February 15, 2004


The ABC memo revealed in last week’s Bulletin column draws some further attention:

Australia's national broadcaster has instructed its staff not to identify Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizballah as terrorist organizations, because they have not been designated as such by the United Nations.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's head of international operations, John Tulloh, confirmed the policy Friday, in response to emailed queries.

Tzvi Fleischer of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) said Friday the identification of terrorist organizations was not the problem the ABC claimed it was.

"Terrorist attacks are attacks directed primarily at civilians, and are generally readily identifiable, as even the ABC's own memo concedes," he said.

"A terrorist organization is one whose leadership espouses or claims credit for such attacks, or which has been identified by a legitimate court of law as having carried out such an attack, regardless of the cause in which the attacks was carried out. By this criteria, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizballah are unequivocally terrorist organizations."

Fleischer also questioned the policy of a taxpayer-funded Australian broadcaster to appeal to the U.N. as the "ultimate authority" when it came to designating organizations as terrorist.

"The U.N. is neither a judicial body, nor a world parliament, and the ABC was established to represent an Australian point of view, and not that of a political multinational organization in New York," he said.

The Republican debate was framed by many pro-Republicans as a chance for Australia to stand on its own two feet; as Ryan Heath said: "We believe that as Australians, we're grown up enough to run our own affairs completely, without the need for a foreign Queen, who does not live among us, to be our Head of State."

Apparently our national broadcaster isn’t grown up enough to run its own affairs. It follows the decisions of a foreign group that does not live among us.

Posted by Tim Blair at February 15, 2004 04:30 PM

People in America have slowly begun to realize that giving up your sovereignty to an unaccountable organization like the UN is dangerous. I hope more and more Australians will also begin to realize that having to turn to the UN is a mistake, becuase it can turn tyrannical at any moment. Look whats happening in Israel. The 29 Arab coutries churn out anti-Israel resolutions like sausages, while a modest Israeli prposal to condemn suicide bombings on Israeli children was practically laughed out of the assembly. Most coutries except the US don't care, but the time may come when these same undemocratic coutries gang up on you. I wonder if Australia's attitude will change when Indonesia or Malaysia start writing up anti-Australian resolutions?

Posted by: G Resaba at February 15, 2004 at 05:44 PM

So what does the ABC suggest that we call unelected armed groups who refuse to enter the political process to express their point of view, but instead decide to force change by murder and indoctrination of the local community ?

Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the rest are not 'freedom fighters'. Their credo is far more agressive - the destruction of Israel, something far different to the liberation of the Palestinians. They do not want a 2 state solution and they are indifferent to the needs of the Palestinians themselves, except in so far as the local population, especially young boys, can serve as suicide bombers.

The naivete of the ABC astounds me. As someone who has actually been to Jenin, Bethlehem etc I can assure you that the PA has no authority, and that Hamas in particular wields a terrifying mafia style authority in the territories. They are cold blooded terrorists who seek the destruction of a democratic state,Israel - pure and simple.

The ABC is Australians and policy on these issues should be rooted in Australian law, not the arbitrary decisions of a deeply corrupt and morally weak insitution such as the UN.

Posted by: TedD at February 15, 2004 at 05:52 PM

"A terrorist organization is one whose leadership espouses or claims credit for such attacks, or which has been identified by a legitimate court of law as having carried out such an attack, regardless of the cause in which the attacks was carried out. By this criteria, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizballah are unequivocally terrorist organizations."

This is correct. Those organisations are terroristic. As are various governments, including the USA. For example, see World Court decision on Nicaragua.

I disapprove of not calling a spade a spade, and that's what the ABC is doing. Bad ABC. But also, bad everyone else for ignoring "our own terrorists".

Posted by: fatfingers at February 15, 2004 at 06:09 PM

Sure the US is a terrorist government. all the Commies would say so. That the World Court has made some asinine assertion under the influence of lying scumbags cuts no ice. In Nicaraugua it was the Sandinistas, communists to a man, who carried on terror against the Nicarauguans, including especially the Miskito indians, and proposed to carry it further through Central America. In case some people have not noticed, over a period of 80 years, terror is what communists always do. Spin me no fairy tales about how evil the US is; if it was not for the US the whole world would today be ruled by terror masters, of the Communist or Nazi variety.

Posted by: Michael Lonie at February 15, 2004 at 06:40 PM

Ted: The ABC is not naive. They know exactly what they are doing. They are, plain and simply, on the terrorists' side.

Posted by: Yobbo at February 15, 2004 at 06:50 PM

fatfingers? please move to the 3rd world communist/muslim shithole of your choice. hope the internet access is ok for you there. regards, ross.

Posted by: roscoe at February 15, 2004 at 07:02 PM

"They know exactly what they are doing"


Posted by: Dead Ed at February 15, 2004 at 07:19 PM

does the UN necessarily describe these groups as 'militants'?

Posted by: Dead Ed at February 15, 2004 at 07:22 PM

The ABC is a disgrace. Well called Yobbo. They know what they are doing. They really are on the other side with all their transnationalist, commie mates at the BBC and the various left wing rags. Also...anyone see Peter Carnley, the head of the Anglican Church on TV today saying it was a huge mistake to go topple Saddam? What an immoral prick Carnley is. No wonder no-one goes to church these days. Wanker!

Posted by: joejr at February 15, 2004 at 08:14 PM

Why yes, the commies are everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Check under your beds and tell your kids to dob in their mates.

