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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
Eye witness reflections on massive anti war, anti Howard rally Feb 2003 in Sydney
Topic: aust govt

We started our day backpacking into Town Hall Square in the Sydney CBD which was a gathering point for a march to Hyde Park.

We laid out a cloth and displayed various peace related T-shirts and badges like Globalize Love and other idealistic slogans. These were produced by a long time environmentalist Peter Schnelbogl based in Lismore. As the numbers in the square swelled it became clear this was a melting pot of Sydney's multicultural people of all races, colours and creeds..

Mothers and families shopped at our display and in less than an hour the stall was sold out, especially as our prices were nice and low. Then we packed up for the march to travel a few city blocks. The feeling against an Iraq war against the UN weapons inspection advice, and contrary to known causes of the attack on the World Trade Centre, was very obvious.

The march was too big to conceptualise from within. Later on it was estimated at possibly 250,000 or even 500,000 in size. We are indebted to SydneyIndyMedia for several archival photographs appearing in this article. (Not so easy to access as they added the ".au" to their links since 2003, so we added it to the original URL cross references - from yet another community site - and voila. The 360 degree panorma above is exceptional, most likely by Peter Murphy, local photographer.)

What we know is that we spotted an information stall allocated in the park to apolitical green groups. I was a little sceptical of how this related to a peace rally but it was such a big event it made sense to have some alternative flavours in the content to keep the interest of the crowd. A witty greenie had constructed a banner for the stall "The Bush worth saving" meaning our Australian native forests always at risk of logging for woodchips for paper production. A war literally on the environment.

Picture: As reported by News Corporation here in Sydney around November 16 2006 this car was burnt out before forensics could take evidence, the suspicion being that a Howard press conference about a NSW Police operation tipped off the alleged terrorists, currently facing court.

It was perhaps about 2 hours into staffing the stall that I became aware of the true immensity of the crowd against PM Howard in his own home city. Having done stalls of various kinds since 1992 for big and small events I soon realised this was something different. The crowed swelled and grew and available space shrunk and shrunk in this central Sydney Park. There was only standing and breathing room and the sense of solidarity was tangible. Like a storm flood meeting a king tide the people filled the air from ground to 6 feet or so high. We no longer had a stall as you would conventionally understand it.

The usual division between public and staff over a table top had evaporated. People who might be facing me browsing at stickers, petitions and what-not were now standing next to me facing toward the sound of the speakers 200 metres away. Mind you it was impossible to hear the speech, or see the stage. At one point I edged amongst the throng and climbed a fat squat Sydney Fig Tree. Still it was impossible to get a line of sight of the speakers. And trying to move through the crowd was out of the question.

Later that day we saw the tv footage of outrageously graphic life size puppet figures of John Howard like a poodle kissing Goerge W Bush's backside. This was a big favourite with the crowd.

At this stage Simon Crean was still (somewhat interim) leader of the ALP Opposition after Kim Beazley's latest election loss to "man-o-steel" John Howard surfing a global lurch to the Right after the WTC attack. Crean was seen as struggling too. But he did take one profoundly significant decision which possibly preserved his future ministerial career today, and provide a seriously important plank for eventual election of Kevin Rudd over Howard in November 2007. Crean went after ascendant PM Howard for deciding to go to war in Iraq 'in secret' by mid to late 2002. Howard denied it. Crean said the ALP were against the war as it contradicted UN weapons inspection processes.

Howard, Downer, Hill and range of others in the Govt didn't give a fig about the UN. They hardly cared about a huge peace rally. (Though we suspect Howard held a grudge even as recently as the APEC event in Sept 2007 hoping for a 2nd round with the protesters.) A month later March 2003 Australia under Howard joined the COW - Coalition of the Willing - along with the conservative Spanish Govt in the bombing invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam.

Saddam possibly sealed his fate by promising from memory US$25,000 payments to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers against Israel. Certainly a very nasty piece of work, but then it was his population that would bear the brunt of the attack based on Howard and Bush's sophistry about WMD.

It was still a year or two before we learned that the traditional agri industry supporters of the Howard Coalition Government were paying $300M bribes to Saddam's henchmen literally as the loyal Australian soldiers were preparing the invasion. Also another year or two before the USA President Bush and PM Howard admitted there was no WMD to find ... just as Hans Blix and the others as UN weapon inspectors had advised in early 2003.

Ali Ismaeel Abbas, 12


Howard's fate as PM was sealed by the no WMD report. Going to war on false intelligence. Causing perhaps a million deaths in Iraq. Debasing the US Medal of Freedom awarded today by George W Bush 5 days before he hands over to President Obama.

Here is the text of that brave speech by Simon Crean then leader of the ALP Opposition who without doubt boosted Kevin Rudd's election prospects on a change of foreign policy platform, similar to Obama in 2008:

Text of address by Simon Crean to parliament on Iraq

February 5 2003

This is the prepared text of Opposition Leader Simon Crean's speech on Labor's position on Iraq to parliament.

The statement by the prime minister is his argument for war, not a plan for peace.

It only took the prime minister until only the second page of his statement to conclude that the only possible outcome is war.

There are several things on which we agree.

Our total support for the brave men women of the Australian Defence Forces and their families.

Non proliferation is a critical security issue.

Saddam Hussein must disarm.

The issue of Iraq cannot be seen in isolation from the broader security issues that confront the Middle East, particularly the need for peace in Israel and Palestine.

The Authority of the UN must be upheld.

But this statement is a justification for war, not a plan to secure the peace, and it is on this point that the prime minister and I fundamentally disagree.

And this explains the prime minister's actions to date.

Two weeks ago, prime minister, you committed Australia's young men and women to a war not yet declared, knowing all along that you couldn't pull them out.

You committed them without the mandate of the Australian people, the Australian parliament or the United Nations.

You committed them solely on the say so of George W Bush.

You committed them to a command structure you can't withdraw from if George Bush decides to go it alone and pursue a military solution regardless of the UN.

You have done all of this but you haven't told the Australian people.

You haven't had the courage or conviction to tell them what you have done.

Here we are finally with the chance to debate the troop commitment in parliament, and you still haven't told them.

You go to media conferences and tell them you want peace but you have committed the troops to war.

Not with any UN mandate but through a US request.

And now you are going to the US.

The pity is, prime minister, that you won't be here to answer questions in this parliament.

My question for you - and the question the Australian people want answered is this: when you go to Washington will you tell George Bush that no Australian troops will be involved in the war in Iraq without a UN mandate?

You must insist in your discussions with George Bush that no troops should be sent to war without a UN mandate.

I will keep asking my question because it's the question the Australian people want answered.

It's your obligation as the prime minister to do the right thing by the troops you've committed to war.

You say that the US alliance requires you to respond to all requests from the US.

It does not.

The very first clause of the ANZUS treaty makes it clear that all alliance decisions must be in conformity with the United Nations.

This clause commits all presidents and prime ministers, but you haven't fulfilled it.

This alliance has stood the test of time and it should be honoured fully.

There is no graver decision that a prime minister can take than sending men and women to a war.

And there is no greater breach of trust than committing them to war without telling them the full extent of your commitment.

You have breached the trust that exists between a nation and its leader.

You claim that you have committed our troops to bring the maximum pressure to bear on Iraq to dispose of its weapons of mass destruction.

You claim that if there is no UN mandate for military action, you can bring the troops back, even if the US decides to go it alone.

You've said that you would withdraw Australian forces if there was a possibility that nuclear weapons could be used.

But where's the guarantee? How do you propose to achieve this? What assurances have you personally sought from the Bush administration?

You had the chance today, perhaps your last chance, to tell the Australian people the truth.

But you chose not to.

I believe - and the Australian people believe - that you've already made the commitment to war.

You have no credibility with the Australian people on this issue.

Members of your own party know it. Members of your backbench know it.

We believe that Australian troops should not have been sent in advance of a UN mandate.

We believe the weapons inspectors are still doing their job and should be given the chance to finish it.

We believe in the authority of the United Nations Security Council to deal with issue of disarming Iraq.

And we have repeated this since April last year.

You haven't consulted the Australian people.

You haven't consulted your party.

But you have consulted President Bush.

