Michael Darby

Observations on politics and poetry by Australian bush poet, Michael Darby.

Michael was born in Sydney in 1945 and is a former Australian Army Officer who has been writing and broadcasting on politics and economics since 1972.

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Saturday, April 05, 2003

AMERICA'S WAR ON TERRORISM did not begin in September 2001. It began in November 1979.

By Daniel Pipes

That was shortly after Ayatollah Khomeini had seized power in Iran, riding the slogan "Death to America" - and sure enough, the attacks on Americans soon began. In November 1979, a militant Islamic mob took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran, the Iranian capital, and held 52 Americans hostage for the next 444 days.

The rescue team sent to free those hostages in April 1980 suffered eight fatalities, making them the first of militant Islam's many American casualties. Others included:

§ April 1983: 17 dead at the U.S. embassy in Beirut. October 1983:

§ 241 dead at the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut. December 1983:

§ five dead at the U.S. embassy in Kuwait.

§ January 1984: the president of the American University of Beirut killed.

§ April 1984: 18 dead near a U.S. airbase in Spain.

§ September 1984: 16 dead at the U.S. embassy in Beirut (again).

§ December 1984: Two dead on a plane hijacked to Tehran.

§ June 1985: One dead on a plane hijacked to Beirut.

After a let-up, the attacks then restarted:

Five and 19 dead in Saudi Arabia in 1995 and 1996,
224 dead at the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998
§ 17 dead on the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000.

Simultaneously, the murderous assault of militant Islam also took place on U.S. soil:

§ July 1980: an Iranian dissident killed in the Washington, D.C. area.

§ August 1983: a leader of the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam killed in Canton, Mich.

§ August 1984: three Indians killed in a suburb of Tacoma, Wash.

§ September 1986: a doctor killed in Augusta, Ga.

§ January 1990: an Egyptian freethinker killed in Tucson, Ariz.

§ November 1990: a Jewish leader killed in New York. February 1991:

§ an Egyptian Islamist killed in New York.

§ January 1993: two CIA staff killed outside agency headquarters in Langley, Va.

§ February 1993: Six people killed at the World Trade Center.

§ March 1994: an Orthodox Jewish boy killed on the Brooklyn Bridge.

§ February 1997: a Danish tourist killed on the Empire State building.

§ October 1999: 217 passengers killed on an EgyptAir flight near New York City.

In all, 800 persons lost their lives in the course of attacks by militant Islam on Americans before September 2001 - more than killed by any other enemy since the Vietnam War. (Further, this listing does not include the dozens more Americans in Israel killed by militant Islamic terrorists.) And yet, these murders hardly registered. Only with the events of a year ago did Americans finally realize that "Death to America" truly is the battle cry of this era's most dangerous foe, militant Islam.

In retrospect, the mistake began when Iranians assaulted the U.S. embassy in Tehran and met with no resistance. Interestingly, a Marine sergeant present at the embassy that fateful day in November 1979 agrees with this assessment. As the militant Islamic mob invaded the embassy, Rodney V. Sickmann followed orders and protected neither himself nor the embassy. As a result, he was taken hostage and lived to tell the tale. (He now works for Anheuser-Busch.)

In retrospect, he believes that passivity was a mistake. The Marines should have done their assigned duty, even if it cost their lives. "Had we opened fire on them, maybe we would only have lasted an hour." But had they done that, they "could have changed history." Standing their ground would have sent a powerful signal that the United States of America cannot be attacked with impunity. In contrast, the embassy's surrender sent the opposite signal - that it's open season on Americans.

"If you look back, it started in 1979; it's just escalated," Sickmann correctly concludes. To which one of the century's great geostrategist thinkers, Robert Strausz-Huppe, adds his assent. Just before passing away earlier this year at the age of 98, Strausz-Huppe; wrote his final words, and they were about the war on terrorism: "I have lived long enough to see good repeatedly win over evil, although at a much higher cost than need have been paid. This time we have already paid the price of victory. It remains for us to win it."



