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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Thursday, 6 January 2011
Palace of mirrors
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: world
Night comes down and finds you alone
In a space and time of your own
Lost in dreams in a world full of shadows.

Down the street the neon light shines
Offering refuge and hope to the blind
You stumble in with no thought of tomorrow.

Yes, I get a little lonely when the sun gets low
And I end up looking for somewhere to go
Yes, I should know better but I can’t say no.

Oh no no no
No no no no

The lights are low and the Muzak is loud
You watch yourself as you play to the crowd
One more face in a palace of mirrors.

One more drink, you’re sailing away
One more dream but it’s looking ok
One more time to watch the flow of the river.

Yes, I get a little lonely when the sun gets low
And I end up looking for somewhere to go
Yes, I should know better but I can’t say no.

Oh no no no
No no no no no no no oooooooh

Yes, I get a little lonely when the sun gets low
And I end up looking for somewhere to go
Yes, I should know better but I can’t say no.

Oh no no no
No no no no

You’ve seen it all yeah you’ve seen it before
Like a fool you always come back for more
You live your life like there was no more tomorrow.

Night comes down and finds you alone
In a space and time of your own
Lost in dreams in a world full of shadows.

Yes, I get a little lonely when the sun gets low
And I end up looking for somewhere to go
Yes, I should know better but I can’t say no.

Oh no no no
Oh no no no
No no no no
No no no no
No no
No no

Posted by editor at 8:55 AM EADT
Wednesday, 3 March 2010
Images of tour to Chile 2002
Mood:  lyrical
Topic: world
As suggested yesterday here are some images from a "gringo" of an interesting time in our lives, engaged to a Chilean Australian.

 Picture from top left clockwise 1. Various tickets by train from Santiago south to Chillan ("sheesharn"), and if memory serves bus to Temuco and Peurto Montt; 2. Volcano country inland of Peurto Montt; 3. Possibly Valparaiso (like our Canberra) with copper symbol of national wealth;  4. Lady boat guide at Peurto Montt at one point trailed by large pelican 6 foot off the surface and volcano in background; 5. Dockside Peurto Montt; 6. Car/bus Ferry to Chiloe Island; 7. View over Valparaiso from elevator car; 8. Clowns at the traffic lights in Santiago, literally. They are busking with juggling etc.

Picture above top left clockwise 1. Chilean side of the Andean border at around 8000 feet, heading to Mendoza 2. Bernardo OHiggins hero of the nation, in Chillan from memory; 3. Postcard pic of Santiago with rare clean air; 4. Chief and campaigners with CODEFF national green group; 5. Chiloe Island church; 6 Easter Island figure in Santaigo protectorate of Chile; 7. Llama postcard; 8. Workers snooze on way to work already tired at 7am; 9. Andean border; 10. Stilt houses on Chiloe Island on fjord/river; 11. Salmon market in pink room; 12. Birthday dinner in the pot; 13. Postcard of Valparaiso; 14. Wild rivers inland of Peurto Montt; 15. Good food at Mercado Vega Chica (a bit like Footscray Market) inner Santiago.


Most of the trip, including 3 weeks in Europe was fine but on 4 occasions dearest's bipolar kicked in

1. trying to pick an argument with military officers in downtown Santiago in a country with a murderous fascist history, not so long previous either;

2. letting me go alone down a murder street in poor suburb of Cerrillos late at night without any warning

3. Leaving me alone on Chiloe Island (I was doing email) until the bus almost left (with no Spanish to navigate back)

4. leading us toward a street the relatives specifically warned of muggers that target gringos.

There was no current rational explanation for these dangerous emotional blindsides. We reluctantly concluded the victims of a fascist coup under Pinochet are not just those killed and maimed by neo nazis but also those traumatised and uprooted to another country. Combine with childhood of neglect/abuse in a slum and life can indeed turn to custard. Even so not our problem. We are neither social worker nor therapist.

We repaid dearest the round the world ticket and broke it off after returning to Australia. Glad to be home safely in one piece including from friendly fire. Sadly her father's advice was correct. It certainly was an education about another culture but also personally. 

We remain in contact with 2 excellent environmentalists over there after the successful No Alumysa campaign drawn into while on holiday complete with interpreter - ideas like set up an indymedia web service, employ 2 staff financed from Australia ($15K donated by this writer), publicise the issue here.

It was the least we could do after hearing the dulcet tones of martyr Victor Jara and reading a biography of his life by his widow Joan from the Victor Jara Trust.

