Tim Blair


New Criterion



Thursday, September 30, 2004
It's cucumber sandwiches at twenty paces on the Times's op-ed pages:
We in the West could help chip away at that oppression [of women], with health and literacy programs and by simply speaking out against it, just as we once stood up against slavery and totalitarianism.
according to Nicholas Kristof. But Stefan Beck is not impressed:
Health and literacy programs? Speaking out? If memory serves, slavery was ended by two little things we like to call the British Royal Navy and the Union Army. And totalitarianism in the 20th century was finished off by the Allies (and again, later, by a certain Mr. Reagan). And then the plight of women under the Taliban, which we scarcely noticed in the West, was put to an abrupt end by the blood, sweat, and tears of Coalition troops. (That's fence-sitting?) There's a pattern in there somewhere, but I think Kristof misses it.

Latham Labor fails credibility test
A spokesman for the Department of Finance tonight said Labor had not submitted any policies for costing today, including the Medicare Gold policy announced yesterday under which people aged 75 and over would receive free hospital treatment.

Fahrenheit 9/11 flops in Teheran, despite the mullahs' promotion.
“If he [Michael Moore] thinks that the U.S. is so bad, he’s welcome to trade places with us…since he’s so forgiving of brutal Middle Eastern dictators!”
was one viewer's response, and others were more critical.
“This guy gets to publicly accuse Bush of lying and becomes famous and adored worldwide. We, here, complain about some decrepit and inconsequential government lackey and we not only go to prison but some of us get death sentences. He ought to thank his lucky stars he lives in a country where he’s allowed and even encouraged to be this obnoxious…”
Mind you, the author who pulled these film reviews together had a grudge:
My father, Siamak Pourzand, a 75-year-old Iranian journalist, film historian/critic/promoter has been a political prisoner since November of 2001 in the Islamic Republic of Iran, where he has experienced severe torture. During this time, not one member of the self-involved, international film community, to whom I reached out about his plight, responded. When in the fall of 2002 I called Michael Moore’s office, (like I did many other Hollywoodites) I was told: “Sorry, but Mr. Moore is too busy AND just can’t get involved in these types of matters because we can’t be sure who you are and what your agenda is.”

Under Marksism we're all free to choose - Mark Latham's choices. Labor's health policy is just the latest example:
And so Latham's famous ladder does not lead to opportunity, but to Latham land, where you can have anything you want, as long as a Latham wants you to have it.

The Vietnam war was a quagmire earnestly to be desired, according to William Tucker, because it left other Asian communists too little resource to push on any other dominoes.

His colleague on the American Spectator, George Neumayr, supports the case from today's 'quagmire', Iraq.

Have you noticed that Zarqawi the throat-cutter hasn't been travelling much lately? Before the invasion Iraq was a haven for him. Today it's his home and his prison.

In Iran you can be arrested for blogging.

So can your father.

So can your techies.

Cash and independence for the old tart of Harris Street!

Labor has confirmed its previous promises of an extra $106 million for Auntie's budget, and "independence".

For "independence" read "weakening the existing limited avenues of accountability through the ABC Board and external review". Do not expect a return to licence fees, or any other kind of hypothecated revenue.

Can you believe this man? When Uncle graduates to the ranks of the 75-year olds, Mark Latham is going to provide me with instant access to a hospital bed, in hospitals he doesn't run, for any kind of surgery including elective surgery now requiring long waits if you want it free.

And I can give up my contributions to private health insurance.

All for $2.9 billion?

Won't the beds come from those now occupied by younger people? Are these Latham's outsiders for the purpose of health policy?

Won't even more hospital beds be occupied by dementia and other sufferers for whom there is already a shortage of aged-care beds?

It clearly can't be delivered unless the feds can control the State and private hospitals in exchange for this very partial funding. It's like a company taking-over another without paying a premium for control, and passing off responsibility for the target's existing debts.

Well, Latham knows that none of this can be sorted out in the next week, and many points would still be moot when the first Latham government came up for re-election. So it's fit matter for values politics, and for that Latham has some ripe rhetoric.

"My message today comes straight from the people of Australia. It's a message to the people, drawn from the strength and wisdom of the people. ... This message comes from the heart - the big heart of the Australian people themselves..."

There hasn't been a clearer expression of the authoritarian mysticism favoured by the fascists in the last century since Pauline Hanson claimed to be the mother of the Australian people.

Latham wants you to believe he's your heart and your voice.

It's aimed at the all-in wrestling crowd of course.

For older Australians in particular, the next week will see a struggle between hope for an moneyless solution to their health anxieties and their doubts about Mark Latham's fitness for office.

Think hard, fellow fogies.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004
The rules of debate that proved so successful in the Howard-Latham confrontation have been adopted for the Bush-Kerry meet-up. Some examples:
At no time during the debates shall either candidate remove any article of clothing, such as tie, belt, socks, suspenders, etc.

Candidates shall not wear helmets, padding, girdles, prosthetic devices, or “elevator”-type shoes. Per above, candidates shall not remove shoes or throw same at each other during debate.

“Italian,” “French,” “Latino,” “Bulgarian,” or other ethnic-style gestures intended to demean, impugn, or otherwise derogate opponent by casting aspersions on opponent’s manhood, abilities as lover, or cuckold status are prohibited.

Candidates shall make reasonable use of underarm deodorant.
This is the one Mark Latham's camp had particular difficulty with:
The following terms are specifically forbidden and may not be used until after each debate is formally concluded: “girlie-man,” “draft dodger,” “drunk,” “ignoramus,” “Jesus freak,” “frog,” “bozo,” “wimp,” “toad,” “lickspittle,” “rat bastard,” “polluting bastard,” “lying bastard,” “demon spawn,” “archfiend,” or compound nouns ending in “-hole” or “-ucker.”

Philosopher Scott Campbell has compiled a chronology of Rathergate. Very useful when you need to remember how Diver Dan got himself into the mess he's in.

If CBS values its survival Rathergate, like Rather, will be history even before John Kerry is.


Reader GM has noticed, and I can confirm, that Auntie has been labelling the formerly neutral Australia Institute as a "left-leaning" think tank.

Well done GM, and the thousands of others who have drawn Auntie's lop-sided labelling policy to her attention.


"In a scheduled commercial Kerry personally approved, just before charging that George Bush had no plan to get us out of Iraq, the Democratic campaign underscored the message [terrorist leader Abu Musab] Zarqawi has been sending: 'Americans,' said Kerry's announcer, 'are being kidnapped, held hostage, even beheaded.'

