Does Manus Island equal crimes against humanity?

Morrison’s “We do not comment on operational matters” is code for “some bastard is doing something we don’t want you to know about.” Morrison will claim it is the people smuggles that he does want to know what is happening, but that is not true. Morrison does not want the Australian public to know what is happening. The reports coming out of the Manus Island detention centre raises many questions about the treatment of asylum seekers in the care of Australia. It would be unfair to suggest that the reports are all true in total or part, but the lack of transparency and lack of information from the Australian government does suggest that there is a major cover-up taking place.

Did the asylum seekers who broke out of the detention centre do so in order to escape marauding PNG police that were allowed into the centre by the Australian guards? Were the injuries sustained by the asylum seekers a result of attacks by PNG authorities and/or Australian guards rather than the result of authorities defending themselves? What were the circumstances that resulted in the death of the deceased Iranian detainee? Do Australia’s actions at Manus island equal, as many overseas sources including China suggest, constitute civil rights abuses?

It is the duty of everyone who wants to know what is really happening at Manus Island to speak up and demand to be told. Anyone sees what is happening and does or says nothing is as guilty of any atrocities that are taking place in our name as those who are perpetrating those atrocities. I cannot say that any atrocities are taking place, I can say that Morrison and the Abbot government are taking extraordinary steps to make certain that the Australian public does not find out. Does Manus Island equal crimes against humanity? I have no idea, but I can say Morrison is making certain that it is impossible for the Australian pubic to find out. That alone makes me think that overseas sources know more that the Australian public about the true conditions on Manus Island, and overseas sources suggest that the Australian government has many questions that need answering in full now.

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Is the Internet really killing print media?

The old truism that the press can never underestimate the intelligence of the public does not seem to be true. We have reached a stage where as the quality of MSM descends ever more into the gutter readership also drops. This drop in readership is not as a result competition from the Internet but from the increasing lowering of the ‘reporting’ and the lack of integrity of MSM to a stage where there is virtually nothing in MSM that can be classified as news.

Descending to the bottom of the gene pool for readership inevitably alienates those with an education level past year nine (and dropping). Whilst simple slogans and words of no more than two syllables are all the targeted readers can manage it is hardly likely that this format will appeal to a wide audience. If Mr Murdoch wishes treat readers as imbeciles why is he surprised his readership base is decreasing?

Print media is not under attack from the Internet because if there is quality in both the two mediums are complementary. The attack on print media comes from the policies of the people running it. If the quality returns to print media so will the readership.

Why Labour should oppose repealing of carbon pricing

Reply to Tim Dunlop

The Drum http://ab.co/156a2mD

The problem with democracy is that nobody knows what it is. It has not been defined and we need to set the rules of engagement. The idea that is majority rule is ridiculous because nobody can ever claim to be part of a majority. At the best we can be part of the biggest minority, and that is only if we take a very narrow view of minorities, using one determining factor only. A good starting point to determine what a democracy is would be the acceptance that minorities matter because we are all part of a minority. You say in your article “Most talk of a “Mandate” in Australian politics is pure nonsense.” This is true.

If democracy it is to be in any way representative of the vast number of minorities that make up Australia those minorities have information that is accurate. On this point, your argument that Labor (sic) must relent on its opposition to repealing the carbon tax fails because the Australian people have been denied factual information on global warming.

There can be no democracy without truth and on the question of the repealing of the carbon tax labour must oppose it at all costs, if for no other reason than the Abbott policies are based on misinforming the voting public.

Australia. uncaring racist nation?

Yesterday evening I attended a lecture by Jonathan Holmes at Curtin University. I left feeling very depressed. The reason for my depression at Jonathan Holmes’ talk and the discussion that followed were general comments about how low the interest in politics and other issues were in Australia.

I did agree that it unrealistic that our media should be unbiased and the best we can have is that we have a diversity of bias. As I understood the conversation the opinion was that there is little hope that the Murdoch press can ever be broken up and true diversity re-established in Australian MSM because who in their right mind own a newspaper? Also if the current trend continues Murdoch and the ABC would be the last two MSM entities standing. Although it was not part of the conversation I did wonder how unbiased the ABC can be when it relies on government funding? This is not just under an Abbott government but also under any government.

