Saturday, January 25, 2003

To the Leaders of the Australian Parliament,

Thursday night, ABC 7:30 Report:

KERRY O'BRIEN: I suppose the question is: are you in any position to rule out nuclear weapons if that ultimate call is going to be made by the United States?
JOHN HOWARD: Well, if I thought there were going to be nuclear weapons used, I would not allow Australian forces to be involved, full stop.

Soon Parliament will debate the use of Australian forces in a war where both nuclear-armed major power leaders (Blair and Shrub) have not ruled out using their nukes in a non UN sanctioned war. In fact, the US in particular has advanced battle plans for Iraq that envision their use as tactical weapons.

William Arkin's article "The Nuclear Option in Iraq:The U.S. has lowered the bar for using the ultimate weapon" in today's LA Times makes clear that the US has significantly altered its nuclear forces command in a way which most Australians, if they were to find out about it, would agree is a major threat to world peace and security. The Bush Jr doctrine of preemptive strike last week prompted Time Europe's readers to name the US as by far the greatest threat to peace in the world today.

Already, the trust of the Australian people in its leaders is at its lowest ebb ever. To regain that trust, you must now do everything in your power to recall our troops immediately according to the wishes of the Australian people, before the very fabric of our democracy is permanently damaged.

Australian participation in a non UN sanctioned war against Iraq would be illegal under the UN Charter and International Law, since Iraq has yet to be shown to be any kind of immediate threat to Australia's territories or people or our allies.

Under the Nuremberg Principles the Government of Australia and the political leadership of the Parliament would be held liable as collaborators in war crimes committed by Allied forces just as if you yourselves pulled the nuclear trigger.

The following is a call to set up a national youth and student network against the war and a national (international) student strike against war on march 5. Please forward endorsements for these initiatives to ysc_against_war@yahoo.com

Books not Bombs! Stop the War Against Iraq!
When the government is preparing to wage a bloody war on the people of Iraq, which will result in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi people;

When Australian corporate war-profiteers like Qantas, BHP, and Dunlop are set to make record profits from this slaughter;

When the government prioritises military spending and a $15 million advertising campaign promoting "anti-terrorist" hysteria while launching another savage attack on higher education funding;

We know something has to change.

All over the world young people are taking action against the war on Iraq. Youth were a large part of the 1 million people in Florence last November, the millions across Italy and the hundreds of thousands across the US on the anniversary of the first Gulf War and the weekend of the Martin Luther King holiday. Half a million people converged on Washington - a truly amazing statement of political resolve to stop this unjust war.

Students in the US are organising on a massive scale. On the eve of these demos, two conferences set up a nationwide anti-war student network which already represents more than 80 different schools and campuses.

Now, US students have called a strike for March 5. The National Youth and Student Peace Coalition which involves more than 20 large nation-wide youth organisations including the United Students Against Sweatshops, the Movement for Democracy and Education, Black Radical Congress and the Muslim Students Association of the US and Canada has issued the call (www.nyspc.net).

We are urging students and young people across Australia to join in solidarity with the US students, and protest here on March 5.

We fear that our futures will be shaped by today's actions of people with whom we have little or nothing in common. Bush, Howard and Blair's interests are not ours. This is a war about corporate greed, not about fighting terrorism. And Bush's agenda of "a war without end" means we have to respond - and quickly.

In Australia, as in the US and across Europe, young people can play a key role in mobilising opinion./ We can be the conscience of the nation, as we've done before campaigning against another unjust war in Vietnam some decades ago.

As one of the US's staunchest allies, the Howard government helps legitimise and shore up Washington's war drive. As the PM sends more troops to the Gulf, he doesn't dare ask the Australian people about whether we support another war on Iraq. Why? Because he knows the answer - the majority of Australian's don't support war on Iraq!

By taking action in our tens of thousands, and eventually in our hundreds of thousands, we can force the Howard government to end its support for this unjust war. And if it doesn't listen, we will make sure it pays the biggest possible political price.

The movement to stop the Vietnam war demonstrated that there is power in numbers. When we stand up and take action together, at our universities, high schools, TAFEs, workplaces and in the streets, we can make a difference.

Join the March 5 strike! Declare your high schools and campuses opposition to war!

Funding for education not war! Bring the troops home!

No war on Iraq! No Australian involvement!

Initiated by: Youth and Students Coalition Against War

Endorsees: Griffith Uni SRC Nathan campus; David Lafferty, Co-Welfare Officer, Griffith Uni Nathan campus; Simon Kunich, Illawarra High school Social Action Network; Kylie Moon, National coordinator, Resistance; Rihab Charida, Palestinian Human Rights Organisation; Vanessa Bowden, President, Newcastle Uni Students Association; Pip Hinman, Coordinator, Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific; Karol Florek, Fortians for Refugees; Peter Robson, Education Officer, Newcastle Uni Students Association;

Contact: ysc_against_war@yahoo.com

Los Angeles Times: U.S. Weighs Tactical Nuclear Strike on Iraq "Arkin says that the Pentagon has changed the bureaucratic oversight of nuclear weapons so that they are no longer treated as a special category of arms but are grouped with conventional military options.

A White House spokesman declined to comment Friday on Arkin's report, except to say that "the United States reserves the right to defend itself and its allies by whatever means necessary."

Howard needs to stop taking afternoon naps and crack open a newspaper sometime (scroll down to his comments to Kerry O last Thursday night).
Brownshirt workout: Taking a Jab at Gandhi "The article, attempting to show how fighting can bring fitness, calls for "a healthy regimen of violent assaults" and urges readers to "teach those pacifists a lesson about aggression." The three-page article includes 21 different scenes of the man hitting, kicking, choking and throwing Gandhi, who is named in the text, where the reader is urged to "ask Gandhi if he can see a change in your physique."
A nation united in its unique disparity - theage.com.au Australia's most famous playwright has a strong go at Howard's misgovernment of this country, but would rather be here than elsewhere.

"I'm alarmed at the way the world is heading at present - greed and envy pushing us towards what could be an eventual terrible reckoning. And I'm alarmed that we're such an enthusiastic little helper in the whole process. But when I look around the world at the other options, I'm still rather glad I'm here today holding an Australian passport."

As a US refugee and new Australian, I can honestly say "me too"!
PM paves way to ignore UN - theage.com.au Queensland Liberal MP Peter Lindsay told ABC radio he favoured a peaceful resolution.

"There shouldn't be operations in Iraq without the imprimatur of the United Nations, but I say that not knowing what Tony Blair and John Howard know, and in that sense, I reserve my judgment," he said.

email him now
ABC News - 25/01/03 : Labor questions terrorism unit's Gulf role US General: "[Australians] are putting their sons and daughters at risk ... very serious decisions, I would never refer to it as some trivial contribution."

Australia has made no such decision to put soldier's lives at risk in armed combat -- Porkchop Hill said so himself yesterday.
The Courier Mail: Fingleton in court [25jan03] "A TEARY Chief Magistrate Di Fingleton left a Brisbane courtroom yesterday after facing charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice and threatening a witness."

Where else in Australia but Queensland could a Chief Magistrate find herself sitting on one side of the bench, then the other in quick succession.
Great barrier grief as warm-water bleaching lingers - smh.com.au "Scientists are alarmed that extensive areas of coral show no signs of recovery 12 months after last summer's bleaching event, prompting warnings that very hot weather this summer may damage beyond repair parts of the Great Barrier Reef."
Suckful - Repackaged Cognitive Dissonance There is an old joke among dotcoms that their business strategy looked like this:
And when I look at the Administration's plan for war with Iraq, I see something really similar:
War on Terror--->Invade Iraq--->????--->Four More Years
Hartford Advocate: What About Those End Times, Mr. President? The Likud government, reeling from scandal but always more hawkish about suppressing the Palestinians than the rival Labor party, had drawn support from the exploding population of former Russians relocated by International Federation of Christians and Jews and similar organizations in Israel. Former Soviet emigres now represent more than one-sixth of Israel's voters.

"I have a concern that Senator Lieberman know the context in which these activities are taking place," says Gaddy of the Interfaith Alliance. "I would say to him precisely what I said to President Bush in a letter to him -- that Americans have a right to know that U.S. foreign policy is not being shaped by just one interpretation of biblical prophesy."

Rumsfeld criticizes top staff -- The Washington Times "It is just a lot of people spinning their wheels, doing things we probably have to edit and improve," Mr. Rumsfeld states in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times.
Mr. Rumsfeld also takes the nation's highest ranking military officers to task for thinking they need a document "put out on vision, strategies and all that stuff."
US govt tells expatriates to prepare to evacuate in any emergency

WASHINGTON (AFX) - The US government is advising its expatriate citizens around the world to be prepared for emergency evacuations from their country of residence, in the event of war, natural disasters or other unforeseen circumstances, a senior State Department official said.

