Sunday, April 23, 2006

You Can't Have A War Without A Hero

As the Australian Prime Minister's opinion polls sag from the mud of a bribery scandal, a flag-draped Australian hero is brought home to be honoured on our annual day of war remembrance.....

It was bad luck that I was re-watching "Wag The Dog" while reading about the death of the Aussie sniper... maybe otherwise I wouldn't have been feeling so cynical. For those who don't know the movie, it's about the media staging of a war to save the US President's election campaign. Anyway, I was listening to Dustin Hoffman uttering the words in the title as my eyes fell on this Melbourne Herald-Sun paragraph:

He died in a US Army combat surgical hospital where he was surrounded by his mates, who draped his body in an Australian flag and with a paratrooper's beret on his chest as they said The Lord's Prayer.

The same scriptwriter who brought you The Doug Wood story is at it again. Last time he was spinning the story of a war profiteer into US media footage to vindicate President Bush. This time he's hailing someone as a hero for having the job of shooting Iraqis to protect Australian bigwigs in Baghdad, writing media releases for Murdoch newsprint that tug the heart and instill patriotic pride.

The level of pageantry already spinning into the media to emphasis the accidental nature of Private Kovco's death belies a fear within the Australian government.... a similar fear to that of the Bush Administration when they forbade pictures of flag-draped coffins of dead US soldiers returning from Iraq.

The psychological force being applied to prove the point suggests how afraid the Australian Government is of dead Aussie soldiers. Somewhere in a spin-surgery there's an opinion poll that says that Australians would want to withdraw from the War if our countrymen die fighting for Bush. Otherwise, why bother with all this effort?

If I wasn't suspicious enough already, the conclusion of the Herald-Sun story with a mention of ABC cameraman Paul Moran brought a flash of deja vu. Moran, who was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq three years ago, was hailed in his hometown newspaper as local-boy-made-goood CIA operative. According to former AP correspondent Christopher Allbritton "Moran only filed to two stories for the ABC, both on the naval blockade of Iraq." The rest of the time he was allegedly attempting to generate an uprising against Saddam Hussein. From what I've seen (this blog is not to be missed) I believe that one of Moran's last jobs was to promote the existence of WMD's in Iraq, providing through his camera the "evidence" that Bush needed to invade. As one of only two journalists in the world to interview the Iraqi dissident who claimed involvment in Saddam's construction of WMD-creation bunkers, Moran showed the "picture" that "justified" the invasion.

Turning back to the weekend's sad news of an Aussie weapons expert accidentally killing himself, why are my instincts screaming "cover-up"? Right now I'd like to see a report of the Iraqi people who Private Kovco, in his capacity as Guardian Angel Of Baghdad, took careful aim at and ended their lives.

There seems to be some confusion in details of the incident already. One Murdoch paper, the Advertiser has the "fun-loving soldier" cleaning his pistol. At the same timeThe Australian has him cleaning a disassembled yet loaded rifle, a weapon which Defence Minister Nelson says Kovkko was "outstanding" at. The SMH pegs it as a rifleman cleaning a pistol.

I think the saddest thing, watching the story spin through the night, is the use of this sniper to associate the Iraq Invasion with Anzac Day. While the Howard psychologists work out how to bolster his approval ratings, the Herald-Sun is proclaiming how Kovco's hometown will be honouring him. You can bet the camera's will record Briagalong's Last Post from every angle. Mr Howard would pick up a few popularity points if he attended.

It's now four in the morning... the ABC is reporting how Kovco's collegues have carried his casket to an awaiting Hercules, which is now winging homeward. This is becoming a media overkill.

This story is as inconsistent as it is colourful. This story may not be that of an accidental death of a saint. To some it may already appear to be one of a hired murderer encountering karma. To others it may be reminiscent of Wag The Dog. However the Fallen Australian Hero has all the hallmarks of propaganda invention, and therefore needs to be looked at with suspicious eyes.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Australia Sends Commando Politicians To Solomons

Australia's Foreign Minister has announced a new aid package to the Solomon Islands
Coastal redevelopments, utilities privatisation and a massive infrastucture upgrade have been cited by Mr Downer as the cure for the current wave of anarchy sweeping the country.

