IS THIS ALSO AUSTRALIA'S FUTURE?
of Africa - Marxist-Thug Mugabe is not the sole problem.
If Mugabe could
cure the present situation by slipping quietly away to retirement outside Zimbabwe
it could doubtless be arranged. Of course, his removal would not provide such
a cure for the problem is not just Mugabe but Zanu PF whose leading members are
terrified that if they lose control they will be punished for their grotesque
behaviour since 1980. Mugabe may well not be in control any more.
Zimbabwe, hope has turned to silent terror: The Spectator UK, 9/4/08.
Peter Osborne says that the post-electoral limbo leaves Mugabe with a series
of unpalatable options, the armed forces in disarray and Zimbabweans with a sense
of grim foreboding. On the night after the presidential elections 12 days ago,
a British diplomat, Philip Barclay, witnessed the count at the little outpost
of Bikisa deep in rural Masvingo.
This part of Zimbabwe is Zanu PF heartland.
In all five presidential elections since independence in 1981 the people of Bikisa
had voted solidly for Robert Mugabe - and there was little expectation of anything
different this time.
Barclay reports feeling
faint with sheer amazement when it became clear that the largest pile of votes
was for Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Just 44 people in Bikisa voted for President Mugabe, against an overwhelming 167
Reports from other areas soon
made it clear that Bikisa was not exceptional, and that Mugabe had been voted
out of power in a political earthquake. By late in the afternoon on 30 March the
day after the election the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, an independent body
charged with overseeing the poll, was in a position to make a cautious estimate
of the result. It judged that Morgan Tsvangirai had secured almost 60 per cent
of the vote, more than double that of Robert Mugabe with 27 per cent.
say that when this news was brought to the President his first reaction was genuine
incredulity. He is now so out of touch, and so used to winning elections, that
he had felt confident of a comfortable majority.
orders Electoral Commission to declare him victor:
turned to anger, and Mugabe grimly ordered the Electoral Commission to declare
him the victor. This command was resisted by very brave election officials. They
received unexpected support, however, from senior personnel within the Zimbabwe
state security apparatus, fearful of the public order consequences that would
certainly flow from such blatant fixing of the result.
At this stage South
Africa's President Mbeki tried to solve the problem. Reportedly Mbeki also wished
the result to be rigged, though not as blatantly as Mugabe.
He seems to have
proposed that the ZEC should sharply downgrade Tsvangirai's share of the vote,
sharply upgrade Mugabe to a more respectable 40 per cent and dramatically increase
the share of the vote enjoyed by the renegade Zanu PF presidential candidate Simba
Kind of politician that appeals
to Bureaucratic Mind:
Simba Makoni is Mbeki's personal choice as the next
president of Zimbabwe. There is some evidence that he is also supported by the
US state department. A highly intelligent and well-educated man, Makoni was a
member of the Mugabe inner circle for many years, while maintaining warm links
to foreign observers and exercising care to evade personal responsibility for
the worst of the regime's atrocities. He only stood for the presidency after being
given the green light by Mbeki earlier this year. Unlike Morgan Tsvangirai, a
former miner of incredible courage but with little formal education, Makoni is
the kind of politician who appeals profoundly to the bureaucratic mind.
Mbeki, quietly backed by the United States, hoped to induce Mugabe to step down
and get Makoni to stand in his stead. This plan had definite logic. Makoni, though
he will never be forgiven by Mugabe for what the President sees as an act of unspeakable
betrayal, retains the strongest links with Zanu PF. This means that he would probably
be acceptable to the senior generals and policemen who hold the key to Zimbabwe's
immediate future, and to whom Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change is utterly
He led North Korean-trained
Fifth Brigades in the genocide of early 1980s:
By the start of this week
it was beginning to be clear that the Makoni wheeze was not going to fly. The
trouble is that like many politicians beloved of the official class Mbeki's protégé
lacks mass support. The failure of the South African intervention means there
was stalemate in Zimbabwe as The Spectator went to press. Basically, President
Mugabe has only three options, and time is running out very fast indeed.
The first of these is to mount a coup d'etat, the solution which is preferred
by Mugabe's inner circle. Significantly, it seems to be favoured by General Constantine
Chiwenga, commander in chief of the armed forces, and by Air Force Marshall Perence
Shiri, Mugabe's blood relation and close ally.
