Monday 30 March 2009

An open letter to ABC Far North

In an open letter, CairnsBlog contributor Syd Walker asks ABC Far North radio, why they didn't do more homework before talking with Clive Williams this morning.

(Please note, the photograph of Mr Walker is used in violation of the Geneva Convention on Cruelty to Civilian Populations.)

  • Fiona Sewell
    ABC Far North
    Cairns, Queensland
    Copy: Bruce Woolley (Manager)

    Dear Fiona,

    I refer to your interview this morning with Clive Williams, visiting fellow, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University.

    Had you provided any of the following background about Mr Williams, which his own webpage presents as his 'Career Highlights', your listeners might have been better able to evaluate his comments in context. Instead, as I recall, you introduced him with words such as 'academic' and 'expert'. It's true, as far as it goes, but they are rather bland terms in the circumstances:

    Career HighlightsDefence Intelligence Organisation (DIO) Attaché in Washington 1990-1993; Head of Imagery Exploitation Centre 1993-1994; Director Major Powers Section, DIO 1994-1998; Director of Security Intelligence 1998-2002. See this link.

    Yes, Clive Williams is an expert. He's expert in rationalizing open-ended military occupations based on a bogus initial pretext.

    I'd be grateful if you could take two minutes to watch the video featured on
    a recent post on my blog, produced by The Guardian.

    THAT is the war that Clive Williams wants us to keep fighting for AT LEAST another TEN years. Another DECADE, for heavens sake!

    I believe most Far North Queensland locals do not want our local ABC station serving as a part-time propaganda wing of the military-security establishment. (I'm aware that the national ABC performs this role more or less as a matter of course, but surely there are limits!)

    However, as ABC Far North has now chosen to enter the minefield of Afgani/Pakistani affairs -presumably to help better inform local listeners on these weighty matters - I trust you will follow up soon with an interview about the Afghanistan war in which an informed advocate of an anti-occupation, pro-reconciliation approach to resolving conflict in that region is granted at least an equal amount of airtime as Clive Williams.

    Otherwise, the local public in this part of the world have a right to ask why ABC Far North chooses to help push a minority view held by those Australians who support our continuing involvement in this war.

    Please now give at least least equal voice to the substantial MAJORITY of Australians (70%+ according to statistics cited by Williams himself) who seek a rapid end to Australia's involvement in the occupation of Afghanistan. Please ALSO give voice to those of us able to present compelling evidence that the 2001 assault on Afghanistan was a war launched on false premises - evidence which the ABC, to its shame, never deigns to report fairly in its current affairs coverage,
    see for instance.
    I understand that the rest of the mainstream Australian media insists on treating the public like idiots. But ABC Far North need not do the same. So, if you want to raise the issue of Afghanistan, why not also interview a prominent 9-11 sceptic on the topic? Perhaps Professor David Ray Griffin would be amenable to the opportunity?
    See this if you haven't already heard of Griffin; I have other suggestions if he isn't available).

    A declining number of well-informed people believe any longer that fanatical Muslims, led by 'Al Qaida' based in Afghanistan, managed to effect the free-fall collapse of THREE steel-framed Manhattan skyscrapers into dust and molten steel on 9-11. After all, such a phenomenon has never been observed before or since in history, absent pre-planned controlled demolition... Recall also that the Taliban Government of the day offered to extradite Mr Bin Laden if it could be presented with evidence of his guilt; that perfectly normal and reasonable request - a request any sovereign nation makes in the event of an extradition request - was dismissively treated as a casus belli by the Bush Administration.

    'NATO's' war in Afghanistan is being waged a long way from the North Atlantic. Afghanistan is a long way from Australia too. Even Clive Williams admitted the conflict poses no direct 'threat' to Australia. This war, launched on the basis of demonstrable lies, is being waged against an increasingly popular resistance movement. The chief beneficiaries of the post-2001 conflict have been drug barons, arms merchants and profiteering military contractors. Ordinary Afghanis have been and remain the principal victims.

    Australians are right to reject this foul war. It's a war based on outrageous deceptions that our own publicly-owned mass media is too conformist and cowardly (and/or complicit?) to investigate. How shameful is that!

    If you must interview war-mongering academics with 'Defense Intelligence' (double misnomer?) connections, please at least question them critically and balance their pro-war spin with opposing views.

    With regards to you and all at ABC Far North, on this fine sunny day in relative paradise.
    Syd Walker
    PS. As I have little remaining confidence that the mainstream media in Australia provides an opportunity for meaningful discussion of topics such as those raised above, I intend to publish this letter on my blog. I will, of course, publish any replies received from yourself and/or Mr Woolley.

    There is nothing personal in this. I respect you and ABC Far North in most of your endeavours. But when you play a role - even a minor role - in helping to promote unjust and murderous wars, I believe you cross a line.

    Ventilation of these issues in the public domain, in my opinion, is very much in the public interest - within this region and everywhere else. It's past time.


Syd Walker said...

Amazing! This morning I received an email from the newly-appointed News Director of the ABC. That's a reply after only two days! Full details at my blog: see A New Broom at ABC News!

It's a good thing that woman are elbowing their way into all the top jobs. When will Julia Gillard sieze the reins? How much longer do we have to put up with a boy doing a woman's job in the Communications portfolio?

Mick said...

Typical Syd Walker,
You only argue with the media when they don't support your heavily skewed, left-wing views and conspiracy theories. It looks as though common sense left you a long time ago. Show some respect to the diggers on the ground serving their country and trying to give the people of Afghanistan a better life, free from repression by the Taliban. And before you lambast me for being some right-wing neo-con, why don't you actually talk to some of the veterans who've been over there and get their perspective. Get out of Kuranda and go into the real world. It's not all peace and flowers. Reality bites doesn't it? But then again, you wouldn't know that because you've probably never been in a combat zone. Grow up.

On another note: keep up the good work in and around Cairns Mike. I may not agree with all your views, but someone's got to keep 'em honest.

Syd Walker said...

My initial comment on this thread was, sadly, an April Fools Joke. The ABC has not yet replied to my email.

Second, Mick, I am sorry I raised your hackles.

Are you saying it is unpatriotic to query and oppose wars based on demonstrable lies? Are you saying it is patriotic to 'support our troops' even if they are losing life and limb (and killing and maiming locals) in a futile, open-ended military conflict?

If so, we have a different concept of patriotism.

As you are an anonmyous Mick, there's not much point in asking about your experience of real war zones. But tell me - how much experience did George Bush, Tony Bliar or John Howard have? I know they flew in, heavily guarded, for photo ops. But did they get a taste of the real thing?

Here's the words of one man who did have such direct experience, during World War One. It's an extract from what is probably the most famous war poem of that appalling, destructive, utterly futile conflict:

"If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori."