Fitzgibbon and the Yellow Peril:

Peter Lloyd writes: Re. “Fitzgibbon and the shadow of the Yellow Peril” (yesterday, item 2). Jeff Sparrow’s comments on the Fitzgibbon/Defence situation is of mixed value; he raises important points then shirks them. Sparrow’s call for a wide-ranging discussion about Australia-China relations is important, but to dismiss those who question the compatibility of the two nations’ political cultures as merely racist is itself a dismissal of the debate. Chinese influence has benefitted Australia since not long after the Europeans got here, but China remains a totalitarian regime. Chinese support strengthens nasty regimes from Fiji to Sudan, and our governments will have to deal with this.

Fitzgibbon has shown great courage and insight as minister: he cancelled the Global Hawk programme (an expensive way to do a limited and very specific secondary defence job), and with luck he might get Australia out of the hideously expensive lemon that is the F-35 JSF [not as good as Russian jets that cost a fraction of the price]. It might not be too late to resurrect the F-111 [an aircraft that could have been designed specifically for Australia’s needs], or keep some Leopard tanks [which can drive over Pacific region bridges without having them collapse].

Charles Smith writes: Re. “The coalition’s shameful Red Scare campaign” (yesterday, item 10). Please, please could Bernard Keane provide us with a pic of a post-War lefty wearing a Mao cap and a Free Tibet t-shirt? What a succinct summary it would make of those sixty-four years of futile protest. Obviously the Left was wrong about everything between 1945 and 2009 (Vietnam, South Africa, Aboriginal reconciliation, Iraq, nuclear weapons, global warming, etc) and is self-evidently infantile and hypocritical.

Inexplicably 2009 sees capitalism collapsing via its own bankers even without the assistance of any relevant t-shirts from the Left. Thank heavens we have Bernard to show us the way to the Promised Land – whatever and wherever it may be. Perhaps he could tell us about that, too.

Chris Hunter writes: I don’t know if Bernard Keane has taken the time out to read the written works of Che Guevara. I suspect not. To classify Che as a terrorist and mass murderer is about as short sighted as classifying Australian pensioners as “Pokey ‘n’ Plasma” addicts. Nether are true. Sure these tags make contentious copy but really they are rattle- brained remarks.

The reality of unending oppression is that you have to fight your way free. Words are cheap and as Guevara understood, meaningless in the face of true terror; the soulless multinational businesses and the shady Governments backing them up.

Martyn Smith writes: Re. “Mungo: Rudd, Manning Clark, Mata Hari and Greg Sheridan” (Yesterday, item 12). As I read the voluminous and informed commentary in the pages of Crikey about the “spying” of the ADF on minister Fitzgibbon I seem to have missed what is to me an obvious question. Who else did the ADF spy on? You may recall in the excellent film The Day of the Jackal that the police suspected a high level leak and found the “leaker” by means of phone taps.The culprit committed suicide.

When the police superintendent reported to the French cabinet, he was asked, “How did you know whose phone to tap?” to which he replied, “I didn’t, I checked on all of you”.

Since an ALP government would be anathema to certain members of the intelligence community I wonder who else was considered worthy of investigation?

Glen Frost writes: The current contretemps between Minister J Fitzgibbon and his Department is a case study from The Art of War. Obviously the Minister isn’t as well read as he should be! Perhaps some kind friend or colleague who knows about these things (NSW Labor factions??) should send the Minister The Art of War with pertinent chapters covering “Know Your Enemy” and “Divide and Conquer” clearly highlighted?

Henrie Ellis writes: Indisputable truths of our times. I read between the lines of Crikey and these things I know:

  • Murdoch correspondent, Greg Sheridan is a Chinese Government secret agent who has inveigled himself into the inner sanctum of the US State Department and Australian Defence Department.
  • PM Kevin Rudd is a CIA secret agent who has inveigled himself into the inner sanctum of the Chinese Communist Party Politburo
  • Former merchant banker, Malcolm Turnbull is a Swiss Government secret agent who has inveigled himself into the Liberal Party.
  • Defence Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon is just a dill
  • Joe Hockey, Shadow Treasurer, is a fine figure of a man who is actually a secret agent for Weight Watchers International
  • Ambassador Amanda Vanstone is an Interpol secret agent – true dinks
  • Mungo McCallum is a secret member of the Exclusive Brethren. God bless him.

Now I sleep well at night, thank you Crikey.

Earth Hour:

Denise Marcos writes: Re. “Earth Hour parliamentary email ruckus” (yesterday, item 11). Leaving aside allegations of rabid leftie support for Earth Hour and ignoring the politics, let’s address purely the practical issue. I was dumbfounded to read that, as a matter of course, public servants apparently leave on “lighting, printers, faxes, photocopiers, kitchen appliances and computing hardware” when they depart from their taxpayer-funded desks at the end of the working day.