It must be borne in mind that
senior figures such as these do not merely stand to lose power if Mugabe does
not win. They also face the prospect of being brought to justice for the crimes
of the Mugabe regime. It was Perence Shiri, for instance, who led the North Korean-trained
Fifth Brigades in the Matabeleland genocide of the early 1980s.
Mig Fighters Buzz Low over Bulawayo:
The problem with the idea of a coup
d'etat is not really the international condemnation that would inevitably result.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) might not like it, but under
the prostrate guidance of Thabo Mbeki it would never lift a finger. The true problem
is different: there are real reasons to doubt whether commanders like Shiri (whose
Chinese Mig fighters were buzzing low over Bulawayo in an act of naked intimidation
when I was there two weeks ago) have the support of their troops.
overwhelming anecdotal evidence that ordinary soldiers and policemen, even some
members of the feared Central Intelligence Organisation, have turned against Mugabe.
The director of intelligence, Happyton Bonyongwe, is said to be quietly supporting
Mugabe's second option is to declare
the recent elections null and order a re-run. There is strong evidence that the
President is preparing the way for this. He is already taking revenge, for example,
on the hapless Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, several of whose members have been
arrested over the last few days. In a marvellous irony, they are being accused
of rigging the result against Zanu PF.
If the President calls a second election,
it will be marked by all the intimidation and horror which was to a certain extent
lacking on 29 March. Mugabe's green bombers, his licensed torturers and murderers
who bear close comparison to Hitler's Brownshirts, are already off the leash.
Finally, Mugabe could stand down. Here one key ingredient would be a guarantee
that he and the scores of murderers and torturers who are linked to him can live
the rest of their lives in the peace and tranquillity they have denied so many
others. Granting Mugabe immunity from prosecution is hard to engineer and would
be unpalatable for some. Others may judge it well worthwhile.
waits for the old man's next move. I am told by a friend who runs one of Zimbabwe's
very few remaining factories that the mood among the workforce has changed very
sharply over the last 48 hours.
Hope has turned to bemusement and then on
Tuesday morning to a silent, pervasive sense of terror, as if something horrible
might be just about to happen.
A HUMPTY DUMPTY WORD
from David Flint's Opinion
A serious weakness in most polling in the constitutional debate
has been in the use of the word "republic" without some elaboration. This has
inflated the apparent support for change. Used alone, "republic" is a "Humpty
In "Alice Through the Looking Glass," Humpty Dumpty said there
in a rather scornful tone, "When I use a word, it means just what I choose it
to mean -- neither more nor less. "Republic" is the Humpty Dumpty word par excellence.
Montesquieu and classical political philosophers
would have seen the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic. So did Cardinal Moran
at the time of Federation. Bagehot saw the Westminster system as a "disguised
Recently Mr. Justice Michael Kirby
rejoiced in the Commonwealth of Australia as a "crowned republic."
a poll or plebiscite question which uses "republic" does not tell us much. The
question in the Sun Herald Taverner poll was: "Should Australia become
a republic?" Apart from the Humpty Dumpty word " republic", the first word of
the question is "should."
This has the core meaning, according to the Encarta
dictionary, "that something is the right thing for somebody to do."
more neutral verb would give a fairer view. Even the verb "become" is not the
most neutral word. It also has the meaning of being "an appropriate or socially
acceptable thing for somebody to say or do."
is not nitpicking. The words used in polling are crucial. By way of contrast the
1999 referendum question, developed by a parliamentary committee and settled by
republican and monarchist MP's, briefly elaborated on the sort of republic which
was proposed and used neutral language.[ii]
In any event, 49% said yes
to the Taverner poll, but according to a second question, most of these want it
delayed. Accordingly, the Taverner Research managing director Philip Mitchell-
Taverner issued the following warning. "It would appear from these latest poll
findings that those who want us to become a republic may be sensible to wait at
least until Queen Elizabeth leaves the throne before there will be ready acceptance
of the change."
The last Newspoll showed support
for a vague republic was down to 45%,[iii] and according to the last West Australian
in depth youth survey, 38%.[iv]
the Summit: judges resign [Wall Street Panic, 1884]
With the increasing
exposure of the way the 2020 Summit governance panel has been blatantly gerrymandered,[i]
two judges have handed in their resignations. Obviously they do not want to be
associated with what is looking more and more like a rather infantile stunt.
report by James Madden and Paul Maley in The Australian on 12 April, 2008
"Judges abandon Rudd's summit" reveals that former Chief Justice Sir Anthony Mason
and former High Court Justice Mary Gaudron have pulled out of the Summit governance
panel which was scheduled to adopt a charter of rights and what we are sure will
be a rigged path to some vague undefined republic.
In a fix of Zimbabwe-like proportions, almost anyone prominent in the No
case in 1999 was excluded. Yet the No case proponents won nationally, in every
state and in 72% of electorates. The governance panel is loaded with well known
and "passionate "republicans.
Two prominent republicans appointed to the Summit
governance panel had gratuitously abused constitutional monarchists, accusing
them of lying, of fraud and of speaking "arrant nonsense."[ii]
their republicanism on a so called constitutional rule which does not exist.[iii]
A high profile former politician and now priest actually included a summit republican
call at Easter.[iv]
John Hartigan - chairman
and chief executive of News Limited, publisher of The Australian says the
role of the Summit will be to "break away from these partisan groups that throw
their ideology from the sideline and get nowhere". Mr. Hartigan, it's not going
to fill that role with this appalling gerrymander. The governance panel is dominated
by one highly partisan group, and you should not lend your name to that.
have long suspected that only one view will be allowed at the 2020 Summit, at
least on the crucial question of governance.
antipodean Supreme Soviet?
We have likened it with justification to the
Supreme Soviet. This goes against fundamental Australian beliefs. It is a disgrace.
It is disappointing that the proponents of the Summit have form in not allowing
in contrary opinions.[v] The 1993 Republic Advisory Committee chaired by Malcolm
Turnbull was a sad precedent. Paul Keating had made it a strict condition that
all members, without exception, be committed republicans.
appointed included 2020 Summit co-chair, Dr. Glyn Davis.
In 2002, when
he was vice-chancellor of Griffith University, that university, The Australian
newspaper and the Australian Republican Movement convened together the "Australian
Constitutional Futures Conference."
Although hosted by a taxpayer-funded university,
no one who was not a committed republican was invited to speak. The conference
papers are no longer accessible on the Griffith University site. No wonder.
speaker, the prominent republican leader, Greg Barns, referred to the monarchy
as "rancid" and "corrupt," "a menace to democracy" with " a cavalier disregard
for liberal values," a "corrupt institution ... prepared to subvert the rule of
law... and allow criminal activity to go unchecked within its walls."
monarchy, he said, has "little interest in anything other than self-preservation
and that it will ride roughshod over the rule of law, if necessary, to achieve
Yet no countervailing contribution
was allowed from the other side, whose views, after all, prevailed in 1999. The
Summit's report on constitutional change could be written now. It may well be
in draft form for all we know.
As Professor James
Allan says, the governance panel has become a "little charade" that would call
for a charter of rights and a move to a republic. What's that about fooling the
public some of the time?
See David Flint's
Opinion Column for the following:
[i] Summit fails first test" 29 March,
2008, and "Debate gerrymandered" 8 April, 2008.
[ii] "2020 Summit blunder:
governance experts wrong" 30 March, 2008.
[iv], " Clergyman's
republican Easter Message" 23 March, 2008.
[v] "Summit to rule on republic:
only one view to be permitted?" 20 March, 2008.
NIGEL JACKSON WRITES ON THE LISBON TREATY
has been an extraordinary silence in the Australian press about the Lisbon Treaty
and its proposed transfer of political sovereignty from Britain to the European
Union, a matter one would have thought to be of burning interest to the great
majority of our citizens whose ethnic ancestry is British.
Thus it is good
to see a blunt assessment of this treaty by Professor James Allan ('Mad game to
tinker with our great system', The Australian 11/4/08) as a devious handover
of the people of Britain to 'undemocratic bodies in the extreme'.
British House of Commons has acted in flagrant disregard of the popular will and
it remains to be seen whether Her Majesty the Queen will assent to what many see
as an instrument of treachery, one which will effectively disempower the royal
Allan correctly points out that
Australia has as good a constitution as any nation in the world, if not the best.
It is reasonable, then, to ask why our present Government is working towards the
major changes to that constitution involved in the republic project and the campaign
for a bill of rights. Is it possible that this has nothing to do with the welfare
of the majority of Australians and everything to do with population control by
If such is true, then the palpable stacking of the 2020
Summit panel on the future of Australian governance can be seen as undemocratic
behaviour comparable to that of the British House of Commons; and both actions
may be in the service of the same aim: a world government run by unrepresentative
and self-serving elites.