"If they don't like Chinese profiteers, wait till they clap eyes on Halliburton" Mr Downer told a FOX reporter. "Sure, they won't get their country back till the fifty-year lease runs out, but if they want aid, they have to do as they're told."

Mr Downer said that his visit to the Solomons made him appear to be a decisive leader. "This will make people forget how much of an ineffectual dimwit the AWB Inquiry has shown me to be. Apart from that I can set up some really great investment opportunities that will increase my dividends."

"We're going to teach local politicians how to take kickbacks, use inside information and generally keep getting richer. They'll be as efficient as Australian pollies in weeks!"

Mr Downer's visit will be shortly followed by an appearance by Australian PM John Howard the day after the next bad news from the AWB Inquiry.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Speaking Of Resurrections

Try this one for a Good Friday heart-starter!

London - A doctor spoke on Thursday about how he helped remove a 12-year-old girl's donor heart, which she had started to reject, and restart her own, dormant heart in a pioneering operation in London.

Heart specialist Sir Magdi Yacoub advised the surgeons who carried out the procedure on Hannah Clark - understood to be a medical first in Britain - in February after he came out of retirement at the request of the girl's parents.

"Her own heart has recovered. It really is absolutely wonderful news," Yacoub told BBC News.

The girl had enjoyed good health with the donor heart until November when a cardiologist found that her body was rejecting the organ, which Yacoub had transplanted 10 years ago in a life-saving operatio

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Doctor Who- The Ultimate Conspiracy Theorist

BAFTA bravoDoctor Who 2005 series nominated for TV's top honour.

The 2005 series of Doctor Who, starring Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper, has been nominated for Best Drama Series in British Television's most prestigious awards, the BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Arts).

Doctor Who faces stiff competition from three other critically acclaimed programmes - BBC Two's graphic medical drama Bodies, Channel 4's outrageous comedy-drama Shameless, and BBC One's slick spy show Spooks.

Doctor Who is also nominated in several other categories.


When the Christmas Special finally airs in the New American Alliance, we will have witnessed Ten Doctor Whos in forty years (ok twelve if you watched the movies)

Evolving from the original William Hartnell version, today's version of the show sticks in a mojor way to the oringal intents of the show, but with a modern slant appropriate today's mental media onslaught. Where the original Dr Who shows tried to educate children into scientific thinking, today's Doctor introduces fresh minds to the styles of thinking nowadays called Conspiracy Theory.

Eventually I'm going to get around to how Rose's saving of earth by understanding the simultaneity of temporal platforms was exactly the same as Captain Picard's solving of Q's temporal conundrum at the end of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Is it an accidental synchronicity that both programs "ended" with humanity learning to comprehend the multidimensional "nowness" of time and space?

It lookes like, with the tenth doctor, we've got a mix of Biggles, Casanova and the Famous Five. The difference in tone of the newest doctor intenfies the accentuated eccentricities of the Ninth
The Christopher Eccleston incarnation was ablackened embittered personality questioning everything, drawing coincidiences together, not thinking anything too large to be contemplated... he's the end-product of the traditions instilled by Asimov and Arthur Clarke that where extended by Robert Heinlein and John Wyndham, mixed with a little Gore Vidal and Michael Moore. Not to mention that The Doctor was lip-kissed by a bloke!

I hope the 2005 series is eventually acknowledged as the finest series of science fiction ever created for television.. but then again I'm an accordion player, so what would I know?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Australian Foreign Minister Tampers With Inquiry Transcript

The oddest story so far. In spite of having said that he only reads the contents of memos if he's on a plane and out of things to read, Mr Downer didn't like the way he said it.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer with the President of the United States of America, George W. Bush, during the President's visit to Australia
Picture: Messrs Bush and Downer choosing whose turn it is
to be "on top" tonight, while a White House aide eagerly
awaits the offer of a "threesome"

Appearing in the transcript was the line, apparently uttered by the Foreign Minister that he "would rarely read summaries of cables". Mr Downer's lawyers stepped in to have it changed so that he "would really" read summaries of cables. and the gentleman himself signed it, stating "yes I really do read summaries of cables."

