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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 16 January 2009
Australian PM Kevin Rudd offers no comfort or view on bombing of UN headquarters or Gaza hospital by Israel ally
Topic: aust govt

In a rather pathetic form of timing Kevin Rudd is dominating the lead evening news in Sydney by the pretext of awarding the highest military honour to an undoubtedly brave Australian soldier:

VC award 'stuff of legends': 'I don't see myself as a hero' - National 16 Jan 2009 ... Mr Rudd said Trooper Donaldson's actions "leapt from the page" and was "stuff of legends".

When was the well earned VC ceremony organised? Is it an excuse to avoid the Israeli war crimes underway in Gaza? Why is Rudd silent on the 5,000 injured and dead mostly civillians? Is this the craven calculations of a supremely amoral politician at his worst hiding behind a brave soldier to avoid his policy responsibilities to promote human rights including for relatives of Australian citizens in Palestine?

We condemn Australian PM Kevin Rudd over his silence on the Gaza scandal on the day UN headquarters and food and medical supplies were bombed. We predict Rudd's silence and in effect apologia for criminal elements within the IDF will be condemned in a surprisingly big protest rally in Sydney scheduled this Sunday, and it will be well justified.

Rudd was exposed eloquently earlier today on ABC Radio National by an 85 year old giant of the peace movement in Israel, and former Knesset member as here:

Dissent against Gaza conflict: Uri Avnery
Israeli Journalist and Peace Activist

Uri Avnery has been a Zionist paramilitary but now a dedicated peace activist. At 85 he nailed his own government in Gaza as a "blood stained monster lacking in moral restraint and prepared to committ war crimes", the cheap populism of war until the body bags roll in just like "Vietnam", and the cynical politicians generally. Here is his published opinion recently:

How Israel is Multiplying Hamas by a Thousand Molten Lead in Gaza By URI AVNERY

Kevin Rudd couldn't hold a candle to this old man who has survived at least one murderous attack by a 'settler' nutcase. Or to the UN Secretary General


Postscript 17 Jan 2009

The Rudd Government have tried to mitigate their craven silence on the obvious war crimes of Israel through targetting of UN facilities by announcing some significant but small compassionate policy decisions on a handful of refugees here in Australia. But it's too little too late for a PM who likes to think of himself as a courageous Bonhoeffer, ie brave against political orthodoxy on matters of high morality:

Arrival of first visa recipients in ALP's asylum regime imminent ... 17 Jan 2009

Additionally Hilary Clinton as prospective Secretary of State in the USA from next Tuesday USA time is reported making an incredulous comment about Hamas renouncing violence:

Hillary Clinton faces a tough test for 'smart power' | The Australian 17 Jan 2009

But there's a red line the incoming Obama administration won't cross.

"I think on Israel you cannot negotiate with Hamas until it renounces violence, recognises Israel and agrees to abide by past agreements," Clinton said. "That is just for me, you know, an absolute. That is the US Government's position, that is the president-elect's position."

and earlier same article:

Clinton is seen as a staunch ally of Israel, particularly since becoming a New York senator, putting behind her, for instance, controversies such as embracing Yasser Arafat's wife Suha in 1999 after the latter had denounced Israel (Clinton later condemned the remarks when she saw an official translation, but the damage was done and it almost derailed her bid for the senate).

Incredulous for these reasons:

1. No sovereign government has ever renounced the option of violence including in self defence.

2. There is a real 'blame the victim' air to the naive comment by H Clinton, given the 5,000 injured with 1000 dead including many hundreds of children, after Isreal's constructive breach of the cease fire with ongoing blockade of essential supplies, then air strike killing 5 Hamas members in early November;

3. The blockade on every side particularly the sea border controlled by Israel but also landside is a form of violence against Gaza with real fatalities. With 45% of children anaemic and therefore prone to severe illness, poverty, lack of medical and other services for a population of 1.5 million people, does kill people every day. The blockade on and off for 30 years but particularly the last 2 years is a form of violence.

4. Then the creeping consquest by the 500K strong Israeli illegal squatter movement, backed by aparthied land laws with no objective written constitution in Israel is another form of violence on Palestinian legal rights.

5. Only this week we learn of the USA shipping 325 shipping containers of ammunition supplies for the IDF. Given 30% of Israeli society are sympathetic the assassin of PM Rabin in 1995, and it is preumably these criminals targetting civilians and UN workers and facilities within the IDF in Gaza, the USA is complicit in arming these "gangsters" to quote Israeli historian Avi Shlaim in today's Sydney Morning Herald, last few paragraphs here:

Bitter pill after the mourning - World - smh.com.au 17 Jan 2009 For all its muscle power and powerful allies, Israel stands diminished in the eyes of the world, writes Paul McGeough. - Sydney Morning Herald Online.

....The Israeli historian Avi Shlaim has a wonderful knack of tracing the arcs of Israel's history to reveal today's reality - all the talk of successive governments about the peace process has been lip service which has conceded nothing on the ground.

