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The Daily Briefing 8/11/05

TUESDAY 8TH NOVEMBER 2005          
Your round-up from today's newspapers plus the best writing, analysis, critical thinking and humour from around the world.

In today's email:
1    Jane Mayer on torture, the CIA and a death in custody/New Yorker (2 links below)
2    Ambassador says Blair failed to restrain Bush/Guardian (4 links below)
3    Amjid Muhammad on fear mongering and Sheikh Omran/Age
4    Phillip Adams on Gough, Malcolm and the dismissal/Australian (2 links below)
5    William Rees-Mogg on the Pope and Darwin/Times
6     BOOKS: Scott Turow goes to war (plus 14 other links)
7    IN THE PAPERS: National, Opinion, Business round-up

1 The CIA, torture and a death at Abu Ghraib
From Seymour Hersh's revelations about the abuse at Abu Ghraib to Jane Mayer's expose on extraordinary rendition, The New Yorker has led the pack in investigating officially sanctioned torture and abuse in the "war on terror". In the latest edition of the magazine, Mayer is back with an exceptional piece of journalism. She painstakingly details the treatment meted out to Manadel al-Jamadi, who died at Abu Ghraib during a CIA "interrogation". Mayer links his death, and the failure to prosecute his interrogator Mark Swanner to secret White House and Justice Department memos sanctioning torture, and the current political battle in Washington to outlaw it. "The Bush Administration has resisted disclosing the contents of two Justice Department memos that established a detailed interrogation policy for the Pentagon and the C.I.A. A March, 2003, classified memo was "breathtaking," the same source said. The document dismissed virtually all national and international laws regulating the treatment of prisoners, including war-crimes and assault statutes, and it was radical in its view that in wartime the President can fight enemies by whatever means he sees fit."

The Washington Post reports that Dick Cheney is still the Vice-President for Torture to use the paper's earlier expression; and Newsweek reports that Cheney is increasingly isolated.

2 Blair failed to restrain Bush
Was John Howard seduced by George Bush in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, and did he wear comfortable trousers for those Crawford ranch photo opportunities? The Guardian has begun serialising "DC Confidential" by Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain's ambassador to Washington at the time. In its news story from the book for yesterday's paper (link below), it reports that "Tony Blair repeatedly passed up opportunities to put a brake on the rush to war in Iraq, a failure that may have contributed to the country's present anarchy". What was the attitude of "the Man of Steel"? Perhaps - may we live that long - one day Howard's role and conduct in the lead up to war will be given the scrutiny it deserves, the scrutiny due to a member of the "Coalition of the Willing", the sort of scrutiny that Blair and Bush have been subjected to. Perhaps, although we might need to borrow a couple of journalists from The New Yorker or The Washington Post.

The link below will take you to a number of extracts from Meyers' book, and it's not all heavy going, geo-political analysis. For example, Meyer shares that in his experience, "prime ministers have an unhappy relationship with clothes", in 'the case of the wrong trousers'. "Blair put on a pair of ball-crushingly tight dark-blue corduroys. I was later told that his wardrobe for the weekend had been the result of intensive debate within No 10." Another story tells how Blair, in Meyer's view, was seduced by the glamour of American power. (At TDB, John Howard is seen as more down to earth than that, comfortable in pair of wash 'n wears, safe from imperial blandishments.)

The Sunday Times profiled Meyer in advance of the book's release and picked up on his comments that the invasion of Iraq had increased the risk of home-grown terrorism. "Don't tell me that being in Iraq has nothing to do with it," he declared. "Of course it has."

Also in The Times, Oliver Kamm makes the left-wing case for the invasion. Kamm, who has a book on the subject out on Friday, "Anti-Totalitarianism: the Left-Wing Case for a Neoconservative Foreign Policy". He appears to disagree with Meyer's view that Blair was dragged along with Bush - he sees it the other way around. "So far from following President Bush's bidding, Blair persuaded Bush to abandon an instinctive aversion to foreign engagements and promote global democracy as our defence against theocratic totalitarianism. For all the failures of postwar planning in Iraq, that strategy is right."

