Sunday, December 31, 2006

Claim : 1000 Chinese Spies In Australia

Intelligence Services Recruit Dozens More Spies With Asian Language Skills, But Share Only 12 Arabic Speakers Amongst Five Agencies

Australian Government Has Doubled Staff Of Key Intelligence Agency Since 9/11

While sections of the Australian media and commetariat have been obsessed with paranoid fears that Australian society as they know it will somehow be undone by the 300,000 Muslims who now call Australia their home, the much more realistic security threat appears to be the alleged 1000 Chinese spies living and working here.

In less than five years, the Australian government has doubled the staff of the chief intelligence agency,
ASIO, to more than 1600, and have recruited nearly 90 foreign language speaking spies and analysts.

But only twelve of those new
recruits speak and read Arabic. More than 70 have been hired specifically because of their skills with Chinese and Asian languages.

The government claims that they are having trouble recruiting fluent Arabic speakers.

The impression is given that those who can speak and read Arabic don't want to work for Australia's intelligence agencies. To become an Australian spy or intelligence analyst, new recruits are subjected to lengthy and highly intrusive 'screening' procedures.

Former analyst Andrew
Wilkie has claimed (in his book 'Axis of Deceit') that every single address each new recruit has ever lived at is examined, as well as the backgrounds of those they frequently associate with, be they friends, family members or former co-workers.

Having to explain your relationships, your employment history and your international travel history would prove difficult for most young Australians, not just those who can read and speak Arabic languages.

There is little to suggest that those who offer Chinese and Asian language skills as part of their resume are subjected to less investigation and background checks than those who can handle the complexities of Arabic.

So what's going on here?

Is the threat posed by Chinese spies and espionage greater or less than that posed by Middle Easterners?

So great is the need to recruit Chinese and Asian language speaking spies and analysts in Australia that
ASIO has formed a new counter-espionage unit specifically to deal with the perceived threat.

And yet, the five key intelligence agencies are said to share amongst themselves only some 12 people skilled in Arabic languages.

The disparity of new recruits skilled in one set of foreign languages compared to another is vast.

Which raises the question : Is the threat of Chinese espionage now viewed as a greater threat to Australian security than that posed by
jihadists or extremists of Middle Eastern backgrounds?

It is also interesting to note that in recent months, senior officials and ministers of the Australian government, including the prime minister, John Howard, are now using the words "extremists" and "radicals" where they had previously word-punched "terrorists."

'Extremist', of course, is even more open to broad definitions and categorisations than 'terrorist'.

So presumably it is no accident that senior government officials are reflecting US President Bush and UK Prime Minister Blair in their change of words to describe the what are deemed to be the key threats to national security.

It's out with "terrorists" and in with "extremists" and "radicals".

The threat of terrorism, it would then appear, is far less than the threat posed by government and corporate espionage, from the Chinese in particular, sniffing out details of new military hardware and software, courtesy of the United States, and examining Australia's relationship with 'The Locals' - Fiji, Tonga, East
Timor, the Solomon Islands.

From 'The Australian' :
....many of the new recruits are fluent Chinese speakers who have been assigned to a new ASIO counter-espionage unit specifically to combat the increased number of Chinese spies in Australia.

Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock told The Australian that ASIO needed recruits with "a range of experience and backgrounds".

The new intake of Chinese-speaking ASIO officers has bolstered its capacity to monitor the activities of Chinese spies, which now outnumber the Russians that dominated Canberra intelligence circles during the Cold War.

....senior government sources believed Australia had been targeted aggressively in recent years by Chinese spies seeking information on military-related technology and strategic policy secrets.

"China would be the biggest now by a fair way ... they have built up their capabilities over the last 10 years and are more aggressive in their activities," the source said.

China has denied it has spies in Australia, a claim dismissed by security officials who say they operate mostly under diplomatic cover and under the guise of businessmen.

ASIO has now established what has been called "a dedicated division" to ramp up defences against the increased threat posed by "foreign spies."

September 11, 2001, ASIO has given its greatest emphasis and resources to the threats posed by terrorism, particularly those threats that may have originated from jihadists or Middle Easterners.

But the establishment of a Counter-Espionage and Foreign Interference Division by ASIO
clearly shows the chief threats to Australia's security have changed in the past two years.

And this change of percieved threats appears to have begun somewhere around the time that a Chinese diplomat announced that there were some 1000 Chinese spies living and working inside Australia.

From the Australian :

Many of the recruits will work in the counter-espionage unit of the new division, which was set up in July. A separately managed unit on "foreign interference" completes the new division.

The division's mission is to "address threats from espionage and foreign interference that complements the focus on terrorism and other extremist activity", ASIO said.

You don't exactly have to read between the lines.

When Australia's chief spy agency is dishing up such details to a national newspaper you can assume they want their friends and enemies to know what's going on, and where their focus is now centred.

June 2005 : Attorney General Confirms Australian Intelligence Agencies Looking Into Claims Of Chinese Spies In Australia

Chinese Diplomat Claims At Least 1000 Chinese Spies Inside Australia

Defector Claims To Be Chinese Spy Master

Mossad In Australia : The New Zealand False Passports Scandal

Government Denies Mossad Obtained 25 Australian Passports

Australia's Top Cop : Don't Blame Australian Muslims For Terror

Go Here For The Latest Stories From The 'Your New Reality' Blog

Go Here For The Latest Stories From 'The Fourth World War' Blog

Friday, December 29, 2006


The Australian prime minister, John Howard, has announced that he would be quite happy to live right next door to a nuclear power plant.

"I wouldn't have any objection," he told reporters today when asked if he would mind a nuclear power plant being located in his neighbourhood. "No objections....None whatsoever."

When journalists snickered and shook their heads in disbelief, Howard pursed his lips and affected his trademarked hurt look.

"I'm serious," he said, and then paused. "...quite serious."

Howard didn't reveal whether or not he had consulted his neighbours about the installation of Australia's first nuclear power plant in their street, just to prove his point that nuclear energy is safe.

But then, he's the prime minister, and he doesn't allow the objections of any Australians to change his mind, or views, regardless of whether the issue is Australia's involvement in the 'War On Iraq' or the establishment of some two dozen nuclear power plants up and down the east coast of Australia.

Howard wants Australia to become the biggest exporter of uranium in the world, and he's using the debate over Australia's energy future to ram through a change in the public mind, from anti-uranium mining and energy, to pro, on both issues.

He's got a hell of a fight ahead of him.

Most Australians believe that alternative energy sources are the key to Australia's "energy security" (to use a Howard pitch).

Poll after poll reveals that Australians would rather see the mass roll-out of solar power and wind farms, and more focus on energy efficiency, than putting massive potential terrorist targets in dozens of Australian towns and cities.

Howard seems quite keen to have Our Nuclear Future become a key election issue.

Of course he is.

Even if a site was chosen tomorrow, Australia wouldn't have its first nuclear energy power station until 2020, at the earliest.

The prime minister wants to cram the 2007 election issue grinder with controversies of his own choosing, rather than issues that actually concern Australians.

Like why average families will be paying almost half their income to meet their mortgages, and why Australia is still involved in the Iraq War, and why an Australian citizen named David Hicks can be detained by the United States for five years, tortured, psychologically destroyed and still not be put on trial as the most basic tenets of western democracy demands, and why young Australians can't afford to go to university. Issues like those.

Howard is already claiming that the opposition Labor Party is going to run a "fear campaign" surrounding nuclear energy.

But the fear of a nuclear power station down the road is already well entrenched. Australians are not necessarily fearful of Three Mile Island-like meltdowns, but they are fearful that the value of their homes will suffer a meltdown once it becomes public knowledge exactly where these plants are going to be built.

If they are ever built at all, that is. And Howard has made no promise yet that nuclear energy will be a part of Australia's future. He just wants to fuel the debate.

Of course he does. Howard's political mastery has long been controlling the issues in the arena of public debate, and in the media. He'd rather be pilloried for pursuing nuclear energy than face involved public debates about why and how Australia became involved in the Iraq War.

Create the issues, fuel the debates, control the national agenda.

And turn Australia into a massive uranium mine and nuclear waste dump along the way.

Howard Wants Nuclear Power In His Own Backyard

Good Luck : Prime Minister Tries To Energise Nuclear Energy As An Election Issue

Lift Bans On Uranium Mining, Demands Howard

Tell Australians Where Nuclear Plants Will Be Built, And Where The Waste Will Be Buried

Go To 'Your New Reality' For The Latest Stories

Go To 'The Fourth World War' For New Stories



In the space of just one week over Christmas, revelations about two murders on the East and West coasts have shocked Australians, not only because of the brutality surrounding the deaths of a 16 year old girl and an 81 year old woman, but because both corpses were dumped inside wheelie bins.

When the two young Perth women charged with murdering their 16 year old friend, Stacey Mitchell, appeared in court yesterday, they giggled as authorities struggled to pronounce their names. Not surprisingly, this behaviour earned them a sharp rebuke from the magistrate.

Police believe an argument broke out between the victim and her friends at a rented house in a Perth suburb on Sunday, December 17. The 16 year old girl was missing for four days before police found her remains crammed into a bin behind a house in which police found bloodstains and signs of a struggle.

But police are mystified as to why 81 year old Kathy Schweitzer, from Bellevue Hill in New South Wales, was killed. A detective admitted he was "struggling to find a motive for such a callous act."

Schweitzer lived alone in an apartment overlooking Sydney Harbour. Neighbours found her body inside a wheelie bin after they became concerned that no-one in the building had seen or spoken to her in days.

Police have assigned more than 20 detectives to the murder case, a task force commitment described as an "unusually large" number of police resources by one newspaper.

Police believe Ms Schweitzer was strangled to death in her apartment, but they've found no signs that there was a break-in, that she had been robbed or that a struggle had taken place.

Ms Schweitzer was described as a "Holocaust survivor" by 'The Australian' newspaper.

Although described by most residents and locals interviewed by media as "a very nice lady", "kind", "she always had a big smile" and "a quiet woman who kept to herself", 'The Australian' quoted a member of a Hungarian Holocaust survivors social group who claimed Ms Schweitzer was "a terrible racist. She didn't like Aborigines, or any other race. She didn't like the advantages they were gaining."

The unnamed woman suggested her murder may have followed an argument with a taxi driver, noting that taxi drivers grew "annoyed" with Ms Schweitzer because she used taxis for short journeys.

Ms Schweitzer is believed to have been active in the Hungarian Resistance during World War 2, forging fake birth certificates and ID documents for other Jews while in hiding from the Nazis.

Claim : Teenage Girls Tried To Clean Up Blood Stains, Removed Carpets From House After Murder

An Undignified Death : Strangled And Dumped In A Garbage Bin

Saturday, December 23, 2006




Maybe someone stole the now missing rocket launchers from an Australian Defence Force ammo dump, or maybe the armour-busting weapons were smuggled into Australia illegally.

Whatever. The fact is at least eight incredibly destructive weapons, that can unpacked, fired and dumped in a car boot within minutes, are now missing somewhere in Australia.

In just on nine months, the Australian prime minister will celebrate one of the crowning glories of his leadership years when he hosts the APEC conference in Sydney, bringing key world leaders to Australia, including US President Bush.

You can probably understand now why cops, detectives, counter-terror security officials, government ministers, the prime minister himself and key intelligence agencies are shitting themselves.

It's the stuff of horror stories.

From the Melbourne Age :
ASIO has been called in to help investigate whether rocket launchers have been stolen from the army and possibly sold to criminal gangs or terrorists.

With thousands of high-level foreign visitors due in Australia over the coming nine months for a series of meetings leading to the APEC summit in Sydney in September, ASIO, Australian Federal Police, NSW Police counter-terrorism specialists and the Middle Eastern crime squad are all involved in a major effort to track down eight 66-millimetre rocket launchers capable of destroying a light-armoured vehicle.

Police have reportedly paid $50,000 to recover a ninth launcher and explosives. Security around all ADF munition supplies has been strengthened.

The light anti-armour weapon is used by infantry to destroy light-armoured vehicles and bunkers or to knock holes in buildings.

Presumably knowing these weapons are out there, and that terrorists would pay top dollar for them, means this event constitutes a major terrorist threat.

So why has the prime minister been so quiet about it?

And yet, when a mysterious white substance turned up at the Indonesian embassy last year, he rushed in front of the cameras to announce Australia's first biological terror attack, which turned out to be nothing of the sort.

Perhaps eight missing rocket launchers constitutes an all-too-real terror threat you don't want to promote, too loudly.

Not with the prime minister's good mate, President Bush, coming to town.

Army's Shocking History Of Weapons Theft

Warnings On Weapons Security Was "Ignored"

Blackmarket Weaopons Ring Run By 'Rogue Military' Suspected




Politicians always say they don't rely on polls. Except for the ones that make them sit up and scream in horror.

A poll like this one that reveals 70% of Australians don't think going to War on Iraq was worth it.

A poll that reveals more half of all Australians want the government to announce an exit date.

A poll that reveals only 21% think going to War on Iraq was a good idea and that the vast majority don't believe Iraq will be anything close to stable in the next few years.

The majority of Australians were opposed to the 'War On Iraq' in early 2003.