Even before the events of this week, when Washington dismissed Olmert as - well, as a liar, and the UN used similar language to dismiss Israel's attempt to blame Hamas for the white phosphorous bombing of the UN's emergency stores of food and medicine in Gaza, Shlaim was in his library, re-evaluating the words of John Troutbeck.

In June 1948, Troutbeck vented to Ernest Bevin, the British foreign secretary of the day, that the US had been responsible for the creation of a gangster state headed by "an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders".

"I used to think this judgment was too harsh," Shlaim wrote in The Guardian. "But Israel's vicious assault on the people of Gaza and the Bush Administration's complicity, have reopened the question."

Paul McGeough is the Herald's Chief Correspondent.

Yet Clinton laughably selectively focuses on Hamas renouncing violence. And what does she say about Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela who also refused to renounce violence in the face of fascist aparthied and systemic human rights abuses by the South African Government? Her comments so far are a biased nonesense. As we write another 6 are reportedly killed in a UN school shelled by the Israeli Defence Force. The covert campaign by Israel to expand Greater Israel while giving lip service to the 2 state solution continues.

Posted by editor at 7:34 PM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 17 January 2009 6:58 PM EADT
Al Jazeera English easily accessible by LiveStation download 'free and safe'
Topic: independent media

Another option for accessing various social and big media for the current crisis or future situation is explained here on tech website Mashable.

Posted by editor at 7:18 PM EADT
Updated: Friday, 16 January 2009 7:34 PM EADT
Sydney spinner for 'moral' IDF, Benjamin Rutland, to explain shelling of UN Gaza headquarters?


As news emerges in Sydney Australia that soldiers have shelled the UN headquarters in Gaza and resultant fires are destroying all food and medicine supplies it becomes clear that criminal elements are active within the Israeli Defence Force.

This is not surprising and borne out by the objective facts. Not that the IDF are a monolithic war criminal organisation but that there are murders in uniform. As written here before 30% of Israeli society (reports Israel press eg Haaretz) want a pardon for Yigal Amir the assassin of peace maker PM Yitzak Rabin.

Given compulsory national service in Israel it is logical to say 30% of the IDF and maybe more in the full time personnel agree with assassin Amir murdering any obstacles to an expanded Greater Israel over the rights of Palestinians. That includes problem people like UN staff, aid workers, peace activists like Rachel Corey, civilians trying to make a living on their own land that illegal squatters covet.

The excuses of accident or being fired on which don't bear any real investigation are discreditable. The IDF censorship should be seen for what it is. A guilty conscience and or brazen dishonesty.

Israel itself has a massive credibility gap. Their PM has "apologised" for "the grave mistake" says ABC radio this morning here. The 70% of decent Israelis and similarly in the diaspora are in denial of the criminals in their own army regarding all things Palestinian, who sympathise with Yigal Amir. Such people are eminently untrustworthy in any moral institution let alone the IDF in Gaza.

Benjamin Rutland originally from Sydney, pictured above as PR spinner for the IDF, was targeted as in effect an apologist for war crimes by Greg Barnes lawyer writer in crikey.com.au yesterday:

The Aussies spinning the Gaza conflict Thursday, 15 January 2009

It's a fair point we think. There is enough information in the public domain for a reasonable person to believe war crimes and criminal murder have been committed by IDF soldiers.

Yet Rutland with supreme confidence states in The Australian newspaper last week, despite the spectre of Yigal Amir throughout Israel society:

"But as part of my job I have met and liked thousands of Israeli soldiers and officers and I know that the vast majority of them are quite simply very good people who do the maximum to minimise injuries to civilians and I'm convinced that the IDF is a moral and just body which makes it easy for me to sell it."

in Aussie mafia of spin doctors in Israel | The Australian 10 Jan 2009


This is what leader of The Greens Senator Brown released today:

Friday, 16 January 2009

Israeli attack on United Nations

Prime Minister should break silence on Gaza

The devastating Israeli military attack on the United Nations buildings
in Gaza, which has reportedly wiped out the relief agencies' food and
medical supplies, should cause a rethink in the Australian Government's
stance, Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.

"It is time the Prime Minister took decisive diplomatic action. He
should start by calling in the Israeli ambassador to express the
Australian people's horror at what is happening in Gaza," Senator Brown

"Nine Israeli human rights organisations, including the local Amnesty
International section, have called for Israel's military to end the
wanton use of lethal force; the United Nations' chief Ban Ki-moon has
called the attack on the United Nations outrageous; the Foreign Press
Association has called for a boycott of Israeli military pictures,
following attacks on a media building; hundreds of panicked sick and
wounded civilians were forced to flee from a hospital after it was
shelled with phosphorus and caught ablaze, according to hospital
officials; and the death toll of Palestinians has surpassed 1000 - yet
there has been no condemnation of the Israeli military's actions by the
Rudd government.

"The public is alarmed, yet Australians are hearing nothing from the
Government to match their concern.

"Australia needs to be part of global diplomatic efforts to get the
Israeli government to stop this sickening violence," Senator Brown

The Australian Greens have consistently condemned the violence from both
sides, including the rocket attacks on Israel.

