The long, long road to Utoya

The Drum

15 December 2011

Jeff SparrowAnders Breivik

On The Drum last week, Chris Berg attacked the book On Utoya (to which I’m a contributor) for suggesting a link between Islamophobic rhetoric and Anders Breivik’s anti-Muslim rampage.

“There is,” Berg said, “an enormous moral leap between believing multiculturalism is a bad policy and systematically slaughtering 77 members of the Norwegian Labour Party, some as young as 14 years old. To suggest they are on the same continuum is to obscure how anybody could make that leap.”

I wonder if Berg actually read the book.

On Utoya‘s not about people who believe “multiculturalism is a bad policy”. Rather, it discusses rightwing commentators who, like Breivik, see multiculturalism as a cover for what they generally call “Islamicisation”.

As it happens, one of the more extreme and repellent of these Islamophobic pundits was just in Australia.

A few weeks ago, the Q Society hosted an Australian tour by the American writer Robert Spencer.

Spencer runs a website called Jihad Watch, in which he publicises whatever slurs about Muslims that Google sends his way. Recently, he launched an “Action Alert” over a nefarious plot to force halal birds upon innocent Americans. Butterball turkeys represent, you see, the latest gobbling incarnation of the “stealth jihad” by which Islam enslaves the West and its people. He also helped initiate an ad-boycott against a reality TV-show All American Muslim: the Florida Family Association, with whom Spencer has allied himself, claims the show about average Muslim families is actually “propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values”.

Spencer works closely with the blogger Pamela (‘Barack Obama is Malcolm X’s Son’) Geller, another big name in the so-called “counter jihadi” milieu. Together, they run the group Stop the Islamization of America, an outfit described by the Anti-Defamation League as “consistently vilifying the Islamic faith and asserting the existence of an Islamic conspiracy to destroy ‘American’ values.”

Both featured repeatedly in Breivik’s manifesto.

“About Islam,” he wrote, “I recommend essentially everything written by Robert Spencer.”

As you would expect, in the aftermath of the Oslo massacre, Geller and Spencer hastily condemned their Norwegian admirer (though Geller couldn’t resist pointing out that the teenagers he murdered were “future leaders of the party responsible for flooding Norway with Muslims who refuse to assimilate”, nor posting a picture with a caption about how the camp attendees had “faces which are more MIddle [sic] Eastern or mixed than pure Norwegian”).

For his part, Spencer noted that Breivik had explicitly criticized the non-violent orientation of Jihad Watch, a criticism that meant, he said, any connection between his work and Breivik’s actions was ludicrous.

It’s true that Spencer and Breivik disagree about how to fight Islamicisation.

But they don’t disagree that its happening. Spencer’s Melbourne talk concluded like this:

This is an unconventional war. We are in a war, we are in a clash of civilisations. The thing I want to leave with you in closing is that we are the soldiers. The soldiers are not in uniform. There are no armies on the field. The armies on the field are there, they’re doing noble work but that’s only one small part. The main struggle is right here. And we are it. This is a battle for the soul of Australia, for the soul of Europe, for the soul of America, for the soul of the west. And it’s outcome is not at all decided, as dire as it may look, because we have not yet begun to fight. It is up to us

Breivik, too, thinks a war with Islam is already underway.

His disagreement with Spencer and Geller, then, isn’t about the diagnosis. It’s just about the nature of the cure.

That’s the real jump – from accepting rhetoric about war, to taking up the gun to fight it.

Naturally, the vast majority of those who attended Spencer’s lectures won’t embrace violence (and nor did he urge them to).

In that sense, the debate about Breivik’s sanity is moot. By definition, if you commit mass murder, you’re not normal, simply because normal people aren’t mass murderers.

On the same tautological level, Berg’s correct to say no-one’s responsible for Breivik’s actions except Breivik. He’s the one who pulled the trigger – not Spencer, not Geller, and not anyone else.

Yet Berg refuses to acknowledge what Breivik himself was perfectly clear about – ideas and actions are related.

Spend some time on the big anti-Islam websites, and you’ll read over and over and over again that Muslims are violent, dangerous and determined to destroy everything the West holds dear. On Spencer’s page, for instance, commenters refer to Muslims as “subhuman barbarians”, “parasites”, “savages”, “people infected with the musloid faith”, “vermin” and so on.

LoonWatch noted one thread that contained

thirty-five comments by JihadWatch readers, and not a single one who opposed the idea of ethnic cleansing of Germany (or the entire non-Muslim world) and the nuking of Mecca on ethical grounds (with the notable exception of Ronald who thought that it would mean losing the oil reserves and another user who thought there are more creative ways to deliver “pure insult and humiliation” upon Muslims). Not a single commentator on the thread opposed either of these two ideas on moral grounds.

Geller’s blog is the same: almost every post descends into overt eliminationism.

Oh, of course, Spencer says he’s not responsible for his readers and their desires for racial murder. He doesn’t, his blog says, necessarily endorse their comments. But where, we might ask, do they get these ideas? Why do advocates of mass slaughter feel so comfortable around him?

Spencer and Geller also work together on another hate group called the American Freedom Defense Initiative. One of its original board members is a certain John Joseph Jay. Back in 2008, Jay explained on Pamela Geller’s blog how this war against Muslims should be conducted:

“We should declare war on iran, syria, egypt and saudi arabia, as well as libya and the sudan and somalia, and we should kill people by the scores. no science. no precision bombing. no shock and awe designed to ‘impress’ and send ‘signals’, but old fashioned war with wholesale slaughter including indiscriminate death of innocents and babes. down to the last muslim, if necessary.”

“Old fashioned war with wholesale slaughter including indiscriminate death of innocents”: that’s pretty much what Breivik provided a few years later.

Like Breivik, Jay’s enthusiasm for murder extends beyond Muslims to a Left that he says facilitates “stealth jihad”. That’s why, on his own blog, he urges readers to

buy guns. buy ammo. be jealous of your liberties. and, understand, you are going to have to kill folks, your uncles, your sons and daughters, to preserve those liberties.

Yes, there’s a difference between Spencer denouncing liberals as traitors and Jay declaring they should be exterminated, just as there’s a gap between Jay preaching mass murder and Breivik actually carrying it out.

But it shouldn’t be difficult to understand how the constant shared rhetoric about existential war breaks down Berg’s “enormous moral leap” and makes it far more likely that a keyboard warrior will creep out from behind his PC, believing, as he lifts his rifle, that he’s saving Christian civilization, that he’s finally doing what all his friends just talk about.

Chris Berg says that Breivik was a “shocking outlier”, indicative of nothing.

It’s a ludicrous argument.

With their epic struggle against the Mooslamic turkeys, Geller and Spencer might seem like fringe nutters. But they’re not. They’re both widely published (two of Spencer’s books have been New York Times best-sellers); they appear regularly on the circuit of right-wing radio and Fox News.

Together, they wrote the 2010 book The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America, in which they argued a line almost identical to Breivik’s manifesto:

Transformational issues facing this nation and the world at large—the world at war, creeping Sharia, the perversion of the rights of free men—hang in the balance during the Obama administration as never before. The stakes could not be higher. On foreign policy, Europe has lain down. The political elites have capitulated to Islamists and to multiculturalists. Europe is committing slow cultural and demographic suicide. It seems unclear that they could hold up their end even if America did the heavy lifting.

That book appeared with a glowing foreword by former ambassador to the UN John Bolton – a man who Newt Gingrich has recently announced will be Secretary of State under a Gingrich presidency. Indeed, Gingrich himself seems on-side in this lunatic crusade. The frontrunner for the Republican nomination recently announced that “sharia is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and the world as we know it”.