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Friday, April 04, 2003


Fifty-nine years ago, in 1944, the citizens of Paris regained their freedom, with French and American troops driving out the Nazi occupiers. Here is a Chronology of the Liberation

Tuesday 15 August 1944 - Strike of the Police and metro.

Wednesday 16 - Postal strike.

Thursday 17 - Radio-Paris ends transmissions.
The BBC announces the occupation of Chartres, Dreux and Orleans.
Debates at the C.N.R., C.P.L. and C.O.M.A.C. regarding the opportunities for starting an insurrection.
12h30 - Raoul Nordling, Swedish Consul General consul signs an agreement at the Hotel Majestic and takes custody of political detainees.
18h30 - Pierre Laval presides over the last meeting of Ministers.
19h30 - Marechal Petain is ``invited'' by the Germans to leave for the East.
22h - Pierre Laval charges the Prefet de la Seine and the Prefet de Police to represent the government.
23h30 - Pierre Laval leaves the Hotel Matignon for a destination in the east with a German escort.

Friday 18 (morning) - No edition of the collaborationist press.
Strike of the PTT (Post, Telephone and Telegraph).
Afternoon - Notices and posters of Colonel Rol and elected communists proclaiming a general mobilization and calling the people of Paris to an insurrection, appear on the walls of the city.

Saturday 19 - The first combat of the insurrection.
Occupation of the municipal buildings, ministries, newspaper offices.
8h - The Resistance occupies the Prefecture of Police.
8h15 - Marechal Petain leaves Vichy for the East, under a German escort.
11h - C.N.R. and the C.P.L. and make an appeal for an insurrection.
11h15 - Luizet assumes the functions of Prefet de Police.
13h - Parodi puts all of the forces of the Resistance under the orders of Colonel Rol.
After 14h - German attack against the Prefecture de Police.
15h30 - Germans attack the town hall of Neuilly.
17h30 - At the instigation of Nordling, General von Choltitz, makes initial contact with the Resistance.
18h - Parodi gives the order to evacuate the Prefecture de police.
20h40 - A cease-fire of 45 minutes is agreed upon at the Pr‚fecture de police.
21h40 The cease-fire is extended until the next day.
23h - 24h - Attack of the Hotel de Ville is planned.

Sunday 20 - Street combat continues.
The Americans enter Fontainbleau and cross the Seine at Mantes.
Morning - General de Gaulle, flies from Cherbourg to General Eisenhower near Mans.
6h15 - Occupation of the Hotel de Ville.
9h - Negotiations at the Swedish Consulate toward extending the cease-fire.
10h30 - The C.N.R. accepts the cease-fire extension.
14h15 - Colonel Liz‚ declairs all discussions with the enemy as an ``act of treason.''
14h45 - Arrest of Parodi.
15h30 - Loudspeaker trucks from the Prefecture de police announce the cease-fire.
17h - Flouret assumes his functions at the Prefecture de la Seine.
18h30 - Parodi is released.
24h - The C.O.M.A.C. and adopts a memorandum against the cease-fire.

Monday 21 - Despite the cease-fire, street combat continues.
11h - The C.P.L. proposes ending the cease-fire.
12h - General Leclerc sends a preliminary detachment toward Paris.
End of the afternoon - Newspapers of the Resistance sold.
19 h - The C.N.R. decides to end the cease-fire.
19h30 - Colonel Liz‚ gives the order to strengthen the barricades.

Tuesday 22 - Fighting in the streets reach its maximum intensity.
Paris becomes covered with barricades.
9h - Commandant F.F.I. Gallois arrives at the HQ of General Bradley.
10h - 12h - General Eisenhower receives Generals Bradley and Koenig.
Meeting of the General Secretaries at the Hotel Matignon; presided over by Parodi.
15h30 Proclamation of Colonel Rol.
18h - Nordling mission to the Allies leaves
19h15 - General Bradley gives General Leclerc the order to march on Paris.

