Major Mori speaks at Angel Place
Saturday August 26th 2006, 12:12 am
David Hicks’ US Marine defence attorney, Major Michael Dante Mori, spoke this evening to an audience of about 1100 at a meeting sponsored by GetUp Australia at the City Recital Hall at Angel Place. No other venue could have been quite so apt. Mori has a sense of justice burned into every synapse in his brain. If Hicks has any guardian angels, he can surely count Major Mori among them.
Mori told the Catch-22 tale of Hicks’ legal history with the King George Bush administration, including astonishing detail about the charges Hicks is said to be facing. Mori blew holes below the waterline in the USS Rumsfailed, big enough to drive a bus through.
Along with other detainees at Guantanamo Bay taken prisoner by the US military in Afghanistan, Hicks is classified as an ‘enemy combatant’ to avoid calling him a ‘prisoner of war.’ Mori asserts this was done to create a new class of persons with no rights or legal standing; prisoners of war indeed do have some rights under international agreements like the Geneva Convention.
Hicks is accused of being an ‘illegal enemy combatant’ because he was not wearing a standard uniform. Mori argues that standard uniforms were neither part of the kit used by the US backed Afghan ‘Northern Alliance’ or CIA operatives, many of whom wore tartan flannos from LLBean whilst shooting Taliban soldiers.
The charges against Hicks are fanciful, but this doesn’t seem to bother King George or Rumsfailed. Hicks originally stood accused of ‘attempted murder of US, UK, Australian and Canadian soldiers. However, according to Mori, at the time Hicks was taken prisoner, there were no Australian or Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan- and the Brits were 500 miles away. The very notion of charging a soldier with ‘attempted murder’ is impossible under international Laws of War. All soldiers’ job #1 is to kill enemy soldiers, not kiss and cuddle them. However, Hicks never shot at anyone- not even US soldiers.
The ‘military commissions’ which have now been ruled illegal by the US Supreme Court, were staunchly defended as ‘fair’ for years by John Howard and Phillip Ruddock. Howard & Ruddock have pulled the demonisation lever on Hicks mercilesslessly since 2001, with absolutely no basis in fact. Howard and Downer have abandoned an Australian citizen to torture in the hands of the US miltary, with no regrets whatsoever, in conditions to which the US military will not subject American citizens.
The Hicks matter is hypocrisy upon insult upon irreparably life-destroying torturous imprisonment, with no just cause- and no exit. Hicks could have been home years ago with no more than a single typewritten page from Alexander Downer.
David Hicks is a political prisoner of John Howard and the Liberal Party. Terrorism ooga-booga remains a pivotal part of the Liberals’ political strategy. John Howard sells Aussies down the river for perpetual re-election.
Don’t be fooled at the ballot box in 2007.
J’Accuse! 2006: Secret trials, secret evidence
Thursday August 24th 2006, 11:06 am
The parallels between the 1898 Dreyfus Affair and the David Hicks case are startling.
Alfred Dreyfus was a Jewish artillery officer in the French army who was convicted of spying on the basis of false testimony of an anti-Semitic superior officer. The French Army prosecution asserted the right to submit evidence in secret without even revealing it to Dreyfus or permitting any cross-examination of the facts, on grounds of national of national security concerns, as well as hold the trial in secret.
The US military had demanded the very same in the David Hicks case, until the US Supreme Court ruled the ‘military tribunals’ unconstitutional. Hicks remains in legal limbo, with no means available to either try or release him. Hicks has now been imprisoned- without charge- for more than 5 years, much of it in solitary confinement.
Julian Burnside, QC recorded the 2006 J’Accuse! for the Ockham’s Razor program on ABC Radio National, where he explains the terrifying similarities of the Dreyfus Affair to David Hicks’ quagmire. (ABC RN Podcast: Download MP3 | Stream)
Hicks’ American defence attorney, Major Michael Mori, will be appearing this evening, Thursday 24 August 2006, in Adelaide and on Friday 25 August 2006 in Sydney for candlelight vigils and meet & greet. You can also sign a GetUp petition to be presented to Alexander Downer demanding the Australian Government do something to have Hicks released from his own Dreyfus nightmare.
Justice delayed is justice denied. In the 5 years he has been held captive at Guantanamo Bay, Hicks could have been tried, convicted and served his sentence.
David Hicks must be freed now!
Slamming the door on spammers
Sunday August 20th 2006, 8:46 pm
If a businessman came by my house and reckoned he could spray paint his logo on my garage doors- for free- he’d likely not get away without picking rock salt out of his bum. Same goes for hairballs who comment and trackback spam mgk.
If garage door advertisers had free rein, I probably couldn’t afford to build a fence high enough to keep them out. mgk is quite another story.
Shields up, Mr Sulu!
