15 December 2014


Google owns this site and also controls most of the search engine done on my web pages.

In order to verify that I control my own web pages, I need to do some verification process controlled by Google.

Having followed their instructions to the letter, their response is that they are unable to verify my sites because they are unable to detect their own code site sent to me to use for verification!

This could be defined as going around in circles and disappearing up one's own fundamental orifice!

Mozilla has an email programme called thunderbird. Thunderbird gets updated from time to time. In some recent updates certain items were left out of an update but are supposedly available through a programme called add-on. The folder add-ons columns are available in linux, and I managed to download them, but as for installing them on my thunderbird installed programme, impossible!

Help from Google and Mozilla?


I have been trying for weeks but have not succeeded, and unfortunately not enough people look at this blog and post any comments, so I am wasting my time.

How do you verify your own web pages?

How do you install an add-on which won't install?

12 December 2014


 The following item arrived today by email. Since then I have been trying to get my mind around who these people are and what they are aiming at.

I have been around for a long time and during a great deal of that time I have been involved in political activities and reading a great deal about the politics of Israel and the middle east and all the Arab countries in the region.

Maybe I have never understood anything of what is going on in Palestine and Israel and the countries involved in the control of the areas in the region.

I am at a loss to understand what this boycott is about and why it has been thought by the people and groups involved that they will have any success with such a boycott. For starters it is Arab oil which keeps the world of commerce and industry going everywhere. Continuing thought lines from the flow of oil to the countries who use most of it or a great deal of it, surely no boycott of Arab countries and Iran will make any difference without including Israel and the United States in a proposed boycott and these two countries are hardly mentioned in the article.

I simply fail to understand what this is all about and I hope in the next few days that I will be enlightened by media releases and/or other article talking about the issues and countries involved in the proposal.

.......and a short while ago I found this and I am now wondering if this is all a hoax!!:

Anti-Israel Australian Jews now call for a Boycott of Iran and much of the Arab world

November 16, 201210:09 am49 Comments

This was published in Galus Australis and is two years old!

No more Iranian dates for the protagonists?
A press release received this week that readers might find amusing:
A new boycott campaign against the Arab world and Iran that will require the cooperation of every supporter of Middle East freedom has been launched by a group of outspoken Australian Jews, it was announced today by its prominent founder Antony Loewenstein, the well-known writer and peace activist.
“It is high time we exposed the crimes against humanity committed by the modern pharoahs of the Muslim Middle East.  Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Col. Moammar Gaddafi of Libya, who both enslaved their long-suffering peoples with 30-year dictatorships that are unprecedented in modern history, have now been ousted but reactionary regimes have taken power in their stead.  Meanwhile AlgeriaBahrain, Yemen, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan are being ruled by  fascist thugs and usurpers who are massacring their own people ,” Loewenstein stated.
Speaking to hundreds of Muslim Australians in front of the Syrian Embassy, Loewenstein excoriated the Arab and Iranian regimes for plundering their countries of their wealth and depriving their people of their basic human rights. He particularly upbraided Egypt, Saudi ArabiaSyria, LebanonBahrain and Iran for their entrenched system of apartheid against their Copt, Shia,Sunni, Christian and Kurd populations.
He also denounced the thousands of civilians recently bludgeoned and shot to death by the Arab and Iranian security forces in the streets of HomsCairo, Alexandria, Beirut, Teheran, Idlip, ManamaDamascus, Amman, Jeddah, Gaza City, Taiz and Sanaa.
“It is simply incomprehensible that these bloodthirsty governments are committing genocide against their own people,” he emphasized.
As a consequence, his new organization — Jews for Boycotting Arab and Iranian Goods (JBAIG) — will be demanding that all UN Human Rights Council members immediately cease buying petroleum, petrochemicals, plastics, cotton yarn and garments, rugs, fertilisers, majhool dates, figs, and sheet metal from these countries. In addition, all Australian firms with investments and joint ventures in these tyrannies will be pressured to divest their assets from them. Of greater import is our campaign for the Commonwealth government to halt its arms and high technology shipments to the Nazi-like governments of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
“We are confident that the international community – and particularly the Australian public – are prepared to support our initiative until the vicious dictatorships of the Arab Middle East and Iran are overthrown and their civilian populations are finally endowed with classical democracy,” Loewenstein affirmed.
“The welfare of the beleaguered Arab and Iranian people must be our number one priority,” he stated.
JBAIG co-founder Vivienne Porzsolt, a retired social worker from Sydney and long a crusader for the seething Arab masses, pointed out that the illegitimate Muslim government leaders of the Middle East are being targeted by her followers with arrest warrants should they step foot on Australian soil or seek medical or refugee asylum here. Under the international law of universal jurisdiction, war criminals and their genocidal ilk are liable to arrest upon the deposition of a citizen’s complaint before the Attorney General.
She emphasized that her group’s actions were in complete fulfilment of the treasured Jewish tradition of seeking justice for suffering humanity.  Moreover, it has the complete approval of her mentor, former NSW Greens MLC Sylvia Hale, one of the world’s leading opponents of Islamist tyrants.
“It is imperative that we act quickly to bring Assad and Ahmadinejad to the gallows,” Porzsolt urged, “just as Gaddafi and Osama Bin Laden were so speedily dispatched. Assad the butcher is also massacring the 440,000 Palestinians living in Damascus and Aleppo. These greasy rats should be torn limb from limb,” she declared to tumultuous applause.
Casting aside her life-time enmity towards Israel, Porzsolt pleaded with the Jewish state to invade Syria and Iran and wipe out their respective feudal ruling classes. ”Only such a humanitarian gesture can have the desired effect of strengthening the region-wide intifadas in these countries leading to the toppling of their authoritarian regimes and the implementation of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all the Geneva Conventions,” she posited.
“As for our myriad of friends among the general public, we sincerely hope they will be moved to embrace the boycott of Arab and Iranian goods to help liberate the oppressed Arab masses, ” Loewenstein and Porzsolt concluded.
This press release, sent in by Cy Geshticte, that we assume is intended as a satire, has been published in keeping with the spirit of Friday Funnies.


