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DIDGE - The View From Down Under

An Aussie’s ridgy-didge view of world affairs and popular culture.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Over a year later and the downplaying continues...

The other day I was at the right-wing website People Political, and came across an article titled Why The World Is Supposed To Hate America. The article listed several ridiculous theories on why the world supposedly hates America, including the America-hating liberal media.

“Could it be because when the leftists at the New York Times come across a story of a couple of night guards at a prison for suspected terrorists who, gasp, put panties on their enemies' heads they run the story on their front page -- as if it were the second coming of the Holocaust -- for 44 straight days…”

Yes, once again it is a conservative downplaying the abuses at Abu Ghraib. I’ve seen it many times and it never gets any less sickening. It takes only a true idiot to continually refer to the abuses as “just panties on the head of a man” when many infamous photos of disgusting abuses have saturated the public domain. Only delusional psychos could maintain the only thing that happened was the placing of underwear on a man’s head when so much evidence, including statements made by their own President, exists to the contrary.

Some examples of conservatives downplaying the seriousness of Abu Ghraib:

Radio host Rush Limbaugh had a cavalcade of crap on the subject, saying that the abuses were very simular to things you’d see at a Madonna or Britney Spears concert (!) Hmmm, must of missed those famous concerts were Madonna was attacked by a dog or Spears was beaten to death. He also compared the abuses to university pranks: “This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation and we're going to ruin people's lives over it and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You ever heard of need to blow some steam off?” Hmmm, well I know people do exercise, or listen to music, or do yoga to unwind but I must of missed the self-help book Rape: The perfect way to unwind after a stressful day.

Fox’s John Gibson hosted a television tie-in with his book Hating America. Gibson asked why the world didn’t give two hoots when Nick Berg was beheaded but the world gets up in arms when a man has underwear placed on his head.

And then we have Fox News Channel’s resident monstrosity that is known as Sean Hannity. On an American daytime talk programme: “There was underwear on the head of one of them. We're not raping and killing anybody.”

Psychopath Michael Savage continued with the panties: “There was nobody worse today than Senator Mark Dayton, Democrat of Minnesota as he calls putting panties in the head of cold blooded murderers atrocities.” Damn, these conservatives are obsessed with underwear…

Then there was Charles Grainer’s lawyer, defending the American soldier’s participation in the abuses, by saying cheerleaders often form human pyramids. Um… yeah… just that cheerleaders do it consensually… and, um… not naked.

And when conservatives actually admit that abuses happened their argument is that these people are evil terrorists, so who cares? Who cares? Aren’t we supposed to be better than terrorists? Aren’t we supposed to be better than thugs and killers and rapists? Then why degrade ourselves by sinking to their level? Even if the people in Abu Ghraib were the worst of the worst of criminals (and reports suggest that as many as 70% of Abu Ghraib prisoners committed crimes no worse than car theft) that doesn’t give the military the right to infringe their basic human rights. It’s what America should stand for but sadly doesn’t any longer.

But should we be surprised at all that Abu Ghraib happened? I think we need to keep in mind that numerous American soldiers have raped their fellow soldiers. So if fellow soldiers are fair game just imagine what they must be like when around the Iraqi people, who, we must remember, have been dehumanised by the US military.

The conservatives like to say they are moral people, but where is the morality when serious war crimes have been committed and they try to sweep it under the carpet? One wonders what the outrage would have been had Iraqi soldiers tortured Americans the way the U.S. soldiers did at Abu Ghraib?

The debate about the Iraq invasion can never be a real debate as long as conservatives distort and flat-out ignore the cold hard proof of things. But why would anyone bother to debate serious issues with people who see men naked and piled on one another, and smiling American soldiers over the corpse of a dead Iraqi but only see a man with underwear on his head.