3 Fear and what the Sheikh said
TDB has not made a study of the utterances of Sheikh Mohammed Omran, and is inclined not to agree with them, as currently understood. But the simplistic mob mentality in full flight is never an edifying spectacle. Which is why Dr Amjid Muhammad, a member of the advisory committee of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah Association of Australia, deserves a hearing as he attempts the difficult job of putting his comments into context and pointing out that stirring up fear is an age old ploy for political rulers bent on control (as they all are to a greater or lesser degree). "Clearly, if we were disciplined enough to study quotes in their proper setting, we would realise that Omran's opinions are being distorted by certain sections of the media and the Government as part of a strategy to inculcate fear into the community. In reality, ASWJ and Omran are simply airing unfamiliar views that are contrary to the Government's position. The fact that these views are different should not be seen as a threat but as an integral part of civilised discussion and debate."
4 Gough, Malcolm and the dismissal
The great political battles of 1975 are being fought all over again on the opinion pages this morning. Phillip Adams (link below) focuses his attention of the shared humanity and, in these strange times, political views of Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser who are now divided over just one thing - the dismissal. "Two warhorses, 30 years on, united on so many policies and as one on Howard. Yet as far as November 11, 1975, is concerned, time stands still."

In The SMH, Gerard Henderson predictably turns his column into another round of the political-culture wars,  belts up on a few journalists, before dismissing the dismissal as much ado about nothing. (Oh, really Gerard. TDB could fill a largish hall with constitutional lawyers, political academics, commentators and practitioners who would disagree with that sentiment. How does this bloke get away with convincing people that he is the smartest chap in the room? Was it empty when he walked in?) "The constitutional upheaval of three decades was caused by Fraser who wanted to block supply and Whitlam who was determined to govern without supply. Kerr had the unenviable task of solving the matter. He did so by sacking Whitlam and replacing him with Fraser, who was required to call an immediate election. That's all what is sometimes called the "coup" of 1975 amounted to."

And David Smith, official secretary to Sir John Kerr at the time, says the denial of supply to the Whitlam Government was not unconstitutional, nor a breach of convention, and in fact was something Labor had sought to do many times. "However, in November 1975 Whitlam decided to ignore the Constitution, ignore the convention and ignore the will of parliament. As Whitlam refused to advise the governor-general, John Kerr, to dissolve parliament and to order an election, the governor-general was obliged to appoint a caretaker prime minister who would. The governor-general's intervention ensured that the ultimate authority of parliament over the executive was maintained."

5 The pope and Darwin
Early reports, including an op-ed in the NYTimes that TDB linked to (in Archives) indicated that the new Pope may have been likely to take a more fundamentalist view of evolution and its place in relationship to church theology. Former Times' editor William Rees-Mogg, who has some experience in these matters as a member of the Vatican's International Committee of the Pontifical Council for Culture, thinks this will not be the case. "Cardinal Poupard's statement clarified the acceptance of Darwinism and rightly asserted that religious belief is compatible with the theory of evolution. He also gave a further indication that the mindset of Benedict XVI may be a good deal more modern than had been expected. One should have foreseen that with a German pope. The German Church has a strong tradition of theological inquiry in which Benedict XVI has been educated."
6 Abraham, Condi and Hillary get Lost in Hell with Lady Franklin, while Turow goes to War.
Tuesday Books: a selection by donn wood.

'The Meaning of Tingo' and Other Extraordinary Words from Around the World' by Adam Jacot de Boinod
Helena Drysdale reviews 'The meaning of Tingo' in The New Statesman. (I especially liked 'plimpplamppletteren', which is the Dutch word for skipping stones. "Let's go down to the beach and plimpplamppletteren, baby." Who could resist a line like that?) The perfect book to read and chuckle over while they're lying to you about how important your call is to them.