You said you were sending these troops because it was in the national interest.

I want to know, prime minister, which nation?

Let's not understate the size of the con that's being played on the Australian people.

We are sending more than 2,000 troops.

For a nation with a military the size of ours it's an awesome commitment.

It's twice what we committed to Afghanistan.

And three times what we committed to the Gulf in 1991.

This is the largest single commitment of combat troops since Vietnam.

Such a decision should only be established once a just cause has been established.

That has not yet happened.

No link has yet been made between Iraq and al-Qaeda, although we are waiting for Secretary of State Colin Powell's report to the Security Council later this week.

The weapons inspectors have not been given the chance to complete their job.

It has not been authorised by the United Nations.

You said yesterday that you are going to Washington to inform George Bush of the views of the Australian people.

Well let me tell you what those views are.

The Australian people don't want peace at any cost, but they don't your war at any price.

The majority want to see Iraq disarmed, but they want it done under the mandate of the United Nations and with the authority of international law.

That's the position that Labor has been consistently arguing since last April.

You're not going to the US to tell President Bush what the views of the Australian people are. You're going to get your riding instructions. Everybody knows it.

Let's look at the government's flip-flopping on war on Iraq.

Last year, when Labor released its detailed policy statement on Iraq, the foreign minister and the treasurer said we were "appeasers" and we were "talking like Saddam Hussein" because we wanted the issue to go back to the UN Security Council.

The prime minister spent half the year constantly saying that if he received a request from the US to participate in a war against Iraq, he would consider it.

No mention was ever made of the United Nations.

No attempt was made to convince the Americans to take the issue back to the Security Council.

But in September when George Bush decided to address the General Assembly the prime minister changed his tune.

Suddenly the prime minister was saying the UN should be the vehicle to disarm Iraq - six months after Labor first articulated that exact position.

Even then, the prime minister refused to be honest with the Australian people because he continued to say that he had not yet made a commitment to war because it was hypothetical.

But behind the scenes he was actively planning to deploy Australian troops.

The government's rhetoric has now finally come around to what Labor has been saying since April. But not it's real intentions.

The people know that you don't mean what you say.

They can sense it in the mealy mouthed way you claim that our military commitment is really a peace mission.

They can sense it in the way you avoid answering the question: if the UN doesn't back the war, will you bring the troops home?

You are treating the Australian people like mugs. And they don't like it.

The prime minister is playing on the fear of Australians - the fear of the threat of terrorism.

By threatening war alongside George Bush he isn't addressing the fear, he's adding to it. He is heightening the risk.

He is increasing our vulnerability.

He is adding to the instability in our region - an area his intelligence shows us is increasingly vulnerable to that threat.

This premature action taken by Australia comes at the expense of our more immediate and critical concerns about terrorism in the region.

Only three weeks ago the Singaporean government released a paper showing the extent of terrorist networks across the region - they are much greater than previously thought.

But we hear nothing from this government about dealing with these more immediate threats.

Our strongest defence against regional terrorism has always been the joint commitment we hold with countries in the region to pursuing common goals and cooperative outcomes.

The best way to combat terrorism is to work closely with the police and security agencies of neighbouring countries. But the prime minister hasn't done that.

The prime minister should do more than offer his thanks to President Megawati, he should discussing with her how to strengthen the fight against terrorism in our region.

Several months ago I called for a regional summit of leaders to tackle terrorism. I urge the prime minister to convene such a summit.

But the prime minister undermines this with his talk of pre-emptive strikes and his support for action outside the authority of the UN.

The path to security is not unlilateralism but multilateralism.

It's a complex issue that no one country can solve alone.

The issue of Iraq, perhaps unlike any issue of recent times, defines the differences between the two major political parties in this country.

This difference comes from a fundamental divergence of principle.

Labor has always supported the role of the United Nations and the rule of international law.

We helped create the UN out of the rubble of the Second World War. That attempt to settle international disputes through peaceful means was the great tribute our nation paid to the men and women who died in World War Two.

It's one of the proudest pieces of our history that a Labor foreign minister, Dr Evatt, was the founding president of the General Assembly.

But while we always support the role of the UN, the Liberals always support their "great and powerful friends".

The parallels between Howard and Menzies are there to see: cow-towing to London and Washington, the constant sojourns at the Savoy, the nod and wink in support of military action - even if it doesn't have legitimacy.

That is the Liberal's political tradition.

The Liberal Party has never had the courage to state an independent foreign policy that is in Australia's interests.

It's only ever asked: what's in the interests of the US?

Labor supports the US alliance, but we want a mature one, not a toadying one.

The US alliance has endured for over 50 years.

It has always had bipartisan support.

But it does not mean that we have to agree with every policy position of every US administration.

We have had our differences in the past but the alliance will endure, because Australians and Americans believe in the same things - democracy, freedom and respect for the rule of law.

Why is the UN so important?

If the US flaunts the decisions of the UN, it sends a signal to other nations not to be bound by its decisions.

It is in the interests of nations the size of Australia for the rule of international law to be strong.

A strong UN can ensure that nations disarm and can stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction to our region.

The prime minister says that his main reason for deploying Australian troops to Iraq was to stop the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

But what has his government done in seven years to strengthen UN arms control?


He has remained silent on the Canberra Commission Report.

The Canberra Commission said it clearly - "The possession of nuclear weapons by any state is a constant stimulus to other states to acquire them".

Where is John Howard's brave new initiative to push forward on nuclear arms control?

Labor has called for the Canberra Commission to be re-convened, with a new mandate to decide what steps are needed to prevent the further proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and ballistic missiles.

The prime minister has been unable to convince the US government to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty - which Foreign Minister Downer has called "a major milestone" and said "will bring the nuclear arms race to a definite end".

The prime minister said nothing when last year the US government walked away from negotiations towards a verification protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention which would have provided transparency and confidence that all countries were working towards eliminating these terrible weapons.

The prime minister says he's been told that nothing in US preparations for war with Iraq include the possible use of nuclear weapons.

But the White House spokesman admitted that 'all options were on the table'.

And the Bush administration has made it clear that it reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force - including through the use of nuclear weapons.

The prime minister has made a great mistake in committing our troops ahead of the UN.

Labor does not support that decision.

We do not support the deployment of Australian troops in advance of any UN authority.

I took my case directly to the troops themselves on the HMAS Kanimbla.

I had a difficult decision to make about what to say to them. But I knew what the right thing was to do.

I was truthful with them in a way the prime minister was not.

I believe that political leaders should always tell the truth. This is especially so when committing troops to war.

The prime minister failed that test.

He treated the Australian people like mugs and he continues to do so.

And what of our security now?

The prime minister has taken his eye off the ball in the fight against terrorism in our region.

He has failed to adequately prepare our defences against terrorism and neglected regional security measures. He is instead sending our forces overseas.

He has divided our people, alienated our friends, sent our best anti-terrorism troops ten thousand miles away.

He expects those of us left behind to defend ourselves with a fridge magnet.

The prime minister must stop treating the Australian people like mugs.

Only Labor governments have been prepared to tell our allies no when it's been in our national interests.


Posted by editor at 8:21 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2009 1:37 PM EADT
The cream of Israeli youth - refuseniks of military service in Gaza
Topic: world

Apparently 10 young Israeli Jews have declined compulsory military service as per this interview on ABC Radio National yesterday:

Refuseniks defy Israel's compulsory military service

Israeli forces are reported to be calling up more reservists to fight in the Gaza conflict.

Some of them are already in action on the ground, but the Israeli defence force has denied they are escalating the war to a 'third phase' -- an all-out push on Gaza City.

Like many countries around the world, Israel has compulsory military service. Once you leave high school you are technically required to serve in the army. For men that can be up for three years, for women it's closer to 18 months.

However, since the 1970s some people have resisted their military service They are known as shministim, which is Hebrew for '12th graders'.

Maya Wind is due to report for military service on Wednesday and is expecting to be sent to jail for refusing to serve.


