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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 12 January 2007
Egyptian Australian cleric scorns white western supremacist mythology here, courts big talkies
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: big media

Stay tuned for the usual foetid hysteria over a talk show interview last night in Egypt by the Mufti of Lakemba Mosque in Sydney while on holidays there, the night of George W Bush's big Iraq war speech.


He is ‘a fool, mad, divisive, intolerant, a bad representative of Muslim Australians, and should be encouraged to stay overseas’. This last one from the Premier of NSW no less who well knows he is a citizen of Australia based in his own electorate of … Lakemba. How's that for so called free speech, constructive deportation.


For the record here is my view after a long slog gardening and just checking the major daily press and ABC tv news/7.30 Report. Speaking of which 7.30 failed miserably in their duty to report the serious news being more fallout on Iraq war speech by George Bush, preferring to go with the Hilali confected outrage.


First Hilali is no fool. He surely knew his talk show interview would play back home in Oz.


Second the docile indeed submissive presentation of Walid Ali  (e.g. on 7.30 Report, a favoured media spokersperson for Muslims based in Melbourne) and similar suggested a proverbial Uncle Tom response to Hilali. Walid Ali having already 'sold out' to the big western corporate law firm down there (speaking as an ex sell out corporate lawyer myself) Walid is at risk of appearing a careerist appeaser of white supremacist status quo in Australia.


Not that I blame this eloquent very bright fellow for cringing at the swingeing comments of Hilali which make life so much more difficult for Islamic loyalists: He’s not here to make your life any more comfortable Mr Walid Ali, of that you can be sure. On the other hand Muslim leaders should also keep in mind that it was in Sydney in February 2003, and not Melbourne for a change, that between 250 and 500K peace marchers confronted Howard's thinly disguised white supremacist foreign (and domestic) policy.


This was the peace and anti war march Howard infamously referred to as "a mob" including this writer at a peace and environment info stall under the banner "The Bush worth saving".


Third there is no doubt Hilali’s uncompromising views will cause trouble for younger generations of more assimilated Muslim Australians who want diplomacy, harmony and cooperation. But that still doesn’t negate what Hilali has to say as awkward as it is.


What we are seeing is a highly political man who rejects USA imperial foreign policy, who is old and doesn’t care about who he offends amongst his enemies, especially as he is getting too tired for his demanding job now.


But what he does care about is growing the Muslim pie here in Australia. He is not going to lose any votes within Islam from the existing believers no matter how troubled they feel about his style, they are rusted on faithful,  but he will get some new fans.


Those getting hysterical don’t give Hilali near enough credit for his PR cunning.


14 days out from Sovereignty Day, err sorry, Australia Day 26th January 2007 roughly 500,000 original Australians, our Indigenous, Aboriginal Australia




will be asking themselves which tradition is worth pursuing? Anglo Saxon Christian dogma, or Muslim Australia?


And Hilali wants to be in that equation. He wants his message to be transmitted, for free if at all possible, to all those coloured folk who are losers in the Western anglo saxon white supremacist culture.


How easy for an Egyptian with thousands of years of history over the British to scorn the convict story as trivial or even embarrassing. It has the added benefit too of appealing to those Aboriginal Aussies whose land was stolen and People slaughtered or sickened.


And then there are those coloured folk whose relatives are hurt by Bush, Blair and Howard’s ‘surge’ in Iraq. The Palestinians as well. They think white western governments and their people are ‘liars’ to some degree. We did re elect John Howard after all in 2004. Is it really any accident Hilali made his interview soon after Bush’s speech when the Mufti has been to Iraq and knows the suffering of those people in depressing detail? The Bush speech alarming and depressing the Middle East and the world generally.


But what is most galling for the dominant Euro Australian culture is that Hilali is fighting stereotypical intolerant fire with fire, as truly divisive as that is. It would be unwise to assume the Mufti's reverse stereotyping of western society does not have some resonance, and some evidence to his case. Take for instance his reported claim 'there is no freedom or democracy for Muslims in Australia'. On one level it looks hopelessly inaccurate and vexatious.


But on another level consider the following evidence exactly on 1. denial of freedom (to Muslim alleged terrorists pending trial), and 2. unequal legal administration as regards sub judice evidence which is a hallmark of democracy:


Today I noticed a paragraph in the Sydney Morning Herald notable for its outrageous breach of legal reporting standards: Where the evidence in a case is sub judice and not for general press reporting when charges have been laid, especially in a case so very very serious. Here it is by the otherwise affable journo Tom Allard. [I met Allard on the media stakeout of Costello Howard leadership Cabinet standoff mid 2006 in Sydney CBD, so he obviously does federal political stories.]. 


The fact the media breach has not been a subject of controversy in the general media or legal media for compromising a long and expensive trial process including no bail, says a lot about how far our society’s checks and balances regarding non Christian coffee coloured folks has slipped:


“Indeed, when police and ASIO agents swooped on 19 alleged terrorists in Sydney and Melbourne last year, they found an astounding array of violent material on their computers. Their electronic library was as voluminous as it was disturbing, including recipes for homemade explosives, poems in praise of jihad and grisly videos and audio files of beheadings and terrorist attacks.”


