Thursday, June 10, 2010

Furious hatred of Israel hosted on "Your ABC"

It's written by a Leftist Jew. It takes a Leftist Jew to get really obscene about Israel. I run a few excerpts below. In his fury the writer has lost all touch with logic and reality. What, for instance, have greenhouses got to do with chlorinating water?

And it was the Palestinians who destroyed the greenhouses anyway. The Israelis Left them as a gift to the Arabs when Israel withdrew from Gaza but because they were provided by Israel, the Arabs promptly destroyed them all.

And note that the authorities he quotes for his claims are people who are as anti-Israel as he is -- from people aboard the flotilla itself to the thoroughly discredited Amnesty International. Even the Israeli newspaper "Ha Aretz" leans Left.

Why is this garbage on the ABC? That was a rhetorical question. We know how far Left the ABC is. That the stuff is part of the "ABC for kids" website makes it particularly objectionable, however

The global outrage in response to Israel's attack on the flotilla is fitting. But we should not lose sight of why it was so terrible. This was not just an attack on aid workers.

If it were just that, it would be bad enough. In itself it would be nothing new for Israel. However, putting the attack in context more fully reveals its moral obscenity.

Paul McGeough, who was on board the flotilla, wrote that the flotilla was bringing water filtration equipment to Gaza.

The reason it chose to do so was because there is virtually no clean drinking water in Gaza. Partially due to Israel's destruction of greenhouses during its attack on Gaza from 2008-2009, the Gaza water supply was reported to be on the verge of collapse in September last year. There was an urgent need to find clean drinking water, because, as Amnesty International pointed out, some 90-95 per cent of water in Gaza was not fit for drinking.

This would be bad enough, but, as Kate Allen, head of Amnesty International UK pointed out, "Israel's continuing blockade of Gaza is preventing the importation of urgently-needed materials to repair water and sewage treatments works."

As noted in the Ha'aretz report, the unclean drinking water caused respiratory and intestinal problems to babies in Gaza.

Victoria Brittain pleaded in the Guardian for "just one corner of the blockade" to be lifted "to let water works begin and to give infant lives a chance." All it would take was "Just one telephone call from the Israeli defence ministry". This phone call still hasn't come, and Palestinian babies continue to suffer, as the world continues to watch in silence, and as Western media continues to pass over this issue....

More HERE. Extra copy here

Ignorant American Premier belittles an Australian icon

I think it's the death-rattle of her government

A REMARK aimed at belittling her political rival has backfired on NSW Premier Kristina Keneally, leaving her under attack from the unlikely alliance of Diggers and a charity queen.

Ms Keneally yesterday mocked Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell for walking PNG's Kododa Track, saying, "Well, so did Miss Australia - so congratulations, Barry."

But the swipe by the American-born Premier only denigrates the honour of those who fought the Japanese there, the four Australians who died walking the 96km track last year and Miss World Australia 2007 Caroline Pemberton.

"Obviously she hasn't done the trek herself to be making those comments," said Ms Pemberton, who has also climbed Mt Everest and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity. "To bring up Kokoda in jest is not only offensive to our Diggers, it's offensive to all Australians. Probably because she's got an American background she doesn't know what it means to trek it."

The Kokoda Track was the scene of the some of the most desperate and vicious fighting for Australian troops during the the Second World War.

Although Australians managed to to prevent the Japanese from using PNG as a springboard for an attack on Australia, their success came at a cost. More than 625 Australians were killed and 1600 wounded. Casualties due to sickness exceeded 4000.

Ms Pemberton issued a challenge to Ms Keneally to walk the track. "Come and trek Kokoda, feel the blood, sweat and tears," she said.

Mr O'Farrell had raised his walking of the track in a radio interview this week when asked if he were strong. "I don't reckon I would have personally survived my Kokoda trek if I didn't have something inside me that kept me going," Mr O'Farrell said.

Mr O'Farrell walked the track with his son Tom in 2008, together with Ms Pemberton and Liberal Upper House MP Charlie Lynn. Mr Lynn is a Vietnam veteran who has walked the track 59 times. Yesterday Mr Lynn said the comments were "disappointing".

"Nobody who has done Kokoda refers to it in a flippant way," he said. "I've said for years you don't understand Kokoda until you've trekked Kokoda. "You can read about it, you can watch documentaries, you can watch the movies, but until you have walked the footsteps you'll never understand it."

And he praised Mr O'Farrell, saying: "Barry is a big unit. He put in a lot of work to get fit for Kokoda, he did it tough."


Degrees at RMIT 'dumbed down' for foreign students

Such complaints are familiar and undoubtedly true so one wonders if anything will ever be done about them. Graduating unqualified engineers etc. is of great concern

FOREIGN students are cheating and getting special treatment to ensure they get their degrees, according to evidence gathered in a secret investigation by the Ombudsman.