Apart from the issue of the improbability of returning to any form of diversity in print media there was this issue of whether or not Australians cared about any real issues at all.

Figures where not quoted, only a general trend. It seems that now there is a reasonable on line presence of media across all spectrums of our society it is possible build up a picture of what our society is interest in.

Politics just doesn’t rate as an issue of interest on the internet. Nor do stories about Aboriginal issues rate in any form of media. The case was cited in MSN where the West Australian ran a photo of an Aboriginal elder on the front page and circulation dropped by twenty thousand. Staff members had warned the editor that it would happen but the photo was run anyway and the prediction proved to be true.

The general picture that I took away from the talk was that Australia was racist, sexist uncaring place where self-interest ruled supreme. It is place where anyone with a real interest in exploring issues of inequality or oppression would not be heard because nobody is interested. This was the reason for my depression after listening Jonathan Holmes and others. It is not that inequality and oppression exists, that was apparent to me before yesterday evening. The depressing thing was that my suspicions that nobody cared were confirmed.

So why do those who do care blog about political and social issues? The only reason I can think of for all of us who do want to make a difference is that we can do it for the good of our own soul in the vain hope that sometime someone might listen.

Lets do the Time Warp with Tony

A prediction I made in December last year Tony Abbott Santamaria’s Ghost, is coming true. Australia is heading straight back to the 1950’s. The words are slightly different. It isn’t “reds under the bed” but Islamic phobia and the terrorist threat.

Instead of the marauding yellow peril in our North we have a few refugees arriving in leaky boats to bring back the old cry of “Border Protection.” Women have gone from the cabinet back to the Kitchen sink because they are ‘equal but different’ and should not worry their little heads about things like politics. Men take care of the important things and women take care of the cooking and cleaning.

We don’t have to take care of the environment the sky is big enough to handle all the pollution we can produce. Don’t worry about anything we will give you a short briefing once a month on what we want you to know. Control by ignorance and fear is back.

It’s all back to the days of B.A.Santamaria and the democratic labour party when politics as much about religion as it was running the country.

I used to see Murdoch and Abbott as an evil pair of dysfunctional  ignoramuses’ intent on destroying Australia. I now see them as  as time travellers from the 50’s stuck in an age they do not understand and try desperately to get back home. Fortunately the times are not a-changing: they have already changed. It is a different world and fugitives from the past cannot survive for long.

This is part of what I wrote in December.

Tony Abbot was a pupil of B.A.Santamaria for 22 years, and once described Santamaria as ‘The greatest living Australian.”

Santamaria was a extreme Catholic radical who said that all private and public policy must be according to strict Catholic doctrine. Basically Santamaria wanted Australia to be governed as a Catholic theocracy.

In an interview on Radio National (March14, 2001) Fr Bruce Duncan  said of Santamaria.

“I don’t think he went out of his way to mislead and misinterpret events, I think he was just so convinced of his ideas that he automatically kept reinterpreting things to mean the exact opposite of what they had originally intended to mean.”

The same might be said of Santamaria’s pupil, Tony Abbott.

Looking back at B.A.Santamaria is a way of understanding Tony Abbott and why I think that a vote for Tony Abbott is a vote for Santamaria’s ghost.

Reply from Malcolm Turnbull on NBN.

As part of the campaign to persuade the coalition government to go ahead with the Labour NBN scheme emails have been sent to Malcolm Turnbull.

Here is the standard reply from Malcolm Turnbull with comments by myself inserted in italics. Before that another issue.

The following quote comes from the coalition NBN policy statement.

“To put further downward on prices, the Coalition will unshackle the competitive telecom market that Labor has tried to stamp out, and reduce the cost of the NBN to prudent levels.”

For this read “give the NBN to Rupert Murdoch.”

