Daily Archives: September 14, 2010


Please write in and complain to the ABC

Letters of complaint can be made via a form on the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent website http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/contact.htm
or a letter can be sent to ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs, GPO Box 9994, Melbourne

Dora McPhee (VIC) has written the following letter to the ABC

Dear Sir/Madam,

I write because I am deeply concerned about the screening on September 7 of “Gaza – Collision Course” on ABC TV’s Foreign Correspondent. The renamed film was the Panorama documentary “Death in the Med” by Jane Corbin, which was broadcast in the UK on the BBC on August 22, 2010. At the time it was extensively criticised for its pro-Israel bias despite its nod to “balance” by including some viewpoints from the peace activists who were on board the Mavi Marmara as part of the Free Gaza Flotilla.

The BBC’s defence of this program did not satisfy many critics who saw it as a breach of the BBC’s aims of impartiality. Given the controversy this
program invited it seems the ABC’s Mark Corcoran has erred in not pointing out to viewers that the program was in fact highly controversial in his
introduction of this documentary. Instead, the program was billed as shedding light on the deadly events with never before seen video footage and accounts with much praise for the Panorama team that were given the BBC’s imprimatur. This would lead viewers to assume it was a fair and honest portrayal of the facts.

However, we are not told that the Israelis confiscated all video equipment and footage and that the footage now released by them is highly selective. We are given no indication on whether these snippets have been edited or shown out of sequence to support one version of events. Although Israel successfully controlled news of its deadly commando raid on the Free Gaza Flotilla it was incumbent on the ABC to tell its viewers that emerging evidence from eye witnesses and survivors of the ordeal have seriously challenged Israel’s version of events and that many of these accounts are not even covered in this program. In particular the UK activist, Ismail Patel, who witnessed the point blank shooting of a fellow activist clearly undermining the claim that the IDF only shot at activists in self-defence is a case in point as reported in The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/04/gaza-flotilla-activists-autopsy-results

I draw your attention to Richard Lightbrown’s “Analysis of BBC Panorama ‘Death on the Med’ exposes blatant pro-Israel bias”, which scrupulously
tracks its criticism of the program against the transcript. This anaylsis can be found on the following site: http://www.redress.cc/global/tclementevans20100828

Not only was an inordinate amount of time given to spokespeople seeking to give the Israeli version of events, but also through the clever framing of the so-called “balance” pieces from the peace activists’ side there was a subtle reaffirmation of the Israeli position in numerous instances. This sort of “balance” within a documentary is far more insidious and manipulative than a film that is outright one-sided in that it allows the ABC/BBC to profess “balance” when in fact the opposite is true. The framing, what was left unchallenged or completely omitted and how language was used to prejudice the portayal of the activists, were all subtle ways employed to influence viewers to draw certain conclusions. Specific examples of this practice are outlined in detail in Richard Lightbrown’s analysis, which I urge you to read.

Since the programme was aired on the BBC, Ken O’Keefe, one of the activists interviewed, has written an open letter to the BBC Panorama’s Jane Corbin
indicating that he had only agreed to participate in the documentary if it was made plain that the activists had let the commandos go after disarming
them and treating them for their injuries incurred in the confrontation. This was an important point as it seriously undermines the Israeli narrative
that the activists were intent on using violence and terrorised the Israeli commandos as implied by the documentary.

Instead the documentary gives the false impression that the said commandos escaped rather than being treated for their injuries and then released.
Again, the ABC should have mentioned to viewers that Ken O’Keefe was unhappy with how Jane Corbin used his commentary, thereby reneging on her agreement, as he could see how it had been manipulated to heighten the narrative of activist violence, while she downplayed the fatal violence perpetrated by the IDF. There was no discussion of how the activists had a right to defend themselves against assault in international waters nor that the captain of
the ship had moved the ship deeper into international waters to avoid such a confrontation when it was clear the Israelis were intent on boarding the ship in the middle of the night.

What is even more egregious is the testimony of the commando supposedly wounded by a knife attack to the abdomen who testifies that he somehow
miraculously jumped ship and swam to safety. We are not shown verifiable evidence of his abdominal wound and it beggars belief that with such a wound
he was able to swim to safety without serious ramifications. This testimony is not even challenged for its veracity by Corbin even though O’Keefe had
clearly told her all wounded IDF commandos were treated and released. We are left with the impression that it was the IDF that was in danger and not the
activists, nine of whom were killed and scores of whom were injured. How some of them came to be injured fatally is not even addressed and yet they lost their lives and surviving witnesses to their deaths are not given a voice.

In fact the most glaring omission was any footage or eyewitness accounts of the killing of the nine activists and yet this footage must be in the
possession of the IDF. We know from witnesses that an activist was shot while filming the confrontation. Where is his film clip one wonders? Nor are
we told – and this is a crucial point – of the autopsy results that show gun shot wounds in some cases from behind and above and others directly to the
head, which seriously calls into question the Israeli version of events. A Press TV journalist who was also an eyewitness has given a detailed account
of events that simply does not tally with Jane Corbin’s documentary: http://australiansforpalestine.com/23469 None of these issues was ever
brought to light in the documentary – things that should have been germane in bringing us closer to the truth, which the documentary claims to do.

The IDF have since admitted that the audio recording they claimed to be broadcast from the flotilla: “Shut up, go back to Auschwitz..etc”, had been
doctored, after intense criticism claiming that it was a forgery had made them retract this claim. And yet this recording is used in the documentary.
While Corbin notes the authenticity has been questioned she then proceeds to say “For the Israelis it was a warning sign things wouldn’t go smoothly”,
which implicitly suggests she accepts the claim that it is genuine for how could a “faked” recording have been a warning sign? The documentary contains many such instances of sly innuendo while parading as an exercise in “balance”.

I recently wrote to the ABC regarding the refusal to screen “Hope in a Slingshot”, which details Israel’s military occupation of Palestinians in
the West Bank, by Australian director Inka Stafrace. That this program was deemed to be an opinion piece dealing with a contentious subject and
therefore could not be shown and yet the ABC has no qualms in showing Jane Corbin’s highly contentious and flawed documentary on an incident that is still being investigated, is highly disturbing.

Sitting through Corbin’s skewed version of the Mavi Marmara debacle, which heavily favoured the Israeli defence forces’ version of what took place while discrediting the peace activists and their attempt to break Israel’s criminal siege and blockade of Gaza was indeed galling, particularly when
the distributor of an Australian documentary “Hope in a Slingshot’ was told her film could not be screened on the ABC until a program taking an opposing
position was available for broadcast. There clearly seems to be one rule for what is deemed a pro-Palestinian documentary and another for a pro-Israeli documentary that is paraded as an attempt to reveal the truth.

As the Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire wrote: “There is so much commentary in this documentary that is inaccurate that it does a grave disservice to investigative journalism and the BBC.” http://pulsemedia.org/2010/08/23/mairead-maguire-open-letter-to-bbc-panorama/

I ask the ABC to look into this matter.

Other letters can be read on our website
in the LETTERS section (right hand column)

See also:

Journalist Lauren Booth was on the first Free Gaza voyage and stayed to work in Gaza after the boats left. Her heartfelt letter to the people of Israel
should be read by everyone who hopes for peace in the Middle East. This stunning video tribute to her words was designed and produced by the Free Gaza movement.


Sonja Karkar
Australians for Palestine

Ark’s trial resumes in Adelaide.

Ark Tribe is back in front of a judge in Adelaide today.

His ongoing trial should serve as a reminder to every fair-minded Australian of why the ABCC needs to be dumped immediately.

The ABCC was a dud policy in 2005 when it was pushed upon the Australian people by then-Workplace Relations Minister, Tony Abbott.

But since then it’s steadily lost even more community support, to the point now where no one is willing to stick up for it.

These days even the CEO of Lend Lease, Steve McCann, has acknowledged the removal of the ABCC won’t have a significant affect on his company’s bottom line.

Right-wing thinktanks like the Institute of Public Affairs reckon the ABCC constitutes ‘coercive and unjust state power.’

The ABCC was a rogue policy, introduced by a rogue Workplace Relations Minister.

It costs a fortune, provides no real advantage to anyone and strips basic civil liberties from construction workers.
Ark is facing trial today because he stuck up for safety and then allegedly refused to be forced into an ABCC interrogation.

That’s nothing short of a national disgrace.

We should all be urging the Australian Government to dump the ABCC like a hot brick.

Thanks for your support.

Dave Noonan, CFMEU C&G Division National Secretary

Greens move for new beginning on asylum seekers

14th September 2010


The Australian Greens have called for discussions with the new Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, to work towards a more sensible
approach to asylum-seekers, according to Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on Immigration and Human Rights, says she has written to Mr Bowen to congratulate him on his
appointment and to seek to establish a workable relationship with regular meetings in the new Parliament.

