25 April 2011


The backlash against John Howard's latest racist push into the Northern Territory's Aboriginal areas has begun, with Aboriginal groups and others around the country roundly condemning the paternalistic racist attacks on some of the most vulnerable communities in Australia.
It is to be hoped that the Aboriginal "Children Overboard" affair momentum will be carried forward to the forthcoming election.
One of the main problems to date is the fact that the loyal opposition ALP leader Kevin Rudd has fallen in step with this racist ideology, proving yet again that the ALP is as racist as the Coalition and will stoop to the lowest depths to try and be seen as being "tough" on Aboriginal communities with law and order issues.
As for the people Howard has in tow with his minister for Aboriginal affairs Mal - Big Brother - Brough - to run the deployment of troops and police into his own back yard - be afraid, be very afraid!!!
Noel Pearson has lost the plot - he should take a cold shower and a trip to South Africa for a different perspective on the issue. Of course there needs to be help, but not in the way Howard is doing it - everything in the whole programme is wrong from start to finish.
Even some of the premiers around the country are having major doubts about what is happening.
However, all share the blame in the absolutely appalling situation in which so many Aboriginal communities find themselves. For too long it has been easier to do a "genocide" on these communities hoping that they will gradually disappear, and then the problem will no longer exist.
The only positive in the whole beat-up is that it may waken the wider community to the appalling human rights abuses being inflicted on the indigenous people of Australia. Health, education, employment, to name but a few of the ongoing crises ignored for too long.
As has been written in the last day or two, when the election has been and gone, then too will the Aboriginal people and their situation have been and gone, and there will not have been one iota of progress.
As for the issue of pornography, that in itself is a joke - all the abuses that Howard is busy highlighting in his high-handed and dictatorial fashion have been around for decades and have nothing whatever to do with the availability or otherwise of pornography.
Howard's whole exercise is one of foul pornography and is a disgrace to everybody.
Let us not pretend that justice will be done, nor seen to be done, by the actions of the police and army invading the Northern Territory because Howard has the ability by virtue of the Australian constitution to inflict his minions on a trritory where he is unable to do it on the states.

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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John Howard is determined to win the next election - or to stay in power, come what may - by whatever means are at his disposal. He is at the moment unable to enforce his will on the states, so the next best thing is the territories, and the one easiest for him to bulldoze is the Northern territory.
In the most obvious of racist terms, after ignoring the plight of the Aborigines for the last 10 years - deliberately, as a genocidal act - he has suddenly discovered how to take the heat off his government and place it fairly and squarely on the Labor states and territories by focusing on Aboriginal child sex abuse, alcoholism and pornography.
Now none of these things occur in white societies around Australia, do they? No full-blooded white male would commit child sex abuse, would they, particularly not people like religious orders and related groups, and only homosexuals are paedophiles, aren't they? But we know the biggest homophobe in Australia - and he leads by example - is John Howard.
So, one way and another, Howard is busy attacking the plight of Aborigines in the Northern Territory - issues neglected by his and previous governments for the last 50 years and more, attacking Rudd and the unions because of their supposed "thuggery" - the bosses aren't thugs are they?? and using whatever ploys his acolytes have discovered which will change the directions of the opinion polls and show Howard on a winning streak.
It is all rather tragic, and bodes ill for all of us - black, white, brindle, whatever, if Howard wins the next election. Benign dictatorship we will not have - just listen to his tone of voice as he chastises Labor governments in Western Australia and Queensland, to say nothing of the Northern Territory, and the pathetic Labor party leader bleats his agreement with all of Howard's utterances and goes along with it!
No end in sight yet, unfortunately!

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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Article Sydney Morning Herald
Bisexuality a result of detention, detainee told
Erik Jensen
May 9, 2007
Ali Humayun, right, with his partner … he fears deportation.
A MAN seeking asylum on the grounds that he would be persecuted as a bisexual Christian in Pakistan was denied refugee status because authorities ruled he was bisexual only as a result of being locked up with other men.
Giles Short, the Refugee Review Tribunal member who made the decision, said in his finding: "the applicant was not in fact bisexual … [his relationship] was simply the product of the situation where only partners of the same sex were available and said nothing about his sexual orientation."
He said this was the case in many relationships in prisons and detention centres.
In evidence to the tribunal, Ali Humayun said he and his partner had discussed marriage. But Mr Short dismissed this as "a contrived attempt to make their relationship appear more serious".
His findings were upheld by the Federal Magistrates Court on February 19, which said the decision on Mr Humayun's sexuality had been a "finding of fact".
Mr Humayun came to Australia in 2000 to study information technology and has spent more than two years in Villawood Detention Centre. He said he began his first same-sex relationship before entering the centre. At the time of his tribunal hearing, he identified as bisexual, but now said he was gay.
Mr Humayun says he is the only openly gay detainee at Villawood - his partner has been granted asylum. He says he is persecuted daily by detainees, but fears worse in Pakistan. "I'm worried for my life if I am deported home," he said. "The men in my family, they are really fundamentalist types. Muslims. My lifestyle is totally in contrast to what they believe."
Pakistani civil law punishes gay sex with jail terms of between two years and life. Under Islamic law, homosexuals can face 100 lashes or death by stoning.
Mr Humayun said he converted to Christianity after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The tribunal rejected that claim on the grounds that he could not answer questions such as naming the first four books of the New Testament, and had not actively pursued the religion in detention.
Mr Humayun was detained after he was caught working on a bridging visa. His appeal for asylum has been rejected by the Department of Immigration and the tribunal. He is writing to the Minister for Immigration, Kevin Andrews, requesting he intervene on humanitarian grounds.
The Greens senator Kerry Nettle, who met Mr Humayun on Friday, said she would raise the case with the minister. She was concerned Mr Humayun was in a part of Villawood usually reserved for people with criminal records. "It's like a prison," she said. "All of the other detainees have been convicted of criminal offences, apart from him."
Mr Humayun said he was moved when guards received an anonymous, hand-written note saying he was planning to escape. He said he asked to see the note, but it was never shown to him.
A tribunal spokeswoman declined to comment on the case, citing confidentiality provisions in the Migration Act. Mr Andrews was unavailable for comment.
In 2003 the High Court ruled that a Bangladeshi couple should not be deported as they would face persecution for being gay.
Mr Humayun said: "I am hopeful, but at this stage I have realistic expectations. I don't expect to be getting out soon."
ABC 19 May 2007
Refugee Review Tribunal 'homophobic': detainee
By Caro Meldrum
Friday, 18 May 2007. 16:02 (AEST)Friday, 18 May 2007. 16:02 (ACST)Friday, 18 May 2007. 13:02 (AWST)