This Is Malcolm Turnbull’s letter.

If you wish to contact Malcolm Turnbull his emails address is Malcolm.Turnbull.MP@aph.gov.au

MT

Thank you for writing to me about the Coalition’s plan to deliver better broadband to all Australians sooner, cheaper for taxpayers and more affordably for consumers.

YA

Under the coalition scheme the user will have to pay $5000.00 for the final connection. If you add all the $5000.00 together the quoted cost by the coalition becomes just another con.

MT

The Coalition has been very open and transparent about our broadband policy that we took to the election. It is available online here: http://www.liberal.org.au/fast-affordable-sooner-coalitions-plan-better-nbn.

Unlike Labor we do not regard technology as an ideological, or even political, issue. The objective which we should all share is to ensure that all Australians have access to very fast broadband as soon, as cost effectively and as affordably as possible.

YA

But the broadband must be adequate. The coalitions policy says speeds of 25-100 megabits/sec. We are now at web 2.0 and 25 megabits is barely enough. Web 3.0 is just beginning. This is the era of 3D printing where it will be able to order and item on line and you home printer will print it for you. The US military is already trialing war zone 3D printing so they can print equipment at the battlefront and not try to deliver ordinance under difficult conditions. This technology is going to take enormous power and even the labour scheme will need to continuously updated to keep up with Technology.

MT

While fibre optic cable to the home (FTTH) does indeed offer the prospect of the highest possible speeds that has to be weighed up against the cost and time of deployment versus alternative technologies, the service levels offered by alternatives and the value or utility of those service levels to consumers.

YA

With same things, like the NBN must be right or it is no use at all. The Coalition plan is already out of date. An almost good enough scheme is no good at all.

MT

The Labor NBN plan took these factors into account when it decided that 7% of Australia would not get FTTH because of very high cost of deploying it in less populated areas. 

YA

The coalition has no answer to this problemeither. It needs some serious research and the answer will probably not be cheap.

MT

Labor’s mistake was never to undertake a cost benefit analysis of the project let alone weigh up the cost effectiveness of alternative technologies. 

From that initial mistake, Labor has done everything it could to conceal the fact that the project is missing all of its targets – after four years less than 2% of the fibre build has been completed. At this rate Australians will be waiting decades for very fast broadband.

YA

There is no cost benefit in something that doesn’t work. MT knows that the beginning of a project is where the bulk of the work is done with very little sign of progress. The ends brings it all together

MT

But unlike Labor we do not propose simply to make claims about the project. We will ensure that there is conducted an open and transparent audit of the project and a thorough cost benefit analysis.

YA

We saw with the coalition policy costings at the resent election they can never be open and transparent about anything.

MT

We will make sure that all Australians know how much it will really take in dollars and time to complete the project on the current design and then how much can be saved by making changes to it including on the lines set out in our policy. We will also ensure there is a clear disclosure of what alternative technologies mean in terms of service levels and relate them to both current and projected demand.

I know there are some people who say we should build FTTH regardless of the cost. It is important that Australians understand what those costs really are and what the alternatives are.

YA

The alternative is a disaster if it isn’t done properly. Yes it is will be expensive, but we must avoid another Collins Submarine debacle.

MT

Every public infrastructure project has to be carefully and honestly analysed so that governments, and citizens, can weigh up the costs and benefits. 

This information is vital for the public to be fully informed and our redesign of the project will reflect this information.

The NBN debate is not over but the Coalition will ensure that from now on it is at least fully informed. 

YA

I agree with MT that the debate is not over.

Regards,

Malcolm Turnbull

Not even sworn in and the already cracks are appearing.

A major part of Abbott’s rhetoric leading up to the Federal election was to that he would turn back the boats. In a rebuke that has not gone unnoticed by the rest of the world Indonesian has told Abbott, in a most emphatic manner that they, not Australia would determine Indonesia’s foreign policy.

Abbott was told this very politely during the election campaign but he ignored it. Now Indonesia has told Australia that it is not accepting refugee back once they have left Indonesian waters and Abbott has to get used to the idea. As a result that policy now lies in tatters.