 Australians to Boycott Arab and Iranian Goods

 News Release         NR: 118,006    
For Immediate Distribution                    
 CANBERRA, 10 December (APR News Service)
 --  A new boycott movement relying on every supporter of Middle East freedom has been successfully launched by a group of prominent Australians, it was revealed today by its founders.               "It is high time we exposed the crimes against humanity committed by the modern pharoahs of the Muslim Middle East. Hosni Mubarak and Col. Moammar Gaddafi, who enslaved the long-suffering Egyptian and Libyan peoples with more than a 30-year dictatorship that is unprecedented in modern history have now been ousted, as has the Muslim Brotherhood leader M. Morsi, but democratic government is still not over the horizon.                

 Meanwhile Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Bahrain, Yemen, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan are being ruled by hereditary and reactionary usurpers who are massacring their own people ," stated former Foreign Minister the Hon. Bob Carr, author of the newly-released memoir Diary of a Foreign Minister.              

 Speaking to hundreds of Muslim Australians in front of the Syrian embassy, the long-serving politician, who is also noted for his remarkable three terms as Premier of New South Wales, excoriated the Arab and Iranian regimes for plundering their countries of their wealth and depriving their people of their basic human rights. He particularly upbraided Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Syria, Iraq and Iran for their entrenched system of apartheid against their Christian Copt, Shia, Palestinian, Sunni, Yazidi, Chaldean, Assyrian and Kurd populations.              

A prolific analyst of Middle East atrocities, the life-time Labour Party stalwart also bewailed the hundreds of thousands of civilians massacred by the Arab and Iranian security forces in the streets of Algiers, Aleppo, Taiz, AlexandriaCairo,  Deraa, Latakia, Banias, HomsDamascus, Teheran,  Manama, Kobani, Amman, Jeddah, Gaza CityAden and Sanaa.               

 "It is simply incomprehensible that these bloodthirsty regimes are committing genocide against their own people," he declared.                

As a consequence, his new organization -- Australians for Boycotting Arab and Iranian Goods (AUBAIG) --  has demanded that all Aussie importers immediately terminate their contracts for the purchases of petroleum, petrochemicals, plastics, cotton yarn, towels and garments, rugs, fertilisers, majhool dates, figs, strawberries, taboule, couscous and sheet metal from these countries. In addition, all  firms with investments and joint ventures in these tyrannies are being pressured to divest their assets from them.                

Of greater importance is our campaign for the Australian government  to implement new sanctions by halting its arms shipments to the Nazi-like governments of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.                                