'Haunted' by Chuck Palahniuk
In Three Monkeys Online, Michael O'Connor reviews the latest from the author of eight previous books including 'Choke', 'Lullaby', and 'Invisible Monsters', as well as the cult novel and film 'Fight Club' (although he didn't write the film script). 'Haunted' is a novel in linked stories, told in a unique narrative style and full of Palahniuk's trademark blood and guts (his 'horror writer' tag has little to do with the supernatural). "... 'Haunted' is a fine literary work. Flawed perhaps, but daringly imaginative, experimental, and a gripping read", O'Connor says, "'Haunted' can't simply be read, it must be re-read."

'The Dictionary of Bullsh*t' by Nick Webb
In September I linked to a review of three books about bullsh*t. Not a review this time, but an extract, in The Independent, from the book. This one's good for a laugh too, albeit a rueful one.

'Snake Agent' by Liz Williams
In this novel set in the near future, Snake Agent (he polices the supernatural) Chen lives in Singapore 3, and is married to a demon (talk about your classic conflict of interest) from Hell, which is a mirror image of Singapore 3. He meets and works with Seneschal Zhu Irzh, who is a cop from Hell (literally) on the Vice squad (also literal). "Chen is a reluctant hero and a quintessential cop. He is an average Joe, a public servant doing his duty and trying to balance the demands of Heaven, Hell, the city, the politics that invade all police activities, and his wife. Because of this everyman aura, his forays into mystical dealings with deities, Hell, and with the superstitious untrusting cops in his precinct have a subtle and wry humorous irony." In Bookslut, Beth Dugan's review ends with ... "I am looking forward to the next Zhu Irzh and Inspector Chen novel."

'The book or the world?' by Sarah Kanowski
In Eureka Street, the winning entry in the inaugural Margaret Dooley Young Writers' Award was this essay on biography by Sarah Kanowski.

'Ordinary Heroes' by Scott Turow (link below)
"Scott Turow virtually invented the contemporary legal thriller in 1987 with "Presumed Innocent," and could probably, and profitably, have kept writing the same book to everyone's satisfaction but his own. Instead, he has pushed at the genre's boundaries... " and "...in "Ordinary Heroes," his seventh novel, he's made a leap and left the genre altogether." Joseph Kanon begins his review in the New York Times. The novel's protagonist "...finds himself swept up in actual combat, almost accidentally put in command of a rifle company outside Bastogne during the hell of the Battle of the Bulge. This is the centerpiece of the book, and it is vivid and immediate - the cold, the fear, the relentless casual horror. It is one of the best pieces of writing Turow has done, and it gives the book the anchor it needs to support the plot twists and moral dilemmas that follow."

'Lady Franklin's Revenge' by Ken McGoogan
This historical biography of the wife of Sir John Franklin, an Arctic explorer (and the subject of the author's previous book) who was wrongly (mainly at the hand of Lady Franklin) credited with the discovery of the Northwest Passage, while the real hero was vilified (ditto). In January Magazine, India Wilson reviews the book. "Jane Franklin clearly emerged from 'Fatal Passage' as the villain. In that book, McGoogan left us with a portrait of a vindictive woman, shamed at the possibility that society will get wind of her husband's less than heroic end. In 'Lady Franklin's Revenge', none of that has changed. Not really. But with that episode seen as only one chapter -- or, actually several -- in an extraordinary life, the inexcusable behavior is, while still inexcusable, at least understandable. More: Franklin herself emerges as extraordinary, someone due much more than the sound bites history has accorded her in the past." The review concludes ... "Though some of her actions were reprehensible, Lady Jane Franklin emerges as a fascinating character, one well worth the study McGoogan has given her here. Historically significant moments aside -- and there are more than a few of them in 'Lady Franklin's Revenge' -- her life was full and interesting if, no doubt, not always happy."

'Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Sh*t?' by Steve Lowe and Alan McArthur
A couple of weeks ago it was 'Talk To The Hand' by Lynne Truss; now 'Is It Just Me ...'  is reviewed by Boyd Tonkin in The Independent. But unlike some of the other "...rather lacklustre flock of wannabes" shuffling their literary Zimmer frames in the footsteps of Grumpy Old Men, Boyd thinks that this book  will appeal to fogies of all ages, because it's not just a list of complaints. "Above all, Law and McArthur have that rarest of things in the stocking-filler market: a mission. They pin the rap for the physical and spiritual dreck around us on overmighty money and the media that worship it. To use the sort of language this pair understand, you may cheer up the grumpy older person in your life no end with this not-so-little Book of Crap Capitalism."

'The Man in My Basement' by Walter Mosley
"Mosley has always, obviously, been finely attuned to matters of race; but he has also been interested in evil, or warped morality. Here the two concerns come together in a most bizarre and fascinating novel." Nicholas Lezard, writing in The Guardian, finds the new book by the African American writer better known for his Easy Rawlins series of crime fiction to be  "...creepily gripping, confidently resonant."

'Team of Rivals: The political Genius of Abraham Lincoln' by Doris Kearns Goodwin
"'Team of Rivals' tells the story of Lincoln's prudent political management as a highly personal tale, not a political or bureaucratic one." Allen C. Guelzo in The Washington Post writes that "...this immense, finely boned book is no dull administrative or bureaucratic history; rather, it is a story of personalities -- a messianic drama, if you will -- in which Lincoln must increase and the others must decrease."

'Memories of My Melancholy Whores' by Gabriel García Márquez
"Memories of My Melancholy Whores" feels less about love than about age and illness." John Updike, writing in The New Yorker about the latest novel by the author of 'One Hundred Years of Solitude'. In this story about a ninety-year-old man and an under aged prostitute (who is asleep throughout the book!) the "... septuagenarian Gabriel García Márquez, while he is still alive, has composed, with his usual sensual gravity and Olympian humor, a love letter to the dying light." Perhaps feminists might have a slightly less sanguine take on this book, or at least its subject matter.

'A Field Guide to Getting Lost' by Rebecca Solnit
And I thought you got lost by accident. Mais non, one needs a field guide. Is this quintessential California, or what? But seriously, ... "Solnit's work at its best is as fresh as an orange, and over the past dozen years this prolific Californian has produced a series of consistently provocative books." In The Nation, Michael Gorra reviews 'A Field Guide to Getting Lost'. "Solnit's prose here glistens like a snake with a new skin. In her earlier work you hardly ever noticed a sentence. Now her language demands a different level of attention, as though it were trying to achieve a new adequacy to the physical world it describes. Her style is not as mannered or as memorable as that of Joan Didion, and because of that her version of California may never gain the traction it deserves. Yet it is every bit as suggestive."

'Condi vs Hillary: The Next Great Presidential Race' by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
In the Sunday Times, Sarah Baxter reviews this book by Morris, former Clinton political consultant and latterly Hillary-basher, and McGann, CEO of Vote.com and Legalvote.com, who according to HarperCollins' flack page "...works with Dick on campaigns around the world, specializing in using the Internet to win elections."
"The prospect of two women fighting for the chance to make history is genuinely exciting, but Morris is so busy working out the angles he sometimes misses the main point. For all his admiration of Rice's talents and her remarkable rise from segregated Birmingham, Alabama to secretary of state, she comes across as little more than the "un-Hillary", a characterless meritocrat who is useful only in so far as she can be contrasted point by point with the former first lady and make off with enough votes of African Americans and women to sink the Democrats."
Baxter, a life-long Labour voter in Britain and a registered Democrat in the United States, is mildly infamous in leftist circles for a story last year in The Sunday Times called 'I'm a Democrat for Bush', but even as you read her proclaiming ... "Rice deserves better than to be a vehicle for Morris's stop-Hillary machinations. She is a supremely capable political appointee, but she has never run for office, not even at school, whereas Hillary has spent her life campaigning for herself and Bill. Rice is certainly ambitious enough to run, although she keeps ruling it out in interviews, but she is not as hungry for the White House as Hillary. She could well stumble on the campaign trail and, unlike Morris, she knows it...", you have to wonder, is this a kettle of a different complexion or merely a similarly-coloured pot? Never mind, it's splendidly bitchy on several levels.

