28 May 2012


Katharine Murphy has joined an ever-increasing list of media people who have acted to bring down the Gillard government by whatever foul means they can muster.

While I continue to despise most politicians - particularly the recent spate who have no intelligence, integrity, perspicacity, or intellectual approach to their jobs - I believe that they are being served by media which are at the gutter level of Murdoch and his slaves.

When some of them start to show some backbone and tell the truth about what is happening in this country on all fronts - and particularly allowing the other side of the ghastly soapie playing out in parliament at the moment to be placed in the public arena, then, and only then, will people start to have a little more respect for the current ghastly bunch of politicians!

26 May 2012


These letters were in The Age newspaper on 26 May 2012:

Trial by one-liners

IT IS time for the relentless pursuit of Craig Thomson in his workplace to be understood as workplace bullying. The media is complicit in the bullying. Radio commentators have justified their continued probing of Mr Thomson by telling us "it's interesting and salacious".

It calls to mind the salacious information that passed for journalism in England in recent years, when a murdered girl's telephone messages were hacked by the News of the World. The resultant inquiry into the media exposed the levels to which some human beings will sink. Innocent or guilty, Craig Thomson is a human being. Let the man be subject to the law, not trial by one-liners.

Madonna Grehan, Thornbury

Whatever it takes

RON Tandberg's cartoon on page 4 (The Age, 25/5)

sums up the direction of political debate under Tony Abbott and his drive for power. My Jesuit teachers would be appalled at Mr Abbott's abrogation of basic analytical and Catholic principles. His ability to ignore the police inquiry into Senator Bill Heffernan's alleged assault and the conviction of Senator Mary Jo Fisher on shoplifting charges contrasts with John Howard's loss of 11 ministers due to a breach of standards.

It is also clear that Christopher Pyne has fallen under Mr Abbott's spell; he daily displays offensive and unprofessional behaviour.

While society aims for a healthy, productive workplace, Mr Abbott, smelling blood, is reinventing the aggressive, whatever-it-takes attitude of the 1980s. By contrast, the Liberals' real leader, Malcolm Turnbull, continues to display what it takes to live in the 21st century.

Jim Kennedy, South Yarra

Test of sincerity

TONY Abbott has asserted that the Prime Minister should ''allow'' Craig Thomson to quit Parliament for his own safety. If Mr Thomson's wellbeing is in danger, a fair course of action is the granting of a ''pair''.

This procedure has routinely been adopted so that the decision of voters continues to be reflected in the Parliament despite the temporary absence of a parliamentarian due to illness or other causes.

If Mr Abbott fails to suggest this option, then his assertions of concern must be insincere or hypocritical, or both. Pure humbug.

Robert Corcoran, Edithvale


I am not in a position to comment on various media in this country because they are so abysmally poor that one wouldn't want to touch them with a barge pole or any other sort of pole, unless it was a pole-cat!!

However, I have unfortunately seen some of the media which has shown how low journalism has sunk in Australia - The Age newspaper and the ABC television news and current affairs programmes, and some of those who should be held accountable are Michelle Grattan, Kate McClymont, Tony Wright and others, and on the other site, Chris Uhlman as examples of how not to be investigative journalists.

How is it that so much of the saga that is reportable and shows the other side of the story is never reported? It is not hidden - others have access to these items - why not the mainstream?

Is it because they side with Tony Abbott, the workplace bully, determined to bring down the government and install himself as head honcho?

If this were to occur, there would be no further reporting of the misdemeanours of his government, there would be blackouts and censorship, bad as it already is, would descend even deeper into the mire of dictatorship.

Woe betide us all when that eventuates!

25 May 2012


Michael Leuning captures the essence of our politicians in many of his cartoons.

This one is an example of one of his prescient moments, and we would like to thank him and hope he is happy to share it with a wider audience.

(Apologies if this was not what he had in mind!!!)

23 May 2012


Tony Abbott is desperate to become prime minister of Australia. He is prepared to stoop to whatever depths he is able to in order to achieve his life's ambition.

Should this ever occur, "CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY", and never forget that George Pell is Abbott's mentor!

Let's start with the media. Here is a situation of one of the worst beat-ups this country has ever seen, and the people responsible are the Murdoch media, Fairfax media, ABC television and many smaller parts of the media that still survive in Australia.

We are censored so that we only get what the media want us to get, and the rest we have to get from independent and overseas media outlets.

What have we in Parliament? Where to start?

Heffernan the perennial homophobe who learns nothing from the past, Pyne, well, methinks he doth protest too much!! - others in the Coalition who support what Abbott is doing, in both houses of parliament, who will regret too one day in the future if Abbott succeeds and also when many hidden issue are exposed, the governing party which could also expose more but seem unwilling to do so!

The disgraceful behaviour in the parliament where one man's reputation is being dragged through the gutter because another is so desperate for power, and his own supporters whose ongoing conduct shows they care nothing for the well-being of the people of this country who watch this soap-opera unfold on a daily basis and wonder what it is all about. The man who would be prime minister is never, ever, seen as someone who could lead this country - he has no vision, he negates everything, he has no policies, he makes himself be seen in the most ridiculous places, doing the most ridiculous things to show he is a "man of the people" - well, if ever there was a load of crap and bullshit, this is it!! - and people are ready to vote for him???

