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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Monday, 19 January 2009
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
Saturday, 17 January 2009
Hilary Clinton's biased nonsense on Hamas violence reported today in News Corporation broadsheet
Topic: human rights


The Rudd Government here in Australia have tried to mitigate their craven silence on the obvious war crimes of Israel in Gaza (by targeting civilians and UN facilities regardless of spin and hollow excuses) 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

Rudd has probably destroyed any diplomatic credibility he had with the UN membership for a future career there for his silence literally as UN facilities are being shelled by the Israeli Defence Force with conventional and phosphorous explosives killing civllians and aid workers.

Additionally Hilary Clinton as prospective Secretary of State in the USA from next Tuesday USA time is reported making an incredulous comment about the "abosolute" pre condition to negotiation with Hamas of 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 especially in what it perceives to be in self defence. For a leading USA figure to preach the renunciation of violence is Lehrer-esque in its satirical tone. Lehrer said satire was dead when Henry Kissinger architect of the Vietnam war (killing millions) won the Nobel Peace Prize;

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. All this after Hamas kept a truce discipline for 4 months July to October while Israel breached the truce (as below at 3). It calls up exclusively blaming the IRA for the million dead in the Irish Potato Famine when the British were net exporters of food away from the stricken. Or the Black Panthers after African Slavery to the USA tortured millions. Or the ANC under the jackboot of the pro Nazi Afrikaaner National Party. Clinton's comment is so inept as to be an alarming signal as to her capacity for the huge responsibility of Secretary of State;

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, the blockade does kill people every day. The blockade on and off for 30 years but particularly the last 2 years is a form of real violence by Israel.

4. Then the creeping conquest 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 to the assassin of PM Rabin in 1995, and it is preumably these criminals targeting 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 according to Al Jazeera coverage over the web. This is the covert campaign by Israel to achieve a Greater Israel while giving lip service to the 2 state solution in the West. This fraud must be condemned, not least perpetrated by Olmert facing corruption charges.

H Clinton has the great political kudos of her husband's previous efforts for peace in the 90ies. But she talks in a jaded tone about 'not giving up on peace' like it's a mid life gym routine in an impossible quest for the perfect body. If she takes that attitude the assassin of PM Rabin and 30% support in Israel wins and the world's belief in Israel will have been betrayed. In reality H Clinton has been pandering to the Greater Israel lobby at the expense of Palestinian human rights in the primaries and probably her whole Senate career as discussed by Mother Jones here:

Hillary Clinton's Little-Noticed Israel Problem 3 Apr 2008

"Clinton's rhetoric dates back to when her husband was attempting to broker a compromise on the holy city. She first took the position in 1999, prior to announcing her candidacy for the U.S. Senate in New York. (It was later in the same campaign that Clinton was slammed for hugging and kissing Suha Arafat, the wife of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, at a ceremony on the West Bank, where Suha, speaking in Arabic, accused the Israeli government of using poison gas against Palestinian women and children. Hours after the event, Clinton condemned her.) "I personally consider Jerusalem the eternal and indivisible capital of Israel," she wrote in a letter to the president of Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, echoing the exact language favored by some Israeli politicians. That stand was interpreted in the media as an obvious pander, a play for support among the hardline segment of New York's sizable Jewish community. "Israel's new friend Hillary Clinton, born-again Zionist" read the headline in her hometown paper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. As Michael Tomasky later wrote in Hillary's Turn, his book about the 2000 campaign, "The Jerusalem question is always an issue in New York campaigns, and anyone running for dogcatcher in New York signs on to the position Hillary took."

Hilary Clinton has a much bigger more important job now than pandering to New York Jewish diaspora, and it's well before time she worked that out.

