Wednesday 25th of May 2016

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by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2016-05-25 13:22

As debate over policy costings erupted on Tuesday ahead of Friday's economic debate at the National Press Club, the Coalition's attempt to attack Labor's costings backfired and the Treasurer was forced to admit the black hole may be $35 billion less than claimed.

by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2016-05-25 12:52


There are far too many news on this front, but here is a selection:


Telstra has once again won work with nbn, the entity building Australia's national broadband network (NBN), announcing it's secured a contract worth AU$1.6 billion to work on the hybrid fibre-coax (HFC) cable broadband network to sold to nbn.

The biggest beneficiary of NBN policy of successive governments, the incumbent announced the new deal here.

The contract covers planning, design, construction, and construction management services in the Telstra HFC footprint, and follows a contract last December to redesign the network to support DOCSIS 3.1.

DOCSIS 3.1 is a key plank of the government's strategy, since it runs so fast it can't be reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.


Read more:


As you know, I know a lot about about the deteriorating Telstra copper network for having talked to a lot of technicians trying to fix the impossible. If it works still is not due to the network being in a good shape but by the grace of god (I am an atheist). We have been lucky about El Nino. It has not notably rained for the last six months. As soon as the first deluge of La Nana comes in, we're good for more outage of the network, though it can still get arse up without rain:


Australia's dominant carrier, Telstra, is enduring more customer fury after extended outages stretched across its ADSL, NBN, and mobile networks.

The carrier has blamed network hardware for the TITSUP (Total Inability To Support Usual Performance), issuing a statement saying a Friday outage resulted from “a fault with the device that manages the interaction between our network and all the different types of customer modems”.

The problems began last Thursday night, and Telstra thought it was time to breathe a sigh of relief on Saturday when it announced the issue had been resolved.


Read more:

by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2016-05-25 11:09


Effect of antibiotics on dung beetles

The study also looked at the impact of antibiotics on dung beetle activity.

Dung beetles play an important role in breaking down cow pats, recycling nutrients and reducing methane emissions by oxygenating the dung and reducing the number of anaerobic archaea, Mr Hammer said.

He and colleagues found that beetles feeding on dung from cattle-fed tetracycline also had changed microbiota.

Despite this, the beetles still reduced methane production by cattle dung — although this was not enough to offset the increase in methane due to the antibiotics.

"The good news is that antibiotics don't interfere with the beetle's beneficial suppression of methane from dung," Mr Hammer said.

"The bad news is that antibiotics still increase methane emissions, whether or not the beetles are present."

Tetracycline is one of the most widespread livestock antibiotics in use around the world


This is where the chaos theory comes in with the equation x(next)= rx(1-x) plus an array of other equations in regard to the topology of climate and changing supply of dung. As Lorenz made his primitive computerised model of climate, he knew "this is complicated". Yet every little bit adds to the sum total of things while the system is in flux. My particular model is based on various fixed points in time — a bit like doctor who. Because in the end the system will go through these fixed points of increased global warming, unless the whole system is upset by say a catastrophe, of massive bolide dimension.


by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2016-05-25 09:09

Australia must strive for strategic independence


Updated 11 Jun 2014, 4:37pm

Australia is better off strategically independent and able to agree and disagree with both Washington and Beijing, as it suits our interests. We should not be afraid to express our views and stick to our beliefs, writes Malcolm Fraser.

Some argue that a war between China and the United States will never arise because their economies are so closely connected by capital markets, by commerce, by trade, by self-interest.

But war often starts from small and insignificant events, as the shooting of Archduke Franz Ferdinand demonstrated 100 years ago. Neither China nor the United States want to see a war develop between them. But small events that touch on pride and esteem, and that promote misjudgement and miscalculation, can all eventually lead to conflict.

Professor Hugh White from the Australian National University has suggested that if America cannot be persuaded to share power with China, then a conflict could ensue. It appears the most likely trigger for such a calamity would be an assertive and increasingly militaristic Japan.

Unfortunately sharing power with Beijing is not in Washington's strategic thinking. Its objective is the maintenance of American supremacy, driven by American exceptionalism and neo-conservative philosophy.

If a war began between China and the United States, it would be very hard, if not impossible, for Australia not to be involved as a result of its current policy of strategic dependence. And if America were to lose, as Professor White concluded it could, then Australia would be in a very dangerous situation.

America would be able to withdraw to the western hemisphere. But Australia would remain here, geographically part of the Asia–Pacific, but also a defeated ally of a defeated superpower.

We cannot pick and choose the elements of our alliance that we want and discard those we do not. We are too closely intertwined with US strategies and plans.


This is not a position that any Australian government would want to be in. This is the worst case consequence of a continuation of the policies and approaches adopted by Australia, especially since 1996.

Australia's security decisions must be made in a highly complex world that is rapidly changing. As I see it, there are three options to choose from.

Australia's first option would be to continue with its historic policy of strategic dependence on a great and powerful friend. This would be the easiest option to take, politically at least. But being seen as Washington's deputy sheriff in this part of the world is not good for Australia's relationships in East and South-East Asia. It also means following US decisions in foreign and security policy issues, irrespective of whether these decisions relate to a part of the world important to us or to our national interests.

Most importantly, it leaves us exposed in the event of conflict between the US and China.

The second option would involve trying to have it both ways: asserting Australia's independence while allowing the relationship to continue. Theoretically, we could tell the United States that we would not automatically follow it into its wars. If Canada has been able to achieve a degree of strategic independence, geographically close to both the United States and a potential adversary in Russia, why should Australia, in a more geographically advantageous position, not be able to do likewise?

But unfortunately, this option isn't really an option at all. We cannot pick and choose the elements of our alliance that we want and discard those we do not. We are too closely intertwined with US strategies and plans. Australian facilities are too heavily involved.

What happens if the United States uses its Marine Air-Ground Task Force in Darwin against countries with whom we wish to maintain friendship? We cannot host that task force and pretend that what it does and who it might attack has nothing to do with us when we provide the infrastructure to support its existence in the region. By hosting that task force, we are making American military actions much easier and more effective throughout South-East Asia and the Western Pacific. We cannot avoid complicity in what America does by just saying that we are not involved and we are not going to add forces of our own.

