The Midday Meal

A repository for the various things i consume in the course of daily existence

Monday, March 22, 2004

There may be a pattern emerging here...

Seems i'm likely to start posting twice on any issue, once to tell people what I think, and the second time to crow because other smart people (often being paid to do it) have agreed with me.

Makes me feel all clever and stuff

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Terrorism, Justice and Blame

Firstly before I begin let me put my opinions plainly. I think David Hicks is probably a dodgy, fundamentalist, misogynistic, anti-semitic and all around dangerous character. I think this is likely as he was captured in Afghanistan in the company of other dodgy, fundamentalist, misogynistic, anti-semitic and dangerous characters. I look forward to the powers that be providing evidence to confirm this.

However the issue surrounding David Hicks is less about deciding whether or not he's a nice guy as Imre Salusinszky has been distracted into doing while reviewing the documentary scheduled for SBS tonight. The issue in regards to Mr Hicks and his less white and therefore less popular friend Mr Habib is how appropriate their current treatment is.

I don't care what you have done, as an Australian citizen you should be afforded all the protection the government can give, this include legal and consular assistance if accused or charged with a crime on foreign soil. In taking the moral high ground in the "war on terrorism" we in the "coalition of the willing" have a responsibility to follow the precepts of the ideal we are supposed to be defending. One of the precepts of western democracy is the rule of law, and in the case of Mr Hicks and friends this clearly isn't being followed. (links courtesy of Google's I Feel Lucky)

Now I am prepared to accept that the situation with the majority of people in Guantanamo is a little unclear as the question of the International law in regards to terror suspects (as most questions in International Law) is debateble and indeterminite, based more on convention than acts, regulations or even treaties.

The problem I have with the situation is that 2 Australian citizens have been detained by a foreign government with the acquiescence of our Government without access to any protections guaranteed under the rule of law to citizens of either country. Respect for the rule of law is what sepearates us from the terrorists. The rule of law provides the structures to both ensure our liberty of thought and action and to protect us from unwarranted infringements on that liberty. The point of the rule of law is that we are ALL ruled by it, citizens and governments alike.

It is the responsibility for a democracy to ensure that all citizens are afforded the same protections, regardless of what they are accused of. This cannot be decided on a case by case basis, we cannot say that David Hicks does not deserve that protection but Rene Rivkin does. Once these subjective decisions are allowed to be made the machinery of the state is no longer restrained by the rule of law, when one exception is accepted, you can be sure others will come.

Regardless of what David Hicks has done he deserves the protection of our laws and our government, and if found guilty of what he is accused of then he also deserves the punishment appropriate under those laws. This is the same protection I expect, as you do, and it is the same punishment we both face. The real point in regards to the situation of David Hicks is that if he can't expect this protection, then neither can we.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Intelligence?

Fresh from the revelations in regards to our intelligence communities syncophancy in regards to Weapons of Mass Destruction, and following from the bombing in Madrid comes another frightening display of the abuse of public power by the Howard Government, attacking a public official who did not toe the party line on Australia's current terror risk.

Its lucky that the head of ASIO is there to back the Prime Minister up and correct Mr Keelty. Apparently he's more authoritive on terrorist and terrorism than Mr Keelty. Its a pity if that is the case, because it'll be wasted on me as I'm going to be taking any evidence produced by ASIO, ONA and DIO pretty skeptically in future.

Sure, convincing me isn't what they're after as I may not be all that important, but it seems that I am fairly clever, as the Age's Michelle Grattan appears to be agreeing with what I had to say about political cynicism yesterday, and if me and a newspaper columnist can work it out, I'm sure we're not alone...

It's over on the left... can you see it?

I've always enjoyed visiting exploding dog. The concept is pretty simple, as is the artwork, but the way sam twists the fairly ordinary sentiments always intrigues me. Some of the time the things he does are just silly, other times the combined simplicity of the drawings, the words and the sentiment presented create something quite beautiful...

I found the site years ago... and used to visit pretty much every day while I was working on the wall. Since moving to the bigger wall I kind of forgot about it... I rediscovered it a couple of months ago, but it seemed that sam was on a bit of a break... he's back now and there's new stuff up pretty regularly again...

it makes me smile.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Spain

Just a little something I found which outlined the differences I flet between what happened in Madrid last week and in New York two and a half years ago... the reaction of the Spanish to this event, mass peace protests and collective mourning, struck me as much more mature and informed than the US reaction of why? and who can we hit back at?

Also a bit of a warning involved with the results of the election to those cynical politicans like John Howard that attempt to take advantage of events like this and S11 to manipulate the public for political gain. The blatantly cynical use of the bombing by the incumbent government by blaming ETA and deflecting their own culpability over Iraq was quickly recognised by the electorate.

John Howard has been lucky in the past as the events have fitted with areas of the Australian psyche he could take advantage of and instill fear of (such as racism and illegal immigrants). He has however kind of painted himself into a corner, where its quite likely that any new terrorist attack which has Australia or Australians as the target is much more likely now to be blamed on him and his government. The Bali bombing was blamed on Howard to an extent, but our reaction to that was a mixture of the US and the Spanish, focusing more I felt on the sorrow and damage done, although a with a very evident streak of retribution towards the terrorists themselves, and this sort of politicising of the event was to a large extent avoided.

Since then however, Howard has further tied us to the interests of the US, and further raised us as an object of import to the global muslim fundamentalist, and as such a target of their anger. Any future events involving terror and Australia's citizens or interests are going to appear as arising out of the Howard governments foreign policy positions.

Keeping secrets...

Its pretty hard apparently. Although I'm not one hundred percent sure thats what I was doing. After all, this is listed as a public blog, and I've made no real effort to hide either my thoughts or identity through this thing. Sure I haven't blatently self promoted as others I know have been wont to do, but that isn't a crime is it.

So now the question is, will it be worth it to all of you to keep reading?

or maybe more importantly, how important is it to ME to keep writing?

This is probably the most important question, and if you consider that other than this and the previous post about the publicity of this blog i've posted once in the last month... maybe I'm just not excited enough by stuff at the moment... but keep watching... I might find inspiration soon...

There's some big stuff going on... bombings in Madrid (interesting the different reaction there to the one in the US... amazing what perspective experience brings)... big bad mark... the footy season about to start (you can see i'm reaching here).

I guess we'll see won't we...

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Religion...

I've never been particularly religious, for the first 13 or so years of my life I was in a catholic church every sunday, I was baptised, confirmed, given communion even was an alter boy for a short while, but I never made a conscious connection with the divine in any meaningful way. As far as i've always been concerned God is essentially a private thing, and that despite their many differences most western religions (and I'm including Islam here) are essentially variations on the same theme.

As a result finding this particular site was interesting, raised a Catholic I was a bit surprised to find that my chances of getting to heaven down that route are pretty slim but apparently if I were a Muslim my chances wouldn't be much better.

Although apparently the Jews are ok, or at least Israel is. Surely if Catholics and Muslims will be burning in the eternal fire for rejecting Jesus so must the Jews, after all he was sent as their messiah and the unifying fact of modern Jews is that they don't accept him as such... although the people making these sorts of things aren't great on that sort of rational progression. Of course it could be the Jews are ok because the Catholics (particularly the jesuits)have been and are plotting to get rid of them so the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" logic could be working there?

This is probably too big a topic for this time in the work day when I've a whole lot of stuff to do, but I can't quite grasp the mindset that comes up with this, or that of the people it works on...

Anyway, i'm pretty sure if I was in it, i've definitely been erased from the "Book of Life" after this...


Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Discovery

It appears as if my readership has grown exponentially... or maybe not, its quite hard to multiply zero and zero multiplied by itself regardless of how many times you do it still ends up at zero... exponentially sounds good, but even if you assume that I count as a reader of my own stuff then exponentially still will not work because 1 to the power of X is always going to be 1... so lets just say its doubled.

So the question is will the fact that I now know I have an audience, will I change what I say or how I say it. Seeing as I've been writing to be read, yet no actually expecting, or believing that anyone would actually read what I've written, is this going to cause some kind of unconscious self censorship. I've already been censoring it a little, there are things you don't put into the public domain, for a number of reasons personal and occupational (particularly when you're using the office coin to fund your little self indulgence).

Will the fact that I'm aware people are out there encourage me to write more, as I have been quite slack of late (although that could be more to do with the new year opening up rather than the old year winding down). When you consider one of the main drivers for this thing is the need for an intellectual release, some kind of replacement for the shit talking sessions i had with many of the friends who currently live too far away to run into at the pub every week or two. Now that one of these friends has discovered my dirty little secret maybe I'll be inclined to put more and more stuff on here... Don't hold you breath... but maybe...

there could be hope... the details of the FTA are released this afternoon, Hybrid play in Canberra on Friday night, the next few days could be interesting enough...