Once the war began, support went up, and climbed again following the deceptively quick overthrow and routing of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party.

The poll today tells the story of a country steadily losing faith in its political, and war-time, leader, and the decisions he has made since the successful Iraqi elections provided an exit for Australian troops, with most missions accomplished.

Of course, Australian prime minister, John Howard, decided Australian troops had to stay in Iraq after elections.

One of the greatest mysteries in Australia at the moment is exactly what our 700 or so soldiers are actually doing in Iraq. They're protecting embassy officials and escorting corporate clients, and training up the Iraqi police and army, for the most part, but there has been minimal effort from the government's propaganda wing to market the ongoing war in the Australian media, and thereby in the minds of Australians.

Australian troops have been involved in countless clashes with insurgents. There have been a few deaths, the most infamous being that of Jake Kovko, who apparently shot himself by accident, and whose corpse was lost, was misplaced for days, as the Howard government furiously tried to spin its way clear of the fallout. Something they failed to do.

But does a lack of keeping the Australians role in the war front and centre really explain such horrendously low levels of support the war?

Just how deep an impact was made in the public mind by former SAS Iraq war planner Peter Tinley's revelations that no-one he worked with in pre-war planning in the United States took the Saddam Has WMD Threat seriously, and that the resulting war had been a moral and strategic blunder?

It's hard to tell. But Tinley's revelations were featured prominently in the Australian media in the weeks before the poll was taken.

John Howard knew such unease amongst Australians over Iraq was a harsh reality on December 8, when he timidly announced (as though forced to) that the Iraq War had not gone according to plan, and that "certainly things in Iraq are going very badly."

But neither the impact of Tinley's revelations and Howard's dawning reality-check fully explains why 70% of Australians don't think the Iraq War is worth fighting, and the vast majority now demand to know exactly when Howard plans to "bring the troops home."

It has been the steady thudding of terrorist attacks almost every night on the news which has induced a sense of helplessness and regret about the war. We think about all those terrorist attacks, and how virtually all of them have happened in Iraq, where we have deployed at least one-fifth of our fighting forces in the past three years, resulting in many hundreds of young Australians suffering depression, PTSD, traumatic injuries.

It has also been the rapidly increasing association of the name "Howard" with the words "corruption" "lies" "deception" in the headline news, radio talk back and double page spreads.

And it has been the vast awakening of Australians to the truth about why their country launched an unprovoked attack on Baghdad, and then an illegal invasion and occupation.

Nobody likes to feel that someone they trust has done the dirty on them, particularly not Australians.

The internet has certainly played its part in that education process. But so have the scandals directly involving Howard's near faultless use of 'plausible deniability' to cover his "I don't recall" and "I don't know" answers to important questions.

And it was the same for the AWB bribery scandal involving $300 million paid to Saddam Hussein as it was for Howard's astounding ignorance of key Australian intelligence reports about the lack of evidence for WMDs in Iraq before the war actually began.

So, to a large extent, the prime minister himself has aided in educating Australians as to the truth about the War on Iraq by the enormous amount of media time devoted to scandals either directly, or indirectly, involving him.

The prime minister has had to answer too many uncomfortable questions this year about Iraq, WMDs, bribing Saddam, the disappearance of Jake Kovko's body, Australia's relationship with the US and the 'War On Terror' in general, for all that defensiveness from Howard not to have impacted negatively with the public.

Clearly it now has.

When it came to yet more revelations about the illusions of why Australian went to war on Iraq and how the body of an Australian soldier could get lost, for days, Howard usually adopted a near pitiful, pathetic pouting face, as though journalists were being cruel asking him some tough questions.

And, surprisingly, Howard turns out to be a shockingly bad liar when cornered, particularly over Iraq.

Finally, there has been a slew of American books about the failings of the Iraq War, the chaos in the White House and how Bush Co. manufactured WMD evidence to order released in Australia this year.

From 'The One Percent Doctrine' to 'Fiasco' to Bob Woodward's 'State Of Denial', these books have received enormous publicity, and their extracts and revelations have filled front pages and featured heavily in weekend supplements.

Information and imagery derived of the steady flow of books, articles, documentaries and key interviews with dissenting ex-Bush Co. officials, generals, intelligence experts and soldiers (most of all this media coming directly from the US) have frequently book-ended news reports on appalling terror attacks in Iraq, and the inability of Iraq's government to get their country under control.

All that information - the AWB revelations, the lack of WMDs, mass media exposures of the deceptions that led to the war, the endless terror unleashed by the 'War On Terror' - adds up to a monumental re-education from The Facts As They're Known in late 2002 and early 2003.

There was a lot to unlearn in order to accept this New Reality, and it took time.

But now the questions to talk back radio, to letters to the editor, to comments and chat boards on the internet, on what the prime minister's true motivations for going to War on Iraq actually were, are coming thick and fast.

Unfortunately for the prime minister, there are dozens of possibilities up for public discussions as to why Howard followed the US president into a war that was clearly illegal, unprovoked and unnecessary.

So many questions. Did it have something to do with the AWB scandal? Was it really just about Iraq's oil? Does Howard do everything Bush tells him to? Is the Iraq War a lead in to an Iran war? Is John Howard yet another NeoCon?

It is all but impossible to imagine a change in Iraq before the 2007 elections are held that could turn the public's opinion back to overwhelmingly positive for Howard, and the resulting holocaust of a war he helped to make a reality.

Howard has now announced he will commit no more troops to the Iraq War, which would seem to confirm rumours that the prime minister will "bring the troops home" by June-July 2007, just in time for the federal election.

But even this move - giving the public what it wants, making it feel like it had a big say in the fact that Australians troops had been brought home from Iraq - would not placate Australians.

The Iraq War is likely to still remain a deadly mess when the elections are held, and they will wonder if Howard only brought the troops home to win the election.

The War on Iraq has made Australians particularly cynical about their prime minister, and a shamefully high number of people now believe their leader lies to them on a regular basis.

Perhaps worse, they accept it as fact, as something to expect, that their prime minister would treat them this way.

How could such a loss of faith, such a widespread recognition of duplicity and deceit, do anything but turn the Australian people against their prime minister, and the War on Iraq that he simply had to have?

More numbers from the poll :

In October this year, 68% of Australians didn't think it was worth going to War on Iraq. The figure now is 71%.

In February, 2004, 40 percent of Australians thought it was worth going to War on Iraq. Now only 21% believe the War on Iraq was worth it.

In October, only 37% of Australians wanted the prime minister to announce a firm, decisive date for when Australian troops would leave Iraq. Now 47% of Australian want John Howard to make this decision, and make it publicly.

Nearly half of Howard's supporters want an exit date to be announced.