"It's bad enough for some thoughtless media outlets to become an echo chamber for scare propaganda; it's worse when the nominee of a major party approves its use to press his antiwar candidacy."

Malaysian Prime Minister Badawi calls on the non-Muslim world to forswear its "anti-Muslim 'bigotry" and break the link between Islam and terrorism.

Perhaps the Muslim world can help by not supporting Islamist terrorism. Like these guys and their version of Islam:
Twice in three days, PA [Palestinian Authority] religious leaders have openly called for the genocide of Jews. Broadcast on official PA TV, both called for the murder of Jews until the Jewish people are annihilated. Both presented the killing of Jews not merely as the will of Allah, but also as a necessary stage in history that should be carried out now. To support these mandatory killings, both cited the same Hadith - Islamic tradition attributed to Mohammed - expressing Allah’s will that Muslims will kill Jews, before the “Hour” of Resurrection.
And it would be reassuring to see those pre-schools for terrorists in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Indonesia receiving some unfavourable attention from their governments. Not to mention the urgent need to ban Jemaa Islamiya in Indonesia.

Let's at least meet half way on this.

You've got to see it from the kids' point of view, according to children's author Andy Griffiths. "You mention a willy and everyone goes silly."

Griffiths is offended that schools and libraries are refraining from buying his latest bum book for kids, The Bad Book.
The Bad Book, which features a rhyme about a boy who sets fire to a cat, his bum and his head has so far prompted two Melbourne schools, a Sydney bookstore and an educational supplier to refuse to stock the book.
Griffiths would prefer these wowsers to leave him alone with the kids.
"Adults are making decisions based on an adult view of the world and about the suitability of the stories without understanding what the stories are, how they work, and what they are trying to achieve," he said.

"I'm happy to explain the humour in the book but sometimes you wish people would maybe just lighten up a bit."

Griffiths is just one of that generation of authors who exploit the fact that young kids think the B word is very, very funny. Another is Morris Gleitzman, author of Bumface, who has made a good living from stories full of childish naughtiness and risible parents.

You can also, like Paul Jennings, make good sales from infantile anxiety in the catastrophism genre.

Griffiths has taken his genre into territory where teachers and librarians are reluctant to follow. How can liberal adults justify their intolerance of the author's freedom to write whatever the kids will read?

Unfortunately tolerance alone doesn't provide the basis for limiting itself.

Mark Latham I buries Henry VIII, and disappoints Martin Luther.
In a major blow to the ALP's election pitch on the eve of Mark Latham's campaign launch in Brisbane, the Catholic Church yesterday formed a rare political alliance with Anglicans to express deep concern that the ALP's redistribution of funds from the richest private schools to poorer low-fee schools was setting faith against faith.
When will these God-botherers realise that if the prophet Mark needs you as one of his outsiders, your religion is beside the point.

On the other hand, Labor's apologist for terrorists, Ivan Molloy, is still on the inside with Mark.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Political commentators are either soft-left, or they're right-wing thugs.

In fact all real journalists are on the left, because they criticise authority.

Those are the views of David Marr, presenter of the award-winning pulpit Media Watch.

Mind you, the award came from Auntie's agenda-setting stroke-pals at UTS's Centre for Independent Journalism.

I know it's old-fashioned, but I find public displays of incest distasteful.


The perfect candidate for Labor's left:
"I don't want to get caught in the trap of saying I am sympathetic [to the Islamist Moro Liberation Front] but I would say I understand their causes," [Labor candidate] Dr Molloy said yesterday.

But Dr Molloy said groups which resorted to violence should not be stereotyped as "terrorists" by people who did not understand their side of the argument.

"It is no good to call them all terrorists. You have to look at the side they came from," he said.

In December 2002, Dr Molloy blamed Australia and the US for terrorism.

"If the West in general and the US in particular are really serious about stamping out terrorism and state promoters of this activity, we would be turning our guns not only on the Russians, Chinese, Irish, Spanish, French, virtually all our allies and even back on ourselves, but most importantly also on the US itself," he said in a public speech.
And Molloy tells The World Today his armed mate is "effectively" a government soldier, whatever that means, and that he was only "holding" the gun for the photographer. David Hicks should try that defence.

The sight of the Church of England patronising the religion that will soon be dancing on its grave knocks Mark Steyn off his chair. He tries to improve on Rowan Williams's talent for self-satire. It's a very good try. And how come Christopher Johnson hasn't fisked it yet?

As go the Anglicans, so follow the Europeans:
Unfortunately, embracing Europe means embracing German corporatism, French public-service ethics, Belgian foreign policy, Swedish tax rates and Greek state pension liabilities which, by the year 2040, will account for 24 per cent of GDP.

So, if Britons are becoming more European, they ought to stop, because it's a death cult. Fifty million Frenchmen can be wrong, and 50 million Britons joining them in their fantasy won't make it come true.
Later. Alright alright alright, you've done it already.

He's Australia's Political Idol, but is that what you want your Prime Minister to be?

Henny Herald has done some focus group work on our two aspiring Prime Ministers, John Howard and Mark Latham.

Before I go on, you should note that this was probably part of the polling operation that gave us last Saturday's Henny headlines about a six percent lead for Howard's party, a lead no other poll has been able to match.

What Henny finds is that the electors like the Latham story, the image he projects.
The Labor leader was passionate, sincere, down to earth, determined, confident, self-made, youthful, a fresh face, intelligent, a fighter, a believer, a working man, an intellectual - all descriptions offered spontaneously by people in three focus groups convened for the Herald last week by pollsters ACNielsen.

His freshness came up a lot: "I'm bored with Howard. Latham is young and fresh - he's also from western Sydney," volunteered a male medical student.

And among the group of eight young single people, passionate was the favourite adjective for Latham. Across all three groups the phrases "family man" and "a fair go" came up, too. A few people called him an "average Joe", in a way that hinted at appreciation
What's striking about this appreciation of Latham's style is the absence of appreciation for Latham's self-proclaimed ideology.

Perhaps that's why, when it comes to the grown-up business of voting, the way Latham handles the microphone carries less weight than what he shouts into it.
But then the positives started to give way to negatives. He was too emotional, impulsive, abrasive, inexperienced, untried, no track record, angry; he has a temper. The word that came up most often was inexperienced.