Maya Wind


Ali Benton

Posted by editor at 8:15 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2009 8:21 AM EADT
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Gaza: Eminent legal minds scathing assessment of Israel's breaches of humanitarian law
Topic: world

This has been lifted from crikey.com.au ezine published earlier today, in the public interest, which we feel they will overlook as a breach of their copyright given it documents the shedding of the blood of so many children in Gaza:

12 . Richard Falk reports to the UN Human Rights Council

Stephen Keim SC writes:

United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, Richard Falk, has presented a stinging report concerning Israeli behaviour to the Special Session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations headed by South African lawyer, Navi Pillay.

Falk is Emeritus Professor of International Law at Princeton University and a former Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Professor Falk made headlines in mid-December last year when he was denied entry to Israel and detained for 15 hours in a holding cell at Ben Gurion Airport. Professor Falk had been attempting travel to Gaza to compile a report on the humanitarian situation in Gaza for a regular meeting of the Human Rights Council scheduled for March this year.

In the Statement presented to the special meeting last Friday, Professor Falk criticised Israel for denying foreign journalists access to report on Gaza. He contrasted this with Israel?s encouragement of international journalists to view any harmful effects of rocket attacks on civilians in Israel.

Professor Falk also criticises claims of Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. He stated that Israeli claims that they had allowed some shipments of food and medicine to cross the border must be weighed against the information from UN Officials on the ground that such shipments can have no impact on alleviating hunger and nutritional difficulties unless distribution is possible. The effect of the blockade prior to the latest outbreak of hostilities was that 45% of children in Gaza suffered from acute anaemia, said Professor Falk.

Professor Falk said that Israeli claims that the current military campaign is reasonable and necessary because of rocket attacks must be evaluated within the context of its occurrence. This context included the ceasefire by Hamas since June 2008.

It had been fully expected when that ceasefire went into effect, said Professor Falk, that Israel would lift its blockade of the Territory which had caused severe hardships on the entire population especially through restraints on the supply of food, medicine, medical equipment and fuel. Israel had failed to lift the blockade.

Professor Falk said that the blockade, which has persisted for more than 18 months, was a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention by Israel as occupying power of the Territory. Professor Falk noted that Hamas had been willing, in the event that the blockade was lifted, to extend the ceasefire by as much as 10 years.

Professor Falk noted the disproportionate nature of casualties in the dispute: over 800 killed and more than 3000 wounded with civilian casualties at 25%, of whom at least one third are children. He also criticised attacks on targets such as mosques, Islamic University, schools, medical facilities and ambulances as being in breach of international humanitarian law.

Professor Falk criticised, on the same grounds, use of weapons involving phosphorous gas (that burn flesh to the bone); dense inert metal explosives (which cut victims to pieces); and depleted uranium containing bunker busters.

Professor Falk called for the Human Rights Council to seek a General Assembly Resolution regarding the investigation of war crimes.

Professor Falk has been criticised in the past by United States Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, and Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Yitzhak Levanon, for lack of objectivity. At the time, he was defended by the National Lawyers? Guild, a progressive Bar Association in the United States.

It remains to be seen whether the receipt of this report and the discussion in the Special Session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations will have any impact on the western reporting of the context in which the present Israeli offensive takes place.

Posted by editor at 8:33 PM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 13 January 2009 8:48 PM EADT
Network 9 follows the movie script with Mark Ferguson to reprise Howard Beale reality show?
Topic: big media

Australian actor Peter Finch won an Oscar from memory in the thrilling 1976 film called Network: A study of the television industry's impact on news reportage and inherent power as a medium.

Tracy Spicer digs into Network 9 in an opinion piece today in the Sydney Daily Telegraph and you can count on the vanity of the media for it to be well read. Mark Ferguson as news reader has been "boned" like the Finch character on the same 6pm news slot as aging washed up Howard Beale. According to the script something wild and outrageous happens on the way to the sacking whereby he becomes a top rating hit again and the 6 pm news becomes a circus act with Sybil the Soothsayer, Matahari gossip corner and so on.

theatrical poster

Ned Beatty puts in a stirling performance as the Corporate God, re inventing his screen persona after indignity of the 1971 classic Deliverance where he is the object of desire of a mountain man in all the wrong ways. A few pig squeals later and Ned is at great risk of being typecast.

Of course the real Mark Ferguson is alot younger and probably better looking than Howard Beale and ought not take such a rash course, nor is there reason for him to suffer such a nervous breakdown on screen even if it would get a 50 rating and bailout the 9 Network finances. But it would be great reality tv if it did happen.

Once the conceptual comparison of Ch9 to the famous Network movie is made, one thing is certain. The reptiles in the rest of the television and Big Media industry will pick up the thread. Sorry Mark. So let's just finish with ....good night and good luck.

Posted by editor at 1:23 PM EADT
Gaza coverage in Sydney: Splitting PR and defacto re-occupation in shadow of Obama talks with Iran
Topic: world

As if to echo our story yesterday on the real nature of Israeli society with 30% fanatical expansionists and apologist for assassination of PM Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, the broadsheet News Corporation press runs splitting stories about the Arabic people.

The Daily Telegraph has another subliminal effort with an example of harsh treatment of Australian Arabs in Kuwait airport on page 3.

The more serious broadsheet The Australian carries various more directly relevant stories about:

Exiled militant leader Khaled Meshaal aloof from Gaza Strip's ... 13 Jan 2009

Hamas leadership at odds over Gaza truce | The Australian 13 Jan 2009

They even run a splitting story about outgoing VP Cheney on torture advice to new Obama Presidency:

Dick Cheney warns of security risk if Barack Obama bans waterboarding... 13 Jan 2009

But what really matters in the Gaza "endgame" has been 3 major developments in geopolitics

1. Obama has said he will launch an organised expert policy team on the Palestinian massacre by Israel (our words) on day one 20th January 09 which doesn't sound like a blank cheque to Israel from here;

2. Following on from 1, serious talks with Iran as sponsors of Hamas: Barack Obama signals that door is open to talks with Iran | The ... 13 Jan 2009

3. Livni as Israeli candidate in the Feb elections and Foreign Minister announcing justifications for annexing the border between Eqypt and Gaza and (as we understand it) foreshadowing possibly thousands of homes destroyed in a 1 mile plus wide tunnel exclusion zone over some 9 km in the Philadelphi area.

This always complex and fraught regional political power struggle suggests some things to this writer:

A. Israel is running out of time to pursue unaccountable blockade and seige of Gaza and is loading up its bargaining chips for the poker game with Obama's negotiating team on day one 20th January;

B. The Friends of Israel and Livni as minister proper are running out of propaganda excuses for the expansionist aggression based on traditional reliance on western Holocaust guilt, or rose tinted moral superiority of their domestic population (given the real phenomenon of Yigal Amir, Rabin's assassin and his 30% approval rating there).

C. The real forces driving the massacre of innocent civillians by the IDF, given the 4 months of real truce with no Hamas rockets July to October 2008, is

(i) the very real fear and loathing within Israel over capacity for greater weaponry to be smuggled from Iran into Gaza seeking revenge for the displacement of 4.5 million Palestinian refugees, grown from some 700,000 since 1948, 1967 Arab wars with Israel;

(ii) electoral politics up to Feb 09 vote in Israel pandering to the 30% supporters of a Greater Israel annexing Gaza and the West Bank for 'The Chosen', based on a massive religious conceit. The truth is many Peoples have suffered great suffering not just the Jews and in comparable numbers. The 30 year Occupation and at times crippling blockade is an essential but insufficient condition for such ambitious annexation.

Of course Hamas could capitulate to Israel's demands under severe military pressure and 5000 civillian deaths and injuries, that is for renewed Occupation like the captured Fatah Govt in the West Bank. This would mean suffering all the indignities and corrosions of sovereignty that an effective occupation/blockade by Israel involves there - given suspension of civilised legal system with objective Constitution - via powermongering by the IDF and land grabs by illegal squatter towns, medical and food shortages causing premature deaths. But then that would just be in the eyes of Hamas a return to the slow suicide of the previous 30 year Israeli Occupation. And they were elected to break free of that Israeli oppression by the 1.5 million Gazan population, if they can.

We presume Israel will seek to finish it's military campaign by 20 January but that anything could happen before then though nothing good for the innocent civillians of Gaza.