Wednesday 23 - Street combat less frequent than the day before.
General von Choltitz receives the order calling for the maximum destruction of Paris.
6h30 - The 2nd French Armored Division drives toward Paris.
9h - Grand Palais is burned.
12h30 - French radio in London prematurely announces the liberation of Paris.
Afternoon - General von Choltitz threatens to attack the public buildings with heavy arms.

Thursday 24 - Street combat is less vigorous than the day before.
7h - The 2nd French Armored Division leaves the region around Rambouillent and d'Arpajon. It advances while in combat the entire day.
19h - The group under Billotte arrives at the crossing Croix-de-Berny.
20h - French radio's announcement of the arrival of the 2nd French Armored Division leads to enthusiasm among the people.
20h45 - Captain Dronne arrives at the Hotel de Ville with a few tanks.
21h30 - The group under Langlande arrives at the Pont de Sevres.
23h - German batteries on the Longchamp fire on the 15th arrondissement.

Friday 25, 7h45 - Billotte's group enters Paris.
10h - Colonel Billotte sends an ultimatum ( version 1 , version 2 ) to General von Choltitz.
14h - Langlade's group arrives at Place de l'Etoile.
14h30 - Discussions at the Majestic Hotel.
14h45 - Discussions with General von Choltitz regarding capitulation at the Prefecture de police.
15h30 - General von Choltitz signs the act of surrender at the Prefecture de police.
16h15 General de Gaulle arrives at the Gare Montparnasse.
17h20 - Discussion regarding German strongholds in the city.
19h - General de Gaulle is received at the Hotel de Ville, and delivers speech (Francaise / English).

Saturday 26 - Colonel Roumianzoff pushes elements of the 2nd French Armored Division in the North of Paris.
11h30 - Cardinal Suhard is asked to not preside over the ceremony at Notre Dame.
15h - 15h45 - General de Gaulle is acclaimed by the people of Paris as he walks from the Arc de Triomphe to Notre Dame.
15h45 - A fusillade rings out at the place du Parvis Notre-Dame and at numerous other points of the march.
23h45 Aerial bombardment of Paris.

Sunday 27 - Leclerc's division attains northern front of Paris at Aulnay-sous-Bois, Blanc, Mesnil, Dugny, Pierrefitte, Montmorency.

Monday 28 - The 2nd French Armored Division moves beyond the Gennevilliers loop and attains Gonesse.

Tuesday 29 - The 28th US Infantry Division marches down the Champs Elysees and into combat that same day.

Thursday 31 - The seat of the Provisional Government is transferred to Paris


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Thursday, April 03, 2003


THE NEWLY ARRIVED 1st Australian Task Force in Vietnam established its Phuoc Tuy operations base in 1966 at Nui Dat, a piece of high ground surrounded by rubber plantations.

The Viet Cong had achieved dominion in the province and decided to inflict a politically unacceptable defeat on the Australians. Their plan was to lure the Australians from their base by firing recoilless rifle and mortar shells into it. They theorised that the Australians would sweep the area around the base in an attempt to stop the attacks, and the Viet Cong would ambush the sweeping forces.

On the night of 16/17 August 1966, the Viet Cong fired a barrage of shells into Nui Dat, wounding 24 Australians. Prior to this event, the Australians had become aware, from radio intercepts and sightings, that a large enemy force was operating close to the base. Australian patrols sent out specifically to find the Viet Cong had not encountered the force.

On 18 August 1966 D Company of 6RAR was patrolling in the area of the Long Tan rubber plantation when, at about 3.15pm, the lead platoon (11 Platoon, commanded by 2Lt Gordon Sharp, a national serviceman) encountered a small group of Viet Cong who fled leaving one of their number killed by the Australians. The aggressive patrolling continued until, at about 4.08pm, the main body of the Viet Cong 275 Regiment was encountered. The Viet Cong attacked vigorously with mortars, rifle and machine gun fire.

