Brain graze



Thank Allah for household chores. She of lustrous serenity is away at her folks and due back soon, so much washing of dishes, discarding of empty bottles and hanging out of laundered undies has occupied my time to the extent that I did not get around to posting Magic Mick's tips until the first horse had bolted. Fortunately his initial stab, Titanic Jack, No 6 in Race 2, did not draw blood. That should enhance our winning chances immeasurably. His other considerations, flung into cyberspace as he raced out the door to join the multitude at Flemington for Derby Day, are as follows:
GENTLE GENIUS (Race 4, No.8) each-way, HOMECOMING QUEEN (race 5, No.6) each-way and DASH FOR CASH (Race 7, No.6) each-way for an afternoon of fun....Best roughie PROSPEROUS BID (Race 9, No.12).


This freshly published report in The Australian Online has the hallmark of official information that has been topped and tailed by a staff reporter. It's scary stuff. But then it's probably only halfway accurate. That means things are most likely twice as bad as we've been told.

ALLEGED Jemaah Islamiah leader Abu Bakar Bashir, now under arrest in Indonesia, travelled to Australia under a false name, Abdus Somad, according to an Australian follower who wants to remain anonymous.
Mr Bashir's associate, Abdullah Sungkar, co-founder of the notorious Ngruki Islamic boarding school, used the false name Abdul Halim.
It is possible the pair used Malaysian travel documents, although the Malaysian high commission has denied Mr Bashir was ever issued a Malaysian passport.
It is believed Australian Federal Police officers are investigating.
False names, false passports and false travel papers have been the tools of al-Qa'ida and JI terrorists' trade for a decade, since the first World Trade Centre bombing in 1993.
Mr Bashir and Mr Sungkar's pseudonyms are the latest details to emerge from the fog that has obscured for a decade the true extent of terrorist activity in Australia. The solidifying picture of underground networks is rattling a nation that was warned yesterday by John Howard that Australia could be a target of weapons of mass destruction.
"I have no doubt that if (terrorists) got their hands on weapons of mass destruction, they would have no scruples about using them, none whatsoever," he told a Melbourne radio audience. "This country is at risk. It could happen here."
As Australia is jolted out of the comforting haze of isolation and security, dots can finally be connected and lines drawn that link the WTC bombings with a series of blasts and attempted bombings in southeast Asia, with repeated visits to Australia of the white-bearded Islamic cleric Mr Bashir and, potentially, with the Bali bombings. In the aftermath of the Bali attacks, the glare of fear is dissolving the layers of obscurity. Now it can be seen that the shadowy and elusive figure Hambali, known to be an associate of Mr Bashir's in Malaysia and thought to be a key figure in both JI and al-Qa'ida, was almost certainly connected with the 1993 WTC truck bombs.
Certainly, Hambali, who was in self-imposed exile with Mr Bashir in Malaysia for many years, and may have fought with him in Afghanistan, played an important role in the aborted Manila-based plan to secrete bombs in American jets in 1995. Via that plan, he had a connection to the WTC bombs.
Hambali helped finance the plan to blow up the American planes, which was master-minded by the Kuwaiti-born Palestinian, Ramzi Yousef. Yousef was convicted in 1996 of the WTC bombings and now languishes in a New York prison. As well as setting up the bombs-in-the-sky plot, Yousef was also building links between al-Qa'ida and the Filipino Islamic militant group Abu Sayyef. Hambali, also known as Riduan Isamuddin, later was caught on film by Malaysian security forces consorting with two of the September 11 suicide pilots.
The connections are multiple, and many observers believe links revealed so far are only part of the story.
A second connection between the US WTC bombers and Australia links very ordinary Australian home telephones in outer-suburban Sydney with the explosives that killed six and injured about 1000 people.
At the trials of Yousef and his co-conspirator, Ibrahim El-Gabrowny, phone records were tendered, including documentation of a flurry of telephone calls to Australia from the New York homes of both men.
The calls were possibly to Bomaderry on the NSW south coast, Bankstown, Rooty Hill or Quakers Hill, and Lakemba or Greenacre, all in Sydney's west.
A Sixty Minutes crew acquired this information from the court, via a US counter-terrorism expert. The crew brought it back to Sydney and after the story on Olympic security was broadcast, handed it over to the then NSW police commissioner, Peter Ryan. Finally, Olympic Strike Force officers visited a number of the houses that had been telephoned.
One of these was the home of Mamdouh Habib, the Australian who has since been arrested on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and is now in the US Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Meanwhile, Olympic Strike was also concerned with a potential terrorist plot that had been unearthed in New Zealand. An Afghan refugee, Mohammed Omar Ahmadzai, angrily declared his innocence in 2000, after The New Zealand Herald published details of a possible plot to blow up Sydney's Lucas Heights reactor during the Olympic Games.
New Zealand police reportedly found a map of Sydney, which included the reactor with entrance and exit points marked, and a notebook outlining police security tactics, standards and chains of command for the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand police later said the "risk had been neutralised", and Mr Ahmadzai was not charged. Mr Habib was also questioned by Australian police in 1999, cautioned and warned he was being watched. He only got into serious trouble last year, when he went to Pakistan.
Lawyer Stephen Hopper – who represents Mr Habib, as well as several of the Indonesian Muslims whose homes were raided by ASIO and the AFP in Sydney this week – said there were explanations for Mr Habib's actions.
The telephone calls from New York were simply the result of a chance meeting with an old friend who turned out to be one of the bombers, and concerned such mundanities as a fundraising drive for legal costs and a begging request for diabetic medicines.
The trip to Pakistan, Mr Hopper said, was simply a search for employment and good schools for Mr Habib's children, and he was on his way home to Australia, en route from Quetta to Karachi, when he was hauled off a bus and detained.
Mr Hopper said Mr Habib's wife was considering filing an appeal in the US Federal Court to demand either his freedom or a trial.
Neil Fergus, a private security expert who has been watching al-Qa'ida since the early 1990s, said "Australia has no reason to regard itself as immune" from terrorist threats from Islamic fundamentalists.
"The threat is there," Mr Fergus said. "East Timor was noted, and then our commitment in terms of Afghanistan, that was enough to put us on the target list.
"In some respects, the rest (the commitment to the Iraq war) is superfluous."


