You can’t blame the drought for corrupt water management.

No doubt by now you have all seen this photo, and others like it. That’s a Murray cod, like all its relatives it has survived droughts, damming of rivers, irrigation pumping and more. But this summer it died, along with thousands of other fish, because river flows in NSW are so depleted there’s just no oxygen left in the water.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jan/07/hundreds-of-thousands-of-native-fish-dead-in-second-murray-darling-incident

Australians, or most of them, tend to go around with their heads up their bums most of the time, until a disaster grabs their attention for a few minutes. After a brief flurry of outrage and a bit of “they have to do something about this” comment on social media it’s all quickly forgotten. After the five seconds of outrage at least  45% of  Australians will keep on voting for the same conservatives who are responsible for the disaster.

The current crisis with the rivers in the eastern states has been developing for a few years now, but until this week’s fish deaths hardly anyone noticed or cared.

I blame it all on Barnaby Joyce, David Littleproud, their water-hoarding cotton-growing mates and above all, on the NSW government.

In this video Menindee resident Dick Arnold and Rob stand in the Darling river above weir 32 each holding a hundred year old fish. These Murray cod have lived through the highs and lows of this system however could not survive this man made disaster.

The NSW “Liberals and Nationals” government decided to reconfigure the Menindee Lakes last year. Part of the process involved the decommissioning of the pipeline that fed Broken Hill from the lakes. Instead of providing water to Broken Hill and Pooncarie, and a thriving irrigation farming industry, the water would be diverted to cotton farmers upstream. Many of those huge, water-guzzling cotton farms are overseas owned.

https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/cubbie-station-still-80owned-by-chinese-company-ruyi/news-story/c7393ae7ffa19039cc09a78fa90f53bb

Others that are Australian-owned have had their CEOs charged with corruption.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-28/cotton-executives-20-million-fraud-allegation-norman-farming/10172736

The Menindee pipeline was to be replaced by a pipeline carrying water from the Murray River to Broken Hill. A pipeline from an already depleted river, placing more strain on a river already struggling to cope with demands on its flow.

Only a government as incompetent and as corrupt as the Berejiklian government could come up with such a stupid idea.

In 2017 Four Corners ran this program –

Pumped: Who’s benefiting from the billions spent on the Murray-Darling?
https://www.abc.net.au/4corners/pumped/8727826

As usual with exposes like this there was the usual brief spate of outrage and then everyone – or almost everyone – went back to sleep until this week, when all those images of dead fish were all over the media.

The Australia Institute didn’t go back to sleep. They produced this, in June 2018, on mismanagement of the scheme . Result? Crickets from those in a position to make changes.

The Basin Files
Maladministration of the MurrayDarling Basin Plan: Volume I
“Since allegations of large-scale water theft were aired on Four Corners in 2017, a flood of media reports have shown that the $13bn Murray-Darling Basin Plan is not being well implemented: agency coverups, political and regulatory capture, agencies with cultures of non-compliance, dodgy water deals, alleged fraud and unlawful amendments.”
http://www.tai.org.au/sites/default/files/P531%20The%20Basin%20files%20Vol%20I%20%20%5BWEB%5D.pdf

This file contains a huge amount of relevant links.

The Murray-Darling Basin Plan was yet another Labor initiative destroyed by the ATM government.

Residents of Walgett are living on the banks of a dry river. Water that would normally flow down the Barwon River, even during a drought, has been diverted and hoarded by upstream cotton mega-farms. They are relying for water on a rather dodgy bore that produces water too saline for drinking. The bore was taken out by a lightning strike a week ago and the residents had to go without any water at all for a day. That meant no air conditioning in almost 40 degree heat. Walgett residents use evaporative air coolers, they need water to run. No water = no air conditioning. I’ve lived out west, just under 150 km east of Walgett, , and I can tell you cooling is essential in summer out there. So is drinking water. The situation is so bad in Walgett that private citizens are appealing for funds to buy bottled water which they will drive to Walgett. The NSW government doesn’t want to know and won’t help.

You can’t blame Walgett’s water problems on the drought. You can, however, blame them on corrupt water management and on the interventions over the past five years of Barnaby Joyce, his successor, David Littleproud and the rotten-to-the-core NSW government, with willing help from the Queensland government. Littleproud, until his marriage fell apart, was married to the second cousin of one of the owners of Norman Farms, a cotton-growing mega-company and a very corrupt one. A responsible Prime Minister would never have made a man with such an obvious conflict of interest his Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, but Turnbull did exactly that. Morrison kept him in that position and gave him the added responsibility of  Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Drought Preparation and Response. Talk about putting a fox in the henhouse!

Meanwhile, much further south in NSW, the coal-loving NSW government is refusing to admit underground coal mines have been stealing Sydney’s water for years. ‘No place for mining’: coal mines drain water from dams.

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/no-place-for-mining-coal-mines-drain-water-from-dams-20190106-p50pu3.html

Gas drilling companies across NSW and Queensland are still being given unlimited access to water, especially artesian water, and their drilling is damaging the Great Artesian Basin, but our governments, state and federal, just don’t care.

What will it take to make our state and federal governments wake up? When will they realise this is a very dry continent and our water resources are precious,too precious to be frittered away on industries we simply cannot support, industries like cotton growing and gas mining.