So why give the impression that he'd only have a squizz if all the in-flight movies were too crappy to bother with? The correction is out of context with what Downer said elsewhere, yet considered too semantically sensitive by Downer's legal eagles to remain in print in this form. Maybe they thought that George wouldn't like it?

You'd think such a pedantically altered discussion would be up on Downer's website by now wouldn't you. However, there are probably a few more "edits" to be made.

Monday, April 10, 2006

You Can't Spell Your name

I'll never forget, on the first day of High School, out teacher singling out the one Aboriginal boy on the accuracy of his name spelling. "Johnston" Mr D insisted "is not a spelling of the name." The boy held his ground with "That's how my name is spelled."

Twenty five years later I hear the name being placed to a gentle Dublin lilt on TV. Felicity Johnston was the AWB's customs officer.

I think to myself "Up yours, Mr D."

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Thinking Like Republicans

This was sighted in an Albuqurque (USA) Stop The War Newsletter in 2004

Tentative Schedule

Republican National Convention

New York, August 29 - September 2, 2004

Catering Service: Halliburton
Chauffeur Service: Blackwater

OPENING NIGHT. 8:00 p.m.

Presentation of the Confederate Colors, Rush Limbaugh

8:15 p.m. Blessing of the Republican Party and Curse on Satanic
Democrats: Reverend Franklin Graham. 8:30 p.m. Keynote Address: Mel
Gibson (in Aramaic, with subtitles)

9.30 pm. Benediction and Call to Holy War, General William Boykin


8:00 p.m. Presentation of the Confederate Colors: Judge Charles

8:15 p.m. Pledge of Allegiance and Anointment with Crisco Oil, Attorney
General John Ashcroft 8:30 p.m. Quadrennial Compassionate Conservative
Musical Offering of Minstrel Songs and Cakewalk 9:00 p.m. Speech:
Condoleezza Rice

9:30 p.m. Speech: Colin Powell, (cancelled)

9:30 p.m. Video Tribute: Strom Thurmond (with introduction by Trent

10:00 p.m. Presentation of Party Platform and No-Bid Contracts, Dick


8:00 p.m. Presentation of the Confederate Colors: Tom DeLay

8:15 pm. Bush Family Tribute:

??? Neil Bush on Family Values

??? Marvin Bush on Saudi Investment Opportunities for Family Members

??? Jeb Bush on Fair Drug Sentencing Guidelines and Election Laws for
Family Members 9:00 pm. Nomination Speech for George W. Bush, Ahmed
Chalabi, (cancelled)

9:30 p.m. Seconding speech, Brent Scowcroft, (cancelled)

9:35 p.m. Seconding Speech, Paul O???Neill (cancelled)

9:40 p.m. Seconding Speech, Christie Todd Whitman (cancelled)

10:00 p.m. Roll Call of States and Counting of Votes, Antonin Scalia


8:00 p.m. Presentation of the Confederate Colors, Karl Rove.

8:15 p.m. Incantation from the Platform to Open Witchcraft Trial of 9/11
Widows at Ground Zero: Richard Perle, William Kristol, Scooter Libby,
Paul Wofowitz 9:00 p.m. Acceptance Speech of Presidential Nominee (Joint
Appearance, Not Under Oath), George W. Bush and Dick Cheney

Friday, April 07, 2006

Australian Ministers Under Oath

For the first time an Australian minister of the Bush Administration will face a true battle- telling the public what he wants to without being forced to resign.

Trade Minister Mark Vaille will appear befor the Australian Wheat Board Inquiry on Monday, and Foreign Minister Downer on Tuesday. They will be speaking on the issue in an environment in which our society considers lack of honesty to be the greatest taboo- A sworn oath.

ABC reports that the inquiry wishes to question Mr Downer on diplomatic cables sent by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to the Office of the Prime Minister of Australia. The cables raised the department's concern over involvement in the Austalian Wheat Board's bribes to Saddam Hussein.

