Friday, April 27, 2007

John Howard's Shocking Anti-Americanism

Prime Minister Blasts Americans Over Iraq War

Here's the latest attack on the American public from prime minister John Howard :

"The American domestic resolve is weakening..."

He said that because more than 70% of Americans back the US Congress in trying to force the Bush administration into bringing the Iraq War to an end... :

" is wrong, and I don't think it is doing anything other than giving great comfort and encouragement to Al-Qaeda and the insurgency in Iraq....They are looking at all this, they read newspapers, they see it on television and they say, 'The American domestic resolve is weakening, therefore we should maintain our resolve.'

"If there is a perception of an America defeat in Iraq, that will leave the whole of the Middle East in great turmoil and will be an enormous victory for terrorism."

Howard is high on NeoCon propaganda if he really believes that garbage. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, and the Iraqi insurgency is concerned, the US is already defeated in Iraq. That is not giving aid and comfort to the enemy, that is facing reality before another 3300 American and half a million Iraqi lives are lost.

How utterly disgusting.

How dare Howard try and present an anti-American front simply because the vast majority of Americans, like Australians, oppose the Iraq War. This is not about the reality of war, or the reality of the world, this is about Howard's ego, and his devotion to President Bush.

This news story featuring Howard's shocking anti-Americanism was featured prominently on the Drudge Report for chrissakes. This means that any of the tens of thousands of American journos who daily access the site will see this story and may choose to use it as a dramatic example of fractures in the Australian-American alliance.

It's clearly time to re-name it : The Howard-Bush alliance.

A very separate and distinct alliance to that between the generations of Australians and Americans who have called each other friends and allies, regardless of who is in government.

Howard clearly has no intention of preserving the alliance when the Democrats take control of the White House in 2009. He knows he is going down and will not win the federal election later this year, and he doesn't care.

The prime minister is damaging the alliance and disgracing the name of Australia in front of a war-shattered, grieving nation.

It's time for John Howard to shut the hell up, and keep his nose out of America's internal affairs.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Towns May Be Evacuated Over Water Shortages

The "Armageddon Solution" To The Australian Mega-Drought

1800 Australians may be forcibly removed from their homes in two Queensland towns as councils and state governments consider increasingly drastic measures to cope with the worst drought in Australia's recorded history.

Disturbingly, Killarney, one of the towns that may be "evacuated", is situated near the source of the Murray-Darling river system : the essential water system that stretches through three Australian states and is now drying up, and has completely stopped flowing in dozens of locations.

Drinking water is being trucked into Killarney at a cost of $8000 a week, but the expense means this measure to keep the town alive may not last for long :

Senior state bureaucrats have discussed the possibility of moving residents from Leyburn, population 200, and Killarney, home to 1500 people.

Water Services Association executive director Ross Young said the Government had the power to move people.

"I'm not sure it has ever been used in Australia...The reality is with no water, you can't live anywhere for long."

Warwick Shire Mayor Ron Bellingham called evacuation an "Armageddon solution", but admitted it was a possibility for Leyburn.
If the drought doesn't break soon, which would require vast stretches of Australia to receive unprecedented and sustained rainfalls, the evacuation of towns that rely on bores and rivers for their fresh water will become a reality for thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Australians in the years ahead.
ANZAC Day Draws 100,000 Australians Together To Remember Our 100,000 War Dead

By Darryl Mason

In 110 years of international war fighting, Australia has lost more than 100,000 soldiers, with hundreds of thousands more wounded in battle, many of whom were left permanently, physically or mentally, maimed.

In a haunting coincidence, 100,000 Australians are estimated to have gathered today to remember ANZAC Day, and to pay tribute to the dead from the dozens of wars and conflicts Australians have fought in through the past 11 decades. They gathered in groups by the dozens and the tens of thousands, with the greater percentage of those paying tribute under the age of 30 years old.

While ANZAC Day has, traditionally, focused on the Australian defeat and withdrawal from Gallipoli, in 1915, more media attention this year has rightly turned to the tragic human destruction of the Western Front and the successful battles Australians fought in France, which helped to end World War 1.

There's an excellent collection online here from the Australian War Memorial on 'Australians In France' during that period.

And, finally, the media has woken up to the fact that more than 500 indigenous Australians served in World War 1, and more than 5000 served in World War 2. Hundreds more fought in Korea and Vietnam.

Yet, most Australians are unaware of the enormous sacrifices they made, and the inhuman treatment they received at the hands of governments aligned to the English Crown who refused to recognise their service for decades. They were denied medals, war pensions and the land grants that were made available to almost all Australian veterans of World War 2.

Today, 'Koori' diggers marched in a separate ANZAC Day march in Redfern, though there was no official recognition of the event by the state or federal governments. Perhaps next ANZAC Day the prime minister find the time to visit such an event.

The coverage by ABC Radio & Television of ANZAC Day has been truly superb, particularly features on the 7.30 Report and Lateline over the past few days.

Here's some of the highlights :

Gallipoli Landings Remembered, 92 Years On

Australian War Brides In The US Finally Granted Dual Citizenship, 60 Years Later

Surviving Rats Of Tobruk Get To Keep Their Special Meeting Hall After Benefactor Buys Melbourne Building For Them - Diggers Donate The $1.7 Million They Received To Charity

POW Reunions Help To Heal The Old Wounds - For The Diggers And The Children Of Those Who Didn't Survive

Here's a quick summary from the 7.30 Report of just how monumental the contribution of Australians to the English side of the war in the Middle East and Europe actually was :
From an Australian population then no more than five million, 300,000 men enlisted. Half were wounded. 60,000 died and were buried on the battlefield, most in the green fields of France and Belgium.

...almost 40 per cent of all Australian males aged 18 to 44, enlisted.

From a population less than one quarter of today's, 60,000 of these young Australians would die in battle. More than half would be wounded or gassed, the lucky ones taken prisoner.
The numbers of killed and wounded are breathtaking, all but incomprehensible.

It is stunning to visit small outback Australian towns and villages today and to learn that from local populations of only 200 or 300, more than 40 or 50 men went to World War I, with children as young as 13 and 14 travelling to larger regional towns to sign up under fake birth dates so they could go on 'the great adventure'.

Some small towns lost, literally, most of their young men in the war. World War I devastated Australian society in ways that are rarely discussed, and all but destroyed the Australian economy, leaving the nation hundreds of millions of pounds in debt.

ANZAC Day has been more popular with Australian youth in recent years than at virtually any other time in the past 90 years. But they do not come to celebrate fighting, or war, as the surviving diggers would not want them to. They come to say thank you, and to pay their respects to the men and women who did what they believed they had to do, and what they were told to do, in an Australia of the past that today seems both familiar and remarkably distant.

More than 4000 Australians are currently serving in the Australian Defence Forces today, in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Solomon Islands, East Timor, and more than a dozen other locations around the world.