Posted by editor at 11:53 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 16 January 2009 6:40 PM EADT
NSW on cusp of unprecedented era of honest governance as Rees spreads the ratsak around?
Topic: nsw govt

Main points:

- Sage advice from Michael Costa ex Treasurer in his slot in The Oz today regarding 'honest good policy' is the only way forward not personnel/leadership changes. Appears to be reaping the benefits of a decent holiday and rest resulting in resonating and moderate analysis. (No one ever thought Michael Costa was dumb just seriously manic, lacking balance.) This kind of policy hard work will be a shock to the bone lazy ALP tribe of nepotistic slobs and liars on $100K plus wages infesting our public institutions in NSW. But if Rees can get them to work hard and maybe grind out a deal of dead wood in the process - like Rudd has been doing - then it might just work. Cannon fodder if you like in the public interest.

- The current dynamic is a rerun of summer of 1994 but different too. Same like with Carr v Anderson ructions, bushfires (Fitzsimons safe hands, Koperberg back then), environment a strong theme in the electorate (then forests, today climate), Rees like Carr is bookish but less so and has embraced the internet with ministers forced to post media releases. Instructive from that time that natural heritage land use was Carr's point of differential and wedge on the Lib Nat rivals. Rees is in Government now not Opposition as Carr was in 1994 but in a real sense he is in opposition to the Opposition in the polls and with voters.

Picture: It's bushfire season proper just like the grim January 1994 season but management and equipment have improved radically since then. Still NSW Premier Rees must feel a bit "trapped" by the firey crucible of hostile press today. As the saying goes if it's too hot in the kitchen champ shove off otherwise get on with it.

- Rees like Carpenter - who lost in WA - has a clean persona. He may yet lose but the way forward remains self respect, honourable endeavour, best of a bad job and play for time, even for future inspirations.

- In this new era of mass communications and transparency the influence and power of Boomers like Obeid , and Bourke in WA, will crumble just as Carr's did. Obama and the web changed politics forever in the USA and Rees is part of that next wave and will need to leverage the net 2.0 to have any chance as well. Both newspapers are themselves desperate to be seen to wield the power that can make and break governments because that sells more press, keeps state political reporters in a job, and appeals to their traditional privilege and ego. But that influential stature in society is changing as their balance sheets detect severed internal arteries yet to bleed out.

- the press coverage today is riddled with journo rhetoric and wishful beat ups leavened with equivocal context, some loose speculation (Benson - various meetings meaning what?), some wrong (Clennell - Rees does have cabinet solidarity of Tebbutt and Roozendaal at a fair guess). The most mature comment is from Imre Salusinszky that the situation is prone to 'spark'. Benson concedes as much in his last paragraph about a 'huge political void' allowing for the hyperbole.

- the wretched and illegal slaughter by our "allies" Israel of innocent Palestinian children and a feeling of betrayal - given Israel cares nought for western sensibilities on human rights - is leaving everyone including politicians quite pissed off and grumpy and wanting a displacement, including the political journos. The fact is the biggest LOCAL political story is Gaza 10,000 kilometres away because we are so multicultural and it affects the world too. No wonder Sartor was dismissive on camera yesterday. Obeid too will be watching Al Jazeera and caring nothing for Rees or his ALP Govt today.

- Rees will have some advantages in a poor polling environment where his job is both to deliver good decisions on policy, and be popular. The two are related but only loosely. He has emotional security with his now wife. That will help his focus and energy levels. He's a toughie already, and young, and won't expect any easy rides therefore unlikely to collapse with dashed expectations, or throw tantrums, like 'frank' Frank Sartor (who is probably running out of time career wise). As for Robbo as potential leader, his charm as straight shooting working man will win blue collar voters in droves, but that won't win the ALP an election, and he surely knows it. And he doesn't look like the kind of guy to change his image to suit the vagaries of the infotainment industry. His best contribution would be ... you guessed it .....good policy development.

- The Opposition have structural advantages of superior polling against a too old nepotistic and dishonest party of government such that they can stalk traditional centre left ALP ground - like tackling the causes of recidivism in Law N Order area, which could well make for good policy. Remember that? The real purpose of public office? This will quieten the nascent energetic Green Party usually feeding into the ALP count. Stay tuned for more shift in emphasis on the environment too from the NSW Coalition (?).

- Rees ought to study 1994 and the sound policy development (by Carr from Opposition). He knows he has to present the ALP as a greener future as well as economically competent. But how is he going to actually do it? Closure of the Eden Chipmill was hugely popular with light green voters and economically responsible given the pathetic cross subsidy in public forest for plantation development. He could also privatise the plantation estate with strict environmental controls for a cool $1B income. Narrow sectoral union interests would hate it which would be another big vote winner on the conservative and green side of politics. And Carr never did deliver on that election promise made in 1995.

- Rees will have to think up some other innovative ideas of his own. And failing that sleep on it for another day.