The official said the cable had not been sent in anticipation of a conflict with Iraq but refused to deny that that possibility was behind the timing of the instruction.

He said the department has sent diplomatic cables to all US embassies and consulates abroad instructing them to alert Americans in their jurisdictions to be ready for any eventuality.

"We thought it was appropriate to remind people to take ordinary and routine precautions," the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

"It mentions all the possible and various unforeseen events in the world," the official said.

Mahathir's Davos speech: fear is driving WW3 "We fear terrorists. We fear flying. We fear night clubs. We fear parcels. We fear white powder. We fear shoes. We fear Muslims. We fear metal cutlery," he said.

"They fear starvation. They fear military invasion. They fear being rocketed. They fear being captured and detained."

He fears opposition political parties and press freedom in his homeland. Maybe we should declare a "no fear" day and read some Susan Jeffers?
World Economic Forum: World looks to United States "Swiss President Pascal Couchepin was cheered during his opening speech, when he called for all peaceful means to be pursued to disarm Iraq and warned that "force must not be used before the matter has been brought before the U.N. Security Council."

Elites bolt the war camp en masse, if they really ever were in it
U.S., Britain May Give More Time on Iraq "We came slowly to the realization that this is a real crisis. A lot of people thought it could be managed and the Europeans brought along," said a well-placed U.S. official who requested anonymity."

This quote sums up the whole sorry mess Shrub has got us all into on the diplomatic front with the EU. Coming slowly to the realization of crisis. Decision by herd mentality, not personal moral and spiritual reflection. Thinking others are things to be "managed".

"You need space to show that the policy is working and to convince public opinion that you have let this process take its course. There's no need to go to war in February, for example," said a British official who requested anonymity."

Blair has moderated Rummy's influence on Shrub throughout this crisis with Iraq. Without Blair, the U.N. diversion would not have happened, which may in the end stop world war three. Or start it.
ABCNEWS.com : Air Force: Expect Civilian Deaths, Bad P.R. The report found "collateral damage concerns, the CNN effect and casualty aversion are all placing additional tensions on the CAOC."

The so-called "CNN effect" is the ability of television viewers around the world to have ongoing, often real-time, access to coverage which was unavailable before the advent of cable news and improved satellite technology.

What about the blogging effect? Many will start blogging regularly on Pentagon news [like here], including any up-to-date estimates on civilian casualites in Iraq and human rights abuses stemming from the conflict. Without UN sanction, these in many blogger's opinions will be crimes of war by the political leadership and Joint Chiefs of the United States - and their main Allies, the UK and Oz.
Dealing with uncertainty in a troubed world "Alice Walker: Think of all the people who don’t think that there is any darkness in them. There are millions of people who think they don’t have any darkness. But it’s something that we all have, and part of the problem is that we’ve been pushing all this stuff away and denying it, so of course it’s the biggest shadow you can imagine. That’s what’s clobbering us, everything we pushed away.

Get in touch with your shadow, says Carl Jung. Then you may trace its influence.

Friday, January 24, 2003

Howard cancels Kissinger lunch. 21/1/2003. ABC News Online Tuesday, January 21, 2003

The Canberra bushfire emergency has forced the Prime Minister to cancel a scheduled lunch with the former United States secretary of state Henry Kissinger. Dr Kissinger is visiting Australia this week and it was planned that Mr Howard would have a private meeting with the high ranking US diplomat.

However, Mr Howard's office has stressed it would be for unofficial discussions. Mr Howard has decided to stay in Canberra to monitor the bushfire crisis, but will talk to Dr Kissinger on the telephone over the next few days.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall...Thanks to reader Anthony R for tracking down that 404.
The Nation's Eric Alterman: State of Disunion "Right now, the lack of confidence Bush inspires in our allies is the world's single best hope for peace."
The Australian: Editorial: Deployment to Iraq is in our interest [January 24, 2003] The Greens and Democrats have locked themselves into an anti-war position and have little room for manoeuvre, but that is the price of continually reinforcing the support of a fringe constituency.

The Greens' growing support is genuinely unnerving the Masters of War at the Oz. Have you ever wondered why Mr Murdoch's Organ sides with the six percent who want Australia to go to war without a UN resolution authorising the use of force? The Greens will take a 94 percent "fringe" any time, I'm sure.

"For Mr Howard to articulate this message carefully and consistently is his best strategy to win back doubters in the Coalition, given that further progressive revelations of Saddam's duplicity are all but guaranteed."

Read: the Oz will guarantee timely revelations in support of the war, like Saddam ripping babies out of incubators.
REPORTER: What about the Greens concerns that [Australian soldiers] could be committing war crimes if you don't have UN Security Council endorsed invasion in Iraq?

HILL: "Well, I don't know what they're talking about. We're sending forces in for pre-deployment to ready themselves in the event that they are called upon by the Australian Government to participate in armed conflict. And secondly, as I said, in an effort to achieve a peaceful resolution to apply that extra bit of pressure to Saddam Hussein. So, I don't see any question of war crimes."

This is classic artful dodgy from Porkchop Hill, one of the most out-of-his-depth Defence Ministers Australia has ever had. Wonder how long before the government trots out his previous well-received initiative. This issue is deadly serious, however, as both Howard, Hill and the front bench of the Liberal Party could become implicated in a war crime. Rumour is Hill is madly seeking legal advice on how the government can help Shrub "clarify" (ie scrap) key aspects of international law that prohibit preemptive strikes.
In Australia's best interests - smh.com.au "He seems to think he can spin his way through this world crisis by emotional appeals to nationalism via paid mouthpieces like morning TV show host Steve Liebmann. Mr Liebmann is a front man. When he asks questions of guests, they're given to him by a producer speaking into a microphone connected to his earpiece. He is paid by the government to read the script it gives him. Where is the credibility, where is the authority, in that?"

Margo Kingston flails the hapless Steve Liebmann, the "Journalist Presenter" who got the nod to compere Howard's "Defending our way of life: Aware and not Alarmed" Terrorism TeeVee ads here.
DoD News: Central Command Background Briefing Central Command Background Briefing -- A senior U.S. Central Command official will provide a background briefing regarding Iraq's potential use of oil as a terror weapon, tomorrow, Jan. 24, at 11 a.m. EST in the DoD Briefing Studio, Pentagon, Room 2E781.
Defense Tech: Nurses boycott smallpox callup Nurses and hospital workers in Atlanta, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts are refusing to go along with the Bush Administration's plan to vaccinate health care professionals for smallpox.
The Australian: Message maestros call the tune [January 23, 2003] Spin doctors now have a vital role in devising corporate strategy. They are nothing like the old-style press officer – the two species have as much in common as the gorilla and the parrot. The communications chief is a strategist, lobbyist, front man (or woman), public campaigner and risk manager.
January 22, 2003 - Wild On Washington: Free Food, Exotic Locales, Topless Lobbyists "Thanks to Denny Hastert and his pals in the House Republican leadership, lobbyists will now be able to pick up the tab for House members whenever the lawmakers attend charitable events, including golf outings and those all-important policy retreats held at lavish resorts. The new rules, which are hardly worthy of the term since it connotes constraint or restriction, also raise the limit on the amount lobbyists can spend when treating Congressional staffers who are working late to a yummy catered meal."
----- Original Message -----
From: "robin taubenfeld"
Sent: Thursday, January 23, 2003 8:55 PM
Subject: [m1bris] Narangba Camp Update Jan 23 2002

> Narangba Campaign HOT News
> Camp eviction date now set for: February 10, 2003 at 10am
> Court Date for eviction hearing: February 5, 2003 @ 10am (Supreme Court)
> The Department of State Development ( the Minister for Industrial
> Development) has now given the protest camp notice of that they intend to
> have the protest camp removed on February 10, 2003 at 10am. Their
> application will be heard in the Supreme Court on February 5, 2003 at
> The Department has chosen an individual, Robin Taubenfeld, as the
> "respondent" to the case. More news regarding the legal proceedings will
> follow..
> The camp and the campaign still need your support. Come on upto the
> camp for the regular Friday night BBQ - Party, pitch your tent and be part
> of creative activism - or just drop in for a while. Help organise a gig,
> Brisbane actions, film nights, and other awareness raising events..Come to
> the court on Feb. 5. Support arrested protesters and legal proceedings.
> Support Sol Theo's case Feb. 24 Planning and Environment Court (and Jan
> 9:30 am) Regular Brisbane campaign meetings: Wednesdays 7pm Grass Roots
> Centre (237 Bounday Street) West End
> For more information: Robin Taubenfeld ENuFF 0411 118 373

Minister for Defence Media Mail List

Friday, 24 January 2003 0010/2003


Defence Minister Robert Hill today attended a private ceremony for families in Perth to farewell lead elements of a Special Forces Task Group who will deploy soon to the Middle East to prepare should military operations against Iraq become necessary.