In Fighting jihad in cyberspace page 27 Sydney Morning Herald December 2-3 2006:


Full article here at:




The only difference with the web and paper version is that the journalist’s name is missing.


Get it? Allard is spilling the prosecution case in the Big Media to prime the public preconceptions. This is actually blatantly illegal reporting of sub judice evidence.


Sure I’m a rusty junior lawyer here in NSW, but let me take a wild guess and say this prejudices the whole case by the authorities for a fair trial.


Who is Allard’s source for that incriminating evidence? Was it the police prosecution? Was it the Attorney General Ruddock or his officers? Was it ASIO? Can the accused get a fair trial still after all 19 are tarred with this indiscriminate brush? All orthodox questions in exactly same situation for the proverbial ‘white western alleged violent criminal' whose case is compromised by Big Media reportage.


Trials are aborted for this kind of reportage in my memory.


What was that about equal democracy and freedom in Australia Hilali suspects as flaky, indeed what of equality before the law? Allard is no slouch journalist, and this was a big feature story, not some throw away piece. The Herald obviously was happy with it under an image of the Osama Bin Laden bogey man.


Won’t defence barrister Rob Starry be interested to read this article here on independent media. It was Starry who said in a Channel 31 tv programme in Sydney last year that there is a consistent pattern of abuse of legal norms by the authorities regarding prejudicial media choreography of his defendants. That from a lawyer of 25 years experience.


So go ahead and rail against Hilali for prodding sacred cows about desperate convicts stealing, err sorry settling a whole continent from Blackfellas. The trouble is there is a grain of truth, not the whole truth mind you, in what Hilali is saying. But then he is not playing the whole truth game one presumes having long given that away, as neither are Australian institutions of power being completely honest either, as the Fairfax press quite blatantly evidences above. 


Postscript # 1 Sunday am 14th Jan 07:

Uh oh moment for Fairfax? The Saturday edition of Fairfax Sydney Morning Herald does not seem to have run one mention of Hilali in their flagship Saturday/weekend edition 13/14th January 2007.

By contrast The Australian ran a bit on their front page and the egregious Sydney Daily Telegraph ran another ridicule 'news' article, a ridicule comment on the Blair pseudo blog opinion page (mainly targeting gifted cultural interpreter for the Mufti and peace activist Kayser Trad), and again on the editorial (3 items in all).

Hilali was news but not in the Saturday edition of Fairfax. That's quite an interesting back down by the more ethical paper of record. But let's see how the Sunday press goes today too.

Postscript #2: The Sunday press in Sydney has News Ltd's Sunday Telegraph - nil, zero, zilch on Hilali. I think maybe they get it and have shut off the oxygen. Fairfax's Sydney SunHerald have one very friendly anglo son in law, and his anglo parents, story supporting the Mufti. That's what I call a truce complete with exhortations to "free speech", all on page 9: under banner headline "Meet the in-laws" at http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/the-anglos-whose-son-married-the-muftis-daughter/2007/01/13/1168105230363.html

But wait, cynical PM Howard can see the political advantage of a divisive tango with Hilali evaporating and chipped in on the Fairfax website  to keep it going calling Hilali "an embarrassment to Islamic Australians" in a late posted story timed at  11.14 am. http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/sheik-an-embarrassment-pm/2007/01/14/1168709598468.html

The "embarrassing" tag also tried in the press yesterday by Howard on Hilali is actually borrowed surely (and ironically) by Howard from this FHM survey calling him the very same thing, we reported at SAM here as follows: (Saturday, 6 January 2007) 'PM Howard wins 'most embarrassing' Australian in 2006: FHM Magazine'


It's as if both are working hard to confirm the overall thesis that both are indeed 'embarrassing', past it, divisive and desperate for oxygen to keep their profiles alive: Hilali goes tit for tat calling him "a me too" PM for copying W Bush.


Talk about both striving to win a battle between themselves and losing the PR war in the minds of the overall public.


# Postscript #3:


Well the mutual tango for equal and opposite media profile over quite possibly equally intolerant aging white supremacist Howard, and aging multicultural Islamist Hilali so dogmatic on matters of faith, continues apace today Monday. At least its on the fairly clear and valid debate underpinning alot of this argument meaning undeclared white supremacist local and foreign domestic policy of Howard, indeed majority fascist tendencies versus a minority scapegoat.


Here is an example: Sheik now loves Australia


For instance Fred Nile Christian fundamentalist holds many of the same views as Hilali on say disapproving of alternative sexuality but doesn't get nearly the criticism. Nile is anglo and as such glorifies the USA euro dominant Christian traditional role in the world. Hilali being coloured and non anglo does not. So where is the news in this entirely predictable ethno religious geopolitical public friction exactly?


