Australian Values

A couple of amusing cartoons on this over the last few weeks.

Some Australians since the London subway bombings have been calling for a crackdown on the local Islamic Community, wanting to ban Muslim headdress in public schools etc.

Thing is, the local Islamic community is very law abiding.

Head Scarves Row

Intolerance on display in headscarf row

For equality, ban the hijab in public schools

The type of cover-up freedom lovers need not fear


The Wit of David Lange

David Lange (August 4, 1942 August 13, 2005) served as Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1984 to 1989.

He headed New Zealand’s fourth Labour Government, one of the most reforming administrations in his country’s history.

Lange was renowned for a cutting wit and eloquence.

Selected quotes from Wikipedia.

  • After a very long year we’ve got a very short knight.

Source: Heinemann Dictionary of New Zealand Quotations (1988), p.
On the knighthood of the rather short Sir Robert Muldoon in January 1984. Lange repeated the quote on U.S. television as an explanation of Sir Robert’s dislike for him.

  • If the American global strategy is dependent on the ability of nuclear ships to come to New Zealand, then God defend the world.

Source: Heinemann Dictionary of New Zealand Quotations (1988), p.
Referring to American nuclear policy, alluding to New Zealand’s national anthem, God Defend New Zealand.

  • We are an enemy of the nuclear threat and we are an enemy of
    testing nuclear weapons in the South Pacific. New Zealand did not buy into this fight. France put agents into New Zealand. France put spies into New Zealand. France lets off bombs in the Pacific. France puts its President in the Pacific to crow about it.

Source: M. King, Death of the Rainbow Warrior (1986), p.
Referring to the Bombing of the Rainbow Warrior

  • …a sordid act of international state-backed terrorism.

Source: M. King, Death of the Rainbow Warrior (1986), p.
202.Referring to the Bombing of the Rainbow Warrior.

  • The statement which has been made by the Leader of the Opposition was that the intelligence has stopped. I don’t know whether that was a personal confession or whether it was a statement of position.

Source: Dominion Sunday Times, 10 May 1987, p. 11. Referring to Jim
McLay’s comments on the effect of the nuclear ships ban on the exchange of military intelligence with New Zealand’s allies.

  • An itinerant masseur, massaging the politically erogenous zones.

Source: Heinemann Dictionary of New Zealand Quotations
(1988), p. 399. Of Jim Bolger, Leader of the Opposition during the 1987 election campaign.

  • He had more on his mind than his mind could hold.

Source: A New Zealand Dictionary of Political Quotations, p. 94. Referring to an
unsuitable applicant for a high-ranking government position.

  • When asked, “Does God help you?”: “He’s not really in caucus lately.”

    Source: A New Zealand Dictionary of Political Quotations, p. 94.

  • When asked, “So, what are you going to do with the rest of your life?”: “I’m going to be a jockey.”

    Source: A New Zealand Dictionary of Political Quotations, p. 97. Lange was notably rotund.

    Our military forces are an arm of government, just like the
    Department of Social Welfare, although probably less able to inflict widespread harm.

Source: Defence Quarterly, 1993, p.32.

  • On seeing a machine labelled “media steriliser”, Lange quipped: “Have that sent to my office immediately.”

Source: A New Zealand Dictionary of Political Quotations, p. 98.

  • Bassett was a member of parliament and a cousin on my father’s side of the family. My father delivered him and it became plain in later days that he must have dropped him.

    Source: David Lange “My Life” (2005), p.98. Referring to his former Cabinet colleague Dr Michael Bassett, who was delivered by his Doctor father.

  • To US Ambassador H. Monroe Browne, who owned a racehorse called Lacka Reason: “You are the only ambassador in the world to race a horse named after your country’s foreign policy.”

Source: National Business Review, 17/2/86.

  • On a trip to Germany, Lange and his entourage were climbing the tower of an ancient castle when they stopped to catch their breath. “How old is this ruin?” someone asked a guide. “Forty-two years,” said Lange.

Source: A New Zealand Dictionary of Political Quotations, p. 94.