 "We are now happy to report that the Australian public is supporting our initiative until the vicious dictatorships of the Arab Middle East and Iran are overthrown and their civilian populations are finally endowed with classical democracy," Mr. Carr affirmed. He particularly lauded the former Gillard government for tightening its sanctions against Bashar al-Assad's monstrous killing machine in Syria.               

 "The welfare of the beleaguered Arab and Iranian people must be our number one priority. It is vitally urgent that international civil society overturn the mindless Obama-Putin agreements and quickly bring the genocidal dictators , Assad and the Iranian mullahs to the gallows, just as Osama Bin Laden was so speedily dispatched, " he declared.                 

 The impassioned veteran parliamentarian took the opportunity to warn against allowing the criminal Fatah and Hamas factions continuing to rule in Palestine. They operate deathly prisons and torture chambers. He repeated his insistence that their undemocratic leaders be ousted and be sued before the International Criminal Court in the Hague for their despicable war crimes in violation of the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian and human rights law, as detailed in the Goldstone Report.                

"We must not allow our baseless fears of jeopardising Australia's UN Security Council seat to lead to our defaulting on our obligations under international humanitarian law to put an immediate stop to Arab and Iranian policies of genocide and apartheid," Carr firmly asserted.                  

The new boycott campaign is supported by Prof. Stuart Rees at the University of Sydney, David Shoebridge, leader of the NSW Greens,  Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, Labour MP Maria Vamvakinou, the Socialist Alternative, former Anglican Bishop George Browning of Canberra,  the League for Iranian Democracy, Rev. Gregor Henderson, Past President of Uniting Church in Australia, Sonja Karkar, President of Australian Women Against Saudi Gender Apartheid, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and former Australian Ambassador to Syria Ross Burns.                  

 AUBAIG co-founder Ben Saul, an activist international law professor at the University of Sydney specialising in exposing Palestinian Authority corruption and a crusader for the seething Arab masses in the Middle East, pointed out that the illegitimate Muslim Arab government leaders are being targeted by his cadre of followers with arrest warrants should they step foot on Australian soil or seek asylum here. Under the international laws of universal jurisdiction, war criminals and their genocidal ilk are liable to arrest upon the deposition of a citizen's complaint before the Attorney General.                  

He emphasized that his group's actions were in complete fulfillment of the treasured Australian  tradition of seeking justice for suffering humanity.  Moreover, it has the endorsement of his spiritual adviser retired Catholic Bishop Patrick Power, a determined opponent of Arab and Iranian ethnic cleansing of the historic Christian communities in their lands.                

 In that regard, Prof. Saul echoed the call on the international community to bring to justice President Bashar al-Assad, the genocidal ruler of Syria who is bombing not only his own people with war planes but also decimating them with chemical weapons, especially the sarin nerve gas agent. Moreover, the 540,000 third generation Palestinians of Syria located in Damascus, Yarmouk and Latakia are facing extermination.               

 "This greasy rat should be torn limb from limb," he declared to tumultuous applause before the Canberra demonstrators.                   

 He also singled out the apartheid oppression inflicted by the Lebanese government against the Palestinian refugees in its midst, an act advised and consented to by the illegitimate para-state organisation Hizbullah.              

 Casting aside his past hostility towards Israel, Saul, a descendant of 19th century British Jewish convict immigrants, pleaded with the Jewish state to invade next-door Syria and Iran and wipe out their Shi'ite Palestinian-hating feudal ruling classes. He also demanded that the Australian government assist in this endeavour.               

 "Only such humanitarian interventions under the UN's Responsibility to Protect Doctrine can have the desired effect of strengthening the region-wide intifadas in these countries leading to the toppling of their authoritarian regimes,'' he posited.              

 In this regard, Saul dismissed US President Obama's recent diplomatic agreements concerning Syria and Iran as absurd as they give these countries' tyrants a longer shelf life.                 

AUBAIG is also proud to announce that Prof. Saul is proceeding to Turkey where he will cross the frontier into northern Syria. Some 3,900 Syrian Palestinians have been gassed and slaughtered there by their fellow Arabs and some 195,000 have been turned into refugees fleeing to Lebanon and Jordan.             

He will document this holocaust naqba as well as the unbelievable barbaric atrocities of the Syrian Arabs. They are eating the hearts and livers of Palestinians whose intestines have been ripped out by the Syrian militias as brought to our attention by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the recent G-8 Summit.              

 For this act of self-sacrifice in exposing the dirty politics of the Arab and Iranian genocidal enterprises, the entire Australian public ought to be grateful.               