The young people seemed concerned about his emotions: "It shows weakness," said a young man. The parents of young families mentioned his temper a lot. "He's a bull in a china shop," offered one young mother. "I think he's a bit restricted - he'd love to break out and be really crude," suspected a warehouse manager with two children.
Older voters thought
"Whitlam's apprentice," said one man. "Modelled himself on Whitlam," said another. "Tutored by Whitlam," said a third. Their manner did not hint at affection for the man who once hired a young Latham as his researcher.
And then there's John Howard:
When it came to John Howard, it generally went the other way - voters' first thoughts were unflattering.

The Prime Minister was a grump, old-fashioned, 1950s, whingey, peevish, a liar, a bit devious, a twister of truth, evasive, boring, bland, short, "a bit of a grandpa - he looks like he needs help to cross the street".

But after the initial reactions came a generally more positive stream of thoughts. Howard was experienced, stable, decent, in control, qualified, solid, tried and true, doesn't give up, a good leader, solid, a guy you can't push over. And the phrase that came up more than any other - "he has a track record".

Such are the limits of image marketing, or 'values politics' as it is called today.

Now someone else will be asking the questions CBS won't ask itself.
The Center for Individual Freedom, a Virginia-based, constitutional advocacy group filed a complaint last week with the Federal Election Commission charging that CBS and Kerry-Edwards 2004, Inc. illegally coordinated election communications. The complaint charges that CBS and the Kerry campaign violated federal campaign finance laws when they colluded to attack President George W. Bush based on claims and documents now believed to be fake.

... "If there had been no coordination, there would have been no attack story. CBS would not have been able to use the documents it so desperately needed for its assault on President Bush if one of its producers hadn't coordinated with the Kerry campaign."

... Under the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, media organizations are exempt from provisions barring corporations from engaging in "electioneering communications" within 60 days of a general election. But the Center argued that CBS forfeited its exemption by illegally coordinating a partisan attack on the president only 55 days before an election.

Monday, September 27, 2004
Auntie's random email response-generator has been working overtime, as reader RM found out when commenting on the contribution to The Insiders programme of the Australian's Samantha Maiden.

Samantha's existence was at first denied, and then the enquiry was redirected to The Age newspaper.

This surprises me. I have always thought Insiders one of Auntie's more organised operations.

You know exactly what to expect. There, next to host Barrie Cassidy, are the two more liberal journalistic guests.

Furthest away from Cassidy, backed by a darker back-drop, is the token slightly-more-conservative member of the media pack. Or even Piers Akerman.

The political task of the two inside Insiders is to help show just how distant from the Cassidy centre are the views of the token slightly-more-conservative outsider. They do this by the usual objective journalistic means of out-numbering him, interruption, and ridicule.

Nicely done.

Still, it's by far the best political discussion available on ABC radio or television.

It shouldn't surprise us that Pastor Terry Lane uses his ABC pulpit, In the National Interest, to preach his politics. That's what Auntie's communards employ him to do.

It is reasonable, but, to expect the Pastor to get the Gospel right.

The correct sermon, Pastor, is that Vice-President Dick Cheney used to run Halliburton. He no longer does, and he passes the proceeds of his remaining Halliburton stock on to charities. I know it doesn't resonate so well in the rafters of Auntie's chapel as the insinuation that Cheney and Halliburton are one and the same, but it is the Truth.

One of the sad consequences of having been struck down by the revelations of the Holy Marx is the closing of the Pastor's eyes to new revelations.

Take his interview with Dr Peter W. Singer of the Brookings Institution.

Singer, the expert on private military forces not the very silly philosopher, considers the impact of one such force, Executive Outcomes, on Sierra Leone to have been positive, a conclusion only reinforced by what happened when the UN took over the policeman's role. In short, under the UN's rule, a vicious campaign by muderous rebels started anew.

But the Pastor rules out doing good by any means not endorsed by the Gospel of Marx. You see Executive Outcomes took its pay in diamond concessions. These are a form of profit, which the Pastor's Gospel defines as immoral. In fact, this kind of profit the Pastor calls "plunder", and that can't be good, can it. UN good; profit is of the devil.

MPI, another mercenary firm, helped the Croats hold off the Serb forces in Yugoslavia, when the UN was embargoing the supply of arms to the Croats, and also to the Serbs, who already had plenty of arms. But you can't push our Pastor so easily into apostasy; just think of all those Serb refugees.

Needless to say, the mercenary forces supporting the Coalition in Iraq are "gunmen" in the Pastor's eyes. So they are morally equivalent to the throat-cutters, we pew-dwellers must suppose.

Did you know that states in general, unlike mercenary forces, share the long-term aspiration of peace? Neither did I. Nor do Iran, Sudan, North Korea, etc. But, so saith the Pastor.

You know, the problem with our Pastor is not that he joined the Church of the Holy Marx, but that he never graduated from its Sunday School.

That's good enough for Auntie.

Wake up, you CBS mediocrats, the first of the Lessons from the CBS News failure is that it wasn't a 'failure' at all. It was a collaboration between CBS and Democrats to get Bush, and it was succeeding until it was exposed.

Rather and Mapes didn't fail to check the quality of their Killian documents. They chose to ignore the experts who said they were most likely fakes.

They didn't fail in contacting the Kerry campaign with the Burkett news. They were trying to help the Democrats and to help their own campaigning.

Running the microphone round the journalism schools for a series of 'tut-tut, do better next time' comments is not going to convince anyone. Who employs the graduates these professors and Deans produce? And what is their political bias?

Here is a far more plausible interpretation of Rathergate from Doug MacEachern way out in Arizona.

What filled the minds of Rather and Mapes were
images of Watergate. Or, precisely, the Next Watergate, the Holy Grail of the boomer generation of journalists.

Every journalist of a certain graying generation - including the 72-year-old Gunga Dan - has dreamed of following in the footsteps of Woodward & Bernstein. Working your way through some impossibly complicated cover-up until you stumble across that unimpeachable bit of evidence that captures the world's most powerful man in flagrante delicto is the vision that has filled J-school classrooms for decades.

More specificially, it is a vision that gives away, in a roundabout way, the leftie predilections of the journalism business
The basic left doctrine common in the media is the redemptive power of Democrat administrations, and the corrupting, entirely negative power of Repubicans.
In the view of the Left, these spawn of Nixon are pursuers of raw power, not of good government. And to varying degrees, that suspicion has infused a great many journalists - from overt Lefties like Paul Krugman of The New York Times all the way to the liberal Dan Rather, who truly believes he skewers all evildoers, whether from the right or the left.

