as the motives behind the audit. His frank comments yesterday about the toxic political environment surrounding his office show why we need him. The DPP's office remains an island of independence in a state where attempts to subvert the separation of powers are constant. No wonder then, that the recent abolition of life tenure for the DPP is seen more against this background, and not the objective proclaimed by the Attorney-General, John Hatzistergos, of "greater transparency and diversity in appointments".

Many now will see the Auditor-General's office lending itself to or being used in an effort to nobble the prosecutors. It was a spat over funding between Mr Cowdery and the state Treasurer, Michael Costa, that led to the Auditor-General's inquiry being commissioned. It now recommends inserting a new executive director in the prosecutor's office to manage its spending and "liaise" with the Treasury and other government agencies. Although this official would report to the director, he or she would be senior to the present deputy-directors. This could create a new power centre responsible to outside signals, and blur lines of authority when the director is absent. It is a proposal the public must view with disquiet, especially given the government that proposes it.

The Green Party are urging their Coalition Opposition colleagues to take a similar principled line of keeping a political appointment (like Joe Scimone?) out of the DPP:

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon - Media Release - 26 March 2008

Government minder for the DPP
Greens MP and justice spokesperson Lee Rhiannon says the government is using the cover of efficiency and accountability to exercise greater control over the DPP's office, risking the erosion of a fair and impartial justice system in NSW.

"The new position of Executive Director allows the government to insert a minder in the Office of the DPP and opens the door to politically motivated decisions about what criminal matters to pursue, or not pursue," Ms Rhiannon said.

"The Executive Director will be in a position to control the purse strings and the direction of the DPP's casework.

"The Attorney General says this new position will report directly to him, not the DPP as recommended by the Auditor-General.

"This is a unique arrangement in the public service. The government's real agenda is to give a mate the job of looking over Mr Cowdery's shoulder.

"It threatens justice to have a government appointee able to exercise control over what criminal matters receive attention, or whether a Minister or ex-Minister is prosecuted.

"The government is cracking a walnut with a sledgehammer by drowning the DPP in additional measuring and reporting requirements.

"There are better ways of achieving efficiencies than demanding that the DPP develop, monitor and report upon a plethora of performance indicators.

"Inefficiencies in the courts system and NSW Police Force have not received similar attention, because they are beyond the capacity of this government to analyse or solve. 

"The Auditor-General is endeavouring to impose a private law firm model on the DPP, which would appeal to this government's unhealthy affection for privatisation.

"This neglects to appreciate that the role and functions of the DPP are very different to a commercial law firm whose main aim is to maximise profits, not promote justice.

"The Greens call on the Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell to resist the government's proposed changes to the DPP's office.

"The Opposition's track record on the DPP, including its attempt to put the DPP on a fixed term contract, would suggest it will not reject this attack on the Office's independence," Ms Rhiannon said.

For more information:  Lee Rhiannon - 9230 3551, 0427 861 568

SAM has one question into both Opposition's Shadow Attorney General and former deputy director of the DPP, Greg Smith, and media officer for the DPP:

On ABC 702 yesterday the AG Hatzistergos argued [presumably based on the govt inspired Auditor General's report] a 40% increase in funding for the DPP over the period of a 30% decrease in referral of committals. Do you accept this claim?


We don't accept such a claim on face value with this govt. Rather it may reflect increase in work load despite lower number of committals for other reasons. An assault and battery is different to a bank robbery or murder trial. Maybe they have other new duties too, say managing victims of crime liaison?

In particular we notice that Cowdery is like a grand old Lion in NSW politics. People do "listen" to him. But as with a similar legal lion character in All the Kings Men political thriller of modern American literature (and 2006 film), the old lion better look out for the ALP dirt unit dredging up anything in his past back to nappies. Because to quote Mr Cowdery these guys are indeed ruthless and grubby.

Posted by editor at 12:57 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 27 March 2008 1:45 PM NZT
Grog pushers really under pressure in the public debate over binging?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: health


We notice the attempt to close down the binge drinking capitals of Coogee at 1am. As a former councillor at Waverley who considered this question in a debate over Bondi Hotel, we know that it's usually the Liquor Licensing Court that has final say over all these matters and the liquor and hospitality industry are very powered up to generate evidence for their case.

In other words they usually win whether it really is in the public interest or not.