Posted by editor at 12:29 PM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 13 January 2009 1:21 PM EADT
Monday, 12 January 2009
Gaza coverage: Spirit of Yigal Amir in Israeli 'Defence' Force as Sydney Telegraph junk Right to Know?
Topic: big media

Picture: Caption via New York Post 31 October 2008 "In this file photo dated Nov. 1, 2007, Yigal Amir, the convicted assassin of late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, is seen during a court hearing in Tel Aviv, Israel. Amir, in his first interviews since the 1995 killing, said he shot the Israeli prime minister because Ariel Sharon and other hawkish ex-generals warned Rabin's land-for-peace deal with the Palestinians would bring disaster. Amir fatally shot Rabin at the end of a peace rally in Tel Aviv on Nov. 4, 1995. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)"

As published Saturday last here on SAM the Jewish Israeli assassin of PM Yitzhak Rabin in late 1995 appears to be working it's evil through a large minority faction of the IDF and Israeli Society. Not so surprising when Haaretz reports that 30% of Israeli Jews support a pardon for the murderous criminal. Presumably some of that 30% supported the act of assassination too.

Yigal Amir arrested after the shooting

Assassin Yigal Amir was arrested immediately after the shooting (1995)

Yigal Amir, like the infamous Amrosi in this region of the world, is known as the smiling assassin - totally unrepentant. And he has lots of support in Israel.


Australian and USA readers of this micro news service might be surprised to know that the assassin courtesy of the famous Israeli 'democracy' - if one puts aside the aparthied land law and lack of written constitution - has allowed Yigal Amir to marry and enjoy conjugal rights around 2004 and he is now a proud father. Presumably his son can grow up to kill Israeli leaders who talk peace in the future too:

Sins of the father cast a shadow on son - World - smh.com.au

It seems the local Israeli loyalists here in Sydney are in denial about this evil strand of criminal warmongering in their own society as per this Haaretz report. Contrary to the local reportage of 1,500 Jewish worthies here in Sydney who call for 'peace in the Middle East and for Israel's right to defend herself' with a free pass to kill as many children as "necessary" one can logically conclude that 30% of the IDF are not moral in their support for Yigal Amir. The implications of that reality are great. This rabid sector do not seek peace with their Palestinian neighbours. Rather they support Greater Israel and expansion according to their aparthied land law system as per the last 30 years occupation.

(We take special note of that land law legal reality having a high distinction in the subject at Australian National University regarding the Australian land title system. Good laws bring stability. Bad laws don't. Just like agreed fences.)

Perhaps our local worthies ought to catch up with this Washington Post story of 1st November 2008:

From Prison, Rabin Assassin Cites Influences

By Samuel Sockol ,Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, November 1, 2008; Page A16

JERUSALEM, Oct. 31 -- The assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has said in telephone interviews from prison that he was influenced by Israeli military leaders who had criticized Rabin's land-for-peace deal with the Palestinians.

Two Israeli commercial networks aired portions of the interviews with Yigal Amir on Thursday but canceled plans to air longer versions Friday evening after a public uproar. Amir, a Jewish Israeli activist, shot Rabin at close range at a rally in 1995.

In one interview, Amir spoke about how he formed his plan to kill the prime minister. Amir said he attended a wedding at which Rabin was also a guest and realized that the prime minister was protected by only one bodyguard. "I wandered around with a pistol. I was just next to him. I saw that it was so easy -- if I were to shake his hand, I could have easily shot him," Amir said.

He said he was moved to kill Rabin by "all those who understand the military," naming Ariel Sharon, who would later become prime minister; Rafael Eitan, a former Israel Defense Forces chief; and Rehavam Zeevi, a former general who advocated the removal of Palestinians from the Israeli-occupied territories. Zeevi was killed by Palestinian assassins in 2001.

"All the military experts said that the Oslo accords were a disaster," Amir said, referring to the 1993 deal between Israel and the Palestinians that was signed by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Rabin on the White House lawn.

Amir enjoys the support of a small group of Israeli hard-liners and has succeeded in improving his prison conditions by petitioning the courts. In 2003, he was moved to a prison whose location is more convenient for his family. He has won the removal of the cameras used to monitor him in his cell and was allowed to marry Larissa Trembovler. The two were granted a conjugal visit, and last year she gave birth to their son, who was circumcised in prison on Nov. 4, 2007, the anniversary of the assassination.

Prison Authority spokesman Yaron Zamir said such privileges are not accorded to Palestinian security prisoners. "All these rights have been given to him through the courts, and we have opposed them," Zamir said.

Amir also succeeded in a legal battle to have the right to speak over the phone. He conducted the interviews by calling his wife, who handed her phone to a journalist.

As punishment for the unauthorized interview, Amir was transferred Thursday night to another high-security prison in southern Israel, which houses hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. Zamir said the authority had revoked until further notice Amir's phone privileges and his right to have visitors.

Again perhaps our local worthies might like to inform themselves of the criminal radicals in their own society according to their own intelligence services as per this November 2008 story in USA Today:

Israel spy chief fears Jewish extremist plot, [2 November 2008] 11/02/2008 09:11 AM By Matti Friedman, Associated Press Writer

The head of Israel's internal security service said Sunday he is "very concerned" that Jewish extremists could assassinate an Israeli leader in an attempt to foil peace moves with the Palestinians.

Similarly Richard Carlton (RIP) then of Australian 60 Minutes aptly caught on camera an Israeli squatter/settler child confidently stating: 'the Arabs will leave. It will take a long time but they will leave'. A child is a faithful witness to the parent. The transcript is off their website but was probably here in 2002.

And our local peace loving, good Australian worthies are quoted saying 'only Israel is condemned for the death of innocent child civillians when acting in self defence' and the like. What planet have they been living on? Their bias is easily demonstrated by reference to huge rallies against GW Bush's Iraq war. Australian condemnation of Indonesia in East Timor in 1999 and previous. Condemnation of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Of widespread horror at the regime in Zimbabwe. Obviously the worthies really think Israel's IDF should have a free pass to kill Palestinian civillians. Actually they should be prosecuted, as should Hamas, where evidence is available before the International Criminal Court. The problem for the worthies is the comparative body count of innocents.

The Friends of Israel as we refer collectively might say Julie Irwin MP - a strong supporter for Palestinians - is one eyed in yesterday's Fairfax SunHerald:

Getting away with murder - Opinion - smh.com.au Julia Irwin is Federal MP for the NSW seat of Fowler and a member of the ... The Sun-Herald 2009-01-11

But they ought to take note that she was "By invitation" for a reason. The public are disgusted with Israel's carnage in Gaza and they don't buy the excuses, and the editor knows it.


Interesting to note the right wing screamers at the Sydney Daily Telegraph, notably pseudo National Party Afrikaaner Piers Akerman, has written of the evils of Hamas, the elected government in Gaza. But when it comes to the very worthy and constructive Right to Know Coalition involving owner company News Corporation not a word from SDT or Akerman.

Seems the Right to Know freedom of information agenda stops at the door of the IDF and their censorship at the Gaza boarder. Contrary to an Israeli Supreme Court order no less. No wonder all the Arabic audiences are being shown pictures of evicerated children from Gaza as compensation for the censorship in the West. They have a right to know but we don't obviously.

Posted by editor at 9:25 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 12 January 2009 1:13 PM EADT
Saturday, 10 January 2009
Gaza coverage: Friends of Israel roll out the Holocaust guilt trip after IDF slaughter of innocents?
Topic: world

Skibbereen 1847 by Cork artist James Mahony (1810-1879),commissioned by Illustrated London News 1847.

This writer's people are from Ireland/Eire (as well as 1/8 Italian apparently). We lost one million roughly in the potato 'famine', or 20 to 25% of the population. What is not well known is that during this catastrophe the British overlords were net food exporters from Eire for filthy profits. In short blood money. That's cruelty on a historic level 150 years ago. The bravest or luckiest fled to distant parts like Australia a bit like the Jewish Diaspora. Apparently by 1960 or so Ireland was the only country in the world whose population was back up to 1860 levels.

Then there is WW2 when wikipedia tells us about 72 million people perished, 5 to 6 million of those were Jewish according to the same source and expert opinion.

