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Saturday



RURAL RANT

You can call the man on the land in from the cows; you can call him the salt of the earth; but don't go calling him a bludger on society like Russ Gittins did in The Age the other day. Else you'll deservedly earn the wrath of bucolic plot dweller Alan McCallum. And when he's riled, Al scorches:

But no doubt these problems are not on Commissar-Agronomist Gittenski's agenda, and just as clearly the good comrade has one too many penises, because it is unusual for minds to go that flabby from normal wanking.



UNFOLD IT

I subbed our racing guide last night so the hours spent poring over neddies' recent achievements should give me some sort of advantage with the odds makers.
I like Kennett in Race 6 at Caulfield. Has ability and was relaxed and ready to spring when blocked for a run last start at Cranbourne. Have him each way at 8-1.
Parochial preference in the Caulfield Cup is old stager Rain Gauge, trained down the track from here by octogenarian George Hanlon. Rainy is ironically as useful as a pocket in a singlet if there's a drop of moisture in the track. The forecast is for continued dry. I'm having him each way at 16-1 and will box him in trifectas with Northerly, Fields of Omagh and Hong Kong visitor Helene Vitality.



RANDOMLINGS

NORAH JONES has to have the sweetest voice going around at the moment.

JAMES MORROW has posted a delicious-reading recipe for gnocchi and blue-veined cheese. Not fare for the cholesterolly-challenged, I suspect.

My gorgeous daughter, Erin. was home briefly overnight from her tourism promotion job up in the Victorian high country. She's off to Melbourne shortly to attend a big day of rock at the Laver Arena. She plans to meet younger brother, Tim, at the concert. Mobile phones are so handy for that sort of thing. Tim went up last night to stay with pals in the inner-suburban apartment of a friend's Dad. Bet those 17 and 18-y-o dudes had a great time roaming the big city streets, posing at being ice-cool. Horrible thought just sprung and will be quickly smacked back into the sub-conscious box: should we now worry about our kids attending large, crowded events? Is that prudent or just giving in to the enemy?

Cut the target like a Thompson machine gun last night after work when a naif suggested that terror attacks on civilian populations were no different than collateral damage in armed attacks during wartime. "Show me the fucking dog tags on the kids in the Sari Club,'' the grouchy old sub snarled into his brew.

Gone noon and for the second week running our guru of the gallops, Mick Manley, has gone missing. I shall consult the turf pages and return with equine investment advice. It is, after all, Caulfield Cup day.









Friday



AUSTRALIAN SHAMED AGAIN

Prolific British author William Shawcross is an international affairs expert and has writtenly widely on widely on terrorism, revolution and war, particularly in Asia. In THE AGE today, he explains with chilling clarity why no westerner should feel safe in the war waged by terrorists.

There is no escaping this war. Whatever the many faults of the West - our greed and our arrogance and our carelessness - we did not seek it. But we have to fight it. We are all potential targets. And a fundamental problem is that there is no such thing as the deterrence that worked so well in at least the major theatre of the Cold War (it did not stop proxy wars, as in Vietnam, of course). In the studio debate, Bergen also pointed out that "al Qaeda does not believe that God is on their side. They know God is on their side". In the face of that kind of certainty, there is no conciliation.

Janet Daley is an incisive, intellectually towering columnist for The Telegraph. She says there is no logic in the terrorists' choice of victim.

Now we are in a struggle that is different from any that modern democracy has had to face. But it is not the secular versus the spiritual in the European sense. Nor is it simply freedom versus totalitarianism, as was the hot war against fascism, or the Cold War against communism. It is not one economic system versus another, both of which claim, in the great Enlightenment tradition, to be the most beneficent.
What we are fighting (or resisting) is a force that reveres death, regards the taking of innocent life not as a misfortune but a sacred duty, and positively rejoices in the gratuitous infliction of agony. It celebrates precisely the things that enlightened thinking has pitted itself against: pointless suffering and premature death. This wave of terrorism is a kind of distillation of all that is most appalling and inexplicable in the human condition.

HILARY MCPHEE is a fool from the ''we are to blame'' school. She used to run a socialist swill trough for politically correct sections of the Australian arts community.

