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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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Mumbai's Terror: More Cheerful on Fox?
Dec 7th, 2008 by Syd Walker

The 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks - Another False-Flag Operation?

One of my bad habits is to leave the TV running all night.

When I do this, I usually tune to Fox News before dozing off. I know it’s perverse, but I like dreaming to Fox.

Fox, Rupert Murdoch’s TV network in the USA, is the major national cable ‘news’ channel and really must be seen to be believed. It’s the cleanest feed of Zionist war-monguering propaganda available on TV. There’s little window-dressing on Fox News. It’s not designed for America’s intelligentsia. Absorbed at night, by a mind in repose, it’s like a hard-wired connection to the neocon Zeitgeist. They decide. I soak it in. Later, in my waking hours, I try to de-construct and demystify.

Fox and FriendsLife hasn’t been easy for Fox presenters in recent months. For one thing, the Republicans bombed so badly that even Fox and Diebold combined couldn’t save them (except around the edges). But there’s more!

The folk at Fox spent years regurgitating deregulatory, extreme free-market rhetoric (with only the military industrial complex on ever-escalating welfare). Now these unfortunates must re-learn their lines from scratch, so they can explain to a bemused public why gigantic taxpayer bailouts of banks and insurance companies are, on balance, a fantastic idea.

Just over a week ago, I left Fox running when I went to bed. As I surfaced from my slumbers the following morning, I noticed the talking heads seemed more cheerful than before. Voices were animated. Confidence had returned!

The Great Flood of Sex-Negatives
Dec 5th, 2008 by Syd Walker

Dr Michael Flood of Wollongong UniversityIt must be awful to be important enough to be in Wikipedia.

Imagine being at the mercy of a pack of largely anonymous editors (some of them spooks?) who can – and often do – perform the most comprehensive character assassination imaginable on hapless victims who have little or no chance of redress.

For that reason, Dr Michael Flood of Wollongong University has my sympathies. Even though his role in promoting Internet censorship disgusts me (Flood has collaborated closely with prominent pro-censorship ‘intellectual’ Clive Hamilton on that issue), I wouldn’t wish a dud entry in Wikipedia on anyone.

But I have a little gratuitous advice for Dr Flood. Even though he seems to churn out academic papers at a furious rate, he might take time off from his frantic schedule to sort out his Wikipedia entry, if he can.

The entry for Dr Michael Flood, dated December 4th, 2008 makes him seem rather foolish (emphases added):

Michael Flood is an Australian sociologist. His research includes work in men’s studies, a field which formed largely in response to [citation needed], and as a critique of [citation needed], an emerging men’s rights movement. Flood’s research focuses on men, heterosexuality, interpersonal violence, and gender and gender-related topics.

Flood is the coordinator of a pro-feminist website, XYonline, that provides a range of commentary and research on men and masculinities, male sexuality, gender feminism, violence perpetrated by males, and the men’s movement from a gender feminist perspective. He received a PhD in Gender and Sexuality Studies from the Australian National University (ANU) in 2001.

The Rudd Government: One-Term Only?
Dec 5th, 2008 by Syd Walker

Australia’s Minister for Communications Chaos, Internet Censorship and Moral Panic rose in the Senate early this week to defend the Government’s ‘Clean Feed’ policy yesterday.

It was not an impressive performance, but to paraphrase Dr Johnson, the remarkable thing is that it happened at all.

Senator Stephen Conroy - the Worst Australian Communications Minister in History?In recent days, Conroy has been taking hits from all quarters. The most recent thwack came from Young Labor in NSW.

Every time the Senate meets, he faces at least one uncomfortable question about his portfolio. Each time, the main issue is whether he’ll make a bigger mess of his answer than last time. Nobody expects a quality response from Conroy any more. Nobody is ever disappointed.

Conroy attacked the previous Coalition Government for what he claimed was an ineffective and costly scheme, whereby all households were provided with a self-install Internet filter on request. Generous sums were spent promoting the scheme.

Conroy’s point is that uptake of the voluntary ‘filter’ was very low. The Minister didn’t remember the exact figure, so why should I bother looking it up? In any event, it was low. 2% or so. ‘Nuff said.

One might reasonably infer from this that most Australians simply didn’t want to install a ‘filter’ on their Internet connection. That could be regarded as good news – a hint that the Government can concentrate on other important policy areas (and even make a modest saving scaling down the free voluntary web filter service).