In October, 65% of Australians believed it was unlikely Iraq would be made stable in the next few years. Now that number is up to 69%

Two-thirds of Australians still believe that they are more likely to suffer a terrorist attack because of Howard's decision to go to War on Iraq.

May 2003 : Australian Foreign Minister Had To Warn BHP To Back Off From Plans To Claim Key Iraq Oil Field

Australians In Brutal Fight With Iraq Insurgents, Five Killed

Then And Now - John Howard On The Iraq War

Top SAS Major Says Iraq War "Helped Out Terrorists"

How John Howard Broke A "Moral Contract" With Australian Soldiers

Friday, December 22, 2006


A young Aboriginal man is beaten to death in a Palm Island police cell and nobody is prosecuted for anything. When investigators come to the island to look into the matter, they go out drinking with the people they're supposed to be investigating.

While this most controversial Aboriginal death-in-custody case has been covered by the Australian media, the reaction of Aborigines to the unprosecuted killing of one of their own hadn't really reached the Australian people.

Until now, that is.

From The Australian (excerpts) :

Indigenous leader Warren Mundine last night accused Queensland's Director of Public Prosecutions Leanne Clare of declaring "war on Aboriginal people" after she defiantly ruled out any review of her decision not to lay charges over the death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee.

The Queensland Police Service will now treat every indigenous death in custody as a suspicious event, meaning that it will be automatically investigated centrally by the ethical standards branch instead of through a local investigation.

Last week, Ms Clare ruled that Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley would face no charges over Doomadgee's death in a police cell on Palm Island in November 2004. This was despite a coroner's finding that Sergeant Hurley was responsible for the death.

The Australian reported this week that the initial investigation into Doomadgee's death was handled by police officers who were friends of Sergeant Hurley.

After Doomadgee died in custody, police from Townsville flew out to investigate the matter later that day, and spent the evening socialising with the police they were investigating.

Mr Mundine said the indigenous community would not let the matter rest, and warned there would be a continuing campaign against the decision.

"Police and prison officers arethere to serve the public, andwhen something like this happens, it creates an issue of concern for all Australians because it shows a serious flaw in our democracy."

Paradise Still Denied On Palm Island

Palm Island Mayor Calls Decision Not To Prosecute "Cowardly"

Thursday, December 21, 2006



Indonesia wasn't fucking around in 1975 when it told Australia to get the hell out of East Timor before they invaded the tiny country.

Five Australian journalists ignored the warnings to leave and stayed on to cover the unfolding genocide of the East Timorese. The journalists were killed, apparently upon request of the Indonesian government, their bodies were dismembered and burned.

For 30 years, friends and family of the five slain journalists have fought for the truth to be exposed. They've been called kooks and trouble makers and conspiracy theorists and "anti-Indonesian".

But in 2007, these brave and dedicated Australians, who always believed that their friends and sons and husbands had been murdered for daring to show reality of what was happening to the East Timorese, are probably going to find out more about what happened than they could have ever possibly imagined.

Incredibly, new claims are being made that the Australian Special Forces were on a Darwin airstrip, ready to fly in and pluck the five journalists out of the free-fire zone, when they were told to cancel their mission.

Probably the biggest question to be answered in next year's public inquiry into the murder of these journalists will be this one : Just how high up in the government was the decision made to call off the SAS and leave these Australians to the Indonesian death squads?

Investigators are hoping to get former prime minister, Gough Whitlam, into the witness box.

Absolutely amazing, dramatic Australian history back in the news, and looking set to become one of the biggest news stories of 2007.

From the Daily Telegraph (Sydney) :

Special forces soldiers were disgusted when the operation was called off and they learned that the five - all journalists - had been killed, according to sources.

It is the first confirmation that the Australian Government considered moves to rescue the newsmen - a shocking secret held since they were killed by Indonesian invasion forces in Balibo in October 1975.

NSW deputy state coroner Dorelle Pinch, who will conduct the inquest, was told at a preliminary hearing last week of evidence that the government "at a high level" knew the (Indonesian) nvasion was to take place and that the Australian journalists would be targeted.

"It is clear that this was going to be a deniable, or black, operation," Mr Peters' solicitor Rodney Lewis told the court.

Previously-hidden intelligence intercepts have revealed the newsmen were assassinated on the orders of Indonesian generals.

Australian Journalists Were "Executed" On Demand From The Indonesian Government

Indonesia Expert Claims New Evidence Of Balibo Five Murders Is Old News, Hearsay

Attorney General Says Classified Documents On Deaths Of Five Journalists Unlikely To Be Released To Inquiry, But Hopes The Truth Becomes Known

Wife Of Murdered Journalist Not Surprised By New Claims Her Husband Was Abducted And Executed

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


One of Australia's leading, and most controversial, cartoonists has decided to portray the Australian prime minister, John Howard, and the foreign minister, Alexander Downer spattered with blood in his Christmas message, with the words "Celebrating another successful year in Iraq' underneath the image.

The cartoon, by Leunig, featured prominently in Melbourne newspaper, The Age.

Did Leunig go too far? Is it tasteless? Or biting political comment?

It's not particularly creative. Images of prime ministers and presidents flecked by blood have been prominently displayed by anti-war protestors since the the Iraq War began, as well as being a fairly steady favourite of anti-war marchers since the 1960s.

But 'Peace On Earth & Goodwill To All Men (conditions apply)' is funny.

It's funny, because it's true (as the mafia don on The Simpsons would say).

Peace On Earth & Goodwill To All Men doesn't mean maybe some peace after this next invasion, and it doesn't mean goodwill to just these guys and those guys. It means peace everywhere and goodwill to everybody, no exceptions.

Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun opinonist and steady Leunig promoter (by regular criticism), didn't try too hard to come up with this headline for his blog post on the cartoon : 'Heart Of Hate'.

Standard right wing reactionary attribution. It's all about hate. If you dare to criticise the PM, if you dare to make fun of him or mock him, then you must hate him. Ridiculous.

It's interesting to contemplate why Leunig's cartoon received these kinds of comments on Bolt's blog. The key word is clearly 'sick' :
This man is a seriously sick puppy...

What a repulsive “cartoon” - it’s sickening really

Leunig’s madness is beyond description. This is despicable.

he needs a great deal of mental help.

That is sick.

The guy is seriously warped

Leunig is a sick bastard.

Words can not describe my rage at seeing this horrid offering from such a miserable, stinking, rotten, flatulent representative of the Left.
My favourite is definitely, 'Leunig's madness is beyond description. This is despicable'. It would be perfect for the cover of Leunig's next book.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Australia's hardcore surfers are a rare breed.

When the waves are calling, nothing, absolutely nothing, will keep them out of the water.

