Miranda Devine – Thursday, May 26, 11 (08:45 am)
LISTENING to David Hicks’ speech to the Sydney Writers’ Festival last weekend, you’d think he’d been over in Afghanistan wiping the brow of AIDS sufferers and holding the hand of leprosy victims.
Certainly those useful idiots of the audience who gave him a standing ovation seemed to think Hicks was the Australian bloke version of Mother Theresa.
But just because some naive people think that being locked up in Guantanamo Bay and smacked around a bit was overly harsh punishment for suspected terrorists captured in Afghanistan just after September 11, 2011, that doesn’t mean they’re innocent.
We have seen from Osama bin Laden’s handwritten notes, discovered in his Abbottabad compound after he was killed last month, that the al-Qaeda leader looked for men just like Hicks to carry out his murderous attacks.
He looked for non-Arabs who would blend into local populations.
Dinky di Aussie Hicks, aka Mohammed Dawood, the Muslim convert who was also handy with a gun, made a perfect candidate.
Arabs arouse too much suspicion, wrote bin Laden in his journal, urging his senior lieutenants to time a big attack on a train in the US to mark the 10th anniversary this year of the September 11 atrocity.
He wanted them to find suggestible misfits and losers from Western countries who could be flattered and moulded into terrorists.
These young men didn’t walk around wearing devil horns. They were for the most part pathetic, like Hicks.
Bin Laden deliberately recruited weak-brained young men who would be prepared to strap a bomb to their torsos and walk into a hotel lobby and pull the pin, or who would fire directly into a crowd of strangers at a railway station.
Or even on a crowd of book lovers at a writers’ festival. Why do they think they would be immune?
FLASHBACK: The truth about David Hicks.
Tim Blair – Friday, May 27, 11 (06:02 am)
Former Liberal MP Ross Cameron invites SMH readers to follow the money:
Flannery trousers $180,000 a year from the Prime Minister to heighten community angst, and her re-election depends on his success. Panasonic, the producer of energy-intensive, carbon-rich electronic goods, sponsors his chair at Macquarie University. While that money does not go to him directly, he has boasted of “carrying the flag for Panasonic in everything … I do’’ before clarifying that ‘’I havenot advocated Panasonic as a company in my public engagements as chief commissioner, nor have I done so in my books or TV work.’’ Clear as mud.
The criticism that ‘’money talks’’ in policy debates about energy-intensive industries ought also to be directed at the academic and scientific establishment. If we were to remove all the scientists whose teaching and research programs derive taxpayer funds to pursue the anthropogenic thesis, I suspect the ‘’consensus’’ would be weaker. It doesn’t mean the thesis is wrong, but the transparency being practised by the scientists falls woefully short of that expected of journalists, politicians and company directors.
Reaction to this piece from SMH readers – and possibly SMH staff – will be intriguing.
Tim Blair – Friday, May 27, 11 (05:41 am)
When jobs are on the line, unions prefer to mine:
Tony Maher, mining president of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, yesterday described Greens deputy leader Christine Milne’s push for a ban on new coalmine ban as “a pathetically shallow analysis that is unworthy of any serious player or party”.
“It confirms what the Prime Minister said about them not being a serious party of government,” he said …
“It’s not like we can dictate the world’s coal use,” Mr Maher said. “Our economy is completely dependent on the resources boom for the next two decades.
“We’ll reduce emissions by the middle of the century. But we won’t doing it by putting our mining industry out of business.”
Interesting. Maher authorised this CFMEU ad before the 2007 election:
The CFMEU seems to have changed its view. Meanwhile, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, there are currently 94 planned new mining projects in the energy and minerals sectors, worth a total of $173.5 billion. That’s a lot of business out of which to be put. Advertising might again cash in:
Relations with the $50 billion coal industry appear to have hit a new low with the Australian Coal Association gathering funds for a multimillion-dollar anti-carbon tax advertising campaign after firing off an angry letter to the Climate Change Minister, Greg Combet, last week.