Out in the court of public opinion the ABC power audience are getting one version including via Fairfax reportage above.

Mayor's plan to shut beach hotels early MATTHEW MOORE | Two of the biggest hotels in NSW will be forced to lock their doors early.

But compare and contrast the rough and ready advertising pages of the Daily Telegraph today, Herald also, and one sees that the financial clout of the retail liquor industry out in force, and virtually swamping the anti alcohol forces in another contest.

True the hotels-binge drinking sector of the industry is distinct from the supermarket and retail sector, but there is a definite feel of mixed messages coming from the corporate sector here. And a sense of legalised drug pushers running society.

Posted by editor at 11:29 AM NZT
Wednesday, 26 March 2008
Fairfax runs public finance experts' withering critique of Costanomic public energy sale plan
Mood:  energetic
Topic: nsw govt

We at SAM have been making meta reportage of the great public energy assets sale debate/media coverage for many weeeks now.

Yesterday we rang the office of sale plan critic John Kaye MP and suggested his staff take another look at the Sydney Morning Herald editorial of last Monday:

24 March 2008 Editorial: Climate heats up for Garnaut

Because it is quite suggestive without being definite that the Grand Old Lady is now on reflection willing to forestall it's (ideological) support for privitisation of the public's energy assets.

Quotes like this one with the bold lifted and amplified

"The Federal Government stepped quickly back from endorsing Professor Garnaut's interim report in February, and it will now be under pressure from NSW at least to cut a special deal for the power industry the state is to privatise. Will Kevin Rudd save the planet or save the NSW budget? Perhaps the release of this latest paper late in the afternoon a day before the Easter holiday hints at his thinking. Does it suggest a desire to bury the report and all the problems it raises? We certainly hope not. "

To ask the question seriously can only have one answer, the planet, if one assumes dangerous climate change really is that. And the Herald is dedicated to addressing climate in it's reportage week in and week out, to their credit.

Then this concluding comment evidencing a serious contemplation of across industry sectors carbon pricing including NSW energy generators such that a sale price will be significantly depressed, and thus not particularly good value:

"Australia will manage climate change somehow. It will be costly, painful and most likely unpopular. With heads in the sand, we will certainly do it badly. Professor Garnaut is suggesting ways we may handle the challenge well. His study deserves the closest attention."

In other words, the Herald appears to be for biting the bullet on hard decisions on climate to best ensure our collective survival. At least we are thus speculating because we wonder if their editorial writer last Monday was already informed by this withering opinion piece in their paper today:

26 March 2008 - Betty Con Walker and Bob Walker: Electricity inquiries show no spark

It's worth reading in full because we think it may well cause carnage amongst any of the remaining supporters of energy privatisation. Notice the credentials of the critics of the sale plan being:

"Betty Con Walker is a former Treasury official and runs Centennial Consultancy. Bob Walker is Professor of Accounting at the University of Sydney. They are the authors of Privatisation: Sell Off Or Sell Out? The Australian Experience."

In other words elite public finance experts unshackled from the ALP Govt ball and chain.

Our intuition is that the stars are aligning to cause havoc on the Iemma-Costa regime in NSW ALP Govt - being ALP Conference, significant swathe of ALP MPs, deadbat by Opposition's O'Farrell, conservative icon Nick Greiner sounding equivocal of late, the Herald above, Green Party also.

The Iemma Govt has got whiskers on it now. Veteran Alex Mitchell has written of pretty much the same phenomenon yesterday in the crikey.com.au ezine -

25 March 2008 NSW Cabinet set for bloodbath

Posted by editor at 1:48 PM NZT
Retrospective Sydney 2000 Olympic racket: Bribes, drugs, lies, arrogance
Mood:  irritated
Topic: human rights


Last night we watched the ostensible mercurial, self assurred International Olympic Committee fixer, and Australian citizen, Kevin Gosper weave his fairytale on ABC (Australia) 7.30 Report about the role of the Olympics in global corporate geo politics:

25 March 2008 Gosper rejects calls for Beijing boycott As China steps up security on the streets of Tibet, the International Olympic Committee is rejecting calls for a boycott of the Beijing Games. Ali Moore speaks with the International Olympic Committee executive member, Kevan Gosper.