Yesterday, a surfer was attacked by a shark near Bells Beach, Victoria. The shark left a tooth in his wetsuit when it bit through into his leg, leaving a 30cm long gash.

British backpackers pulled the injured surfer out of the water and looked after him until paramdeics, and then the police, arrived.

But two surfers ignored warnings from the police not to go back into the water. They wanted to keep surfing, even though they could see the shark attack victim right there on the beach in front of them, being treated by paramedics.

It took two police officers to convince the surfers that returning to the waves was a really, really bad idea :
"(The surfers) wanted to go out after the attack," said a policewoman. " is just unbelievable..."
The local constabulary are not shocked by the shark attack. The area gets sharks passing through, and sometimes they hang around. And while there have been "no serious shark attacks in the area" of recent :
"We have had quite a few nibbles on boards. They're getting closer."

The surfer who got chomped, Peter Galvin, had been sitting up on his surfboard, one hundred metres from the shore. His mistake was to dangle both legs in the water. Police said he was lucky he didn't fall off his board.

An eyewitness report :
Murray Thomas, 34, surfed the break less than an hour before the attack and dashed back down to the beach when he saw the ambulance fly by him.

"He had a chunk taken out of his calf, just hanging off, and his board had been chomped, it had teeth marks underneath," Mr Thomas said.
Shark attacks in Australia are extremely rare, considering the zeal with which we plunge into the ocean throughout the summer.

The last time anyone was killed in a shark in Victoria was 1954.

There have been two major shark attacks in Australian waters in 2006.

On January 7, a 21 year old woman had her arms bitten off by what were believed to bull sharks off Amity Point, North Stradbroke Island.

On December 2, a fifteen year old boy was attacked near Esperance in Western Australia. A five metre shark bit off a section of his leg.

There were calls for the Bells Beach shark to be hunted down and killed, but one online poll of 5500 Australians revealed 85% think the shark should live, and that surfers know the risks involved.

The surfer who was mauled by the shark sees no reason why it should be killed.

"Leave it alone," says shark attack victim :

Friend Kate Maguire said Mr Galvin saw no need for a cull.

"The last thing Pete wants is a shark hunt," Ms Maguire said. "He is experienced. He knows the risks."

Surgeons at the Royal Melbourne Hospital operated to save his left leg after his lower thigh and calf were ripped open.

The bite was within millimetres of cutting an artery, leaving a 30cm gash.

The shark's tooth embedded in his wetsuit will be analysed to identify the type of shark, possibly a 3m bronze whaler or young great white.

Mr Galvin saw the shark and kicked it away before being helped to shore by his friend

That's the way it goes. You surf, you know you might get chomped by a shark.

If a shark tries to chomp you, you kick it away.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Howard desperately needs a new mantra. If he talks about trust again, Australians will get cold shivers.

It's, as always, revolting to see John Howard repeatedly demand recognition for his self-proclaimed economic miracles while rarely acknowledging that economic miracles exist because Australians are adapting to 50 and 60 hour work weeks.

Howard's 2004 ironic campaign line, "Who Do You Trust?" would stink like a festering carcass if he tried to dust it off and use it again in 2007. Even if he tries to disguise the stench with a line about him being a prime minister to "you can rely on".

In 2004, barely half the nation trusted Howard's roundabout promise to "keep interest rates low", or as one television ad declared at "record lows". These same people are now paying hundreds more badly needed dollars every month to meet their mortage, as they watch the value of their home deflate.

It will be a neon-bright sign of how desperate John Howard may become if he has nothing more than his highly touted economic record (highly touted most loudly by himself) and the trust, or realiability, issues left to sell himself yet again to the nation.

When the economy turns heavy and drags, people remember when things were better, and they don't like being reminded of it. Least of all by the prime minister.

Plus, Howard must have had at least one of his 50-plus advisers tell him, "Prime Minister, they don't trust you anymore. You need a new song."

Something about trust, about reliability?

Maybe, 'You've Got A Friend In Uncle John Howard'?

Something like that?

They could make it real catchy, and easy to sing along to.



The 2007 Australian federal election is going to be a blood-soaked affair. The prime minister, John Howard, began the real fang fighting yesterday. He tried to burst the bubble of his more popular political opposite, the self-titled 'alternative' prime minister Kevin Rudd with a bizarre and somewhat creepy rant.

Howard claimed that Rudd accused his government of "fostering an ethos of selfishness in the Australian the detriment of the common good."

Howard then asked, "Is that it?"

As though being accused of encouraging selfishness, "to the detriment of the common good," no less, means nothing at all.

Like it isn't something most Australians are concerned about. He has clearly not been listening.

Howard didn't seem to understand that Rudd had not accused Australians of being selfish, simply that the prime minister had transformed the country in a way that encouraged Australians to shift away from "a fair go for all" to looking after number one with increasing priority.

Howard quoted Rudd's bruising accusation as though he believed most Australians would think the argument, like he did, to be completely baseless. Howard tried to make a joke of it, but he botched it.

For a prime minister to be accused of doing anything that was " the detriment of the common good..." is bad news. To remind people of it yourself is worse. Howard still seems to believe that Australians view him as a trustworthy bloke who would not, could not, do anything that would be " the detriment of the common good..."

Is that it? Howard asked.

Most Australians would say, "Isn't that enough?"

From 'The Australian' :

Labor's new leadership team hit back last night. Deputy leader Julia Gillard said Mr Howard's attack proved his "best days (are) behind him".

And she said Mr Howard, who is seeking a fifth term in office, was "clearly rattled" by Mr Rudd's solid start and Labor's rise in public support.

"Australians aren't going to give him a tick for making shallow criticisms of the Opposition Leader."

Rudd wasn't stupid enough to fall into Howard's trap. Howard wants Rudd to react emotionally. He wants and needs Rudd to hit back with a Latham-like fury. People want to know if behind the Rudd visage of a small town pharmacist there dwells a seriously angry man.

If Howard can crack Rudd and make him unleash some verbal flame, Howard can then grind on for all of 2007 about Rudd's problems with anger, knowing that if he can only make the claim enough times, he can probably make it stick.

But Rudd won't bite back. If he doesn't know every detail of Howard's catalogue of political weapons of character destruction then he shouldn't be leading the Labor Party.

It's not Rudd's job now to be the master blaster.

This is the job of Julia Gillard.

'his best years are behind him'

She's been using the line for weeks, but it's been effective in making Howard appear older, and more frail, that he actually is.

Whether he does it now or in 2007, Howard will use Gillard's claim that his best years are behind him to build an image of a Labor Party that thinks anyone over 60 is over and done with.
We will see Howard play his remarkably synthetic Mock Outrage character, when he speaks in a low, quiet voice, sounding hurt, with slightly moist eyes about how unfair Rudd and Gillard will be towards the millions of baby boomers, like him, who will heading into retirement.