Senator Hill was joined by acting Opposition defence spokesman Graham Edwards, Chief of Defence Force General Peter Cosgrove, Chief of Army Lieutenant General Peter Leahy and the Commander Special Operations Command Major General Duncan Lewis.

Senator Hill told the soldiers from the Special Air Service squadron that they were being deployed to add to the international pressure on Saddam Hussein to disarm.

"The more pressure on him to accept the demand from the international community that he disarm, the better the chance for that to occur without the need for force," Senator Hill told the soldiers.

Senator Hill stressed that Saddam Hussein must know the line had been drawn in the sand and that this was his last chance.

He thanked the soldiers on behalf of the broader Australian community for their service and commitment and wished them well in their deployment.

He also thanked their families for the support that they give to the soldiers and assured them of the ongoing support of the Australian community in return.

"We hope that when we come back to welcome you home, it will be because this extra pressure has been successful in disarming Iraq and that it wasn't necessary to go to war," Senator Hill said.

"We wish you well, a successful mission and a safe return."

The case against war with Iraq
January 2 2003

Australia has no good reason for war and many against. There are better ways, writes Former Oz Defence Chief Peter Gration.

As 2003 dawns, the threat of a US-led war against Iraq looms over the world. The question for Australia is, should we take part? If we do, it will be the first time in our history that we have taken part in unprovoked offensive military action against another country.

There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator heading an unsavoury regime that probably does possess weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and the world would be a better place if they were removed.

Nevertheless, there are insufficient grounds for war, which is unnecessary and may lead to unpredictable and potentially disastrous consequences. It is not in Australia's interests to take part in such a war. I stress that this is not a call for inaction, since better alternatives are available. Let me elaborate.

The war would be the first practical implementation of recently announced changes in US national security policy. This has moved from containment and deterrence to an open-ended doctrine of the right to pre-emptive strike if the US perceives a threat developing to its global supremacy.

In my view, this is bad policy that strikes at the very heart of efforts to create a rules-based international order, and can only lead to a less stable security environment and a marginalised UN.

The public case for war centres on Iraq's WMD and the threat they pose. There is an element of urgency built in, with what I believe are exaggerated statements on the imminence of Iraq developing a nuclear weapon.

The forcible removal of the WMD will require regime change, which seems to have been a US objective all along, and means invasion, installation of a puppet regime (or direct American rule) propped up by a large occupation force. There are also suggestions that the US may intend to pursue wider strategic objectives in the Middle East, including the control of Iraqi oil, removal of a military threat to Israel, and containment of Iran.

Iraq is not the only country with WMD, and there seems to be no reason why Iraq's use of its weapons against other countries cannot be contained and deterred by the immensely more powerful US, which did it successfully with the Soviet Union, China and North Korea.

We should note also that biological weapons have a short shelf life, and, like chemical weapons, are notoriously difficult to use tactically. Iraq also lacks credible strategic delivery means.

Again, Iraq has no history of providing WMD to terrorists. I believe the prospect of it doing so is low. No links have been established between Iraq and al Qaeda or the attacks against the US on September 11, despite strenuous attempts to do so. Indeed, Iraq is one of the more secular Islamic states, and the prospect of Iraqis cooperating with the fundamentalists of al Qaeda seems remote.

In short, the real and immediate threat from Iraq's WMD, while not zero, is much exaggerated, and is well short of providing grounds to go to war.

This unnecessary war could produce some disastrous outcomes that may worsen, rather than improve, global security. Once war starts, the outcomes may be quite unpredictable and not what is planned. Nevertheless we can speculate.

There is little doubt that a US invasion of Iraq will be militarily successful - the only questions are time, casualties and cost. Much will depend on the Iraqi army's will to fight and the attitude of the civil population. My guess is that the initial invasion should take no more than a few weeks, with low American casualties but high Iraqi casualties, particularly among the civilian population - perhaps eventually in the hundreds of thousands.

The conflict may well spread beyond Iraq. The gravest concern could be if Israel stepped in, perhaps in response to provocation by Iraq. Any involvement in the war by Israel would lead to the prospect of the conflict spreading across the whole region.

TV images of the US beating up and then occupying a fellow Muslim country could be destabilising for the leadership of Muslim countries presently friendly to the West, such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Indonesia, as their leaders tried to balance the expectations of support by the US and its allies against the fired-up anti-Western anger of their people. In the worst case, this could unite the Muslim world against the West, fulfilling Samuel Huntington's prediction of a clash of civilisations. The impact on global oil supply and price, and hence on the global economy, could be disastrous.

The effect on global terrorism is hard to judge. Some believe that removing Iraq as a potential supporter could deliver a serious blow. Others observe that Iraq has no history of supporting global terrorism, and a more likely outcome would be to spawn a whole new generation of suicidal terrorists, targeting the US and its allies - including Australia.

If we go to war without UN endorsement, our actions as signatories of the UN Charter would, in effect, be illegal. And, not least, we should be aware of the humanitarian disaster that would probably be precipitated in Iraq, as its much weakened public health system collapsed in the face of invasion.

Given the prospect of these outcomes, it would be strategically unsound to risk them in an unnecessary war when an alternative is available.

That alternative is to continue to pursue the present course of action through the UN inspectors already in Iraq, even in the face of some Iraqi intransigence. This is likely to be a prolonged, frustrating and probably messy and untidy business, but in the end should be effective in removing the WMD and preventing their further development.

It will not in itself achieve regime change, nor will it deliver other possible US strategic objectives in the region, such as control of Iraqi oil, but it will avoid the dire consequences of a war.

It can only be successful if backed by the credible threat of the use of force if Iraq becomes seriously non-cooperative, and fortunately that threat is already in place. In the final outcome, we can always go to war as a last resort.

It may be politically difficult for national leaders to step back from war at this late stage, but it may be even more difficult later to justify participation in an illegal conflict with such potential to go badly wrong.

General Peter Gration was chief of the Australian Defence Force during the Gulf War.

Guardian Unlimited Politics | Special Reports | Tory MP speaks out against war Conservative Central Office were wrong footed by Mr Sayeed's remarks and refused to comment on his stand. It was unclear this evening what stance the leadership are likely to take but it would seem inevitable that he will be sacked from his front bench position. This will create the unusual situation where the first political casualty of a strike against Iraq is a Conservative rather than a Labour left-winger.

I am finding opposition crosses the entire poltical spectrum. There is no "typical antiwar protestor" any more. Letters of support or phone calls to:

House of Commons Phone number: 020 7219 2355
House of Commons Fax number: 020 7219 1294
Constituency Phone number: 01462 811992
Constituency Fax number: 01462 811010


Mid-Bedfordshire Conservative Association
St Michaels Close
High Street
Bedfordshire SG17 5DD

BBC NEWS | Health | Doctors warn Blair over Iraq attack "In an open letter in two leading medical journals, over 500 staff, students and alumni from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine urged the prime minister to find a peaceful solution."
BBC NEWS | South Asia | US rebukes Pakistan over militants "The United States says Pakistan is serving as a "platform for terrorism" and that this must stop."

Seymour Hersh's piece in the New Yorker (scroll down) outlines how Pakistan gave key nuclear bomb technology in return for missile expertise. Plus, Shrub knew about it years before the current crisis. Now it looks like the US, India and Israel will line up against an axis of evil that now increasingly includes Pakistan, the former "staunch ally" of the US in Bush's War on Terrorism.
To Some in Europe, the Major Problem Is Bush the Cowboy "Terrorists are a hundred times more likely to obtain a weapon of mass destruction from Pakistan than from Iraq," one senior European official said, not permitting a reporter to identify even his nationality because tensions with Washington are so high. "North Korea is far more likely to sell whatever it's got. But can we say this in public? Can we have a real debate about priorities? Not with George Bush."

Please EU. Say it in public. Most Americans want you to!
AM - 24/1/2003: US thanks Australia for deployment ARI FLEISCHER: Finally, the President would like to thank the people and the Government of Australia for their efforts in working to achieve peace through the military force that Australia has dispatched to Iraq.

The President continues to hope that this matter can be resolved peacefully, but thanks to the efforts of nations like Australia, the signal that is being sent that the world is serious helps enhance the chances for peace.