A 26-year-old Pakistani Christian, Ali Humayun, has been in Villawood Detention Centre for more than two years.Supplied
A vigil has been held in eastern Sydney for a homosexual Christian Pakistani man who has been detained at Sydney's Villawood Detention Centre for more than two years.
Ali Humayun's application for asylum was based on fear of persecution if he returned home, but was rejected by the Refugee Review Tribunal last October.
The tribunal ruled that the 26-year-old's sexual orientation was a result of his detention.
Mr Humayun identified himself as bisexual before entering a relationship with 41-year-old Spanish citizen, Julio Lorenzo, at the detention centre last year.
Mr Humayun now identifies as homosexual.
In the tribunal's judgment, decision maker Giles Short rejected Mr Humayun's claim on the basis of inconsistent evidence.
"I do not accept that the applicant is in fact bisexual in sexual orientation as he claims."
"I consider that his relationship with Mr Lorenzo is simply the product of the situation, where only partners of the same sex are available, and says nothing about his sexual orientation."
Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) organised last night's vigil at Taylor Square in Darlinghurst, to mark International Day Against Homophobia.
Dozens of protesters, surrounded by candles and armed with placards, called for the release of Mr Humayun, claiming the tribunal is homophobic.
Farida Iqbal is a spokeswoman for CAAH.
She rejects the tribunal's finding that Mr Humayun's sexuality is a result of being in close confinement with men.
"That whole argument is an inherently homophobic argument. Isn't there a more plausible explanation, that they are gay and that they've been gay all along?
"Especially the risk that he is taking by coming out of the closet. To me that's not 'situational homosexuality'. He is risking his life."
"I've seen him with his boyfriend. To me it looks like they're very much in love, you can just see that when they're together, it's absolutely clear"
Mr Lorenzo was granted permanent residency in Australia three months ago.
Since then, he has been visiting Mr Humayun almost every day.
"This is real, it comes from the heart," he said.
"We love each other from the heart. I walked out of Villawood and if that was the case, if it was only sex, then I wouldn't be going to see him, I wouldn't be trying as hard as I am trying to get him out.
"We want to get married, but marriage isn't everything to us. We will stay together for ever even if we don't get married."
But in the tribunal's decision, member Giles Short dismissed their desire to marry.
"He (Mr Humayun) said that if he and Mr Lorenzo could stay in Australia they would and that they did not need to get married to stay together.....this suggests to me that the applicant's evidence and Mr Lorenzo's, that he and Mr Lorenzo often talked about marriage, was a contrived attempt to make their relationship appear more serious than it is."
Mr Humayun is currently being held in the maximum security section at Villawood, stage one.
Ms Iqbal says Mr Humayun is afraid of other detainees.
"He cops a lot of homophobia from the other detainees," she said.
"He stays in his room most days because he's scared of the other men's reaction. He's suffering immensely."
"But what he fears most is being sent back to Pakistan. He will be severely persecuted if he is deported."
Mr Lorenzo says that Mr Humayun comes from a fundamentalist Muslim family, but converted to Christianity several months ago.
He says Mr Humayun told him and the tribunal that his father and brother have threatened to kill him if he returns to Pakistan because he has disgraced his family.
"Pakistan is not a society like ours. We've got the Government and then we've got the Church separately. But over there the Church, the spiritual leader is above anything else and so his family are already threatening," he said.
"They don't think like we think. I am scared for him myself."
But in the tribunal's judgment, member Giles Short also dismissed that claim.
"I am not satisfied that the applicant's conduct in telling his family in Pakistan about his claimed bisexuality and his claimed relationship with Mr Lorenzo was engaged in otherwise than for the purpose of strengthening his claim to be a refugee."
Mr Humayun lodged a Ministerial Request to overturn the tribunal's decision with the Department of Immigration on March 23rd.
The Minister for Immigration, Kevin Andrews, says he is not able to comment on Mr Humayun's case because he has not yet received the request.
A spokeswoman for the Minister says the department has received the request and it is currently being processed.
She says it will be given to Mr Andrews in the next few days.
Related Images

Julio Lorenzo (left) says he will not give up the fight to get his partner, Ali Humayun, out of Villawood Detention Centre.Supplied

Members of Community Action Against Homophobia call for the release of Pakistani national Ali Humayun from Villawood Detention Centre at the vigil in Taylors Square.ABC News

Sydneysiders stopped to sign a petition calling for the release of Villawood Detention Centre detainee Ali Humayun at the vigil at Taylors Square in Darlinghurst.ABC News
Related Video
Refugee Review Tribunal 'homophobic': detainee
Scenes from the vigil for Villawood Detention Centre detainee Ali Humayun, whose claim for asylum was rejected by the Refugee Review Tribunal in October last year.
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Julio Lorenzo speaks about his relationship with his partner, 26-year-old Ali Humayun
Julio Lorenzo speaks about his relationship with 26-year-old Ali Humayun, who he met while in Villawood Detention Centre.

MCV 13 June 2007
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has granted queer Pakistani refugee, Ali Humayun, currently incarcerated at Sydney's Villawood Detention Centre, a four hour home visit. The visit took place on May 31, allowing Ali to spend time with his boyfriend, Julio Lorenzo, at Lorenzo's family home. Previously, DIAC officials had refused to recognise Humayun's sexuality.
"It was good to get out of Villawood for four hours [but] I would like more home visits," Humayun said. "These trips out of Villawood go a long way in terms of a detainee's mental health. Ultimately though, I would love to be freed."
Currently detainees are allowed only one home visit per month.
Activist group Community Action Against Homophobia continue to agitate for Humayun to be granted Australian citizenship.

(Posted in Homophobia)

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DePaul University in the USA has refused tenure to Norman Finkelstein denying they were influenced by pressure from the zionist lobby and Alan Dershowitz, the zionist professor at Harvard university. Dershowitz was discredited by Finkelstein in a book showing that Dershowitz had used material from a long-discredited pro-zionist book written some years earlier than Dershowitz's. Dershowitz lost a fair amount of crdibility over the issue and is now seeking revenge on his humiliation by ensuring Finkelstein is denied tenure at DePaul.
Depaul University authorities have denied this has influenced their decision, but they have discredited themselves by showing they have bowed to pressure from the zionist lobby in the USA. So much for academic feedom in the"land of the free"!!!
This item is available on the Campus Watch website, at http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/3246
Up for Tenure and Under Fire [on Norman Finkelstein]
by Michael Scharff
The Daily Princetonian
April 20, 2007
In a heated back-and-forth between two high-profile scholars, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz has in recent months campaigned for the denial of Norman Finkelstein GS '88's bid for tenure at DePaul University in Chicago.
Dershowitz's objections have focused on numerous articles authored by Finkelstein, who is Jewish, which contend that Jews in Israel and America have conspired to use the Holocaust to oppress Palestinians and extract compensation money from Europe.
On April 13, Finkelstein, an assistant professor of political science, went before a review committee for the third and final step in his tenure bid. Finkelstein's department has backed his bid, but some administrators have refused to support him. DePaul will not disclose the results of the meeting until next month.
"My thoughts have been the same all along," Finkelstein said in an interview. "Had the case not been politicized and had external pressures not been brought to bear on the university, I am confident based on the record that I would have sailed through the tenure process."
Dershowitz contends that his opposition to Finkelstein's tenure is not motivated by any personal animosity toward Finkelstein — who accused Dershowitz of plagiarism on a 2003 radio program — but rather by a sense of responsibility to inform the academic community of the dangers that would come with extending tenure to Finkelstein.
"He has no basis for getting tenure, [since] he writes these outrageous things," Dershowitz said, referring to Finkelstein's arguments regarding Israel and the Holocaust. "It would be an absolute scandal ... should he even be considered for tenure."
Dershowitz added that he weighed in on Finkelstein's tenure bid only after the former chairman of the school's political science department reached out to him and invited him to assess Finkelstein's scholarship.
After researching Finkelstein's published scholarship, Dershowitz concluded that Finkelstein simply has not done work worthy of tenure. "His tenure should not be denied on the basis of ideology," he said, "but his tenure should be denied because his scholarship is nothing but ideology ... there is simply no scholarship."
DePaul spokeswoman Denise Mattson declined to comment on the issue, saying that the tenure process is confidential while discussions are ongoing.
Finkelstein's writings have been called hostile to the global Jewish community and to the families of Holocaust victims. But, despite the increasing scrutiny of his work, Finkelstein — who earned his Ph.D. in politics and wrote his dissertation on the theory of Zionism — said he won't back down.
"[The Holocaust has] been used primarily as a weapon to immunize Israel from criticisms," he said, "so that whenever Israel is accused of committing human rights violations we are told to remember the Nazi Holocaust as if it grants specific immunization." His parents are Holocaust survivors.
The quarrel between the two professors dates back to 2003, when both men appeared on the radio program "Democracy Now." Dershowitz had expected to debate MIT linguist and noted left-wing scholar Noam Chomsky, but Chomsky cancelled and Finkelstein filled in.
During the program, Finkelstein accused Dershowitz of plagarizing when writing his then-recently published book, "The Case for Israel."
Finkelstein said that after subjecting Dershowitz's book to a "line-byline examination," he found that "the results were very revealing and not very flattering," adding that he found evidence of "massive fabrication and falsification of sources" in Dershowitz's work. "In my opinion," Finkelstein said, "Professor Dershowitz did not write large parts of the book."
Finkelstein later included his criticisms of Dershowitz, including the accusations of plagiarism, in his 2005 book, "Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History."
Dershowitz denied the charges of plagiarism. "I write every word of every book," he said in an interview.
But Finkelstein said he suspects the current spat is about personal grievances, not academic work.
"I do not think it's pure vindictiveness," Finkelstein said of Dershowitz's opposition to his tenure bid. "I think Professor Dershowitz suffered a real blow to his reputation on account of my book, and since then, he has been desperately trying to discredit me."
Despite its heated rhetoric, the DePaul controversy is not unique in academia. At many schools, administrators and senior faculty have difficulty in deciding whether to draw a line between scholarship and political views when evaluating candidates for tenure.
Princeton does take into consideration professors' politics in making its tenure decisions, Dean of the Faculty David Dobkin said. "We do allow a candidate's political views to influence our opinions," he said in an email.
Neither Finkelstein nor Dershowitz could say with certainty what they think the outcome of the current controversy will be.
Dershowitz said the lesson from this battle is simple: "If you're going to be turned down for tenure because of your lack of scholarship, become a radicalist," he said, "because then you might get tenure."
This item is available on the Campus Watch website, at http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/3246

