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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
Sad, grim dirty old men stories in pre Qld election skirmish?
Topic: aust govt

Who would recall in the rest of Australia that Bill D'Arcy was a former ALP MP in the huge provincial state of Queensland? Or that he he was convicted and gaoled for underage sex back in 2000?

It's a grim story about abuse of power and fall from grace. Now it's being dragged up into the light again in some kind of smear on the rival Liberal National Party here:

LNP to host talk to aid pedophile Bill D'Arcy | The Australian 20 Jan 2009

PM - D'arcy trial could prove tricky for Beattie 21 Jan 2000

This is confusing in itself because the orthodox view might be that it's the ALP who should want this to be buried yet the LNP are associating themselves? Or someone wants us to think so.

Our observation of politics over the years suggests when criminal sexual abuse is proven against senior people in either major party there is a delicate dance by the rivals to both exploit the adverse publicity but also to be careful not to be seen fanning the vigilante flames. This is because big human organisations being what they are they all have shameful skeletons. To a certain extent it's a Mexican standoff. Unless perhaps the politics have become so extreme the rivals have already reached for the nuclear option and fire at will.

This could be what we are now seeing from up north. It's bound to bring the whole of party politics into disrepute. Whether this is a valid and realistic assessment is probably arguable.

We hear on ABC PM show tonight what for all the world looks like even more fire from the ALP on the conservative party by reference to an 82 year old former speech writer for former National Party (now LNP) Premier Bjelke Peterson. Here is the local press:

Queensland libraries forced to ditch unclassified books | The Courier Mail ...19 Jan 2009

Library shelves packed with incest porn in Queensland | The Australian 20 Jan 2009

Seems the old goat likes to write about taboo subjects claiming this is all about free speech and Freudian fantasy, and it's not everyday you hear a serious political interview about censorship in these terms on the daily flagship radio current affairs show. In fact just about never.

Our conclusion: A rough and mean state election in Queensland must be coming up soon.

Posted by editor at 6:28 PM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 20 January 2009 6:56 PM EADT
ECAJ's Robert Goot hopeless sophistry in the Sydney Sun Herald on Gaza scandal
Topic: big media

Given the ceasefire postures in all the news last Sunday we only returned to this opinion piece today by the president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (from the Sydney SunHerald sister paper to the SMH, in response to Julia Irwin MP the week before).

Just defence despite death toll - Opinion - smh.com.au 18 Jan 2009

Also we note that arguable or even valid claims of anti semitism are being rolled out by the Friends of Israel today in the press as another diversion from the horrific body count and $billions in damage to public infrastructure in Gaza - contained in a sidelplay in The Australian (article and lower section of the opinion page).

We detected this attempted shift in focus before by the F of I promotion of the Holocaust WW2 backgrounder pieces 10 days ago as if to guilt trip any critics of Israel with its reputed 4th biggest army in the world smashing Gaza.

Our quick notes on the selectivity of the Goot piece are instructive of the special pleading and sophistry by the dominant power in this tragedy. Here's a list of omissions by Goot:

1. Omits 4 months food blockade by Israel on the UN supplies to Gazans which can't be confused with Hamas weapon smuggling, with this starvation tactic a prelude and cause of the latest conflict. The SMH front pager yesterday 19 January quoting UN senior representative in Jerusalem (an Australian) Maxwell Gaylard, spikes this excuse for the blockade on Hamas as in reality a collective punishment on Gazans for their election of Hamas. Otherwise why blockade the UN relief supplies also? As the UN has stated 50% of people in Gaza are children and 45% of these are suffering anaemia. The blockade is clearly a constant low level form of torture and violence on the Gazans;

2. Omits the air strike by Israel killing 6 Hamas on November 4th 2008, day of the USA federal election as probably the first breach of the ceasefire, as reported by UK The Guardian;

3. Omits the political reality that 30% of Israeli society today, as reported by Haaretz, support a pardon for Yigal Amir the Israeli Jewish assassin convicted of the cold blooded murder of peace maker Labour Prime Minister of Israel Yitzak Rabin in late 1995. Amir has been sentenced to life in gaol. However Amir has been permitted to marry and visits by his wife and now young son born in 2005. Yigal Amir is a hero of the 500,000 strong illegal squatter movement in Israel who systematically steal Palestinian land and want to expel the Arabs from Gaza in the cause of a theocratic Greater Israel. These voters will be part of majority coalition politics in the Feb 2009 Israeli election.

