Saturday, December 17, 2005

Australian Democrats Question Coalition Involvement

The Australian Democrats welcomed the release last week of Australia’s National Security: A Defence Update 2005 but raised serious concerns regarding the Government’s intention to actively encourage ‘coalitions-of-the-willing’ as a means of securing Australia’s interests.

“The report fleetingly notes the lack of confidence in international institutions to address ‘collective security arrangements’ without acknowledging that a key reason for this has undoubtedly been the emergence of these ‘coalitions’, and deliberate undermining of United Nations and multilateral international frameworks,” Senator Bartlett said.

Australia’s defence strategy cannot continue to go down the route of alliances of political convenience as a means of dealing with perceived or real attacks on our and other countries interests.”

“Our foray into Iraq has been nothing short of a disaster for Australia and its ‘coalition’ partners. It has made every member of the coalition greater targets of terrorism, has diminished our standing in the international community, has done little to bring terrorist ringleaders to heal and has destabilised an already fragile region.

“Legitimate responses need to be channelled through the international bodies such as the United Nations to ensure an appropriate, legal and sustainable response.

“Making ‘coalitions-of-the-willing’ part of our defence strategy will cost a fortune and work against to achieve the Government’s aim – and duty - of making ‘Australia secure.” Senator Bartlett concluded

Friday, December 16, 2005



"It’s not Star Wars. It’s basically the capability to defeat ballistic missiles whilst they are in the air after launch, during cruise or as they reenter the atmosphere and that defensive capability has developed enormously in the last few years. A year or so ago it was thought to be decades away. Now the United States will in fact deploy the first part of its defence shield next year. So it’s a rapidly advancing technology."

"The need in a very unpredictable world is to be able to defend ourselves, whether it’s troops on the ground or whether it’s strategic assets and what we have is the opportunity to get into this massive project at an early stage, to be able to invest in it, to learn what capabilities might be suitable for us in the future and basically to have that option, the option to be able to develop that form of defence in the future."

"We think that in the science and technology area we will make a contribution from the start. The Americans have been out here looking at our capabilities. They have been most impressed with JORN, for example, and new forms of radar and sensors that are being developed here north of Adelaide. And they will have the opportunity to promote and invest in their science through this project. This is a massive project, a huge public expenditure by the United States and it gives us the opportunity to get into the project and to play our part and to get a benefit in terms of a more secure Australia."

"We will choose the projects within the massive program that we want to invest in and obviously we will do that to the background of our successes to date, in terms of radars and sensors and the like. And we will get benefit back from that investment in terms of better capability for Australia."

"We have said the Air Warfare System will basically be a US design but the US designers are interested in Australian companies contributing complementary parts of the system. That again will be an opportunity that our companies have never had before at that level of sophistication."

Robert Hill December 5 2003

Now let's take the Tardis to December 6 2005

[extract from the Adelaide Advertiser]

Outlining other strengths of the SA defence industry, Senator Hill said the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) - consisting of two over-the-horizon radars - might be used as part of Australia's contribution to the U.S.'s so-called Star Wars missile shield.

The two over-the-horizon radars are jointly operated from the JORN Coordination Centre at RAAF Base Edinburgh by the No. 1 Radar Surveillance Unit.

Trials of the JORN last year for missile defence proved it was successful in detecting a target.

This involved detecting ballistic missiles during the "early boost phase", allowing earlier interception.

Two days later Minister Hill revealed, while announcing the placement of the AEGIS order, that unless Australia had taken this action Lockheed-Martin would have need to shut down its AEGIS production line, telling The Advertiser that

"Placing the order . . . allows the U.S. to continue manufacturing without halting its production line, bringing about greater efficiency and achieving considerable savings," he said. "The purchase will also maximise opportunity for Australian industry to provide sub-systems such as communications, electronic warfare, sonar, electro-optical sensors and other equipment."

It's good to know that, even though we don't have a final design for the ships yet, we know what we'll shoot from them.

Last Thursday the Pentagon extolled the success of it's Southern Hemispheric Missile Shield trial.

[extract from The Advertiser]

The latest test in the Pacific was designed chiefly to evaluate the performance of the interceptor missile's rocket motor system and Raytheon Co-built "exoatmospheric kill vehicle", the bit designed to smash into the target warhead and pulverise it in space, MDA said.

It also successfully tested, among other things, silo support equipment, the agency said.