Youth Swell The Ranks On ANZAC Day

From Byron Bay To Baghdad, The Diggers Were Done Proud

"I've Got To Be The Proudest Blackfella In Australia"

ANZAC Day In Images

Australia Vs New Zealand Dispute Over Origin Of ANZAC Day

Former War Time Enemies Gather As Friends

Two Australians Injured In Iraq Insurgent Attacks On Eve Of ANZAC Day

Excellent Collection Of ANZAC Day Images

An ANZAC Day Special (Photos And Articles)

Tens Of Thousands Gather In Sydney Despite Teeming Rains

Monday, April 23, 2007

Australia's 'Mega-Drought' To Cripple Local Food Supply

"Pray For Rain," Says Desperate Howard

Priest Says Praying For Rain Is Pointless

How bad is the Australian drought? Bad enough for it to be called a mega-drought. And bad enough for the prime minister, John Howard, to urge Australians to, literally, "pray for rain".

The Murray-Darling river system is only weeks away from drying up enough to force the prime minister to take action that will cut off fresh water flows to irrigators in Victoria's farmlands, known as "Australia's food bowl". Farmers and irrigators are claiming such action will result in the loss of more than 40% of Australia's fresh fruit and vegetables supply in the coming years, and will see Australia forced to relax its extremely strict quarantine measures to allow imports of foreign fresh food.

We're already hearing that we may soon be forced to pay four or five times what we currently do for some fruit and vegetables. The fast food chains must be clapping their hands in delight. How many young working families with shocking mortgage payments and crippling credit debts will pay absurd prices for the ingredients to make fresh, homemade salads when a fast food "dinner" will be substantially less?

Basically, if most of the catchment areas for the Murray-Darling Basin do not get virtually unprecedented rainfalls in the next two months, Australia's food bowl crop lands will get most of their water supplies cut off, to ensure urban areas get enough drinking water instead.

And "unprecedented rainfalls" mean months worth of rain, steady and continual. Nobody really believes that is going to happen, except the most optimistic of long-range weather forecasters.

Good thing the Howard government hasn't been ignoring its own chief scientists, and trying to silence them all, on the reality of the mega-drought and climate change for the past ten years, or Australians really might be in some serious trouble :

Zero water allocations in the Murray-Darling Basin would threaten crops such as citrus, stone fruit and grapes, some of which may take years to recover from a year without water.

New Zealand farmers said they were sympathetic to their Australian counterparts' plight and stood ready to help. But they said Australia must stop using its quarantine rules as a trade barrier.

A day after warning that all irrigation allocations could be suspended without heavy rains in the next two months, the Prime Minister said there might be a need to ship more food from overseas.

"Obviously it might be possible in some areas to import the foodstuffs that would otherwise come from Australian sources," Mr Howard said.

"Now we hope that doesn't happen, because we always like to see ourselves as being capable of meeting our own food needs and, in fact, providing for the food needs of others.

"But it's a question of rain and we must all hope and pray that over the next six to eight weeks it rains, it rains heavily, it rains in all the right areas, (and) there's plenty of run-off into the catchments."

Here's another example of how John Howard told Australians to get down on their knees, raise their hands to the heavens, and start praying for rain :
...he encouraged people to seek divine intervention.

"It's very serious, it's unprecedented in my lifetime and I really feel very deeply for the people affected,'' Mr Howard told ABC Television.

"So we should all, literally and without any irony, pray for rain over the next six to eight weeks.''
But Father Bob Maguire, an hilariously honest and straightforward priest from South Melbourne, who exemplifies everything a true Christian should be, said praying for rain was pointless, and a waste of time. He urged, instead, that some real, significant action be taken instead :
Bob Maguire says church leaders across Australia can pray for rain "until they go black in the face" but it won't solve the water crisis.

"Maybe our prayers need a creative spin, like 'O God, please turn this wine into water'," the Catholic priest said.

"Now I know a lot of people won't like it, particularly if people are making their prayers over a nice bottle of Grange, but this water problem is bigger than all of us boys and girls down here on ground level."

"Praying for rain is great and we will be doing it in our services, but we have to be prepared to work on finding solutions to the problem ourselves," he said.

The UK Independent devoted its front page and multiple pages inside a recent edition to spelling out the true scale of the disaster facing Australia, and it pushed the line (or lie) that the mega-drought was the first and most prominent example of a major country facing ruin due to the effects of severe climate change :
...its mighty rivers have shrivelled to sluggish brown streams. With paddocks reduced to dust bowls, graziers have been forced to sell off sheep and cows at rock-bottom prices or buy in feed at great expense. Some have already given up, abandoning pastoral properties that have been in their families for generations. The rural suicide rate has soared.

Mr Howard acknowledged that the measures are drastic. He said the prolonged dry spell was "unprecedentedly dangerous" for farmers, and for the economy as a whole. Releasing a new report on the state of the Murray and Darling, Mr Howard said: "It is a grim situation, and there is no point in pretending to Australia otherwise. We must all hope and pray there is rain."

But prayer may not suffice, and many people are asking why crippling water shortages in the world's driest inhabited continent are only now being addressed with any sense of urgency.

Until a few months ago, Mr Howard and his ministers pooh-poohed the climate-change doomsayers. The Prime Minister refused to meet Al Gore when he visited Australia to promote his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. He was lukewarm about the landmark report by the British economist Sir Nicholas Stern, which warned that large swaths of Australia's farming land would become unproductive if global temperatures rose by an average of four degrees.

Faced with criticism from even conservative sections of the media, Mr Howard realised that he had misread the public mood - grave faux pas in an election year. Last month's report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted more frequent and intense bushfires, tropical cyclones, and catastrophic damage to the Great Barrier Reef. The report also said there would be up to 20 per cent more droughts by 2030. And it said the annual flow in the Murray-Darling basin was likely to fall by 10-25 per cent by 2050. The basin, the size of France and Spain combined, provides 85 per cent of the water used nationally for irrigation.

Mr Howard has softened his rhetoric of late, and says that he now broadly accepts the science behind climate change. He has tried to regain the political initiative, announcing measures including a plan to take over regulatory control of the Murray-Darling river system from state governments.

British Media Hammer Howard For Refusing To Sign Kyoto, Blame Mega-Drought On Climate Change

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The 'Mount Olympus' Of The Aboriginal Gods

Deep inside the Wollemi National Park, protected by natural barriers like steep cliffs and virtually impenetrable terrain and bush, lies one of the greatest collections of ancient Aboriginal rock carvings found to date.

Rock art expert, Professor Paul Tacon, likened the find to an Aboriginal Mount Olympus.

From the Melbourne Age :

Last spring archaeologists discovered an enormous slab of sandstone 100 metres long and 50 metres wide in the 500,000-hectare Wollemi National Park, which is north of Lithgow, in western NSW. The sandstone was covered in ancient art.

The discovery was an unprecedented collection of powerful ancestral beings from Aboriginal mythology.

For most of the day the engravings are almost invisible. At dawn and dusk, the images are briefly revealed.

Supreme being Baiame and his son Daramulan were both there. Near this father and son pairing is an evil and powerful club-footed being, infamous for eating children. Several ancestral emu women and perhaps the most visually powerful of the images, an eagle man in various incarnations, are also present.