  • Of his political colleagues: “If you took the glasses off some of them they’d be rendered dumb.”
  • Asked about the Security Intelligence Service by an opposition MP, he responded: “I can understand the member’s desire to have a passing connection with intelligence which seems to have by-passed him all his life. He has kept his secret for years.”
  • To a journalist who asked: “Prime Minister, can we go back to Ruatoria for a moment?”: “Certainly, goodbye.”
  • When asked: “Prime Minister, I wonder if we might have a brief word…” by a journalist, Lange replied: “Wombat”
  • Reacting to news that he had retained his Mangere seat in the 1990 election with a provisional majority of 3366: “Well, my majority might be of some interest to students of the Book of Revelation. It’s thirty-three sixty-six.”

    Police version of tube shooting challenged – update

    London’s police forces and their “shoot-to-kill” policy for terrorists were under acute pressure yesterday after leaked documents revealed a chilling series of blunders that led to the killing of innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes.

    Documents and photographs, obtained by Britain’s ITV news network, appear to wholly contradict plain-clothes police claims that Mr de Menezes was dressed and acting suspiciously, and ignoring police warnings when he was shot seven times to the head on July 22 in front of horrified fellow passengers on an Underground train.

    They also suggest that an unscheduled toilet break taken by a London plain-clothes police officer may have cost Mr de Menezes his life.

    When the 27-year-old Brazilian electrician left his Scotia Road apartment building at 9.30am that day, he was unaware he was being covertly watched by a police surveillance team monitoring the flats.

    The team was waiting, according to the leaked documents, for Hussain Osman, a young Ethiopian-born man suspected of having attempted just a day earlier to blow up a train at nearby Shepherds Bush.

    The officer charged with photographing the suspect, however, was answering a call of nature when Mr de Menezes emerged and did not have a free hand to operate his video device.

    As a result, no reliable visual identification was made; the officer reported that a male of the appropriate age had left the building but advised that it would be worth someone else having a look to obtain a positive identification.

    The commander of Scotland Yard’s operation nevertheless declared a Code Red, and placed a team of heavily armed officers on high alert, authorising them to intercept a subject and take a critical shot if the subject did not comply with a challenge.

    Officers trailed Mr de Menezes as he boarded a bus to the Stockwell tube station.

    Contrary to subsequent reports, he was not wearing a bulky coat or carrying a bag.

    The leaked material includes photographs of Mr de Menezes’ bloodstained body inside the train carriage, from which it can clearly be seen that he is wearing a close-fitting denim jacket and a light T-shirt.

    And on arrival at the Underground station, he did not vault the ticket barriers as subsequently claimed to evade his plain-clothes pursuers.

    Instead, he used his season ticket to get through the barrier, collected a free newspaper and proceeded calmly down the escalators, breaking into a run only when he saw that a train was preparing to depart.

    On boarding the train, he was approached by pursuing plain-clothes police officers. One seized him while a second discharged 11 shots from a pistol at point-blank range.

    A witness statement from one of the officers on the train claims that he grabbed Mr de Menezes around the body, pinioning his arms, while another officer fired at the man from a distance of about 30 centimetres.

    The officer’s statement, perhaps the most damaging of all for Scotland Yard, invites the conclusion that the eight bullets that hit Mr de Menezes seven of which hit him in the head were an overreaction to a suspect who had already been overpowered.

    Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, a popular London figure who told reporters after the shooting that Mr de Menezes was challenged and refused to obey police instructions, was not available for comment yesterday.

    Despite the release of closed-circuit TV footage showing the July 7 and July 21 bombing suspects, police have never released images of Mr de Menezes to support their claims that he had been wearing a bulky jacket and running from police. Scotland Yard and the Blair Government both remained silent on the revelations last night.



    – Jean Charles de Menezes identified as suspect after leaving block of flats.
    – Surveillance officer unable to make accurate identification because he had been relieving himself when de Menezes left.

    – Wearing bulky jacket and/or belt.
    – Wearing only a thin denim jacket.

    – Acted suspiciously on way to Stockwell station.
    – Nothing odd in his behaviour.