I suppose Hilali is a complex person and as such a loose and inaccurate proxy for very complex and fraught geo political problems in the Middle East that Australia now has as such a loyal ally of dogmatic W Bush USA regime. But then so is PM Howard a quite accurate proxy for W Bush failure as a world leader on the Middle East.

Posted by editor at 10:20 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 8:29 AM EADT
'She'll be right' reaction here in Sydney to pivotal Bush war speech , but it isn't and it won't be
Mood:  lazy
Topic: peace

As I walked to Bondi Beach yesterday in a severe effort of exercise vanity (roughly a 40km round trip and boy do the hips feel it today) I listened to the ABC quality radio live feed of the Bush tv speech (evening time USA).

I mused about this image from 2003 and the courage of Greenpeace against this war:

The Bush speech is here apparently at pro war News Ltd The Australian broadsheet (of relatively low circulation):

Video: The speech in full

I notice Murdoch's cronies also ask their readers: "Your Say: Is it enough? " Meaning enough dead Iraqi? Or perhaps enough Abu Graib style torture? Enough hatred of the occupation? Enough imperial agenda against Iran/pro Israel? Enough pro puppet govt death squads?

As I marched still fresh at 1.15 pm to this historic speech, the public in the height of the holiday summer season, on King St Newtown were oblivious. Later the beach was crowded still at 5 till 7 pm or so when most tv news services were broadcasting their reports last night. Perhaps people in the biggest city here of 4 million didn't want to know? Nor did I for awhile there fully 100m offshore with flippers body surfing the 4 footer.

I will go soon and check the morning press (paper version) at the corner shop (run by minority Lebanese folks) to see the editorial decision of the high circulation press here regarding front page coverge.  

The electronic version of the Sydney Morning Herald have it low on their web world section, unlike low circulation 'The Oz' above. [The paper version SMH has it front page top left as a serious paper of record should.]

Similarly News Ltd sister paper, the high circulation web version of the Sydney Daily Telegraph, have run a classic diversion story Sex fiends' job scandal . I know it's a relegaton tactic because they publish their paper version page 1 on the web [paper version has Bush speech p2]: Shock horror but not a candle to roughly 500,000 dead Iraqis in arguably the biggest foreign policy stuff up in the history of the USA.

The SDT has always been a cartoon book 'mind f*ck' in common Murdoch tradition. In true manipulative form they run an image of charming innocent child Bindi Irwin next to the 'sex fiend' headline. Significantly the SDT is also PM John Howard's "favourite" newspaper with open access for their chief spinner/hack Piers Ackerman many in Sydney regard as a thinly disguised white supremacist.

The truth is the SDT have buried the Bush speech, running second on their web page and paper.  Howard will want it buried too this election year to put distance between him and loser Bush.

The serious news people here know Bush's speech is the most important of the day, week and likely the month: ABC tv to a minimal audience ran this first last night:

"TRACY BOWDEN: In what is considered one of the most important speeches of his Presidency, George W. Bush made it clear he may have steered away from the term "stay the course", but he's still focussed on victory in Iraq.

GEORGE W BUSH, US PRESIDENT: The new strategy I outline tonight will change America's course in Iraq and help us succeed in the fight against terror
." http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2006/s1825434.htm

Indeed there were some shockers in the speech:

- 'Joe Lieberman' the pro war Democrat turncoat,

- 'bipartisanship' after the mid term election rout,

- no mention of the death toll, 

- sanitised mention of the huge credibility gap with the USA electorate starved of social budget into the military industrial complex.

This was a very hard ball, recalcitrant, very polished speech I thought. It was surprisingly humble in style but deeply arrogant in content. Not so much a State of the Union, rather State of the War speech and every bit as critical after the mid term elections: A president's response from the imperative of the negative vote and in this sense a conversation with those voters direct.

Indeed the ABC govt broadcaster radio this morning in Australia has led the 7 am and 7.45 am main bulletins with the earlier one of senior Democrat opposition to Bush's 'surge' of 20k plus USA soldiers, and UK govt sympathetic reaction.

As I write AM's Peter Cave

(a gutsy gifted journalist who I recall once sent me an email from Baghdad calling me "a loon" for suggesting he blended into the 'Arabic' population)

announces their lead story 'is this about attacking Iran?'


similar to the UK The Times comment recently. We carry the Times report in full on SAM here at:

UK The Times online weighs 'Middle Eastern War' plan by White House

at the 10 January 2007 button top right, with original link there:


 All very worrying.

This ostensible 'she'll be right' reaction in Sydney to the pivotal Bush speech has one big problem as exemplified by the earlier blanket press coverage of home grown rocket terrorism this last several weeks: It won't be right, and no one really believes it. Kevin Rudd, Opposition Leader, like senior Democrats is on AM now referring indeed to this war "folly".