You’ll never see a single word of spam on mgk or Suki Has An Opinion, thanks to a combination of Akismet, Bad Behavior and a very aggressive and painstakingly assembled IP banlist, built over the last 10 days. Want a copy to plug into your own .htaccess file? Just ask.
Many spammers deliberately misconfigure their spamservers, leaving out the PTR record. Without a PTR, you can’t ban a machine by its domain name i.e. ‘spammer.co.kr’ because the box doesn’t know ‘who’ it is- it only knows its ‘street address.’ My banlist does include some domain names, which do keep out the less determined sods, but if the spammer has misconfigured their servers, these won’t work. There’s several IP ranges included which shut off a number of ISPs who run misconfigured servers.
I started getting serious about blocking spammers by IP address around the 9th of August, 2006. You can see on the graph that spammers were eating up about 60-70% of the traffic to machinegunkeyboard.com. In July 2006, spammers very nearly pushed the data traffic to the point where I would have had to pay for a higher throughput hosting account. Umm, no fucking thank you.
What I don’t get is why anyone would pay a spammer to advertise their product. I’d sooner chew a wad of aluminium foil than buy a product sold by spamvertising. The spammers are ripping off the people paying to advertise and they’re ripping off website admins like me.
If you’re running a business and want to advertise, make sure you aren’t paying a spammer- it’s a sure way to business failure.
UPDATE: See Spamhuntress for great tips & tricks on how to stonewall the huns at the gate.
Right to Life funding of ACT Liberal Party controversy
Sunday August 20th 2006, 10:19 am
Australian Democrats Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja proposed a private member’s bill to put an end to government sponsored deceptive anti-choice pressure groups operating ‘crisis pregnancy counselling’ centres. Last week, ACT Federal Senator Gary Humphries used his casting vote to veto Stott-Despoja’s bill.
The ACT Liberal Party took a $30,000 sum donation in 2004 from the ACT Right To Life Association, which receives $300,000 per year in federal government funding. The government provides no funding for counselling services which include referral to pregnancy termination clinics as part of their available alternatives.
Most shockingly, the Australian Government has even awarded OA medals to anti-choice activists posing as pregnancy counsellors. I used to have some respect for the OA title- silly me.
Since the fake pregnancy counselling outfits don’t charge for their ‘services,’ they are exempt from Australian truth in advertising laws. Women calling these outfits are told all manner of falsehoods by these alleged counsellors, like ‘abortion causes breast cancer and infertility.’ Women inquiring of these fraudulent counsellors about pregnancy termination have even been told they are “sinners” and “murderers.”
The SMH reports:
A spokesman for Senator Humphries said it was common for many groups to donate to political parties.
“I can assure you he is not swayed by donations, and never has been in 17 years in public life,” he said.
Yeah, sure, OK.
I’d like to own a senator (or two). Maybe I can get a gubmint grant to give away false and misleading information to people in crisis for the necessary dosh to get a senator in my pocket.
Let’s say I believe that chocolate bars cure cancer. If I don’t charge for the advice, I can give away chockie bars to all the poor cancer sufferers who haven’t had any luck with chemotherapy.
Sounds like a pretty good gig if you can get it.
UPDATE: Mick McNeill comments:
The Fairfax article on which this item is based wrongly claims that Senator Humphries received funding from Right to Life during the 2004 Federal election campaign.
The $30,000 referred to was directed to Liberal candidates contesting the 2004 ACT Legislative Assembly election. Senator Humphries did not receive any of this money.
Senator Humphries has asked Fairfax to issue a retraction, and respectfully asks that you remove elements of this web-site which are misleading (e.g. your alteration to his web-page).
Office of Gary Humphries
Senator for the ACT
I’ve removed an illustration based upon the banner of Humphries’ website. I’ll append a retraction should Fairfax print one.
I don’t see how Humphries can claim that he’s not a beneficiary of donations to the ACT Liberal Party, regardless of source. How the Liberals slush their donations around in-house isn’t a matter of public concern; if the Liberal Party took a donation from ACT RTL, I don’t see how it’s unfair or inaccurate to say that Humphries is sponsored by ACT RTL.
MORE: The Sun-Herald has printed a retraction of the original story:
What this apology does is indicate that Fairfax could not finish following the money trail directly from ACT RTL to Humphries.
What this apology does not do is explain why there is a record of ten $3000 donations from ACT RTL to 10 ACT Liberal Party candidates, who have not properly declared the donations.
Oogity boogity BOO!
Saturday August 19th 2006, 1:40 pm
The 7 July 2005 bombings on London transport used triacetone triperoxide (TATP), a crude, unstable explosive made from hydrogen peroxide, sulfuric acid and acetone. TATP doesn’t actually burn; it rapidly decomposes, releasing massive amounts of oxygen, creating an explosive effect. You’ll note that the double-decker bus bombed on 7 July 2005 didn’t have any fire damage.