Earlier today we were asked by a staffer of a big media organisation what was our interest in the media coverage on this topic really. It's a fair question. The answers are:

1. Democratic recognition of the voices of thousands of Australians opposed to Israel's attack in Gaza to be fairly represented as per the rally in Sydney last Sunday;

2. Avoidance of a nuclear arms race that envelops the whole world originating from that region;

3. Professioanal exposure of false media practice including spin and censorship exercised by the dominant power in that region and it's local loyalists;

4. Expose of the sinister illegal squatter movement in Israel;

5. Truth, justice and peace for all parties concerned in the conflict particularly the weakest.

In short all the usual community media objectives that have informed our work for over 15 years in the non government sector on environment and peace issues, inlcuding as an elected representative of the Bondi Ward in Sydney 1995-1999. That's our name there on bronze plaque at Waverley Library 3rd on the list:



Posted by editor at 1:35 PM EADT
ALP appeases contemptuous Sydney electorate over Gaza scandal with alternate shopping mall?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: local news


Back in the day (Feb 2003) the ALP were in the vanguard of an anti war rally and message against the Howard Coalition Government taking Australia into the Iraq war.

Today the federal Rudd Govt are silent on the atrocities in Gaza. Rather Rudd is pictured meeting with outgoing US ambassador to George W Bush in The Australian newspaper today at his Sydney residence in Kirribilli. Very cosy.

The ALP were totally absent from a big energetic rally of many thousands in the heart of Sydney last Sunday 18 January. And they hate being excluded from big serious issues of whatever flavour in the biggest city in the country in 'their' state.

They will know Sydney's multicultural society is seriously disgusted with Israel's warmongering in Gaza. They will know many in Sydney will be seriously disgusted with the ALP and PM Rudd failing to condemn the one sided slaughter of children and civilians generally, apparent targeting of many of the 53 UN facilities suffering direct hits, murder of UN staff, aid workers and ambulance drivers.

Presumably the wheels of local council approval here have been turning for a while but it does look like the ALP are throwing a bone to the constituency in this neatly packaged story below. Notice the Frank Lowy Westfield mention in the story as a major supporter of Israel. It's all in the subtext. Another seems to be don't worry, go shopping.

Who knows maybe the ALP, and even the Sydney Daily Telegraph in NSW feel guilty about their PM Rudd's failure to speak up for the starved and oppressed Palestinians after the front page story in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday. That story revealed a categorical UN report of Israel deliberately blockading and starving the 1.5 million residents of Gaza for months forcing an inevitable conflict with their elected Hamas government. 

Will an alternative to Westfield shopping centres satisfy the local Sydney protesters last Sunday contemptuous of Israel and the Rudd Govt? One doubts it.



Posted by editor at 11:24 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 20 January 2009 12:27 PM EADT
Monday, 19 January 2009
Obama ***Inauguration*** in cartoons, first 100 minutes will be Mad ...saved by Spiderman
Topic: world

Posted by editor at 8:20 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 19 January 2009 8:40 PM EADT
Sydney Morning Herald effectively names Israel as causing the war in Gaza with 4 month food blockade
Topic: human rights

Posted by editor at 7:58 PM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 20 January 2009 1:43 PM EADT
Paul Sheehan, SMH journo fails the financial conflict of interest test?
Topic: big media

Paul Sheehan might think that his regular Monday column can hide behind the recent intensity of the Israeli slaughter in Gaza and unilateral ceasefire to avoid 'raining bombs on children' spoiling Barak Obama's parade.

Trouble is the independent media and fair minded people tend to remember failure to declare a junket/research trip paid for by one of the protagonists in a long running geo political dispute as with Palestine/Israel.

Crikey.com.au's Margaret Simons ran the lead story last week about Sheehan's financial conflict and we phoned a question through to their editorial desk late last week aksing "Will Sheehan will be sacked?" No answer nor did we expect one when we asked it. 

Is there an answer in today's column on Obama which does indeed return to the vomit of Israel's Palestine policy? Yes but it is an unsatisfactory answer:

One must traverse the final third of his column, and even then the second last paragraph for the declaration he shamefully makes, with the balancing commentary that should have run on the topic last week. A man of certain standards not only makes a correction, but admits the error. A newspaper of a certain standard takes transparent discipline. So neither Sheehan or SMH employer are in the clear. Just as the Israeli Defence Force at a much more profound level must be investigated for war crimes against UN facilities, and the dignity of humanity in Gaza.

Here are the relevant paragraphs Sheehan shamefully airbrushed in his line of opinion last week:

It is of some concern that he [Obama] has said he will make the Middle East his priority, in particular the Arab-Jewish schism. The Israeli-Palestinian divide has done little to enhance the reputation of Congress or American presidents for the past 60 years.

Here I have found another significant detail about the new president. Last year, in Chicago, Obama spent two hours being briefed by Khaled Abu Toameh. "He listened, he wrote a lot of notes," Toameh told me.