'In Tasmania: Adventures at the End of the World' by Nicholas Shakespeare
The Sunday Times Books Pick of the Week is written by Bruce Chatwin's biographer, about his own emigrant experience in our southernmost state (which includes genealogical links to Tasmania's past), and is reviewed by by Brian Schofield. More William Tell than the Apple of his Ey(l)e.

Lastly, you may have noted a slightly different format to this week's Books. After some comment and feedback, we (your editor and I) thought we'd give the (slightly) more organised look a go, as opposed to my usual shotgun-style layout. Is it better? Worse? Don't care? You'd like something entirely different? Let us know what you think. (We promise to at least read it carefully before sending it to the trash basket.)

7 IN THE PAPERS: National, Opinon, Business round-up

The "stunt watch" indicator is still leaning in the direction of "political ploy". Steve Lewis in his column this morning says it is still too early to tell, and on balance, he may be right. (So walk over to Dennis Shanahan's desk Steve, and tell him that. He was berating people last week for daring to be sceptical and your paper reported as fact that the Government was "forced" to act.) Recent stunt clues include the PM's anything but convincing interview with Kerry O'Brien last night, and Associate Professor Anthony Bergin's column in The Oz (see below), which offers some common sense advice about how and when to issue a terrorism warning, does imply that John Howard might have been, well, sexing things up a tad. One clue that TDB has been curious about, even though no-one else seems much interested, is Alexander Downer's comments about the attempted raid on a ship off the Somali coast. "We just don't know, but it could have been terrorists," Downer says repeatedly. Indeed Alexander, we don't know. It could have been extraterrestrials looking for earthlings to breed with, we just don't know. So why do you keep banging on about terrorism when everyone else is talking about pirates? Unless you are part of a Government hell-bent on talking up terrorism for political advantage, perhaps? Too sceptical, Dennis? Oh, and The Oz this morning is reporting that a luxury liner with 22 Australians on board that was attacked by pirates off the Somali coast was cruising much closer to shore than the distance recommended to avoid pirates. And the Herald's web site is reporting a late story that police are raiding homes in Sydney and Melbourne in a counter-terrorism operation involving federal and state officers. (Which might be as good a time as any to note that "stunt watch" is about the Government's behaviour, and not what may or may not have been in the spooks advice.)

And Perhaps we shouldn't be too hard on Shanahan, after all, he did have to write The Australian's lead this morning based on the latest Newspoll, which says that Howard's personal standing is at its lowest level since before he turned back the Tampa four years ago, as he staggers under the weight of industrial relations reform and counter-terrorism laws. At the bottom of his story, Shanahan notes that Brian Harradine has spoken out against the IR changes.

The Australian also reports that seven Indonesians understood to be seeking asylum when they illegally landed on Australian soil at the weekend will not be given protection visas and may be towed back into international waters; that cheaper housing and a greater sense of community are luring city-dwellers inland, with the desire for a "tree-change" lifestyle likely to more than double population growth in rural Australia; and that Peter Costello has denied concealing advice received from his department about the economic impact of the Howard Government's proposed industrial changes, contradicting one of his senior officials.

The Herald's lead reports that Naomi Nary lost her first husband, a member of the SAS regiment, when he died on a physical training exercise in 1993. Now she has lost her second husband, David Nary, a senior SAS soldier, in an accident while he was training before deployment to Iraq. The paper also reports that a national literacy inquiry has recommended that all aspiring teachers should have to prove they can read or write proficiently before being allowed into a classroom; that the exhaust ventilation tunnel that collapsed last week, leaving dozens of people homeless and a three-storey block of units teetering over a 10-metre hole, was originally planned to be built 65 metres away; and that Australia's marijuana smokers have created a problem for recycling efforts: home-made bongs thrown into domestic recycling bins are contaminating material that could otherwise be reused.