Four Corners - 2/9/2002: Interview with Ahmad Chalabi . Australian Broadcasting Corp We have published what we believe to be Saddam's preparations to be for action against many countries, against many organisations. We believe we have published information about Saddam's threats not only to the United States but to the neighbours of Iraq and we have published information about his acts of ah terrorism, that he has conducted in his promotion of international terrorism and has developed the weapons of mass destruction.

Some of which has proved to be misleading, has it not?

We have not furnished no misleading information.
Max Singer on Iraq & Ahmad Chalabi on National Review Online Differences of emphasis and nuance in the judgment about key facts and personalities are natural, but the gap in understanding between State and CIA on one side and Chalabi's admirers on the other is impossibly wide.
Iraqi Opposition Falling Short of U.S. Expectations When Cheney took a look at the edifice the U.S. was creating, he apparently decided it couldn't bear the weight of international scrutiny," said a U.S. official who asked not to be identified.

"He's also unimpressed and wary of the growing need to counter [Iraqi National Congress leader] Ahmad Chalabi with an alliance of Kurds and Shiites. These alliances are fraught with all kinds of international complications. Support for the Kurds angers the Turks, and the major Shiite groups are the ones with ties to Iran," the official said.
Defense Tech The two investigators, Steven Doran and Glenn Walp, will not be digging up any new dirt in their new roles as consultants to the University of California, which operates the Lab for the Department of Energy.

"I'm not even allowed on Lab property," Doran tells Defense Tech.

The University put the pair on the payroll on the same day the House Energy Committee sent a note to the school's president ordering him to rehire the investigators -- or face the consequences.

Doran and Walp will review what they've found out already, and will go over their security, intelligence, and management concerns with University and federal investigators. After that, they're back out on the street, out of work.

Doran says, "It could last a week, it could last a month. Then I'm back to looking for a job again."
The Courier Mail: PM arrogant on Iraq: Crean [24jan03] "I was given a half a day to consider my position without access to any information.
"This is not how a prime minister should act when he's committing Australian troops to potential war."
Doubting Thomas offers her press veteran’s take on state of presidency “This is the worst president ever,” she said. “He is the worst president in all of American history.”
Orcinus Somewhere on my drawing board is a book project titled: A Manifest Unfitness: The Calamitous Presidency of George W. Bush. I may just make it an e-book you can read here.
Senate Blocks Funding for Pentagon Database (washingtonpost.com) By a voice vote, the Senate voted to ban funding for the Total Information Awareness program, under former national security adviser John Poindexter, until the Pentagon explains the program and assesses its impact on civil liberties.

Should have been "delays funding" -- if you read the article and the above quote carefully you will see what I'm saying.
Australian Greens - Bob Brown'
24 January 2003

Cosgrove Must Lead Australian Contingent

Iraq Attack Would Be Illegal Without UN Sanction
Greens Senator Bob Brown says an attack on Iraq without Security Council resolution will be illegal and expose Australians to challenge in the international courts. Senator Brown is also calling on Prime Minister Howard to reveal whether Australian forces will be placed under Pentagon command.

“The Prime Minister should insist that the Australians he has sent to the Middle East remain under the command of General Cosgrove, and so Mr Howard’s personal responsibility, independent of US command”, Senator Brown said.

“Mr Howard should also reveal his advice on the legality of Australians being involved in an attack on Baghdad without Security Council authorisation. My advice is that such an attack would be illegal. The Security Council resolution 1441 clearly makes any military action subject to mandated law – and that means subject to the inspectors reporting evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – evidence which has not yet been forthcoming. To go outside the resolution is to breach the United Nations Charter.

There is no suggestion, as required by the Charter, that Iraq is either currently an aggressor or threatening Australia.

Further information: Lauren 02 6277 3170, 0411 402 978
AlterNet: Bush Is Losing It Thus, if a small business owner buys a gas-guzzling (10-11 mpg) Hummer HI, with a list price of $102,581, he or she can deduct $75,000 from the price as a capital equipment deduction. A business that purchases a gas-efficient (45 mpg) Toyota Prius with a $20,500 sticker price, can't even deduct half of that cost, even with the $2,000 deduction the government is allowing for fuel-efficient vehicles included.
AlterNet: Bush Is Losing It Anticipating the coming deficits, the Administration has shamelessly cut veteran benefits to what it describes as higher-income veterans. In fact, the new cut-off applies not to wealthy veterans but to middle-class veterans with annual incomes of $30,000 to $35,000.
Earthbeat - 19/10/2002: The Underwater Time Bomb of War in the Pacific Trevor Gilbert.

It’s too early to make a call on the risks posed by the ships in our waters, and there are no plans for Australia to make an assessment in the near future.
Earthbeat - 19/10/2002: The Underwater Time Bomb of War in the Pacific Sefanaia Nawadra: Good question. When you look at the USS Mississinewa as a case study, even the US authorities come into two camps. There’s a number who are the environmental officials who really want to win and do a systematic approach like we’re advocating. And there’s another camp. You can understand where they’re coming from, the US Navy and a few other agencies who would expect to be bearing the majority of the cost, who are a bit more I guess reluctant to set a precedent. And I guess the message that we’re trying to put across is this thing will happen, it doesn’t matter which way you go, or which way you approach it. The more important thing is to try and address it before it becomes a crisis.
Sun-Sentinel: News Local State prosecutors have found a tray of unopened absentee ballots that the Broward County elections office never counted during the September primary, sources told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Wednesday.
The Australian: No way out on Woomera N-dump [January 24, 2003] THE federal Government looks set to steamroll the South Australian Government and community over its decision to support construction of a radioactive waste dump 45km north of Woomera next year.

Federal Science Minister Peter McGauran yesterday released a report in response to 667 submissions on the proposed repository, which would have an operational life of 50 years and act as a central store for the nation's low-level industrial and medical waste.
7.30 Report KERRY O'BRIEN: But somewhat worrying when you hear Tony Blair saying he won't rule out nuclear --

JOHN HOWARD: We certainly rule that out.

I didn't hear him say that but can I tell you I'm surprised to hear that, but anyway --

KERRY O'BRIEN: Basically, whatever it takes is what he's reported as saying, by any means necessary.

JOHN HOWARD: Did he actually say "nuclear"?

KERRY O'BRIEN: The question was put to him, as it was reported in the Guardian newspaper, the question was put to him: "Can you rule out –

JOHN HOWARD: Well, you go and interview Tony Blair.

KERRY O'BRIEN: I suppose the question is: are you in any position to rule out nuclear weapons if that ultimate call is going to be made by the United States?

JOHN HOWARD: Well, if I thought there were going to be nuclear weapons used, I would not allow Australian forces to be involved, full stop.
7.30 Report But in the end, what the world community has to face is will it allow Iraq to stare it down, retain chemical and biological weapons, a capacity to develop nuclear weapons, and if it does stare the world down, it will add to those weapons and we face the real danger that other countries, having seen Iraq get away with it, will say, "Well, whacko, we can do the same thing"?
7.30 Report If Iraq gets away with this, if Iraq stares us all down, she will certainly not abandon her weapons then, she'd build on them and potentially use them and worst still other countries, other rogue states, will be emboldened to do exactly the same thing.
ABC News - 24/01/03 : More farewells as Libs split on deployments The Greens have angrily attacked Labor's decision not to back moves to recall Parliament to debate Australia's military deployment to the Persian Gulf.

Labor says the issue will be debated when Parliament resumes as scheduled early next month.

Greens Senator Bob Brown says he is furious.

"I can't believe that Simon Crean has been so weak as to back off from calling the Senate back and putting the Prime Minister into the heat of parliamentary debate on this," Senator Brown said.
The Courier Mail: Bravehearts set sail [24jan03] "I think what the UN says is influential but at the end of the day what the UN ends up saying could well be ambiguous – no green light, no red light," he said. "And we could therefore – out of that ambiguity – have to make a national judgment."
We're off to war, UN or not - smh.com.au Meanwhile, the US intensified its push for action, with the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, claiming "many, many handfuls of countries" had said privately that they were ready to join a coalition to oust Saddam Hussein.
Sharon inquiry leak triggers row over press freedom - smh.com.au Lawyers for Ms Glatt-Berkovich say she leaked the information for "ideological reasons", because she was concerned that her son was about to be conscripted into the army and she did not want things to carry on as they have done under the hawkish Mr Sharon. Initially placed under house arrest, Ms Glatt-Berkovich is likely to face dismissal and prosecution.
US flexes muscles off Korean peninsula - smh.com.au The United States yesterday deployed an aircraft carrier from Japan to the Korean peninsula, as a Washington envoy warned that "all options" were available to deal with the nuclear stand-off with Pyongyang.
America: going to hell? The conventional wisdom was that ``American Idol,'' a classic summertime diversion, would have trouble drawing an audience during the winter when faced with tougher competition.
Its success gives Fox, which has been struggling this television season, its second big hit in a month, joining ``Joe Millionaire,'' which was seen by more than 17 million viewers last week (as was ABC's ``The Bachelorette'').
'Bad Herr Dye' The first was re-election last year, snatched from the jaws of defeat by his last-minute embrace of anti-American pacifism. That energized the Green Party and empowered Germany's new isolationism.
Bush Plans to Let Religious Groups Get Building Aid The White House says it wants to end discrimination against religious groups. Opponents say the policy breaches the separation of church and state.
The Australian: Greg Sheridan: Kissinger's bow to Bush [January 23, 2003] "Like Churchill in the 1930s, Bush is immensely unpopular with the chattering classes, while the public is understandably confused.