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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BenZ The Bizarre Blogger Bleating BooBoos and BooHoos 6.6.2007

This poor pathetic creature posts abusive responses on the Antony Loewenstein Blog pages, and insults people who respond so that they stop adding posts. People actually continue to read the articles and comments because they happen to be interesting and raise some very interesting points.
People such as this have driven serious people away becasue they refuse to be abused by creatures such as this.
Others such as his very good friend viva peace do the same and are upest when there are no responses to their insults.
Instead of responding with reasoned arguments, all they can do is attack people personally, which is what they did in my case because they decided I was easy game because I am gay.
Well I don't need their rudeness but I find the rest of the Loewenstein Blog with articles by Antony and Andre to be up to date and interesting and I can read them without fear of being insulted.
See Antony Loewenstein's Blog for the articles abused by this bleating blogger below:
BenZ Jun 5th, 2007 at 2:00 pm
On teh 40th anniversary
A typo. Forgiveable.
Recently declassified [sic] suggest that
Perhaps an innocent error.
As we witnessed during last year [sic] 35 day war
Must be another innocent error.
Any notion that Israel is fighting for it’s very existence
Nope. Definitely sub-literate.
Have you noticed how few people actually pile on top of me begging me to stop teasing you Andre? Is it because:
a) Nobody’s actually here and you haven’t set up a sockpuppet
b) I’m right
c) People enjoy watching…
• 2 BenZ Jun 5th, 2007 at 2:02 pm
it now appears that this situation was either exaggerated in the past, if not entirely fabricated
It is amazing how one single article in a pop magazine is enough to completely vindicate your bizarre conspiracy theories.
Couldn’t you at least add a couple of anonymous blogs as “evidence” to further support your outrageous claim?
• What I left out of my above comments about our two heroic bloggers on Antony Loewenstein's Blog is that they are such heroes that they hide behind anonymity and attack those who don't - what courageous fellows they are!!!

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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The following two items were in the Haaretz online newspaper on 31 May 2007, and indicate that boycott Israel calls are growing internationally:
31 MAY 2007

Photo not available of UCU delegates voting Wednesday in Bournemouth to support a call by Palestinian trade unions for a boycott on Israeli academe. (Brandon Kelly)
Israel: U.K. union's academic boycott bid is 'scandalous'
By Haaretz Staff
Cabinet minister Yitzhak Herzog, responsible for the government's handling of issues related to anti-Semitism, denounced Thursday as "scandalous, discriminatory and one-sided" a decision by a British lecturers' union to promote a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, in protest at Israel's policy on the Palestinians.
The vote was passed by 158 votes to 99 at the University and College Union (UCU) conference in Bournemouth on Wednesday.
Herzog has spoken with British Ambassdor to Israel Tom Phillips to convey Israel's condemnation of the move.
It is especially troubling, Herzog told Israel Radio, that "the decision was taken in a nation which is considered friendly to Israel."
The decision "necessates soul-searching on that part of all citizens of Britain," he said.
The motion passed Wednesday says that the UCU will present the question of a boycott on Israel's academics for discussion by all its members. According to the motion, congress much send "the full text of the Palestinian boycott call to all branches for information and discussion."
Among the amendments added to the proposal and approved by the union was a clause pledging the group to campaign for "a moratorium on research and cultural collaborations with Israel via EU and European Science Foundation funding until Israel abides by UN resolutions."
The discussions are scheduled to take place over the next 12 months. The motion encouraged union members to "consider the moral implications of conducting ties with Israeli academic institutions."
The vote was preceded by a heated discussion in which Israel was repeatedly referred to as an apartheid state, engaging in crimes against humanity in the Palestinian territories. The union representatives said the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip did not allow spectators to stand idly by.
As part of the motion, the congress will disseminate Palestinian trade unions' request for a boycott against Israel in all the union's offices.
The congress also said it would arrange for academics from the Palestinian Authority to attend delegations to the U.K. The union's representatives also decided to establish direct contact with Palestinian workers' organizations.
Ronnie Fraser, who heads the British group "Academic Friends of Israel," said that "the vote proved that nothing has changed within the ranks of the U.K.'s academic unions. This is another boycott."
In 2005, Fraser acted to overturn another boycott against Israel, which had been approved by the Association of University Teachers (AUT.) That decision was overturned a month after it was passed. In 2006, the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) also moved to boycott Israel, but its decision became invalid shortly thereafter when NATFHE and AUT merged to form the UCU.
After the vote, the head of the UCU, Sally Hunt, reiterated her opposition to the motion.
'As I have made clear in the past, and as I reiterated on the floor of congress this morning, I do not believe a boycott is supported by the majority of UCU members, nor do I believe that members see it is a priority for the union," she said in a statement on the UCU Web site.
She said, however, that the 120,000 members of the union would now have a chance to express their opinions on a boycott, a move that she said she supported.
"Today's motion... means all branches now have a responsibility to consulate all of their members on the issue and I believe that every member should have the opportunity to have their say. The earlier motion means that any future calls for a boycott must pass key tests before a boycott can implemented."
Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdon Zvi Hefetz called the resolution offensive to the British Jewish community, saying that, "Its slanted phrasing reeks of ignorance."
Adrian Fronda, a senior mathematics lecturer who had joined the union solely to vote against the boycott, was less diplomatic. "I came here to oppose the prevalent anti-Semitism we see all around us here," he said.
Education Minister Yuli Tamir condemned the union's decision, saying she would address British Education Secretary Alan Johnson on the matter.

