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Tag Archives: Dick Smith

My Thoughts on the Week That Was

Saturday 3 October

1 An observation:

“The exchange and intellectual debate of ideas needs to be re energised and it is incumbent on the young to become involved”.

2 Tony Abbott is the worst liar to ever have led our nation. His current round of radio interviews serves only to reinforce the public’s view of his lack of character, judgment and leadership.

3 Turnbull’s accession as Prime Minister seems to have cut the supply of crap to the shock jocks and other associated feral right wing commentators. It would be a shame if they went out of business altogether.

Turnbull’s focus on rhetoric at this early point is a sign only of a government acting carefully and slowly, as it should. It is no reason to be cynical. And his words are the right words, mostly; they give some reason for hope that Australian politics might be reinvented. I hope my side of politics is up to the challenge.

4 The news that Malcolm Turnbull plans to ditch Abbott’s harsh tone toward Muslims is to be welcomed. Abbott with disguised propaganda baited them at every opportunity.

5 Rosie Batty takes on Malcolm Turnbull over detention centers: “They must be shut down” she says. Of course she is right but he won’t act.

obama

6 I have never seen President Obama so angry. If ten people were killed in Australia, it would consume national attention for weeks. In America, the news cycle is likely to move on within days because fatal shootings have become almost routine. And that, in turn, is due to a complete failure by the political classes to change gun laws, even in the face of frequent tragedies and overwhelming evidence that gun restrictions work. The US might be the most technologically advanced country in the world but they are morally bankrupt.

Sunday 4 October

1 The most damaging indictment of Abbott’s post Prime Ministership comments so far is that he still believes his 2014 Budget was a fair one. He may have pledged there would be “no sniping” in his final prime ministerial conference. But he didn’t say anything about self-serving interviews, did he?

2 If Tony Abbott could justify having a Royal Commission into Unions for no other reason than political vindictiveness then surely Malcolm Turnbull should commence one into the Financial Planning of banks. How many lives have they destroyed as a result of bank corruption it makes Unions almost saintly?

3 Malcolm Turnbull’s managed to call a terrorist act by a 15 year off boy for what it was without vilifying Muslims and creating racist I’ll feeling. What a stark contrast to the manner in which Tony Abbott would have reacted.

4 Economic summits, Green papers, white papers, dunny papers, meetings, conferences, inquiries, advice, lobbyists, vested interests, ideology, budgets etc etc etc. Come on, Malcolm, it’s time for some action.

jeb5 Jeb Bush responds to Oregon mass shooting by saying “stuff happens“.

“Look, stuff happens. There’s always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something and it’s not always the right thing to do”.

Bad stuff happened in the Bush family. That’s for sure.

6 It looks like only two refugees will now be settled in Cambodia at a cost of $55 million. Your taxes at work.

Monday 4 October

1 Dick Smith says Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be “ratting on typical Australians who pay their tax” if the Coalition goes through with plans to shield large private companies from having to disclose how much tax they pay. Their excuse is that disclosing their tax affairs would place them at risk of kidnapping and ransom attempts. What bull.

2 A phone hook up with Muslim leaders the PM and other concerned parties following the shooting by a 15 year… old boy has impressed the Muslim community. A bit different to Tony’s approach.

3 Switching from Insiders to The Bolt Report on Sunday was an experience. Mind you, I only lasted five minutes. It has transformed into the anti-Muslim anti-Turnbull hour. I think he realises Turnbull’s natural inclination toward thoughtful intellectualism and reason will be unsuited to his particular audience.

4 An observation:

“We expect democracy but we don’t demand it”.

5 State governments are being encouraged by Morrison and Coreman to open up the delivery of health and education services to the private sector. Private enterprise might do a lot of things better than government but it should never be let near health and education. When profit becomes the sole motivator the system fails everyone. They adhere to the privatisation of everything.

Tuesday 6 October

1 Andrew Bolt is reported to have said. “I have never understood why Rosie Battie is an oracle on violence against Women”. Invites a rhetorical question doesn’t it? Anyone dare me.

2 Water has been discovered on Mars. The bigger question however, given the way the affairs of life are conducted is – is there any intelligence on earth?

3 Isn’t it a pity that Peter Dutton couldn’t pursue the perpetrators of violence against asylum seekers on Nauru with the same vigor he shows for whistle blowers.

And now we are told that the Nauru government says 600 refugee claims to be processed in a week. Really, how is that possible? Does that mean that they will become permanent residents of Nauru? They won’t be settled in Australia. Where else could they go? What an immoral cop-out by an immoral Government. A life sentence on an island that has no future.

4 Tony Abbott didn’t lose the leadership of the Liberal Party because he was a failure or because he was “a woman hater” or a “crash-through insensitive bully with no people skills” or “too loyal” or “a homophobe”.

The real reason was because he listened to people like, Andrew Bolt, Alan Jones, Janet Albrechtson, Miranda Devine, Dennis Shanahan, Paul Kelly, Chris Kenny, Tom Switzer, Gerard Henderson, Paul Sheehan, News Corp editor Col Allan, The Australian editor-in-chief Steve Lewis, Michael Smith and Maurice Newman. Whoops, I nearly left out Rubert and the IPA?

Then he wondered why middle Australia could only conclude that he was the weirdo they always suspected he was. That’s why Abbott failed, and you don’t have to be a leftie – not even a little bit – to think so.

5 Morgan Polling has the LNP a mile in front of Labor at 56/44.

Wednesday 7 October

1 Hate to be cynical but the US has never signed a Trade Agreement that hasn’t in the first instance advantaged them. All the countries involved have said that they are winners which of course by definition is impossible. It is said that the agreement captures 40% of world GDP but no one mentions that 25% of that belongs to the US. Looking forward to the fine print. And because no independent assessment has been made how do we know the truth of its supposed benefits? As the saying goes; Look for the devil in the detail.

2 It seems Tony offered Malcolm the US Ambassadorship earlier this year. So he knew he was in danger only a year into his term.

3 The Prime Minister says it is inevitable that Sunday penalty rates will have to be cut. Why? The tourist sector has grown by 13%. Someone’s doing something right.

4 To those who have interpreted my support of the change in Government as pro Turnbull let me say this: My personal political philosophy is and has always been centred on the common good. I am particularly adhered to the following: “each according to her/his ability, to each according to her/his need”. Only the Left can deliver on that.

5 A billion dollars on armored combat vehicles. I thought we had a spending problem. Oh, I see; it’s just on things like education and health.

6 Tuesday’s weekly Essential Poll has the LNP 52% and Labor 48%.

Thursday 8 October

1 Malcolm Turnbull has always been a user of public transport. It is hoped that this form of mass transport might get a higher priority by his government than the silly conservative ideology that only supports roads.

2 Tony Abbott confident his time as PM will be ‘well appreciated’ as time goes by. We might need a search party though.

3 Liberal MPs believe the party’s federal director Brian Loughnane is set to resign in the wake of the recent leadership spill. Mr Loughnane is married to former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s chief of staff Peta Credlin. Given her performance I suppose his position also had to become untenable. A Nutt job is set to replace him.

4 America spends more on defence than the rest of the world combined and is the largest manufacturer and supplier of arms. At the same time it is expected to act as the world’s policeman. How is it possible?

5 Clean energy investment has risen by 8 per cent in the US, 12 per cent in Japan, and 35 per cent in China last year alone. In Australia, however, under the Abbott Government’s overtly pro-fossil fuel/anti-renewables stance, it went backwards by 35 per cent.

Investment in large-scale renewable projects fell by a staggering 88 per cent. Two million jobs were created in the renewable sector globally while Australia’s clean energy sector contracted over the same period, shedding 2300 full-time positions.

An observation:

“In terms of the environment. I wonder what price the people of tomorrow will pay for the stupidity of today”.

6 on the same subject. Rival banks are under pressure to match the ANZs tough new lending policy on coal.

An observation:

“We all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health. Why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet”.

7 I read this morning that gay marriage would deliver a boost to the national economy worth at least $500 million a year in additional weddings alone, a major bank has calculated. Perhaps Conservatives should treat it as an economic issue. Then they might pass it.

Friday 9 October

1 Three weeks into a change of leader and the angst has gone out of Australian politics. My anxiety level has decreased. The shock jocks have so far lost their absurdity and a quieter discourse has developed. The Labor Party is even announcing policy.

2 Bill Shorten unveils an ambitious well-thought out plan to turbo-charge major public works infrastructure projects. These will include such contested developments as the $11 billion Melbourne Metro urban rail project – to which federal Labor had already committed – and Sydney’s Airport to Badgerys Creek line.

The full list:

Brisbane’s Cross River Rail Light Rail on the Gold Coast The planning work on the Ipswich Motorway, from Darra to Rocklea Fast-tracking the Pacific and Bruce Highway packages Airport Rail for Badgerys Creek, connecting the Western and South lines The Melbourne Metro Upgrading Tasmania’s Midland Highway Investing in public transport in Perth, such as the Metronet plan The Gawler Line electrification.

3 Hillary Clinton now opposes the Trans Pacific Partnership. Something she was instrumental in setting up. It’s the drugs component that concerns her. It concerns me also and it’s about bloody time the Government let us in on what’s in this contentious deal.

