August 27th 2005

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Articles from this issue:

FILM CLASSIFICATION: Child sexual abuse now allowed in films

STRAWS IN THE WIND: The wages of spin is ... death? / First, the good news / Indoctrinating Muslims, and others / Hacks and spivs

OPINION: The shocking reality of sex trafficking

CINEMA: 'The Ninth Day' - Priests who suffered under Hitler

CINEMA: The Island - Futuristic nightmare of disposable humans

Women in combat (letter)

We already have a Bill of Rights (letter)

NCP not to blame (letter)

BOOKS: BETWEEN PACIFISM AND JIHAD: Just War and Christian Tradition, by J. Daryl Charles


COVER STORY: Is Canberra listening to 'the real world'?

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Family First senator throws down gauntlet

WORLD AFFAIRS: Behind Washington's nuclear deal with India

THE WAR ON TERROR: Tony Blair's U-turn on Islamic extremism

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Quarantine and trade policy - a deadly mix

QUARANTINE: Citrus canker outbreak 'a national disgrace'

Books promotion page

The wages of spin is ... death? / First, the good news / Indoctrinating Muslims, and others / Hacks and spivs

by Max Teichmann

News Weekly, August 27, 2005
The wages of spin is ... death?

An interesting but, for the Liberals, an embarrassing situation is coming up with respect to what I call family values.

The conservatives say they uphold them and will not only defend, but will advance, them.

Family First have said the same: in fact, were founded for that purpose.

Labor say they agree with all of this. But people notice that they are unclear, indeed argue, about what a family actually is, and whether values are absolute, relative or just what you say they are.

So, for many of us, Labor marginalised themselves.

But the ACTU - or rather Greg Combet, who is going to go places, industrially and politically - has produced a major glitch in the proposed workplace reform agenda.

Maternity leave (unpaid) should be extended if the mother desires and can afford it, until the child (or children?) reach school age, without the woman sacrificing or jeopardising her job.

She can spend far more time with her child, which is good. And, if she and her family can't afford to do without a contribution from her, she should be allowed to work part time, and paternal leave should be extended - where there is still a father in occupancy.

The Government cannot refuse this, unless it admits its family-values talk was just talk - just as its anti-drugs/alcohol/gambling talk was all spin. Nothing has happened there - nor will it. But this one will happen.

But what other changes in the workplace might not be in the ACTU's mind, which would also be family-friendly and family-protective? Changes which may not help the bottom line.

Labor, so long as it is in opposition, will support any family-friendly suggested workplace changes.

Having cried wolf and poor mouth for so long, employers are going to find it difficult for anyone to believe them. And the Government, routinely defending CEOs paying themselves $10-20 million a year, etc, etc, should perhaps let business do their own talking.

Of course, small isolated groups of workers and small businesses, with very little spare fat, are the sufferers in this kind of game, and John Howard is citing their plight as one of the main reasons for changes in the workplace.

But dismissal difficulties are not the main causes of the crisis of small business; they in fact stem from economic behaviour which the conservatives support and which is part of their whole philosophy.

First, the good news

Any of us who have become sceptical of the ability of the human spirit to soar, to transcend pettiness and hatred, and to show tolerance and understanding for one's fellows, should be reassured by John Pilger's example.

These are from clippings sent to me from Asia. My benefactor thinks Pilger is the cat's whiskers.

Thus, in the run-up to the May British election, Pilger, writing in the New Statesman on April 25, said: "By voting for Blair, you will walking over the corpses of at least 100,000 people, most of them innocent, slaughtered in defiance of international law. By voting for Blair, you will have affirmed that liars triumph." So there.

(P.S: They voted for Blair. Affirmative action.)

Then, on April 11, Pilger told his readers that "from the BBC's capitulation to the Israeli Government, to the rush to eulogise a deeply reactionary Pope, pressure on the media is leading to insidious new state propaganda".

The New Statesman (April 18), promoting an article by Christine Odone (one of Pilger's colleagues on the magazine), revealed: "As Britain's culture wars grow in intensity, and abortion and artistic freedom become hot issues, [Christine O.] reveals that Saudi and US funds are behind the devout religious groups that lead the offensive."

Now we know where Family First got all those BMWs. I wonder what Siggy Freud would think about all of the above?

Or this, from the Bangkok Post (July 24). A "report" from an internet source, run by the Post, has the headline: "Israel was warned ahead of first [London] blast."

The report said: "Army radio, quoting unconfirmed reliable sources, reported a short time ago that Scotland Yard had intelligence warnings of the attacks a short time before they occurred.

"The Israeli embassy in London was notified in advance, resulting in Finance Minister Netanyahu remaining in his hotel room rather than make his way to the hotel adjacent to the site of the first explosion, at Liverpool Street Station, where he was to address an economics summit.

"That story alone should warrant a thorough investigation. Who told the Israelis? Why just them?