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?

An Example of Execrable Taste
Dec 4th, 2008 by Syd Walker

According to a report with the lurid title Poland denies Barack Obama cannibal ‘joke’ in Britain’s Daily Telegraph. the Polish Foreign Minister tells jokes.

Actually, the smooth-talking, Oxford-educated former advisor to Rupert Murdoch, whom Wikiepdia descibes as Poland’s ‘point man for missile defense’, tells really crass jokes. Here’s an example:

Have you heard that Obama may have a Polish connection? His grandfather ate a Polish missionary.

Obama and SikorskiThe Telegraph further informs us:

A spokesman for the Polish foreign office conceded that Mr Sikorski had made the controversial comment, but denied that the foreign minister had intended to insult Mr Obama, whose father was Kenyan.”Mr Sikorski did not tell a racist joke,” said Piotr Paszkowski, the spokesman. “He was only giving an example of the unpalatable and racist ‘jokes’ that surround President Elect Obama.”

Ah, I must remember that. A very handy defense! Rather like the Conroy defense for browsing porn (“I wasn’t doing it for fun. I was checking out what should be banned”)

Apparently there are now:

“calls from (Polish) opposition politicians for an investigation to deter (sic) if the foreign minister broke anti-racism laws.”

How futile! Do these people really want to criminalize bad taste? It would wreck Poland’s tourism industry, for one thing. No more Brits at soccer games.

Obama, having survived trial by fire in the cauldron of US politics, can undoubtedly cope with serial silliness from European politicians, who seem determined to trash what remains of Europe’s reputation for sophistication.

No Need for Sophistry in Climate Change Debate
Dec 4th, 2008 by Syd Walker

I’m someone who believes there is an alarming prospect that contemporary humanity will modify the world’s climate in a disastrous way.

I plan to set out the kernel of the case, as I see it, in a separate article. In essence, my key concerns haven’t changed for 20 years. But that’s for another day.

Right now – as someone who believes climate change IS a real concern – I want to dicuss the growing use of terms such as ‘Climate Change Deniers’ and ‘Climate Change Denial’.

These quite new expressions are being bandied around with increasing abandon by some of our most prominent ‘public intellectuals’, such as the highly topical Dr Clive Hamilton. It’s time they stopped.

No case that’s based on evidence and logic need vanquish opponents by ‘framing’ the terms of debate in an unfair manner.

If the threat of rapid climate change is real – as I believe it is – we can win the argument fair and square. And we shall.

Head in the Sand over Climate ChangeA little humour might help. Let’s lighten up!

Of course it would be nice to win the debate sooner. But there’s a process we must go through to get there. It’s called rational debate in a complex modern society.

Nothing could be more damaging to achieving a consensus (or near-consensus) on climate change policy than an attempt to force the issue, by seeking to delegitimize those who hold opposing views.

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.”

Conroy's 'Clean Feed' Support Evaporating
Dec 1st, 2008 by Syd Walker

Internet CensorshipIt’s been a good week for the campaign against Senator Conroy’s disgraceful mandatory Internet filtering proposal – the so called ‘Clean Feed’.

The Australia Greens have formally announced that they oppose this type of Internet censorship. According to AAP:

“We’re very, very concerned that there’s going to be a unnecessary clamp down on the internet and it has to be watched,” Greens leader Bob Brown told ABC Television on Tuesday.

His colleague Scott Ludlam has been lobbying against the changes.

“He’s working very hard with community groups in Australia to oppose the current proposals by the Government,” Senator Brown said.

The Federal Coalition has done the same. Here’s the conclusion of a press release issued by Shadow Communications Minister, Senator Minchin:

“The Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has further fuelled concerns with his talk of filtering not only illegal content, but also unwanted and inappropriate content. This policy proposal is also causing Australia embarrassment internationally, with comparisons to the world’s most repressive regimes,” Senator Minchin said.

The Government is planning a ‘real world’ trial of mandatory filtering before the end of this year and needs the cooperation of sceptical ISPs and their customers.

“If adequate numbers of Internet users cannot be roped into this trial on a voluntary basis, Senator Conroy needs to clarify whether the trial itself will become mandatory, or will this policy be implemented regardless?” Senator Minchin asked.

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:

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