Tricks AND Treats

Favourite PC resource guide NEAT NET TRICKS this week offers a beaut freebies collection of handy software. Nifty tools range from an on-screen ruler for measuring graphics to a superior version of Microsoft's Word Pad. I've put aside IMAGE WALKER, a program that among many things, stores images for the user on a web page.


As an afternoon shift worker I haven't watched Media Dimensions which Annette Shun Wah presents occasionally for the ABC. But I stumbled across this transcript which miraculously brings together Phatty Adams, Tim Blair and Imre Salusinszky in the same place.
Warning: It is not pretty.
Sample -- Adams on B and S's short-lived radio odyssey 'The Continuing Crisis': I think it's the most self-indulgent pile of tripe I've ever listened to.
Hmmm, Phatty doesn't fact-check his copy in the Weekend Oz, and he obviously doesn't play back 'Late Night Live'.

IMRE SALUSINSZKY, 'THE CONTINUING CRISIS', RADIO NATIONAL: It's interesting that, uh, when the ABC was looking for a right-wing Phillip Adams, uh, they ended up having to hire two of us. So that they needed two right-wing people to be as right-wing as Phillip by himself is left wing.

TIM BLAIR, 'THE CONTINUING CRISIS', RADIO NATIONAL: Those great big boots and that enormous shirt and wide trousers -- Of course it required two people.

I say give them a late night TV show. They could do to the nanny state what Roy and HG achieved with gymnastics. (Blog wags, feel free to offer suitable dialogue.)



Shamelessly partisan, deliciously vindictive and quite prepared to dish out cruel and unusual punishment to the bubbleheads of Hollywood -- that's the LEFT COAST REPORT.
Today's first Bambi in the headlights is skanky Susan Sarandon, addressing an anti-war rally:
It looked just like the 1960s.
The setting was an anti-war protest. The handheld signs illustrated the level of intelligence present, with phrases like "Bush Sucks." The mob of America haters waited intently for chief foreign policy expert Susan Sarandon to begin her speech.
The words flowed freely out of the left side of the actress's mouth. Sarandon condemned Bush for having "hijacked our losses and our fears." She told the adoring crowd that terrorism could not be fought with violence.
As the crowd yelled in approval, Sarandon proclaimed, "Let us hate war in all its forms, whether the weapon used is a missile or an airplane." Demonstrators chanted in lilting lockstep: "George Bush, you can't hide. We charge you with genocide."
The Left Coast Report wonders how these 21st century hippies are going to handle things when a red alert disrupts their next peace parade.