4 Turnbull is still in trouble on the Climate front. Hunt and Abbott wanted to get rid of the Climate Change Authority altogether but now it seems it may get a reprieve. Only problem is that they are stacking the board with members sympathetic to the Coalition. The authority’s former chair, Bernie Fraser resigned last month and had described the government’s post-2020 carbon reduction efforts – a pledge to cut 2005-level carbon emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030 – as putting the country “at or near the bottom” of comparable countries.

An observation:

“Personally, I find the most objectionable feature of conservative attitude is its propensity to reject well-substantiated new knowledge, science in other words, because it dislikes some of the consequences which follow from it”.

5 The Smorgon family has topped the 2015 “BRW Rich Families List”, with estimated wealth of $A2.74bn. The combined fortunes of the 50 families on the 2015 list is $A41.18bn, compared with $A40.1bn in 2014. Many families on the list are expanding into the property development sector, after making their fortunes in other industries.

There are families and then there are families.

6 Could it be that Asylum Seekers on Nauru will end up in the Philippines?

7 Murdoch suggests US President Barack Obama is not a ‘real black person’. That’s not bad coming from someone you would hardly describe as really human.

the week that was

And this is the week that was.

If Dick Smith wants to take on Tony Abbott, he will have Murdoch to contend with

Social media went into meltdown with the news that popular entrepreneur Dick Smith is considering standing as a candidate in Tony Abbott’s Warringah electorate at the next federal election.

The excitement, of course, was that person to person Dick Smith could in all likelihood take the seat. It’s a delicious thought and one widely shared. For many (judging by the comments on Facebook and Twitter) the news provided a glimmer of sunshine in what had been a gloomy political week.

But Dick Smith would have to do battle not just against Tony Abbott and other candidates; his major opponent will be the Murdoch media. Dick isn’t afraid of the Murdoch media and he isn’t afraid of rightly voicing his disgust in their modus operandi. This will put him clearly offside and they will batter him from pillar to post should he decide to stand.

Dick had a ‘run-in’ with the Murdoch media in 2013 when he published Murdoch Censorship Gives the Lie to ‘Freedom of Speech’ Claims (which was republished on The AIMN) slamming Kim Williams, then CEO of News Limited in Australia after he said we do not need to worry about the domination of the Murdoch press because we now have digital media! “Let’s see if it works” asked Dick in a subsequent probing letter to Mr Williams.

It is worth publishing again.

* * *

Kim Williams AM
CEO and Managing Director
News Limited
2 Holt St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Via Email

Dear Kim

Murdoch Censorship Gives the Lie to “Freedom of Speech” Claims

I believe your personal campaign against proposed government media reforms is hypocritical as it is your organisation that is largely responsible for this reaction by our politicians.

You claim, “We are in danger of limiting the full reign of freedom of speech which we cherish and keeps our democracy on its toes.” This is, to put it plainly, claptrap. Your organisation constantly limits freedom of speech and even censors paid announcements when it is in your commercial interests to do so.

You say we shouldn’t worry about your organisation’s dominance of the media as a diversity of opinion can now be had through digital media. Could you be referring to this type of opinion from a popular online site:

“The news industry is failing us; owned by self-interested corporate media barons who put profit before principle. Today’s news is more interested in generating sensationalism and controversy than fulfilling its historic mission of educating the public and our democracies are in danger as a result.”

Never have truer words been said, but where can we read them in print?

Personally, I would prefer that the government’s planned media reforms were not necessary, but I can see why they are being proposed. Many Australian politicians and leaders have told me they are scared of the power of your organisation, and so they should be.

I believe your threats of High Court action are a smokescreen to deflect criticism from the real issue: your organisation’s biased and intimidating reporting. You have one agenda only – the pursuit of ever-increasing profits for your shareholders. You have absolutely no interest in anything other than this and you should admit it, not make false claims implying your prime concerns are freedom of the press and democracy.

I hold the quaint belief it is incumbent on media owners to ensure their papers and broadcasting channels behave responsibly and in the public interest and show leadership on important issues that affect us. And while calling governments to account, they should not so intimidate politicians and public officials that they interfere with the process of rational debate and good policy. Your organisation has clearly failed this test.

I do not need to remind you of the corrupt and criminal activities of many of your proprietor’s employees and their associates in the UK. What is never mentioned is that this has come about as a result of the unwritten “Rupert Murdoch agenda” that if your people don’t achieve ever increasing circulation and profit growth they will lose their jobs.

I must make it clear that I do not blame your journalists; I have found most to be professional and fair-minded. It is obvious that they “self-censor” what they write knowing that if they ever reveal views that are in conflict with your proprietor, then their careers will be brief. This is at complete odds with your claims of ensuring free speech and being concerned about threats to democracy.