The letter dated May 18 from its chairman John Pelger said the figures that officials were using to calculate the cost of the carbon tax for coalminers were ‘’simply wrong’’, that they were assuming the industry could use technology that did not exist ‘’at commercial scale anywhere’’ and that unless the government changed its scheme the result would be ‘’job losses and mine closures’’.
Officially the association says it is continuing to talk to the government, but sources said money was being collected to launch an anti-tax campaign.
Maybe the CFMEU could help with casting.
Tim Blair – Friday, May 27, 11 (05:19 am)
Gamble your way to carbon tax wealth:
Sportingbet Australia has opened a market on what carbon price the committee will eventually agree on and has installed $20 to $25 a tonne as the $1.60 favourite.
Punters can get $3.25 for a $25 to $30 price, while $20 or under is on the next line at $3.50.
The bookies clearly don’t think the fixed carbon price will start at more than $30 a tonne – they’re offering $7 for that result.
This might be the only chance that “ordinary folk” – as Tony Jones describes them – will have of turning a profit on the whole carbon deal.
Tim Blair – Friday, May 27, 11 (05:00 am)
Australia – the new California?
Tim Blair – Friday, May 27, 11 (03:52 am)
It’s the worst crime yet:
Freedom of information laws are being misused to harass scientists and should be re-examined by the government, according to the president of the Royal Society.
Nobel laureate Sir Paul Nurse told the Guardian that some climate scientists were being targeted by organised campaigns of requests for data and other research materials, aimed at intimidating them and slowing down research. He said the behaviour was turning freedom of information laws into a way to intimidate some scientists.
The good folks at Bishop Hill have plenty to say about this. Their information is free.
(Via Benny Peiser)
Andrew Bolt – Friday, May 27, 11 (06:52 am)
I agree with Katy Perry’s list of dressing-room demands - carnations are so last century:
An arrangement of fresh flowers is a must, consisting of white and purple hydrangeas and pink and white roses and peonies. Carnations are strictly forbidden.
My quarrel is more with the palette. It’s a bit too pastel. I prefer more color - even a riot of it:
Andrew Bolt – Friday, May 27, 11 (06:46 am)
The public destruction of Simon Overland is becoming unbearable to watch:
The Chief Commissioner - who during a press conference yesterday asked “Who failed stats?” and raised his own arm - recently wrote to OPI director Michael Strong to ask him to remove one scathing criticism and to suggest other changes.
The section of the report Mr Overland wanted deleted related to an OPI finding that Victoria Police had listed almost 160,000 crimes since 1998 as being solved even though charges were never laid.
Controversy over the OPI report, which was tabled in State Parliament yesterday, comes after the Herald Sun this week revealed the force fudged official data to paint a rosier picture of crime.
There must be better ways for a Government to replace a Chief Commissioner than to watch him die by a thousand cuts. End this now.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, May 27, 11 (06:36 am)
This should have huge consequences for the GST:
ONE of nation’s leading retailers claims the future of Australian retailing is online, as the country follows consumer trends already evident in the US, Europe and parts of Asia.
Pacific Brands chief executive Sue Morphet ... said online represented about 10 per cent of total sales in the UK and 8 per cent in the US, but only 3 per cent in Australia.
“That’s going to change. One reason is that an Australian dollar at or above parity with the US has made it easier for online shoppers in Australia,” she said.
If the GST is imposed on Australian online goods, but not on online imports, we’ll price ourselves out of the market. But how to monitor and police all that mail? How will consumers react to being denied some of the bargains they can see online?
At the very least, the more that shoppers go on line, the less the Government is likely to reap from the GST, given how many of the online bargains are imports, especially with our dollars where it is.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, May 27, 11 (06:29 am)
Oops, that’s embarrassing. Too symbolic of this Government for comfort, too:
THE Baillieu government has failed to pass its own controversial equal opportunity bill, after Women’s Affairs Minister Mary Wooldridge missed a vote on the legislation.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, May 27, 11 (06:25 am)
And never does the Gillard Government say what the gain for this pain will be - as in, by how much will the world’s temperatures fall, even if it unplugs your power:
THE security of electricity supplies would be at risk and power prices would be likely to rise under a carbon price if assistance measures failed to prevent the financial collapse of coal-fired generators, a report has warned.
