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Thursday, April 28, 2005


Things are heating up for Offshore Charlie:

Charles Pasqua, a former French minister of interior, has emerged as one of the highest-ranking targets of the widening investigations into the Iraq oil-for-food scandal.

United Nations, US and French investigators are examining Iraqi documents that show officials in Baghdad were instructed to transfer his lucrative oil allocations to an offshore company, to shield him from criticism.

Mr Pasqua’s alleged role has emerged as inquiries turn to the role of foreign governments in the corruption within the humanitarian aid programme. France and Russia, which opposed the 2003 invasion, have long been accused in the US of being too close to Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Early on Tuesday, Bernard Guillet, Mr Pasqua’s diplomatic adviser, was arrested at home in Paris in connection with the oil-for-food inquiry, on the orders of Philippe Courroye, a French investigative judge. Mr Guillet was yesterday in police custody.

Oddly, while the ABC was quick to cover an earlier Texan oily food link, the network hasn’t mentioned Charles Pasqua once—despite his name being raised months ago.

Posted by Tim B. on 04/28/2005 at 02:10 AM
(20) CommentsPermalink


Want to endear yourself to leftists? (Well, you might. I mean, it’s at least conceivable.) Then just do this:

Goddess of hotness Maggie Gyllenhaal has endeared herself to leftists worldwide by speaking about the September 11 attacks.

Promoting her new movie ‘The Great New Wonderful’ - which is about the 2001 attacks - the actress said in an interview that the US “is responsible in some way” for the tragedy.

That’s written by a leftist, by the way. Strange how an attempt at partisan warmth comes off more like a bigoted slur. 

Posted by Tim B. on 04/28/2005 at 01:01 AM
(28) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Mark Latham has been hawking his personal diaries to the highest bidder and is being offered about $100,000 for what publishers describe as an explosive and insult-laden account of his years in politics.

Too late! We’ve read it already. Meanwhile, in other ALP leadership news:

The Opposition Leader has used the motor inn on at least six occasions in the past 18 months – including as recently as a month ago. The Motor Inn, in Arundel St, is frozen in a 1970s time warp, with beige furnishings, grey carpet and archaic airconditioning.


(Via Alan R.M. Jones)

Posted by Tim B. on 04/27/2005 at 10:12 PM
(8) CommentsPermalink


New pictures are up. Coco the monkey is a highlight; so is Ali Baba’s Beauty Salon.

Posted by Tim B. on 04/27/2005 at 09:57 PM
(5) CommentsPermalink


Treasurer Peter Costello and NSW Premier Bob Carr both condemn woman-blaming wildman Sheik Faiz Mohamad. And Irfan Yusef writes:

Faiz has been described in some circles as a cleric. Yet Islam knows no priestly or clerical class. The word sheik literally means old man. In a religious context, sheiks are little more than religious lawyers, similar in status to rabbis in the Jewish tradition.

Faiz studied Islamic law in Saudi Arabia and is a follower of one of a number of fringe “salafi” groups. Salafi groups are regarded as heterodox, removing texts from their historical context and turning a religion whose name literally means peace into a violent political ideology. They are rejected by even the Saudi religious establishment.

I prefer the wisdom of Turkish sufis to the fires of hatred that al-Qaeda wannabes like to fuel.

Who doesn’t? Meanwhile, the organization Melbourne Muslims emails a press release:

Australian Muslims say they’re deeply concerned at the comments of a Sydney religious teacher who told a public meeting that a rape victim had no one to blame but herself.

The comments were attributed to Sheikh Faiz Muhammad, who teaches at the Global Islamic Youth Centre in Liverpool in New South Wales, at a speech in Bankstown on March 18.

A number of Muslim organisations have responded by saying it is inappropriate and incorrect to suggest that if a woman does not dress appropriately then she is in some way responsible for what happens to her.

The responsibility for an evil act such as rape lies solely at the feet of the person who commits it. There is never an excuse for rape.

These organisations point out that Islam is a faith that encourages self restraint and discipline, and it specifically encourages both men and women to avert their gazes as part of this approach to modesty. It encourages each Muslim to avoid sin regardless of the temptation. Rape, being one of the most heinous of sins, can never be justified on the grounds of dress.

They also cautioned against tarring all Muslims with the same brush. Fearing reprisals against the Muslim community, and especially women who wear the veil and may be subject to verbal and physical harassment, they urge the media and the community to adopt a balanced approach to this issue and not use this as an opportunity to incite further hatred of Muslims. Several media commentators are to be commended for keeping a level head at a time when such issues could be sensationalised.

The Muslim organisations urge Sheikh Faiz to retract his statements on this issue. The current statement blemishes the good work he has done to help many young Australians get their lives back on track.