Posted by editor at 10:39 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 16 January 2009 12:13 PM EADT
Israel stalking Gaza's $4 Billion offshore gas resource for 10% of energy needs?: BusinessTimesOnLine
Topic: human rights

Palestinian casualty carried into Gaza hospital

via ABC news online Patients flee as flames engulf Gaza hospital: medics 16 Jan 09 Posted 35 minutes ago
Updated 27 minutes ago

There are political economic agendas at play in Gaza below the surface like: Which politicians and business people get to control this $4B resource, from credible The Times business reportage in 2007:

(bold added)

A generic picture of a gas hob
BG Group at centre of $4bn deal to supply Gaza gas to Israel 23 May 2007

British energy firm is set to agree terms of a $4bn, 15-year deal over gas discovered off the Gaza coast

BG Group is poised to agree the terms of an historic $4 billion (#2 billion) deal to supply Palestinian gas to Israel from a discovery off the Gaza coastline, The Times has learnt.

Representatives from the British energy company are scheduled next week to meet a team of negotiators chosen by the Israeli Cabinet to thrash out a 15-year contract. Despite the violence in Gaza, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has insisted that it wants to conclude a deal ?as soon as possible?.

It would enable BG Group, the former owner of British Gas, to begin to develop an offshore field that is the Palestine Authority?s only natural resource. The move would mark an unprecedented milestone in Middle East relations. There would be enough gas to provide 10 per cent of Israel?s annual energy requirement, and the Palestinians would receive total royalties of $1 billion. Sources in the Middle East note that the sensitive talks could be derailed at any time by the acute political tension that surrounds the deal.

However, Nigel Shaw, the BG Group vice-president in the region, said: ?We are making progress. There are commercial issues to be completed and we also require bilateral agreement between the two governments to get this project across the line. But this is a chance for greater economic prosperity in Palestine and that is only good for peace.?

The signing of heads of terms would mark an amazing turnaround, given the political and legal disputes that have dogged the project since BG Group discovered the Gaza Marine field in 2000. It holds one trillion cubic feet of gas, the equivalent of 150 million barrels of oil, equivalent to a large North Sea field.

Six years ago Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister at the time, vowed that Israel would never buy gas from its neighbour. The project also was held up by a legal challenge in the Israeli Supreme Court to establish whether the Palestinians had any right to the discovery. Last year BG Group was close to signing a deal to pump the gas to Egypt before Tony Blair intervened and asked the company to give Israel a second chance. Three weeks ago the Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal by Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, to buy gas from the Palestinian Authority. The Cabinet recognised the need for new energy sources to feed Israel?s rapidly growing economy.

Under BG Group?s plans, gas from the field would be transported by an undersea pipeline to the seaport of Ashkelon. Although Israeli insiders are confident of a deal,significant questions remain, not least how payments to the Palestinian Authority will be made. Israeli defence authorities want the Palestinians to be paid in goods and services and insist that no money go to the Hamas-controlled Government.

Posted by editor at 8:40 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 16 January 2009 9:24 AM EADT
Naomi Klein in The Guardian, prominent Jewish Canadian media practitioner calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
Topic: human rights

This article is very pursuasive, for instance declining to shop at Westfield shopping malls like the big new one in London, but also here in Sydney: Not to punish family businesses but because their landlord billionaire Frank Lowy is a well known philanthropist to the institutions of the Israeli Govt as per the Australian Jewish News here:

Frank Lowy establishes Israeli institute (May 30, 2006) 30 May 2006 ... ?Frank Lowy is providing the State of Israel a unique, prestigious and quality


And here

Business Spectator - The quiet benefactor: Lowy's dedication to Israel 29 Sep 2008

Abstracted from The Sydney Morning Herald

Australian entrepreneur Frank Lowy has invested substantial amounts of money into philanthropic causes in Israel. One of them is the University of Tel Aviv's Institute for National Security Studies, the counterpart to the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney. The other is Keren Hayesod, which is the main avenue for funds to support the state of Israel donated by people around the world. Lowy has declared that $US68m has been given by him to causes in Israel in accordance with Australian taxation laws. The figure had been mentioned in relation to a US investigation of the use by Lowy of accounts in the tax haven of Liechtenstein. Lowy also has close ties with Israeli ex-prime minister Ehud Olmert, who recently stepped down. However, Lowy is not well known in Israel and can spend about a quarter of his year in relative anonymity there

Here is Klein's piece in The Guardian and The Nation:

Naomi Klein: Enough. It's time for a boycott of Israel | Comment ... 10 Jan 2009

Naomi Klein

It's time. Long past time. The best strategy to end the increasingly bloody occupation is for Israel to become the target of the kind of global movement that put an end to apartheid in South Africa. In July 2005 a huge coalition of Palestinian groups laid out plans to do just that. They called on "people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era". The campaign Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions was born.

Every day that Israel pounds Gaza brings more converts to the BDS cause - even among Israeli Jews. In the midst of the assault roughly 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors in Israel. It calls for "the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions" and draws a clear parallel with the anti-apartheid struggle. "The boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with kid gloves ... This international backing must stop."

Yet even in the face of these clear calls, many of us still can't go there. The reasons are complex, emotional and understandable. But they simply aren't good enough. Economic sanctions are the most effective tool in the non-violent arsenal: surrendering them verges on active complicity. Here are the top four objections to the BDS strategy, followed by counter-arguments.