31 MAY 2007

Photo not available of South African Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils speaking with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. (AP)

South Africa's largest trade union seeks to boycott Israel
By Cnaan Liphshiz, Haaretz Correspondent
South Africa's largest trade union federation will launch a campaign against "the Israeli occupation of Arab lands" this week, demanding that Pretoria impose a boycott on all Israeli goods and break diplomatic relations. South African Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils, who is Jewish, told Haaretz that he actively supported the initiative - which contradicts the policy of his own cabinet.
The president of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), Willy Madisha, announced the launching of the campaign last week in Johannesburg, calling on the government to cease all diplomatic relations with Israel after its attacks on Palestinian leaders.
"The best way to have Israel comply with United Nations resolutions is to pressure it by a diplomatic boycott such as the one imposed on apartheid South Africa," Madisha said. Cosatu belongs to a recently-formed coalition of organizations operating under the banner "End The Occupation."
Kasrils' anti-Israeli organization Not In My Name belongs to the coalition working toward an embargo on Israel. This runs contrary to South Africa's official stance, and to President Thabo Mbeki's decision to strengthen trade ties with Israel. Mbeki, who heads the ANC ruling party, even appeared as a guest at Israel's Independence Day celebrations in Durban last month.
Kasrils, a member of the ANC, told Haaretz that his support for severing all ties with Israel was not in opposition to his cabinet's policy. "Cosatu is an ANC ally in the coalition against the Israeli occupation. Most elements of this coalition call for boycotting Israel, although the ANC does not," he said.
"We respect their right to encourage people to boycott Israeli goods. As a South African consumer I personally will not purchase Israeli goods until Israel changes its present policy regarding the Palestinians."
Cosatu's spokesman, Patrick Craven, said Kasrils was involved in directing the campaign for imposing a political and economic embargo on Israel. "This is intended to include the diamond trade," he added.
Craven acknowledged that his organization's primary objectives did not pertain to the Middle East, noting that while Cosatu's main goal was improving the material conditions of its 1.8 million members, "it could not stand idly by as Israel perpetrated atrocities in Palestine." Adding that he anticipated "some short-term damage" to South Africa's economy following the boycott, Craven said the damage was "vastly outweighed by the importance of stopping injustice."
The campaign that Cosatu has helped mount will begin Friday, with sermons in South Africa's mosques on "the plight of the Palestinian people". The Christian organizations of the coalition will begin addressing the issue in churches Sunday.
The organizers intend to picket across South Africa next week, including a picket by members of parliament and a candlelight vigil outside the U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg. The ANC ruling party has called for a parliamentary debate on "Israeli occupation."
Campaign activists will also hold pickets outside selected stores selling Israeli goods. The events will culminate in mass marches and rallies on Saturday, June 9, both in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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This was sent to me by email on 23 May 2007 and as it is a necessary piece of information for the apathetic Australian public, a blog is as good a way as any to get the message out:
Take a look at how "good economic managers" spend OUR money persecuting refugees and asylum seekers.
Of course this is only the financial cost- the human cost is not measurable. Imagine how much was squandered when the Detention Centres were bursting!

2006-07 Costs per detention centre
Detention Centre: Nauru
Fixed Annual Cost: $28 million
Cost per detainee per day: -

Detention Centre: Manus Island (EMPTY)
Fixed Annual Cost: $2 million
Cost per detainee per day: mothballed

Detention Centre: Baxter
Fixed Annual Cost: $23.3 million
Cost per detainee per day: $115

Detention Centre: Villawood
Fixed Annual Cost: 16.9 million
Cost per detainee per day: $154

Detention Centre: Christmas Island (current)
Fixed Annual Cost: $6.8 million
Cost per detainee per day: -

Detention Centre: Marbynong
Fixed Annual Cost: $5.3 million
Cost per detainee per day: $104

Detention Centre: Perth
Fixed Annual Cost: $4.6 million
Cost per detainee per day: $189

Detention Centre: Northern (Darwin)
Fixed Annual Cost: $3.9 million
Cost per detainee per day: $122

Detention Centre: Port Augusta
Fixed Annual Cost: $2.2 million
Cost per detainee per day: $122

Detention Centre: Port Hedland (EMPTY)
Fixed Annual Cost: $0.72 million
Cost per detainee per day: mothballed

TOTAL $93.72 million
Pamela Curr ASRC Campaigns
(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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Just when we thought it was comparatively safe to go into our supermarkets and find food that has not been genetically modified comes a report that it is now being looked at again, by the Victorian Government amongst others.
Jim Peacock, a government scientist, has been insulting those of us in the population at large who may voice their concerns at the possible submission of governments to firms like Monsanto and others who specialise in GM and who are using similar arguments to those used by the smoking lobby to get their messages about their poisons out to the public.
GM has not yet undergone the stringent testing which is necessary over a reasonable period of time to find out what the long-term effects of the technology are, and two letters in The Age on 17 May 2007 give very interesting arguments against the pernicious spread of GM into our bodies:
LETTER NO.1 - by Brett Hedger:
Matter of genetically modified principle
"For Australia's chief scientist, Jim Peacock, to refer to people opposed to genetic modification of our plants and animals as "unprincipled minorities" (The Age, 16/5) is insulting at best.
It is similar to the logic used to counter tobacco, native forest logging, climate change and the war in Iraq - if you are not with us, you are against us and you are most certainly stupid.
These claims are disingenuous and outrageous.
I suggest Dr Peacock spend his time with GM farmers in the US. It is well documented that they have been well and truly screwed by the "science" and the "law" of companies such as Monsanto. I declare that the chief scientist is part of an unprincipled minority and part of a self-serving, ill-informed, scientific activist group.
What next, that GM foods will allow us to feed the "world"? Poppycock."
LETTER NO.2 - by Helen Wallace:
Majority uneasy
"I don't consider myself part of an "unprincipled minority". First, because for myself and others like me, our principles are all that we are standing up for. We aren't concerned about big grants or other payments from the companies that are pushing GM at us - when you see that money trail, you have to wonder about what principles are being ignored. Second, because I am not part of a minority. The majority of people feel uneasy about the effects of GM, which are deliberately untested, on our bodies, let alone on our agriculture.
Because I have spent some time finding out about the effects of GM, my family, friends and I don't buy anything now unless it says "non-GM" on the packet."
Part of an article by Chee Chee Leung in the same paper - on a whole page dedicated to a discussion on Genetically Modified crops - tells that "Consumers Association Choice had been campaigning for tougher GM labelling laws, saying any involvement of GM material should be disclosed to buyers.
"Consumer concerns aren't simply about the end product, but about the process", said Choice's food policy officer, Clare Hughes.
"Some people are probably fine with the whole process and don't have any concerns. Others might prefer to avoid products that are genetically modified to any extent.""
These links don't work on Blognow, so type their names into a search engine:
Useful links to find out more about Genetically Modified Food and Related Issues

Earthscan\James & James Publishers


(Posted in Genetic Modifications - Food)

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Tandberg hits the nail on the head every time, and this one in The Age of 15 May 2007 is one of his best ever!! Howard and his team of bullies, lying in wait for the next "victim". But wait, bullies are also cowards (or is that howards?).

As Tom Lehrer wrote in one of his most famous songs about countries "getting the bomb" - who's next? who's next? who's next?
And the answer is everyone who looks like getting in the way of this team of bullies who are determined to win the next election.
Greg Bowyer's letter in The Age on the same day, 15 May 2007 said:
"We might take Howard's school bullying concerns seriously if he was to put the muzzle on his chief attack dogs, Bill Heffernan and Tony Abbott. Unless he sees them as a couple of non-core bullies."
And this one, from Peter Hall on the same day:
"Are Howard's comments on school bullies part of a recruitment programme to help seek our future politicans? Or, are they a warning to students: if you demonstrate behaviour you have learnt from watching politicans, you may find yourself out of school."
As also this from D.Stewart:
It is a bit rich for John Howard to come out on bullying in schools. He didn't do much to stop Bully Boy Bill getting stuck into Michael Kirby, Barnaby Joyce and Julia Gillard."
And Barry Bickley asks:
"And when the Prime Minister's bullying "new compliance requirements" for the next round of federal funding for state schools are rightly rejected by the states (yet again), can we anticipate dogs in the classroom?"
Peter Thomson's was a longer letter, but made some very interesting comments about the bullying saga"
"In targeting bullying, Prime Minister Howard (The Age, 14/5) may well have said: "The competition to gain the services of these people is growing all the time in our modern economy. We need to be proactive to find and recruit them ahead of the other major users such as the privatised transport operators and big business senior management. We are able to assure them they will be welcome in politics and working with like-minded colleagues. We have the advantage of being able to offer greater security of employment and a more generous pension scheme than will be on offer from the AWAs that our competitors favour.
"The situation is not yet dire, as we still have some very experienced head-kickers on the front bench and some wonderful young toughs being groomed behind the scenes, but we cannot afford to relax".
Mr Howard then left for a special meeting with Pastor Peter Curtis to discuss which bible quotes could be used to justify further budgetary cuts on the aged and destitute."