"And why not the hapless London commuters, for God's sake?"

It was later claimed that the Israelis were notified only after the blast.

If you believe that, I have a used car to sell you.

As British investigators and media get to the bottom of what really happened on July 7, some highly unpalatable truths will emerge.

"These things do not happen just by chance," continued the report. "Chief political strategists make sure of that."

And you only have to take a walk in Brunswick to discover that the Americans and the Jews destroyed the Twin Towers ... What silly-billies we were to believe that the Arabs had done it.

Indoctrinating Muslims, and others

The realisation that some of the terrorists being captured, or active, are Australians or have Australian citizenship, should not surprise anybody. I had expected many more local starters.

After all, there has been the almost continuous campaign of hatred, denigration and veiled calls for disloyalty running through many schools and religious centres of our Muslim community along with certain ethnic newspapers; directed at our local Muslims.

And these institutions - for many years, pre-dating Iraq or Bin Laden - are heavily funded by outside countries, hostile to Western values, even when they've been allied to countries in the West, and happy to send their youths to the fleshpots and sinbins of countries like Britain and the US for their education.

But still, there appear to be many local extremist rodents who are very disappointed at the surprisingly few local Muslims who turn up as overseas volunteers or terrorists.

But just as important has been the anti-American - and by easy extension, anti-Western - propaganda running through our schools, and our tertiary institutions, and sections of the media which date from the 1960s, followed by our legal profession and your public media, from the late 1970s on.

One part of an interlocking system of morality plays, of which the Pilger world picture is only a melodramatised version, has been the glorification of the rebel. This is the selfless character who just has to take the law into his own hands, to seek justice for his oppressed people, his co-religionists, for the downtrodden classes (who were once in the West, but are no longer, except in ex-communist countries, but are now "out there"). Our high-minded justice-seeker exacts his retribution against the wicked oppressors.

And our existentially dysfunctional new bourgeoisie cheer on any despots - as they did Stalin, then Mao, then Pol Pot, then the Third World dictators - provided these are anti-American and ruled by violence, censorship and propaganda.

Having quietly applauded earlier European terrorist groups, and eulogised the IRA until this day, these alienated Westies have adopted Muslim terrorists as just the latest heroes.

If it were possible to induce young Australians to go overseas to fight with the Taliban or Al-Qaida, our home radicals would support them. No change, really, from trying to send arms to the Viet Cong, to be used against, among others, their own countrymen.

Yet, as I said, very few starters have come up - though there are thousands of mouth-soldiers, placard-wavers, bumper-sticker commandoes. Why? Is it like joining the army? Too dangerous?

The Coalition have imprisoned, and begun to try, terrorists and suspects, either caught on the battlefield or arrested in various places. These prisoners include many foreigners, some of them Western (e.g., Australian).

In order to frustrate the West's call for their punishment - which should serve partly as a deterrent for those contemplating a career in foreign terrorism - an operation has been mounted via our media and the usual legal, "libertarian" and religious fronts.

Their message? "The US Government is illegitimate; the US court system corrupt" - unless it strikes out anti-terrorist laws or springs terrorist suspects. While military justice is supposedly by definition rigged and in defiance of international law, or whatever.

The US Military Tribunal was adjudged illegitimate even before it was set up or its terms of reference or modus operandi seriously canvassed.

This psychology of total denial is not new. Communists denied all real legality to bourgeois law, courts, parliaments or elections; and the fascists did the same.

The French Right in the 19th-century - and on to Vichy - took the same tack. The Republic was a corrupt farce; the courts their accomplices; laws were vicious property settlements - the "real" France, the "soul" of France, beat to a different stroke to the gabble-shop called democracy.

The only way those French patriots could gain power over their fellows was by inviting in the Germans, then surrendering and collaborating.

So, putting a comprehensive curse on what the Americans, and others, are doing to defend themselves, is not exactly new.

It was hoped that the Australian Government could be blackmailed into demanding the return of our prisoners held by the Americans - ideally brought back here for politicised trials and media extravaganzas which would make the Schapelle Corby legal proceedings or the Lindy Chamberlain dingo case seem like sittings of the Law Lords.

Hacks and spivs

Just imagine the hacks and spivs and coached hysterics waiting for 15 minutes of fame?

But the trial is going to occur quite soon, apparently, and we can then all judge for ourselves. This is an outcome which our Left are not prepared to allow. But it does seem that they will have to accept a military justice system for a military matter, in the end.

But our local young Muslim, turning from the denigration and demonisation of the West by teachers and leaders of his own community, to seek other opinions from our secular world, will only find orchestrated contumely, conspiracy stories, and fairy-tales about history and global economics very similar to those of the mullahs and his own opinion-formers and agents of influence.

So far, we have been very lucky that so few have risen to the bait. But viva multiculturalism.

  • Max Teichmann

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