In pouring rain, the Australians returned fire with platoon weapons and artillery which was firing from the Nui Dat base, a few kilometres to the west. Close air support was also called for but couldn't be used because the target couldn't be identified accurately enough in the conditions.

At 5pm D Company's commander, Major Harry Smith, radioed for ammunition resupply. Two RAAF Iroquois helicopters which happened to be at Nui Dat to transport a concert party were tasked and flew at tree top level into the battle area where they successfully delivered the sorely needed boxes of ammunition.

The combination of aggressive fire from D Company soldiers plus devastating artillery fire from Nui Dat had swung the battle in the Australians' favour but the Viet Cong continued to manoeuvre to gain the upper hand. Meanwhile, B Company of 6RAR had been ordered to move to the support of the beleaguered D Company.

They did so mounted in armoured personnel carriers from 1st APC Squadron which forded a flooded stream and then shortly afterward encountered a substantial enemy force. 2 Platoon of B Company dismounted and advanced on the enemy who fled.

Although the Viet Cong could still be seen massing in failing light at 6.55pm as the relief force arrived in the D Company area, the enemy force melted away as darkness descended. The battle of Long Tan was over.

The Australians consolidated their position for the night and then commenced evacuation of their wounded using the lights from APCs to guide in helicopters. During the night the Viet Cong cleared many of their wounded and dead from the battle field. A number of the wounded Australians lay there all through the long terrifying night, as the Viet Cong moved around them.

Morning revealed that the Viet Cong force, estimated at 2,500, had been badly mauled. 245 Viet Cong bodies were found in the battle area. It was apparent that the Viet Cong commanders had failed to appreciate the effectiveness of artillery fire and had paid dearly as a result.

The Australians had lost 18 killed, 17 from D Company (including the young platoon commander of 11 platoon) and one from 1st APC Squadron, and 24 wounded.

Full report with photos here


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Wednesday, April 02, 2003


Sooner or later, every industry comes under attack from the professional opponents of enterprise, who use every possible artifice, stratagem or deception to undermine the profitability of any business. So it is no surprise that the cosmetics industry is also a victim.

The cosmetics industry not only boosts the confidence and morale of millions and provides many positive health benefits (protection from skin cancer being only one example), the cosmetics industry it also is a major employer. Let’s not have any illusions. Many factors drive down our birthrate and split families. The cosmetic industry is fighting against the tide, heroically attempting to sustain the birthrate and keep families together, by helping humans of opposite genders be attractive to each other.

An outfit describing itself as “Health Care Without Harm” in July 2002 launched a report "Aggregate Exposures to Phthalates in Humans", designed to frighten users of cosmetics.

John M Woods of Sydney is President of the Cosmetic, Toiletries and Fragrance Association of Australia, and has helpfully provided this material:


The use of phthalates in cosmetics and personal care products is supported by an extensive body of scientific research and data that confirms safety. Phthalates are widely used in many everyday products in modern society. The cosmetic industry uses tiny amounts of phthalates.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Health Canada and other scientific bodies in Europe, North America, and Japan have examined phthalates and allow their continued use.

Phthalates were also reviewed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), an independent body that reviews the safety of ingredients used in cosmetics. CIR found them to be safe for use in cosmetics in 1985. At its meeting on June 19th 2002, the CIR expert panel voted to begin a re-review of the phthalates. The re-review is a normal part of the CIR process to evaluate new data and assure that previous conclusions are still valid. Starting this process does not suggest that a previous conclusion will be changed, only that there is sufficient new information that should be evaluated.

In Australia, by law, cosmetic ingredients, including phthalates, must be listed among the ingredients on product labels, unless they are part of the “fragrance”. As a fragrance might contain hundreds of fragrance materials where phthalates are present it is in very, very low concentrations. In fragrance for example it is measured in parts per million.

Consumers can have confidence in their cosmetics given their oversight of health authorities around the world, the significant body of scientific evidence as to safety and the long history of safe use.

For more information about phthalates, the best website is www.phthalates.org.