This email came through from the USA peace movement late last night:

Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2007 22:57:27 -0800

Dear friends,

Just when we thought the war in Iraq couldn't get any worse - it has. Last
night, President Bush rejected reality, spurned the American people's
verdict, and announced his new policy: MILITARY ESCALATION IN IRAQ.

The good news is that the newly elected United States Congress can stop
this madness. We're launching an immediate campaign to let the Congress
hear from global voices - placing an ad with the number of signatures to
our petition in "Roll Call", an influential political paper sent to every
member of the US Congress. Click below to visit our new campaign site at
Avaaz.org, see the ad, and sign the petition:


The US-led coalition forces and the Iraqi government are part of the
problem, and sending tens of thousands more American troops will only fan
the flames of this war. But the US Congress can demand a real diplomatic
plan to end the war - if they feel enough pressure to do it.

This new Congress has real power to stop Bush in his tracks. The Democrats
were elected to end the war. If enough people speak up now, they might just
have the guts to do it.


The vast majority of Americans oppose escalation, and opposition is
growing. They need our help before the week is out.

Add your name to the petition. Spread the word to your friends. The Iraq
crisis is a global problem - and it will take global pressure to change its

With hope,

Ricken, Paul, Tom, Rachel, Galit, Lee-Sean and the rest of the Ceasefire
Campaign (now Avaaz.org!) Team.

PS - In an online poll last year, nearly a thousand of you helped choose a
compelling new name for our global campaigning effort - www.Avaaz.org.
Avaaz means "voice" or "song" in many Asian languages. The new site is up,
so check it out! www.Avaaz.org.

Posted by editor at 7:19 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 13 January 2007 8:04 AM EADT
Thursday, 11 January 2007
Tasmania the rotten state?
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: corporates

When an MP and a former Deputy Premier of an Australian State is in court on “serious criminal charges” as explained by The Australian here yesterday Jan 10th




one starts to wonder if governance has gone totally off the rails in that place.


SAM’s editor admits to a special interest. Being of an environmental activist leaning we were concerned about the integrity of our publishing on various web outlets (including to Federal and NSW MP’s) regarding the infamous woodchippers at Gunns Ltd down there in Tasmania. This wariness was particularly in light of the aggressive legal approach Gunns Ltd were pursuing against public interest groups like The Wilderness Society and fellow travellers.


Gunns Ltd is financially perhaps the biggest fish in the state economy down there via corrupt logging practices, with ex politician allies and board members.


We got some of our email checked out prior to Christmas and can now publish this statutory declaration by our technical adviser:



Schedule 9


I, Robert Farquharson of Sydney in the state of New South Wales


Do hereby solemnly declare and affirm that: -


1. I am an expert in internet and computer security field including repair of hardware and software and protection from computer viruses, parasites. I have worked in the field for  [27]  years.  My qualifications include


Ph.D (Computer Engineering); MCS; GradDipCompSc


The MCS is an abbreviation for Master of Computer Science. I have a few other minor degrees but I use these three on all my official letterheads and statements as they are the more important ones - The first two are from central Queensland University and the third one is from Griffiths University at Mt. Gravatt in Brisbane.


2.  My contact details as per my letterhead are as follows:


PO Box xxxxxxxx NSW                                                                         

Mob: xxxxxxxx

E-mail: xxxxxx

For professional reasons I do not publicise my residential address.

3. I have provided internet security support to Tom McLoughlin who is the principal of a small network of ecology idealists for 3 years now. Tom is a solicitor in NSW and a friend and he also pays me for internet security work when he can afford to. I understand ‘ecology action’ is a non profit private foundation and is unincorporated. It is a basically a little social club that supports environmental causes. I have allowed him to include his website on my portal at:


I am aware that since February 2005 the ecology action website has gradually increased in reader viewing as demonstrated by the counter at the bottom left of the page. Currently it is at 15,387 views by the public.

4. I sent an email recently, as follows:

----- Original Message -----

From: "Robert Farquharson" xxxxxx

To: "ecology action sydney" xxxxxx

Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2006 12:30 AM

Subject: An unsuccessful attempt


>A person attempted to hijack the website, all 5 links meant to access the
> CPPPCLTRUST website have been permanently removed, click onto any of the
> links that were sent and it will say  The requested page was removed for
> terms violation
> He breached a serious part of the terms of the CPPPCLTRUST usage of the site
> and that is for all visitors to the site to "Refrain from using the services
> provided on the Site to invade the privacy of others, or to collect and use
> an individual's personal and private information or to gain or attempt to
> gain unauthorized access to other computer systems via the Site
> He sent his details as john_epa without any details on Tuesday, December 19,
> 2006
> Keeping you safe in the background
> Rob
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Tripod Mailer" xxxxxx>

To: ************> Sent: Tuesday, December 19, 2006 10:28 PM
> Subject: Letters to CPPPCLTRUST
> Full_Name: john_epa
> Contact_Nos: Unknown
> Comments: I have to say your site is great
http://7387.4.1u05648d.info .
http://8987.4.qjo9ca.info .
http://8757.4.qjo9ca.info .
http://6996.4.v32ee09q.info .
http://2389.4.35k31ypm1.info .
> Initials_only:
> Anonymous:

5. The meaning of the email to Tom McLoughlin’s personal/work email address at paragraph 4 above can be summarised as follows:


The portal, which is a facility for hosting a combination of websites, which includes the ecology action website, has been attacked by a malicious hacker to take the portal and all dependent websites down off the internet. Each of the links listed indicate the hacker’s work to redirect readers from my portal to a page which reads:


The requested page was removed for terms violation.”


