Sunday 2 December 2007

Howard’s End. Due process to be resumed?

CairnsBlog contributing writer Sid Walker hopes that because the TV set has been repaired, looks forward to normal transmission resuming, at long last...

Is John Howard suffering for his hubris, having lost the trappings of power and attracting widespread blame for his Party’s devastating electoral loss?

If so, I can’t feel too sad about it. I think he’s rather lucky compared with some of his victims.

I’m more bothered about the Afghans, still suffering armed occupation by invading forces – including Australian soldiers – after six terrible years of war. I call that War Under False Pretences No.1 of the new century.

What about the Iraqis, their country laid waste, their economy wrecked, a million or so dead – thanks to illegal War Under False Pretences No. 2 of the new century. Once again, a War launched with Howard’s active involvement?

What about the Palestinians who suffer ever-worsening collective torture? They are a people on whom the Howard Government comprehensively turned its back, as it cosied up to the Zionist lobby, domestically and overseas.

How about the victims of bogus anti-terror operations carried out under Howard’s watch? What about the victims - past and future - of the Howard Government’s 20+ thoroughly illiberal anti-civil liberties laws?

One man in Australia who should not be overlooked in the long list of Howard’s possible victims is Martin Bryant. He lives in an institution of confinement in Tasmania. It’s rumoured he is overweight, listless and despondent. For Bryant, Howard’s era in power was to become the beginning of hell on earth.

Whether Bryant truly killed all those people in Port Arthur, Tasmania more than ten years ago is a matter that can – and should - be tested in an appropriate judicial process.

A trial was an option. However, after initially signaling the intention to plead not guilty, Bryant eventually submitted a guilty plea (with diminished responsibility on the grounds of insanity). Consequently, evidence for his guilt was never tested in court.

Ah, but what about the inquest – or coronial inquiry – you may be thinking. That’s where basic facts of unnatural deaths are competently examined – and an official, public determination made about the probable cause of death. True, under normal circumstances.

But apparently, and despite pleas from survivors among others, no such inquiry was ever held. The story is told in some detail here. This is what retired policeman Andrew MacGregor said about the aftermath of the massacre at Port Arthur:-
  • The next moves made by Mr Howard… are mind-boggling. The Prime Minister stated that since the perpetrator had been apprehended, it would help ease the suffering of the survivors if they did not have to experience the pain of a Coronial Inquest. By making such a comment, Mr Howard has made a legal presumption.

    Under Australian law, a person must be considered innocent until proven guilty. Mr Howard must have been aware that stating Bryant was the guilty person was an offence within the meaning of the Act, of contempt.

    Radio commentators have been gaoled for making similar remarks. Any barrister worthy of their station would immediately condemn such statements as being prejudicial to his client. No such criticism was levelled at the Prime Minister.

    There was another problem with Mr Howard's dictum, of which he must have been well aware. Mr Howard is only a politician. It is normal under State law that every death not covered by a Doctor's Certificate, must undergo an Inquest. There are no ifs or buts about it.

Now, please don’t write me complaining that I’m citing references from people associated with the Shooters Party, and therefore I’m a shooting fanatic whose opinions can be automatically disregarded. I know – and I’m not. Quoting from these websites implies no endorsement at all of the general views of the authors. Similarly, if I ever cite references in The Australian, I do not thereby endorse Rupert Murdoch and News Ltd in total. Please spare me the ‘guilt by association’ style of rebuttal.

I can’t vouch for the factual content of their material having never spent long periods studying the detail of the Port Arthur massacres. What appalls me is that no-one seems to answer the important questions they raise about the Port Arthur killings – questions that cry out for real answers. As at least one perceptive left wing blogger has observed, the mainstream media seems to avoid the topic like the plague.

The only detailed debate about Port Arthur I can find online is this (edited) ABC discussion from 2001. I’ll just say proponents of the official version of the massacre do not seem to me to put all legitimate doubts to rest.

Why did the newly elected Howard stand normality on its head following the Port Arthur shootings? The rationale was to spare the relatives unnecessary distress. But why Howard really did this, we can only speculate. I think he should be asked – under oath.

In retrospect, Port Arthur was only the beginning of Howard’s War on Due Process, which later morphed and merged into other, bigger wars. It was the moment the Lewis Carroll principle - ‘Sentence First, Trial Later’ (if at all) - became ensconced at The Lodge.

