Monday 20th of May 2024

Richard Tonkin's blog

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?


KBR-Getting Rich Off The War

This reporrt just out on USA Today is well worth reading:

Government auditors discovered something odd last year when they reviewed KBR Inc.'s annual cost estimate to provide support services for U.S. troops in Iraq. The contractor proposed charging $110 million for housing, food, water, laundry and other services on bases that had been shut down.

KBR got a contract extension for $3.7 billion, but it agreed to drop the proposed $110 million spending on closed bases and an additional $50 million of duplicate charges and math errors, according to Defense Department records obtained by USA TODAY under the Freedom of Information Act.


Adelaide "Defence Capital Of Australia"- SA Treasurer


A new merger announced today has seen the former global Vice-President of Halliburton/KBR become a much more influential player in the implementation of Adelaide's future.

The Defence Industry Advisory Board, chaired by Peter Cosgrove, is to merge with the Port Adelaide Maritime Corporation. The corporation owns Techport Australia, whose CEO is Cheney's former man-on-the-ground" for this part of the world.

Coalition Of Corporations


Consider things from this point of view. The writer of this Jakarta Post opinion piece is Professor of International Affairs, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.


China would view a club of big power democracies in Asia as an ideologically charged move that is likely to evolve into a security grouping over time. Such a development is provocative to Beijing which would also see it as a threat to regional stability. And Beijing may have a good point there. The theory of "democratic peace" holds that democracies do not fight one another.

Adelaide's Spanish Armada

que .....

Apparently in defence procurement there's no such thing as a fait accompli. It looked like the AWD deal was going to be the usual stich-up... then a minor Spanish Inquisition seems to have upset the apple-cart.

Here's how the US State Department perceives the whole thing:

Law And Activism

My mind's spinning around The Eureka Rebellion, Mahatma Ghandi, Easter 1916, Garry Kasparov, and Parkin (brutally thrown out of our country for no crime) floats around the edges.

In the eyes of those who believe themselves as defending against an imposed injustice, observance of the laws of a perceived oppressor may not be foremost amongst priorities.

There are many who share Bryan Law's concern of the use of U.S. military technology on our soil. I for one am dismayed at the successful U.S. sponsored scramjet launch at Woomera last Friday. Of course everyone's talking up the two-hour flight to London, but peaceful uses for such technologies never preceed the need to find newer and more efficient ways to kill each other.

Coalition of Missiles.

The world became much smaller on Friday. How quickly do you think a scramjet-fitted Aegis will arrive from Australia to anywhere when it comes screaming down at Mach 10?

The media is finally being trickled "news" that the AWD's might be fitted with Aegis SM-3's ( like the ones the Japs bought so we can have a "national" missile shield. The public are being smokescreened from the knowledge that they're participating in an international Bush/Cheney program, first mooted in a defence paper spearheaded by the head of Halliburton Australia.

SM-3s,unlike SM-2s, don't need atmosphere in which to steer. They could still get to 500km above the surface and from there hurtle down on scramjets.

They reckon that a plane would make is from Australia to London in 2 hours... I bet you that a missile would do it faster.

We're going to be part of a U.S. led Coalition Of Missiles. Mark these words.

No Jail for Pine Gap Four

[Media Release] Four Christian pacifists are celebrating after being spared prison sentences in the Northern Territory Supreme Court today.

The Pine Gap Four, found guilty of breaching the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952, have been handed minor fines.

The public gallery erupted into song, applause, cheers and hugs and the feeling of victory and vindication was in the air.

Justice Sally Thomas noted their good behaviour and co-operation in the sentencing decision.
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