Henry Kissinger was in Australia this week. All his discussions were off the record, including with me, so I can't tell you exactly what he said. From his columns, speeches and books, however, it is clear he is a wholehearted supporter of action against Iraq."

A fawning suck-up to Shrub and Kissinger in Sheridan's latest dunny paper affair.
The Australian: Young guns ready to serve [January 23, 2003] SACHA Jenkins is not sure why Iraq is under pressure to reveal its weapons of mass destruction when the US is not. Matthew Jones questions the imposition of Western ways on the Middle East. Danielle Nelson thinks John Howard likes to follow George W. Bush more than the UN.

But they all echo David Horder's summation: "I'm only young, we've got politicians to decide and I'll just do my job."

Thursday, January 23, 2003

The Courier Mail: Hypothetical Iraq war is the issue [20jan03] Mr Howard is sending members of the armed forces to the Gulf in case there is a war which he says is only hypothetical. He should not assume, however, that public opinion will swing his way if President Bush decides to attack Iraq without the support and approval of the UN. If Mr Howard is determined to support President Bush's initiative, he must first persuade the Australian people of the merits of that course of action.
The Courier Mail: Dam scare sparks terrorism review [23jan03] "This unit will ensure Queensland departments and corporations are equipped with the necessary skills, equipment and communication tools to plan for and respond to any specific threat," Mr Beattie said. "Its primary responsibility will be to protect Queenslanders . . . by ensuring we are properly prepared for any terrorist threat."
The Courier Mail: Timber clearing cowboys roped in [23jan03] Mr Beattie yesterday conceded legal land clearing remained too high, but said his Government was determined not to tolerate the "cowboys vandalising" the environment by clearing land without a permit.

Of course, by far the most land is cleared with a permit. The main "cowboys" are those who will not (or cannot) enact and enforce laws, introduce incentive schemes, etc. to drastically reduce this clearing, despite their overwhelming parliamentary majority in Queensland.
The Courier Mail: Teachers may strike over union claim [23jan03] "We tabled our claim at the end of July – the Government didn't even respond until the end of last year," Ms McCullough said.
"And they haven't even addressed major issues.
She said industrial action "will depend on how infuriated teachers are to have been treated with such disrespect".
BBC NEWS | Americas | West's rift deepens over Iraq The chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, General Richard Myers, meanwhile, told reporters that there were "indications about unrest in some of the Iraqi leadership".
Garages against the war For those garage-owning suburbanites who are serious about displaying their opposition to the war, the Greens are producing large "No War" triangles. If you would like to place one in your front window or in your front yard, contact the greens or phone 02-9519 0877."
Our land, our duty of care - smh.com.au Our land, our duty of care
By Rick Farley, Australia Day address 2003, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, 22 January 2003
ABC Politics - 23/01/03 : No proof TNI behind E Timor incursions: Downer "The Indonesian Government has every interest, and is pursuing every interest, in a constructive relationship with East Timor," Mr Downer said.

"I think it would be an enormous mistake if we were to throw into a state of crisis our relationship with Indonesia just on the basis of, you know, just a couple of allegations that were made by these people and allegations that are not supported yet by any evidence that we have."
The sayings of Rev. Moon

The separation between religion and politics is what Satan likes most. -Sun Myung Moon

Out of all the Saints sent by God, I think I am the most successful one already as it now stands.-Sun Myung Moon

If you tell a lie to make a person better, then that is not a sin.-Sun Myung Moon

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Nasa to go nuclear President Bush is set to endorse using nuclear power to explore Mars and open up the outer Solar System.

Another treaty, that banning nuclear development in outer space, falls under the Shrub boot.
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | US begins secret talks to secure Iraq's oilfields The Foreign Office minister, Mike O'Brien, said yesterday: "The charge that our motive is greed - to control Iraq's oil supply - is nonsense, pure and simple. It is not about greed: it is about fear [about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction]."

To greed and fear, I would add laziness.
Senator Bob Brown's Resolution to the Senate on the Deployment of Australian Forces to Iraq

· Noting the opposition by Australians to this nation’s involvement in an attack on Iraq,
· Recognising that the United Nations has not authorized any military incursion on Iraq, and
· Alarmed by the pre-emptive advocacy and actions of the United States,

The Senate:

· CONDEMNS the Howard Government’s unilateral decision to deploy Australian defence personnel to the Iraq theatre of war,
· RECOGNISES that this deployment effectively commits Australia to any future attack on Iraq by U.S. President Bush and
· CALLS ON the Prime Minister to reverse his decision immediately and to return the personnel to Australia until a decision has been made by the United Nations to authorize military action against Iraq and that decision had been endorsed by our national parliament.

23 January 2003

Crean Must Not Stymy Senate Recall – Senator Bob Brown

It would be an appalling default for Simon Crean to stymy the recall of the Senate next week, Greens Senator Bob Brown said today.

“In 1991 the recall of the Senate forced Bob Hawke’s hand to recall the whole parliament to debate the Gulf War. In 2003 a Senate recall will sorely test Prime Minister Howard as he would allow the Senate, where he is in minority, to determine the debate on his troop deployment to Iraq.

“The numbers are there for a recall. I urge the Labor Caucus to back it in the morning. The idea is not as yet “killed off”’. This is a real test or Labor’s leadership,” Senator Bob Brown said.

Further information: Lauren 02 6277 3170, 0411 402 978

Mr Crean is going to get many, many chances to show he will resist the war. This, his first test, could determine the fate of the ALP over the next few years.

Scientists "print" tissue and organs "Three-dimensional tubes of living tissue have been printed using modified desktop printers filled with suspensions of cells instead of ink. The work is a first step towards printing complex tissues or even entire organs."

Has anyone else noticed how strange science is these days?
U.S. Set to Demand That Allies Agree Iraq Is Defying U.N. "Administration officials said their strategy was based on the belief that there might never be a "smoking gun" proving Iraq's possession of illegal weapons. Accordingly, they acknowledged that the case must be made in a negative fashion: that Iraq has failed to disprove the contentions of the United States and others about its weapons of mass destruction. The administration asserts, without offering evidence, that Iraq has thwarted inspectors by hiding the weapons."

Like duh? If Iraq has hidden weapons, the Germans and France are simply saying that inspections, rather than a dangerous war, has a better chance of finding those weapons. That is of course clear to anyone who hasn't swallowed Rummy's go-go pills and on the prowl for a turkey shoot.

War will make him likely to deploy those weapons, should he have them. Do we want Saddam's mooted WMD, should he indeed have same, investigated by a neutral party like the UN, or do we really want him to shoot them at us or the Israelis in retaliation for a unilateral US invasion? That's what Bush is acting like. And the Israelis have nukes, and Sharon is showing dangerous mental incapacity in my opinion, and elements at least of Likud seem to have fallen under the spell of organised crime bosses according to reports in Israel.

Hell, the allied forces couldn't even find a single SCUD missile during the first Gulf War. The UN has found any WMD that has ever been found in Iraq, I challenge Tim Blair or Gerard Henderson to prove otherwise.

No. The safe way to prevent the proliferation of WMD is UN inspectors on the ground.
Wall St. Journal Cranks Volume :South Korea's Refugee Betrayal

This is worth reprinting in full, for those who don't get the beloved organ of Wall Street. It is designed to stir debate, and so it shall. Maybe it will even be the butterfly wing that slips the world into nuclear war. Needless to say, the WSJ are the biggest Bush supporters in the United States media today. I love their condemnation of South Korea's realpolitik too -- classic Orwell from those who have never stopped cheering those who abuse U.N. guaranteed human rights and destabilise entire nations as part of their "great game".

South Korea's Refugee Betrayal
The newly elected president of South Korea is a noted human-rights lawyer. The departing president is even more celebrated, a winner of the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize for "his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea and East Asia."

