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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 23 January 2009
Rest in peace Peter McLoughlin, our dad
Topic: local news

Only child, father of 9 including this writer, husband of Inez (nee Ford) committed Catholic, lawyer, drinker, gambler. Born in Sydney, died Melbourne 23 January 2009 from pneumonia after a fall and concussion late 2008. May he rest in peace.


From the Victorian Bar newsletter dated 29 January 2008 personal notices (PDF)

Posted by editor at 7:17 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 30 January 2009 2:06 PM EADT
Yvette Andrews gets a petition at Addison Road Community Centre
Topic: local news

We've written ad nauseam about the local ALP aparatchik Andrews who cleverly inserted herself into the nice little sinecure of the general manager's job without the irritation of a competitive job selection process. That's a $60,000 per annum job, or maybe pro rata (?).

Also of a history of governance irregularities if not outright corruption and breach of directors duties in a legal sense by various board members.

Since then we have learned that the ALP Mayor of Marrickville Sam Iskander is arguably so concerned to keep a lid on the dirty laundry there, not least failure to fix the asbestos roofs with sealant, that he has taken up the council's position on the baord. Usually this would be a political offsider's job. But the stakes are getting higher.

Our last post was via source that Andrews husband has been granted a job at the centre again allegedly without any competitive job selection process. That's another $60,000 job into the home budget.

Now we learn that an old member of the ground staff Elmo has been shoved off for good by Andrews and this has stirred up the political food chain alot. Our source tells us Elmo who has past retiring age and worked as a volunteer unpaid has been issued a letter he is no longer welcome due to "OH&S" reasons. But the way we heard it (unconfirmed) is that Elmo said something rude to Andrews who then took revenge.

Now we understand the ground staff have signed a petition, and heavy weights at the 'largest community centre in Australia' have signed it, like Terry Cutcliffe and Don Mamouney and other ground staff including live in caretakers.

Ironically we tend to think Andrews decision is ostensibly sound, but for different reasons. The individual involved is no friend of ours, too old to safely operate equipment, and a legal risk, and that's after 4 years part time (paid) work by this writer at the ARC till late 2007. But that doesn't stop us enjoying Andrews problems with internal ructions. And we are fascinated by the idea the decision was allegedly motivated by personal revenge without offering any opinion whether the source is correct or not. Did Elmo make some gibe about nepotism for hubby? Or was he sexist which is Andrews cause celebre as a feminist co-author with ex MP Meredith Burgmann? Anything is possible.

We noticed another gum tree cut down at the centre yesterday almost certainly in breach of Marrickville Council Tree Preservation Order. They don't care about little planning laws like that at the ARC.

Posted by editor at 6:44 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 23 January 2009 7:17 AM EADT
Sydney supporters of oppressed Gazans launch into press with powerful advert
Topic: human rights

The VIP endorsements on this advert below running yesterday indicate one clear truth: The world demands that the Israeli cat release the Gaza (and Palestinian) live mouse from it's military claws including outrageous blockade on UN supplies:

The game is up for the PR spin of the Friends of Israel as far as the double game of saying to domestic audiences in the West we have to protect our security and on the other appeasing the influential illegal, militant squatter movement and 30% who are polling in Israel supporting a pardon for Israeli Jewish Yigal Amir assassin of Labour PM Yitzak Rabin. The racism of elements of the IDF against Arabs was reported here 2 days ago.

Increasingly this reality is also cruelling Hilary Clinton's credentials as Secretary of State over in the USA. Her confirmation has been stalled. We noted here recently her nonesense about selectively blaming Hamas violence while literally 1.5 million Gazans are crushed under the heel of a ruthless food and humanitarian aid blockade.

Just like the disciplined Christian Jesuits it seems to escape the thinking of loyal Israel supporters here or the USA that when a people are desperate and defeated the last to maintain any organisation and capacity are the religiously dogmatic. It's a symptom of oppression. As an ABC journalist noted yesterday Gaza in 300 metres is stepping from 1st world Israel to 3rd world Palestine. And after the IDF demolitions it's even worse.

A good summary of both Clinton and the overall situation was provided by Dr Hanan Ashrawi on ABC Radio National yesterday. This is a good contrast with the tendentious and flawed opinion piece by one Albert Dadon, founder, chairman of the "Australia Israel Cultural Exchange", and the ironically titled piece by academic Niv Horesh back on 9 January 2009. Amazing it is how Hamas compliance for 4 months with a ceasefire truce is constantly hidden amongst broad statistics as if to prove black is white, that it never happened.

This is intolerable. Yes there are many terrible abuses on human rights underway in other parts (refugees towed out to sea by Thailand to die a terrible death) but Australians are generally aware of substantial support to Israeli institutions with Australian money and political solidarity. We are very connected culturally and politically here in Sydney. This is a conflict that strong democratic analysis here can play a genuine role. As Gandhi said - knowing your arguments well helps avoid violence.