 "As for our myriad of friends amidst the general public, we do sincerely thank them for embracing the boycott of Arab and Iranian goods which will immeasurably assist in the  liberation of  the persecuted Arab and Iranian masses, " Mr. Carr and Prof. Saul concluded.                                                                      

 - 30 -      Media contacts:    

Dr. Ibrahim Abu Mohammad  AUBAIG Adviser   Mufti of Australia  dribrahim@muftiofaustralia.com      Ben Saul, AUBAIG Co-Founder  Professor, International Law University of Sydney  Sydney, Australia ben.saul@sydney.edu.au    The Hon. Bob Carr, AUBAIG Founder Former Australian Foreign Minister and Premier of New South Wales Sydney, Australia bob.carr@uts.edu.au    Rawan Abdul-Nabi  Associate Legal Counsel, AUBAIG  Australian-Palestinian Lobbyist  Sydney, Australia  rawan.abdul-nabi@usyd.edu.au      

Hilton Armstrong Director of Communications  hiltonarms@gmail.com  Melbourne, Australia    

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07 November 2014


La Trobe University in Melbourne recently joined other Melbourne and national and international universities around the world in zionist support of the Israeli apartheid state which operates the largest concentration camp in the world known as Gaza and the Occupied Terrritories of the West Bank of Palestine.

The trend of absolute unarguable support for the zionist state possibly started in the United States of America where certain academics were targeted because of their support for Palestine and the Palestinians and some of them lost their jobs after many years at their institutions where they had been successful academics with great academic achievements in their fields of expertise.

Some of them had published books exposing the human rights abuses perpetrated by Israel and its defence (sic) force in the occupied territories.

Others showed their support of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement which has grown from strength to strength around the world.


Monash University, now La Trobe University in Melbourne, some in Sydney, and others elsewhere are joining the cry - and of course they are desperate to retain the support of Jewish people and businesses around the globe! Jewish students are crying anti-semitism, love Israel but don't go and live there, and continue to show their nationalistic support of that police and apartheid state.

Those of us from South Africa know it all and have experienced it all and recognise what is going on in the middle east with all its brutality and barbarism.

03 November 2014


SA’s inequality gap widening – Oxfam report

The massive gap betwen the haves and the have-nots keeps growin in SA and across the world, according to the Oxfam inequality report entitled Even It Up: Time to End Extreme Inequality 

The report revealed that two of South Africa’s richest families have equal wealth to 50% of the population combined.

Oxfam conducts research in 94 countries worldwide to find solutions to address issues of poverty and injustice.

According to the Forbes’ 2014 The World Billionaire List, the Rupert and Oppenheimer families are the richest in South Africa having a net worth of $13,8 billion  (R150,5 billion) combined.

The wealth of luxury goods tycoon, Johann Rupert and his family, South Africa’s richest family, was valued at $7,2 billion (R78,5 billion) by Forbes. Rupert’s wealth comes from luxury goods companies like Compagnie Financiere Richemont, a Switzerland-based luxury goods holding company that Rupert founded in 1988. The company owns world-class luxury brands like Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Montblanc.

The same list valued the wealth of mining magnate Nicky Oppenheimer and his family, the second richest family in the country at $6,6 billion (R72 billion). The source of the Oppenheimer family’s wealth has for decades been diamonds. Two years ago Nicky Oppenheimer sold 40% of his shares in family-owned business De Beers to Anglo American for $5,1 billion.

The inequality report points out that the inequality gap is not unique to South Africa, but is a world-wide phenomenon.

“. . . the gap between rich and poor is rapidly increasing, and economic inequality has reached extreme levels. In South Africa, inequality is greater today than at the end of Apartheid,” states the report.

“Crucially, the rapid rise of extreme economic inequality is standing in the way of eliminating global poverty . . . We can only improve life for the majority if we tackle the extreme concentration of wealth and power in the hands of elites.”

Graça Machel in her foreword to the Oxfam report says the inequality gap between the rich and poor causes children born in households of low-income earning parents to have their futures held hostage, so to speak. But the picture does not have to be bleak if the inequality gap is addressed.

“The good news is that this growing inequality is not inevitable. It can be resolved. This report contains many examples of success to give us inspiration. I hope that many people . . . [can] reflect on its recommendations and take sustained actions that will tackle 
the inequality explosion.”

Chairman of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Jay Naidoo, says in the report that rising inequality is likely to cause an economic crisis. “The increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of very few has deepened both ecological and economic crises, which in turn has led to an escalation of violence in every corner of our burning planet.”

Additional Source: Forbes

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31 October 2014


Euthanasia campaigner Nitschke investigated over more deaths


Julie-Anne Davies

Dr Philip Nitschke, who now faces a police investigation and expulsion by the Australian Medical Association, having already been suspended by the Medical Board of Australia in July. Photo: David Mariuz
Embattled euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke is being investigated by police in every Australian state over his possible role in nearly 20 deaths in the past three years, all of them apparently suicides.
The latest investigation, by Victoria Police, concerns the death of a 55-year-old Geelong man who allegedly killed himself using a do-it-yourself kit bought though a company affiliated with Exit International, the pro-euthanasia organisation founded by Dr Nitschke. 
All of the deaths being investigated involved the use of the two suicide methods promoted by Dr Nitschke, the lethal drug, Nembutal or a nitrogen inhalant device.
A number of coronial inquests are already under way into the deaths.

A Fairfax investigation has found that Victoria Police have obtained a warrant to search the Telstra records of the Geelong man, Ross Currie, prior to his death in the remote Otway National Park on May 25.
Police believe that emails between Mr Currie and Exit International, Dr Nitschke and Mad Dog Brewing, the company which markets the nitrogen inhalent equipment, will provide some insight into Mr Currie's mental state prior to his death.
It can also be revealed that Dr Nitschke faces expulsion by the Australian Medical Association when its Northern Territory branch Council meets in November, after a move to suspend him last month failed after an error in the paperwork.
Dr Nitschke, who was suspended by the Medical Board of Australia in July, said "attacks" on his character were "coming from everywhere".
"I have received a smattering of letters of support from doctors, some very senior but watching this avalanche rain down, I don't know if I'm going to survive this," he told The Sunday Age.
The decision to suspend Dr Nitschke using the board's emergency powers to  "protect  public health and safety" came after he admitted in an interview with the ABC that he had supported a 45-year-old Perth man, Nigel Brayley, in his decision to commit suicide, despite knowing the man was not terminally ill.
The AMA has cited the same "adverse event", saying Dr Nitschke's "professional behaviour … was not consistent with the high professional and ethical standards for the Australian medical profession promoted by the AMA."
In other developments, documents obtained by The Sunday Age reveal there are currently five separate medical board investigations, one dating as far back as 2011, into Dr Nitschke's conduct.
The complainants are:
  • The Therapeutic Goods Administration's principal medical adviser, Dr Megan Keaney, alleged Dr Nitschke attempted to import the banned euthanasia drug Nembutal into Australia;
  • An anti-euthanasia advocate, Paul Russell, alleged Dr Nitschke had developed and marketed a nitrogen delivery system for the sole purpose of assisting suicide;
  • A Melbourne woman, Judith Taylor, who complained to the board after her 26-year-old son, Lucas, committed suicide using Nembutal after buying Dr Nitschke's euthanasia book, The Peaceful Pill Handbook. She is understood to have claimed that an online forum curated by Exit International encouraged her son to take his life;
  • A West Australian pain specialist, Dr Mark Schutze, lodged a complaint against Dr Nitschke after he addressed a meeting of medical and nursing staff earlier this year at Perth's Charles Gairdner Hospital;
  • The board, in its most recent – and ongoing – investigation, which led to Nitschke's suspension, concerns the circumstances surrounding Nigel Bayley's death as well as Dr Nitschke's general advocacy for the rights of people to commit suicide even if not terminally ill.  
Dr Nitschke has won the first round in his legal fight against the suspension, arguing successfully to have his appeal this November moved from South Australia to the Northern Territory.
The hearing, before a five-member panel, is set down for five days and is shaping up to be a test case on the idea of "rational suicide", whereby a person does not have to be severely depressed to make the decision to kill themselves.
It is rare for the board to use its special emergency powers to suspend a health practitioner. It is believed that there are only 11 reported cases where this power has been used. And, in all but one, the issue concerned doctors acting inappropriately with their patients, for example in cases of sexual assault, drug use or lack of surgical skill.
A spokeswoman for the board said it could not comment on "ongoing matters, as it will not compromise patient safety or the integrity of current investigations."
The Victorian Coroner would notcomment on how many Exit-related investigations are under way, but it is understood that in 2012 – the last public reporting period – there were eight assisted suicide inquiries, and Fairfax Media is aware of at least four more Exit-related deaths in Victoria being investigated now.
Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by calling SANE Helpline 1800 18 7263; Lifeline 131 114; Salvo Crisis Line (02) 8736 3295; beyondblue 1300 22 46 36