"The site is the Aboriginal equivalent of the palace on Mount Olympus where the Olympians, the 12 immortals of ancient Greece, were believed to have lived," says Professor Tacon. "This is the most amazing rock engraving site in the whole of south-eastern Australia."

And yet the archaeologists have found hundreds of sites in the past five years. It seems almost certain that engravings are part of a much larger network of songlines and stories.
An aboriginal representative of the local tribe who joined the expedition to study and catalogue the rock art said :

"They reckon we didn't have written language...We didn't have A, B, C, D but we had a written language in these engravings. They would have been able to read from site to site to site."

Aboriginal rock engravings are widely regarded as the oldest art works in the world, some dating back more than 40,000 years.

Australian Aborigines have long been recognised as having the most ancient culture in the history of all mankind. Before Dutch and English explorers reached the continent, more than 500 distinct Aboriginal tribes existed, each with their own oral and dance storytelling traditions and unique languages.

A number of tribes are believed to have used the stars for navigation across the vast stretches of the outback for thousands of generations.
'Blood' Tide At Jervis Bay

It looks like a vision of hell, on one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia, but not to worry, "it's just one of those natural occurences" :

"If there was environmental or probable health issues we'd certainly let people know."

An expected wind change is likely to wash the bloom back out to sea tomorrow and Sunday.

....the algae is a vital part of the ocean ecosystem.

"It's an important source of food," Dr Fortescue said.

The exact species of algae is not known, but it is not like fresh water algae, which can be toxic.

It stinks like hell as it rots, but the algae is expected to wash away in the next few days.

Aussie Circa 2007 : Cynical, Lacking In Empathy, Obsessed With Money And Property

Is This Really Australia Today? Or Just Sydney?

As is traditional, an Australian author has scored an English release for his new novel, so it's time to piss all over the homeland for the amusement of the Brits, many of whom still don't like the idea that "the worst of the worst" of England's prison ships built something close to paradise over the past two centuries in this sun-drenched land so far away.

Well, if not paradise, then something far less grim than most of England on a wet, misty winter's day, when the sun sets at 4pm, and nothing else to do but fuck, dance and drink.

The Australian author in question here is Richard Flanagan, who wrote a fairly interesting novel The Unknown Terrorist. It's one of the few novels to look at the effect of terrorism and the 'War On Terror' in Australia. But the true terror for Flanagan seems to be what he found on the streets and in the hearts of Sydneysiders when he decamped from his tree-crowded Tasmanian home to Sydney to write the novel.

Actually, Flanagan does make some valid, but troubling, points about what occupies the minds of many Sydneysiders today, and, as he explains in the quotes below, the new Australian exemplified by money-obsessed, property-focused Sydneyites, is the antithesis of the creature that once passed as the typical Aussie.

Blame John Howard? No, says Flanagan, we did it to ourselves :

"I wanted to make a mirror to what I felt Australia had become. I think it is a pretty bleak country at the moment. It was a land of such hope and possibility when I was younger, and in the past couple of years, like a lot of Australians, I've ended up feeling ashamed of what it had become. But we can't blame governments or parties or politicians; we have to accept in the end it was we as a people who happily went along with this.

"There was a loss of empathy. I don't know where that comes from. We're a migrant nation made up of people who've been torn out of other worlds, and you'd think we would have some compassion."

On laying blame :

" my country, they're blaming Howard, but that's such an absurd and easy option. There is a crisis that is not political - an epidemic of loneliness, of sadness - and we're completely unequal to dealing with it. We're obsessed these days with believing that the answer is always individual, that it lies in ourselves. This takes every form of madness from self-help manuals to step aerobics, and is always about improving yourself. But the reality is, it lies in other people and making connections with them, yet it is a world where it's ever harder to make those connections."

The limits of truth :

"In Australia....we have a whole spectrum of media commentators who consistently argue that things like national security demand that individual freedoms be truncated, and we're also constantly told there are needs and necessities of the nation that mean there are limits on the truth. But there can be no limits on the truth. If there are limits on the truth, you've opened up the road to tyranny."

On David Hicks :

"To train with al-Qaida prior to 2001 is a different thing than to go and train with them now. One can understand how people like him might end up there. You don't have to agree with them, and I don't. I have a friend who died in the Bali bombing. I don't support the murder of innocent people anywhere by anyone, but what really matters is truth and individual freedom, and when those things start coming under such heavy attack as they have in recent times, then people should be very disturbed....there is nothing higher than individual freedom."

On terrorism :

"Terrorism is simply murder. What is it we dislike? We dislike murder and the use of murder to try to impose a repressive regime. But it's murder, that's what it is. The word terrorism has been misused for so long that it clouds our understanding of what happens. After the Bali bombing, you can make a lot of criticisms of the Indonesian authorities, but they treated it as a crime and they tracked down those people. That's what it was - a crime. The Americans saw September 11 as an attack on their national honour, and it led them into a madness that the world is now paying for".

The Full Story Here is a worth a read. As is Flanagan's novel.

Philip Adams : Australia Has Become Another Country....Almost

Friday, April 20, 2007

Australia's Anzac Day Shame

The Forgotten Soldiers Of Our Forgotten War

Most Australians know little about this country's involvement in the Korean War in the 1950s, even though more than 6000 soldiers served there and hundreds died on the battlefields.

Considering some of the most acclaimed Australian soldiers of World War 1 and World War 2 volunteered to fight in Korea, for six long years, and 338 soldiers were killed there, it is an utter mystery as to why the war barely gets a mention in the mainstream media. The United States has a similar memory hole when it comes to Korea, and they lost thousands in the fighting.

In Australia, politicians rarely, if ever, mention the Korean War; historians write dozens of books about Gallipoli and Australia diggers in Europe and the Middle East during World War 2, but they won't touch Korea; you don't see lengthy TV documentaries, or docudramas, on the extremely deadly battles fought against more than a million Chinese and North Korean soldiers, and as for Anzac Day - Australia's national day of digger remembrance - you'd be hard pressed to find the kind of double page spreads afforded WW2, Gallipoli and Vietnam veterans focusing on what Australia's did more than 50 years ago to hold back Communist forces at the height of the Cold War.

But perhaps most shamefully of all, there are sixteen Australian veterans who died in Korea who don't even get a mention on the war memorial in Canberra.


Bureaucratic bullshit, mostly. And a fear of giving too much attention to what lies hidden beneath the conspiracy of silence shrouding the truth about the Korean War.

Officially, the Korean War ended on July 27, 1953, with the signing of a "truce" between the US-led coalition and North Korea. But the fighting raged on until April, 1956. The last three years of the war are not officially recognised as "war-fighting", even though there were many deadly conflicts fought in that time.

Eighteen Australian servicemen were killed during the "non-war". Two of them have their names listed on the war memorial. The other sixteen? Australian military history doesn't recognise them.

From 'The Australian' :

With Anzac Day less than a week away, a group of Korea veterans has renewed efforts to get official recognition for those forgotten 16 servicemen.