It may well have been that this policy was never a serious policy in the first place. It could have been just part of the propaganda war raged against Labour. But whatever the reason for the policy today’s announcement of a trip to Indonesia by Abbott before the end of the month smacks of panic.

Abbott has done another swift change in policy change. He is now no longer going to stop the boats, he just will not tell us when they arrive. This policy has potential for great evil. Refugees arriving in Australia are just going to disappear. This is a policy that many dictators have used. Inconvenient people just disappear. This must never happen in Australia.Australia’s treatment of refuges is already seen as disgusting at home and abroad and we must not add to this by making them dissapear.

At present, all asylum seekers arriving by boat are automatically resettled in Papua New Guinea or the tiny Pacific island state of Nauru in an offshore processing model condemned by the UN, and described by the former prime minister of Australia, Malcolm Fraser, as shifting humans to gulags in the third world.

Things looks likely to get worse under the new Abbott government. Scott Morrison, the next immigration minister, indicated that the public may not even be informed when a boat carrying asylum seekers attempts arrival in Australia.

What is mostly lacking in reporting around asylum issues in Australia are the voices of asylum seekers themselves – this despite some forensic reporting that runs against the tide. Any attempt at rebalancing the narrative, however bold and dangerous, should be lauded. It’s time to move on from questions over whether their decision was ethically sound, and to think about what this reporting might do for public debate.

(Oliver Laughland. The Guardian on line. New York. Australian edition. 9 September 2013)

Add to this Indonesia’s indignant dismissal of the Abbott policy of buying indonesian fishing boats. Not even sworn in and Abbott has already upset Indonesia and drawn world wide attention to our treatment of refugees. Indonesia fishermen show just how ridiculous the boat buy back scheme is.

If I sold my boat for a lot of money maybe I would even have enough money to build two boats. We are fishermen,” he shrugs, “If they buy a boat, we can easily build another one.”

(Kate Lamb. The Guadian on line. New York, Australian edition. 6 September 2013)

Abbotts ethics must be called into question after is Chief of Staff gets off a drunk driving charge after the incoming Attorney General gives a character reference. Is the Attorney General interfering with the legal system on behave of mates going to be a feature of this government?

We now have a deputy leader of the Nationals, Barnaby Joyce who, on Q and A, said that the answer to climate change was to wear less clothing. God help Australia when global warming becomes too obvious to ignore. This sort of attitude shows the lack of depth and understanding by the incoming government of the real issues facing the world.

Barnaby Joyce is also starring in the beginnings of another disagreement with Indonesia over Indonesian investment in cattle properties in Australia. He has come out against it foot in mouth as only Barnaby can when there is no indication that Indonesia wants to invest in Australian cattle properties. With fools like this within Abbott is likely to have a difficult time keeping it all together when he has members of the government who mouth off about problems that do not exist.

Abbott was elected with the relentless help of the Murdoch press appealing to the underbelly of Australia with lies, misrepresentation and Goebbels’ style propaganda. The govern that has been elected reflects those ideals. Murdoch may have elected the government but Abbott holding it together is already looking shaky.

There is something happening now that brings some hope of breaking Murdoch’s strangleholds on Australian media and politics. Australia, and its politics’ are now prominent in world affairs with the help of such media outlets as the New York Guardian and the two reporters who arrived by boat at Christmas Island on a refugee boat. This incident, and the rebukes from Indonesia show how much attention we are getting.

This prominence in the world media is not of a favourably nature. Maybe the world media can help Australia rid itself of the Murdoch domination of MSM and Australia can have a real election based on real issues and policies.

Propaganda should be popular, not intellectually pleasing. Joseph Goebbels

This is a comment I received from zwetschgen after my blog on Murdoch and the Fourth Reich. It is an excellent addition to the conversation so I have included it in my blog with permission from zwetschgen.

“On his Australian social experiment/political manipulation, Rupert Murdoch has already tweeted, “other nations to follow in time” – perhaps he’s has been reading Joseph Goebbels.

