Thursday, March 31, 2005

posting

Just a short post to say tomorrow is the last day of school for this term and also april fools day. I have a philosophy SAC on Aristotle to do. Sucks. I remember in primary school if the teacher was really cool at the end of every term we used to have a party with junk food and other partyish things. That was awesome. Now the end of term just means the beginning of 2 weeks where you get to temporarily fool yourself that you will have some free time until the crushing reality of how much homework you have to do hits you. Ah but for that first weekend.
Friday: movies and computer games
Saturday: Top Arts and a wild party
Sunday: recovery and reading and blogging, mmmm.
Do you remember recovery? That show was awesome. I probably blogged about this before but during the summer holidays before last they were playing repeats of recovery episodes on rage and they had one from 1998 when I was 11 and public enemy were on and they didnt believe the show was live and hilarity ensued and they talked about politics and Chuck D. had composed a poem called the perils of pauline. Oh it was great. I miss those days when I used to be conscious on saturday and sunday mornings and there used to be good television on. I blame it on Howard and the abc funding cuts.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Baxter 05

I remember quite clearly an incident in year 9, 2002 after the protests at Woomera. We were discussing the outcome of the nuremberg trials in class and I put my hand up to explain that the outcome of the nuremberg trials was that it was not a sufficient excuse to say you were following orders or that you were obeying the law if the law was immoral and in breach of human rights and that I had read an activist publication that was applying this idea to the actions of the protesters at Woomera, breaking the fences and freeing detainees. It suggested that we are in fact morally obligated to disobey the immoral laws concerning the detention of asylum seekers.
This for me was quite a revelation and it's a philosophy that I believe in to this today. The law holds no moral ground and in fact we mustn't respect it when this is the kind of thing it enables.

I for one am very grateful to the protesters currently outside the Baxter detention centre.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Eliminating Journalists pt.2

This is very chilling. Naomi Klein interviewed Giuliana Sgrena and then want on Democracy Now! to talk about what she's said. Here's an extract. You can read the whole thing here.


NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah. At first I want to say that I know Giuliana really would have liked to have been on the show herself to talk to your listeners and viewers, but one of the things that surprised me when I met with Giuliana is that she was quite a bit sicker than I think we have been led to believe. Her injuries were described as fairly minor; she was shot in the shoulder. But when I met with her, she was clearly very, very ill, and that's why she's not on the show this morning. She was fired on by a gun at the top of a tank, which means that the artillery was very, very large. It was a four-inch bullet that entered her body and broke apart. And it didn't just injure her shoulder, it punctured her lung. And her lung continues to fill with fluid, and there continues to be complications stemming from that fairly serious injury. So that was one of the details.

She told me a lot about the incident that I had not fully understood from the reports in the press. One of the most – and at first, the other thing I want to be really clear about is that Giuliana is not saying that she's certain in any way that the attack on the car was intentional. She is simply saying that she has many, many unanswered questions, and there are many parts of her direct experience that simply don't coincide with the official U.S. version of the story. One of the things that we keep hearing is that she was fired on on the road to the airport, which is a notoriously dangerous road. In fact, it's often described as the most dangerous road in the world. So this is treated as a fairly common and understandable incident that there would be a shooting like this on that road. And I was on that road myself, and it is a really treacherous place with explosions going off all the time and a lot of checkpoints. What Giuliana told me that I had not realized before is that she wasn't on that road at all. She was on a completely different road that I actually didn't know existed. It's a secured road that you can only enter through the Green Zone and is reserved exclusively for ambassadors and top military officials. So, when Calipari, the Italian security intelligence officer, released her from captivity, they drove directly to the Green Zone, went through the elaborate checkpoint process which everyone must go through to enter the Green Zone, which involves checking in obviously with U.S. forces, and then they drove onto this secured road. And the other thing that Giuliana told me that she's quite frustrated about is the description of the vehicle that fired on her as being part of a checkpoint. She says it wasn't a checkpoint at all. It was simply a tank that was parked on the side of the road that opened fire on them. There was no process of trying to stop the car, she said, or any signals. From her perspective, they were just -- it was just opening fire by a tank. The other thing she told me that was surprising to me was that they were fired on from behind. Because I think part of what we're hearing is that the U.S. soldiers opened fire on their car, because they didn't know who they were, and they were afraid. It was self-defense, they were afraid. The fear, of course, is that their car might blow up or that they might come under attack themselves. And what Giuliana Sgrena really stressed with me was that she -- the bullet that injured her so badly and that killed Calipari, came from behind, entered the back seat of the car. And the only person who was not severely injured in the car was the driver, and she said that this is because the shots weren't coming from the front or even from the side. They were coming from behind, i.e. they were driving away. So, the idea that this was an act of self-defense, I think becomes much more questionable. And that detail may explain why there's some reticence to give up the vehicle for inspection. Because if indeed the majority of the gunfire is coming from behind, then clearly, they were firing from -- they were firing at a car that was driving away from them.