Posted by editor at 6:59 PM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 20 January 2009 11:00 AM EADT
Friday, 16 January 2009
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
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
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
Forest friendly film maker fundraiser for free speech versus Govt loggers
Mood:  smelly
Topic: human rights


[This from Harriet Swift convenor of ChipStop, a very reputable person and group for the environment (according to SAM's Editor, Tom McLoughlin, solicitor in NSW)]

Subject: Fundraiser for Jeni McMillan's court costs

In 2004, Jeni McMillan was fined and arrested while filming the documentary 'Bankrupt - the man or the system?' in southern NSW forests. The story is an exposé of forest mismanagement and the impact it had on the lives of former forester, Gerhard Wiedmann and his partner Corinne Jenkins. Jeni had pro-bono legal support and paid for all her other expenses but still needs to raise 2900 dollars towards court costs. We are hoping to raise this with your support.
Funds raised above this amount will go to The Bega Environment Centre.
Please pass this on to anyone who may be prepared to help.
Christal George and Jeni McMillan
A suggested donation is 75 dollars. (Perhaps lower income friends may consider a joint donation?)
Donations can be forwarded to:
Bendigo Bank Account
BSB 633 000
Account no. 130310105
Doners so far include:
M.Smith and Sarah Chapman
Jeni's story...
'I appealed against my original 100 dollar on the spot fine and won. The other charges were also dismissed. However NSW Forests chose to appeal the magistrate's decision to the NSW Supreme Court. I raised a constitutional challenge 'implied freedom of political communication' because we do not have a Bill of Rights in Australia to protect freedom of speech. We argued that a Forestry regulation for 'safety' was being misued to prevent information on their management practices being revealed to the public.'
...After 4 years of court proceedings her options were to take the matter to the High Court of Australia which would be prolonged, expensive and unlikely to succeed in front of a conservative bench. Or to have the case reheard in the local Bega court.
'I reluctantly chose the re-trail so I could get on with my life. I saw Gerhard and Corinne worn down by their battle for justice and I wanted to use my energy in more positive ways than being locked in a legal combat that was being increasingly narrowed by the terms of the law.'
...The local judge gave his verdict in favour of NSW Forests.
All Jeni's documentary work has been self funded. The documentary 'Bankrupt' was used in TWS' Forests for Water roadshow and continues to be screened at Grass roots venues and recently on channel 31. Since Jeni has been in France she has screened the film at a community venue and given a public lecture on the subject 'What positive changes can we make?'
See the documentary in two parts at:

Posted by editor at 1:19 PM NZT
Sunday, 21 September 2008
Kirsty Ruddock a saving grace in Turnbull era as old guys trade sledges
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: human rights
No tension … Kirsty Ruddock, now the principal solicitor in the NSW Environmental Defender's Office, and her father.

No tension … Kirsty Ruddock, now the principal solicitor in the NSW Environmental Defender's Office, and her father.
Photo: Dallas Kilponen

Declaration: We regularly beg and borrow legal advice from environmenal lawyer/EDO principal Kirsty Ruddock regarding public interest litigation, who we understand duly records such phone or in person inquiries as proof of service to the Legal Aid Commission of NSW.


Big bad ex Howard minister Phillip Ruddock is in the press this weekend on his 35 year slog for the Liberal Party as a federal MP. No doubt he is in legacy mode and maybe even pre-selection postures too for his successor. There he is in colour coded tie to t-shirt image with professional daughter and bleeding heart Kirsty: And we can happily say KR is generous with her time and clear in her advice God bless her socks.

We understand on the domestic front she is quite colour blind too.

Being an escapee from a DLP ultra Catholic family history we can sympathise with her situation and wrote to her earlier this year "you can't choose your family ... especially mine" referring to old boozer Eric McLoughlin a confidant of Big Bob Menzies himself as political journo for the Sydney Morning Herald in the 40ies and 50ies. So it's interesting she seems to be in the forgiveness mode in these pictures here in Fairfax SMH and Age:

Time to reflect: Philip Ruddock yesterday with his daughter, Kirsty.

Time to reflect: Philip Ruddock yesterday with his daughter, Kirsty. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

The political synergies become clear in her past role as legal officer with Cape York Land Council led by Noel Pearson not afraid of some tough love on welfare policies in the Howard era. It's not betraying a confidence to mention her anecdote recently of crunching a developer in Cook Town - the same place on the Flannery, Roy Slaven tour of northern Australia on abc tv this week - over impertinent impacts on her blackfella clients heritage interests. She even got a pro bono deal with big firm Freehills and the Local Council folded in 2 days. Yay!

As for the past we notice the human cannon fodder on the other side of the detention centre locked doors in Fairfax here and 4 Corners (which we couldn't bare to watch being of a delicate disposition you know).

This is what Malcolm Fraser says in a piece on wisdom in the Good Weekend/Fairfax colour mag this very same weekend, just so we don't forget, and ask yourself which lawyer Howard or Ruddock he might be referring to:

"We begin to understand a person's wisdom based on what they do, what they stand for. If you take some examples out of recent times, there are people who train to believe in the rule of law, due process, equal application of the law to all people regardless of race, colour, religion; and then you look at what they do and you find they don't mean a word of it." [a page 36 GW 20 Sept 2008]

For his part Ruddock gets some attempted pre-emption on Big Mal (who used to be my local MP in Warrnambool) in too:

"Elected in 1973 in a byelection, he has served eight Liberal Party leaders. For him there are two standouts: Sir Robert Menzies and Howard. Ruddock has little time for Malcolm Fraser, who, he believes, shied away from major reform and stirred up bad feeling.

"The Dismissal changed all the cross-party camaraderie, personal relationships became very acrimonious. It was not until Hawke was elected that the situation in Parliament returned to normal."



And just in case there was any confusion about the values system of older and younger Ruddock about a meaningful career as a opposed to a 'successful' one, old man Phillip says this in The Age this weekend too (in bold):

Much has been made in the past of an apparent rift between the former attorney-general and Kirsty, his 36-year-old lawyer daughter, who held opposing views on immigration. In an episode of the ABC program Australian Story, it was said that Ms Ruddock was so at odds with her father's policies that she left Australia to work overseas.

Mr Ruddock laughs when reminded of the program, saying it was a beat-up because his daughter had already been offered a good position overseas.

"The program exaggerated the situation. There are no tensions between us, there are differences of view, but as I said on the program I didn't bring up my kids to be parrots. I have two daughters, they are exceedingly bright, real achievers, and we are close."

Kirsty Ruddock is the principal solicitor in the NSW Environmental Defenders' Office and appeared against the Federal Government in an anti-whaling case. "Kirsty believes in what she is doing and it's almost charitable work for her because she could be working in the first tier of a law firm on a big salary."

Ms Ruddock will attend a Liberal Party fund-raiser tonight to celebrate her father's 35 years of public service.


This is what Kirsty Ruddock had to say in an ABC Law Report show 31 October 2006 about the issue of our century:

Kirsty Ruddock is the principal solicitor with the New South Wales Environmental Defenders Office. I put it to her that the New South Wales government is current pushing through changes to legislation which will render any challenges, like those of Peter Gray, largely irrelevant.


Kirsty Ruddock: Yes and no. I guess there'll always be innovative lawyers out there looking for ways to challenge things, but essentially what they're doing is, they're amending some of the requirements of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, to ensure that when the minister looks at approving a project, they're removing a requirement to comply with the environmental assessment requirements of the Act. And just requiring the project to ensure that they've made an application and the Director General of the Department of Planning is giving the report to the Minister as the only requirements before the Minister makes a decision.


Damien Carrick: So essentially, the decision-maker can choose to decide OK, the project hasn't necessarily complied with the conditions of the environmental assessment, ie. to lodge some kind of assessment of the potential climate change consequences, but that's OK, I can give you the go ahead anyway.


Kirsty Ruddock: I mean I guess yes, strictly speaking looking at that section in isolation it has taken away the environmental assessment requirements, but there's nevertheless other objectives in the Act they'd still probably need to comply with.


Damien Carrick: This isn't the only case where there's been an attempt by environmental lobby groups to use climate change arguments in environmental planning processes. There was in fact a Federal Court decision earlier this year on this very point.