Forget the politics, forget Earth Hour, this is flagrant waste. Being one amongst millions of serfs who contribute to paying the collective commonwealth energy bill I deem such behaviour to be cavalier — not to mention ignorant, offensive and expensive. Which Minister should we contact? Please let it not be Peter Garrett.

The Grand Prix:

Peter Wilms writes: Re. “Brumby’s Grand Prix spinning out of control. Don’t tell Fairfax” (yesterday, item 23). If it is true that Bernie Ecclestone walked away with some $47 million of our dollars for giving us permission to stage his grand prix then it is truly an outrage. Ecclestone, who struts the F1 scene like some smaller version of Napoleon, should be told what to do with his outdated formula; shove it and let us get back to normality.

Let us do a bit more for the environment by banning your annual polluting circus and give the good folk of Melbourne — and everywhere else for that matter — something else to think about and do on this unnecessary and intrusive weekend.


David Lenihan writes: Come on Marcus Vernon (yesterday, comments) lighten up. Your staunch support for La Diva Vanstone and her canine friend doesn’t fit into the humorous style the article was “obviously” intended. OK you are a front row fan of said lady, that’s your prerogative but even Amanda has been known to crack the odd, mmm, very odd, funny. Not often, I hasten to add but her effort on her ability to speak a language other than English comes to mind. Didn’t bring the house down mind you, but the effort was made.

Let’s face it, she shouldn’t be there, it’s a joke in itself, well to all but a few of her Lib mates. Not thinking about a trip to the eternal city are you? Be happy to include a bag of ruff ruff “doggie bites”, in your luggage as a small gesture of appreciation to her and her four legged mate for encouraging a smile in most of us.


Robert Johnson writes: Guy Rundle (yesterday, comments) points out that earlier restrictions on entry into Israel have been relaxed. Two examples come to mind from when I was living in Jerusalem recently.

First, the colleagues of mine approached by a Russian “Jewish” couple living in their apartment block, who cautiously asked if they could be taken by them to their Christian church for worship, as they hadn’t been able to attend a church since converting to Judaism so that they could migrate from Russia to Israel for a better life.

Secondly, media reports at the time of sizable numbers of poor Indians and Peruvians migrating to Israel, also seeking a better life, enabled by conversion to Judaism. Many such new Jewish Israeli citizens are well-placed in the expanding West Bank settlements, where life is so much better than what they have escaped that they will — and do — ruthlessly defend their communities from the Palestinian families whom they have ejected.

This strategic use of desperate newcomers prepared to attack local Palestinians for a right of occupation necessary for their improved lifestyle seems to have been critical to successful settlement expansion.

The Law of Return applies to people who clearly are not “returning”, whilst the Right of Return is denied those who have that right and wish to (the displaced Palestinian’s entering their fourth generations living in neighbouring countries’ refugee camps).

Eric Lundberg writes: Guy Rundle acknowledges that Israel’s Law of Return has allowed non Jews of Jewish descent the right to immigrate to Israel for 40 years – since 1970. Making an unsourced and in fact baseless claim – “Faced with a grievous decline in western Jewish immigration, Israeli authorities have quietly relaxed the rules so that anyone digging up a Jewish female relative or two a few generations back — or even dodging up faked ancestry — can get in” — he announces that this demonstrates Israel’s colonial nature. Colonists have a home country to go to. Millions of Israelis have none.

Rundle offers no evidence to support his claim that there has been a recent change in the administration of Israel’s Law of Return. Recent immigration numbers from Eastern Europe have not shown any spike which would lend support to his allegations. The reverse is the case.

The law is unchanged and is in place for the good reason that people of Jewish origin are regularly at risk in many countries — including those of the former Soviet Union — and Israel will continue to offer them refuge.

Sol Salbe writes: Sorry, both Eric Lundberg (Friday, comments) and Guy Rundle got it wrong. Contrary to Lundberg there was a change. And yes it was in 1970, as Rundle says (10 March 1970 to be precise]. But Rundle is wrong in suggesting that the clause defining Jew has been disregarded. Until 1970 you had to have a Jewish mother, which of course make you Jewish according to the Halakha [Jewish law].

Since 1970 it is sufficient that one of your four grandparents (or two parents) is Jewish to be admissible. But that original Jewish relative who passes the entitlement still has to be Jewish according to Jewish law. The rigour of applying that clause has not changed. The change is best seen this way: previously only a Jewish maternal grandmother could have passed the entitlement.

Since 1970 the other three grandparents can pass it as well. Thus people who are not Jewish by Jewish law and whose connection to Judaism can be very tenuous are welcome in Israel.

However, the fact remain that there has been no change in the way the Jewishness of the original relative in gauged, which was Rundle’s contention.

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