And I’m on to you. When friends ask me why your organisation runs such opposing views on climate change – from Fox News’ claims that it’s all bunkum to The Australian newspaper occasionally claiming it’s accepted science – I am able to say, “it’s simple. It’s all about making more money. They have worked out they will get more advertising and make more money on Fox News if climate change is debunked using sensationalism whilst they are likely to get greater circulation and more advertising dollars if The Australian shows a different view, so staff are directed accordingly”.

In effect, your organisation promotes views that meet the prejudices of your audience so as to maximise profits. This is not promoting free speech – it is abusing it.

And it sure works. Your organisation recently declared a 47% profit increase when the people you make most of your money from, the middle and lower income earners in the United States, are doing it tough with record unemployment levels and housing foreclosures. No wonder the “occupy” movement exists.

Of course, I know the pressure you are personally under. If you don’t keep sending ever increasing profits to New York you could suddenly be sacked – just like former Daily Telegraph Editor, Gary Linnell or Herald-Sun Editor, Simon Pristel.

It may not be so serious if your boss, who has so much influence in Australia, was respected and trusted by most Australians. The opposite is, in fact, the case. Just recently he was voted as one of the least trusted. He was placed number 97 on the Readers Digest “Who Do We Trust 2012” list. Only an errant footballer and a foul-mouthed shock-jock were held in lower esteem by the Australian people. Of course, you made sure there was no mention in the Murdoch media of this as all of your journalists worldwide “self-censored” on this issue. Once again, what about your “freedom of the press” claims?

And now to the subject which I am vitally concerned about and that your journalists have self-censored as it is at odds with your “grow profits at all costs” agenda.

That is the need for major debate and planning by our leaders on how to move to an economic system that does not require perpetual growth in population and the use of resources and energy. You are an educated and intelligent person and would know that our present economic system is not sustainable as the earth’s resources are finite and we are clearly heading for challenging times. Yet I have not once seen in a Murdoch publication an editorial which covers this important issue.

It’s even worse than this. Your organisation actively attempts to suppress coverage on the issue, and many politicians have also told me they are not game to mention that our present system of economic growth is unsustainable knowing they will be ruthlessly attacked by your organisation.

Because you fail to show responsibility in this important issue, I prepared a paid “announcement” (see attached) to run in the Daily Telegraph about my Wilberforce Award and the issue of growth and offered a $5,000 reward to a journalist who could get the issue covered in a Murdoch paper.

Almost predictably, the Daily Telegraph refused to run my paid announcement unless reference to the Murdoch press was deleted, and you supported this decision. This was clearly censorship. Of course it was all kept secret and the Australian public never got to hear of your actions. This is just one example of your suppression of ideas that challenge your corporate agenda. How many other views do you censor in order to meet your profit objectives?

Because of this, I have recently produced a magazine and I am printing 2.4 million copies to be inserted in daily newspapers. The magazine is entitled, “Dick Smith’s Magazine of Forbidden Ideas That You Won’t Read About in the Mainstream Media” – a copy of the front page is attached. The magazine is primarily intended to convey important messages that your journalists fear covering because they challenge your perpetual growth agenda.

As you control 70% of the print media in Australia, it’s obvious that 70% of my magazines will have to go in your newspapers. So will you reject my magazine as you did the original paid announcement? Let’s test your commitment to free speech.

Of course, I would normally write this letter to your boss, Rupert Murdoch, directly. However, in his last letter to me of 1 June 2011, he showed how sensitive he was to any criticism by rejecting further communication. This was because he was offended by my criticism of the Daily Telegraph for its front-page attack of Cate Blanchett when she dared to support the carbon tax. Isn’t it amazing – Rupert Murdoch tells people, “Climate change poses clear catastrophic risks” and claims he made News Limited carbon-neutral and he is treated like a hero by you and your colleagues, whereas Cate Blanchett is attacked so more papers could be sold and more profits made!

I am releasing this letter publicly, though I have been warned it is a high-risk strategy to criticise your organisation and that retribution will be swift. I wonder if you will instruct your reporters to come after me, just as News Limited did to its critics in the United Kingdom? But I think it is time to stand up to your bias and bullying and put your claims of “freedom of speech” to the test.

Yours faithfully
Dick Smith

Update: Here is the advertisement that the Murdoch media were too precious to publish:

Extra $5,000 reward for coverage of the Wilberforce Award in the Murdoch Press

The Murdoch press are absolutely paranoid about anyone mentioning that we can’t have constant growth in the use of material resources and energy.

What is even worse is the way our politicians appear to have been intimidated on this subject. Many politicians I speak to agree with the simple fact that we can’t always have growth and we need to move to a more stable system. However, a number of them have said to me ‘Dick, what you are saying is absolutely correct, but if I said it I would be crucified by the Murdoch press’.