Meanwhile, in Europe, far-right groups, many with histories stretching back to the fascist era, are re-orienting to exploit anti-Muslim sentiment – and, as a result, they’re growing.

Mattias Gardell, a Swedish expert on the far right, provides the following list of what he calls “redesigned brown [ie fascist] parties”:

Fremskrittspartiet, (Progress Party, Norway), Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden Democrats), Dansk Folkeparti (Danish People’s Party), Sannfinländarna (True Finns), Partij voor de Vrijheid (Party for Freedom, Netherlands), Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest), Front National (Belgium), Front National (France), Mouvement pour la France, British National Party, Lega Nord (Northern League, Italy), Futuro e Libertá (Italy), Schweizerische Volkspartei (Swiss People’s Party), Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (Germany), Pro Nordrhein-Westfalen (Germany), Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (Freedom Party of Austria), Bündnis Zukunft Österreich (Alliance for the Future of Austria) and Laikós Orthódoxos Synagermós (People’s Orthodox Rally, Greece).

Gardell notes:

Some of these have been remarkably successful. Dansk Folkeparti gained nearly 14 per cent of the votes in Denmark’s 2007 election; Fremskrittspartiet – of which Breivik was once a member – received 23 per cent of the vote in Norway’s 2009 election; and Partij voor de Vrijheid – whose leader Geert Wilders seeks to ban the Koran – became the third largest party in parliament, with 17 per cent in the 2010 election. In Sweden, Sverigedemokraterna – whose ideologue Kent Ekeroth believes that Sweden and Europe are cast in an apocalyptic war with Islam and Muslims, and who co-funds the anti-Muslim network out of which Breivik emerged – became the first brown party in the country’s history to enter parliament, with close to 6 per cent in the 2010 election. In Finland, True Finns – whose ideologue Jussi Halla-aho says that Europeans have but two options when confronted with Muslim immigration: war or surrender – gained 19 per cent in the 2011 election, just 1 per cent away from becoming the largest party.

There are no adequate statistics on hate crimes in Europe, since few countries collect information about violence against Muslims. Nonetheless, the latest OIC Islamophobia Observatory report documents disturbing incidents from May 2010 through April 2011.

In one instance in Norway, where the massacre also took place, vandals desecrated a mosque in August, 2010, with spray-paint writings saying “oink” and “Allah is a [picture of a pig]”. In another 2010 Mosque attack, this time in the Netherlands, a dead sheep was found hanging in the place where a mosque was to be built. In a similar incident in Normandy, France, inscriptions reading “Islam get out of Europe”, “No to Islam and to burkas”, along with swastikas, were discovered on 15 July, 2010, which the report suggests might be encouraged by a law banning women from wearing the full-face Islamic veils in public, since the timing of the events coincide.

A few months ago, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned: “A dangerous trend is emerging, a new politics of polarization. Some play on people’s fears. They accuse immigrants of violating European values. Europe’s darkest chapters have been written in language such as this. Today the primary targets are immigrants of the Muslim faith.”

Most of the rebadged far-right organisations have retained their old-school anti-Semitism even as they choose, for strategic reasons, to campaign against Islam (and, often, support Israel). Indeed, the tropes of traditional anti-Semitism generally reappear in the new discourse of anti-Islam bigotry. Gardell explains how:

anti-Muslim conspiracy theory comes complete with its own version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Evoking a Manichean vision of a struggle between the forces of light and darkness, it tell us that for 1300 years the Western world has been locked in an apocalyptic conflict with ‘Islam’, which is depicted as an animated being with a sinister agency, which tirelessly seeks the eradication of Christian Europe, the last outpost of freedom.

The journalist Colm Ó Broin has produced a neat demonstration of the relationship between the old hate and the new hate, with a close comparison of Spencer’s writing on Muslims next to the propaganda of Julius Streicher, the editor of the notorious anti-Semitic magazine from the Nazi era, Der Stuermer.

Here are the first nine of his parallels.

Muslims/Jews have a religious duty to conquer the world.
“Islam understands its earthly mission to extend the law of Allah over the world by force.” Robert Spencer.
“Do you not know that the God of the Old Testament orders the Jews to consume and enslave the peoples of the earth?” Julius Streicher.

The Left enables Muslims/Jews.
“The principal organs of the Left…has consistently been warm and welcoming toward Islamic supremacism.” Robert Spencer.
“The communists pave the way for him (the Jew).” Julius Streicher.

Governments do nothing to stop Muslims/Jews.

“FDI* acts against the treason being committed by national, state, and local government officials…in their capitulation to the global jihad and Islamic supremacism.” (Freedom Defense Initiative, Robert Spencer/Pamela Geller organisation).

“The government allows the Jew to do as he pleases. The people expect action to be taken.” Julius Streicher.

Muslims/Jews cannot be trusted.

“When one is under pressure, one may lie in order to protect the religion, this is taught in the Qur’an.” Robert Spencer.

“We may lie and cheat Gentiles. In the Talmud it says: It is permitted for Jews to cheat Gentiles.” From The Toadstool, children’s book published by Julius Streicher.

Recognising the true nature of Muslims/Jews can be difficult.

“There is no reliable way for American authorities to distinguish jihadists and potential jihadists from peaceful Muslims.” Robert Spencer.

“Just as it is often hard to tell a toadstool from an edible mushroom, so too it is often very hard to recognize the Jew as a swindler and criminal.” From The Toadstool, children’s book published by Julius Streicher.

The evidence against Muslims/Jews is in their holy books.

“What exactly is ‘hate speech’ about quoting Qur’an verses and then showing Muslim preachers using those verses to exhort people to commit acts of violence, as well as violent acts committed by Muslims inspired by those verses and others?” Robert Spencer.

“In Der Stuermer no editorial appeared, written by me or written by anyone of my main co-workers, in which I did not include quotations from the ancient history of the Jews, from the Old Testament, or from Jewish historical works of recent times.” Julius Streicher.

Islamic/Jewish texts encourage violence against non-believers.

“And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter… — 2:191.” Koranic verse quoted by Robert Spencer on Jihadwatch.org.

“And when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally: men and women and children, even the animals. (Deuteronomy 7:2.).” Biblical verse quoted by Julius Streicher in Der Stuermer.

Christianity is peaceful while Islam/Judaism is violent.

“There is no Muslim version of ‘love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you’ or ‘if anyone strikes you on the right cheek turn to him the other also’.” Robert Spencer.

“The Jew is not being taught, like we are, such texts as, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’, or ‘If you are smitten on the left cheek, offer then your right one’.” Julius Streicher.

Muslims/Jews are uniquely violent.

“(Islam) is the only major world religion with a developed doctrine and tradition of warfare against unbelievers.” Robert Spencer.

“o other people in the world has such prophecies. No other people would dare to say that it was chosen to murder and destroy the other peoples and steal their possessions.” Julius Streicher.

It’s pretty remarkable stuff. But then we come to the tenth point, and it’s the real kicker.

The final parallel is a shared insistence that such criticism has no relationship to violence.

“There is nothing in anything that I have ever written that could be reasonably construed as an incitement to violence against anyone,” says Robert Spencer.

In a strict sense, that’s probably true. Spencer himself, unlike his associates, knows to watch his mouth. In Orwell’s terms, he’s the kind of person always somewhere else when the trigger gets pulled.

Then again, so was Streicher.

For that was his defence at Nuremberg – he’d never personally incited violence.