The Cole Commission last week ordered the ministers to provide statements in response to certain questions, that were duly submitted to the inquiry last Wednseday.

Earliear today Senioor Counsel to the Commission, Mr John Agius QC said that there were "one or two matters I would like to take them up on." The flippancy here is ominious... bet your last dollar that Mr Agius will querying lies that cannot be repeated under oath.

Mr Downer faces an "ethical" dilemma. He can change his story to match the fects that have appeared since the beginning of the inquiry, or he can continue to lie. If he confesses under oath he might be able to save fragments of his political and/or diplomatic career. Given that if the Bush Administration had its way Downer would now be fronting the International Atomic Energy Agency, saving a career of such demonstrable (if yet unrealised) potential would be considered more important than a "Less-signifigant" life.

As Bush's prime agent in provoking Korear and acting as financial intermediary between the US and China while the ideaological battle for Taiwan continues. Mr Downer might be considering confession. If you believe this I've got a bridge to sell you. If it turns out, as today's Washington Post suggests, that Bush personally advocated the leaking of intelligence information in order tro support his political agenda in Iraq, his Little Aussie Lackey will be operating under a similar code of ethics. This brings us to Downer's second option.

If Downer continues to conceal his personal knowledge of how, under a UN program administered by his department, Australian money was placed in an environment where it might be buying ammunition to shoot Coalition soldiers with, providing Palistinian suicide bombers with financial independace by posthumously supporting their families, or even funding the creation of Weapons Of Mass Destruction. Why include WMDs ? Surely Downer didn't know the truth about that one too?

Mr Downer, in continuing his current public stance, would also need to continue lying about the siphoning of US Aid Funds from beneath the roof of the US Deficit and refuelling the Iraq aid system through Australian-based US corporations.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Downer's Career Battered, Strangled, Buggered

What goes on in Alexander Dower's subconcious? He gets asked if he'll need to resign if implicated in the AWB Inquiry and comes back with this response:

[extract from The Age]
"It's a completely hypothetical proposition. It's rather like saying what would happen if I was found strangling my wife. I mean, I would be in deep trouble if I started strangling my wife."

Alex, for those who don't know has a long history of stuffing up the Lib's reputation. Try this Green Left Weekly article

One of the smarmiest yet most ironic tales in the book is that of the rise and fall of Downer.

After doing the numbers in his run to the leadership challenge against John Hewson, Downer declared: “Gee, I could win this”. And he did! But as Liberal leader, Downer was a satirist's paradise: on a visit to the NT he pledged to repeal Mabo; he addressed a League of Rights meeting in 1987 thinking it was a Christian rally; and following the “Things that Matter” policy launch, he made that horrifying reference to domestic violence as “the things that batter”.

Probably Downer's most revealing statement, however, was his confession that he didn't realise that becoming leader of the Liberals “meant working seven days a week and travelling constantly”.

The Liberals came to the conclusion that Downer was a big mistake. This was reinforced by the fact that no donations had flowed in to the party since the 1993 election loss and party treasurer Ron Walker's statement that he couldn't persuade corporate leaders to make donations with Downer as leader. The party's debt to the National Bank had grown to $5 million, and party campaigners were concerned that Labor's advertising company could portray Downer as a joke.

I still remember the look on Mr D's face as he made the "things that batter" joke. He looked around myopically with a smile on his face, waiting to be swamped in gails of laughter. Instead he lost the Lib leadership to John Howard.

Now, nearly twenty years later, in one of the most serious situations an Australian Federal Minister could face- a possible finding that he aided and abetted the transfer of money to Saddam Hussein that may have been used to buy ammunition with which to shoot invading armies (such as ours) Downer comes out with another "joke" about mistreating women.

In '87 John Howard would have been jumping for joy when Alex made that stupid remark. Now, as Downer represents us to the world, hours of media training and a careful cultivation of his profile as a potential Australian leader, the Prime Minister will be cringeing with embarrassment.. with good reason. Two decades of correction just went out the window, and our Foreign Minister, in the eyes of the world, looks like a dickhead again.

There's no hope for him John... why don't you bugger him off ?