During the Republican convention, Krugman, an op-ed columnist for the Times, spoke at a forum of the like-minded at New York University. That the Bush administration sits atop untold wicked scandals, he declared, is a given.

"We need a mega-Watergate that rocks them back," he said to a standing ovation.
And Dan and Mary were going to give it to them.

That's the lesson for the students of journalism.


Henny Herald, in her presentation of the Howard spend-up proposals this morning, reproduces the Prime Minister's statement and intersperses it with the editorial comments of its journalists.
So the super-welfarist Adele Horin gets to pan the family and welfare policies behind the spending plan in that area, while Tom Allard, who favours ceding territory to any basket case country that asks for it, runs a diatribe against Howard's Iraq policy, and so on.

Why bother with opposition parties when you've got Herald 'journalists'?

Allard concludes his mini-essay on anti-Yankism with this strange recognition of the Howard government's striking achievements in trade and security relations with east and south-east Asian countries :
[Howard is] on solid ground to say the US alliance hasn't hurt Australia in at least one important respect in regional relations.
He fails to even hint at the other "important respects" in which the US alliance has hurt Australia's interests.

Linda Doherty, responding to the Government's attempts to break through, by direct funding, the headlock put on our public school systems by the education unions and State bureaucracies, fails even to acknowledge the problem.
But the method of bidding for bucks - through committees of parents and pricipals - is deliberately divisive and aimed at cutting state governments out of the process
a response that could have been written by the education unions. She leaves her readers guessing why a federal government should bother to pick a fight with State governments in the middle of an election campaign.

And so on.

If you print a blog on newsprint, does that make it a newspaper?

You would have to be public-spirited to support John Howard's election spending platform, if you're in my position.

Of the $6 bill of yesterday's promises (with an annual cost of substantially less) the only part that could conceivably benefit old uncles is the $200 mill over four years for "a major dementia initiative".

I'd rather have a tax-cut to spend while I've still got my marbles.

There's a remarkable similarity between the CVs presented to their electorates by candidates Kerry and Latham, if you ignore the obvious differences.

Both are basing their political credentials on selective use of their pre-politics pasts instead of their recent political records.

John Kerry based his appeal on his Vietnam record and suffered accordingly when that turned out to be less heroic than the Democrats' spin.

Mark Latham has concocted a working-class 'larrikin' image, first popularised by the impeccably middle-class Bob Hawke, and that has been undermined by a few obvious flaws.

Like the fact that Latham's parents weren't the only ones to have a mortgage, that mortgage-holding is not in any case a mark of the economically-deprived, the educational opportunities that Latham took advantage of were established by Coalition governments, and the fact that Latham's use of those opportunities was marked by special favours from political sponsors.

In fact, allowing for the distinctive culture of New South Wales, dominated as it is by the Labor Party right and the institutions it has created, there is more than a formal correspondence between Latham's progress and that of John Kerry, graduate of the Institut Montana of Zug, Switzerland.

Both Latham and Kerry are, in their own ways, children of privilege.

Both are now running from their more recent political pasts. In Kerry's case it's because he finds no support there for running down President Bush's Middle East policy. This leaves him with the difficult task of claiming a greater determination to fight the US's enemies than the President, while sounding more and more like he wants his country to fail in a field where it simply cannot afford to fail, just to spite George W.

Latham alternates between presenting his family as talismans of his character, like a candidate for the US Presidency, and whining when a few in the media point out the casualties of Latham's larrikin past, including his first wife.

This has left Latham with little more than fiscal rectitude to stand on, as the surpluses of prosperity wash in to the tax office, and the implausible complaint that Prime Minister Howard can not be trusted with the public purse.

And when someone points out that Latham's term as mayor of Liverpool was marked by Whitlamite largesse with the rate-payers' funds, that bad news is treated as if it came from another universe.

Howard's determination to spend up, combined with the defects of Labor's own spending programmes, imposed by Latham on his shadow Cabinet, leaves Latham with little going for him but the fact that he is not John Howard, the leader who has already passed the use-by date for leadership in today's querulous democracies.

John Kerry lacks even that advantage.

Thursday, September 23, 2004
Six questions on Rathergate, to Dan Rather, Mary Mapes, CBS, Kerry operative Joe Lockhart, the other Kerry operatives who were in at the Bush kill that left them bloodied instead, CBS, and , of course, Bill Burkett, nicely drafted by James Pinkerton of Newsday.

It's all about who talked to whom, when and about what; questions Rather, CBS and the Democrats have walked away from.

Two reasons to be hopeful.
CBS has appointed a blue-ribbon mini-panel, consisting of former Pennsylvania Gov. Dick Thornburgh and former AP president Louis Boccardi, to conduct an investigation. If Thornburgh and Boccardi value their reputations, they will charge hard
but maybe not fast.

And Bill Burkett is suing CBS for defamation. If he persists, maybe CBS will sue him back. Or maybe they'll all get smart.

Pinkerton's last question is to the cops: "Won't you do your jobs, fellas? After all, it looks like crimes were committed here."

So much to learn; so little time.

MICHAEL FOLLOWS JOHN, to the Australian solution.

We will decide who comes to Britain, asserts Tory leader Michael Howard, on behalf of a government that is unlikely to be elected within six years.
each year Parliament should set a maximum limit on the number of people coming to Britain, just as they do in Australia. That limit should be determined by Britain's economic needs, the demands of family reunion and our moral obligation to give refuge to those fleeing persecution.
Apart from its 150 000+ legal migrants each year, well ahead of policy targets, Britain has 250 000 failed asylum seekers who have also failed to leave.

Michael Howard has promised to pull out of the Geneva Convention on Refugees, leading the UKIP party to accuse the Tory of plagiarism.

Howard's first job would be to decide who leaves Britain, and to do that he needs to restore embarkation controls on those leaving for EU countries.

Britain's Tories are not the only ones studying the Australian solution. In Germany Interior Minister Schily is pressing ahead with plans for camps in North Africa to hold 'asylum-seekers', despite the vehement opposition of the Green side of the Red-Green government. Schily is getting a sympathetic hearing in Italy, however, where the waves of North African economic refugees first break.

Schily recently revived a British proposal that camps be established in the Ukraine to hold Russian refugees, most of them from Chechnya.

It is likely Schily's policy will be implemented by the next, conservative, German government.