Friday, March 25, 2005

I love John Howard (not really)

John Howard: democratic reformer?
I just found this quote from AnonymousLefty's blog:

Speaking on radio about the federal-state tax deadlock, Mr Howard said it would be better if Australia had no state governments - adding that it was "unrealistic" to wish for that now.

"If we were starting Australia all over again, I wouldn't support having the existing state structure," he said. "I would actually support having a national government, and perhaps a series of regional governments having the power of, say, the Brisbane City Council (Australia's most powerful local government).

"But we're not starting Australia all over again, and the idea of abolishing state governments is unrealistic."


I really think that this is a good idea, the states at this present moment can no longer prove their relevance to our system, they are simply out of date colonies. In fact we lose $20 billion dollars a year because of the current federal system we have. It's a much smarter idea to have these regional governments that Howard suggests except I think they should have more power than the Brisbane City Council and be more akin to the type of regional governments they have in Europe and they would definitely be given constitutional rights so the commonwealth government could not override them.

Howard's reforming ways go further than Australia. At one stage he was suggesting some actual democratic reform to the UN including abolishing veto powers. This is far more democratic than any reforms being suggested today which are mostly just proposals to expand the number of permanent members. Who knows if Howard is sincere about this belief or was simply just confused about how the UN has actually worked throughout its existence ie. with the US using its veto power to vastly impede the legitimate workings of the UN. Anyway you don't here much about these reforms anymore, perhaps he's been put in his rightful place by his masters. You can read about his ideas here.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Antony Loewenstein has a blog?

The one of best things about the last election campaign was without a doubt for me the pleasure of reading and following the links from Antony Loewenstein's fine fine Counterspin blog over at the SMH website. Unfortunately after the election he closed up shop and I've only since read him at the Znet website with articles such as this but thankfully now I've dicovered thanks to Weezil's links that he has a blog.
Best wishes to Antony Loewenstein and his new blog.


UPDATE: I also love that despite being an a serious journalist he still has the mandatory bloggers link to ms fits.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

United against the occupation

Book book

Possibly for around a year if you have firefox and have looked at the bottom of my sidebar you will have seen that I've been reading Fateful Triangle by Noam Chomsky. Well sadly my friends I must now tell you that this sidebar feature was a fiction. The last time I read it was way before I went to Vietnam and I'm not planning on picking it up again until I have a lot of spare reading time. So for now I shall be changing my 'all consuming' book titles to those I am actually reading for school.
I must say I am quite dissapointed in year 12. I have almost no time to do any reading that isn't school related and if I wasn't doing literature I think my brain would explode for lack of narrativium. However this year it seems we're creating many of our own stories, just as exciting as novels and I'm not jealous of my parents who have a minimal social life and manage to read quite a few books.
So anyway Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Racist or not?

Monday, March 21, 2005


These are our signs, given to us by two very attractive girls

Phoebe, Hart and Matt

Daniel O'Connor breathes the biggest sigh of relief ever.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Eliminating journalists

Reading this article about Iraq , I remembered this article by Naomi Klein and putting them together you get a very disturbing picture. First of all the recent article:

Iraq's series of unfortunate events, especially at US military-manned checkpoints continue unabated. One such episode that recently got its fair share of media coverage was the killing of an Italian intelligence officer Nicola Calipari on May 4. Calipari gave his life to save the recently freed Italian hostage Giuliana Sgrena.

Sgrena was taken hostage by a group of Iraqi militants who demanded an immediate withdrawal of the 3000 strong Italian troops from their country. While the demand itself is legitimate, the method used to achieve it was callous and cowardly, threatening the life of one very courageous anti-occupation journalist who worked for the Italian daily, Il Manifesto.

Sgrena and others, who chose to narrate the war from the mouths of Iraqi civilians, were a thorn on the side of the US administration. She interviewed women prisoners released from Abu Ghraib and visited Fallujah, the defiant city of 300,000 completely destroyed by the US Army. The details she conveyed were harrowing, to say the least.