The Prime Minister's ability to project a total absence of self-doubt is enviable. Is it for real, or is it the art of the good politician? Was there not a moment, on being woken by the phone call at 6.40 on Sunday morning with the first news of the outrage, when he permitted himself the thought that occurred to large numbers of his fellow Australians - that the bombings in Bali might have been in some way connected to words uttered and actions taken by the Australian Government?

From her cosy seat in academia she wishes Australian people would angrily rise up against the Prime Minister.

But if they don't -- and they won't -- and US-led warmongering triumphs here - and with it demands for increased defence expenditure and troop commitment, for evermore draconian detention and counterterrorism legislation, in the climate of propaganda, misinformation and lies we have inhabited during the past year - this country will pay a price beyond reckoning.

Propaganda, misinformation and lies? Get the feeling that the fingers and half the palm of the medium that disseminates her garbage has been severely munched?






DEATH-DARING

WARREN ZEVON continues to bait the Grim Reaper as this fine piece from the San Francisco Chronicle shows.
He met with one of his doctors for breakfast last week and handed over his two most recent CDs, one titled Life'll Kill Ya and the other My Ride's Here. In his familiar baritone, Zevon explained the gifts to the physician: "These are my last two albums. Maybe now you'll understand that eerie acceptance of death you keep asking me about."

The Chronicle has run an up-to-dater on another wild man from the outskirts of popular music, Kinky Friedman.The Kinkster recently visited New York University where he caught up with long-time fan and fellow Texan Jew-boy, law professor David Epstein.
As is his wont when anyone with ears is around, Kinky got to regaling. In particular about his bipartisan popularity at the White House.
The Kinkster claims to have given Clinton and Bush (G.W.) each a box of outlawed Cuban cigars as a gift. "I said, `Remember, Mr. President, we're not supporting their economy, we're burning their fields.' "
Thanks to the Lone Arranger, Dave Dawson -- who really should be a resident of blogsville -- for these entertaining links.




Thursday



LIFE SAVINGS

A careful Brit looked after his pennies -- and saved his life.
Richard Warburton told THE SUN yesterday how he survived the Bali bomb terror — because he stooped to pick up some change he dropped in a bar.
The blast that killed more than 190 people went off at the moment Warburton, 53, pulled the cash from under a stool.
Incredibly, he escaped with only minor cuts as the full force of the blast went over him.
But everyone who had been standing around him died.
He said: “I can’t believe I’m alive. I was scrambling in the darkness trying to help people but they were all dying.
“I was holding a young Australian girl in my arms. She was saying, ‘Don’t let me die’ but she faded away.
“Everyone was dying. I must be the luckiest man alive.”
Oil and gas consultant Warburton, from Knighton, Leics, was on the Indonesian island to work on a holiday home he bought for himself and his family while they were living in Hong Kong.
He was drinking in Paddy’s, an Irish themed bar directly opposite the Sari Club, when the terrorists struck on Saturday night.





MARVELLOUS WHAT A DIFFERENCE A BOTTLE OF BEST'S SHIRAZ MAKES

Well, I had a night off work, a day away from blogging and read just the letters and op-eds in the fishwrappers. I then cooked up a juicy not-too-fiery lamb curry and polished off a bottle of hearty western Victorian red.
Ready again to take on the forces of evil.
My 17-y-o son cheered me considerably by taking on a blame-the-victim toolhead by asking politely whether young Australians really deserved to be disintegrated.
Could the slacker generation turn out to be the saviour generation? Hope so.



UNKIND WORDS

BRENT (The Ville) is no shrinking violet. And he has made my day with this rant:
Open Letter To Assholes
Stop Your Damned Whining! Billions of people in this world would gladly trade places with you in a second. You could be trapped under Saddam Hussein's brutal, corrupt, and ignorant regime. You could be living under the corrupt dictatorship of Asshole Arafat. You could be stuck in Cuba with just enough food to get by on and little if any freedom or hope of a prosperous future. You could be living in racist Saudi Arabia under repressive Islamic law. You could be living in France for heaven's sake!

There's lots more.



ADVANCED WARNING?

THE GUARDIAN has a comprehensive report on security alerts issued by US agencies in the past month on possible terrorist attacks at Indonesian resorts. Disturbing reading.

The same publication -- not usually my go-to news source -- also carries an excellent piece that reveals terrorist camps run by al-Qaida related Islamist groups in Indonesia started being used to train foreign "armed jihad" recruits from Europe two years ago, according to documents lodged at Madrid's national court.