The fundamentalism of Cat Stevens-Yusuf Islam, and his associations with political jihadism, are discussed here.

He hasn't recently supported the murder of any writers, as far as we know, but neither has he stepped back from the principle that it's OK to do so, as he did when Rushdie was first put on the Islamists' hit list.

It's think-tanks at five paces, as Peter Costello and Simon Crean battle it out over the costing of Labor's tax promises.

Would you back Crean and Ann Harding's NATSEM against Costello and the Melbourne Institute? That would be courageous.

The UN is prepared to use the word 'genocide' in relation to the Sudan, at least hypothetically, but France has yet to give permission to Auntie's Sally Sara to attribute responsibility to the Sudanese government.

Sally is currently risking her life in the badlands of Darfur to bring us pictures that belie her story.

For Sally and her Auntie,
The crisis in Sudan continues with Sudanese rebels refusing to lay down their weapons, despite desperate calls for peace in the blood soaked Darfur region, where up to 50,000 people have been killed in the violence.

The rebels are fighting against pro-Government militias that have driven more than one million people from their homes. Peace talks have been suspended and the attacks are continuing.
The film Sara sends back shows the armed rebels operating defensively against the janjaweed. It doesn't show the Sudanese government's role in support of the janjaweed, but "African leaders have urged Khartoum to stop bombing Darfur", and the implausibility of free-lance killers and rapists being able to do the damage that is being done in Darfur speaks for itself.

Canada also refuses to use the 'G' word. If you can speak French you understand that homicidal monsters have feelings that must be respected.

The aid agencies support the big lie: Oxfam prefers "suffering", others find "crisis" more to their taste.

It seems beyond question that, short of large-scale military intervention that the usual suspects on the UN are preventing, a dollar spent on arms for the Darfurians would save more lives than the dollar that keeps them corraled in camps, set up for more Sudanese government mayhem.

The UN, it is clear to any objective observer, does not oppose genocide, it manages it in the interests of the anti-US majority and their Security Council allies.

You might think this is deliberate, but I am confident it was an accident:
Latest poll shows Patch, King closing gap on Turnball
Or perhaps someone at The World Today has never heard of Malcolm Turnbull.


On last night's 7.30 Report, Kerry O'Brien gave John Howard the full treatment, including heavily editorialising questions and frequent interruptions, as pay-back for Howard black-balling O'Brien for the leaders' debate on Channel Nine.

Howard handled it with his trademark steely discipline, an offense to those who despise him and proof, to the rest of us, that he is better qualified for office than his opponent Mark Latham, who oscillates between whining and bullying.

INDONESIAN POLICE are about to name more suspects in the Australian Embassy bombing case, according to Xinhua. Some of their report is in English.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Al Gore is cleverer than Dan Rather. Strange, but true.
Tony Coelho, who ran the [Gore] campaign for several months in 2000, said he did not follow up on the [Burkett] claims because they were not serious enough to demand further attention.

John Kerry's four-point plan for losing the war on Islamist terror.

1. Promise to get out of Iraq in four years, so encouraging the Islamists, the Iranians and Syrians to consolidate their investments for a Balkanised Iraq, and the French and Russians to stay on the sidelines until their own investments can be most productive of political influence and economic advantage. The result, a Middle East more hostile to US interests than it is now, and extremely friendly to Islamism.

2. Make further investment in re-constructing Iraq dependent on the collaboration of America's "allies". See above. America's real allies are already in Iraq.
Kofi Annan has already asked for help with securing the Iraqi elections and been refused. "Kerry lays out nice suggestions but I have no reason to assume they'd work any better, in the sense that there's no sign that the international community is willing to contribute to stabilizing Iraq or helping with security even if there is a leadership change in Washington," said Judith Yaphe, a former CIA Iraq expert now at the National Defense University.
3. Give the French, the Russians and the Germans a bigger slice of the reconstruction of Iraq. Why should they work on commission when they can own the firm?

4. Ask NATO to take responsibility for helping Iraq. John, John, NATO means the US taking the burden of Europe's defence off Europe's shoulders, with the inevitable consequences for the military posture and capability of the former European powers. Do you remember Yugoslavia?

"I know it sounds sort of tough, I know it does," he [Kerry] told a town hall meeting in Jacksonville. "I wish it didn't...

Not a problem, John.

Here's a job for some real vilification-busters.

Our Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission was set up to prosecute vilification. It takes people to court for saying offensive things about Australia's newer ethnicities, and its oldest. The rest of us can look after ourselves.

Wahabism promotes hatred of Jews and Christians (and, by implication, other infidels not yet noticed in the Saudi seminaries) by changing its version of the Koran for that precise purpose.
Guide us to the straight path, / The path of those whom You have favored, / Not of those who have incurred Your wrath, / Nor of those who have gone astray.

The Wahhabi Koran renders these lines: Guide us to the Straight Way. / The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who have earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians). The Wahhabi Koran prints this translation alongside the Arabic text, which contains no reference to either Jews or Christians.

Saudi money promotes the use of the Wahabi Koran in education and proselytising, so promoting racial and religious hatred.

The situation in Australia? Go for it, HREOC.

(via ALD)

Tuesday, September 21, 2004
The result of Socialist-Green government in Germany is a landslide towards the Communists and the neo-Nazis. The neo-Nazi NPD has come from nowhere to 10% of the vote in the State of Saxony.

The German neo-Nazis take a world view almost indistinguishable from the Islamists. They want the US out of the way so Germany can get back the territories it lost in World War II. The Islamists' claims go back half a millenium further.

If Bill Burkett is to be believed, and that's a big ask, he told the CBS 60 Minutes producer the name of the source of his fake memos on Bush's service record, but it was the wrong name.

He also told CBS, he claims now, that they should check the authenticity of the documents, although he still claims they are genuine.

Dan Rather, it seems, walked away from his weekend meeting with Burkett without discovering the name of the actual source, as Burkett might now identify it. So much for "intensive reporting".

If Burkett is really a dupe, as he is, in effect, claiming, who were the fabricators of the memos?

Has CBS given up the quest? Will they sue Burkett for the destruction of their reputation, or would that lead to even more damaging revelations?

Don't expect an answer from CBS. One or two of CBS's competitors may be more persistent.

Dan Rather could be speaking for the entire left-liberal establishment when he exculpates himself on the basis that he's on the higher moral ground:
"I think over the long haul, this will be consistent with our history and our traditions and reputation…We took heat during the McCarthy time, during civil rights, during Watergate. We haven't always been right, but our record is damn good."

For now CBS's reputation hangs swinging from Dan Rather who is suspended from Bill Burkett's credibility. And standing on Rather's shoulders, we must suppose, are the Democrats.

This unstable equilibrium just can't last.

Later: more on Democrat-CBS collusion here.

CBS CONFESSES, PLEADS "GOOD FAITH", but the White House reminds CBS, at the end of these statements, of the awkward questions they have ignored.

Statements about CBS News' "60 Minutes" story that questioned President Bush's Vietnam War-era National Guard service:

CBS News President Andrew Heyward:

"60 Minutes Wednesday" had full confidence in the original report or it would not have aired.

However, in the wake of serious and disturbing questions that came up after the broadcast, CBS News has done extensive additional reporting in an effort to confirm the documents' authenticity. That included an interview featured on last week's edition of "60 Minutes Wednesday" with Marian Carr Knox, secretary to the late Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, the officer named as the author of the documents; the interview with Bill Burkett to be seen tonight; and a further review of the forensic evidence on both sides of the debate.

Based on what we now know, CBS News cannot prove that the documents are authentic, which is the only acceptable journalistic standard to justify using them in the report. We should not have used them. That was a mistake, which we deeply regret. Nothing is more important to us than our credibility and keeping faith with the millions of people who count on us for fair, accurate, reliable, and independent reporting. We will continue to work tirelessly to be worthy of that trust."

CBS News and CBS management are commissioning an independent review of the process by which the report was prepared and broadcast to help determine what actions need to be taken. The names of the people conducting the review will be announced shortly, and their findings will be made public.

CBS anchor Dan Rather:

Last week, amid increasing questions about the authenticity of documents used in support of a "60 Minutes Wednesday" story about President Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard, CBS News vowed to re-examine the documents in question -- and their source -- vigorously. And we promised that we would let the American public know what this examination turned up, whatever the outcome.

Now, after extensive additional interviews, I no longer have the confidence in these documents that would allow us to continue vouching for them journalistically. I find we have been misled on the key question of how our source for the documents came into possession of these papers. That, combined with some of the questions that have been raised in public and in the press, leads me to a point where -- if I knew then what I know now -- I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.

But we did use the documents. We made a mistake in judgment, and for that I am sorry. It was an error that was made, however, in good faith and in the spirit of trying to carry on a CBS News tradition of investigative reporting without fear or favoritism.

Please know that nothing is more important to us than people's trust in our ability and our commitment to report fairly and truthfully.

What follows is from AP, via the Chicago Trib (registration required).

White House press secretary Scott McClellan:

CBS is now for the first time publicly acknowledging that the documents were likely forged and they came from a discredited source. There are a number of serious questions that remain unanswered and they need to be answered. Bill Burkett, who CBS now says is their source, in fact is not an unimpeachable source as was previously claimed. Bill Burkett is a source who has been discredited and so this raises a lot of questions. There were media reports about Mr. Burkett having senior level contacts with the Kerry campaign. That raises questions. What were those contacts and what was discussed with Bill Burkett. Who was the original source of these documents and who was responsible for forging these documents? So that raises a number of serious questions. And I understand CBS called them serious and disturbing questions.

Monday, September 20, 2004
CBS is about to retreat from the forgeries it has been promoting, under covering fire. This tactic they call "intensive reporting", one of the year's best euphemisms that will probably live with CBS's infamy.
The [CBS] officials, who asked not to be identified, said CBS News would most likely make an announcement as early as today that it had been deceived about the documents' origins. CBS News has already begun intensive reporting on where they came from, and people at the network said it was now possible that officials would open an internal inquiry into how it moved forward with the report. Officials say they are now beginning to believe the report was too flawed to have gone on the air.
And who is to be the target of its fire? The odds are on Bill Burkett, who has just received a visit from Dan Rather.

It seems CBS hopes still to be out of range of the shrapnel. Fat chance. Similar odds for Rather and the Democrats.

Here's some news on Sudan that never gets through to Paris, or to Auntie.
AFRICAN Union soldiers yesterday accused the Sudanese government of brazenly breaching the ceasefire in the Darfur region and continuing to attack villages with a contemptuous disregard for the presence of peace monitors.

AU [African Union] soldiers in Darfur leaked the contents of classified reports sent to the union’s Addis Ababa headquarters, after their superiors refused to publish them. They paint a damning picture of the Sudanese government’s contempt for peacekeeping.

"They [the government] are not acting in good faith," says the AU’s mission chief, Ghana’s Colonel Anthony Amedoh. "Everything is falling apart. There are so many clear violations by the Sudanese government. They’re using aircraft where they’re not supposed to and they’re moving their forces all the time. They are not complying at all, but we can’t stop them from violating the ceasefire, we can just report it. They just deny it and don’t stop what they are doing."

The African commanders say the Sudan government is treating them like fools while its army, acting in close alliance with the Janjaweed militias, continues its ethnic cleansing of the Fur, Zaghawa, Masalit and other black African tribes.

Colonel Barry Steyn, commander of the small South African force with the AU mission, says he counts bodies of Sudan army and Janjaweed victims each week and sends classified reports to Addis Ababa.
According to Auntie's Sally Sara on last night's national television news, it's still just a conflict between Darfurian rebels and the non-government militia, the Janjaweed.

Iraq as a nascent United Kingdom, but with a larger Northern Ireland to manage, is Mark Steyn's counter to the 'explosion on every street corner' picture provided by Auntie's reporting.
a post-Saddam Iraq might wind up merely with "a thug who's marginally less bloody.

But a new thug is still better than letting the old thug stick around to cock snooks at you. If Saddam had been toppled, the nutter du jour would have come to power in the shadow of the cautionary tale of his predecessor".

That's still the bottom line. It is the stability of the Middle East - the stability of the Ba'athists, Ayatollahs, Sauds, the Arafats and Mubaraks - that has enabled it to export its toxins.

Given that much of what we now know as the civilised world [Europe] will be Muslim, it seems prudent to ensure that what is already the Muslim world is civilised. And, for those who say that Islam is incompatible with democracy, we might as well try to buck that in Iraq today than in France, Scandinavia and Britain the day after tomorrow.
From the UK Telegraph (registration required).

No news this past weekend, unless you count a couple of occasions on which Mark Latham raged at reporters for asking hard questions, or the late discovery by the Melbourne Age of Rathergate.