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515 thoughts on “You can’t blame the drought for corrupt water management.

  1. Kelly O’Dwyer is the fourth minister to hold the industrial relations portfolio in the Australian federal government since the Coalition came to power in 2013.

    That’s even one more IR minister than we’ve had prime ministers – and O’Dwyer’s just resigned.

    The former bank executive announced she will not be recontesting her seat of Higgins in Melbourne’s well-heeled eastern suburbs. It’s the only seat to ever produce two prime ministers, and it has only ever elected Liberals. O’Dwyer was re-elected here in 2016 with a margin of 8%.

    But, as disastrous recent outcomes for the Liberals in similar seats have shown, electorates that were once blue ribbon now more resemble tinsel shining from the bin. She is off.

    There will be those who insist that her resignation is about anything other than her portfolio.

    Her resignation from representing a party she’s alternatively called “the natural party for women” and – allegedly – one of “homophobic, anti-women climate-change-deniers” is, she says, in order to spend more time with her family.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/commentisfree/2019/jan/20/whatever-happens-to-kelly-odwyers-seat-the-coalition-are-toast?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

  2. What you need to get your recommended intake of fruits and vegetables

    Two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables — each and every day.

    That’s the recommended intake for healthy adults, but most Australians only eat half that.

    So how hard is it, really? I followed the rules for four days in an attempt to figure out how much a serve of vegetables actually is, and what it takes to eat five of them.

    Here’s some examples of what you would actually need to eat in a day to hit that magic target.

    (Please note: these examples do not necessarily represent a completely balanced diet; they only demonstrate fruit and vegetable intake and don’t take into account other factors like fat, calcium or protein.)

    Read The Rest:

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-20/how-to-eat-five-serves-of-vegetables-two-serves-of-fruit-a-day/10610626

  3. All is well,…………..apparently.
    .

    LATEST
    ScoMo denies MPs are jumping ship

    PM rejects suggestions MPs are weighing up their careers ahead of possible poll defeat, accusing ALP of ‘sledging’ Kelly O’Dwyer.
    https://outline.com/5J7NJn

    • That presser was very strange.

      FauxMo stood so close to O’Dwyer throughout that he must have been pressed up against her back. Who knows where his right hand was. He smirked the whole time, then at the end he kissed her! She didn’t look thrilled with that.

      There was absolutely no reason for him to even be there. O’Dwyer has been in parliament longer than FauxMo has and can handle a presser like this on her own.

      I’m starting to think she did not resign on her own decision but was forced to by the interim PM. I may well be wrong, but that smirk implies he had got exactly what he wanted. I want to know who wrote her speech – did she or her staff, or did FauxMo have his speechwriter do it. It was very positive towards him, undeservedly so.

      No-on ever believes that tired old “I want to spend more time with my family” rubbish,

      The video is in YouTube and available with a simple “Kelly O’Dwyer news” Google. I won’t post it here, it’s too abhorrent.

      Then there’s this interpretation –

  4. Mark David has been very busy this afternoon.

    Scott prepares for Australia Day –

    Josh talks about the party’s problem with women –

    Scott talks about sport –

    Whatever happened to basic standards –

    • Mark Coulton should have flown home a week ago, to be with his constituents during the water shortages and fish kills they are enduring. He should be working for them, making sure they at least have plenty of clean drinking water, not cavorting around India having his photo taken.

  5. I have to say there have never been any doors falling off in my home. I’ve lived here for almost 29 years, I’ve had three teenagers here. We respected the property and no-one was destructive. On the other hand – FauxMo bought his house in 2009, after he had been elected MP for Cook and had to live in the Shire. From the real estate ads I’ve seen it had been fully renovated before he bought it.

    https://www.realestate.com.au/sold/property-house-nsw-dolans+bay-105781787

    Are his two kids really so destructive? Or is it FauxMo himself making a habit of slamming doors in rage? Or is his obedient wife just making up crap?

  6. 5G, Huawei and Us — The U.S. Hates Competition

    While no one, including me, doubts that the intensity of corporate espionage that goes on in the tech industry the latest news in the Trump Administration’s assault on Chinese telecom giant Huawai should dispel any doubts as to what the real issue is.

    The Trump administration is preparing an executive order that could significantly restrict Chinese state-owned telecom companies from operating in the U.S. over national security concerns, according to people familiar with the matter.

    Reached by Bloomberg, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council wouldn’t confirm whether an order is in the works, but did state that “the United States is working across government and with our allies and like-minded partners to mitigate risk in the deployment of 5G and other communications infrastructure.” In the statement, spokesman Garrett Marquis also said that “communications networks form the backbone of our society and underpin every aspect of modern life. The United States will ensure that our networks are secure and reliable.”

    As always with statements in stories planted in major U.S. media houses like these what isn’t said is more important than what is said.

    There are two major bones of contention with Huawei from the U.S. government’s perspective. First is that Huawei is way ahead of everyone else in 5G technology.

    They have the only end-to-end technology stack in the industry. Turnkey 5G networks from antennas and chips to the power stations needed to operate them. Simply peruse their website to see what I’m talking about.