Punitive measures will alienate rather than persuade Israelis.

The world has tried what used to be called "constructive engagement". It has failed utterly. Since 2006 Israel has been steadily escalating its criminality: expanding settlements, launching an outrageous war against Lebanon, and imposing collective punishment on Gaza through the brutal blockade. Despite this escalation, Israel has not faced punitive measures - quite the opposite. The weapons and $3bn in annual aid the US sends Israel are only the beginning. Throughout this key period, Israel has enjoyed a dramatic improvement in its diplomatic, cultural and trade relations with a variety of other allies. For instance, in 2007 Israel became the first country outside Latin America to sign a free-trade deal with the Mercosur bloc. In the first nine months of 2008, Israeli exports to Canada went up 45%. A new deal with the EU is set to double Israel's exports of processed food. And in December European ministers "upgraded" the EU-Israel association agreement, a reward long sought by Jerusalem.

It is in this context that Israeli leaders started their latest war: confident they would face no meaningful costs. It is remarkable that over seven days of wartime trading, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange's flagship index actually went up 10.7%. When carrots don't work, sticks are needed.

Israel is not South Africa.

Of course it isn't. The relevance of the South African model is that it proves BDS tactics can be effective when weaker measures (protests, petitions, backroom lobbying) fail. And there are deeply distressing echoes of apartheid in the occupied territories: the colour-coded IDs and travel permits, the bulldozed homes and forced displacement, the settler-only roads. Ronnie Kasrils, a prominent South African politician, said the architecture of segregation he saw in the West Bank and Gaza was "infinitely worse than apartheid". That was in 2007, before Israel began its full-scale war against the open-air prison that is Gaza.

Why single out Israel when the US, Britain and other western countries do the same things in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Boycott is not a dogma; it is a tactic. The reason the strategy should be tried is practical: in a country so small and trade-dependent, it could actually work.

Boycotts sever communication; we need more dialogue, not less.

This one I'll answer with a personal story. For eight years, my books have been published in Israel by a commercial house called Babel. But when I published The Shock Doctrine, I wanted to respect the boycott. On the advice of BDS activists, including the wonderful writer John Berger, I contacted a small publisher called Andalus. Andalus is an activist press, deeply involved in the anti-occupation movement and the only Israeli publisher devoted exclusively to translating Arabic writing into Hebrew. We drafted a contract that guarantees that all proceeds go to Andalus's work, and none to me. I am boycotting the Israeli economy but not Israelis.

Our modest publishing plan required dozens of phone calls, emails and instant messages, stretching between Tel Aviv, Ramallah, Paris, Toronto and Gaza City. My point is this: as soon as you start a boycott strategy, dialogue grows dramatically. The argument that boycotts will cut us off from one another is particularly specious given the array of cheap information technologies at our fingertips. We are drowning in ways to rant at each other across national boundaries. No boycott can stop us.

Just about now, many a proud Zionist is gearing up for major point-scoring: don't I know that many of these very hi-tech toys come from Israeli research parks, world leaders in infotech? True enough, but not all of them. Several days into Israel's Gaza assault, Richard Ramsey, managing director of a British telecom specialising in voice-over-internet services, sent an email to the Israeli tech firm MobileMax: "As a result of the Israeli government action in the last few days we will no longer be in a position to consider doing business with yourself or any other Israeli company."

Ramsey says his decision wasn't political; he just didn't want to lose customers. "We can't afford to lose any of our clients," he explains, "so it was purely commercially defensive."

It was this kind of cold business calculation that led many companies to pull out of South Africa two decades ago. And it's precisely the kind of calculation that is our most realistic hope of bringing justice, so long denied, to Palestine.

A version of this column was published in the Nation (thenation.com)


Posted by editor at 8:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 16 January 2009 8:34 AM EADT
Thursday, 15 January 2009
Gaza: Conservative local freebie front pager promotes rally for human rights
Topic: human rights




Posted by editor at 5:16 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 15 January 2009 5:33 PM EADT
NSW ALP collateral damage in Daily Telegraph, an off the shelf diversion from Gaza slaughter?
Topic: big media

The Daily Telegraph is an interesting and wicked beast.

We haven't properly read the Alex Mitchell story in the crikey ezine yesterday lambasting the idea of a Rees leadership challenge yet. Mitchell is a long time thenFairfax colleague in the press gallery to one Simon Benson of rival News Corporation/Sydney Daily Telegraph.

But judging from the ezine headline Mitchell was rubbishing Simon Benson's claims about newbie Premier Rees. [Having read the Mitchell story now actually Mitchell is not rubbishing Benson so much as other former colleagues at The Australian and Sydney Morning Herald, and giving credence to Benson's speculation today by identifying Frank Sartor (new family, babe in arms etc) as the Right's potential candidate.]

