Necessary journalism, say the greyhounds!

I wasn’t going to say anything about the greyhound baiting revelations on ABC’s 4 Corners Monday night. It turned my stomach. I thought it a terrific piece of investigative journalism. What it must have taken to film all that!

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Then last night on 7.30 Report I listened to Liberal Senator Chris Back stating that he had drafted a Bill that would require that the source material be handed over to some ‘authority’ within 5 days of acquisition, arguing that such handovers would expedite action to stop whatever it is that is going on.

He’s assuming of course, that said authority has no vested interest and is immune from corruption and has the capacity to take such swift action.

Meanwhile, whistleblowers and journalists beware!

No journalist gaining access to any material that might harm the reputation of any organisation will be allowed to hold onto that material and produce a film that explores and probes the issue in question.

There is a reason why this freedom exists for journalists, this ability to investigate behind the scenes then reveal to the public their findings.

It is not to create a sensation, although a sensation is often the result.

It is to expose hidden truths, hold the corrupt to account, help keep all pockets of society, especially those beyond the reach of ordinary citizens, in check.

If this Bill is passed, journalists will be forced to hand over source material to a government or other authoritative body whose job it will be to investigate the matter.

The potential for corruption and suppression of truth is enormous.

In other words, if this Bill passes we will most likely only get authorised, sanitised, heavily redacted versions of events, those that our government of the day wants us to see.

I thought that sort of censorship and control of the media was evident in countries with dictatorial or totalitarian styles of governance. Those with appalling human rights records.

Not Australia.

 

 

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Radicalisation and a kiss

Happy 2015! What a jolly time of it the powers that be are having – Obama and Cameron posturing like ancient philosophers on the problem of radicalisation and how to combat (combat?) hardline ideologies. LMAO – Mirror mirror on the wall…

Islamic fundamentalism grows in catch up with Christian fundamentalism and neoconservative/neoliberal fundamentalism.

There, I’ve answered it for you in a nutshell. But let me explain, in case you don’t get it yet Mr O and Mr C, (although I’m certain you get it very very well):

In a reality of linear and concrete thinking, where in Scripture this and that is taken to be literally true, fundamentalism will always beget fundamentalism.

Meanwhile hardline neoliberal policies of post GFC austerity beget a downtrodden populace, a populace with a dim yet tangible sense that they’ve been conned. (You will have heard the term bankster Mr O and Mr C?)

As ever, the two extremes, Christian and Islamic, foment each other, and as the pot is stirred by Western Supremacism (your way or the highway, eh), the utterly disaffected become so pissed off they’ll take up a bomb or a gun. It’s an obvious response. Happy days, say the Crusaders.

Radicalisation exists because we have a word for it, our gluttonous media slavering over every ounce of it. Hat’s off to the think tanks for this latest bit of spin in this new wave of propaganda. My, how adept you must think you are! Adept at creating thought wars, the battleground a dense fog, a miasma. Must be a fun job that.

Woo hoo say the corporations, circling vultures, waiting to swoop and eat their fill as cities fall and people flee. There’s the arms trade, there are the government contracts, there’s the private militia/security business, there’s the reconstruction, and there are the billions of dollars of profit to be made out of asylum seeker detention centres. It’s a bonanza.

Yet two women kiss and canoodle and are thrown out of a cafe in Vienna, and the owner is forced to apologise after over a thousand people take to the street outside in protest. If humanity is capable of mass action in the face of a cafe kiss, then little wonder you are afraid of us, so afraid you stamp us down with anti-protest laws and beefed up surveillance and security.

Let the woman in the hijab be. Let Islam, a religion of peace and grace, be. Let fundamentalism slip away on the wings of an open heart free of fear and hatred. And let neoliberalism fall, as all empires fall, and we can say farewell Mr O and Mr C, and welcome in a new and better age of fairness and goodwill.

Hard Attitudes for Hard Times

 

DickensDespite the grandiose speeches and the spin, across western democracies post-GFC austerity seems to have little to do with reducing government debt and everything to do with controlling populations largely through the expansion and oppression of the underclass – the dalits of western civilisation – the guts sucked from the welfare system leaving a wizened carcass of a once plump beast. Welfare services are corporatised, sold off to the lowest bidder whose sole concern is profit. Corporations or quasi-corporate ngos with minimal or no expertise are given tenders for aged care, counselling, women’s refuges and so on. While Australia’s Abbott government’s Benefit reforms will render destitute millions of Australia’s most vulnerable.