The capabilities of Pine Gap, and America's strategic thinking relating to its use, also stand in the way of Australia's strategic independence within the alliance. When Pine Gap was first established in 1966, Australia never envisaged that it would develop far beyond its original purpose of collecting information on the testing of Soviet missiles. However, in the period since it was built, Pine Gap and systems related to it have undergone extraordinary technical development, greatly increasing the sensitivity and breadth of its signals intelligence capacities - most notably in the interception of mobile phones and satellite communications.

This has provided the technical basis for Pine Gap to provide data enabling the targeting of illegal US drone attacks, in countries with which neither the United States nor Australia are at war, including Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. The fact that the information gathered in outback Australia can now be used, almost in real time, by weapons such as drones has increased the importance of Pine Gap in American strategic thinking.

The Chinese leadership also fears, with some justification, that US and Japanese missile defence that depends on Pine Gap might be able to destroy most, if not all, of China's nuclear missiles in flight, thereby vitiating China's nuclear deterrent force and leaving the country vulnerable to nuclear blackmail. By hosting Pine Gap, Australia is contributing to the undermining of China's longstanding minimalist nuclear deterrent, destabilising the precarious strategic fundamentals in East Asia.

We must turn therefore to the third option, an option of strategic independence to avoid complicity in America's future military operations and secure a future that best serves Australia's interests. Strategic dependence might have fulfilled this role in decades past, but its usefulness as a platform for Australia's foreign and security priorities has ended.

These are some features of the alliance, as presently constituted, that have us caught in a vice. To avoid complicity in America's future military operations, the Marine Air-Ground Task Force would have to be asked to leave. The deployment of our frigate, as part of that carrier strike group, would cease, and the appointment of Major General Burr, an active Australian major general, as second in command of the US Army in the Western Pacific, would have to be revoked.

These three actions could be undertaken relatively easily and quickly, without too much disruption. Pine Gap is another matter. The facility is a huge one, of great importance to the United States, and replacing it will take time - perhaps four to five years. To shut the facility down forthwith would leave a gap in America's strategic capabilities, which would be much more than an annoyance to the United States, but nevertheless a requirement to close it within five years would be reasonable.

There is no doubt that the United States would take the strongest possible exception to such moves. Every pressure would be exercised on an Australian government so that the United States would maintain strategic control. We would need to resist such pressures and make it clear that, in our view, the risks of a strategic alliance with the United States, of being forced into a war that was not in our interest, were so great that we had to cut the ties.

We need to look carefully at the risks, the costs and the benefits of a policy of strategic independence. There is no worldwide global threat as there was during the Cold War.

There are Australians who are afraid of China, but for China to be a danger, it would have to act out of character, contrary to all the traditions of its past. If China were to be a danger, this would also signal a total failure of Australian diplomacy. China does not represent a threat to the integrity of an independent Australia. We would earn greater respect as a consequence of such a policy.

The Economist summed it up best in 1963 when it said: "No Indonesian regime short of a blatantly communist one would earn active American hostility, no matter what harm it did to national Australian interests."

The United States would support Indonesia over Australia because it is the largest, most populist Islamic state in the world. On the question of Indonesia, we have relied on our own resources in the past, and we can do so in the future.

The current interpretation of ANZUS by Australian leaders is paradoxical - it might be the biggest threat to our own security despite it being presented as the guarantor of our security. Strategic independence would provide us with the motivation to look to the future – to ask ourselves what we must do to secure a future that best serves our needs and priorities, along with those of our region.

An independent Australia could act much more effectively in concert with other Western Pacific countries, on the one hand to avoid flashpoints and points of danger, and on the other to promote initiatives that would do much to maintain continuing peace throughout the region. An Australian position that is not interpreted by China and other nations in Asia as automatically representing the view of Washington can only enhance our diplomatic standing and ability to influence regional policy.

Strategic independence does not mean ending our relationship with America and cutting our ties. It does mean having a different relationship, a more equal one in which we can feel free to say no or offer a differing opinion. Similarly, strategic independence should not mean acquiescing to all the demands of a growing China, ignoring such issues as human rights. It does mean needing to appreciate and accept that China will increasingly seek out a new role for itself, as its power continues to grow.

Strategic independence would allow Australia to agree and disagree with both Washington and Beijing, as it suits our interests. We should not be afraid to express our views and stick to our beliefs.

Whichever way the dice fall, whether a conflict or war occurs between China and the United States or whether peace is maintained, Australia is better off being strategically independent.

This is an edited extract from Dangerous Allies by Malcolm Fraser with Cain Roberts, published by (MUP).

Malcolm Fraser will be appearing on The Drum tonight at 6pm (AEST) on ABC News 24.

Malcolm Fraser served as Australia's 22nd prime minister from 1975-1983. View his full profile here.

by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2016-05-25 00:29

The operator of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant has revealed that 600 tonnes of reactor fuel melted during the disaster, and that the exact location of the highly radioactive blobs remains a mystery.

Key points:

  • 600 tonnes of nuclear fuel still needs to be accounted for
  • Robots sent into the reactor have been disabled by radiation
  • 10 million bags of contaminated soil have been removed


In an exclusive interview with Foreign Correspondent, the Tokyo Electric Power Company's chief of decommissioning at Fukushima, Naohiro Masuda, said the company hoped to pinpoint the position of the fuel and begin removing it from 2021.

But he admitted the technology needed to remove the fuel has to be invented.

"Once we can find out the condition of the melted fuel and identify its location, I believe we can develop the necessary tools to retrieve it," Mr Masuda said.

"So it's important to find it as soon as possible."

Clean-up to take decades, cost tens of billions of dollars

Reactors 1, 2 and 3 at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant suffered catastrophic meltdowns in the hours and days after a giant tsunami swamped the facility on 11 March, 2011.