    All across the “Five Eyes” countries we have seen announcement after announcement of their banning Huawei 5G equipment from their networks. This is as much economic protectionism as it is about ‘national security.’

    https://tomluongo.me/2019/01/19/5g-huawei-and-us-the-u-s-hates-competition/

  7. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    John Hewson writes that it’s time for the Liberal party to have a reformation.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/reformation-what-the-liberal-party-needs-20190120-p50sj5.html
    And Jeff Kennett is urging long-serving government MPs, including Julie Bishop and Kevin Andrews, to follow Kelly O’Dwyer’s example and stand down at the next election to make way for fresh talent and help party renewal.
    https://outline.com/7vXRdw
    Michael Pascoe foretells the political year ahead.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2019/01/20/pascoe-2019-prediction/
    Bevan Shields explains why there is an obvious and urgent case to be made on the need to fix Australia’s political donations system.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/bigger-bill-for-taxpayers-is-small-price-to-pay-to-clean-up-political-donations-20190120-p50sik.html
    Craig Emerson, Julia Gillard’s closest supporter during her time as prime minister, says the description of one of the Liberal Party’s most senior women as a “bitch” shows Australia has made no progress in how it treats female MPs.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/no-progress-since-gillard-craig-emerson-slams-sexist-abuse-of-kelly-o-dwyer-20190120-p50si3.html
    Jennifer Hewett says the PM’s woman problem just got a whole worse.
    https://www.outline.com/HHJcEX
    Michelle Grattan says that O’Dwyer’s decision has turned the spotlight onto Bishop.
    https://theconversation.com/view-from-the-hill-odwyers-decision-turns-the-spotlight-onto-bishop-110159
    Shane Wright tells us the Morrison government is facing a costly electoral backlash in Victoria in the wake of Kelly O’Dwyer’s shock decision to leave Parliament, as both sides of politics make hundreds of millions of dollars in spending promises even before the official start of this year’s election campaign.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/major-parties-unveil-big-promises-in-countdown-to-election-20190120-p50shs.html
    The Guardian’s Oliver Yates says that this barely legitimate government is forcing Australia to wait until May to remove them from office, we should have an election now
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/20/we-are-paying-scott-morrison-527k-to-essentially-run-a-caretaker-government
    Greg Jericho’s article today is headlined “A global economic slowdown is on the horizon – so can Labor put principle before politics?”
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2019/jan/19/a-global-economic-slowdown-is-on-the-horizon-so-can-labor-put-principle-before-politics
    Cara Waters reports that Labor will seek to promote its small business credentials at this year’s election with a pledge to give the sector a seat at the cabinet table. “Labor will be putting in the election that we actually have a better option on small business than the government,” shadow treasurer and small business minister, Chris Bowen said.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/small-business/labor-looks-to-small-business-with-cabinet-pledge-20181217-p50mrc.html
    Chris Bowen has demanded the Coalition government immediately release the final report of the royal commission into financial services when it is delivered by February 1.
    https://outline.com/2yKsvd
    Sean Kelly warns us to get ready for a culture war focused on national identity.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/get-ready-for-culture-war-focused-on-national-identity-20190120-p50siq.html
    Peter Hannam looks at the top scientists agreeing to the Labor request to study the Darling River fish kill.
    https://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/top-scientists-agree-to-labor-request-to-study-darling-river-fish-kill-20190120-p50sii.html
    Theresa May must present a Plan B to Parliament tomorrow morning but MPs will immediately hijack it with Plans C, D and E.
    https://outline.com/4tzSHG
    The United Kingdom – and Europe – are entertaining uncharted waters with the impending ‘Brexit’. Ilan Salbe suggests everyone take a breath, and have a rethink.
    https://newmatilda.com/2019/01/18/problems-brexit-time-fresh-vote-move-forward/
    As a politician, Cate Faehrmann has made the difficult decision to ”come out” about drugs because the government’s zero-tolerance approach been a catastrophic failure.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/i-m-coming-out-about-drugs-it-s-time-get-real-about-pill-testing-20190120-p50shc.html
    Professor Judy Bassant writes that any workplace that is serious about promoting healthy workplace cultures and fixing problems like sexual harassment, bullying and adverse action need to review the use and value of gag orders.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/non-disclosure-agreements-are-a-form-of-secondary-victimisation-20190110-p50qks.html
    The home affairs department has sought to allay concerns about encryption legislation rushed through parliament at the end of 2018, promising to help pay for the costs of new surveillance capabilities and to consult industry on implementation.
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jan/21/home-affairs-plays-down-encryption-law-fears-and-promises-to-help-industry-cover-costs
    Rod Myer writes that Scott Morrison’s government has been accused of “stacking” judicial bodies with ideological friends before the election, in a bid to create a difficult environment for, as polling suggests, an incoming Labor government.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/money/finance-news/2019/01/18/coalition-fair-work-commission/
    Australia has had closer ties to fascism than previously believed, writes Peter Henning.
    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/australias-history-with-fascism-,12290
    Linda Morris reports that Labor has opened up a new election battlefront in its promise to build a $500 million stand-alone museum in western Sydney and injecting $45 million to renovate the Powerhouse Museum and keep it at Ultimo.
    https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/labor-s-policy-position-on-museum-gives-voters-a-clear-choice-20190120-p50shz.html
    But the Powerhouse Museum board is unhappy with Labor’s proposal.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/powerhouse-museum-to-stay-in-ultimo-under-labor-20190120-p50si0.html
    Anna Patty reports on how an Australian unionist is leading a global campaign against what he describes as the “Uberfication” of education.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace/the-uberfication-of-education-warning-about-commercial-operators-20181025-p50btw.html
    Ross Gittins goes in to bat for economists and wants to see ,ore women working in that field.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/positions-vacant-the-nation-needs-economists-women-preferred-20190119-p50sei.html
    Kasey Edwards says that a woman’s choice of partner is fundamental to life and career happiness, and yet often girls are not given the tools with which to find the right one.
    https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life-and-relationships/the-important-conversation-we-re-not-having-with-our-daughters-20190118-p50s48.html
    The not-for-profit foundation that was awarded a controversial $443.3m grant for the Great Barrier Reef has funded its first project – a research survey that will be carried out by a government agency.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/21/great-barrier-reef-foundation-funds-first-project-after-controversial-443m-grant
    Nigel Gladstone examines the fact that crime has declined in NSW for more than a decade but the number of people going to jail has risen to reach record numbers this year.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/crime-in-nsw-has-been-dropping-for-more-than-a-decade-this-is-why-20181108-p50eq4.html
    Buzzfeed is still standing behind its story that Trump ordered Cohen to lie to Congress.
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/inside-mueller-team-s-decision-to-dispute-buzzfeed-s-explosive-story-20190120-p50six.html
    Trump’s latest position has angered the right and failed to impress the Democrats.
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jan/20/government-shutdown-donald-trump-amnesty-migrants
    Robert Reich posits that the shutdown has exposed the disaster that is Trumponomics. He says American workers have been shafted.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/20/government-shutdown-trump-tax-cuts-trumponomics
    A growing list of previously ambivalent forecasters are becoming increasingly alarmed at the impact of the record US government shutdown, with one warning the first-quarter might be a complete economic write-off.
    https://outline.com/CU3Mep
    Charles Purcell almost feels sorry for the advertising industry: it’s an industry in flux, with an audience fragmented along economic, racial, social and sexual lines.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/confused-gillette-ad-a-symptom-of-an-industry-in-crisis-20190120-p50sgu.html
    Australia’s tough border security and asylum-seeker regime is again under global scrutiny this week as a British whistleblower and his Russian wife failed in their bid for refugee status. The case is now starting to attract international attention, including from the Kremlin’s number one target, Bill Browder, himself a fierce critic of the Putin regime. Dr Martin Hirst reports.
    https://www.michaelwest.com.au/kremlin-critic-bill-browder-says-australian-based-whistleblower-in-danger-if-deported/
    Zimbabwe has descended into violence again.
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/africa/this-is-worse-than-mugabe-zimbabwe-descends-into-chaos-again-20190121-p50skf.html
    This is a terrible example of policing in Victoria.
    https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/arrested-for-someone-else-s-crime-a-teen-was-left-badly-injured-20190120-p50sh6.html
    An “Arsehole of the Week” nomination here for sure!
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/officer-may-require-more-surgery-after-being-shot-by-big-game-hunter-20190120-p50sju.html