Kevin Rudd needs to exorcise that foul and spooky presence – and quickly - before he too gets whacked sideways by an unforeseen shocking event and seduced by a ready-packaged set of ‘solutions’. If Kevin 07 is really such a cleanskin that a one-night excursion to a stripclub is the worst thing he’s ever done… he doesn’t need to get lumbered with spooky filth. He can resist it.

To restore faith in the integrity of Australian governance, the Rudd Government should promptly establish a full public inquiry into the Port Arthur massacre (and the Hilton bombings for that matter, whose victims still await justice, nearly 30 years on and counting).

It may be that Martin Bryant sits in prison hospital, possibly one of the saddest men in Australia, because he actually committed a terrible crime, albeit with diminished responsibility.

Alternatively, he could be a patsy. It wouldn’t be the first time such a thing happened. Nor the last. Surely there are no ‘national security’ reasons for keeping this case conveniently overlooked for so long?

As Bertrand Russell remarked in 1964, after the Warren Commission had rushed to an obviously flawed judgment following the assassination of JFK, “if Oswald (read Bryant) was the lone assassin, where is the issue of national security?"


Anonymous said...

Martin Bryant a "patsy" along with Lee Harvey Oswald?

Sid, you're flipping out. Take your meds, please.

Anonymous said...

"Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so."

- Bertrand Russell

Perhaps the previous poster is determined to prove Russell right?

Anonymous said...

The man witnesses saw firing the gun at point blank range was Martin Bryant and yet you imply some crazy conspiracy theory? Perhaps if they could prove diminished responsibility he would just get a manslaughter charge. That should go down well with the families of the victims. By all means analyse the political motives of Howard after the massacre but I don't think anyone could legally dispute the processes that put a mass murderer in jail for life. Crazy conspiracy theories will benefit no one.

Anonymous said...

"The man witnesses saw firing the gun at point blank range was Martin Bryant"...

Not sure you're right about that, Thomas. Not according to this article published soon after the massacre.

I'll quote a little from the article below. Of course, you may have superior information that disproves it? As I said, I don't claim to be an expert about this grizzly mass murder.

I just don't like it when awkward questions get shouted down.

There is a better way to put minds at ease. That's following what I call 'Due Process'. It means holding inquests and public inquiries when they are warranted, even if a Prime Minister doesn't want a public investigation - be it Howard re: Port Arthur or Blair re: the 7/7/05 London Bombings.

Extract follows:

In terms of the allegation that the witnesses have identified Bryant as the man they saw shooting at the PAHS, the most serious difficulties are raised by Jim Laycock in his statement. Laycock is of outstanding importance in this case, as he is the one and only witness who observed the gunman in the act and actually knew Bryant. In his police statement, Laycock—who, as noted earlier, got a good enough look at the man to be able to estimate his age ("low twenties")—said that he "did not recognise the male as Martin Bryant". He stated only that he saw "a blonde [sic] headed person" shoot Zoe Hall and take Glenn Pears captive.

Another witness, Yannis Kateros, said he had never seen the gunman before. Yet Kateros had lived at Port Arthur since 1991, and, according to Laycock, Bryant had visited the PAHS on about a dozen occasions in the five-year period between about 1991 and 1995.

At least two other witnesses have also stated that Bryant was not the gunman. These are PAHS Information Centre employee Wendy Scurr, who, according to one report, saw the gunman inside the centre immediately prior to the attack, and Vietnam War veteran John Godfrey, who was waiting outside the centre when the shooting commenced. Godfrey viewed the gunman twice. He saw him drive by and saw him put a bag into the boot of his car. "In my opinion the picture I saw in the newspapers was not the same person," he stated in his police statement taken on 7 June 1996. Wendy Scurr has changed her mind on the subject; she no longer believes that Bryant was the man she saw that day.

So when people tell me that everyone knows that Bryant "did it" because people saw him doing it, I tend to wonder which witnesses they can possibly be referring to. To my knowledge, the only witnesses who positively identified Bryant as the gunman were Linda White and Michael Wanders, both persons whose statements were taken a full month after the shooting, after they had been exposed to plenty of media coverage about the case.

Anonymous said...