Victorian universities chasing a bigger slice of Australia's $17 billion a year foreign students industry have also been accused of pressuring staff to "dumb down" courses. Some international students who failed tests at Royal Melbourne Institite of Technology were allowed to keep sitting the same exams until they passed, the Ombudsman's investigators allegedly found.

RMIT's 26,000 international students bring in almost $204 million a year to the university.

An RMIT whistleblower sparked the Ombudsman's investigation early this year. Investigators have found evidence suggesting:

- A teacher allowed students to cheat in aerospace and aviation exams.

- At least one Middle Eastern student suspected of cheating spent months in a detention centre while intelligence agencies checked his background.

- An international student graduated from RMIT despite turning up drunk, missing lectures, failing exams, abusing staff and students, and sparking sex assault accusations.

The university, and the individuals accused of wrongdoing, will be able to respond to the allegations in the Ombudsman's draft report before the final report was tabled in State Parliament.

RMIT Vice-Chancellor Margaret Gardner said the Whistleblowers Protection Act prevented her from commenting on the allegations until after the report is tabled. She said she would be happy to answer questions when she was legally able to do so.

An RMIT teacher, who asked not to be named, said some staff were concerned foreign students were getting preferential treatment. "RMIT is falling over backwards to make sure these fee-paying international students don't fail," he said. "A big slice of RMIT's income is generated by international students and they don't want to jeopardise it."

Leading Monash University researcher Bob Birrell claimed some international students who got degrees didn't have enough English to to get a job in Australia in their chosen fields. Dr Birrell said he couldn't comment on the Ombudsman's report as he was not aware of its contents.

But he said competition between Victorian universities was so fierce that evidence suggested some were cutting corners as they desperately pursued the lucrative international student dollar. "In order to deal with the students who were being recruited, they had to dumb down the curriculum," he said.

Investigators from the Ombudsman's office are believed to have discovered the cheating during an investigation into other damaging claims against RMIT. They found evidence suggesting a long-serving teacher handed out an exam paper to a Middle Eastern aerospace student several days before the exam. The student allegedly allowed other Middle Eastern students to use the exam paper to cheat.

Telephone records of the teacher and several aerospace students allegedly reveal late-night contact in the days before a test on the stress on aeroplane components.


The rot never stops with the Victoria police

BEFORE joining Victoria Police and becoming Chief Commissioner, Simon Overland was subjected to scathing criticism by one of Australia's most senior judges for a "steadfast refusal to concede anything harmful to him" in a court case in which he was accused of lying.

Senior police sources told The Australian that Mr Overland's sensitivity to perceived criticism was well known to his colleagues -- and that his actions in using secret intelligence from a covert telephone tap to smother a potentially embarrassing story were evidence of a "glass jaw".

Mr Overland yesterday conceded, following revelations in The Australian, that he had passed on the secret intelligence to media-manage a story about him which he knew, as a result of a telephone tap in a murder probe, would be leaked to Melbourne Radio 3AW's Rumour File. The story concerned the truthful rumour of the Brumby government offering him an expensive executive management trip to Fontainebleau, near Paris, by the Brumby government when he was deputy commissioner and jockeying for Christine Nixon's job on her retirement.

Mr Overland insisted yesterday that he acted for operational reasons to ensure that neither he nor the undercover murder investigation would be undermined. However, senior lawyers and investigators said Mr Overland's action was "extraordinary" and appeared to be a breach of the Telecommunications (Intercept and Access) Act, which forbids unlawful disclosures from taps.

The Office of Police Integrity, which has been accused of acting "corruptly" in the case involving Mr Overland, is under increasing pressure to launch a new inquiry and demonstrate that it applies the law evenly.

The OPI said that "as presently advised", the OPI's view is that Mr Overland had not committed a breach with his disclosure.

Mr Overland's sensitivity to criticism was detailed in a judgment by the then Federal Court judge James Allsop, now President of the Court of Appeal in the NSW Supreme Court.

Justice Allsop's damning 2001 judgment about Mr Overland's evidence and his conduct as the then chief operating officer of the Australian Federal Police provide an insight into his responses under scrutiny that threatened to put him in an unfavourable light. The case concerned another AFP officer who was being disciplined by Mr Overland after sending a ribald email through the organisation's email system.

"I think this evidence of Mr Overland reflects less than well on Mr Overland," Justice Allsop found. "It can most charitably be characterised as a punctilious attendance to any nuance which might be seen as available to neutralise material otherwise harmful to his own case. Less charitably, I detected in his evidence a steadfast refusal to concede anything harmful to him . . ."

Justice Allsop found that a position adopted by Mr Overland during the case "did him little credit; at best it was carefully ambiguous".

He wrote in his judgment that he was "reluctant" to characterise another part of Mr Overland's evidence as a "lie", as put by counsel in the case, but he found that, "I think it reflects a determination not to make concessions wherever the resistance to making them can somehow, possibly, be justified from the material".

He found that a fair-minded person could have a reasonable apprehension or suspicion that Mr Overland "knew that he was misleading, and had deliberately misled" the fellow officer.

