Thursday 20th of February 2020

Richard Tonkin's blog

Pine Gap New Pearl Harbour?

What if Al Qaeda
deemed Pine Gap a threat to their operations and send a team through
the fence.

Here's a little from a piece posted on Webdiary by Brian Law last Decemberr:

[extract

Again we climbed through and realised all the power of the greatest
empire in history could not stop two untrained, unfunded, unarmed
Christian pacifists from entering one of their most important and
secure bases - even after we had told them we were coming.

Pine Gap Guides Missiles To Osama

Australia's Pine Gap base was used to send 32 cruise missiles at Osama Bin Laden.

The missiles failed to kill the Al Qaeda leader as he had left the target site approximately twenty minutes earlier.

International affairs commentator and policy advisor Mr Keith Suiter said on  Adelaide radio this morning that the US surveillance installation at PIne Gap assisted in monitoring Bin Laden's satellite phone call to his mother and pinpointing his location for the missile attack.

Speaking on ABC 891 Mr Suiter said that one of the problems with the plan was that many of the missiles destroyed each other while attempting to strike the same target.

Hicks Blair Citizenship Appeal Rejected

He's a step closer.. David Hicks right to British citizenship has been upheld by the UK courts.

A final appeal against Hick's eligibility has been rejected, clearing all legal barriers against Hicks claim.

The application for UK citizenship was made after a chance remark made by the Adelaide-resident Guantanemo inmate to his military lawyer, while discussing the Ashes cricket game in London, that his mother was British.

David's father Terry said from Adelaide today that the only real barrier for his son now was that it would be difficult for him to take the citizenship oath while being held in Guantanemo.

Did You Meet Scott Parkin While He Was In Australia? You Can Help Him

Parkin , to refresh your memory, was the Halliburton protester deported because ASIO knew that the Pentagon had a file on him.  Embarrasingly for ASIO the file was of Parkin handing out peanut butter sandwiches as a means of protest.

Parkin's Australian legal team and his support group want to hear from those who met the man while he was here.  Your written testimony that Parkin acted non-violently during his sojourn here wiould help to prove his innocence.

Parkin was detained at a Melbourne coffee shop while on his way to help present a workshop on passive non-violent resistance techniques.  The Federal Police and Immigration officers placed him in solitary confinement, then flew him to Los Angeles in the company of two Australian Immigration officers.

Australain Entertainment Venues Now Terror Targets, Say Attorney General And Intelligence Chief

I'm feeling vindicated in getting the "heebie jeebies" in the casino the other night now that I know that ASIOs worried about terrorist attacks on Australian restaurants. 

Why would I think that a casino atop a railway, adjacent to a Parliament House, might not be a great place to hang around?  Let's look at what our attorney general and our chief of Intelligencehad to say today:

[from The Age

ASIO has warned that terrorists could carry out attacks on
hotels and restaurants in Australia.

Australia Goes Nuclear

In today's Australian,

PROMINENT scientist Tim Flannery has called for an end to the
uranium debate, saying all alternative energy sources to fossil fuels
must be considered in the fight against climate change.

The author of The Weather Makers and director of the South Australian
Museum said yesterday he had softened his view on nuclear power.

Dr Flannery said the nation could not afford to get "bogged
down in a debate about the three mines policy" or nuclear power and
instead should develop a cohesive response to global warming. "People
say we can't have uranium mining because there's a danger of
proliferation and that's true," Dr Flannery said. "But we have to weigh
all of this stuff and deal with this in the context of threat to
climate change and that's why people are getting away with rubbish
about wind and uranium.

A President Against War

 This piece is an edited and reordered version of Nine New's David Brent's account of an interview with the President of Costa Rica, a country with no army and, according to Brent, " one of the highest levels of literacy and healthcare in the world.  There is much more to read here- I edited only to emphasise certain points, endeavouring nott to change the piece's sentiment.

Australia and the world could soon be hearing a lot more from Oscar Arias because he says he'll intensify his fight against nations increasing their defence budgets when he is inaugurated as his country's president next week.

Agonies Of A "Conspiracy Theorist"

I'm having an ethical crisis. Over the last couple of years I've been looking in shadows for details, and now I'm wondering if it's a current-affairs equivalent of a meerschacht test.. you know, when a pychologist shows a patient ink-blobs and analyses their interpretation.

I'd read, seen and heard things and added them to pieces of information I knew, and become convinced that the answer I came up with was correct. In blind faith I've looked for proof of my "deductions" and broadcast my fears to the best of my abilities.

Explosion In Downtown Adelaide

 Parts of Adelaide's city centre are closed today after an explosion struck a building over night.

The explosion occurred in the heart of the city at 3 am this morning.in  Pirie St, in the very centre of the city.

ABC News said the three storey building has been "destroyed"

Snr Contable Mick Turnbull "It's going to take a while for us to sift through here and see what's actually happened here"

 SA Premier Mike Rann, from  the scene of the incident said that he wa "shocked
by what's happeneed here in the middle of Adelaide nd I'm shocked by
the extent of the damage.  When  you look at this from above the damage
goes back quite a long way"

A Horrible Feeling Of Dread

Not my favourite place to visit, I was dragged into the Adelaide Casino last night. After an hour I left because I didn't feel safe  Two hundred people dancing in a venue three stories up from our central railway station didn't seem like a good place to be.

