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About this website

SydWalker.Info is a personal website. I live in tropical Australia near Cairns. I oppose war, plutocracy, injustice, sectarian supremacism and apartheid. I support urgent action to achieve genuine sustainability and a fair and prosperous society for all. I rely upon - and support - free speech as defined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (see below).

with the dawg

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers"

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Unless otherwise indicated, material on this website is written by Syd Walker.

Anyone is welcome to re-publish material sourced from this site, as long as the source is acknowledged with a hyperlink.

Material from other sources reproduced here is presented on a 'Fair Use' basis. I try to cite references accurately. Please contact me if you have queries, comments, broken link reports, complaints - or just to say hello.

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Canberra's Upside-Down View of Bethlehem
Dec 5th, 2008 by Syd Walker

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

–  W.B. Yeats The Second Coming, 1919

The Israeli Apartheid Wall at Bethlehem

Australia has more sheep than any other country on earth. Nearly 20 million of us are bipedal.

Several hundred two-legged Australian sheep, with better superannuation packages than most, meet regularly in Parliament House in Canberra. Today they are all off for well-earned holidays. Another session of the Australian Parliament is coming to an end. It’s time for the Christmas break!

Another session is closing, in which the tragic and deepening plight of the Palestinians has not been seriously discussed. Indeed, it has barely been mentioned at all. As usual.

When Members conclude their business later today, exchanging pleasantries about Christmas goodwill in the improbable setting of a sweltering Canberra summer, the odds are nobody will mention the walled-in residents of Bethlehem or the shivering masses of Gaza.

Many of our elected politicians pray from the Christian Bible, but no-one will utter a word about the beleaguered Christians in the Holy Land. No-one will demand an end to the very un-Christian siege of those parts of Palestine not already under the thumb of the Israeli military or their collaborators. No one will say: enough!

End the Siege of Gazas - a Protest by Orthodox JewsWhy is this?

Are the people in Australia’s Parliament completely ignorant about these matters? Are they cruel? Do they share the view of many Israelis that Palestinians are less than human? Is Evil now Canberra’s official religion?

Obama to Re-Open USS Liberty Inquiry?
Dec 4th, 2008 by Syd Walker

Obama meets Peres.

America’s President-Elect seeks clarification from an old ally

A Very Christian Boss
Dec 2nd, 2008 by Syd Walker

Dr Clive Hamilton is not the only high-profile non-government advocate for Internet censorship in Australia.

On this issue, Clive has a de facto partner in advocacy. His name is Jim Wallace. Earlier this week, Wallace called for bi-partisan support for a mandaory ‘Clean Feed’.

Jim Wallace AMWhereas Clive is a secular humanist with a background on the left of politics, Jim is a Christian conservative, previously awarded the Order of Australia. He’s not just any Christian, either! Jim Wallace AM is spokesperson for the ‘Australian Christian Lobby’.

Clive and Jim seem like the perfect duo. Between them, they represent a broad spectrum of Australian public opinion, left and right, secular and religious. A fine team indeed!

I’ve written about Clive Hamilton already – and he’s attracting growing critical interest – see Online Opinion and Broadbanned Revolution, for example.

But who is the Christian leader Jim Wallace, whose voice comes through loud and clear on this issue of Internet censorship? Is he a Priest or a Presbyter? A Deacon or Bishop? Could it be that’s he’s a Canon – or a Cardinal, perchance?

According to his profile on Online Opinion:

“Jim Wallace AM has been the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) since 2000. He was a career soldier for 32 years and a commander of Australia’s elite Special Forces. In 1984 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services in developing Australia’s counter terrorist capability. ACL is a non-denominational, non-party partisan lobby group representing a broad constituency of Christian supporters.”

Beyond the Fringe: Dialogue with 'James'
Nov 30th, 2008 by Syd Walker

I have become embroiled in a debate with someone who calls himself ‘James’, on the SomebodyThinkoftheChildren website.

James Who?That excellent site is at the forefront of the No Clean Feed campaign. Run by Brisbane-based IT expert Michael Meloni, it mounts a powerful anti-censorship case on various fronts, focusing on Australia. Right now, the hottest topic is the Rudd Government’s plan to introduce compulsory Internet censorship.

SomebodyThinkoftheChildren, in my opinion, is an essential daily visit for Australians at this time.

