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Sunday, 21 January

06:03

South Pacific Cruise The Seabirds "IndyWatch Feed Seq"

Red-footed Booby
We've just returned from a week-long South Pacific cruise aboard P&O's Pacific Dawn. Gusty northerlies in Brisbane delayed departure from the Hamilton cruise terminal by 7 hours which meant missing our first port of call, Noumea in New Caledonia - no great loss as we've been there before. Our two other landings the New Caledonian island of Lifou and Port Vila, Vanuatu are the subject of a separate post.

Red-footed Booby

...

00:16

United Nations spokesperson calls US President Donald J Trump a racist "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"


Rupert Colville, spokesperson for UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights:

"These are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States. I'm sorry, but there's no other word one can use but 'racist'.

"You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as 'shitholes', whose entire populations are not white are therefore not welcome. 

"The positive comment on Norway makes the underlying sentiment very clear.

"Like the earlier comments made vilifying Mexicans and Muslims, the policy proposals targeting entire groups on grounds of nationality or religion, and the reluctance to clearly condemn the antisemitic and racist actions of the white supremacists in Charlottesville, all of these go against the universal values the world has been striving so...

00:15

U.S. Political Retrospective: those first investigations into presidential candidate Donald J Trump "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"


Sometime in September or October 2015 Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS began a broad investigation of then Republican presidential candidate nominee Donald J Trump under contact for an unspecified client and later commenced another investigation of Trump as official Republican presidential candidate for a different client in the first half of 2016.

Simpson later confirmed the clients to be in the first instance The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website funded by a major Republican donor and in the second instance the Democratic National Committee and Clinton presidential campaign.

Excerpts from Christopher Steeles 35-page dossier created under contract for research company Fusion GPS:

...

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Saturday, 20 January

22:07

Business borrows again as economy picks up "IndyWatch Feed Melbourne"

Lending up

A nice +9.5 per cent rise in Lending Finance in November 2017 to $74.3 billion. 

This was the biggest monthly gain in several years, and a 12-month high. 

Businesses are borrowing again, which is good to see, with a +14.7 per cent monthly increase in commercial finance commitments. 


Personal lending has been trending moderately higher for the past 7 months.

Meanwhile, there's clearly been a shift from investors to owner-occupiers in the housing market.

And finally, loans to buy blocks of land soared to a record high $8 billion in the month.


Victoria's population surge clearly in evidence here.

The wrap

This is the latest in what is now proving to become a steady stream of stronger data releases.

Just look at what we've seen in only the past few weeks alone:

-record employment growth in 2017 of +404,000 (& a surge in the participation rate)

-record high jobs vacancies of 210,800 - easily the highest ever figure 

-record high value of building approved - a massive pipeline of commercial, infrastructure, and residential building in the pipeli...

21:33

Melbourne Water about to de-tree Koala corridor in Frankston "IndyWatch Feed Melbourne"

Melbourne Water is about to de-tree Frankston koala corridor by removing mature trees from banks of a huge park with a water retarding basin in it at Lee Street Frankston 3199. They are claiming that the trees are 'destabilising' the banks. But of course the trees are holding the banks together and keeping the water-table down. Who is accountable for these kinds of decisions that are based on what sound like lies that make no sense? Frankston Council is apparently going along with this. It seems totally insane and anti-life and nature. Inside is a video alerting us to the details.

This is a link to a facebook video: https://www.facebook.com/Michellekoalasaver/videos/1831105523600205/.

The person speaking in the video is Michele Thomas, of Animalia, who is a well-respected wildlife carer, who knows what she is talking about regarding koalas. See "Animalia's Michelle Thomas gives koala mouth to mouth in night rescue".

Mad tree removal excuses

This tree removal with barmy excuses seems to be a new trend. Recently they machine-ripped out trees all along the sides and median strips of a shady Mornington Peninsula highway, one of few relatively pleasant highways to travel on, due to the shade and green. See http://candobetter.net/node/5304. The reasons given were that cars might run into them and that they were for eliminating all risks. (Not risks of depression leading to suicide in those who were revolted and felt powerless, of course.) AWPC managed to stop them from ripping them out quite so fast, but the kept on with a different machine at a different pace and they paid for a few possum boxes (not enough for all the possums and other wildlife that were and continue to be displaced.)