Wednesday



WEARY AND ANGRY

All the sub-editing, the blogging and the reading are becoming a burden I need to put aside for a spell.
It’s not so much the effort but the emotion that takes a toll.
First there’s the welling eyes, the choke in the throat reaction to the shock and pain of all these kids, young Aussies the same age as mine; the distraught parents; the siblings and mates who cling to a hope that somehow the missing just drifted away and will show up on a beach somewhere, or in an airport.
Then switching to the news reports, the emotions cool while you try to take stock of it; to analyse just what happened and who did it.
Then you ask why. And that’s when the anger sets in – on two fronts.
A fury at this barbaric, envy-fuelled hatred that kills for the sake of it. Like mongrel town dogs that lay waste to new lambs because some primitive instinct demands pointless slaughter.
A second wave of anger erupts, directed much closer to home. At the arrogant, stupid twerps who blame the victims and their society for their blood-drenched fate. If we weren’t the way we are, this wouldn’t happen, they say.
What are we, that is so deserving of such savagery? We’re a western, democratic liberal, multicultural society: a civilisation that grows materially through technological advancement and trade, and spiritually and humanly through tolerance and fair law.
It’s not perfect, but to be proudly morally non-equivalent, it’s better than any other system. Particularly those systems sustained by the murder of innocents and torture of non-believers.
So fuck you Bin Laden and your murdering acolytes. And double fuck Bob Ellis, Pat O’Shane and all the other appeasement monkeys. They’ll change their minds eventually. Not that it will take a great deal of effort.




HORROR THROUGH A CAT'S EYES

In plain but stirring language Geelong football star David Clarke explains in the Geelong Advertiser the lasting effect the blast and its aftermath has had on him and his team-mates. The young Cats were on an end-of-season trip to Bali and Saturday night was the first evening they had not ventured to the Sari Club. They later did as much as they could to help the wounded and dying.

EVERYONE went to their rooms to grab what they could, bags and passports, and we walked to the Hard Rock where Kingy had a room. It was about a kilometre walk, down near the beach. We had Kingy's room and another room, so there was 10 or 12 of us in each room, it was fairly squashy. Some guys were saying not to contact home but I said there's no way I'm letting my family wake up in the morning to see on telly that Bali's been bombed. I sent Dad a text message and everyone else rang to say they were OK. I talked to Dave (Johnson) and he said he had this picture in his head of what we saw; the burning bodies and stuff, we just couldn't get it out of our heads. It was hard to say how everyone was coping. I know Henry (Playfair) was doing it tough, he was shattered. It took a while for us to really settle down, we were all shaken by it. I'm OK now but the first couple of nights I couldn't stop thinking of this dead body that was right in front of us. You just think of that and the flames and think we probably should have been in there. Every other night we had been. Blokes were saying they'd heard that about 10 people were dead. Some guys who didn't go up there didn't realise how bad it was. I was saying there's no way that only 10 will be dead, it'll be hundreds, because we saw it. You could not miss it on television. Someone must have been there soon after it happened with a camera because they were showing everything, unedited, on television, the dead bodies, the works, showing it to music. You just stood there and watched it in the airport, it was scary stuff. I'm told the club is organising counselling for everybody. I guess everyone handles it in different ways. I don't mind speaking to people about it. You read a few things and almost break down but I've held it together. I'm just so glad I'm still alive. I'm convinced now that if your numbers up, it's up. I just don't know why we weren't there. I almost feel guilty. We would have been in Paddy's and while I know that wasn't as badly hit as the Sari Club, it would have still been messy. All this has made me more aware that even Australia is not really safe any more. Anyone can drive up to a hotel and park a bomb there. I never thought it would be possible here. You read about it happening in Israel but you don't ever expect to see it happen yourself. What happened in Bali has probably made us all grow up a lot. I was talking to the coach yesterday and said I don't think any training camp can bring this group of 20 blokes any closer now. Nobody can go through that and not come out of it a closer group. I think it has only just hit home with the coach how bad it could have been. He is like a father to us and how would it have been if he'd lost half his boys? I still don't believe how lucky we are. I've seen the faces of the people still missing in the papers and I recognise some of them, they were staying at our hotel. I don't know what it is about our footy trips but the last night has not been good to us. Last year we were in Phuket and sitting in a bar watching September 11 unfold. We sat up all night watching that and wanted to get home quick. I thought that was bad but when you see it all happen just around the corner, you just can't compare it.