The following Muslim organisations condemn the notion that rape victims have any responsibility for the crimes committed against them:
al-Ghazzali Centre for Islamic Sciences & Human Development
Andalus Islamic Bookstore
Australian Society of Islamic Psychology (ASIP)
Australian Muslim Civil Rights Advocacy Network (AMCRAN)
Australian Muslim Public Affairs Council (AMPAC)
Muslim Village Network (formerly known as Islamic Sydney)
Islamic Women’s Welfare Association (IWWA)
Mission Of Hope (MoH)

Posted by Tim B. on 04/27/2005 at 09:10 PM
(43) CommentsPermalink


Radio National listener Ron Holmes writes:

Hi Tim,

I heard you mentioned on Radio National this morning (you even spoke! imagine that! you on the ABC! I suppose you can’t let a vitriolic hatred of the ABC get in the way of a bit of egotistical self-promotion) and thought I should look up your blog, seeing as how I’ve never heard of you before. Must be a Sydney/Melbourne thing. Or the fact that you write for The Australian. Whatever.

Anyway, I think I’m going to be a regular visitor to your blog. After all, this is raw journalism at its best!
No censorship!
No rules!
No editor!
No sense!
No need to prove your assertions!
No forethought!
No brains!

Yes, now I won’t have to read Andrew Bolt’s flatulent offerings when I want to be reassured that the conservatives are actually quite clueless and can be safely ignored, and even provide a hearty chuckle on a quiet day.

You really are a vicious, spiteful little one aren’t you. It’s funny how much that chip on your shoulder aches, seeing as how your people are supposedly in power. I can only imagine that what drives your anger and spite is the same thing that keeps John Howard going: the knowledge that you are so hated, so sneered at and so laughed at by anyone who has really mattered in Australia. Your inability to be recognised must really bite.

Ron Holmes

ps. Gee Tim, I really hope you quote my email to you, just like all the others you mention in your blog. Oh, but I haven’t been kissing your arse, have I, so you will probably just bin this. Sniff, sniff. I’m shattered.

Posted by Tim B. on 04/27/2005 at 08:50 PM
(106) CommentsPermalink

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Professor Bob Goodin, of the Australian National University’s Department of International Relations, will today argue that politicians pursuing the war against terror are themselves terrorists. From an internal email, forwarded by a reader, is this abstract:

Terrorists do all sorts of terrible things: they kill people; they destroy buildings and airplanes not belonging to them; they kidnap people and cut off their ears. But the offence of ‘killing people’ is already on the moral statute books; so is ‘kidnapping’, ‘maiming’ and ‘destroying property of others’. What, then, is the distinctive wrong of terrorism? I suggest that it is ‘frightening people for political advantage’; and that is something that can be done even by people who issue warnings without themselves committing any further terrorist acts. Politicians waging a War on Terror designed to frighten people into voting for them might thus be engaged in terrorism of a sort themselves.

They kidnap people and cut off their ears? They destroy buildings and airplanes not belonging to them? Why, these terrorists are wicked people indeed; soon they might be cutting off entire heads, and destroying more stuff they don’t own. Professor Goodin—author of Protecting the Vulnerable (U Chicago Press, 1985)—commences his talk at 12.30 pm in Seminar Room A, Coombs Building #9, Fellows Road, ANU. If you attend, ask him about the gross injustice of earless terror victims who are unable to hear politicians’ terrorism warnings.

Posted by Tim B. on 04/26/2005 at 02:21 PM
(44) CommentsPermalink


Despite popular demand, The Continuing Crisis is back:

A certain globally-influential organisation has been much in the news recently. You know who I’m talking about; that corrupt cabal led by a weirdly-named fellow whose election nobody understands, and whose underlings seem to specialise in sex scandals, corruption, accumulation of vast wealth, and causing the deaths of millions in the third world. From where, exactly, does this venal, outdated body derive its authority? Why do so many remain in its thrall when every one of its programs ends in controversy and division? Why is it so violently resistant to reform? Why do furious crowds not storm the luxurious buildings in which this group’s elite, unaccountable princelings sit planning their next amoral incursion against elemental human rights? How is it that we even tolerate the existence of this vile, poisonous outfit, with its sickening claims to moral superiority despite a history—continuing to this very day!—of sucking up to some of the worst tyrants the planet has ever known?

But enough about the United Nations. Let’s talk about the Catholic Church instead.