Bob Morris, who served two tours of duty in Korea with the navy, yesterday called on the federal Government to end the discrimination against those killed in the second stage of the war and to recognise all his comrades.

"We started this five years ago and we have been through five defence ministers and all but given up trying to get a hearing from the Prime Minister," Mr Morris, 75, said as he planned Anzac Day celebrations with some other Korea veterans in Nowra, on the NSW south coast.

"When you get a minister who is only 40 years old and who is surrounded by bureaucrats who have no idea about what happened more than 50 years ago, it is bloody hard."

Mr Morris said Defence bureaucrats had argued against his committee because in 1998 it was decided that deaths in Korea would be ruled "warlike or non-warlike".

"These men were all ... war-caused deaths - one was squashed between a tank and a truck, an army captain died of heat stroke and one army private froze to death in his tent.

"Others were killed by mines or by guerilla action - but everything was hushed up by the UN because there was supposed to be a truce."

Mr Morris said that after successive failures to get any response from John Howard's office, he had approached the Prime Minister when he was visiting Nowra last year.

"I got face to face with him and said I wanted to speak to him about this matter - but I got short-sheeted pretty quickly and palmed off to his principal private secretary."

Disgusting. Isn't the Korean War popular enough with middle-class Australia to warrant the prime minister's attention? These unrecognised Australian soldiers fought and died in a war committed to by Howard's hero, prime minister Robert Menzies. Bob Morris hopes that a Liberal government, then, "would fix things up."

They might get a better run from the Rudd Opposition.

"ALP MP Robert McClelland moved a motion in the house (of Representatives) last year to get us recognition but it failed," Mr Morris said. "But since then Kevin Rudd has come on board and promised to address the matter if he wins the next election."

Morris is worried that time is ticking away, and although he manages to get a bit of attention for his cause each year when ANZAC Day comes around, the years are getting on, as are his fellow Korea veterans. They're not asking for much. Just recognition for the mates they lost in the war.
"If something isn't done soon, we'll all be gone and our grandchildren won't know what we went through."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"Bizarre Refugee Swap"

Australia's Latest Export To United States : Sri Lankan Asylum Seekers

This is surely one of the most bizarre government policy announcements in years. Few on the Left or the Right can seem to comprehend WTF it's all about.

Here's the short version : The Howard government and the Bush administration have reached a deal which will see dozens of Sri Lankan asylum seekers, currently held on Nauru Island off the coast of Australia, packed off to the United States, where, presumably, they will eventually be given green cards and allowed to settle.

In exchange, the Bush administration gets to free up some space in Guantanamo Bay by sending hundreds of asylum seekers from Haiti and Cuba to Australian shores.

Here's Australian immigration minister, Kevin Andrews :

"This arrangement will ensure the integrity of the international system of protection and the integrity of Australia's borders is maintained, by providing protection to those who need it. It also sends a strong deterrence message to people smugglers."

It does? How? By allowing people smugglers to raise their prices because they can now say, "Hey, we'll get you near Australia, then you get to go to America!"

Have the senior ranks of the Howard government been sitting around licking cane toads?

Some sanity :

...refugee advocates have called the Mutual Assistance Arrangement, signed in Washington last week, a "bizarre refugee swap" and questioned the motives of the US Government.

And perspective :
The agreement will hose down fears in the lead-up to the election that asylum seekers could be cast into indefinite exile on Nauru. These include the 82 Sri Lankans who were intercepted by the Australian navy near Christmas Island earlier this year.

"It points to the human rights credit of Australia that the only country that will assist us is a country with whom we are in the coalition of the willing," said Pamela Curr of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. "It's shocking. My other concern is what does America expect of Australia in return for taking our refugees? The Yanks don't do anything for nothing."

The whole thing is like a a pitch for some new demented reality TV show : "We follow desperate asylum seekers from South East Asia all the way to Australia. But here's the twist. They won't get into Australia. Instead, they will be stuffed onto a plane for a mystery flight, all the way to the USA! Wait till you see the looks on their faces!"

Naturally, there's a political angle for John Howard, who's never been afraid to use the poorest and most desperate of people as bargaining chips and publicity footballs. Problem is, nobody seems to be quite sure just what that political angle will be.

The most likely angle is Howard needs to get get the Sri Lankans out of the way, and put the hose on a few Nauru Island spot fires of dissent.

Nauru Island has told Australia the Sri Lankan asylum seekers currently housed there have to be gone within six months. Howard doesn't want the status of the Sri Lankans left unresolved as he moves into election mode, and he sure as hell won't let them come to our precious shores.

Nauru is playing tough with Howard now because they no doubt fear a repeat of the situation where legitimate asylum seekers, from countries like Iraq, were detained, at a cost of tens of millions of dollars to the Australian taxpayer, for as long as six years.

Not surprisingly, Nauru is developing something of a complex about being treated like a human dumping ground by the Australian government.

Wait until Howard asks them if they'd mind storing some of the nuclear waste winging back our way from international uranium sales.

Refugees Are 'Not Washing Machines'

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Howard's Last Days

Prime Minister Faces Devastating Defeat At Coming Federal Election

The stunning downward spiral that is the Australian prime minister's political career is only matched for drama by the remarkable rise of the man who is now set to become the nation's newest leader, Kevin Rudd.

The right-wing media keeps beating up non-events in an effort to disable Rudd's rise, but nothing sticks. Clearly the Australian public have greater concerns than those the right-wing media tell them they must be concerned about.

After 11 years of John Howard, and a long series of shocking scandals - including the detention of dozens of legitimate refugee children in concentration camp-like detention centres in the heat of the Australian outback; the flat-out lies, distortions and corruption surrounding Australia's involvement in the Iraq War, and the federal government's blind-eye to the $300 million bribing of Saddam Hussein by the Australian Wheat Board - Australian voters have clearly had enough.

For more than 10 months, the Australian prime minister's popularity has been plunging, and continues to savagely decline, in poll after poll.

Australians hate the Iraq War, they're disgusted by the industrial relations reforms Howard forced onto them, they 're stunned that interest rates continue to climb after the prime minister guaranteed they would stay low at the last federal election, and they are sick to death of the constant bitching and whining and pathetic attacks launched by Howard's snarling dog pack of smirking federal ministers and back bench low lifes.

Howard and his crew still don't get it. Australians aren't concerned about whether or not Kevin Rudd (allegedly) distorted the childhood story of how his family were evicted from a farm after his father's death. Nor are they worried that Rudd's staffers have been caught up in a low-boil controversy about staging an early dawn service for Anzac Day.

The political belly button fluff that Howard & Co obsess over mean little to most Australians. They've told the Howard government, in poll after poll, that they are far more concerned about rising interest rates, the horrific failure of the Iraq War, the fact that their children will have less employee-related entitlements when they join the workforce and severe climate change, including droughts and water shortages. These are the issues that occupy their minds and keep them up late at night.

But Howard & Co aren't listening, and so they are continually punished for being so ignorant in virtually every new poll published.

Latest poll numbers show the Opposition government led by the team of Rudd, political fireball Julia Gillard and former Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett, would win a federal election today by a margin of almost 20%.

And there is nothing, not a single solitary thing, on the horizon that is likely to change
Australians concrete view that the Howard government's time in office is now well and truly over.

Kevin Rudd would have to be caught on camera drowning kittens in a vat of burning petrol, while laughing maniacally and gnawing on a koala's face to drop as low in the polls as John Howard.

With a preferred leadership rating of a mere 36%, John Howard is stumbling into the unpopular leader territory that President George W. Bush knows so well. Howard's clearly lost the hearts and minds of the great majority of Australians. And that's without an Iraq War, or 'War on Terror' related, bodycount of Australian servicepeople adding to the misery.

With interest rates all but guaranteed to rise in the coming months; with the prime minister unable to shake the locked-on visage of being a cynical denier of the realities of global warming and severe climate change; with the Iraq War plunging into a carnage-soaked abyss of incomprehensible horror; and with workplaces around Australia filling with the voices of workers yelling, "What the fuck do you mean I don't get the weekend off anymore?" John Howard is a doomed politician.

The coming federal election is expected to held in October-November this year.

That is, if John Howard remains leader of the Liberal Party.

And there is no guarantee today that John Howard will still be leader when Australia goes to the polls. So bad are his numbers now, so awesomely has his popularity and credibility peeled away in the past six months to reveal little but a hollow shell of his former glory, that rumours are bubbling away that he may bow out as leader before the election, which could still be held as late as March, 2008.

If Howard does leave before the election, expect a health care scare for the prime minister, or a member of his family, to be the reason he cites for having to pack it all in.

If he can hang on long enough to host the APEC summit of world leaders in Sydney in September, the love-in with Bush And Blair will be his swansong. Who knows? He's probably already planned it to be.

But Howard's ego is so vast, yet fragile, he could not conceivably take an election defeat that sees him lose the most powerful office in the land, particularly by a shame-slapped margin.

And he certainly won't stick around long enough to get rolled by the rest of his party, despite his mantra that he would "remain leader of the party as long as the party wants me to remain leader."

The clearest glimpse so far that Howard knows what is coming was last month when he was read the then latest polls (not as bad as today's) during an interview on the 7.30 Report,

Howard said "it's long time to the next election." Halfway through that sentence, a terrible reality appeared to dawn in his mind, and the words "the" "next" "election" were punctuated by pauses and a barrage of blinking.

The End is a rampaging road train storming down the highway straight at Howard. He is unlikely to stand there and let it run right over him. He will step out of the road, and out of the way, so he can slink off and claim for the rest of his days, to whoever will give a shit, that he was leader of Australia for 11 years, that he won four elections and that he was never beaten as prime minister.

It will mean a lot to him, no doubt, but the rest of Australia will have to cope with the reality of what he has done, or not done, over the past decade, as the resources boom skyrocketed the Australian economy, all off the back of the tough economic choices made by Labor during the 1980s and early 1990s.

Howard, meanwhile, will wheel away to one of the most privileged lifestyles in the land. Or he will whip himself off to the United States. There's a lot of opportunities waiting for Howard in the US, particularly while President Bush remains in power.

In the United States, John Howard can look forward to a few seats on some of the boards of the defence companies he's helped to enrich through the Iraq War. He can expect huge paydays on the Republican-rich dinner-talk circuit, and he and soak up the praise from the increasingly irrelevant American right wing media and Fox News lap dogs who view Howard as some down under messiah-warrior during The Crusades II.

Here's the Newspoll numbers :

Labor leads the Coalition by 59% to 41%. A stunning eighteen point lead. And that's two points up for Labor from the last poll, and two points down for the Coalition.

Rudd remains the preferred prime minister at a steady 48%, while Howard's numbers have slumped once again, this time down to only 36%.

Interesting that the media have dropped the term "honeymoon" now when trying to explain why Rudd's numbers are so astoundingly good.

The honeymoon, then, may well be over for the Australian public when it comes to Kevin Rudd, but in the best possible way. Meanwhile, the protracted, messy, painful and dangerous divorce from John Howard has begun.

The Proof The Howard Government Tried To Hide : Most Australian Workers Lose Workplace Benefits Under New Industrial Relations Laws

Howard Admits His Age May Be An Issue With Voters - Calls Getting Older "A Remorseless Reality"

Saturday, April 14, 2007

400 Special Forces Troops Now Head To Afghanistan

Howard Claims Australians Will Go After Taliban "Leadership"

Australia Digs In Years To Come In Afghanistan As Troop Numbers Expected To Climb To 2000 In 2008

Prime Minister John Howard, foreign minister Alexander Downer and defence minister Brendan Nelson went on a media blitz last week for the announcement that Australia will double its troop commitment to Afghanistan.

They didn't mention, however, that Australia's commitment could double again, to more than 2000, in 2008, as troops dig in for another four or more years of war fighting in the region.

Howard, Downer and Nelson boasted that Australia's special forces won't be targeting "goat herders" on their return to Afghanistan, but will be taking on the upper ranks of the Taliban, and its leadership. At the same time, they repeatedly stated that Australians "must prepare " for casualties.

If Australia's special forces are truly going in hard against the Taliban, and are aiming to decapitate the Taliban leadership, casualties are all but guaranteed.

What hasn't been addressed yet is whether the special forces will be entering the border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan where most of the Taliban leadership is believed to be holed up, or whether they will enter Pakistan itself.

Pakistan's president Musharraf insists that Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters are not coming from his country, but are border-region Afghan refugees. The United States, meanwhile, claims that Pakistan is sheltering Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders.

With the announcement today that John Howard has told Pakistan president Musharraf that he "has to do more" to deal with the Al Qaeda and Taliban groups and support bases inside his country, it certainly sounds like the prime minister is laying the ground for Austrailan forces to work close to, or inside, Pakistan's border.

An exceptionally good summary of what Australia's special forces will be facing in Afghanistan from Patrick Walters writing in 'The Australian' :

Australia is being slowly yet inexorably being drawn into a novel 21st-century version of the "great game" in Afghanistan as our military prepares for its most sustained fighting since Vietnam.

The upgraded Afghanistan mission promises to be long and hazardous, and Australia's defence chiefs know there is no guarantee of victory. Our overall troop commitment is much likelier to rise than fall in the next two years as the battle intensifies to stabilise Afghanistan.

But, unlike Australia's two most recent wars, in Vietnam and Iraq, the war in Afghanistan is a full bipartisan commitment from the Government and the ALP. When Australian special forces return to the mountain-locked Oruzgan province next month they will face a far more confident Taliban insurgency. A dysfunctional NATO command in Kabul is manifestly failing to subdue the insurgency now gripping south-eastern Afghanistan.

"It is a fundamental test for NATO and NATO will fail it. It (NATO's counter-insurgency strategy) isn't working and it isn't going to work. But there will be some local successes," says one senior Australian government source. "The only people actually doing anything hard are the US, Brits, Canadians and Aussies."

Australia's military is preparing for the possibility of a four-year assignment task in Oruzgan. But planners know successfully stabilising the south in partnership with Afghan security forces will take a decade of sustained effort.

Since the SAS and commandos returned home from Afghanistan in September 2006 things have gone backwards in Oruzgan. Less than 30 per cent of the province, one of Afghanistan's poorest with a population of about 400,000 people, is under the control of the central government.

Areas subdued by the Australians in 2005-06 such as the Chora Valley, just 15km north of their base at Tarin Kowt, have now effectively fallen back under the control of the Taliban.

Nearly six years after the overthrow of the Taliban government in Kabul, Oruzgan remains a Taliban heartland. Its inaccessible mountain valleys are a safe haven for an estimated 300-400 hardened fighters who roam freely across the mountains from neighbouring Helmand and Kandahar.

There are few roads, even fewer government services, and the opium crops are flourishing. Taliban fighters are steadily encroaching on the provincial capital, Tarin Kowt, which lies in a broad valley. They continue to threaten the main road and main supply line south to Kandahar, 120km away.

The Australians know the terrain and know the enemy but, as one senior military source acknowledges, "we will have to start from scratch again and recover lost ground".

Taking responsibility for the province would involve more than doubling the planned 1000-strong commitment, and would include the provision of combat air power and more ground forces.

NATO estimate the number of Taliban fighters in the southern provinces at about 10,000. Many of these are mercenaries and opportunists who will switch sides if they sense the momentum is slipping away from them.

With the Taliban leadership holed up in Quetta, Pakistan, and newly trained fighters crossing freely into Afghanistan, NATO is facing a far more resilient enemy fully prepared to test the resolve of the US and its allies.

In Oruzgan, Australia's SAS, ably supported by commandos, will aim to quickly regain the tactical initiative, limiting the insurgents and freedom of movement and cutting off their support bases and disrupting supply lines.

The aim will be to create fear and uncertainty in the minds of the Taliban and al-Qa'ida fighters, mounting clandestine patrols, all the while trying to gain the confidence of local Afghan elders and villagers.

This time the special forces will stay for at least two years and have the opportunity to really make a difference. But the Australians will need more help to do the job effectively, particularly helicopter support in combat operations. The army's refurbished Chinooks won't return to Oruzgan until early next year, leaving Australian forces totally reliant on NATO aircraft during the next nine months.

Australia's well-meaning efforts in Oruzgan may prove to be only a transitory success in a long painful march out of Afghanistan.

More details and background on the announcement of more troops to Afghanistan here :
Australia's defence deployment to Afghanistan will be doubled, with special forces charged to aggressively hunt down Taliban leadership and disrupt its resurgent terrorist network.

The existing 400 personal working with the Dutch in a Reconstruction Task Force in the Oruzgan province in the troublesome south, will be joined by a Special Operations taskforce made up of Special Air Service soldiers, Commandoes and a "solid intelligence capability", as well as an additional RAAF air surveillance radar group at Kandahar airport.

The present deployment of 120 special protection soldiers, rotated every six months, will be extended for another 18 months.

Two Chinouks helicopters will be returned and joined by an Hercules C-130J aircraft operating broadly across the Middle East.

The announcement means that Australia will have more than 900 personnel deployed by the middle of the year, peaking at over 1000 by the middle of 2008.

Mr Howard indicated he was conscious of the political difficulties Pakistan had in containing the Taliban but was keen for it to do more.

"We would like the Pakistanis to be as active, intense, as committed as zealous as possible in containing it," he said.

"I understand some of the political realities under which (Pakistani President) General (Pervez) Musharraf operates."

Mr Howard said he had made personnel representations to General Musharraf about the matter, as had British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US Vice President Dick Cheney.

"We do all understand some of the history and there is a balancing act," he said.

"There's no doubt that overall the Pakistanis have been good allies in the fight against terrorism," he said.

"I guess in relation to Afghanistan we would like them to be even better allies."

This is exactly the kind of talk which is now infuriating Musharraf, who claims :
"We have suffered the maximum and we have contributed the maximum. Therefore, we will not accept that Pakistan is not doing enough in the war against terror...It pains me when people say that Pakistan is not doing enough."

Why Howard continues to pour on the pressure when Musharraf is threatening to "quit" fighting the 'War on Terror' may be more about laying the media ground work for later revelations that Australian forces are operating on, or in, Pakistan's borders.

Though, according to Musharraf, they might end up doing such operations with his permission.

Howard Claims If Terrorists Gain A Foothold, Again, In Afghanistan, There Will Be "Direct Consequences To This Country"

Howard Asks Pakistan To Curb Taliban

Stop The Criticism Or I Will Quit Fight Against Terror, Warns Musharraf

Friday, April 13, 2007

'Terror' Books And Movies To Be Banned Under Extraordinary New Censorship Law

If You Don't Know What "Glorifying Terrorism" Means, Just Look At The Empty Book And DVD Shelves To Get An Idea

A significant new layer of censorship will be introduced in Australia, where books and DVDs that "glorify" and "advocate" terrorism will be banned outright, and removed from store shelves.

The Attorney General, Philip Ruddock, is clearly aware that this will be controversial, but he is aiming to cut off any debate on what books and DVDs should disappear through this censorship by claiming that public safety overrides any issues relating to free speech.

In short, debate all you want, freedom and free speech freaks, it won't make a lick of difference :

Books and DVDs glorifying terrorist acts will be pulled from the shelves and prevented from entering the country under new Federal laws to be unveiled today.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has declared a "zero-tolerance approach" to material that "advocates" terrorism.

Under the existing Classification Act, material can only be removed from sale if it is deemed likely to "promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence".

But the amended law - to be discussed at a meeting between Mr Ruddock and the state attorneys-general in Canberra today - makes it an offence to circulate material that "advocates" a terrorist act.

"We are not going to allow material to be out there saying terrorism is a good idea," Mr Ruddock told The Daily Telegraph yesterday.

"This is a zero-tolerance approach to terrorism. Terrorism acts are a specific and highly dangerous threat to Australian society. Material that advocates people undertake such acts should not be available for this reason alone."

Ruddock intends to change the laws about material that could be seen to "advocate" or "encourage" terrorism because the post-9/11 sedition laws required "a very high standard of proof."

Ruddock intends to change the laws about material that could be seen to "advocate", "encourage" or "glorify" terrorism because the post-9/11 sedition laws required "a very high standard of proof."

Curse those standards of proof.

It was too hard to find and prosecute the people who produced the targeted DVDs and books before, so instead, they all come off the shelves and/or be seized by customs.
"This proposal is intended to get inflammatory material inciting terrorism out of circulation without having to conduct a criminal prosecution."
Yeah, why bother with criminal prosecutions? It's refreshing to hear such talk coming from the attorney general himself.

You should probably pick up a copy of Stephen Spielberg's film 'Munich' while you still can.

While I think it is a brilliant and powerful movie, it clearly advocates and glorifies the use of terrorism, and also provides information on how to form a terror ring, set telephone bombs and stage ambushes.