All because Gillard won government when Abbott had decided he was going to win and he is now desperate and beside himself.

22 May 2012


We were sent this blog post by email from a friend of ours who said that at last the story's bits and pieces were put together in a coherent whole.

I am indebted to Wixxy for permission to reproduce this story, which really develops daily into a saga worthy of anything John Galsworthy could have dreamt up!

I Think I Smell A Rat

Posted: May 16, 2012 in Politics

Slippery does not begin to describe the goings on in relation to some of the antics of our Federal politicians of late, however, many may be surprised at which side of politics I am referring to.

The James Ashby and Peter Slipper sexual harassment saga looks dodgier by the minute… even Barnaby Joyce thinks so…

Many of the allegations by Ashby seem to centre around events in a hotel, which begs the question, “What was he doing in a hotel room with someone who was allegedly sexually harassing him?” That does seem a wee bit odd/stupid/leading/entrapping to me.

Then we have The Liberals and their ever-changing stories… Mal Brough, he knew nothing of it and didn’t meet with Ashby… Turns out he met with Ashby, offered advice, suggested legal action… in short, in it up to his neck. When you consider that Brough is the guy looking to be preselected in Slippers seat for the Liberals, it is odd that the words “Conflict Of Interest” didn’t occur to him… or maybe they did.

Mal Brough learns to back pedal

Then there is Christopher Pyne… similar story, he had “No specific knowledge”, and didn’t really have anything to do with Ashby. As it turns out, they met several times in the month prior to Ashby’s legal claims, and went out drinking together. Then Mr Pyne told us he didn’t request Mr Ashby’s mobile phone number, as he would have no need for it, and anybody suggesting otherwise was speculating. Lo and behold, shortly afterwards an email was leaked to the press from Christopher Pyne to Mr Slippers office requesting Mr Ashby’s details. Hmmm
Christopher Pyne has ‘no specific knowledge” of misleading the press just the day before

Christopher Pyne could have saved himself the trouble, and asked Julie Bishop for his details, as Mr Ashby was already in contact with her office. Turns out though, Julie Bishop was unaware, or had forgotten all this, even misread his emails apparently. I think the words Julie was looking for but misplaced were “No Specific Knowledge”….

Looking at Mr Ashby himself, this is a man who was found guilty of using a carriage service in an offensive manner whilst working at a radio station in Newcastle. Ashby rang a rival DJ on a radio station posing as a mystery caller and when told the call was being taped, said, “Yeah, go for it you fucking psychopath. Next time I see you riding on your fucking bike I’ll hit you, you idiot, all over the sloppy road, you dumb prick. Fuck it, if I was your mother, I would have drowned you at birth.”

Also revelations have appeared that involve Ashby “introducing” young gay men to a millionaire acquaintance. What Ashby forgot to tell these young gay men, is that his millionaire buddy was HIV Positive. So, I’m guessing that makes him a pimp? This guy sounds all class…

I think it is safe to say that Mr Ashby’s credibility leaves a lot to be desired.

I would like to see the question asked in parliament “Is anybody associated with the Liberal Party assisting Ashby with his legal costs?” After all, he has hired a barrister that charges $600 an hour…. a little out of the average political staffers budget reach. Or maybe it is the same people that have allegedly paid Mr Ashby $50,000 to make the complaint against Peter Slipper.

This whole drama smells fishier than Rex Hunt’s freezer after an 8 hour blackout….

I am not going to suggest Slipper’s guilt or innocence on any of the claims, the courts can figure that out.

I am also not suggesting that sexual harassment is not a serious issue or crime, but I am suggesting that making false claims, entrapment, and fabricating evidence are also serious issues and crimes, something nobody else seems to be taking the time to point out. Not that these things necessarily have any “specific” link to this case….

The other saga embroiling the government is the Health Services Union, HSU debacle.

But I think I smell a rat…

I will start by saying that I do not endorse anyone spending over $6K on hookers on a union credit card. That is just reprehensible behaviour. Nor do I endorse not declaring vast amounts of money to the Electoral Commission on election campaigns, that sort of thing just reeks of Sophie Mirabella type behaviour…. But these allegations are yet to be proved, and are vigourously denied.

Union whistleblower Kathy Jackson has been ripping into both the Labor Party, and the former President of Fair Work Australia, Geoffrey Giudice, for months now over the goings on within the embattled union, and the investigation resulting from her claims.

Kathy Jackson has caused the union movement untold damage, and brought a government to the brink of collapse. One would assume that the public may be interested in knowing a little more about her, and about any conflicts of interest that there may be in this case.

One vital piece of information that is not widely known about her is her partner is a man name Michael Lawler. “Who is Michael Lawler when he is at home?” I hear you ask.

Let’s have a look shall we.