All the while the politico-media complex tells the noble-washed of the middle and still-working classes that the underclass are slobbering wretches with unworthy motives, scammers, scoundrels, cheats and the bone idle, pathetic wretches of Dickensian proportions whose begging hands should be promptly severed. After all, why would a decent voter wish to carry such a burden? Best to lock the worst of them up in the newly revamped and much expanded prison service, run naturally by corporations with a now established if troubled history in the industry. Once incarcerated inmates can then work for a pittance or no renumeration at all, and while the noble tax payer pays the government to pay the corporation, the corporation extracts profits from its prisoners’ labour. A perfect solution and a perfect deterrent should any other member of the underclass wish to question the system.

We are I think witnessing the rapid expansion of an underworld within an overworld, and those either unaffected, affected in beneficial ways, or who respond fatalistically and passively to avoid falling into the underworld, will support the new status quo, happy to buy the spin,  happy to scapegoat the the marginalised, the outcasts, the poor. In case the noble-washed should ever waver, a back-up plan is already in place – the cruel treatment of asylum seekers and the attendant carefully crafted propaganda. Every ideological campaign needs a scapegoat through which to harden attitudes that can then be manipulated and directed towards other groups. That the nationalistic ideology is a complete lie invoked to mask the fundamentally globalist agenda unfolding in every country the world over is of great concern. Nationalism is contagious, and in its worst and most fragmented and divisive forms leads to war. War that inevitably creates an exodus of asylum seekers in its wake. A perfect situation perhaps for the structural changes essential for the globalist project to succeed.

Nationalism has the added benefit of parochialising the vision of the masses so they are incapable of reaching any sort of understanding of matters global.

As for the those with just hearts, our governments have plans for us too. Currently in Australia Attorney General, George Brandis has plans afoot to further strengthen surveillance and terror laws on the pretext of protecting citizens from radically infused returnees from Syria – born-again jihadists with malicious intentions. While it may be true that one or two do pose a threat to Australian society, surely ASIO and the AFP can handle them? Isn’t that what they are trained and paid to do? I believe something much more sinister is at work, exemplified by Josh Allen’s piece in the New Internationalist, ‘Anti-extremism’ government programme targets student activist. Allen highlights yet again how anti-terror legislation is used to monitor and harrass activists of all stripes.

As Arundhati Roy states in many of her essays concerning big dams in India, the primary targets of the neoliberalism are always the poor and activists. Terrorism while real, is thus used as a weapon by the politico-media complex against its own people. Australia treads the same path.

I fear that under austerity the underclass are fast becoming ”asylum seekers” in their own nation, activists that seek to support them and hold corporations and their puppet governments to account are rapidly gagged, while the noble-washed conduct their affairs unaware that an even greater harm has befallen them, their hearts, perhaps once soft and kind, now sinewy and beating a callous pulse.

An Assault on the Downing of MH 17

 

 

 

10505548_493119704152891_8326171427034740122_nI had to watch the news last night, on SBS and ABC. And of course I endured the tedious repetition, the over-dwelling on the usual crisis dimensions from the flowers and the tears to the stock phrases of politicians. And I felt sorry for Putin. Not because I am suckered in by his hang dog looks on camera, but because he has been made the fall guy in such a direct and ruthless manner. The West hailing in the process the old Cold War ideology of big bad Russia (with the attendant sub-text of big bad communism).

I abhor hypocrisy. Since when does the West point a finger at itself? Since when does the United Nations condemn it’s nursing mother America for supplying weapons that kill innocents?

There is every chance that MH17 was shot down by the ultra-right wing Ukrainian government. Every chance that this single atrocious act was orchestrated by an inner circle (possibly with ties to Uncle Sam) in order to elevate tensions, justify all manner of sanctions and retaliations, garner support from a wavering Europe and of course further demonise and ostracise Russia.

Last night I knew I was being indoctrinated by mainstream news. Even the matter of access to the crash site, apparently thwarted by separatist militia, was no doubt a construction of circumstances. Mainstream media was on this occasion so unashamedly predatory and melodramatic, squeezing every last drop of  milk from the udder of catastrophe, that I stood up and went to do the dishes.

Peace be upon those two-hundred and ninety-eight who lost their lives and those who are suffering their loss.

Peace be upon the millions of innocents in Iraq, in Syria, in Gaza, in Sudan, in the Congo, in the Central African Republic, their dead and maimed and the families who mourn, peace be upon the displaced and those huddled in border camps, and peace be upon all those who seek a return to their peace…