I think everyone should be horrified at this. I think Rupert Murdoch himself would be horrified if he knew that free speech was being curtailed because people were frightened of his newspaper clout. My experience with Rupert is that he always wants both sides of an issue to be covered. It seems a pity that his Editors and Journalists in Australia don’t understand this.

The fact is we should be discussing all sides of the issue and acknowledging the fact that the growth we have had over the last thirty years cannot continue indefinitely. I am the first to admit that this growth has benefited people greatly, including Rupert Murdoch and myself. But it’s a simple fact that you don’t have to be a very good businessperson to be making more and more money in such a growth-fuelled environment – and we all know that one day there will be a limit to this growth.

It is very sad and also incredibly serious that we presently have a group of politicians, no matter how small, who agree with the important facts about this ‘growth reality’ but are not game to discuss it because they will be attacked.

Recently Barry O’Farrell, the Premier of New South Wales, stated that we would not have another airport in Sydney. He was attacked mercilessly by the Sydney Daily Telegraph. “How could someone doubt growth?” was basically the attitude of the Telegraph.

I have therefore decided on a special $5,000 prize for the first young person under the age of thirty who can get definitive coverage of the Wilberforce Award in the Murdoch press, including the fact that our present economic system, which requires perpetual growth in the use of resources and energy, is not sustainable.

So go for it! It must be possible. I am hoping that one day there will be a journalist working for the Murdoch press who is able to get the truth out and both sides of the argument will be fairly shown.

Remember, this is not a personal, emotive view of mine – it is a simple fact that we can’t always have perpetual growth in the use of material resources and energy in our finite world.

* * *

So before everyone gets too excited about the prospect of Dick Smith taking Tony Abbott’s seat of Warringah, ask yourself ‘just how much retribution will the Murdoch media have in store for Dick?’

They don’t like being stood up to. They don’t like being told what to do. They don’t like being threatened. They punish those who do. Dick Smith ticked all the boxes with this letter.

So if Dick Smith wants to take on Tony Abbott, he will now have the Murdoch media to contend with. They have long memories . . . and I’m sure they have remembered his attack.

 

Rupert, check your letter box; you’ve got mail

The letter from Dick Smith to Mr Williams, CEO of News Limited in Australia that we published here under Murdoch Censorship Gives the Lie to ‘Freedom of Speech’ Claims went – to use a modern internet term – viral. Dick Smith has since been widely commended for having the guts to take the fight to one of the most influential, powerful, and many would say, ‘corrupt’ individuals in the world. It’s unheard of in this country for anyone to stand up to Rupert Murdoch. None of our politicians can do it. To do so would see the end of their political careers.

Dick Smith had nothing to lose. He’s successful in his own right and doesn’t rely on Rupert Murdoch to survive. But there are people whose careers are, or can be destroyed by Rupert Murdoch and they are also putting pen to paper. They all have something to lose. They all sacrifice their livelihood for having the courage to tell the truth.

I have found three such letters (of the dozens) written over the years. One from an Australian businessman – the typical Aussie battler; one from a British politician; and one from an American journalist. Let’s start with the Aussie, Michael Atwell, Managing Director of For Sale For Lease.

Mr.K.R.Murdoch, Chairman and CEO, News Corporation.

1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10036. USA.

Dear Rupert Murdoch,

I wonder if you are aware that one of your many companies which is in a monopolistic position in Australia is attempting to kill a number of small but progressive companies in the real estate sector? Companies that are saving Australians money when homes are sold? Companies whose progressive hardworking owners, working families, may well be bankrupted and broken by your actions?

BuyMyPlace, ForSaleForLease and PropertyNow are three internet based companies which have been successful in enabling home owners to sell their own homes and avoid the fees and commissions charged by traditional real estate agents. Realestate.com.au is by far the most important website available in Australia, by its own admission nineteen times the size of its nearest competitors. Mr. Murdoch you own Realestate.com.au. Your company is refusing to renew contracts for BuyMyPlace, ForSaleForLease, Property Now and a number of similar companies which will remove them from the market and strangle their livelihood. Why is this happening Mr. Murdoch? Could it be that these efficient progressive companies who save money for the average Australian are cutting into the wonderful income of the fat cats of the real estate industry? An industry which spends millions of dollars of their clients’ money placing advertisements in your newspapers? An industry which your company is trying to privately regulate to the benefit of traditional real estate agents, evidenced by the presence of two prominent real estate agents on the board of your company Realestate.com.au?

There will no doubt be an ACCC enquiry into the conduct of your company, and it may well be that in due time it’s actions will be judged harsh and inappropriate. In the meantime nearly one thousand Australians who are in the process of selling their homes will be significantly disadvantaged. Young working families who have done nothing wrong will lose their livelihoods, and the opportunity for Australians to follow the international trend known as FSOB, or for sale by owner, will suffer a severe setback in order to protect the sometimes exorbitant commissions of traditional estate agents.

