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7 October 2005 Thought for the Week: "All evidence shows that 'universally-recognised norms of conduct' are no longer based on 'the blessing of Almighty God,' but on the religion of humanism. Mr. Richard O'Sullivan, writing in the English journal Nineteenth Century, in May 1947, gave us the key:
'It is nowadays the common doctrine of the Constitutional lawyers and of the politicians, who like the sense of power and especially of absolute power (which corrupts absolutely), not only that the Legislature has the last word in law making, a doctrine which is as old as Augustine and even as old as the hills, but also that its power in law making is absolute and arbitrary. Parliament is not limited by the principle of the natural law, that is to say the ordinary moral law, nor is it limited by the law of God. In the realm of England, according to this doctrine, men now hold their lives on a lease not from God but from the State.'
So Australia, in the 80-odd years since Federation, has charted a new compass course, no longer steering by faith in God, but towards a Universal State ruling through its own absolute decree, and requiring all power for its purpose.
Since Federation, the battle to centralise power has intensified. That this was never intended as was clearly shown in the words of Sir Henry Parkes: "I think it is in the highest degree desirable that we should satisfy the mind of each of the colonies that we have no intention to cripple their rights, to diminish their authority . . . It is therefore proposed by this first condition of mine to satisfy them that neither their territorial rights nor their powers of legislation for the wellbeing of their own country will be interfered with in any way that can impair the security of those rights, and the efficiency of their legislative powers."
"The Threatened Destruction of the Federal Constitution," by Jeremy Lee, 1982
AUSTRALIANS BEING SOLD ANOTHER 'PUP'?by Betty Luks
How large of heart, how noble and generous of spirit, must be our illustrious leaders - Territories, State and Federal. How great must be their concerns for the safety of their peoples. Putting aside everything that could politically divide them they flew post haste to Canberra at John Howard's earnest pleading.
And he, our beloved federal leader, wretchedly wringing his hands with worry at the possible fate of his people at the hands of 'terrorists' - as yet unknown - anxiously awaited the leaders' Canberra visit.
A bit far fetched you think? A bit "over the top"? You could be right. But no more far fetched than the idea that politicians will only use the draconian powers they want for themselves "for our own good".
The more I weigh up what the Bush regime did - and did not do - immediately following the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina and the 'concern' the Howard regime displays for the welfare and safety of the Australian people from the 'terrorists', the more my suspicions are roused.
What is the Howard regime's real agenda?
The situation is not unlike the bleating for Australia to sign the Kyoto Agreement. Dr. David Mitchell** rightly observed there is no reason why Australians cannot clean up their own pollution NOW it would be good housekeeping to do so! But why do we need to sign away our national sovereignty in order to do it? You see the 'devil' is certainly in the detail!
We need a thorough briefing on just what the so-called 'anti-terrorist' legislation will mean to our freedoms and rights. Bear in mind, this regime has already 'privatised' the prison system. It started with supplying private contractors for 'escort duty' to and from prisons and courts.
"Hired Guns' used in place of our law and order forces? To keep 'peace and order' - maybe Indonesian style? Far fetched? You decide.
BE ON ALERT FOR ALARMING LEGISLATION
Howard's proposed 'anti-terrorism' laws which will require CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES to be effective. The proposed legislation, will require acceptance by all Parliaments - States, Territories and the Commonwealth which means major changes to the Commonwealth Constitution WITHOUT THE PEOPLE HAVING A SAY.
The proposed laws are at the drafting stage, so, as yet, WE THE PEOPLE do not know the detail. It is important Australians understand the importance of Constitutional change and who should make the changes.
**Send for the complete set of audio tapes of Dr. David Mitchell's presentation of "The Spirit of Australia's Constitution and History," $30 posted from Mayo Tapes, P.O. Box 6, Hahndorf, SA 5245.
A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME FOR OZ? BUSH'S 'HIRED GUNS'As you read the following articles ponder on the fact that recently a young 'bouncer' was taken to court and charged with (I think) the manslaughter of David Hooks the former Australian professional cricketer.
Replace the word 'bouncer' with 'private security agent' and see what you make of what has actually happened in America - and could be on the agenda for Australia.
ANOTHER DAY IN THE EMPIRE
BUSH'S 'HIRED GUNS'Jeremy Scahill, a correspondent for the national radio and TV programme Democracy Now!
Scahill and Daniela Crespo were in New Orleans when they filed the following report, 12 September 2005:
"Blackwater mercenaries are some of the most feared professional killers in the world. What are they doing prowling the streets of NOLA?" "Heavily armed paramilitary mercenaries from the Blackwater private security firm, infamous for its work in Iraq, are openly patrolling the streets of New Orleans.
Some of the mercenaries say they have been "deputized" by the Louisiana governor; indeed some are wearing gold Louisiana state law enforcement badges on their chests and Blackwater photo identification cards on their arms. They say they are on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and have been given the authority to use lethal force.
Several mercenaries we spoke with said they had served in Iraq on the personal security details of the former head of the U.S. occupation, L. Paul Bremer and the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte.
"This is a totally new thing to have guys like us working CONUS (Continental United States)," a heavily armed Blackwater mercenary told us as we stood on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. "We're much better equipped to deal with the situation in Iraq." Blackwater mercenaries are some of the most feared professional killers in the world and they are accustomed to operating without worry of legal consequences.
Their presence on the streets of New Orleans should be a cause for serious concern for the remaining residents of the city and raises alarming questions about why the government would allow men trained to kill with impunity in places like Iraq and Afghanistan to operate here.
Some of the men now patrolling the streets of New Orleans returned from Iraq as recently as two weeks ago.
What is most disturbing is the claim of several Blackwater mercenaries we spoke with that they are here under contract from the federal government and the state of Louisiana. Blackwater is one of the leading private security firms servicing the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
It has several U.S. government contracts and has provided security for many senior U.S. diplomats, foreign dignitaries and corporations.
The company rose to international prominence after four of its men were killed in Fallujah and two of their charred bodies were hung from a bridge in March 2004. Those killings sparked the massive U.S. retaliation against the civilian population of Fallujah that resulted in scores of deaths and tens of thousands of refugees.
Who Sent In the Mercs?
As the threat of forced evictions loomed in New Orleans and the city confiscated even legally registered weapons from civilians, the private mercenaries of Blackwater patrolled the streets openly wielding M-16s and other assault weapons. This despite Police Commissioner Eddie Compass' claim that, "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons."
Officially, Blackwater says its forces are in New Orleans to "join the Hurricane relief effort." A statement on the company's website, dated Sept. 1, advertises airlift services, security services and crowd control.
The company, according to news reports, has since begun taking private contracts to guard hotels, businesses and other properties.
But what has not been publicly acknowledged is the claim, made to us by two Blackwater mercenaries, that they are actually engaged in general law enforcement activities including "securing neighborhoods" and "confronting criminals."
That raises a key question: under what authority are Blackwater's men operating? A spokesperson for the Homeland Security Department, Russ Knocke, told the Washington Post he knows of no federal plans to hire Blackwater or other private security. "We believe we've got the right mix of personnel in law enforcement for the federal government to meet the demands of public safety," he said.
But in an hour-long conversation with several Blackwater mercenaries, we heard a different story.
The men we spoke with said they are indeed on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and the Louisiana governor's office and that some of them are sleeping in camps organized by Homeland Security in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
They told us they not only had authority to make arrests but also to use lethal force.
Where the Real Action is
We encountered the Blackwater forces as we walked through the streets of the largely deserted French Quarter. We were talking with two New York City police officers when an unmarked car without license plates sped up next to us and stopped.
Inside were three men, dressed in khaki uniforms, flak jackets and wielding automatic weapons. "Y'all know where the Blackwater guys are?" they asked. One of the police officers responded, "There are a bunch of them around here," and pointed down the road. "Blackwater?" we asked. "The guys who are in Iraq?" "Yeah," said the officer. "They're all over the place."
A short while later, as we continued down Bourbon Street, we ran into the men from the car. They wore Blackwater ID badges on their arms. "When they told me New Orleans, I said, 'What country is that in?'" one of the Blackwater men said. He was wearing his company ID around his neck in a carrying case with the phrase "Operation Iraqi Freedom" printed on it.
After bragging about how he drives around Iraq in a "State Department issued level 5, explosion-proof BMW," he said he was "just trying to get back to Kirkuk [in the North of Iraq] where the real action is." Later we overheard him on his cell phone complaining that Blackwater was only paying $350 a day plus per diem. That is much less than the men make serving in more dangerous conditions in Iraq.
Two men we spoke with said they plan on returning to Iraq in October. But, as one mercenary said, they've been told they could be in New Orleans for up to six months. "This is a trend," he told us. "You're going to see a lot more guys like us in these situations." If Blackwater's reputation and record in Iraq are any indication of the kind of services the company offers, the people of New Orleans have much to fear."
BUSH WANTS TO SEND IN 'THE MILITARY'According to a CNN report, President Bush wants to make it easier for 'the military' to take charge after a disaster like Hurricane Katrina, but the White House acknowledged Monday the proposal raises "a lot of issues" that need resolution.
Critics argue that putting active-duty troops on American streets would violate a long-standing tradition that keeps the military out of domestic law enforcement. But Bush wants to improve the federal response to a "catastrophic" event like Katrina, which left more than 1,000 people dead after it struck last month.
The US Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 bans the armed forces from participating in police-type activity on U.S. soil. Gene Healy, a senior editor at the conservative Cato Institute, said Bush risks undermining "a fundamental principle of American law" by tinkering with the Posse Comitatus Act.
Healy said the act does not hinder the military's ability to respond to a crisis. "What it does is set a high bar for the use of federal troops in a policing role," he wrote in a commentary on the group's Web site. "That reflects America's traditional distrust of using standing armies to enforce order at home, a distrust that's well-justified."
Healy said soldiers are not trained as police officers, and putting them in a civilian law enforcement role "can result in serious collateral damage to American life and liberty."
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican, told The Associated Press he would not favor expanding the federal government's disaster response role. "I don't want the federal government to take over disaster response, believe me," DeLay told the AP. "Why? Bureaucracy. Bureaucracy. Bureaucracy."
Bush first raised the issue September 15, in his speech from hurricane-battered New Orleans, and mentioned it again Sunday during a briefing on Hurricane Rita at U.S. Northern Command headquarters in Colorado.
The administration's response to Katrina, which struck near the Louisiana-Mississippi state line August 29, was widely criticized by state and local officials and some residents of the affected areas.
KEEPING IT IN THE 'POLITICAL FAMILY'?Blackwater's success in procuring federal contracts could well be explained by major-league contributions and family connections to the GOP. (GOP: an American acronym for Grand Old Party - the Republicans).
According to election records, Blackwater's CEO and co-founder, billionaire Erik Prince, has given tens of thousands to Republicans, including more than $80,000 to the Republican National Committee the month before Bush's victory in 2000. This past June, he gave $2,100 to Senator Rick Santorum's re-election campaign. He has also given to House majority leader Tom DeLay and a slew of other Republican candidates, including Bush/Cheney in 2004.
(Editor's comment: it was announced on the ABC Radio Friday, 30 September 2005 that Mr. Delay has been formally charged with a crime).
As a young man, Prince interned with President George H.W. Bush, though he complained at the time that he "saw a lot of things I didn't agree with--homosexual groups being invited in, the budget agreement, the Clean Air Act, those kind of bills. I think the Administration has been indifferent to a lot of conservative concerns."
Prince, a staunch right-wing Christian, comes from a powerful Michigan Republican family, and his father, Edgar, was a close friend of former Republican presidential candidate and antichoice leader Gary Bauer.
In 1988 the elder Prince helped Bauer start the Family Research Council. Erik Prince's sister, Betsy, once chaired the Michigan Republican Party and is married to Dick DeVos, whose father, billionaire Richard DeVos, is co-founder of the major Republican benefactor Amway.
Dick DeVos is also a big-time contributor to the Republican Party and will likely be the GOP candidate for Michigan governor in 2006.
Another Blackwater founder, president Gary Jackson, is also a major contributor to Republican campaigns. After the killing of four Blackwater mercenaries in Falluja in March 2004, Erik Prince hired the Alexander Strategy Group, a PR firm with close ties to GOPers like DeLay. By mid-November the company was reporting 600 percent growth.
Company hires former counter-terrorism co-ordinator
In February 2005 the company hired Ambassador Cofer Black, former coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department and former director of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, as vice chairman.
Just as the hurricane was hitting, Blackwater's parent company, the Prince Group, named Joseph Schmitz, who had just resigned as the Pentagon's Inspector General, as the group's chief operating officer and general counsel. While juicing up the firm's political connections, Prince has been advocating greater use of private security in international operations, arguing at a symposium at the National Defense Industrial Association earlier this year that firms like his are more efficient than the military.
In May Blackwater's Jackson testified before Congress in an effort to gain lucrative Homeland Security contracts to train 2,000 new Border Patrol agents, saying Blackwater understands "the value to the government of one-stop shopping."
With President Bush using the Katrina disaster to try to repeal Posse Comitatus (the ban on using US troops in domestic law enforcement) and Blackwater and other security firms clearly initiating a push to install their paramilitaries on US soil, the war is coming home in yet another ominous way. As one Blackwater mercenary said, "This is a trend. You're going to see a lot more guys like us in these situations."
It appears from various reputable sources that FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is the Bush Administration's great cash cow and my, how the Republicans in charge are milking it, and the taxpayers. This money is unaccounted for -- think of all the BMWs and new summer homes all of this money is now buying. This helps the economy, after all.
And the Blessed Karl Rove has been put in absolute charge of billions of dollars of "relief money." That is tantamount of setting the fox to guard the henhouse. Documents, now being evaluated, show that the corruption stemming from last year's hurricanes in Florida was widespread, extensive and very pervasive. Top Republican politicians connected to the Bush Administrations in Washington and Florida are specifically named. http://tbrnews.org/Archives/a1846.htm
MOTHER OF SLAIN SOLDIER ARRESTED:Cindy Sheehan, the California woman who has used her son's death in Iraq to spur the antiwar movement, was arrested Monday while protesting outside the White House recently. Cindy Sheehan and several dozen other protesters sat down on the sidewalk after marching along the pedestrian walkway on Pennsylvania Avenue. Police warned them three times that they were breaking the law by failing to move along, then began making arrests.
Sheehan, 48, was the first taken into custody. She stood up and was handcuffed, then led to a police vehicle while protesters chanted, "The whole world is watching." Others who were arrested also cooperated with police.
Sgt. Scott Fear, spokesman for the U.S. Park Police, said they would be charged with demonstrating without a permit, which is a misdemeanor. Park Police Sgt. L.J. McNally said Sheehan and the others would be taken to a processing center where they would be fingerprinted and photographed, then given a ticket and released. The process would take several hours, he said.
Sheehan's 24-year-old son, Casey, was killed in an ambush in Sadr City, Iraq, last year. She attracted worldwide attention last month with her 26-day vigil outside President Bush's Texas ranch.
Several hundred protesters in D.C.
Sheehan was among several hundred demonstrators who marched around the White House and then stopped in front and began singing and chanting "Stop the war now!" Organizers had said some planned to be arrested. The demonstration is part of a broader antiwar effort on Capitol Hill organized by United for Peace and Justice, an umbrella group. Representatives from antiwar groups were meeting Monday with members of Congress to urge them to work to end the war and bring home the troops.
THE RATS ARE DESERTING THE SINKING SHIPAll is not well in the Bush republican camp. (One wonders whether Bush's little Ozzie 'mate' is sniffing the change of wind yet...ed)
Doug Thompson of Capital Hill Blue 26, September 2005 wrote:
"That sound you hear is the stampede of Republicans running like hell from George W. Bush. The GOP faithful head for the exits, finally aware that close association with the President and his failed Presidency could spell doom for them in the midterm elections next year.
Conservatives lead the rats off the sinking ship. They've had enough of Bush's big-spending, budget-busting antics. "Conservatives have long been worried about federal finances," says Republican Rep. Tom Feeney of Florida. "Now that worry is turning into frustration and anger."
Republicans who joined in the frenzy to approve record amounts of aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina now realize they gave Bush a blank check without any notion of how he intends to pay the bill. "It would be nice if he would at least give us some idea of how he intends to finance Gulf Coast rebuilding," says Republican Senator Conrad Burns of Montana. "Vision is lacking," says GOP Senator Ralph Voinovich of Ohio. "We're floundering." Republican strategists complain that GOP dissatisfaction with Bush is reaching epidemic proportions.
Senior Republicans admit privately they expect to see some GOP candidates distance themselves from Bush. "There are so many Bush naysayers because of Iraq, there's a piling on effect going on," complains Republican consultant Chris Depino of New Haven, Conn.
While anger over the Iraq war contributed to the growing dissatisfaction with Bush, it was the Katrina FUBAR that pushed most over the edge.
"The breaking of the Bush spell opens the way for leaders of both parties to declare their independence and shape a more appropriate national agenda," writes columnist E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post. "The federal budget, already a mess before Katrina, is now a laughable document. Finding a way forward in - and out of - Iraq will require creativity from those not implicated in the administration's mistakes.
Concludes Dionne: "The Bush Era is over. The sooner politicians in both parties realise that, the better for them - and the country. Recent months have brought home to a steadily growing majority of Americans that President Bush's government doesn't work. His policies are failing, his approach to leadership is detached and self-indulgent, his way of politics has produced a divided, angry and dysfunctional public square. We dare not go on like this."
It seems everyone knows George W. Bush is dead meat. Everyone, of course, except George W. Bush.
NATIONAL WEEKEND - PASTOR DANNY NALLIAHLast call for the National Weekend: Pastor Danny Nalliah from Catch the Fire Ministries has accepted an invitation to present a paper "A Christian's Right to Free Speech," at the National Seminar on the Saturday (morning) 8th October.
Now is the time to make bookings for the National Weekend's "New Times Dinner", Seminar and Divine Service and Conference. Mr. Paul Fromm, Director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression will also be one of the guest speakers.
Dates are: The "59th New Times Dinner", Friday, 7th October. Seminar: Saturday, 8th October. Divine Service and Conference, Sunday, 9th October, 2005.
The venue is The Hume Inn, 406 Wodonga Place, Albury, NSW - just over the border from Victoria. Prices are: "New Times" Dinner $30.00 per person. Seminar: $20.00 per person Make out Money Orders/Cheques to Australian League of Rights and post to: Box 1052 GPO Melbourne 3001.
PAUL FROMM FOR MELBOURNE MEETINGTopic: Warning to Australians: How We Lost Freedom of Speech In Canada.
Date: 12 October, 2005. Time: 1pm. In the Meeting Room of the Heritage Book Shop, 145 Russell Street, Melbourne. Paul Fromm, is the Director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression (CAFÉ).
Mr. Fromm is a tireless public speaker, lecturing from coast to coast yearly in Canada and up to 15 times a year in the U.S. He has also appeared at conferences in Italy and Russia.
The Canadian Association for Free Expression has intervened in some of Canada's most controversial free speech cases, including the Zundel Internet case. CAFÉ raises funds for the many victims of Canada's repressive anti-free speech legislation, holds regular public meetings across Canada, and tries to raise public consciousness about the precious rights being yanked away.
POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF GOVERNOR GENERALAt the League of Rights' annual "Frank Bawden Memorial Dinner", Dr. David Mitchell outlined the Constitutional responsibilities and duties of the Governor General.
Which leads us to ask -- Sale of Telstra:
Can the Australian people join together on this one important issue and convince the Governor-General to act on their behalf?
Surely telecommunications is a vital national public utility and should not be in the hands of foreigners nor potential enemies - and what about our military defence?
Send to the Mayo Tape Library, Box 6 Hahndorf, SA 5245 for the Frank Bawden Memorial Dinner address by constitutional authority Dr. David Mitchell - $6.00 posted - and then ask yourself, can the Australian people forget their differences and come together on this one most important issue? Is there a constitutional power the people can insist the Governor General use to still block the sale of Telstra?
AUDIO TAPES OF DAVID MITCHELL'S BRILLIANT ADDRESSES AVAILABLE
"The Spirit of Australia's Constitution and History".
|© Published by the Australian League of Rights, P.O. Box 27 Happy Valley, SA 5159|