Tim Blair


New Criterion



Friday, November 29, 2002
A BRAIN ON A RACEHORSE? I've sure never seen one backing the beasts.

This old jockey is one of the funniest men I've heard all year, not excepting Bob Brown.

He's a bush battler of Aboriginal descent who jumped on a horse at age ten and won a race at Thargomindah. Knew straight away he was a jockey.

He visited the racecourse in Brisbane and was offered a job by a sharp-eyed trainer. "No thanks, I've already got a job" he said, but signed on when he found he could get paid for it.

A long and successful career here and overseas, mixing with the rich and famous. "Never found any race prejudice personally. Never looked for it. I've had a good war."

The man's as dry as a drought year but a lot more fun. His name is Darby McCarthy and you'll probably be able to listen to him on audio some time next week.


Today's question:

Our parliaments don't debate it, our statisticians don't measure it - but it could be the missing ingredient in our national political life. It's that elusive thing called hope. Is our national obsession with piling up more and more things choking our hopes for a better society?



Next week's question: Is red wine the work of the devil?

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Henny (well it's Wednesday, perhaps, in the absence of any new press releases from the education/health/etc unions, there really is a threat from Islamism) Herald swallows hard and raises the question of Saudi money in the Oz Islamic communities.

They start with the funding of mosques. That's the easy bit.

Now let's look at the selection of Imams, Mullahs and teachers in Islamic schools.

Let's also look at how Al Hilaly got residency despite having previously demonstrated his unsuitability for Australian citizenship.

There's a backlog of at least 15 years of investigative journalism to be done people. Get cracking.


Uncle dreads Christmas. Apart from the usual reasons, to do with having to be polite to relatives and waste money on the contents of New Year rubbish bins, there is the small matter of what it does to Auntie.

First, half the establishment of Auntie Inc seems to disappear for two months, leaving us with about $30 mill's worth of sport, recycled programming and the scrapings of BBC television.

Then, if the past several years are any guide, there is her whorish capitulation to New Age brain-mincers.

In the middle of each week day, an hour of our Radio National time, which must be worth about $20 000 average cost if you weight for time of day, will be given over to New Horizons. Our host, Mr Sunday Mufflethwuck, from memory, will welcome any witless apostle of any wanking creed for the credulous and invite him or her to disgrace the human condition in public.

Endless journeys of self-discovery that weren't worth attempting, maunderings on "spiritual" gratifications without moral challenge or beneficial outcomes, apart from more books on the already groaning "self-improvement" shelves of the worse bookshops, quackeries that have failed every test of efficacy to which they have ever been subjected (tried iridology for that cancer?), all held together with the glug of unquestioned infantile leftism, of which pacifism would be the most intelligent example.

The way my heart sinks when Auntie returns to the swamp of gullibility from which the more favoured parts of the human race have been struggling these last couple of thousand years makes my realise that I haven't extirpated completely the Whig in my own soul.

Here's an alternative. Pay the RN communards for the eight months of the year they work, as with US academics, and spend the enormous residue of Auntie's budget by competitive tender on quality programming in big enough lumps to justify serious investment of talent and money. The communards could compete for it, or stay on holiday. Publish the criteria for selection and make the process as transparent as may be, with a majority of outsiders on the selection panels. And do some real assessment of the quality and impact of the results. Now, that would be public service broadcasting.


Can you imagine Auntie giving a gig as Boyer Lecturer to someone like Onora O'Neill, the philosopher chosen to give this year's Reith Lectures for the BBC?

If you can, Uncle admires your optimism, you deluded fool.

Thanks to Auntie's standing order with the Beeb you can hear this sharp-witted, thoughtful, liberal conservative on Radio National as she discusses what builds trust in our social and political lives, what destroys it, and what we could do better.

Even the Q&A sessions after each talk are worth listening to.

Her discussion of the failings of rights talk in politics is spot on. Here's a real discovery Uncle will not forget:

Whenever we talk about adding a bill of rights to our constitution, make sure we also talk about a bill of duties. Otherwise handing out rights is just like handing out taxpayers' money; it's always someone else who's going to pay for it.

Still three more to go, Sundays 5.00pm AEDT, but you can read them all on the Beeb's Reith Lecture site.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

YAHOO'S EMAIL SERVER has just disgorged some interesting comments I would have liked to post closer to when they were written. This one responds to this post about a persecuted Pom poet of hatred.

Stephen Dawson ( can not only listen to the Gastropod long beyond Uncle's tolerance, he has taken the trouble to show in several instances just how unprofessional Bruce Shapiro, the Stateside stroke-mate for the Gastropod, can be. Read on.

I notice that you make comment on Bruce Shapiro's appearance on LNL, being gravely concerned about the loss of free speech in US campuses.

Two things struck me about his remarks:

1. He was careful to mention that Lawrence Summers (allegedly anti-free speech president of Harvard) was formerly with the World Bank. He failed to mention that the World Bank stint was in 1991-1993, and that between then and 2001, Summers was working for Bill Clinton's Treasury, from 1999 as
Secretary to the Treasury. Why would a decade-old period with the World Bank be the only antecedent worthy of mention?

2. He claimed 'a lawyer' had been denied freedom of speech at Stanford, and then used the lawyer's work as defence for the 1993 World Trade Centre bombers (I think that's what he said) as a status booster. On how many counts can he be wrong?

. the lawyer, Lynne Stewart, 'did not have her speech limited nor were students denied access to her' according to Kathleen Sullivan, the Stanford Law Dean who made the decision. Indeed, 'Stewart completed all of her speaking engagements at the Law School and met with students as scheduled
without incident'. (

. Stewart did have withdrawn an offer of the position of Mills Public Interest Mentor, which is described as an honor accorded to several lawyers each year who are to be regarded as role models. (ibid)

. The withdrawal was due to Stewart's statement (post 11 September 2001): "I
don’t believe in anarchist violence but in directed violence. That would be violence directed at the institutions which perpetuate capitalism, racism and sexism, and at the people who are the appointed guardians of those institutions, and accompanied by popular support."(

. What was surprising was that Stanford had ever offered Stewart the mentorship in the first place. Stewart is under indictment for passing messages from her client Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was convicted of conspiring in 1995 to assassinate Hosni Mubarak and blow up such things
as the UN Headquarters in New York, to the Islamic Group. According to US AG Ashcroft: "The indictment charges that these defendants [Stewart, Ahmed Abdul Sattar, Mohammed Yousry, and Yassir al-Sirri] worked in concert with Sheik Abdel-Rahman in violation of special administrative measures restricting Rahman's communications with the outside world, to provide material support and resources to the Islamic Group."

. The 'Islamic Group' to which those charges relate is an Egyptian terrorist group

My problem in commenting on the commentariat and their collaborators is that I am just too damned generous.

My heartfelt apologies.


Uncle was dropped in the font by a drunken priest and has since taken no interest in religion. However, my breast-stroke is quite adequate, and I am not ungrateful.

You could show me the Koran and call it the Book of Revelations and I'd be none the wiser.

So when Alice of Perth instructs me in the finer points of Islamic ethics in response to my rhetorical question on Sheik Al Hilaly I am as receptive as a babe.

Taqija – Dissimulation.

The 4th Conference of Islamic Research at Al Azar University in Cairo, 1970 reached the following conclusion concerning Taqija as the normative practice for Sunni Muslims. It is acceptable to practice Taqija when serving the propagation of Islam or to benefit a Muslim.

Fraud and lies are a religiously permitted means in Islam. A negotiated settlement or an agreement with a non-Muslim is never final. Lying to ‘infidels’ is officially acknowledged. A Muslim is permitted
to hide his/her intentions in a difficult situation. For instance, if a person with a minimum (or no) knowledge of Koranic learning points to the harsher verses, they must be deflected to the gentler verses, and the harsher verses are to be hidden....

Both Keyser Trad and Sheikh al-Hilaly understand this perfectly. I wonder if the staff at the ABC, SMH et al do, and if so, why do they operate as if we out here in mushroom land do not.

For all Uncle knows this may be true or it may be urban myth. According to the University of Google the proximate source is a Danish site that would not claim to have all its irons out of the fire. It also scores a mention on Country Store and in Little green footballs. Both trace back to the Danish site.

Here is a long and earnest Islamic treatment. You're welcome to it.

For a non-theologian like Uncle it matters whether the Mullah's foul politics spring from theology, ideology or stupidity.

Only the last is, in a practical sense, correctable, and the first two are likely to be propagated at taxpayer's expense.

But it may just be true that Mullah and Trad rely about as much on Taqija as the average Christian Primate relies on turning the other cheek - to those who disagree with him in Australia, that is.

Saturday, November 23, 2002
MAHATHIR THE MAD's Malaysia deserves more attention as a haven for Islamofascist terrorism.

The latest version of the mastermind of the Bali bombings, Abdul Azis, was on his way there for refuge when captured by Indonesian police.

A key planning meeting for September 11th was held there.

It is the preferred hang-out of Hambali, the regional head of al Quaeda enterprises (Speedy demolitions a specialty) and provided the house next door to Hambali for Bashir the duck when Soeharto wanted him locked up.

Our own Jack Roche went there to make contact with key al Quaeda figures.

But it has very active political police, and its capo is trying to beat the fundamentalists at their own game.

Now that Indonesia seems to be heeding the call to action against terrorism, it's time to call Mahathir's bluff.

JACK ROCHE is a man of limited intelligence and a burning desire to have one over his fellow-citizens of Australia. He was a natural for the messianic version of Islam. An interview with Colleen Egan in the Enquirer section of today's Oz gives us some novel insights into the man, and more importantly, into al Quaeda's modus operandi for Australia. (Uncle couldn't find it on their Website, but you're welcome to try.}

Roche got involved in Jemaah Islamiya, whose Australian operations were run by twin brothers named Ayub who have since departed our shores for their homeland of choice. He was a willing killer for the cause, evidenced by his meetings with Hambali, the SE Asian branch head of al Quaeda, Bashir the duck and the great and good bin Laden himself, with whom Jack shared a meal in Afghanistan.

So far so good. Jack readily concedes he is willing to commit mayhem on US and Israeli targets in Australia. This would not affect his fellow Australians of course, unless they got in the way.

Here is the interesting bit. Why is the regional head of al Quaeda running Jack directly, by-passing the Ayub clones, who are very cranky when they find out?

The answer is a change in al Quaeda strategy. Since people "of middle-eastern appearance" are bound to attract attention when people perceive their situation to be risky, they need to use people of the same ethnicity as the local mugs.

So Jack leaves his patriarchal beard back in Afghanistan and returns to Australia with instructions to find a couple more pinkos of like inclination who can be sent to al Quaeda land for technical education. Then to wait for instructions.

So why is Jack squawking to the Oz? Well, he's just had a visit from ASIO and he's getting cold feet. He fears arrest and wants to put his side of the story. A good, loyal Aussie bomber of unwelcome foreigners.

Now he has been arrested, and it's all sub judice. But we can ask ourselves, again, some of the questions that the left commentariat were trying to answer for us after the ASIO raids of two weeks ago.

How important is it to keep the local associates of Bashir the duck, and other Australian-resident hate-talkers, under surveillance?

Were the cops who raided Jack's home looking for evidence "heavy-handed", or did they have sufficient reason to anticipate a violent response?

If hate-talking and deliberate incitement to violence can attract the attention of our vilification police, is the involvement of religion a sure protection against HREOC action? Acting HREOC Commissioner Bill Jonas has slapped down the dopy Fred Nile for wanting to ban chadors in public places (just like Singapore), Australia's political leaders have called for us to be alert but not alarmed in response to potential threats of terrorism. I say we should also be vigilant but not vilifying . But HREOC remains silent on the local Islamofascists.

Should Muslim schools be given special attention to prevent these creeps getting at the young?

And should converts to Islam be automatically added to the list of those deserving the attention of ASIO?

YOU'LL HAVE TO WAIT a bit longer to get your fangs into the Gastropod's gloss on Anatol Lieven.

In today's Oz (who says Murdoch lacks charity) the gaseous gnome has his column written by someone else, and admits it.

Of course the free lunch provider, a pathologist with another plan to dampen Australia's inland, gets a stroke in return.

SCOUT'S honour, today's column solves the world's water crisis. Apart from drought-proofing Australia, it will lead to the provision of an inexhaustible supply of fresh water for pretty much the entire planet.

But wait, there's more: one of the most elegant and important ideas since the invention of the wheel.

Which just goes to show that the Gastropod's understanding and judgment are equal in science in politics.

Good enough for the comedy section of the Oz; not good enough for Auntie.

Friday, November 22, 2002

CRIKEY: An email campaign by pro-Vivian Crikey subscribers couldn't save her
from the chop
according to today's 3pm Crikey email.

About two years too late Auntie has decided to give the boot to a mindless motormouth presenter who has trouble following her minders' briefing notes, commits more malapropism than Bjelke Petersen and embarrasses every Australian taxpayer five mornings a week.

Crikey subscribers want her back.

Well, they are stupid enough to pay for Crikey's drivel.

Cancel my subscription!

Can I have a refund?

Thursday, November 21, 2002

According to the Gastropod's regular stroking date in the US, Bruce Shapiro, some fascist US university head has withdrawn an invitation to that UK poet, whose name escapes me, who thinks Israeli West-Bank settlers are Nazis and deserve to be killed.

I just can't believe the assault on free speech has gone so far in the US.

Why doesn't this politically-correct Pom poet get a gig on Late Night Live? Someone has to stand up and be counted!

READY TO FISK, fellow bloggers for truth and freedom?

Following a thoroughly revolting and slurping stroke session with Anatol Lieven, the Gastropod will be using Lieven's colourful rhetoric to spice his next anti-Yank rant in the Oz.

The slobs among you who like shooting ducks in the farm-yard can dissect the Gastropodian gloss.

Those who like a little more of a challenge can deal with the original in the London Review of Books, linked in the previous post.

Here's a clue. Lieven has nothing new in the way of left analysis of US policy, actual and inferred, just a good line in extremist rhetoric.

Ready, set...

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

On which of Auntie's programs will you hear this lesson read out tonight?

That's right, it's tonight's Gastropod's gush.

But you don't have to wait. It's already been printed here.

YET ANOTHER BLOOD AND THUNDER MERCHANT whipping his constituents towards violence.

Aboriginal activist Murrandoo Yanner dramatically raised tensions at the Pasminco Century mine in northwest Queensland yesterday, calling on indigenous communities to send armed demonstrators to join a protest at the site

Readers of ABCwatch will need no reminding that Yanner's faction of the Aboriginal population around the munificent Century mine have been agitating against the agreement reached between the miners and the local community.

You may also recall that Yanner used Auntie's indigenous pulpit, Awaye, to promote his version of Aboriginal separatism and violent tactics.

His target now appears to be bloodshed to advance his cause.

Another test of our political IQ.


The national leader of the Greens, Bob Brown has predicted a Labor landslide in the forthcoming Victorian elections, against which hideous possibility Dr Brown prescribes the anti-venene of -

a green or two in the Parliamentary pews.

He says the Greens have the future concepts and in Parliament will be Victoria's best antidote to political boredom.

"[It will be] very difficult for the Greens to win seats but by golly if they get in there they're going to make Parliament interesting," Senator Brown said

At last Australian politics has produced the formula for the MTV generation, the Australian Greens.

Left-Labor policies, adolescent cynicism and campaign tactics from Greenpeace.

The Greens are presenting Australia with a national political IQ test. And they want us to fail.


The lovely Sheikh Al Hilaly of the Lebanese Muslim Association is wasting no time in putting his fatwa on the Howard Government's warnings about possible al Quaeda attacks in Australia.

"This is all for domestic consumption," he said.

Actually, it wasn't him speaking, but the supposedly prettier Keysar Trad, who speaks for the Mullah. Al Hilaly has only been a community leader in Australia for a decade or two and can't be expected to deal with the natives in their local language.

"Australia has always been a haven for peace and security.

Even if its culture is corrupt, its people debased and its women beneath contempt.

"I believe that all these warnings are politically motivated, much of this rhetoric is preparation to rush through certain legislations (sic)."

Now Uncle has heard no-one else come to this firm conclusion about the Government's warnings of the current terror hazard. Except the Gastropod on his Late Night Live pulpit, of course. But we know he's a jihadi.

There are two possible conclusions from this.

Either the Mullah of the Lakemba Mosque has the inside running on al Quaeda's plans and is qualified to call the Government a pack of liars, and he knows the Government's forward legislative program;

or the Mullah is as ignorant as the rest of us, but is playing religious wedge politics.

Take your pick.

If the second and more likely alternative is correct, this Mullah is a very mad Mullah indeed.

Uncle is prepared to wager a considerable sum that this essay into the politically unspeakable will pass without the hint of a slap from the liberal left.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Auntie's a sucker for bush populism. She knows she'd be dead without the National Party in Cabinet.

Plausibility is not a limiting factor when the Breakfast crew go rambling for a straw-coated, dung-smelling cause. Here it is, still dripping:

Victorian farmers are watching their money pour down the drain as they struggle to manage this drought. They say they're being forced to pay for 100% of their water allocations yet, their water rights are now down to less than half, while they still have to pay for water they can't use.

Try this experiment.

Your local Council has imposed water restrictions. But they refuse to cut your rates. They spout some crap about fixed costs, and drought-induced costs.

Now, try to get the Breakfast crew to give you peak air-time to promote your bleat.


The minders for Radio National's morning mouthpiece and serial commentator, Vivian Schenker, have found one of their own.

American journalist Mark Hertsgaard spent six months visiting Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, talking to people about their perceptions of his homeland. What he found was that much of the anger was directed at the American Government and not Americans. More specifically, its military and corporations are resented, not its citizens. But do Americans understand this distinction?

We understand, don't we communards!

It's CAPITALISM. That's what's wrong with them.

Then follows a ten-minute stroke worthy of the Gastropod on Viagra.


At its best the ABC serves up material so good that it stops you doing what you really should be doing. Ten minutes of such pristine programming occurred this morning, when we heard extracts of the correspondence between Angus and Robertson editor, Beatrice Davis, and that prickly genius Xavier Herbert.

More! More! More!

Too bad; it's already finished.

Does make it hard to put up with the pseuds, ideologues and numb-wits Auntie squanders so much of our gold on.

Monday, November 18, 2002
WHAT A WEEKEND! Not a minute wasted with the communards of Radio National.

The Pre-Schoolers of Background Briefing were finding out that high level interference and FBI fumbling to protect American interests had prevented solving the US's anthrax attacks. I bet they already knew that before they started looking. (Don't try their audio - it connects to the wrong program. Transcript promised for Thursday, but of what will it be a transcript?).

Pastor Lane spent an hour of his life, and possibly yours, on the Victorian election. I don't know how he can find the trivia of Bourgeois Democracy so interesting. Could he come from Melbourne?

Friday, November 15, 2002

Judy whacks old Uncle about, in the nicest possible way.

I must take issue with you for describing Phil as a gigolo. No self-respecting woman would be seen with him even if he paid her.

Auntie thinks he's dead sexy. Then again, she's married to Uncle.

Thursday, November 14, 2002
ANTI-GLOBALISM. What goes around?

Try: "Leave it in the ground! Contesting extractive accumulation on the semi-periphery." By James Goodman.

I think I get it. Keep the bastards poor and pure.

What is a Research Initiative on International Activism?

A key focus for the Initiative is on activism, social movements, social change, and the politics of globalisation, and the fluidities and contestations that characterise their interactions. The field of social movement research is exceptionally fertile. It is a key site of engagement between pluralists stressing the political process, post-Marxists focusing on "new" social movements, and neo-Marxists debating the developing logic of class struggle. It is a central focus for alternative theoretical formations, including feminism, queer theory, environmental and social justice, indigenous sovereignty, post colonialism, racism and anti-racism, and diasporic mobilisation. In recent years these various strands of social movement research have become embedded in wider debates about the politics of mobilisation, with a series of analyses that, in effect, internationalise the field.

Your taxes at work.


The talents of the professional hack-twisters at the University of Technology Sydney are astounding.

Uncle has previously recognised the sterling role they play in agenda-setting for Auntie's communards. The same sort of relationship Bashir the duck has with Islamofascist terrorism.

But they're not the kind who rest on their academic laurels and sink into tenured torpor.

They have now held a conference on civil disobedience. In keeping with the applied character of this fine educational institution there were, no doubt, hands on lessons on how to destroy the bourgeois capitalist state by being unkind to police horses.

Not everyone appreciated their efforts. Or their venue: the NSW Parliament.

The Research Initiative in International Activism, set up through the University of Technology, Sydney, caused a stir by using a NSW Parliament meeting room for a conference on civil disobedience. The conference was held in the lead up to the WTO meeting in Sydney, where large anti-globalisation protests were expected.

Rather like showing bin Laden around the nuclear plant.

How did UTS get into the act? Through James Goodman, Lecturer in the Department of Writing, Journalism and Social Inquiry at the Univerdity [they said it] of Technology, Sydney; founding member of UTS Research Initiative

This must be post-modern liberty. The old version taught you to think for yourself so you could freely decide to agitate.

In the new university they cut the theoretical crap and get down and hands-on.

How do you research activism? Fuck it and see.

The Gastropod takes a look at it. Why doesn't it get the usual direct broadcast?

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

The Afghan foreign minister must have been smoking some of his local produce. Afghanistan's Foreign Minister says some asylum seekers in Australia could have fake Afghan identity papers.

Dr Abdullah Abdullah says forged documents could have been made at Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan.

I'd like to believe him, but that would make the entire left commentariat at Auntie and elsehwere out to be total fools. They assure us it couldn't happen, so we should let all illegals just run free.

Amnesty, which is about the rights of political dissidents, continues to back the HREOC model for dealing with illegal arrivals. Trouble with that wet approach is that HREOC thinks Detention is part of a policy of deterrence , and it's cruel to kids and that's all there is to it. National security just doesn't get a mention.

According to amnesty:
Amnesty International does not oppose all detention for people arriving in Australia without valid documentation. There are instances where initial detention may be necessary, for example to establish a person's identity or perform health and security checks.

However, international human rights law requires that governments do not detain people automatically or beyond what is a reasonable length of time. In Amnesty International's view, delays in a refugee determination process, whether caused by appeals or other factors, are not sufficient justifications to continue an asylum seeker's detention.
(my emphases).

Have you ever read such a load of mealy-mouthed, head up your arse, double-speak!

They think they're on the higher moral ground, of course. Up with political dissenters like bin Laden, whose rights have been shamefully denied.

I wonder why Philip Ruddock wants to maintain his membership? Can't he tell the high ground from a stinking swamp?


One number that killer Amrozi didn't know was on the chassis of his van let Indonesian police trace this key Bali conspirator. Without it they'd probably still be running on guesswork.

Meanwhile Amrozi apologises to his family, but no longer seems sorry for killing so many Australians. Neither does may-have-bin Laden in his al Jazeera tape, but he does make a special mention of the left's favourite cause in south east Asia, Australia's role in the separation of East Timor from Indonesia.

In about 24 hours look here for a transcript of an interview with the head of Indonesia's police team conducting the Bali investigation. He seems to be playing a straight game, and that won't endear him to the "the CIA did it" denialists and duck-lovers around him.

Meanwhile, Amrozi continues to squawk, and has given the first direct link to Jemaah Islamiyah, a certain Imam Samudra.

Monday, November 11, 2002
DOUBLE JEOPARDY is frowned on by the law, but wins the votes of the crew at Auntie's Other-Owners'-Media Watch.

Their inaugural award for plagiarism went not to the bold, brave and profitable stars of media bad practice, like the Platinum Parrot, the Golden Tonsils and what'sisname of the Age who escaped their attention entirely.

Instead they selected for the pillory a hapless Ms Herceg who has already been sacked from BRW for her artless, desperate importing of others' work.

Marr and his minders were not at their prettiest tonight.


The European court is showing us why we need a bill of rights dumped on our constitution.

British prisoners will be allowed to receive hardcore pornography after a serial murderer used European human rights law to overturn a ban by prison authorities.

In particular the change stems from a campaign by Dennis Nilsen, jailed in 1983 for murdering six young men, for the right to receive explicit homosexual pornography.

Of course, a spokesman for the so-called victims of crime objected to this enlightened innovation.

"It is not a human right to look at hardcore pornography," the newspaper quoted Norman Brennan, the director of the Victims of Crime Trust, as saying.

"Soon we will be apologising to prisoners for sending them to jail.

What this reactionary should realise is prison is just four walls, and they don't exclude our God-given rights.

What about the rights of the relatives of the murdered to have revenge? Surely as fundamental as pornography.

Sunday, November 10, 2002

You've got to hand it to Bashir the duck. They find him everywhere.

Any bomber, plotter, al Quaeda graduate who turns up, there is also the duck. He shares their accommodation, lives next door, visited regularly, funds their militant training academy.

But he swears he has no connection with terrorism.

He has to be the most disgusting liar of the twenty-first century.

It seems the only organ of the Australian media that is getting journalists on the trail of the police in Indonesia is The Australian. You can forget the rest.


Henny (what crisis?) Herald's normal stock in trade is not optimism, but the old girl shows signs of reverting to that dauntless silver-lining-watching attitude she must have imbibed in her distant childhood when Ms Pollyanna expressed the latest in the feminine approach to life.

This is Henny's Saturday front-page topper: BOMBER SORRY AUSTRALIANS DIED. It could have been written by the Indonesian tourist office. It was certainly formulated by senior Indonesian police.

The headline should have said: BOMBER SORRY MORE AMERICANS NOT KILLED.

You'd have to be living in cloud-cuckoo land to see it Henny's way. You won't find the header on her Website.

Friday, November 08, 2002
REFORM OF FUNDAMENTALIST ISLAM is serious business in Iran, where they know what it means.

The reactionary theocrats are in control, but the voices of moderation are clearer there than in many Islamic countries that claim secular governments.

It is also a country where liberal values can be fatal, as journalist Hashem Aghajari has found out.

He has just been condemned to death for insulting the prophet, which means saying that Iranians should not blindly follow religious leaders, and calling for religious renewal in Shi'ite Islam., that is, he challenges the ruling mullahs.


New research released this morning has come to the conclusion that using a hands-free mobile phone can affect a driver's control of the vehicle. according to Associate Professor Paul Treffner of Griffith University on the Gold Coast.

Treffner says the study confirms that talking, thinking and trying to listen to a conversation on a hands-free earpiece of a mobile phone does have an impact on driving ability. He says one example is cornering.

The implications are obvious. Passengers are an unacceptable threat to road safety. They might engage the driver in conversation.

Spouses are especially dangerous.

In future all motor vehicles to be limited to one seat.

I feel safer already.


Over $60 mill of our money could have been better spent, according to Mr Harold Furber. By him.

The Central Australian Stolen Generation and Families Corporation says it wants to know what has happened to $63 million earmarked for members of the stolen generation.

In a discussion paper, to be released nationally next week, the corporation accuses the Federal Department of Health and some Aboriginal organisations of using the money to top up existing programs

The corporation's Harold Furber says in 1997, about $40 million went to the Health Department and about $20 million was given to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.

"All these funds ought to have come under the umbrella of the stolen generation people so the healing programs, the counselling program and the link-up program can be all coordinated from the one body,"

$60 mill for counselling; sounds fair enough to me.

AL QUAEDA CLAIMS BALI BLAST, according to Auntie's news people, quoting CNN.

Uncle was just waiting for Mahathir the Mad to take the honours.

After damning Australia for anti-Muslim policies, geeing his people up to fear and loathing of the infidel pale-faces from the south, the lord of a thousand spiteful utterances then condemns the Australian government for warning its citizens against travelling just now.

It's either lunacy or a victim-maximisation plan, take your pick.


China has a problem with AIDS. The problem is enhanced by the normal practices of government in China: denial, fear of offending your superiors, corruption, ideology, the usual syndrome.

According to Auntie's Pre-Schoolers there is a simpler answer. Capitalism!

As a result tens of millions of people may develop Aids - and still the authorities
dither, because Beijing doesn't want to upset the multinationals by asking for affordable drugs.

That is, the Chinese government won't ask the drug companies to subsidise their health costs.

It seems to Uncle that with their economies of scale the Chinese government is in a good negotiating position, and doesn't need to upset anyone.

Has Australia's success in the anti-AIDS war depended on smashing the multinational drug companies? Demos at UN-sponsored conferences?

I doubt it's worth tuning in to find out how the Pre-Schoolers explain this one.

Later. It seems "affordability" is not just about money. China has donated eight million anti-tuberculosis drugs to the Kenyan Health Ministry to be used in treating tuberculosis among HIV/AIDS victims. Maybe there's some politics in this.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Uncle subscribes to Crikey's newsletter. The free one of course; with my cellar to support you don't waste money on luxuries.

Showing a total incomprehension of Auntie's byzantine politics, Crikey wants her to hobble her sports coverage during that exciting contest between Steve Bracks and what'sisname for the prize of running Victoria. I hate to think what second prize might be.

Who cares about a one-sided sporting contest? It's time for Aunty to be flexible and dump the cricket when it clashes with important events such as the Victorian election. At the very least they should survey their audience.

Trouble is, that would threaten the deal between the communards who run Radio National and the rest who want to keep their jobs. Some of the rest are also committed to professionalism.

The deal lets the communards have RN, while local radio plays a populist game and television just tries to entertain. Without the entertainers, no ears and eyeballs to present to governments as trophies.

It simply doesn't occur to most in either camp that the goal of professional, quality national broadcasting is worth kicking for.

Pity those who do.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002
HENNY SCRATCHES THE DIRT, but not too deeply.

Henny Penny (what crisis?) Herald played catch-up this morning. The Australian's news of yesterday about a meeting of extreme Islamists drove Henny to put in a little fingerwork on Google to fill out the Australian's report, parts of which they copied without acknowledgement.

Their search revealed that the speaker at the Auburn meeting named by the Oz as Abu Sumaiya is in fact Ashraf Doureihi, a Sydney civil engineer and part-time extremist. He is an Australian member of an international network of similar cells called Hizb ut-Tahrir.

You'd want to check carefully Ashraf's plans for any civil works he designs for you.

Further information from the International Crisis Group, based in Brussels and headed by Gareth Evans, which has expressed concern about the Hizb ut-Tahrir, a secretive and pyramidal network based in Jordan.

Not to worry, says Keysar Trad, they're a small minority and he doesn't take them seriously. I wonder if Keysar can get 400 people together in one place without making them laugh.

For Henny it's a page 10 item, and a footnote on its Website.

Time to quadruple ASIO's budget.


The head of the Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, August Hanning, believes that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is still alive and poses a continuing threat, according to recent espionage reports.

The director of Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) said on Monday that intelligence gathered by western intelligence agencies indicates that Osama bin Laden is probably still alive.

August Hanning told a security conference in Berlin that evidence suggests that the organization's leadership continues to be capable of directing terrorist attacks against Germany and the rest of the world.

Hanning said that recent information received from collaborating intelligence organizations shows a recognizable increase in worldwide communications between members of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network in recent weeks and months.

"We see no all clear signal at this time. Rather, we are seeing an increase in (terrorist) activities." The BND chief added that there was concern that this was a prelude to further terrorist attacks.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Just tried to vote for my favourite plagiarism in Media Watch's contest for the year's best.

Guess what? No opportunity for write-in candidates. You have to choose from Auntie's selective selections.

Don't bother.


Old Henny ( it's Tuesday, maybe it's a crisis...) Herald has sent out its fearless fret of investigative reporters to read the propaganda published by Mr Jaya Basri, one of the subjects of last week's vigorous ASIO enquiries.

This is a newsletter titled "al Haq".

Oops....can't read it. Call in the translator, ex-Professor Tony Johns.

That's better. What's the fellow on about?

"The Herald found only one reference to Abu Bakar [Bashir the duck] in the copies provided [by Jasri]".

What a relief!

Wait, what's this. "The icon of the Holy Struggle is called Osama bin Laden... His bearing is unassuming and he apears slightly dishevelled. His countenance is shining with the light of faith, strength and courage." Oh dear.

"On the basis of these documents you could not say there is a threat or indication of any imminent attack" comments the re-assuring professor Johns. I'm glad you told me that, professor. I'd still favour doubling ASIO's budget.

What's this reference to Australian weapons being unloaded in Ambon? Just a third-party report.

Well, old Henny still thought it worth a small para on page 1, with the rest buried on page 7.

I doubt we'll hear much more from Henny's sleuths on this subject.

You will need to go to the Australian on the same day to read this:

"The Islamic group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, which advocates the creation of a worldwide Muslim state, held a meeting of more than 400 people in the Auburn Civic Centre." No date given.

The audience "were urged to consider themselves Muslims, not Australians, first... The main speaker, Abu Sumaiya, passionately highlighted 'the dangers of integration', describing it as a 'plot of the West....Muslims living in the West mus trealise that we are not a minority which can easily melt into Anglo-capitalist way of life."

Clearly Abu Sumaiya is a strong candidate for the next vacancy on Auntie's commentariat.

Hang on, isn't Auburn in Sydney? Shouldn't we be hearing this from Henny? What is the response from the Community Leaders?

Is ordering the translation of a few newsletters all Henny's investigative reporters can handle this week?

IMPOSSIBLE. Even the weird-to-the-max Sandy McCutcheon could feel the ground move beneath him on Australia Talks Back last night. No, it wasn't on-air sex for the air-head.

Gosh, perhaps those creepy spooks really have a job to do!

Intelligence intellectual Clive Williams had his second outing on Auntie in two days. Andrew Bolt, a columnist on the Herald Sun, but unlikely to be recruited to Auntie's commentariat, was heard expressing views that would be reasonably familiar to those who read this blog. Outstanding work, communards!

Balancing these two were Roland Jabour of the Australian Arabic Council and Riaz Hassan, a sociologist from Flinders University.

It says something about the total failure of leadership among Australian Muslims that we could predict so closely the lines that these two, particularly Jabour, would take.

While Australia's political leaders have been scrupulous in distinguishing Islam in general and Islamic citizens in general from the issue of terrorism, not one Islamic leader to date has dared to stand up and criticise the fanatics and hate-talkers in the Islamic community.