Posted by: Raena Armitage at February 15, 2004 at 10:18 PM

Lets take their line of reasoning further. If the organization and people responsible for the MURDER of hundreds of Australians in Bali several years ago, is not recognized by the UN as terrorists, then what do they call what happened? A tragic accident? A targeting of legitimate oppressors?

Posted by: jeff at February 15, 2004 at 10:23 PM

Gee, Raena, yeah -- laugh at the silly commie-fearers. After all, communists are gentle, peace-loving creatures, rather hobbit-like, who would never hurt a fly, and who live in harmony with nature and share with each other. The only thing keeping the Soviet Union from being just like Whoville was the Evil USA and it's nasty Cold War. All those people who died? They died of broken hearts.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at February 15, 2004 at 11:58 PM

Raena and fatfingers, I will pay your airfare if you both promise to move to North Korea. Seriously. I'm sure, fatfingers, that you'll be able to change your nic to thinfingers in a matter of weeks.

Posted by: ushie at February 16, 2004 at 02:31 AM

More like no fingers, once he's realised there's no milk and definitely no honey in that land. Plenty of meat on those digits...

Of course, there are poisoned cabbages...

Posted by: Tony at February 16, 2004 at 06:47 AM

In March 2003, I wrote a letter to the ABC complaining about their avoidance of the word "terrorist" when describing Hamas, Hezbollah or other anti-Israel terror groups.

I received this response:
Thank you for your email.

The ABC uses the UN list of terrorists as its guide.

The list of organisations and individuals considered by the UN to be terrorists is attached to resolutions 1267, 1333 and 1390. The ABC regards any organisation dedicated to purely and only terrorism, in line with the UN list, as a
terrorist organisation.

In regard to the use of the term ‘militant’ or ‘militancy’, the ABC does not believe that this implies legitimacy. Its contemporary meaning is that a militant is a person using war-like/combative methods (including acts of terror) to achieve social or political ends. Therefore ‘militants’ are people who stand outside legitimate institutions such as state defence forces.

(continued below...)

Posted by: Jono at February 16, 2004 at 08:58 AM

The ABC cannot agree with your view that there is a consistent "whitewash" of activities by Palestinian groups. The ABC is committed to providing programs which reflect a wide range of viewpoints, beliefs and perspectives. Our middle east coverage has included extensive explanation, analysis, debate and reports. This coverage is, and continues to be, balanced and comprehensive. I regret that you think otherwise.

Posted by: Jono at February 16, 2004 at 09:01 AM

Centrally determined descriptions by distant bureaucrats who do not have a reporter's ability to make a call on a particular event amounts to censorship.

Throw down your pens and go on strike, ABC workers!

Posted by: ilibcc at February 16, 2004 at 10:11 AM

It's fair enough - the Israeli Defence Force hasn't been designated a terrorist organistaion yet either.

Posted by: Miranda Divide at February 16, 2004 at 12:46 PM

That hasn't stopped the ABC describing the Israelis as assassins on a campaign of murder before scurrying back to their well-thumbed UN guide.

Posted by: ilibcc at February 16, 2004 at 12:58 PM

I don't care what the ABC say.

I care that they use my tax dollars to say it.

Posted by: Gilly at February 16, 2004 at 01:06 PM

Miranda - just who HAS classified the Israeli Defence Forces as a terrorist group ?

Oh well, those that plan to slaughter innocent Jews and those that take every reasonable measure to protect innocent Jews are the same, right ?

I smell moral equivalence.

Posted by: Jono at February 16, 2004 at 03:18 PM

Fatfingers couldn't spot a terrorist group even if they crashed a plane into him.

Posted by: Sortelli at February 16, 2004 at 04:05 PM

For an insight into the world of the mentally deranged go to Raena's blog at http://blog.raena.net/ One for the chronically perceptually impaired. Keep up the psychotropics Raena!

Posted by: joejr at February 16, 2004 at 04:23 PM

ABC is the Beeb's little Ozzie brother. Some one should tap them on the shoulder and tell them whats going on in Britain now days.

"Dreams can come true, it can happen to you, if your young at heart"

Posted by: papertiger at February 17, 2004 at 01:37 AM

It says something pretty grim about the Canadians and their lack of any noticeable culture of their own that they have enough spare time on their hands to sit around watching Conan.

Posted by: Dana at February 17, 2004 at 10:12 AM

Smell away! Both sides kill innocent civilians in cold blood in the name of historical and religious claims to the same territory. One is armed to the teeth, the other has suicide bombers. I call that immoral equivalence.

But i'm all for getting rid of WMD's from the middle east - starting with Israel's nuclear arms.

Posted by: Miranda Divide at February 17, 2004 at 10:44 AM

Of course you are, Miranda. You'd like nothing better than for Israel to be wiped off the face of the earth, along with all the other Jews on the planet. They obviously outperform you in every way; time to get rid of them!

Posted by: Andrea Harris at February 17, 2004 at 10:47 AM

I'm not so sure Miranda would like Israel to disappear from the map...after all so long as Israel stays there the enlightened arabs have something to concentrate on rather than directing all their "energies" for such things as womens rights, gay rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc that are so dear to the left.

Its an interesting coalition indeed between the left and the arabs. antisemitism seems like the only thing they have in commmon.

Posted by: Raffi at February 17, 2004 at 04:52 PM