Posted by editor at 5:13 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 4 March 2010 8:54 AM EADT
Monday, 1 March 2010
Sad reflections on beautiful coastal Chile visit in 2002
Mood:  special
Topic: world


We contacted an environmental colleague in Chile today by the magic of the inter tubes, with a response barely 15 minutes later. So far so good. We have made use of a handy Spanish English web translation page - which does seem to have glitches too - but useful at times like this: http://translation2.paralink.com/ 

But it sounds grim there with 80% of the country affected. Remember in 2004 January tsunami in Indonesia the death toll went from a few thousand to well over 200,000.

We fear a major jump from 700 plus deaths confirmed early on in the 6th, 7th, 8th regions of this long thin neighbour of the Pacific.

The quake was a monster by all accounts. Even allowing for good construction codes, the tsunami only 15 minutes later sounds catastrophic. We heard Chile's ambassador here say on abc public radio a wave of 8 to 10 metres hit Conception and travelling 3 to 5 kilometres inland. That's danger writ large.

We got out some photographs of our trip (with an ex girlfriend) native Chilean in 2002 with our terrible old camera. We recall getting slightly drunk on red wine in a Santiago apartment on a 4th floor listening to Victor Jara for the first time when a mild tremor shook the light globe. No drama.

We recall a bus-train-ferry trip from the capital to Peurto Mont via Temuco and Chillan via local markets and even watching Spider Man movie release in a town with a statue of national hero Bernardo OHiggins. An Irishman in a Spanish speaking country. Just another charming aspect of a diverse country.

More background here in one of our first clumsy web pages, yet a successful collaboration with social movement in Chile: Patagonia ecology solidarity project to prevent a US $3 billion dollar hydro smelter project threatening fjordlands, lake and 3 rivers by Canadian miner Noranda.

We wrote in crude Spanish via the website translator:

Subject: tsunami 15 minutos después de temblor ...... Re: Hola Mitzi, Marisol, ¿Usted es seguro?
Date: Mon, 1 Mar 2010 13:49:19 +1100

El embajador chileno aquí en Australia de la radio pública dice la onda de 8 metros, 3 a 5 kilómetros interiores en Concepción y pueblos.... También 700 muertos sobre todo en 7o (?)

[The Chilean ambassador here in Australia on the public radio says a wave of 8 meters, 3 to 5 kilometers into Concepcion .... Also 700 dead persons especially in 7th (?) region

Tom McLoughlin

Marisol at Ecosistemas green group in Chile:

Sent: Monday, March 01, 2010 1:59 PM
Subject: RE: tsunami 15 minutos después de temblor ...... Re: Hola Mitzi, Marisol, ¿Usted es seguro?

si eso es así...realmente la ola...ha afectado muchísimo a la costa de la 8, 7 y 6ta región. hay mucha gente desaparecida
y a sido decretada zona de catástrofe en estas regiones.

El problema ahora es la conectividad de las carreteras y las comunicaciones, para hacer llegar la ayuda.


[if that is like that ... really the wave ... it has affected very much to the coast of 8, 7 and 6ta region. there are many missing people
and to been decreed zone of catastrophe in these regions.

The problem now is the conectividad of the highways and the communications, to make the help come.
to see:


We will try and post some beauty pictures tomorrow of the ocean and mountains and people we know as Chile. 

Posted by editor at 8:05 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 1 March 2010 8:11 PM EADT
Saturday, 27 February 2010
Tony Abbott's culture of complaint in the luckiest safest country in the world?
Mood:  hug me
Topic: world


All this griping and choreographed danger and trouble over electrified insulation reminds us of the final speech of the previous sitting week in federal parliament. It's very sobering and perhaps a timely reminder to count our blessings in Australia:

[At pages 69 -70 HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Thursday, 11 February 2010 in PDF format from here http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/reps/dailys/dr110210.pdf ]


Ms PARKE (Fremantle) (4.54 pm)—On 13 January

the television news started to penetrate Australias

summer reverie with images of the devastation in Haiti

caused by the earthquake that had occurred in the late

afternoon of the previous daythe anguish on faces of

shocked and terrified survivors, the bodies in the

streets, the injured, the crushed buildings, and aerial

views of the national palace, the cathedral and the

Christopher Hotel, which housed the United Nations

headquarters, all collapsed in ruins.

I talked on Monday in this place about the devastation

suffered by the Haitian people in this disaster.

Again, I offer to the citizens of Haiti my deepest condolences.

This terrible event also resulted in the largest

loss of staff lives in the UNs history. Over a number of

days the news emerged that almost 100 UN staff from

28 countries had perished in the mass of concrete and

rubble. This included four of my friendspeople I had

worked and socialised with in Kosovo and Gaza. In

such difficult places, your friends are your family.

Luiz Carlos da Costa was the deputy head of the UN

stabilisation mission in Haiti. Words can hardly do justice

to this gentleman of the worlda brilliant, warm,

charismatic, soft-spoken Brazilian man who was also,

as described by his wife at his memorial service, dropdead

gorgeous. Like the former Secretary-General

Kofi Annan, Luiz started out in the UN as a messenger

boy and worked his way up over four decades to one of

the highest posts in the UN system. He was responsible

for recruitment in UN peacekeeping for decades and he

signed my own appointment letter when I started with

the UN peacekeeping mission in Kosovo in 1999. Luiz

was known for his professionalism and dedication to

the UN, for his kindness and for his egalitarian treatment

of staff and his fierce loyalty to them. As the secretary-

general said in his condolence statement:

He was a mentor to generations of UN staff His legacy

lives in the thousands that serve under the blue flag in every

corner of the globe.

I remember Luiz once telling me how sad he was at the

death of his fellow countryman Sergio Vieira de Mello

in the Baghdad bombing in 2003. What a devastating

blow to Brazil, the UN and the international community

to have now lost both of these incredible international

civil servants. I worked with Luiz and his assistant

Jerome Yap in Kosovo and later in New York.

Jerome, from the Philippines, steadfastly supported

Luiz over the last 15 yearsaccompanying him to

Kosovo, Liberia and Haiti. Jerome was a happy person

who loved to sing, and he was a member of the UN

choir. I kept in touch with Jerome through Facebook

but my last message to him went unanswered as he too

was tragically killed in Haiti.

Emmanuel Rejouis, from France/Haiti, and Emily

Sanson, from New Zealand, were friends of mine in

Kosovostaying with me and my housemate Matthew

at one stage. They later married and had three beautiful

daughters. After stints in many countries they were

posted to Haiti. Emily was at work at the UN when the

earthquake struck. She ran home to where Emmanuel

was taking care of their daughters, but the building was

collapsed. She found her youngest daughter Alyahna

alive under Emmanuel’s body—he had been sheltering

her when he died. Their other two little daughters did

not survive. Emmanuel was a kind and gentle person

who loved his family and his fellow human beings.

Their daughters Kofi-Jade and Zenzie were beautiful

and sassy children.

Another close friend lost in the Haiti quake was

Jean-Philippe Laberge, a French-Canadian with whom

I worked in Gaza, along with his wife Victoria. I was

on the UNRWA panel that interviewed Jean-Philippe

for the job as an Operations Support Officer in Gaza. I

liked him immediately as he was smart and funny and

laid back, while being completely professional. As his

friends have noted in our condolence letter to Victoria

and his mother Marjolaine: he had a mischievous style,

which masked his essential shyness, and he was one of

the most sensitive and caring persons you could meet

as well as being a thoroughly reliable colleague and a

true leader, making the right decisions in difficult and

dangerous situations, as was often the case in Gaza.

The nicest New Years Eve I ever experienced was a

few years ago at a party Jean-Philippe and Victoria

held in Montreal. Many of the Gaza friends were together

againsuch a lot of champagne, such beautiful

memories. In one of those strange coincidences, Jean-

Philippes memorial service is happening now in Montreal

as I speak and my thoughts are certainly with him

and his family, especially Victoria and their two young


To all of my UN friends who are gone, it was a

privilege to have known and worked alongside you. As

one mourner put it:

You thought only of bringing good to the world


represented all that is best about the human race … Marcel

Proust thought that people who have passed away remain

with us through our memories of them. “It is as though,” he

wrote, “they have gone abroad”.

So, then, Luiz, Jean-Philippe, Jerome and Emmanuel,

you and your fallen colleagues have gone abroad to

join Dag Hammarskjold, Sergio Vieira de Mello, Count


Folke Bernadotte, Iain Hook, Jean-Selim Kanaan and

many other UN soldiers for peace. But our memories

of you will remain strongly with us and will fortify us

in carrying on your work to restore dignity to the lives

of the worlds most vulnerable. In the immortal words

of Wordsworth:

What though the radiance which was once so bright

Be now for ever taken from my sight,

Though nothing can bring back the hour

Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;

We will grieve not, rather find

Strength in what remains behind.

Posted by editor at 11:25 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 27 February 2010 11:32 AM EADT
Friday, 2 October 2009
Don't try this at home: dangerous hilarious hack repair jobs
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: world

Received in one of those emails that does the rounds. Hilarious, scary, and/or dangerous (particularly the water/electric ones):



Posted by editor at 2:50 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 2 October 2009 2:53 PM NZT
Monday, 2 February 2009
Al Jazeera on Gaza: Splinter group beyond Hamas control breaks ceasefire? Israel airstrike now
Topic: world

Al Jazeera English reports that Al Aqusa Brigade is outside the unilateral ceasefire decision of Hamas that complements the Israeli unilateral ceasefire.

Radio National ABC just before 8 am carried Mark Regev for Olmert Government on its last legs until the election on Tuesday week - in 8 days. RN says they will talk to a senior Hamas representative tomorrow possibly similar local Sydney time.

Posted by editor at 8:11 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 2 February 2009 9:13 AM EADT
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Joe Biden is USA President for 5 minutes, courtesy of beautiful music for Obama fans
Topic: world

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by editor at 4:20 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 21 January 2009 10:10 AM EADT
Monday, 19 January 2009
Obama ***Inauguration*** in cartoons, first 100 minutes will be Mad ...saved by Spiderman
Topic: world

Posted by editor at 8:20 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 19 January 2009 8:40 PM EADT
Jerusalem Post Nov 2007 report: Olmert voted most corrupt politician
Topic: world

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

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

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


Olmert voted most corrupt politician

Posted by editor at 11:39 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 19 January 2009 11:52 AM EADT
Sunday, 18 January 2009
Acting PM Olmert announces ruthless Israeli unilateral ceasefire in '2hours 20 min' with ongoing tight blockade
Topic: world

The unilateral ceasefire reveals the utter cynicism of Big Israeli politics. To breach the ceasefire in early November 2008 after maintaining a crippling blockade for 4 months despite unprecedented reduction in rocket or mortar fire by a very disciplined Hamas to virtually zero.

Then with the inevitable ineffective rocket fire in retaliation by Hamas, the might of the full IDF slaughtering over 1000, hundred of children and 5000 injured.

Empty words about "not hating" the Palestinian children and blaming Hamas. "You're suffering is unbearable" this incredible hypocrite has just in the presser as we write.

The fact the ceasefire does not even include Hamas as a party shows Israel keeps a free hand and that it also maintains the continued blockade at the Israel border, and to the ocean, from passage to the West Bank or economic activity. Humanitarian supplies can enter via Eqypt no doubt but that also has a subtext.

As the Israeli and Al Jazeera commentators have said the Ultra Right coalitionists in the Israeli election and government seek Palestine and Gaza to be absorbed into Egypt. That is to destroy the two state solution and appease the right wingers in the coalition politics of Israel.

While taking questions Olmert's hypocrisy is underlined by thanking Cond Rice who he crunched by preventing a USA vote a week ago for a ceasefire in the UN Security Council. His empty words 'reaching out' to the people of Gaza "unjustly affected" are shocking from a deposed PM facing corruption allegations forced into an Acting PM role. For instance Haaretz (and Al Jazeera) reports this Israeli tv personality doctor with fluent Hebrew whose 3 daughters and neice were killed during live audio on Israeli television. The Israeli journalist taking the phone call is followed by the camera using his contacts successfully to get an ambulance for the wounded breaching the IDF blockade as an exception.

Israeli-trained Gaza doctor loses three daughters and niece to IDF ...17 Jan 2009

I want to know why my daughters were harmed. This should haunt (Israeli Ehud Prime Minister) Olmert his entire life," Abu al-Aish said on Israel's Channel 10, speaking through a cell phone in Hebrew as he has throughout the war.

He added that his daughters were "armed only with love."

Gazan officials identified Al-Aish's deceased daughters as 22-year-old Bisan, 15-year-old Mayer and 14-year old Aya. His niece was identified as 14-year-old Nour Abu al-Aish.

At least two other daughters were injured, and are currently being treated at Tel Ha-Shomer Hospital in Tel Aviv.

The press conference at Tel Ha-Shomer became tense at one moment when an Israeli woman and mother of three IDF paratroopers began yelling at Abu al-Aish, demanding that he explain why there was weaponry in the house.

Throughout the war, Abu al-Aish had put a face on the Palestinian suffering, making regular reports by cell phone to Israel's Channel 10. He is a rarity among Palestinians, a Hebrew-speaker who trained in two Israeli hospitals - the Soroka hospital in Beersheba just 18 miles from Gaza, and Tel Aviv's Tel Hashomer hospital.

His tragedy prompted numerous calls of concern to the station, many from
people who know him.

"We all know and love him well at Soroka, and we really hope the situation gets better," Dr. Shaul Sofer, head of the ER at Soroka who taught Abu al-Aish.

He also quotes President Bush and so called 2 state solution which has gone nowhere for the 8 years of the Bush Regime, with no mention of incoming president Obama.

The invisible person at the press conference? Yigal Amir murderer of Israeli prime minister Yitzak Rabin, symbolising the illegal Israeli Squatter movement running in the Feb 2009 election, unlike any Israeli Arabic Parties who have been outlawed only days ago from the so called "liberal democracy":


Posted by editor at 8:02 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 18 January 2009 9:37 AM EADT

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