Posted by editor at 6:22 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 23 January 2009 8:57 AM EADT
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Friends of Israel role out anti semitism guilt trip diversion from $billions in damage, prima facie war crimes
Topic: big media

As observed previously we are in a PR war environment in the big media here. Ten days ago a batch of Holocaust guilt trip stories got a run as the Israeli Defence Force escalated extreme violence against the elected government of Gaza and their 1.5 million in population. The purpose of the history lesson no doubt was to excuse any actions by Israel today via the world's 4th largest army against puny rockets. Rockets that Hamas suspended for 4 months on a promise the food blockade would be lifted by Israel.

Similarly as the reality of the $billions in destruction, and the war crimes involved in some at least of the 5,000 plus injured and killed in Gaza, is now apparent, the next PR tactic of the Friends of Israel emerges: Claims of toxic local anti semitism. It's all about silencing the message from the Arabs affected.

Taken at it's worst regardless of whatever local hate speech gets around, the reality remains that the immediate victims without any doubt are the Gazans at the hands of a ruthless IDF in the name of collective punishment for their Hamas Government. The Friends of Israel (foi), either organised lobby, or The Australian editorial today, or Michael Ronaldson MP opinion piece same newspaper, are either in denial of, or complicit in, the ruthless starvation blockade for 4 months inevitably leading to rocket fire and renewed conflict with Hamas. UN supplies were blocked. Israel launched a fatal airstrike on Nov 4th (the day the USA voted overwhelmingly to elect Barack Obama).

The foi are in denial of, or complicit in, the arming of the 500,000 strong racist illegal squatter movement inevitably found within the ranks of the IDF in Gaza given the fact of complusory military service. The foi are in denial of, or complicit in, the 30% of Israelis who support a pardon for assassin Yigal Amir murderer of Labour PM Yitzak Rabin, and by extrapolation support expulsion of Arabs from Palestine to form a 'Greater Israel'. Such people should never be armed in Gaza or anywhere.

Above is a credible report of war crimes by elements of Israel's IDF in today's Sydney Morning Herald via the London Telegraph which would never be reported let alone acknowledged in an editorial in The Australian, or so it seems. Fact is Israel's nasty little war in Gaza was a variation on George W Bush's WMD folly in Iraq with similar murderous consequences.

The cause of the war was the deliberate intention to topple an enemy government including by malicious provocations with starvation blockade and brutal bombing raids. Israel reserves the right to continue that blockade and renew the slaughter.

The drum beat of world opinion against Israeli aggression and slaughter is loud. The forestalling of a Palestinian state by the ultra right of Israeli politics is quite obvious. The pandering to the ultra right voters come Feb 2009 election is obvious. The significance of the following piece is not so much the opinions but that it has run in the home newspaper of the government town/capital city of Australia. The author Bob Ellis has been associated informally with the Australian Labor Party in power here his long professional life:

Israeli attacks on Gaza are war crimes - Opinion - Editorial ... The Canberra Times 15 Jan 2009

Posted by editor at 11:49 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 21 January 2009 1:40 PM EADT
Joe Biden is USA President for 5 minutes, courtesy of beautiful music for Obama fans
Topic: world

Something happened earlier today. Our 12 hour reflux pill ran out. But it also meant it was about 3.30am Sydney time and a certain Dude was moving on up.

Sure enough the new US President Elect Dude was on all the free to air channels.

Funny too that Robert Penfold of Network 9 said as the W Bush office ended at 12 noon the new pres would be in power 'with no break for one minute or one second'. Well true in the wrong way. Pre 12 noon Washington time the Vice Pres Joe Biden took his oath, but Barak H Obama was blessed with a 5 minute over run by the Aretha Franklin and 4 piece classical interlude composed by John Williams including delightfully named Yo Yo Ma playing. And after the acceptance rhetoric came ... a poet. And she was good too.

This meant Biden was for a moment in history the 44th President until he was duly shoved aside by the real schedule. That was his chance for a coup.

This president may or may not succeed but there is going to be love in his administration at least as reflected by the power of the arts, harnessing the value of culture. Truly music can articulate where words don't really cut it so the 5 minute over run didn't really bother. This possibly echoed Obama a few days ago 'there will be false starts, there will be mistakes'. He even paused during the oath like 'on your wedding day'.

His wife has just become a widow of sorts. His daughters fatherless.

We noticed some other things in the common feed - for barely a second a relieved GW Bush in the official audience giving up his crushing burden. On 22% approval rating, less than impeached Nixon. Obama's flickering interest in the invocation to 'lead with humility', an echo of his biographer interview on 7.30 last night.

And there it is - time for another zantac. If we had to say there were omens in the ceremony it would be yes there will be slip ups and strong recovery and success, that Biden will play a bigger role than anyone expects, and Hilary Clinton a smaller one having achieved an office beyond her competence, like GW Bush and John Howard here.

Posted by editor at 4:20 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 21 January 2009 10:10 AM EADT
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

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