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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This letter which appeared in The Age on 14 May 2007 shows how much further Howard's hypocrisy has travelled than has been obvious till now:
Cricketers stumped: trade scores a ton
"Why have we banned our cricket team from going to Zimbabwe when John Howard's mates in the business world have actually increased our trade with them in 2006? Why should sporting teams suffer while business is going full steam ahead?
We have played soccer against countries such as North Korea and Iran in the World Cup qualifiying rounds. We are going to China for the Olympics. All of these countries have human rights problems. China and Iran are some of Zimbabwe's trading partners. Why do we expect sportspeople to be the only ones to bare the brunt of government policies? Sport can be a way of breaking down the barriers of ignorance. Look at what Jesse Owens did to Hitler's sick ideology! Just imagine our team going to Zimbabwe and greeting and meeting the locals - and then not shaking hands with Mugabe after the games."
Peter Williams, Wollongong, NSW

(Posted in International Politics)

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Anti-censorship, anti-homophobia, anti-religious right fanaticism, anti-zionism, pro-human rights for ALL!


A report in The Age on 14 May 2007 states that prime minister John Howard plans to make it easier for schools to expel problem children as part of a scheme to give principals and teachers more power to deal with poor discipline, bullying and violence.
The report goes on to state that Howard will use a major speech today (14 May 2007) to outline the plan, which he says will ensure parents are fully informed about playground violence and discipline problems.
This is unbelievably rich, coming from a man who is the very role model of a bullying "sergeant-major" - to misquote Gilbert and Sullivan. This is the man who unleashed dogs and hooded men on the Australian waterfront, told the nation lies about children overboard and the Tampa affair, established off-shore concentration camps, ensured that David Hicks was incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay for 5 years - until that became an election liability, told lies about Afgahnistan and Iraq, got Bill Heffernan involved in the dirty tricks campaigns against Justice Michael Kirby, Julia Gillard and the NSW ALP during at least two elections, introduced industrial relations reforms that ensure that workers are bullied and mistreated, and various other scandalous events over the last 11 years that are probably too numerous to mention.
And this is the man who talks about bullying in schools when he is the bullyboy role model on which all in this country can and do build on to learn how to bully. This is the man who employs people like Tony Abbott, Philip Ruddock, Amanda Vanstone, Kevin Andrews and countless others to ensure that bullying is done at top level by those who run (sic - that should be ruin) the country! This is the man who overrides recommendations for chief censor to make his own appointment so that he can influence his friend to reduce this country to the jelly it would have been if not for the David Hicks saga.
Bullies to the right of us, bullies to the left of us, bullies in front of us and bullies behind us - a country become brain dead to the bullying because it is so much part of the landscape!

(Posted in Australian politics and politicians)

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The following item was reported in iafrica.com on 11 May 2007, and is yet another controversial statement from a Jew who tells it like it is - so, not only in the USA and Australia and the UK, and the message is spreading. One day Israel will start getting the message too - particularly when and if the billions of dollars received from the USA start to dry up as they inevitably will when recession hits the US economy due to its vast expenditure on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and other arms expenditures to assist its client countries:
Israeli policy 'worse' than apartheid

Fri, 11 May 2007

South African Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils on Thursday accused Israel of conducting a policy against the Palestinians that was "worse" than apartheid.

Speaking on the sidelines of a UN meeting on the situation in the Palestinian territories, Kasrils said South Africa's townships had never been attacked by helicopter gunships and tanks, in contrast to the military means employed by Israel.

"The analogy between apartheid and Israel's occupation of Palestine is often made. It is not the same thing. The occupation is absolutely worse," Kasrils told reporters.

Fascist behaviour

"It is important that we tell the Israeli authorities they are behaving like fascists when they do certain things, although we are not calling it a fascist state."

Kastrils called on the United States and European Union to lift their economic and political embargo of the Palestinian Authority now that Hamas and Fatah have joined in a government of national unity.

He said the meeting would, among things, prepare for demonstrations marking the 40th anniversary year of the Israel occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian observer at the United Nations, said the gathering had been organised in Pretoria to deliver lessons from South Africa about how it had dismantled apartheid.

"An unjust system was defeated here and they have been elsewhere. We can do it in Palestine too," he said.

"The cracks are showing in the Israeli occupation. They tried to break the Palestinian Authority but they were unable to."

(Posted in Jewish and Israel and Palestine)

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BenZ, Tim Blair, Colin Rubenstein, Philip Mendes report from their Jerusalem bunker while writing their books about Israel 12.5.2007

As you would expect, Antony Loewenstein writes in his blog about the latest attacks on him by the usual suspects, and is promptly attacked by the other usual suspects.
Fortunately they are becoming less and less relevant as zionists outside Israel lose their way and flounder about, not knowing whether to go to Israel to live as the Israelis live or to stay safely out of harm's way in comfortable old conservative Howard's Australia.
Oh, the howls of protest from the lynch mob!!!
The hacks line-up
Published by Antony Loewenstein in his blog, May 11th, 2007
The Australian Jewish News continues its tradition of hard-hitting journalism, touching stories that no other “serious” paper would consider:
Outspoken Israel critic Antony Loewenstein has been short-listed for a NSW Government literary prize in a move that has raised eyebrows among Jewish groups and social commentators.
Loewenstein’s controversial book, My Israel Question, has been nominated for the $10,000 Gleebooks Prize in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.
In their citation for the book, described as “a researched guide to the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict”, the judges said Loewenstein had taken aim at Australian Jews and noted, “a Jew’s questioning of Israel is not without emotional cost”.
“At a time when Australia Jewry is publicly fragmenting in its views on Middle Eastern affairs, My Israel Question is a cogent expression of Jewish dissidence,” the citation says.
But the nomination has puzzled the book’s detractors, who claim it is more the result of successful marketing than scholarly analysis.
Conservative columnist Tim Blair said My Israel Question lacked merit in content and style.
“Haven’t these people read the book? If you read the book, any idea of literature flies right out the window,” Blair said. “The guy can’t write. If it was well written, you would read it.”
The executive director of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council Dr Colin Rubenstein said the decision to short-list Loewenstein appeared political.
“The fact that Loewenstein was short-listed for this prize seems likely to represent more a statement by some of the judges of support for his political opinions rather than about the quality of My Israel Question, a tendentious, often pompous, polemic replete with factual errors and flawed analysis,” Dr Rubenstein said.
“It certainly testifies, yet again, to the self-promotional skills of both Loewenstein and [his publisher] Melbourne University Press [MUP] and the absurdity of Loewenstein’s repeated theme that he and other vehement critics of Israel are somehow silenced or the victims of a campaign of intimidation.”
MUP did not return calls from the AJN and would not be drawn on how many copies had sold, but it is understood a revised second edition is due for release in October.
Loewenstein, who is overseas, said on his website that he welcomed the recognition “far away from the rampant parochialism of the Jewish world”.
“I look forward to the accusations of antisemitism by the usual suspects towards the judging panel,” he wrote.
Dr Philip Mendes, co-editor of Jews and Australian Politics, said MUP’s appointment of a full-time publicist to promote My Israel Question had paid dividends.
“It’s a lightweight book, whatever your views are on the Middle East … the sort of thing that might scrape through as an undergraduate honours thesis,” Dr Mendes said.
The award winners will be announced on May 29 at the Art Gallery of NSW.
The Jewish rag must be getting desperate. If they’re needing to quote blogger Tim Blair - whose journalistic achievements include writing about fast cars, visiting the Republican National Conference and barely leaving his News Ltd office - things aren’t looking too healthy.
Colin Rubenstein simply spends his days waiting by the fax machine for the latest talking points from the Israeli Foreign Ministry. And then there’s Philip Mendes, about whom I’ve written before, a man strangely keen for mainstream Jewish community approval.
So, here are a few inconvenient truths about my book. It is indeed re-released later in the year in a new, updated edition (clearly the sign of a dismal failure.) The book was a best-seller in Australia last year, and has just been released in the US. It has generated mountains of interest and support from any number of Jews and non-Jews across the world. It has shown the mainstream Jewish community - and the dwindling number of wannabe militant Zionists like Blair - that their hysteria surrounding the book and its message simply reinforces the (mostly truthful) stereotypes about how Jews deal with criticism of the Jewish state.
Nobody said that Zionists were very savvy, and my personal experiences over the last years have certainly proven that many Jews will go to outrageous lengths to justify Israeli oppression against the Palestinians. Thankfully, Israel is becoming increasingly internationally isolated, and this will only continue in the coming years.
My Israel Question is simply the first round in a long battle.