The Abu Ghraib Prison Photos (Warning: Graphic)

People Political: Why The World Is Supposed To Hate America By Evan Sayet


Limbaugh on torture of Iraqis: U.S. guards were "having a good time," "blow[ing] some steam off"

Oliver North: Iraqi prisoner abuse "the kind of thing that you might find on any college campus nowadays"

Talk radio host Michael Savage: "I commend" prisoner abuse; "we need more"

Limbaugh returned to downplaying Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse as "hazing" and "an out-of-control fraternity prank"

Limbaugh: Most of Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse was "not torture"

Hannity debated Rosie O'Donnell on Abu Ghraib abuse: no torture or rape, just "underwear on the head of one" prisoner

Beneath the Hoods - Many of the tortured at Abu Ghraib were common criminals, not terrorists

Thirty-seven female G.I.'s report rape by fellow American soldiers - (Iraq)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Australia Card - Protecting Australia from Terrorists

Saturday, July 16, 2005

My Potter pilgrimage

I’ve written very few blog entries about my personal life, so today is a first of sorts. For the last five or six years I have been agoraphobic. I’ve been inside my house for all those years, unable to go out. In the past couple of months I have been getting treatment and have actually ventured outside. Today, July 16 2005, is the release date for the new Harry Potter book, and so I ventured out again, with my parents, to purchase it for my brother.

Before I go on I’ve just got to say how irritating it is to hear these religious extremists denouncing the books. Have they become so cold-hearted that they forget about the joys of being a child? Or did they have horrible childhoods and the sight of children enjoying themselves angers them? Whatever the reason, I’ll never understand. But these people are mentally ill, so…

Here are the photos of my trip:Inside one of Melbourne’s trains.

This is the shopping area where we got the book. As you can see it was raining.

The sixth book.

But only an hour or so after touching the book these things started appearing in my backyard…

Holy shit! Maybe the Pope’s right…

BBC: New Harry Potter book hits shops

BBC: 'Evil' Harry Potter day cancelled

Agoraphobia - European Description

Friday, July 15, 2005

Sensitivity for delicate matter gets lost while the media gorge on sensationalism

This week convicted child molester Brian Jones was released back into society. The home that he was to have lived in was plastered over the media, and now new accommodation is being looked for. The commercial television stations had a field day with headlines like: “Parents fear for children as paedophile released back into community”.

The last photo of Mr Jones was taken over a decade ago, so many media outlets seized on the whole paedophile in community, but what does he look like? angle of the story. At least it was the last public photo of Mr Jones until the Herald Sun snapped a shot of him and plastered it on their front cover (pictured to the left, I have covered up his face.)

The paper’s editor had this to say:
“He has now been removed from that house where he was photographed by the Herald Sun. We publish his picture not to encourage vigilantes to attack him, but to show people what this sexual predator looks like so they can protect their children.”

And how exactly does knowing what he looks like better protect children? Hey look, it’s that paedophile! Son, you better put your penis back in your pants.

I know what he did was absolutely appalling, but does that give the media the right to screen pictures of his new home and what he looks like - and does it accomplish anything positive? What do the protesters and vigilantes hope to gain? I would think the best outcome in this incredibly difficult situation would be for Mr Jones to live out the rest of his years quietly and without incident. Since he has a history of repeat offending of course he should be monitored like crazy. But if he has honestly changed, then that’s to the good of society and for Mr Jones. I just don’t see how plastering his face over the media is going to do any good except sell newspapers for the Murdoch’s. And there are reports suggesting that this media frenzy could make him attack another child.

Now, I know how these things can be twisted. What Mr Jones did is absolutely abominable. Sexual attacks of any kind are some of the worst things that can happen to a person, especially vulnerable children. It’s sickening, it’s depraved. He was released back in the late 80s and reoffered soon after. I sincerely hope with all my heart that Mr Jones never attacks another child. But it isn’t like he was just released all on his own without any checks. His parole conditions are extremely tight. He has an electronic monitoring device on his ankle, must abide by a curfew, and cannot leave his house unaccompanied. He is also taking medication to repress his sex drive.

I pity Mr Jones’ pathetic life. The molestation of children is one of the most depraved things someone can inflict upon another human being. But I also feel the need to speak out against the coverage the media has provided. I don’t see how publishing current photos or accommodation serves to help anyone in this most terrible of matters, and only adds more shameful evidence that the media (the tabloid newspapers and television channels) feed off of and disrespect matters of huge sensitivity just for a quick buck.

