Monday 27th of January 2020

Richard Tonkin's blog

80 Arrests At Washington Guantanamo Protest

The event staged in Adelaide was a quiet one.  Very quiet. 20-odd protesters, a dozen-odd journos, and I doubt many of them would've been there if not for the presence of Terry Hicks.  There was a heckler, a large bikie with an axe to grind about his previous "wrongful arrest" who started shouting and interjecting as soon as Terry took the mike.  Terry handled him well, coming down from the Parliament House steps to talk with him, for a good twenty minutes, the cameras clicking away while the other orators addressed empty air.  This, of course, was the only thing the local paper got around to reporting.

International Guantanamo Closure Protests Friday

guantanamo ..... 

In Washington on Friday protesters will be marching to the Supreme Court to call for the closure of Guantanamo Bay.  Capital cities across the world will be hosting similar events as orange clad protesters show their disapproval.  The day is the sixth anniversary of the arrival of the first of theUS' War On Terror prisoners at Guantanamo.

In Australia it's a bit more personal.  We've been imprisoning the only convict of this combination of concentration camp and kangaroo court.

In Hicks home town of Adelaide the gathering will occur at 3pm on the steps of Parliament House.  I'll see you there.

David Hicks And Satan

Isn't it lucky that Hicks is being released during the slowest news period of the year? Last Christmas season they hung Saddam, no doubt propping up othewise sagging newspaper sales. This year it appears that a media scrum following a man who is legally prevented from speaking to them, vieing for shots of a pissed-off terrorist, that are going to help sell the discount laptops at department store sales.

The Adelaide Advertiser has just posted a story explaining how some of David's schoolmates have told how the ex-Guantanemo inmate "dabbled in Satanism" during his formative years. The only corroboration to the story I can find is a similar phrase in a piece from a few months back. The only reason I can think of for publishing such a piece of information is to incite suspicion of an "Agent Of Satan" being released into the community.. Maybe we can be inflamed into a lynch mob?

Are Aussie Spooks Using 2nd-Hand US Intel?

The whole bloody thing is turning into a fiasco. I'm still amazed that the Australian media haven't arced up more on the obvious double-violation by ASIO in that they undoubtedly used improperly held US intel to make their adverse security classification. Quick refresher time: A Defense document shows that Army analysts wrote a report on the Halliburton protest and stored it in CIFA [US Army's Counterintelligence Field Activity]] 's database. It's not clear why the Pentagon considered the protest worthy of attention--although organizer Parkin had previously been arrested while demonstrating at ExxonMobil headquarters (the charges were dropped). But there are now questions about whether CIFA exceeded its authority and conducted unauthorized spying on innocent people and organizations.

Israel Fast Forwards Iran AttackTimeline To 2008

I've been waiting for something like this. An addition to the problems that Israel faces from Iran, it seems, is that by next year it will be capable of making dirty bombs. That's the message that's apparantly been given to the Israeli cabinet today.

Debkafile reports that a briefing is being given that Iran will now be capable of creating plutonium from 2008. They no doubt are aware of this from the receipts Dick Cheney kept from his Halliburton rector part sales in the late 90s.

The dirty bomb thing is, as I've been yapping all year, a pill coating to sell the Iran attack to the great unwashed. Mushroom clouds are too much to contemplate, but little radioactive bangs striking fear into a city are another thing altogher.. much more user-friendly in the fear factor department.

What happens now? Try this from RoD Greher of the Dallas Morning News:

Planners' Hopes- Dirty Bomb Insider Trading?

Did you hear the one about the AFP counterterrorism strategy founder who became the manager of a homeland security company that made a killing in the Australian share market? Sorry, it's not a joke. It happened years ago.

Let's set the scene...

"Planners hope that, the more they do it, the more the agencies and personnel will learn to work together, forming some semblance of organization before any occurrence of the real thing." Don't you find this to be bizarre language to hear on a nightly TV bulletin? Esoecially in a city about to host a fake terror attack? The way KOIN TV (love the name) would have it, it's gonna happen sometime or another.

White House Leaked Osama Tape.. Dirty Bombs Away

Debkafile is the website that posted the Al Qaeda warning that triggered the New York radiological deployment in August.


[extract 8/10]

On Aug. 9, DEBKAfile revealed an al Qaeda Web site warning mentioning New York, Los Angeles and Miami as targets of attacks “by means of trucks loaded with radioactive material.” A second warning added Washington, Seattle and Texas to those targets.

Our counter-terror sources note that the very fact that the United States is conducting exercises this month to test its homeland readiness for a “dirty bomb” threat shows that US security planners have taken the al Qaeda threat to heart.

Blowin in the Wind

Having just returned from Sydney and literally stood in front of the imposition of martial law in Sydney, and witnessed the spin both governments have used to vindicate police tactics in Sydney, I'm not surprised how Howard's Henchmen are attemting to influence by propaganda the Australian public's interpretation of the forthcoming Petraus report.

It looks like our foreign minister is using the "information" gathered by these journos as "evidence" of coalition success in Iraq.

[SMH extract]

Australia has expressed hope that the United States will soon be able to start reducing troop numbers in Iraq as the result of what the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, yesterday described as the success of the so-called surge in American personnel during the past eight months.

Nervous About Saturday

Last night I attended a training session for Human Rights Monitors volunteers. Dale was brilliant, coaching us on how to observe an event as a team, telling us what kind of questions we could hope to get from police, reinforcing our neutral standpoint. Through his efforts much harm might be averted.

The volunteers came from all walks of life; a fair few lawyers, students, nurses, ages ranging from eighteen to forty;

We'll be the ones wearing bright orange vests, videoing and writing down what we see happening around us.

Here's what the NSW Police expect us to see.:

[AGE extract]

Bush's APEC Digs

I once had the pleasure of being the sole occupier of the Presidential Suite at the Sebel Town House. (don't was a private joke..bloody nice, though very brown( and so was wondering today what that level of motel room was like these days.

The Tele's Gemma Jones (wasn't she the one covering the break-in of Haneef's unit? Yep) went to what will be Bush's room for a test drive.. it sounds like the same sort of digs as I had.

I was struck, reading this piece, by the line:

The first thing the President will see when he steps inside the luxury suite is a stunning postcard view of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House.

Of course Bush won't see any nasty views of protestors. They're banned from his line of sight. That's what it's all about.. well, mostly.

Adelaide-Dirty Bomb Research Centre

DSTO Media Release 21/8/07

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO is researching the use of a novel technique to deal with the after-effects of incidents involving a dirty bomb

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, Mr Peter Lindsay, said the technique known as ‘luminescence’ would measure levels of radiation resulting from an explosion, so that appropriate treatment could be rendered to people affected by the incident. 

A dirty bomb is an explosive device containing radioactive material which disperses radiation on detonation. Its primary aim is to deliberately spread radioactive contamination unlike an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) which is designed to cause damage through a blast effect.  

Google Sydney CBD Maps Go Fuzzy

This could be entirely coincidental, but worth noting nonetheless.

The Age is reporting today that where once you could see the details of the clothing of people walking around the Opera House, now such detailed close observation is imposssible. The maps for areas of Sydney outside of Sydney's CBD are as sharp as ever.

Google denies they've been censored, claiming that the maps were changed due to problem with a supplier.

An SMH piece in January (which uses the same phot of the Opera House as the new Age one) explained how a three-seater plane had been given permission to fly low over Sydney on Australia Day to take high-resolution photos.


Haneef Guilty For Doing 60 Minutes Exclusive- Andrews

Andrews was looking peeved but tolerant tonight on Lateline as he spelt out how it had been his job to have a suspicion of an association. He didn't mention any process involved in what might happen if that association was proven irrelevant.

He believes Haneef to be guilty, it would seem, saying that Haneef had left Australia "on a false pretext."

Andrews had a new angle, and as he delivered it light glinted in his eyes and his lips twisted in the failed suppression of a smirk as he said:

"Why didn't he have a press conference before he left Australia?. He did a paid exclusive interview for 60 Minutes... he could have fronted up and answered all these questions... now, he didn't do it."

Reality TV

The New South Wales state government in Australia is boosting security at this year's APEC summit in light of the foiled attacks in Britain. Hundreds of additional surveillance cameras will be installed on trains and buses. Authorities are building a citywide digital network linking public and private closed-circuit TV cameras.

This introduction to a Voice Of America story exemplifies my worries that Dr Haneef has been used in Australian media to portray the possibility that a person similar to him could attempt to assasssinate the likes of US President Bush and Russian President Putin when they come to Sydney in September.

NSW- State Of Fear (but only till after the election

Within a day of PM Howard trumpeting Geoge Bush's visit to Sydney, the natives are told to pack survival packs in case of a terror attack. This is unbelievable!

Did they think that while the story of Doctor Haneef was explaing why mobile phone trasmissions will be blocked in Sydney during Bush's visit, that Sydneysiders would be more amenable to the federally-funded brochures? Siezed by Immigration on the day of Howard's tout of APEC, his near-barbecued SIM card responsible for a terror attack, you'd hardly expect the pollies not to capitalise on the situation by leaving an innuendo of "who knows what such as he might do to Sydney" imbedded in our subconscious. The timing of the brochure release will be found to have not been an accident.

Do you reckon that the US Secret Service's mobiles will be jammed?


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