We say fairytale because here is a more honest description of what happened with the 'green games' from the first bid in 1993 beating by barely 2 votes the rival Beijing bid at the time:

Sydney Harbour dioxin threat post Olympics 2000




Sydney’s dioxin time bomb reflects an
Olympic sized missed opportunity 


Similarly notice our reports here 20th March 2008:

Olympic politics: Passive censorship off the ABC 702 talk back for this 5th estate tyre kicker
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: big media

and here

Olympics IS political: Aussie Peter Norman solidarity with black power salute 1968
Mood:  special
Topic: independent media

While acknowledging Gosper's own patriotic Olympic athletic career as a younger man, frankly he spins a kind face on a global racket, made clear by the dynamic Big Media and alternative media sector coverage for Sydney 2000 of which we have two thick folders of priceless archive: A retrospective is in order because the global and Chinese media can learn a lesson from Australia how to really do free press and democracy and harvest the benefits of that open and frank exchange of information, rather than fester in bogus rhetoric, dishonesty, human rights abuses and corporate greed.

Picture: The Olympics has been about politics for a long time now. Evidence of our tragic participation in the Sydney Olympics 2000, being a reader analyst night shift job (really night shift midnight to 8 am) with Media Monitors where most of these clippings filling 2 large binders derived from.

During this time 1999 - 2001 we worked as a reader analyst for Media Monitors and raised some $4K from that organisation in the Oxfam Trailwalker charity for East Timor with 3 other workmates. Hence the access to national press coverage, copied franticly at the end of every shift midnight to 8am. It was also the year of the Olympic racket taking over Bondi Beach for a multi-million dollar temporary stadium on iconic public beach sands.

Picture: Immensely popular Bondi Beach mid 2000 turned into a construction zone, 'thieves do indeed come to the beach' and not just petty crooks either!

 The temporary wasteful takeover at Bondi was indicative of the depth of arrogance of the IOC and their local AOC chapter for  which Kevin Gosper is spinmeister for corporate sponsors. Is it any wonder they work hand in glove with the arrogant repressive central Chinese dictatorship govt?










Posted by editor at 6:24 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 26 March 2008 8:34 AM NZT
Tuesday, 25 March 2008
Tibetan community in Sydney supporting democracy
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: human rights

This Tibetan community shop outlet is at 330 Illawarra Rd Marrickville trading hours 10am to 6pm, telephone 02-9559 3422. Their website is here:


We have learned today that an icon of The Beijing Chinese Govt propaganda, The Giant Panda, is actually a native animal of Tibet and adjacent Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces within China proper but also of Tibetan cultural/ethnic affinity. In fact the national emblem of China is the dragon, but the Giant Panda has been co opted for colonial exploitation like Tibet itself.

Panda at National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
Panda at National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

Apparently Tibetan budhist culture served as effective custodians of the natural environment before environmentalism had a name, but substantial vandalism of this natural heritage has occured for resource extraction, development and nuclear waste since the Chinese colonial empire invaded in 1959.

Posted by editor at 8:03 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 25 March 2008 8:39 PM NZT
Monday, 24 March 2008
Civil society disgust at Chinese dictatorship iron fist in Tibet
Mood:  irritated


Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, left, and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi walk after a lunch meeting in Dharamsala, India, Friday, March 21, 2008. Pelosi, called on the world community Friday to denounce China in the wake of its crackdown in Tibet, calling the crisis "a challenge to the conscience of the world." (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan) 




Chhime R. Chhoekyapa, Secretary            Mobile + 91 (09816021879)
Tenzin Taklha, Joint Secretary                   Mobile + 91 (09816021813)
I am deeply concerned over the situation that has been developing in Tibet following peaceful protests in many parts of Tibet, including Lhasa, in recent days.  These protests are a manifestation of the deep-rooted resentment of the Tibetan people under the present governance. 
As I have always said, unity and stability under brute force is at best a temporary solution.  It is unrealistic to expect unity and stability under such a rule and would therefore not be conducive to finding a peaceful and lasting solution. 
I therefore appeal to the Chinese leadership to stop using force and address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people through dialogue with the Tibetan people.  I also urge my fellow Tibetans not to resort to violence.