Tuesday



GRIM TIDINGS

AAP has reported that some Australians killed in the Bali terrorist attack are so badly mutilated they might never be identified.
Others may have no remains to be identified.
That was the grim news to emerge today after the biggest peacetime loss of Australian life on foreign soil.
Thirty Australians have been confirmed dead so far but expectations are that the final figure will rise above 100. Officially 160 Australians are still unaccounted for.
If all are dead, Australia's loss in proportion to its population will approach that of the United States in the September
11 attacks. Australian families are preparing to confront the grim reality of their loved ones arriving home from holiday in body bags.
But the nature of the injuries and the rapid decomposition in the tropical heat mean some traumatised relatives will have no finality, no closure, to last weekend's nightclub bombings.
As authorities admitted the overall death toll could approach
200, Australia flew in aid and experts to help treat the 300 injured, track the killers and identify the dead.



GET OUT HONKY, BUT LEAVE YOUR CHEQUE BOOK

A while back delegates at an "anti"-racism conference in Barbados voted to kick out all white people attending. In a stunning display of chutzpah, organisers are now turning to the local white community to pay off the conference's $200 000 debt.
THE BARBADOS ADVOCATE reports that the president of the Congress Against Racism (Barbados) (CARB), Reverend Aaron “Buddy” Larrier, contending that the amount is pocket change for any of the large local companies, indicated yesterday that white-owned businesses have an obligation to assist those in the black community because it is on those persons they depend for the survival of their businesses.
According to Larrier, who said that CARB was forced to reduce the initial budget of the African and African Descendants World Conference Against Racism from US$1 million to BDS$450 000, this is an opportunity for the white community to contribute towards the eradication of racism in Barbados.



SMOKING GUN OF AL QAEDA

A US intelligence expert has concluded the Bali bombings were carried out by a "sophisticated" terrorist group because of the large amount of high explosives used and the coordination of the attacks, a U.S. intelligence official said on Monday.

REUTERS reports that U.S. intelligence agencies believe the Saturday night bombings were probably the work of a group linked to al Qaeda which would have the capability of striking that type of blow.

"We haven't come to any final conclusions, but it's clearly the work of a sophisticated terrorist organization of which there are only a few, there are some in that region that are associated with al Qaeda like JI (Jemaah Islamiah)," a U.S. intelligence official told Reuters.



CATS HELP OUT

GEELONG footballers last night emerged as some of the modest heroes of the Bali bomb blast, bandaging and comforting victims in their hotel in the chaotic minutes that followed.

Senior player Tim McGrath told THE GEELONG ADVERTISER people were carrying strangers up the street after the bomb struck.

``Everyone was just trying to do their bit,'' McGrath said after flying into Melbourne yesterday.

``People were screaming out `I can't see'. There were people with no clothes on, all their clothes were burnt off.''

The Geelong players swung into action as victims began streaming into the foyer of the Bounty Hotel, 100 or so metres from the blast site.

``I held this lady's hand who had no skin, whatsoever. I had friends, not through the footy club, who were badly hurt,'' James Rahilly said.

``All the boys were fine and we ran to our bedrooms and grabbed some sheets and just tried to help people who were coming through.''

Glenn Kilpatrick said he, like many other players, just wanted to help.

``We did bandaging and things like that, helped clean people down. We got water for them and sheets,'' he said.

Kilpatrick said he won't ever forget some of the horrors he saw in the hotel foyer.

``A couple of girls came in just with all their back burnt, all their skin was just sitting there. People were in shock.''