Hee hee Sid. There was no trial, as you pointed out, yet look at the comments already.
People have judged him guilty, like they did Lindy Chamberlain, ditto David Hicks.
Better wake up to the fact Sid, even people who come into this blog do not understand one of the most basic fundamental rights in a democracy, "rule of law".
Yet these would be the same dickheads roaring their heads off, if they were flung into a prison cell without a trial after some kid up and accused them of paedophilia.

Anonymous said...

For a review of Nexus Magazine from which these 'informed' quotes were taken please go here:

Anonymous said...

Gee Sid, with such reputable sources such as Nexus Magazine for your research methinks you might have been a UK tabloid journo in a past life?

Exactly what part of the Tasmanian court process was, in your mind 'illegal'? And please support your argument with something more legitimate than an online conspiracy mag.

Anonymous said...

(1) An anonymous critic writes: “Exactly what part of the Tasmanian court process was, in your mind 'illegal'?”

Actually, I complained about lack of due process. Whether it was illegal to avoid holding a coroner’s inquiry or inquest is another matter. Perhaps a lawyer can discuss this topic for us? (Preferably not an ‘anonymous lawyer’).

It wouldn’t surprise me if it was technically legal. Lots of surprising things seem to be legal in Australia - such as one company controlling 80%+ of the nation’s daily print media.

(2) Rather than denigrate my occasional use of 'conspiracy mag' sources, which actually helps make my point about the paucity of serious ‘mainstream’ media consideration of the Port Arthur topic, why don’t my critics show mainstream media reports about the Port Arthur massacre coronial inquiry / inquest / full trial?

If they can’t find such references either, we may have established common ground: the conclusion that such reports simply don’t exist, because no coronial inquiry / inquest / full trial was ever held.

In that case, my fundamental point remains: what type of justice system condemns a man to life in prison without the alleged evidence that ‘proves’ his guilt being tested in any kind of open judicial process? I thought my parents’ generation fought wars so our society wouldn’t become like that. Perhaps I – and they – were misguided?

(3) Is Nexus such a loopy source that it should never be cited?

That’s arguable. The link cited above is scarcely a definitive source itself as the author is decent enough to admit when he writes: “The content of this site is opinion. It is my opinion, and if it does not match yours then that is too bad.”

My own opinion is that Nexus carries an interesting mix of sense and nonsense. Most of it is nonsense. In that respect, Nexus is not dissimilar to the Cairns Post, when you think about it.

FWIW, I believe Australia’s ‘New Age’ fringe media such as Nexus and New Dawn, carry occasional gems that are under-reported elsewhere. Here’s an interesting example:

When did any of Rupert Murdoch’s Australian newspapers carry a single story about The Mossad’s operations ‘down under’?

Perhaps it doesn’t fit their script?

Does that mean all Murdoch's rags lie about everything? Of course not! That's why, occasionally, it's worth citing them also.

John Connor said...

Good post on the Port Arthur set up

The Nexus report explains the inside set up and double cross

I have put it up on Wikileaks

Howard is a criminal

Syd Walker said...

That is a superb link you've posted on Wikileaks John. Thanks.

It is a matter of grave concern that most Australians continue to snooze over this case.

The establishment can be expected to fight to the last to maintain the Port Arthur cover-up; by now it implicates just about everyone: elements in the Howard Government, elements in the Tasmanian Government, the so-called 'intelligence agencies' and of course the Australian mass media...

For instance, few stories illustrate more clearly the tendency of ABC reporters and presenters to collude in a lie to cover-up murder.

If the penny ever drops for most Australians, they'll realize they pay for a public broadcasting institution that systematically lies to them, even over the mass murder of Australians.

I for one would rather have NO ABC than an institution so cowardly and subject to manipulation around a pre-set agenda. Why pay to have an organization that (in this case at least) pursues what is essentially a criminal agenda?

The wicked people who continue to orchestrate a cover-up on the Port Arthur massacre probably rely on the selfishness of the average Australian, too lazy to read and think for themselves - and too cowardly to put themselves out for a fellow human being like Martin Bryant, even though it's obvious he was just a patsy, sacrificed by murderers (and their backers) that we really do need to bring to justice.

Here's that link again.

Here's another article I wrote on the case more recently: Eyes that Shame Australian Journalism

John Connor said...