“The contents,” Streicher argued, “of Der Stuermer as such were not [an incitement to violence]. During the whole 20 years, I never wrote in this connection, ‘Burn Jewish houses down; beat them to death’. Never once did such an incitement appear in Der Stuermer.”

Streicher didn’t burn houses down himself. Nor, he claimed, did he encourage others to do so.

But if you publish article after article claiming that a particular minority group is a deadly menace, a violent, existential threat to the nation and its citizens, can you really claim surprise if others take you seriously?

Which brings us back to Berg and the IPA.

If someone toured Australia peddling Streicher-style slurs against Judaism, the Jewish community would be rightly outraged, precisely because of the relationship between talk about war against a minority and actual physical violence against them.

Would Australian conservative think tanks argue they had nothing to worry about? Would they tell them that rhetoric about “war against Jews” was merely a suggestion that multiculturalism was a bad policy? Would he reassure them that past examples of deadly violence were the result of an apolitical lunacy for which no-one other than the direct perpetrators were responsible?

If not, wherein lies the difference. During his Australian sojourn, Robert Spencer was invited onto ABC Queensland to discuss his theories. Would a peddler of hatred against any other minority have been treated that way?

That’s the thesis of On Utoya: that bigotry against Muslims has been consistently downplayed in the mainstream, thus creating an environment in which violence becomes more likely.

Unfortunately, the argument seems more relevant than ever.

Jeff Sparrow is the editor of Overland literary journal and the author of Killing: Misadventures in Violence. He Tweets @Jeff_Sparrow.

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Underarm stink also underhand

SMH National Times
Waleed Aly
January 13, 2012

Opinion

Ranting racist

Illustration: Andrew Dyson.

Teresa Gambaro’s wrong-headed remarks about migrants are symbolic of a wider problem with Coalition attitudes.

How did Teresa Gambaro’s father smell? Let us survey the evidence. His first Australian job was as a farmhand in the hot, sweaty climes of north Queensland. It’s unclear how long he stuck at this, but it must have been quite some time because it gave him enough savings to buy a small fish store, which rapidly grew into an impressive seafood business.

From this, I am apparently to deduce that he stank. Not simply because of his obviously stench-filled path from farm labourer to fishmonger. Mainly because he migrated to Australia from a war-ravaged Italy. This indicates his personal hygiene was not up to Australian standards, and more specifically, that he was insufficiently acquainted with the virtues of deodorant. On this I cite no less pertinent an authority than his own daughter, Teresa, who so infamously declared this week that migrants need to be taught such things if they are to integrate. You smell! What began as a schoolyard insult suddenly became public policy formulation.

Public outrage was swift and loud, and Gambaro’s apology inevitable and ”unreserved”. She regrets ”any offence that may have been taken”. So, that’s that, then. Case closed. ”Let’s move on,” pleads acting Opposition Leader Warren Truss.

Not so fast. Certainly, there is little point expounding further on the myriad ways in which Gambaro’s remarks were wrong-headed. So plain is the error, and so pervasive the retorts that further substantive analysis is now redundant. But this doesn’t mean we should simply press on as though nothing has happened. Something has happened. Something that keeps happening. Something telling about the Coalition’s approach to the politics of culture.

You’ll remember that patch from around 2005 when Coalition MPs, then in government, seemed to be competing with each other to demonstrate belligerence on the issue of migration and integration. Mostly (and predictably given world events) this was directed towards Muslims. Bronwyn Bishop demanded that we ban headscarves in schools because they made women subservient, then when confronted with the fact that many headscarved women felt perfectly free, said they were like Nazis who felt free in Nazi Germany. Brendan Nelson told Muslims who didn’t know the story of Simpson and his donkey to ”clear off”. More recently Cory Bernardi declared that ”Islam itself is the problem”, describing it as ”an ideology that is mired in 6th-century brutality”.

But this invective is not confined to Muslims. Recall Kevin Andrews’ pledge to cut the immigration intake from Africa in 2007 because Africans fail to integrate. And this in response to the murder of a young Sudanese refugee by young white men; an impressive victim-blaming manoeuvre.

Such outbursts may not be Coalition policy, but they express a certain political logic that Coalition policy does express, just in more moderated tones. The individual who goes too far (like Gambaro) is transgressing only in degree, not in essence.

A day before Gambaro opined about stench, opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison attacked the government’s multiculturalism policies as mere ”symbolism”. This is a familiar Coalition theme. It is the reason John Howard gave for refusing to apologise to the stolen generations. In its own narrative, the Coalition doesn’t do gestures. It does commonsense, practical things. None of that ”mushy, misguided multiculturalism” Peter Costello so abhorred.

Just tell migrants how to act, what to value and what to spray on their armpits; it’s direct action for wogs.

But there’s a deceit here. Far from being baldly practical, the Coalition’s cultural politics are every bit as symbolic as Labor’s. To see this, we need only recall the citizenship test initiative of 2006. The headline message was clear: tougher citizenship requirements to make sure only the worthy get admitted. But the practical effects of the policy were far less hairy-chested. The test was hardly taxing, and for most categories of migrant, the changes meant they could become citizens sooner – after four years’ residence rather than five.

Meanwhile, government literature banged on with slogans such as ”Australian citizenship is a privilege, not a right” and sample questions emerged evoking Bradman and Phar Lap. This was naked iconography. And the government was sure to announce the policy several times: first in the form of a discussion paper, then as a confirmed policy position, then as a budget item deserving of its own specific press release.

This was clearly something the Howard government wanted to talk about. Much as it liked to talk about the importance of migrants learning English while it was cheerfully slashing funding for English-language tuition. Clearly, the rhetoric demanding integration mattered more than the resources that might encourage it.

What little I know of Mr Gambaro’s work history I learned from his daughter’s maiden speech to Parliament. In the present context it makes particularly interesting reading because of the warmth it expresses towards Italian migrants and the way it celebrates Chinatown (located in Gambaro’s seat of Brisbane) and doesn’t once complain about the smell. But the symbolic order of a party is rarely set by maiden speeches. And here we must recognise the symbolism that pretends to be practical. To refuse to apologise to the stolen generations is a symbolic gesture in its own right. To declare that migrants disproportionately have a deodorant problem, citing no more evidence than ”you hear reports” of these things, is deeply symbolic. Symbolism is not confined to feel-good politics. Prejudice needs its symbols, too.

Waleed Aly is a broadcaster and a politics lecturer at Monash University.

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Vaunted values too slow to save neglected son from fatal despair

Tom Keneally
November 2, 2011

OPINION

Shooty

Candlelight vigil ... at Villawood detention centre in memory of Shooty, a Sri Lankan who took his life in the centre. Photo: Ben Rushton

An open letter to ‘Shooty’, who committed suicide in Villawood detention centre last week.

Dear ‘Shooty’,

I’ve just watched our Prime Minister talking about shared Commonwealth values in Perth. My mind turned at once to you and your solitary, late-night death in Villawood detention centre last week.

I say solitary, but you may have had a mobile. You may have talked to your girlfriend on the outside that dismal night. She is said to have urgently rung Villawood to ask the desk there to call an ambulance because you were taking poison or a lethal overdose. But they declined to make the call at that stage. Your girlfriend’s mother was the one who then contacted the ambulance, which took you to hospital too late. An earlier refusal by the authorities to let you out for a day to attend a Hindu festival may have caused the final despair.

So, after telling your girlfriend you were fed up with Serco, the company that runs the place for profit, you died, a man refugee advocates called perhaps the most positive and chirpy in the camp. Never mind. You were a Tamil from Sri Lanka, and a son of the Commonwealth of Nations. Even if that did you no good, I hope it consoles you.