Thousands of workers are braving elevated radiation levels to stabilise and decommission the plant.

read more:


and see: (based on the report above)

by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2016-05-24 23:57

In a Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive, we speak with a former senior Pentagon official about how his superiors broke the law to punish a key National Security Agency whistleblower for leaking information about waste, mismanagement and surveillance. His account sheds light on how and why Edward Snowden revealed how the government was spying on hundreds of millions of people around the world. John Crane worked 25 years for the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, which helps federal employees expose abuse. He now says whistleblowers have little choice but to go outside the system, and is speaking out about what happened to NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who revealed the existence of a widespread illegal program of domestic surveillance. Crane describes how in December 2010 Drake’s lawyers filed a complaint with the inspector general alleging he had been punished in retaliation for his whistleblowing, and that the crimes Drake was later charged with were "based in part, or entirely," on information he provided to the Pentagon inspector general. Mark Hertsgaard recounts Crane’s story in his new book, "Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden," and shows how Drake’s persecution sent an unmistakable message to Edward Snowden: Raising concerns within the system meant he would be targeted next. Edward Snowden has responded to Crane’s revelations by calling for a complete overhaul of U.S. whistleblower protections. "To me, the main issue is: Can we have a workable system that lets whistleblowers follow their own principled dissent without having them destroyed in the process?" asks John Crane. We are also joined by Mark Hertsgaard.



This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Today, a Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive: A former senior Pentagon official speaks out for the first time about how his superiors broke the law to punish a key National Security Agency whistleblower. By now, everyone knows how Edward Snowden revealed the government spying on hundreds of millions of people around the world. But if you want to know why Snowden did it, and the way he did it, you need to know the story of John Crane, who worked 25 years for the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office, which helps federal employees expose abuse and corruption. He now says whistleblowers have little choice but to go outside the system.

Crane is coming forward to speak about what happened to NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who revealed the existence of a widespread illegal program of domestic surveillance. Drake’s house was raided by the FBI in 2007. He was charged in 2010 under the Espionage Act. In 2011, he pled guilty to a minor misdemeanor of unauthorized use of a government computer. He did not serve jail time.

John Crane and Edward Snowden’s stories are told in the new book, Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden. In dozens of hours of interviews with reporter Mark Hertsgaard, Crane described how in December 2010 Drake’s lawyers filed a complaint with the inspector general alleging he had been punished in retaliation for his whistleblowing, and that the crimes Drake had been charged with were, quote, "based in part, or entirely," unquote, on information that Drake provided to the Pentagon inspector general during its investigation of the NSA whistleblowers. In other words, the indictment had unmistakable similarities to the confidential testimony Drake had given to Crane’s staff at the Pentagon’s Inspector General’s office. This suggests investigators had not simply given Drake’s name to the FBI, but shared his entire testimony.

Mark Hertsgaard recounts this and much more of Crane’s story publicly in his book, Bravehearts. In it, Hertsgaard tells how Drake’s arrest, indictment and persecution sent an unmistakable message to Snowden: Raising concerns within the system meant he would be targeted next. Edward Snowden has responded to Crane’s revelations by calling for a complete overhaul of the U.S. whistleblower protections. Snowden told The Guardian, quote, "We need iron-clad, enforceable protections for whistleblowers, and we need a public record of success stories. Protect the people who go to members of Congress with oversight roles, and if their efforts lead to a positive change in policy—recognize them for their efforts. There are no incentives for people to stand up against an agency on the wrong side of the law today, and that’s got to change," Snowden said. He continued, "The sad reality of today’s policies is that going to the inspector general with evidence of truly serious wrongdoing is often a mistake. Going to the press involves serious risks, but at least you’ve got a chance," he says.

Well, for more, we’re joined here for the first time by John Crane, formerly with the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office, which helps federal employees expose abuse and corruption. And we’re joined by Mark Hertsgaard, who is the correspondent at Nation magazine, author of the newly published book, Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now!

JOHN CRANE: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: So, John Crane, talk about why you are coming out publicly for the first time.

JOHN CRANE: I’m coming out publicly for the first time because what Edward Snowden did is it was the largest, most massive classified leak in this country’s history. And so we have two separate issues here, that one is we, I think, need to make sure that there won’t be any more massive disclosures like that, but we can only assure that, should we have a whistleblower protection system in place that will make sure, one, whistleblowers have the confidence to step forward without having their own individual identities compromised, and when they step forward, that they’re not subject to multiyear retaliation.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about where you worked—people may not even realize the Pentagon has an Inspector General’s Office—and what you were in charge of.

JOHN CRANE: Yes. I was with the Inspector General’s Office. I worked there for 25 years. I was a senior executive there. I was one of the founding generations there. I had an office that was largely responsible for transparency and for accountability. Transparency meant that I dealt with the media, Congress. Accountability meant that I was responsible for the overall whistleblowing process. DOD is a huge agency. We have 1.2 million military. We have almost 700,000 civilians. We have half of the federal workforce. I was charged to make sure that within the Pentagon, that there could be principled dissent that would help to inform senior management regarding the way senior management made their own decisions, and—and that that system guaranteed that those people stepping forward would not be destroyed.

AMY GOODMAN: And that included, you oversaw the NSA, as well.


AMY GOODMAN: So when did you start to get nervous? When did you start to get alarmed?

JOHN CRANE: I got alarmed fairly early on, because since I was responsible for working with the Hill, when we received the first whistleblowing complaints, the so-called four plus one—Drake was called "plus one" because he wanted to have confidentiality maintained—that I then went up to the House and Senate Intel Committees, and they were making complaints about a large multibillion-dollar program that was responsible to gather huge amounts of information from U.S. citizens also. And it was simply behind schedule, over cost. It wasn’t meeting acquisition milestones. So we, of course, met with the Congress, and then we started a 18-month audit effort to see whether or not the various allegations brought to us were actually valid, that we found that most of their concerns were valid, and then we had the audit report issued in December of 2004.

One of the very important points of that audit report was—was that this is our audit report, IG DOD audit report, talked about a climate within the NSA regarding management reprisal. As the inspector general DOD, by statute, it is our responsibility making sure management reprisal does not take place. When I saw that, I said, "Look, we now have a civilian reprisal investigator on staff, Daniel Meyer, and he is now the whistleblower ombudsman for the larger intelligence community." And I wanted him to have the matter investigated, because we had made a finding. And I was subsequently told that we could not have the matter investigated, and that was the first warning flag to me that there was a problem.

AMY GOODMAN: So, I want to go to National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake in his own words. He was initially charged under the Espionage Act for leaking information about waste management at the agency, but the case against him later collapsed. We talked to Thomas Drake in 2012 about his case.