 Dated: March 14, 2008


Meanwhile the global partner to local cyber group Get Up here, called Avaaz also write:

Dear friends,

In just 36 hours, 253,553 of us have supported the Dalai Lama's call for dialogue and human rights in Tibet. This is an incredible response--if each of us can get 4 more of our friends to sign the petition, we'll hit 1 million this week! Just quickly forward the email below to your friends and family with a personal note from you-


Dear friends,

After decades of suffering, the Tibetan people have burst onto the streets in protests and riots. The spotlight of the upcoming Olympic Games is now on China, and Tibetan Nobel peace prize winner the Dalai Lama is calling to end all violence through restraint and dialogue--he urgently needs the world's people to support him.

China's leaders are lashing out publicly at the Dalai Lama--but we're told many Chinese officials believe dialogue is the best hope for stability in Tibet. China's leadership is right now considering a crucial choice between crackdown and dialogue that could determine Tibet's--and China's--future.

We can affect this historic choice--China does care about its international reputation, and we can help them choose the right path. China's President Hu Jintao needs to hear that the 'Made in China' brand and the upcoming Olympics in Beijing will succeed only if he makes the right choice. But it will take an avalanche of global people power to get his attention. Click below now to join 250,000 others and sign the petition--and tell absolutely everyone you can right away--our goal is 1 million voices united for Tibet:


China's economy is dependent on 'Made in China' exports that we all buy, and the government is keen to make the Olympics in Beijing this summer a celebration of a new and respected China. China is also a sprawling, diverse country with much brutality in its past. And it has good reasons to be concerned about stability -- some of Tibet's rioters killed innocent people. But President Hu must recognize that the greatest danger to Chinese stability and development today comes from hardliners who advocate escalating repression, not from those Tibetans seeking dialogue and reform.

We will deliver our petition directly to Chinese officials in New York, London and Beijing, but it must be a massive number before we deliver the petition. Please forward this email to your address book with a note explaining to your friends why this is important, or use our tell-a-friend tool to email your address book--it will come up after you sign.

The Tibetan people have suffered quietly for decades. It is finally their moment to speak--we must help them be heard.

With hope and respect,

Ricken, Iain, Graziela, Paul, Galit, Pascal, Milena, Ben and the whole Avaaz team

Here are some links with more information on the Tibetan protests and the Chinese response:

Crackdown in Tibet, but protests spreading:

Dalai Lama calling for dialogue and restraint, and an end to violence:

Leaders across Europe and Asia starting to back dialogue as the way forward:

Chinese Prime Minister attacks 'Dalai clique', leaves door open for talks:

Other Chinese signals:

Avaaz.org is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means 'voice' in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Paris, Washington DC, and Geneva.

Don't forget to check out our Facebook and Myspace pages!

You are getting this message because you signed '
Stand with Tibet - Support the Dalai Lama' on 2008-03-18 using the email address anndelaey@yahoo.com.
To ensure that Avaaz messages reach your inbox, please add avaaz@avaaz.org to your address book. To change your email address, language settings, or other personal information, https://secure.avaaz.org/act/index.php?r=profile&user=44ab3187887f2ccad356bba82ef40ce2&lang=en. , or simply go here to unsubscribe.

To contact Avaaz, please do not reply to this email. Instead, write to info@avaaz.org. You can also send postal mail to our New York office: 260 Fifth Avenue, 9th floor, New York, NY 10001 U.S.A.

If you have technical problems, please go to

Posted by editor at 5:13 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 25 March 2008 11:27 AM NZT
Photo of Lake Cowal cyanide gold mine pit wall collapse
Mood:  blue
Topic: ecology

This photo shows the collapsed wall at Barrick's gold mine at Lake Cowal 20 March 2008. Photo: Damian Baker

[Media release]


20 March 2008

Wiradjuri Traditional Owner exposes a massive collapse at Barrick's Cowal Gold Project in Lake Cowal, 45 km north-west of West Wyalong, central western NSW.

After a flight with Friends of the Earth Australia yesterday Neville 'Chappy' Williams stated, " It is hard to bear the pain of the destruction of our sacred site. Barrick has ignored our demands to protect cultural objects and the ecological significance of the lake."


Lake Cowal is an ephemeral lake lying in the Lachlan River plain within the Murray-Darling Basin.

"We are deeply concerned about the mine's impact on local aboriginal and farming communities particularly the mines massive consumption of water", says Natalie Lowrey, National Liaison Officer, Friends of the Earth Australia. "The pit wall collapse also creates a major concern for workers at the mine site."