Justice Allsop said in the judgment that Mr Overland "had a view of the requirements of procedural fairness which was mechanical and formalistic".

"I think a fair minded observer would be led to have a reasonable apprehension or suspicion that Mr Overland would not bring to his task an impartiality and fairness which would be otherwise expected of him," he said, before adding, "I think it is very relevant to the question of costs that Mr Overland did not frankly and openly set out in his affidavit the process of the decision making in the respects disclosed in his evidence."


More from former Victorian assistant police commissioner Noel Ashby:

Noel Ashby says there is a stench about Victoria Police that can be cleared only when Chief Commissioner Simon Overland is subjected to the same scrutiny he faced for his alleged role in unwittingly derailing a murder investigation that Mr Overland yesterday conceded was compromised from the start.

Mr Ashby, who was an assistant commissioner and Mr Overland's rival for the top job when the murder investigation, Operation Briars, was launched, said Mr Overland's explanation for why he passed on information from telephone taps raised further questions about the ill-fated operation and subsequent inquiry by the Office of Police Integrity.

"Why did the OPI report of the investigation tendered into parliament identify us as the leaks when quite simply it was compromised many, many months before?" Mr Ashby said. "Clearly, Simon Overland doesn't want this investigated any further. He has been treated completely differently, and when you look at the chain of events, the whole thing stinks. I was dragged before public and private hearings. Simon Overland had none of that. The stench around the real reasons for this whole operation commencing needs to be cleared, and it needs to be cleared forthwith."

The Brumby government last night resisted calls for an independent inquiry into the Chief Commissioner's conduct.

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland declined to comment but referred questions to a spokeswoman for his department, who said it was considering a request by another former OPI target, former police union head Paul Mullett, for an immediate judicial inquiry.

The demise of Operation Briars, which was established to probe links between serving or former police and the 2003 murder of male prostitute Shane Chartres-Abbott, spawned the OPI's Operation Diana, which resulted in criminal charges being laid against Mr Ashby and Mr Mullett. The charges were later dropped.

The OPI alleged that Mr Ashby and Mr Mullett passed on information that enabled the target of Operation Briars, then sergeant Peter Lalor (who strenuously denies any wrongdoing and has not faced any charges), to know his phone was being tapped. By his own admission in a sworn affidavit, Mr Overland also passed on sensitive information gained from the same telephone taps.

The Australian yesterday revealed that Mr Overland passed on the information to prevent a gossip item about his plans to accept a legitimate taxpayer-funded trip to France being run on Melbourne Radio 3AW's Rumour File. Mr Overland's argument that this was necessary to protect the integrity of Operation Briars was yesterday described as "unconvincing" by leading criminal barristers.

Mr Overland said he passed on the intercepted conversation between Mr Mullett and Mr Lalor discussing his plans to take a management course in Fontainebleau, south of Paris, to his then media adviser, Stephen Linnell, to counteract a "campaign to undermine and discredit" Operation Briars. Armed with the information, Mr Linnell alerted his mentor, Mr Ashby, that his telephone might be tapped. This started the flow of information that the OPI alleges resulted in Mr Lalor knowing his phone was "off".

Criminal barrister Phillip Priest QC, who represented Mr Ashby in the OPI hearings, said: "There is a significant possibility Mr Overland breached the Telecommunications Interceptions Act in much the same way it had been alleged others who faced an OPI inquiry had. I find his justification quite unconvincing."

Australian Lawyers Alliance director Greg Barns said the case was "worthy of a thorough examination" into whether Mr Overland had broken state or federal laws.

Mr Mullett, who was forced to resign from the police association as a result of Operation Briars and the subsequent OPI hearing but was last year cleared of wrongdoing, dismissed Mr Overland's argument as "nonsense".

Mr Overland continues to have the backing of Victorian Premier John Brumby, who said the allegations against his police chief had already been tested by the OPI. However, the state's top cop received only luke-warm support from Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu. "I don't have a problem with Simon Overland," he said. "Clearly, there have been issues raised and what I would detect from this morning is that Simon Overland himself seems to be uncomfortable about that situation."

Mr Overland refused to respond to questions from The Australian about how a gossip item about a planned trip to France was relevant to a murder investigation and whether he would welcome an independent inquiry.

When pressed by other reporters, he denied he passed on the information to spare himself embarrassment, or that his decision to tell Mr Linnell started a chain of information that made the targets of Operation Briars aware that their telephones were being tapped.

He said that Operation Briars was under "collateral attack" and gossip about his trip to France would fuel an "orchestrated campaign . . . to distract, derail, undermine (and) discredit," the investigation and the people running it.

"It was in that context that I had the conversation with Stephen Linnell, who was part of the reference group set up to manage exactly those issues. That is the relevance."

Mr Overland said The Australian's reporting of the story was part of a "concerted campaign against me since I dared criticise them for their reporting of a counter-terrorism operation last year".


The Queensland cops are just thugs and bludgers by comparison with the Victoria police. See my Queensland Police blog)

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