Kirsty Ruddock: Yes, there was. It was in relation to a challenge that was launched in relation to two coal mines that were in the Bowen Basin in Central Northern Queensland, and it was launched by a group called Wildlife Whitsundays, who are a branch of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland. And they challenged approval decisions of the Minister for Environment, for his refusal to I suppose assess this mine under the Commonwealth legislation. What they argued is that the Commonwealth Minister for Environment should have considered the greenhouse gas implications of these two coalmines as they affected matters of national environmental significance, in particular impact from the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics World Heritage area. And the Minister, in his decision had said No, he hadn't – or his delegate had said no, we haven't actually considered those matters, and that was how the challenge started.


Damien Carrick: And what did the Federal Court say?


Kirsty Ruddock: Essentially what happened, it was kind of a difficult case because originally when the statement of reasons came out from the delegate of the minister, it was quite clear that greenhouse gas implications hadn't been considered, and he had left that out of the statement of reasons altogether. But during the course of the court proceedings, the decision maker clarified that he had in fact considered them and he didn't think they were significant enough to trigger the Act, and the Federal Court accepted that; they said obviously the climate change impacts from these particular mines were not significant enough.


Damien Carrick: In other words, I think the argument was that sure the Great Barrier Reef is a protected area under Commonwealth legislation, but the impact on the Great Barrier Reef of climate change resulting from these particular coal mines and the CO2 emissions which might go into the atmosphere as a result of the coal mines, wouldn't be significant?


Kirsty Ruddock: That's right, yes.


Damien Carrick: And I believe there was also a case in Victoria involving the Hazelwood coal fired power station; what happened there?


Kirsty Ruddock: Yes, there was. There was a decision that was challenged down there in relation to the terms of reference that were given by the minister to look at this particular rezoning application in relation to the coal mine and the power station. Essentially the minister gave a direction that the panel that were assessing it shouldn't look at the greenhouse gas issues relating to greenhouse gas impacts I suppose from the mining operation, and they did that and they ignored submissions that were made and that was challenged before the tribunal down in Victoria, and subsequently the tribunal found that the panel had created an error because they needed to consider all environmental impacts, and the matter was then remitted back to the panel to do considering those submissions.


Damien Carrick: So at the end of the day though, they considered those submissions and then rubber-stamped the project anyway?


Kirsty Ruddock: Yes, that was I guess the more unfortunate long-term result, that they did actually then consider the impacts, said that they were going to be quite significant, but then recommended the rezoning go ahead.


Damien Carrick: It would seem to me that the legal system isn't particularly receptive to arguments about climate change, because even where you have a victory, and the decision-makers are forced to look at the issue of climate change, they can nod to it, and then choose to ignore it, and proceed?


Kirsty Ruddock: Yes, that is one of the consequences I guess, of a lot of large-scale projects, and also Commonwealth environmental decisions are not subject to what's known as a merits review in most cases, so you can't actually argue I guess about the merits of the decision and the science behind some of these things, it's merely about the process and whether the correct processes were followed. And in a judicial review sense. So that does obviously limit some of the outcome that you can seek in relation to large projects.


Damien Carrick: Kirsty Ruddock, principal solicitor with the New South Wales Environmental Defenders Office. And in case you're wondering, yes, she's the daughter of Federal Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock.

Big Malcolm Turnbull could do alot worse than a pre-selection of KR scion of Berowra given the issue of the century facing all us.

Posted by editor at 7:02 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 21 September 2008 8:05 AM NZT
Saturday, 17 May 2008
Add a new mystery sabotage to list of highly destructive vandalism on minorities
Mood:  not sure
Topic: human rights

The Herald is carrying a front page story today about some 5 cubic metres of concrete sabotaging the toilets to the Hordern Pavillion where the after party for the Gay Mardi Gras was to be held as usual in March 2008.

This follows a spate of attacks earlier this year late January and February (also analysed at that time here on SAM) with some common threads - areas of high ethnic or religious minority concentration, or refugee/immigrant nature. Only this time it is a minority alternative sexuality. Another aspect - the attacks are all highly effective and damaging and involve very serious destruction but as yet no loss of life. From months long closure of a suburban library to partial destrcuction of a religious temple to fire destruction of a chicken shop and substation fire at a shopping mall. Lastly, no one has been caught for these events.

