September 22, 2004


• Why is the Sydney Morning Herald running Hugh Mackay’s column four days after it first appeared in the Melbourne Age?

• They don’t call him the man of steel for nothing:

The catamaran didn't so much cut through the waves as bounce off them, lurching from nauseating peak to stomach-twisting trough on the ride out to Green Island.

John Howard, no doubt fortified by some cutting-edge, anti-seasickness pill unavailable on the general market, declared himself fine.

But after 50 minutes, the travelling media, there to cover Mr Howard's latest "green" policy were looking a little ... well, green.

• Pat O‘Shane will be hoping for a friendly magistrate.

•The Australian’s Roy Ecclestone chances upon a familiar construction:

John Kerry has ramped up his rhetoric on Iraq only to find that some of his best attacks are being blunted by ... John Kerry.

From this site a day earlier:

A possible explanation for John Kerry’s low support is ... John Kerry.

Which is one reason Bush is leading. Another reason being ... John Kerry.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 22, 2004 04:30 AM

The Australian's found a new Republican senator - "Chick Hagel". I think I'll boggle quietly in the corner.

Posted by: dewi at September 22, 2004 at 05:53 AM

John Howard, no doubt fortified by some cutting-edge, anti-seasickness pill unavailable on the general market, declared himself fine.

Damn Zionists, not releasing their anti-seasickness pill to the general market.

Posted by: Liz at September 22, 2004 at 09:12 AM

Mr Howard, how very remiss of you not to invite dear Mark along- we could then have a real assesment of how much 'ticker' he has for the long haul in terminating all those terrorists.
It is very interesting to note that whilst Mark attempts to make some mileage out of whether Mr Howard will stay for the full term and that it is a vote for Peter Costello- it must be noted that if Mark sucumbs to another pancreatic attack we will have the 'delightful' Jenny Macklin as Prime Minister and that sour mean mouthed woman Julia Gillard as her deputy no doubt.

Posted by: Rosey at September 22, 2004 at 10:15 AM

Rosey, I wouldn't concern myself too much about Latham's pancreas. Who cares who is leading Labor as the opposition after the election.

Labor and their supporters love the polls but never ask themselves what the question is being asked in them.

Sol Lebovic from Morgan Poll says that the question merely reflects voter satisfaction with either party based on previous performances and can be viewed in many ways. Even Lebovic [Morgan Poll] claims that Howard will win despite his Polling results. Just look at the last two elections if you need proof. Labor and Crean...

Party polling has Labor very concerned as their primary is lower than the coalition and Howard's still the preferred PM by a mile. The Greens will make little difference to Labors hopes as they preferenced Labor 75% in the last election anyway and are only polling at 7-8%. Not enough for Labor to win.

Interesting to note that Hugh MacKay on the 7:30 Report last thursday said he was finding it harder each day to find people who claim that they will vote for Labor, instead re-electing Howard based on his economic performance and security. Remember, we know what interest rates are like under this government,. Who knows under Latham and who's prepared to gamble with their home?

Posted by: scott at September 22, 2004 at 11:23 AM

was this an example on a pre-emptive strike on Journos?

Posted by: Homer Paxton at September 22, 2004 at 11:36 AM

Re: Pat O'Shane; What's this, Old Bags Behaving Badly Week?,5744,10832363%255E1702,00.html

Posted by: slatts at September 22, 2004 at 12:01 PM

Prime Minister: Man of Steel
Media Pack: Girlie Men

Ah, all is normal in the world of politics.

Posted by: Andrew D. at September 22, 2004 at 12:43 PM

AAY!! you reckon sista O'shane would really try to knife someone? you whiteys frame her up cos shes a koori i reckon. there should be a royal commission into this. lester.

Posted by: Lester at September 22, 2004 at 12:55 PM

How could you not highlight this Howard zinger at the end? Gold:

"Tell all your friends. Bring them back," he shouted to some Chinese tourists as he prepared to step back aboard the Reef Rocket, before pausing and adding: "As tourists!"

Posted by: attila at September 22, 2004 at 01:54 PM

It doesn't matter when and where Hugh Mackay's article appeared, so much as how amazing it is that he's reverted to his professional best as a social researcher, instead of the Howard-hating garbage he has been spewing out for the last year. He really lost the plot and let his bitterness compromise his research. This piece actually seems lucid, coherent and well-argued. I suspect his analysis is right.