THOMAS DRAKE: I was charged under the Espionage Act as part of an indictment that was handed down on me in April of 2010. There was five counts under the Espionage Act for retaining—not leaking, retaining—national defense information, although the government alleged that I was doing so for the purpose of disclosure to those unauthorized to receive it. I was also charged with obstruction of justice, as well as making false statements to FBI agents. ...

My first day on the job was 9/11. And it was shortly after 9/11 that I was exposed to the Pandora’s box of illegality and government wrongdoing on a very significant scale. So, you had the twin fraud, waste—you know, the twin specters of fraud, waste and abuse being committed on a vast scale through a program called Trailblazer, a multibillion-dollar program, when in fact there was alternatives that already existed and fulfilled most all the requirements of Trailblazer, even prior to 9/11.

AMY GOODMAN: What happened to both Thomas Drake and Bill Binney and other NSA officials was frightening. We had a chance in April of 2012 to interview NSA whistleblower William Binney. He was appearing on Democracy Now! in his first-ever television interview, and he described what happened when FBI agents raided his home after he became a whistleblower. This was right before they raided Tom Drake’s house, but this was Bill Binney’s description of what happened to him.

WILLIAM BINNEY: I live in Maryland, actually four miles from NSA.

AMY GOODMAN: And what happened?

WILLIAM BINNEY: They came busting in.

AMY GOODMAN: Who’s "they"?

WILLIAM BINNEY: The FBI. About 12 of them, I think, 10 to 12. They came in with the guns drawn, on my house.

AMY GOODMAN: Where were you?

WILLIAM BINNEY: I was in the shower. I was taking a shower, so my son answered the door. And they of course pushed him out of the way at gunpoint and came running upstairs and found me in the shower, and came in and pointed the gun at me while I was, you know—

AMY GOODMAN: Pointed a gun at your head?

WILLIAM BINNEY: Oh, yeah. Yes. Wanted to make sure I saw it and that I was duly intimidated, I guess.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what did they—what did they do at that point? Did they begin questioning you? Or they just took you to headquarters? Or—

WILLIAM BINNEY: No, no. Yeah, they basically separated us from—I was separated from my family. Took me on the back porch, and they started asking me questions about it. They were basically wanting me to tell them something that would implicate someone in a crime. And so, I told them that I didn’t really know—they wanted to know about certain people, that was—they were the ones that were being raided at the same time, people who—we all signed—those who were raided that day, all of us signed the DOD IG complaint. We were the ones who filed that complaint.

AMY GOODMAN: The Pentagon—

WILLIAM BINNEY: The Pentagon DOD IG, against—

AMY GOODMAN: —inspector general complaint.

WILLIAM BINNEY: Against NSA, yes, talking about fraud—basically corruption, fraud, waste and abuse. And then—

AMY GOODMAN: Tom Drake was raided at the same time?

WILLIAM BINNEY: No, he was raided in November of that year. We were just the ones who signed it, were raided.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: So, and who were the other people that were raided that same day?

WILLIAM BINNEY: Diane Roark, Kirk Wiebe and Ed Loomis.

AMY GOODMAN: Diane Roark worked for the Senate committee?

WILLIAM BINNEY: Diane was the senior staffer. She had the NSA account on the HPSCI side, on the House side.

AMY GOODMAN: So, they were the four, and plus one was Drake. His house would be raided soon after. John Crane, if you could explain—Bill Binney ultimately would not be charged. Bill Binney, by the way, is a double amputee.

JOHN CRANE: Correct.

AMY GOODMAN: But Tom Drake was charged, and you noticed something very similar about the charges against him and what he revealed to your office.

JOHN CRANE: Yes. I was very concerned, because when there was a 10-count indictment returned, that three of the counts involved him housing information at his home. I was concerned that—well, first, he was a confidential whistleblower. And under the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, that their confidentialities are not revealed, and they can only be revealed under two separate circumstances, that, one, you have to ask the whistleblower whether they can have their identities revealed, and, two, only if there is no other alternative. This is a case where this was not a threat to health, safety—immediate threat. And my concern was—and this was actually raised through the Government Accountability Project, because they represented him—was that three of the charges could have related to whether or not he was following advice from the inspector general DOD. And I was concerned that should he have had housed material at his home, based upon IG DOD advice, he was then being on trial—put on trial under the Espionage Act because he was a confidential informant working with the IG, inspector general.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break, but I have to ask: What happened to you when you started raising these concerns? You’re there supposed to be protecting whistleblowers—


AMY GOODMAN: —in the Pentagon and the NSA.


AMY GOODMAN: And you are now becoming a whistleblower.

JOHN CRANE: Right. I was shut down, that I was the IG DOD FOIA appellate authority also. And—

AMY GOODMAN: Meaning when people asked you, under the Freedom of Information Act, for information.

JOHN CRANE: Absolutely. So, when his attorneys came to us, they wanted to see whether—in the 2004 audit, that whether in those work papers that there was exculpatory information regarding why Drake acted the way he did. As the FOIA appellate authority, I was in charge of simply gathering all of the information in the agency, that—those are documents that should have been retained, that they should have been permanent record. Some of them were also secret documents, top-secret documents, sensitive intelligence documents. There’s a very strict protocol regarding how those are handled, where they are, and if and when they are destroyed, and, of course, by whom. Those were answers I could not receive, and that was highly unusual.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to continue this discussion in a moment. John Crane, former senior official at the Pentagon, has revealed major privacy and security lapses within the government’s whistleblower program. For a quarter of a century, he worked with the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office, which is supposed to help federal employees expose abuse and corruption. This is a secret chapter that even Edward Snowden did not know about but is now coming to understand, what was happening within the government. And we’re going to speak with Mark Hertsgaard, as well, when we come back, to get a full picture of how this all fits together. His new book is out; it’s called Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden. Stay with us.


AMY GOODMAN: "Watching Me" by Jill Scott, here on Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. We’re in New York with this Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive with John Crane, former senior official at the Pentagon, who has revealed major privacy and security lapses within the government’s whistleblower program. For 25 years, he worked for the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office, which helped federal employees, both in the Pentagon, at the NSA, expose abuse and corruption. And we’re joined by Mark Hertsgaard, who is the author of the new book, Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden, which recounts for the first time John Crane’s story. You call him the third man, Mark. Why?