The overpopulation link

We know that trees are being ripped out for more houses and more roads to squeeze in the invited economic immigrants that make up over 60% of population growth in Australia. This is obvious with the road widening in Hoddle Street and in the destruction of Melbourne...

20:45

Mid-summer Log cabins of Newstead "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

On 21st January 2017 I noticed a cocoon on Newstead Natives smaller greenhouse, posted a photo of it on the Vic. Field Naturalists Club of Vic Facebook page and people kindly identified it as being made by the caterpillar of an Australian Faggot Casemoth.

...

19:57

Aslan Cafe ~ Strayan & Indonesian "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

A little birdie in St Peters told us about their local cafe that has an Indonesian dish or two on the menu. We have to check it out. We love it when cafe owners put a little bit of their heritage on the menu, especially when it's Indonesian, for some reason. It's smart business too. So we brunch in the inner west. On a Saturday. It sniffs of normal. Aslan's menu has both

19:51

RIP Barry Williams, skeptic and all round good bloke "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

Barry Williams died this morning. We were friends for many decades and I am not sure of his age which was probably approaching 80. He was never a prominent mover and shaker although for some years through the 80s to 2009 he was the public face of the Australian Skeptics, a network of groups ostensibly dedicated to critical thinking.

He was achieved the rank of flight sergeant in the Air Force and later worked in the US Consulate in Sydney doing trade shows until a large bequest to the Skeptics freed him to become the fulltime executive officer in 1995.

This is a fairly good interview. As noted in the interview he was a huge cricket fan with a great knowledge of the game. He wrote an essay on the myth of the devils number 87 (13 runs short of the century) which was reputed to be a dangerous number when many batsmen succumbed.

My wife painted his portrait.

I mentioned that the organized Skeptics were ostensibly dedicated to critical thinking. That was the case when Barry and I and some other good men and true were on the NSW committee but times have changed. Nowadays the Skeptics (and also the organized Rationalists and Humanists) are warming alarmists.

19:46

Passer-by finds missing person near Walhalla "IndyWatch Feed Gippsland"

A Dandenong person who went missing on their trip to Wonthaggi last week was found safe near Walhalla.

18:42

Pipit swims into view after dry Aussie crawl "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"

Bit of dry Aussie crawl across baked mud at Melaleuca viewing area today brought Australian Pipit closer than commonly - for a few frames.

Pity, bird didn't offer 'that' perfect pose. Then, better pose, but greater distance.


Too much greenery to allow crawl up on Horsfields Bushlark. The species can, however, be surprisingly tolerant of people walking patiently toward them. Not at all tolerant, and thus unphotographed, pair of Brown Quail and a Red-backed Buttonquail unseen till flushed from long couchgrass nearby.

18:42

Beginners Yoga Freshwater Divine Flow Yoga & Pilates "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

Best Yoga Studio in Brookvale, North Sydney, Manly Vale , Freshwater, Northern Beaches, Deewhy, Curl Curl & more.

17:01

Sunday 1pm Free Trees BBQ at Mary White "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

[ Sunday, 21 Jan; 1:00 pm; ] This is a free feed social meeting for those that care about the habitat trees of UNE. Also feel free to bring something to share drinks, food, and fun things. Where: Mary White College When: 1pm Sunday 21st January Cost: Nil Here are some video of the Save UNE habitat trees campaign. [embed width="520"]https://youtu.be/DbHHPFIA5J8[/embed] [embed width="520"]https://youtu.be/Ws21Xa3uEDE[/embed] full article 

16:11

GOLD COAST AIRPORT RECORDS BUSIEST DAY IN HISTORY "IndyWatch Feed Northcoast"

Gold Coast Airport has recorded its busiest day in history, welcoming 24,076 passengers on Saturday 23 December 2017.