28 October 2014


A life released by euthanasia

Nick Miller

Europe Correspondent

Belgian prisoner Frank Van Den Bleeken attending a hearing to determine if he will be allowed to be euthanised,
"My life has now absolutely no meaning. They may as well put a flower pot here."
For many years, Frank van den Bleeken has spent 23 hours of every day in a Belgian prison cell, roughly 2 metres by 5 metres.
The 50-year-old has had a long time to come to terms with his terrible crimes. He raped and killed a 19-year-old woman, Christiane Remacle, strangling her with her own stocking in an Antwerp forest in 1989.
It was not his first crime – he was first imprisoned at 21 for sexual offences. And it was not his last – when released from prison seven years later he attacked three people within weeks – one an 11-year-old girl. After that he was locked up indefinitely.
By his own admission, there is no chance of rehabilitation.
"I am a danger to society," he confessed in a recent documentary. He recognises the evil within him, and has no desire to re-enter the world.
Indeed, he wants to leave it. And any day now, he will – assisted by doctors under Belgium's controversial, world-leading euthanasia laws.
Last week van den Bleeken won a three-year legal battle to allow him to choose that option – leaving prison for a hospital where he will spend his last 48 hours before a doctor administers a fatal drug.
But some people – even leading euthanasia advocates – worry that his case is a sign euthanasia in Belgium has gone too far. Already made uncomfortable by a 27% year-on-year rise in reported euthanasia cases, they fear that too many of those were "borderline" and did not pass the strict tests required by law for physician-assisted death.
Until now, van den Bleeken has not been allowed to die. He has been on suicide watch  since he said in a TV interview that he was considering killing himself – he is monitored every 15 minutes to ensure that he doesn't have the chance. 
But in that interview van den Bleeken expressed his frustration with the life he was forced to continue living. 
"What am I supposed to do? What's the point in sitting here until the end of time and rotting away? I'd rather be euthanised," he said.
"I am a human being, and regardless of what I've done, I remain a human being. So yes, give me euthanasia."
Someone who commits a sexual crime should be given help, he complained, not just locked up – which does not help the person, the society or the victims.
He has a point – Belgium's penal system is notoriously bad for inmates with mental disorders, who are held in old, overcrowded and understaffed prison wings.
His lawyer, Jos Vander Velpen, said two prominent psychiatrists had confirmed that his client was "suffering in an unbearable, enduring way and that his mental condition can never be treated properly". 
 "It's a medical question that is very, very, very delicate and very difficult," he told the Globe and Mail.
"I could never say that euthanasia is a good option because it's the end of life, but it has to be a humane life."
For four years he had felt he "couldn't stand to live like this any longer and could no longer accept the pain".
 "He knows he could live for another 30 years – he's in a good state physically – but in his mind he is very much dead," he told the Mirror.
Journalist Dirk Leestmans, who has been following van den Bleeken's story for years and first met him more than a decade ago, wrote last year that van den Bleeken has only  left the prison once – for his mother's funeral.
"Should we just respect the request of a man who says he has unbearable psychological suffering and therefore wants to end his life?" Leestmans wrote.
"Sometimes I am happy to be a journalist… because my job is to ask the question, not give the answer."
But one person to give a firm "no" to that question was, surprisingly, the man nicknamed Belgium's "Dr Death" – Dr Wim Distelmans, co-chairman of the commission set up to examine every case of assisted suicide.
The commission is supposed to refer cases to prosecutors if the proper legal hurdles have not been cleared – although in the 12 years that euthanasia has been legal in Belgium, not one case has been referred.
But Dr Distelmans was quoted in the Sunday Times predicting that van den Bleeken's case could be the first.
Dr Distelmans performed the world's first double euthanasia for twin brothers – Marc and Eddy Verbessem were born deaf, and learned at the age of 45 they were going blind. He said that caused "unbearable psychological suffering" for them.
And he also helped Nathan, born Nancy Verhelst, 44, after a botched sex change operation left her feeling like "a monster".
But  Dr Distelmans says the test of "unbearable suffering" should not and could not stretch to the experience of van den Bleeken – and he told the prisoner that himself, visiting him several times, assessing his case, then refusing his request to perform euthanasia.
"It is a failure of the system if euthanasia is allowed instead of therapy," he said.
Van den Bleeken found another physician who agreed to give the lethal injection.
 Dr Distelmans told De Standaard he knew 15 more prisoners who wanted euthanasia.
Belgium and the Netherlands legalised euthanasia in 2002, and Luxembourg in 2009. Switzerland has allowed assisted suicide (where the patient administers the lethal drug) since 1942.
While euthanasia numbers in the Netherlands have risen only slightly, in the last few years they have risen remarkably in Belgium. Last year the country logged a record 1800 cases, double that of six years before.
Dr Kenneth Chambaere is a researcher with the End-of-life Care Research Group at University of Brussels. The group runs a big project interviewing doctors after every end-of-life decision, and it is hoped that, once they crunch the data, they might get some answers on why the numbers are rising so quickly.
"The question is, of course, whether it is actually from people getting used to the application of the law and the procedure for euthanasia or whether it's expanding boundaries," Dr Chambaere said. "That's a question I don't have an answer for."
Their research has quelled some fears, showing that legalised euthanasia has dramatically reduced the numbers of "unrequested killing" – the medical shortening of life without proper consent. And it has not resulted in the separation of euthanasia from palliative care: instead, the two work together.
However, Dr Chambaere said, his group often hears complaints that the body set up to control and monitor euthanasia does not have the means or resources to do so properly. The review committee works from reports written by the doctors themselves – and they have no oversight of the estimate 5% of cases not reported to them.
"We do see some outlier cases, such as people who are not actually terminally ill, or people who are really depressed for a large number of years … are receiving euthanasia," he said. "This is a very delicate point in Belgium."
The group has also heard that some people with advanced dementia were receiving euthanasia – even though this should not be possible under the legal tests, which require conscious, mentally competent consent by the patient.
"These are borderline cases which we are seeing now. We saw them in the past also, but not in these numbers."
Criticism is building that the law is becoming more and more loosely interpreted, he said.
"Some terms that are used can be interpreted such as 'suffering unbearably'. What is unbearable? Some physicians will say 'I have to see that for myself' Other physicians will say 'no, this is a subjective thing, I cannot interfere with that. If the patient says he is suffering unbearably then I have to believe him'."
But it's important to keep perspective, Dr Chambaere said. Around 85% of all patients receiving euthanasia are still terminal cancer patients.