Well, some will be heading into retirement earlier than the rest. It is unlikely Howard will be putting in long hours when those boomers he will now try and champion are celebrating their 75th birthday in the middle of a busy work wee.

It will be extraordinary if Rudd and Gillard allow Howard to auto-reply he will stay prime minister as long as the Liberal Party wants him to be.

He must be held to commit to serving a full term as prime minister, regardless of what the party may, or may not, want in the next few years.

They can hammer the realistic scenario that Howard will handover power to some lesser mortal if he wins the election before kicking back in the United States, taking time to reflect on past 'glories' with old mates Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney.

There must be a Rudd Vs Howard live debate. Not a staged, tightly controlled in-the-studio television production, but a live debate in a public space, where the time normally filled by questions from journalists can come from the floor, unscreened.

We are in a time of war, as Howard, Blair and Bush continually remind us. If that is so, then we need a war-time leader. Someone who can face the public, and can honestly answer real questions about the reality that lies outside the bubble of federal politics.


Saturday, December 09, 2006


In late May, 2005, the Australian government was besieged by an outraged nation.

They were furious that a young Australian woman, Schapelle Corby, had been sentenced to 20 years jail in an Indonesian prison, convicted of smuggling four kilos of cannabis into Bali, barely concealed inside a boogie board bag.

During the trial, more than 90% of Australians came to believe Schapelle was innocent. Public opinion claiming that Schapelle Corby was not getting a fair trial in the Indonesian courts was virtually united. For more than two months, the debate about whether Schapelle Corby was innocent or guilty, and whether the Indonesian courts could be trusted to follow the rule of law in putting her on trial dominated the media and public discussion.

For many weeks, it appeared that Schapelle Corby would be executed by firing squad if she was found guilty of smuggling drugs into Bali.

The only evidence that existed to prove Schapelle Corby was guilty of drug smuggling was that the quantity of cannabis was found in one of her bags when she collected her luggage at Bali airport.

And yet, that very same day in Sydney, where her luggage in transit was unloaded from one plane and loaded onto another, known drug smugglers were using corrupt baggage handlers to bring kilos of cocaine into Australia.

Virtually everybody who heard about this curious coincidence smelled a rat. Except the federal government, that is, who backed Indonesia ceaselessly, and quietly blocked the gathering of crucial evidence to support Schapelle Corby's claims of innocence. All the while the prime minister and senior government ministers expressed sympathy for the young woman, and her family.

But the prime minister was resolute. He could not interfere in the justice system of Indonesia. If Schapelle was sentenced to die by firing squad, he could do little more than plead for mercy on her behalf.

On May 27, when Schapelle Corby was told by three judges that she was going to spend two decades in a Balinese prison, literally millions of Australians had stopped work and were glued to live broadcasts of the trial.

When the verdict, and 20 year sentence, was handed down, traumatised Australians gathered in offices, pubs and public spaces exploded into tears, screams of outrage and sobs of grief.

Word spread quickly via text, e-mail and word of mouth that massive protest rallies were going to be held in cities across Australia one week later to demand that Indonesia free Schapelle Corby and return her to Australia.

But the protest rallies never happened.

The pressure on the prime minister and his government was enormous. There seemed no way to calm down the public. Even key talkback radio hosts that the prime minister could usually rely on were backing the public outrage to the hilt.

On June 1, two days before the planned protests were to begin, the Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, solemnly announced in federal Parliament that a suspicious package of white powder had been sent to the Indonesian embassy in Canberra.

Downer then said, "The initial analysis of the powder has tested positive as a biological agent..."

After years of publicity surrounding white powder incidents in the United States, which suffered anonymous anthrax-mail attacks shortly after 9/11, most Australians who heard Downer's announcement, repeated on the evening news and throughout the afternoon on news radio, would have assumed anthrax was involved. Or something worse.

Prime Minister John Howard was quick in getting himself in front of the nation's media as well, announcing that same afternoon that whoever had sent the powder to the Indonesian embassy had acted with "murderous criminality".

When a reporter challenged Howard that test results, not yet then completed, might reveal the white powder to be "rather benign". the prime minister reacted with mock outrage.

"No," he snapped. "… the reference biological agent does not mean it's benign."

Another reporter asked the prime minister, "Do you believe that this is a result of the Corby conviction in Indonesia?"

The prime minister replied, "Well, it would be a remarkable coincidence if it were not..."

The key words were "a biological agent". It was a phrase used by both the prime minister and the foreign minister that afternoon and evening.

But neither the state or federal police, nor the government entity responsible for identifying the white powder told Howard or Downer that the white powder was "a biological agent".

The story that Australia had suffered its first bio-terror attack filled the evening and late night news, with further solemn, disturbing warnings from the prime minister and foreign minister, intercut with footage of terrified staff being evacuated from the Indonesian embassy, with 50 staff members being isolated for tests, filling the evening's current affairs programs.

Every daily newspaper in Australia carried the words "bio-terror attack" on their front pages the next morning, and the terrifying news filled that morning's television news cycle and was the sole subject of discussion on talkback radio.

All of this happened, and yet there was no official confirmation that the white powder was anthrax or "a biological agent" or even that it was dangerous.

It was the words alone of the prime minister and foreign minister that sparked Australia's biggest ever bio-terror scare.

But there was no bio-terror attack. It didn't happen.

And John Howard and Alexander Downer knew this by the early evening of June 1, even as they continued to link the 'white powder incident' with the public anger over the conviction of Schapelle Corby.

No newspaper and media outlets were contacted by Howard or Downer's media units that evening to correct the record, and to inform the media that the bio-terror attack had not actually taken place.

Nor did they inform the media that the description "biological agent" was the wrong one, even after they had been advised that this was so.

Howard and Downer chose instead to stay mute on all these facts and let the story run wild.

And the strategy worked.

By the afternoon of June 2, many Australians were convinced that the backers of the young woman convicted for smuggling drugs into Bali were dangerous, crazy people, who had launched a biological terror attack against the Indonesian embassy.

The momentum for the protest marches dissolved almost instantly, and support for the young woman plunged virtually overnight.

The scare was a complete success.

from the :

THE Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs sparked Australia's biggest biological terror scare last year when they distorted test results to claim white powder sent to the Indonesian embassy was a "biological agent".

Documents from ACT Pathology and the federal police, obtained under freedom of information laws, show the microbiologist who examined the powder on June 1 last year and the federal police never called it a "biological agent", and described it as a commonly occurring bacteria.

The documents also reveal that some days after testing began, the powder was shown to be flour.