The Age is most excited about the fact that one of the world's biggest music acts, U2 is expected to play two shows at Telstra Dome next March in front of up to 80,000 fans on the same weekend as the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony. It also reports that the Government has been accused of dropping its terrorism announcements "out of the blue" for sensational media impact instead of explaining them carefully and calmly (that'd be the difference between a warning and a stunt); that a key member of Commonwealth Games Minister Justin Madden's staff has been accused of assaulting a woman after Labor's factional war erupted into violence at the weekend; and that Peter Costello and Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce yesterday remained at a stand-off over the Government's efforts to make mergers easier.


The Age: Tim Colebatch looks at the New Zealand experience, says the proposed industrial relations reforms will not improve productivity and that "it is deception to tell people they will be better off with a law clearly designed to make them worse off" (deception? He can't be talking about "honest" John can he?); Tony Parkinson, who may or may not know more than you or I from his office near the Yarra, says the Paris riots could spell the end of Europe's multicultural experiment and that "the rise of Islamism appears to be fuelling an alarming and atavistic appetite among young Muslims for what they see as violent revenge"; and Peter Batchelor (Minister for Transport) wants you to know what a wonderful job the Bracks' Government is making of public transport; and Amjid Muhammad see above.

The Australian: Steve Lewis says John Howard's approach on IR laws shows he is no longer governing "for all of us", and gives Kim Beazley an opening (it'll have to be a big one); Anthony Bergin outlines the difference between a useful terror threat warning and a useless one, and says the Government got it wrong last week; Bob Carr thinks we should plan for a terrorist nuclear attack (which is probably as likely as a asteroid strike, so why not?); Phillips Adams and David Smith see above.

The SMH: Gerard Henderson revisits the dismissal to fight political battles and finds Whitlam guilty, Kerr innocent and that the commentators got it wrong (Gerard, you do surprise us. Not.); Louise Dodson looks at discontent on the Liberal backbench caused by thwarted ambitions and the behaviour of the Nationals; Alan Anderson seems more intent on pursuing the usual anti-Europe and UN conservative agenda than discussing his chosen topic, the future control of the internet; and Craig Smith (NYTimes) says France's social fabric is fraying as the second and third generations of immigrant background come of age.


The Australian's lead says the dollar retains the support of global investors despite its recent fall to 12-month lows, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia. The paper also reports that Singapore Power will use SP AusNet to pursue acquisitions in other states after unveiling a bigger than expected $1.6 billion float for its Victorian gas and electricity distribution business; and that Baycorp Advantage non-executive director Gavin Walker has dumped what is believed to be his entire stake in the company, in a move that has surprised management of the debt collection and credit references group.

The Age leads on ABS figures that show shoppers are spending less than in previous years, even on such staples as food, because of high petrol prices and a slowdown in the housing sector. It also reports that Australian companies are missing out on a savings bonanza because they have been slow to transfer jobs offshore, according to a report by Deloitte Research; and that Ghana's share market trades for just an hour a day but, with impressive returns, it has wiped the floor with some celebrated rivals.

The SMH reports that the bulk of taxpayer money earmarked for the Federal Government's Future Fund will stay in Australia; that the founding Myer family and several other interested parties are expected to belatedly receive an information memorandum on the sale of the Myer department store this week; that Coopers Brewery has moved to outflank Lion Nathan's hostile $260 a share bid with a buyback, also at $260 a share; and that Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the world's fifth-richest man, has declared he is ready at any time to raise his stake in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp to protect existing management from any takeover attempt by Murdoch rival John Malone.

Stephen Bartholomeusz says today's decision in the dispute between Patrick and Toll that could lead to the break-up of their Pacific National joint venture could also be critical to Toll's takeover bid; and Bryan Frith on the same topic says if Chris Corrigan is right in his belief that the independent arbitrator will today rule against Patrick Corporation's attempt to break up the Pacific National rail joint venture with Toll Holdings, then it could prove to be a landmark moment in the fight with Toll.