James has raised concerns that I should not be ‘exalted’ and he says he’s worried the campaign will be tarnished by the involvment of someone with such “incredibly fringe opinions”.

I’ve responded a couple of times.

Here’s my latest response on the thread over there (corrected for typos and mis-spellings):

OK James. This is positively my last comment on this thread, as I don’t want to impose on Mike’s blog, which is focused on censorship issues and doesn’t need to become cluttered with extraneous debates.

Actually, I agree with you in one sense. If it became easy for the Government to portray members of the anti-clean feed campaign as people who hold non-mainstream views on other topics, that would be a problem.

But is it likely? My minor contributions to the campaign are eclipsed by the long-standing contributions of people like Mike Meloni and Dale Clapperton – and many, many others more technologically knowledgable than I am.

The Trials of David Ahenakew
Nov 29th, 2008 by Syd Walker

A trial is underway in Canada.

It’s a most curious trial. Or perhaps it’s just ‘normal’, in this phase of human history that just gets “curiouser and curiouser“.

David AhenakewThe defendant is David Ahenakew, a 75 year-old First Nation leader, previously honoured with the Order of Canada for his service over many decades to his people and Canada as a whole. In Australia, the word ‘Aboriginal’ is typically used for our indigenous people. In Australian lingo, David Ahenakew is a respected Aboriginal elder and leader.

He is on trial for “willfully promoting hatred”.

What did he say? Did he, perhaps, offend the millions of mainly fair-skinned invaders of his land, who over the last few hundred years pushed his people to cultural extinction in many parts of Canada? Did he call for a war of extinguishment against the invaders? Did he incite a First Nation attack on Ottawa?

No. His alleged offense is more specific. He is accused of willfully promoting hatred against ‘the Jews’. He stands accused of breaching Canadian laws that criminalize ‘hate speech’. In effect, this Aboriginal leader is accused of persecuting other people – with his words (not deeds) – even though he’s a survivor of the shattered remnants of the original Canadians who has put in a lifetime’s effort into remedying disadvantages still suffered by his own disposessed community.

It’s difficult not to wince at the irony.

To be precise, the trial currently underway is Ahenakew’s second trial – for the same offense. He was found guilty in 2005. The Chronicle-Herald reports:

Honour Without Respect
Nov 22nd, 2008 by Syd Walker

Peres = War CriminalIn a case of life imitating the blogosphere, since I began writing the previous article about Shimon Peres, there been ‘breaking news’.

Apparently the President of the Apartheid State in Palestine (ASP) has been honoured by Queen Elizabeth II.

Now he is a knight commander of the Order of St Michael and St George, no less!

I had no idea this was in the offing, but apparently so – for some time.

Peres meets MadonnaIt isn’t just crazed pseudo-Kabbalist tinsel-queens like Madonna who shake his hand. Mr Peres gets to schmooze with real Royalty!

There are indications that the Palace was bullied and/or embarrassed into granting this ‘honour’ to Peres.

See Queen to Snub Israeli Knighthood Bid by the Daily Express’ royal correspondent, published on November 3rd 2008 – and as of today still retrievable from Google’s cache.

The original of this article has been scrubbed from the Daily Express online edition. Not surprising really. It suggested that the Palace stood up to Israeli stand-over tactics and rejected Peres’ unseemly ‘hints’. As it has turned out, it eventually caved in to Israeli / Jewish pressure.

Here’s an extract from the Daily Express report earlier this month:

“THE Queen has been drawn into an embarrassing diplomatic wrangle with Israel after Britain snubbed efforts to have the Jewish state’s President Shimon Peres knighted.

“She will meet Mr Peres, the architect of several stalled Middle East peace plans, when he begins a three-day official visit to Britain on November 18.

Softball on 'HardTalk'
Nov 22nd, 2008 by Syd Walker

HardTalkSome TV is pure shock and awe.

Take the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)’s internationally-broadcast current affairs interview program ‘HardTalk’.

In times past, Englishmen had a reputation for politeness and reserve. It’s possible that was really just another smug self-serving Anglocentric myth – but there did seem to be some validity to the stereotype – at least on the BBC. Politeness was normal. A generation ago, interviewers like Richard Dimpleby combined incisive interview technique with courtesy. His son maintains the tradition.

But politeness is no longer at the cutting edge, if HardTalk is any guide. These days, the brightest and best British interviewers have an extra talent to offer viewers. They can shout louder than anyone else. This especially applies if they interview foreigners.