MARK HERTSGAARD: Well, because, as you said at the top of the show, everybody knows what Snowden did at this point, but to really understand it, what Snowden did and why he did it the way he did it—he did it, you need to know the stories of two other men. And one is Thomas Drake, as you said, and the other is the third man. And that third man is Mr. John Crane. And I called him that partly because I needed to keep his identity confidential myself, until we broke the story here today in New York on Democracy Now!, but also in The Guardian and Der Spiegel newspapers. And I chose to work with The Guardian and Der Spiegel because they broke the original Snowden stories, and they understood just how significant Crane’s revelations are, because when you see everything that John Crane tells us about how the whistleblower protection system inside the Pentagon is broken, only results in a whistleblower having his life ruined, as we saw with Tom Drake, you see that really Edward Snowden had no other choice but to go public.

I guess he had two choices. He could have remained silent about the NSA surveillance and then continued to leave the public in the dark about the fact that the United States government was conducting mass, warrantless surveillance, illegal surveillance. He could have done that, but Snowden decided, for reasons of conscience, he could not remain silent. He could have gone Tom Drake’s direction and ended up destroyed like Tom Drake. So, instead, Snowden went out and went public. And he did kind of what Daniel Ellsberg did 40 years ago with the Pentagon Papers, which is to say, "I’m going to take these documents. I’m going to give them to the press." And as you said in that quote at the top of the hour, from The Guardian report yesterday, Snowden says, "Look, going to the press is not without its risks"—you know, Snowden is now living in exile—"but at least you have a chance—at least you have a chance to get the news out."

And so I think that’s what’s important about John Crane’s story, is it puts the lie to what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are saying and have been saying about Edward Snowden from the beginning. "He broke the law, bring him home. He should face the music," is what Hillary Clinton said. "Face the music. He could have been a whistleblower," Hillary Clinton added, "and he would have gotten a very good reception, I think." Well, I would just like to invite Secretary Clinton, tell that to Thomas Drake, tell that to John Crane, that you would have gotten a good reception by following the whistleblower law inside of the Pentagon.

AMY GOODMAN: So, I want to go to part of what Edward Snowden responded to Crane’s revelations in The Guardian. He said, "We need iron-clad, enforceable protections for whistleblowers, and we need a public record of success stories. Protect the people who go to members of Congress with oversight roles, and if their efforts lead to a positive change in policy—recognize them for their efforts. There are no incentives for people to stand up against an agency on the wrong side of the law today, and that’s got to change." I also want to go to President Obama and Hillary Clinton. In a 2014—during a press conference in 2013, President Obama was asked about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. This is what he said.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The fact is, is that Mr. Snowden has been charged with three felonies. If, in fact, he believes that what he did was right, then, like every American citizen, he can come here, appear before the court with a lawyer and make his case. If the concern was that somehow this was the only way to get this information out to the public, I signed an executive order, well before Mr. Snowden leaked this information, that provided whistleblower protection to the intelligence community, for the first time. So there were other avenues available for somebody whose conscience was stirred and thought that they needed to question government actions.

AMY GOODMAN: OK, the president says he signed an executive order that would protect whistleblowers. John Crane, you were a top official in the Pentagon in the Inspector General’s Office. You were there within the whistleblowers protection unit.


AMY GOODMAN: Is what President Obama’s saying true?

JOHN CRANE: There are fact patterns that he was of course not aware of. The General Accountability Office, which is the investigative arm of the Congress, that they have issued two separate reports on the IG DOD whistleblower program. In one of the reports, they say that one-quarter of all IG employees fear reprisal. In a federal employee climate survey, one-third of all reprisal investigators fear reprisal. So, we have a situation here, based—based upon Capitol Hill taking in trust, showing that those investigators trying to actually prove reprisal are themselves retaliated against when they try to make findings substantiating reprisal. So, that’s a dynamic that no one within the White House would have understood.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go from the president to the person who wants to be president, Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state. This is a 2014 interview she did with The Guardian, where she said NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden should return to the U.S. if he’s serious in engaging in debate about privacy and security.

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I would say, first of all, that Edward Snowden broke our laws, and that cannot be ignored or brushed aside. Secondly, I believe that if his primary concern was stirring a debate in our country over the tension between privacy and security, there were other ways of doing it, instead of stealing an enormous amount of information that had nothing to do with the U.S. or American citizens. I would say, thirdly, that there are many people in our history who have raised serious questions about government behavior. They’ve done it either with or without whistleblower protection, and they have stood and faced whatever the reaction was to make their case in public. ...

I don’t know what he’s been charged with. Those are sealed indictments. I have no idea what he’s been charged with. I’m not sure he knows what he’s been charged with. But even in any case that I’m aware of, as a former lawyer, he has the right to mount a defense. And he certainly has a right to mount both a legal defense and a public defense, which of course can affect the legal defense.

AMY GOODMAN: I remember this interview very well that Hillary Clinton did with The Guardian in 2014, because I learned about it just as I was walking up the steps of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to interview Julian Assange, who is holed up there, and June 19th will be his fourth year in captivity. He’s gotten asylum in Ecuador, but he fears if he steps outside, he will be arrested and ultimately extradited to the United States, fears he could be charged with treason. But what Hillary Clinton said, John Crane, about him coming back to this country, and he could launch a vigorous legal and public defense, John Snowden—I mean, Edward Snowden?

JOHN CRANE: Yes, yes. I think that in terms of when you think whether or not you should be a whistleblower, that you’re concerned about whether or not the system works. And there are various statistics out there, from the IG DOD semi-annual report, for instance, that in regard to the way the IG even investigates senior officials, over a two-and-a-half-year period, regarding senior officials in the Army, that the IG DOD received 482 allegations, accepted 10 allegations, substantiated one allegation.

AMY GOODMAN: Of 404, the Inspector General’s Office in the Pentagon, in the Department of Defense—

JOHN CRANE: Substantiated one, which is 0.2 percent. The Army, however, also investigating senior officials, under IG DOD oversight, they had 372 allegations. They investigated all 372 allegations. They had 102 substantiated. They had a 27 percent substantiation rate. So, this is a very major statistical anomaly. Why does the Army, looking at the same group of senior officials, have a 27 percent substantiation rate versus the IG with a 0.2 percent?

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go back to the case of Tom Drake.


AMY GOODMAN: You allege documents were destroyed.

JOHN CRANE: I don’t allege that. Documents were destroyed. Because when the IG DOD—

AMY GOODMAN: You said you don’t allege that, that in fact you know that documents were destroyed.

JOHN CRANE: Because that is what the IG DOD said. Documents were destroyed according to a standard document destruction policy. And that was a statement that they made to the Department of Justice in regard to the Drake trial, because Drake’s attorneys wanted to find exculpatory information. The IG DOD response was, it just doesn’t exist.

AMY GOODMAN: It had existed.

JOHN CRANE: It had existed, and it should have existed.

MARK HERTSGAARD: Yeah, they made sure it didn’t exist.

AMY GOODMAN: Mark Hertsgaard?

MARK HERTSGAARD: They made sure it didn’t exist. I think John is being, perhaps, very diplomatic about his former colleagues. You know, he asked for those documents, and they said, "Oh, we can’t give them to you." "Why not?" "Well, because they don’t exist anymore." "Well, why not?" Because somebody"—expletived—"somebody screwed up, and they were destroyed," in a supposedly routine purge of documents. And, you know, they were, obviously, lying about that. And then, to make it worse, these two individuals, who were then the acting inspector general of the Pentagon and the general counsel, the top lawyer there, they lied—

AMY GOODMAN: Explain who they are.

MARK HERTSGAARD: Yeah. Well, their names are Lynne Halbrooks—she was the acting inspector general—and Henry Shelley, who was the general counsel. And he was the one who said, "We screwed up"—since this is a family program. And he said that they had been destroyed in a routine purge. Of course, governments, they do have to purge a lot of information, but you don’t purge top-secret documents lightly. And then, to make it worse, they then lied to the federal judge in this case about that, assuring the judge that it was—that the documents had been lost in a routine purge. Well, that, of course, is a felony. You cannot lie to a judge in a federal case. You cannot destroy documents. That is called obstruction of justice. And that is really why these two individuals now are in legal jeopardy.

And the Office of Special Counsel, which is an agency inside the United States government that investigates all of the whistleblower issues throughout the government, they looked into the allegations of John Crane. And in March, they issued their report, and they said that there is a, quote, "substantial likelihood" that Mr. Crane’s allegations are correct. What that means—that’s the highest threshold of proof that they could have asserted. And that means that now Henry Shelley, the general counsel, still at the Pentagon’s IG Office, and Lynne Halbrooks, the former assistant inspector general, they are now facing a new investigation. As the OSC finding required, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has now had to authorize a new investigation into all this. And these are the kinds of crimes—lying to a judge, destroying documents, obstructing justice—if you or I did them, we would be going to jail. We’ll see if these high-ranking Pentagon officials end up going to jail.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break, and when we come back, I want to ask you, John Crane, what gave you the courage to speak out. You have quite a remarkable family history. We are talking with John Crane, former senior official at the Pentagon, and we’re talking with Mark Hertsgaard, who has written the story of John Crane and Thomas Drake in a new book called Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden. Stay with us.


AMY GOODMAN: "Obama," Anohni, here on Democracy Now!,, The War and Peace Report. Today, a former Pentagon official is speaking out for the first time in this broadcast exclusive—John Crane, former senior official at the Pentagon, who’s revealed major privacy and security lapses within the government’s whistleblower program. He worked for a quarter of a century at the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office, which helps expose—which helps federal employees expose abuse and corruption, both at the Pentagon and the NSA. And we’re joined by Mark Hertsgaard, who tells Crane’s story in Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden, a new book. What happened to you, John Crane? So you worked there for 25 years; you’re not working there anymore.

JOHN CRANE: Yes. I was summoned into Ms. Halbrooks’ office, and I was simply walked out of the building.

AMY GOODMAN: The Pentagon inspector general at the time.

JOHN CRANE: Pentagon inspector general building. It was not a surprising occurrence.

AMY GOODMAN: When was this?

JOHN CRANE: This was in February 2013, that since I was responsible for the overall whistleblowing program, that within the Inspector General’s Office we had various whistleblowers stepping forward. And they had concerns regarding the audit function. They had concerns the way that we investigated reprisal investigations. And they had contacted Congress. And as the agency head, she asked me to actually identify to her IG employees who were whistleblowers, so that she could have the congressional oversight shut down, because she did not want to have her Senate nomination endangered by them, that she was the acting inspector general, that she wanted to be the permanent inspector general, and she could not afford to have whistleblowers contacting Congress, because that would create questions regarding whether she was qualified for the job that she wanted to have.

AMY GOODMAN: So you were walked out.

JOHN CRANE: I was walked out.

AMY GOODMAN: You were fired.

JOHN CRANE: Physically walked out.

AMY GOODMAN: What gave you the courage to speak out? Talk about your family.

JOHN CRANE: Civil society is very important. And in any large society, that there is a compact between the governed and those who govern them, and there needs to be transparency, and that there needs to be accountability. And should you have the wrong balance, should you have an executive out of control, that can simply compromise everyone’s rights. And in the Germany after World War I, when you have lots of unemployed soldiers with a grievance following very talented sociopaths, you can have a really explosive combination, and that was Nazi Germany. My father [sic] served under the Weimar Republic, and that was the liberal German republic after—

MARK HERTSGAARD: Your grandfather.

JOHN CRANE: Grandfather, after the First World War, that he was actually based down in Munich. He was in charge to—charged to monitor radical elements. And when Hitler tried to seize power for the first time, Hitler tried to use force. And then, in the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, Hitler tried to seize the whole Bavarian government. Hitler walked into the beer hall and fired a gun into the ceiling, saying that he was taking control. My grandfather stepped in front of him, saying, "Mr. Hitler, this way he will never control Germany." And then Hitler simply put his gun down, went to the front, captured the whole senior leadership. My grandfather then helped to have the actual countercoup established, put down Hitler’s uprising, and then he was to trial—then he was a witness at the trial for the government that, of course, put him in jail.

AMY GOODMAN: And what happened to your grandfather?