A tax on carbon emissions could undermine investments in new low-emissions generation, if the viability of generators was undermined, according to a confidential report by investment bank Morgan Stanley.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, May 27, 11 (06:19 am)
We’ve seen government funds put into one green scheme after another that’s blown out or proved next to useless - solar rebates, carbon sequestration, green car funds, green loan schemes, free insulation and more.
Now one of the key unions is demanding the Gillard Government - already dangerously tempted - spend even more on picking green winners:
In a submission to the government on the carbon pricing policy, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union also calls for a $3.7bn low emissions industry and technology development fund to drive green jobs under a carbon pricing regime.
The call comes as the government is considering creating a multi-billion-dollar carbon bank to manage the development of low-emissions technologies in its negotiations with the Greens on the shape of the carbon pricing package.
Say goodbye to those billions.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, May 27, 11 (06:04 am)
If they can’t manage a relationship...:
THE federal Coalition has been rocked by a fresh outbreak of tensions, with Malcolm Turnbull lashing out at one of Tony Abbott’s senior supporters…
Mr Turnbull has expressed fury at an internal party email in which he and four other MPs were named and shamed for missing a vote in Parliament. While the email was written by Opposition Whip Warren Entsch, the Turnbull camp yesterday was holding Mr Abbott’s office responsible....
Mr Abbott declined to answer questions about whether he had known about the letter and whether he endorsed its strong tone. A spokesman said last night: ‘’Tony had no role in drafting or sending the letter.’’
Earlier, Mr Turnbull turned up at the end of a Cancer Council function that Mr Abbott attended (see video above). Mr Abbott, after a slight and embarrassing pause, took Mr Turnbull’s outstretched hand, before departing without commenting to the media.
Turnbull supporters are playing up what they should be hosing down:
Supporters of the former Liberal leader, who said last week he still aspired to the top job, said they were convinced Mr Abbott or his staff had been involved in producing the letter.
But they said Mr Turnbull did not intend to be provoked. “The question is why Tony would want to do this,” said one source. “We’re doing well in the polls and we have Labor in trouble. Why would anyone want to draw attention away from the carbon tax?”
And Turnbull is providing all the pictures reporters may need, by confronting Entsch in Parliament:
Andrew Bolt – Friday, May 27, 11 (05:58 am)
Alan Dershowitz on how Barack Obama betrayed Israel and delayed any peace by demanding a return to the 1967 borders, with swaps:
There is no way that Israel can agree to borders without the Palestinians also agreeing to give up any claim to a “right of return.” As Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad Salaam once told me: each side has a major card to play and a major compromise to make; for Israel, that card is the West Bank, and the compromise is returning to the 1967 lines with agreed-upon adjustments and land swaps; for the Palestinians, that card is “the right of return,” and the compromise is an agreement that the Palestinian refugees will be settled in Palestine and not in Israel; in other words, that there will be no right to “return” to Israel.
President Obama’s formulation requires Israel to give up its card and to make a “wrenching compromise” by dismantling most of the West Bank settlements and ending its occupation of the West Bank. But it does not require the Palestinians to give up their card and to compromise on the right of return. That “extraordinarily emotional” issue is to be left to further negotiations only after the borders have been agreed to.
This temporal ordering—requiring Israel to give up the “territorial” card before the Palestinians even have to negotiate about the “return” card—is a non-starter for Israel and it is more than the Palestinians have privately asked for. Once again, President Obama, by giving the Palestinians more than they asked for, has made it difficult, if not impossible, for the Palestinians to compromise.