Some Incorrect Statements by “Health Care Without Harm”

1. The Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) indicates in multiple places in the report that if exposure to a substance exceeds the levels set by regulators, individuals then face a risk.

WRONG. With regard to phthalates, exceeding the exposure levels set by the government is not at all the same as encountering a risk. For example, at the FDA, regulators establish those levels with a very large margin of safety. They do this by starting at a level where no effects are seen in animals after a lifetime of exposure, and then set the safety level far lower – at least 100 or even 1,000 times lower.

2. HCWH concedes that there is no reliable evidence that any harm has ever come to humans from phthalates, but says that’s because they haven’t been studied in humans.

WRONG. To be sure, we don’t know of anyone who has purposely given large amounts of phthalates to humans to see if they could do some harm! But the government and the chemical industry do high quality health and safety testing in a scientifically accepted way – on animal models with relevant protocols. Phthalates are among the best-studied compounds in the world. Rodents are the usual model, because they are relatively inexpensive to study, but then there are some questions about whether results are relevant to humans. Phthalates also have been studied in non-human primates, which are much more similar to humans (who are also primates), and those studies have indicated that primates are far less sensitive to phthalates than are rodents. Yet even rodents do not show effects until they receive high doses

3. HCWH implies FDA used a safety factor of only 3 in assessing possible risk from phthalates to patients in hospitals.

WRONG. FDA used a total safety factor of 100. HCWH questions whether one portion of that safety factor should have been greater than 3, but never informs the reader that the overall safety factor was 100, leaving the impression FDA used only a factor of 3.

4. HCWH says regulatory agencies concluded that reproductive effects of some phthalates in animals were found to be relevant to humans.

WRONG. There is no such “conclusion.” Standard regulatory practice regarding animal data is to assume that it is relevant to humans if there are no actual human data, or insufficient evidence to disprove the relevance of the animal data. It is a default assumption, not a "conclusion" by the agencies.

5. HCWH says that regulators should look at aggregate exposure to all phthalates to determine risk.

WRONG. Why? Aggregating exposures is only valid for substances that act via additive mechanisms. For phthalates, there is no evidence to support the additive theory, and some evidence to refute it. Even HCWH's own Executive Summary says that "health effects that may be caused by exposure to the phthalates differ among the various compounds and depend on the timing and size of the dose." Not all phthalates act the same, and none have acted at all on laboratory animals unless the dose is very large. So, arguing that phthalate exposures are additive is a good scare tactic, but not good science.

6. HCWH implies that CDC data show women of childbearing age have higher than average concentrations of phthalates in them.

WRONG: The median exposure for women in the 20-40 year old age group was the same as for the general population, within the error limits of the study. HWCH is referring to the exposure levels at the 95th percentile – that is, the women at the very top of the exposure scale. The study on which HCWH relies was an initial survey of only 289 persons, of which only 96 were women of childbearing age, and only 4 or 5 were at or above the 95th percentile. This is a very thin reed on which to base any conclusions. In fact, when CDC later published results from a sample of 1029 persons – almost four times larger -- it decided not to break down the data by age group because the sample size was so small. CDC will publish further data in the fall of 2002, with age breakdowns, that will provide more conclusive information. However, even the 95th percentile levels cited by HCWH in the initial data are within government safety levels.

7. HCWH says that the upper 5% of women aged 20-40 in the sample have 75% of the level of DBP “that may begin to impair normal reproductive tract development in their baby boys.”

WRONG. At the 95th percentile, women had an exposure that is 64 percent of a value that is one-thousandth of the no effect level for DBP established in animal studies. And once again, even in the worst case scenario as laid out by HCWH, the doses the women received merely cut slightly into a huge margin of safety.

8. HCWH says many nail polishes have “large quantities of DBP.”

WRONG. The concentration of DBP in nail polish is typically in the 1-2 percent range. One nail-care product has a 15 percent concentration. But the real question is not how much DBP is in the nail polish – it is how much enters the body and how does that amount compare to government safety levels. The rate of absorption of phthalates through surface contact is very low. This is supported by the CDC data that show that total exposures to DBP (from nail polish and all other sources) are within safety levels.