Even though the rubbish bins were taken out of the station two years back because of similar fears.  I couldn't help thinking of the psychological impact on local culture that an attack on such a place would cause.

I didn't want to be fighting my way to an unavailable exit while the floor collapsed beneath me.  Given that the casino's interior was recently re-engineered  by Halliburton/KBR I would assume that expert consideration of such a situation would have necessitated the incorporation of contingency plans.  However, all I could visualise was people jumping of balconies, clawing past each other on the escalators, dodging falling chunks of marble debris... I tried to force myself to stay, but felt compelled to get as far away as possible.

You Can't Have A War Without A Hero

 As the Australian Prime Minister's opinion polls sag from the mud of a
bribery scandal, a flag-draped Australian hero is brought home to be
honoured on our annual day of war remembrance.....

It was bad luck that I was re-watching "Wag The Dog" while reading
about the death of the Aussie sniper... maybe otherwise I wouldn't have
been feeling so cynical. For those who don't know the movie, it's about
the media staging of a war to save the US President's election
campaign. Anyway, I was listening to Dustin Hoffman uttering the words
in the title as my eyes fell on this Melbourne Herald-Sun paragraph:

Is The Australian Ambassadorship A Tobacco Kickback?

As Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage sticks up for the
Howard Government again, I start to wonder about him. Armitage, who has
ties to the company that provided the commercial torturers working in
Abu Graibh (including the one from Adelaide)
has attempted to draw a curtain over the Howard Government's
negligences revealed in the AWB Inquiry. Armitage says that nobody in
the USA gives a damn about Australian Government corruption.

Wow, they are just like us Aussies after all

Attorney-General Throws Christians To The Liars

The protesters who broke into Pine Gap are about to be treated as "examples" This is going to be a major warning to protesters that contravention of law will not be tolerated.

Here's tomorrow's Daily Telegraph story. 

 

A GROUP of anti-war
protesters claim "operational secrecy" is hindering their efforts to
defend themselves against charges of breaking into a top secret
Australian spy base.

Donna Mulhearn, 37, Jim Dowling, 50, Adele Goldie, 29, and Bryan Law,
51, have faced a committal hearing in Alice Springs Magistrates Court,
charged with breaking into the Pine Gap spy base in central Australia.

Boomerang Bribes and the Faces of Felicity

Has the AWB Inquiry asked the Iraqis for an itemised list of who Saddam paid
bribes to. It would be interesting to know if any portion of the
kickbacks might have "boomeranged"

{extract from New Zealand Herald, 1/5/2004]

An
Iraqi official said today there was a list of cash bribes made by
Saddam Hussein's government to journalists, politicians and groups in
connection with the US$67 billion ($108.92 billion) UN-run oil-for-food
programme.

Jalal Talabani, a Kurdish member of the Iraqi
Governing Council, said Iraqi officials combing Saddam's files had not
decided whether to release the list as part of a burgeoning scandal
over the defunct programme.

"We have a list of cash paid to
journalists, personalities, groups and parties," Talabani told a news
conference after conferring with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan over
an Iraqi interim government.

Ms Felicity Johnston, the UN
customs officer who confesseed that if she had read AWB contracts
lodged with the UN prior to her taking of the job, has been strongly
assertive of Australia's accountabilty. Her opinion will now be recorded as testimony
to the Cole Inquiry. Could it be that Mr Agius sees in Ms Johston a
voice that will be credible to the Australian public in explaining the
Howard cabinet's negligence?

Ms Johnston also has the appropriate credentials to explain the ethical dilemma of AWB's situation:

Jonothan
Holmes:So really it’s quite clear that what AWB should have done right
from the beginning is reported these negotiations to the United Nations
and asked them for guidance?

Felicity
Johnston:J: Yes that’s correct. What they should have done as soon as a
company was picked out for them for transportation by the government
(of Iraq), as soon as the prices were suggested by the government, it
was pretty clear that Alia was a government-sponsored institution and
they should have sought advice. Now perhaps people might have got
confused, perhaps people might unintentionally have been in breach of
the sanctions but as soon as the questions started to come from the UN,
“Is there anything that you’re doing,” however the question was
couched, “is there anything that you’re doing which might involved a
payment to the government of Iraq?” I think that was the time to deal
with it candidly, because no one would have prosecuted them if they had
done something inadvertently - but did they do it inadvertently? – I
don’t believe so.

Good Friday- Halliburton Sacrifices For Financial Resurrection

Like the spin-off of "Laverne and Shirley" from Happy Days, Halliburton is about to float KBR on the stock exchange.

Putting in their application on Friday, Halliburton hope to sell of one-fifth of their war and government section.

The UK's Times On Sunday, pre-announcing the sale as it did the float of Carlyle's privatisation of the UK's defence research, tells us that the UK Ministry of defence is the second largest customer of KBR"s departments Government and Infrastructure, the latter of which was formerly run globaly from Adelaide.

In what capacities might Halliburton involved in the Carlyle/Qinetiq UK float?  If the advice was given so that Cheney had a "warm-up" act to prepare potential customers for his "main event' there may be some grumbling in Whitehall.

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