Now the front page blowtorch by Benson wit serves several purposes regardless of merit or truth:

- it undermines the Left of the Labor Party, probably gratuitiously as the traditional enemy of the right wing Tele

- it implicitly sledges Alex Mitchell as a traditional rival, when at Fairfax SunHerald, but even more so now that he is at crikey.com.au ezine. Crikey was founded by 'a traitor' to the conservative cause in Stephen Mayne ex News Corp himself who dared to attack conservative Premier Kennett (another ex employer) and set up a rival arguably still 'minor' media outlet to the Big Media dinosaurs (particular Telegraph's sister paper Herald Sun in Melbourne).

- it draws the public's attention away from their colleagues and allies in the Friends of Israel/pro Iraq war/anti Muslim lobby who are looking shocking and reprehensible, as the reality in Gaza emerges: For instance a constructive breach by Israel of the Gaza cease fire as well as humanitarian law by maintaining the starvation blockade, concurrent with Hamas strong compliance with the truce from July to October 2008. An Israeli airforce strike arguably under provocation for a tunnel by Hamas killed 5 Hamas members in early November 2008. It was all down hill from there.

- it could even be a backhander to the ALP in toto for Julia Irwin federal ALP MP and lefty in western Sydney daring to so categorically attack Israel in Big Media print in the SunHerald last Sunday here in Sydney. A warning to their federal counterparts in the Rudd machine?

Really any of the above explanations could suffice, alone or in combination.

Posted by editor at 12:08 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 15 January 2009 1:56 PM EADT
Gaza coverage: Israel losing the propagandhi war with constructive breach during 4 months lull on rocket, mortar fire?
Topic: human rights

Main points:

- Foreign Minister Livni (13/01/2009 - Israel to show no restraint) and biased Jerusualem Post editor Elliot Jager (AM ABC this morning) forced (?) to front Australian camera and microphone lately a sign the Israel war machine is moving to mitigating lost PR offensive after

- widespread coverage of slaughter in Gaza;

- role of quality analysis on the internet over the Big Media break, or maybe

- that the professional big media are returning from their break and doing their job better as well.

- the sophistry of the 'pathetic' Jerusalem Post editor is fairly easy to rebut because it is right wing rhetoric posing as usual a false dichotomy between (a) Israel being loved or (b) surviving. This from a country with reportedly 130 nuclear warheads according to the Federation of American Scientists (Nuclear Weapons - Israel). An existential risk that seems to grow Israel every year with increasing land grabs by "settlers". This false rhetoric is like outgoing W Bush 'you are either for us or against us'. Truth is no one on this planet survives without love, from the inception of Israel post WW2 with the blessing of the Allies, to a mothers love for her newborn, to the respect and trust of one's neighbours or cars driving in the street stopping for pedestrians. Only a right wing fantasist thinks in such terms - with apparently a healthy neurosis of readership in Israel. A local Bondi Jewish colleague who freely admitted to this writer "I am probably biased, my relatives live in the range of the rocket fire" then referred me for more information to the Jerusalem Post for background!

- As per additions to crikey strings yesterday by this writer the rocket and mortar fire from Gaza in July, August, Sept, October 2008 were minimal or as close to zero as anyone could hope for as per Israel Politik web site and graph. The graphs are posted below and when one integrates the real politik of the early Nov 08 conflict over the first 4 months of the effective truce (where Hamas is eminently reliable in halting rockets and mortars) it becomes clear the averaging over the lull is a bogus measure. Just as Princeton legal professor Falk working for the UN as advised.

The graphs are sourced to http://www.israelpolitik.org/2009/01/07/how-did-the-cease-fire-end/

...............................................start of extract


....................................end of extract

The significance of this Hamas discipline up to early November 08 is massive. They have always been known to do what they say unlike Fatah. The real issue should be who or what broke the truce. Hamas says the 4 month blockade of humanitarian food and medical supplies (in an already desperately starved population of 1.5 million, 50% children, 45% of children being anaemic) and in the absence of rocket or mortar fire was a constructive breach by Israel. The recommencement of hostilities in early November 09 reportedly saw rocket fire back to old levels.

- By November Hamas reacted to the pressure with a tunnel into Israel, IDF fatal airstrike blowback kills 5 and the rocket/mortar fire recommenced killing the ceasefire and food and medical supply blockade on Israeli border continuing uninterrupted. This led by official end of the truce in late December to a massive air attack by Israel having their pretext and feeding into other geo political (W Bush as a hawk, final watch), close down influence of Iran, complete what the coup failed to do in 2007, pursue $4B in Gaza offshore gas supplies for Israel, and their own domestic election in Feb 2009 pandering to the 30% of voters who support Greater Israel expulsion of Palestinians (needed in a majority coalition govt).

Yesterday we wrote in a comment string in crikey:

Tom McLoughlin
Wednesday, 14 January 2009 6:18:21 PM
I take it ......you concede the truce worked for 4 months. That it broke down in November. I know the causes of that break in the truce are controversial. Let me be so presumptuous as to suggest how it happened:

The tunnels to Egypt were working as fast as they could but never fast enough to supply 1.5 million Gazans. The Israelis showed no real interest in lifting the "economic sanctions" via their crippling blockade via the Israeli border. They mitgated any sympathy with the 'knowledge' their enemy was importing missiles via the Egypt/Philedelphi border of 9 km or so. Besides they weren't going to give their sworn enemy Hamas a break, that had survived the US/Israel backed coup a year previous because free flow of food and and supplies would set Hamas up as a successful govt that delivers on it's election.