Previously Gold Coast Airports busiest day was Sunday 3 January 2016, when 23,856 passengers passed through the Coolangatta facility.

A record was also set for the calendar year when 6,542,604 passengers arrived or departed from Gold Coast Airport 120,602 more than in 2016.

Gold Coast Airport CEO Chris Mills said it was great to end the year on a high.

With the Commonwealth Games just around the corner, December was a great month to show that we are ready, said Mr Mills.

Throughout the month, we saw strong domestic passenger movements, particularly from Sydney, reinforcing the Gold Coasts ongoing popularity as a holiday destination among interstate visitors.

We also welcomed our first month of direct Hobart services with Tigerair, which contributed to the great results.

We saw international long-haul passenger movements grow by 8.6 per cent in December, with capacity added on Japan and Hong Kong services to cope with demand.

We look forward to continuing this upward trend and key to this is increasing the airports capability to facilitate long-term passenger growth.

Currently, we are expanding the RPT apron to allow for more capacity and flexibility for different aircraft types in the future.

With less than 80 days to go until the Commonwealth Games, we are finalising preparations to provide a warm welcome not only to the Games Family, but to everyone who passes through the terminal during that time.

We expect passenger movements over the Games period to be comparable to our usual summer peaks over Christmas and New Year.

The Games Family will also have a dedicated lounge space which will allow them to relax in a private area, away from the usual activity in the terminal.

The post GOLD COAST AIRPORT RECORDS BUSIEST DAY IN HISTORY appeared first on Byron Bay Blog.

14:48

Join the queue "IndyWatch Feed Seq"

Recent comments by Peter Dutton on Sudanese crime in Melbourne, in support of the Victorian Liberals' attempts to court that old political tart Laura Norder, underline two failures of strategy: in his portfolio, and within the Victoria Liberals in their quest for state government this November.

The end of the line

Immigration policy in Australia was set at the turn of the century by then-Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock, backed by John Howard and his government and only ever tweaked by successive governments since then.

The first thing to say about immigration to Australia overall is that it has increased significantly this century. Where the crackdown has come, and the headlines, is in the refugee and asylum-seeker intakes.

Ruddock developed the idea of a 'queue' for refugees - yes, the world was full of desperate people fleeing war and persecution, but all that was required for such people to enter Australia was to "join the queue", fill out some forms and applications would be processed in due course. People who paid people-smugglers and arrived in Australia by boat without visas were "queue jumpers", denying places on the small (and successively reduced) quota for refugee intake to those who did all the right things and waited patiently.

Here's where Dutton has torpedoed that policy, and made himself look silly: successive Immigration ministers from Ruddock to Morrison told us there were people waiting patiently in refugee camps in Africa unable to enter Australia because bad people from the Middle East tried to jump the queue by coming here on boats. None of the people on Nauru or Manus are from South Sudan. They are people who have come here through the very vetting systems that Dutton now oversees.

If you agree with Dutton that Sudanese gangs are terrifying Melbourne, then it follows that he has failed to vet these people properly. You can't believe that Dutton, with his inflated powers as Home Affairs Minister, is keeping Australia safe if you also accept that he has waved through the very people apparently causing this mayhem. Say what you will about Daniel Andrews, his government simply has no role in immigration vetting. Why detain people at Nauru, Manus, Woodville or anywhere else when you are clearly so careless? Dutton is undermining his own narrative:
"But the short answer is that, if people haven't integrated, if they are not abiding by our laws, if they don't adhere to our culture, then they are not welcome here."
Bit late for that champ.

No journalist has called him on it. Credulous dickheads like...

14:10

Facing Prison for Providing Free Cannabis Medicine: An Interview with Jenny Hallam "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

The benefits of medicinal cannabis have been rediscovered over recent years. Clinical trials and research papers have documented evidence that shows cannabis medicines can treat conditions, such as  chronic pain, seizures in children with Dravet syndrome and multiple sclerosis. In the US, medical marijuana is legal  in 29 states. While the Australian federal government passed legislation in

The post Facing Prison for Providing Free Cannabis Medicine: An Interview with Jenny Hallam appeared first on Sydney Criminal Lawyers.