Bracks defends 'Mr Baldy' move
Premier Steve Bracks said yesterday he felt "very comfortable" about the handling of the release of pedophile "Mr Baldy" - who was housed within a kilometre of five schools upon release this week. Mr Bracks defended Corrections Victoria, saying if it decided to place Brian Keith Jones in his street he would back their judgement.

Don't hound him, says psychiatrist
The maelstrom of public attention surrounding the release of Brian Jones could drive him to reoffend, a forensic psychiatrist warned yesterday. Professor Paul Mullen said the risk in such cases was that the released prisoner could be left feeling so hounded and alienated that he would reoffend out of rage.

Terry Philpot explains why calls for a Sarah's Law are fundamentally misguided and offers some rather more constructive ideas for how best to protect children from those who would abuse them. *Great article*

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A day in the life of Scott McClellan

In the morning:

WIFE: Scott, what do you think works best, this navy blouse or this grey one?
SCOTT: I really appreciate that you want to look your best, however I can’t comment on this ongoing marriage.
WIFE: But you’ve done it before! Why stop now?
SCOTT: As I said, I can’t comment on this ongoing marriage.
WIFE: Dick.

Just as Scott is leaving the house to go to work:

POLICE OFFICER: Excuse me sir, your neighbour over the road was raped last night. Did you see or hear anything around 11 PM?
SCOTT: You haven’t caught the rapist yet?
OFFICER: No, sir.
SCOTT: So you could say it’s an ongoing investigation?
OFFICER: Yes, sir.
SCOTT: Well, I’m sorry, but I can’t comment on any ongoing investigation.
OFFICER: Sir, your neighbour was brutally attacked. Don’t you want to help?
SCOTT: I assure you, officer, that I want to get to the bottom of this more than anyone else. But I can’t comment on an ongoing investigation.
OFFICER: Why not?
SCOTT: I think I’ve already answered your question, okay. Goodbye.

When he gets home from work:

DAUGHTER: Daddy, daddy, look at this picture I drew for you in school today.
SCOTT: Honey, I really appreciate the fact that you drew a picture for me, however I can’t comment on it as long as your life is ongoing. But I will be more than happy to comment on it when you’re dead, okay sweetie.

Crooks and Liars: Press Corp grilling Scotty
A must watch video. The American press are actually growing up.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

When will we ever learn?

We’ve just commemorated the tenth anniversary of the genocide in Srebrenica. Ten years later what has changed?

It was after the Nazis massacred millions upon millions of Jews in World War II that the world united and said: never again. But then there was East Pakistan. And Cambodia. And Rwanda. And Bosnia. Then Srebrenica. Millions more dead. After the fact everyone is sorry, we should of done something, but you know… next time we’ll be quick to stop it. Next time…

There was a next time for the people of Cambodia. There was a next time for the people of Rwanda. There was a next time for the people of Bosnia. And there was a next time for the Muslims in Srebrenica. And now there is a next time for the people of the Darfur region in Sudan. The first genocide of the twenty-first century.

Less than one hundred years after millions of Jews were massacred and the world said never again the Sudanese government is massacring its own citizens. Colin Powell called the actions genocide but the U.S. has done incredibly little to end it. The UN has condemned it but can’t be bothered doing anything major about it, either. Kofi Annan recently said the international reaction to the atrocities in Sudan were pathetic and inexcusable. Sounds a lot like what Annan said about the Rwandan genocide on that massacre’s tenth anniversary. History repeating, repeating, repeating…

Yeah, don’t worry, the next time it happens we’ll do something about it. Promise.

Darfur: A Genocide we can stop
Over a million people, driven from their homes, now face death from starvation and disease as the Government and militias attempt to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching them. The same forces have destroyed the people of Darfur's villages and crops, and poisoned their water supplies, and they continue to murder, rape and terrorize.

Human Rights Watch: Sudan

BBC: Kofi Annan interview transcript

BBC: In pictures: Srebrenica memorial

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Brit Hume is an arsehole who should be fired (So too John Gibson)

If you didn’t think Fox News Channel could get any worse, well it seems as if Fox desperately want to keep you perpetually shocked.