So now we ask pointedly why the flurry of Holocaust reminder stories today in Sydney after a week of horror PR for Israel with it's bombing and attack of UN facilities and ambulance and aid trucks, and condemnation by the International Red Cross for abuse of wounded Palestinians?

From Doogue on ABC RN earlier today about 8.30 am: A complex true story about a Hungarian Jew sacrificing many lives to save others on a train away from the Nazis (Kasztner's Train).

To a full pager in the SMH at page 22 with a picture of the ominous and evil Auschwitz. (We once had an opportunity to visit in 2002 near Munich but couldn't stomach the reality. That was the trip we donated our shirt to a homeless German Jewish guy who had his bag stolen at the summer camp for backpackers.):

Guaranteeing truth, and avoiding it - World - smh.com.auShould some subjects - such as the Holocaust - be off-limits to writers and filmmakers? The German author Bernhard Schlink looks at the rules for fiction ...

To the special pleading in relation to Gaza referring to Anne Frank in a full page long side column in The Australian broadsheet here:

Israel just wants to live in peace | The Australian 10 Jan 2009

Are these terrible sufferings fully 60 years ago and the defeat of Nazism the free pass for the Israeli Defence Force to kill as many civillian Palestinians as they like in Gaza, or to erect cruel endless economic blockades as collective punishment?

That's at least one implication of the Holocaust history paraded today. Which terrible history no doubt feeds into the neurosis and paranoia of the Israeli population, diaspora and decision makers today.

Trouble is for the special pleading Israel lobby - including home grown Sydney PR spinners for the IDF as reported on here today: Aussie mafia of spin doctors in Israel | The Australian 10 Jan 2009

, the trouble is, no matter how much Israel loyalists keep referring to their existential risk, the country keeps expanding physically, politically, militarily and economically. And in significant ways at the expense of the some 4.5 million Palestinian refugees in Gaza, West Bank and diaspora through the world Arab and otherwise. There is no real excuse for the negligent carnage of mostly civillians in Gaza.

The most disturbing aspect of the repeated reports of firing on UN personnel, vehicles and equipment is the this report: Substantial support for the assassin of former Israeli PM peacemaker Yitzhak Rabin:

Protesters scuffle with supporters of Rabin's assassin outside jail, By Haaretz Service and The Associated Press 04/11/2007

We have read that one fifth to one third of Israelis, presumably of the Right and Far Right of the polity, support a pardon or perhaps even support the assassination of Rabin. Here's one Associated Press report:

"A survey by the Dahaf polling institute showed one-fifth of those questioned saying Amir should be pardoned now. It gave no margin of error." in Israel Marks 10 Years Since Rabin's Death 4 Nov 2005

We have read in this Haaretz report this is as high as 30% from 6/11/06 [see the bold highlighting below]

Let them move to Bulgaria. They're wanted there

November 06, 2006
By Gideon Alon

There is a huge gap between MK Benny Elon's pleasant personality and his extremist political views. Elon, the son of former of Supreme Court vice president Menahem Elon, is not belligerent, nor does he coarsely attack his political rivals. He speaks softly, even when he is spelling out his somewhat delusionary plan for the voluntary transfer of the Palestinians in the territories.

Elon, 52, is a politician of a different stripe. He does not pursue journalists, nor is he constantly distributing press releases. Although he heads the National Union-National Religious Party (NU-NRP) list, he does not feel like the leader of the party. "I don't feel that I received a mandate to lead the NU-NRP," he says. "Not like Avigdor Lieberman in Yisrael Beiteinu or Eli Yishai in Shas."

At the beginning of the year, a short time before the elections to the 17th Knesset, Elon fell ill with throat cancer. He successfully underwent an operation to remove the tumor in Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva. For three months he had daily radiation treatments at the Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem. "I'm under supervision, but today I'm healthy, thank God," he says, thanking the "angels" who took care of him at Hadassah.

Lieberman, the populist

Were you surprised by Avigdor Lieberman's decision to join the government?

Elon: "No. Lieberman is moving toward the center. Lieberman is ready for the establishment of a Palestinian state. In my opinion, his proposal that the border be drawn at Karkur and that Umm al-Fahm be part of the Palestinian state is populist and irresponsible. But his moving toward the center is not ideological. In the past as well, on genuine issues, he did not demonstrate consistency. On the eve of the elections he said he was willing to leave his home in [the settlement] Nokdim."

Will he remain in the government for only a short period of time?

"Lieberman joined the government under the assumption that by the force of his personality, he will be able to effect change. He mistakenly thinks that the job the government offered him is an executive one. He will soon discover his mistake, because he will not be able to operate in the strategic arena. His membership in the government will not last long."

Do you support his proposal to copy the Cyprus model in Israel and separate between Jews and Arabs living in Israel?

"The proposal is populist and unrealistic. It was designed to placate the Jewish public, who according to surveys are more annoyed by the Israeli Arabs than by the Arabs in the territories. I don't think that the Israeli Arabs are the root of the problem. They're only a minority, after all. During the first stage, we have to solve the relations between us and the Palestinians, and only afterward to deal with relations with the Israeli Arabs."

Why have people who in the past were out-and-out rightists, such as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Lieberman and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, moderated their positions?

"My sad conclusion is that the secular right, which does not have a backbone based on faith, has apparently become bankrupt. The Tehiya movement did not pass the threshold for a Knesset seat, Tzomet fell apart, Arik Sharon and the hard core of the Likud moved toward the center, and now Lieberman as well. Gandhi [Rehavam Ze'evi] was maybe the last of the giants among the secular rightists. Where is the non-skullcap-wearing public at demonstrations of the right? Where is their dedication? There are some like MK Aryeh Eldad, but I don't know if they have even one Knesset seat today among the public."

At the Knesset session marking the fifth anniversary of the assassination of minister Rehavam Ze'evi, you said, "The demographic problem will not solve itself. It's not too late to study the Gandhi legacy." Do you still believe in the idea of transfer?

"Yes. Gandhi never spoke of transfer by coercion, only voluntary transfer. We can eliminate the Palestinian refugee camps in the territories by giving $100,000 to each family that agrees to emigrate to another country. If 1 million Palestinian families accept the proposal, which costs about $100 billion, we will solve the demographic problem."

Where will you find $100 billion?

"Every year Israel receives foreign aid from the United States totaling $3 billion. If we take the aid money and put it aside for 20 years, we will have $60 billion. If we add to that money from American and European foundations, which streams in to us, we can reach $100 billion."

Do you really believe that for $100,000 you will succeed in convincing Palestinian families to leave their homes?

"Definitely. I've checked it out. There are many countries, such as Bulgaria and Bosnia, that are willing to take them in. When a family with $100,000 arrives there, it is wanted, and will be really wealthy. Today in Gaza, families are living in hell. They have to be encouraged to leave."

How will you encourage them? They will justly claim that this is their home. Their connection to the land is stronger than ours.

"We put that into our own heads and brainwashed ourselves. I have a list of dozens of Arab families from East Jerusalem from whom we bought houses and who emigrated to South America, to Honduras and other countries. Do you know how many Arabs live in America and in Europe?"

How will you behave toward Palestinians who don't want to leave?

"With great respect. All those who are not refugees and who have homes of their own will be Jordanian citizens. They will live here, but they will vote for the Parliament in Amman. We won't interfere in religious matters, education and culture, and they will be the bridge to peace. The Palestinian Authority will be dismantled and no Palestinian state will be established between Israel and Jordan, because such a state without territorial contiguity between Gaza and Judea and Samaria will not be able to exist."

What about the Israeli Arabs?

"The Israeli Arabs who want to be Israeli citizens, with all the rights and obligations, will be required to perform national service. They will be able to remain here, but they will also have an option of being Jordanian citizens."

Many will claim that that is a racist proposal.

"In what way is it racist? Why do they want to perpetuate bloodshed? Why don't they understand that we don't have another Jewish state, while on the other hand, there are many Arab countries. The Palestinians don't want only the establishment of a Palestinian state, they don't want Israel to exist. My political plan is a means of carrying out my war of survival."

A critical year

According to a survey, 30 percent of the public believes that Yitzhak Rabin's assassin Yigal Amir should be pardoned. What is your opinion?