14:00

Its Time to Rethink the Term LGBTIQA+ "IndyWatch Feed Melbourne"

LGBTIQA+ is a term often employed to be inclusive but it runs the risk of being so inclusive it loses all meaning.

A participant wears a LGBT flag as people take part in the Annual Mermaid Parade in Brooklyn, New York, June 18, 2016. Credit: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

The rise of sexually transmissible diseases made front-page news in The Age, which tried to make sense of the rise among gay men and heterosexual people.

This illustrates the increasingly common confusion between behaviour and identity. What is involved is sexual contact, or to use the expression common in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, the exchange of bodily fluids. Whether people involved have a particular identity, as the words used in the report suggest, is irrelevant.

Desire, behaviour and identity are distinct,...

13:42

Cory Bernardis Australian Conservatives standing for South Australian election, with pro nuclear policy "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

Among policy positions to be revealed in greater detail in coming weeks are the scrapping of the Safe Schools program, capping the premiers tenure to two terms, and developing a nuclear fuel cycle industry.

Senator Bernardi said the direction of preferences would be subject to negotiation between the major parties.

Cory Bernardis Australian Conservatives to fight for 20 seats in SA election, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/cory-bernardis-australian-conservatives-to-fight-for-20-seats-in-sa-election/news-story/7130de833df916429b388f70b26ff443, MICHAEL OWEN, SA Bureau Chief, Adelaide@mjowen,  19 Jan 18

Cory Bernardis conservative party will run at least 20 candidates in lower house seats at the South Australian election, mirroring the plans of Nick Xenophons SA Best and heightening the critical role of preferences in determining the outcome of the March 17 poll.

The move comes after the Australian Conservatives ran candidate Joram Richa in the federal seat of Bennelong, in Sydneys north, in a key by-election last month, polling 4.5 per cent of the vote and directing preferences to Liberal John Alexander, who retained the seat....

13:00

Aussie Heatwave Electricity Shortfall, Hospital Emergency Measures, Coal Blamed "IndyWatch Feed Melbourne"

Guest essay by Eric Worrall h/t JoNova South Australia and the Australian State of Victoria learned the hard way that when power demand surges, you cant turn up the solar panels. Melbourne hospitals switch off lights as mercury rises Grant McArthur and Aleks Devic, Herald Sun January 19, 2018 7:36pm PATIENTS were left in

12:53

Civil Disobedience in the Park "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"


Drinking, listening to music (and drawing) at the Civil Disobedience Picnic  yesterday evening in Camperdown Park in Newtown to protest the area being declared an alcohol free area

12:35

South Australias heatwave will not affect power supply "IndyWatch Feed Melbourne"

SA heatwave will not affect power supply, Treasurer says, as TDU amateur cyclists ignore warnings, ABC News 19 Jan 18, By political reporter Nick Harmsen and staff  The South Australian Government is not expecting to use the states new backup diesel power generators despite temperatures well into the mid-40s forcing a tight power supply balance.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has issued a level two lack of reserve notice for the state late this afternoon, meaning there is a small buffer of surplus generation available.A level three notice means unexpected load shedding blackouts are likely.

The power supply situation is even tighter in Victoria  with AEMO flagging the possibility of curtailing power to some industrial customers who have volunteered to be part of a demand management scheme.

SAs hottest temperature so far recorded today was a scorching 47.4 degrees Celsius at Wudinna on Eyre Peninsula.Port Augusta hit 46.5C, Whyalla reached 46.4C and Lameroo and Tarcoola both had tops of 46C.SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said while the states temporary generators were ready, they were unlikely to be used this afternoon.

In terms of supply we should be okay, he said.

Victoria I understand is about to load she...

12:25

Frederic Slater-Hero or Villain? Reclaiming the Standing Stones Heritage "IndyWatch Feed Seq"

Frederic Slater-Hero or Villain?