JOHN CRANE: My grandfather, of course, wasn’t a fascist, that in 1933, when Mr. Hitler seized power, that he resigned, but he wasn’t allowed to resign. He was very active with the antifascist resistance, that my uncle was killed in Poland in 1939. And one of his friends was a young officer called Graf Claus Schenk von [Stauffenberg]. He was the man who actually put the suitcase beside Hitler in 1944 to have Hitler killed. And so, he was a family friend. And the issue is: Within any society, how does a person channel simply principled civil dissent within a Nazi dictatorship that accords violence? Within the system we have here, because it is a constitutional democracy, principled dissent needs to be channeled through the whistleblower system, because that will help senior management also seeing levels down.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you want your old job back within the Pentagon’s Inspector General Office, being in charge of protection of whistleblowers?

JOHN CRANE: When I was in charge, outside civil society organizations said that my programs were the federal gold standard. That is not the case anymore. That should the new acting inspector general want to return his office to the gold standard, I am willing to help.

AMY GOODMAN: Mark Hertsgaard, as we begin to wrap up, how you came to investigate this story, and what the government’s response has been? You have interviewed Michael Hayden several times.

MARK HERTSGAARD: I did. The reason I got this story is because of the work of the Government Accountability Project, and they deserve a shout-out here. For 37 years, they have been defending whistleblowers, advocating for whistleblowers, both in individual cases like this and helping to write things like the whistleblower protection law and push it through Congress. They represented legally Edward Snowden, John Crane, Tom Drake and a whole range of other whistleblowers. And one of the things I say in the book is that while this is a very dramatic story, we need to understand as citizens—and this is what John Crane is saying here—we absolutely depend, as a democracy, on whistleblowers. We’ve got to know that they can come forward, because when whistleblowers come forward, whether it’s Daniel Ellsberg or John Crane or Edward Snowden or, you know, Jeffrey Wigand, who blew the whistle on how Big Tobacco was lying about nicotine in our cigarettes, you know, whistleblowers can make wars end, they can take deadly products off the market, and a whole range of other things. And I think whistleblowers do not get the respect that they deserve. And so that was what I was trying to do in this book. And the Government Accountability Project let me do that.

AMY GOODMAN: And the institutions you decided to release this with, this information—


AMY GOODMAN: —where you went, and where you didn’t go?

MARK HERTSGAARD: I went to—I went in February to Europe to meet face to face with the editors especially at The Guardian, because they broke the Snowden story originally. And very proud to say that they saw the value of this story right away, the same with Der Spiegel in Germany. And I chose them precisely because they’re outside of the United States. Too often the mainstream media in this country, as you well know, Amy, tend to, by default almost, reflect and channel the government’s views of this. You asked, did I go to the government? Of course I went to the government. I asked them about this. I asked Henry Shelley, I asked Lynne Halbrooks—the people who offed John Crane. They said they wouldn’t comment. And I think that they are assuming that this is going to blow over, because, in general, the American media has not held their feet to the fire.

Michael Hayden, the NSA director, he basically says that he wanted to put Edward Snowden on a government kill list. He said that was a joke. But he’s not quite as bloodthirsty as James Woolsey, the former CIA director, who said last November, after the Paris terrorist attacks, that Mr. Snowden, quote, "should suffer death by hanging. Electrocution is too good for him." So, when you’ve got a government like that, who has that kind of antipathy to whistleblowers, it’s all the more important that, as Snowden said yesterday reacting to John’s story in The Guardian, Snowden said we need to recognize whistleblowers and basically lift them up in the public debate, because without that, without the press doing that, the government will—by either active or de facto hostility, they will take people like John Crane down. And our democracy will be lessened. We would not know that the NSA is spying on all of us, had not Edward Snowden decided to go outside of this broken whistleblower system and become an act of conscience.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, who was speaking on CNN last year. He called NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden a traitor.

DONALD TRUMP: I think he’s a total traitor. And I would deal with him harshly. And if I were president, Putin would give him over. I would get along with Putin. I’ve dealt with Russia. Putin hates—

ANDERSON COOPER: You think you’d get along with Putin?

DONALD TRUMP: I think I’d get along with him fine. I think he’d be absolutely fine. He would never keep somebody like Snowden in Russia. He hates Obama. He doesn’t respect Obama. Obama doesn’t not like him, either. But he has no respect for Obama, has a hatred for Obama. And Snowden is living the life. Look, if that—if I’m president, Putin says, "Hey, boom, you’re gone." I guarantee you that.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Donald Trump talking about Edward Snowden. John Crane, in these last 30 seconds, your final comment?

JOHN CRANE: Regarding whistleblowing, that civil society, the Office of the Special Counsel and the Congress, in the most recent defense authorization bill under Chairman McCain, independently have all reached the same conclusion regarding the whistleblowing system within the IG. And their message to Secretary Ashton Carter is: Houston, we have a problem.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to leave it there. I want to thank you, John Crane, former senior official at the Pentagon in charge of protecting whistleblowers at the Pentagon and the NSA, speaking out here in this broadcast exclusive on Democracy Now! And Mark Hertsgaard, congratulations on your new book, Bravehearts: Whistle-Blowing in the Age of Snowden.

by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2016-05-24 15:36


After provoking Russia for decades, the United States government has apparently concluded that the Russians are all saints and decided to escalate the provocations with confidence that nothing will go wrong, or go nuclear. Either that or the U.S. government truly wants World War III.

I wouldn't treat a diseased rat the way the United States treats Russia. The Russian government has exercised such incredible restraint that the United States has apparently decided it can get away with being even nastier, a move that is now openly described by Washington insiders as being driven by weapons profiteering:

"'This is the "Chicken-Little, sky-is-falling" set in the Army,' the senior Pentagon officer said. 'These guys want us to believe the Russians are 10 feet tall. There's a simpler explanation: The Army is looking for a purpose, and a bigger chunk of the budget. And the best way to get that is to paint the Russians as being able to land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. What a crock.'"

In fact, the United States spends well over 8 times what Russia does on militarism, not counting "Homeland Security" or Energy or State or Veterans, etc. The world still contains enough nuclear weapons to destroy human life if just a small fraction of them are used, and 93 percent of them belong to Russia and the United States.

Why aren't the nukes gone, when Gorbachev was willing to give them up?