"Treason does not prosper

What's the reason?

For it propsers, none dare call it treason"

Mr X, Fletcher Prouty, "JFK"

John Connor said...

sorry, forgot the link

the truth about the USA

Syd Walker said...

When I come to check, most of the links in the article that John suggested are broken. The article is three years old and a lot of these sites are down.

Fortunately they can probably be retrieved via the internet archive:

I especially recommend Carl Wernerhoff's work - see for example The Port Arthur Massacre; Was Martin Bryant Framed? - Pt 1

Carl is an interesting contrast to the avaricious shysters who've made money in recent years churning out conformist books about aspects of the Port Arthur atrocity. No easy entry to the publishing mass market for him. He goes by a pseudonym, but describes himself as a history PhD currently working as a teacher.

It figures. On topics declared 'only one side of the story allowed' by the mass media, the most truthful narratives tend to be written by people desperate to get the world out, unconcerned about making a quid - and often at risk of losing employment etc if they publish under their own name.

We have allowed out society to corrode to such an extent that on topics such as Port Arthur, promotion is based on the willingness to turn a blind eye, conform and lie. This is detrimental to our long-term well-being.

For Bryant, of course, it's the ultimate tragedy... the 'Sirhan Sirhan Experience'. Snatched in the early part of your life and incarcerated without hope of reprieve from that time on.

Australia is truly a cruel society to let such an injustice continue in our midst.

BCA said...

Here here!!
There used to be a petition regarding reopening this investigation. I have studied this case, and in the past, sent much paperwork into Mr Rudd, for reviewing. With over 500 signatures from the petition, we never got a response.. Zero.
Till the day I die, myself and my extended families will not believe one man did this, let alone Martin Bryant, its the biggest scam, and a great injustice.
One day it will all come out, who knows how long, but it will happen. I really feel for the victims families, Wendy Scurr and Staff and Carleen Bryant and families. To loose a family member and not know the whole truth, and have that taken from you is the greatest injustice of all.
Many people still need to wake up.

An Australian citizen and many families.

Colin R said...

I worked for 7 years at aset short for Australian standard electrical transformers in victoria now Schneider electrical as a manager.
The co owners were Ron Gibson and alf zenkis .
When they sold to Schneiderron and his lovely wife Sylvia went to Tasmania for a well earned holiday.
They were sitting in the cafe on the day of the massacre and saw martin Bryant shoot people in the cafe , martin Bryant calmly pointed the gun at sylvias head and she was to be shot in cold blood , but martin Bryant stopped when he he heard the bus pull up outside , he lowered the gun and walked outside and started shooting the people on the bus.
That shock of seeing that and nearly being shot by martin Bryant killed Sylvia 18 months later as she never recovered. So to the doubters this is what Ron and Sylvia Gibson saw martin Bryant not anyone else.
ps and how come syd walker went from sid walker?

Unknown said...

This hoax was perpetrated by the same people who faked the moon landing. Probably some deranged Zionists...

Leuco Gaster said...

Too right, Nick, they were behind the grassy knoll in Dallas too, and more recently they engineered Sept 11! Colin R summed it up for me, the right man is locked up and there's no more to be said.

This whole discussion is a great example of why Syd Walker and his ilk are just whistling in the wind, even when they try to engage MPs like Entsch on important issues like the NBN. I'm no supporter of Warren, but even he is too smart to get involved with, frankly, loony-tunes conspiracy theorists.

Syd Walker said...

Actually Nick, the absurd story that the moon landings were a hoax has been promoted by Murdoch's News Corp over the years.

This was done, in part, by a 'documentary' shown throughout the English-speaking world a few years ago: Moon Landing Hoax - Conspiracy Theory - Did We Land On The Moon.

A self-styled relative-by-marriage of Rupert Murdoch, Eric Hufschmid, has also been involved. As well as being one of the first people to claim 9-11 was an inside job, Hufschmid also promoted and continues to promote the 'Moon Landing Hoax' theory. He is clearly a professional disinformationalist.