...the Government did not tell the media that no threat had been identified. The following day newspapers and other media gave prominence to the Government's claims, running headlines saying the country had experienced a bio-terror attack.

Before announcing the powder had tested positive as a biological agent, Mr Downer warned Parliament the public attacks on Indonesia would cause "a good deal of anti-Australian sentiment in Indonesia"...

The Government's revelations that a biological agent had threatened the safety of Indonesians at the embassy sent shock waves through Corby's defence team. Her lawyers condemned it for damaging her chances of winning an appeal. After the public outcry over the biological agent, Corby never again enjoyed the public support she had previously received.

Mr Howard, Mr Downer, the Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, and Senator Ellison have all failed to answer written questions on who came up with the term biological agent, generally used to describe diseases like anthrax, used in biological weapons to cause mass loss of life.

Friday, December 08, 2006


It's long been a bit of a joke for two years or so now that Australia's prime minister, John Howard, is not allowed to make a comment about the state of the 'War On Iraq' until he hears President Bush himself speak first. And then, and only then, can he make his own comment,
which must of course echo the words of the president.

The closer Howard's words are to Bush's, so much the better.

So Bush's 'Stay The Course' mantra became John Howard's 'Stay The Course' mantra.

Bush's "We will not leave until the mission is complete" became Howard's "we will not leave until we complete the mission".

And Bush's "withdrawing before the job is done will be a victory for the terrorists" became Howard's "it will be a victory for the terrorists if we withdraw before the job is done".

Did Bush actually e-mail quotes for Howard to spout, we wondered?

It sure seemed like it.

But this year, the gap closed dramatically between when the words and fresh mantras that fell from the drooping lips of Bush were heard echoing back out of John Howard's mouth. The time delay was down to only one or two days.

Thus the theory of a telepathetic quote network linking the declining brains of Bush and Howard was born.

Well, that's my theory anyway, but people seem to agree it sounds about right.

After all, what other explanation could there possibly be?

It would be far worse to know that Howard has staff members rushing up to him with copies of the latest Bush speech, address or press conference, so Howard can then quickly learn his lines and get cracking with the latest patch-up/slap-on blurtings to paper over the horrific truth of what was actually happening in Iraq.

No, it's far more comforting to believe that they telepathetically linked (yes, I know the word is telepathic, but my word is better). Hooked up, in tune, via an instant quote network. Bush says the latest manifestation of reality-defying spin and almost immediately it pops into Howard's head and falls from his lips.

Unfortunately, this quote network seems to be a one way street. The only thing John Howard has ever said that President Bush has repeated was his 2004 campaign slogan 'Who Do You Trust?' which Bush used to good effect during his own election campaign.

And so today, the ultimate proof of the Howard-Bush brainlink bumbled into the spotlight, but this time it was noticed by the media.

In the United States, during some tense questioning by a British journalist, Pesident Bush admitted :
"It's bad in Iraq."
Thousands of miles away in Australia, as he travelled to an interview, John Howard's head lit up with the president's frank admission. Now it was time for him to come clean less than two hours later :
"....things in Iraq are going very badly..."
None of us were really surprised. It was as we had expected.

This is why John Howard is known in Australia as 'Bonzai' .


Little Bush.

CODA : In the same press conference today, President Bush made a remarkable confession :
And truth of the matter is, a lot of reports in Washington are never read by anybody.
Perhaps he is referring to the CIA reports that expressed serious doubts and misgivings about Dick Cheney and his NeoCon fictionastra's endless claims that Saddam Hussein was preparing to nuke the world, the moon and the Sun itself in late 2002.

Then again, perhaps President Bush was referring to the CIA, FBI, Mossad, German intelligence, French intelligence and MI6 reports that were flowing into the White House in mid-2001, almost hysterically, frantically, uselessly trying to raise the biggest and reddest flag in Bush's field of vision about Osama Bin Laden's planned attacks on key targets inside the US (the WTC and Disneyland were the most prominent targets cited) on or near September 11.
"A lot of reports in Washington are never read by anybody."
They sure are. Or aren't.

Makes you wonder what else has been missed in all those unread reports.


The Australian Defence department, and the Minister for Defence, vetoed plans by Donald Rumsfeld for Australian troops to be embedded with Iraqi Army units.

A core part of why the request was rejected is Australia does not intend to have the majority of its current 750 troops stationed in Iraq through the second half of 2007.

The Australian newspaper reports that "the safety and security of small numbers of Australian troops who may serve with Iraqi units" was a core reason why the Government responded in the negative.

According to an interview given today by Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, Australia's key military contribution to coalition forces in Iraq at the moment is, "...we do training, we do mentoring for Iraqis and we provide an overwatch operation."

"We don't do day to day combat work," Downer said, on the ABC's 7.30 Report.

"Where we operate in Dikar and al Muthanna provinces, we are there to provide additional support to the Iraqi security forces if they get into trouble and can't help themselves out. But on the other hand, a lot of the day to day work is the training and mentoring job..."

The original request from Rumsfeld for Australian troops to move from training, mentoring and oversight to actually being embedded with Iraqi units involved in patrols and combat operations is believed to have been made in September this year.

Shortly before he resigned as defence secretary, Rumsfeld again asked the Australian Defence Minister for a renewed commitment to allow Australian troops to be placed inside the Iraq military.

This second request was also denied.

Downer confirmed that "we've been speaking to (the Americans) a lot in recent times" about the embedding of coalition forces with Iraqi military units.

Prime Minister John Howard is already moving into re-election mode, and is set to begin preliminary campaigning after the Christmas break. The new Opposition leader, Kevin Rudd, is going to promote the security of the region as a core issue of his election campaign while also promising to 'bring the troops home'.

But John Howard is set to trump Rudd on both issues, two of the most important to Australians, according to recent polls.

By withdrawing the majority of Australia's troops from Iraq in mid-2007, and announcing major increases to the size of the Australian Army, John Howard is expected to use the relative success of Australia's mission in Iraq as a launch pad for re-election on securing the region, and fighting terrorism closer to home.

The Australian Defence Department has recognised, in recent months, that the deployment of 750 Australian troops on six month rotations in Iraq has cut back its capacity to deal with outbreaks of violence, coups and rioting in the so-called 'Arc Of Instability', including East Timor, the Solomon Islands, Tonga and now Fiji.

Australia withdrew its remaining Special Forces troops from Afghanistan in October this year. A move that angered many members of the SAS, who believed that their mission in Afghanistan had not been completed.

The decision not to allow Australian troops to be placed within Iraq's Army is expected to be recognised by the defence minister as a preparatory step in anticipation of the withdrawal of most Australian troops from Iraq beginning in June, 2007.