    Cartoon Corner

    Thankfully David Rowe has returned from holidays.

    Mark David’s been busy.




    Trough and two kids – from Glen Le Lievre.
    https://pbs.twimg.com/card_img/1086863026605584384/ye-6cle8.lpg
    Pat Campbell goes to the MDB.

    From Matt Golding.

    From the US.


  8. Channel 9 News, last night –
    “Furious locals are blaming the water crisis along parts of the darling river on mismanagement despite the state government blaming drought.”

    “The National Party candidate was still on holidays.”

    Don’t you love Niall Blair’s desperate spin ‘ Barilaro and Gladys trust him so much they allowed him to represent them in Menindee. We all know they are just too afraid of negative press to show up.

    And not mentioned, because the news report was all about the coming state election, the Federal National ’Party MP is still overseas on a holiday in India that we are paying for, because he’s making sure it looks like “official business”.

  9. The media have been very quiet about this –

    Sydney water bills on verge of $40 increase as NSW Government prepares to switch on desalination plant

    The State Government is poised to turn on Sydney’s desalination plant for the first time, in a move which will increase water bills by almost $40 per customer.

    “I think Sydney will always debate whether it’s a good investment, but the fact is we’ve got it and now it’s a bit like an insurance policy,” Utilities Minister Don Harwin said

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-09/sydney-water-bills-on-verge-of-desalination-plant-increase/10701974

    What Their ABC (and the rest) won’t say –
    Sydney water bills are set to increase as the NSW Government prepares to switch on the Sydney Desalination Plant (SDP).

    The NSW Coalition Government sold the SDP to a Canadian Teachers’ pension fund in 2012. Since then, we have been paying about $200 million a year to SDP to keep the plant on stand-by mode.

    The SDP will be turned on in 2019 and consumers will have to pay millions more.

    In 2016, Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) called for a halt to privatisations on the grounds that state governments often sell assets purely for a quick injection of cash to the state budget but at the long term expense to consumers who face price increases from privately owned businesses that own assets and services that were previously publicly owned and run
    https://www.facebook.com/PSANSW/

  10. Amazing the change of tone from pollies and media lizards when something involves people from ‘naice’ homes eh ? In this case domestic violence.
    .
    .
    When a middle-class, high employment area like Camden recorded an almost 50 per cent spike in domestic violence in the two years to 2018, Pru Goward had to ask the question.

