The globally renowned journalist was writing about the circumstances in his homeland, and in other Arab states. But he could have been writing about much of the world, where freedom of expression, and the democratic promises that extend from it, are under murderous assault. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calculates that 57 journalists who were employed by media outlets (including six in the United States) have been killed so far this year, along with 10 citizen journalists and four media assistants. At the same time, 167 journalists, 150 citizen journalists, and 19 media assistants are imprisoned—including 28 Saudi Arabians.
ON TUESDAY, Donald Trump made a bold declaration, declaring victory. Only two days later, that lie was proven deadly wrong.
That’s what US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday.
But fast forward to today and we hear reports that far from being defeated, Islamic State has this week captured 700 hostages and says it will kill 10 of them a day unless the group’s demands are met.
It’s understood that members of IS attacked a refugee camp last week, leading to the hostages being taken. Among them are Europeans and US citizens.
That a free press underpins British democracy is an enduring myth that has been allowed to go unchallenged, up there with unicorns and the Loch Ness Monster.
Because if a clutch of right-wing reactionary billionaires owning the bulk of a nation’s major newspaper titles and media constitutes a free press, the word ‘free’ has been stripped and shorn of all meaning.
Yet, while the aforementioned – let’s be kind here – ‘anomaly’ has long been understood by anyone of adult years with the ability to put their underpants on the right way round in the morning, the extent to which the British establishment press and media has been penetrated by intelligence services and acts as a conduit for their agenda is less well known.
Take Con Coughlin, for example, Defence Editor at The Daily Telegraph (more colloquially and accurately known as The Daily Torygraph). Coughlin is a product of a private school production line that has unleashed more knaves on the world than spittle on a dentist’s chair. While his outing as an MI6 asset may have been a long time coming, now that it has, it marks yet another nail in the coffin of a media class whose relationship to truth and objectivity belongs in the box marked non-existent.
Population Minister Alan Tudge has suggested that Melbourne and Sydney are experiencing significant pressure from excessive population growth. He’s probably got a point, but his ‘solution’ — forcing immigrants to live in areas with less population pressure for at least five years after permanent residency is granted — demonstrates Tudge’s complete lack of knowledge of the subject matter he is responsible for implementing on behalf of the Australian Government.
The Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison government has a long history of dog whistling to turn opinions against those who don’t look like them (generally middle-aged to elderly white men). First we had ‘stop the boats’, then the ‘gangs of African youths terrorising Melbourne’ and now the same people are being blamed for failures of politicians over the past 40 years to argue the case for additional capacity when expensive infrastructure is built. Because in the long term it’s cheaper to build it once with some growing room — just like the 2-year old’s new t-shirt.
It’s time to call Tudge’s thought bubble out for what it is — racism.
What do you think?
Last week Peter Costello accused Malcolm Turnbull of failing to develop an economic narrative to unite the Coalition. Turnbull promised this when he challenged Tony Abbott for the leadership of the Liberal Party, but, said Costello, it never came, and the result is a government struggling to manage deep differences over social issues. There was “jobs and growth”, but this is really just a goal without much of a story about how to get there, except for the company tax cuts.
The big question, though, is why the government does not have a coherent economic narrative.
One possible answer is that it has been too preoccupied with social issues such as religious freedom and before that, same-sex marriage, to give the economy sufficient attention. There is something in that.
The stakes could not be higher ahead of the Wentworth byelection on Saturday, yet Liberals and Nationals are falling over themselves to display their chaos to voters. They do this even though they know they could lose a seat that should be unassailable.
It is all going terribly well. The government fumbles a One Nation motion that it is OK to be white, starts a dispute with the bush over a farm worker visa, tells Pacific Island leaders they are no more than beggars and infuriates Indonesia with a sudden shift on Israel.
The desire for Malcolm’s presence is one of those strange paradoxes. If Turnbull is not that good at politics, he’s hardly needed, but if Turnbull can help boost the votes by campaigning, it begs the question: Why did you dump him?
From massive inequality to the climate crisis, these powerful corporations “are able to demand that governments do their bidding”
The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, warned, on Wednesday, that transfer of population in an occupied territory constitute war crime.