TATP is certainly explosive enough to blow a hole in the side of an airplane, but the handling limits on TATP would make it nearly impossible to get aboard in precursor component liquid form. TATP is a crystalline solid when correctly made. One would not be practically able to make TATP from liquid acetone, sulfuric acid and H2O2 aboard an aircraft, making the ban on passengers carrying liquids a bit silly. Watch out for the guy with several bottles of lquids, an Esky and a few bags of ice, though.
When mixing TATP, the temperature of the solution must be kept below 10C at all times. If the temperature is not controlled correctly, the mixture either will not explode (as in the failed 21 July 2005 bombing attempts in London) or may explode prematurely.
The Register makes a convincing case for the recently exposed trans-Atlantic aircraft bombing plot being a complete furphy.
So, just who is actually waging a terror war on the peoples of the US and UK? Is it Al Qaeda or the US and UK governments?
UPDATE: Read Craig Murray’s take on the timing of the terror plot and who stood to gain. Most of the alleged bombers didn’t have passports- none had bought airline tickets.
The Decider knows what’s best
Saturday August 19th 2006, 12:53 pm
In response to the court finding that unfettered domestic spying is unconstitutional, King Decider the First of Oppositeworld said:
“Those who herald this decision simply do not understand the nature of the world in which we live.”
Sozzy adroitly commented:
What Bush meant: Those who herald this decision simply do not understand the nature of the world in which I live, in which I am the decider and I decide whatís good for the country, and I decide who to spy on and who to imprison, and I decide which laws to obey and which to violate, and I decide when to notify or not notify Congress, and I decide what powers the Constitution gives me, and I decide. Period. Iím the decider and thatís the world we live in. Get used to it.
Hello?! Where’s the motions for impeachment? Richard Nixon’s shenanigans should qualify him for sainthood compared to the absolute corruption of the office being committed by the unelected resident of the White House.
‘…no hereditary Kings in America’
Saturday August 19th 2006, 8:41 am
US District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor has ruled the Bush Administration’s warrantless NSA wiretapping program unconstitutional, commenting:
… the Office of the Chief Executive has itself been created, with its powers, by the Constitution. There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution. So all ‘inherent powers’ must derive from that Constitution.
King George yet declares himself above the law, asserting the right to ignore more than 750 laws via ‘signing statements.’
The judiciary may well have shut down His Highness on the warrantless NSA wiretaps issue, but there’s frankly not enough time left in Bush’s (unelected) second term to reverse all his monarchistic actions.
History according to Howard
Friday August 18th 2006, 11:45 am
Nice one, Sean.
See the discussion on LP of Howard’s ‘white armband’ version of history.
Wednesday August 16th 2006, 10:43 am
MP3 players are much more useful than just for playing musc. Tiny players should be on all news junkies’ kit list. American National Public Radio and Australian ABC are podcasting powerhouses, making quite a lot of their on-air content available as podcasts.
I have a couple of players; a big 20Gb hard drive type with a large screen for video and a little 512Mb Samsung YP-U2, about the size of a Bic lighter, for ultraportable audio playing- and recording, for up to 10 hours continuously with its built-in mic. The bigger player can also do audio, but its hard drive system is very power hungry. The small player is based on solid-state Flash memory and can play all 512Mb (about 12 hours) on a single charge from my computer’s USB port.
I use Doppler as a podcast aggregator. Doppler automatically retrieves my favourite podcasts in the early hours of the morning, during my ISP’s off-peak data traffic hours, and puts them in a directory for later transfer to a player. They can also be played on my desktop machine with Winamp.
If you’d like to hear some of the news and current affairs programs I download regularly, you can download my current OPML file, which may be compatible with other podcasting aggregator applications.
One podcast no one should miss is the weekly Media Matters with Dr. Robert McChesney, a media studies professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Bob also operates FreePress.net, a media reform think tank. Bob gets right on the issues of malfeasance, intended or otherwise, in mainstream mass media. Much of what happens in US media is directly applicable in Australia, to boot.
You can turn that long commute into a fascinating, twice daily lecture session with an FM radio adaptor, which allows you to listen to your MP3 player on your car radio speakers- but be warned about the cheaper FM adaptors. Because the FM adaptors rely on vacant space on your local FM band, they are subject to noise and distortion from broadcasts on a nearby frequency. Better quality FM adaptors can cover the entire FM band instead of a little bit around 87-88MHz. FM adaptors which can cover the entire band give you more opportunities to find empty space for interference-free podcast listening. The better option for in-car podcast listening is to connect the player’s headphone output directly to the car radio, provided you have a good quality radio with a ‘line level’ input.
Department of Peace: A bureaucracy whose time has come
Friday August 11th 2006, 7:15 pm
House bill HR3760 and Senate bill S1756 have been introduced into the US Congress, seeking to establish the Department of Peace.
It’s about bloody time.
Let’s hope the Bushies don’t get hold of this and Orwellianise it.