    “I spoke to Camden police, I said, ‘what’s this about’? They said ‘mortgage stress’.”

    ……………………”We have to get much better at understanding an offender instead of always focusing on the poor victim.

    As she finishes up in the role that was the culmination of more than two decades of service to domestic violence prevention, Ms Goward
    https://outline.com/JhdckH

  11. ‘We are in trouble’: Peter Dutton’s battle for the seat of Dickson
    The home affairs minister is trying to shore up enough votes in his electorate to counter the inevitable swing. But while Dutton’s politics may not have changed, Dickson has
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jan/21/we-are-in-trouble-peter-duttons-battle-for-the-seat-of-dickson

    My heart bleeds for him – all those years of working his way up to being Supreme Dictator, all for nothing.

  12. They don’t come much dumber than Matt Canavan.

    https://outline.com/PmbTVH

    The Oz is going all out to promote coal power and trash-talk renewables.

    Wondering who Trevor St Baker might be? I was, so I looked him up. Oh my lord! No wonder Canavan thinks this chap is some sort of god.

    Trevor St Baker’s coal power blues
    https://reneweconomy.com.au/trevor-st-bakers-coal-power-blues-18000/

  13. Johns Hopkins, Bristol-Myers must face $1 billion syphilis infections suit

    (Reuters) – A federal judge in Maryland said The Johns Hopkins University, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (BMY.N) and the Rockefeller Foundation must face a $1 billion lawsuit over their roles in a 1940s U.S. government experiment that infected hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis.

    In a decision on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang rejected the defendants’ argument that a recent Supreme Court decision shielding foreign corporations from lawsuits in U.S. courts over human rights abuses abroad also applied to domestic corporations absent Congressional authorization.

    Chuang’s decision is a victory for 444 victims and relatives of victims suing over the experiment, which was aimed at testing the then-new drug penicillin and stopping the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases.

    The experiment echoed the government’s Tuskegee study on black American men who were deliberately left untreated for syphilis even after penicillin was discovered.

    It was kept under wraps until a professor at Wellesley College in Massachusetts discovered it in 2010. U.S. officials apologized for the experiment, and President Barack Obama called Guatemala’s president to offer a personal apology.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-maryland-lawsuit-infections/johns-hopkins-bristol-myers-must-face-1-billion-syphilis-infections-suit-idUSKCN1OY1N3

  14. REVEALED: Amnesty International’s Historic Links to US & UK Intelligence Agencies

    Amnesty International, the eminent human-rights non-governmental organization, is widely known for its advocacy in that realm. It produces reports critical of the Israeli occupation in Palestine and the Saudi-led war on Yemen. But it also publishes a steady flow of indictments against countries that don’t play ball with Washington — countries like Iran, China, Venezuela, Nicaragua, North Korea and more. Those reports amplify the drumbeat for a “humanitarian” intervention in those nations.

    Amnesty’s stellar image as a global defender of human rights runs counter to its early days when the British Foreign Office was believed to be censoring reports critical of the British empire. Peter Benenson, the co-founder of Amnesty, had deep ties to the British Foreign Office and Colonial Office while another co-founder, Luis Kutner, informed the FBI of a gun cache at Black Panther leader Fred Hampton’s home weeks before he was killed by the Bureau in a gun raid.

    These troubling connections contradict Amnesty’s image as a benevolent defender of human rights and reveal key figures at the organization during its early years to be less concerned with human dignity and more concerned with the dignity of the United States and United Kingdom’s image in the world.

    A conflicted beginning

    Amnesty’s Benenson, an avowed anti-communist, hailed from a military intelligence background. He pledged that Amnesty would be independent of government influence and would represent prisoners in the East, West, and global South alike.

    But during the 1960s the U.K. was withdrawing from its colonies and the Foreign Office and Colonial Office were hungry for information from human-rights activists about the situations on the ground. In 1963, the Foreign Office instructed its operatives abroad to provide “discreet support” for Amnesty’s campaigns.

    https://21stcenturywire.com/2019/01/19/revealed-amnesty-internationals-links-to-us-uk-intelligence-agencies/

  15. What’s in your DNA? We tested the tests

    Getting a DNA test to unlock your ancestral history is incredibly popular. Millions of people have done it and the biggest companies take in revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars a year. So you might expect their results to be pretty accurate.

    Maybe not. Charlsie Agro, host of CBC’s Marketplace, is a twin. She and her sister Carly submitted their DNA last year to AncestryDNA, MyHeritage, 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA and Living DNA. Being identical twins, there is no statistical difference in their DNA, so it should produce the same results. But when they got those results, there were some big discrepancies.

    One company said Charlsie is 28 per cent eastern European, but Carly is only 24.7 per cent. It also said Charlsie is part French and German, but Carly isn’t. “The fact that they present different results for you and your sister, I find very mystifying,” said Dr. Mark Gerstein, a computational biologist at Yale University.

    It gets even more confusing. All five companies offered different breakdowns of the Agros’ ancestry. One company said the twins have some Middle Eastern heritage, whereas the other four said there was none at all. The companies say they use algorithms to sift through the data in order to reach conclusions. Each one uses a different algorithm, so the calculations vary.