Your suicide came after two years’ detention. But you had been already declared a bona fide refugee seven months ago. You were waiting only for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation to complete a routine security check. After seven months they hadn’t. An unreasonable person, like myself, might ask how long they bloody well need. But of course, I don’t understand the subtleties of their situation. And in any case, you short-circuited their efficiency.

Because you couldn’t take any more of what we dished up to you – those Commonwealth values, the ones on which we take years to deliver while we treat you as if you have committed armed robbery with assault. You could have lived in the community awaiting the formality of the routine ASIO check. But that would have been too much dignity paid to you.

Your death comes at the end of a period when the psychiatric advisers to the government had warned the government that self-destructive acts like yours would occur. Yet the funny thing is, Shooty, that had you been able to endure, you would have become a resident and an Australian. A brother. A fellow guest at the table of the Commonwealth of Australia. A mate, clasped by the shoulder and probably praised at barbecues – in that back-handed way – as a decent bloody brown bastard!

At CHOGM, the high table of Commonwealth values, Sri Lanka went un-punished for atrocities against Tamils. But even when the Tamil human-shield civilians were being blasted at the end of the Sri Lankan war between the government and the Tigers, we all knew some people like you would inevitably come to Australia. Good old John Dowd, who is head of our local chapter of the International Commission of Jurists, had already called for the trial of the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia for war crimes against your people. This just cry, like most just cries these days, has penetrated the stratosphere and vanished into space.

Amnesty International has reported death and torture of those asylum seekers returned to Sri Lanka. Of course, none of those accusations made it to the high table of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Mateship. The only person who said anything of note at CHOGM, anything that tried to push out the envelope of concern, was the Queen.

It’s important to know none of what befell you was personal. You died for a failing government which has lost its soul and will soon lose an election. That is, it will have sold its essence to no benefit, and you’ll still be dead. A crease-browed, callow young Minister for Immigration can console us in dusk news bulletins as to why the circumstances imposed on you were so necessary to Australia’s security. And the rest of us have the rhetoric of morning radio and, thank you, but we decided some time back we don’t want you adding your static to our heedless days.

At least until the next suicide, the next foretold and desperate death, some Australians, an increasing number, weep for you as for a brother. Some curse the ineptitude, the cosy lies, the political conjuring and party self-deceit that brought you to your death. And the ironic truth is your remains will have a claim on a patch of Australian soil we wouldn’t give you before.

If we could summon up your soul from that place, we would offer you our useless apologies. If we could summon up your soul, we would ask it to remain among us – the man who was on the brink of Australian-ness, led to water, not allowed to drink. But for now, mandatory detention rolls on, a wheel that crushes many and avails Australia nothing.

What we need, Shooty, what we Australians need for the peace of our souls, is a whisper, a breeze from the direction of your vanished spirit. And what it would say is: treat us as members of the same species. What it would say is: I thought you were a just people.

Tom Keneally AO is the Booker prize-winning author of Schindler’s Ark. ‘Shooty’ committed suicide in Villawood detention centre last week.

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ASIO, fascism and anti-fascism

Slackbastard

Posted on October 18, 2011 by @ndy

They said it would rain tomorrow.
My garden is full of weeds this year, the herbicide isn’t working.
The Moles snuck into The Garden last night.
The… spotted cuckoo is flying backwards?

Threat of fascist attacks revealed
Dylan Welch
The Sydney Morning Herald
October 12, 2011

FASCIST and nationalist extremist groups are active in and pose a threat to Australia, with the country’s security agency saying there are legitimate concerns they may spawn a terrorist in the style of Norway’s Anders Breivik.

The assessment, in the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation’s annual report to Parliament, also reveals Australia’s right-wing extremists, much like the Islamic fundamentalists they loathe, draw inspiration from overseas via the internet.

”There has been a persistent but small subculture of racist and nationalist extremists in Australia, forming groups, fragmenting, re-forming and often fighting amongst themselves,” the report states.

The appraisal also states there has been a recent rise in anarchist or ”anti-fascist” groups, with the ideologically-opposed groups coming into conflict.

”Where such confrontations have occurred, the ‘anti-fascists’ have outnumbered the nationalist and racist extremists and police intervention has been required,” the report states in its ”Australia’s Security Environment” section.

As the recent case of Anders Breivik shows, the dangers posed by right-wing extremists have not abated, despite most intelligence agencies focusing on the threats posed by Islamic terrorism.

A Christian who described himself as a ”modern-day crusader”, Breivik killed 77 people during a bombing in Oslo and a shooting rampage at a teen camp at an island outside the Norwegian capital in July.

While the assessment does not suggest ASIO has uncovered right-extremists in Australia that mirror Breivik’s murderous intentions, it reveals they rely on overseas connections and events to inform and motivate them.

”[They] maintain links and draw inspiration from like-minded overseas extremists, and much of their rhetoric and activity is derivative, heavily influenced by developments overseas,” it states. Websites such as stormfront.org – the web’s most famous and ubiquitous white supremacist and neo-Nazi website – have numerous Australian members.

However, the threat posed by Australian right-wing extremists seems to be limited, with such groups appearing to be interested only in ”propaganda and engendering support”.

”However, there is always the possibility of a lone actor or autonomous group inspired by a nationalist or racist extremist ideology engaging in violence as a means of provoking a wider response,” the report says.

It states the continued existence of such groups has directly led to the resurgence of an ”anti-fascist” movement.

”[The anti-fascist movement] aims to confront those it identifies as fascists, including some of the nationalist and racist extremist groups also of interest to ASIO,” it states.

The security assessment also discusses its monitoring of ”issue-motivated groups” – organisations ranging from community-based forestry groups to neo-Nazi parties.

”There is … a small minority who seek to use protests around a range of emotive issues to further their own (often unrelated) political agenda by provoking, inciting or engaging in violence. It is this fringe that is of concern to ASIO.”

Note that The Australian (by way of its Defence Editor Brendan Nicholson) spins the report rather differently. Thus ASIO “warns that as well as Islamist extremism, fuelled in part by wars in Afghanistan and tensions over Palestine, an anti-fascist movement had recently emerged led by self-styled anarchists determined to confront other interest groups.”

grandparents

Last week,  ASIO tabled its Annual Report in Parliament. Inter alia, it included some remarks on “racist and nationalist extremists in Australia” and took note of the recent “emergence of an ‘anti-fascist’ movement, led by self-styled anarchists, which aims to confront those it identifies as fascists, including some of the nationalist and racist extremist groups also of interest to ASIO”.

There has been a persistent but small sub-culture of racist and nationalist extremists in Australia, forming groups, fragmenting, re-forming and often fighting amongst themselves. Over the past year, such extremists have been active in protesting against various Muslim interests. Local racist and nationalist extremists maintain links and draw inspiration from like-minded overseas extremists, and much of their rhetoric and activity is derivative, heavily influenced by developments overseas. At present, their main focus is propaganda and engendering support. However, there is always the possibility of a lone actor or autonomous group inspired by a nationalist or racist extremist ideology engaging in violence as a means of provoking a wider response. A recent development is the emergence of an ‘anti-fascist’ movement, led by self-styled anarchists, which aims to confront those it identifies as fascists, including some of the nationalist and racist extremist groups also of interest to ASIO. Where such confrontations have occurred, the ‘anti-fascists’ have outnumbered the nationalist and racist extremists and police intervention has been required…

A few comments.