For starters, Michael is allegedy good friends with a man named Tony Abbott, it is said that the two of them socialise regularly. How convenient then that Tony Abbott is the leader of the political party that is making so much ground out of these claims that Michael’s partner is making.

Michael Lawler works for an organisation called Fair Work Australia, where he is the Vice-President. Not a bad gig at all, in fact, the only person higher than him is the President Iain Ross, who in February, replaced Geoffrey Giudice, you know, the one that Michael’s mate Tony Abbott, and his partner Kathy Jackson are attacking daily.

On the 11th October 2002, according to their annual report Michael Lawler was appointed Vice President of Fair Work Australia, although back then called the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. The man who appointed him to this role was none other than Tony Abbott, who at the time was Employment And Workplace Minister under John Howards Government.

The opposition always refer to Fair Work Australia as Julia Gillards “baby”, but this was certainly Tony Abbott’s appointment.

I’m sure that all those things are purely coincidence…

However it does start to get a little strange when Mr Lawler seems to become involved in factional battles within the union on his partner, Kathy’s behalf.
Partners in crime, or just partners?

Carol Glen was the Victorian Divisional Secretary of HSU East for 3 years before resigning. At the time Kathy Jackson was National Secretary of HSU East, and Michael Williamson was the General Secretary of HSU East.

Carol resigned due to the factional fighting within the union, particularly between Jackson and Williamson.

However Jackson clearly did not want Carol to resign, as she feared that Williamson would replace her with a Divisional Secretary loyal to him.

This is the point where Lawler became involved in the factional battle within the Union, even though he was not a part of the HSU himself.

Carol Glen, in a written complaint to Fair Work Australia President Geoffrey Giudice, alleges she received an “aggressive” phone call from Lawler, who told her “You can fuck off and take sick leave if you don’t want to do the work and still be paid, but you can’t resign.”

Michael Lawler did not work at HSU East, and this complaint went directly to his only superior in Fair Work Australia.

Just a few days later Lawler made corruption allegations against Carol to NSW Police, and Strikeforce Carnarvon was born.

It is odd that this type of complaint would come from Lawler, as he was not part of HSU East, or even a member of the Union.

As part of his complaint of corruption Lawler made reference to a cheque that was being picked up by Carol, something that she had mentioned in an email. The inference was that this cheque was some sort of pay off.

This cheque, as it turns out, was a bank cheque ordered by Carol to pay her rent, totally innocent, and not related to any Union business at all.

However, it does raise the question of how Lawler would know about it. The only possible way is from her emails, which raises the question, “How did Lawler have access to Carol’s emails?’

When asked about this, suddenly Lawler decided it was “inappropriate to comment”

On the 2nd May, police officers from the NSW Fraud and Cybercrime Squad, raided the HSU East headquarters in Pitt St Sydney, in a much publicised operation.

Inside sources have pointed out a few anomalies with the official story of the raid reported in the press. Police were offered the option of using the service elevator and the rear entrance to the building to make things simpler, safer, and faster for officers, this offer was rejected, as the police were keen to use the main entrance where the press had assembled. Sources also state that a large number of the boxes shown on TV being carried out by officers were virtually empty, it was allegedly all done for show to make it look like there were mountains of documents seized. Also, sources say, the story about Michael Williamson trying to sneak out a back door with evidence is total rubbish and done to implicate guilt. Mr Williamson left the office via the entrance the police were offered access to, as his car was parked in the car park opposite, the things he was carrying were taken by police as routine, and were his personal items, probably a sandwich as well….
Empty Boxes?

So, it would seem there are many questions to be asked, not just of Craig Thomson.

The mind boggles at how someone who reportedly is a personal friend of Tony Abbott’s is able to allegedly hack the emails of a Union official, make a complaint regarding a Union he should have nothing to do with, be the partner of the Union whistleblower, and be the Vice President of the organisation in charge of investigating the Union, and yet none of this is widely known. Talk about conflicts of interest.

In my mind this puts question marks over the entire investigation, and also makes me wonder if there was Coalition involvement. After all, George Brandis did seem to keep pushing for more investigations…

Speaking of the Coalition, Kathy Jackson has acted strangely, for a union boss, in her choice of legal representation.

In Melbourne Jackson has hired Stuart Wood, a former Vice President of the HR Nicholls Society. The HR Nicholls Society is a right-wing group, set up as a think tank for Industrial Relations reform, much of which was the architecture of the infamous “Workchoices” policy.

It would seem to be valid to question why the Secretary of a Union would hire a solicitor that is anti union, and whose ideas you have spent your working life fighting against. A quick look at HR Nicholls Society’s website shows just how close the ties are with the Liberal Party. Peter Reith is a board member, other notable names on the list of who contribute to this society are, Tony Abbott, Eric Abetz, Peter Costello, Michael Kroger… the list goes on and on, even Andrew Bolt gets a mention.

Jackson is even due to be guest of honour and give a speech at the HR Nicholls Society annual dinner on June 12th.