It is very disappointing to witness your company using the considerable clout of your organization to strangle small progressive companies who are delivering a real advantage for average Australians. Mr. Murdoch there is still time for you to step in and prevent this grossly unfair action. Please do so.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Atwell

And next is this very damning letter from Tom Watson, the Member of Parliament for West Bromwich East (UK).

Mr Rupert Murdoch
Chairman and CEO
News Corporation
1211 Avenue of Americas
New York
NY 10036

18 September 2012

Dear Mr Murdoch,

As you know, I have been uncovering criminality at News International for several years. During which time, the company’s management has regularly asked me to provide evidence of its habitual criminality. I have resisted such requests, as I did not believe they were sincere. It was my belief that senior people at the company knew perfectly well about journalists being involved in phone hacking, computer hacking, bribery and blackmail. And that the company had no wish to deal with these problems – did not even see them as such – rather to know what evidence existed in order to destroy it, to muddy the trail, in short, to cover up. For these reasons, I have resisted passing on evidence to you, and have passed it solely to the law enforcement authorities instead.

Nevertheless, I am writing to you today because I believe it may be possible that that era may be drawing to a close. I believe it possible that you and the current executives at the company may have realised that it is now too late to cover up what has gone on at News International. Whether or not you, and your executives, knew about the widespread use within News International of the latest investigative technique to be revealed – burglary – I believe you may now realise that the flat denial and attempt to destroy evidence of previous days will no longer wash with anybody.

I have seen a document from the hard drive of private investigator Sid Fillery, a regular contractor at News International through his company, Southern Investigations. The document, entitled “Alex1.doc” refers to a request for a sortie into the home of a woman living in Ascot. The hard drive was seized by the police in 2002 and is still in their possession. I understand that it was reviewed by the police in 2010 and that an internal document at the Metropolitan Police states quite clearly that they believe the file shows a conspiracy to break and enter into private property. Further details are on the front page of The Independent today.

You might not also be aware that a number of high profile figures who were the victims of phone hacking also reported mysterious break-ins at their homes. The pattern is the same: the homes clinically entered but no valuables taken. My colleague, Chris Bryant was so concerned that his home had been covertly entered that he reported the matter to the police. I understand the Metropolitan Police dispatched Commander Yates to take the statement. I understand the file containing the statement has gone missing.

I have audio testimony from the undercover former police officer with intimate knowledge of Southern investigations who claims that the burglary of the homes of MPs was a regular occurrence.

I am also aware, through the lawyer of a hacking victim, that there is testimony from another former private investigator that he was regularly hired to break into the homes of individuals who were the subject of investigation by News International. At the present time the investigator is not prepared to speak out in public.

This evidence has come to light after the Leveson Inquiry has stopped taking evidence. I think it important that you make a public statement to clarify how you intend to deal with these startling new revelations and how you will assist the police with their investigation.

Shortly, I will also be writing to you confidentially about information I have received from a former employee of the company regarding the conduct of former News of the World journalist and now Sunday Times investigator, Mazher Mahmood.

If there is any integrity at all to your claims to want to clean up the corruption and criminality endemic in your company, perhaps you would act on the evidence I am adducing. Public re-assurance that this matter is being dealt with would be welcome.

I would be grateful for a swift reply to this letter.

Yours sincerely

Tom Watson

And finally one from American journalist Trish Nelson whose professional career would have been on tenterhooks since penning this letter:

Rupert Murdoch
Chairman and Chief Executive
News Corporation
1211 Avenue of Americas
8th Floor
NY, NY 10036

Dear Mr. Murdoch:

I am writing to you because I understand you own and control a large number of newspapers, television stations and other kinds of media outlets.

I have been sickened and saddened by the choices your news organizations have made to show, over and over, on TV, horrible, hate inspired images against President Obama, and people carrying signs with messages of violence.

You are taking advantage of a few sad, ignorant people, who don’t know any better, because they believe Fox News and people like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly care about them and are telling them the truth. They don’t understand that these people are just doing what they do because they are TV and radio personalities. The people in those crowds don’t understand that they are being used, and the ideas that they are supporting are actually harmful to them. This is not right.

Do you do this for the money? How much money do you and yours need? Are you trying to start full-blown civil unrest so that you can make even more money?

Do you have any idea what it is like out here, having to live and work alongside people who are so horribly misinformed about how the world works? Who actually believe Obama was not born in this country, who actually believe in death panels, who actually believe President Obama is the equivalent of Adolph Hitler and is someone to be feared? They get these ideas from your media organizations.

And it makes them dangerous and sick on an individual level.