Reclaiming the Standing Stones Heritage

By Steven & Evan Strong

Special Thanks to Richard Patterson & Erik Bower

During recent times quite a few commentators have gone to considerable lengths to cast doubt, and often ridicule, when assessing the credentials and sanity of Frederic Slater. The general consensus amongst the many later-day critics is that Slater was at best deluded, unqualified and more than likely off with the fairies." Due to his many shortcomings, it has been decided his inadequacies immediately disqualify any claims made in relation to the Standing Stones Complex.

Until March of 2017 Slater had spent 75 years suspended in total anonymity outside all avenues of mainstream press and official channels, his work and actual existence in every academic arena was censored and if it wasn"t for an invitation we knew was laden with second agendas, it would have stayed that way. From the first time the feature writer for the Brisbane Courier Mail contacted us, I immediately made it clear that our scepticism metre was running on overdrive. Despite his repeated assurances that the sacred mound would be revered and respected in the article he intended to write, we never let go of the real concern this was a very conservative paper covering an incredibly radical sacred site and advocate in the 1930"s. The content was so left-of-centre and this outlet of mainstream press was so far to the right there didn"t seem to be any middle-ground.

There was every conceivable reason demanding no further contact balanced against only one directive that insisted we agree without equivocation. When given my first ceremony by Karno and the Ramindjeri, it was made clear we had to convince using empirical evidence and logic and our primary target audience was to be those most resistant. Whether the scientists, mainstream press or even politicians, our anointed brief was constant in trying time after time to breach the wall. So we agreed to meet and in keeping with our misgivings the first issue raised by us related to why they were so supportive. Their responses sounded reassuring, but there was a hollow ring to every guarantee. Irrespective of individual dispositions, both reporter and cameraman were employees subservient to the Courier Mail"s philosophy of ridiculing anything that deviates from their brand of right-win...

12:03

Thanks to New Digital Imaging Tool, Hidden Egyptian Paintings Have Finally Been Revealed "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

Art can reveal so much about a culture. Sadly, many of the masterpieces created throughout the centuries have been lost due to erosion and the passing of time. On a positive note, not all is lost. To determine what our ancestors painted on rocks and engraved into stone, researchers from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, developed a new imaging technique. The technology has allowed them to re-examine Egyptian art and find details that were lost over the years.

In their paper, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, the researchers describe a technique called DStretch. With this tool, they were able to analyze paintings found at Beni Hassan, an ancient Egyptian cemetery located near the city of Minya. Egyptologists have not realised [DStretchs] potential in helping us to examine and record ancient wall paintings, Dr. Linda Evans told IFLScience.

The technique was first developed in 2005 and allows digital images to be enhanced. After the remnants of paint and engravings are analyzed by three bands of RGB color, the intensity and saturation of them are improved. Essentially, the images are stretched then mapped back to normal. The resulting product reveals artwork similar to what the original looked like.

Credit: Evans et al

Artwork from Beni Hassan, which has been carved into the walls near tombs, contains scenes from daily life, such as farming, hunting, and fishing. Because the artwork is multi-colored, researchers had a difficult time determining the shades of red, brown, blue, green, black, and white used. Using DStretch, the researchers found a drawing of a herd of pigs, as well as a hoard of bats.

The most surprising outcome of the DStretch study has been the confirmation of new images of animals that are incredibly rare in Egyptian art, said E...

10:39

Curators from National Museum visit ninney rise "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"

Picture
Rowena, Kate and Sandal at Ninney Rise
This week FoNR committee members Sandal Hayes and Liz Gallie met at Ninney Rise with Kate Morschel and Rowena from the National Museum Australia. 

They had a tour of the house and we provided oral history. Both Kate and Rowena were familiar with the FoNR website and Iain McClaman's 'The Reef a Passionate History' and expressed how valuable the website and material is as a resource.

They were impressed with Ninney Rise and very interested in the part the Ninney Rise story might play in a new dedicated exhibition at the museum on the Great Barrier Reef. 


The  exhibition will cover deep history, indigenous history and the anthropocene age, impacts of man.