Then there's news that the clip joints are fighting back against Jesse Jackson:
Have you heard about the new American pastime – asking for an apology? Everyone's doing it, especially liberals. Well, now there's a feud going on and it has to do with requests for apologies.
You may recall that the Rev. Jesse Jackson asked the makers of the mega-hit comedy "Barbershop" to apologize for jokes about black leaders. A group of Los Angeles barbers from the National Association of Cosmetologists has asked Jackson to apologize for his criticism of the film.
The CEO of the association, James Stern, told Reuters that he screened the film for over 100 African-American barbers, and they had zero problems with the movie.
Stern had a strong message for Jackson. He asserted that members of his group have lost business due to Jackson's comments. If Jesse decides not to apologize, the group plans to sue him for defamation of character.
"Reverend Jackson did not consider the future of black filmmakers. We, as blacks, have to let the movie studios know that when he is wrong, we're willing to speak out for ourselves," Stern said.
The Left Coast Report hopes that more blacks see the conservative movement as the place where they are welcomed with open arms and where ideas rather than skin color matter most. As for Jackson, here's a bit of advice: Next time you're in the barber's chair, you might think about skipping the shave.

And news that suspicious widow Courtney Love has the best "the dog ate it'' excuse yet delivered.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals may be investigating the strange case of Courtney Love's defunct dog.
The New York Post reports that what precipitated the dog's departure was a synthetic souvenir.
It seems that some years ago, when Love had her breast implants removed, she retained them as keepsakes. But the tragedy was yet to unfold.
One day Love's famished Pomeranian devoured one of the mementos. The pooch shortly thereafter left this world.
Love's representative disagrees, in part, with this version of the story, saying, "They weren't her implants, they were bootleg implants from Mexico. The dog ate one and died." Okay, so Love expects us to believe that the dog died because it ate one of her souvenirs. And Love's rep wants us to believe the souvenirs weren't hers. What do they think we are – a bunch of boobs?

You can also read about the trouble they're having swearing in a non-partisan jury for Winona Ryder's Hollywood trial and how Tinsel Town's liberal elite want the taxpayer to fund every crackpot scheme under the sun while being most adept at avoiding their own IRS responsiblities.



Finally, a court where those going about the honest business of earning a living can get justice.
Magistrate Max Beck described the actions of demonstrators who ignored warning signs and entered a log-felling area as ``extremely provocative and dangerous'' in Geelong Magistrates' Court yesterday.
Mr Beck said demonstrators had not only put their own lives in danger by ignoring the warning signs but also those of loggers who were simply going about their lawful business.
He made the statements during a hearing in which one of the loggers was charged with recklessly causing injury, unlawful assault and discharging a missile.
Michael Nocera, 36, of Colac-Lavers Hill Road, Kawarren, pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Nocera told the court that in March this year he was removing the head and limbs from a large, freshly-felled tree at an Otways logging coupe when he saw a female demonstrator, Patricia Dressel, standing on the tree at its base.
``The tree measured between 25 to 35 metres in length,'' he said.
``She was screaming at me so I stopped the chain saw, put it down and approached her.
``She was screaming that we shouldn't be working on a total fire ban day and I told her to f... off.''
Nocera said Dressel continued to scream at himas she climbed on top of the log and began moving backwards, at one point slipping and falling into the branches.
Nocera said it was dangerous to stand on any freshly-felled tree because they had been known to roll without warning.
He denied throwing a lump of wood at the victim or kicking sawdust at her.
Mr Beck said the protestors' main objective that day had been to cause trouble.
In summing up he said he was not satisfied that a log of wood thrown by Noscera had hit Dressel and her injuries, being of a minor nature, could well have been caused by falling into the tree's branches.
The charges of recklessly causing injury and throwing a missile were dismissed and on the charge of unlawful assault, Noscera was fined $100 without conviction.
He was also ordered to pay $380 costs.


In a nice little spray at the US media for screwing up monumentally with the DC sniper profile, MARK STEYNE raises a disturbing point about where John Muhammad got the readies to jet about the country.

Oh, well. It's not just the media who bend over backwards to look the other way. Mr Muhammad was twice reported to the FBI for suspected terrorist links. Though living in a homeless shelter, he had the wherewithal to travel extensively round the country by plane, as the shelter's director discovered when a ticket agent called up to confirm Mr Muhammad's booking.
"At the mission, not many airline agents call and ask for residents," says the Rev Al Archer. I'll bet. But, even after September 11, a guy in a homeless shelter stacking up the frequent-flier miles wasn't enough to attract the bureau's attention. Given the performance of the FBI, the Immigration Service and other federal agencies, it may be time for at least one white male toget a little angry: the President.