This was a very dangerous hacking attempt because not only did it threaten the ecology action website, and my portal of other websites, which carries a solicitor Alex Tees and my own publications, but it also threatened the very reputable hosting website provider Tripod.com, a USA based company that provides user friendly website templates for consumers, and their customers. Tripod.com have corresponded with me to express their gratitude in fighting off the virus that threatened our situation collectively.


6. I found it very hard to define the source of the hacker’s computer via by what is known as their identifying “IP address”. Clearly the IP address is being hidden. However I can conclusively advise that it came from Tasmania. I also recall seeing something to do with “Gunns Ltd” in the electronic traces.


7. The hacking attempt was of a very advanced technological capacity involving a sophisticated multi pronged virus that first reads the defences, learns the website defences, and re attacks, up to 5 times or more. Although hackers are quite common, a hacker with that ability is very rare and invariably well paid and expensive to employ.


8. Yesterday Tom McLoughlin advised me that the very first item of information on his web page, which I don’t usually read and haven’t read for ages, has for a few weeks now been carrying this paper:


6th Dec 2006 - New paper: Logger terrorism under the Howard federal government

I am advised by Tom the ecology action paper relates to both political violence in Tasmania by loggers sympathetic to Gunns Ltd at the Weld Valley on December 2nd 2006, which Tom says was similar to violence experienced at Wandella State Forest on the NSW South Coast in 2005.

9. I am advised by Tom that the source information of the logger terrorist attack on the Weld Valley conservationist camp in Tasmania, being a media release of December 2nd 2006 has similarly been interfered with on their website at:



I am advised by Tom that late last week the link to this release of 2nd Dec 2006 regarding firebombing attempt by 3 ute loads of loggers in the early hours of the morning was diverted to another document of 27th November 2006 far less damaging to the reputation of the logging industry.


10. I am advised by Tom that the web master for the relevant Huon Valley Environment Centre that maintains the Weld Valley website, by the name of Lilia has had her phone line cut at the work station at the place she maintains the site. Tom has referred me to this email correspondence regarding his advice about repair of phone lines so their website can be repaired:


----- Original Message -----

From: "Lilia L." xxxxxx

To xxxxxxxx

Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2006 9:53 AM

Subject: Re: on copper lines Re: your link is broken for press 2nd of Dec presser firebomb logger terrorists


> Hi Tom,
> thanks so much for your advice, and the stories - they're great! I didn't get to fix my phone line yesterday, but I'll go home and try what you suggested tonight. There's nowhere in Huonville where I can get a phone cord! I'll have to go up to Hobart if it doesn't work.
> Cheers!
> Lilia
> P.S. Just this second we've got the news that the tree-sit camp has been busted by cops. We'll put stuff up on Melbourne Indymedia a.s.a.p.


11. In my opinion it is quite likely the hacking attempts on my website portal do relate to the ecology action Sydney section of the site because the hacking always seems to relate in time to any increase in activity by ecology action. Indeed over the years I have found providing internet security for Tom McLoughlin has taken more of my time than any other client. Also it is my opinion that it is quite likely this latest hacking attempt was to prevent the public or mainstream media practitioners or members of the political community from reading the new paper mentioned at paragraph 7. In my opinion as a expert on internet security the details in the paragraphs above are highly consistent with a campaign of deliberate and well resourced hacking of internet based information to censor news from Tasmania of a nasty and politically damaging event of political violence in the Weld Valley in Tasmania recently.



And I make this solemn declaration, in accordance with the Oaths Act, 1900, and subject to the punishment by law provided for the making of any wilfully false statement in any such declaration.





Declared at Sydney

This Sunday, 24th December 2006

Before me:


Thomas Joseph McLoughlin, solicitor in NSW


Posted by editor at 8:42 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2007 10:53 AM EADT
Wednesday, 10 January 2007
Minister Tony Abbott controls the story in Fairfax about his wild days?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: election Oz 2007

Back on 8th January 2006 we published a story called:

Why did student activist now minister Tony Abbott punch Peter Woof?

 (to find the full story go to the top right corner and click on the date)

It raised questions of a matter in the late 1970's where activist and qualified engineer Peter Woof took a civil suit for assault against the 'punching machine' (based on oft published images of young Tony) which only got to first base at the Glebe Magistrates Court. According to Woof he was intimidated out of it by the high priced lawyers who might claim costs against him. That is he withdrew under duress.