9. HCWH says that the FDA considered only medical devices and “not the real world of population-wide exposures to multiple phthalates from multiple sources.”

WRONG and very unfair. FDA conducted itself responsibly when it assessed the safety of medical devices containing phthalates. Every centre at the FDA was involved in the assessment. It was looking for situations where exposure could approach or exceed a “tolerable intake.” In its review, FDA recognized the uncertainty associated with extrapolating human effects from animal data, stating that "It is possible that the effects observed in animal studies could occur in humans. However, there are no human studies to date that show such effects. DEHP-containing medical devices have been used on newborn babies for many years without apparent ill effects, although studies have not been conducted that would rule out effects in humans."

10. HCWH says that pregnant women come to the hospital already significantly contaminated with phthalates, and “medical exposures add more.”

WRONG. As discussed above, the CDC data show that general exposures to phthalates are within safety levels, levels that in turn incorporate large margins of safety. Additionally, HCWH's statement is likely to be misleading, causing people to think large amounts of phthalates accumulate in our bodies. Actually, they are broken down and excreted within 24 hours and do not pose a bioaccumulation concern. Moreover, to the extent that exposure to patients in hospitals comes from intravenous treatments, any phthalates that might enter the blood stream directly are not as readily metabolized and made available to the body as those that are ingested.


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Tuesday, April 01, 2003

I don't really know whether I achieve very much here in Botswana but I just cannot sit here and watch the world go by knowing that there is so much suffering going on in nearby Zimbabwe. I'm not necessarily talking about whites, I am a lot more concerned about the millions of very poor impoverished black people - people who have little or no voice to the outside world. Will the world ever realise just how bad it has been for these poor people? Somehow I doubt it and to be perfectly honest I don't think that most people really care - why should they when there is so much chaos all over?

A few months ago I happened to stop my car to look at some wood carvings that were displayed on the side of the road. I recognised the vendors from the way they were dressed as Zimbabweans. They seemed somewhat hesitant and nervous, their eyes continually shifting all over the place - its how most black Zimbabweans in Maun are these days - I would say that at least 80% of them are here illegally - most are refugees who have jumped the border to get away from Mugabe - the only way they can survive is by selling carvings and/or stuff like cannabis.

When I greeted them in chiShona there was a spontaneous reaction, they all smiled and said "Ah, you are one of us." They relaxed and we started chatting about everything - they were jovial and I felt they were genuinely pleased to see another Zimbabwean. I did not bother to ask them about how they managed to get into Botswana as I did not want to embarrass them but I did ask them about how things were in Zimbabwe - everyone wanted to speak at once - they described the chaos and the misery, voices raised as a means to try and express the pain and suffering that the people were experiencing - "aaaah, you know back home we can go 3-4 days without eating, there is no food".

One chap said to me, "you whites never really know what goes on because you are always in the towns and cities, you don't see what happens in the rural areas where our homes are - you never see what happens at night when the "green bombers" (Mugabe's militia) come around. I listened to their stories about all the beatings and how people were forced to praise Mugabe, forced to purchase ZANU PF cards - night after night, week after week, month after month. (I already knew all this).

After being there a few minutes one of the vendors called to a young man who was lying a few yards away on his stomach under the shade of a tree (I had not previously seen him). "Shadi, Shadi, wuyai kuno" (Shadi come here). The young man slowly got to his feet, I noticed that he appeared to be stiff, his movements were slow - as he got to his feet he said to his friend "why are you calling me, who is this man you are talking to."

When he came close I was introduced - they told me that his name was Shadreck and that he came from the Mberengwa area - I asked if he spoke Sindebele and he just nodded - he was very solemn and he had one of those blank, expressionless stares.

One of the other vendors spoke to him and told him that I (meaning me) was OK - that I wasn't a problem - it was OK.

Then the vendor asked him to turn around and lift his shirt – he initially hesitated then after some coaxing obliged and carefully lifted the tail of his shirt. I have seen many scars bruises and injuries in my life - I have been through a war - nothing phases me too much.

I have to tell you that this poor young man (I estimated his age to be between 21 -24) had deep cuts criss crossing practically every few millimetres right across the lower portion of his back - some of the wounds were still festering - most were healing and had formed scar tissue - he was obviously still in agony from some of the wounds.

What happened I asked

"I was beaten."

"By whom, for what" I asked - he replied "they told me that I was a MDC supporter".

I could see that he didn't want to talk about it, he was still traumatised - he just walked away, back to the same tree where I had first seen him - he lay down on his stomach, turning his head away, to be left alone to face his agony and misery.

I thought to myself "My goodness he has some serious injuries" but as serious as they were I knew that the wounds would eventually heal - the thing I worry most about is the terrible mental scarring that is taking place - how do people "white and black" recover from all these kinds of wounds. It is this more than anything that I worry about because these kinds of wounds are usually lot deeper and a lot more permanent!

As I have said so many times before, coming to terms with this overall deterioration of my country is hard enough but the thing that absolutely crucifies most of us beyond all belief is the attitude currently being displayed by people like President Mbeki of South Africa and some of the other world leaders such as President Chirac of France. How can they be so totally and utterly blind to what is happening in Zimbabwe - how can they so easily and without displaying any obvious conscience, distance themselves from all these massive wrongdoings - how can they claim that the violence and intimidation has been grossly exaggerated - that Mugabe has been treated unfairly and unjustly? Why don't these people want to face up to and acknowledge the truth - how does anyone have any faith or trust in them anymore - the very people who could influence Mugabe?

Somehow we have to expose this to the world - we cannot allow this to go on. I'm not only talking about Zimbabwe - look what happened in Rwanda, Angola and the DRC - millions of people are dying - something has to change - foremost attitudes have to change, world leaders have to be a lot more honest and a lot less "self centred" otherwise this chaos is just going to get worse. It’s just not fair - these poor people do not deserve it - somehow it has to stop.


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Monday, March 31, 2003


By Eric Bruckner

Boycotts of French products are not the appropriate response to French treachery. This adds up to small change and is not in accord with free market solutions.

We call for the withdrawal of all unproductive US investments from France so they can be put it to work in Eastern Europe where the long term growth potential is much more attractive. New direct investment should be stopped.

Fallout from such measures would transform the present trickle of layoffs (which already has 'em screaming) to a flood.

My site regularly receives e-mails from young French who are looking to emigrate. Bush's most punishing ideological and economic weapon in dealing with Old Europe is the streamlining of the immigration process so the best and brightest of Old Europe can work in the US. So that's the one-two punch. Knock the wind out of 'em by moving direct investment elsewhere and then prevent them from catching their breath by taking all their most valuable information-economy brains. It's just business. Let's do it.



By Selwyn Johnston

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is proudly owned by the Australian people, who each contribute approx. nine (9) cents per day towards its upkeep.

It is almost beyond belief that the Australian Federal Government has directed the ABC not to sponsor or broadcast a 'live concert' from Melbourne, because the concert supports 'West Papua' Independence.

This is censorship at its worst, and, of a musical concert, for heavens sake!

The ABC can telecast the slaughter of innocent men, women and children in armed conflicts around the world, but has been instructed not to telecast a peaceful 'live concert', which campaigns against the slaughter of primitive tribespeople in one of the world’s last unexplored regions.


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Sunday, March 30, 2003


There are various versions of this look at history on the net but it bears repeating:

As children we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Our baby cribs were painted with bright colored lead based paint. We often chewed on the crib, ingesting the paint. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes we had no helmets.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times we learned to solve the problem.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day.

We played dodgeball and sometimes the ball would really hurt. We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank sugar soda, but we were never overweight; we were always outside playing.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Some students weren't as smart as others so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade.

That generation produced some of the greatest risk-takers and problem solvers. We had the freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all!!!


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