Damn shame that, but the Attorney General has spoken.

Next thing you know they'll be telling us books and movies that "advocate" and "glorify" war, or discuss the long-term benefits of firebombing civilian-filled cities, or just plain nuking them instead, are going to be taken off the shelves as well.

They'll clearly have to be, eventually. You only have to look at war-related death tolls and the destruction of infrastructure to know that even the smaller wars of the 20th century proved to be a greater risk to society and humanity at large than the biggest acts of terrorrism ever committed.

What we obviously need is a federal government-approved list of books and DVDs that are acceptable to read and watch in these troubled times.

Well, actually, we don't. What the government decrees is unacceptable will simply disappear. And you won't know any different.
Hilali: Howard Runs "An Almost Saddam-Like" Dictatorship

Australian Politicians Love Free Speech, Just Not Too Much Of It

Australia's most controversial religious figure, Sheik Al-Hilali, has done it again. With his media profile in Australia rising faster than Paris Hilton's, the mufti has opened his mouth and a torrent of fresh headlines have poured forth.

When Hilali speaks his mind, politicians and columnists line up to vent their outrage, horror and stuttering disgust. They can't resist. He's the religious leader every loves to hate, and can openly hate, without being accused of being anti-religious.

Hilali is a perpetual, self-generating headline machine.

If he stood in front of 5000 Muslims and read out his shopping list, just what the sheik picks up from his local Franklins would become yet more news that would occupy another half page of a newspaper that could have been filled with...I don't know...real news?

Government ministers, backbenchers, politicians you didn't even know existed, stampede to get in front of the cameras every single time Hilali says something dopey, dangerous or derogatory.

They do this because they believe that just about everyone in Australia must hate Hilali's guts, and they have to be seen to be siding with the majority of the public.

But what they all fail to comprehend is that most Australians wonder what the Hilali fuss is all about, and likewise wonder why the hell his near every utterance gets front page headlines or a spot in the opening minutes of the evenings news.

Prime Minister John Howard and Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd don't agree on much, but they certainly agree that when it comes to Hilali that, yes, while free speech is a great and precious thing, sometimes one can have too much of it.

When Hilali recently spoke out in support of Iran, a country Australia is not currently at war with, both Rudd and Howard and an assortment of politicians and perpetually outraged media drones encouraged, demanded and suggested that Hilaly either quit being mufti, get the hell out of Australia, or both.

Now comes today's entry in What Crazy Thing Did Hilali Say Now? :

Sheik Hilali said he had spent 50 years promoting peace and accused the Prime Minister of running a dictatorship.

"It's a disgrace for the leader of a democratic country to be picking on religious people, especially one who is practising a form of dictatorship that could almost be Saddam-Hussein-like," he said.

"I respect Australian values more than he does. Australian people like peace and they like humanitarian welfare and they are attracted to just causes."

For once Hilaly has said something that a growing number of Australians probably agree with, particularly about Australians liking humanitarian welfare and peace and just causes.

The response from the Australian Attorney General, Philip Ruddock, to Hilali's support for Iran is particularly interesting :

"I would be concerned if any Australian was offering support and succour to Iran, particularly as it is intent on pursuing the development of the nuclear fuel cycle outside international scrutiny," Mr Ruddock said.

So any Australian who offers support, or succour, to Iran while they are intent on defying the international community over their nuclear energy program raises the "concern" of the Attorney General?

Well, what can you say, but this : How long now before we go to War On Iran?

Australian Islamic Federation : We Did Not, Will Not, Sack Hilali

Why Hilali Must Go, And Go Now

One Rule For Hilali, Another Rule For Shock Jocks

Politicians' Furore Over Hilali "Related To His Unpopular Political Opinions"

All Hail Hiali - When The "Mad Mufti" Helped Save An Australian Trapped In Iraq

A True-Blue Aussie Larrikan - Give Him All The Rope He Needs

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wanna Smoke? Get In The Cage

Are cigarette smokers at the footy now a "security" risk? The management at Sydney's Telstra Dome thinks they are. Any fan who wants to smoke at the stadium could once duck outside, not anymore. Now they're herded into a cage.

Once they're caged, there's no passouts, so fans can't go outside to buy food from non-Dome vendors while they're having a smoke. That in itself might explain why smokers are now being treated like cattle :

Dome management blamed the move on security fears, but fans said it was to force them to buy food inside the venue at inflated prices.

They said one doughnut seller had resorted to selling his wares through the smoking fences.

"It's like being at school and you've got to ask permission to go to the toilet," said one disgruntled fan.
(Fans) were unable to meet...friends arriving later to give them tickets, or to buy food outside.

"Why should you be forced to eat their horrible food? You don't have a choice."

Yes, it's always about security, isn't it?

Never anything to do with stopping all the people at a huge venue like the Telstra Dome from leaving the venue to buy food, drinks and water elsewhere, at far cheaper prices.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Australia In The Year 2020

2500 Scientists Agree Land Down Under Is Facing Climate Change Devastation

Seen The Great Barrier Reef Yet? Don't Wait Too Long...

Just how completely wrong could 2500 of the world's leading scientists be when it comes to severe climate change and Australia?

It might be time to start slaughtering a few animals to honour your God Of Choice and get busy praying.

The news about what is likely to happen to Australia between now and 2020 is not good. In fact, it's downright shocking. No doubt this is exactly the kind of reaction the scientists who put together this report were hoping to score. Mission accomplished!

You can find a summary of the predictions and projects from the IPCC below, but there is little to report today on what the federal government, or the opposition, are planning for how to combat these expected, very dramatic changes to our climate and environments.

An important argument now entering the debate in Australia about the impact of climate change is centred around how we are going to adapt to fast, dramatic changes to almost every aspect of Australian life, rather than just concentrating on lowering greenhouses gas emissions. It's an important part of the debate, and well overdue.

In short, the changes are coming, and while lowering greenhouse gases will help in the long run, the public is going to want to know how are we going to cope with the changes that are expected to be all but irreversible.

Here's some of the predictions from the world's leading climate scientists on what we can look forward to in Australia, with 13 years :

* More cyclones, a greater risk of tsunamis striking the east coast.

* 300,000 Australians could be exposed to the dengue virus each year.

* Coastal communities left "vulnerable".

* Critical fresh water shortages for eastern and southern Australia.

* Deaths from hotter temperatures in our capital cities expected to rise from some 1100 per year to more than 2500.

* Coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef to increase dramatically, placing its future and viability as a tourist attraction at risk. Where there is now some of the world's most beautiful coral expanses, there may soon be seaweed. 1C to 2C rise in temperatures will leave the Great Barrier Reef devastated. A 3C rise is predicted to all but wipe it out.

* "Significant loss of biodiversity", with massive damage to World Heritage sites like Kakadu, vast stretches of rain forest, and even ski resorts in alpine region seeing dramatic drops in annual snow fall.

* Species extinction "virtually certain" to increase, threatening populations of possums and koala bears.

* Emergency services and transport systems under increased strain.