FoNR was delighted to be able to provide valuable information about this important period in our local history and appreciative of the advice and material they left with us including 2 folders of excellent resource material and links to guide funding opportunities, accessioning and collections policy data etc.

They are keen to include Ellison Reef in the story. I'm sure visiting Ninney Rise and the plaque has given them a lot of material to consider.
...
...

10:33

Hot, hot, hot "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

42.3 C is too hot for me and for the birds.

The birdbaths throughout our garden supported pardalotes, honeyeaters and parrots through a blazingly hot day yesterday. The Galahs gathered on the front lawn used a tried and true cooling technique.

Spotted Pardalote (imm), Wyndham Street Newstead, 19th January 2018

08:39

APRadio weekly podcast available "IndyWatch Feed Capricornia"

Harry touches on Gangs of Melbourne with an email from a terrified mother describing death threats to her `12 year old son and police admit they are powerless Turnbull commanding the default military backup for Japan with no fuel, bullets or engagement ready equipment . Queensland Greens protected crocs killing tourist trade Bob Hudsons Newcastle song revisited to 1970s . Click Here

08:07

EDITORIAL: The death of Papuans "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

EDITORIAL: The death of Papuans
EDITORIAL The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Fri, January 19, 2018 | 07:59 am


Malnourished siblings Epi (left), Arfat (center) and Poma from Sarwamok in Agats district, Asmat regency, Papua, are being transferred to Agats General Hospital. The children were found on Thursday by paramedics who had been deployed in response to a recent measles outbreak. The journey from Asmats capital to Agats regency takes several hours by boat. (JP/Nethy Dharma Somba)
The wood...

08:00

January 20 On This Day in Australian History "IndyWatch Feed Cvic"

1803 - Seems Charlie Grimes popped into Port Phillip (which wasn't Port Phillip at the time but probably labouring under its own moniker now long lost in the mists of time), cast his pithy baby blues over the Mornington Peninsula and declared, "I am soooo not redecorating this place!" before tattling to Gov King how he just didn't do sandy soil for settlements.
The lack of fresh water may have had some bearing on it, too.
Best not let on to the swarms of tourists and residents of the Mornington Peninsula that its unsuitable for settlement!

1803 - Louis Freycinet, in his ship Casuarina, sailing up the larger of South Australia's two gulfs, was in the vicinity of what is now called Moonta Bay.

1841 - Jorgen Jorgensen, The Convict King and claimant to the throne of Denmark and Iceland, popped his clogs, as all men do, in Hobart.

1842 - Tunnerminnerwait was Hanged at Melbourne for the murder of two whalers at Cape Paterson.
1842 - Maulboyheenner was  Hanged at Melbourne for the murder of two whalers at Cape Paterson.
Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheenner were the first people to be hanged by the Government in the District of Port Phillip and were buried in an unmarked grave on the site of the now Queen Victoria Market, where there have been numerous reports of sightings of their ghosts.

1849 - The good ship...no,not Lollipop but Fortitude parked in Lower Level 2 space 3a at Morton Bay QLD with its cargo of 245 immigrants from Britain for Rev John Dunmore Lang's Cooksland cotton growing scheme. Its temporary headquarters were set up at Fortitude Valley, named after the ship which brought them there.

1854 - Fire destroyed a city block in Hobart, Tas.

1858 - The Wesleyan Chapel in Lydiard St , Ballarat, opened for business.

1863 - James Whyte replaced T.D. Champman as Premier of Tasmania.

1880 - Andrew George Scott, better known as bushranger Captain Moonlite, was hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol.

1880 - Thomas Rogan  (Bushranger) A member of the Moonlite Gang, was hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol for the murder of Constable Webb-Bowen at Wantabadgery.


1881 - Bushfires caused extensive damage to properties at Rookwood and Lidcombe in suburban Sydney.

1891 - Western Australia's first parliament opened under responsible government.

1898 - They had a proper knees up, Mother Brown at the Melbourne Town Hall with a banquet to kick off the third and (at long last!) final session of the National Australasian Convention (where the delegates agreed on drafting the Constitution Bill...but not before they dragged it out until the 17th March).
But the banquet...!
Prawn cocktail...