There haven’t been many public protests organised by the “small sub-culture of racist and nationalist extremists in Australia” over the course of financial year 2010-11. In fact, just one springs to mind, held in Melbourne on May 15. The rally was organised by the ‘Australian Defence League’ under the leadership of the Englishman Martin Brennan (who was deported from the country in August).

Heil England

The  rally in Melbourne attracted maybe 20 or 30 “racist and nationalist extremists” and several times as many opponents, who after an hour (or two) pushed the ADL off their location at Federation Square. There were no arrests by police whose policing of the rally was reinforced by private security employed by the Square’s owners.

Another anti-Muslim rally was held in Sydney on July 30 (thus technically outside the remit of the report), again organised by the ADL and heavily supplemented by members of the ‘Australian Protectionist Party’ and patriotik yoof belonging to a splinter from the ‘Southern Cross Soldiers’. The rally in Martin Place attracted a slightly larger number of “extremists” (perhaps as many as 40 or even 50), only a handful of opponents, and a relatively large police presence, who ensured that the rally was unmolested by opponents.

More significantly, on January 16 an anti-racist rally was held in the inner-Sydney suburb of Newtown. The rally proceeded to Sergio Redegalli’s notorious mural ( Cydonia The Glass Studio, Station Street) where the few score protesters were heavily outnumbered by police who arrested seven (or possibly eight?) people. A report in Mutiny zine (No.58, February/March 2011) provides the following account:

On January 16th, more than 100 people gathered at the Hub in Newtown to protest against racism in the area. Following several community demonstrations against a mural that says, “say no to burqas” at nearby Station Street, the group decided to go to the mural in opposition to this racist statement. Together residents threw paint and pasted anti-racism posters over the mural, made noise and held banners with the statements, “fascists off our streets” and “racists out of Newtown”.

Police acted to protect the mural. As people attempted to leave the area together significant numbers of … police continued arriving [at] the scene. Heavy-handed tactics were used to violently arrest 8 people, and to intimidate and harass everyone present.

Witness reports attest to a high level of police aggression, with punches, grabbing people by the neck and threatening to break bones. Charges are being pressed against those arrested and court solidarity will be essential.

On August 15, all bar one of multiple charges against six defendants were dropped, while a seventh defendant received one conviction for “malicious damage” and an 18-month bond (see : We fought the law and we kinda won…, Mutiny, No.61, October/November 2011).

(A previous rally outside the mural on December 19 resulted in no arrests.)

Note that on August 6, 2011 an “extremist” rally was also held in Brisbane. This rally was organised by the ADL and another, Brisbane-based group called the ‘Australian Patriots Defence Movement’. Perhaps 20 or so attended and confronted a counter-protest several times larger. Again, there were no arrests.

In summary: yes, there is a sub-culture of extreme-right / ultra-nationalist / racist and fascist sentiment in Australia. The politically-organised expression of this sentiment is marginal and frequently sectarian.* Animosity towards Muslims has emerged as a major theme over the last decade. Local members of this milieu are responsive to global developments. There is organised opposition to this sub-culture. Such opposition is sometimes confrontational but is generally reactive, similarly small-scale and diffuse.

Otherwise…

The Norwegian anarchist site anarkisterna.com has some interesting analysis in Oslo and Utøya – of words and mass murder (August 11) and From Meta-Politics To Mass Murder – A New Right-Wing Extremism (August 25), while this weekend, a workshop at the London Anarchist Bookfair will be examining some of the issues surrounding these developments:

From Casa Pound to Anders Behring Breivik: Looking at recent developments in European fascism

From black-bloc autonomist nationalists in Germany to ‘third millennium fascist’ squatters in Italy to suit-wearing Nazis in Sweden, the last twenty years has seen huge developments and shifts in the Neo-fascist scene. No longer can Nazis be simply identified by shaved heads, Swastikas and steel-capped boots. Some are even turning to Gramsci, Lenin and international anti-imperialist struggles for inspiration. Paul Hull, a veteran anti-fascist and trade unionist of over ten years in Sweden will discuss the evolution of Neo-Nazi theories and tactics in Northern Europe and will offer suggestions on how the modern militant anti-fascist movement can adapt to these changes.

Co-organised by: Irish, English and Swedish Anti-Fascists

On fishing hooks flicked into faces or squirting dangerous or unpleasant liquids

The ASIO report also states:

Australian issue-motivated groups in general use legitimate protest to publicise and further the cause they advocate. The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 states that lawful advocacy, protest or dissent shall not be regarded as prejudicial to security, and ASIO’s interest in protest is limited to that which is unlawful or violent. Unfortunately, while most issue-motivated groups act lawfully, there are some who do not. There is also a small minority who seek to use protests around a range of emotive issues to further their own (often unrelated) political agenda by provoking, inciting or engaging in violence. It is this fringe that is of concern to ASIO.

ASIO has seen violent and provocative tactics used deliberately by this fringe at a range of protests in recent years, although the frequency and intensity of such violence tends to wax and wane. Provocative tactics used include attacks on police managing protests using ‘invisible’ weapons such as fishing hooks flicked into faces or squirting dangerous or unpleasant liquids in order to provoke an apparently disproportionate police response. The aim is to gain public support and to escalate the anger of those protesting in order to cause widespread violence in an attempt to de-legitimise the government position and undermine the rule of law. Other unlawful tactics used include property damage and sabotage.

The accusation that “fringe elements” have been using invisible weapons is not new. In 2006, for example, former Treasurer Peter Costello claimed that demonstrators at the G20 forum in Melbourne were “ throwing balloons filled with urine at police”. He produced no evidence to substantiate his story. Similar claims were made by police during the S11 protests in 2000 (in fact, the claims were made prior to the event itself). ‘Riot!’, an article by Brett Williams in the April 2010 Police Journal, states:

Public order management trainer Mick Chipperfield knows of the barbed-wire bracelets and fish hooks that rabid protestors have used “in close” against police in Melbourne. He knows that, during clashes at the G20 summit (2006) and World Economic Forum (2000), protestors threw urine-filled balloons and soiled tampons at his interstate counterparts.

According to Jeff Sparrow the story about urine-filled balloons has its origins in the mid-1990s during the course of protests against Pauline Hanson, when water bombs were thrown at some of the boneheads who attended her meetings. Throughout this period, no person, to my knowledge, has been charged or convicted of any such offence.

About @ndy

@ndy lives in Melbourne, Australia. He barracks for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies.

Source: Here and here

Facebook refuses to shut rape page run by schoolboy

1:02PM Monday Oct 17, 2011

Philip Sherwell in New York
October 17, 2011 – 11:47AM

Facebook
Controversy … Facebook has refused to remove a page about rape. Photo: Getty Images

Nobody knows better than MJ Stephens that rape is no laughing matter. So as the victim of a sexual assault, she was horrified when she encountered the contents of a Facebook page full of jokes about rape and violence towards women.

But worse was to come when the young American tried to argue with people who had attached comments to a page called: “You know shes [sic] playing hard to get when your [sic] chasing her down an alleyway” – most of them teenagers and young adults from Australia and Britain.

In sickeningly explicit terms, several of them threatened her and expressed the wish that she be raped again.

Such pages, full of ugliness, aggression and pornographic language are multiplying on Facebook, drawing lucrative user traffic to the social networking site.

Now it has emerged that one of the “administrators” of the page – users with the right to edit its content – is believed to be a British schoolboy linked to a network of hackers in Australia, Britain and America who have set up Facebook pages featuring offensive sexual and violent content.

Micheal O’Brien, a Canadian computer systems engineer who co-founded the Rape Is No Joke (RINJ) campaign to pressure Facebook to delete “rape pages” via petitions and boycotts, has tracked the activity on several such pages and contacted participants online.

He told London’s The Sunday Telegraph that associates of 4chan, a loose-knit collection of international “cyber-anarchists” who champion absolute online freedom, including the right to share pornography, have founded and administer several of the pages.

The RINJ’s own website has been attacked by hackers and campaigners have been subjected to virulent online onslaughts since they started to draw attention to the 4chan connection last week. Pro-4chan images have also been posted to the “alleyway” page.

Facebook protects the identity of those who set up and run pages but Mr O’Brien has identified several posters as likely page administrators, including college students in Australia and a teenage boy in Britain.

With nearly 210,000 people indicating that they “like” it, and many million of monthly visitors, the “alleyway” page is the most popular. Others include “Abducting, raping and violently murdering your friend as a joke”, “Pinning your mate down while someone HIV positive rapes him for a laugh”, “Police call it a restraining order, we call it playing hard to get” and “Turning into a chain smoking sexual predator when you drink”.

Many of the regular users who “post” on the pages are young Australians and Britons- many still at school, judging from information on their own Facebook profile pages. The website allows any child aged 13 or older to open an account.

Activists and victims’ support groups in Britain and America, where Facebook is based, have urged the social networking site to shut down and remove the pages. But despite an online petition signed by more than 200,000 people worldwide, the internet giant is refusing to do so.

Facebook did not respond to repeated requests for comment by The Sunday Telegraph. But in response to previous complaints about the pages, the company has said that while they may express “outrageous or offensive” opinions, they do not violate its rules banning content that is hateful or incites violence.

“It is very important to point out that what one person finds offensive, another can find entertaining,” a spokesman said. “Just as telling a rude joke won’t get you thrown out of your local pub, it won’t get you thrown off Facebook.”

An administrator of the “rape page” posted an online defence in response to the controversy, insisting that he did not support or promote rape but then directing a sarcastic barb at critics.

“i d[o] not support rape this group doesn’t,” the person wrote, with a lack of grammar and in internet shorthand characteristic of many postings. “thanks for supporting us uve made us get even more likes i thank u for that but this group has not dne anything wrong according to the terms and cnditions f facebook groups s if it does get taken down it will result in court because it has done nothing wrong.”

Jane Osmond, co-editor of the Women’s Views on News website, which has led the campaign in Britain, said: “It’s ludicrous to compare the content on this page to pub humour. Rape is a crime and we live in a society where the threat of rape is in the mind of every woman who has walked down a street alone at night. Making a joke about rape is not just not funny. It allows people to dismiss it as something not serious.

“Those who post in this way are certainly mostly teenage boys and young men saying inappropriate things, but we do believe that these sites have attracted sexual predators too. It is a dangerous group with some dangerous users.”

Activists who have gone online to make their case, and to publish images for a campaign promoting consensual rather than forced sexual activity, have been subjected to such a violent response that some have complained to the police.

Campaigners on both sides of the Atlantic have now switched their attention to businesses as they believe Facebook is inclined to allow the pages to continue because of the viewers and hence advertising revenue they bring in.

“Facebook will only listen to money, so we are now targeting the advertisers who have appeared on their pages,” said Miss Osmond.

Major companies that advertise on Facebook were furious to discover that their advertisements were appearing on the “rape page” and demanded they be removed. They included Barclays, 02, John Lewis, Sony, BlackBerry, American Express, Groupon, Heinz, National Lottery, the White Company and PepsiCo.

After complaints from several businesses to Facebook, the “alleyway” page was “whitelisted” last week, meaning that no adverts could be rotated on it. But advertisements continue to appear on other pages where the content was just as offensive.

The Sunday Telegraph, London

Additional reporting by David Harrison in London.

Source

Conservatives all at sea over human rights

agendaTracker

AT LARGE:
By Chris Graham, September 25, 2011

Asylum seekers

Asylum seekers arrive by boat on Christmas Island, July 8, 2011. (AAP Image/Josh Jerga)

NATIONAL: The greatest threat to our nation is not boat people – it’s been living here for the past 200 years, writes CHRIS GRAHAM*.

Australia, at least for me, is a paradox. As Dorothy McKellar famously wrote, ‘I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of rugged mountain ranges and droughts and flooding rains.’

The extremes in our landscape and our weather seem to have been etched into our national psyche as well, which is something I’ve never quite understood.

As a nation, we are capable of extraordinary acts of generosity. Australians donated more than $100 million to the victims of the Boxing Day tsunami that devastated Indonesia. John Howard, in one of his few genuinely decent acts while Prime Minister, topped up that individual largesse with a $1 billion government aide package.

And yet we don’t actually like Indonesia. In particular, we don’t like Indonesians, especially after what they did in Timor-Leste.

When Indonesian military backed a suppression of the East Timorese in the late 90s, Australians felt genuine outrage and demanded intervention. Howard, quite rightly, pointed out that sending troops into Indonesia uninvited could also be described as ‘an invasion’.

Pressure mounted, and Howard – to his administration’s great credit – got Australian troops in via the United Nations.

It is a matter of enduring national pride that Australia played such an active and important role in helping the East Timorese secure independence.

And having done so, we promptly set about trying to screw them out of their oil and gas reserves.

Timor-Leste, it’s worth noting is one of the poorest nations on the planet, ranking 120 out of 169 countries in the United Nation’s Human Development Index.

Australia is ranked third.

Of course, our national contradictions are not just international in nature. We have plenty of homegrown ones as well. We’ve built a multicultural utopia, a system where people of all races and creeds live together harmoniously.

I work in Parramatta, Sydney. Walk down the street of the CBD any given day and in the space of a few minutes you’ll have passed people from dozens of different countries and cultures.

There’s no suicide bombings. There’s no rampant violence. Everybody goes about their business. It just works.

Yet at the same time, the level of overt racism and hostility towards these very same immigrants can be staggering.

We hate the ‘curry munchers who drive our cabs’ because they smell funny… and are prepared to work harder than we are. We hate the ‘slopeheads who take all the best spots at university’ because they look funny… and are prepared to work harder than we are.

This white angst has its roots in one ugly personality trait: greed. We want it all, and we want it now. We want to be seen to be a sharing nation, without actually having to share it too much.

People talk about kids these days being part of the ‘Me generation’. I think the argument is horseshit. Children today are smarter, more educated and more compassionate than we ever were.

The fact is, the ‘Me generation’ is not a generation at all – it’s a nation of people. Australian people.

We spend our days worrying that someone else might get more than we do. I believe I know the cause.
Conservatives.

I’m not talking about  all ‘conservatives’ – the capital ‘L’ Liberal, for example, who believes in small government and modest change, but also human rights.

I’m talking about the nutter , the loony right-wingers who populate both our major political parties (and beyond), and who dominate the airwaves and the pages of our mainstream papers.

I call them ‘Big C’ conservatives.

They live miserable lives, and they’re determined that you should as well.

Big C conservatives are the scowlers of our society. If they’re not whipping people into a frenzy on some radio station about ‘some PC nonsense’, then they’re the ones phoning in to some radio station to complain about ‘some PC nonsense’.

But if you really want to get to know the Big C conservative, it helps to look at the sorts of social issues that get their knickers in a knot.

They’re the people who predicted native title would threaten the backyards of all Australians. Never happened.

They’re the people who suggested in 2006, when the Single Noongar Claim was handed down, that access to our beaches might be under threat. Never happened.

When land rights was introduced in NSW in 1983, the Big C conservatives howled and screamed that it would be the ruination of a nation. Never happened.

The Big C’s railed against a national apology for the better part of a decade, claiming it would lead to a flood of compensation claims. Never happened.