This is telling. For years Toameh has repeatedly antagonised and embarrassed the Israeli Government, and the Fatah and Hamas parties in the Palestinian territories, by exposing lies and brutal acts on all sides.

Toameh is a Palestinian Muslim who lives in East Jerusalem. He works as the Palestinian affairs correspondent for The Jerusalem Post, is an authority on Fatah and Hamas, and is widely sought as a consultant by foreign media. For the past two years he has argued that Israel, the US and the European Union have made a conceptual and tactical blunder by not dealing with the reality in the Palestinian territories. They have, he says, engaged in wishful thinking about the utter corruption of Fatah. They have been deluded about the growing strength and pragmatism of Hamas. They have tolerated a dangerous fantasy that Israel can control how Palestinians will vote.

Everything he predicted has come to pass. It is an insight into Barack Obama that he has gone outside the policy-makers, think-tankers, lobbyists and armchair experts to listen to someone who inhabits the dangerous territory between these sworn enemies.

I had a briefing with Toameh in November, though can claim no credit for finding him. It was part of a study tour for Australian journalists to Israel, sponsored by the Jewish Board of Deputies which was omitted from my column last week. At the time, Toameh described Gaza as "a frightening situation". And that was well before Israel's military offensive.

This is the poisoned chalice president-elect Obama has been passed. He has passed it on to his previous nemesis, Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state. Perhaps it was a sublime Machiavellian manoeuvre, like the political sleights of hand found in almost every episode of The Wire.


Obama is walking a high wire

Paul Sheehan PAUL SHEEHAN | This is a worldly administration. Barack Obama is more steeped in genuine cultural diversity than anyone who has occupied the Oval Office.

The hypocrisy of Sheehan accusing Barak Obama of "political sleights of hand" compounds his failure to admit a financial conflict of interest (he says "omitted") in a piece at the height of the Gaza slaughter by the IDF. It compounds the failure, both then, and today's failure to contextualise his error in the correction today. This is a man who plays dirty when he's cornered by the facts of his own financial conflict of interest.

The Herald itself has somewhat mitigated its sin of avoiding sacking their man by leading with the truth about the Israeli preparations for war in Gaza long before any ostensible breach of the ceasefire by Hamas. Indeed Hamas were demonstrably and egregiously provoked which we suggest was always the plan of Big Israeli/W Bush US style politics.

That expose by Jason Koutsoukas is here:

Israel kept out aid for Gaza Sydney Morning Herald p1 19 Jan 2009

ISRAEL deliberately blocked the United Nations from building up vital food supplies in Gaza that feed a million people daily before the launch of its war against Hamas, according to a senior UN official in Jerusalem.

And Sheehan is in my more trouble on the facts/spin via the Koutsoukas story. Sheehan claims today:

"I had a briefing with Toameh in November ....And that was well before Israel's military offensive.

But it wasn't well before the Gaza offensive which really began from the constructive breach of the Gaza ceasefire as far back as 19 June 2008. Koutsoukis writes:

In a scathing critique of Israeli actions leading up to the conflict, the UN's chief humanitarian co-ordinator in Israel, the former Australian diplomat Maxwell Gaylard, accused Israel of failing to honour its commitments to open its border with Gaza during several months of truce from June 19 last year.

"The Israelis would not let us facilitate a regular and sufficient flow of supplies into the Strip," Mr Gaylard said.

So much for honour in politics in Israel. But Sheehan has either been played for a dupe or knew he was being positioned as an arm of Israeli propaganda in their 6 month preparation for war in Gaza. Not 'travelled to Israel in November well before the Gaza offensive' in fact but deep within the preparatory programme of the Olmert/Livni/Barak Government. Indeed arguably concurrent with Israel's reported breach in early November 2008 as per UK The Guardian:

Gaza truce broken as Israeli raid kills six Hamas gunmen | World ...

5 Nov 2008 ... An Israeli air strike then killed five more Hamas fighters. ... It was last updated at 14.32 GMT on Wednesday 5 November 2008. ...

So which it is Paul? Dupe for Israel or propagandist?

Posted by editor at 12:17 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 19 January 2009 12:58 PM EADT
Jerusalem Post Nov 2007 report: Olmert voted most corrupt politician
Topic: world

As acting PM Olmert fronts his Cabinet decisions over the atrocities in Gaza and makes various claims and assertions including on Australian TV via his spokesperson Mark Regev (eg SBS interview prime time news in Sydney last night) it is sobering to read the right wing Jerusalem Post report below. Especially when combined with the Haaretz 2006-7 reports that 30% of Israeli society support a pardon for the goaled assassin of PM Yitzak Rabin, a criminal by the name of Yigal Amir. In effect endorsing expansion of Greater Israel by expelling Palestinians from their homeland.