    The companies also say your results could change at a later date. As more people get tested, and the databases get bigger, recrunching the numbers leads to different conclusions about the makeup of a person’s ethnicity. Buyer beware.

    https://links.lists.cbc.ca/share/443/6bfb647e3a526fec1c6186d210cefbf523f1f694ea285081

  16. Italian deputy PM calls on EU to sanction France for its ‘continued colonization’ of Africa

    The Italian deputy prime minister has blamed France for the European migrant crisis, accusing it of impoverishing African nations with “colonialist” policies. He promised to take the issue to the EU and other international bodies.

    Luigi Di Maio, leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and Italy’s Deputy PM, launched a scathing attack on France, which he argued is to blame for the inherent causes of the ongoing migrant crisis at EU borders.

    Di Maio was speaking at a rally on Sunday, when he touched on recent mass migrant drownings in the Mediterranean. It is believed that up to 170 migrants who left Libya and Morocco on ramshackle dinghies may have drowned in the sea last week. Three migrants were saved by the Italian Navy on Friday off the cost of Lampedusa. The survivors said they were a part of a group of 120 people that sailed from Libya on Thursday. Their boat started to sink after they were at sea for about 10 hours. The victims, according to migrant organizations, include a two-month-old child and at least 10 women. Separately, another boat carrying 53 migrants capsized in the western Mediterranean, according to sole survivor of the incident.

    The tragedies have reignited the debate on the hardline migration policy championed by Italy’s right-wing government.

    “We would be hypocrites if we just continued to talk about the effects without looking for the causes. If today we have people coming from Africa it’s because some European countries like France never stopped colonizing Africa in their heads,” Di Maio told the crowd.

    https://www.rt.com/news/449303-france-africa-sanctions-colonializm/

    • Comandante = Che Guevar

      Tranlation of the Spanish lyrics to the song above:

      https://lyricstranslate.com/en/hasta-siempre-comandante-forever-comandante.html

      Forever, Comandante

      We have learned to love you
      from the historical height,
      where the Sun of your bravery
      laid the siege to the death.

      Chorus:
      And here remains the clear,
      the charming openness
      of your dear presence,
      Comandante Che Guevara.

      Your glorious and strong hand
      fires at the History
      when all people in Santa Clara
      wake up to see you.

      [Chorus]

      You come, burning the breeze
      with the sun-rays of the spring,
      to stick the flag
      with the light of your smile.

      [Chorus]

      Your revolutionary love
      leads you to a new venture
      where they expect the firmness
      of your liberating arm.

      [Chorus]

      We will go forward,
      as we used to go with you,
      and with Fidel we say to you:
      Forever, Comandante!

  17. Another day, another robopoll, and this one was seriously weird.

    i thought it was going to be another one from the Nats, worried about Rob Oakeshott, but I was wrong, very wrong.

    First, after the usual are you registered to vote/gender/age questions – Who are you most likely to vote for?
    1 – Clive Palmer’s whatever his party is called this year.
    2 – One Nation
    3 – Libs
    4 – Nats
    5 – Labor
    6 – Katter’s party
    7 – Someone else (That was my option because I’m voting for Mr Oakeshott and I don’t care who knows that.).

    Next -What do you think of Peter Dutton?
    ! – think well
    2 -think negatively
    3 – don’t know, don’t care.

    Then the same question for FauxMo and Bill Shorten with the same options.

    That was all.

    Seriously? Why ask someone on the NSW Mid-North Coast what they think of Dutton? We couldn’t vote for him if we wanted to, and as far as I know, no–one would want to.

    Was this commissioned by Palmer or by Dutton’s team? Both have plenty of money to spend on their campaigns. Whoever it was clearly has NFI about electorate boundaries or Australian geography.

    I’ll never know about the final results. These robopolls keep on coming, but no-one ever hears anything more. Must be private party polling of some sort.

    • Possibly testing the waters for a possible Dutton challenge to Morrison? Wanting to see if he rates any better than Morrison as PM material? That’s all I can think of.

  18. A public servant suspected of leaking embarrassing documents about Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s intervention in a foreign au pair visa case says a police raid over the incident was politically biased and designed to deter future whistleblowers.

    The Department of Home Affairs headquarters in Canberra was dramatically raided on October 11 as part of an investigation into leaks against Mr Dutton after he stepped in to stop two European au pairs from being deported.

    AFP Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan told a Senate inquiry last year that he alerted Mr Dutton’s chief of staff Craig Maclachlan to the raid ahead of time.

    Documents obtained by Buzzfeed under freedom of information laws later revealed that the alert consisted of a text message sent on the morning of October 10, in which Mr Gaughan wrote “that warrant activity will now be first thing tomorrow morning”.

    Mr Maclachlan replied “thanks mate – this arvo also fine”, to which Mr Gaughan responded with a “thumbs up” emoji.

    Despite the text messages, Mr Dutton has said he “knew nothing” of the pending raid.

    The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have sighted an official complaint from the Australian Border Force officer who was the subject of the warrant, which was sent to AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin this month.

    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/politics/federal/public-servant-accuses-afp-of-political-bias-after-dutton-au-pair-raids-20190121-p50sod.html

  19. The federal government – too busy to send anyone to Menindee, not too busy to approve new coal mines.

    Melissa Price signed off on Wallarah 2 mine, on the NSW Central Coast, on Friday, with approval until 2060. This mine, if it goes ahead, will ruin the NSW Central Coast’s water supply.

    A court case aimed at stopping this unwanted and unnecessary mine is still before the Land and Environment Court, nothing can happen until this case is over.

    https://www.edonsw.org.au/wallarah2_aca

    https://www.edonsw.org.au/wallarah2_hearing

    A final court judgement is due in May this year. Labor MLA for Wyong, David Harris, has been fighting this mine for some time. If Labor wins government in March he plans to introduce a bill cancelling all existing approvals. If Labor won’t support his bill he says he will resign from the party.
    https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/wallarah-2-coalmine-goes-court

    • Of course she will.

      I’ve said this so many times I’m sounding like a cracked record –

      Jules is playing a long game.

      She has her eye on the leadership, but not yet, she doesn’t want to be the leader who takes the Libs to an election loss. She wants to be LOTO and she wants to win the election that comes after this year’s.

      There won’t be much competition for the leadership this time, a lot of contenders will be voted out of parliament and Jules will have no trouble being elected leader. Or so she hopes.

    • Also – it’s been said for months now that Jules does not want Christian Porter or Matthias Cormann trying to take over her very safe sea if she was to retire. She will stay on just to block them.

    • “It is my intention to run” – until my sinecure arrives.

      See also “We have no plan to [announce our cunning plan].”

  20. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    Michael Koziol writes that Liberals fear former minister Craig Laundy will be the next Coalition federal MP to quit politics ahead of the election, as questions linger over a number of senior figures in the wake of a likely election loss. Will we see a mass exodus?
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/fears-of-mass-exodus-liberals-brace-for-more-mps-to-quit-before-election-20190121-p50snk.html
    Nick Miller reports that Simon Birmingham has poured cold water on Britain’s aspirations to join the new TPP trade pact after Brexit, saying the group’s 11 members had more pressing priorities than seeking a new partner.
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/australian-trade-minister-pours-cold-water-on-britain-s-post-brexit-tpp-plan-20190122-p50sry.html
    Eryk Bagshaw reports that underperforming funds would be removed from the $2.8 trillion superannuation industry under a tough new “right to remain” test and workers will not be moved to new funds when they change jobs under the expected combined findings of the banking royal commission and Productivity Commission.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/super-shake-up-narrows-to-focus-on-underperforming-funds-20190121-p50sq7.html
    The global economy is weakening at a “faster than expected” rate, the International Monetary Fund warns, with the collapsing trade deals between the US and China and the UK and Europe posing significant risks.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/risks-are-rising-imf-sounds-economic-warning-20190121-p50snl.html
    And Josh Frydenberg will warn that Australia must navigate difficult economic currents in coming days, when he delivers a major speech setting the government’s policy in a framework of “values” and “beliefs”.
    https://theconversation.com/frydenberg-warns-of-economic-waves-ahead-110204
    Nicole Hasham tells us that a public servant suspected of leaking embarrassing documents about Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s intervention in a foreign au pair visa case says a police raid over the incident was politically biased and designed to deter future whistleblowers.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/public-servant-accuses-afp-of-political-bias-after-dutton-au-pair-raids-20190121-p50sod.html
    The regulator could further loosen its curbs on mortgage lending in response to concerns banks are being too cautious, Macquarie economists have suggested.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/credit-crunch-fears-could-prompt-rethink-on-loan-curbs-macquarie-20190121-p50sq6.html
    Cole Latimer reports that the energy industry is resting a little easier after a hot start to the summer has passed without incident although experts predict February will be the real test. The Australian Energy Market Operator said it had prepared for a tough summer, particularly over February, and will lean on major energy users to cut power consumption to free up more electricity if needed.
    https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/grid-s-in-good-shape-experts-optimistic-on-power-summer-supply-20190121-p50smq.html
    Chris Wallace writes that the Liberal Party is failing women miserably compared to other democracies, and needs quotas.
    https://theconversation.com/the-liberal-party-is-failing-women-miserably-compared-to-other-democracies-and-needs-quotas-110172
    Alexandre Smith tells us that the Australian Conservatives are doing a bit of damage to the Liberals and Nationals in NSW.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/long-time-liberal-quits-to-run-for-cory-bernardi-s-party-in-nsw-20190121-p50sos.html
    Greg Jericho writes that the scare campaign on negative gearing didn’t work in 2016, so why try it again?
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2019/jan/22/the-scare-campaign-on-negative-gearing-didnt-work-in-2016-so-why-try-it-again
    Sam Maiden tells us that Morrison is under pressure to release the final report of the banking royal commission on February 1 – the same day it is handed to the government.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2019/01/21/frydenberg-pressured-to-release-banking-royal-commission-results/
    The Independent Australia’s John Passant found himself on the wrong side of Facebook’s “community standards”.
    https://independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/fascism-free-speech-and-facebook-bans,12296
    The UK Guardian’s Gina Miller writes that the country can’t leave a no-deal decision in the hands of wiped-out Theresa May.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/21/no-deal-brexit-wiped-out-theresa-may
    The peak farmers’ lobby has demanded a radical animal rights group be booted off Facebook and stripped of charity status over a “malicious” social media campaign.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/malicious-farmers-fuming-over-online-map-by-animal-rights-group-20190121-p50sr2.html
    The unprecedented Baaka/Darling River fish kill which claimed more than one million fish earlier this month – including countless giant Murray Cod estimated to be decades old – was caused by mismanagement of the Menindee Lakes system, with drought playing only a minor part, according to one of the nation’s top research think-tanks.
    https://newmatilda.com/2019/01/21/massive-darling-river-fish-kill-caused-mismanagement-not-drought-claims-report/
    Sally Whyte explains how federal government departments have revealed hundreds of contractors have been working long-term without becoming official employees. In some departments, contractors working continuously for that department make up almost half the agency’s average staffing level.
    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/politics/federal/hundreds-of-long-term-government-contractors-working-more-than-a-year-20190116-p50rnu.html
    The Australian reports that Clive Palmer has shifted control of most of his business empire to NZ and is threatening to sue Australian taxpayers for $45bn.
    https://outline.com/v75aPt
    The AFR asks, “Why are Australia’s large cap fund managers failing to beat the index?”
    https://www.outline.com/dZU8KJ
    Hamish McDonald reckons Abbott’s Indigenous proposal is an idea whose time has come.
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/abbott-s-indigenous-proposal-is-an-idea-whose-time-has-come-20190121-p50sna.html
    The Australian economy is at risk of being hit by a “double whammy” if a negative wealth effect from the property downturn is coupled with a slowdown in employment growth.
    https://outline.com/U27Edk
    Indigenous people and farmers alike fear Walgett has only six months left if they don’t get water
    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jan/22/murray-darling-river-aboriginal-culture-dry-elders-despair-walgett
    The focus on policing in Victoria is increasing.
    https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/thrown-punched-in-the-head-doctor-who-tried-to-help-bleeding-man-claims-police-turned-on-her-20190121-p50sn0.html
    And this cop isn’t helping.
    https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/it-s-game-over-for-you-cop-who-groomed-teenager-to-spend-10-months-in-jail-20190121-p50sql.html
    Kamala Harris, a first-term senator and former California attorney-general known for her rigorous questioning of President Donald Trump’s nominees, has entered the Democratic presidential race.
    https://www.smh.com.au/world/north-america/third-prominent-female-democrat-jumps-into-presidential-race-20190122-p50ss3.html
    Linda Reynolds believes we can better our nation if we made it easier for families of our parliamentarians to stay connected and united; to become an example for other workplaces – particularly those who travel long distances to their work – to aspire to emulate.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/kelly-o-dwyer-s-resignation-is-a-parent-issue-20190120-p50sir.html
    Is yet another suite of essential Australian assets headed off to a tax haven? Michael West reports on the takeover of private hospital operator Healthscope and its Caribbean-connected suitors.
    https://www.michaelwest.com.au/brookfield-bid-for-heathscope-a-tax-haven-special/
    From multimillion-dollar airport upgrades to long-awaited airline cabin revamps, Australian travellers will see a host of changes made to the way they fly this year.
    https://thenewdaily.com.au/life/travel/2019/01/21/australian-travel-2019/
    The Washington Post’s Max Boot issues Trump his two year report card – and it’s not a good one!
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/two-years-on-trump-s-dismal-report-card-20190121-p50sm0.html
    This year’s Australia Day lamb ad has scratched thin skins again.
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/australia-day-lamb-ad-floats-changing-the-date-merger-with-new-zealand-20190121-p50srk.html

    and for “Arsehole of the Week” nomination we have . . .
    https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/celebrate-this-one-tonight-vaucluse-man-trumpets-dark-web-drug-import-20190120-p50sh3.html

    Cartoon Corner

    Cathy Wilcox on O’Dwyer’s resignation.

    From Matt Golding.




    https://static.ffx.io/images/$width_828/t_resize_width/t_sharpen%2Cq_auto%2Cf_auto%2Cdpr_auto/4098fc104f1d1116f6342ae571d8c83bc62ab944,jpg
    John Shakespeare goes to Higgins.

    As does David Rowe.

    A rather lacklustre effort from Zanetti.

    From the US.


  21. My thought for the morning:

    1. The Coalition are under the illusion, as they have been all along, that the Australian public want to vote Lib/Nat, and just need to be given reasons to do that. The Morrison government is spending most of its time seeing if, between the ideological stuff they’re committed to (I’m being generous – what we’re talking about is basically deals with the business community to ensure support, but we’ll call it ideology) and the demands of the electorate, there’s any common ground.

    2. The political media are mostly engaged in finding or creating that common ground. They’ll protest that they’re reporting in a bipartisan way, but the evidence suggests they’re directing media traffic into areas the Morrison government can exploit for gain. Women In Politics, for instance. Or fear over changes to negative gearing. Or patriotism (see: Australia Day). Or the Softer Morrison Image. There are plenty more examples, you can see them playing out on commercial TV and newspaper headlines every day.

    3. The electorate are having none of it. The message to the Liberals has been clear for ages: Change Or Die. I think they’re possibly also fed up with right wing alternatives, as they’re slowly coming to the conclusion that the whole right wing approach is damaging. They just want something else. To put it another way, the number of people who still think the actions required for this country are possible under a Coalition government has shrunk markedly. Those are people who, in the main, are uneasy with what the Morrison government has done, but can’t shake the preconception that Labor are always worse. It’s a kind of faith, I suppose, and nowadays not enough people are operating on that faith. Too much evidence to the contrary.

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