We’re doing it all again

In 2008 I was heartened by Tony Kevin’s conclusion (Eureka Street 11 Apr 08) that Prime Minister Rudd’s current trip was doing much to repair the damage done by the Howard government to Australia’s international reputation. For there was much repair work to be done. In particular, we had to stop slavishly emulating the U.S. foreign policy. Mr Kevin said then:

I don’t think Rudd-immersed in domestic politics these past ten years—understands how much Australia put the UN General Assembly offside under John Howard’s rule. … Still-fresh images of Australia voting with UN pariahs, the US and Israel and a few bought failed states, and of Australian delegates taking orders from US delegates in corridors, behind the meeting rooms and near the toilets, will not be quickly forgotten.

Australia offended the majority UN membership by the way we treated refugees in detention, by pushing refugee boats away, by anti-Muslim harassment at home …

I’ll stop there. We’re doing it all again. I try not to be too angry or ashamed.

Iran must be accountable

As talks on Iran’s nuclear program we’re producing some small breakthrough, the Washington Free Beacon examined the state of five other rights demanded by the Iranian people—and not respected by their government.  Even if Iran does as the West wishes on matter nuclear, it must still be held to account for its apalling abuse of human liberties and freedoms.

There is no right of free assembly;
There is no effective right to a free trial and has been a massive surge in executions;
There is no freedom of the press.
There is no freedom of religion.

Pastor Saeed Abedini is just one of many imprisoned for the conduct of Christian worship. Iranian Christians were sentenced last month to 80 lashes for drinking wine during communion and possessing a satellite antenna. Members of the Baha’i community, a minority offshoot of Shiite Islam, have also faced persecution and violence.


The Iran authorities continue floggings and executions of minors and homosexuals and have the 3rd highest rate of capital punishment in the world. The butchering of gay and lesbian people has been particularly horrific. Iran continues frequently to execute gay men and some lesbians. It has been estimated that 4,000 lesbians and gays have been executed since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Methods of execution have included beheading, being chopped in two, stoning, burning alive, hanging and being thrown alive from a high building.

iran_hangingNothing has changed since The Times reported on 13 Nov 07 that Iranian politican Mohsen Yahyavi had told a meeting of British MPs in the UK that homosexuals deserve to be executed or tortured and possibly both. Britain is one country has regularly challenged Iran about its hangings of gays, and stonings and executions of adulterers and other alleged moral criminals. Mr Yahyavi, a member of Iran’s parliament, told the MPs that that if homosexual activity is in private there is no problem, but those in overt activity should be executed. He argued that homosexuality is against human nature and that humans are here to reproduce.

Mahmoud Asqari and Ayad Marhouni were hanged in Justice Square in Mashhad in 2005. Graphic photographs of the execution of the youths, who were under 18 when arrested, were released by the Iranian Students News Agency. President Ahmadinejad, questioned by students in New York about the executions, dodged the issue by suggesting that there were no gays in his country. “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals, like in your country”, he lied. Yet Iran is also accused of cloaking executions for homosexuality with bogus charges for more serious crimes.

Dianne Francis asked in Canada’s National Post (11 Dec 07):

Is this why Iran has no homosexuality? Think Iran’s nuclear ambitions are frightening? We now are learning that this land of lunatics run by fanatics is undertaking its own Final Solution with homosexuals.Here’s the real reason why Iran’s President Ahmadinejad could say in September at Columbia University could dodge the question of executions and say that there were no homosexuals in his society. They are killing them.

publichanging

Former UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband, wrote in The Financial Times on  Why we must not take the pressure off Iran.

mouloodzadeh Mr. Makvan Mouloodzadeh was executed in Iran’s Kermanshah Central Prison at 5 a.m. on 5 December 07.He was a 21-year-old Iranian accused of committing anal rape (ighab) with other young boys when he himslef was still a child. At Mr. Mouloodzadeh’s trial, all the witnesses retracted their pre-trial testimonies, claiming to have lied to the authorities under duress. Makvan also told the court that his confession was made under coercion and pleaded not guilty. On 7 Jun 07, the Seventh District Criminal Court of Kermanshah in Western Iran found him guilty and sentenced him to death.

On the petition of Mr. Mouloodzadeh’s lawyer, the Iranian Chief Justice, Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, nullified the death sentence on 10 Nov 07, describing the sentence as in violation of Islamic teachings, the religious decrees of high-ranking Shiite clerics, and the law of the land. The case was sent to the Special Supervision Bureau of the Iranian Justice Department, a designated group of judges responsible for reviewing and ordering retrials of flawed cases flagged by the Iranian Chief Justice. The judges defied the Chief Justice by ratifying the original ruling and ordering the execution. Neither Mr. Mouloodzadeh’s family nor his lawyer were told of the execution until after it occurred.

Whether or not the execution was technically illegal, it was utterly immoral and disgusting beyond belief.

Howard’s dog whistle

Howard’s dog whistle is still being heavily used by Tony Abbott.

johnhowarddogwhistle(Image from: 101 uses for a John Howard.com)

“Howard is whistling in wind”, by Paul Syvret The Courier-Mail 17 April 07

Dog whistles are clever devices. They emit a high-pitched tone beyond the range of human hearing, but one that dogs’ more sensitive ears can easily detect. In short, they send a message only to those pre-programmed to receive and respond.

Prime Minister John Howard has quite a collection of these whistles—finely tuned instruments designed to bore into the brains of certain sections of the Australian voting public. If you listen hard right now you can just hear them—a discordant tweeting noise at the very fringe of the political spectrum. There’s a special whistle for whipping up fear of trade unions, another for multiculturalism, one for “the Aboriginal industry” and an orchestra of whistles for summoning forth fear and votes over national security and immigration.

They are Howard’s alarm and divide tools. The latest inharmonious tune coming from the wind section in Howard’s Government is an oldie but a goodie-a classic hit from the past decade of our discontent.

Immigration is always a favourite, with the fear and unease used to justify humanitarian abominations such as children locked behind razor wire and asylum seekers processed at God-forsaken gulags such as the detention centre on Nauru. We’ve already heard the number about the nasty illegal immigrants who toss children overboard, we’ve played the tune about the armada of asylum seekers sailing through our northern waters, and we’ve sung the song about the ingrate “towel-heads” who refuse to assimilate into our culture.

Now the variant is the faceless hordes of disease-ridden dispossessed who want to come here and spread their sickness. It is only Howard and our brave Immigration and Customs officials standing between Australia and the Grim Reaper. We’re talking AIDS here—or more specifically those people living with the human immune-deficiency virus, or HIV. Last week, Howard argued that HIV-positive people should be banned from migrating to Australia in all but the most exceptional of circumstances. “My initial reaction is no (they should not be allowed in),” he said. “There may be some humanitarian considerations that could temper that in certain cases but prima facie, no.” …

It’s the dog whistle, you see.