Earlier columns here. Also in this week’s Bulletin, Paul Toohey reports from Bali on Schapelle Corby and the Bali Nine:

Bali’s most revered Hindu priest, Ida Pedanda Gde Made Gunung, says there is no special place in the Balinese afterlife for foreigners. Seated cross-legged on a kangaroo-fur mat on his temple verandah, the long-bearded sage smiles through gentle Baghwan eyes and says: “What we believe is the death sentence is not always a bad decision. The death sentence is to help the soul of the punished, to free the soul from the bad thing his body has done.”

He says the Australians, if shot, will come back in the next life “as beasts, lower than the human level. That is their sentence from God”. It seems their troubles have just begun.

And John Birmingham unburdens himself of certain feelings regarding Joh Bjelke-Petersen. Birmingham has been grouchy ever since this appeared three years ago ...

Posted by Tim B. on 04/26/2005 at 02:15 PM
(21) CommentsPermalink


Did you know that Bob Ellis had a website? Me neither. Seems he quit posting last year; here’s an entry from 2003, in which Spongiform Encephalitis Bob complains about inaccurate right-wingers:

Wolfowitz. Rice. Rumsfeld. Akerman. McGuinness. Pearson. Albrechtson. Henderson. Blair. The yattering adolescents on Fox News. Why if their judgements, their predictions and their logical reasoning are so bad do they keep their jobs?

Bob Ellis predicted a Kerry landslide, said Osama bin Laden was “almost certainly not” responsible for September 11, and promised to destroy my career.

These days Ellis writes for the Byron Shire Echo.

Posted by Tim B. on 04/26/2005 at 02:14 PM
(13) CommentsPermalink


Phillip Adams writes:

Readers warn there are no atheists in a foxhole and you’ll sing a different song on your deathbed, or like Voltaire, you’ll be a last-minute convert. But when near death, I’ve maintained my cheerful belief in a meaningless universe. And I’ve learned that the opposite is often true, that true believers can die badly, their tenuous faith evaporating.

I’ve seen it happen, sadly and suddenly, to close friends who’d passionately argued for an afterlife. One, a scientist, had written bestsellers arguing that modern physics endorsed immortality. On his deathbed he bitterly begged me to stop publication of his final book.

Hal G.P. Colebatch is sceptical: “There aren’t many scientists who write bestsellers on this subject. In fact in Australia I can’t think of any. Perhaps Phillip could identify him.”

Posted by Tim B. on 04/26/2005 at 02:09 PM
(41) CommentsPermalink


UK Labour voter Stephen Pollard faces a dilemma; although Labour’s leader wanted Saddam Hussein removed, Pollard’s local Labour candidate didn’t:

If I am to vote Labour next Thursday, I will have to put an x by the name of a man who would have voted to keep Saddam in power and who clearly has not the slightest notion of the threat faced by Western society. Worse still, he appears to have a bizarre conception of economics and wealth creation - that there is somehow a finite supply of wealth available to the planet and our affluence is maintained at the cost of others.

At least Pollard, unlike us in Australia, has the option of not voting at all. Plus, he gets to eat brilliant foamy food.

(Via Terry McCrann, who writes: “Maybe we should make a booking!”)

Posted by Tim B. on 04/26/2005 at 02:05 PM
(14) CommentsPermalink


The story of Joseph Stratford, most likely the first Australian to hit Gallipoli’s shore in 1915, is beautifully told by Wendy James. Stratford was her husband’s great great uncle.

Posted by Tim B. on 04/26/2005 at 01:37 PM
(2) CommentsPermalink


Ted Lapkin replies to duck-drawing civilian advocate and Osama appeaser Michael Leunig:

Leunig seems to believe that any policy that results in harm to civilians is inherently unjust. But this logic would invalidate the Union cause during the American Civil War because Georgian civilians suffered during Sherman’s march to the sea. It would also deem the invasion of Normandy illegitimate because thousands of French civilians perished during the 1944 campaign to liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny. And this same line of reasoning would contend that there is no moral difference between the death of a Belgian child inadvertently killed by Allied artillery, and the death of a Jewish child in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. After all, a dead civilian is a dead civilian.

And a brain-dead civilian scratches out things like this. If a hospitalised heart-attack victim produced something similar, even Pope Benedict himself would yank out the feeding tube.

Posted by Tim B. on 04/26/2005 at 01:16 PM
(6) CommentsPermalink


Jennifer Marohasy has issues with Australia’s highest-paid blogger.

(Via J.F. Beck, currently in awe of Bill Maher’s profound scientific wisdom)

Posted by Tim B. on 04/26/2005 at 12:02 PM
(4) CommentsPermalink


Michael Totten reports direct from Lebanon—now 100% Syrian-free!

Posted by Tim B. on 04/26/2005 at 11:16 AM
(6) CommentsPermalink
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