JOHN QUIGGIN and BARGARZ are discussing the sins and virtues of hubris toting commentator Phatty Adams.
Quiggin is intrigued by the right's detestation for the dunny lane imperialist:
“The indictment against Adams, as I read it, is that he's a fat, pompous old windbag who assumes that anyone with an opposing viewpoint is a fool or a knave. If there is one thing this country is not short of, it's pundits satisfying all of these criteria, particularly right-wingers. I could name half a dozen off the top of my head, and I'm sure there are plenty more. ‘’
Bargarz fartz back:
"But in social and political commentary, he is at times a very lazy hack; a Benny Hinn to his own congregation of true believers.
In a word, he's smug.
And as past advertisements show, he's also quite capable of trading on his name for filthy lucre so comparisons with John Laws (who is the undisputed master of that name trade) aren't really relevant. He's a big boy who voluntarily puts himself in the public spotlight so I'm sure he doesn't need you to defend him on his behalf, let alone define and deride his critics as "right wing" with the implication that they are blind to the sins of other, less deserving characters.''

It’s the breathtaking hypocrisy of the millionaire left that he embodies which sticks in this particular craw. He occupies an irony-free zone.
He’s the youthful Stalinist who made squillions flogging unnecessary consumables to the downtrodden;
He’s the supposedly egalitarian antipodean artiste whose first venture on the international stage, via the Barry McKenzie movies, was to present all Australians as crude, racist, chundering, violent misogynists;
As a darling of the politically correct class he plagiarised every dirty, racist and often funny gag he could get his hands on and made another fortune publishing them;
Yet he constantly challenges the sincerity of those he opposes.
If he just once admitted he could sometimes appear a little, well, pompous, perhaps he would not meet such derision.
It’s the experience of this lapsed lefty that the bollenger Bolsheviks are so up themselves they could never admit to being just a teensy bit wrong. Marx? Just in recess. Whitlam? Bloody Kerr, the people would have come around. Keating? Just too clever and visionary for this godawful country.
The likes of Adams never admit to a mistake. But no-one has ever achieved anything worthwhile without making a blue or two.
And a pundit in this uncertain world leaves himself open to scorn if his pronouncements all come wrapped in expired use-by labels.



Lustful men should be beaten until they're impotent, a Malaysian state parliament has been told. Making a recommendation that would probably be better received in the British House of Lords, Parti Islam SeMalaysia spiritual leader, Nik Aziz Nik Mat said polygamous Muslim men who dump their first wives after 'extracting all their sweetness' should cop a sound caning.THE STRAITS TIMES reports that Datuk Nik Aziz, who is Kelantan Mentri Besar, said too many Muslim men were abusing Islamic tenets that allow them to take up to four wives.


Geelong's Greens won't have Dicky Nixon to kick around anymore.
Richard Nixon, until yesterday the Greens candidate for the seat of Geelong in the upcoming state election, quit the party accusing local officers of being ''dictatorial''.
In today's Geelong Advertiser, Mr Nixon claimed party image makers had censored his letters and pressured him to shave his beard.
Mr Nixon, who says he will stand as an independent in the seat, accused Geelong branch secretary Bruce Murray and South Barwon candidate Iain Lygo of pressuring him to remove any humour or sarcasm from his letters to newspaper editors and wanted to interfere with his public speeches.
``They wanted control over everything and even suggested I shave off my beard,'' Mr Nixon said.
``In any party there's always friction but this is beyond what I class as tolerable. It's ridiculous - I was treated like a child.''
Albeit, a pretty whiskery child. Come to think of it, a Greens team without a beard or two would be like a Libs campaign without a pinstripe.
Mr Nixon resigned as the party's Geelong candidate less than a month after his pre-selection was announced.
He will be replaced by Geelong woman Elsie Teer, who has a background in public housing advocacy. Ms Teer, as far as we can tell, doesn't have a beard.
Mr Murray and Mr Lygo denied Mr Nixon's claims.



Funniest piece read at the weekend was a snippet in Lawrie Money's Spy column in the Sunday Age.
A check-out chick at a suburban Melbourne supermarket had no listing for a price on a Lebanese cucumber.
Brandishing the vegetable, she calls out through the shop's PA system: "Can I have a price check on a Lesbian cucumber!''.
Presumably without the batteries.