August 31, 2006
Alexander Steps On A Rake
It takes more than factional support and slavish loyalty to the leader to make it as a Howard minister: you also need immaculate timing.
My point is this: in a grown-up society such as our own, the media cannot expect to get away with parading falsehoods as truths, or ignoring salient facts because they happen to be inconvenient to the line of argument - or narrative - that particular journalists, or media organisations, might choose to adopt on any given controversy or issue.
The Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Downer, issued instructions to suppress a damning letter about the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after the war, a former senior diplomat says.I doubt this will threaten Downer's position. I certainly hope it won't; I'd hate to lose the opportunity to use the phrase "mendacious buffoon" on a regular basis.
Dr John Gee, an expert on chemical weapons, worked with the US-led weapons hunter, the Iraq Survey Group, after the war and wrote the critical six-page letter when he decided to resign in March 2004. In it he warned the Federal Government the hunt was, "fundamentally flawed" and there was a "reluctance on the part of many here and in Washington to face the facts" that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.
Dr Gee recorded in an email soon after that "Downer has issued instructions it [my letter] is not to be distributed to anyone". He wrote to a colleague in the Iraq Survey Group that a senior official in the Office of National Assessments, the Prime Minister's intelligence advisory agency, had told him about Mr Downer's instructions.
August 09, 2006
Let's try a thought experiment. Oh, wait, we don't need to:
On the Sunday Arts program, host Helen Razer was interviewing film director Bob Weis about his documentary Women of the Sun — 25 Years Later, charting the stories of Aboriginal women.What a good question.
Razer noted the film compared his family's history as Holocaust survivors to the contemporary situation of Aborigines in Australia.
Weis said he would like to make one more "conceptual leap", to which Razer replied "be my guest".
Indigenous actress Justine Saunders sat beside Weis and encouraged him as he said: "That while David Irving — the Holocaust denier — sits in prison … ", before he was cut off.
Mr Weis said yesterday he uttered the words "… the Australian Government …", but that did not go to air.
Razer hit the dump button, saying on air: "I can't possibly let you say that", before switching to pre-recorded audio.
Weis and Saunders allege Razer then said: "I will lose my job." This did not make it to air.
"Is it a job worth having?" Weis asked her, also off air, before storming out of the booth.
Weis yesterday revealed he was going to say: "That while David Irving — the Holocaust denier — sits in prison, the Australian Government put our chief Holocaust denier on the board of the ABC."Yes, well. Indeed.