Last February, a ground support arm in the silo malfunctioned because of hinge corrosion caused by what MDA later said had been "salt air fog" that entered the underground silo.

Boeing said in a statement that the interceptor will be flown against a live target in subsequent tests.

The flight test yesterday validated the system's ability to track, acquire and provide the interceptor with the data for a "hit-to-kill" intercept, Chicago-based Boeing said.

All told, the United States is spending roughly $US9 billion ($11.95 billion) a year to develop a layered missile shield, including components based at sea and in space. The shield is designed to knock out the type of ocean-leaping missile that could be tipped with a nuclear, chemical or germ warhead.

In the dramatic public competition for the winning of the AWD contract... two state governments toe-to-toe in the media, complete with Adelaide-base journo-terrorists invading Melbourne to present the case for South Australia. The Advertiser journalists were lead in the charge by Craig Bildstien, former Liberal Member for Mildura and ex press-secretary for Chris Gallus, the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs.

I had the privelege of hearing South Australian Premier Mike Rann announcing the AWD cpmtract being awarded to Adelaide, telling everyone how when his office received the news "We all shook hands and said "mission accomplished' ". The implication to the South Australian public was that it was the State's Labour Government that had won the deal. Hill didn't have much to say at the time.

Nowadays the relationship is a little more tense. When Senator Hill announced on Thursday that Adelaide was to receive a new 1,200 battallion. Deputy Premier Foley was caught unawares, telling Adelaide ABC's Matthew Abraham and David Bevin that the announcement, though known to be due sometime in the future (nice to know somebody in the Premier's Department has discoverd the internet) was not expected at that time.

As South Australia gears up for an election next March, the job creations Rann's Defence State are going to be loudly proclaimed as a vote-getter. The question is exactly how much of the acquisition of defence contracts is directly attributable to the Federal Liberal Government, the State Labor Government, and the State's former Liberal Government.

It obvious looking at Hill's statements, at a time when Rann had only been in office for six months, that planning for our involvement in the AEGIS program had been developing for much longer than that. In fact, it's been years since the US government requested three ships to participate in the missile shield program.

Six months ago I wrote an open letter to Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, saying that,

I share your sense of having participated in a foregone conclusion. Victoria tried hard to win the warships, but as long as the plans created by the Bush Administration and relayed by multinational defence and energy corporations to and through the Australian Federal Government continue on a predetermined implementation schedule, the whims of any State's comparitively tiny political muscle will only be considered in the form of providing crumbs and scraps left over from the main meal.

Nothing that's happened since then has changed my mind. The one thing I was missing is that if i'm right, a key issue in the next South Australian election consists of an untrustworthy amount of grandstanding by an actor with a very small part.

As long as the election result doesn't affect US Foreign Policy, the Bush Regime wouldn't care who won. However, it's mystifying that the SA Liberal party, surely able to see what's going on, aren't opposing Rann's publicity campaign

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Deported Halliburton Activist Challenges Australian Intelligence

Houston-based activist Scott Parkin, deported from Australia after protesting the activities of global energy and war-industry giant Halliburton, has mounted a legal challenge against his treatment by ASIO, the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation.

On September 10 this year security and immigration officials detained Parkin at a Melbourne coffee shop. Parkin was scheduled to co-present a workshop on non-violent protest techniques that afternoon.

Parkin had previously assisted co-ordinating a street-theatre protest at Hallibuton/KBR's Sydney offices, coinciding with an international business conference at the Sydney Opera House.

Parkin had declined a request to appear at an ASIO interview.

According to The Australian, security officers were concerned that Parkin would teach Australian Halliburton protesters how to roll marbles under the hooves of police horses.. presumably the marbles that ASIO lost years ago.

Parkin is seeking to overturn the adverse security finding that caused his deportation
Here's the ABC News Story

Hicks To Be Free From Guantamo- Australian citizens stay, U.K. Citizens Go

Pardon the jubilation, but it's great to see huge cracks in the U.S. armour. The U.K. High Court has granted David Hicks to become a U.K. citizen. As an Australian he's a prisoner of the U.S. Army, but as a Brit he will be allowed to leave for the same reason that his "compatriots" were. His new country doesn't recognize the jurisdiction of the US DoD. Australia, however, is happy to comply
It's already been touted in the media that the Blair Goververnment will appeal the verdict.

