Greg Smith tale gets murkier. I read with interest weekend media regarding the NSW member for Epping Greg Smith, his opposition to some local housing projects, his son Nathaniel’s employment as a lobbyist at Hugo Halliday (odd employment choice for a plumber), Hugo Halliday’s lobbying efforts for Tesmar Group (property developers) and Smith spending some of his publicly-funded communications allowance with Hugo Halliday where his son works for the production of four newsletters. What the story didn’t mention was that Hugo Halliday proprietor Bill Pickering is a Liberal member of Ryde Council and chair of the council’s development committee. The possibilities for conflicts of interest abound aplenty.

The real story from inside Belarus. I received some news from a fearful Belarusian friend…

I’m really surprised with the fact that information about our political problems is in foreign newspaper, the point is that our Belarusian media keep silence on this topic — they say absolutely nothing — only that everything’s ok, so people who do not use Internet really believe that everything is OK. On 19th December we had president elections, frankly speaking nobody believed that it will change something, nobody has any hope that results would be truthful. And they really didn’t.

Thousands of people came to our main square to protest against the results — but our government had nice solution of this problem — they’ve sent SWAT. It supposed to a be peaceful demonstration, but SWAT beat everybody — women and the old — and then arrested those who could not run away. As a result — over 700 persons in jail, over 500 in hospitals with broken bones and heads. Those who were on the square that evening till this moment live in fear — every day the police searched houses, confiscate laptops…

Our government thanked SWAT who helped to calm down atmosphere and protected civilians from drunk and inadequate opposition who were destroying everything in it’s way. Our TV and newspapers drowned in lies. I know of about 50 persons from one university got taken to prison that evening. So we gather warm clothes, water, personal hygiene items to sent to prisoners, because there were no lists of detainees, no information and some people even don’t know where their relatives are. But our government think that helping people is crime too, university teachers were dismissed and all students who took part in helping gather items were threatened that they’ll be expelled. So hardly anybody feels safe in our country.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey