*Ø* Truth overboard – again
The credibility of Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard, is on the line once again over the 'Children Overboard' scandal of three years ago.
Immediately before the last federal election, Howard and several of his senior ministers whipped up racist sentiments in Australia by alleging that boat people in the waters off the coast of Australia were holding their babies over the edge of their boats and threatening to drown them if they were not granted asylum.
'Honest John' Howard and Co. even went as far as to show photos of children in the water as evidence of how wicked these asylum seekers are. Howard was re-elected, with the biggest issue being 'protection of Australia's borders'. Meanwhile, thousands of people fleeing regimes such as those of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein were rounded up and put in Aussie concentration camps that have drawn international condemnation. I do not use the term 'concentration camps' flippantly. I have spoken to people that have been inside them, and there is a wealth of info on the Net, such as here
When a tardy media finally deigned to investigate the allegations, it turned out that no such incident had occurred, and the photos were phony. Of course, this alone should have prompted a media campaign sufficient to do a Watergate on Howard and have him kicked out of office, but the Oz media has more important things on its mind, such as the Rugby finals and who Russell Crowe is punching out lately.
They put Howard and his cronies on the back burner, and Howard, a slick politician, got away with saying that he had no idea that Children Overboard was dodgy. Peter Reith, one of the ministers at the centre of the lie, quietly slipped out of Parliament. The other main player, Philip Ruddock, still wields considerable influence in the mismanagement of Australia.
The occasional story slips through the media net, however, and this one challenges the veracity of the Prime Minister:
Aide reveals children overboard advice
"A former federal ministerial adviser has revealed that he told Prime Minister John Howard before the 2001 federal election that no children had been thrown overboard from a boat carrying asylum seekers in Australian waters.
"Mike Scrafton, an adviser to then-defence minister Peter Reith, has written a letter to The Australian
newspaper saying he had three telephone conversations with Mr Howard on November 7, 2001.
"Mr Scrafton says he told the Prime Minister that a tape of the incident 'certainly didn't support the proposition that the event had occurred'.
"He says he told Mr Howard 'that no-one in defence that I had dealt with on the matter still believed any children were thrown overboard'.
The adviser says he also told the PM that photographs released during the debate were not of children thrown into the water.
"Mr Scrafton says he passed on the advice in three conversations with Mr Howard on the evening of November 7.
"'During the last conversation, the Prime Minister asked me how it was that he had a report from the Office of National Assessments (ONA) confirming the children overboard incident,' he said.
"'I replied that I had gained the impression that the report had as its source the public statements of the then minister for immigration, Philip Ruddock.'"
What next for the whistleblower?
A little birdie just whispered something in my ear. I'm not in the business of making predictions, but I will say that I expect whistleblower Mike Scrafton to be the target of a major smear campaign immediately if not sooner. It's likely that the only way the government can salvage any lost face and votes will be by character assassination. I hope Mr Scrafton is prepared. These guys play for keeps.
Children Overboard: so what really happened?
So, who were
those people filmed floating in the ocean, if not the children of filthy towelheads? Well ... they were asylum seekers trying desperately to stay alive after their leaky boat had sunk, no thanks to the Howard tripartite policy of dealing with tinted people, namely: push them back to sea; throw them into a desert camp; ship them over to the Pacific island of Nauru.
Australia's spooks, the ONA, had given advice to the government not from their own spooking, but from media releases put out by none other than Peter Reith, John Howard and Philip Ruddock! This CIA-like advice, the government then used to support its own deceits. Richard Nixon, eat your heart out.
[In another notorious case full of government disinformation, a refugee boat sarcastically named by the government 'SIEVX
' (as in, leaky sieve; it means 'Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel'), capsized and 353 men, women and children drowned. This weblog is dedicated to their memory, and casualties of poverty and authority all around the planet.]
You can help defeat Howard, and Bush
Please read up on this and other nasties the Australian Government has been up to and tell your friends. An election is due before November, and Australian and overseas support is needed to help bring down this extreme right-wing government. George W Bush does not want to read headlines in the Washington Post
that his Deputy Sheriff in Australia has been defeated just before the 2nd Tuesday in November.
and Wilson's Blogmanac are two pretty good ways to stay informed.
Get the latest news on refugees Australia with Google News Alerts
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View Long Journey, Young Lives
: A Flash online documentary about child refugees