So they starve Hamas, and 1.5 million Gazans half of them children. Hamas gets desperate. 45% of the children in Gaza are anaemic and with that life threatening illnesses. Others have no hope of timely medical services. Eqypt won't help because they have their own diplomacy to juggle with the US and Israel - the toughest players in the region.

So Hamas lets a tactical tunnel go thru to the Israeli side. They need extra leverage to bargain with to lift the starvation blockade and bolster their government credentials. They are thinking of kidnapping another Israeli soldier like Gilad Shilat - by the way Google to Xinhua (Chinese?) News agency suggests the tactic is ongoing 12 Jan 09:

Israel springs the tunnel and responds with maximum air force killing 5 Hamas members. Up until this time there has been 4 months of near to complete break in shelling of rockets and mortars. But this exchange effectively brings the ceasefire to an early conclusion. Hamas rockets recommence at the previous intensity pre June 08.

Only this time the southern Israelis have enjoyed the peace alot and they vote ...
Tom McLoughlin
Wednesday, 14 January 2009 6:49:45 PM
And this report of a $4B dollar gas supply in Gaza waters which can potentially supply 10% of Israel's energy budget is also worrying, that there are seriously mixed motives as in economic motives:

"BG Group at centre of $4bn deal to supply Gaza gas to Israel ..."

dated 23 May 2007.

So Gaza does have something Israel can use after all. Like a smaller version of Iraq oil in play? And who benefits from the income of that? Certain sleazy politicians running for office, maybe getting a few donations?

Also one assumes it never occurred to Israel that they could simultaneously open the Israeli side of the border to full throttle food medical and other genuine supplies and at the same time bomb the Philadelphi tunnels with a bit of warning to protect civillian lives?

How complicated can it be? Stock standard carrot and stick. But there is no carrot under a Right wing USA and Israeli administrations. These people are failed politicians and failed individuals with a capital F.

- Big media here have been self censoring the figures regarding the real restraint of rockets/mortar fire for 4 months by Hamas.

- There is a notable absence of any spokespeople on the air waves for the Lowy Institute high quality academics on matters geo politik and/or defence, funded by Australian Jewish billionaire Westfield's Frank Lowy. The Lowy family are close to the Govt Party here the ALP (eg ex PM Paul Keating helped build a shopping centre) and presumably E Barak's Labour in Israel. Possibly Lowy Institute have nothing good to say about Israel based on the above rocket statistics and therefore saying nothing?

This older paper at the bottom of their front page is actually very relevant:

Zealous democrats: Islamism and democracy in Egypt, Indonesia and Turkey
The question is often asked 'What will Islamists do to democracy?' But it seems equally valid to ask 'What might democracy do to Islamists?' In this new Lowy Institute Paper Anthony Bubalo, Greg Fealy and Whit Mason examine how three different Islamist movements, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Prosperous Justice Party in Indonesia and the Justice and Development Party have sought to adapt to democratic politics and how in turn electoral or democratic participation has shaped the evolution of their ideology, policies and activism.

And now we notice their web log:

The Interpreter - Australia in the World Blog of the Lowy Institute for International Policy,

With this tedious post Can technology solve Israel's Hamas problem?

- a quite dated 7.30 Report feature of Lowy son's maintenance of historic air squadron of planes takes on a more sinister overtone given the role of Israel's air strikes killing and wounding 5,000 mostly civillians. Their report is here:

Temora hosts world-class warbird collection, Australian Broadcasting Corporation Broadcast: 29/05/2007, Reporter: Paul Lockyer

Can the Lowys assure us no Israeli airforce trainees have using the rich man's 'toy collection' in order to train up for brutal strikes against civillians in Gaza? If they have would it be reasonable to boycott Westfield as called for by Naomi Klein (by looks and words a left wing Jewish North American surely) in the last few days?

  • Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein: Enough. It's time for a boycott of Israel | Comment ... 10 Jan 2009 ... Naomi Klein: The best way to end the bloody occupation is to target Israel with the kind of movement that ended apartheid in South Africa.

- New Matilda locally produced ezine yesterday carries story of 325 standard shipping containers of ammunition sent by specially chartered merchant ship from the USA bound for Israel, just like arms supplies during the 2006 Lebanon war:

Israel/palestine 14 Jan 2009 The End Of Palestinian Resistance? Mustafa Qadri

- SAM's editor telephoned through a question to the editorial desk of the SMH over Marg Simons crikey expose' of opinion writer Paul Sheehan's failure to declare conflict of interest in funding by Israel of his trip to there:

Crikey - Oz correspondents flown to Israel as part of PR offensive ...13 Jan 2009 ...

He quotes from that junket in his opnion piece in the middle of the Gaza slaughter last Monday:

It's too easy just to blame Jews - Opinion - smh.com.au It's too easy just to blame Jews. Email ? Printer friendly version; Normal font; Large font. Paul Sheehan January 12, 2009.