15 Responses to “The hacks line-up”
1. 1 Andre May 11th, 2007 at 1:52 am
You gotta hand it to Tim Blair. Next to Glenn Reynolds, no one has mastered the art of ignoring the elephant in the room (by pointing to the wallpaper) quite like him.
Haven’t these people read the book? If you read the book, any idea of literature flies right out the window,” Blair said. “The guy can’t write. If it was well written, you would read it.
No comment whatsoever regarding the content. Tim doesn’t like the way it is written, and that’s the best he can come up with.
2. 2 Dylan May 11th, 2007 at 2:02 am
No comment whatsoever regarding the content. Tim doesn’t like the way it is written, and that’s the best he can come up with.
I have not read the book so I can’t comment as to it’s accuracy or literary merit.
It would seem to me, though, that commenting on the quality of the writing is not out of line when discussing a book nominated for a literary award.
3. 3 Michael May 11th, 2007 at 2:28 am
Dylan, Antony’s book is in the Gleebooks Prize section of the awards- for “literary and cultural criticism”.
Seems Blair has made his comments based on no knowledge of the book and no knowledge of the award categories. That is, in total ignorance. That pretty much sums up Tim Blair.
4. 4 Marilyn May 11th, 2007 at 4:04 am
Blair once took a series of shots at little old me for saying the people on the TAMPA were not criminals.
Now that most of them are refugees here or in New Zealand he has never bothered to apologise.
I reckon if I can piss off one or two right wing nutjobs a day I feel quite happy.
5. 5 gottcha May 11th, 2007 at 9:30 am
Didn’t Tim Blair ban you from his blog?
6. 6 BenZ May 11th, 2007 at 9:46 am
Well Marilyn, you never apologised for perpetuating lies about the Bakhtiyaris, did you?
7. 7 BenZ May 11th, 2007 at 9:55 am
The Jewish rag must be getting desperate. If they’re needing to quote blogger Tim Blair - whose journalistic achievements include writing about fast cars, visiting the Republican National Conference and barely leaving his News Ltd office - things aren’t looking too healthy.
Uh, news editor of The Bulletin.
Opinion Editor of The Daily Telegraph.
Admittedly he was never a failed F2 cadet like Antony, but it doesn’t appear to be too shabby a resume for an Australian journalist.
8. 8 BenZ May 11th, 2007 at 10:26 am
Seems Blair has made his comments based on no knowledge of the book and no knowledge of the award categories.
Wrong. He’s read it and found it “painfully written”.
Is Antony ever going to respond to direct accusations of censorship and hypocricy?
Or is he just going to ignore it and hope it goes away like so many other comments he didn’t like and deleted.
9. 9 Andre May 11th, 2007 at 10:30 am
Wrong. He’s read it and found it “painfully written”.
But has nothing to say about the issues raised in the book. Maybe he doesn’t like the cover? If Ant had used the US flag, Blair would be singing it’s praises.
10. 10 BenZ May 11th, 2007 at 10:41 am
Rubbish Andre. He’s said enough about it and (of course) Antony never responded. Search his archives.
It is indeed re-released later in the year in a new, updated edition (clearly the sign of a dismal failure.)
Or the sign of correcting yet more basic errors in it? What are we up to now, version 4?
The book was a best-seller in Australia last year,
While constantly referring to it as a “best-seller” Antony has never, ever disclosed how many copies were actually sold. The Jewish News article also notes the publishers refused to specify. Why so coy? Perhaps for the same reason a mere 400 or so people signed his petition instead of the 1000 Antony expected?
And still he refuses to engage in comments on his own blog, regarding pretty serious charges. What total arrogance.
11. 11 gottcha May 11th, 2007 at 3:40 pm
You know what really pisses me off?
It’s all the tit-for-tat crap you people go on with. And don’t get me wrong, I also get annoyed when Antony does it as he did in this post. His sarcastic remarks about Colin Rubenstein and the Jewish News are really uncalled for.
Why can’t we just stick to the topic instead of needing to hit back and every little typo or comment or view. Why hit out at every person who disagrees with you. Surely the object is to talk to each other and figure out solutions. When I sit back and watch the daily squabbling here I wonder how we will ever find peace in the world.
We ought to be engaging in constructive discussion about how Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace and share the land they live on, not bashing each other up.
12. 12 BenZ May 11th, 2007 at 10:40 pm
You are right. Unfortunately your longing for constructive discussion is hindered by a constant stream of anti-Israel (and anti-US) rhetoric on this site, coupled with Antony’s censorship of any opposing views.
There has been some well researched critical analysis of plenty of Antony’s work. Unfortunately such comments never got past moderation and were instead (fortunately) cross-posted to other sites who can only look at this one and shake their heads.
If you are genuinely looking for constructive discussion, sadly you have come to the wrong place. Antony’s claim to be striving for “open and honest debate” is little more than hot-air.
13. 13 Andre May 11th, 2007 at 11:35 pm
Yes Gottcha you are right of course,
The solution has to come from addressing the problem, which inevitably involves bringing those responsible for the mess to account, even if it just means aknowledging there is a problem.
But as Ben has just demonstrated, the pro Israeli camp reject any such process on the grounds that it is anti-Israeli and musty therefore be motivated by malice towards Jews.
As we saw with Jimmy Carter’s book (which contained nothing controversial) , little effort has been made to address the primary arguments. In stead, critics will focus on attacking the minutia as a way of avoiding the debate.
Noam Chomsky puts it very well when describing Allan Dershowitz’s campaign against Norman Finkelstein.
Dershowitz is intelligent enough to know that he can’t respond, so he does what any tenth-rate lawyer does when you have a rotten case: you try to change the subject, maybe by vilifying opposing counsel. That changes the subject. Now we talk about whether, you know, opposing counsel did or did not commit this iniquity. And the tactic is a very good one, because you win, even if you lose. Suppose your charges against are all refuted. You’ve still won. You’ve changed the subject. The subject is no longer the real topic: the crucial facts about Israel, Dershowitz’s vulgar apologetics for them, which sort of are reminiscent of the worst days of Stalinism. We’ve forgotten all of that. We’re now talking about whether Finkelstein did this, that and the other thing. And even if the charges are false, the topic’s been changed. That’s the basis of it.
That pretty much explain why we are not engaging in constructive discussion about how Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace and share the land they live on.
14. 14 Dylan May 12th, 2007 at 12:26 am
Andre wrote:
As we saw with Jimmy Carter’s book (which contained nothing controversial) , little effort has been made to address the primary arguments.
Carter may not have been the first to compare the situation in Israel-Palestine to apartheid but this does not make his comparison less controversial.
To say that there is “nothing controversial” in his book is drawing a pretty long bow, I think.
15. 15 Andre May 12th, 2007 at 12:59 am
The reason the comparisons were not controversial, is because all his arguments have already been made by Haaretz and B’Tselem.
Like many tops discussed only inside Israel, they only become controversial when discussed in the US, the Britain and Australia. Dershowitz and an co. went after Carter as if to suggest he arrived at the conclusion himself, when in fact all Carter did was document what had already been reported.
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The following item speaks for itself!!!:
9 MAY 2007