Maybe there is no pattern to these events. We wonder.

Intuitively more than anything we feel there is a pattern behind these attacks suggestive of an evil genius for disruption, misery, corrosion of harmony in diversity. In short fascism.

Past reportage here:

And here:

Friday, 15 February 2008
Another suspicious fire in Broadway retail area?
Mood:  on fire
Topic: local news
And here :
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
Burnt out ... fire has damaged Sydney's oldest Chinese temple.

Burnt out ... fire has damaged Sydney's oldest Chinese temple.
Photo: Andrew Meares

Posted by editor at 4:15 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 20 May 2008 9:12 PM NZT
Thursday, 8 May 2008
Murdoch broadsheet: 'Chinese hostile to Western media'
Mood:  sad
Topic: human rights


8 May 2008 Chinese hostile to Western coverage | The Australian

"Rowan Callick, China correspondent | May 08, 2008

DEATH threats against foreign correspondents and official statements demonising Western media risk creating a hostile environment for foreign journalists based in China and for tens of thousands of other media staff arriving to cover the Beijing Olympic Games.

This was a warning issued by the Foreign Correspondents Club of China this week, 100 days ahead of the opening of the Games.

But the warning prompted an outpouring of anonymous attacks onforeign journalists in the online forum of the Global Times, the popular sister publication owned by the Communist Party's flagship newspaper, People's Daily.

The FCCC revealed that at least 10 foreign correspondents have received anonymous death threats "during a campaign on the web and in state-run media, against alleged bias in Western media coverage of the Tibetan unrest and its aftermath".

The organisations that have received death threats include the BBC and CNN.

The introduction of new regulations for the Olympic period, freeing travel and interviewing restrictions within China until October, "represented an improvement in reporting conditions", said the club, which represents more than 800 accredited foreign journalists based in China.

But the FCCC said that in the past two months, since the unrest began in Lhasa, it has learned of more than 50incidents of interference in the work of international media trying to report in communities in the greater Tibet area.

It said: "Foreign correspondents have been detained, prevented from conducting interviews, searched and subjected to the confiscation or destruction of reporting materials.

"Authorities have intimidated Chinese sources and staff, and in some cases ordered them to inform on foreign correspondents' activities."

If this is allowed to continue, said FCCC president Melinda Liu, Newsweek's China bureau chief, "the reporting interference and hate campaigns targeting international media may poison the pre-Games atmosphere for foreign journalists".

She urged the Government to investigate the death threats, "which violate Chinese law".

But police have been reluctant to pursue such complaints.

The club urged Beijing to make good on its commitments, made public in 2002, to "be open in every aspect to the rest of the country and the whole world" and "to follow international standards and criteria" before and during the Games.

Recent comments in the Global Times online forum, a popular gathering place for extreme nationalists, include several quoting a song from a patriotic 1950s film on the Korean War: "When friends come, I bring out good liquor, when the jackals come I bring out the hunting rifle."

Others said:

* "China doesn't like people who become enemies. Kick them out. If they won't leave, annihilate them. To hit the enemy is to protect oneself."

* "These beasts are as annoying as hell, f..king chattering all day. These bastards make one want to throw up. I strongly advocate tossing them into the Taiwan Strait to fill it up. They're like flies. Disgusting. Are these half-breeds trying to sicken Chinese people to death?"

* "When the eight united armiesinvaded China (in 1900, after their citizens were murdered during the Boxer Rebellion), they made China pay indemnities. Even today, foreign devils dream of doing the same thing!"

* "Their statement exemplifies the bias resulting from Eurocentric brainwashing. Now that the sons and daughters of China have stepped out into the world to express their feelings about the 100 years of shame (before the 1949 revolution), we're being made into the enemy. This is aclassic case of the bandit crying:'Thief!"'

* "We 1.3 billion Chinese have nothing to fear from threats by shameless Western journalists, we won't tolerate their smears and slanders against China."

Posted by editor at 8:13 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 9 May 2008 9:53 AM NZT

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