Saturday, November 16, 2002


Censorship is alive and well at The Silly Morning Herald. Fascist Howard and his minions do not need to have articles submitted to the handy-dandy political checking machine, when the Herald’s own sub-editors will do it themselves.

It is an article of faith that the reason for the Bali bombs was a direct result of our status as a loyal ally of the USA. Occasionally you might get a roooot caaauuusses tossed in, but that’s pretty much it. Writer, director and laundry pile Bob Ellis was even moved to inform us publicly that Australians are
paying in blood for John Howard's arse-licking, ignorance and xenophobic bigotry

a position he is yet to resile from. It is also an article of faith, especially among the washed and pure, that our intervention in East Timor was a Good Thing. Indeed, there were many of the Enlightened demanding nothing short of invasion had the Indonesian Government not caved and invited in the UN, led by Australia, to bitch-slap the Jakarta-backed militias. Personally, I feel that one of the chief reasons that this issue has become such a touchstone for the Left is the history of acquiescence the Labor party has had on this issue. But for whatever reason, our achievement in East Timor has become a source of great national pride, and justifiably so.

So it comes as a source of great confusion to those who perpetually seek to explain away evil, that there is actually little to be gained from making common cause with people who hate you and wish you dead, even if they are as fanatical in some of their hatreds as you are. Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas. Justify right-wing religious violence, get a wall pushed on you.

Last week’s release of Osama bin Laden’s latest single (It's got a beat, but you better not dance to it) might have sewn even more confusion, had it not been for the tireless work of the Herald subs. Here’s Binny as reported on Wednesday,
"We had warned Australia about its participation in Afghanistan ... It ignored the warning until it woke up to the sound of explosions in Bali,"

Note the ellipses, giving you a clue that something might have been lifted. No such clues today:
a new tape attributed to Osama bin Laden - and which the Howard Government and US intelligence sources believe - said: "I have warned the Australian people. They were involved in the war against Afghanistan. They ignored my warnings and woke up to the sounds of explosions in Bali."

And here is The Binster, in full voice, as transcribed by Indymedia:
"Why did your governments ally themselves with America to attack us in Afghanistan, and I cite in particular Great Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Germany and Australia. Australia was warned about its participation [in the war] in Afghanistan and its ignoble contribution to the separation of East Timor [from Indonesia]. But it ignored this warning until it was awakened by the echoes of explosions in Bali. Its government subsequently pretended, falsely, that its citizens were not targeted.
(my emphasis)

Here is the most wanted terrorist in the world (assuming the bastard is still alive), proclaiming why Australians were killed, and the supposed paper of record deletes key information that links directly to Australian policy. Not once, but twice. This is censorship of the first order. Suppose Binny had said something along the lines of “because Australia supports the US against Iraq”? Or “because I hate John Howard’s dress sense”? Is there the slightest doubt these comments would have been included.

The cutting of the quotes creates an entirely different slant to the story than reality. In today’s version, the impression is clear that bin Laden is only talking about Afghanistan. That is, the US-sponsored action. Just to be clear, East Timor does get a mention, but not until near the end, and not in current context:
A month after the US-led forces went into Afghanistan, bin Laden singled out Australia in his call to supporters to join a holy war against the West, denouncing its role in supporting East Timor.

Given the Herald’s position, this behaviour is inexcusable. It is designed to deliberately mislead the reader on what is the most important issue facing Australia today. These editors should be sacked, and the issue investigated. It would be too much to hope that this sees the light in , but here’s hoping.

UPDATE: His Royal Blairness thinks the Herald is just running off AAP wire stories, and is not to blame. Tim has seen it happen before , with the Australian running the same line. Alan Anderson was on the original story before me, showing that this was also running in The Australian.

Frankly, I don’t give a toss. I speak as someone with some experience in the media monitoring game when I tell you that there is no way in Hell that this error/plagiarism/conspiracy was not known within Fairfax, and able to be corrected. It took me 30 seconds to find a transcript to compare the Fairfax version against.

Once is carelessness, twice is deliberate.

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