Now a covert source within Big Media writes to say: 

"There is a hell of a lot more on this sort of thing that Kerry-Ann Walsh tried to get up in the Sun-Herald back in 2004.

Fairfax's legal department got very nervous, but the story stacked up. Abbot got wind of it, and played off on Fairfax politics with a spectacular spoiler. The Friday before the yarn was due to appear, he went to Michelle Grattan with a preview of the material on his wild days in Michael Duffy's book.

Michelle outpunches KAW, Fairfax thinks. They used her yarn in the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age. Kerry-Ann only got a meaningless few pars in Sydney."

Not so surprisingly the source prefers to stay anonymous. SAM's editor recalls the PM Howard having his own moments of exasparation being quoted early on that the Fairfax journos 'are out of control'. Quite a curious comment in a democracy with a free press that is supposed to keep all and sundry honest (including themselves) without fear or favour.

If the above quote is true, seems the PM's loyalist Abbott has used some quite orthodox tools of 'control' namely rivalry and competition within Fairfax itself, Grattan over Walsh. Certainly these are favoured dark arts in Big Politics the world over. An aging Grattan would be grateful one imagines to ward off spritely competition.

However this all leaves open the original question of character: Why did Tony Abbott punch Peter Woof? And are there any other Peter Woofs out there, so to speak?

Posted by editor at 3:23 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007 3:41 PM EADT
Freaky grass ice storm images
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: ecology

Extreme weather images of ice storm in USA, related to climate change?


here is one sample, phwoa!

Posted by editor at 12:59 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007 1:12 PM EADT
Fear of dangerous climate change gathers pace
Mood:  rushed
Topic: globalWarming

Two stories in big media recently give the clue to broad creeping fear, similar to this earlier post on SAM:

Saturday, 6th January 2007-01-10

Terrorists won’t kill Sydney’s real estate market, but global warming will

[you can find the entry top right, via 6th Jan 07]

These two latest stories follow:

#1 http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L08837741.htm

U.N. official wants world summit on global warming


8th January 2007

Source: Reuters

By Francois Murphy

PARIS, Jan 8 (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should call a meeting of heads of government to decide the next steps against global warming, the U.N. official responsible for tackling climate change said on Monday.

Yvo de Boer, head of the U.N. Climate Secretariat (UNFCCC), told reporters there was not much time left to prepare a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. "The window of opportunity is closing," he said. De Boer said he hopes to meet Ban during a trip to New York next week.

The last annual U.N. meeting of about 100 environment ministers, in Nairobi in November, made scant progress on finding ways to widen the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol.

Several ideas have been floated for discussion recently, such as French President Jacques Chirac's plan, unveiled last week, for a conference to promote a tax on imports from states that refuse to join Kyoto's successor.

"I'm wondering how all these initiatives are going to contribute to a global negotiating process," de Boer said.

"I'm really hoping that the new Secretary General will feel he's in a position to show the kind of leadership the world seems to be calling for," he added.

Kyoto obliges 35 developed nations to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12. But Kyoto nations account for only about one third of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Environment ministers involved in talks on Kyoto are often junior cabinet members and lack clout, and de Boer said the problems raised in talks on the environment were often economic in nature.

The United States, the world's biggest source of greenhouse gases, pulled out of Kyoto in 2001, saying it would cost U.S. jobs and wrongly excluded big developing nations such as China, India, South Africa and Brazil.

Those states will become major greenhouse gas emitters in the future but fear that curbing carbon emissions will hinder their drive to reduce poverty and promote growth, de Boer said. They should therefore be offered incentives, he added.

"I think it has to be at the level of the Secretary General that you bring heads of government together to try and flesh out these key principles and then to say to the technicians, to the professionals: 'okay, these are the lines of the playing field'", he said.

"I think that time is running out and that this year would be good because it would allow us sufficient time to negotiate something in a thorough way," he said.

The meeting could be a group of key nations rather than a large summit but it should include important developing states, de Boer added. (Additional reporting by Alister Doyle in Oslo)


# 2 http://www.emagazine.com/view/?3561

ExxonMobil Blasted for Efforts to Discredit Climate Science

January 8, 2007
Reporting by Roddy Scheer

Last week the non-profit Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) issued a report detailing how the world’s largest oil company, ExxonMobil, has donated $16 million since 1998 to 43 ideological groups working to discredit the science of human-induced climate change. The group joins a growing chorus of voices asking the oil giant and world’s most profitable company to turn the corner on global warming and start embracing a transition from fossil fuels.

“ExxonMobil has manufactured uncertainty about the human causes of global warming just as tobacco companies denied their product caused lung cancer,” says Alden Meyer, the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Director of Strategy & Policy. “A modest but effective investment has allowed the oil giant to fuel doubt about global warming to delay government action just as Big Tobacco did for over 40 years.”