These are the same people who told you that Italians wouldn’t assimilate; that the Greeks would overrun the country; that the Vietnamese would form ghettos and never assimilate.

They hate Muslims, want to ban the burqa and believe Islam is a threat, as though Christianity is free from extremism. And they’re the same ranters who oppose things like a treaty with our First Nations, or a Bill of Rights, both of which are mechanisms designed – shock horror – to protect basic human rights for all.

And it’s not only helpful to look at what the Big C conservatives oppose. It’s also about what they support.

The Northern Territory intervention has been a disastrous policy for the Howard, Rudd and Gillard governments. And yet it still draws widespread support among the Big C’s today.

They wail ‘Who will think of the children’, having sat and done precisely nothing for decades while the adults of today – once also children – grew up in third world poverty in a first world nation.

Aboriginal affairs is littered with the policy corpses of bone stupid ideas from bone stupid Big C conservatives.

They’re the creators of the odious ‘Shared Responsibility Agreements’ and welfare quarantining. Remember the COAG trials. Run by Big C’s. Hindmarsh Island affair. Big C’s again.

If they had a marketing phrase to promote membership to their ranks, it would be this: ‘The Big C’s: exploiting Australian ignorance since Federation’.

Aboriginal people, more than any other group, have been the targets of these misinformation campaigns. But the most spectacular recent example of Big C conservatives getting it wrong on an important social issue lies in the debate around asylum seekers, one of the few groups of people on earth who could seriously compete with the Australian blackfella for the mantle of ‘world’s most disadvantaged’.

If you’ve never seen the SBS series Go Back Where You Came From, you must. It should be required viewing for all Australians.

It is the most impacting television series I’ve ever watched. You can watch it online for no cost at http://www.sbs.com.au/shows/goback.

At the risk of spoiling the ending, six Australians embarked on a 25-day journey to challenge their preconceived notions about refugees and asylum seekers.

“Tracing in reverse the journeys that refugees have taken to reach Australia, they travel to some of the most dangerous and desperate corners of the world,” said the show’s creators.

Each of the participants was chosen not because they were rednecks, but because they were ordinary Australians.

They just happened to have (with one exception) very extreme views. That, I’d argue, is what makes them ordinary Australians in the first place. With emphasis on the ‘ordinary’.

One of the women from the show, Raye Colby, expressed the view at the start of the series that it was a good thing refugees died en-masse at Christmas Island last year.

“Serves them bloody right,” she sneered.

Colby’s primary objection? That asylum seekers get fed and cared for by the Australian taxpayer, and – wait for it – have access to big screen TVs while in detention. But the capitulation of Colby and the others as the show unfolds is stunning.

The most startling turnaround for me was from Adam Hartup, a Cronulla lifeguard who admits to being present during the Cronulla race riots. Hartup began the show referring to asylum seekers as “these criminals” who come to Australia illegally.

Later in the series there’s footage of Hartup in an Iraqi hospital, dancing with men and boys missing arms and other body parts, the inevitable result of an illegal and immoral war in which Australia was an active participant.

It makes for gut-wrenching viewing.

Unsurprisingly, confronted with the reasons why people get on boats to come to Australia, Hartup completely reverses his view. But he hadn’t even left the country before he began questioning the popular Australian narrative – the Big C conservative spin – on asylum seekers.

What got Hartup thinking was a trip just 30 kilometres from his home, to the Villawood Detention Centre.

There, after just two hours talking to detainees, Hartup and his ‘average Australian’ view of the world was knocked for six.

“It shook me up a bit. Bit of a reality check actually,” said Hartup immediately after the meeting.

He quickly came to the view that getting on a leaky boat to Australia was an entirely reasonable response to the circumstances facing many asylum seekers.

Now here’s the rub. On issues like native title and land rights, it can sometimes take a decade or more for the scare campaigns of the Big C’s to be exposed for what they are. Unadulterated rubbish.

But for Adam Hartup, it took just two hours for the whole Big C conservative story that he’d swallowed hook, line and sinker to collapse.

Which brings me to the central point of this column: If the Big C conservatives always get this stuff wrong – and the passage of time shows they do – then why do we continue to allow them space in public discussion on key social issues?

Why do we listen when they play politics with the lives of asylum seekers and Aboriginal people?

And why do average Australians keep looking to Big C conservatives for their policy revelations on Aboriginal affairs? Why does media promote them?

Why do we believe that the people who always get it wrong, might one day get it right? Isn’t that the very definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different outcome?

The fact is, it’s time to shut these people down, to ignore their shrieking on key social issues in public debate.

Dorothy McKellar’s poem about Australia is entitled ‘My Country’. It’s high time we took it back from the Big C’s.

* Chris Graham is the Managing Editor of Tracker magazine. He is a Walkley Award and Human Rights award winning journalist.

Source

Adopted Australian tennis star hurt by online abuse

Tom Wald
September 3, 2011 – 11:18AM

Jarmila Gajdosova

Jarmila Gajdosova in action on the court. Photo: AFP

Jarmila Gajdosova believes she has become a target for vicious online abuse because she is an adopted Australian.

The nation’s second highest-ranked tennis player is considering shutting down her Twitter account following a series of obscene comments posted on the social networking website this week.

Just hours after her 6-2 6-0 US Open second round loss to Vania King, she read the most demeaning of the messages on her mobile phone in her New York hotel room late on Thursday night

She was so upset that she barely slept a wink that night.

“I guess I am an easy target to go for, people use that I am not Australian, that I have not been born there,” a visibly upset Gajdosova said.

“But I do what I do, I do my best.”

The 24-year-old felt she had already gone through enough this year in the form of her divorce from former Australian professional tennis player Sam Groth.

“Today was not the happiest day for me to come back and to go in front of people,” she said following her doubles match on Friday.

“I have already had a tough year, I do not need people to give me stuff like that.”

The Slovakian-born player first visited Australia as a 14-year-old and has spent the majority of the past decade based in the country.

She became a citizen at the end of 2009 following her marriage to Groth, their relationship ended in April.

There has been plenty of online comments unfairly questioning the legitimacy of world No.31 Gajdosova’s marriage since news broke of her split with Groth.

And there was even an edge to some online Twitter comments this week.

“Unfortunately that was the worst performance from an Aussie for a long time, Aussies don’t give up no matter what,”

said one message after her loss to King.

Gajdosova said she had received hurtful messages in the past but nothing like the latest torrent of abuse.

“Unfortunately I do take it personally because I do care and I do not appreciate people talking about me this way,” she said.

Gajdosova said she retweeted the hurtful messages so the rest of her 7,000 followers understood the reasons for her contemplating closing her Twitter account.

“It is not fair to the people who support me because I must have got about 500 messages from people outside of that saying they are sad,” she said.

“I have not shut it yet, I just announced it first that I am hurt and I still am.”

 

 

Source

Anders Breivik Kills 92, Injures Several More: “Who Could Blame Him?” Asks Lisa Ebeling

Who the hell could blame a guy for killing close to 100 people, while dressed as a police officer?
Many Christians are arguing that only Muslims kill and blow up buildings because their holy book urges them to do so.
Here are some stats regarding Islamic terrorism in Europe:

According to the EU Terrorism Situation & Trend Report 2011 (https://www.europol.europa.eu/sites/default/files/publications/te-sat2011.pdf), Islamic terrorists in the EU:

– committed 3 out of 249 attacks (1.2%)
– were 179 out of 611 people arrested for terrorist related offences (29.3%)

Notes:

1. Why are there many Muslims who don’t kill people or blow things up? Why is it that when this story broke there were false reports of these attacks being committed by Islamic groups – and that when these false reports came to light, people like Lisa felt horrified with these atrocious actions against innocent people, yet when the perpetrator is shown to be a white, right-winged, Muslim-hating Christian, he is excused of his crime because he was either fed up with a society that accepted Muslims or a nutcase whose actions could not be linked to his religion? Why is that when yet another criminal is linked to racist groups like the EDL, supporters of such groups continue to believe that the sun shines only on them?