From the offices of the Victorian Government...
DATE: Sunday, April 29, 2007
The federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has backflipped and agreed to release a discussion paper on censorship laws this week in a move welcomed by Victorian Attorney-General, Rob Hulls.
Mr Hulls said he was pleased that Mr Ruddock, rather than acting unilaterally, had eventually agreed with his state and territory colleagues that any changes required proper community consultation.
"Censorship is a joint responsibility of the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments, and the current cooperative system strikes a good balance between considerations such as artistic merit and community concerns about works that promote or incite violence," Mr Hulls said.
"I and my state and territory colleagues trust that we will not see a repeat of Mr Ruddock?s attack on the scheme?s cooperative intent and spirit at the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting earlier this month.
"Mr Ruddock tried to force through draconian changes in censorship laws in a move that circumvented due process, including public consultation. In a democratic country like Australia, there is no place for arrogant chief law officers who treat censorship as their personal fiefdom.
"The federal Attorney-General has already shown his contempt for due process and proper consultation with his unilateral decision to appoint the Prime Minister's friend, Donald McDonald, as the director of the Classification Board.
"We all made it clear at SCAG that under the cooperative arrangement, Mr Ruddock needed to take into account the views of all states and territories, and we all totally rejected this appointment.
"Yet he decided to ride roughshod over those concerns and go ahead with this outrageous appointment."
Mr Hulls said any changes in censorship laws must strike a considered balance between freedom of expression and community concern over material advocating terrorist acts.
The joint Commonwealth, State and Territory Government discussion paper will seek views on whether amendments to Classification Code and Guidelines are required to make clear the basis on which material can be banned.
Mr Hulls said the discussion paper reflected the needs of the different jurisdictions to find a solution to this difficult issue, and he urged Mr Ruddock to abide by the spirit of cooperation and consultation.
"No one wants a repeat of Mr Ruddock's attempts to unilaterally and cynically force his will on the people simply to score political points against colleagues in other jurisdictions," he said.
"I am sure that if we draw on the experience of anti-terrorism laws and the censorship system from all jurisdictions, an effective solution can be found.
"We must be vigilant to ensure that any changes are clearly defined so as not to inadvertently catch materials which simply express different points of view."
"If there are gaps in the laws with respect to material advocating terrorist acts, they will be filled, but we also need to strike the right balance between stopping such material and maintaining our fundamental freedoms.
"The Bracks Government is determined to ensure appropriate measures are in place to stamp out materials advocating terrorism, while at the same time respecting rights to freedom of speech."
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This letter, by LACHLAN WATTS, Melbourne in the Sunday Age of 22 April 2007 exposes the farce of George W Bush's ideas on educating people in Africa about AIDS:
"So now we have it. The Sunday Age reported that a study has shown the $1 billion spent by the US in trying to convince its youth to engage in abstinence has been a failure. Some time ago I saw a TV program on AIDS in Africa. It traced how Bush was proposing to spend $1 billion on condoms and AIDS education in Africa - that was until the religious right got into the act and $1 billion was spent trying to convince Africans of the need for abstinence. $1 billion down the plug hole, but with the AIDS epidemic in Africa still out of control. Imagine what the $2 billion could have achieved!."
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Bill Heffernan is a senator. He thinks this entitles him to political immunity from criticism and empowers him to behave like the thug he basically is.
Heffernan has been, or still is, married. It seems he also has children. Perhaps his wife is actually a prisoner in her own home, and is bullied mercilessly by her husband who has no respect for women. He is a mysogynist, homophobic, sexist, racist bully who has got away with the worst aspects of life in Howard's political rule because he has been supported and cajoled by Howard to do all these dirty nasty things which keep coming to light.
When this present government shows that it is family-friendly, and by family I mean all different types of what today constitutes family, when it shows it supports young people and their difficulties, when it shows it is not all "me-generation", when it does not include thugs and bullies - of which there are so many it is difficult to record them all, then perhaps one could accept the idea of family support.
When this government supports and promotes the likes of Heffernan, with his nasty attacks on anybody who is different from his perceived state of the world circa 1843, then it is possible to see that Heffernan as husband and parent can be no role model for anybody in Australia circa 2007!
The fact that Heffernan has apologised to Julia Gillard is inconsequential. The hurt and damage bullies do lives on after them. The solution is for Heffernan to resign from Howard's government and from the senate immediately. Anything less is unacceptable. Howard is busy mouthing platitudes about Heffernan's apology - he has spoken to him - ha ha ha!!! - and has nothing further to say on the issue - but as it was probably pre-arranged by Howard in the first place, we can now anticipate Heffernan's next promotion!!
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John Howard tells Bill Heffernan to get the ALP - any dirty trick will do, so long as it works.
Heffernan has been doing Howard's dirty tricks for so long now that it is second nature to him - as it is to Howard. Well, it is difficult to know whether Heffernan suggests the dirt or Howard suggests the dirt, but either way, the one sets out to do the other's bidding.
Heffernan is a senator from New South Wales, so he interferes in that state's elections, and tries to do the dirt on whoever possible in order to discredit them in the eyes of the electorate.
Heffernan has a sex problem, so when it comes to sex matters he is ready to do whatever it takes - well almost!
Heffernan and Howard tried to get Michael Kirby in every dirty way imaginable to discredit him and suggest he had committed unspeakable crimes, even getting some false web site to suggest strange things.
The latest has been the attempt to get rid of Julia Gillard by suggesting she is barren because she has no children and is therefore unworthy of being a political leader.
In Heffernan's case, having children has shown that he is unworthy of being a political anybody, but in the Gillard case, even Howard was forced to back down on the attempts to discredit her which no doubt he had instigated in the first place.
Hefferna was promoted over the Kirby case, so this time he will be no doubt promoted even further, possibly displacing some other poor unsuspecting Howard minister, someone who has not behaved more despicably than their leader and most members of his cabinet.
It is not only beyond time that the Howard government be got rid of, but that extreme caution be exercised in the election of a government to put in its place.
But that is an issue for another time!
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This letter by LACHLAN WATTS, Melbourne, in the Sunday Age of 22 April 2007 shows yet again the Bush adminstration's hypocrisy over its so-called christian faith adherence - death to African communities because basically they are an expendable commodity:
Expensive abstinence
"So now we have it. The Sunday Age reported that a study has shown the $1 billion spent by the US in trying to convince its youth to engage in abstinence has been a failure. Some time ago I saw a TV program on AIDS in Africa. It traced how Bush was proposing to spend $1 billion on condoms and AIDS education in Africa - that was until the religious right got into the act and $1 billion was spent trying to convince Africans of the need for abstinence. $1 billion down the plug hole, but with the AIDS epidemic in Africa still out of control. Imagine what the $2 billion could have achieved!"
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The Age reported on 28 April 2007 that the HIV positive man convicted in Adelaide of having unprotected sex with three women has lost an appeal after a judge rejected defence claims the virus did not exist.
HIV revisionism has a long history in the USA, South Africa, Australia and other countries around the world. In South Africa the main proponent of HIV revisionism is the president himself, Thabo Mbeki. So bad has the situation been in a country where the epidemic has long been out of control and treatments denied by the South African government because of the president’s and health minister’s views – she says “let them eat garlic” – that the government has been taken to the courts in order for treatment drugs to be made available as generic drugs so that access is widely available.
The South African context is relevant in the Adelaide case mentioned above because the convicted man, Andre Chad Parenzee hails from South Africa. He was convicted on three counts of endangering life last January (2007) after one of the women, a mother of two, became infected with HIV.
Defence lawyers, no doubt responding to their client’s country of origin, launched an appeal, calling two Perth so-called medical researchers – Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos and Dr Valendar Turner – who testified in the South Australian Court of Appeal the virus did not exist and could not be sexually transmitted.
The judge fortunately was an enlightened man and was not to be intimidated by HIV revisionists who may have been had to be called as part of the appeal by the defence. Justice John Sulan dismissed the witnesses’ testimony and rejected the application for a retrial.
It is an interesting sideline to this trial that it took place in Adelaide where one of Australia’s leading Holocaust deniers lives. He, too, has become an HIV denier, stating that AIDS does not come from HIV. His name is Frederick Toben and he runs an organization called the Adelaide Institute – a reactionary right-wing “think tank”!!!