Just this past September, Britain’s leading scientific academy, the Royal Society, asked the company to stop supporting groups that “misrepresented the science of climate change.” In response, ExxonMobil said that it funded groups that research “significant policy issues and promote informed discussion on issues of direct relevance to the company” but that such groups do not speak for the company.

With most scientists and policymakers now on board with the concept of human-induced climate change, ExxonMobil may feel pressured into toeing the line on renewable energy so as not to get left behind by more forward-thinking competitors like Shell and BP.

Source: Union of Concerned Scientists


Posted by editor at 12:27 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 8:16 AM EADT
UK The Times online weighs 'Middle Eastern War' plan by White House
Mood:  sharp
Topic: peace

Respected progressive Jewish author and independent thinker in Australia, Antony Lowenstien writes recently in crikey.com.au that this piece in the UK The Times Online is likely the most "accurate" synthesis of what the W Bush White House is planning, rather than the apparent random chaos that passes for USA foreign policy presentation these days:


 An unholy alliance threatening catastrophe

January 24th 2007


Our correspondent on a concerted attempt to confront Iran and Shia Islam

Most people think that the bungled invasion of Iraq, climaxing last week with the bungled execution-assassination of Saddam Hussein, will go down in history as the ultimate symbol of the Bush Administration’s hubris and incompetence. They should think again. With the dawning of a new year, the Bush-Blair partnership is working on an even more horrendous foreign policy disaster.

What now seems to be in preparation at the White House, with the usual unquestioning support from Downing Street, is a Middle Eastern equivalent of the Second World War. The trigger for this all-embracing war would be the formation of a previously unthinkable alliance between America, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Britain, to confront Iran and the rise of the power of Shia Islam.

The logical outcome of this “pinning back” process would be an air strike by Israel against Iran’s nuclear facilities, combined with a renewed Israeli military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon, aggressive action by American and British soldiers to crush Iraq’s Shia militias, while Saudi-backed Sunni terrorists undermined the increasingly precarious pro-Iranian Government in Baghdad.

Consider the ominous events that occurred in the Middle East and Washington over the holiday season, while most people were paying more attention to their turkeys and Christmas stockings. The first in this sequence of events was Tony Blair’s abrupt announcement that members of the Saudi Royal Family accused of taking bribes from British defence contractors would be exempted from the application of British law. To risk a confrontation with the Saudi Royal Family, Mr Blair asserted, would have jeopardised Britain’s security interests in Iraq and in the war against terrorism, as well as dashing hopes of progress towards peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This embarrassing announcement by Mr Blair was quickly followed by his Dubai speech, in which he called for an “arc of moderation” to “pin back” Iran’s advances in the Middle East.

The second event, almost simultaneous with Mr Blair’s bribery announcement, was the equally unexpected resignation of Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Washington, Prince Turki al-Faisal, on December 15. Prince Turki has long been a key figure in the Saudi security establishment, whose last abrupt career move occurred in the autumn of 2001, when he suddenly resigned as liaison between the Saudi Royal Family and the Taleban terrorists that they had been financing until just before September 11. Turki was a leading member of a faction in the Saudi Royal Family that has for months been advocating a more conciliatory response towards the Shia hegemony in Iraq, including an effort to open direct negotiations between America and Iran, as recommended by James Baker’s Iraq Study Group. The Turki group’s main rivals in the Saudi establishment have by contrast argued for much tougher military action against what they called the “Christian-Shia conspiracy” created by the US toleration of Iranian influence over Iraq.

The Saudi power struggle came into the open through an article published in The Washington Post in mid-December, by Nawaf Obeid, a Saudi security consultant ostensibly working for Turki, but actually closer to the hardliners. Obeid cautioned that if American troops were withdrawn from Iraq prematurely, in line with the Baker report’s recommendations, Saudi Arabia would have no choice but to intervene forcibly “to stop Iranian-backed Shi a militias from butchering Iraq’s Sunnis”. Turki immediately fired Obeid, but shortly afterwards was himself replaced by a hardliner.

Within Saudi Arabia itself, meanwhile, the anti-Iranian rhetoric is gathering strength. Take this example from al-Salafi magazine, quoted in The New York Times: “Iran has become more dangerous than Israel itself. The Iranian revolution has come to renew the Persian presence in our region. This is the real clash of civilisations.”

The link between Israel and Iran in Saudi thinking brings us to the third event in this chillingly unfestive sequence: the confrontation over nuclear proliferation between the UN Security Council and Iran. If Iran is now really hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons, Israel has made it abundantly clear that it is equally hell-bent on stopping it — whether by diplomatic or military means. Whether Israeli bombing would in practice do serious damage to the Iranian nuclear programme is far from clear, but there are certainly hotheads in the Israeli Government and military establishment who are itching to try.

There is, however, one binding constraint on Israel’s freedom of action against Iran. This is the US. It is unlikely that Israel would bomb Iran without explicit American approval and it is certain that a US president would stop Israel if he believed America’s national interest demanded it.