Posted by: Freddyboy at September 22, 2004 at 02:56 PM

You would have thought four days was enough time to fix up the basic errors. MacKay claims "The federal electorate is famously conservative when it comes to throwing out governments. We've only done it three times since 1950."

I can think of four times in the past 30 years. The Liberals lost in 1972, Labor in 1975, the Liberals in 1983 and Labor lost in 1996. Which one doesn't he think counts?

Posted by: Mark Harrison at September 22, 2004 at 03:13 PM

Thanks Scott for reassurance, can only get ABC and John Laws in my neck of the woods and get anxiety attacks listening to some of the talk back callers - to think the future is in the hands of some of thse 'good' but so ill informed people is paralizing.
The ABC should lose it's charter if it has one as it their is very little balance, one conservative opinion to 10 Left wing.
Particularly riled at use of 'militants' to name the butchers who have perpertrated this evil and unhuman act again.
And if I hear the name of David Hicks and his 'rights' again I'll self destruct- He IS A TERRORIST. They can lock him up for life as far as I'm concerned and toss the key into the Bay of Pigs- him too and Habib.
Sorry for the rant- I am imploding - better get into the garden and terminate some weeds

Posted by: Rosey at September 22, 2004 at 03:25 PM

I can think of four times in the past 30 years. The Liberals lost in 1972, Labor in 1975, the Liberals in 1983 and Labor lost in 1996. Which one doesn't he think counts?

Maybe Whitlam was just a bad dream?

Posted by: Quentin George at September 22, 2004 at 04:21 PM

>I can think of four times in the past 30 years. The Liberals lost in 1972, Labor in 1975, the Liberals in 1983 and Labor lost in 1996. Which one doesn't he think counts?

*Cough* Afraid I'm not up on Australian politics, but with respect:

2004 - 1972 = 32.

Posted by: John Nowak at September 22, 2004 at 04:45 PM

You are correct John Nowack. However the original article did say that the Govermenet hade only changer 3 times SINCE 1950.

Posted by: Toryhere at September 22, 2004 at 06:34 PM

Thanks for pointing out my screwup; sorry, guys.

Posted by: John Nowak at September 22, 2004 at 08:06 PM

Scott, Sol Lebovic fronts Newspoll, not Morgan.

As for Hugh Mackay, if he's saying Labour is doomed, the Coalition is a certain winner. Typically Hugh spins his research to mirror whatever Hugh thinks, and the last thing he wants is a Coalition win.

Personally, I think the Libs will win easily.

Posted by: James at September 22, 2004 at 08:16 PM

I was doing some research yesterday and came across an article which had just been dispatched from Reuters, so I went to all the major local online papers to see if this was making news here as I thought it would and there was no mention.

It is really worrying to Know we are not getting the big picture especially when all we hear is the USA espousing "Freedom and Democracy For All" and is at the same time selling WMDs to Israel.

I have copied and pasted this article
By the way it has not been mentioned in the NY Times or the Washington Post.
but made Headlines in
aljazeera. net

Have a good day.