(Posted in HIV and AIDS)

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The following article appeared in The Age on 27 April 2007 as Australia sinks deeper and deeper into the mire and secrecy of a police state – with Philip Ruddock steering the ship:
Ruddock snubs states on censor
PM’s friend confirmed in top job
One of Prime Minister John Howard’s closest friends was officially appointed Australia’s chief censor ahead of the recommended candidate, despite outrage from the states.
Former ABC chairman Donald McDonald will begin a four-year term as director of the classification review board on Tuesday, after Attorney-General Philip Ruddock yesterday confirmed his appointment in writing to state attorneys-general.
Revelations that Mr Ruddock intended to install Mr McDonald sparked an angry response from the states two weeks ago. The states were furious that another candidate recommended by an advisory panel, who has not been named, was overlooked for Mr McDonald, who was not even on the nine-person shortlist.
Mr McDonald has never hidden his close, long-time friendship with Mr Howard, and the move is believed to be linked to the Howard Government’s desire to take a firmer stance against literature that incites or instructs terrorism.
The states refused to approve Mr McDonald two weeks ago and Mr Ruddock promised to take notice of “considered views” opposing the appointment from the states.
But yesterday he wrote to state attorneys-general informing them that Governor-General Michael Jeffery had approved Mr McDonald’s appointment.
“I am delighted that such an exceptional leader has agreed to head up the board,” Mr Ruddock said.
“Mr McDonald has the right credentials for the role, given his broad experience in the entertainment field and his history of working with industry and governments of all persuasions.
“This background has also allowed him to develop an excellent understanding of the emerging issues facing the industry.”
Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls lashed out at the Federal Government yesterday, describing Mr McDonald’s appointment as “an absolute disgrace”.
“The process and appointment of Mr McDonald stinks to high heaven and it shows that the Federal Government and the Attorney-General no longer even pretend to engage in a proper process,” he said.
The role of chief censor has been filled by former Melbourne lord mayor Des Clark for seven years. The Office of Film and Literature Classification has recently been absorbed into the federal Attorney-General’s office after being an independent body since its inception in 1995.
Mr McDonald was a director of the Sydney 2000 Olympic bid, a former chief executive of the Australian Opera and director of the Australian Tourist Commission, but is best known for his role as chairman of the ABC.
He was appointed chairman in 1996, served two five-year terms and was reappointed for six months until December 31 last year when he was replaced by another close friend of Mr Howard, Maurice Newman.
As if the above wasn't bad enough. only a few days earlier art was being censored at an exhibition. The article in The Age of 27 April 2007 tells the story:

Censorship is getting worse and worse, and the trouble is that there is not enough of an outcry about this further manifestation of our police state.
Ruddock has no regard for anybody else's opinion, and behaves in a dictatorial fashion in relation to everything he touches. The government he is part of needs to be got rid of at the next election, and should the ALP win government, it will have to be attacked on censorship issues from the very beginning.
The pressure must be maintained at all times. Eternal vigilance!!

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This article by Alan Cowell appeared in the New York Times and the International Herald Times
The call for a boycott is yet another call by unions in the UK to boycott various fields connected to Israel over its continuing violation of the human rights of Palestinians and Lebanese

Monday, April 16, 2007
LONDON: Britain's biggest journalists' union, The National Union of Journalists, has criticized Israel's "military adventures" and has voted narrowly in favor of a boycott of Israeli goods. The vote followed calls by some British academics last year to ostracize their Israeli counterparts.
At the annual delegates meeting of the journalists' union last Friday, a vote calling for "a boycott of Israeli goods similar to those boycotts in the struggles against apartheid in South Africa" was approved 66 to 54.
The delegates also urged Britain and the United Nations to impose sanctions on Israel.
The union has about 40,000 members, represented at the annual meeting by about 150 delegates from more than 60 branches.
The ballot did not, however, make calls for a boycott of contacts with Israeli journalists similar to previous academic efforts to ostracize Israeli university teachers.
The call for a boycott was initially part of a broader condemnation of what the union called Israel's "slaughter of civilians" in Gaza and "savage pre-planned attack" last year on Lebanon, but the boycott was voted on separately. The condemnation of Israeli military action in Gaza and Lebanon was approved by a wider margin.
In the debate leading to the vote, some delegates argued that a call for a boycott would not help British journalists do their job in Israel. Others argued that it was not the job of a journalists' union to get so involved in such issues.
The timing of the ballot was particularly delicate because a BBC journalist, Alan Johnston, has been held for more than a month in Gaza, making the boycott call seem one-sided. A Palestinian group claimed Sunday to have killed Johnston but the BBC said it was treating the report as a rumor.
"We had a whole separate section of the conference" devoted to Johnston's plight, said Jeremy Dear, the union's general secretary.
According to the union's Web site, www.nuj.org.uk, the delegates voted unanimously to "keep up the urgent global campaign for Alan's release" and criticized the Palestinian authorities for failing "to carry out their promises to do all they can to free Alan."
Dear said there had been "some feedback," primarily from unidentified e-mail correspondents in the United States, saying Johnston "should be put in a concentration camp" or tried for hate crimes.
He said those who supported a boycott had argued that while the union represented journalists, it still had a duty to uphold things "that are in our constitution" concerning human rights.
On the union's conference blog, however, a critic of the vote, identified as Olivia Lang, said, "It is not going to make life easier for journalists anywhere in the world" to be seen to be taking sides. "We need to strive to maintain our objectivity when reporting," she wrote.
The vote stirred little immediate comment in Britain, however. Jonathan Freedland, a columnist for The Guardian and The Evening Standard, who said he is a member of the National Union of Journalists, took issue in a telephone interview with the union's decision, saying it made no distinction between Israel itself and Israeli settlements in occupied territories. "This punishes Israel proper along with settlers as if the two were the same," he said.
Moreover, he said, "as a tactic, it strikes a raw nerve in the Jewish psyche.""You won't win over the Jewish diaspora" with such boycott calls, he said. Last year, the largest British association of university teachers voted to encourage individual academics in Britain to sever professional contact with their counterparts in Israel. That vote echoed an appeal one year earlier by a smaller association, which first demanded a boycott of two Israeli universities and then withdrew the call under pressure from some of its members. The two associations later merged and the policy lapsed, said Trevor Phillips, a spokesman for the combined association. It will be discussed again next month, he said.The New York Times
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90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm