Tim Blair


New Criterion



Friday, March 07, 2003

Uncle freeloads on Crikey's email list. This is not a scam to boast about. Compared to what you get for nothing from most publishers, the pickings at Crikey are lean indeed.

The last few days have been more rewarding.

Mr Crikey has been employed by the negotiating team around the East Timorese Prime Minister to play that country's Victim of the Month status for all its worth in the negotiations with Australia over minerals rights and royalties.

This follows negotiations of more than a year in which PM Alkatiri has fed the victim story to his Australian agents of influence on several occasions.

At the end of November last year the parties get together for another bout. You have to be imaginative to see anything novel or surprising in the transcript.

Someone leaks the transcript. I wonder who. Could it be the same party that has been appealing to the court of public opinion before?

Is the transcript genuine? Alkatiri adviser Jonathan Morrow sorts that out by sending an email to Crikey asking - can you believe this - for the document to be suppressed. Thereby authenticating it.

That's good enough for two of our more unscrupulous high-moral-grounders, Bob Brown and Princess Tashy, who know the best place to find that vantage-point is in the vicinity of a gold-plated, internationally-certified victim like East Timor.

Bingo! East Timor's negotiating position is endorsed in the Australian Parliament and media, and you can be sure no-one, least of all the media, will try to sort out the boring issues behind it all.

Well done Jonathan. Well done Crikey.

But isn't it time people who choose to lobby for other coutries' interests were required to register here, as they are in countries with more experience of this kind of maneuvre?