Robyn Aylward

U.S. to sell 'bunker busters' to Israel
Compiled by Our Staff From Dispatches AP, Reuters
Wednesday, September 22, 2004 Total sale to include nearly 5,000 bombs
JERUSALEM The United States will sell Israel nearly 5,000 bombs in one of the largest weapons deals between the allies in years, the Haaretz newspaper reported Tuesday.
The $319 million sale will include 500 "bunker busters" that could be effective against Iran's underground nuclear facilities, Israeli security sources said.
The Pentagon said in June that it was considering the sale to Israel of 500 BLU-109 warheads, one-ton bombs that can penetrate five meters, or 15 feet, of fortifications.
Israel has sometimes used such bombs in fighting with Palestinians, the daily newspaper said. In one instance in July 2002, a one-ton bomb meant for a senior Palestinian militant also killed 15 civilians in an attack in the Gaza Strip.
But, an Israeli security source said, "This is not the sort of ordnance needed for the Palestinian front. Bunker busters could serve Israel against Iran, or possibly Syria."
The bombs include airborne versions, guidance units, training bombs and detonators. The bombs are guided by an existing Israeli satellite used by the military. In addition to the 500 one-ton bunker busters, the deal includes 2,500 other one-ton bombs, 1,000 half-ton bombs and 500 quarter-ton bombs, Haaretz said.
The Pentagon wants to maintain Israel's military advantages and ensure U.S. strategic and tactical interests, Haaretz said. Funding for the sale will come from U.S. military aid to Israel.
Mounted on satellite-guided bombs, BLU-109s can be fired from F-15 or F-16 jets, U.S.-made aircraft in Israel's arsenal. This year Israel received the first of a fleet of 102 long-range F-16Is from Washington, its main ally.
"Israel very likely manufactures its own bunker busters, but they are not as robust as the 2,000-pound BLUs," said Robert Hewson, editor of Jane's Air-Launched Weapons.
U.S. and Israeli officials had no immediate comment.
Haaretz, citing Israeli government sources, said the sale would take place after the U.S. election in November.
Earlier this month, Haaretz said Israel wanted bunker buster bombs for a possible strike against Iran's atomic program, which Israel considers a strategic threat.
"Our response to any invasive measure will be massive," Massoud Jazaeri, spokesman for Iran's Revolutionary Guards, said at the time.
Iran, which does not recognize Israel's right to exist, says its nuclear program has only peaceful purposes. This week it rejected international calls to comply with the demands by the International Atomic Energy Agency to halt all its uranium-enrichment activities. On Tuesday, it announced that it has begun a key step in creating bomb-grade fuel.
Widely assumed to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed nation, Israel wants to stop Iran from building atomic weapons, but its officials say diplomatic pressure on Tehran is the best method.
In 1981, Israel, believing that Saddam Hussein was developing nuclear weapons, bombed Iraq's Osiraq reactor.
While the move drew international censure, eventually many Western experts saw it as an important blow to Saddam's strategic weapons capabilities. The Osiraq strike did not stop Saddam's quest for the bomb. Instead, Iraq went underground and worked in secret until its nuclear program was uncovered by the UN's atomic agency in 1991. (AP, Reuters)


Posted by: robyn aylward at September 23, 2004 at 01:27 PM

Robyn, go find out what "WMD" means before your post about them.

Posted by: John Nowak at September 23, 2004 at 03:43 PM

John Nowak
Thanks for your tip. I know a bit more now, even so there ought to be no trading at all in such
monstrous weapons. They all sound like WMDs to me.

from the Toronto Sun 15 feb 2004

WMD: A primer

Let's be clear on what is - and isn't - a weapon of mass destruction
By ERIC MARGOLIS -- Contributing Foreign Editor