When the 56-year-old journalist was released, her close encounter with death was anything but over. Agent Calipari hurriedly escorted her to the Baghdad airport, only to be "ambushed" along the way by US troops who showered their car with 300-400 bullets, according to news reports. The results were deadly. Calipari was instantly killed as he dove on top of Sgrena to shield her. Sgrena was also wounded.

According to Pier Scolari, Sgrena's companion: "The Americans and Italians knew about (her) coming. They were 700 meters (yards) from the airport, which means that they had passed all checkpoints. Giuliana had information, and the US military didn't want her to survive."

Segrena, who insisted that the car was not speeding, that there were no checkpoints, no hand signals, not even warning shots, supported Scolari's statement. "I remember only fire," she wrote from Rome's Celio military hospital. "At that point a rain of fire and bullets came at us, forever silencing the happy voices from a few minutes earlier."

But the relationship between Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and George W. Bush is just too "special" to be compromised by another "unfortunate" event and the life of some unknown "although courageous " officer.

The US military responded once again, claiming that they "had immediately ordered an investigation." The US administration also offered its customary response, dismissing the allegations of intentional murder as conspiratorial nonsense.

The US mainstream media reported on the story, failing not to unreservedly mention that Sgrena was a "self-identified communist" working for a communist newspaper. The subtly implied notion was that Giuliana Sgrena is an ideological nutcase and was not to be trusted.

The Naomi Klein article:

Eliminating journalists
The images from last month's siege on Falluja came almost exclusively from reporters embedded with US troops. This is because Arab journalists who had covered April's siege from the civilian perspective had effectively been eliminated. Al-Jazeera had no cameras on the ground because it has been banned from reporting in Iraq indefinitely. Al-Arabiya did have an unembedded reporter, Abdel Kader Al-Saadi, in Falluja, but on November 11 US forces arrested him and held him for the length of the siege. Al-Saadi's detention has been condemned by Reporters Without Borders and the International Federation of Journalists. "We cannot ignore the possibility that he is being intimidated for just trying to do his job," the IFJ stated.

It's not the first time journalists in Iraq have faced this kind of intimidation. When US forces invaded Baghdad in April 2003, US Central Command urged all unembedded journalists to leave the city. Some insisted on staying and at least three paid with their lives. On April 8, a US aircraft bombed al-Jazeera's Baghdad offices, killing reporter Tareq Ayyoub. Al-Jazeera has documentation proving it gave the coordinates of its location to US forces.

On the same day, a US tank fired on the Palestine hotel, killing José Couso, of the Spanish network Telecinco, and Taras Protsiuk, of Reuters. Three US soldiers are facing a criminal lawsuit from Couso's family, which alleges that US forces were well aware that journalists were in the Palestine hotel and that they committed a war crime.


I remember just the other day listening to an anti-war activist named Margarita saying that
Nicola Calipari was assasinated by the americans. I first expressed disbelief. They assasinated an ally's intelligence officer? But it seems now that Berlusconi is too good of an ally to follow through with what his people want and the US knew this. It seems increasingly obvious that if it was an assasination the real target was Giuliana Sgrena.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

M18 anti-war rally

Yesterday I went on the anti-war rally. It was a great experience and I'm considering joining the stop the war coalition. Anyhoo here are some pictures taken by strangers but including me or friends, conveniently highlighted within the pictures for your enjoyment. Also I got the new adbusters today and have we made it in! Remember when i told you about the buy nothing day activities? Well they got in there. Only in the form of four sentences but its still cool. I'll quote.

'What does every event like this need? Shopping Zombies of course! We had at least seven participants don white makeup and wander the the streets and shops around the mall. I can report with pride that they were thrown out of the Nike store, the David Jones' store and possibly Myers as well.'

Pretty cool. Frankly our other activities have been of much more notablility that this such as the one alluded to in the kangaroo post but this is good anyway.

On a related note. I'd like to start a discussion about activism. What is it? What's the point? etc. I have a good friend who believes that rallies are only important if John howard personally kows about them and takes notice. I must say I don't think this is the immediate aim of rallies. What groups and work are you people out there doing? Do you go to rallies? Why?