Mark Steyn had discovered Rathergate a week ago, but he drives the point home firmly in his latest comment:
As the network put it last week, ''In accordance with longstanding journalistic ethics, CBS News is not prepared to reveal its confidential sources or the method by which '60 Minutes' Wednesday received the documents.'' But, once they admit the documents are fake, they can no longer claim ''journalistic ethics'' as an excuse to protect their source. There's no legal or First Amendment protection afforded to a man who peddles a fraud. You'd think CBS would be mad as hell to find whoever it was who stitched them up and made them look idiots.

So why aren't they? The only reasonable conclusion is that the source -- or trail of sources -- is even more incriminating than the fake documents. Why else would Heyward and Rather allow the CBS news division to commit slow, public suicide?
And that is why the story that the Age, Henny Herald and my old Auntie are reluctant to mention may yet decide the fate of John Kerry's campaign to become Preisident of the USA.

The Republicans are confident enough of the outcome of Rathergate to put the subject on the President's comments list, but CBS, as recently as last Saturday, was still defending the forgeries.

According to CBS, one of the several thousand people who have observed the crude implausibility of the forgeries was a Republican supporter.
An Internet writer considered the first to accuse CBS News of using fake documents in its report on President Bush's National Guard service is an Atlanta lawyer with strong ties to Republican causes, a newspaper reported Saturday.
It would have been a pipsqueak of a defence ten days ago; now it insults our intelligence and sinks further CBS's own reputation.

Later: the unexpurgated version of the Roger Franklin article in the Age can be found here.

Saturday, September 18, 2004
The nature of Mark Latham's ideology, Marksism, is becoming clearer as he expands the list of groups to be de-funded and legislated against.

The first metaphor Latham used for his ideology was 'the ladder of opportunity'. You would think that meant Latham favoured rewarding individual effort and opposed the spread of welfarism. Think again, because here come the policies based on the ideology.

First there was the transfer of health funding from rebates available to all, to those who can find politically-correct, bulk-billing doctors. The goal is equality of medical outcomes, not optimal outcomes.

Then there were the cut to the benefits of stay-at-home mums, then those sending their kids to private schools that have reached or exceeded minimal standards of capital equipment. Not to mention the CSIRO researchers and the security services, all of whom are to be pilloried early in the first term of a Marksist government.

More important than that list of outsiders is the return of workplace control to the union capos.

Common to all these inititatives is hostility to those who exercise free choice on their way up the Latham ladder of opportunity. Mark doesn't mind if you get rich, as long as you don't spend your money any way but his way on your health, your children's education, or anything else he defines as important.

He wants you to work productively, provided you conform to the rules imposed by unions not the least bit interested in productivity.

And now Mark Latham has given us the clearest statement to date of the glue that holds together the apparent contradictions of Marksism (on the front page of today's Sydney Morning Herald).
My ideology is about insiders and outsiders, about the dispersal of power and opportunity" Latham explalined in an interview with the Herald.

As part of this ideology he is quite prepared to take funds from the insiders and give to the outsiders: "I've never been afraid to take on redistribution of money."
"Insiders and outsiders", a much more flexible basis for social division than old fashioned class warfare.

But it's not new. It was the imposed social dynamic of Nazism and Stalinism.

Let's hope we never have to find out just how far Latham is prepared to push his doctrine.

He's a victim, claims the mother of a man, disguised with the name 'John Hill', convicted of armed robberies and brutal rapes.
But Hill's mother, Rita, has told the Herald she blames "the system" because that was where her son was brought up and educated.

He has been in jail for most of his life, since the age of 10.
The young 'John Hill' was first stolen from his family, and that was the start of his problems.
"He's not a violent man. They can say what they like, because we know different," she said.

"They've got a set of law for one lot and another set for another. He's never had a fair go from the age of 10, when he was first incarcerated [for stealing a tow truck]. I don't feel guilty and I won't feel bad, and I still love my son."
Go, Rita. It might even work.

The Burkett-Democrat-CBS jigsaw is filling in, piece by piece, according to this report from the New York Times (registration required).

"I spent some time on the phone with the Kerry campaign seniors yesterday," Mr. Burkett wrote on Aug. 21 in an e-mail letter circulated to a list of about 600 Texas Democrats.

On Sept. 4, shortly before CBS News broadcast its report, Mr. Burkett told the Democratic e-mail list he had a hunch that more material might soon emerge to embarrass the president. "No proof, just gut instinct,"

Lex Lasry, mate, mate, I know that our home-grown jihadi David Hicks won't get civilian standards of justice from the US military commission.

I also know that by your standards of justice Hicks would not even be in custody. He'd be walking amongst us, lining up juicy bomb targets for his Islamist masters, like Jack Roche.

You and your Law Council mates should stick to your trade, that is defending tax-dodgers and spouse-killers. In that sphere legal game-playing is less hazardous to the rest of us, if we forget the direct victims.

I don't want lawyers' standards of national security, just like I don't want doctors' ideas of health insurance, and Amnesty International's ideas of freedom.

"Many of us have risked everything on this election," Bill Burkett, assumed source of the CBS forgeries, wailed to his Democrat mates in August. (registration required)

Just how much he risked, and how much help he had from fellow Democrats, is yet to be revealed.

We know he worked on the Bush records, because he told his readers on the Online Journal:
I know from your files that we have now reassembled, the fact that you did not fulfill your oath, taken when you were commissioned to "obey the orders of the officers appointed over you".
Who, apart from Bill, is covered by that "we"?

Mary Mapes, 60 Minutes producer, is the likely to be the first casualty. She's a cheaper sacrifice than anchor Dan Rather.

We do it differently in Australia. A Radio National producer who discovered flying carpets was merely carpeted and told to keep flying. No doubt she is.

Friday, September 17, 2004
WHEN ISRAEL takes out Iran's nuclear capability the left will parade in our streets, screaming about Israel's aggression and demanding action from the UN, the US and everyone else.

The UN's agenda will be clogged with motions of condemnation.

Right now, as Iran builds its nuclear capability under the eyes of the UN Security Council, the Iranian Islamist dictatorship arouses no more passion among Auntie's communards than Saddam's dictatorship did.

And the UN Security Council is prevented from considering any action against Iran by the usual villains, France and Russia, and, on this occasion, Britain.

If our pacifists had any integrity they would be out in the streets right now, hammering at the gates of the embassies of the real enemies of peace.