The Daily Telegraph: The death of the first SAS soldier in the Gulf conflict has left his grieving wife an army widow for the second time, it was revealed yesterday; Another tunnel controversy faces Premier Morris Iemma today as a new report reveals the collapsed tunnel under a Lane Cove units block last week was meant to be located 65m away.

The Herald-Sun: Ten of Australia's richest people swooped on shares in the same company that brought down Steve Vizard - all before crucial information was made public; Surgeons have reattached the leg of a toddler after it was severed below the knee in an axe attack. A team of 13 medical experts, including six surgeons, at the Royal Children's Hospital operated for more than 8 1/2 hours to attach the limb.

The Courier-Mail: Naomi Nary is a double SAS widow after the death of her husband, Warrant Officer Class Two David Nary, in the Middle East on Sunday; Ten of Australia's richest people swooped on shares in the same company that brought down former Telstra director Steve Vizard - all before crucial market sensitive information was made public.

The Advertiser: Key sections of Adelaide will be virtually locked down as part of a massive security operation to protect U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld later this month; The Commission of Inquiry into Children in State Care is examining the deaths of almost 600 children - but few are likely to be suspicious.

The West Australian: Perth's median house price has crashed through the $300,000 mark for the first time as the State's booming economy and an influx of interstate migrants fuels soaring demand for residential property; WA fishermen are arming themselves against illegal Indonesian fishermen as a Federal minister considers paying them to patrol the State's northern waters.

The Mercury: British-based betting exchange Betfair invited at least three Tasmanian Upper House politicians to enjoy its corporate hospitality at the Melbourne spring racing carnival; The last neurologist in southern Tasmania is expected to leave the Royal Hobart Hospital soon.


A shoulder expected to sideline Shane Watson for the remainder of the summer's Tests against the West Indies and South Africa has thrown into turmoil Australia's plan to blood an all-rounder for the future; Beleaguered Wallabies captain George Gregan is no certainty to line up against England on Saturday after coach Eddie Jones revealed he would review the halfback position; Australian captain Darren Lockyer and second-rower Nathan Hindmarsh are in doubt for the remainder of the Tri-Nations tournament after sustaining injuries at training in Paris on Monday.

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re: The Daily Briefing 8/11/05

Hmmm... Mr. Henderson's comment left alot to be desired about his writing style.

In short, he was playing the man and not the issue in a desperate attempt to save Kerr and Barwick and justify the dismissal - unconstitutional or otherwise.

What Mr. Henderson fails to tell us is (a) What Sir Anthony Mason's advice was at the time, and (b) if it in fact differed from that given by Barwick.

History has already declared that Barwick's advice was what Kerr acted upon... I merely make the comment to point out the decline in Mr Henderson's journalistic standard (becoming something equivalent to what you'd expect from the Tele or another tabloid of similar distinction).

re: The Daily Briefing 8/11/05

The 'Adelaide lockdown' is an essential training exercise - preparation for the next time Brendan Nelson or Tony Abbott have to set foot on a university campus. The sight of Nelson's bouffant bouncing in retreat from a couple of placards was humiliating. I look forward to him in the military codpiece, a la Bush, strutting out in front of the Adelaide Hilton.

re: The Daily Briefing 8/11/05


"KEY sections of Adelaide will be virtually locked down as part of a massive security operation to protect U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld later this month.

"The two-day visit will result in areas around the Hyatt Hotel and the Town Hall declared no-go zones amid fears of ugly anti-Iraq war protests. It is likely sections of North Tce and King William St will be fenced off to keep the thousands of expected protesters away from both sites."

So much for our democracy. Yet another example of Howards facist tactics, like the Bush and Hu Jintao visits to Parliament in 2003.

What is so offensive about a peaceful protest against (what is becoming ever more apparent) flawed Government foreign policy.

I guess it all comes back to the lack of accountability that is now a signature of this Government.

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