In a semi-related note I was also pondering our horrible drug laws. To be honest I know that a lot of you take drugs and if you were to be caught either selling some to your friend or just simply indulging in these recreational drugs you could go to Jail! This is plainly ridiculous. Cigarettes are always going to kill a million times the number of people that die from recreational drugs and yet they're still legal and their use is widespread. Thankfully a renewed stigma is being attached and i'm pleased to report that its becoming less common among young people. Anyway non habitual drug use is far from a horrible thing and it reflects poorly on our society that we are so intolerent of recreational drug use that we need to lock peo-ple up for it.
Perhaps I'll leave you with the lyrics from the streets song: The Irony of it all . And then the pictures.

Hello, hello. my names terry and I’m a law abider
There’s nothing I like more than getting fired up on beer
And when the weekends here I to exercise my right to get paralytic and fight
Good bloke fairly
But I get well leery when geezers look at me funny
Bounce ’em round like bunnies
I’m likely to cause mischief
Good clean grief you must believe and I ain’t no thief.
Law abiding and all, all legal.
And who cares about my liver when it feels good
What you need is some real manhood.
Rasher rasher barney and kasha putting peoples backs up.
Public disorder, I’ll give you public disorder.
I down eight pints and run all over the place
Spit in the face of an officer
See if that bothers you cause I never broke a law in my life
Someday I’m gonna settle down with a wife
Come on lads lets have another fight

Eh hello. my names tim and I’m a criminal,
In the eyes of society I need to be in jail
For the choice of herbs I inhale.
This ain’t no wholesale operation
Just a few eighths and some playstations my’s vocation
I pose a threat to the nation
And down the station the police hold no patience
Let’s talk space and time
I like to get deep sometimes and think about einstein
And carl jung and old kung fu movies I like to see
Pass the hydrator please
Yeah I’m floating on thin air.
Going to amsterdam in the new year - top gear there
Cause I taker pride in my hobby
Home made bongs using my engineering degree
Dear leaders, please legalise weed for these reasons.

Like I was saying to him.
I told him: top with me and you won’t leave.
So I smacked him in the head and downed another carling
Bada bada bing for the lad’s night.
Mad fight, his face’s a sad sight.
Vodka and snake bite.
Going on like a right geez, he’s a twat,
Shouldn’t have looked at me like that.
Anyway I’m an upstanding citizen
If a war came along I’d be on the front line with em.
Can’t stand crime either them hooligans on heroin.
Drugs and criminals those thugs on the penny coloured will be the downfall of society
I’ve got all the anger pent up inside of me.

You know I don’t see why I should be the criminal
How can something with no recorded fatalities be illegal
And how many deaths are there per year from alcohol
I just completed gran tourismo on the hardest setting
We pose no threat on my settee
Ooh the pizza’s here will someone let him in please
We didn’t order chicken, not a problem we’ll pick it out
I doubt they meant to mess us about
After all we’re all adults not louts.
As I was saying, we’re friendly peaceful people
We’re not the ones out there causing trouble.
We just sit in this hazy bubble with our quarters
Discussing how beautiful gail porter is.
Mtv, bbc 2, channel 4 is on until six in the morning.
Then at six in the morning the sun dawns and it’s my bedtime.

Causing trouble, your stinking rabble
Boys saying I’m the lad who’s spoiling it
You’re on drugs it really bugs me when people try and tell me I’m a thug
Just for getting drunk
I like getting drunk
Cause I’m an upstanding citizen
If a war came along I’d be on the front line with em.

Now terry you’re repeating yourself
But that’s okay drunk people can’t help that.
A chemical reaction inside your brain causes you to forget what you’re saying.

What. I know exactly what I’m saying
I’m perfectly sane
You stinking student lameo
Go get a job and stop robbing us of our taxes.

Err, well actually according to research
Government funding for further education pales in insignificance
When compared to how much they spend on repairing
Leery drunk people at the weekend
In casualty wards all over the land.

Why you cheeky little swine come here
I’m gonna batter you. come here.



Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Awesome Joke

Stolen from here.

Background:
Amongst the Palestinian populace, Palestinians from Hebron are often regarded as the Polacks of the Palestinian community. In that, they are stereotyped as being incredibly dimwitted, and jokes in the vein of traditional "Polish jokes" are often applied to them.

Josh, one of my fellow fellows, happens to be friendly with a Palestinian neighbor of his, Bossom, who we've come to know for, among other things, his outrageous Hebroni jokes. Here are a few of them, told as closely to the way Bossom told them as possible. Imagine them being said in English with a thick Arab accent.