    – Ran from police when challenged at station and refused to obey instructions.
    – Challenged for first time while seated on train.

    – Vaulted ticket barrier to escape.
    – Did not vault. Ran only to catch train.

    – Eight shots fired into him.
    – Eleven shots fired, three missed (seven to head; one elsewhere).”

    Police version of tube shooting challenged – War on Terror – Features – In Depth:

    London police chief a crook

    It looks like we have the media to thank again for being the public interest watch dog.

    “BRITAIN’S top police officer, Sir Ian Blair, risks losing his job after it was reported that he tried to stop an independent inquiry into the shooting of a young Brazilian mistaken for a suicide bomber.

    Sir Ian also faces calls to resign if it turns out he misled the public about the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, 27. Leaked statements to the independent inquiry reveal major contradictions between witness accounts and the police version of events at the time.

    Within hours of the July 22 shooting, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police asked the Home Office to let his own force investigate the incident, rather than the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

    Sir Ian argued that the continuing anti-terrorist investigation took precedence over an external inquiry and he was also reportedly worried an inquiry would damage the morale of his elite firearms officers working on the investigation. The Government overruled his request.

    Senior police figures told The Guardian Sir Ian had spoken in good faith when he had said the shooting was ‘directly linked’ to the anti-terrorism operation and that Mr de Menezes’ clothing and behaviour had added to the officers’ suspicions.

    Witness statements maintain Mr de Menezes was not acting suspiciously, was not wearing a bulky jacket and did not run from police onto the Underground train, as police alleged at the time. They also say he was restrained by a police officer, with his arms pinned to his sides, before he was shot seven times in the head.

    A report in the The Daily Mirror also alleged the police officer in charge of the anti-terrorism operation, Commander Cressida Dick, ordered that Mr de Menezes be taken alive, just minutes before he was killed.

    The newspaper said it was unclear whether the order to detain the 27-year-old electrician before he entered Stockwell tube station reached police.

    Scotland Yard said it would be inappropriate to comment on the newspaper report, or other allegations, before the inquiry had concluded.”

    London police chief risks sack over shooting – War on Terror – Features:

    Brit cops lied about Brazilian – shot in cold blood.

    New claims emerge over Menezes death

    Brazilian was held before being shot
    Police failed to identify him
    He made no attempt to run away

    Rosie Cowan, Duncan Campbell and Vikram Dodd
    Wednesday August 17, 2005


    The young Brazilian shot dead by police on a London tube train in mistake for a suicide bomber had already been overpowered by a surveillance officer before he was killed, according to secret documents revealed last night.

    It also emerged in the leaked documents that early allegations that he was running away from police at the time of the shooting were untrue and that he appeared unaware that he was being followed.

    Relatives and the dead man’s legal team expressed shock and outrage at the revelations. Scotland Yard has continued to justify a shoot-to-kill policy.

    Jean Charles de Menezes died after being shot on a tube train at Stockwell station in south London on July 22, the morning after the failed bomb attacks in London.

    But the evidence given to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) by police officers and eyewitnesses and leaked to ITV News shows that far from leaping a ticket barrier and fleeing from police, as was initially reported, he was filmed on CCTV calmly entering the station and picking up a free newspaper before boarding the train.

    It has now emerged that Mr de Menezes:

    was never properly identified because a police officer was relieving himself at the very moment he was leaving his home;

    was unaware he was being followed;

    was not wearing a heavy padded jacket or belt as reports at the time suggested;

    never ran from the police;

    and did not jump the ticket barrier.

    But the revelation that will prove most uncomfortable for Scotland Yard was that the 27-year-old electrician had already been restrained by a surveillance officer before being shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder.

    The documents reveal that a member of the surveillance team, who sat nearby, grabbed Mr de Menezes before he was shot: “I heard shouting which included the word ‘police’ and turned to face the male in the denim jacket.

    “He immediately stood up and advanced towards me and the CO19 [firearms squad] officers … I grabbed the male in the denim jacket by wrapping both my arms around his torso, pinning his arms to his side. I then pushed him back on to the seat where he had been previously sitting … I then heard a gun shot very close to my left ear and was dragged away on to the floor of the carriage.”