Monday



INTERNATIONAL

Reuters reports that the dead in Saturday's bomb blasts on Indonesia's tourist island of Bali came from at least 12 countries.
AUSTRALIA. Fourteen Australians were confirmed dead and 220 were unaccounted for, the Australian government has said, stressing that not all of the missing should be assumed to be fatalities. Indonesia had reported 110 Australians wounded, the Australian officials said.
INDONESIA. The Sanga Hospital in Bali listed 13 Indonesians as dead.
SINGAPORE. Five Singaporeans are dead, according to the hospital's list.
BRITAIN. Four dead, the hospital said. The British Foreign Office reported 18 wounded yesterday.
UNITED STATES. The State Department said at least two Americans had been killed and three wounded. The hospital counted two American fatalities.
SWEDEN. Two dead, the hospital said.
SWITZERLAND. One Swiss woman had died, the Swiss foreign ministry said yesterday. Two further Swiss were seriously wounded and three slightly wounded.
NETHERLANDS. One dead, according to the hospital.
FRANCE. One dead, the hospital said.
GERMANY. The hospital listed one German as dead. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said yesterday that eight Germans had been injured, five badly. Two German women were missing, one a Bali resident, he said.
SOUTH KOREA. One dead, the hospital said. The South Korean embassy in Jakarta is trying to find two women travellers who did not take their return flights, YTN television quoted a diplomat as saying.
ECUADOR. One dead, according to the hospital.
NEW ZEALAND. The New Zealand government had an unconfirmed report of one death among its nationals. Eleven had been injured and it held grave concerns for two or three people who had been seen in the bombed nightspot and were now missing.
HONG KONG. Seven players from a Hong Kong rugby football club and three supporters were missing, the club said today. Two club referees had been wounded. The nationalities of the missing and wounded people from Hong Kong was not known; they may have been expatriates.
TAIWAN. One Taiwanese is unaccounted for, a family member told local media.
JAPAN. A Japanese Foreign Ministry official said seven Japanese had been wounded in the bomb blasts in Bali. There were no reports of Japanese deaths, he said. Japanese newspaper reports said that all seven who suffered injuries were female.
BELGIUM. Six Belgian nationals were known to have been slightly injured in the explosions, a spokesman from the Belgian foreign ministry said on Sunday.
ITALY. Six Italians had been slightly injured in the blast and none killed, the Italian embassy in Jakarta said.
FINLAND. Finnish national broadcaster YLE, quoting the Finnish embassy in Indonesia, said one Finn had been slightly wounded in the blast.



ON THE MONEY

I wish tipping racecourse winners was as easy as this.
TIM BLAIR'S prophecy yesterday that we were probably "less than 12 hours away from the first opinion piece arguing that the Balinese attacks were the logical consequence of supporting the US in the war against terror'' has been fulfilled.
Regrettably, it hasn't come from the usual broadsheet fishwrapper source, but from the soft-cough Liberal CRIKEY media eyeball site.
Their subscriber sealed section runs a pathetic piece by some Hugo Kelly who opines:

Howard yesterday refused to acknowledge the obvious fact - that his government's bellicose war talk has led to the deaths of scores of young Australians. Take his bizarre rationalisation that this could happen to any country - and that citizens of anti-war Germany had been killed in terrorism attacks, therefore the terrorists were undiscriminating in their targets. All the windy talk by Downer of leading the fight against terrorism has now been exposed as empty, dangerous and self-defeating rhetoric.


Really, and what led to the deaths of a number of Australians in the World Trade Center attack? Bellicose peace talk?

"Bizarre rationalisation that this could happen to any country"? So there's been no terrorist attacks against other nations and their people.? These appeasers wouldn't perhaps look so stupid if they just occasionally changed their mantra. But no, whether it's not getting a republic, refusing to apologise for something we didn't do, having a bi-partisan border protection policy and Collingwood losing another grand final -- It's all Little Johnny's fault.

Well, here's his bellicose talk. And only an appeasement monkey would disagree with him.

"There are many Australians unaccounted for and we must therefore prepare ourselves as a nation for the possibility of a significant number of Australian deaths ... I can only say again that the war against terrorism must go on with unrelenting vigour and with an unconditional commitment."


Sunday



DECADES OF TERROR

The Bali bomb blast, which cost the lives of at least 187 people in two packed bars in the resort of Kuta, is among the deadliest attacks of its kind ever perpetrated.
Following is a list of the worst terror attacks of the past 25 years:

Aug 13 1978: Around 200 die in an attack in Beirut against a building occupied by the Palestine Liberation Front.

Aug 20 1978: More than 400 are killed in an attack on a cinema in Abadan, Iran.

Oct 23 1983: Two suicide bomb attacks in Beirut, using trucks packed with explosives, strike at the headquarters of the US Marines (241 dead) and a French military command post (58 dead).

June 23 1985: An Air India Boeing 747 with 329 people on board en route from Toronto to Bombay crashes into the Irish Sea. There are no survivors. An Indian government commission of inquiry blames the attack on Sikh militants.