Yemen is a country of some 29 million persons, but over a third of them are at risk of starvation if Saudi and UAE bombing campaigns continue. Lise Grand, the United Nations coordinator for Yemen, has warned that the world has only 3 months to halt the slide toward catastrophe.
She seems to think that an immediate armistice must be called in the war to avoid this dire outcome. The Trump administration provides logistical and other help to the Saudi and UAE belligerents, and so the United States is embroiled in any human rights disaster there.
The Zaydi Shiite Houthi militia took control of the most populous parts of Yemen in 2014. Although the Zaydis are closer to Sunnism than other Shiites (such as the Twelvers of Iraq and Iran), the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia hate them with a passion and have been trying for three decades to convert them to Wahhabism with their oil wealth. The Houthi revivalist movement arose in part as a reaction against that Wahhabi missionary drive and search for Saudi hegemony in Yemen.
The Saudis accuse the Houthis of being puppets of Iran, but that is a vast exaggeration. They are a largely indigenous movement.
(MENA Tidningen) – For the past week, the news cycle on the Middle East has been focused, for obvious reasons, on the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Turkish authorities claim that they have hard evidence for the murder, which the Saudis are finding it increasingly hard to deny. The hired propaganda media of the Saudis are spinning a post-denial alibi of “rogue elements” to salvage the reputation of MBS as a great reformer. In this they are aided by President Trump, who would rather sell billions of dollars worth of weapons than reflect on the multiple human rights abuses of the kingdom. The Arab states who feast on Saudi money are, understandably in the Hobbesian sense, defending their royal oil daddies.
Perhaps history serves us better when it is able to contest, not confirm our certainties. And that is one, unsettling message that the critical study of any lasting civilisation teaches us.
The Wentworth byelection is the testing ground of one of the main tenets of the federal Liberal party’s thought leadership – and one that Malcolm Turnbull pushed back on during his term – that we need to attract the disenchanted rightwing vote.
The view held by some in the party is that the emergence of independent conservative parties have stolen our vote and we need to court them back. The internal counter-argument is – well, yes, but you will lose the rest of the country.
Australia is just not America, as much as some wish it was.
The Australian Conservatives have not gone off like fireworks and One Nation polls on a national average that is consistently below the Greens. Does that mean we have more environmentalists than conservatives?
The Coalition’s decision to protect a global arms manufacturer’s commercial interests by suppressing criticism of a $1.3bn military deal risks setting a dangerous precedent that limits independent scrutiny of government, the auditor general has warned.
On any given spring day around Australia you can spot cyclists and pedestrians ducking, weaving and running for cover to avoid swooping magpies.
Securing the funding is a win for President Donald Trump, who has complained about how much the United States spends abroad and has tried to get allies to foot more of the bill. But the timing of the money’s arrival raised eyebrows even among some of the bureaucrats whose programs will benefit from the influx of cash.
“The timing of this is no coincidence,” said an American official involved in Syria policy who spoke on condition of anonymity. The official confirmed that the money arrived on Tuesday.
Trump had aligned US foreign policy with Saudi Arabia’s vision of the Middle East. This has unleashed a dangerous recklessness from the Gulf state
Someone didn’t like the vision of Black elderly voters dancing with joy in anticipation of boarding a bus to vote in Louisville, Georgia. Someone didn’t think Black people who had suffered through segregation and Jim Crow in the Deep South should publicly declare their votes mattered. Someone decided to try to scare some senior citizens in their nineties (NINETIES) from daring to be free and open in their equality as voters.
Fear mongering about climate change mitigation by the Liberals, the IPA and mining/coal lobbyists is not based on evidence or the examples of nation-states on this planet. Climate change disharmony (evidenced by increasing global heatwaves, and abnormal climate events) on the other hand, are increasingly apparent. Scientists and experts at these conferences have for decades repeatedly warned us, time is running out, and we need to act soon and fervently. If big business lobbying and political ideology are all that stands in the way of averting a climatic breakdown, then we as Australians need to vote out of office anyone who even remotely risks the future of our planet, in preference for greed and power.