"Those findings are shocking. They point to a huge educational failure. I also get around to schools and hear such statements by students. When the left did not allow the right to join in internalizing the significance of this murder, it led foolish people on the right to think it's the left's problem. Murder is not the left's problem. The assassination of Rabin was a watershed, red with blood, for the State of Israel, which almost destroyed it."

Aren't you afraid that a few years from now a president here will pardon Amir?

"I'm against a pardon for Yigal Amir, and I believe that no president would do such a thing. The talk of a pardon is dangerous, because it shows the young people on the right that it's not a terrible deed. In my meetings with young people in the schools I tell them: "We hate this murderer and we will make sure that he remains in prison. If there is anyone among you who is considering doing such deeds, he should know that he will be hated by all of us.

"It worries me that there are children growing up today who think that the problem may be one between the left and the right. I am calling on people on the left: Be careful of what you say. The legacy that you want to perpetuate is not the legacy of Rabin, which is no more important than the legacy of [second prime minister] Moshe Sharett. To me the legacy of the Rabin assassination is more important."

How should Israel deal with the threat by the Iranian president to destroy Israel?

"The coming year is critical, and therefore Ehud Olmert should have formed a national emergency government, but he preferred to bring only Lieberman into his government. Olmert will be afraid to carry out daring actions against Iran to prevent the completion of the nuclear reactor, unless there is a broad consensus as to the necessity of doing so."

Israel's policy was not to position itself at the head of the struggle against Iran. Are you proposing that we be the leader in this struggle?

"The moment that the Iranian president declared that his goal was to wipe Israel off the map, it would have been irresponsible to ignore the new Hitler and say he was joking. We have the moral obligation to be the first to warn the world and to tell everyone: You cannot agree to allow the head of a country, which is a member of the UN, to threaten to destroy another country. If there is any chance of preventing the creation of the atom bomb by diplomatic means, it is preferable that empires such as the U.S. do so. The question is what happens if the U.S. does not succeed in preventing the creation of the nuclear bomb by diplomatic means?

Should we treat Ahmadinejad's threats will complete seriousness?

"Certainly. We must understand that hatred for Israel changes form. The greatest danger is to think it will once again assume the same form as in the past. This time it will appear without Wagnerian music or a Christian background; it will have a Muslim background. The public in Israel does not understand that there are millions who are raised from infancy on 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion' and on hatred for the Jews. That makes the issue of land for peace pathetic and turns the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a dark and unimportant alley."

Given national service in the IDF is compulsory that suggests 1/3 of Israelis have little problem with murder of their own peace seeking PM Rabin in 1995 to pursue their religious belief in a Greater Israel. The implications are deeply disturbing: If these fanatics support an assassination of their own PM seeking to recognise Palestinian land rights, will such fraction of same in the IDF on the trigger in Gaza have any restraint in firing on UN bodies seeking to protect Palestinian right to life and land? They will shoot the civillians to drive them out of 'their land given by the Tora'.

Contrary to the IDF spin doctors transplanted from Sydney, there is a serious question about the moral corruption within a very substantial segment of the IDF resulting in the humanitarian carnage in Gaza. Of deliberate fire on UN aid workers. On buildings full of civillians reportedly seeking refuge as directed by the same IDF. In effect of criminal murder of civillians and UN staff under cover of war - like Blackwater in Iraq. That's the problem for the moderate friends of Israel believing their own side's spin rather than looking objectively at the facts.


Nor is this the only media trickery in the last week regarding the war by Israel on Gaza and the Hamas government. The Sydney Daily Telegraph earlier this week have been keen to implicitly portray the death of a 15 year old local Jewish girl in a car accident tragedy as the result of getting mixed up with an Arabic Romeo. Not in so many words. More by pictures on the front page. Even the Herald eulogy had the Rabbi at the funeral gently pointing out she had run off the rails. The subtext is clear - you get mixed up with mixing with Arabs and you die. It's crude. It's subliminal but it's also how they like to wield their power via the high circulation front page at the Telegraph.

They were at it again this week with the picture of a kid at a western Sydney trouble spot (called 3M in Rosemeadow) over neighbour disputes dressed like a Palestinian rock thrower with face mask. Totally unrelated crime story.  But somehow echoing the real international drama in Palestine. If you think this is imaginative interpretation by SAM's editor as to the subliminal subtext then consider also the same visual interpretation by the News Corp Sydney Sunday Telegraph of 11th Jan 2009 (below). The house bias by way of  implication that criminals causing chaos in 3M estate are 'just like Gaza':



Posted by editor at 5:53 PM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 13 January 2009 9:22 PM EADT
Friday, 9 January 2009
The Google Adsense experience ... so far at non profit SAM micro news

Well call us slow but after 2 years and a month dithering we finally managed to take the plunge and subscribe to Google Adsense.

On the upside, it wasn't really that difficult to work out where to place the html code they allocate to you. It wasn't that frustrating reading carefully for several hours (in aggregate over several weeks break in between, sometimes refreshing) over the terms, policies, how to, extra mysteries to track down later etc. They are very user friendly it seems.

The biggest advantage was realising early that the "source view" for the html code to insert in SAM articles are easy enough to access and add to via a blog tool. I had noticed the existence of these programmes way back 2 years ago subscribing to our host web server, a big US company. Indeed we have learned that 70% of our readers are US based. So we are actually a 'US blogger' in Sydney Australia. Given there is a Sydney USA somewhere over there, it might be confusion.

There are 'blog tool' programmes for just about every web host server apparently. So the entry page has WYSIWIG which is jargon for What You See Is What You Get - not just the name as I recall of a downtown photo laboratory in the 1990ies here in Sydney for getting colour slides copied. The entry page has also switch button for source code for the article just written.

Inserting adverts around the general infrastructure of the SAM website, not just within article entries is a much bigger ask. This means really going into the html source code - which we are just starting to sniff around now. Especially the big white blank streak at bottom left of the screen that would take a skyscraper ad unit no worries.

We are allowed 3 'link ad units' and '3 text/image based ad units' per web page. Given our SAM front page was running at 10 articles of roughly a screen length long each (or 10 screen length scrolls per page) we soon realised we needed to limit our front page to 5 articles. Our web host server allows 1 or 5 or 10 front page articles so we stayed with 5 which is reasonable spacing of 5 often text based articles and 3 picture adverts and 3 link based adverts. We have also copied the crikey.com.au technique of setting a divider in place to avoid any editorial confusion between content and mucky money. And given we are not permitted to click on the links ourselves without a preview tool (at risk of being banned) so far we have no idea who is behind many of these advertised services/products.

So now the first shaky steps in the world of html proceeds in order to copy and paste the code provided by Google Adsense. They are very efficient too filling the advert spaces within a very short time sometimes paying, often charity slots. But who are they paying? Not SAM content provider would be our view. That's how Google is rich and we just a little micro news blogger.

But their "complex algorithms" as a "technology company" are impressive. Not least because they have bot crawlers that appear to match up the content of the articles and origin of the readers - which is information SAM doesn't really have even as the webpage creator. We presume anyway that the adverts for Arabic and Hebrew language courses, for local Holden cars, for foreign diplomacy education, teaching in the UK etc all reflect the segments of the 25,000 readers per month from those places.

These adverts are quite informative of services out there in the world which is something the advertising industry claims for their product in the uplifting sense. So yes they are quite compatible with the look and goals of the SAM non profit ethos. Who is actually behind those adverts and services we have no idea.

There is a micro managing tool called "channels" which we have little clue about so far. And we have realised over night that with about 1000 stories already on the site, that's 6 x 200 html advert scripts we could be adding onto the site. That feels like a fair bit of drudgery for probably scant income. But who really knows.

We would welcome comments or advice on experience of non profits or community based blogs as to either income, presentation or know how.

Posted by editor at 11:04 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2009 12:17 PM EADT
SAM editor probably first to reveal ID of Katherine Wilson expert hoaxer of Keith Windschuttle
Topic: independent media

Rabble rouser on the roof ? Quadrant bete noire Katherine Wilson in her days with Green Roofs Australia.