Dec 21 1988: A Pan Am Boeing 747 on a flight from London to New York crashes over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing all 259 passengers and crew, including 189 Americans, and 11 people on the ground. In January this year, Libyan Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi is given a life sentence by a special Scottish court in the Netherlands for the attack, which Washington suspects Libya of masterminding.

Aug 7 1998: The twin bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania leaves a total of 224 people dead.
In Nairobi, 213 people are killed, including 12 US nationals, and 5,000 wounded in the attack on the embassy. Shortly afterwards, a car bomb explosion at the embassy in Dar-es-Salaam kills 12 and injures 72.
A previously unknown group, the ``Islamic Army for the Liberation of Muslim Holy Sites'' claims responsibility.

Aug 10 2001: An attack by UNITA rebels in Angola on a train travelling between Zenza and Dondo, some 150kms east of Luanda, kills 260 and injures around 100 others.

Sept 11 2001: Four airliners on scheduled flights in the United States are hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists acting under orders from Osama bin-Laden. Two are flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in the heart of New York, a third crashes into the Pentagon in Washington and the fourth crashes in a field in Pennsylvania. According to latest official figures, 3,021 people were killed, as well as the 19 hijackers.



DOING US PROUD

In Bali, an Australian Consulate official said 200 Australians had walked off the streets to volunteer their services counselling people.
A number of doctors had raced to Denpasar from other parts of the island to help, including a trauma burns specialist whose name was not known.
``He has just been amazing; he triaged those who got on the first critical flight,'' the official said.
Five people have already been evacuated by air ambulance today.
The first RAAF Hercules was on the ground and would take back two people in an intensive care unit, 20 in critical care conditions and six who were able to sit up.
He said he expected 99 per cent of foreign victims, including Australians, to be evacuated by 4am tomorrow (Bali time).
He said the first RAAF plane had three doctors and five nurses onboard and there were about 105 patients set to be evacuated on the RAAF flight.



CHRONICLE OF CARNAGE

Following is a list of major anti-Western attacks since the al-Qaeda strike against the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington on September 11 2001:

2001
Dec 22: Richard Reid, a British Muslim convert, tries to blow up an American Airlines plane on a flight from Paris to Miami using explosives in the heel of his shoe.

2002
Jan 22: Four Indian police are killed and 20 other people injured in Calcutta, India, when armed men open fire on the city's American Center.

Jan 23: American journalist Daniel Pearl is kidnapped in the Pakistani city of Karachi and later killed by Islamic extremists.

March 17: A grenade attack on a Protestant church in the diplomatic quarter of the Pakistani capital Islamabad, kills five, including two Americans. Thirty-three foreigners are among the 46 injured.

March 20: Shining Path guerrillas are blamed for a car bomb attack on the US embassy in the Peruvian capital Lima, which kills nine and injures 30, none of them American.

April 11: A bomb in a truck explodes outside Africa's oldest synagogue in Ghriba, on the Tunisian island of Djerba, killing 19. The attack is blamed on al-Qaeda.

May 8: A suicide car bomb attack on a bus in Karachi, Pakistan, blamed on Islamic extremists, kills 14 people, including 11 French citizens, and injures 23 others.

May 12: Underground railway workers in the Italian city of Milan foil an attempt to set fire to a gas canister in the city's cathedral metro station. Police discover a threatening note in Arabic and Italian nearby.

June 14: Twelve Pakistanis die and 50 people are injured in a car bomb attack on the American consulate in Karachi.

July 13: An attack on a tourist bus in northern Pakistan injures
12 people, nine of them European.

Aug 5: Six Pakistanis are killed in an armed attack on a Christian church with a largely foreign congregation in the northern Pakistan town of Muree.

Aug 25: Two people are injured in an explosion near an apartment block housing United Nations personnel in the Afghan capital Kabul.

Oct 6: A French oil tanker, the Limburg, is damaged in an explosion blamed on terrorists off the coast of Yemen. One crew member dies and there is a heavy oil spill.

Oct 8: Two Kuwaitis, reportedly close to al-Qaeda, attack American soldiers and marines on manoeuvres in the country. One American is killed and US Marines shoot the attackers dead. Several known sympathisers of Osama bin Laden are arrested.

During the same period, attacks against Western interests have been foiled in various cities, notably in Paris, Beirut, Singapore, Sanaa, Rome and also in Germany.




TOLL CLIMBS

AAP's latest has at least 187 people killed and more than 300 wounded -- many of them Australians and other foreigners.
The government's crisis centre in Bali said 187 people had died and that 309 were hurt, about 90 of them critically.
National Police Chief General Da'i Bachtiar said today the explosion that destroyed a Kuta nightclub and sparked a devastating inferno came from a Kijang, a jeep-like vehicle.
A second bomb exploded almost simultaneously near the island's US consular office, authorities said. There were no casualties.
There was no claim of responsibility for the blasts, but they came three days after the US government issued a worldwide alert for terror attacks.
The explosions highlighted fears by the United States and others that Indonesia is becoming a haven for terrorists and that al-Qaeda operatives are active.



SURE AS THE SUN WILL RISE

TIM BLAIR figures we're probably less than 12 hours away from the first opinion piece arguing that the Balinese attacks were the logical consequence of supporting the US in the war against terror.

I wonder whether Margo or Phatty Adams will be the first to raise this conspiracy theory: "If you wanted to get Australians onside, convince them the Ahrabs have attacked their footballers''?



CATS COOL

News for the home front from Bali is good. Geelong Cats on their end-of-season footy trip have not been harmed by the terrorist explosions at Kuta Beach.
Worse tidings for other football fans and families of some players. Eight players are reported missing from a Perth club on holiday. And two players from Scott Wickstein's South Australian National Football League team Sturt are missing.
I have also received an unconfirmed report that Kangaroos players Mick Martyn and Jason McCartney are among the injured.
According to THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD Geelong acting chief executive Rob Threlfall said club officials had spoken to senior players on the island and had been told none were injured.
Mr Threlfall said all had moved to the one hotel and were staying together ahead of their departure.
He said senior players David Mensch, Stephen King and Tim McGrath were among the footballers on Bali.
The players were tense but relieved and looking forward to returning to Australia.
"It's a bit on-edge because there are some senior players there, but there is obviously some younger guys who may not have travelled overseas extensively before," he said.
Mr Threlfall said no Geelong players were near the blasts when they occurred.
"They were staying a little way away," he said.




A MAN-MADE WARM WELCOME

And a hearty Bloggiverse hello to abundantly qualified sceptic Aaron Oakley.
As a frequent contributor to Gerry Jackson's New Australian, Dr Oakley has been in the vanguard of man-made global warming myth debunking. His occasional incisive pieces in the blats have exposed the hysteria posing as informed opinion by environmental correspondents at The Age and the Herald Sun.
Oakley now reveals that the latest scare from pseudo science land is an approaching ice age. Caused by, wait for it, man-made global warming.



BARBARIANS AT THE GATE

Police in Bali have confirmed that a huge bomb caused the explosions which ripped through the tourist district of Kuta Beach, killing at least 67 people, including Australians.

Australian consular officials say the number of Australian casualties will not become clear for sometime.

Australians on group tours, many of them football clubs, have reported numbers yet to be accounted for.

Players from the Melbourne and Geelong AFL clubs were reportedly at the club earlier, but had moved on. A number of players from a Perth football club are missing or seriously injured, according to ABC World News reports.

The Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Downer, has told ABC TV's Insiders about 40 Australians are believed to be in hospital in Bali.

"Of those 40, 15 are seriously injured, but how many Australians are involved in those who have died, we don't have any numbers on that at all," Mr Downer said.

"I mean it's a tough thing to say this, but one would have to assume that quite a number of the dead would be Australians."

"Of those 40, 15 are seriously injured, but how many Australians are involved in those who have died, we don't have any numbers on that at all," Mr Downer said.

"I mean it's a tough thing to say this, but one would have to assume that quite a number of the dead would be Australians."

Mr Downer says the blasts appear to have been a terrorist attack.

"We've been very concerned about terrorist organisations in Indonesia" he said.

"We've spoken at great length with the Indonesians about that. We've issued consular warnings about it from time to time, and this does look to us very much like a terrorist attack.

"But we can't prove that yet and, of course, investigations will now take place into what's happening."

Mr Downer says an Australian air force medical team is on its way to Bali to provide assistance in the wake of the blasts, and the Australian Government will do all it can to help.


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