But these Ramsay/IPA people are dogged and they have plenty of bucks, some of which came from Gina Rinehart who is like both Koch Bros rolled into one. Thanks to Australia’s ridiculous disclosure laws, we have no idea just how much dark money is behind the libertarian conspiracy, but you can bet it is heaps, enough to keep the tenacious ideological bludgers going for years.
Instead of accepting free tickets to attend sporting and cultural events, instead of posing for photographs, instead of marketing your family, instead of calling yourself by a nickname and putting your arm around anyone you are standing next to, how about you get back to the office and do the job you are being paid to do.
When winning is all that counts( ODT)
Indonesia’s relationship with Australia could be “thrown under a bus” following Canberra’s provocative move to consider relocating its embassy in Israel, a trade expert is warning.
Right -wing Paranoia (ODT)
It is not clear why Dr Montana was arrested — although one source said Nauru authorities suspected her of leaking information about the health of refugees on the island.
The source also said the Nauru Government was becoming “increasingly paranoid” and it was unlikely Dr Montana would have been feeding information to journalists or advocates.
In addition to the lack of accountability, we have inundation of the airwaves with lies and misinformation. Those two things often go hand in hand in this administration, and journalists are increasingly at a loss to find a way just to manage them both. Furthermore, David Zurawik predicted that the lower Trumplestiltzkin’s ratings get, the angrier and more unpredictable and frenetic he’ll be, leading to an even more difficult job for journalists, and a more chaotic time for people they’re trying to inform.
US President Donald Trump says “rogue killers” may have been behind the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Palestinians have been marching weekly to the fence in order to highlight the impacts of the siege on Gaza, as well as to re-center the issue of Palestinian refugees. Since protests began on March 30, Israeli soldiers have killed at least 205 Palestinians, and wounded tens of thousands of others. Last Friday, Israeli soldiers shot dead seven Palestinians — including two teenage boys — during the protests, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.
Powerful corporations have been allowed to swallow the state; they have, as economist James Galbraith explains, created a “predator state,” which they naturally exploit for their own expansion. There is no frame of reference with which we can more convincingly define the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Politicians please read the small print and beware, if you sign up to the TPP you will be selling Australia down the river.
Craig Laundy, Julia Banks and Russell Broadbent say conditions on island have reached tipping point\
Protesters call for an end to Australia’s offshore detention of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island in Sydney in July.
Protesters in Sydney call for an end to Australia’s offshore detention of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island. Photograph: Jeremy Ng/AAP
Three government MPs have urged Scott Morrison to remove children and their families from Nauru, declaring conditions in offshore detention have reached a tipping point.
It’s time to put the dole bludger myth to bed and focus on helping young people down on their luck, writes Tarric Brooker.
IN AUSTRALIAN CULTURE, there is a mythical villain that comes for “your tax dollars” — an image of an individual that is moustache twirlingly nefarious in the pursuit of living a comfortable life on other people’s money.
That mythical suburban villain, passed down from one generation to the next, like an Australian version of a financial bogeyman, is the so-called “dole bludger”.
many of our world’s wealthiest look at those fossil fuels and see no danger. They see the present and future source of their personal wealth. A significant chunk of the world’s billionaires owe their billions, directly or indirectly, to extractive industries. Keeping fossil fuels buried would jeopardize those billions, and our super rich have the political power, thanks to their wealth, to insist that we keep extracting.
If we let that wealth and power continue to concentrate, fossil fuels will continue to burn.
Appearing on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday just moments after President Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser and noted Wall Street stooge Larry Kudlow dismissed a new United Nations climate report showing that the world must cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 to avert global catastrophe, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) denounced the White House for its “dangerous” rejection of climate science and slammed Trump for working hand-in-hand with Big Oil to make “a bad situation worse.”
A Palestinian woman died of her wounds after Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank threw stones at the car she was travelling in, Palestinian security sources and media said Saturday.
