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Doing what come naturally

AUSTRALIAN sailors had sex on the beach. AUSTRALIAN sailors had sex on the beach, streaked through military buses and pranced naked with rolled-up burning paper stuck between their buttocks in a wild, drunken romp at a US outpost in the Indian Ocean. And their point is…? An article by Natalie O’Brien, Investigations editor, and Michael McKinnon, FOI editor in this Weekends Australian bemuses me. The sailors have been at war, have been deprived, for months, of any type of civilization that Natalie and Michael would demand as their daily due, they are given leave on a military base and then allowed to cut loose. It would be news and responsible reporting to write an expose of drunken sailors ‘On duty’ but not this. If in a town and civilians are involved maybe yes – if crimes are committed, but please spare me ‘Sailors get drunk on leave” stories. ‘Prancing naked with rolled-up burning paper between the buttocks’ is called the dance of the flaming arseholes and whereas it’s not particularly smart it can be funny if you’re there and as drunk as everyone else. I’ve seen it performed in soldiers messes from Saigon to Sydney, from Hawaii to Bangkok and I bet my Father would have seen it done in the RAN in the Pacific during World War 2. My Grandfather would have seen it performed in Egypt in World War 1 and maybe in South Africa during the Boer War. We just didn’t talk about it. What you do when on leave and drunk never makes for good stories to people who weren’t there. So my point is, it happens and in the past we haven’t gone on about it. Most probably the journalists of the time thought there was a lot more to report on in whatever war they were covering and having some sense, let it be. Young civilians on holidays do the same silly drunken things but I have yet to see any news coverage of this. If the article started with…. AUSTRALIAN sailors, after months at war facing death everyday, had sex on the etc….I might have treated it as a human interest story but the article was presented in such a manner as to make the sailors look bad. And don’t say they were bad unless you can say you never had sex on the beach or got drunk, or did something silly to de-stress after bad days. (If you truly have never done these things then get a life!)

ABC Bias

The ABC bias debate. Dr Martin Hirst from the School of Journalism & Communication UQ writes to the Australian and proves the bias of the ABC by trying to prove there isn’t any. I find his letter as a case in point about what is wrong with the ABC. If you watch the ABC, particularly the news and current affairs programmes and find yourself generally agreeing with what you see and hear then you are most probably in the political range of centre to left – if you disagree, you are most probably centre to right. It isn’t “juvenile” to comment on this, it is simply a matter of fact and has ever been thus. The point thousands of people previously, and Senator Alston recently, are trying to make, is that it is simply unprofessional to show a bias one way or the other when reporting the events of the day and to then claim it is a balanced opinion. Calling a government “juvenile” indicates the type of bias we conservative types are talking about. Martin Hirst teaches at UQ’s School of Journalism – can’t you just see him lecturing and shaping the minds of undergrads with key phrases like ‘juvenile government’, ‘propaganda….a lie’, ‘Alston’s half-arsed whingeing’, ‘gung-ho patriotism’ and ‘the Government’s ridiculous panic-inducing anti-terrorism publicity campaign’? Good fodder for a balanced diet! The quote from Max Uechtritz that annoyed Senator Alston:
“We now know for certain that only three things in life are certain – death, taxes and the fact that the military are lying bastards,” Mr Uechtritz is reported to have said during a forum on war reporting in Afghanistan”.
Martins letter:
Senator’s dossier is meaningless WELL done Max Uechtritz for getting up Richard Alston’s nose again. It just goes to show how juvenile this Government can be. The 14-page “dossier” Alston’s office compiled is ridiculous and so out of context that it’s meaningless. This is a blatant case of political interference and Alston’s motive, in my view, is no more than trying to distract attention from the mounting problems of the Howard Government.
There is no substance in the minister’s allegations of bias. The situation on the ground in Iraq was very fluid and many things were said by reporters that later proved false. Let’s not forget that in the last 24 hours, the US has admitted they found no weapons of mass destruction and that they probably never existed. So the propaganda that the coalition had to invade Iraq to get rid of the WMDs was a lie.
No! The coalition invaded Iraq as part of the War against Terror – WMDs was one of several reasons – there were a lot more. The fact that Hussein has tortured and murdered hundreds of thousand of his citizens is one. Another is that we know his form – he has fired missiles at Israel; he has chemical weapons and has used them against the Iranians and his own people, he has atomic research programs for the stated purpose of creating atom/nuclear weapons and is altogether an unsavoury person. It is the duty of independent journalists to question everything. The Senator seems to think the media’s duty in time of war is to fall meekly into line with the Government. This is not the media’s role and it is not what the public would expect. As a former journalist and now as a lecturer at the University of Queensland, I know that journalists must report without fear or favour. The requirement is not to ‘fall in line’ but to report the facts in an unbiased manner. Leave editorials to editors and snide political comments to political commentators – we expect an opinion from these people and can allocate a loading left or right depending on their background. But the everyday journalist who fills in a line on TV or contributes to an article in the newspaper should indeed ‘question’ everything in the pursuit of professional accuracy and then when satisfied he or she has the story correct, submit for broadcast. Just the facts mate! Martin adds
I have read upwards of 40 student essays on the Australian television news media’s coverage of the Iraq War and in each of them the conclusion drawn by the students is that the ABC did a better job than everyone else.
Besides stating the obvious that if taught by you ‘they would say that wouldn’t they’ you are hardly comparing apples with apples here. Commercial TV exists on 30 second grabs to get their story over – something to do with the attention span of the viewers maybe? Try tasking your students to compare the ABC with some major broadcasters – BBC, NBC, CNN, Fox, ABC (US) to name a few. I’m not so much concerned about the ABC’s or Martin’s left wing sentiment as I am about the fact that he feels he has to abuse people who call it for what it is. Senator Alston penned an article in the Age about the issue. Judge for yourself. Now interested in Martin Hirst I googled his name and found him billed with Margo Kingston at a symposium on the Language of War organized by Just Peace – People for Peace through Justice – in response to what it called was the “unilateral, pre-emptive and illegal military response by the US with the aim of imposing its views and authority on the nations of the world”. It was all faithfully recorded by the ABC but, strangely enough, try as I might, I couldn’t get a response for “right wing symposiums” the ABC might have recorded. Finally an invite for Max Uechtritz. I am going to a Regimental Reunion in Wagga Wagga in August – you might like to drop in and explain to the blokes of my Infantry Battalion what you mean by ‘lying bastards’. For details visit the website.


The Aborigine Genocide debate. If you haven’t been keeping up on the ‘how many aborigines did we kill when Aus was first settled” debate, then read on. Left-wing history revisionists are making all sorts of exaggerated claims that tell the story in their own distorted way as they try to prove ‘settlement’ equals ‘slaughter’. Keith Windschuttle released a book claiming their figures were rubbery and not based on fact. Since then the revisionists have refused to answer Windschuttle’s direct accusations. They are still at it. This interview was reported in the Australian yesterday. May 26, 2003 KEITH Windschuttle: Lyndall Ryan cites the diary of the colony’s first chaplain, the Reverend Robert Knopwood, as the source for her claim that, between 1803 and 1808, the colonists killed 100 Aboriginals [sic]. The diaries, however, record only four Aboriginals being killed in this period. Reporter: It’s a devastating claim Ryan cannot refute. Lyndall Ryan: Right. I certainly agree that the Knopwood diaries say that, but I also had another reference referring to a report by John Oxley who was a surveyor who’d been sent down to Tasmania in 1809. He said too many Aborigines were being killed. Reporter: Okay, but how did you extrapolate from his words saying “too many Aborigines had been killed”, to “about 100 lost their lives”? Is that just made up? Ryan: Well, I think by the way in which Oxley wrote that he seemed to think there had been a great loss of life from the Aborigines. Reporter: So, in a sense, is it fair enough for [Windschuttle] to say that you did make up figures? You’re telling me you made an estimated guess. Ryan: Historians are always making up figures. I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again. ANSWER THE BLOODY QUESTION LYNDALL!