Rabble rouser on the roof ? Quadrant bete noire Katherine Wilson in her days with Green Roofs Australia.
Photo: Rodger Cummins

This hoax prank was discussed by Marg Simons on Crikey.com.au yesterday, both in the main ezine on Thursday:

Outing 'Sharon Gould': the hoaxer's identity revealed 8 Jan 2008

where we comment as follows:

Tom McLoughlin
Thursday, 8 January 2009 4:00:05 PM
Katherine possibly misunderstands the capacity for campaigner analysis [in thinking she could stay covert]. She hadn't written for a while so a good prospect of going under cover. She had the record on very good stories on the politics of genetically modified organisms which appeal to greenies like moi.

As I was saying on Marg's blog I can demonstrate I had it by 4.32 pm on Tuesday under my "Mmm" comment, but earlier actually as I read it early arvo at the local job agency instead of doing my job applications. Ha ha. Which is where I ought to be right now, and God bless Barry Cohen for being symapthetic in a piece in The Oz in mid December being an ex Federal ALP minister when unemployment was stalking the land.

I was thinking as I read the lead story - who wrote those strong GMO stories for crikey in the last year. Then I was trying to remember is it Murphy, is it Kate. As it was I googled the right name first time and when I saw "co-editor of Overland" on the face of the search it was doh. Motive being a rival journal. Skills being an editor. Skills having written on the topic. Motive being of the progressive side of things. And also Modus Operandi. KW's articles showed depth of research, which was a plank of the hoax too.

But you never can be sure. I thought about blogging it for myself but hey I thought the traffic should go to those that did the project so I put it in a comment. To be honest I was also thinking, if I'm wrong, or it's denied I could be sued for defamation so I left it as speculation. Bit lawyerly coward there but yeah it's true [I was cautious].

Simons also writes on her crikey sponsored blog The Content Makers here:

Who Killed "Sharon Gould"? , by Margaret Simons

SAM's editor here Tom McLoughlin was one of the first, and probably the first, to publicly state that Katherine Wilson, freelancer and researcher into the politics and science of genetically engineered organisms, was the newly famous hoaxer. Here are the relevant comment posts dated variously from Tuesday 6th January when the story ran, with ours in bold below being the crucial one naming the hoaxer Ms Wilson:

* at 'Sharon Gould' speaks: the difference between hoax and fraud crikey ezine 8th Jan 09, comment:

Tom McLoughlin
Wednesday, 7 January 2009 1:20:34 PM
I feel like writing my guess of who Shane, err sorry Sharon Gould, is on a piece of paper and giving it to a friend to keep in their wallet. But methinks the hoaxer whoever s/he may be will declare sooner or later, especially after the silly season front page prominence in the big media has got made it's mark. The clues are there without even looking at the bogus Quadrant article. But if I mentioned the lines of inquiry it might cramp their style. One google and I got my suspect. Anyway I might be totally off track. We shall see.


* at Gould and Windschuttle: The fallout crikey ezine Wed 8th Jan 09, comment:
Tom McLoughlin
Wednesday, 7 January 2009 2:16:31 PM
As said I suspect it's one for the literati, and fair enough, given they make a crust from getting this stuff right or not. True to say it's confection to displace Gaza and Israel nukes and possible Iran nukes and the who[ole] damn mess Cheney and GW have left us in. And thank heaven for little sanity breaks from that too.

And I am quite sure .... s/he the hoaxer is not thee, Margaret Simons. I reckon I know. But here's the thing - it's totally not the same as the Helen Dale fraudster case. That was genuinely fraud. This was a test because it was self declared a hoax soon after publication.

I've a good mind to call Bob Phelps of Genethics and ask him if my guess is right, and no I don't think it was him. Enjoy your fame Hoaxer you really worked hard for it.


Tom McLoughlin
Wednesday, 7 January 2009 4:17:14 PM
Damn it, I just can't sit on this, it's like I'm busting:

Katherine Wilson (and Bernard Keane, subbing?) meet Sharon Gould? Sharon Gould meet Katherine Wilson?

Exhibit 1, 21 July 2008

"CSIRO scientist's GM letter campaign 'backfires' "


Tom McLoughlin

Wednesday, 7 January 2009 4:22:30 PM
Exhibit 2?

Google Australia: Katherine Wilson Overland

Result: "Voices from the edge - Books - www.theage.com.au
Nathan Hollier and Katherine Wilson, the joint editors of Overland, the left- wing literary and cultural magazine,"

3rd entry from top etc etc. She's got the skills, the history on GMO, the wit and flair. She's my candidate until I'm told otherwise.

The comment above analysis by SAM's editor was alluded to indirectly by the SMH in today's press. Notice their use of "candidate" from SAM's "She's my candidate until I'm told otherwise.". SMH write:

"Bloggers "outed" Wilson as a likely candidate for the hoax " in The blogs of war: how Quadrant hoaxer was outed 9th January 2009

The hoax was to get a well written but bogus article into Quadrant past 'footnotes Nazi' and ABC Board member Keith Windschuttle.

We feel we may well have been the first to ID the hoaxer which we can verify by indirect means: For instance we also published on a crikey comment string a day earlier under a pseudonym "Mmm" with the words "we have a name in mind" timed at 4.32 pm Tuesday 6th January. This was the same day that the story was published - around midday:

In How Windschuttle swallowed a hoax to publish a fake story in Quadrant By Margaret Simons 6th January 2009, comment:


Tuesday, 6 January 2009 4:32:32 PM
I already have a name in mind. It looks like a royally executed prank. Whether it really has deeper political consequences I'm really not sure. One for the literati perhaps. By all means enjoy. Something to console oneself as Howard gets his medal of freedom.

Notice how the Toad, to quote a veteran wonk, wraps himself in the flag even at this dreadful time. A bit like Henderson airbrushing perhaps a million deaths and saying history still has to judge. Like yeah we did in the street in Sydney 2003 with 250,000 -500,000 rally unprecedented in my time saying No War in Iraq.

As if the Australian people agreed with him and he still says it's a medal in our name. What a nerve the guy has. Is Windshuttle the Toad's toadlet as it were still on the ABC Board?


Purely by coincidence we explained our use of "Mmm" handle (on rare occasions) the day before 5th January 2008 waiting for crikey ezine to resume after the summer break:

In 2008: Dashed dreams and mouldy political compromise, 19 December 2008, comment,

Tom McLoughlin
Monday, 5 January 2009 1:23:20 PM
Mmm. There's a clue for you Venise. If you go back to some of the Crikey comments by Mmm that will be my alter ego. It's when personal security overcomes transparency of authorship. Otherwise I try to own what I say. .....

[That pseudonym "Mmm" was lifted off a nickname for a geek here in Sydney by the name of Kenaar then at Friends of the Earth Sydney 1995-2001. The nickname was in turn given to Kenaar probably by the now dearly departed (and somewhat famous) super geek Pred, aka Predator, aka Cave Clan member Mike Carlton, may he rest in peace.)]

We don't use "Mmm" as a handle very much. Only when we feel too insecure physically and sometimes legally which is not very often at all. In this case we

1. didn't want our identity to lead to clues who it really was, at least not for another 24 hour news cycle, and

2. a possibly misplaced sense of chivalry that if we blogged the identity which was virtually certain given the rival journal Overland connection, then we would get traffic that really belonged with the hoaxer and the chosen outlet for that reportage being crikey.com.au.

Then after the big splash in the press last Wednesday by that afternoon we sort of decided it was a race to name the hoaxer so we jumped in on a comment string late Wednesday. Even then being a little careful in case it became an issue of defamation blowback, genuinely or falsely denied ID. By Thursday the hoaxer outed herself as indeed Katherine Wilson, soon to be proud mum apparently.

It's all there via the crikey newsletter and Marg Simons blog The Content Makers. Meanwhile we press on with Google Adsense of which we will be writing about soon too.

[As an update, late Friday 9th January 2009] The SMH (above) was very flattering to Katherine Wilson with nice big picture story promoting Green Roof Australia. A great initiative by the way. We've been meaning to write on it via clips etc. The Australian quoting her father alot was also a nice touch in keeping with their patriarchical Murdoch leanings. But The Oz were putting an angle on it with their headline about her being a cultural/gmo "warrior":

Quadrant hoaxer an anti-GM warrior | The Australian9 Jan 2009

That is, to portray as an axe grinder and so be read down accordingly, and that she didn't have 'real' points of principle to make.