Joke:
A Hebron man becomes very unhappy with his life, and very depressed, and decides he's going to kill himself. Somehow some members of Hamas find out and they come to him and say, "Brother, we hear you are going to kill yourself. We have come to ask you, if this is truly your desire, to become a shihadi (a suicide bomber). If you are going to die anyway, you may as well be a martyr for Allah and the cause of Palestine and die with some honor and... eh, take some Jews with you."

After thinking about it for a little while, the man agrees.

A few days later the man meets with his Hamas commander and he is strapped with a bomb and sent into Tel Aviv. He crosses through the checkpoint and at first stops at a gas station, where he calls the Hamas commander. "Brother, I am at a gas station. There are about five Jews here. Should I kill myself now?"

"No, no brother," the commander says. "It's not enough. Go find more Jews."

"Okay brother," he says and hangs up the phone.

He then finds a café and calls the commander again. "Brother, I am at a café. There are twenty Jews here. Should I kill myself now?"

"No," says the commander. "It is still not enough Jews. Keep looking."

"Okay brother," he says and hangs up the phone.

A few minutes later he is at the central bus station. He calls the Hamas commander. "Brother, I am at the bus station. There are hundreds of Jews everywhere. Should I kill myself now?"

"Yes brother! Yes! May Allah guard you! Kill yourself now!"

The Hebron man hangs up the phone, takes a knife from his pocket and stabs himself in the stomach.





This is a great blog by the way. I highly reccommend it.

Literary analysis

Analyse this passage from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

Once a white man in an unbuttoned uniform, camping on the path with an armed escort of lank Zanzibaris, very hospitable and festive -- not to say drunk. Was looking after the upkeep of the road, he declared. Can't say I saw any road or any upkeep, unless the body of a middle-aged negro, with a bullet-hole in the forehead, upon which I absolutely stumbled three miles farther on, may be considered as a permanent improvement. I had a white companion, too, not a bad chap, but rather too fleshy and with the exasperating habit of fainting on the hot hillsides, miles away from the least bit of shade and water. Annoying, you know, to hold your own coat like a parasol over a man's head while he is coming to. I couldn't help asking him once what he meant by coming there at all. 'To make money, of course. What do you think?' he said, scornfully. Then he got fever, and had to be carried in a hammock slung under a pole. As he weighed sixteen stone I had no end of rows with the carriers. They jibbed, ran away, sneaked off with their loads in the night -- quite a mutiny. So, one evening, I made a speech in English with gestures, not one of which was lost to the sixty pairs of eyes before me, and the next morning I started the hammock off in front all right. An hour afterwards I came upon the whole concern wrecked in a bush -- man, hammock, groans, blankets, horrors. The heavy pole had skinned his poor nose. He was very anxious for me to kill somebody, but there wasn't the shadow of a carrier near. I remembered the old doctor -- 'It would be interesting for science to watch the mental changes of individuals, on the spot.' I felt I was becoming scientifically interesting. However, all that is to no purpose.

Blog me up before you go go.

Well after a long hiatus from blogging. I've decided that I am indeed back from the dead. Here comes your much missed teenage political commentary, personal stories, gonzo anecdotes. The things most occupying my mind at the moment are, in order:

1. Homework- 41 q's of Politics work to do. Here are some you may be able to help me with.

What is an electoral redistribution?
Give 2 reasons why it is necessary?
Explain one argument for and one against the use of single member electorates in the house of reps?
Explain the preferential voting method?

That should do for now. If you want more ask me. I can't say I'm expecting any traffic to come immmediately streaming to this site after i've neglected it for so long. So I may have to go on a commenting spree.

2. Jewish girl

3. Last weekend at Port fairy. We got into the green room and smoked a joint with Mia Dyson and played Bocce with the Vasco Era. We also made friends with some swedish drug dealers , 2 of my friends made out with girls that were far too young and got drunk on really cheap goon.

4. Next weekend: Strippers, ecstasy and political activism.

5. Just did the www.politicalcompass.org test. Scored a sweet -9.25 for economic and -9.59 for social. Check it.

6. God I hate John Howard and love Tim Colebatch.

7. I also despise Berlusconi. Or Burlesqueoni as some call him. But he seems to be representing his people properly on this one.

8.This. Who's coming , who isn't? A lot of people seem not to know about it.

9. Crap. That homework.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Kangaroo

Hehehe. Some more justification.
Cost of the War in Iraq
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