    The leaked documents and pictures showed the failures in the police operation from the time Mr de Menezes left home.

    A surveillance officer admitted in a witness statement that he was unable to positively identify Mr de Menezes as a suspect because the officer had been relieving himself when the Brazilian left the block of flats where he lived.

    The police were on a high state of alert because of the July 7 and July 21 bombings, and had been briefed that they may be called upon to carry out new tactics – shooting dead suspected suicide bombers in order to avoid another atrocity.

    The IPCC investigation report states that the firearms unit had been told that “unusual tactics” might be required and if they “were deployed to intercept a subject and there was an opportunity to challenge, but if the subject was non-compliant, a critical shot may be taken”.

    But it now appears, that contrary to earlier claims, Mr de Menezes was oblivious to the stakeout operation. On the morning of July 22, police officers were in Scotia Road, Tulse Hill, watching a property they believed contained one or more of the would-be bombers who had tried to detonate four bombs on London transport less than 24 hours before.

    One firearms officer is quoted as saying: “The current strategy around the address was as follows: no subject coming out of the address would be allowed to run and that an interception should take place as soon as possible away from the address trying not to compromise it.”

    But the report shows that there was a failure in the surveillance operation and officers wrongly believed Mr de Menezes could have been one of two suspects.

    The leaked papers state: “De Menezes was observed walking to a bus stop and then boarded a bus, travelling to Stockwell tube station.

    “During the course of this, his description and demeanour was assessed and it was believed he matched the identity of one of the suspected wanted for terrorist offences … the information was passed through the operations centre and gold command made the decision and gave appropriate instructions that de Menezes was to be prevented from entering the tube system. At this stage the operation moved to code red tactic, responsibility was handed over to CO19.”

    CCTV footage shows Mr de Menezes was not wearing a padded jacket, as originally claimed, and that he walked calmly through the barriers at Stockwell station, collecting a free newspaper before going down the escalator. Only then did he run to catch the train.

    A man sitting opposite him is quoted as saying: “Within a few seconds I saw a man coming into the double doors to my left. He was pointing a small black handgun towards a person sitting opposite me. He pointed the gun at the right hand side of the man’s head. The gun was within 12 inches of the man’s head when the first shot was fired.”

    A senior police source last night told the Guardian that the leaked documents and statements gave an accurate picture of what was known so far about the shooting. But the IPCC refused to confirm the documents were genuine adding: “Our priority is to disclose any findings direct to the family, who will clearly be distressed that they have received information on television concerning his death.”

    The home secretary, Charles Clarke, said: “It is critically important for the integrity of the independent police investigating process that no pressure is put upon the IPCC before their full report is published and that no comment is made until that time.”

    Harriet Wistrich, lawyer for the family, said: “There is incompetence on the part of those watching the suspect and a serious breakdown of communication.”

    Asad Rehman, spokesman for the family’s campaign, called for a public inquiry. “This was not an accident,” he said. “It was serious neglect. Clearly, there was a failure both in police intelligence and on an operational level.”

    Guardian Unlimited Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005Brazilian was held before being shot!,3858,5264078-117079,00.html

    Why Blokes don’t listen to women

    Men who are accused of never listening by women now have an excuse – women’s voices are more difficult for men to listen to than other men’s.

    Reports say researchers at Sheffield University in northern England have discovered startling differences in the way the brain responds to male and female sounds.

    The research shows men decipher female voices using the auditory part of the brain that processes music, while male voices engage a simpler mechanism.

    The Daily Mail quotes researcher Michael Hunter as saying, “the female voice is actually more complex than the male voice, due to differences in the size and shape of the vocal cords and larynx between men and women, and also due to women having greater natural ‘melody’ in their voices”.

    “This causes a more complex range of sound frequencies than in a male voice,” Mr Hunter said.

    The report says the findings may help explain why people suffering hallucinations usually hear male voices – the brain may find it much harder to conjure up a false female voice accurately than a false male voice.

    The research is published in the specialist magazine NeuroImage.