Josephine Cashman bruce pascoe
Josephine Cashman (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

The “rising movement” of whacko conspiracy theorists in Australia — the whole QAnon, shape-shifting lizards stuff — has found a new recruit in Josephine Cashman, and the mainstream right has a new embarrassment.

In the past few days, Cashman has sent out a storm of tweets alleging that the sinister international global conspiracy is manifested in Australia by… the success of Bruce Pascoe’s book Dark Emu.  

Remember Josephine Cashman?

The top end Indigenous businesswoman and former prosecutor found brief fame last year during the all-out assault on Pascoe and Dark Emu by the conservatoriat.

Cashman provided Andrew Bolt with a letter which purported to be from Yolngu elder Terry Yumbulul attacking Pascoe as a fabulist. Yumbulul denied he had written the letter; Cashman claimed she had written it “for” him.

At the same time, Cashman fell out with onetime mentor Marcia Langton, and Black Inc. publisher Morry Schwartz, both of whom were on the board of Cashman’s Indigenous bootstrapping Big River Impact foundation, after Cashman made wild allegations about organised crime in Indigenous groups and launched her attacks on Pascoe (who is published by Black Inc.).

Schwartz (disclaimer: he is a publisher of mine, one of the lucky ones, who actually got a book) has a soft spot for “iconoclastic” Indigenous leaders — practical business types, none of your abstract theorising and wigging out spectacularly,

Cashman has certainly been hard-headed and dewigging in the past 48 hours, putting out a blizzard of tweets about Dark Emu, Schwartz and… George Soros, of course.

This tweet serves as a summary of the torrent:

Yes, Cashman is going dank emu, getting into the international Soros conspiracy.

Her near continual stream of tweets yesterday repeats the familiar charge that the protests in current US unrest are being paid for by Soros, through Antifa, that the Chinese Communist Party is involved and much much more.

Cashman’s Australian twist appears to be that the publication of Dark Emu, and kids’ version Young Dark Emu, is part of the global conspiracy, Schwartz apparently working hand in glove with his 17th cousin, George ‘Schwartz’ Soros.

Call it what it is. This is anti-Semitism from the lower depths, and with an extra twist straight out of the playbook: that Jews are manipulating simple black people for their own nefarious ends.

That idea has the distinction of being deployed by both the KKK and the Nation of Islam in the past. Cashman’s flurry of tweets on this matter and her conviction that Dark Emu is central to a global conspiracy suggests an… erm… manic enthusiasm for her new found political faith.

Will her onetime champions, especially Andrew Bolt, now call her out on it?

Don’t hold your breath. Bolt sailed pretty close to the wind, during the Abbott government’s 18C review, after he accused Jewish community peak bodies of ingratitude and disloyalty to him when they backed retention of the law. (Heh, you know who else accused the Jews of disloyalty?)

Mind you, a lot of the Likudnik-dominated peak bodies are pretty slow to call out anti-Semitism on the mainstream right, as manifested in the writings of, for example, Nine political editor Chris Uhlmann.

Their support for Israel is too important to squander on the remorseless spread of old-skool anti-Semitism on the global “respectable” right. 

Meanwhile for the right, Cashman is now just another hero/martyr figure who has crumbled to dust.

She joins Lord Monckton (climate denier turned Obama birther), Milo Yiannopoulos (cheeky conservative turned man-boy-sex defender) and Jordan Peterson (inspirational scourge of victimhood and champion of enlightenment common sense, addicted to painkillers; who cold-turkied in Russia following a mental breakdown) in the avenue of open-mouthed laughing clowns that is the contemporary right.

Planet Janet Albrechtsen and Andrew Bolt have written gushingly about most of them. They’re either so stupid we should try and sell them a timeshare, or they don’t care that these hero figures have a limited shelf life.

Meanwhile, given the steady rise in right-wing anti-Semitic attacks in Australia (we can presume it wasn’t the Deakin Uni BDS collective who sprayed swastikas on the greens of the Jewish-community founded Cranbourne golf course recently), we hope that Cashman will get off the Jewish conspiracy hunting and onto shape-shifting lizards as soon as possible.

I mean have you ever asked what Bruce Pascoe is hiding behind that big beard of his? Gills, sheeple, he’s got gills! Open your eyes!

Editor’s note: Dark Emu and Young Dark Emu were in fact published by Magabala Books, though some of Pascoe’s work is published by Black Inc.)

Peter Fray

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