There may never have
been a time when it was more relevant than now to say: 'Wake up, Australia!' Perhaps
Allan and others need to organise a conference of like-minded citizens, qualified
to give leadership, which can produce an alternative document on our constitutional
- CAN IT REALLY BE THIS SIMPLE?
grows 'can convert into oil'. Company finds natural solution that turns plants
into gasoline By Joe Kovacs, 19/3/2008
After three years
of clandestine development, a Georgia company is now going public with a simple,
natural way to convert anything that grows out of the Earth into oil. J.C. Bell,
an agricultural researcher and CEO of Bell Bio-Energy, says he's isolated and
modified specific bacteria that will, on a very large scale, naturally change
plant material - including the leftovers from food - into hydrocarbons to fuel
cars and trucks.
"What we're doing is taking
the trash like corn stalks, corn husks, corn cobs - even grass from the yard that
goes to the dump - that's what we can turn into oil," Bell told WND. "I'm not
going to make asphalt, we're only going to make the things we need. We're going
to make gasoline for driving, diesel for our big trucks."
Wood pulp is among
the many natural materials that can be converted into oil and gasoline, according
to Bell Bio-Energy, Inc., of Tifton, Ga. The agricultural researcher made the
discovery after standing downwind from his cows at his food-production company,
Bell Plantation, in Tifton, Ga.
like people that eat lots of beans. They're really, really good at making natural
gas," he said. "It dawned on me that that natural gas was methane." Bell says
he wondered what digestive process inside a cow enabled it to change food into
the hydrocarbon molecules of methane, so he began looking into replicating and
speeding up the process.
"Through genetic manipulation, we've changed the
naturally occurring bacteria, so they eat and consume biomass a little more efficiently,"
he said. "It works. There's not even any debate that it works. It really is an
all-natural, simple process that cows use on a daily basis."
occurring bacteria used to convert biomass into hydrocarbons.
he think it will make environmentalists happy? "They love this. We had one totally
recognizable environmentalist from Hollywood say this is everything they ever
had hoped for," Bell said.
"This could be considered the ultimate recycling
of carbon. We are using the energy of the sun through the plant. We're not introducing
any new carbon [to the environment]."
research has received strong support from the U.S. Department of Defense, Department
of Energy, Department of Agriculture and committees in both chambers of Congress,
and Bell plans further discussion. He expects to have the first pilot plant for
the process running within two to three months, and will operate it for a year
to collect engineering data to design full-scale production facilities. He thinks
the larger facilities will be producing oil "inside the next two years."
just how much oil is in Bell's bio-forecast?
"With minor changes in the
agricultural and forestry products, we could create two to two and a half billion
tons of biomass a year, and you're looking at 5 billion barrels of oil per year.
That would be about two-thirds of what we use now."
Turning some of nature's
produce into energy has been done for years, especially when it comes to the conversion
of corn and cellulose-based products into ethanol, used to extend gasoline volume
and boost octane.
The Energy Information Administration
says in 2005, total U.S. ethanol production was 3.9 billion gallons, or 2.9 percent
of the total gasoline pool. Bell admits his bacterial breakthrough has been kept
under wraps until now, but he plans to explain it all once his website is fully
operational. Bell Bio-Energy, Inc., aims to use modified bacteria like this to
convert biomass into oil and gasoline within two years.
"We're actually gonna
tell people how we do it, with streaming video. We're to the point now with our
patent that we can say more and we fully intend to.
"We want to develop public
support so they can understand what we're doing; to develop political support,
because this is a combination of making the United States more independent from
foreign oil sources; make [the country] healthier from an economic point of view;
and it goes a long way to solving the environmental problems a lot of people are
When asked why he thought
no one else has patented this process, Bell answered, "It literally is because
it's too simple. Everyone was looking for a real complicated mechanism. We looked
at how it occurs naturally. But it's now going to develop in a hurry."
other great inventions, Bell cited on another person with his last name. "Alexander
Graham Bell put together stuff that was already on the shelf and made a phone.
I don't want to compare myself to the great inventors. I'm not there yet, but
to be able to look at simple things and create things from them, that's how we
think in this company
We will await further
developments and report on them as they come to hand.