Question for the Herald is: Will the Herald sack him for failure to declare his financial conflict of interest? It's ironic because the Herald have carried some very strong balance in the last week including today generating tears with this one about this disgusting slaughter:

'Why are they killing us and nobody moves?' Sydney Morning Herald via Los Angeles Times 15 January 2009, with this devastating extract from a fatally wounded 14 year old girl:

Her grandfather was killed. No one told her right away. They waited two hours.

"Why did they kill him?" she said, starting to cry again. "Why are they are killing us and nobody moves? If we were cats in Europe and America they would have cared for us."

The wounds on Alaa's face were treated - but whatever else was wrong with her was not detected.

Doctors hurried to care for dozens of others who were carried, bleeding, through the halls.

Alaa died in her bed.

After sunset, when the fighting calmed and the Israeli troops retracted, the ambulance driver, Mr Abu Reida, left the house he was hiding in.

He went to the street where he had been headed hours earlier. He saw the body of a woman named Ruheia. She had been shot in the head.

He drove home.

Los Angeles Times

Posted by editor at 10:16 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 16 January 2009 7:17 AM EADT
Golf buggy theft reprises World Youth Day smash 'em up derby at Randwick Sydney mid 2008?
Topic: local news

Our source was at the local job agency and suggested we catch up over a cuppa. The conversation turned to his various jobs over the last little while as a roadie of sorts.

The Paris Hilton event at a Sydney Kings Cross nightclub for instance - a Roman Orgy amongst the plebs apparently for NYE, sex in public, the whole works. She threw a tantrum about losing her handbag and hardly did her share as "host" A few days ago we noticed the tatty NYE Paris Hilton street posters in conservative 'Greek' established end of the Marrickville suburb. That's Marrickville Public School for primary age (to about 10 years) in the background. And we don't know what a bongo virus is either:

Mmm we wonder if this is really that kind of swinging suburb behind closed doors? And a spin off story not relating to Le Hot One:

Man faces drug charges for cocaine, Viagra, links himself to Paris ... 3 Jan 2009

And she aint so dumb with that satirical presidential advert compared to GW Bush here:

YouTube - PARIS HILTON FOR PRESIDENT! (This is FUNNY) Paris Hilton has the same intelligence and communication abilities as our president.

And the 'real' Paris satire via YouTube and CNN is here:

Today there is another poster on the same street pole which is very witty "PropaGandhi" (picture pending) which surely suits the times in Palestine and Israel PR and real war with an editor of the Jerusalem Post running mindless right wing fantasies on our local AM show today (more soon).

And speaking of things Roman, the Roman Catholic Church under Cardinal George Pell pulled off a frightening funding and co sponsorship deal with News Corporation attracting the faithful including weird holy bones of a young saint.

But our source mentioned the waste. Saw it all, he reckons. Lots of A grade camping equipment, from Paddy Pallin and the like ripped off by contractors down at Barangaroo, East Darling Harbour event 17th July 2008 for the poor and homeless. Lots of food wastage too - meals that should have gone in to the well established welfare system of the Catholic Church.

Then out at Randwick apparently the contractors had a field day. One quote: "This will all be illegal tomorrow so go for your lives." This apparenlty was a reference to a the golf buggies used to get around the huge site at Randwick Race Course. As the job came to an end the contractors were riding them like dodgem cars deliberately smashing into eachother. And one was driven directly into a wall.

Also butane gas burner heaters you often see outside cafes were disappearing into the backs of contractors white vans. These add to the comments unconfirmed on Crikey recently that a quite functional and presentable toilet had a $60,000 upgrade at Richmond airbase in case the Pope needed to take a tinkle on arrival. Our source commented quite cutely that the Queen similarly only gets to smell fresh paint wherever she goes.

All of this came to mind when we clipped this latest silly, as in valid but stupid people, season story:

Stole in one: golf buggy heist charges - National - smh.com.au 9 Jan 2009 THREE youths broke into the equipment room of an eastern suburbs golf course, stole three golf buggies and then drove 'erratically' across the 17th and 18th ...

Only the WYD implications are not very silly. First of all we quietly suspect the teenagers got the idea for some golf buggy derby from somewhere local and not so long ago, do yer think? Also irritating given it reminds that the original WYD huge public subsidy to an institution neurotic about gender roles and infamous for child abuse. Indeed that scandal just keeps rolling on a few months after the Pope had thankfully moved on:

Fourth man charged over Bathurst school sex abuse > National ... 15 Dec 2008

Here are the costings as per the Catholic Church home news service cross referencing the Sydney Morning Herald:

WYD public cost $139 million - CathNews 4 Jun 2008

Mind you we like this Pope's attitude to the environment:

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Vatican installs solar panel roof 29 Sep 2008

At least he's got that right. And the suffering of the people of Gaza too apparently via one of Vatican lieutenants:

Gaza Strip is a concentration camp, says Vatican | The Australian 8 Jan 2009

Posted by editor at 9:20 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 15 January 2009 1:05 PM EADT

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