Maybe you have the right to do whatever you want, but you are hurting people in our country, and I would like you and your stations to start showing some restraint before one of these individuals thinks they are doing the right thing by actually committing an act of violence.

Trish Nelson
Iowa City, Iowa

P.S. I would also be interested to know the reason why one million anti-war protesters did not deserve any TV time at all, but a few thousand tea-baggers and anti-Obama, anti-health care people deserve so much?

Rupert, check your letter box; you’ve got mail. Hate mail. The hate you spread is finally coming home to roost.

 

Murdoch Censorship Gives the Lie to ‘Freedom of Speech’ Claims

Mr Williams, CEO of News Limited in Australia says we do not need to worry about the domination of the Murdoch press because we now have digital media! “Let’s see if it works” said Dick Smith.

Read Dick’s subsequent probing letter to Mr Williams:

Kim Williams AM
CEO and Managing Director
News Limited
2 Holt St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Via Email

Dear Kim

Murdoch Censorship Gives the Lie to “Freedom of Speech” Claims

I believe your personal campaign against proposed government media reforms is hypocritical as it is your organisation that is largely responsible for this reaction by our politicians.

You claim, “We are in danger of limiting the full reign of freedom of speech which we cherish and keeps our democracy on its toes.” This is, to put it plainly, claptrap. Your organisation constantly limits freedom of speech and even censors paid announcements when it is in your commercial interests to do so.

You say we shouldn’t worry about your organisation’s dominance of the media as a diversity of opinion can now be had through digital media. Could you be referring to this type of opinion from a popular online site:

“The news industry is failing us; owned by self-interested corporate media barons who put profit before principle. Today’s news is more interested in generating sensationalism and controversy than fulfilling its historic mission of educating the public and our democracies are in danger as a result.”

Never have truer words been said, but where can we read them in print?

Personally, I would prefer that the government’s planned media reforms were not necessary, but I can see why they are being proposed. Many Australian politicians and leaders have told me they are scared of the power of your organisation, and so they should be.

I believe your threats of High Court action are a smokescreen to deflect criticism from the real issue: your organisation’s biased and intimidating reporting. You have one agenda only – the pursuit of ever-increasing profits for your shareholders. You have absolutely no interest in anything other than this and you should admit it, not make false claims implying your prime concerns are freedom of the press and democracy.

I hold the quaint belief it is incumbent on media owners to ensure their papers and broadcasting channels behave responsibly and in the public interest and show leadership on important issues that affect us. And while calling governments to account, they should not so intimidate politicians and public officials that they interfere with the process of rational debate and good policy. Your organisation has clearly failed this test.

I do not need to remind you of the corrupt and criminal activities of many of your proprietor’s employees and their associates in the UK. What is never mentioned is that this has come about as a result of the unwritten “Rupert Murdoch agenda” that if your people don’t achieve ever increasing circulation and profit growth they will lose their jobs.

I must make it clear that I do not blame your journalists; I have found most to be professional and fair-minded. It is obvious that they “self-censor” what they write knowing that if they ever reveal views that are in conflict with your proprietor, then their careers will be brief. This is at complete odds with your claims of ensuring free speech and being concerned about threats to democracy.

And I’m on to you. When friends ask me why your organisation runs such opposing views on climate change – from Fox News’ claims that it’s all bunkum to The Australian newspaper occasionally claiming it’s accepted science – I am able to say, “it’s simple. It’s all about making more money. They have worked out they will get more advertising and make more money on Fox News if climate change is debunked using sensationalism whilst they are likely to get greater circulation and more advertising dollars if The Australian shows a different view, so staff are directed accordingly”.

In effect, your organisation promotes views that meet the prejudices of your audience so as to maximise profits. This is not promoting free speech – it is abusing it.

And it sure works. Your organisation recently declared a 47% profit increase when the people you make most of your money from, the middle and lower income earners in the United States, are doing it tough with record unemployment levels and housing foreclosures. No wonder the “occupy” movement exists.

Of course, I know the pressure you are personally under. If you don’t keep sending ever increasing profits to New York you could suddenly be sacked – just like former Daily Telegraph Editor, Gary Linnell or Herald-Sun Editor, Simon Pristel.

It may not be so serious if your boss, who has so much influence in Australia, was respected and trusted by most Australians. The opposite is, in fact, the case. Just recently he was voted as one of the least trusted. He was placed number 97 on the Readers Digest “Who Do We Trust 2012” list. Only an errant footballer and a foul-mouthed shock-jock were held in lower esteem by the Australian people. Of course, you made sure there was no mention in the Murdoch media of this as all of your journalists worldwide “self-censored” on this issue. Once again, what about your “freedom of the press” claims?

And now to the subject which I am vitally concerned about and that your journalists have self-censored as it is at odds with your “grow profits at all costs” agenda.