It's a pity that the people of my home city have been too gutless to stick up for him so far. No doubt they'll climb on the bandwagon now that he might be a winner. I hope they do. 20 million people are nothing to rest of the world unless they say the one thing at the same time. Whatever it takes is fine. A voice of Australian dissent to Hick's treatment is what the illegally imprisoned South Australian deserved years ago.. let him have it now

Monday, December 12, 2005

John Howard's Conscience Resigns

How can you compassionately tell the media of your faith in Australian human nature when you've been so busy destroying it? How can you dare to say that you don't believe in underlying racial tensions when mobs are attacking minorites? I can't work for you anymore... you never listen to me.

Read this cabbie's blog account of working in Sydney on Sunday night, and if you don't feel at least the slightest bit of shame, you'll never feel a sense of conscience again.


Down along Marine Parade fronting the beach, a large crowd numbering
around 200 locals were milling outside the hotel. Also present were
some 20 police officers who appeared to be receiving a briefing from
controllers. Plus keeping an eye on the locals. Much later after
midnight, I heard on the radio a similiar situation was occuring in
Cronulla, with police protecting a smaller number of locals from
taunting Lebanese gangs.

As I approached a road block two 30 something women jumped in,
‘Please get us out of here’, they requested. ‘Sorry it’s only up the
hill but it’s too dangerous here tonight’. (Ironically they lived 2
blocks from recently retired Premier, Bob Carr). ‘Why, isn’t it all
over ?’, I asked. ‘No, the police told us not to walk home because
there’s still carloads of gangs roaming around’. For nearly a kilometre
I witnessed damaged parked vehicles, which I estimated approached
around a hundred in number. Many were tow-away jobs.

The driver continues:

Shortly after midnight I accepted a radio booking from Prince of Wales Hospital Emergency section.

On arrival I was greeted by a middle aged couple. The fella helped
the woman into the front seat. She moved gingerly and had a bandaged
forehead. ‘Maroubra Road’, he ordered. ‘Ah, the riot street’, I said,
then made the connection. Looking across at the woman I said, ‘You
weren’t injured there were you ?’. She slowly nodded her head and her
partner told me the story.

As the gang marauded up their street, she had attempted to save her
car by driving off. Instead she was attacked with a baseball bat. Yet
as bad as it sounds, it would appear they went easy on her. Aside from
a large head gash, X-rays and scans had given her the all-clear to go

On stopping at their destination I told her, ‘‘Mate’, you’re really
lucky. Why...I mean, what did they say to you, anything ?’. She slowly
looked across at me and with a pained expression replied, ‘It’s our
country too’. Her partner then helped her out and I watched as she
hobbled across the road through the broken glass, stopping to inspect
their trashed vehicle. A night they nor Sydney, won’t forget in a hurry.

Take this as Fair Warning, John Howard... conscience-less or not, you now have the knowedlge that inter-relgious violence exists in your backyard, and it's your own fault.

As you sleep peacefully in your bed, it's happening again!


MOBS of men have damaged a number of vehicles
in an outbreak of fresh violence in the southern Sydney suburb of
Cronulla tonight.

A reporter from radio station 2GB said "chaos" had broken out in the
beach shopping centre with vehicles damaged and police making arrests
as mobs of men roam the streets.

"People are standing around in shock, just watching," the reporter said.

"Every window in some cars has been smashed. Roads have been blocked (by police)."

He witnessed police arrest a group of five people.

Sleep well without a conscience. Heaven help your soul.

ABC Current AffairsJournalists On Strike

You can't get this information from the ABC site yet, but Melbourne's Age tells the story. The journo's are being required to twiiddle knobs as well as write, present and co-ordinate their shows. As if the inside of most ABC buildings didn't already resemble Doctor Who battling to control his TARDIS in midflight!

Extract from The AGE

Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) federal secretary Chris Warren said ABC management wanted journalists on those programs to start operating the radio panel at the same time as presenting on air.

He said management planned to make several panel operators redundant.
''(The strike) is over the proposed restructure within the ABC, which journalists believe will fundamentally undermine the quality of these programs,'' Mr Warren said.

Given the high quality and quantity of work put out by the folks at Aunty, no wonder some are saying "enough is enough!"

ABC News has posted three line (which I can't find yet.. heard on ABC-891) saying that the strike was occurring and that proposed restructuring by ABC management "threatened the immediacy of their programs"