* Increased danger to lives and homes from more extensive bush fires, across longer bush fire seasons.

* An increase in power blackouts during summer months in east and south Australia.

* Sea level rises to impact on coastal communities and beachfront properties and resorts through tidal surges and eroding coastlines.

* Forestry and agriculture significantly impacted through increased drought, lower annual rainfalls across vast regions of the country.

So does an Australia 2020 scenario including most, if not all, the climate change effects listed above constitute a national emergency?

More than 70% of Australians listed Climate Change as their greatest worry, well above increased interest rates or the threat of terrorist attacks.

The Howard government has been hammered for months for having left it to the last minute to start taking climate change and global warming seriously.

And deadly serious, very valid questions are now being asked about just how prepared the Howard government is to deal with the monumental changes to Australian society and lifestyles that climate change looks set to wrought.

Climate Change may well be the most important issue of all for voters at the coming federal election. At the very least it will be the Top Three of all the major issues.

The Kevin Rudd led Opposition is ahead of the government when it comes to who the general public thinks will move faster and more effectively to deal with the effects of climate change, and to mitigate its future impact, if that's actually possible.

But if the Australia 2020 predictions listed above take root in the greater public mind as being the New Reality for their children, both Howard and Rudd may find themselves in a position where the general public thinks that neither is going to do enough, or do it fast enough, to Save The Future for the next generation.

The general fear of severe climate change may well leap ahead of the plans now being put together by both Howard and Rudd, leaving the public at large feeling that neither leaders will measure up to the kind of visionary they expect to lead the country until 2010. The kind of visionary they believe they will need.

CODA : Projections for Australian in 2050 are, not surprisingly, a hell of a lot worse, and you'll be hearing plenty about those horror stories soon enough. Hell being the appropriate word.
Actually, 2050 is expected to be very hell-like for many areas of Australia that aren't currently regarded as stinking-hot, desert-blown, dengue infested, cane toad overrun, hellholes.

Plant, Animals And People All Feature In Dire Climate Change Predictions,

Good News For Cockroaches, Cane Toads And Kangaroos, Not So Good For Possums And Koalas

Island States Close To Australia May Become Uninhabitable Due To Fresh Water Shortages

Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Army Captain And Army Officer Arrested For Stealing, Selling Ten Anti-Tank Rocket Launchers

Rocket Launchers Sold On To Suspected Terrorist, At Least Seven Still Missing

UPDATE : A Commonwealth prosecutor claims police covertly recorded one of the two former Australian Army men accused of stealing and selling anti-tank rocket launchers as he threatened to kill anybody who revealed they were trying to sell the deadly weapons on the Sydney blackmarket.

Suddenly, once the alleged weapons thieves are before a court, the number of rocket launchers stolen has risen to 10, from the original seven that police and the Australian Defence Force claimed earlier this year had been stolen.


Police made the unusual move of announcing to the media that they were going to arrest a captain in the Australian Defence Force for allegedly stealing and selling military rocket launchers hours before the arrest took place earlier today.

The Army captain's alleged partner in the thefts of the rocket launchers is a former officer in the Australian Defence forces.

Eight rocket launchers were stolen from an Army depot between 2002 and late 2006, but only one has been recovered by police.

A court heard earlier this year that five of the anti-tank weapons had been sold to a 'terrorist suspect' in Sydney, via a reputed arms dealer. Police believe the two men arrested had tried to sell the rocket launchers for $5000 each.

The rocket launchers were anti-tank M72s. They can pierce armour almost one foot thick, and are capable of completely destroying civilian vehicles, killing everyone inside.

The search for the seven missing rocket launchers is growing more intense. A critical deadline looms. The APEC summit of world leaders to be held in Sydney in September.

Australian Federal Police and the nation's chief intelligence agency, ASIO, are believed to be under pressure from American and Russian secret services to find the missing weapons, as preparations begin on security details for the APEC summit.

Russian president Vladimir Putin and US president George W. Bush are amongst the dozens of world leaders expected to attend the two day series of meetings and conferences.

The NSW government has already announced that the Friday before the weekend meeting will be a public holiday for city workers, and all roads in and out of the central business district are expected to be closed down. The security operation surrounding APEC will be the biggest in Australian history.

Despite the connection to organised crime and a suspected terrorist, the two Army-linked men accused of stealing the rocket launchers are expected to only be charged with breaches of firearm laws and the theft of Commonwealth property.

From :

Their arrests bring to four the total number of people arrested over the weapons theft.

Abdul Rahman was arrested at a house in Leumeah, in Sydney's southwest, late last year and charged with 17 offences over the stolen rocket launchers.

Police allege Rahman, 28, had supplied five of the weapons to one of the men arrested in anti-terrorism raids in Sydney in November 2005.


More Blogs By Darryl Mason

Latest Stories From 'The Fourth World War

Latest Stories From 'Your New Reality'

Latest Stories From 'Planet Of Strange Things'


From a January 4, 2007, report on this blog :
A massive investigation involving the Australian Federal Police and the nation's chief spy agency has led to the arrest of a 28 year old man in Sydney for allegedly trying to sell rocket launchers believed to have been stolen from the Australian Army to a man now being held on terror-related charges.

The man now facing charges - a known gun dealer and convicted double-murderer - also believed to have been in possession of 20 kilos of Power Gel explosives, was already under investigation following a sting operation where undercover detectives paid him $50,000 in a failed attempt to recover one of the deadly weapons.

It would appear there is plenty more to this story that has not yet been made public. The 28 year old man was described by one investigator as one link in a chain involving stolen Australian Army weapons and ammunition and powerful underworld crime figures.

But were the rocket launchers part of a terror plot? Or some powerful weaponry for crime gangs out for explosive revenge attacks?

The police refuse to confirm one story or the other.

When the story of the missing rocket launchers broke last month, police and Army spokespersons refused to confirm to journalists that the launchers had been stolen from Australian Army stockpiles.

A theory that the launchers may have been smuggled into Australia was floated instead.

No wonder. Now serious questions are being raised about why private security companies are being used to patrol Australian military bases and, presumably, are tasked with securing stockpiles of rocket launchers and explosives.

Incredible. Who defends the Australian Defence Force bases after midnight? Private security guards.

The fact that rocket launchers, capable of destroying vehicles or even taking down airliners, were missing somewhere in Australia triggered one of the biggest joint ASIO-Federal Police investigations in years.

As the APEC summit draws nearer, it is expected that US Secret Service and CIA agents will become involved in the hunt for the missing weapons, as they are unlikely to allow President Bush to visit Sydney when such a massive security breach remains unresolved.

'Rocket Man' : I Forgot I Left Ten Rocket Launchers In The Boot Of My Car - Decorated For Work In Iraq, May Now Face Treason Charges

December, 2006 : Rocket Launchers Go Missing, Intelligence Agencies Join Investigation

January, 2007 : The Enemy Within? Australian Air Force Engineer Charged With With Possessing Bombs And Explosives

Rocket Launcher Found On Sale At Rubbish Tip, For $2!

Arrested Army Captain Was A Munitions Expert