NEW YORK -- "Weapons of mass destruction." No term has been more abused, or less understood. George Bush has made it his personal mantra, and the slogan of his presidency.
An administration that may have concocted fake evidence to launch war on Iraq may yet conveniently "discover" unconventional weapons there - before November's U.S. elections. So let's define what such weapons are - and are not.
Three types of unconventional arms are called WMD: nuclear, chemical and biological.
Of those, the only true weapons of mass destruction are nuclear. The U.S., Russia, China, France, Britain, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea, alone possess them. Japan could make nuclear weapons within 90 days.
Without specialized medium and long-range delivery systems (aircraft or missiles), nuclear weapons are useless, even suicidal.
Last week, Bush warned of nuclear proliferation and called for a worldwide ban on the trade of nuclear material. This when U.S. ally Pakistan has been exposed as a major proliferator, Israel is covertly helping build India's nuclear capabilities and the U.S. plans to deploy a new generation of nuclear weapons designed to attack Third World targets.
Chemical weapons, which are not WMD, are blistering, choking, or toxic agents. Mustard gas possessed by Iraq, Libya, Syria, Egypt and other nations is World War I technology. Horrible as they are, these are strictly battlefield weapons, requiring large, clumsy holding tanks, and depend on favourable winds. Winston Churchill authorized using poison gas against "primitive tribesmen" - Kurds in Iraq and Afghans - when he was British home secretary. Benito Mussolini's Italy used mustard gas in Ethiopia and Libya.
Choking gas, like chlorine, is also a tactical battlefield agent. French troops without gas masks defending a 4-km front at Verdun in 1916 were hit by 60,000 chlorine gas shells, yet held their lines. So did Canadian troops in Flanders, also without masks, who heroically fought off superior German forces.
World War II vintage
Nerve gases, like Sarin and VX, are World War II vintage. Though deadly, they, too, are tactical agents designed for area denial and neutralizing high value targets. Using nerve gas requires specialized vehicles or aircraft with highly complex dispensing systems. Gas is dependent on temperature, humidity and wind. The Soviets tried various nerve agents in Afghanistan, but found them ineffective and dangerous to their own troops.
Nerve agents would be extremely lethal if released by terrorists in a large building, mall or airport but, again, they are weapons of localized destruction, not mass destruction. In 1995, a Japanese cult released nerve gas in Tokyo's subway, killing 12 people.
Nerve gas was not used during WW II because of its unreliability and lack of wide area lethality. Many gases are unstable and have limited shelf lives. Iraq and Iran used poison gas during the 1980-88 Gulf War - killing or maiming many soldiers but achieving no strategic breakthroughs.
Biological agents, like anthrax, botulism, Q-fever, tularemia and plague, are the most feared, yet least understood weapons. They are difficult to produce, store, transport and deliver. Germ weapons have never been successfully used in warfare. The USSR was secretly working on mutated, drug-resistant forms of anthrax and plague when it collapsed.
In the 1930s and '40s, Japan used anthrax in bombs, and also released plague-infected rats against Chinese civilian and military targets. These attempts produced some localized casualties. The Japanese military ruled their biological warfare campaign a failure.
Biowarfare agents are weapons of uncertain, limited destructiveness.
Conventional weapons can be as destructive as nuclear weapons. The two atomic bombs the U.S. dropped on Japan in 1945 killed 103,000 people. In one night alone, U.S. firebombs incinerated 100,000 civilians in Tokyo.
Japanese sources say one million civilians were killed by U.S. bombing raids. More than 100,000 German civilians were burned to death by the Allied fire-bombings of Dresden and Hamburg.
Fuel-air explosives, or thermobaric weapons, used by Russia in Chechnya and by the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq, can be as destructive as small, tactical nuclear weapons. So can America's recently deployed 21,500-lb. MOAB bomb. Larger versions are planned.
Given these facts, it's important to dissipate the hysteria and confusion over WMD. Even if Iraq had chemical or biological weapons in 1993 - which it did not - they were not true WMD. Iraq had no means of delivering them to the U.S., and they could never have posed the threat Bush claimed.
No terrorist group is likely to sneak enough chemical or biological material into the U.S. to cause more than localized damage. Attacks like those on the World Trade Center may be horrible, but they are not mass destruction. Even a small nuclear device would cause only limited destruction.
Ironically, the most lethal, yet most ignored, WMD faced by Americans happens to be their beloved cars, trucks and SUVs in which some 43,000 die each year in traffic accidents.


Posted by: robyn aylward at September 23, 2004 at 04:43 PM

Robyn, that was possibly the most juvenile article on the subject of weapons that I've ever read. It explains a great deal about your fantasy world.

Posted by: John Nowak at September 23, 2004 at 06:16 PM

John Nowak.
That article I posted was written by a highly respected academic and is not a fantasy of mine.

It has nothing to do with my fantasy world, it is hubris like yours that the world is in this aggressive and no win situation .
If you know more about the WMDs than Eric write to Eric and put him straight.

Posted by: robyn aylward at September 23, 2004 at 08:40 PM

>That article I posted was written by a highly respected academic and is not a fantasy of mine.

Ah. Reading comprehension problems? Looks like.

Respected by illiterates, apparently.

Posted by: John Nowak at September 23, 2004 at 08:51 PM

Robyn, do not post entire articles here. It is a copyright violation and it will get your IP banned.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 24, 2004 at 06:25 AM

I wouldn't concern myself too much about Latham's pancreas.
1) A major cause of pancreatis is large amounts of alcohol, so marky-mark is only adhereing to a time-honoured ALP tradition (viz Hawkie)
2) Local media (south coast, NSW) have just started showing ALP adverts re Costello never visiting. We had bob carr (state premier, ALP) here last week for the first time in 5 years.
3) I know they've been in opposition, which never bodes well for a political leader, but the federal ALP has had 3 leaders in the last 4 years... Who's turn next ?

Posted by: martin at September 24, 2004 at 08:11 PM

"Even a small nuclear device would cause only limited destruction."

This is true in an objective fashion. That is, "limited" is defined by people beyond the effects of the "small" nuke. Those surviving inside the destructive radius (including debris, pressure waves, radiation, and subsequent fires) would surely disagree.