Up to 100 Wiradjuri and their supporters will be converging at Lake Cowal to voice their opposition to the mine over the Easter weekend.

More info:
Neville 'Chappy' Williams,
Mooka/Kalara Traditional Owner
0447 841 560

Natalie Lowrey,
Friends of the Earth Australia
0421 226 200


Lake Cowal viewed from Wamboyne Mountain, showing lignum beds.

Lake Cowal viewed from Wamboyne Mountain, showing lignum beds.  




We have reported on the Lake Cowal scandal previously here:


6 Jan 2008 Here comes the rain again ..... to a cyanide filled Lake Cowal?

Sunday, 6 January 2008


1998-2008 Lake Cowal scandal in Central NSW,$6M slush fund for select green groups, cyanide leaching for gold, pit as deep as Centrepoint Tower is high. Globally on average 79 tonnes of waste is produced for every ounce of gold. More info and links here

and notice this too:

Friday, 4 January 2008


Posted by editor at 1:19 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 24 March 2008 2:54 PM NZT
Iemma metro spin amplified in SMH due to Pyrmont station proximity?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: big media

We notice a substantive journalistic aspect of the big big splash last week on the 'public transport friendly' metro announcement. It seems to us that the big metro train line announcement at least initially got alot bigger and friendlier coverage in the Herald before the doubts settled in over contrary transport expert advice and then the joker card trumping all namely double booked water storage tunnel (below).

The front page reportage was leavened with some analysis the same day by the ever sharp (and haughty) Andrew Clennel:

 19 March 08 'Public transport premier' eyes history

But no mention of something even closer to home at Fairfax - namely the first station out of the CBD would service their own staff in the traffic peninsula known as the new Fairfax offices at one Darling Island Pyrmont. Clennel omitted that particular govt service to their door, and likely along time before the greater North West?

Click here to close this window

We feel a nostalgia for this sector where the rebirthed City Hub found a home in about 2003, before moving to nearby Ultimo, with chronic congestion on Harris St, and around the Fish Market ramp to Anzac Bridge. Fairfax would have good reason to be grateful.

Indeed it took AC's equivalent over at Sydney Daily Telegraph Joe Hildebrand to spoil the Iemma Govt party with a fairly humble Friday column which took off in the nightly tv news same day virtually cancelling  the PR benefit of the Herald go big front pager:

21 March 08 Iemma's tunnel vision goes to water | The Daily Telegraph

 Related Links

PREMIER Morris Iemma and Palnning Ministter spruik the tunnel that deputy premier John Watkins earlier promised to use as a water reservoir.

That's a competitive free press. 

Certainly Premier Iemma is Mr Available this last 5 days filling the air waves with wholesome personal schmooze via Emma Griffiths ABC tv news last night kicking the footy in the park, Clennell in the features on Saturday, and anyone else presumably. Similarly Jones on 2GB, and Glover on afternoon Drive show mid week.  Anything is better by way of contra distinction than bleeding out in PR terms after Orkopoulos child predator conviction/Scimone-Gong in ICAC/Costanomics on energy/fatal health system/construction incompetence in Bathurst/bus on the rail line (a one off but oh what a metaphor).

We also notice in the Herald graphic that a station will be in Rozelle which I think we can assume leverages the Sydney University developer stalking (led by Prof Richmond Jeremy!) of the public's Callan Park with the help of new Environment Minister Verity Firth, also on the Senate of the Uni (along with 702 announcer Adam Spencer):

More background here:
Tuesday, 18 December 2007

These images above show the business section for the same dated weekend business sections "Easter Weekend Edition March 21-23, 2008 [page] 35".

But the bottom one (if memory serves) was circulated on Friday 21st, and the top one on Saturday 22nd March 2008. The front sections of both editions were different. The Good Weekend and Spectrum (and presumably advertising sections like Domain and Drive etc we didn't bother to check) were all the same.

We only ask because, though we support the Earth Hour initiative also sponsored by Fairfax publishers of the Herald, it's been a long running question in Sydney about the wasteful nature of the bumper weekend edition. The long weekend duplications just rub salt into the wound.

We notice the Weekend Australian did not publish on Friday 21st or indeed Monday 24th March of this Easter Weekend. At least as best we can tell (via our local corner shop). We think this is a more responsible course, or just one edition for the 4 days.

Posted by editor at 10:44 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 24 March 2008 3:38 PM NZT

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