In yet another strange coincidence, James Ashby is using Kathy Jackson’s Sydney lawyers, she has more than one, it does seem a bit odd, however I’m sure there is probably no “specific” reason for this…

On the 14th May, on the Chris Smith programme on radio station 2GB, Kathy Jackson said that rumours of the Liberal party paying for her vast team of lawyers were rubbish. These lawyers, expensive lawyers, were all working for her for free, pro bono she stated. Chris Smith chose not to persue the matter…

People can say whatever they like about Craig Thomson’s credibilty, and his explanantion of events, there is a remarkably similar story from another HSU official from 2009... What most would find totally unbelievable, and absolutely inconceivable is that these right wing lawyers, one of them from a Liberal “Union Busting” think tank would provide their services free to a Union boss, especially one who pays herself a $270,000 salary. What kind of fools do they take the public for? Stuart Wood providing free services to a sworn enemy… I find it more likely that Andrew Bolt would set up an Islamic Charity group for Asylum Seekers.

I don’t know how deep this runs, but like I said, I think I smell a rat….

17 May 2012

AIDS Heritage Action

Press Release April 19th 2012

Join The AIDS Heritage Action

When we think of Keith Haring (1958 -1990), religion is perhaps not the first thing that comes to mind. Yet, the last work of the artist, completed just weeks before his death - of AIDS - is a triptych, 'The Life of Christ'. Made of bronze and gold, it constitutes the altarpiece of the Interfaith AIDS Memorial Chapel at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral. Hanging at the rear of the chapel is a block of the ‘mother of all AIDS Memorial Quilts’, founded in San Francisco in 1987 and now comprising over 5800 quilt blocks, each block consisting of eight quilt panels.

In over three decades of AIDS, hundreds of memorials have been established worldwide, ranging from highly individual written documents to public monuments and recurring events like AIDS Candlelight Memorial. Recent years have shown digital versions of established forms like the quilts. For the first time, these AIDS memorials are now being documented. Initiator Jörn Wolters of The NAMES Project Netherlands rightly considers them to be part of our cultural heritage, that needs to be cherished, conserved and, even more important, kept alive. The NAMES Project Netherlands Foundation is the keeper of both the physical and the digital Dutch Quilts.

AIDSmemorial.info and memorialSIDA.info features an overview of existing memorials worldwide in the languages of the participating countries: English, Spanish, French, German and Dutch. Through Google Maps the visitor can zoom in on the monument. The portal is interactive: just send a photo of yourself in front of an AIDS Monument or Quilt together with your impressions to office@aidsmemorial.info

The AIDS Heritage Action pays tribute to the objects of remembrance and contributes to their preservation. Also, it forges links between a generation that has lost many loved ones to AIDS and a new generation that experiences an HIV infection in most cases as a treatable disease. The more people participate, the more this interactive catalogue of AIDS memorials will be complete and lively. Moreover, individuals and local communities can find inspiration for establishing their own AIDS memorial, thus keeping this vital tradition alive.

In addition to the Interfaith AIDS Memorial Chapel at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, the site offers a large number of other highlights. These include the National AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the Vancouver AIDS Memorial, L'Artère - Jardin des Dessins in Parc de la Villette in Paris, the Beacon of Hope in Manchester, Wolfgang Tilman’s design in Munich, and the Monuments in Nickerie (Suriname) and Durban. The site is built by the Amsterdam design agency Gebr. Silvestri and sponsored by the PlanetRomeo Foundation, Global Quilt and the Aids Fund Netherlands.

Photo © Sherry and Joe

For further details please contact Jörn via office@aidsmemorial.info

AIDS Heritage Action

May 20th is International AIDS Candlelight Memorial.
This event marks the begin of the PR for the international multilingual webportal AIDSmemorial.info continuing through various Gay Prides and the AIDS Conference in Washington and ending on World AIDS Day, December 1st.
We do this in form of an action, the AIDS Heritage Action, with the simple appeal "send a photo of yourself in front of an AIDS Monument or Quilt together with your impressions to office@aidsmemorial.info

The action should not only pay tribute to the objects of remembrance from the AIDS era and contribute to their preservation but also forge links between the generations, those who have lost a loved one and those who experience an HIV infection as a treatable disease.

The NAMES Project Netherlands asks you for support by placing an article on this topic accompanied by our advertisement.

14 May 2012


From GLBTQ Nation:

Four Iranian men sentenced to death by hanging for sodomy

Posted: 12 May 2012 06:00 PM PDT

An Iranian court has sentenced four men from the town of Choram, in the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province, to death by hanging for sodomy.

The four men — identified as “Saadat Arefi,” “Vahid Akbari,” “Javid Akbari,” and “Houshmand Akbari” — were due to be executed shortly after their verdict was approved recently by high court judges, according to a report from the Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) in Iran.

According to HRANA and JOOPEA, the men will be hanged for sodomy in accordance with Sharia law.

According to Iranian human rights campaigners, over 4,000 gay men and lesbians have
been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979. (File photo.)

A gay activist based in Iran said, “Although being gay is not a crime based on Iranian criminal law but this is the most clear statement against same sex-acts in past months.”