So why aren't Roh Moo-hyun and Kim Dae Jung doing more to address the humanitarian crisis on the northern side of the DMZ? Some 23 million Koreans are condemned there to lives of starvation and virtual slavery in a totalitarian state for which weapons of mass destruction remain a higher priority than the welfare of its own people.

The answer, we hate to have to say, may be money. Seoul looks at the bill that West Germany footed for reunification with the East and shudders. Han Duk Soo, then an economic adviser to President Kim, was candid about this cynicism last spring: "The main objective for us is to make sure North Korea does not collapse," he was quoted as saying. "If they collapse, we know it will mean a huge cost to South Korea." This is the ugly little secret of President Kim's "sunshine policy," which is billed as bringing more openness to the North.

Nowhere is the failure of this policy better seen than in the fate of North Korea's refugees, on whose lives sunshine never falls. In recent years tens of thousands of desperate men, women and children have fled across the northeastern border into China, which, in contravention of international law, hunts them down and repatriates them to North Korea. There the returnees face execution or internment in prison camps. The camp option includes the jailing of three generations of a prisoner's family, including elderly parents and young children.

The latest tragedy unfolded over the weekend with the news that China had arrested 58 North Koreans about to break for South Korea and Japan by boat. An international aid worker who supported the would-be boat people tells us he suspects that South Korean intelligence tipped off the Chinese police. If so -- and the South Korean Embassy in Washington denies it -- this would amount to fratricide.

The official line in Seoul and Beijing is that an outpouring of refugees from the North would trigger a humanitarian catastrophe. "If we gave them refugee status, millions would pour over our doorstep," a Chinese scholar, who advises the Chinese and South Korean governments, was quoted as saying in yesterday's Washington Post. "That would cause a humanitarian crisis here and a collapse of the North. We can't afford either."

Such Korean realpolitik conveniently ignores the humanitarian crisis that already exists in North Korea and which will continue so long as Kim Jong Il's regime remains in power. Only when it falls will the Korean people on both sides of the DMZ have the basic human dignities enjoyed by the peoples of most of the rest of the world. And, by the way, not to have worry about nuclear blackmail.

If South Korea is serious about helping those it calls its "brothers and sisters in the North" it would declare that it is ready to accept every North Korean who escapes -- even if that means tens of thousands of refugees. This is not as large a challenge as it sounds. The office of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees -- so far barred by Beijing from access to Koreans in China -- wants to help. Several third countries are willing to be transit points for refugees en route to the South. International aid organizations and religious groups in Seoul and the U.S. are prepared to provide for large numbers of refugees who reach South Korea.

The historical model here is East Germany in 1989. Hungary permitted tens of thousands of East German refugees to pass through its borders en route to the West, contributing to the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. China understands this history, which is one reason it's so afraid of the North Korean refugees.

South Korea knows this history too -- which is why it ought to be encouraging the refugees who, under South Korea's constitution, have a right to go to the South. The constitution also says that it is the "duty of the State to confirm and guarantee the fundamental and inviolable human rights of individuals." Currently the South is betraying that promise.

Updated January 23, 2003

Bush leader urges green tax to save resources - smh.com.au Unless natural resources were used in a sustainable way, Australia's future as a nation and society was limited, Mr Farley said. "Our economic, social and even spiritual security will be inexorably diminished," he said, adding that "very significant long-term public investment" was required.

This idea was rejected out of hand by Deputy Dawg Anderson, who said the States must pick up any idea and run with it. A classic Ozzy standoff I call the "shuffleboard shoot" between States and Commonwealth, which keeps hundreds of politicians and bureacrats in employment pointing the finger at one another while Rome burns.

Sorry if I seem so bitchy lately -- I am investigating the WW2 sunken timebombs of oil story in preparation for a feature piece that hopefully will appear in print oneday soon. So far it is confirming to me that our thinking is not yet up to the scale of the challenges we face as a species.
Queensland bulldozes bush to Third World levels - smh.com.au Clearing of bushland in Queensland has accelerated, with 1.1 million hectares bulldozed in two years, a rate exceeded only by a handful of Third World developing nations such as Zambia and the Congo, satellite imagery shows.

The spirit of Joh lives through his life-like hand puppets, the Queensland ALP.
Howard Goes 404 on Kissinger Kiss-up

I sent this email off just now...will let you know the results.

Hello ABC webmaster,

Where can I find this article: Howard cancels Kissinger lunch. It seems to have been removed from the ABC web site?


Mark White
CNN Wolf Blitzer Poll "Created: Wed Jan 22 12:45:41 EST 2003
Would you support a war with Iraq without France and Germany's support?"

Yes 36% 1658 votes
No 64% 2981 votes
Total: 4639 votes

Antiwar is reaching critical mass

Joint Chiefs: High Treason? “The President considers this nation to be at war,” a White House source says,” and, as such, considers any opposition to his policies to be no less than an act of treason.”

The Administration is obviously unravelling badly over Iraq.
CNN.com - Rumsfeld: France, Germany are 'problems' in Iraqi conflict - Jan. 22, 2003 "Germany has been a problem, and France has been a problem," said Rumsfeld, a former NATO ambassador. "But you look at vast numbers of other countries in Europe. They're not with France and Germany on this, they're with the United States."

Wow, Hungary supports the US stance on Iraq? "Old Europe" is Germany and France, with their silly, musty castles and girl's army...
Fisking CNN.com - Al Qaeda terror strategy turns to assassination - Jan. 22, 2003 Senior U.S. officials have told CNN that they believe four men arrested in the raid have ties to Zarqawi.

The alleged mastermind of the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole was planning an assassination campaign, authorities say.

Al Qaeda gave its operatives instructions on how to make ricin in those documents -- the "Encyclopedia of Jihad," and others -- which were obtained by CNN after the war in Afghanistan.

Then again, maybe they just used google

*UPDATE: PM Blair says "no link" "A few posed questions we ourselves would like to ask: "Is there any link between al-Qa'ida, Iraq and terrorist groups in Britain?" Blair watchers were astonished when the Prime Minister said: "No."
CRIKEY.COM EXCLUSIVE: Howard's Dodgy gongs 2003 "And can you believe that none other than PP McGuiness has scored an AO. What next, gongs for other conservative pro-Howard columnists such as Piers Akerman, Andrew Bolt, Miranda Devine, Tim Blair, Imre and Christopher Pearson? Why not one for his biographer David Barnett too?"

Howard government knows how to dish out the patronage to its water-carriers. And that water is getting heavy.
An Unjust War by David Dieteman "War is…always a defeat for humanity. [F]aced with the constant degeneration of the crisis in the Middle East…the solution will never be imposed by recourse to terrorism or armed conflict, as if military victories could be the solution. And what are we to say of the threat of a war which could strike the people of Iraq, the land of the Prophets, a people already sorely tried by more than twelve years of embargo? War is never just another means that one can choose to employ for settling differences between nations." - The Pope
ERG Wins $20M Washington Transit Contract WASHINGTON (Smart Card News Ltd.) - ERG Group and Northrop Grumman Information Technology (IT) have been selected by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to install and operate a new Regional Customer Service Centre for its 'SmarTrip' Smart Card based fare collection system. The deal is expected to be worth $20m over the initial five year contract.

Aussie smart cards, coming to a Big Brother near you.
Tim Blair "Many of Hanson’s supporters were motivated less by her opinions on race than by her protectionist economic policies – policies shared, by the way, by "progressive" parties like the Democrats."

Race propelled Hansonism into the front line, not "protectionism". While minor opposition parties like the Greens were talking about the perils of the WTO and World Bank long before Hanson, and even the National Party has pushed similar protectionist policies in the past, Hansonism was first and foremost a party of white people.
VOANews.com President Bush addressed the rally via satellite phone from St. Louis, Missouri. He praised the anti-abortion activists for their devotion to the cause and said progress is being made toward what he termed "a culture of life" in America.
IOL: Labour seeks Dail debate on US use of Shannon Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte has called for a Dail debate on the US military use of Shannon Airport when TDs return from their Christmas break next week.
::: u.tv ::: The High Court in Dublin has directed that the Irish government should reveal documents relating to the use of Irish airspace and airport landing facilities available to foreign military aircraft.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

CNN Blitzer Poll Shock

As of Wednesday afternoon Brisbane time

Whose views are most like yours when it comes to the Iraqi crisis?
President George W Bush -- 24% (1826 votes)
Senator Edward Kennedy -- 76% (5752 votes)
Total: 7578 votes

You can vote here
Escaton says Astroturf don't vote
Hey, it looks like President Bush should be applauded for taking a courageous stand against Saddam...
The KGB's Secret Online Archive This top-secret 639-page history of the Soviet state security organs was completed in 1977 under the auspices of Viktor Chebrikov, the deputy head of the KGB (who later became head of the agency). The book was intended for use in the KGB's special academy for the training of senior officers. The book provides a detailed history of the KGB and its predecessor agencies from 1917 through the mid-1970s. The book is still classified top secret in Moscow and is unavailable there. The copy here was obtained in Riga, Latvia in July 1997, courtesy of Indulis Zalite, a Latvian archival researcher. Unlike in Russia, the Latvian government has declassified all documents from the Soviet era, and they are now freely available to researchers.