26 October 2014


Shakespeare got it right on so many fronts - in fact if he had lived in the 21st century he would have been able to spend his old age saying "I told you so!".

His play, Julius Caesar, has the right quote for the Whitlam years:

"The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones;".

Failure on East Timor

The Age – letters - 241014

Gough Whitlam's record in power is not without fault. Foremost was his failure to support a just resolution of the Indonesian takeover of East Timor when he had the opportunity. Mr Whitlam sometimes claimed to justify his failure to act in 1975 because of his preoccupation with domestic issues. But he lost any chance of influencing events in East Timor much earlier when he met president Suharto in 1974 and supported Indonesia's takeover of Timor. He had the chance to at least insist on a peaceful process, surely essential given Suharto's brutal record, but said nothing.
In the almost four decades after the Indonesian military invasion, Mr Whitlam never deviated from his support for its control of East Timor, with scarcely a word about its appalling human rights abuses there. The nearest he came to criticism was suggesting Indonesia “overplayed its hand” at the 1991 Santa Cruz massacre in Dili. I was a witness to that massacre, and my travelling companion, an Australian university student, was one of those killed. How could Mr Whitlam, steeped in the rule of law and human rights values, so diminish the gravity of that event? Yes, Mr Whitlam was a great Australian. But we need to acknowledge his whole record, not just the parts we find most palatable.
Bob Muntz, Ascot Vale


This article by John Pilger in Counterpunch

 on 23 October 2014 on what the USA and the UK

 did to Australia to get rid of gough whitlam

 is a fascinating horror story, but must be

 read to help everybody to understand what

 happened when a legally and legitimately

 elected australian government was kicked

 out because of its actions in attempting to

 expose the horrors of these countries to

 the outside world.