Keep in mind WindThrottle (!) is on the ABC Board our premier cultural institution. He wants this to go away desperately. THAT is the political dimension. He should resign for lack of credibility. His mates are keen to protect him. Earlier this evening we vented out spleen at one of his supporters, which was not much better than a flame on our part and duly moderated off the board, but gee it felt good:

In Who killed "Sharon Gould"? 8 Jan 2009, comment:

Tom McLoughlin, Posted January 9, 2009 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

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What alot of pompous hogwash Andy George. Simons had a cracking story.

Windschuttle is a public figure. He's made a crust and reputation as Mr Fine Tooth Comb aka Footnote Nazi. He's a big tough debater. He can defend himself ... or not.

Get off your house paint white Shetland Pony you dope.

We will be lucky if we get 20 more stories like this one. Let's just repeat, the guy is arguably a creation of the Howard regime and then PMC office, a PM who was not only thrown out of government but out of his own seat. We've since had the widely celebrated Sorry Ceremony. A new high court judge who want to further improve Native Title processes. A leading business man who until the GFC got all the big players to agree to a 50K job drive for the First Australians.

And we have apologists for ruthless, murderous squattocracy, many of whom are close to white supremacists in love with mother England in the Antipodes. Well F... You. If you believe all that hogwash - then go and live there and give us Fenians, yellow, coffee and other mongel races, a bit of space to get on with the business of adaptation to the land we're in, including respect for the Originals.

It's so obvious you are [a] semi retired boomer. God I?m sick of them hogging everything. Bunch of fat arses.

The conservatives at The Oz want the story to fizzle, especially the fact WindThrottle demands but can?t meet his own academic standards. People forget the Howard Years hurt alot of people. Alot. And Windthrottle was part of that machine. That?s why they hid it away on page 4 far margin today. SMH went the even pages too, but still big summery size and picture. That says alot: Like goodbye John Howard, ousted from Bennelong for good measure.

Let the fangs of the left have their prey, it's the Darwinism The Oz itself would approve, as per big Rupert's 'be prepared for global competition' mantra.

Posted by editor at 9:38 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2009 12:19 PM EADT
Regev mispeaks on tv 3 times for Israeli 'PM' while 7.30 fails to ask the blockade, occupation question
Topic: world

Yesterday was another day in hell for Gaza. Today is another again.

As we wrote on December 31 cynical politicians Israeli and Arabic are using Palestinians as cannon fodder, as per ABC tv news again tonight [post on their website this morning about an hour after this SAM article was first posted]

News Video | Fri, 09 Jan 2009 10:51:00 +1100 | Duration 1m 17s

A UN aid worker is dead after a convoy transporting aid to Palestinians was attacked by the Israeli army.

News Video | Fri, 09 Jan 2009 10:05:00 +1100 | Duration 1m 48s

The UN suspends operations in Gaza after the Israeli military fires on an aid convoy as the Red Cross claims it is being prevented from helping the injured.

Just like that UN observer post on the Lebenon Israel boder in 2006, the UN have been scathing of Israel over the carnage of 40 innocents in one neutral UN school.

Today the International Red Cross similarly accused the Israeli Defence Force of breaches of international humanitarian law regarding rescue of little orphan children stranded by cross fire for 4 days until they too almost perished.

We make some simple observations - we have read that up to 30% of Israelis think the assassin of Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin should be pardoned. We know that whoever forms a Coalition majority in the Feb 2009 Israel election will need to negotiate with the Greater Israel expansionist fanatics in their own Parliament. It is blatantly obvious this war is a pre-emptive attempt at coalition building by all rival major parties. With the Palestinians in Gaza as cannon fodder.

Who indeed trusts Israel or the IDF to not fire on the UN, if 30% of society already support a pardon for the killer of their own Prime Minister? This is a society with a substantial element of criminal rogues and one can predict about 30% of the IDF are in this category.

No wonder the USA via Secretary of State Rice has buckled to world wide pressure and abstained from blocking a UN Security Council resolution late today (ABC Australia news story follows again]:

News Video | Fri, 09 Jan 2009 15:49:00 +1100 | Duration 5m 15s

The UN Security Council has passed a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, with 14 countries voting in favour and only the United States abstaining.

In our view this mediocre and cowardly administration in the USA has acted 12 days too late for 500 or more dead civillians in Gaza, and probably more to die yet at the hands of rogue IDF. All part of a cynical strategy to first starve out then bomb the Hamas Govt, before the Obama administration takes office on 20th January 2008.

So we heard Mark Regev twice yesterday here direct to Australians as spokesperson for the ostensibly corrupt Israeli PM Olmert - who is only acting PM with his resignation submitted and accepted. No doubt Olmert's job is to take the approbrium of Gaza with him on exit, which is cute choreography by Israeli Big Politics. Regev was on early with the Breakfast ABC Radio National Programme our time Thursday 8th of January about 7.35am. Regev was fresh and conciliatory and sounded even hopeful of ceasefire talks with Hamas via France and Egypt provided the rockets and tunnels stop.

The interviewer Steve Kinane asked (Israel truce 8 Jan 2009):

'and will that mean lifting (and one presumes complete lifting) of the blockade on food and medical supplies unlike the last 6 month truce?'

Regev fully admitted that Israel constrained supplies during the truce as an "economic sanction" for sporadic rocket fire. We understand for those first 4 months the rocket fire was minimal but the crippling blockade hardly altered at all. That we suspect is the truth - of Israeli bastardry and effective breach of the truce terms leading to more rockets and the cycle continuing. That Israel had a deliberate strategy for months of starving the Hamas Govt. More on the nature of the Hamas Govt from Kinane's show (actually stand in for Fran Kelly) today: Inside Hamas thinking 9 Jan 2009

This same critical question regarding the occupation and blockade was not put by the holiday stand in compere on 7.30 Report last night to a harried and defiant Mark Regev 12 hours later on Australian TV last night 8th of January. Even so Regeve mispoke 3 times, which is unforgiveable of a professional media performer, referring to Hamas as Hezbolah to the point of clamping his lips in frustration at his own errors and conceding "I'm confused". Quite. His till now supreme poise was cracking: His own IDF were caught red handed brutally killing 40 innocents at a UN school the Gazan civillians were encouraged to attend as a refuge.

Regev must now be asking himself at some level whether this is the same kind of indiscriminate killing the Jews fled from after WW2, that they are now guilty of, becoming what they most hated. Certainly the Australian journalist on 7.30 did press him very hard on how the IDF could have attacked a UN facility on a false basis and change it's story so quickly. That is Hamas the enemy were not in, but now 'near' the UN school. The propaganda machine and the enforced censorship of western media against the order of the IDF's own Israeli Supreme Court tells the story. Regev can't afford transparency. Not with the world against this slaughter.

The press in Sydney have led today 12 hours behind the news cycle now. They refer to 4 rockets from Lebanon which are already convincingly disowned as not from Hezbolah according to latest report, accepted by both sides, rather by another Lebanese splinter group. This press in Sydney is already being crowded out by the electronic news regarding the UN and Red Cross scathing assessments of the rogue IDF. Even lucid Jewish writers like Sara Dowse are in the mainstram press yesterday in the generally pro Israel Sydney Morning Herald that Israel 'can't be trusted':

8th Jan 2008 Shocking cynicism of a poisoned homeland - Opinion - smh.com.au

This was juxtaposed against an opinion piece by Israel's loyalist here Vic Alhadeff who also avoided like 7.30 the ostensible 4 months breach of the truce by Israel by failing to completely remove the blockade on food and medical supplies. How weak and cynical to avoid responsibility for that?

Vic your article read as hollow compared to the images of dead children out of Gaza [ABC Australia tv/web coverage here]:

News Video | Fri, 09 Jan 2009 18:53:00 +1100 | Duration 2m 35s

Israel is continuing its offensive in the Gaza Strip, despite a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire to the 14-day-old conflict.

Posted by editor at 8:54 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 14 January 2009 12:20 PM EADT

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