On the contrary, every one of them either denies totally the fanatic element's existence, or lays into the major political parties for supporting anti-Islamic pogroms.

Jabour is no exception. Not only is JI not to be labelled as what it is, but the name JI itself is defined into insignificance as a mere generic term found in use all over the Islamic world. Keep it up Jabour, but don't complain if the rest of the country takes you at your word and lumps the innocent with the vicious and the vicious with the guilty. With friends like that...

Riaz Hassan is a much more intelligent man, but suffers a similar affliction.

We mustn't talk about a war on terrorism, because terrorists are just criminals, not states, according to the professor.

When did the mafia/triads/yakuza last fly aircraft into skyscrapers? How long would al Quaeda continue operating without the hospitality of rogue or failed states? A truly pathetic attempt at equivalence.

Well, he is just a professor of sociology, so we mustn't expect too much.

Marvellous to see! A greater-than-usual proportion of the ATB respondees spoke up for the rights of the community to defend itself and its values.

A world going weird.

Audio only.


You have to feel sympathy for Auntiques like Pastor Terry Lane as they struggle to come to terms with a new world disorder that cares nothing for old European bastards of the Enlightenment like Marx.

No you don't. You can observe, however, what a furious cacophony has become the former steady buzz of the Pastor's confused mind.

On this week's drone he shared the sound stage with two chaps with views on security matters, an expert on intelligence and a civil liberties lawyers, both called Williams. The civil libertarian Williams was there just for the stroking, of course, and the intelligence Williams there to be told that he couldn't tell Lane that the ASIO of today is not the ASIO of Lane's yesteryears.

All predictable. But the Pastor is not entirely happy with his new allies in the jihad on the Great Satan. His next guest was a young woman lawyer Randa Abdel-Fattah, who, following an education within the confines of a Muslim college, is wondering very publicly about her future in this country.

The Pastor, who now confines his preaching to the political domain, as far as Uncle knows, accepts the fine European tradition of the separation of Church and State. Not so Ms Abdel-Fattah. She believes the precepts of Islam should be applied by legislation to civil society. Only in moral matters of course. And not democratically, but using the Koranic principle of consultation. And perhaps this only applies to believers, whatever that might mean. This kid is seriously confused.

A rather shocked Pastor reached for the bell book and candle, inviting her to nominate another country in which she would prefer to reside. She felt unable to do so, beyond excluding the Middle East. No idea why quasi-democracies like Indonesia, or Malaysia if you want to be richer, were not good enough for her.

Now here's the interesting spectacle that led me into this little reflection: Pastor Lane is totally unconscious of his own hyprocrisy. As a self-professed Marxist he claims, like his young Islamist guest, the right to use the freedoms of liberal capitalist society to imagine and promote a society of saints which would certainly not be, whatever its other virtues, liberal or prosperous. Why shouldn't this young fanatic claim the same privilege?

In any case, young Randa was not granted admission to the victims' lounge.

Does the Pastor preach any longer that societies based on the politics of Marx will be freer and more prosperous than the liberal democratic alternative, despite the thorough trialling of the twentieth century? It may well be that his Marxism owes more to Groucho than to Karl. That is, a licence for cynicism.

Here endeth the lesson.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

Today's Henny Penny (it's Saturday, good God there must be a crisis in...) Herald has been overwhelmed by the news of a study showing Australia could carry a population of 50 million.

You can hear the approaching thunder of the green-left/racist alliance as, enraged with righteous virtue, the come to help old Henny restore normal service.


Looking for some wind assistance for his fatwa against genetic engineering of our crops, Greenpeace's anti-GM spiv, John Hepburn, is flapping his arms vigorously in the midst of our most recent dust storm, claiming that it proves the improved varieties of Canola and cotton will spread like the black death.

The minders behind Radio National Breakfast could be relied on to give this pathetic publicity stunt a boost.

It seems (no transcript, no audio) the science doesn't support the alarmism, but what the hell. If you're Greenpeace, it's the profile that counts.

They haven't dared to put their case on their own Website. It seems a phone call to your uncritical media friends is all it takes to get prime-time exposure for your latest stunt. The standard of the Australian media's environmental reporting hasn't improved since they disgraced themselves at the Johannesburg Summit.

Later: According to Aaron Oakley Greenpeace's campaign to starve a few hundred thousand Africans to death for the sake of their environmental souls has scored a stunning victory. Zambia has bought the paranoid fantasy and banned GM relief supplies.


So Bashir the duck, Indonesia's leading preacher of hate for the infidel, and advocate of salvation of souls by force, came to Australia under a false name. I suppose all visiting Muslim religious leaders do that, considering what a land of intolerance and fascist policing Australia has become. It couldn't mean the creep had something to hide.

Certainly Auntie's communards remain convinced that his supporters here are all innocent, and the Indonesian government and media continue to press the line that action against any Indonesian-Australian Muslims is an attack against all Muslims and all Indonesians. No wonder some of the simpler souls among them are scared.