“To attract people, to win over people to that which I have realized as being true, that is called propaganda. In the beginning there is the understanding, this understanding uses propaganda as a tool to find those men, that shall turn understanding into politics. Success is the important thing. Propaganda is not a matter for average minds, but rather a matter for practitioners. It is not supposed to be lovely or theoretically correct. I do not care if I give wonderful, aesthetically elegant speeches, or speak so that women cry. The point of a political speech is to persuade people of what we think right. I speak differently in the provinces than I do in Berlin (Canberra?), and when I speak in Bayreuth (Western Sydney?), I say different things than I say in the Pharus Hall (the Party Room). That is a matter of practice, not of theory. We do not want to be a movement of a few straw brains, but rather a movement that can conquer the broad masses. Propaganda should be popular, not intellectually pleasing. It is not the task of propaganda to discover intellectual truths. Those are found in other circumstances, I find them when thinking at my desk, but not in the meeting hall.”

***Speech by Joseph Goebbels 9 January 1928 to an audience of party members at the “Hochschule für Politik”, a series of training talks for Nazi party members in Berlin.
(bracketed suggestions are mine)
original quote taken from, http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Joseph_Goebbels”

 

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New Abbott Policy: Censorship.

I have heard over and over how Abbott will stop the boats. But that has changed. He now says he will not tell us when they arrive.

He really didn’t have to say that because he could rely on Murdoch not to report the arrivals. We will never know if the boats have stopped or simply that we do not know they have arrived.

This is a dangerous precedent. It is censorship. This, coupled with giving the Internet in Australia to Murdoch means that we will be deprived of any means of knowing what is really going on.

Will he also be censoring news of global warming? Will we not be told when he plunges Australia into recession? If we begin with one piece of censorship it will quickly multiply, and if we are deigned a free Internet we are in real trouble.

In the past Murdoch could be relied on to plaster Abbott all over the front page of his rags and Labour friendly news on page 15, but to say that the arrival of refugee boats will not be reported is a new low. Abbott is now admitting that he will censor the news. This really is the Fourth Reich and must be stopped.

Welcome to the Fourth Reich

Whenever control of the media falls into the hands of one individual the country is in deep trouble.

Every country has an underbelly of ignorance and stupidity that is not representative of the country but when mobilised as a block distorts the democratic process. To mobilize the underbelly of a society there needs to be a concerted and consistent distortion of reality.

The Ultra-right wing of politics has known this for a very long time and mass media has been consistently used for this purpose.

In the lead-up to the Great War the big media baron in the UK was Alfred Harmsworth, later 1st Viscount Northcliffe. Harmsworth believed that war would be good for selling newspapers and actively suppressed news of the high level negotiations taking place to avoid a war. He also spread a vile campaign of hatred to all things German and manipulated ‘public opinion’ against any form of resolution.

Hitler had Joseph Geobbels to run his Minister for Public Education and Propaganda. In Mein Kampf Hitler lays out how to control and manipulate the poor and uneducated into an unthinking political force. Mein Kampf is well written and is clear in its methodology which is one of the reasons it is so disturbing to read.

As disturbing as it is please read Mien Kampf to understand how a country can be slowly led down the path to hell. Australia is not immune to this form of manipulation. Forget ‘She’ll be right mate’ it might not be.

That methodology of Mein Kampf bears a striking resemblance to the tactics of Murdoch in suppressing any information that did not conform to his unrelenting patronage of Abbott. These tactics must not be allowed to continue in Australia.

It is no use trying to fight ignorance and stupidity as those opposed to Hitler found out. Ignorance and stupidity are not natural states, they are learned, and in Australia we have a great teacher in Rupert Murdoch.

The fight to save the soul of Australia begins with the establishing a free and open press. We also need to put in place checks and balances to ensure that Australian democracy can never be distorted by the likes of Murdoch.

If we can regain a free press the next election might be about policy and future direction instead of a free-for-all based greed and a lust for power.