In combination one can see a double game underway in Israeli geo politics. On the one hand promote creeping conquest by the 500,000 strong illegal squatter movement and the significant minority votes that brings. On the other hand to the Western countries as a victim country under existential risk acting in self defence. So far this cunning and confusing Israeli Govt PR strategy has been quite successful. Only the internet access to the real democratic debate both within Israel and within the region as well as reports on the ground are exposing the truth. The secrecy, the body count, the pattern of assassination of elected officials.

In our judgement the constant so called accidental and unintentional targeting of UN facilities and anyone else who dares speak up for the Palestinians in the open air prison in Gaza reveals the political reality. It's a murderous gangster type of information control of which the influential diaspora Jewry  are either in denial or complicit in their silence:


Olmert voted most corrupt politician

Posted by editor at 11:39 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 19 January 2009 11:52 AM EADT
Gallery of Sydney rally for Gaza 18 Jan attended by thousands of Australians
Topic: local news

Some coverage you won't get on Adam Spencer's ABC 702 Breadfast show, or the Deborah Cameron show following on Monday morning 19 Jan 2009 supposedly covering happenings in Sydney. Press in Sydney also looks weak in terms of visuals.

One theme of John Pilger's speech included this quote: "the media have built a wall between the public and the massacres in Gaza"

Sorry to say there were some pictures on posters at the rally that were so graphic that we couldn't bear to photograph them, let alone post them here. The truth is the horror of war is being sanitised by our mass media in a collective conspiracy of silence as to the real actoins of Israel ally of the Australian Govt.

By contrast the millions of Arabic tv viewers are being shown the gruesome truth of Israel's cynical war as it promotes it's blockade and slow strangulation and torture of the Palestinians in Gaza, but also the West Bank, not least by illegal squatter towns, and aparthied land laws.

This story page 1 leading the Sydney Morning Herald :

Israel kept out aid for Gaza - World - smh.com.au p1 19 Jan 2009

As we write we are listening to the regualar local ABC radio 'Party Liners" segment with no mention of the Gaza scandal 10 minutes in with two old major party hacks Stephen ODoherty and John Brown (a severe critic of the Iraq war which is seriously inconsistent).



Picture: A group of girls of similar age to the daughters of Barak Obama, the red flags are the very big Construction Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, with NSW secretary Andrew Ferguson in the crowd. The black yellow red flag in the far distance is the Aboriginal Flag of the Indigenous Australians with representative opening the rally.








Posted by editor at 6:59 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 19 January 2009 9:39 AM EADT
Sunday, 18 January 2009
A word about our advertising ... it's not 'ours'
Topic: independent media

We sort of knew this would happen.

Once we signed up for Google Adsense we would get adverts that we had no control over. For instance we have no problem with people wanting to learn Hebrew but next to a string of stories about the atrocities in Gaza by the IDF? That's annoying.

On the flipside we aren't by choice spruikers for Arabic language or becoming the "next 007".

Or what about the solar energy adverts, which are cool, but following a pitch to invest in uranium as the next big stock mover? That's annoying.

The silver lining may be that it indicates readers from the relevant parts of the world. Or maybe it's only that it relates to story content which is not as useful but logical on their part.

There may be a way to block such adverts selectively. We haven't worked that out yet via the Google universe of advertising online.

Suffice to say whatever adverts they choose we won't be changing our news analysis and coverage. That's a promise.

In memory of Lasantha Wikrematunga.

Posted by editor at 10:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 18 January 2009 10:11 AM EADT
Sydney rally for Gaza scheduled for Sunday 18 Jan 2pm Town Hall CBD
Topic: local news

Via Sydney Indy Media, confirmed by source in Sydney big media

Date and Time: 

18/01/2009 2:00pm - 5:00pm


Emergency rally

* Stop the war on Gaza

* End the brutal siege, bombing and invasion of Palestine

* End the Rudd government's support for Israel's massacres

* Suspend all Australia-Israel ties until Gaza is free

* Freedom and self-determination for Palestine

Assemble Sydney Town Hall - Sunday 18 January, 2:00PM

Speakers include:

* JOHN PILGER, renowned author and documentary film maker

* ANTONY LOEWENSTEIN, author of My Israel Question


* PAUL MCALEER, MUA Sydney Branch Assistant Secretary


Protest initiated by the Gaza defence committee contact Tim Dobson 0430 209 865 or Dr Ghassan Achi 0408 605 437

Aljazeera live Arabic: http://www.aljazeera.net/channel/livestreaming

Aljazeera English: http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

Contact Name: 
Gaza Defence Committee

Sydney Town Hall


Posted by editor at 9:48 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 19 January 2009 10:41 AM EADT

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