He added that “there wereof our other men hanged in past five months.”

London based Iranian Human Rights Lawyer, Mehri Jafari said, “I am horrified and saddened to have heard the news about these four men. Not only with regards to the execution which is about to take place, but the fact that is beyond our control.”

“There are two important issues in this case; the location of the alleged occurrence and the interpretation of the Sharia’ law that a Hodud (strict Sharia punishment) is eminent.

“Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad is one of the most undeveloped provinces in Iran and it is obvious that a lack of access to lawyers and fair trial can be considered a serious issue in this case. After this announcement it is very likely that the execution will be carried out soon, and the remote location makes it difficult to exert any influence on the process.”

Jafari further pleaded, “I hope international organizations act quickly and effectively on this specific case.”

Gorji Marzban, chairperson of the Austrian-based Oriental Queer Organization (ORQOA) said, “The recent death sentence for the four Iranian men is a shocking reality and demonstrates the discrepancy between Western and Islamic perception of queer life.”

“Last month the Iranian authorities hanged a young man and the local news agencies and authorities were intentionally unclear about the reason for the death penalty. In the case of these four men we have a clear text attributing the reason for hanging is sodomy,” Marzban said.

“The judicial denial of same-sex relationships in Iran stems from its relationship to Shari’a law and patriarchy. This is a warning signal not only for the queer population of Iran but also for all types of gender inclusive the heterosexuals who have sexual relations outside marriage.

“The death penalty has failed to eradicate homosexuality from Iran but it was successful to force queer people into the closets. Sooner or later any Islamic community is obliged to integrate queer people. We believe that Iranians should gain more gender equality and rights and wholly condemn such an archaic sentence to murder which is inherently unislamic!”

Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its 2011 report — We are a Buried Generation: Discrimination and Violence Against Sexual Minorities in Iran — stated that because trials on moral charges in Iran are usually held in closed sessions, it is difficult to determine what proportion of those charged and executed for same-sex conduct are gay and in what proportion the alleged offense was consensual.

Because of the lack of transparency, Human Rights Watch said, “It cannot be ruled out that Iran is sentencing sexual minorities who engage in consensual same-sex relations to death under the guise that they have committed forcible sodomy or rape.”

The issue of the death penalty for same-sex acts is further compounded by the fact that the Iranian legal code does not differentiate between rape and homosexual acts.

In many cases, it is often unclear whether the accused has actually committed a sexual act or it is a mere accusation based on some dispute. Even in the cases where the same-sex act has happened, often it is not clear whether the individuals involved are actually gay or it is an occasional act of sexual gratification.

Iranian Human Rights activists constantly note the fact that the two genders are strictly segregated increases the tendency for same-sex acts among the youth, in a phenomena that is also similarly known in single gender prisons. Indeed this phenomenon happens throughout highly segregated societies in the Middle East and North Africa.

Dan Littauer is an international correspondent for LGBTQ Nation, based in Glasgow, Scotland.

10 May 2012



Some time in 2011 the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) called for submissions to be looked at by a "committee" "chosen" to investigate discrimination, violence, abuse and other forms of homophobia against Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and HIV (GLTH) people in the Jewish population in Victoria.

Why this process was ever undertaken has not been made clear over time since the final report was issued.

The point to consider in all of this nonsense is that the JCCV calls itself the
"Voice of Victorian Jewry".

Does this voice speak for 10, 100, 1000, 10,000 or the total Victorian Jewish population estimated to be about 100,000 people?

This is a body with no standing, with no honesty, with no representation, with no collaboration with those it constantly excludes from its so-called "voice".

The whole thing is a sham and needs to be exposed as such.

The pathetic bleatings on Joy Radio about a week ago of the current spokesperson for the organisation shows it is in complete disarray and should be closed down as soon as possible to stop wasting the Jewish public's money.

This fraud has gone on long enough with this group calling itself the "Voice of Victorian Jewry"!

Who is kidding who? (or should that be whom?)

06 May 2012


The Russian hypocrisy is on a level with the worst types of homophobia around the world, and considering how many famous Russians are/were gay or lesbian, the Russians are hiding behind their own cloistered homosexuality. In the year 2012 one would hope they would start waking up to themselves, particularly with macho Putin prancing around half-naked to show how well-proportioned he is (Many suspect he is a closet homo, but we wouldn't be too happy to admit him to the fraternity/sorority or whatever!). The trouble is his brain was missed out in the process. All he knows is brute force and ignorance, a recipe for dictatorships around the world.

Interestingly, the number of famous gays and lesbians from Russia reads like an honours list and should give great hope and encouragement to so many around the world living in repressive regimes. Here are some of them:

Peter the Great

Rudolph Nureyev

Waslaw Nijinsky

Catherine the Great

Nikolai Gogol

Modest Tchaikovsky

Modest Moussorgsky

Alexandra Kollontai

Sergei Eisenstein

Sergei Diaghilev

Sviatoslav Richter

And this is just the tip of the iceberg!

This article was in Care2 on 4 May 2012:

First Russian is Convicted Under Gay Propaganda Ban

By Steve Williams
May 4, 2012

LGBT rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev has become the first person to be convicted under St Petersburg’s gay propaganda ban.

Reports the Washington Post:

Nikolai Alexeyev told the Associated Press that a city court in St. Petersburg fined him 5,000 rubles ($170) for breaching the law, which was controversially introduced by lawmakers in Russia’s second-largest city in February. He pledged to appeal the decision.


He said the judge has not presented the grounds for her decision, and that they will only be available next week. Calls to the court went unanswered shortly after the ruling.

The law was approved in February and came into force in March. As noted above, this is the first time a citizen has been charged under the ban’s provisions.

A judge late last month however declined to invoke the penalty, specifically saying that the ban on “homosexual propaganda” was so broad and ill-defined it lacked a sufficient legal framework to make it enforceable.

Alexeyev, a former journalist, turned to LGBT rights promotion in 2005 and subsequently founded the gay rights advocacy group GayRussia. He has been a vocal opponent of the ban, saying that its wide ranging nature speaks to a larger climate of oppression Russia is currently suffering under.

The propaganda ban is of course purposefully broad though. It is designed to prevent open advocacy of LGBT identity in the public sphere, this under the guise of protecting children. Critics have pointed out that this would serve to ban gay pride events outright, in direct opposition to European mandates of freedom of speech and assembly.

Seventeen Russian protesters were arrested during a May Day march this week with police charging them under St Petersburg’s ban on homosexual propaganda and with failure to comply with police orders, all because they were trying to fly rainbow flags.

The Ryazan, Kostroma and Arkhangelsk regions have also banned so-called LGBT propaganda and there is now a push to enact a federal ban.

It recently emerged that the propaganda ban is likely to have been inspired by a visiting US evangelical.


04 May 2012


From Nation of Change:

Letter Shows Monsanto Planted GMOs Before USDA Approval

By Anthony Gucciardi and Cassandra Anderson

Natural Society / News Analysis

Published: Wednesday 2 May 2012

“The USDA may have turned a blind eye to the entire situation, allowing widespread GMO contamination of GMO-free crops.”

Did Monsanto actually plant genetically modified alfalfa before it was deregulated by the USDA? There is some shocking evidence that, until recently, was withheld from the public showing that Monsanto’s genetically altered alfalfa may have been set free in 2003 — a full two years or more before it was deregulated in 2005. In a letter, obtained by NaturalSociety with permission to post for public viewing, it becomes clear that the USDA may have turned a blind eye to the entire situation, allowing widespread GMO contamination of GMO-free crops.

Amazingly, the letter actually proves that the USDA was fully aware of the situation. In order to fully understand the intricate details of this event, it is first important to understand a few key factors regarding alfalfa and its connection to the entire food supply.

Alfalfa is a perennial plant that grows for more than 2 years and may not need to be replanted each year like annuals. Because it is a perennial plant, it is exceptionally vulnerable to contamination. Interestingly, the modified alfalfa — created by Monsanto in partner with a group known as Forage Genetics — was the first perennial plant to be deregulated for open planting by the USDA. But did Monsanto unleash the plant before this occurred?

This is very serious because it is only a matter of time before alfalfa across America could be corrupted with Monsanto’s patented genetically modified trait. Organic meat and dairy could be tainted when animals are fed the modified alfalfa as well, threatening the very integrity of the organic food supply. What’s more, the contamination of natural alfalfa could be nearly impossible — if not entirely impossible — to remedy, so it could actually fracture the genetic stability of the entire crop on a global scale.

Shocking Letter Reveals Monsanto’s Contamination Dates Back 2 Years Before Deregulation

A letter from Cal/West Seeds shows that evidence of contamination was withheld and the USDA turned a blind eye to proof of contamination in 2005 which shows it was planted at least two years before it was initially deregulated in 2005. As you can see for yourself, the official letter states:

We first discovered the unintended presence of the Roundup Ready gene in our conventional alfalfa seeds in 2005. It was identified in one of our foundation seed production lots grown in California. We tested the foundation seed lot priot to shipping it to a producer who intended to plant it for organic seed production.

In another telling segment, the author writes:

We detected the presence of the … Roundup Ready gene in both our foundation seed and certified seed prior to deregulation.

In order to protect the safety of the individual, some further contents cannot be divulged. Remember in the past, those who have stood up against Monsanto have received anonymous death threats — in one case, the threats were directed towards a mother and her children.

This video documents the timeline of events that led to the deregulation of Monsanto & Forage Genetics’ GMO alfalfa that is contaminating natural alfalfa. As the video explains, the lawyers representing the farmers against Monsanto failed to hold an evidentiary hearing so the injunction (ban) against planting GMO alfalfa was removed and the case was sent back to the lower district court. The lawyers pursued no further action on this case.