They aren't, and they won't. They'll wait until the inevitable happens and then condemn Israel and the US.

Let's just hope Israel has the capacity to do the job without resort to its own nukes.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Last Sunday, the ABC stuck to yet another documentary on the life of Donald Bradman while the nation's leaders faced each other in the Great Debate on Channel 9, declared by moderator Laurie Oakes to be "the national broadcaster".
Now the leaks are flowing to Mark Day of the Australian, who concludes:
Two wrong calls, Russell, and the natives are getting restless.

NETWORK FRAUDSTER, CBS, "maintains that "the content" of the [Killian memos on George W Bush's reserve force service] story is true", although they can't deny that the memos themselves are fakes.

Sound familiar?

It should. It's the same defence used by Defence 'whistleblower' Mike Scrafton and his supporters after Scrafton's evidence imploded before the Senate Committee established to broadcast it.

The evidence was clearly false, but the message should be allowed to stand, that was Mike Scrafton's position.

And it was good enough for most of the Australian media and commentariat. It's not hard to understand that CBS is relying on the same defence, but is the US media supine enough to let CBS get away with it?

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS has tracked down the former secretary of Lt Col Killian, George W Bush's former CO in the Texas Air National Guard, who's supposed to have authored those CBS forgeries. (Here is Powerline's transcription of the report).

She's 86, and a Bush-hater, but she knows she didn't type them, didn't even have the technology to type them:
“These are not real,” she told The Dallas Morning News after examining copies of the disputed memos for the first time. “They’re not what I typed, and I would have typed them for him.”
Still CBS swings there, looking further into the matter just in case its confidence was misplaced, or perhaps people will believe it's what Killian would have written if he'd written...


Deputy PM John Anderson has revised his description of Lord Bob-Brown of the Barricades as a watermelon. Now Brown is an avocado: "Hard green casing on the outside, soft and mushy on the inside with a great big brown nut in the middle."

Not good enough, John.

Bob Brown is a bean-pole: tall on the outside, and narrow on the inside.

He's also a tin drum: loud on the outside and loud on the inside.

And a lemon: sour on the inside and he gives you the pip.

Or a light switch: holds the balance of power and leaves us in the dark.

We've got to get to the bottom of the Brown phenomenon. Before it's too late.

LAST THURSDAY, reader RA took the trouble of emailing this post to Ms Louise Yaxley and Mr Mark Colvin of Radio National's PM programme.

He received this curious reply:
I must advise that you will only continue to receive responses, or your comments continue to be noted, if you submit your correspondence in writing to Audience & Consumer Affairs, our email address is:

Once again, the ABC specifically asks that you do not continue to email individual members of staff. Should you continue to do so, the ABC will review its correspondence with you to determine whether the Corporation is obliged to continue noting or responding to your comments and complaints.

As Auntie has said to me often before: "Why should I have to trash my own emails? That's what workers are for."

PAULINE HANSON has "no financial backers", she tells us.

She's a busted flush, according to the pundits.

Easy to test. If Hanson put up a website with the capacity to make donations for her campaign, how long would it take to raise her first million?

Fired-up Kerry gives President a pounding
according to Henny Herald's Marian Wilkinson.

She means that Senator Kerry would like to give President Bush a pounding.

Not this way, John. According to The World Today on Radio National, when Kerry was asked for his policy on Iraq he told the interviewer to put the question to President Bush.

I bet that hurt Bush.

ANTI-YANKISM has a number of obvious and agreed sources: the pre-eminent power of the US, the competing ambitions of lesser powers, Islamist nihilism, and so on.

Here's another reason that chimes with statements heard every day from Auntie's communard left:
Capitalism’s victory left the world without an ideology of discontent, a systematic set of ideas that are critical of the world as it exists.There is always a market for an ideology of discontent
The left used to call it alienation, and proposed economic and social causes for it.

These days it's free-floating, self-sustaining, self-righteous and totally self-defeating.

In other words, it's a superstition, and poor old George W has to serve as the demon.

UNITED NATIONS BUREAUCRAT, and former manager of the UN's response to the Rwanda genocide, and current manager of the UN's response to the Darfur genocide, Kofi Annan, has criticised the United States for acting to enforce UN resolutions on Iraq.

"Yes, if you wish. I've indicated that it was not in conformity with the UN Charter from our point of view, and from the Charter point of view it was illegal."
Annan told the BBC.

Nothing new in this, except that he's chosen to intervene during the US election campaign, and while the Darfur genocide remains to be completed.

Still, it will lock in his constituency, the French, Germans, Russians, Arabs and Chinese. Darfurians don't get to vote.

The next test of the will of the UN to take "legal" action in support of world peace approaches. The US and its allies are presenting a motion on Iran's nukes programme, watered down in the attempt to match European tastes.

THE NEW YORK TIMES may be a newspaper without news, if this headline from its website is any guide: Memos on Bush Are Fake but Accurate.

Times columnist Nicholas Kristof explained this conundrum for Times readers:
"we shouldn't be distracted by our doubts about the CBS documents. There's no doubt that Mr. Bush benefited from favoritism."
The lawyer representing Bill Burkett, putative source of the forgeries, took us one step further into Wonderland:
"If, hypothetically, Bill Burkett or anyone else, any other individual, had prepared or had typed on a word processor, as some of the journalists are presuming, without much evidence, if someone in the year 2004 had prepared on a word processor replicas of documents that they believed had existed in 1972 or 1973, which Bill Burkett has absolutely not done, what difference would it make?"
I'll give this much to Burkett; he's killed two major news sources with nothing more than a word-processor. That's more than any blogger could do.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The air time Auntie is devoting to the virtual (long may they remain so) hostages is astounding.

More than half of the 7.30 Report last night, large slabs of AM, PM and The World Today yesterday (more).

Every last Australian in Iraq is being hunted down, including those who would rather their wives or creditors didn't know they were there.

And still no confirmation, unless you count that pamphlet someone was handing out on a street north of Baghdad, where internet connections must be as slow as Telstra's.

Every scrap of information is being turned over, film clips of other hostages are being run and re-run (three times on the 7.30 Report alone) and Foreign Minister Downer has been permanently patched to the ABC newsroom.

So far the only real product has been the story, inferred by the AM host from Downer this morning, that the government has sent over a special forces unit to get the hostages, if they exist, away from their captors.

Let's hope the hostage-takers, if they exist, also lack access to radio and television.