As criticism mounted over the country’s alleged role in the disappearance and possible death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Trump administration reportedly urged the leaders of Saudi Arabia Friday to stick to killing random Yemeni civilians. “The potential murder of a high-profile journalist critical of their regime raises grave concerns for us, and we appeal to the leaders of Saudi Arabia to restrict their extrajudicial murders to Yemeni people who don’t have any public platform,” said President Trump, adding that the White House would not sit idly by as the Saudis caused the deaths of innocent people unless they were Yemeni children in a school bus or a group of Yemeni people attending a wedding.
I despise marijuana. While the rest of Canada has decided to succumb to reefer madness, I still hold true to what I was taught in my health lessons at school and numerous all-star cartoon specials: that cannabis is evil and even one puff will ruin your life forever. But I am torn because I also love wild, speculative investment. I own numerous cryptocurrencies, hundreds of beanie babies and 10% of MySpace.
Will ScumMo guarantee a minimum wage for every unemployed person forced to go and pick fruit? I doubt it, as the LNP currently allow people on internships to be paid far less than the minimum wage; and those forced into ‘work-for-the-dole’ programs, to not be paid at all for their work! The current stories from people on working visas and working-holiday visas to Australia tell a story of chronic underpayment, abuse, substandard accommodation, substandard food, and constant intimidation and threats. Here are just a couple of the many recent stories regarding the abuse of fruit-pickers and seasonal workers in Australia:
One-third of backpackers paid half the legal minimum wage, study finds
Aussies are being ripped off more than ever before, study shows
ScumMo, only 2 days ago you were spruiking you wanted to help people on social security. ScumMo, you and your criminal LNP cronies really are some bizarre form of bipolar, schizophrenic, evil, DUMB, psychopathic numpties.
News Corp’s good guys (ODT)
I had been noticing this sleight of hand for a while but it was finally crystallised last week after the climate zealot and federal politician Craig Kelly declared in a widely reported speech that we shouldn’t worry about climate change and that, rather than being the cause of global warming, “fossil fuels actually protect us”.
While this statement is incendiary, and stoked the outrage Kelly no doubt expected, there is nothing new or strange about it.
Australian government backs coal in defiance of IPCC climate warning
Kelly has made extreme statements like this his stock-in-trade and you could substitute his speech for those by Tony “climate change itself is probably doing good” Abbott or Barnaby “people in the Kmart don’t care about the Paris agreement” Joyce.
Polarising figures win the numbers game almost by default – and not just with climate.
Will we see this reported in Murdoch and Fairfax media in Australia? Do we only hear about the growth of the right wing? (ODT)
Hundreds of thousands of people marched Saturday afternoon demonstrating against racism and calling for solidarity against the rise of the far-right across Germany and Europe.
Not seen since the days of the Vietnam War will Fox News cover the event?ODT)
The 2018 March to the Polls will follow Chicago’s 300,000-strong Women’s March on January 20, 2018, offering resources and information to first-time voters as well as musical guests and speakers including Heather Booth, founder of the pre-Roe v. Wade underground abortion collective Jane.
The General Federation of Palestinian Labor Unions reported, on Thursday, that the unemployment rate in the besieged Gaza Strip has doubled since Israel imposed a land, sea and air blockade 12 years ago.
The federation said, in a statement, that while the unemployment rate had reached 27.2% before the blockade, it has now reached 50%, including 283,000 workers considered unemployed in 2018.
The statement added that the poverty rate has reached 80%, indicating critical deterioration in the standard of living and economic performance in the Gaza Strip.
“The moments when Khashoggi was interrogated, tortured and murdered were recorded in the Apple Watch’s memory,” the paper said, adding that the watch had synched with his iPhone, which his fiancee was carrying outside the consulate
Trump did nothing about Russian, Israeli assassinations si why worry about the Saudis? Rendition and torture have been common American practices so why the Media moral outrage?
But Trump said he was reluctant to cancel a $110 billion arms deal with the Saudis, even if Riyadh is found responsible.
“I don’t want to hurt jobs. I don’t want to lose an order like that. And you know what, there are other ways of punishing – to use a word that’s a pretty harsh word – but it’s true.”