25 September, 2006

Content 'taken down' on my web site on the CIA's Secret War in Laos

The two kilometre airstrip near Leong Nok Tha, Northeast Thailand, that I helped to build in 1966, as a member of a British military construction unit.
The airfield was a 'small' contribution by Britain, Australia and
New Zealand to the CIA's Secret War in Laos.
Photo by Willy Bach February 1993.

We are often complaining that our freedom of expression is being curtailed. It feels really different when the silencing reaches ourselves. Of course, I have no idea who made all the content of my web site vanish - see http://www.angelfire.com/wi/poetryantiwar/ but it is not hard to work out who would be displeased by the content, after the site has been up since 2000.

Twenty four hours later: the site works again - was this a false alarm?

13 September, 2006

Kim Beazley affirms Australian 'values' - if you believe him

Writing to your Member of Parliament sometimes works - if they answer your letters:

Dear Kevin Rudd

I am extremely disappointed that your leader, Kim Beazley, has made this announcement, http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/beazleys-values-test-absurd/2006/09/12/1157826910190.html
Beazley's values test 'absurd', September 12, 2006 - 11:20AM and http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/Gillard-cold-on-Beazleys-values-plan/2006/09/13/1157826953856.html Values statement won't suit tourists: PM, September 13, 2006 - 2:34AM - seemingly without any consultation with colleagues. I believe this is breaking with Labor's long tradition of tolerance.

Sadly, this ill-judged announcement is playing straight into the hands of the ugliest members of the Howard government: John Howard, Peter Costello, Brendan Nelson, Bronwyn Bishop, David Jull, Dana Vale, Sophie Panopoulous, Peter Dutton et al, who, as you know, are leading this country into a divisive "Kristallnacht in slow motion", resulting in numerous acts of vandalism, violent assaults and insults against Muslims and other minority groups - and the Cronulla riots - egged on by John Howard's great friend, shock jock, Allan Jones. Lets not forget Phillip Ruddock.

I would be happy if Kim Beazley quietly dropped the unworkable and insulting suggestion that people coming into Australia on holiday, or for any other purpose, should affirm Australian 'values'. I would want watertight written guarantees that such thinking would not be a part of any future Labor government. Please provide me with this assurance.

Fortunately Senator Robert Ray has called on Kim Beazley to scrap the idea and other Labor colleagues have taken the same view. I hope you will do the same.

Thanks for this.

Willy Bach