When you first heard that there had been a terrorist attack in London what went through your mind? Oh god, not again. Shit, I hope no one dies. Fuck, those poor people. Odds are that 99.9% of people had thoughts simular to those I just listed. We can be sure that the people responsible and who knew about the attacks didn’t think such things. We also know that other al-Qaeda terrorists didn’t think anything I mentioned. So the only people who didn’t immediately think saddened things were terrorists. Oh, and Fox News Channel’s Brit Hume.

Yes, Hume admitted quite openly on air that his first thought when he heard that there had been a mass slaughter of innocent civilians in London was about the stock market and how he could make a quick buck out of it. I guess these are Republican values shining through again.

Now it really seems like Fox want you perpetually shocked because if you thought Hume’s comments could not be topped in the ‘utter-lack-of-compassion-for-fellow-human-beings’ category, well get this…

John Gibson, host of Fox’s The Big Story (mmm, sounds like a classy show) was filling in for Bill O’Reilly on Bill’s radio show, The Radio Factor (another great name). On the program Gibson said it was a shame that France didn’t win the Olympic games…

… because then they would have been attacked by terrorists …

… and nobody would have cared if Paris was bombed.


What an absolute cunt.

Fox must fire John Gibson NOW.

Apart from hosting The BIG Story, John Gibson is also the author of Hating America, an incredibly childish book that asserts the reason why the world hates America: they are envious of it’s freedom because America is the most free nation on earth. But how exactly does one come to the conclusion that America is the freest nation in the world? Are there things that Americans can do that those of us in Australia can’t? What makes America more free than Japan or France or Italy or New Zealand or Canada? I’m not exactly sure. Though I am sure the thousands of loving gay and lesbian couples in New York, Los Angeles etc. who want to get married but can’t because their government won’t allow them can attest to that fact that America is freer than any other country! (*cough* Canada, Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium *cough*). Or the millions of American pot smokers who are arrested just for possessing a reefer or two (*cough* The Netherlands *cough*)

Yes, the world hates America (it should also be pointed out that the world hates American governments, not the people) because it is the freest country in the world, and not because of those little atrocities it has carried out on numerous countries over many years. Any way, if the people at Fox have ANY sense of human decency (the term ‘cold, cold day in hell’ springs to mind) they MUST fire Gibson and Hume for making such outrageous comments. I only wonder if a liberal had such things what the storm of controversy would be like.

And, look, I’ve just got to say this: John Gibson is fucking ugly. Really fucking ugly. So ugly in fact that if he stood next to John Bolton people would think Bolton was a model. Okay, so maybe people wouldn’t think that, but I can assure you that people would think ‘who’s that really fucking ugly guy standing next to that really ugly guy?’ If you think I’m overreacting, just Google his name in an image search. Oh and have a vomit bucket near by.

Fox's Gibson on "golden opportunity" missed: If France had been selected for 2012 Olympics, terrorists would "blow up Paris, and who cares?"

Hume's "first thought" on hearing of London attacks: It's "time to buy" futures

2005 World Stupidity Awards

It’s time for the Third Annual World Stupidity Awards, and you can participate by voting online. Here is how I voted:

Stupidest Man of the Year: US President George W. Bush

Stupidest Statement of the Year: “They never stop thinking of ways of harming America, and neither do we.” - US President George W. Bush

Dumbest Moment of the Year: Ashlee Simpson on Saturday Night Live

Stupidest Movie of the Year: The Pacifier

Stupidest Woman of the Year: Ashlee Simpson

Stupidest Trend of the Year: Religious Fundamentalism of all kinds

Stupidest TV Show of the Year: The Beauty and the Geek (Never heard of it, but it sounds really bad)

Dumbest Government of the Year: The Government of the United States of America

Stupidity Award for Reckless Endangerment of the Planet: US President George W. Bush

Media Outlet Which Has Best Furthered Ignorance: Fox News Channel

Stupidest Award Show of The Year: The Grammy’s

The winners will be announced on July 22.

You can vote here

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Never let the cowards win. Sending lots of love to London.