Unmasking the Pakistan-DPRK Nuke Alliance "The document's most politically sensitive information, however, was about Pakistan. Since 1997, the C.I.A. said, Pakistan had been sharing sophisticated technology, warhead-design information, and weapons-testing data with the Pyongyang regime. Pakistan, one of the Bush Administration's important allies in the war against terrorism, was helping North Korea build the bomb."

Famous journalist Seymour Hersch applies the blowtorch to Bush's geopolitics
7.30 Report - 16/1/2003: Military morale faces test with possible action against Iraq "Except that, of course soldiers do expect that, if they're going to be committed to these things, there is a just cause in being committed.

But certainly in a short duration I don't think that's a problem.

If it were to go on for a long time or if it were to become complicated or unpopular for some other reason, then I think certainly that the issue of support back home both in the public and in the Parliament would be important.

Since when is "duration" a criteria of a Just war? What the hell are they teaching in Duntroon these days?
PM - 17/1/2003: Unpopularity will not stop Iraq involvement: Hill If that happens, I certainly hope that all of the Australian community stands behind the forces that are deployed. It's one thing to have a different point of view, politically, with us, but if we get to the stage of deployment I certainly hope all the political parties and the broad Australian community stand firmly behind those forces that are deployed.
Greens throw sand in gears of war machine "Schröder's coalition partner, the Green Party, has taken the opportunity to reinforce its own pacifist principles. "There is no situation I can imagine today where Germany would support military action," said Angelika Beer, the co-head of the Green Party. Beer added that Germany was "striving for a common European position."
ABC News - 22/01/03 : Israel demolishes Palestinian shops Israeli troops have fired tear gas to disperse protesters in a Palestinian village in the West Bank, as bulldozers demolished about 50 stores, which Israel says were built illegally.
ABC News - Indigenous community riddled with eye disease: study The Fred Hollows Foundation says it is not suprised by a study that has found 40 per cent of children at one central Australian Aboriginal community have the eye disease trachoma.

The foundation treats eye and other health problems in Australia and overseas.

The foundation's Chip Morgan says the problem is rife among Aboriginal communities despite it being considered almost exclusively a third world disease.
PM - 21/1/2003: Deregulation not the answer for sugar industry: report The report outlines a number of possible industry productivity initiatives, such as introducing high density farming, larger farms, and extending the season.
NEWS.com.au | Sugar overhaul call (January 22, 2003) Outside the Canegrowers offices in the Brisbane CBD, however, 20 cane farmers claimed that their peak body was selling them out by agreeing to deregulation.
NEWS.com.au | Timor's incursion crisis plea (January 22, 2003) EAST Timor is facing the greatest threat to its stability since independence with its security forces struggling to repel Indonesian military-backed militia raids - and claiming Australia won't fully commit its peacekeepers to the struggle.

A senior East Timor government official said yesterday the security situation in the fledging nation had deteriorated to its worst level since before independence last May.
NEWS.com.au | Yanks on Aussie slang: No worries! (January 22, 2003) Common Australian terms like "no worries", "aggro", "walkabout" and even, to some people's eternal embarrassment, "crikey" are falling off the tongues of Americans as quick as you can put a shrimp on the barbie.
A Stirring in the Nation Other protests will be emphasizing civil disobedience in the name of Martin Luther King Jr. But any graphic moments to come of confrontation and arrest should be seen in the far broader context of the Capitol scene: peaceable throngs of mainstream Americans came forward demanding more of a dialogue from political leaders. Mr. Bush and his aides, to their credit, welcomed the demonstrations as a healthy manifestation of American democracy at work. We hope that spirit will endure in the weeks ahead if differences deepen and a noisier antiwar movement develops. These protests are the tip of a far broader sense of concern and lack of confidence in the path to war that seems to lie ahead.
Security Council divided on Iraq - theage.com.au "If war is the only way to resolve this problem, we are going down a dead end," warned French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin.
"Since we can disarm Iraq through peaceful means, we should not take the risk to endanger the lives of innocent civilians or soldiers, to jeopardise the stability of the region, and further widen the gap between our people and our cultures. We should not take the risk to fuel terrorism."
Bush to UN: "How much time do we need?" - theage.com.au "Surely our friends have learned lessons from the past. Surely, we have learned how this man deceives and delays," Bush said. "This looks like a re-run of a bad movie, and I'm not interested in watching it."
Reuters | Latest Financial News / Full News Coverage Prime Minister Tony Blair issued a doom-laden warning Tuesday -- terror groups like al Qaeda will attempt an attack on Britain.
"I believe it is inevitable that they will try in some form or other," Blair told senior parliamentarians in a lengthy evidence session that focused on terror and on possible military action against Iraq.
Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | Schröder in new gag attempt "We're pleased to note that the injunction from the German court only relates to publication in Germany, and our lawyers will be examining precisely what effect that will have and will take a decision in the future as to whether or not we'll publish in our foreign editions," said the paper's managing director, John Wellington.
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | No way out for Saddam - Blair He defended possible British involvement with the US missile defence system - dubbed "son of star wars", saying: "I have an open mind as to what missile defence can deliver us. "I think it's important that if we do play a part in missile defence that this country gets some benefit from it.
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | No way out for Saddam - Blair Tony Blair today refused to rule out using nuclear weapons in a conflict against Iraq, as MPs grilled the prime minister for two and a half hours on the subject of Saddam Hussein.
Mexico's Corrupt Oil Lifeline One reason is a rottenness at Pemex's core. The company loses at least $1 billion a year to corruption, its executives say, in a continuous corrosion of the machine that keeps Mexico solvent.
The Australian: World Bank urges Jakarta to reform [January 21, 2003] The hostility is only likely to grow. The World Bank and IMF have set out a long list of reforms designed to appeal to domestic and foreign investors, but likely to heighten political tensions.
Although priorities include some measures that would be popular, such as reform of the justice system, the Government is also being asked to press ahead with privatisation, pass new labour laws and limit wage increases.
politechbot.com: U.S. Army: Be all that you can be... in new 3D shoot-em-up In Operations players progress through single player
basic training missions in preparation for online
multiplayer missions ranging from defense of the
Alaskan Pipeline against terrorism as a member
of the 172nd Infantry Brigade
France Warns U.S. It Will Not Back Early War on Iraq The German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, said that "Iraq has complied fully with all relevant resolutions" and that the inspectors should have "all the time which is needed."

France and Germany's one-two diplomatic punch has left Shrub facing the prospect of fighting a major war in the middle east with crumbling support abroad and domestically.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

The Office of the Gene Technology Register sneaks GE feed into Oz

Media Release - 8 January 2003
Licences issued for imported GM grains

Two licences have been issued to Hunter Grain Pty Limited in response to applications to import and process corn and soybeans from the USA for processing for stock feed and soy oil.

What date did Hunter start unloading said grain into Brisbane's wharf? 9th of January.
The Courier Mail: Extent of Schoolies shame revealed [21jan03] "Police Minister Tony McGrady has contradicted his own department's policy, supporting the release of police statistics after large events.

Mr McGrady said he was happy to provide figures as there was "nothing to hide". But the police media unit confirmed the Gold Coast region had a policy of not releasing the information.

Mr McGrady said detailed statistics would not be released during the events, but said information should be handed over when they had finished. However The Courier-Mail was forced to make an FOI request in early November after Gold Coast police refused to provide figures from the previous year's Schoolies."

Newspoll Polls Newspoll 27-29 July 2001
active-sydney - about us active-brisbane comprises this website -
http://www.active.org.au/brisbane and three mailing lists. The website
has information on events, groups, how to be active and alternative
news. A clever electronic calendar forms the central piece of the site,
allowing anyone to promote upcoming events.
Libya Wins Leadership of Rights Panel Despite U.S. Opposition But 33 countries voted for Libya. Only three — the United States, Canada and, reports said, Guatemala — voted no. Seventeen countries abstained, including seven members of the European Union. Diplomats said they did not want to offend African nations, whose turn it is under a rotating system to select the new leader.