From 'The Australian' :

The future of the US-led coalition's presence in Iraq will be a key issue at next week's annual AUSMIN defence talks in Washington.

Dr Nelson and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer will meet their counterparts, incoming US defence secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on Tuesday, together with their respective defence chiefs and top officials.

With security conditions relatively stable in southern Iraq and the British Government already canvassing troop drawdowns next year, there is a good prospect that Australia's 500-strong overwatch taskgroup based in Dhi Qar province could be phased down from mid-year.

Such a phase down will allow John Howard to go into the 2007 federal election claiming a successful mission in Iraq, while announcing plans to secure Australian interests in the Pacific realm alongside a major increase to the size of Australia's defence forces and operational capabilities :
The Howard cabinet's national security committee this week also approved the first stage of the plan to increase the size of the army, including the purchase of 34 extra Bushmaster infantry mobility vehicles.

The first stage of the army build-up will see the recruitment of an extra battalion next year, which will be deployable by 2010.

The total strength of the regular army is set to grow by an extra 2600 personnel to about 30,000 by 2012.

The expanded force will comprise eight battalions consisting of two mechanised, five light and one commando battalion equipped with more than 400 Bushmaster vehicles, as well astanks and light armoured transport.

Australian Defence Forces "Duped" By Prime Minister's Rush To War On Iraq

FLASHBACK : Australian Troops Kill Five As 60 Strong Insurgent Force Attacks

FLASHBACK : Australian Commandoes Fought Off Hundreds Of Taliban Fighters During Ten Day Long Battle

October, 2006 Poll : 80% Of Australians Think The 'War On Terror' Has Failed

Despite The Hype, Australians Don't Fear Terror

Thursday, December 07, 2006



Despite explicit warnings from the military leaders now in control of Fiji not to interfere, Australia's Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, has again urged unarmed Fijians to engage in a resistance against the military.

He told the ABC's 7.30 Report that resisting the coup was "wise", even if the military reacted violently :
Q: Mr Downer, you've urged Fijians to engage in passive resistance against the military and post coup regime. Is that kind of advice wise if it leads to a violent response by the military, which has been threatened by Bainimarama, and people are hurt?

Downer : It is wise....Of course it's difficult for them and my heart goes out to a lot of them.
Downer's calls for resistance, aired also for a third day in federal Parliment, follow warnings from Commodore Frank Bainimarama that "...should we be forced to use force, let me state that we will do so very quickly."

Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs are also urging resistance and refuse to recognise the authority of Commodore Bainimarama, or the man installed to act as Fiji's interim prime minister, Dr Jona Senilagakali.

Commodore Bainimarama said elections to choose a new government could be up to two years away.

Residents of villages in the province of Ba, in western Fiji, are now voicing dissent and villagers from the region are intending to escort their tribal high chief Ratu Josefa Iloilo to the capital in the coming days.

Military checkpoints now going up around the capital and, in towns and villages across the islands, are causing anger amongst the locals, who are said to be trying to dismantle the blockades.

Declaring a state of emergency yesterday, Commodore Bainimarama explained why he felt the coup was necessary.
"We have reasonable grounds to believe that the life of the state is being threatened," he said.

"For those who do not agree with what we are doing, we respect your opinion, but do not interfere with the process that is currently underway."
He claimed that he was fighting against institutional corruption within the government, and said new staff would be hired in the coming days to go through the books and gather evidence for proposed trials of senior government ministers.

He said Fiji needed "a different kind of democracy."

The new prime minsiter, Dr Jona Senilagakali, has recognised the coup is "illegal," but said it was necessary as the previous government was "corrupt". He also issued a warning to Fiji's neighbours.

"I warn the Australian and New Zealand prime ministers to stay out of our business and to respect the sovereignty of the Fiji islands," he said.

"It's an illegal takeover to clean up the mess of a much bigger illegal activity of the previous government," Mr Senilagakali told Australia's ABC network.

Dr Senilagakali claimed that the coup had been in the planning for some time and the army had warned the democratically-elected Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase to clean up the government and deal with the controversial Australian police chief, Andrew Hughes, who he claims was promoting "the Australian foreign policy".

From the Fji Times :

He accepted that they had removed a democratically-elected government because "if we can put in an illegal government which is going to improve the life of the people that is a better and much higher calling than to continue the democracy which is not helping the people".

"And that is the question that I'm trying to ask myself and find solutions and I'm going to do it."

He was not worried if he ended up in jail for the takeover.

"If I end up in prison because I fought for a just cause in life, I'll be happy to do that. I will not resist."

Australia has refused calls from the deposed leaders of Fiji to send troops, as has New Zealand, although the Australian SAS are believed to be actively operating within the islands of the archipelago.

Australia has also positioned three warships off Fiji, claiming the ships are only there in order to evacuate hundreds of Australians should the situation deteriorate into open revolt, or a violent military clampdown.

Should Fijians opposed to the coup engage the military during a resistance, and the military begins killing civilians and/or actively threatening Australia's interests on the archipelago, it would then seem likely that Australia would send in troops.

Until the military takes such actions, however, Australia is unable to deploy its forces without causing an international incident, with an impact that may reach beyond the opposition raised so far by the coup.

The bloodless coup, which was delayed over the weekend for sporting matches, is Fiji's fourth military takeover in the past two decades. It was completed on Tuesday.

American television show Survivor is currently filming a new series in Fiji, but the show was not delayed by the coup.

While the Australian government has condemned what it called a crackdown on media and press freedoms in Fiji, the main newspaper, the Fiji Times, was back in production and online yesterday afternoon after initially closing down when the editors refused to submit to censorship by the coup leaders.

From the Fiji Times :
The head of Fiji's military regime, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, has assured the media industry that his government will uphold media freedom.

At a press conference this afternoon Commodore Bainimarama said armed guards posted at several media outlets had been withdrawn.

"We did not totally gag the media but we were only trying to stop people from taking advantage of the situation and using the media to incite people to disturb the peace that currently prevails," he said.

You can read the latest news from the Fiji Times here.

Fiji's Military Leader Declares State Of Emergency

New Leader Tells Australia And New Zealand To Keep Out Of Fiji's Affairs

Commodore Orders Doctor To Take Position Of Prime Minister Who Then Claims He Has "Divine Authority"

Regime Claims It Will Uphold Freedoms Of Fiji's Military

Downer Warns Military Leader Becoming More Aggressive

New Zealand Urged To Ban Fiji From Competing In International Rugby Tournament

Prime Minister, Defence Minister Snub Funeral Off Black Hawk Pilot Killed During Training Mission Near Fiji

Hundreds Of Australians Cancel Fiji Holidays - Tourism Makes Up 25% Of Fiji Economy