OCTOBER 23, 2014 counterpunch
How America and Britain Crushed the Government of Their "Ally" Australia

The Forgotten Coup

Across the political and media elite in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam, who has died. His achievements are recognised, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him.
Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”. Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished Royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing.
Although not regarded as on the left of the Labor Party, Whitlam was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride and propriety. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country’s resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies. He proposed to “buy back the farm”. In drafting the first Aboriginal lands rights legislation, his government raised the ghost of the greatest land grab in human history, Britain’s colonisation of Australia, and the question of who owned the island-continent’s vast natural wealth.
Latin Americans will recognise the audacity and danger of  this “breaking free” in a country whose establishment was welded to great, external power. Australians had served every British imperial adventure since the Boxer rebellion was crushed in China. In the 1960s, Australia pleaded to join the US in its invasion of Vietnam, then provided “black teams” to be run by the CIA. US diplomatic cables published last year by WikiLeaks disclose the names of leading figures in both main parties, including a future prime minister and foreign minister, as Washington’s informants during the Whitlam years.
Whitlam knew the risk he was taking. The day after his election, he ordered that his staff should not be “vetted or harassed” by the Australian security organisation, ASIO – then, as now, tied to Anglo-American intelligence. When his ministers publicly condemned the US bombing of Vietnam as “corrupt and barbaric”, a CIA station officer in Saigon said: “We were told the Australians might as well be regarded as North Vietnamese collaborators.”
Whitlam demanded to know if and why the CIA was running a spy base at Pine Gap near Alice Springs, a giant vacuum cleaner which, as Edward Snowden revealed recently, allows the US to spy on everyone. “Try to screw us or bounce us,” the prime minister warned the US ambassador, “[and Pine Gap] will become a matter of contention”.
Victor Marchetti, the CIA officer who had helped set up Pine Gap, later told me, “This threat to close Pine Gap caused apoplexy in the White House. … a kind of Chile [coup] was set in motion.”
Pine Gap’s top-secret messages were de-coded by a CIA contractor, TRW. One of the de-coders was Christopher Boyce, a young man troubled by the “deception and betrayal of an ally”. Boyce revealed that the CIA had infiltrated the Australian political and trade union elite and referred to the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, as “our man Kerr”.
Kerr was not only the Queen’s man, he had long-standing  ties to Anglo-American intelligence. He was an enthusiastic member of the Australian Association for Cultural Freedom, described by Jonathan Kwitny of theWall Street Journal in his book, ‘The Crimes of Patriots‘, as, “an elite, invitation-only group… exposed in Congress as being founded, funded and generally run by the CIA”. The CIA “paid for Kerr’s travel, built his prestige… Kerr continued to go to the CIA for money”.
When Whitlam was re-elected for a second term, in 1974, the White House sent Marshall Green to Canberra as ambassador. Green was an imperious, sinister figure who worked in the shadows of America’s “deep state”. Known as the “coupmaster”, he had played a central role in the 1965 coup against President Sukarno in Indonesia – which cost up to a million lives. One of his first speeches in Australia was to the Australian Institute of Directors – described by an alarmed member of the audience as “an incitement to the country’s business leaders to rise against the government”.
The Americans and British worked together. In 1975, Whitlam discovered that Britain’s MI6 was operating against his government. “The Brits were actually de-coding secret messages coming into my foreign affairs office,” he said later. One of his ministers, Clyde Cameron, told me, “We knew MI6 was bugging Cabinet meetings for the Americans.” In the 1980s, senior CIA officers revealed that the “Whitlam problem” had been discussed “with urgency” by the CIA’s director, William Colby, and the head of MI6, Sir Maurice Oldfield. A deputy director of the CIA said: “Kerr did what he was told to do.”
On 10 November, 1975, Whitlam was shown a top secret telex message sourced to Theodore Shackley, the notorious head of the CIA’s East Asia Division, who had helped run the coup against Salvador Allende in Chile two years earlier.
Shackley’s message was read to Whitlam. It said that the prime minister of Australia was a security risk in his own country. The day before, Kerr had visited the headquarters of the Defence Signals Directorate, Australia’s NSA where he was briefed on the “security crisis”.
On 11 November – the day Whitlam was to inform Parliament about the secret CIA presence in Australia – he was summoned by Kerr. Invoking archaic vice-regal “reserve powers”, Kerr sacked the democratically elected prime minister. The “Whitlam problem” was solved, and Australian politics never recovered, nor the nation its true independence.
John Pilger can be reached through his website: www.johnpilger.com


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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