Contamination levels are still very low, but will undoubtedly increase over time with unexpected results (like superweeds), so stopping the further planting of GM plants like alfalfa is of high concern. Furthermore, it would set a precedent for banning other GMO perennial plants as well — a monumental move in the legislative fight against GMOs. This letter, compounded with the other evidence presented in this article, is paramount in displaying just how serious of an issue genetic contamination is. What’s more, the USDA appears to have known the entire time. It’s time to spread the word.

03 May 2012


Some 5 or 6 years ago, at an event commemorating World AIDS Day on 1 December, the group in Melbourne called People Living with HIV/AIDS used the day to launch, at the premises of Positive Living in Commercial Road, Prahran, one of the best resources recording the Australian AIDS Quilts which had been photographed and placed on a web site where it was possible to look for a particular quilt block or panel and it was found easily while the site also gave information about the Quilt Project and its history in Australia.

Suddenly in 2011 this site ceased to function. The index page was still available, but the links no longer worked and the resource vanished from the scene, leaving people puzzled as to what had happened and why the site no longer worked.

The web site for the Quilt was aidsquilt.org.au and even now, if you look at this in a browser you will get the index page.

So it was with some surprise that we saw an announcement in the latest edition of the Star Observer of 27 April 2012 headed with this web address followed by the subheading "AIDS Memorial Candlelight Vigil & Quilt Project Inc" inviting people to an Annual General meeting at 2pm on Saturday 5 May 2012 at the premises of the Victorian AIDS Council in South Yarra.

When the Quilt web site ceased functioning, we contacted the AIDS Council and People Living with HIV to try and find out why the resource had vanished and were met with silence - we had no feedback whatever!

As a consequence of this failure to communicate, we acted on a suggestion of a friend of ours to do a little research and resurrect the AIDS Quilt blocks and panels and although this is a huge task, we have done a fair amount already and the Australian AIDS Quilt may now be found at: Australian AIDS Quilt

The meeting announcement stated that the Quarter-Centenary of the Australian Quilt is coming up and they are asking for community involvement and input with ideas for future directions.

One of the best ideas we can think of is to be pro-active with people who contact them and support efforts to continue the memorial work from years past.

This won't happen because all these groups are so busy big-noting themselves they have no interest in people who are not in their mainstream agendas.


A news item in the Star Observer of 27 April 2012 states that the annual Sydney Candlelight Memorial for people who have died from AIDS will take place on Sudnay 20 May 2012 to coincide with International Candlelight Memorial Day.

The announcement goes on to state that the memorial will be held at Slide bar, 41 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst.

What is so extraordinary about this announcement is that there is in existence a ready made venue for such events to take place. The venue is called the Sydney Park AIDS Memorial Groves (SPAIDS) and is an ideal area for holding such commemorative events.

In past years SPAIDS has contacted the organisers of such events and suggested they hold the event at Sydney Park, but we have never even had the courtesy of a response.

The same story applies to the World AIDS Day Events held around 1 December each year. One event is a fund raiser and people are invited to do walks in the Sydney Botanical Gardens. Sydney Park is a fantastic venue for such events, but SPAIDS has been met by stony silences from the organisers.

It is interesting to know that people who come to SPAIDS on tree planting days, once a year on National Tree Day at the end of July each year are people who would attend some of these other events at these other venues.

SPAIDS realised a long time ago that the Sydney AIDS organisations are not interested in dealing with activists who aren't in the AIDS political mainstream, but it is their loss, and we are pleased to know that some groups, such as IDAHO and the Sydney Beat Project have felt that SPAIDS is a wonderful venue to hold events and also has the attribute of being conveniently situated in inner Sydney and easily accessible by all forms of transport. Sydney Park AIDS Memorial Groves (SPAIDS)

01 May 2012


On 24 April 2012, the day the latest trial of Bradley Manning started in Fort Meade in the USA, protests at the travesty of the so-called trial of Bradley Manning in that so-called democracy, the United States of America, were held in many places around the world. One of the places where there was a protest rally was here in Australia in Sydney. Nowhere else in Australia were any rallies held, showing how pathetic the left groups are around Australia. The city where protests should have been held, apart from the smaller cities, was Melbourne but there was absolute silence here. This shows once again that the left in Australia can not be relied on to take combined action to further left causes at home and around the world. No wonder they are held in such contempt by so many who have been involved in these groups over the years, only to leave them in disgust!

Hearings in Fort Meade, Protests around the world.

Hearings in Fort Meade, protests around the world.

Bradley Manning’s motion hearing comes to a close with judge upholding the charge of ‘aiding the enemy’, and prosecution attempting to ban any reference to the lack of harm caused from future court proceedings. The military continues to delay the proceedings: extending once again the trial timeline. As such we need to raise an additional $50,000 for legal defense expenses.

April 30, 2012. Bradley Manning Support Network. Supporters around the world took action as Bradley Manning's recent motion hearing came to a close, bringing him one step closer to actual trial. During the three day hearing the defense filed motions to remove the charge of ‘aiding the enemy,’ and to combine a number of the charges filed against Bradley Manning, blaming the prosecution for having listed a single offense multiple times in order to unreasonably multiply the sentence. The prosecution also filed a motion to gag any attempt by the defense to mention the lack of harm caused by the documents.

