April 02, 2004


A few weeks ago in The Bulletin I mentioned an ABC memo to staff that contained this instruction:

Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad are NOT included in the UN's list of terrorist organisations and therefore must not be described as such.

Bad enough that the ABC should defer to the UN. Worse still that this supposed UN “list of terrorist organisations” doesn’t even exist. The only list of terrorist organisations the UN maintains is limited to groups it believes are associated with al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

More on this by me in today’s Sydney Morning Herald.

Posted by Tim Blair at April 2, 2004 03:47 AM

OK Tim, how did you ever manage to get the SMH to print your article?
It's factual, it's considered, it's rational, and it bashes neither Howard nor Bush.
And it's in the SMH... it does not compute...

Posted by: Alan E Brain at April 2, 2004 at 04:35 AM

Well that would explain it. I spent an hour hunting for the UN list and couldn't find it. I couldn't even figure out who would be tasked with maintaining such a list. An actual list of terrorist organizations? That's so un-UN!

After all, one person's bus full of dead and maimed innocent men, women and children is another's fight for freedom!

How come Arafat & Co. never strap explosives their own kids?

Posted by: Bruce Rheinstein at April 2, 2004 at 05:08 AM

Shit hot. RWDB penetrates heavily fortified bunker of circle-jerking left-wing media "elites".
Geez, think of all the people at the SMH you could give a smack around the head to while your're there. I pledge a $20 paypal for Robert Manne or Adele Horin, $50 for Ramsey, Marr, Margo or Carleton.

Posted by: max power at April 2, 2004 at 05:13 AM

You're being published by the Henny Herald? What is the world coming too?

Posted by: Quentin George at April 2, 2004 at 06:53 AM

A majority of the thugs, dictators and kleptocrates that comprise the UN are terrorists. They are not going to condemn themselves.

Posted by: perfectsense at April 2, 2004 at 07:04 AM

Tim, absolutely fantastic! What a great article. Have you sent it to the ABC asking for a response? Keep the pressure on them publicly. They're almost unaccountable at the moment. Again, good on you!

And quite seriously, how *did* you get the SMH to publish that?

Posted by: brill at April 2, 2004 at 09:18 AM

Simon Crean, Latham and Kevin Rudd must surely agree: no one who might be called a terorist can be called a terrorist and, moreover, is not a terrorist, unless defined by the U.N. and thus is a legal conclusion.

Posted by: d at April 2, 2004 at 10:35 AM

A great article on two of your pet peeves.
I'm wondering if your ABC taunt about terrorists/freedom fighters shouldn't have been directed toward Reuters? Or did I miss where you stated that the AbC has that policy...

How come Arafat & Co. never strap explosives their own kids?
I imagine for the same reason Bush, Howard and Co. don't send their kiddies into the army

Posted by: contrapunctus at April 2, 2004 at 10:43 AM

How are you concealing the semtex in the article and when is it going to explode? After lunch? Is the trigger a mobile telephone with the alarm set for 7am, no 7pm, no 7amEST,. . .

Posted by: Razor at April 2, 2004 at 10:47 AM

Hey Contra - not sure who you are including in your bush, howard & co, but the point you are missing is that we dont have conscription in our countries - therefore nobody gets 'sent' into the army.
The line about 'put the politicians kids in the front line'is obscene. People join the armed forces through choice, and are usually proud of that choice. They are aware of the risks when joining.

Nobody scanning the activities of the US army or Marine Corp over the last 20 years could argue that you may have joined up not knowing that there was a very good chance of serving in a combat zone.

The fake concern that the left shows for the military is a joke. At least when protesting against vietnam, they were honest enough to express how much they hated soldiers - now it is always "we respect the troops, but not the war". Bullshit. At the heart of every committed leftie is a hatred of all things military, hence their ghoulish fascination with casualities, dressed up as 'concern'

Posted by: Attila at April 2, 2004 at 11:29 AM

So... If someone were to detonate a bomb at the ABC, and then claim it was either Hamas, Hezbollah, and/or Islamic Jihad that did the deed, would the ABC call it terrorism or an act of self-defense by freedom fighters???

Posted by: Zool at April 2, 2004 at 11:34 AM

Hey Attila, contra is "a day late and a dollar short",or was that "not the sharpest knife in the drawer", or...oh well, you said it.
Former Marine.

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Posted by: Mark Johnson at April 2, 2004 at 12:04 PM


Blowing up the ABC's palace of popular culture on Harris Street in Ultimo would have to be seen as an an act of liberation akin to the storming of the Winter Palace in 1917. All it needs is an Eisenstein to make it legendary.

Posted by: Freddyboy at April 2, 2004 at 12:05 PM

Some background:

Like everybody, I at first assumed with all this talk of a list that there must in fact be a list. Then, like Bruce Rheinstein, I went looking for it.

No luck. I called John Tulloh at the ABC, asking him to point me towards the list; he confidently advised me to search the "terrorism" section of the UN website. Again, no luck, although I did turn up a few folks asking for such a UN list.

That led to this Washington Post line:

“Unlike the U.S. terrorist designation, the U.N. list applies only to those with al Qaeda and Taliban associations ...”

Further Googling followed, and a few calls to the UN in New York, and ... well, that was about it.

Credit to the SMH; this piece was accepted immediately on the basis of an outline delivered by phone. Now let’s see how the ABC reacts.

Posted by: tim at April 2, 2004 at 12:12 PM

Tim, congrats on being today's token right-of-centre commentator the Herald runs occasionally to try and prove it's not a left-wing rag.

As for the ABC, after our good friend Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was sent to his richly-deserved end, the ABC persisted in describing him as a "spiritual leader".

Pretending to be even-handed by not calling Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad terrorists is bad enough. Inflating terrorists to the status of the Pope is even worse.

Posted by: The Mongrel at April 2, 2004 at 12:16 PM

Cash that check as fast as you can, Tim! (And I bet I know the real reason he got published by them. You finally got your hands on the negatives, didn't you, Tim?)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at April 2, 2004 at 12:21 PM

How come Arafat & Co. never strap explosives their own kids?

I imagine for the same reason Bush, Howard and Co. don't send their kiddies into the army

I stand in awe of your exercise in moral equivalence.

Posted by: Bruce Rheinstein at April 2, 2004 at 02:19 PM

worthwhile article, good to see abc being checked up on

and can't i feel the glee with which posters wield their words (like bats) at the abc

[i]“Unlike the U.S. terrorist designation, the U.N. list applies only to those with al Qaeda and Taliban associations ...”[/i]

yes, the u.s makes their's up on the basis of whom they hate at the very moment. let's overlook their support of terrorism in the past eh??

Posted by: mal at April 2, 2004 at 02:42 PM

The difficulty, according to the British UN "representative Jeremy Greenstock, is that such a list would be possible only when the General Assembly had provided the full definition of what terrorism was. "

So how does the ABC define terrorism ?
Surely a question they will never answer.
On an amother note the ABC have instruced their staff NOT to refer to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
So hve the Athens Olympic Commitee.

Posted by: davo at April 2, 2004 at 08:26 PM

I propose a test. We allow Israel to announce that they will, henceforth, be targeting the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of any identified members of groups of Palestinians who don't both denounce terror tactics and those who use them, and who do not show evidence of capturing and convicting or turning over to Israel, those who promote or use terror tactics. Then we sit back and see how the UN reacts. Let's make it really, really personal. Hunt them down anywhere they can be found and kill them. Kill them with explosives while in the midst of others' children in school, on buses, in the mosques, and at restaurants or theaters. Tit for Tat.

I can only imagine the outrage. Forget Yassin, desstroy his progeny root and stock. Isn't that roughly what Hamas, et al are currently doing? If it's not wrong for one, it's not wrong for the other.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at April 3, 2004 at 06:45 AM

How come Arafat & Co. never strap explosives their own kids?
I stand in awe of your exercise in moral equivalence.

Likewise with your grammar.

but the point you are missing is that we dont have conscription in our countries

Nor do we live under military occupation, or have to go through numerous checkpoints to visit a relative or go to work.
I respect your point about choice and I don't know enough about US enlistment stats to push my thoughts on economic circumstance vs pure patriotism theory. perhaps another time...

My only point being is that leaders know their game, and the grunts cop it. Unfortunately no debate can be seen outside of a left/right prism especially on blogs.

The fake concern that the left shows for the military is a joke.

I agree with you, though your shouldn't reserve your score for one side, that would make you well...one-sided [an oft used adjective of the left i believe]. Check out Defence has little in reserves
And get back to me on how the left has no respect for the soldiers. I'm sure I've read about US troops going in to battle under equipped as well. Like I said, the leaders know their game.
Former Aus Infantry.

Posted by: contrapunctus at April 3, 2004 at 08:56 AM

Thank god the UN hasn't formulated a comprehensive "terrorist organization" list. Doesn't take a genius to know how it would read: listed at the top would be the Sharon government for "atrocities" of occupation, targeted assassination, wall-building and racism.

Next would be Bush's Zionist/oil cabal for supporting Israel, and for Guantanamo Bay, the attack on Iraq, and global imperialism. And so on. Toward the end of the list would appear the names of groups that, although they indiscriminately mass murder and are fascists, could be thought of as "freedom fighters", instead.

Everybody knows this fictional list is an article of faith for media, academic, Hollywood, donkey party and Euro elite. And that it never includes eco-terrorists or Palestinian suicide bombers. Nor does it condemn UN InSecurity Council re Rwanda, the UN nuclear watch group for watching proliferation take off, or the UN Oil-for-Kickbacks program that corrupted the resolutions voting process and added to Iraqis' suffering.

So it comes down to Tim to, not only point out the non-existent guidelines that journalists abuse, but to publish a REAL list of terrorists groups, bad guys and thug organizations that the press can use in good conscience. Would the SMH print it?

Posted by: c at April 3, 2004 at 10:01 AM

It doesn't make any sense. The bloghead bashes the ABC for a bit of sport, yet preens for their cameras at the first opportunity. What won't he do to get attention?

There's your cue Andrea.

Posted by: Miranda Divide at April 3, 2004 at 11:16 AM

Go ahead and smile for the cameras, Tim. The right side could use the exposure and your public influence. Even Miranda Divide is watching with rapt attention and manufactured disdain!

Posted by: c at April 3, 2004 at 11:54 AM

That's really freaking incredible! I shouldn't be surprised, but I am. wow...

Posted by: AL FRANKEN at April 3, 2004 at 11:57 AM

My cure for what, Mirander? To fall asleep with boredom? You must be ill -- this is below your former level of invective. And not a word about the victims of the Asian sex trade! Try again, dear.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at April 3, 2004 at 12:17 PM