“Mr Bowen’s appointment provides a new opportunity to convince the Gillard Government that its offshore processing policy and suspension of
asylum claims for Afghans is not the answer,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“The Coalition has made it quite clear that it is not interested in changing its inhumane approach.

“This is an opportunity for the Gillard Government to break free of the race to the bottom on refugees that was displayed in the recent election

“Australia should not be trying to palm off its responsibilities as a regional leader to the poorest nations in our region, whether it be East
Timor, Nauru or somewhere else.

“This week I will be travelling to Darwin to visit immigration facilities and see for myself the conditions in the centres, which have
already been the subject of criticism.

“There are a number of key immigration issues the Greens want to work with Mr Bowen to resolve.”

These issues include:
* Lifting the suspension of Afghan asylum claims
* Ending the practice of children in immigration detention
* Abandoning the Government’s East Timor Solution and drawing a
line under further offshore processing
* An end to indefinite and long-term detention, with judicial
review of detention beyond 30 days
* A public campaign to provide the facts to the community and promote the positive and valuable contribution refugees have made to

“We need to do better in providing information to the Australian people, to help them understand that asylum-seekers are not to be feared, and
that their numbers are small compared to the 50,000 overseas visitors who overstay their visas every year,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“We oppose offshore processing as a solution to deal with vulnerable asylum-seekers. They should be brought to the mainland and housed close
to appropriate support and services, where they can be processed quickly, fairly and humanely.

“The Greens will continue to stand up for the rights of asylum-seekers and refugees and champion a more compassionate approach which a growing
number of Australians agree with.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew McGarry –
0427 604 760

Robert Simms
Community Liaison & Campaigns
Office of Sarah Hanson-Young
Greens Senator for South Australia
Ground Floor, Telstra Building
30 Pirie Street Adelaide SA 5000
Ph: (08) 8231 9911 / Fax: (08) 8211 7533

Sign-up to GreensMPs http://greensmps.org.au/stay-informed to receive updates and alerts enabling you to take action on important issues
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DEMOCRACY NOW – Interview with Kathy Kelly on eve of “Creech 14” Drone Trial in Las Vegas Nevada, USA

From Ciaron O’Reilly

Democracy Now Interview with Kathy Kelly on eve of “Creech 14” Drone Trial in Las Vegas Nevada, USA
ACTION BACKGROUND – “CREECH 14” AGAINST DRONE WARFARE DIRECTED FROM CREECH A.FB. IN NEVADA U.S.A. http://vcnv.org/drones-on-trial-in-las-vegas-sept-14th-2010


* Link to today’s Democracy Now pre-trial interview with Kathy Kelly

* New Youtube clips from Kathy Kelly’s July 29th visit to DM

* “The Indefensible Drones: A Ground Zero Reflection” by Kathy Kelly published in Common Dreams

Updates on trial to follow…..

Sept 13 – Pretrial interview with Kathy Kelly on Democracy Now http://www.democracynow.org/2010/9/13/activists_go_on_t…evada

“Journey to Palestine” show : Sydney September 26 and More


On September 26th I will be taking the “Journey to Palestine” show (that includes all the new songs and video from the trip to the Middle East) to Sydney for a concert at the Herb Greedy Hall in Marrickville from 2pm.

The event will also include a screening of the film ‘Hope in a Slingshot’ that was to be screened on the ABC but then for some “reason” not broadcast.

It would be great if you could forward the details of this event to friends in Sydney. ( http://www.philmonsour.com/ ).

Journeys to Palestine
Concert and Film screening
Sunday 26 September 2 to 6pm

Performance and presentation at 2pm – Film Screening at 3.30 – followed by refresments and more music by phil monsour.

Herb Greedy Hall
79 Petersham Road
Marrickville Sydney.
Entry by Donation
RSVP Bookings (for catering) and information

While in Sydney I will do a few songs at an Arcade Party for the Auburn poets and writers group on the Saturday the 25th 5.30 check http://www.philmonsour.com/shows.html for details.

The whole band will travel to Melbourne for the Concert for Palestine Saturday 30th of October MUA Hall 54 Ireland Street West Melbourne.