Because Reagan was unwilling to give up a stupid, non-functioning, and fraudulent technological defense against a threat that would not have existed if he had. That technology is back in the movie theaters and back in the news: Star Wars.

read more:


As mentioned before, Reagan and his neocons had another idea in their head. Once the USSR was dismantled, then the US could slowly take over the falling bits... which they have been doing, with the grand prize ultimately being Russia. The West tried with "banks" and "businesses" designed to steal Russian resources, but Putin threw them out, knowing that 99 per cent of the Western banks installed in Russia in the 1990s were working for or had been set up by the CIA and MI6...


by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2016-05-24 13:09


The Beltway military punditry floats one of its most inflammatory ideas yet, in calls for a preemptive strike against Moscow along with calls to bolster America’s missile defense system.

On Friday, a DC-based think tank issued a report calling for additional funding to advance US missile defense technology to combat what they view as a rising nuclear missile threat from Russia.

Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin scoffed at Western assertions that Russia poses the preeminent threat to the US and NATO, labeling the idea of an attack against the military alliance "the type of thing that only crazy people think, and only when they are dreaming."

Faced with the need to keep the budget spigot open, a Cold War-inspired Beltway commentariat continues to ratchet up "protective measures" against Moscow’s "aggression," by installing a missile defense system in Romania and constructing another similar missile defense system in Poland. NATO is now considering deploying permanent troops on the border between Poland and Russia, while undertaking a series of costly and polluting military exercises, steps from Russian lands.

The latest war-drum-beating report is provided by the Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments, whose scholars Bryan Clark and Mark Gunzinger not only call for spending more money on lasers, railguns, and hypervelocity projectiles, but also posit fail-safe artificial intelligence systems capable of shooting down incoming missiles, again from Russia.

The two note that while existing missile defense systems like the Navy’s Aegis have an automatic mode, the system lacks the kind of sophistication required to counter large incoming salvos. The paper proposed a plan modeled after a pet project of deputy Defense secretary and, coincidentally, a former vice-president of the Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments, Bob Work, who has led efforts to combine artificial intelligence with unmanned missile defense.

In addition to calling for widely expanding appropriations to upgrade the US missile defense system against a hypothetical Russian attack threat, the think tank analysts suggest preemptive strikes against Russia, China, or any other nation, in the event diplomatic relations deteriorate.

The two spell out their enhanced rules of engagement in text that clearly violates international law, detailing a "blinding campaign" of coordinated strikes against hostile headquarters, satellites and radar, using cyberattacks, jamming, and long-range bombing, in anticipation of an attack.

Meanwhile the idiots, er I mean the evagelcals, are preparing for Armageddon. They can smell it coming our way and they are pissing in their pants with excitement

So, what has convinced these theologians and pastors that the end times could be ramping up? That's a question that I cover in-depth in my newly released book, "The Armageddon Code: One Journalist's Quest for End-Times Answers," through interviews with around 20 of the most prevalent eschatology experts.

Many of these theologians and pastors told me that sweeping moral decay, biblical disconnectedness and ongoing violence in the Middle East are just a few of the prophetic markers that they believe were foretold thousands of years ago in both the Old and New Testaments.

But how can Christian leaders be so sure that the biblical end times are approaching? Jesus himself foretold of his future Second Coming. The problem? Christ also proclaimed in Matthew 24:36 that "no one knows" the day or the hour of his return.

While the Bible proclaims that humanity cannot know the "when," Jesus did reveal to the disciples some of signs of his second coming in Matthew 24:6-8: 

"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed … Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains." 

Surely war has always been with us, though the 20th — and 21st century thus far — have seen broader and more sweeping world wars that involve many nations, with the contemporary battle against Islamic terror crossing international borders.

Read more:


Between the insanity of the US President and his armies, the insanity of the evangelicals and the insanity of the next presidential candidates, we are in deep shit... Do you mean that after 2000 years of this little planet Christian history, that's it? BOOM? 13.7 billion years of Universal existence, 4.6 billion years of this planet existence and 450 million years of life on the land, 64 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs, god the insane has decided to call back his short-lived idiots? 


by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2016-05-24 09:53

Australians do not need the super-fast internet speeds promised when Labor wanted to roll out the National Broadband Network, Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne says.

Key points:

  • Christopher Pyne defends Coalition's roll out of NBN
  • Anthony Albanese says network is about economy, not watching movies
  • Pyne accuses media of beating up on Immigration Minister over refugee comments


Labor headed into the 2013 election promising its NBN would deliver download speeds of 1Gbps through a network mainly consisting of fibre to the home.

The Coalition's version aims to have significantly slower download speeds of 25Mbps, but was pitched as having a smaller price tag and earlier completion date.

In the wake of AFP raids over the leaking of documents showing cost blow-outs with the network, Mr Pyne was asked on Q&A if the Government regretted its policy.

"Absolutely not," Mr Pyne said, "And there has not been a delay of the NBN".

Mr Pyne, the Minister for Innovation, Science and Industry, said the Coalition's NBN would cost "$30 billion less" and "it will all be finished by 2020, not 2024 as Labor was promising".

read more:



As it stands, the coalition NBN never will be properly "finished" and by 2020, MOST AUSTRALIANS will need internet speed of at least 500 bops. by 2023, MOST AUSTRALIANS  will need 1Gbs (1000 bops).

By 2020, with Pyne/Turdball's erzatz of a bad mixed connections, you will be lucky to get 12 bops. 

Get rid of these idiots. They want you to drive old model T Fords while they will enjoy the luxury of a Ferrari — not that they would know how to use it as most of these mongrels are internet illiterates...

by Gus Leonisky on Tue, 2016-05-24 09:44

council of one dictator.

When Richard Pearson, the newly appointed administrator of the new Inner West Council, says he is not a "dictator", please tell him to shove it up his arse. What is a council? A council is several people making decisions about their livelihood, their neighbourly relations and the maintenance of democratic rights for as many people possible. 

A single person in charge of all these decision, no matter what "advice" he will steal from sacked councillors, is a DICTATOR. A potato dictator possibly, but a dictator nonetheless. Bugger off, don't try to smooch. Baird's amalgation of councils is undemocratic and any representative of the Baird government is undemocratic. Pearson is exactly what he says he's not: A DICTATOR. 


Get rid of all the Liberal mongrels — especially idiotic Turnbull who tries to get into your pants with charm, while his mate Abbott used to do it with fear.