The objective appears to be to deliberately seed false 'conspiracy theories' (in this case the notion the moon landings were hoaxed) into public discourse, to create general confusion about what's really true and what isn't. Some fools believe everything; other fools believe nothing. Very convenient. Intelligence agencies call this 'poisoning the well'. Take

The Murdoch media empire, incidentally, was instrumental in creating the highly negative impressions that poisoned the Australian public mind against Martin Bryant ever since his arrest. See 'A Question of Guilt', paying special attention to the segments from Mediawatch back in 1996 included in that video. The interview with Paul Kelly is a beauty.

Syd Walker said...


Your contribution on other topics suggest to me that you're not an unintelligent person. So I'll take the time to reply to you.

Your ad hominem attacks on me do you no justice. You mention the 'grassy knoll' in a sneering reference to the assassination of JFK, implying that only loonies disbelieve the official (Warren Commission) story that there was just one 'lone nut' killer.

How pathetic. Are you aware that when Congress finally investigated the JFK assasination in the late 1970s, it found evidence of "probable conspiracy" in the assassination of John Kennedy?

That's right, a popular US President was shot in broad daylight - and the mass media and government of the day covered up the realities of his murder. Yet nearly 50 years after that terrible event, you choose to make a joke out of the people who query the 'official' (Warren Commission) story. Why?

Turning to Port Arthur and Martin Bryant, I spent many years, like most Australians, assuming the offical version of events re: the Port Arthur massacre was correct.

Then I spent time looking into the case for myself, reading quite widely and trying to keep an open mind. I concluded that Martin Bryant is very likely innocent; the offical story is riddled with holes. Only the lack of an inquest and/or inquiry has kept the lie of his guilt alive all this time.

I also assumed the moon landings were genuine for many years. Then, when doubts were widely raised, I looked into that issue too, reading what the critics had to say as well as rebuttals.

I came to the conclusion that moon landings were NOT hoaxed - the suggestion is bunkum. Some of the propagonists of that theory may be innocents, but others are not. As a whole, it reeks of professionally seeded disinformation.

In summary. Some official stories are true; others are not. Fools believe every offical story to be true; other fools disbelieve every story.

The technnique of mixing truth and falsehood, known as 'poisoning the well' in 'intelligence' jargon, is an effective way to create confusion.

Why do you contribute to 'poisoning the well'? Is it simply ignorance on your part, or is there a reason for your bias?

LG said...

Syd, the conspiracies in which you apparently believe have one thing in common - the deceiving of the public by a sinister, shadowy, unidentified cabal cynically manipulating official statements and the media.

Applying Occam's Razor, the truth is usually rather more simple - boring, I know, but there you have it.

I'm sorry if my "ad hominen attacks" upset you...nah, stuff it, you deserve it, the implications of your whacky theories are much more offensive than my reflections on your state of mind.

You effectively accuse Presidents Johnson and GW Bush, and our PM John Howard, not to mention thousands of law enforcement officers, bureaucrats and journalists of concealing dreadful crimes and setting up innocent patsies.

Get a life!

Syd Walker said...


This post is primarily about Port Arthur and the guilt or innocence of Martin Bryant.

From your comments, I take it it's just fine with you to lock up a suspect after a mass murder, hold no coronial inquiry and no inquest (as required by law), keep the prisoner incommunicado from his family for months, finally hold a trial once he's agreed to plead guilty (so no prosecution evidence is ever tested in court), then incarcerate him indefinitely thenceforth without any further inquiry?

If so, you have the society you want and deserve.

BCD said...

The day will come when the truth will come out.
Apparently there is an interesting training video, getting about somewhere. I have been told my a credible source,if there ever is an enquiry this tape will come out,and not beforehand. This evidence is hidden and in safe keeping. Ahh so much the Australian public doesnt know or want to know.

On that day I, and many will say see I told you so... But you wouldnt listen, cause you were brain washed by the media..
Time will tell, in the meantime, they covered there tracks very well.. What about the gun dealer now thats another story, poor fella had his business shut down, cause he wouldnt lie on oath!!
Dirty rotten scoundrels..
Wendy Scur also told to shut up, she was there, she was a key witness... It doesnt get any better than that.

So if you lie we will let you speak, if not shut up, the Australia public doesnt want the truth, and we will keep that from them.

Sound dodgy, its stinks to high heaven, and how can some people sleep at night is beyond me

The plot thickens...
Whats frightening is this has been gotten away with, what world am I really bringing my children into.
I hate to think.