The show is part of the Australian Boycott Divestment and Sanctions Campaign National Conference and has a mega line up of like minded musicians and performers including a great spoken word artist Rafeef Ziadah from Canada.http://www.philmonsour.com/shows.html

A few people who missed the May concert with the video and new songs from the trip to the Middle East have requested a repeat. We are going to try this on the afternoon of the 27th of November 3pm at the relatively new Inspire Gallery Bar on Vulture street in West End.

Sunday the 26 of September Herb Greedy Hall Sydney
Saturday the 25 of September Arcade Party Alburn Sydney
October 1 QCU Building Brisbane with the Conch
October 30 MUA Hall Melbourne with the Brothahood the Conch the Phil Monsour Band (Brisbane) Rafeef Ziadah (Canada) and Fear of a Brown Planet
November 4 Muddy Farmer Annerly Brisbane
November 27 Inspire Gallery Bar West End Brisbane (repeat of the May Concert by request (you had better turn up!) for those who missed it.
Please friend my facebook page for regular updates.

Other news
The 15 song DVD Live at AHIMSA House is now available on the website shop. Check out the doco and a couple of the clips on youtube

The $30 CD pack of Lies and Silence and the Empires New Clothes is now available for purchase on the website.

Hope to see you. Please forward this to anyone who would be interested.

Thanks Phil

Phil Monsour Recordings

The Empires new clothes
13 song CD
Recorded with the full band

Lies and Silence
12 song CD
Solo acoustic recordings

Full Band Live at Ahimsa House
15 song and Documentary

Smart bombs
7 song CD
Recorded with a full band

APHEDA Projects
Pre School Burj el Barajneh
Health Service Burj el Barajneh
Food security project in Gaza
Rehabilitation Hospital in Gaza
Food security project in Talkarem

Justice for Palestine Brisbane: Eid-Feast Last Saturday

Hello Everyone,

I just wanted to say – OH MY GOD!!!!

I’ve never been to Eid-Feast before; as I always go back to the Middle East to be with my family for Eid, so I didn’t know what it was, or how big it really is.

I honestly don’t think we at J4P had such an innumerous and overwhelming support on a single event as we did on Saturday. I’ve just been told that we had like 600$ in donations and t-shirt sales, and almost 100 people signing up for our mailing list.

We gave away thousands of leaflets advertising mainly the BDS, the flotilla eye-witness forum and Rachel’s play. More importantly, we have spoken with hundreds and hundreds of enthusiasts that I’m 100% they will be joining us in most – if not all, of our upcoming events, and may be our fortnightly meetings too I hope.

We were active enough that we were targeted by what it seemed to be Israeli secret services personnel!!!! Two of them stood right in front of the tent where we were setup, stayed there for over an hour, kept checking all of us, were joined by another couple, kept moving slowly to obstruct the view of the banners so people can’t take notice of us! It was so stupid and such a waste of time for them as they actually had our crowd look more in number so people were actually investigating us even more! I didn’t want to make a big fuzz of it; otherwise I would have got the organizers involved. Besides, it worked for us and not against us really!

Bottom line: We all got stuffed with the yummiest food ever!!! It was UNREAL!!!!

Most of us stayed almost all day and participated so very effectively in every way. Mates, it was a real joy to share such a joyful festive day with all of you – Ann, Mervin, Rebecca, Sarah, Sameer, Leigh, David, Owien, Hamish and forgive me if I forgot anyone.

Thank you David Forde so much for organizing and MC’ing your forum in the afternoon. It did attract such a huge crowd really – including the Zionists that I spent nearly 2 hours arguing with!!!

Above all, Jaime – YOU ARE A LEGEND!!!!! He stood up all day, walked around all over the show ground – till he has actually asked not to by the organizers! He handed out more leaflets than we all did all together; he kept us all so very busy by directing crowds into our stall. Whenever he takes a break, we all do!!!! JUST UNBELIEVABLE! VIVA MEXICO AMIGO!!!

Last but not least, Mrs. Zahran, thank you so very much for (simply) making it all happen and making all of the above just possible. You intiated this and followed it up -as if fasting in ramadan wasn’t enough!

Few pictures attached.

Upside down, inside out, it was such a lovely productive festive day and I only hope if more of us managed to share the joy of it. I truly mean that.

I always enjoy Eid with my family and friends. I don’t think this Eid was any different. A personal thank you for each and every one of you.

Viva Palestina,
Emad Sinan

PS: next Eid (Ad’ha) is in less than 2 months, and I wonder if they make another eidfeast for it, KAT?