The military has used this hearing as an opportunity to clarify that they do not care whether Bradley Manning was acting with patriotic motives, or even whether the U.S. was actually damaged in any way, they still intend to pursue life in prison. The ACLU explains the alarming injustice of this argument and how its success would "turn thousands of loyal soldiers into criminals."

The judge denied the defense motions to consolidate and lessen the charges, but argued that the prosecution will have the burden of proving that Bradley Manning intentionally provided material to Al-Qaeda - when alleged chat logs clearly show Bradley’s intent was to inform the public and to inspire “worldwide discussion, debates, reforms.” Bradley will return to Ft. Meade for the next hearing, scheduled June 6-8.

Supporters raised funds to place 21 ads throughout the Washington DC metro in time with the hearings, and demonstrations were organized internationally. Protests were held in Chicago, Ann Arbor, Cleveland, Portland, Washington DC, Brea, Dallas, Oakland, San Diego, Las Vegas, Salina, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Sydney, South Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, and of course Fort Meade. Over the course of the week the National Theatre Wales was also performing "The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning", a play inspired by Bradley's life and story. Click here for photos and more of local events.

Donate now to the Bradley Manning defense fund.

For more information about the defense fund click here.

Legal Proceedings

New public domain image
of Bradley Manning.

Tuesday, April 24: Judge Denise Lind rejected a renewed request for transparency and the defense argued its motions to compel grand jury testimony and to dismiss all charges with prejudice. However, she granted in-camera review access to three damage assessments the defense requested – these assessments evaluate the harm, if any, caused by WikiLeaks’ releases.

Wednesday, April 25: The judge laid out a tentative schedule for the remaining pretrial hearings and the court martial itself, set to begin September 21. Then she denied the defense’s motions to compel grand jury testimony and to dismiss all charges. The defense argued two more motions to dismiss, and the ‘aiding the enemy’ charge and Bradley’s intentions were discussed. Supporters in the courtroom wore ‘Truth’ t-shirts and announced messages of support for Bradley.

Thursday, April 26: The prosecution motioned to gag any reference to the lack of harm caused by the released documents from further courtroom discussion. Closing the hearing, the judge denied the defense motion to dismiss the “aiding the enemy” charge. However, the prosecution’s burden of proof is raised: the government will have to prove Bradley knew America’s enemies would visit WikiLeaks.org specifically. Again, supporters thanked Bradley aloud for his steadfast courage.

New Trial Timeline

The judge laid out a tentative timeline for the remaining proceedings, again extending the trial timeline. This follows a long pattern of unreasonable trial delays whereby Bradley Manning has been in prison over 700 days. It will have been over two years before he reaches the actual court martial.

• June 6-8 Article 39 pre-trial hearing
• July 16-20 Article 39 pre-trial hearing
• August 27-31 Article 39 pre-trial hearing
• September 19-20 Article 39 pre-trial hearing
• September 21 – First day of court martial
• October 12 – Estimated completion of court martial

*all dates subject to change at the discretion of the military.

Demonstrations of Support

With the help of over a hundred donors, supporters were able to place 21 metro ads in Washington DC in time for the hearings. They help bring Bradley’s case back to Washington DC, and into the public eye, just as are the hundreds of supporters who organized demonstrations around the world.

M-1 of Dead Prez with Kevin Zeese from the Bradley Manning Support Network

Supporters at Fort Meade

Occupy the DOJ:

On April 24th, 2012, protesters gathered in front of the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, to protest against the brutal treatment of a number of political prisoners, including Mumia Abu-Jamal and Bradley Manning. The protest was organized by several community groups who shared the common goal of sending a strong message to Eric Holder to end solitary confinement, to stop torture, and to free all political prisoners. Bradley Manning was abused for 11 months in solitary confinement.

Guest speakers included Mumia Abu-Jamal who spoke by telephone from prison, M-1 of Dead Prez, Kevin Zeese of the Bradley Manning Support Network, and many others.

Occupy the Courtroom:

On Wednesday, April 25, Bradley Manning supporters amassed at the front gate outside Ft. Meade, where Bradley's motion hearing continued. Some advocates for the Nobel Peace Prize nominee remained outside holding signs, while others filled the courtroom, wearing "Truth" t-shirts to symbolize that which has been withheld from the proceedings thus far.

ABC News reports on the action inside:

Approximately 20 supporters of PFC Bradley Manning spilled over both sides of a small courtroom at Fort Meade, Md., the venue for a pre-trial hearing in the WikiLeaks case this afternoon at which Manning’s defense argued for dismissing charges against Manning.
About half of the Manning supporters had “truth” emblazoned across their shirts. Although their shirts spoke for them, at the very end of the hearing a few voices made their opinions audible.

A man yelled out, “Thank you, Bradley,” followed by, “Please free Bradley Manning.”

One woman yelled, “I think the military should go on trial.” Then another joined in, saying, “We need to know what our government’s doing.”

Donate now to the Bradley Manning defense fund.

For more information about the defense fund click here.


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Preston, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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