Mary Jane

I’m a bit confused here and may need some help from others. This from the Australian.
Medicinal cannabis trial approved By Megan Saunders and Monica Videnieks May 21, 2003 THE nation’s first trial of cannabis for medical relief will begin in NSW by the end of the year, a move that Premier Bob Carr said yesterday would stop decent people feeling like criminals.
On News Years day this year and old friend phoned with a bombshell that started with “I have pancreatic cancer and the doctors have given me 8 months at best.” My friend and I go back forty years when we were young soldiers together and after his stint in the Army he settled in New South Wales and followed a career as a Systems Analyst. A couple of years ago his father died and subsequent to that his mother had a stroke. For the very best of reasons my friend, once married – now a bachelor, retired and moved to the North Coast to be near his mother. So he has left his social and professional infrastructure in NSW and now gets the death nod. For many reasons, one of which related to his being virtually alone, I decided to ensure he didn’t die that way. I cared for him, paid his bills, kept his house, swapped ‘old soldier’ stories with him during the day and asked the medical staff to help him sleep at nights. “No man should be allowed to ponder his demise for too long over endless dusk to dawn dog-watches” I said. “Could you knock him out at night?” They did and he died with dignity 90 days into the year. We discussed marijuana and its use. My friend had a bit of the hippy in him and was an occasional user and while I didn’t use it I had no strong opinions either way. As his time drew closer and pain and the indignity of a body that was failing, threatened to impact on everything, we spoke of using marijuana to camouflage the pain. My point is it was never necessary. Palliative Care nursing has made tremendous leaps over the years and my friend had no pain right to the end. His body was being infused with a cocktail of drugs that had been cleared for the purpose by government laboratories and they did the job. These drugs didn’t just control the pain, they also controlled the mind and bodily functions. The drugs kept him coherent and able to organize his final posting and to say goodbye to friends with his mental facilities intact. There was no pain and no long ‘dog-watches’. My confusion should now be clear. Why do we talk about using marijuana for palliative care when there are suitable drugs available. Why does Bob Carr, Premier of NSW, make an issue of allowing a trial of marijuana. The cynic in me makes me think he is ‘buying’ green votes or throwing some crumbs to his ‘left wing’ factions but then I’ve always though he was a reasonable chap – intelligent, well read and not normally involved with the more seedier side of politics. Could someone please explain?

Road of Bones

A lifetime ago I fought in Vietnam as an Aussie Infantryman. I did so because I believed communism was evil and wanted to do what I could to stop it’s spread. Over my life I have been continually bemused and confused by the likes of Phillip Adams and cohorts who never saw any evil and still today believe it is the answer to the worlds problems. I submit that it is a therapeutic, every so often, to remind ourselves about the horrors of communism. A living testament to that horror can still be found today in Siberia. It is the road that runs from Magadan to Yakutsk, otherwise known as the the Road of Bones

Iraq museum saga

The opinions in this letter to the Editor of the Australian go a long way to explain what is wrong with the world
Barbarians at the museum gates THERE is much that is macabre and indisputably obscene in the spectacle of beautiful Baghdad, citadel of Islam’s Arabic civilisation and treasure trove of antiquity, its people now without water, food supplies and electrical power, all distraught under the precision bombing by air and panzer divisions of the colossus of world capitalism and globalisation, the United States. Surely every person of art, education and culture across the planet will weep at this horrifying rape of Baghdad, capital city of Iraq, formerly Mesopotamia, cradle of human history. What now of its community centres of Islamic art, its rare libraries and museums, its three great universities, its market places and recreation sites, its many gorgeous mosques – 95 per cent of Iraq’s people are Muslims – under the jackboots of US crusaders, the Christian soldiers, as they dance in jubilation upon the ruins?
OK. I get your first point. Panzer Divisions and jackboots is fairly obvious. US = Nazi Germany. Second point. Use emotive language to set the scene further. Citadel of Arabic civilization; no food, no water, no electricity. Owen, if you got your news from sources other than the ABC you might have noticed that your hated US panzer divisions are still getting shot at. No one likes the aftermath of a war of liberation but for Gods sake give them a day or two to ensure the war is over before they take steps to help Iraqi’s secure their country.
Surely every person of art, education and culture across the planet will weep at this horrifying rape of Baghdad meaning everyone who isn’t of art, education and culture will not have the intelligence, education or sensitivity to understand my superior intellect and it’s conclusions.
Owen Campbell Mortimer, your a wanker. It must have been very trying during World War 2 for you to have to live and relate to the ordinary uncultured men of the RAAF.
That this defeat of an innocent and sovereign people under the weapons of mass destruction of the US is “in Australia’s national interest” is untrue, false, an appalling lie. Justify it if you can, Prime Minister Howard and Commander-in-Chief Governor-General Very Reverend Hollingworth.
Easy, Owen. Saddam’s regime supported terrorism of the kind that we saw at the WTC and Bali. Until regime’s of that ilk are destroyed and democratized the problem exists world wide. They will try and kill us just because we are what we are, free societies that don’t slavishly follow the Koran. Definitely “in Australia’s interests”
I speak in despair, now retired from the workforce, a US-trained teacher of school, college and university, a specialist in communication skills and theatre arts, and once (from 1941 to 1945) in time of a just world war against Nazi Germany and imperialist Japan, Flight Lieutenant Air Observer-Navigator, a proud officer of the Royal Australian Air Force. But now, indeed, “with rue my heart is laden”.
Owen Campbell Mortimer Wangaratta, Vic You may think your abbreviated Curriculum Vitae adds weight to your opinion, but most people would say, ” Well he would say that, wouldn’t he?” I mean outside or World War 2 it would appear your whole life has been spent closeted from the realities of life. Why face them now? In real life, and for the immediate future, the lives and human rights of the Iraqi’s must take a higher priority than art. I too am saddened at the possible loss of history and culture but I know that the US and Iraqis are working at gaining control of law and order issues as they come to grips with having gained control of freedom for the people. A point to note here is that Iraq has no equivalent of our police forces. The police in Iraq were only traffic cops. The law and order issues were handled by the Secret Police. You know, one mistake and your underground with electrodes dropping power surges through your genitals. Give peace a chance! How quaint – “with rue my heart is laden” and could I add “and with emotive language and inability to see the whole picture, my brain is dulled”