Andrew Bolt – Friday, May 27, 11 (05:41 am)
Sydney Peace Foundation advisor Mary Kostakidis in The Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday:
David Hicks in a letter home, August 10, 2000:
[David Hicks] went over to help people who were being persecuted. He is an Australian who was let down. Lashkar-e-Toiba, the group with whom he travelled to Kashmir, was years away from being declared a terrorist organisation. There is no reference to terrorist training or any training aimed at hurting civilians [in Hicks’s letters]. There is not one mention of al-Qa’ida. Did he break any law? No . . . The former prime minister John Howard, who led us into war under false pretences, a war in which many Australians were killed, also appeared at the [Sydney] writers festival, funded by taxpayers.
Another letter home at the same time:
I got to fire hundreds of bullets. Most Muslim countries impose hanging for civilians arming themselves for conflict. There are not many countries in the world where a tourist, according to his visa, can go to stay with the army and shoot across the border at its enemy, legally.
I learned about weapons such as ballistic missiles, surface-to-surface and shoulder-fired missiles, anti-aircraft and anti-tank rockets, rapid-fire heavy and light machine guns, pistols, AK47s, mines and explosives . . . I am now very well trained for jihad in weapons, some serious.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 26, 11 (09:29 pm)
What a stupid, self-indulgent bit of payback by Turnbull’s enemies:
Tensions in the Opposition heightened last night as Mr Turnbull and four others were charged with “totally unacceptable behaviour” and of showing ‘’great disrespect’’ to the Coalition for missing a vote in Parliament.
The accusations were contained in an email sent to every Coalition MP by the Opposition whip, Warren Entsch, and his four deputies.
Ramping up the internal division today, Mr Turnbull said such an email was “a first” and he described it as a “press release”.
“[To] send a letter out like that it’s effectively a press release, that’s the obvious intent of it. That’s what happens when you send letters to half the Parliament,” Mr Turnbull told reporters.
Turnbull is senior enough to warrant a private word, not a mass-mailed rebuke - and certainly not one leaked to the media. The result: rather than hurting Turnbull, the leaker has hurt the party.
That is.... providing, of course, it was Turnbull’s enemies who did the deed…
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 26, 11 (02:57 pm)
Ted Lapkin on the extraordinary love shown to David Hicks by the fools at Sydney’s Writers Festival:
David Hicks appeared at the Sydney Writers’ Festival to discuss his autobiography Guantanamo: My Journey. And along for the ride was an audience of 900 credulous fools, who gave him a standing ovation and queued at a book signing afterwards....
During his festival appearance at the weekend, Hicks claimed the first time he ever heard the name al-Qaeda was “from the lips of an interrogator in Guantanamo Bay”. But once again, he is busted by those pesky notes he penned to his family.
In a May 2001 missive he wrote: ‘’By the way I have met Osama bin Laden 20 times now, lovely brother, everything for the cause of Islam. The only reason the West calls him the most wanted Muslim is because he’s got the money to take action.’’…
It is easy to establish that David Hicks is a fraud. Far more perplexing is why purportedly intelligent people have become so morally unhinged that they see him as worthy of applause.
Equally puzzling is why any of the festival’s sponsors would want to be associated with such an event… And then there are the NSW and Australian governments, which misused taxpayer dollars to provide a platform for it.
This is not about freedom of speech. I will defend Hicks’s right to stand on whatever street corner he chooses to tell whatever lies he wishes, but I don’t want my tax dollars to pay for it…
What the writers’ festival audience seemed to ignore is that al-Qaeda would just as soon cut off their heads as look at them. The novelist Martin Amis put it well on BBC TV’s Q&A when he described the phenomenon of Western lefties making common cause with Muslim radicals: “People of liberal sympathies, stupefied by relativism, have become the apologists for a creedal wave that is racist, misogynist, homophobic, imperialist, and genocidal. To put it another way, they are up the arse of those that want them dead.”
The eagerness of this naive crowd to excuse the jihadi transgressions of David Hicks is, quite simply, masochism in the service of sadism.
Andrew Bolt – Thursday, May 26, 11 (02:21 pm)
Hands up, the ABC staffer who dared to upset Bob Brown with a mean question at the last election:
Was it you, Kerry? Mr Jones? Mr Adams? Confess, Ms Trioli! Well, how about you, then, Robyn?
(Thanks to reader Bernie.)