05:48

Wilfred Burchett, the CIA and an Attempted Bribery "IndyWatch Feed Sydney"

On 6 February 1976, in his syndicated column in the New York Post, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Jack Anderson revealed to his readers that the CIA once tried to bribe the Communist Worlds most famous newsman, Wilfred Burchett, into defecting to the U.S. for $100,000.

The attempted bribe happened in Korea in September 1953, during the talks to end the Korean War. In todays money, the CIAs $100,000 would be equivalent to $904,239.70 according to dollartimes.org. Why did the CIA try to buy my father, Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett in Korea in 1953? I dont know. But I can guess

My father confirmed the story in an article in The National Guardian (New York, Feb. 18, 1976). His answer to the offer, made by an American newsman on behalf of the CIA was Nothing doing.

I remember asking him in our home in Paris at the time: Why didnt you tell that story earlier? They accuse you of being a KGB agent, and now we learn that it was actually the CIA who wanted to buy you!

His answer was: it would have been embarrassing and damaging to the reputation of the colleague who made the offer on behalf of the CIA.

In October 1974, my father appeared in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in Sydney. He was suing the editor of the Australian right-wing magazine Focus for defamation over an article which accused him of being a KGB agent. The allegations were based on the testimony of a former part-time KGB operative, Yuri Krotkov (aka George Karlin), who specialized in the sexual blackmail of foreign diplomats in Moscow. He defected to the UK in September 1963. In 1969, Krotkov/Karlin was called to testify before the U.S. Senate Sub-Committee on Internal Security and named Jean-Paul Sartre, John Kenneth Galbraith, a number of distinguished diplomats and other personalities of being in the pay of the KGB. Among those named was Wilfred Burchett.

Wilfred Burchett had been a thorn in the U.S. and Australian militaristic establishments ever since he blew the whistle on one of the greatest crimes against humanity: the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the long-term effects of atomic radiation. He went on to report the talks to end the war in Korea from the North Korean- Chinese sides. And in 1969, when Krotkov/Karlin spun his tale, he was reporting the Vietnam War from the Hanoi-Viet Cong sides. He did it openly and publicly in articles and books published and widely read all over the world.

For the people sitting on the U.S. Senate Committee before which Krotkov/Karlin testified, the anti-war movement was a communist conspiracy orchestrated by Moscow. So to have one of the most prominent journalists reporting the....

04:06

Pair of pit bull terriers severely maul 4-year-old in Melbourne, Florida "IndyWatch Feed Melbourne"

A 4-year-old child "severely mauled" by a pair of pit bulls Thursday afternoon in Brevard County was airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando for treatment, police said. The incident happened about 1:15 p.m. at The Meadows mobile home park off Rolling Rock Drive near John Rodes Boulevard, just north of Eau Gallie Boulevard. Paramedics responded to the scene within minutes. "They're working on him now," Melbourne police Lt. Steve Sadoff told News 6 partner Florida Today. Three pit bull mixes were taken from the scene by Brevard County animal control, but four dogs were at the residence at the time of the attack, officers said. Police said the child suffered multiple lacerations but is believed to have non-life-threatening injuries.

Friday, 19 January

09:12

Finding the Line launched "IndyWatch Feed Gippsland"

Finding the Line is a ski film about fear, its paralyzing grip on humans and how it affects our decision-making. It stars Australians Nat and Anna Segal. They were filming last winter on the western slopes of the Snowy Mountains as part of the production.

Fear. Unless youre insane, its a very natural and necessary part of life in the mountains. Fear can keep us alive and finding a way to understand and either overcome or bow to our fears is where much of the adventure lies.

The film is now finished. It is having a launch in Whistler this week (this has a great background to the film). Stay tuned for details on the Australian launch.

More info available here. This site will have details on screenings as they are organised.

You can watch the trailer here.

Image: GUY FATTAL PHOTO / FINDING THE LINE

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