Lyndall Ryan

Lyndall Ryan: No historian enjoys a monopoly over the truth. In answer to some serious questioning of her scholarship by Keith Windschuttle she says;
“Attempts to undermine the essential validity of the past 30 years of historical scholarship on the fate of the Tasmanian Aborigines by discrediting the initial work needs to be answered. Windschuttle points to some factual errors in the footnoting of my original work. There are, indeed, a few minor errors that can easily be rectified. But these rectifications do not alter the book’s fundamental proposition nor in any way support his assertion that the errors were deliberate and used to create imaginary events”.
As I noted last week Keith Windschuttle has released a book questioning the accuracy of Lyndall Ryan’s book The Aboriginal Tasmanians. Windschuttle states that he has gone back to the sources and references she quoted and found a host of inaccuracies. Some newspapers she quoted hadn’t even started publication in the years concerned and some people she referred to weren’t even in Tasmania when the were said to have been involved in the “Massacres”. As noted above she replies. “There are, indeed, a few minor errors that can easily be rectified. But these rectifications do not alter the book’s fundamental proposition nor in any way support his assertion that the errors were deliberate and used to create imaginary events,” I beg to differ. They do alter the fundamental proposition. If you state categorically that a certain person witnessed an event, as reported in a newspaper of the time that dealt with Aborigines, sheep and slaughter/massacre; and Windschuttle’s research shows that at the time the person wasn’t in Tasmania , there were no sheep there and the Newspaper didn’t even exist, then you have either based your book on false premises, or you are simply distorting the truth to fit in with the “black armband” theory of genocide. Answer the bloody question Lyndall.

‘Aborigine Massacre’