That is the need for major debate and planning by our leaders on how to move to an economic system that does not require perpetual growth in population and the use of resources and energy. You are an educated and intelligent person and would know that our present economic system is not sustainable as the earth’s resources are finite and we are clearly heading for challenging times. Yet I have not once seen in a Murdoch publication an editorial which covers this important issue.

It’s even worse than this. Your organisation actively attempts to suppress coverage on the issue, and many politicians have also told me they are not game to mention that our present system of economic growth is unsustainable knowing they will be ruthlessly attacked by your organisation.

Because you fail to show responsibility in this important issue, I prepared a paid “announcement” (see attached) to run in the Daily Telegraph about my Wilberforce Award and the issue of growth and offered a $5,000 reward to a journalist who could get the issue covered in a Murdoch paper.

Almost predictably, the Daily Telegraph refused to run my paid announcement unless reference to the Murdoch press was deleted, and you supported this decision. This was clearly censorship. Of course it was all kept secret and the Australian public never got to hear of your actions. This is just one example of your suppression of ideas that challenge your corporate agenda. How many other views do you censor in order to meet your profit objectives?

Because of this, I have recently produced a magazine and I am printing 2.4 million copies to be inserted in daily newspapers. The magazine is entitled, “Dick Smith’s Magazine of Forbidden Ideas That You Won’t Read About in the Mainstream Media” – a copy of the front page is attached. The magazine is primarily intended to convey important messages that your journalists fear covering because they challenge your perpetual growth agenda.

As you control 70% of the print media in Australia, it’s obvious that 70% of my magazines will have to go in your newspapers. So will you reject my magazine as you did the original paid announcement? Let’s test your commitment to free speech.

Of course, I would normally write this letter to your boss, Rupert Murdoch, directly. However, in his last letter to me of 1 June 2011, he showed how sensitive he was to any criticism by rejecting further communication. This was because he was offended by my criticism of the Daily Telegraph for its front-page attack of Cate Blanchett when she dared to support the carbon tax. Isn’t it amazing – Rupert Murdoch tells people, “Climate change poses clear catastrophic risks” and claims he made News Limited carbon-neutral and he is treated like a hero by you and your colleagues, whereas Cate Blanchett is attacked so more papers could be sold and more profits made!

I am releasing this letter publicly, though I have been warned it is a high-risk strategy to criticise your organisation and that retribution will be swift. I wonder if you will instruct your reporters to come after me, just as News Limited did to its critics in the United Kingdom? But I think it is time to stand up to your bias and bullying and put your claims of “freedom of speech” to the test.

Yours faithfully
Dick Smith

Update: Here is the advertisement that the Murdoch media were too precious to publish:

Extra $5,000 reward for coverage of the Wilberforce Award in the Murdoch Press

The Murdoch press are absolutely paranoid about anyone mentioning that we can’t have constant growth in the use of material resources and energy.

What is even worse is the way our politicians appear to have been intimidated on this subject. Many politicians I speak to agree with the simple fact that we can’t always have growth and we need to move to a more stable system. However, a number of them have said to me ‘Dick, what you are saying is absolutely correct, but if I said it I would be crucified by the Murdoch press’.

I think everyone should be horrified at this. I think Rupert Murdoch himself would be horrified if he knew that free speech was being curtailed because people were frightened of his newspaper clout. My experience with Rupert is that he always wants both sides of an issue to be covered. It seems a pity that his Editors and Journalists in Australia don’t understand this.

The fact is we should be discussing all sides of the issue and acknowledging the fact that the growth we have had over the last thirty years cannot continue indefinitely. I am the first to admit that this growth has benefited people greatly, including Rupert Murdoch and myself. But it’s a simple fact that you don’t have to be a very good businessperson to be making more and more money in such a growth-fuelled environment – and we all know that one day there will be a limit to this growth.

It is very sad and also incredibly serious that we presently have a group of politicians, no matter how small, who agree with the important facts about this ‘growth reality’ but are not game to discuss it because they will be attacked.

Recently Barry O’Farrell, the Premier of New South Wales, stated that we would not have another airport in Sydney. He was attacked mercilessly by the Sydney Daily Telegraph. “How could someone doubt growth?” was basically the attitude of the Telegraph.

I have therefore decided on a special $5,000 prize for the first young person under the age of thirty who can get definitive coverage of the Wilberforce Award in the Murdoch press, including the fact that our present economic system, which requires perpetual growth in the use of resources and energy, is not sustainable.

So go for it! It must be possible. I am hoping that one day there will be a journalist working for the Murdoch press who is able to get the truth out and both sides of the argument will be fairly shown.

Remember, this is not a personal, emotive view of mine – it is a simple fact that we can’t always have perpetual growth in the use of material resources and energy in our finite world.

 

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