2. Kill the Entire Town if One Person Worships Another God
Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods.  In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully.  If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock.  Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it.  Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God.  That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt.  Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction.  Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you.  He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors.  “The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him.”  (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)

3. Kill People for Working on the Sabbath
The LORD then gave these further instructions to Moses: ‘Tell the people of Israel to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you forever.  It helps you to remember that I am the LORD, who makes you holy.  Yes, keep the Sabbath day, for it is holy.  Anyone who desecrates it must die; anyone who works on that day will be cut off from the community.  Work six days only, but the seventh day must be a day of total rest.  I repeat: Because the LORD considers it a holy day, anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death.’  (Exodus 31:12-15 NLT)

4. Kill Sons of Sinners
Make ready to slaughter his sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and posses the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants.  (Isaiah 14:21 NAB)

5. God Will Kill Children
The glory of Israel will fly away like a bird, for your children will die at birth or perish in the womb or never even be conceived.  Even if your children do survive to grow up, I will take them from you.  It will be a terrible day when I turn away and leave you alone.  I have watched Israel become as beautiful and pleasant as Tyre.  But now Israel will bring out her children to be slaughtered.”  O LORD, what should I request for your people?  I will ask for wombs that don’t give birth and breasts that give no milk.  The LORD says, “All their wickedness began at Gilgal; there I began to hate them.  I will drive them from my land because of their evil actions.  I will love them no more because all their leaders are rebels.  The people of Israel are stricken.  Their roots are dried up; they will bear no more fruit.  And if they give birth, I will slaughter their beloved children.”  (Hosea 9:11-16 NLT)

6. Kill Men, Women, and Children
“Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked.  Show no mercy; have no pity!  Kill them all – old and young, girls and women and little children.  But do not touch anyone with the mark.  Begin your task right here at the Temple.”  So they began by killing the seventy leaders.  “Defile the Temple!” the LORD commanded.  “Fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill!  Go!”  So they went throughout the city and did as they were told.”  (Ezekiel 9:5-7 NLT)

7. Kill Old Men and Young Women
“You are my battle-ax and sword,” says the LORD.  “With you I will shatter nations and destroy many kingdoms.  With you I will shatter armies, destroying the horse and rider, the chariot and charioteer.  With you I will shatter men and women, old people and children, young men and maidens.  With you I will shatter shepherds and flocks, farmers and oxen, captains and rulers.  “As you watch, I will repay Babylon and the people of Babylonia for all the wrong they have done to my people in Jerusalem,” says the LORD.  “Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth!  I am your enemy,” says the LORD.  “I will raise my fist against you, to roll you down from the heights.  When I am finished, you will be nothing but a heap of rubble.  You will be desolate forever.  Even your stones will never again be used for building.  You will be completely wiped out,” says the LORD.  (Jeremiah 51:20-26)

8. You Have to Kill
Cursed be he who does the Lords work remissly, cursed he who holds back his sword from blood.  (Jeremiah 48:10 NAB)

9. Kill Your Neighbours
(Moses) stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted, “All of you who are on the LORD’s side, come over here and join me.” And all the Levites came.  He told them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Strap on your swords! Go back and forth from one end of the camp to the other, killing even your brothers, friends, and neighbors.”  The Levites obeyed Moses, and about three thousand people died that day.  Then Moses told the Levites, “Today you have been ordained for the service of the LORD, for you obeyed him even though it meant killing your own sons and brothers. Because of this, he will now give you a great blessing.”  (Exodus 32:26-29 NLT)

10. Kill Followers of Other Religions
While the Israelites were camped at Acacia, some of the men defiled themselves by sleeping with the local Moabite women.  These women invited them to attend sacrifices to their gods, and soon the Israelites were feasting with them and worshiping the gods of Moab.  Before long Israel was joining in the worship of Baal of Peor, causing the LORD’s anger to blaze against his people.  The LORD issued the following command to Moses: “Seize all the ringleaders and execute them before the LORD in broad daylight, so his fierce anger will turn away from the people of Israel.”  So Moses ordered Israel’s judges to execute everyone who had joined in worshiping Baal of Peor.  Just then one of the Israelite men brought a Midianite woman into the camp, right before the eyes of Moses and all the people, as they were weeping at the entrance of the Tabernacle.  When Phinehas son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest saw this, he jumped up and left the assembly.  Then he took a spear and rushed after the man into his tent. Phinehas thrust the spear all the way through the man’s body and into the woman’s stomach.  So the plague against the Israelites was stopped, but not before 24,000 people had died.  (Numbers 25:1-9 NLT)

Should we now label Christians as terrorists?

Of course not.

Does the word of God in the Bible instruct that we should kill?

Yes.

Should we consider banning the police uniform now, considering it was used to draw people closer to a gunman for the slaughtering?

Only if the burqa is banned on the premise that it might be used to rob a bank.

Hate-filled thugs terrorise communities in northwest suburbs

" A boh-gang member"

The Bros Over Hoes gang has repeatedly attacked Melton's Sudanese community. Supplied

A HEAVILY armed racist gang is terrorising communities across the northwest suburbs of Melbourne.
The brutal thugs – who call themselves Bros Over Hoes or BOH – have been involved in drive-by shootings, home invasions and bloody clashes with African refugees.

Chilling photos of masked young men brandishing an arsenal of weapons including guns, machetes and a chainsaw have also been uncovered in a special investigation by the Sunday Herald Sun.

Ten frightened African families have fled the area and others, without the finances to move, remain in fear of their lives.

The Sunday Herald Sun has handed 25 photos of the Melton-based gang to Victoria Police.

It shows them brazenly posing with guns, knives, spears, a bow and arrow and a chainsaw.

There are also videos online of them taking drugs and bashing women, including stamping on one girl’s head.

Some are pictured in front of the Australian flag…

Source

Now looking a bit further we find the police reaction.

Supt Graham Kent said he was aware of the pictures and that many of the men were “well known” to police.

“I don’t like it (the pictures) but there is not much we can do about it,” Supt Kent said.

Many of these men are well known to us and anyone who comes to our attention we will deal with. Our understanding is that these men have a loose association.

Then the Superintendent goes on to say

“They are not organised criminals but unsophisticated and the pictures are of them strutting their stuff.”

So does being in the words of the Superintendent “unsophisticated” somehow excuse a person when they commit a crime? If so, we look forward to our next run-in with the local parking officers.

A lame excuse

The Superintendent continues

He said some pictures had been online for a long time and that some men were in prison, or had been punished for a range of crimes.

So were any of those alleged crimes where people were apparently gaoled related to the incidents reported in the article?

Cast your mind back a year or two, when Indians, mainly students were being bashed and sometimes robbed in Melbourne.

One police officer was quoted as saying

“They need to make sure they walk through a well-lit route, even if it might be longer, and they are not openly displaying signs of wealth with iPods and phones, and not talking loudly in their native language,” Inspector Mahony said.

” We do believe there are some where the victim is targeted because of Indian appearance.”

Source

Targeted because of their appearance? Isn’t that called racism?

NGO Report extract Continue reading

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