The “Did we massacre the aboriginals or not” debate continues. I have travelled extensively throughout Australia and have yet to notice a groundswell of opinion that agrees with the “black arm” view of white Australians massacring the blacks. I am gregarious and a sociable person and consequently talk to people from all walks of life. I can only conclude that it didn’t happen to the extent that the crazy ‘Left’ would have us believe. The same goes for “racism”. By and large Australians are NOT racist. It is true we don’t like bludgers, wife beaters, alcoholic maniacs, drug users and other peripheral beings but that is only prejudice, not racism. In the press this week Keith Windschuttle released a book questioning the accuracy of Lyndall Ryan’s book The Aboriginal Tasmanians. Windschuttle states that he has gone back to the sources and references she quoted and found a host of inaccuracies. Some newspapers she quoted hadn’t even started publication in the years concerned, some people she referred to weren’t even in Tasmania when the were said to have been involved in the “Massacres”. In answers to these points a pontification of professors wrote to The Australian newspaper and although lengthy in words, the letters were very short on fact. No counter to what could be only classified as serious objections to Ryan’s scholarship. Not one fact verified, no counter argument to Windschuttle writings, simply words along the lines that we, “the uneducated underclass” shouldn’t even listen to Windschuttle as he isn’t a true historian and, worse, The Australian definitely shouldn’t publish articles about or by Windschuttle for the same reasons. This arrogance so prevalent in academia takes my breath away. All this could be just a ripple in the day-to-day life in Australia and I may well have just waited for the debate to die a natural death. This was until I read, in an article by Michael Duffy, that the same Lyndall Ryan was once a research assistant of Manning Clark. Alarm bells are deafening. Dear old Manning never wrote a kind word about Australia and its conservatism. He tried to beatify Lenin, saw all things rosy in Communist Russia and in the end was just a tired grumpy old left wing fool that went out of his way to denigrate the Australian society that had failed to recognize his greatness. Any disciple of Manning Clark is definitely not on my Christmas card list. I conclude that Ryan has too much left wing baggage to be taken seriously. Meanwhile the debate will continue and I look forward to someone from academia coming forward and debating the matter with undeniable facts. Until they do they are just radio static – way off frequency.

Rabbit Proof Fence breached

Earlier this week I mentioned Phillip Noyce and his receiving an award for his movie “The Rabbit-Proof Fence” Well, it appears I’m not alone in my doubting the veracity of the story line of the film. Andrew Bolt writes on the matter as does Tim Blair. These writings will automatically be labelled “right wing” by those who live in hope that one day the UN will take over Australia and run it according to the “enlightened way” Me. I’d just as soon people read all that was available before they made up their minds. Posted 1600 Saturday, 14 December 2002

Evidence points to frontier violence

Robert Hogg of Ashgrove, Qld tries to rebut Wednesdays article in the Australian where claimed figures quoted by academic left wing “Black Band” historians are exaggerated. One of the main points of Windschuttle’s argument was; “Lloyd Robson claims that settler James Hobbs in 1815 witnessed Aborigines killing 300 sheep at Oyster Bay and the next day the 48th Regiment killed 22 aborigines in retribution. However, between 1809 and 1822 Hobbs was living in India, the first sheep did not arrive in Tasmania until 1821 and in 1815 the 48th Regiment never went near Oyster Bay” Other points were in similar vein. Robert Hogg replies; IT’S a pity Keith Windschuttle didn’t spend more time in state archives and less time at the weather bureau. If he had he might have unearthed more relevant evidence as to the nature of relations between white settlers and Aborigines, which he then could have passed on to Emeritus Professor Claudio Veliz (10/12). The Queensland State Archives, for example, contain a wealth of evidence as to the violent nature of frontier settlement. This takes the form of correspondence between the Colonial Secretary and the Mounted Native Police, the reports of commissioners for Crown Lands, and requests from settlers for protection from Aborigines seeking to drive the whites from their land. If the settlement process was as benign as Windschuttle and Veliz would have it, why are there so many requests on file from station owners asking for detachments of native police to rid their properties of blacks? Windschuttle didn’t say “settlement was benign” he just said it wasn’t as bad as some historians are trying to make out. Last years case of Professor Reynolds admitting that his 20 000 blacks killed was based on “so many whites killed times a factor (unspecified) and then doubled – robs him of any credit. Hope Reynolds doesn’t teach Stats 101. Robert wanders on. “William Hunter of Mt Abundance (Roma) wrote on 15 December, 1863, regarding the planned removal of native police from the eastern Maranoa that: “The consequences are likely to be very serious. There is a large number of blacks in this part of the country . . . and they need the presence and the dread of the native police force to keep them in check.” And Bernard Lane’s reproduction of Windschuttle’s weak scholarship is poor service to readers who rely on newspapers for their understanding of events.” Ashgrove, Qld Robert, no one doubts aboriginals were killed during the early years of white settlement however what some are doubting is the number killed. The greater the number the better the “Black Armband” historians like it. The rest of us are a little bemused by the argument. It was 200 plus years ago at a time when indigenous people were really being slaughtered by Colonialist other than the Brits. What they did here was reasonable for the times.
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