That has been the situation until recently, since America has depended on Iranian-backed Shia politicians to prevent a total collapse of order and a humiliating Saigon-style expulsion of American soldiers in Iraq.

Although Israel has never signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, many Israeli politicians believe that they are entitled to punish Iran for its non-compliance with the treaty. For these trigger-happy Israelis, Iran’s backdoor influence over Washington via the Iraqi Shia has become a nightmare. The same is true of the Saudi princes. The Saudi Royal Family rules a largely Shia country on the basis of a fanatically enforced state religion whose senior spokesmen denounce the Shia as heretic scum. These feelings are entirely mutual — Iran’s mad mullahs hate the Wahhabis every bit as much.

Thus, if there is one country in the world more worried than Israel about an Iranian A-bomb, it is Saudi Arabia. And if there are two countries in the world with real influence on the Bush White House, they are Saudi Arabia and Israel. Now both these countries are telling President Bush that he must pull the plug on Iraq’s Shia Government, tear up the Baker report, whose most important advice was to open diplomatic channels to Tehran, and prepare to attack Iran, either directly or using the Israelis as a proxy. This is the basis of the unholy alliance between Israel, Saudi Arabia and America, with Mr Blair contributing a few choice soundbites.

The anti-Iranian “arc of moderation” may seem like another meaningless Blairism, not nearly as threatening as Mr Bush’s “axis of evil”. But this soundbite could unleash a disaster on the Middle East, beside which the war in Iraq would be a mere sideshow.

Posted by editor at 11:51 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 12 January 2007 7:13 AM EADT
Crikey.com.au ezine reports Howard govt 'political killing season' has well and truly begun
Mood:  loud
Topic: election Oz 2007

I met Miriam (not her real name) in 2003 in person when she visited Sydney from another part of Australia. She immigrated from a well to do middle class family in Chile in 1989.

A political sophisticate she was also too left wing for her Christian Democrat or even Pinochet leaning family. The black sheep you might say.

And she taught me some things like a big sister mentor. One was as an ecologist to make more enquires about the Pudu, a small deer type of native animal of Patagonia that she was worried about becoming extinct: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pud%C3%BA

Two: Phillip Ruddock had changed after 20 plus years as a moderate in the Liberal Party out of career frustration, that is had sold his soul for a ministerial portfolio.

Three: As advised by her well connected, conservative family, her sister in fact, the most dangerous time for progressives under a dictatorship is the very time one thinks to relax. In her case it was the announced re establishment of democracy with general elections in 1990 in Chile.

Her sister said to her: This is when Pinochet's thugs know their time is running out. They have a window to 'even scores' , 'exact revenge' and in that country kill their enemies. My source took it to heart. She had spent time in gaol. She told her political mentor who scorned the warning as exagerated. He was executed and she lives in Australia today with family.

Of course this is not Pinochet's Nazi regime in Chile. It's Iraq war swaggering John Howard. But there are echoes of familiarity with this story, republished in full on Melbourne Indymedia from the ezine crikey.com.au yesterday 9th Jan 2007:

Crikey amplifies Howard deregister of 19 political parties SAM editor 2007-01-10 11:46 AM
As stated as often as possible this is the 'killing season' politically as Howard's cronies see their window of power closing up to the next election: Stephen Mayne has some chilling comments here about the state of our democracy when this story didn't rate a mention in the Big Media. Strong work by Mayne here from the 9th January ezine, republished here in the public interest to oz indy readers via MIM.

Posted by editor at 11:02 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2007 7:38 AM EADT
Oz uranium to China: A VERY big mistake says indymedia
Mood:  down
Topic: nuke threats
 Nuclear exports to China pose serious security, political, environmental risks Winston Smith - Indymedia 2007-01-09 7:18 PM
JANUARY 7, 2007: The Australian Conservation Foundation is raising serious concerns around the security, political and environmental risks of the newly ratified Australia-China Nuclear Transfer Agreement that gives the green light for Australian uranium producers to commence exports to China. The deal allows Canberra to cancel uranium exports if Beijing violates any provisions in the pact. John Howard has encouraged Australians to cash in on its vast uranium deposits for export and to meet Australia's future energy needs..... Australia has about 40 per cent of all known uranium reserves and accounts for about 23 per cent of global production of the nuclear fuel...

Posted by editor at 10:41 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 February 2007 8:17 AM EADT
Is Port Botany safely managed for our bio security?
Mood:  blue
Topic: ecology
Hi All,
Here is the transcript link for the ABC Background Briefing [Tuesday night] on 'TRADING QUARANTINE'  It examines the issues surrounding trade & our biosecurity.  Very relevant when talking about port expansions & well worth a look.  The audio can be downloaded.  Peter Martin the producer is also interested in pandemic risks.
Lynda Newnam
protecting environment = protecting people

Posted by editor at 10:38 AM EADT

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