From this, I conclude that the limited range of a 2000 pound precision guided munition is also acceptable to this "highly respected academic", including known terrorists in Iraq.

Further complaints regarding air strikes on terrorist facilities should be made with this in mind. [/sarcasm]

Robyn, this "highly respected academic" is a apologist twit for terrorists and fools. But that's all right, you are just a fool.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at September 25, 2004 at 01:08 PM

Notice how this Highly respected academic repeatedly insists that chemical weapons are almost entirely for battlefield use against prepared enemy combatants, even though he can't reference a successful battlefield use of those weapons against a prepared enemy combatant? Funny, that.

Posted by: John Nowak at September 25, 2004 at 03:25 PM

>A possible explanation for John Kerry’s low support is ... John Kerry.

Exactly, I've been quipping for weeks that John Kerry isn't running against George Bush, he's running against Senator and anti-war activist John Kerry...and losing.

Many of my liberal friends crow that Kerry will ace Bush in the debates, and thereby cinch the election. I don't think so as Kerry has a terrible Q rating with likely voters, polls clearly show that whenever Kerry is the message bearer his number dip.

Posted by: feste at September 26, 2004 at 02:23 AM

Nerve gas wasn't used in WW2 because the only nation that had it, Nazi Germany, was deterred.

The Germans had developed nerve gases before the war when trying to discover a new pesticide. They had, and upon testing, they found it far too lethal for use as a pesticide, but the Army thought it would make good military gas, so they took over, and made 3 types:


Tabun was the most common.

The idea of using nerve gas to repulse the D-Day landings was put to Hitler. Goebbels and Bormann were in favour, but the head of the Chemical Weapons Program said that the British were far more advanced in chemical weapons research than Germany, and had been researching similar compounds, and that the Americans could produce more chemicals than Germany. He further pointed out that Germany could only use gas on the battle field with artillery, where as the Allies could use it in heavy bombers sending it anywhere they pleased.

The notion of a thousand bomber raid dropping sarin on a city could put anyone off anything.

VX is NOT WW2 vintage, it was developed in Britain after the war, working from captured German nerve gas research.

Of course, the 'respected academic' his lies aside, misses the point completely.

Iraq was REQUIRED to PROVE that it had gotted rid of all nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, and all programs and materials associated with them.

It never did. That is not disputable.

Posted by: Sheriff at September 26, 2004 at 05:30 AM

Sheriff raises an excellent point.

I've seen it claimed that during WWII, German intelligence mistakenly believed that Britain had developed weaponized nerve agents. This is because British research into advanced pesticides was classified in an attempt to harm German food production, and those same pesticides were precursors to weapons.

Ultimately, the historical record proves, conclusively, that apart from WWI, chemical weapons have never been used on an advanced, prepared military target. They are not effective against advanced militaries. They have been used multiple times on civilian populations, although the record is understandably muddier there.

Posted by: John Nowak at September 26, 2004 at 04:58 PM

The research into pesticide, was ironically, to have greater military benefit than Nazi nerve gas research, and, more ironically, would save millions of lives.

The compound the allies discovered was named: DDT.

DDT also shows the sheer inhumanity of the left.

The only occasion where DDT was proven to have done great harm (apart from the thousands of Japanese killed because Allied soldiers could fight, rather than be struck down by malaria) was in a single farm where the US Government used excessive amounts of DDT without being asked to do so.

DDT has saved millions, and can save millions more, if the Third World would use it, instead of listening to the jackbooted thugs of the Green-Left.


Posted by: Sheriff at September 26, 2004 at 05:38 PM

If you want to know why Saddam didn't use chemical and biological weapons in Desert Storm, think of the countries involved:

the United States (a nuclear power)
the United Kingdom (a nuclear power)
F***** (a European nuclear power)

also, a British officer publically said that if Saddam went chemical, they'd go nuclear.

Same applies for Operation Iraqi Freedom (Operation Falconer to Aussies), with the addition of Saddam's armt deciding to desert.

Posted by: Sheriff at September 26, 2004 at 05:42 PM

"John Howard, no doubt fortified by some cutting-edge, anti-seasickness pill unavailable on the general market, declared himself fine."

Do Fairfax still pretend they employ journalists?

Posted by: Sheriff at September 26, 2004 at 11:53 PM