In the unlikely event I ever get interviewed on this marvellous program, I shall certainly take a megaphone along. These guys are experts at shouting down their guests! Steven Sackur of HardTalk

A couple of years ago, the Chief Shouter was Tim Sebastian. But the BBC has been going through generational change.

In 2008, Shouter No 1 is Steven Sackur. It’s a hard call, but I think he may be an louder shouter than Tim. His lung capacity is probably greater. One of these days, there really should be an International Shouting Competition between Britain and the USA. Perhaps the USA will field Bill O’Reilly. It would be a match well worth watching – a clash of titans. I’d bet a Euro on Sackur to over-shout even the Beast of the ‘No Spin Zone’.

Open Letter to Australia's Opposition Leader
Nov 12th, 2008 by Syd Walker

Dear Malcolm Turnbull,

I was disappointed to learn of your recent attack on the Rudd Government’s small – yet significant – shift in stance on Palestine in the UN.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports: “Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, criticized the Government for supporting resolutions which contained “grave allegations” about Israeli actions.”

Mr Turnbull, I had (perhaps naively) imagined you a man of principle, willing to stand up for human rights and fair play.

Now it appears you cast principle to the wind for tawdry political advantage.

Do you seriously believe that ‘grave allegations’ about Israeli actions are unmerited?

If so, here are some things you should know.

The website If Only Americans Knew keeps a succinct, well-documented score-sheet on its homepage. It gives a factually-based overview of Palestinian and Israeli suffering in recent years.

The statistics are clear. There is a huge disparity. It is the Palestinians who are by far the greater victims, while Israelis are the principal aggressors.

I need hardly remind you that all people are people. All people have human rights. That includes Palestinians.

The suffering of an Israeli Jew is not worth more than the suffering of a Palestinian. Is it?

Why help bolster blatant falsehoods, such as:

  • responsibility for conflict rests mainly with the Palestinians
  • Israeli suffering is the biggest problem
  • Israel’s behaviour is essentially blameless?

Regarding the Israeli settlements, they are illegal under international law and have been illegal ever since construction commenced. Surely you know that already?

Obama's Rahm Emanuel Dilemma: the Solution
Nov 10th, 2008 by Syd Walker

All Barak Obama needs to do to resolve the furore over the Rahm Emanuel’s appointment is to submit the application to FBI scrutiny and ensure the security-risk assessment process is thorough and fair.

There’s so much evidence that the pro-war Emanuel has unacceptably close links to a foreign power that any honest assessment woud easiy knock out his application for a White House security pass – let alone the Chief of Staff job.

Obama can then turn to the Zionist lobby and say: “Sorry guys, your man didn’t get clearance. (Not my fault)”

Then Obama can pick someone who would.

Sweet!

But will he do it?

Perhaps Michelle Obama could whisper encouragement during some pillow talk?

It may be the only time Obama’s communications aren’t bugged.

Mossad Measuring the Drapes?
Nov 10th, 2008 by Syd Walker

At last, some real dirt on Barak Obama!

He has terrorist connections!

No, I don’t mean the endlessly recycled, tenuous connection with Bill Ayers, an elderly academic with a colorful past. Nor do I have in mind Barak’s links with the Rev Wright, one of the more honest preachers in America today.

Those people are in Obama’s past. I imagine both will get more calls from Fox News than they receive from President Obama in the coming years. Probably a lot more…

Rahm Emanuel gets in Barak Obama's earMore central to Obama‘s future is Rahm Emanuel, his newly-appointed Chief of Staff. Now there’s a guy with terrorist connections…

At the time his appointment went beyond rumor to confirmed fact, Emanuel made a special point of noting that his parents are both still alive and able to appreciate their son’s success.

It’s a beautiful sentiment – one of those times when the political intersects with the personal. A short clip of Rahm’s remark has been shown around the world.

But who are Rahm’s parents?

His father is Benjamin M. Emanuel, a US pediatrician. Like many other successful Americans, he emigrated to America from another place. Actually, he came from Palestine.

In fact as a young man, Benjamin was a terrorist based in Palestine. So the father of Obama’s new anchor man was a Palestinian Terrorist!

No, not that kind of Palestinian Terrorist! Benjamin Rahm was a member of the Irgun in the 1940s.

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