Australia, the new deputy chair, voted for Libya. Heck, our major corporations and even Joh's National Party recently rolled out the red carpet for Quaddafi's son, who hired a boatload of prostitutes and guns for a week long party on the Barrier Reef last year. Deputy PM John Anderson and Trade Minister Mark Vaile (of Joh's old party the Nationals) threw him a party in early January this year when announcing Australia and Libya would normalise their ties.

Liberal's Alexander Downer lined up with Libya, China, Sudan, etc, against the UN protocol on prisoners and detainees last year. Sickening.
Planet Ark : EU denies US charge of "immoral" biotech policy In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy denied either the EU or individual member states made their aid for African countries contingent on those nations banning genetically modified crops.
"We very much regret that US officials are peddling this rumor, and even more that you gave credence to it without checking with the EU," Lamy said.
A public-private partnership for cracking heads

State and corporation are increasingly fused on issues of community ownership and contol. Both institutions of what Lewis Mumford calls the Mega-Machine adopt a centralised approach to power --- meaning control of distribution of reward and punishment is kept in place by centralised sanctions of the Machine.

When the community activist pushes against control exercised by the state in conjunction with the corporation, he should expect to meet with resistance from the police force -- after all that is their job. Think of it as the whole system pushing back against the will of the activist. Community based approaches based on The Golden Rule will create the truthful community that makes resistance, or sanctions against an opponent playing by selfish rules, possible. When the game is going nowhere, someone has to call for a new game -- a realisation that all great US Presidents have recognised.

I was impressed by the maturity of the activists in this story as well. They are successfully able to "talk down" the out-of-control young blood cop using a reasoned, calm approach to resetting the boundries of the game in order to go outside of his experience, or what he thought he was about to encounter from two young dissidents determined to resist lawful authorities in the pursuit of a higher community good. In doing so, they were able to disarm a potentially dangerous situation and turn it into a positive.

A Night at Deception Castle

"The lines between police, politician and corporation aren't blurred - they don't exist.

50 or 60 activists camped at 'Deception Castle' Narangba (an inpirational realm) Sunday night. We listened horrified to accounts of police brutality. Midnight Friday the police - unprovoked - entered the protester's camp, bashed three of the protester one of whom, X, was spcifically targeted (by Sgt Jackboots). He sustained a broken nose and is still in custody. I spoke to the other two, saw their injuries and heard a shocking and harrowing account of viscious, orchestrated brutality.

On arival we decided to walk around Steritech's perimeter 'to reccie' and to photo the 'apparent' crack in the Cobalt 60 container, now adorned with terrorist graffiti. We were accosted by - as we came to realise later - a meek and polite young plod who threatened to arrest us if we took another step. He came out of his little Steritech kennel to chase us down the outside of the fence, 'security' with Rottweiler shadowing us inside. We'd just arrived and not wanting to compromise the other protesters we obeyed the 'special directive' and returned to camp.

Later that day Joy, three other protesters and I 'crossed the street' (how dare we) to ask older pot-bellie plod why he was writing down number plates. This new guy was rude and angry.

"I don't have to answer your questions, move back to the other side of the road or you'll be arrested."

Joy: " What is your name..."

Plod: " Right , I'm ringing the staion. Would you like another taste of Friday night?"

Five minutes later Sgt Jackboots with three state goons arrive.

Goosestepping across the road he picks out Joy and I from the crowd (we were wearing matching Greens t-shirts). Says he wants to talk with us on the other (wrong) side of the road. He was pumped and ready for action; jackboots, navy blue jumpsiut, no ID, shouting"you know who I am, I'm the officer in command", finger waving, goons circling, veins on his neck bursting with stenozonol. He ranted and raved for a few minutes trying to be scary.

We gradually tranquilized him with polite commonsense and asked that he produce this 'directive' He eventually backed down, left and never came back with anything. It's enough to have nuclear fission, but guarded by state mafia too arrogant to hide which side their on? Be alarmed be bloody alarmed!"

Beyond Just War If Germany had emerged victorious, the respective 'justice' of their win might have become accepted, however unpalatable that may sound.
Beware of Total Information Awareness

by Gene Healy
senior editor at the Cato Institute.

John Poindexter, head of the Pentagon's Office of Information Awareness, is developing a vast surveillance database to track terror suspects. The Total Information Awareness (TIA) system will, according to Poindexter, "break down the stovepipes" that separate commercial and government databases, allowing OIA access to citizens' credit card purchases, travel itineraries, telephone calling records, email, medical histories and financial information. It would give government the power to generate a comprehensive data profile on any U.S. citizen.

Adm. Poindexter assures us that TIA will be designed to respect constitutional guarantees of privacy and shield law-abiding citizens from the Pentagon's all-seeing eye. But if the history of military surveillance of civilians is any indication, accepting that assurance amounts to the triumph of hope over experience.

Opponents of new government surveillance measures such as TIA or Operation TIPS, the Justice Department's aborted plan to utilize citizen informants, often invoke the specter of the East German secret police and communist Cuba's block watch system. But we don't have to look to totalitarian states for cautionary tales. There's a long and troubling history of military surveillance in this country. That history suggests that we should loathe allowing the Pentagon access to our personal information.

During World War I, concerns about German saboteurs led to unrestrained domestic spying by U.S. Army intelligence operatives. Army spies were given free reign to gather information on potential subversives, and were often empowered to make arrests as special police officers. Occasionally, they carried false identification as employees of public utilities to allow them, as the chief intelligence officer for the Western Department put it, "to enter offices or residences of suspects gracefully, and thereby obtain data." In her book "Army Surveillance in America," historian Joan M. Jensen notes, "What began as a system to protect the government from enemy agents became a vast surveillance system to watch civilians who violated no law but who objected to wartime policies or to the war itself."

The War Department relied heavily on a quasi-private volunteer organization, the American Protective League, composed of self-styled patriots who agreed to inform on their fellow citizens. America's experience with the APL makes clear that civil libertarian concerns about Operation TIPS are, if anything, understated. APL volunteers carried identification cards and tin badges and responded to requests from the War Department for investigation of civilians. By the end of the war the APL had close to a quarter of a million members and had carried out some six million investigations.

At the War Department's request, APL volunteers harassed labor organizers, intimidated and arrested opponents of the draft, and investigated such potential subversives as Mexican-American leaders in Los Angeles, pacifist groups, and antiwar religious sects. Through it all, the army caught exactly one German spy, a naval officer who tried to enter the United States via Nogales, Arizona.

The Army's domestic surveillance activities were substantially curtailed after the end of World War I. But throughout the 20th Century, in periods of domestic unrest and foreign conflict, army surveillance ratcheted up again, most notably in the 1960s. During that tumultuous decade, President Johnson repeatedly called on federal troops to quell riots and restore order. To better perform that task, Army intelligence operatives began compiling thousands of dossiers on citizens, many of whom had committed no offense beyond protesting government policy. Reviewing the files, the Senate Judiciary Committee noted that "comments about the financial affairs, sex lives and psychiatric histories of persons unaffiliated with the armed forces appear throughout the various records systems." Justice William O. Douglas called army surveillance "a cancer in our body politic."

Adm. Poindexter seeks to bring Pentagon surveillance into the 21st Century, replacing the low-tech, labor intensive system relied on in the past with high-tech data-mining techniques. He maintains that "we can achieve the necessary security we need and still have privacy." But given the military's legacy of privacy abuses, such vague assurances are cold comfort.

Some have suggested that Poindexter's record as a former Iran-Contra defendant convicted of five felony counts of lying to Congress disqualify him from his position. But the question isn't whether Poindexter's the right man for the job; it's whether that job should exist in the first place

Google hunts down 'President Bush is demonstrating genuine leadership' IF YOU DO A SEARCH on the truly marvellous Google on the phrase Bush "demonstrating genuine leadership", like the Three Bears song goes, you're in for a big surprise.
Indonesian army link to Timor incursions - smh.com.au "The arrest several days later of eight armed men in the Liquica region confirmed those fears. Testimony was given in a Dili court that seven armed groups had crossed the border to kill former resistance leaders, under orders from soldiers of the Indonesian army (TNI)."

While Howard blithely sends the troops into Harm's Way in Iraq, Australia is facing a stand-off with off-the -ease Indonesian military in East Timor, on Australia's doorstep.
Anti-war women show off their underwear - theage.com.au More than 150 politicians, community leaders and children, many with underwear over their clothing, took part in the all-women protest against a war with Iraq on the steps of Parliament House in Melbourne.

Showing the Democrats' lack of true revolutionary dress sense, Natasha kept her bra under her shirt.

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